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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/455
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date2 May 1908
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other Versions
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 Olive Schreiner’s letter also ‘Writes about paper for the passage in our De Aar house.’.
1 …What sweet letters you write me; they help me so…
3 Oh darling, how beautiful life would be if I could be well, how
4lovely… Yes, that is what is hard to me about your work. It’s not
5that it’s much. There is nothing so good as work, as long as one‘s
6^has^ strength to do it, & nothing so good to die of as good work. But
7it all seems, as you say, work that produce so little good or beauty.
8Work that in a higher more humanised socialised state of society no
will need to do, all springing out of our semi-barbarous condition,
10 each man’s hand against every other man’s. But we can do one’s
11best even in that to do it nobly & well; but it’s almost impossible,
12when the conditions of life are so wrong, not to sink under them...