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Letter ReferenceBeatrice Webb (nee Potter): Passfield/2/1/2/9, Folios 690-693
ArchivePassfield Collection, London School of Economics
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: April 1888 ; Before End: October 1888
Address FromRoseneath, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Address To
Who ToBeatrice Webb (nee Potter)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the London School of Economics (LSE) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Passfield Collection. The letter has been dated by reference to when Schreiner was resident in Harpenden, which was between April and early to mid October 1888.
5Dear Miss Potter
7I should like very much to come, but cannot leave my work just now I
8am better, ^I must take advantage of that^
10I think Maggie’s book first rate. Great improvement on the last;
11though that was good. It is the little touches that are so true to life.
13The end of Herbert Spencer’s article in the Fortnightly hurt me a
14great deal. Couldn’t he be made to go off somewhere to Italy, or
17//Do you (who are so much behind the s-cenes) know who the M.P. was
18who was referred to in the Pall Mall. a short time ago, as a member of
19parliament who would have to retire into private life on account of
20some money trans-actions?
22I think it would help me a great deal to know more of you, ^I hope I
25Yours cordialy
26Olive Schreiner
28I am looking now for a tiny little workman’s cottage in Surrey where
29I can bestow my goods & to which I can return next summer. I think I
30shall be in England till the end of September.
32I look out always eagerly for whatever you write. You are one of the
33few women I want to know more of. If you come to London while I am
34here will you please let me know.
36I wrote you a long letter when I was at Alassio, working out what
37seems to me the reconciliation of Socialism & Individualism. Then I
38thought you had probably worked it out much more completely yourself.
The work Schreiner refers to could have been one of a number of things, including editing From Man to Man and also writing allegories. 'Maggie's book' refers to the novel which Margaret Harkness published under the pseudonym John Law in May 1888: John Law (1988) Out of Work London: Sonnenschein & Co; it followed Harkness' April 1887 novel: John Law (1997) A City Girl London: Author's Publishing Co. The article by Herbert Spencer is: Herbert Spencer (1888) "The Ethics of Kant" Fortnightly Review July 1888 pp.142-56. A Pall Mall Gazette article on a particular errant MP could refer to Charles Dilke or Charles Parnell, both much in the news at this point.