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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold1/1891/1
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateJanuary 1891
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 184-5
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was mainly resident in Matjesfontein between December 1889 and December 1892, with some fairly lengthy visits elsewhere.
1 Dear Will
2
3 Fruit arrived fine condition. How much cost? Please order two more of
4melons. The dryness of the land has eaten them all up. When every one
5has had a taste from the barman onwards they disappear quickly. The
6next lot are for my self.
7
8 Thank you for your letter dear old man.
9
10 Yes, I would like anything that bound me to that dear little son of
11ours. My heart has never gone out in quite the same way to any such
12small creature. It has such individuality. I am so glad the mother
13gets on so well.
14
15 Glad you saw the last of George. He order wanted all his letters sent
16on to me that I might look through them & only send on such as were
17specially necessary.
18
19 I enclose a nice note from Mrs Innes got this morning, which may
20interest you as they are your friends too. From Mrs Sauer & Lady Lock
21I hear frequently. The friendship of other women is very precious to
22me. Lady L. wrote me a very beautiful tender letter about my dream
23book which I prize a great deal. You will be glad to hear the whole of
24the first edition sold off in the first four days, that the second is
25out. Another Unwin thinks will be called for next month. My royalty is
26very small on each copy, in the 1/- 6d a vol. But he has paid Ellis
27£50 on my account & thinks in a couple of months it will amount to
28£150 or £200. This is good, as no reviews have already appeared on
29the book, & it is not a book can ever have a ^such^ very large
30circulation as my novels. I would have had £10,000 or £12,000 now if
31old Chapman had been as honest as Unwin.
32
33 I have written to tell Fred that I shan’t need any more help from
34him. If he likes to keep on giving it me a bit, I will take it,
35because my heart is set on giving Lilly Orpen £100 to pay her fare &
36?Maddie's to England, & you see if I giv leave him the copy right of
37all my books in the 12 years after my death which the copyright will
38last, he can repay himself. So if the dear old fellow likes to give me
39the £150 this year he can, but I would like him to know I can manage
40with-out.
41
42 Next year if my novel is done I mean to be flowing in riches. The
43American copy right bill has passed the upper house, & by this time
44has probably passed the lower. That means to me several thousand on my
45next book. As mere present, because their consciences made the
46American publishers give me two or three hundred for an African Farm,
47& Roberts Brothers ^of Boston^ have promised me 10/ on each copy they
48sell in America I don’t know if these business details interest you;
49they are very interesting to me.
50
51 I hope your throat is better. Try sipping glycerine & water. Will send
52you a Dream book. I’ll be very glad if you lend me Marie
53Bashkirtsieff’s when you’ve done. Yes, it would be wonderful to
54read or unreadable write a true account of a human soul, but every one
55would love the person because they would see in it "myself", but we
56are all more or less one. But it could never be done for the sake of
57the suffering it would inflict on the people who came into it.
58
59 Olive
60
Notation
The reference to 'Dream book' is to Schreiner?s Dreams, and 'my novel is likely to be From Man to Man. See also Marie Bashkirtseff (1890) The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff London: Cassell & Co. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.