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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/518
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date23 April 1915
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 350-1
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters....
1 …After I’d finished writing to you today, I tried to lie down &
2read the papers, but I felt I was suffocating, I must go somewhere or
3do something - so I put my hat & jacket on quickly & took a bus to the
4Queen’s Hall, where there was a big concert on this afternoon at 3.
5I got there just at 3, but there were still some seats empty, so I
6went in. The first thing, which lasted an hour & a half, was a
7horrible thing of Brahms, “A Requiem” like the most dreary church
8music - now, when one wants everything to cheer & comfort one! But I
9sat it through. Then came the beloved, glorious - Beethoven, his 9th
10Symphony. The music was sad, the conductor was bad, all persons with
11German names have been turned out of the concerts & only Germans can
12handle Beethoven - but still it was Beethoven. I literally cried with
13joy all through the first & second movements. I felt as if I was in
14heaven. Surely there is nothing so ecstatic on earth as Beethov
15Beethoven’s music, except seeing the face of one you love have
16absolutely loved when you have hungered for it. They couldn’t render
17the last two movements, they were beyond them - but I has the bliss of
18the first two. When I came out I felt quite like another person. My
19heart gushing over with love to every living thing I saw! I thought as
20they sung the words of Shelley’s glorious ode to joy, to
21Beethoven’s still more glorious music -
22
23 “O friends, no more these sounds continue,
24 Let us raise a song of sympathy of gladness ----
25 All mankind are brothers plighted!”
26
27 X It wasn’t so bad for the wild mad Huns!!!...
28
29 When I was coming (When I was coming out two fine looking young men
30were walking beside me who had been to the Concert & they were talking
31Cape Dutch. I turned to them & said in Cape Dutch, “I suppose you
32are students from the Cape? I am from the Cape too.” They said very
33politely “No, we are Belgians.” I said in Dutch, “You must
34excuse me, but the language you were talking was exactly African
35Taal”. They said, “Oh, yes, they are quite the same!”)…
36
37 I send you a picture of Beethoven out of my programme; so fine,
38isn’t it? And then I think of that other beautiful cast of him when
39he lies dead - so peaceful & at rest. “After life’s fitful fever
40---- “. No man’s face seems so gloriously to go with his art. I
41think in some ways he is the greatest of mortals - is, not was,
42because his music still lives…
43
44