"My arms stretching out to Alice Greene; if I could put my love into words, must feel it coming to you across the miles" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/18
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 5 April 1888
Address FromHotel Westminster, Bordighera, Italy
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 138-9
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Sheffield Archives, Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information Services, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Archive Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1 Hotel Westminster
2 Bordighera
3 Italie
4 Wednesday night
5 11: 30
7 Do you see where I am? When I got to B Ventimiglia I found there f was
8no train on to Alassio till 3.40 in the morning. I wandered about for
9a little time, then an old gentleman, a clergy man who I think must be
10George MacDonald, who was with a daughter & two young men, met me. He
11evidently thought I was one of those "unhappy women from Monte Carlo".
12There is no hotel I know of in Ventimiglia, but I knew the name of the
13Westminster here. He said I could come with them in their carriage
14here, but the horror they all seemed to feel to me, & his awful fear
15lest one of the young men should walk here with me, was funny. Oh, Ach,
16 my poor sisters, when will this pass away!
18 It’s when I think of these women Edward that I feel I am a woman, &
19I’m glad I am a woman so that I may fight & there may be none of us
20any more at last. That is really the work of my life. You will see
21some day when my book is done! You know that is what I have lived for;
22there the strange, terrible fascination those women’s faces have for
23me, eating into my heart in horror & pity, no one seems to feel to
24them as I do.
26 //I saw those three red lights go away behind your train! Edward, I
27love you so, dear, you have entered right into my heart. It’s so
28quiet here now. You are just unreadable I’m going on by the first
29train in the morning. The old clergy man wouldn’t shake hands with
30me though he let me drive with them in their carriage. I didn’t mind
31it at all It was rather a nice experience.
33 //You must write me one word and tell me about your plans.
35 Please remember me to the ?Casigs. Mrs C is a very nice kindly woman &
36I feel very kindly to him. I can’t bear to think you are going away.
37You don’t know how I’ve been feeling you near me all the while
38you’ve been on the Riviera.
40 Goodnight, my brother.
41 Your Donkey
43 It was very nice to-day. I enjoyed it so much, it’s done me good.
44The music was nice. You don’t know how much music is to me. I
45don’t suppose it would cost much more if you went past Alassio.
'When my book is done' refers to From Man to Man. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.