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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/17
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 April 1888
Address FromHotel Oxford et Cambridge, Rue d?Alger, Place-Vend?me, Paris, France
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 153-4
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Sheffield Archives, Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information Services, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Archive Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Hotel Oxford et Cambridge
2 Rue d’Alger
3 Paris
4
5 No, dear old man, it’s not men that trouble me its middle class
6women that are so hard to understand & reconcile with a ^good^ God: I
7believe it can be done though!!! & will be by me mentally at last.
8I’ve found a nice poor little unreadable artist, a girl with nothing
9to live on, & we are going to see eachother every day. She’s very
10like my small Alice very much. I’m going to have Alice come to me
11for her Easter Holidays & take her up the Rhine & I’m going to look
12for a little village to settle down in for Spring & summer. Will you
13tell me what you think of my Prelude now, if it doesn’t come in the
14way of your work to read it, & send it on to Mrs Brown, 66 Bank Parade,
15 Burnly
as soon as you’ve done You’re a great fool if you don’t
16see that it’s nice. I’ll love to see George Adam’s little one.
17
18 P I’m so anxious for more Towards Democracy. The little bit in W.P.P.
19 was quite up to mark.
20
21 I’ve got a little Socialist dream but you’ll all say again it’s
22not up to mark because it’s all about God. How can I help writing
23about God when there’s nothing else in heaven or earth that I love &
24cling to If anyone can give me another name for him ^it^ I’ll use it.
25I went to the morgue the other day & saw three of our brothers sitting
26there on the marble slabs. I should have gone mad if I hadn’t
27realized that they were only little drops of it divided & spilt for a
28while to be taken up again, & pass into it. I wanted so to go behind &
29wash them & dress them & lay them out & kiss them & put flowers by
30them. I shall never go again because I can’t do anything. Do you
31know the people were standing there & laughing.
32
33 //One ^of the three a^ young man had a pure white shirt cuff with a gold
34stud in it which he fastened in the morning. The other was a man a
35working man of 45 or 50 with beautiful delicate features: (he had been
36hungry & cold so often you could see that in the face) but there was
37such a beautiful smile on them, the face lighted up as I’ve never
38seen a dead face – "This is rest at last!" I couldn’t look at the
39third one. Edward, isn’t it strange that we run each other down like
40that that we can’t make life worth living to each other? I wonder if
41people will believe in two thousand years time in that morgue & the
42three men sitting there & the people laughing. Don’t trouble to
43write except a card to say you’ve got Prelude.
44
45 Yours,
46 Olive
47
48
49
Notation
Schreiner's 'little socialist dream' is 'The sunlight lay across my bed'. The 'Prelude' mentioned appears in From Man to Man. The book referred to is: Edward Carpenter (1885) Towards Democracy Manchester: John Heywood; and the 'little bit' of it appearing in the Women’s Penny Paper, edited by Henrietta Muller, is: Edward Carpenter "The Mother to Her Daughter" vol 1 no 21, 16 March 1889, pp.6-7. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.