|Letter Reference||Olive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.39
|Archive||National Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
|Letter Date||September 1891
|Address From||Matjesfontein, Western Cape
|Who To||Mary Sauer nee Cloete
|Other Versions||Rive 1987: 195
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 Sauer nee Cloete, September 1891, NLSA Cape Town, Special Collections, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
I'm so glad you are coming Mr Logan say charge will be £1 per day for
6: all included (except wine of course). There will be milk for baby. I
7: would certainly bring your saddle. You will have lovely rooms in the
8: big new house near to mine, if in fact you will have the whole house,
9: as there is no one here just now but myself & one invalid gentleman.
10: I'm very busy, but every spare moment I'll be able to run over to you
11: & we'll have all our meals together: it'll be so much nicer than if
12: you were at Mr Logan's.
Bring warm things with you. We had a fall of snow here yesterday, the
15: mountains & even the tops of the railway carriages quite white with
It may be warmer when you come, but bring wraps.
I'm so glad to be back here in spite of the cold, it's so lovely. I'm
21: working so hard to get all my things done at once that I can take them
22: to England, but it will be so often beautiful to have you; I often
23: wish in the evening that I could go & sit with you & have a talk after
24: dinner. It's so nice you are bringing the children. Bring nice books
25: to read. Did Mr Sauer get Fathers & Sons? ?Basyaroff in that is in
26: that is the man I like best in the world, of fiction. If there were
27: such a man living I would marry him.
My sister Ettie is to be married the week after next to a man she has
30: been engaged to for some time. He has been up in Mashona-land, but
31: came down the week before last to go home & marry her. I am very glad.
32: They will spend some months in Europe, & then probably go up to
33: Mashona land.
I shall count the days till you come. It is so beautiful & restful &
36: peaceful here.
Did you see Rudyard Kipling? I like him so very very much
The book referred to is: Ivan Turgenev (1867) Fathers and Sons
New York: Leypolt & Holt. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect. Schreiner and Rudyard Kipling first met around this time, and as the letter below indicates she wrote him a note commenting favourably on something he had written. Kipling's letter of thanks of 21 September 1891 (located in Special Collections, University of Sussex) shows this was accompanied by a book of his 'verses'; his letter also provides contact information for his literary agent; Schreiner did not take up this suggestion, while her life, and her finances, would have been very different had she done so.
Sept: 23: 91.
Dear Miss Schreiner
Your yesterday note has just come in. All thanks for it but ... what can you know? It?s sweet of you to hold a good opinion. I wonder if you?ll think very much the worse of me if and when I forfeit it.
I?ve taken the liberty of sending you a book that contains the whole of the verses you do me the honour to like. You have the same creed as myself I know but look to it that the very vehemence of your own desire to help others does not lead you into sorrow.
Now I go very far away, but when I return to England in February I shall feel indebted to you if you would let me help you in the putting out of any work you may have in hand. My agent ? he who saves me all my troubles in fighting with publishers & wasting time in bargaining ? is Mr. A. P. Watt. 2 Paternoster Square E.C. I don?t know of course what your views are about intermediaries but since I know the comfort of mind that Mr Watt has brought to me I don?t think I can go wrong in recommending him to you. He is very kind & nice and does everything for you except ? writing your book. That we have all to do by ourselves isnt it?
P.S. If all the girls in all the world sat quiet and still at the right moments by all the men in all the world when those were in trouble we should all be perfectly happy instead of being hurt and worried. I'll show you about this time next year why Maisie was made as she was.
The particular book of verses by Kipling which Schreiner had commented on cannot be established, as three appeared during 1890. In spite of their great political differences, Schreiner and Kipling remained in intermittent contact and she seems to have met him on subsequent occasions.