"Work, isolation, getting away from people" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceMary Gladstone (Mrs Drew) Add. 46244, ff.182-183
ArchiveBritish Library, Department of Manuscripts, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date18 May 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Drew nee Gladstone (m. 1886)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the British Library for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 De Aar
2 May 18th 1911
4 Dear Mrs Drew
6 It is disappointing that we should just miss you at the Falls.
8 I shall be so glad you can spend even the day with me. There is a
9train that arrives in the morning, & another that goes on the same
10night to Cape Town. My Husband or I will meet you at the station &
11bring you straight up to our little cottage, & take you back to the
12train in the evening. We shall have a lovely long talk. Yes, Lady
13Gladstone isn't unlike Lyndall as I imagine her. Just the same
14fairy-like, nymph-like, little something about her. I shall some day
15publish those articles in book form but I've two large novels I want
16to revise before I march. It seems to me they ought to come first, but
17months & months pass when I can't put pen to paper, & even writing a
18note is difficult for me sometimes.
20 I often think of those remarkable little stories by the first Mrs
21Lyttleton you once sent me. The world must have lost a strangely
22beautiful & sympathetic spirit, & I believe a real genius when she
25 I valued what you said in your letters about the Basutoes. They &
26their future lie heavy on my heart. Please let me know a day or two
27before when you are coming.
29 Yours very sincerely
30 Olive Schreiner
32 You don't know how delightful it is to me to see friends from England.
The 'two large novels' Schreiner wants to revise are From Man to Man and possibly 'New Rush', while the essays in book form referred to are those originally published pseudonymously as by 'A Returned South African', intended for publication in a book to be called 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. Although the latter was prepared for book publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War prevented this; however, they and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa. The 'remarkable little stories' were by Laura Lyttleton (nee Tennant), whose husband Alfred had been curate (and a cousin by marriage) to Mary Drew's father, the politician W. E. Gladstone. Laura Lyttleton died following childbirth in 1885, leaving a number of unpublished poems, stories and drawings; Mary Drew wrote a family memoir of her.