"Please don't discuss my affairs, my big sex book" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/351
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date5 March 1907
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address ToDe Aar, Northern Cape
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 264
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner were produced by Cronwright-Schreiner in preparing The Life and The Letters of Olive Schreiner. They appear on slips of paper in his writing, taken from letters that were then destroyed; many of these extracts have also been edited by him. They are artefacts of his editorial practices and their relationship to original Schreiner letters cannot now be gauged. They should be read with considerable caution for the reasons given. Cronwright-Schreiner has written the date, where it was sent from and the place it was sent to onto this extract, and also that Olive Schreiner had had measles when once at Matjesfontein. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters....
1 …I am so absorbed & interested in my book. I don’t like to think
2of anything else. I suppose tonight will see you back in De Aar. No, I
3don’t like obese people, or flabby people. Muscle I admire beyond
4anything in man or woman: it’s sinew & bone I don’t like to see…
5
6 …rounded muscle… like catching hold of hard India rubber: your
7hand comes off with a bound. I used to be like that till I had measles.
8 Even now the people who massage me are astonished at my muscles. If
9my chest was all right, I would even (now) still be very strong!!
10It’s this curious muscular strength of (mine) that has kept me alive
11the last years…
12
13 I’ve been lying down most of the day & quite forgot the mierkats at
14six, which is their time. At a quarter past seven I looked out of the
15pantry window & there they all were in a terrible state of mind at the
16kitchen door, trying to get in! It was almost dark & they were running
17about & scratching at the door in a desperate way: they couldn’t
18think what was the matter. So I let them in & gave them a big feed &
19they all jumped into the box & went to sleep. I give them the one big
20feed of the day when they go to bed & that makes them very punctual in
21turning up. “Old Party” is more than tame. She never will leave me.
22 Today when I was lying on the bed she would come to sleep on my
23shoulder, Every time I carried her back to the study arm chair or put
24her to outside, I would hear a little trot, trot, & she would climb up
25again & tuck her head into my neck - so I had to give in…
26
27
28
Notation
The book Schreiner was absorbed in is From Man to Man.