"About misunderstanding with Pearson, explaining" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/3/98-101
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date20 October 1886
Address From9 Blandford Square, Paddington, London
Address To2 Harcourt Buildings, Temple, London
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 108
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to University College London (UCL) and its Library Services for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The date of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, while the address it was sent to is on its front.
1 9 Blandford Sq
3 Dear Mr Pearson
5 I suppose I have ended for ever your feeling of friendship for me by
6the letter I wrote on Monday. To you it seems brutal, an intrusive, or
7that most horrible of all things, an expression of pity. You can’t
8understand & I can’t explain to you. You have had so many friends in
9your life, & intellectual sympathy has been such a common thing to you,
10 that you cannot understand what it is to me; something so much more
11precious than all sexual feeling or even family love. If I were a man
12friend you would forgive me for asking such a question, but you never
13forget I am a woman.
14 unreadable
16 I am always conscious that I am a woman when I am with you; but it is
17to wish I were a man that I might come near to you.
19 The feeling that prompted my question was as far ^removed^ from pity as
20any human feeling could be. It was that dry anxiety that becomes
21intolerable at last.
23 You cannot understand why it should be so. You have too many friends
24to know. what one unreadable If you care to write to me again or come
25to see me, could we not act just as though I hadn’t written to you
26at all?
28 O.S.
30 I can’t pity you: people don’t pity their own brains.
32 ^I shall be there at 6.30. If you were there at that time I should like
33to introduce you to Carpenter before it began.^
Enclosed with this letter is a leaflet listing forthcoming lectures and events of The Progressive Association. Schreiner has written the final insertion next to Edward Carpenter's lecture on 'Private Property', 31 October 1886. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.