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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/3/111-116
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 27 October 1886
Address From9 Blandford Square, Paddington, London
Address To2 Harcourt Buildings, Temple, London
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 111-12
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to University College London (UCL) and its Library Services for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The date of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, while the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident in Blandford Square from early October to late December 1886, when she left England for Europe.
1 Tuesday night
3 Dear Karl Pearson
5 I went to the Old Baley at 9.30 this morning & have just returned at 6.
8 I can’t reply to your letter as I would like, especially the most
9interesting part. Yes, I often want to talk to the prostitute, the
10lounger, & the sandwich-board man, & bring them & myself all together,
11but one’s arms are so little.
13 Yes, one of the things I felt most agonizingly painful when I first
14came to England was that you couldn’t speak to everyone you met in
15the street.
17 //I think the novel & the press contain all the vice, the selfishness
18& love of money, & love of respectability (doing just as other people
19do) & hypocrisy that damns our age. A three volume novel & a morning
20paper are a terrible & wonderful study to me. Yet here & there there
21are gleams of light.
23 //I think the Mathematician as much a "man of science" as a
24physiologist. I use always the word science with its broadest
25definition. - Even so, the day may come when the child of exact
26knowledge which we are rearing with so much care & for whom we would
27give our lives, may have swelled himself out into a giant & to crush
28others, sph & the men of that day will may have to fight him, & put
29him in his proper place. I did not express myself clearly. I never do
30just now because I don’t think clearly.
32 Wednesday morng.
33 I’ve just got your other note. Thank you for it.
35 Donkin’s only reason for leaving the club is a quite personal one.
36He took great interest in the club. He is very much broken & wounded
37just now. You’ll be kind to him if you meet him?
39 //Thank you very much about the Mary Wollstonecraft book. They tell me
40the Editor will have to give them me: I thought I should have to buy
41them. But if you will lend them me it would be a great help to me,
42because I can’t promise to write a paper just now but I could just
43do the dry-as-dust work of reading them over again. I only glanced
44through the Rights of Woman before, never read it. But the great point
45of interest in her to me is her life; I mean to treat her as a woman.
47 //I haven’t had any time to think of Chapman. Is it worth
48quarrelling about? Let the thing go?
50 //It isn’t the demand for sympathy made on me by others that ever
51distresses me. It’s because I can do so little, & because at the
52very time I am doing away ^trying to do away^ with misery in some
53directions I cause it myself in others.
55 You won’t say anything to Mrs Cobb about Donkin or me?
57 Are you very much engaged in the evenings? Could you come in some
58evening & have a talk? I don’t think you ought to do much in the
59evening after your day’s work at lecturing.
61 If Ed Carpenter comes to spend an evening with me, if I telegraph to
62you would you care to come in We might have rather a good talk.
63Don’t wait for that if you have an evening to spare because he may
64come in the day.
66 Yours in haste
67 Olive Schreiner
The 'Wollstonecraft book' is Mary Woll'toncraft (1792) A Vindication of the Rights of Woman London: J. Johnson. Schreiner agreed to write an ?Introduction' to a new edition of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, but it was never completed. A very early draft fragment of it appears in Carolyn Burdett (1994) History Workshop Journal 37: 189-93. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.