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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/516
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter DateNovember 1914
Address Fromna
Address ToDe Aar, Northern Cape
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 343-4
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, and that Boy was their cat. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters….
1 …It is funny why I have always to be out of everything. The day will
2never come when I can be in the stream. Something in my nature
3prevents it I suppose. I have never before in my life been so lonely.
4Sometimes I don’t seem to be alive at all, but only creping about in
5a ghastly dream. No one wants me. I’m no relation with life or
6thought - thought in England or Africa or anywhere else. What
7I do feel a little hard is that people should now turn on me - twenty
8five years ago when I wrote “The Sunlight Lay Across My Bed” they
9all (my friends) approved & admired it. I am only holding the same
10views now! Hell & Heaven are exactly to me what they were then. Rhodes
11understood it perhaps better than other people: he told a man he hated
12it more than anything he’d ever read! You know, I feel I feel
13paralysed. I can’t write at a book or paper - I feel there is no one
14left to write to. There is nothing left but blank space...
16 Cron, you will laugh at me, but when I said good bye to you near the
17door of the dining room, I had a feeling I would never see anything of
18that which was dear to me again, that I would have nothing but that
19little bunch of carnations left… Our beautiful Boy with his big eyes
20sat looking at me from the pillar at the side: I know I should never
21see him again, Ollie. I felt as though, if ever I came back, all, all
22would be gone, the trees & the house, & what is more precious than all,
23 & only the red sand blowing about, as before we came to live there...