"Will Schreiner's political duty, difficulty of finding path of duty,' Peter Halket' & lay aside ambition" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/37
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date28 January 1889
Address FromMentone, France
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 148-9
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.
1 Dear Edward,
3 If you get to know Mr Pearson well you’ll never say any thing of
4anything I’ve told you of other people, men or women. Tell him
5anything you like about me, I mean in all that, I know you & feel to
6you as a little child does to its mother. But you know I want to
7forgive & love every one - not only seem to forgive them, but to do
8what will be happiest for them. ^I feel it would be mean of me to try &
9come near him.^ Don’t try ever to bring me & him near each other,
10dear heart. I’m quite close to him now, but if I had to see or speak
11to him the old bitter fight must begin again. You see I can’t feel
12to his friends as he feels. I have tried. I can feel all kindness &
13love to them, but I must keep far from them. Suppose, dear, I prized
14you more than anything in the world, but I couldn’t feel just as you
15felt to your friends at Sheffield, say I couldn’t sympathize with
16your George & his wife. Well then my love for you would teach me I
17must leave you. I would always bring an element of strife, I mean
18internal strife into his life if I came into it ^in any way^ & that’s
19just what mustn’t enter it. Don’t you see what I mean, the element
20of division? I mean if I never see him, but simply write to him I must
21influence him in some way. The only one of his friends I feel unity
22with is his dearest man friend Parker. Did you see him? But between me
23& the others, all his women friends, ^& some of his men friends^ the
24Almighty hath set a gulf. I would like him to know I felt he had been
25true & generous in all his relations to me, but that’s all. He knows
26I love him. Don’t ever mention me to him, dear old Ed’ard unless
27he speaks of me, & then just turn it off. Other people need him much
28more than I do, & can give him more. My life is so full & joyful with
29my work. You understand.
30 Olive
32 ^Do you know that my novel ends by the mother telling her children
33they’ll all go up country & dance naked on the rocks!!!^
35 ^My brother is selling his big school to a company for £70,000.
36Isn’t that a lot!!!! When I print my next book I shall have a lot of
37money too & we’ll all have fine times. My little Alice will come &
38live with me when she is a doctor. And an old bachelor brother, can
39come out to the Cape & see us & we’ll bake him in the sun. Alice
40tells me you look happy but not well!!!!!^
42 ^Address – Post Restante Mentone, but there’s no need to write.
43I’m working.^
The novel whose end Schreiner refers to is From Man to Man. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.