"City of dreadful night; cut throats, don't mention political news" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/4
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 12 April 1887
Address FromAlassio, Italy
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 126
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.
1 Alassio
2 Italy
3 Tuesday night
4
5 My dear old Friend
6
7 I don’t know why I suddenly want to write to you unless it is that
8there’s a man here, who looks exactly like you, such a nice French
9man with his wife, & I saw him walking up the passage just now. I
10never talk to them but I feel a little thrill of pleasure whenever I
11see him. When you & Oates go to Capri I wish you’d come round this
12way & sleep here a night. I’m nice now, I’m not like I used to be.
13And I’d take you & show you both my ruined church, & you never saw
14any thing so nice. I am sure send you ought. You’ll do much more
15work when you get back for having a little rest. Let me have the song
16book please. I’ll send you my book when it’s done - which will be
17never.
18
19 The little sheep here are so nice & they walk about after their
20shepherds. It seems to me that everything here is so beautiful. The
21sea & sky are such a lovely blue now.
22
23 Edward, do you know I’m beginning to see our Socialist movement much
24more clearly & as a whole since I’m here, & can look at it from a
25distance, & I see many things with regard to it that were not clear to
26me before we might in fact many things have got clear to me of late on
27many subject. And at the same time I have a feeling stronger that ever
28before of the mystery & insolubility of things. What little tiny
29children we are & what does it mean
30
31 Good night; now, I must write. I am just having a little rest in
32talking to you. If ever you know Karl Pearson will you try to love him
33very much? You will bring him just what he needs, & perhaps he would
34strengthen you a little as he has strengthened me so much. I wish I
35was a man that I might be friends with all of you, but you know my sex
36must always divide. I only feel like a man, but to you all I seem a
37woman! Has George’s wife got her baby? There is a pretty little
38Italian peasant baby here that I am so fond of. The men here seem so
39happy & do nothing & sit in the sun. The women look tired & over
40worked, but yet happier than ours. I am living pretty cheaply here
41because the hotel keeper took me for less because I came when there
42was no one, but I somehow feel reproached because I am enjoying so
43much. You know the kind of feeling. I ought to get through more work
44than I do with everything so comfortable.
45
46 Olive
47
48 ^Send back my dreams. I don’t want to loose that MS. The two printed
49ones are feeble & were written long ago. OS^
50
51
52
Notation
The book that will 'never be done' is From Man to Man, and the allegories referred to appeared in Dreams. Which particular allegories Schreiner is referring to cannot be established as she was writing a number of them at this time. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect