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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.4
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 26 December 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 183-4
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Friday night
4 My dear Friend
6 I was so glad to get your letter. Dear of course you feel unfinished;
7we all feel unfinished who have any power of life & growth in us.
8Often it seems to me that you might make so much use of the next two
9or three years, in the way of solid reading. Bye & bye your children
10will be added to & your girls older, & you will have none of the
11beautiful languor you have now. You could do so much now while you are
12so young & fresh, that as your children grow up (& perhaps you will
13yet have a son) will make you able to be their friend & guide.
14Education is a thing that should never end with any of us till we are
15too old to grow any more, & with most women it ends when they are
16sixteen or seventeen. It seems you might do so much by just reading
17steadily for a couple of hours a day; which you could easily do with
18your good servants, & your beautiful quiet home. You have such large
19mental power, such power of really grasping & understanding; & I think
20your mental dissatisfaction with yourself rises from the fact that you
21have intellectual powers, & large powers of impersonal sympathy which
22you never draw on, fully. You have really now, yet as much power of
23developing as most girls of sixteen have.
25 I sent you my little book of Dreams the other day, dear. I don't think
26you will like them because they are all almost it seems to me, too
27much part of my life, & took their fou colour from the it too much, be
28of much general interest. To me they are very dear. I sent it you as a
29bit of my-self as your children are part of you.
31 I am so glad I won't need to use any of the money I get for it for
32myself. I don't think I could have borne to sell it if I had. The
33first part I get has to be spent on something else; but next year
34perhaps I shall be able to send that artist boy to Europe.
36 I wonder what the question is you wanted to ask me? What is it about?
37This is such a poor word to send you compared to all that it was in my
38heart to say to you a little while ago when I lay on the sofa. You
39ought to have come to see my little house that I love so.
41 Olive Schreiner
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.