"The old world is cracking, Mrs Partington & her broom" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/463
Epistolary Type
Letter Date10 September 1906
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 254-5
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. Francis Smith.
2Hanover, 10th Sept.
4... Many people have been surprised that I said Heine's grave was the
5most sacred spot to me in Europe. I don't say he was the greatest man;
6he has never helped me or modified my life as Mill did. But that seven
7years on the mattress-grave, that beautiful bright joy-loving soul
8dying away by inches and fighting to the end. If only I could have
9been that woman who went to him at the end and cheered and comforted
10him. The very name of the Rue d'Amsterdam is to me sacred because he
11lay there. I know that other men have suffered but not just so,
12because he was in a way alone to the end. If anyone showed me a lock
13of hair and said “That is Wordsworth's," I should look at it and pass
14on; if they said it is Shakespeare's or Shelley's I should stroke It
15and if it was Shelley's kiss it, but I should lock it up in a drawer;
16but if it was Heine's I should carry it about with me wherever I went.
17I don't know why I love him so.