"Wicked mad diplomacy, lying & darkness" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/2/64-68
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 7 June 1886
Address FromThe Convent, Harrow, London
Address To
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other Versions
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 has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The name of the addressee is indicated by content and archival location.
1 Convent
2 Monday morning
4 I think Carpenter is coming this afternoon to go for a walk with me.
5Shall ask him.
7 Have forgotten Parker’s number. Please put it on enclosed card &
8post it that he may get it before tomorrow evening. I shall find my
9way all right.
11 Your paper touches a field that is quite new to me. Whatever you have
12to say will be an increase of knowledge. From the third or fourth to
13the sixteenth century, all is a blank unreadable in my mind only lit
14up by the Queens Before the Conquest & half a dozen mildewy all books
15of my father’s; & yet it is those ages that we have to find the key
16of the world about us. It isn’t only our religion or the position of
17woman, but every problem we can touch which needs light from them
18thrown on it. It was really the childhood of our world of today, when
19all that we see was a-growing. Do you know I sometimes think that
20living here among these simple old nuns hears more of what those
21middle ages were, (something so utterly different from what the modern
22philistine believes) than from all the books. Even the dress of these
23Dominicans unchanged for six hundred years, carries the story of the
24old life in it. The wonderful credulous, dreamy, child-like, happy,
25timorous spirit doesn’t belong to the world of today. I have just
26had a long talk with a fat jovial old nun who has been forty years in
27a convent. These were the people that made those wonderful little
28goggle-eyed little animals that that are climbing up the ridge out
29side at Westminster Abbey. One sees just how it was!
31 It’s delightful to me to get letters, & sometimes I long to write
32– when I’m tired – but it hardly seems right to make resting
33places of your friends nature.
35 I am going to bring Mrs Philpot also on Tuesday. She went to hear your
36lecture at South Place. If I could be of any help to that woman I
37should be glad. I have always time for practically coming near to
38other people if they need me.
40 Yours ever
41 Olive Schreiner
The paper 'touching a field that is quite new to me' is probably Pearson's 'A Sketch of the History of Sexual Relations in Germany', read at the Men and Women's Club in June 1886. Pearson's lecture was published as (1885) 'Enthusiasm of the Market-Place and of the Study. A Discourse delivered at South Place Chapel, Finsbury, E.C.' and later republished in his (1888) The Ethic of Freethought: A Selection of Essays and Lectures London: T. Fisher Unwin. The book referred to is: Mrs Matthew Hall (1854) Queens Before the Conquest London: Colburn.