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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Edward Carpenter SMD 30/32/i
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 May 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address ToMillthorpe, Holmesfield, Sheffield
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. The address this letter was sent to is provided by an attached envelope.
1 De Aar
2 May 6th 1911
4 Dear Edward
6 Many years ago, I think it was in 92 or three 93 - just after I first
7came out to Africa I met a man in Cape Town. I only saw him for a few
8hours but he impressed me very much, he said he knew you & I think he
9said he knew Bob. He was a rather tall well built man, dark in the
10face something like myself if you imagine me a big man. I think he was
11a mining engineer, any how. He had come to Africa with the man who was
12with him to prospect or see about certain mines, I fancy in Wes
13German West Africa, but can't say just where. Emily ?Conebeare
14introduced him to me. He had some business connection with her brother
15he was interested in developing mines out here.
17 He spoke as if he knew you well. The curious thing is that I can't
18remember his name it was Lionel Brackenbury or Brailsford, or some
19such long double name with a B - I'm not even quite sure of the Lionel
20- Perhaps the name was Brackenborough. I'm not sure it began with a B
21but it had a B in it! You will will say "What ever to you want to know
22for?" - I can't say, but I'm always wondering what's become of him. A
23party of us went for a walk up the Devil's Peak & he & I dis-cussed
24socialism & other things He was rather short of speech & carcastic,
25but he wrote me a very nice little note before he left - I only saw
26him on that walk - the note ended "shall we ever meet again & where?"
27I have always expected to meet him but have never. There are three
28other people that haunt me in the same way, a French man I passed in
29the street in Paris, a beautiful prostitute who travelled in a bus
30with me in London, & fashionable little woman I once meet ^saw^ in a
31restaurant, but did not even speak to. In some subtle way all four
32have a connection with me mentally that I can't explain, I can never
33forget them. You will wonder I have forgotten his name - but I never
34think of people by their names. When I think of you I never think the
35word Edward Carpenter - I see your face. I always see things in
36pictures not words.
38 I
40 Good bye dear Edward. Try to remember that man I met & tell me whats
41become of him. His name might have been Crabenthorp I don't know if he
42was a very good & noble man, or the other way round, but it was to me
43like meeting some one who belonged to me I or whom I'd known in a
44pre-state of existence! It might be Bracksbury but I think it had a
45"brough" at the end. I think he was rather wicked but saw too little
46of him to say
48 Olive
An unknown hand has written 'Marshall Williams' in the margin next to Schreiner's description of the man she remembered meeting.