"Religion, unity of all things, words very poor things" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/486
Epistolary Type
Letter Date5 May 1910
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 293-4
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. Francis Smith.
2De Aar, 5th May.
4... Every woman who is thirty or over ought certainly to have her own
5"little foot of earth." People never realise as long as a woman lives
6at home that she is grown up, if she remains unmarried. It's only four
7months now, dear, and then the little one will be with you! You will
8miss its closer connection with yourself, but oh the joy of having it
9safe in your arms. I never forget that wonderfully vivid dream of mine
10when you came in the green cloak and put such a beautiful baby in my
11arms (I was lying on the bed), and looked so radiant and full of joy.
12I am reading Milton a little as I've nothing else to read. I read him
13a great deal when I was a child aloud to my mother while she was
14cooking and doing needle work, and got to love him even when I
15couldn't understand all. I think one should always try to let children
16read and learn by heart the best poetry while they are quite young.
17One loses one's taste for inferior things if once one has known the
18best, and children feel so much more and understand so much more than
19people dream; most people grow stupid and blunt off between eleven and
20eighteen. There is many a man who would have got to love and
21understand Milton at ten who couldn’t possibly understand him, reading
22him for the first time at twenty. If I had a child I should mainly
23educate it up to ten or eleven on the best poetry.