"Small Schreiner expected by Will & Fan, many London friends" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/468
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date25 August 1907
Address FromSea Point, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 273
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Mrs. Francis Smith.
2Sea Point, 25th Aug.
3
4... Rather a beautiful little thing has happened since I was down here.
5 One of my old and very dear friends, an English Officer, was killed
6out here during the war. His wife has come out to see his grave, etc.
7I'd never met her before. Since his death she has been reading all my
8old letters to him, and the way in which she, a hard, reserved,
9society woman, has turned to me and almost clung to me is very
10beautiful. It's one of the things I value most in my life, that all my
11men-friends' wives love me almost more than the men do after they get
12to know me and never wish, to end our friendship.
13
14In little box where I keep my greatest treasures I have a letter from
15the wife of my oldest and dearest man friend in which she says she is
16sure her married life is so beautiful because of the seven years in
17which her husband loved me better than anything in the world, and our
18close unbroken friendship. I value that letter more than anything I
19have I think.
20
21Some people say friendships between married men and women are
22impossible. They are, unless there is a high sense of honour on both
23sides-an abiding sense that you are dealing with a doubled and not a
24single individuality any more - you are no friend, but the greatest
25enemy of the man or woman, if you make marriage less easy and not more
26beautiful and easy for them. ...
27