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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/81
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date18 January 1898
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other VersionsRive 1987: 324-5
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.
1 The Homestead
2 Jan 18 / 98
4 Dear EC,
6 I’m not at all surprised that George & Lucy & the young ones are
7going to leave you. I think you must have been three angels to have
8lived together so long. I could live alone, quite alone, with almost
9any one person I ever met, but as soon as a third or still more a
10fourth or fifth appears life becomes very "difficult". In your case of
11course you have so many friends of all kinds, that life is very
12complex for you, & anyone who lives with you. I found it very tragic
13staying with Alice Corthorn when I was in London: of course before I
14was generally alone with her & able to give myself up mainly ^entirely^
15to her, & ^now^ when Cron had appeared on the scene things were very
16"difficult", as you will put it. I hope I shall not go through such an
17experience again. The question how to divide oneself between all the
18different conflicting claims in life is one I suppose which we shall
19never entirely solve, till the last sleep solves all problems for us.
21 I’m very much better & having a real good time with my work
22unreadable. We’ve had splendid rains for three weeks after the long
23drought, & are revelling in it like ducks. Its not like your horrid
24sad English ‘rain’ its grand pouring rain, with great breaks of
25blue sky between the masses of cloud. Do come out some day Ed when you
26want a little rest from all the complexities of life. It’s so new
27here, to one who comes from Europe for the first time. To us of course
28it’s just the other way round: Cron & I often feel we must get away
29from the heart breaking problems here. You see we’re at the
30beginning of a long down hill in this country, & we shall personally
31long be dead & in our graves before the path begins to go up again,
32probably. In England the path is going up, things are not getting
33worse; they’re getting better.
35 Did I tell you we had to pay old Cornwall (Rhodes agent) two hundred
36pounds, in costs & damages, for telling the truth about him?
38 Good bye. I will to bed. My sweet old husband send greetings. He grows
39dearer & dearer to me as the time passes. I wish I’d met him ten
40years earlier.
42 Thine ever
43 Olive
The particular work which Schreiner was having 'a real good time' with cannot be established. Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in a number of respects incorrect.