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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.6
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: January 1891 ; Before End: February 1891
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 185-6
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. Schreiner was mainly resident in Matjesfontein from March 1890 to December 1892, with visits, sometimes fairly lengthy, elsewhere, including Cape Town.
1 My darling. I got your note this morning. The address is
3 Louie Ellis
4 9 St Mary's Terrace
5 Paddington
6 London W.
8 Send a perfectly fitting evening body as well as the measures. The
9measure alone is never so satisfactory. I do hope the dress will suit
10you. Give her an idea of your colour & age &c. Her great gift is that
11she makes things so in the style which suits each individual. Of
12course not having seen you she can't understand My nephew is coming
13out about that time & if he would be here before the first week in
14March might bring it.
16 Don't mention to any one, dear, about my Cape Article, not my brother
17or Mr Fort or anyone knows I am writing it, & the fun will be to see
18if they guess, don't even tell Mr Sauer, & we'll see if he guesses.
19It's a great relief to me working at it, it takes the strain off
20purely creative work.
22 There's a woman I think you would like so find such a sympathetic
23friend, a Miss Robinson of All Saints School. She has been staying
24here. I like her greatly. Pl Won't she you go to see her when she
25comes back? She says she knows you slightly & likes you very much,
26from the little she has seen. I shall not be in Town till May; it will
27be so good if you come in March. I shall very likely go home to
28England in July to superintend some things through the press. It takes
29so long sending proofs back-wards & forwards. I shall spend the winter
30in Paris or Italy, & then in the spring about a year from now, return
31to this country to travel in the interior or go to America. It would
32be very beautiful if you & Mr Sauer could come to England with me.
34 Dear, have you read Mils J S Mills' "Subjection of Woman" & Edward
little book "England's Ideal." They are both books you
36would like so much. Kiss your little ones for me. They are splendid
37little "human's."
39 Good bye
40 Olive Schreiner
42 I am so glad you liked in a Ruined Chapel I like it the best of all.
43It doesn't matter what other people feel to you only what you feel to
44them. A man said something that cut me so the other day in Cape Town;
45I wish so much I could find some way of doing him a service, but he's
46so big & strong I am not likely ever to have a chance of showing how I
47feel. But one has to be counted & love people without doing anything
48for them sometimes.
50 ^If you are ever up in the gardens would you ask for those unfortunate
The 'Cape Article' referred to was the first of Schreiner's 'A Returned South African' essays to be published; see: "Stray Thoughts on South Africa" Fortnightly Review July 1891, vol 50, pp.53-74. A set of these essays was to have been published as 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. However, although prepared for publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this. With some other essays, they were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa. While Schreiner's "A Ruined Chapel" is mentioned in a number of letters, it does not seem to have been published before it appeared in Dreams. The books referred to are: John Stuart Mill (1869) The Subjection of Women London: Longman's, Green, Reader and Dyer; Edward Carpenter (1885) England's Ideal Manchester: John Heywood. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.