"Woman's work, men & women's qualities, education" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/2/96-99
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 June 1886
Address FromThe Convent, Harrow, London
Address To
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other Versions
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 has been written on this insertion in an unknown hand; it appears on a letter from Henrietta Müller dated 25 June 1886. Schreiner was resident at the Convent in Harrow from mid May to the end of September 1886. The name of the addressee is indicated by content and archival location.
1^Private OS^
2
3
4 Note from Miss Müller this evening asking me to arrange for her to go
5& visit Carpenter on his farm! We’re getting on!!
6
7
8
Notation
Schreiner's inserted request is written on a letter from Henrietta Müller at 85 Portland Place on 25 June 1886, as follows:

'Dear Miss Schreiner

Do bring Mr Carpenter some day, or let us all three meet somewhere either in my boat or near you, I should greatly enjoy it, & one can talk & listen so much better in the open air than in a stuffy London drawing room, where ones mental vision is smothered with the upholstery of conventional surroundings. The "Woman Question" is not bad, in part much is rather good but the style is hazy & rather vulgar. Page 13 is a male idea of chastity, "some thing very difficult to maintain", not an unconscious state of mental & bodily ease. The male cannot see that what really is a terrible loss to an intelligent woman, who longs to see life with the eyes of others as well as with her own, is the impossibility of friendly intimacy with men of her own age, or indeed of any age. They have only 2 ideas about woman if she is ugly ^unattractive^ they don’t want her friendship, if she is attractive they want to prevent every other man from approaching her. I have lost countless opportunities of friendships with men; men always think that we are flattered by being courted & that this is compensation for all. They never imagine that we may be un-willing to pay too dearly for the flattery. What a long letter – quite un-intentional! I feel strongly because I understand friendship with those who & long for comrade-ship Alas it is nowhere.'

Müller’s comments about the ‘Women Question’ refer to Pearson’s ‘The Woman’s Question’, read at the Men and Women’s Club in July 1885, and rehearse the argument in her response, ‘The Other Side of the Question’, read at the Club in October 1885.