"Hounding of Mashona, evil keeps begetting itself, mills of God" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/47
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 15 February 1890
Address FromMount Vernon, Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 164-5
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. 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 Sunday morning
2 Beautiful blue sky. Mountains twirling up into it.
3 Feb 15 / 90
4
5 Dear Edward,
6
7 I have just come back from the convict station where I’ve just been
8to see a lad with beautiful blue eyes. He has still 6 years to serve.
9He stood on one side of the wooden palings & I on the other, & He a
10police man between us. Behind us in the great yard were rows of
11convicts black & white in their marked dresses. I wanted to put my
12arms round them all. It was beautiful that the blue sky was over us
13all. Upwards we are all free, we can only chain each other sideways.
14He always seems to belong to me more than anyone in Cape Town. You
15must come out, & see the sunshine some day. I’m glad your work goes
16well. It’s beautiful to be here in a country where there are no
17hungry & over-worked.
18
19 I am living here in this big house alone, & I have been wanting to get
20a woman to come for the day just to help me scrub the floors & I am
21quite willing to pay 5/- a day, but I can’t get one though I’ve
22been trying for weeks
. That sounds good doesn’t it. Servants & hand
23workers of all kinds can ask pretty much what they like here. Brain
24work is not quite so much in request.
25
26 I leave this at the end of March for a solitary place up in the Karroo
27about two hundred miles from here called Matjesfontein.
28
29^Good bye love to George Adams. ^
30
31 Olive
32
33
34
Notation
Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.