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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.39
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSeptember 1891
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 195
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 month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Matjesfontein
2
3 Dear Mary
4
5 I'm so glad you are coming Mr Logan say charge will be £1 per day for
6all included (except wine of course). There will be milk for baby. I
7would certainly bring your saddle. You will have lovely rooms in the
8big new house near to mine, if in fact you will have the whole house,
9as there is no one here just now but myself & one invalid gentleman.
10I'm very busy, but every spare moment I'll be able to run over to you
11& we'll have all our meals together: it'll be so much nicer than if
12you were at Mr Logan's.
13
14 Bring warm things with you. We had a fall of snow here yesterday, the
15mountains & even the tops of the railway carriages quite white with
16snow!
17
18 It may be warmer when you come, but bring wraps.
19
20 I'm so glad to be back here in spite of the cold, it's so lovely. I'm
21working so hard to get all my things done at once that I can take them
22to England, but it will be so often beautiful to have you; I often
23wish in the evening that I could go & sit with you & have a talk after
24dinner. It's so nice you are bringing the children. Bring nice books
25to read. Did Mr Sauer get Fathers & Sons? ?Basyaroff in that is in
26that is the man I like best in the world, of fiction. If there were
27such a man living I would marry him.
28
29 My sister Ettie is to be married the week after next to a man she has
30been engaged to for some time. He has been up in Mashona-land, but
31came down the week before last to go home & marry her. I am very glad.
32They will spend some months in Europe, & then probably go up to
33Mashona land.
34
35 I shall count the days till you come. It is so beautiful & restful &
36peaceful here.
37
38 Good bye.
39 Olive
40
41 Did you see Rudyard Kipling? I like him so very very much
42
43
44
45
Notation
The book referred to is: Ivan Turgenev (1867) Fathers and Sons New York: Leypolt & Holt. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect. Schreiner and Rudyard Kipling first met around this time, and as the letter below indicates she wrote him a note commenting favourably on something he had written. Kipling's letter of thanks of 21 September 1891 (located in Special Collections, University of Sussex) shows this was accompanied by a book of his 'verses'; his letter also provides contact information for his literary agent; Schreiner did not take up this suggestion, while her life, and her finances, would have been very different had she done so.

Cogills Hotel
Wynberg:
Sept: 23: 91.

Dear Miss Schreiner

Your yesterday note has just come in. All thanks for it but ... what can you know? It?s sweet of you to hold a good opinion. I wonder if you?ll think very much the worse of me if and when I forfeit it.

I?ve taken the liberty of sending you a book that contains the whole of the verses you do me the honour to like. You have the same creed as myself I know but look to it that the very vehemence of your own desire to help others does not lead you into sorrow.

Now I go very far away, but when I return to England in February I shall feel indebted to you if you would let me help you in the putting out of any work you may have in hand. My agent ? he who saves me all my troubles in fighting with publishers & wasting time in bargaining ? is Mr. A. P. Watt. 2 Paternoster Square E.C. I don?t know of course what your views are about intermediaries but since I know the comfort of mind that Mr Watt has brought to me I don?t think I can go wrong in recommending him to you. He is very kind & nice and does everything for you except ? writing your book. That we have all to do by ourselves isnt it?

Sincerely
Rudyard Kipling

P.S. If all the girls in all the world sat quiet and still at the right moments by all the men in all the world when those were in trouble we should all be perfectly happy instead of being hurt and worried. I'll show you about this time next year why Maisie was made as she was.

The particular book of verses by Kipling which Schreiner had commented on cannot be established, as three appeared during 1890. In spite of their great political differences, Schreiner and Kipling remained in intermittent contact and she seems to have met him on subsequent occasions.