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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/460
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date8 May 1908
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 278-9
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 onto this extract, with where it was sent from implied by its place in the sequence of extracts. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters….
1 …It has been such a glorious wonderful day here. Even a bit of white
2wall with the sunlight falling on it, or a stone, has been beautiful,
3& a trail of smoke for the chimney I see from my window, has been long.
4 Anything more beautiful there could not be on earth... Just as no one
5who didn’t live through the horror & oppression of Martial Law in
6this country can dream what it was; so, no one who did not live
7through it can ever know the joy, & hope, & passion of enthusiasm with
8which we worked in those years in the Eighties. I was talking about it
9with Keir Hardie & tears came into both our eyes when we spoke of it.
10But it was not for nothing. The solid, stolid (call it sordid if you
11will), but real advance in the condition of the working classes in
12England is the result of that movement, begun & carried on almost
13entirely by a small handful of men & women mostly of the “upper”
14classes & all of ability. It was the brilliant sunrise, without which
15there could not have been any day. Of course Edward ^Ed.^ Carpenter’s
16book touches us in a way it can’t others, just because it brings us
17back to that time ----
19 “All we have dreamed or hoped or willed of good shall exist.”…