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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.59
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSaturday February 1893
Address FromMiddelburg, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 219-20
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 month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Middleburg
2 Saturday
4 My darling Mary
6 It's a beautiful evening. I am just going off for my solitary walk
7across the plain, but I want to write to you first.
9 I've not written the long letter because I wanted quite to understand
10about the going to England first. I've been thinking a good deal about
11it, beloved. I want it to be such a happy such a beautiful time & not
12only that; but a time that will help you for all your life. I shall I
13shall be very lonely, terrible lonely on the voyage; & the tendency
14for my own sake to say simply "come," is very great. But it would be
15such a terrible thing to me to me if your visit were a disappointment
16that I feel it would be better to wait till next year.
18 You see 1st I ha I shall not take a flat or have rooms at all this
19year, ^shall simply stay with friends^ & I shall have after my three
20years being away to be continually going out of London. I have some 40
21friends I have to go & see in different parts, & even if I stay away a
22very short time, I shan't be more than three days in the week in
23London generally. It would be so terrible to me to think of you left
24alone in some hotel or lodgings, & even if you were with Mrs Hans
, I shouldn't feel happy. You with ^will^ think I am very vain; but
26I don't feel sure you would be happy in London with out me! I'm so
27afraid that terrible feeling of unloved loneliness would come over you
28that I suffered from so much when I was first in London. In London of
29all places one wants someone who loves one always near one: all the
30picture galleries & concerts are nothing without that. Next year I
31shall have a nice little flat of my own. The rush of seeing people
32after coming back would be over. You could stay with me all the time &
33help me to receive the visitors & we could go to the picture galleries,
34 clubs & lectures &c, &c. I know you would be happy then. If you came
35early so as to get there by the 1st of May we could go & spend three
36weeks in Paris, see all the interesting life, & come back to England
37for June & July. I shall have so much ?pure business too; seeing
38publishers & taking up the working of old societies & clubs with which
39I've had to do, ^& helping a friend to start a newspaper!^ that all the
40three months I'm in England will be one rush of work. It would be such
41agony to me all the time to think your dream had come to pass & it was
42all emptiness to you. You will think I'm very vain, but I know if you
43came next year you would be happy, & you won't be happy this. You see
44you'll have to be very very happy to make up for all you are leaving
45here, & one can be so awfully lonely in London. I would really like
46you to see all of London life & people that can be seen in three
47months, & this year you would see comparatively nothing.
49 Darling think it all over. If you decide still to come it will be so
50very beautiful to me; but you must think it all out carefully. I had
51meant to sail on the 10th in the Scot, but now I think I shall go on
52the 28th in the Tartar. It would be so delightful if you were going, &
53we could take a big cabin together. But oh, I can't bear to think of
54your being left alone in London even with Mrs Sauer, & I couldn't help
55it this year. Almost as soon as I land I shall have to run down to
56Eastbourne for one day, then to Oxford for a day, then to Yorkshire
57for two days to see a unreadable ?people on business; it's not choice
58but necessity. In September I shall either go to America or down the
59Rhine to some little village to get out my work again, & in the winter
60I must go to Switzerland or Italy or perhaps Egypt. Think it all over
61dear carefully
63 ^I shall be back at Matjesfontein on the 5th of March, but till then
64this is my address. I'm trying to get strong before the voyage.
66 Good bye, my Mary. Write to me.
67 Olive^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.