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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.1
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 28 November 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 181-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Friday night
4 My dear Mrs Sauer
6 I missed you very much when you went I never feel lonely except when I
7have had friends here, & they go.
9 I am sending a little of the quinine & iron mixture I wanted Mr Sauer
10to take, as he may not get it in Cape Town will he please take it
11always just after, or just before a meal, I mean the moment before he
12b eats not five minutes before, because it should mingle with the food
13It can be taken in wine, but the best way is just to mix it in water:
14about as much as will cover a sixpence is a dose, but a little more or
15less doesn't matter. I have used it for 10 fo years & have found it
16strengthens my brain more than anything else, ^for work^ after a long
17illness or much over work.
19 I hope you found your little ones very flourishing & that Mr Sauer is
20quite fit.
22 I hope you will forgive my troubling you about a very personal thing,
23dear Mrs Sauer.
25 I don't know if my good friends the Logans spoke to you about my
26friend Mr Fort, & told you that I was engaged to him. It is not true.
27Mr Fort is my dearest & closest friend in Africa except my brother
28Will, & I don't think I would have stayed here without out his
29affectionate brotherly sympathy, I felt so utterly lonely when I first
30came here, & found no humanity who thought & felt in any way as I did
31in any religious or social question. He is one of the most pure, noble
32beautiful souls with which I have ever come into contact. unreadable
33It would be a great honour to any woman however noble & good to have
34her name connected with Mr Fort's in any way, if it were true, but it
35is n't. I believe to many people the idea that a true friendship
36should exist between any man & woman not connected by blood or sex
37affection is incomprehensible. I would feel very grateful if you & Mr
would do me the favour of saying it is untrue, should anyone
39repeat the story to you. I shall never marry. I am not a marrying
40woman. I was once partly in love when I was par barely 15, & I have
41never had the smallest return of that feeling though I have always
42desired it. I don't think it would be possible for me to meet a man
43whom I could completely love, though the ideal is so beautiful, it is
44never satisfied. I think marriage is the most beautiful & ideal
45condition if it be a true one, but I have long decided to find my life
46in my work.
48 Please forgive me for troubling you about this. but I have might ?to
49received two letters of congratulations on my approaching marriage
50which have angered me exceedingly. I can't spend all my time in
51writing to tell people that I am not a marrying woman. And, if any one
52should mention the ^untrue^ fact to you you would do me such a very
53great favour if you would contradict it. I shall be so glad to see you.
54 I am coming down to Town on the 4th now, as it is more convenient to
55trolly down the mountain on that day.
57 I hope the book I talked about will be returned me in a few days &
58then I will send it. Please read it (I know you'll sympathize with it)
59& get Mr Sauer to read it.
61 Yours very sincerely,
62 dear Mrs Sauer,
63 Olive Schreiner
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.