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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/88
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date4 July 1903
Address FromUitkyk, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 237
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 and where it was sent from onto this extract. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters….
1 …Yes, you are very tired in body, my beloved, & tired a bit too in
2soul. I wonder sometimes if since you went to Johannesburg &
3especially since that terrible visit to England, you have been in
4something (of) that condition in which I was from about 14 to 15 or 16,
5 when there seemed nothing but a blind chance ruling life & no right &
6no wrong & no ideal ruling life. It’s the only real Atheism & it
7would be much better to die than continue to feel so. I should have
8killed myself soon if it had gone on. But light comes to one at last.
9Dear heart… The whole decadent world of fashionable idle London men
10& women life in it… but they don’t really live: they are half dead,
11 & that’s why they feel so no need for a nobler faith. They are so
12enervated they have no will & no ideal but the seeking after pleasant
13sensations. Therefore the fault suits them: it formulates their
14physical & mental condition, but not that of living, loving men &
15women:
16
17 “Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
18 We are not now that strength which in old days
19 ?Moved earth & heaven; that which we are, we are;
20 The? equal temper of heroic hearts,
21 Made weak by time & fate, but strong in will
22 To strive, to seak seek, to find, if not to yield.”
23
24 Goodbye, my own sweetheart.
25
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