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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/331
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date After Start: 18 January 1907 ; Before End: 20 January 1907
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 262-3
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner were produced by Cronwright-Schreiner in preparing The Life and The Letters of Olive Schreiner. They appear on slips of paper in his writing, taken from letters that were then destroyed; many of these extracts have also been edited by him. They are artefacts of his editorial practices and their relationship to original Schreiner letters cannot now be gauged. They should be read with considerable caution for the reasons given. Cronwright-Schreiner has written the date and where it was sent from onto this extract, and that ‘My sister Louie was trying to get her a servant in Cape Town, but Olive at last decided to stop it off.’. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters....
1 …has resigned from the ^Library^ Liba Committee. He said he couldn’t
2afford to pay for library subscription, felt he must if he remained
3on… What a wonderful book I could write if one dared to write truly
4of such a place. The noble, the heroic, the mean & vulgar all here. I
5always feel that sexual instinct pure & simple is much maligned: that
6the worst & meanest vices of life do not arise from sexual passion
7pure & simple but rather from a petty vanity & love of admiration. The
8man likes to think he is admired & makes a great impression, the lower
9types think she attracts the man & can count him among her
10“followers”. The envy of other people, the desire to be first in
11the worlds’ eye (not in virtue or real greatness) lie at the root of
12half the tragedies in life… I am really keeping so splendidly well:
13I don’t need more than the little girl. Emotional companionship,
14some one who loved me tenderly & whom I loved I do need; but it is
15useless to long to find that in the ordinary coloured girl. If I could
16have a little wild Kaffir boy or girl - yes! I’m really getting on