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|Letter Reference||Mary Gladstone (Mrs Drew) Add. 46244, ff.182-183
|Archive||British Library, Department of Manuscripts, London
|Letter Date||18 May 1911
|Address From||De Aar, Northern Cape
|Who To||Mary Drew nee Gladstone (m. 1886)
The manuscript of this letter by Olive Schreiner belongs to the Archive referenced above; its ownership of the original should be acknowledged by referencing the letter as indicated: Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Mary Drew nee Gladstone (m. 1886), 18 May 1911, British Library Manuscripts, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to the British Library for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
May 18th 1911
Dear Mrs Drew
It is disappointing that we should just miss you at the Falls.
I shall be so glad you can spend even the day with me. There is a
9: train that arrives in the morning, & another that goes on the same
10: night to Cape Town. My Husband or I will meet you at the station &
11: bring you straight up to our little cottage, & take you back to the
12: train in the evening. We shall have a lovely long talk. Yes, Lady
13: Gladstone isn't unlike Lyndall as I imagine her. Just the same
14: fairy-like, nymph-like, little something about her. I shall some day
15: publish those articles in book form but I've two large novels I want
16: to revise before I march. It seems to me they ought to come first, but
17: months & months pass when I can't put pen to paper, & even writing a
18: note is difficult for me sometimes.
I often think of those remarkable little stories by the first Mrs
21: Lyttleton you once sent me. The world must have lost a strangely
22: beautiful & sympathetic spirit, & I believe a real genius when she
I valued what you said in your letters about the Basutoes. They &
26: their future lie heavy on my heart. Please let me know a day or two
27: before when you are coming.
Yours very sincerely
You don't know how delightful it is to me to see friends from England.
The 'two large novels' Schreiner wants to revise are From Man to Man
and possibly 'New Rush', while the essays in book form referred to are those originally published pseudonymously as by 'A Returned South African', intended for publication in a book to be called 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. Although the latter was prepared for book publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War prevented this; however, they and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa
. The 'remarkable little stories' were by Laura Lyttleton (nee Tennant), whose husband Alfred had been curate (and a cousin by marriage) to Mary Drew's father, the politician W. E. Gladstone. Laura Lyttleton died following childbirth in 1885, leaving a number of unpublished poems, stories and drawings; Mary Drew wrote a family memoir of her.