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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.34
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date8 August 1891
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 194
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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 My dear Mary
2
3 I sent your dress & boots & packet in the portmanteau this morning. I
4took it down to the station myself. I hope you get it safely.
5
6 I wish it had been such a beautiful evening when you were here. I've
7been out on the balcony all the time. I have it all to myself still. I
8hope you are feeling less tired. I'm so glad the ministry are all
9right. Anything would be better than that they should go out.
10
11 Good bye. Dear, I'm always thinking of you with such love
12
13 Olive
14
15 Did you see old Steads article in the Review of Reviews about mine?
16I'm really going to kill him this time!! It's too bad, though I know
17he never wants to hurt his friends, of course.
18
19 P.S.
20
21 I'm still so unhappy about what I said. I think I have never in all my
22life done such a small thing. I feel so bitter with my friends if they
23dis-cuss me or my affairs with a third person, & why I should have
24done it with regard to Rhodes whom of of almost all men I most respect
25& admire I don't know. I have always felt so bitter with people who
26misunderstood or discussed my friendship with Mr Fort or any one else;
27& that I should do exactly the same thing, I can't understand I know
28you wont mention what I said to anyone. I went to the music at
29Government House this evening & am going to Simons town & to a ball
30next week so I'm getting quite dissipated.
31
32 Are you feeling mentally rested. My own sad-ness always rises from my
33own weakness, from my inability to live up to my ideal.
34
35 When I can do that all is well. Nothing saddens me nothing depresses.
36If we held fast to the high Idea of just doing our work, & never ever
37allowing our hearts to go out hungrily after love or any return from
38our fellows nothing would depress us. But your depression the other
39day rose just from the fact that you had been over working yourself for
40
41^others.
42
43 Olive^
44
45
46
47
Notation
Schreiner is commenting on Stead's 'article' is: 'The fascination of South Africa. By Olive Schreiner' Review of Reviews July 1891, volume 4, issue 19, p.36. This is a long extract from her article published elsewhere with Stead's prefatory comment that '"Stray Thoughts on South Africa", in the Fortnightly Review for July, is signed by "A South African", but even if you read it with your eyes shut it would be identified in a minute as the handiwork of the woman of genius who gave us "The Story of an African Farm". As there is only one Rhodes in South Arica, so there is only one Olive Schreiner...'. The reference is to: 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa. By A Returned South African' Fortnightly Review July 1891, vol 50, pp.53-74. It is difficult to tell whether Schreiner's crossness at the 'hurt' is because Stead had blown her cover by naming her as the article's author, his over-the-top praise of her, or his comparison of her with with Rhodes. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.