"Marriage, women's financial independence" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceRadford Collection - uncatalogued
ArchiveBritish Library, Department of Manuscripts, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateJune 1898
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToDollie Radford nee Maitland
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. The date and address the letter was sent from have been written on an attached envelope. The writing is in an unknown hand and most likely to be that of Dollie Radford's great grand-daughter, who owned the Radford Papers before they were sold to the British Library in 2010.
1Dear Dolly Radford,
3Thank you for your letter. I have been desiring terribly further
4details with regard to Eleanor. I have felt if I were in England I
5would find the servant who was the last person with her & get her to
6tell me all she knew.
8I have little doubt in my own mind she discovered a fresh infidelity
9of Avelings, & that that ended all.
12I don’t know if you know the life she life she lead with him: she has
13come to me nearly mad having found him in her own bedroom with two
14prostitutes. Just before I left England, a few days before in 1890 a
15friend of mine a married woman with many children, came & told me how
16he had made love to her, & she had & her husband forbade him their
19So it went on & on. I had thought of writing a short notice of her in
20one of the monthly reviews. Then I felt as I could not speak the truth
21about him I could not write of her. It would have hurt her to have him
22blamed. If you can learn anything more about Eleanor on any way please
23write & tell me. If you could I should like you so much to tell me a
24little about yourself. I got worse after I came out for a long time;
25but the last two months since our glorious cold has set in I am much
28I am so glad Eleanor is dead. It is such a mercy she has escaped from
29him. Have you been writing anything lately?
31Yours affectionately
32Olive Schreiner
This letter appears in an extracted and heavily bowdlerised form in Yvonne Kapp (1976) Eleanor Marx: The Crowded Years, 1884-1898 London: Lawrence & Wishart, p. 700.