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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/2/61-62
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date21 May 1886
Address FromThe Convent, Harrow, London
Address To2 Harcourt Buildings, Temple, London
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other VersionsRive 1987: 79-80
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. The date of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, while the name of the addressee and the address it was sent to are on its front. The final insertion is on the envelope.
1 The Convent.
2 Harrow-on-the-Hill
3
4 No, I can’t write. I am having to hold myself in. I don’t like you
5to run yourself out when you know you ought not; that woman’s paper
6will be quite enough. You could discuss it for four hours. I wish I
7could write something. You know, just now my work is taking my very
8life’s blood.
9
10 I send you a little bit out of a woman’s diary ^in the book^ on the
11sex question. It’s really to exemplify her intellectual structure &
12the suffering she endures in her life as a wife; but that subject of
13the relation between the sexual & intellectual unreadable ^functions^ is
14a very interesting one to me. I can see it leading out & bearing on so
15many different questions. How are your unreadable I had a long talk
16with you this morning about art. I used to have an imaginary person to
17talk to, now I talk to you. I always get the best of the argument!
18
19 I’ve got an interesting letter of a prostitute’s; if I can get
20permission I want to show send it you. There is something unreadable
21touching in it if one knows the woman’s history. I’m going to see
22her when she comes back from America.
23
24 Yes, I love my brothers; I have never loved any humanbeings as I love
25those three men. unreadable I have known them so to the inmost fibre
26of their beings, & it is for their sakes I meet all men, especially
27young men, with an inclination for brotherly friendship, which they
28don’t always quite understand, I think. An assertion like that Miss
29Müller
made at the Wollstonecraft that men were were without paternal
30instinct seems to me the outcome of the outcome of ^an^ ignorance that
31is ludicrous. If I take my brothers; they are each of them men of a
32very different type, but the strongest instinct in each is the love of
33offspring. I have had Will, the one whose letter I sent you, come &
34wake me at three in the morning, when he was an undergrad. at
35Cambridge, to sit & condole with him over the terrible possibility
36that if he married his wife, very much older than himself, might have
37no children, & he has talked of the matter till the tears were in his
38eyes! Now the baby is born he writes me, when it is 48 hours old, that
39it has eyes like my father’s, that it can’t ^yet^ drink, it sucks
40its thumbs, &c., &c. You are fond of talking of men’s ignorance of
41woman, but what of women’s ignorance of men. It’s so beautiful to
42me to think of that man with his baby. I’ve many things to talk to
43you about but ^I can’t write letters any more.
44
45 O.S.^
46
47 ^Life is so perfectly delightful here; big trees, rooks, perfect quiet,
48I’m almost too happy to work. Now the sun is shining on the trees
49before my window, four shades of green, & the birds are singing as
50hard as they can. I didn’t know England could be so nice; it’s
51almost sunshine. ^
52
53 I am going to a "New Life" picnic on Sat. afternoon at ?Murstain. They
54have got a piece of ground so there seems a chance of them carrying
55out the plan.
56
57
58
Notation
'That woman's paper' is Pearson's 'The Woman's Question', read at the Men and Women's Club in July 1885. The 'little bit out of a woman's diary' perhaps refers to Rebekah in From Man to Man. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.