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Letter ReferenceKarl Pearson 840/4/3/59-60
ArchiveUniversity College London Library, Special Collections, UCL, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date8 September 1886
Address FromThe Convent, Harrow, London
Address ToHotel Alpen Club, Madernauer That, Tri Austury, Switzerland
Who ToKarl Pearson
Other Versions
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 is provided by the postmark on an attached envelope, while the name of the addressee and the address it was sent to are on its front. Schreiner was resident at the Convent in Harrow from mid May to the end of September 1886.
1 Professor Haycraft & Dr Brown can throw no light on our question; say
2there is none.
4 I’ve Brehm’s Thierleben, page 86 vol 1. he says, quoting from
5Wallace, with regard to the Orang. –
6 - "Niemals sal ick zwei ganz erwachrene Thiere zusamenen, wohl aber
7mannchen wie auch Weubrhen, zuweilen legleilet von halberwachsenen
8jungen." (This points for the mother ages in one direction, against it
9in another because the male appears to be caring for the young?)
11 //With regard to the Gorilla Brehm says quoting from Reade (who was a
12Christian missionary so he was likely not be exact as to truth) –
14 "Weins das Wubchen trachtig ist baut das mannchen meist in emer Hohen
15von funf vis acht meter uter dem Boden ein nest, ein blopes Lager aus
16trockenen stecken und zweigen welche en mit der Handen zusammen
17schlippt. Hier bringt das Weibchen sein Jungen yur Welt und verlapt
18dann das nest"! (If this is true it is important!)
20 With regard further to Gorilla, Brehm says "Von den alter fand ich
21gewuhulich ein mannchen und ein Weibchen zusammen, aft gening auch ein
22alles mannchen allein." (It appears from what he says further the
23female is never seen alone.) Much less seems known of the Chimpanzee
24than the gorilla or orang; find nothing more than Hartmann gives,
25^though^ have consulted many books & papers. Hartmann seems to have
26compiled his book greatly from Brehm, who however is much fuller &
27more interesting.
29 unreadable Want to write more fully about your woman’s book. Hope
30you are having a good time.
32 O.S.
34 Brehm seems to think that the "group" of the gorilla is made up of the
35father & mother & their young of different ages. (it takes from 15 to
3620 years for Gorillas to grow up so of course they have "families" as
37humanbeings have.) Was it not forgetting this fact which made it
38appear that there was a contradiction in Hartmann? When he speak of
39the "group" does he not simply mean this family. Nothing definite is
40known, but it is not supposed the Gorilla can propagate his species
41till he is about 15 years of age. As he becomes old enough to do so,
42he is driven away, or ^conquers, & takes his father’s place^ in the
43family group there would necessarily be some almost grown f males &
44females yet ^perhaps^ only one father & mother! What one would like to
45know is – is there never more than one childbearing female in a
46family. I have looked up very carefully for information on this point;
47can’t get it.
49 OS.
The books referred to are: Alfred Edmund Brehm (1864) Illustrirtes Thierleben. Eine allgemeine Kunde des Thierreichs... Hildburghausen: np; Carl Robert Eduard von Hartmann (1872) Gesammelte philosophische Abhandlungen zur Philosophie des Unbewussten Berlin: Carl Ducker. Pearson's 'woman's book' was never written.