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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.9
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date20 February 1891
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 186-7
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 resident in Matjesfontein from mid April 1890 to mid March 1891, with occasional short visits elsewhere.
1 Dear Mary
3 I am sorry I couldn't come to Worcester. I am working very hard to get
4a long article done that must be done by the 2nd of next month at
5latest. I couldn't spare even the day. I want to see you, I send you a
6letter from Ed. Carpenter the man whose little book England's Ideal, I
7wanted you to read; such a great pure beautiful soul.
9 No, I did not write that Dream article, it is a parody no on my little
10Dream book, bits taken out of all the allegories & run one into
11another, without connection. I haven't any idea who could have written
12it. I asked the editor but he says it's a great secret. I always sign
13either my name or initials to every thing I write; unless only it is
14something very much in favour of any one, & then I think it is better
15taste not to sign as it seems like an overture of friendship to them.
16I did write a long unsigned article as a sub-leader in an English
17Daily Paper. but it was in defence of a man & in praise of his book, &
18as he & I were not on very friendly terms, I didn't like to sign it. I
19should have put him under an obligation. He doesn't know to this day I
20wrote it though I believe he was very much pleased with it. I think
21any thing which contains the slightest attack on a person or party, or
22even a book, should always be signed; you can't attack a thing unless
23you are willing to stand behind the attack.
25 ^My brother & his wife have called their baby Oliver after me. Isn't it
26lovely? My big nephew is coming from Europe next week.^
28 ^Write me a long nice letter & tell me all about yourself. I can't
29write long letters I am so sick of holding the pen. Give my love to
30that big delightful woman Mrs Innes. I wish I could see Baby chewing
31her paper!!! I was very well but feeling weak & tired & wanting some
32rest. Won't you come up after the second & spend some days here, &
33bring Mrs Innes with you, & let us go about having a holiday for a few
34days I'm so tired.
36 Olive^
Schreiner's comment about 'that Dream article' refers to a parody of her allegorical style. See "God's Light On the Mountain" Pall Mall Gazette 6 February 1891 p.3, with the added comment that "If not by Miss Schreiner, it is certainly a very happy attempt in the same style.". The book referred to is: Edward Carpenter (1887) England's Ideal London: Swan Sonnenschein. Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in a number of respects incorrect.