"Olive Schreiner's birth certificate" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/276
Epistolary Type
Letter Date16 March 1888
Address FromAlassio, Italy
Address To
Who ToErilda Cawood nee Buckley
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 133-4
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Mrs. Cawood.
2Alassio, 16th March.
4Yes, I will leave you something, my little brown box with all my
5relics in it, the last pipe my father smoked, and bits of letters and
6paper-cuttings and hair, that won't mean anything to anyone else but
7have all at some time meant something to me. There's a little bit of
8African earth which I took from my little sister Ellie's grave more
9than twenty years ago, when I was a child, and tied up in a silk rag.
10Wouldn't I make a good worshipper of saints! I love everything old,
11though my intellect stretches out always joyfully to the future and
12everything new. I never forget you, Erilda Carwood. You have been of
13great value and help to me in my life, not by anything you've done for
14me, but in the only way people can help each other truly, by being
15what you are. ... If I come out to the Cape I will surely come to
16Ganna Hoek. But I can't afford it yet. It would be so nice to look at
17your face again. ... I feel very old, sometimes quite a hundred and
18eight. But it’s comical how people take me to be younger and younger.