"Getting in Dutch vice president of Women's Enfranchisement League, Mrs MacFadyen, we have to educate women in South Africa slowly" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/95
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date31 January 1911
Address FromOudeberg, Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other Versions
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.
1 Oudeberg
2 nr. Graaff Reinet
3 Jan 31st 1911
5 Dear Ed
7 I was glad to get your letter. I don’t know why I’ve had you so
8much in mind of late. I’m glad you’ve got your friend George with
9you to make it homelike. Give my love to dear Kate Salt. I’m staying
10up at a little wayside "Hotel" at the top of a mountain pass. It’s a
11wild weird solitary place, a little flat roofed house standing by the
12roadside. Just before my bedroom door across the road yawns a huge
13gorge full of rocks & prickly pears, & every where are wide deep
14gorges & valley down which you look (I think gorges & valley are so
15fine when you look down at them from above. Just behind the house
16rises the huge crest of the Oudeberg, the highest peak, crowned with a
17gigantic circlel of precipice hundreds of feet high that no one has
18ever been able to scale. When I went for my walk early this morning
19there were thousands of baboons calling & climbing all over the
20mountain. It was very grand. I love baboons in these wild solitudes:
21they bring one back to the pre-historic past. There is no one in this
22place but the "Hotel" man & his wife & the barman & the baby, &
23unreadable some black servants. Sometimes carts or waggons go down the
24mountain pass; but except for that we have no connection with the
25world. We get our post once a week. If I keep on feeling as well as I
26do now I expect I shall stay here for a couple of months. It would be
27rather fine if Bob & you were here. You could go into one "kloof" &
28meditate, Bob could go into the next & meditate mathematics or
29invensions; I could go into a third & listen to the baboons, & at
30mealtimes we could all meet, & at night lie out together on the warm
31rocks & sand looking at the stars, & talking if we want. I never feel
32lonely in the morning & all day; but towards evening & at night I
33begin to long for "folks as one loves."
35 I’m working a bit at my book. If ever I should finish it perhaps
36I’ll bring it home to England myself to publish but I don’t think
37I ever shall finish it - but I mean to try to the end.
39 I’ve no news to give you. You see I’m so out of the world, I
40don’t even know what’s going on parliament or the country
41generally. I wish I could have a long talk with you Edward. As one
42grows older one gets more & more shut up within oneself: & I think it
43causes a kind of internal spiritual congestion!
45 Are you writing anything? I liked Edith Ellis’s little essay about
46you: but I detested what she said about Hinton & the other fellow.
48 It’s very sad to think George Adams is gone. I always seem to see
49him about the house at Millthorp.
51 Good bye: send this note on to Bob as I can’t answer his this week.
52I’m full of thought about that invention of his. I hope it’s
53something to do with "wings." I’ve hungered for wings ever since I
54could desire anything. One day they will discover a way of condensing
55force in some convenient way, & you’ll fasten the container onto
56your back between your shoulders & then spread two beautiful butterfly
58^wings on each side - & away you’ll fly. I’ve always known people
59must fly, some day, just as there must be perfect love & fellowship on
60earth sometime. Our dreams are prophetic because we are part of life. ^
62 Good bye,
63 Olive
The book Schreiner was 'working a bit at' is From Man to Man, which she was spasmodically editing, having completed Woman and Labour. Edith Ellis?s 'little essay' about Carpenter and also Hinton and Nietzsche appeared as: Mrs Havelock Ellis (1910) Three Modern Seers London: Stanley Paul & Co.