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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/5/8-9
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 June 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 173-4
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.
1 Matjesfontein
2 June 6 / 90
4 Dear Mr Pearson,
6 I got your note to-day. It made me very glad because it bore the
7impress of your happiness. May every thing glad & beautiful be yours &
8hers, the best we have any of us ever dreamed of of the union of man &
9woman. I do not know much of her, but to me she has always seemed a
10nobly direct, sincere woman. I believe a better & fuller life is
11coming to you now than you have ever known; with better work. I think
12it is very well. I know not how it is that the thought of this good
13which has befallen you never struck me. I had feared you would make a
14great mistake, when your time to choose a companion came. My
15congratulations are not empty words they arise from a deep sense that
16it is well with you.
18 No, Karl Pearson, I have no more need of intercourse with you. When I
19first knew you I was in a stage in which I was entirely allowing my
20sympathetic instincts to run away with I had my entire life me. Human
21suffering had so eaten itself into me that I thought that no moment
22was rightly spent which was not directly expended in relieving some
23^individual^ human suffering. unreadable.
25 I cannot explain to you, these things cannot be explained^!^, but from
26the first day I saw you, ^you^ helped me to realize that the highest
27duty of a human creature is to fullfil that function for which it is
28best fitted. It was not by anything you said or did, simply that
29subtle & curious influence which one individuality has over another
30that you helped me. It was exactly that cold, hard, intellectual
31element in your nature which was of service to me. If you had required
32any emotional return from me, if you had turned the emotional side of
33your nature, noble & beautiful as it doubtless is, to me, you would
34not have been to me what you were. I wonder if you understand what I
35mean. This would not be worth speaking of, only I want you to
36understand, that it is not with any narrow, false, feeling that I
37decline a friendship I have not any need of. That which was of such
38great use to me then I do not need now my dear man friend. If ever I
39am in need of you or your wife I will write to you & ask your help.
40Can I trust you both also to treat me with such fellowship? I shall
41believe I can.
43 I have a little favour to ask of you. If by any chance you should have
44kept any of the letters I wrote you about work or other subjects would
45you mind letting me have them? They would be of great interest to me,
46& could be of none to you. I shall shortly be moving another thousand
47miles up country, but if you will put them in an envelope addressed to
48Cape Town they will be forwarded.
50 Believe me always to remain
51 Yours faithfully,
52 Olive Schreiner
53 unreadable
Rive's (1987) version of this letter is incorrect in a number of respects.