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Letter ReferenceMary Gladstone (Mrs Drew) Add. 46244, ff.160-162
ArchiveBritish Library, Department of Manuscripts, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFebruary 1888
Address FromAlassio, Italy
Address To
Who ToMary Drew nee Gladstone (m. 1886)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the British Library for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The month has been written on the letter in an unknown hand.
1 Alassio
2 Italy
3 1888
5 Dear Mrs Drew
7 I have read the two little stories. Both I like but the first has in
8it a wonderful though undeveloped power, that which can not be
9imitated & must be inborn In the very recklessness of the writing one
10feels the power. The second story is in some ways the most remarkable
11because working with such very common-place materials, the force of
12the individual behind yet shines through. I can best express my
13feeling by saying that the impression left on one is of a nature that
14was not limited. You know one feels with most natures as you do with a
15pond, that you can start from one point, & walk straight round it &
16come ^back^ to the same point again; but there are some natures you
17could never do this with, they have an outlet & you don't know how far
18it reaches. I hope she had a little child & that she heard it cry.
20 //Some people think it such a sad thing to believe, as I do, that some
21of the rarest & greatest natures are not known to the world & to fame,
22but to me the thought is so beautiful. Humanity is so much richer than
23it knows of.
25 Thank you very much for sending the stories.
27 I suppose your father passed by here on Saturday night! I'm so glad he
28is so strong & well. I should like to much to see a likeness of Mrs
29Lyttelton some day. She must have been very merry & bright because her
30writing is so sad & tender.
32 Thank you so much for the stories. I send them by this post.
34 Yours always faithfully
35 Olive Schreiner
37 I am going home to Africa in October. I can't realize it's true. It
38seems as if Africa were something I'd once dreamed about.
The 'two little stories' which Schreiner comments on were by Laura Lyttleton (nee Tennant), whose husband Alfred had been curate (and a cousin by marriage) to Mary Drew's father, the politician W. E. Gladstone. Laura Lyttleton died following childbirth in 1885, leaving a number of unpublished poems, stories and drawings; Mary Drew wrote a family memoir of her.