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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/98
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date17 June 1912
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other Versions
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 De Aar
2 June 17th 1912
4 Dear Edward
6 Thank you much for your book. I would have written sooner but I’ve
7been through a time of much sorrow. My favourite sister Mrs Stakesby
died of heart disease the week before last after 7 months of the
9most terrible anguish I ever saw a human creature go through. I have
10just been down to Cape Town to her funeral. Oh it is blessed to think
11she is enjoying an everlasting sleep. I don’t know how those can face
12death who believe their beloved are still as individuals ^existing^ in a
13universe where such suffering & torture exists. My husbands mother
14also died when I was down there. It was a very terrible death. She was
15buried on the same day as my sister.
17 Cron is well. He is going next Sunday on a trip to the Victoria Falls
18& will be away for two weeks. You ought to see the Falls. There are
19much the most beautiful & wonderful thing in nature that I have ever
20seen any where on earth. We were all nearly drowned when I was there
21last year - my sister in law her young son of 20 & my two young nieces
22with 12 other people. We were in a steam launch with which broke down
23when we were above the falls & we were slowly but surely drifting down
24to them when eight boats manned by powerful natives came from the
25shore a mile off & saved us. It was splendid how brave everyone but
26one woman was. It is curious how instead of making me shrink from the
27falls it made me love them more than ever. It was as though after that
28there was an organic connection between one & them, as if they were
29calling to me. No pictures of it give you the slightest idea of its
30glory. It is not a bit as they paint it mere water. It is an infinite
31wild strong spirit leaping down on an edge hundreds of feet high &
32turning into smoke which rises miles into the air. You can see the
33smoke miles & miles away rising in a great cloud into the sky. There
34is a place called Danger Point, where you look at it from there the
35mist is covered by three or four rainbows, & you can only cry with joy
36as you look at it. I asked an American, who was there what he thought
37of it. He said "Well after this I think they’d better dry Niagger up &
38run it into a furrow – it’s nothing." When it is full as when we were
39there it is a mile & a half wide. When you are in a boat in the middle
40of it you can’t distinguish objects on either bank. You can see a boat
41but you can’t distinguish the people in it.
43 Good bye dear old Edward
44 Olive
46 My dear friend Lady Constance Lytton is very ill. She has been almost
47insensible for two weeks, she knows people & can make a sound in her
48throat but cannot speak or move her right hand or leg. The specialists
49say a little particle of the tissue of her worn out heart has got into
50the brain. She may never speak or move herself again or in two or
51three months it may have dissipated & she may partly recover; but it
52will always happen again as the heart is quite broken down.
54 ^She & Adela Smith are the two women nearest & dearest to me in the
55world now my sister is gone.^
Carpenter's book is likely to be The Art of Creation (1912, London: Allen).