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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mimmie Murray 2001.24/37
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 January 1909
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMinnie or Mimmie Murray nee Parkes
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 284-5
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
1 Matjiesfontein
2 Dec Jan 3rd 1909
3
4 Dear Mrs Murray
5
6 All good wishes for the new year to you all.
7
8 I have been here about a week now but find the heat very terrible &
9the hotel being practically closed (only the barman & his wife there &
10so dirty no one stan can stay there). I have st to live in two little
11rooms quite by myself. I am so fond
12
13 But never to see a human face or hear a human place is just now more
14than I seem able to stand & depresses me a little. If I really find I
15can't stand it I would like so much to come on to you. But I want to
16ask you something. If I come & spend a week with you, & I find the
17climate suits me & I am able to write would you let me stay on with
18you for a another month, or even for two, till it gets cool but let me
19pay you £5 a month. I know it wouldn't really be paying you at all
20but it would make up for the extra work another person in the house
21gives the servants & if you took the money as pocket money it might
22pay for our going a little trip together to Bedford Beaufort & Alice
23&c & starting branches of our League there when it gets cooler. Write
24& tell me if you can do this. I really couldn't settle down on you for
25two months & not do anything towards all the trouble & expense I
26should be. My dear friend Mrs Cawood used always to do this & she
27always told me if she needed her room for other visitors so I always
28felt myself quite free to write & ask if I could come. I do so want to
29get my book ^novel^ done before I die. I feel that that, & not even
30speeches & working at a society is the real work I can do for women. I
31feel I should be quite happy when I was dying if I had done that. My
32dear friend Miss Molteno thinks I am so wrong not to go to Europe
33where I am so much better & could finish my work, instead of staying
34here in this hot climate which doesn't suit me. She doesn't realize I
35can't leave my husband & go where if he were ill or in need of me I
36couldn't get to him. "He is my children & all of them" as the woman in
37"Tono Bungay" says of her husband. I don't think any woman who is not
38married can realize all a woman feels to her husband. I have loved my
39two brothers & my dear men & women friends so intensely, but yet the
40feeling is different. They all seem still to be other persons; he
41seems to be your real self for whom you would give up & sacrifice
42everything.
43
44 I had such a happy time with the dear Purcells. Her mother & sister
45were staying with them, & they are both such dear women, as sweet as
46Anna & her husband. It is seldom one finds a whole household all so
47united & lovable.
48
49 Good bye. Loving New Year greetings to you all.
50 Olive Schreiner
51
Notation
The novel Schreiner wanted to 'get done' is From Man to Man. The book referred to is: H.G. Wells (1908) Tono Bungay London: Macmillan. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) version of this letter is incorrect in various respects.