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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/509
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date18 February 1912
Address FromCape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 304
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, while the place is derived from content. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters....
1 ...I went to see Bill take his degree at the City Hall yesterday. When
2I saw the great crowd of girls in their caps & gowns sitting among the
3boys I was suddenly astonished to find myself crying. Lady Innes sat
4next to me but with her back turned partly to me. She had asked me to
5motor out to lunch with her at Kenilworth. When she got up I found her
6face all red & swollen. She hurried out. When we were in the motor I
7found she’d been crying as I had been at the sight of the girls. It
8was go grand to see them - all these opportunities we’d never had,
9that they have! - all the girls sitting among the boys their equals! -
10such a strange mingling of feeling that bore one quite off one’s
11feet. And as Jessie Innes said when we were driving in the motor “I
12feel I ought to have girls! Oh, where are my eight girls that I ought
13to have had to carry on”!! I never saw Jessie Innes shed a tear
14before in my life!! When we got home Innes asked why her eyes were so
15red. Jessie told him - he looked at us in astonishment, & said
16“Whatever were you crying for?” I said “Because we were so glad.
17” He said “Will , you cry also when you get the vote?” I said
18“Of course, with joy!” And the curious thing was there came a
19wateryness about Jim’s eyes!! I suppose caught from us. I have never
20been more moved in my life than by the sight of those girls. The first
21little gleam of the realisation of the ideal that haunts us - and
22which we shall never see fully realised…