"Your words of sympathy re my little story, 'Trooper Peter Halket'" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/2/81-87
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 16 June 1886
Address FromThe Convent, Harrow, London
Address To
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 83-4
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
1 The Convent
2 Wednesday
3
4 Thank you for the paper. I send it with this. What I feel is that
5sometimes you are putting too great a value up on your facts; reading
6them a little in the light of your theory. Do you not think so
7yourself?
8
9 //The enclosed is rather interesting because I gave her no hint as to
10what I thought or had said on the subject. I simply asked her what she
11thought were the reasons for which married women weaned did not nurse
12their children, & said, that you thought men did not care for suckling
13women; what did she & her husband think? You Please return her letter:
14^you can destroy the other^ it is only for you. Has it never struck you
15that all domestic animals have intercourse while the female is
16suckling? I am at a loss to think what suggested the idea to you. It
17seems a very small fact, but a false belief with regard to a small
18fact may vitiate a life’s work, as it did with Hinton. There are no
19small facts. I am telling Mrs P. that I am showing you her letter, & I
20know she will not object. I have made inquiries with regard to
21prostitutes & find that both during pregnancy & suckling no difference
22of feeling is shown in men towards them, nor do they expect less money.
23
24 It will be very glorious for you to get away from London: then you
25will be able to sleep again. Who is going with you? Mr Parker? &
26please tell me how soon you are going. I hope you did not think me
27selfish in asking you to come so far to see me; but I thought that if
28you came to see Mrs Cobb at "Krapotkin" we might have a talk. I have
29been somewhat exercised in spirit the last few days thinking I ought
30not to have asked you.
31
32 //I wish you could go once to my old African world & know what it is
33to stand quite alone on a mountain in the still blazing sunshine, &
34the clear, clear, blue above you, & the great unbroken plains
35stretching away as far as you can see, with out a trace of the human
36creature. Perhaps not a living creature higher in the scale than an
37ant within miles & miles of you! I always wish you could be there then
38you would know how the one God was invented. I have such a wish you
39could know this. Here I live quite alone, for three days I have not
40spoken to a human creature, hardly seen a human face, but I am never
41conscious of that third one, That is to say, when one is in contact
42with that vast, dry, bright nature, one is conscious of oneself, of
43inanimate nature - & of something else. It is this something else that
44has framed unreadable those religions in which there is one, sole,
45almighty God. I do not think it is so much a question of race, as of
46natural surroundings which in Europe has spilt up the one-God,
47Christianity of Jesus, into the Polytheism of Europe. I sometimes
48think if one got quite alone among the glaciers one might have the
49same feeling in Europe, one might have the same sensation, but no
50where else. I used always to feel as though I were going mad when I
51first came to England, as though I were feeling aftersomething nature
52has not to give you here. I used to have the same feeling when I went
53to the civilized bush-world in Africa. Now I am getting contented,
54almost.
55
56 If your sleeplessness is very bad, why do not you try bathing your
57neck & the upper part of your body only, in ice & water? It was the
58only thing that used to help me. I sleep splendidly now, only the
59night of the club meeting I lay awake with out once dozing till the
60morning. In the evening I went to a grand dinner party at that
61terrible old Mrs Cash’s at Hampstead! The moment I got into the
62house, when I went into the bedroom to dress for dinner, I dropped
63down on the bed almost insensible with sleep unreadable & slept right
64away till eleven o’clock the next morning!! What good Mrs Cash
65thinks of y me I don’t know. She calls you "Karl Pearson, the
66socialist". It’s the last dinner party I shall ever go to in my life.
67
68 Yours always
69 Olive Schreiner
70
71 ^Don’t reply till moved by the spirit. In your Trinity play you reach
72at one point quite surprising dramatic force.^
73
74
75
Notation
'The enclosed' is no longer attached, but was perhaps Pearson's 'A Sketch of the History of Sexual Relations in Germany', read at the Men and Women's Club in June 1886. The play is: Karl Pearson (1882) The Trinity: A Nineteenth Century Passion-Play Cambridge: E. Johnson. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.