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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/46
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date31 January 1890
Address FromMount Vernon, Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 164
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. On returning to South Africa in October 1889, Schreiner stayed mainly in the Mount Vernon house belonging to her brother Will and his wife Fan until she removed to Matjesfontein in March 1890, with some short visits elsewhere.
1 Cape Town
2 Jan 31 / 90
4 My Ed’rd,
6 I send you a note I’ve just got from Ettie. It was a great
7disappointment to me that she was in such an abnormal condition when
8she was in England. You wouldn’t know her if you saw her now, so
9pretty, & sweet & fresh. You must come to us some day, you & our Bob.
10In about a year time from now I hope to be able to have seen my way
11clear to going up to travel in the interior of Africa. If you & Bob
12could come then it would be splendid.
14 How goes it with you? I wonder if this sunshine would be to you what
15it is to me - Life - creeping through every little pore in one’s
16body & brain. I had such a glorious day the day before yesterday lying
17on the top of a mountain with the sea down at the right, & these
18glorious table mountains on my left, & the town a little speck below,
19that you couldn’t see, & the bushes & the butterflies about you. It
20is like the Riviera only infinitely grander, wilder, brighter,
21intenser! But I am afraid to say too much, because of course it might
22not be to you what it is to me. It is my land, my own that I have been
23longing for in London fogs & summer mist & drizzels, shut-in with
24hedges & those terrible high walls in England that nearly break ones
27 I have been making several friends for you here with your books though
28as a rule the people are the hardest narrowest hard-shell philistines
29that God Almighty ever made.
31 How about the school? Goodbye, my old comrade. I’m going tomorrow to
32see Bertie Everitt, my convict friend. He is working here on the
33breakwater. I like to think he is working under this blue sky. He must
34feel a bit free whenever he looks up, whatever he may feel when he
35looks down. Give my love to George Adams. I wear the sandals every day
36here in the house, they are so nice & cool in this hot weather - but I
37love the heat. I bask in the sun, like one of my dear old salamanders.
39 Have you heard anything of Karl Pearson: is he well? Oh I wish I could
40give him a little of this sunshine.
42 Olive
44 I’m still living in this big house all alone leave at the end of
45March for up country. If you could come then I would take you & show
46you the Karroo.
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.