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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/2/31-32
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date5 February 1886
Address FromSomerset House, Bath Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
Address To
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 73
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
1 Somerset House Bournemouth
2 Feb 5 / 86
3
4 Dear Mr Pearson
5
6 I’ve not heard of you from any one for a great while. I hope you are
7working.
8
9 I have long conversations with you & I do the talking for you too, &
10you are always then a "prig", I make you say such priggish things.
11
12 I like Bradshaw. It must have been rather a rare soul, & greatness is
13some so much greater when I it works slowly & as it were in the dark.
14
15 I am very happy; being here so still has been so good for me. But will
16you please write to me when you have anything to say.
17
18 My mind is fully made up as to my course of duty. My time of unreadable
19I have never been so dissatisfied as lately with my-self, but the
20wavering has been the result of unsettled principle. "How much does a
21man owe to himself, how much to ^an^others? How far much does general
22work stand before work for the individual." When we show contemptible
23weakness & vacillation, it is always because some profound first
24principle is not reasoned out & settled. It is like trying a case in
25court, with advocates on both sides, & no judge. Any way in which you
26managed to stretch out a hand of friendship to Doctor Donkin would be
27a matter of personal thankfulness to me. I alone know how pure &
28tender & beautiful his nature is. No, I am long years past that stage
29in which one only "studies" humanity. It I can t only love them now.
30They all seem like part of myself.
31
32 You know, Karl, that I know my life work is to help those miserable
33women.
34
35 Your friend.
36 Olive Schreiner
37
38 ^My friend Mrs Philpot, a doctor’s wife wants to know you & would be
39a fine married woman in the club. Are you inclined to know her? It
40would be nice if both she & her husband were to join.^
41
42 ^I’m going to send you one of my allegories to read.^
43
44
45
46
Notation
Which particular allegory Schreiner planned to send to Pearson cannot be established; at this time she was engaged in writing a number of them. Bradshaw refers to the widely-used guide to railway timetables. Rive's (1987) version has been misdated, omits part of this letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.