"Sauer's last act, no glimmering of modern truths in South Africa" Read the full letter
Collection Summary | Individual Letters Arrange By:
Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/1
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Monday May 1888 ; Before End: June 1888
Address FromRoseneath, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Harpenden from early July to September 1888. The letter was written immediately before another letter to Pearsall Smith dated 2 July 1888, the content of which follows this, and thus its dating.
1 Roseneath
2 Harpenden
3 Herts
4 Monday
5
6 My dear Miss Smith
7
8 I'm so glad to hear you've come to live in England. I want very much
9to see you, but I very seldom go out. Since my illness the year before
10last I knock up so soon. Couldn't you come to Harpenden to see me?? It
11would be so nice for me. It's only 45 minutes from St. Pancras,
12there's a good quick train at 2.15 p.m. & plenty back. I live in a
13little tiny cottage, quite by myself, close to the station, not two
14minutes walk.
15
16 Please remember me very cordially to your mother & father & thank them.
17 If I went anywhere I should like to come to you.
18
19 I am going back again to Italy in nine or ten weeks, & in the winter
20to Egypt. Have you ever been there? The climate must be so lovely.
21
22 How is Mrs. Costelloe's lovely baby? It it must be delightful to be
23next door to it, & able to see it every day.
24
25 Have you one of those likenesses of yourself in your cap & gown of
26which you said you might give me one?
27
28 Yours very faithfully
29 Olive Schreiner
30
31 ^You know I haven't a servant & live in a most savage way, you have to
32come in at the kitchen door. It's so pleasant, I hardly want to go
33back to Italy.^
34

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/2
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 2 July 1888
Address FromRoseneath, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date has been written on the letter in an unknown hand.
1 Roseneath
2 Harpenden
3 Herts
4 Sunday
5
6 Dear Miss Smith
7
8 Thankyou very much all three for having come. I was quite lonely when
9you went away. Please remember my Nineteenth Century. I know you will
10forgive me for having been so stupid. I had been up all the night
11before till half past four writing & didn't sleep much then. I was
12finishing some work & it is always sad to finish anything, you feel as
13if you were parting with your people forever - so you are. I've been
14writing about little children & they're so much nicer to write about
15than grown up people.
16
17 I wonder if you would mind my saying something. You have so much power,
18 & gifts of so many kinds, I wonder if you have any definite plan of
19life! Men have always some object for which they live, if it be
20nothing higher than business or horse-racing. therefore their lives
21are more complete & great. It is not that we lack the power, but that
22we do not consider our lives as a whole & try to find the work we are
23best fitted for, & do it. I wonder whether a nature like yours is
24quite con-scious of its own powers, & not too diffident of it-self?
25Your great power of sympathy, of intuitively realizing what people are
26feeling & of entering into their life is in itself a great gift. It is
27for want of this that so many who try to spend their lives in working
28for others fail. They can't realize what others who differ from
29themselves in education & circumstances feel, & so they can't really
30get to them or help them. I hope you are not going to give up your
31studies yet. You will forgive my saying this, I would like your life
32to be so perfect. So many women are drifting through life, instead of
33swimming, knowing in which direction they are going.
34
35 I have made up my mind not to go to Monmouth. I want to stay & finish
36my work.
37
38 Yours sincerely
39 Olive Schreiner
40
Notation
The writing that Schreiner was engaged in was most probably editing the manuscript of From Man to Man, which she had started while in Mentone and Alassio in late 1887 and early 1888.

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/3
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 25 January 1889
Address FromMentone, France
Address ToHotel du Louvre, Mentone, France
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date had been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, which also provides the address the letter was sent to. Schreiner stayed in Mentone in January and February 1889.
1 Thursday afternoon
2
3 Dear Miss Smith
4
5 Ive just got your note (letters take nearly as long to cross Mentone
6as to go to England!) I'd like to see George MacDonalds forehead again
7but I think I must settle down at my new home. Will you come & see me
8there, it's so close, even after dinner one could run in? Is your
9cousin staying at the Hotel or with her friends? If she's at the Hotel
10it would be delightful to me to go & see her sometimes while you are
11gone.
12
13 Yours always
14 Olive Schreiner.
15

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/4
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFebruary 1889
Address FromHotel du Parc, Mentone, France
Address ToHotel de Russee, Rome
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the letter is provided by the postmark on an attached envelope, although this is not fully legible; the envelope also provides the address the letter was sent to.
1 Thanks a great deal for sight of the enclosed.
2
3 Tell your mother its not only her little grand-daughter talks about
4her to herself, other people do too.
5
6 I like to think what a lovely time you will have in Florence.
7
8 I wonder which you will like best that or Rome!
9
10 //I want to write & tell you about a girl whom I want to set up as a
11first class dressmaker in London, & I want your help. But I'll wait
12till you get back.
13
14 Yours always
15 Olive Schreiner
16
17 Hotel du Parc
18 Mentone
19
20 Its better being here than the other place because I don't waste so
21much time looking about.
22
23 Perhaps you'll go & get this letter at that dear beautiful post office
24that I know & love so.
25
Notation
'The enclosed' is no longer attached.

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/5
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Saturday April 1889 ; Before End: May 1889
Address FromKnaphill, Surrey
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Knaphill in April and May 1889.
1 Knaphill
2 Surrey
3 Saturday
4
5 Dear Miss Smith
6
7 I've just come back & found your letter. Thank your mother a great
8deal for Miss Willard's note. I've sent it on to my sister who leaves
9England on Tuesday for America. She was so tired after her long voyage
10from Australia & her lecturing there that I've been trying to make her
11rest all I could, & have not taken her up to London She will be back
12again on her way to Africa in about six weeks & then I must give
13myself the delight of making her know your mother.
14
15 It will be too lovely if you will bring Ray & come to see my common.
16Brookwood is the nearest station & there are plenty of flys there.
17
18 Please be sure to let me know before hand because if if the weather is
19fine I am out sometimes half the day, & it would be so disappointing
20if I wasn't here to welcome you. How do you get on with your tri=? It
21must be nearly as good exercise for a woman as horse riding. Perhaps
22you will come out here on it one day.
23
24 Yours always
25 Olive Schreiner
26
27 ^Did you think of Dr Wilks for your cousin She must get better.^
28

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/6
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: 7 June 1889 ; Before End: 28 June 1889
Address FromLadies Chambers, Chenies Street, Camden, London
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The month and year have been written on the letter in an unknown hand. The date is derived from when Schreiner received a response to the request in the letter, recorded in a letter of 29 June 1889. She moved to Chenies Street around 7 June 1889.
1 Ladies' Chambers
2 Chenies St
3 W.C.
4
5 Dear Alys Smith,
6
7 I'm going to ask you a great favour. I'm showing great trust in you by
8doing it, because I only ask because I feel sure that if you could not
9^help me^ you would not mind telling me.
10
11 There's that girl I told you about when we were in the Riviera. She's
12got to pay the her fees &c for entering on her medical work. She'll
13have some money in October but just now she is terribly in need of
14some. I've only been able to lend her £10 & she still needs £25. I
15was wondering whether you could from any where get the £25 & lend it
16her till October. I'll undertake to see it's returned anyhow. She's
17such a wonderful girl with such fine abilities I couldn't bear her to
18give up. I could get the money at once from my dear old brother who
19delights to give me anything, but he would give it only for my sake,
20he doesn't take a bit of interest in woman & their work. If you can't
21please don't mind saying so because I can ask many other woman only
22I'd rather ask anything from you than from any one else.
23
24 Yours affectly
25 Olive Schreiner
26
27 I'll tell you all about her when you come next.
28

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/7
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 29 June 1889
Address FromLadies Chambers, Chenies Street, Camden, London
Address To44 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, London
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, which also provides the address this letter was sent to.
1 Ladies' Chambers
2 Chenies St
3 Friday
4
5 Dear Alys,
6
7 Thanks so much for the money. The publisher now has promised to pay
8her at once for the translation she has done, & if he does she'll have
9plenty of money next week, if he doesn't she won't be able to return
10it till October when he pays her surely.
11
12 I can't get anyone who is quite able to take up & work that new
13society idea yet. Perhaps I will in a few days. I wish Mrs Costelloe
14could find some one. You see both of us are too busy with other things.
15
16 Thank-you more than I can say for being so ready to help her.
17
18 Yours always
19 Olive Schreiner
20

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/8
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateApril 1888
Address FromHotel Oxford et Cambridge, Rue d' Alger, Paris
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand, but misdated as 1889. Schreiner stayed in the Hotel Oxford et Cambridge in early April 1888.
1 Your sweets came to me when a little girl artist friend of mine was
2with me, so I laid in the bed & she sat in the arm chair & we put the
3box between us on a chair before the fire, & picked out the ones we
4little liked best, & talked about Babies & names & said what a good
5thing it was you didn't call your baby Veronica.
6
7 I'm coming to London very soon to finish my course at the woman's
8hospital in Endle St. I shall have no time to go out at all, but will
9you sometimes come & see me & show me your two little ones & I'll show
10you all mine.
11
12 I hope your cousin is better. I wish I'd seen the Baby at Mentone
13before I left. His aunt said he was lovely. Your cousins were both so
14kind to me. I wonder if many American men are like your cousin Tom. I
15hope you had a good time at ?Nancy. There are some nice pictures there.
16
17 Good bye
18 Olive Schreiner
19
20 Hotel Oxford et Cambridge
21 Rue d' Alger
22 Paris
23

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/9
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypePostcard
Letter Date2 July 1888
Address FromRoseneath, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Address To44 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, London
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the postcard has been derived from the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident in Harpenden from early July to September 1888.
1 Many thanks for Nineteenth. Liked account very much. Makes one want to
2be there. Thank you much ^for invitation^ but I'm going to stay & work
3till I go abroad.
4
5 Yours always
6 Olive Schreiner
7

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/10
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypePostcard
Letter Date25 August 1889
Address FromLadies Chambers, Chenies Street, Camden, London
Address To44 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, London
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the postcard has been derived from the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident in Chenies Street from early June to late August 1889.
1 Thank-you so much. I shall be back from the country this evening by 8.
2I shall be so glad to see you. I'm going exploring for a cottage on
3Woking common. It's lovely, like looking for bird's nest.
4
5 Olive Schreiner
6

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/11
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypePostcard
Letter Date21 July 1889
Address FromLadies Chambers, Chenies Street, Camden, London
Address To44 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, London
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the postcard is provided by the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident in Chenies Street from early June to late August 1889.
1 Thank you so much. We shall talk on Tuesday.
2
3 Olive Schreiner
4

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/12
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypePostcard
Letter Date2 July 1888
Address FromRoseneath, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Address ToHotel du Louvre, Mentone, France
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the postcard is provided by the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident in Harpenden from early July to September 1889.
1 If you & your cousin should be going for any walks & would let me go
2with you I should like it so much. I would come to your Hotel & start
3with you or meet you if you would tell me where. Please tell your
4father how sorry I was not to see him when he called the other day, &
5give friendliest greetings to him & your mother.
6
7 Olive Schreiner
8
9 ^I wish you were all staying here.^
10

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/13
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypePostcard
Letter Date7 January 1889
Address FromMentone, France
Address ToHotel du Louvre, Mentone, France
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date of the postcard is provided by the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner stayed in Mentone in January and February 1889.
1 Thankyou, would have liked so much to go, but went out early this
2morning to my favourite place among the fir trees, only got back at 1
3to find your card too late! I hope the music was nice. I went once, &
4enjoyed it intensely.
5
6 //I hope your cousin didn't take the cold the other night. She looked
7as if she were feling it, & I might have got her a cloak. You have to
8take care when you first come to the Riviera of the evening chill.
9Your flowers are still lovely.
10
11 Olive Schreiner
12
13 ^It is so nice to think you are in Mentone.^
14

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/14
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 13 January 1889
Address FromHotel Pavillon, Mentone, France
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections. The date has been written on the letter in an unknown hand.
1 Hotel Pavillon
2 Wednesday
3
4 Dear Miss Smith
5
6 I've got a cold so can't go to our bay for a dip. I'm afraid I've kept
7you from making another plan for this lovely morning.
8
9 I know you'll be sorry for me when you hear my hotel is going to be
10closed on Friday. The man's just written me a note to say he can't
11make it pay. I'm liked an evicted Irishman. I'm going to look at a
12couple of the quiet Hotels here & if they don't suit me will leave for
13Paris or Florence on Friday. It was very beautiful yesterday but I
14liked best seeing your mother. She's like a fountain of strength.
15
16 Good bye dear beautiful friend
17 Olive Schreiner
18

Letter Reference Autograph Letters Collection: Alys Pearsall Smith ALC/7/3/15
ArchiveNational Women's Library, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date4 September 1908
Address FromCape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToAlys Pearsall Smith m. Russell (1894)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Women's Library, London, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Autograph Collections.
1 Cape Town
2 Sep 4 / 08
3
4 Dear Alys Smith
5
6 I’ve always put off writing to you because I’ve wanted to write
7you a really long letter.
8
9 My darling little niece Dot is here, & I’m so delighted to find her
10great friends are your nieces the Costelloes. She is always talking of
11them & of your dear beautiful mother. It has been such a joy to me to
12have her here for these few weeks. In ten days I return to my solitary
13little house among the karroo sands & she goes back to Newham.
14
15 I was so glad to find it was all quite wrong about your husband, &
16read with much interest about his stand for election in the papers. My
17husband is a member of parliament here, & we have come down for the
18cession which will end in ten days. He has done good work this cession
19in bring in a woman’s enfranchisement movement which was again
20thrown out by the government but with a much smaller majority than
21last year. The woman’s Enfranchisement League here has reprinted his
22speech which I will send you. The great enemy of the women here is Mr
23John X Merriman the Prime Minister of the South African party to which
24my husband belongs.
25
26 Were he not Prime Minister I think we might have got the bill through
27this year. The curious thing in South Africa is that the men take a
28more enlightened view of the woman’s question than many women.
29
30 The place where we live is hundreds of miles from here in the most
31desolate part of South Africa, in a true desert, which is over four
32thousand feet above the sea, & where a few ironstone kopjes & vast
33plains of sand is all that is to be seen. The heat there is tremendous
34110 being quite a common temperature in summer. & for weeks together
35the thermometer at your bed’s head registers 89 at the coolest part
36of the night. There are no fountains or streams, & each person has to
37dig a well in their yard bored perhaps 100 feet through solid rock to
38get drinking water. It is really the most desolate part of the whole
39of South Africa, but by a whirl of fate we were landed up there in the
40war, & there we have had to remain ever since! It is a large railway
41junction, & the population consists almost entirely of railway men &
42natives living mostly in tin shanties.
43
44 I am telling you all this as you asked me to tell you about myself. I
45would be so glad if you could send me a photograph of yourself as you
46are now, & if you could get me one of your mother I should value it
47greatly.
48
49If you do send them, please address –
50Box 24
51De Aar
52Cape Colony
53South Africa
54
55 I am going to be taken next week & will send you a photograph of my
56husband & myself.unreadable
57
58 Good bye dear Alys Russell
59 Yours ever
60 Olive Schreiner
61