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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/58
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 November 1892
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 215-6
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 Matjesfontein
2 S. Africa
3 Nov 23 / 92
4
5 I’ve been lying in bed all day & reading that book of Francis Adams
6you sent me. It’s the first thing I’ve read with keen pleasure for
7a long time. I liked it better to day than ever before. Edward, you
8don’t know how bad things are in this land; we flog our niggers to
9death, & wealth as the only possible end & aim in life, is more
10recognized here than, I think, in any country in the world. I don’t
11mean that there aren’t classes who don’t feel so in every country,
12but then there are other classes, here there are not. It’s funny to
13be in a land which is all philistines! Good, nice, respectable
14philistines, but still nothing else. There are other individuals, but
15no other class. There are money making whites, & down-trodden blacks,
16& nothing between. And things will have to be so much worse here
17before they can be better; in Europe we have almost got to the bottom
18already & the tide is going to turn. I’m coming back in April, I
19think I told you to England. I hope I’ll see you. I’ll be there
20from the beginning of May to the end of July: then I must go abroad
21again, either to the Engadine or Egypt. I thought Africa would make me
22better, but it’s been an unremitted down hill all the time.
23 I was so glad to feel when I was reading Adams’s book today how
24little the world needs one, how much better & stronger folk than
25oneself there are to carry on all work that one fancies one has to do.
26I don’t know why that book seemed such a help to me today. Our warm
27weather is going to begin at last. Its so beautiful to know it must
28come. This has been the coldest year that the oldest people in South
29Africa remember. We have had more cold & rain this November than we
30generally have in the depth of winter. Is your book about India out?
31Do you know Francis Adams? Are you fit?
32
33 Good bye. Love to all Friends.
34 Olive
35 ^
36Bob doesn’t like my little story so I’m sure you wont. But anyhow
37it’s true!!
38 OS^
39
40
41
Notation
Which particular 'little story' Muirhead did not like cannot be established. The books referred to are: Francis Adams (1890) Songs of the Army of the Night London: Vizetelly & Co; Edward Carpenter (1892) From Adam’s Peak to Elephanta: Sketches in Ceylon and India London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Riv'?s (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.

VRE