|Letter Reference||Cobden Papers: T. Fisher Unwin 981/2
|Archive||West Sussex Records Office, Chichester
|Letter Date||13 April 1896
|Address From||The Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
|Who To||T. Fisher Unwin
|Other Versions||Cronwright-Schreiner 1924: 220
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 T. Fisher Unwin, 13 April 1896, West Sussex Records Office, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to the West Sussex Records Office for allowing us to transcribe this letter from Olive Schreiner, which is part of its archive collections.
1: The Homestead
2: April 13 / 96.
4: Dear Mr Unwin
6: I had the surprise yesterday of receiving a great parcel of letters &
7: books from Matjesfontein that have been gathering there for more than
8: a year, & among them three letters from you & two parcels of books
9: sent early this year. I left Matjesfontein three years ago, before my
10: marriage, but left strict orders that all letters should be left sent
11: on. I should of course have answered your letters at once had I
12: received them.
14: If you should care now to reprint the Political Situation paper as it
15: is, I am quite willing that you should do so.
17: You will see that I am publishing a series of articles in the
18: Fortnightly for which I am getting £3 a page ^for the English rights alone^;
19: but had I had your letter in time I should have offered them to you.
20: Could you send me a couple of copies of your periodical, as I have
21: never seen it, nor am likely up here to do so.
23: Political life is absorbing all one’s thought & strength here just
24: now; things are very dark, but I believe it is the dark that comes
25: before dawning. I think that if you care to republish that pamphlet
26: just as it stands, you will find it will increase the sale of your
27: magazine. All the pamphlets that were printed have been long disposed
28: of, & I was on the point of making arrangements for re-issue in this
29: country, but shall not do so till I hear that do not wish to reprint
30: it. I am constantly getting applications from ^Europe^ France & America
31: for the pamphlet.
33: You can send me for the right of reprinting it any thing which you
34: think fair: It was t I don’t like the binding of Dreams, as you know.
35: Scully’s little book is very tastefully got up.
37: I am in splendid health, & getting on well with my work, & my husband
38: & I propose to visit England at the end of this year.
40: I intend publishing my articles on South Africa in book form, & if Mr
41: Wall has not been able to make satisfactory arrangements about them,
42: my husband & I will do so when we come
44: Please remember me very kindly to your wife. I have been reading for
45: the first time Justin MacCarthy’s “History of our times”. I had
46: no idea before how beautiful, & rare a character her father was till I
47: read ^this book^ unreadable I had thought of him merely as a successful
48: politician – which is not much!
50: Yours sincerely
51: Olive Schreiner
Schreiner's 'political situation paper' is The Political Situation
; the reference to the series of articles in the Fortnightly
concerns her 'A Returned South African' essays, which in the event were published in other outlets as well as the Fortnightly
. As she comments, they were intended for publication in book form as 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. However, although prepared for publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War prevented this. They and some related essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa
. The work Schreiner was 'getting on well with' is likely to refer to her Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland
. The books referred to are: William Charles Scully (1895) Poems
London: T. Fisher Unwin; and Justin MacCarthy (1882-1897) A History of Our Own Times
London: Chatto & Windus. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) version of this letter is incorrect in a range of respects.