"Little in favour of union" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/582
Epistolary Type
Letter Date1919
Address From9 Porchester Place, Edgware Road, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 364-5
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.
29, Porchester Place, London, late 1919.
4All day I have sat here in this room, sometimes looking out at the wet
5and rain in the street, and I've thought of you so often and wondered
6what you were doing and how you are bearing this weather. I suppose it
7is in myself, but it seems I never knew such damp before. It
8penetrates into one's bones. There's an old man in the street, where
9they have taken up the pavement, just before my window. He's got a
10little shelter of canvas and wood like a gipsy tent, in which he
11sleeps; there's a brasier of coals burning in it, and an the afternoon
12his old woman has been there with him, reading to him out of the
13newspapers while he sat and smoked. I've envied them so, because they
14were two together. Now I think she's gone home, but I can still see
15the brasier burning and I suppose he's sitting by it. He has to watch
16the place all night. ... Dear, one can't write about public matters.
17They are too sad, too heart breaking. I can't speak to anyone, and I
18hardly ever see anyone. People seem so much more bitter and hard than
19they were before the victory. And that surprises me. But there are
20rare and beautiful souls on the earth, the gods have always their own
21children of light who fear nothing and live for larger aims than self.
22... Do you remember once long ago our talking about what would happen
23after the war, and my saying there would I felt sure be an orgy of
24self-indulgence, dancing and dressing and going in for every kind of
25extravagance and dissipation, and not as some people expected a
26simpler more noble type of life ever after. The peace has not even
27really come yet, and our dead are not yet decomposed in their graves;
28and there is an outburst of extravagances and dissipation especially
29among women that stupefies one; even though one expected it. Women
30gamble as they never gambled before. It seems to me they miss the
31excitement of the war so they are making up for it in other ways.