"Life-long unions, ideal unions" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/476
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date6 November 1908
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 284
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
2De Aar, 6th Nov.
3
4... Long ago when I was a girl of 15, a girl whom I had known very
5slightly all my life and who was four or five years older than I,
6about 19, died rather suddenly of fever. I had never liked her
7particularly and did not know much of her, but her death was a
8milestone in my life marking off what had been from what came after,
9so it seemed to bring me face to face with death. I think her death
10struck me so deeply just because she didn't seem to have much
11intellect or very deep feeling, but so pretty, so bright, so full of
12the joy of life. None of the deaths of the people I loved best in the
13world have seemed so deadly! When my friend, that beautiful English
14officer died a few years ago it didn't seem to me death at all; his
15wide spirit, always living out of himself and beyond himself seemed to
16me simply set free, gone back to the infinite for which it had always
17yearned.
18