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|Letter Reference||Alfred Mattison, Goldfields Collection, MS 16098/3
|Archive||Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown
|Letter Date||13 February 1901
|Address From||Hanover, Northern Cape
|Who To||Alfred ('Alf', 'Mat') Mattison
The manuscript of this letter by Olive Schreiner belongs to the Archive referenced above; its ownership of the original should be acknowledged by referencing the letter as indicated: Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Alfred ('Alf', 'Mat') Mattison, 13 February 1901, Cory Library, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to the Cory Library for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their collections.
Feb 13 / 01
I was ever so glad to get your letter & the photo. I haven't got a
8: photo I can send you here but I'll send you one "when the War is over"
9: & I can go any where & get anything. I am now up here, hundreds of
10: miles from the coast in a little village: with the war all about me.
11: We are under Martial Law. No one is allowed to be out of his house
12: after 8 o'clock, all lights must be out at 9; & we are not allowed to
13: stray out of the village not even to go for a little walk. Cron asked
14: for a pass from the military to come up from Cape Town but they will
15: not give him one so I have not seen him for two months, nor any of my
16: friends. I have hired an empty room in a house here, & put in a
17: stretcher & a table, & do my cooking on a spirit lamp, & I & my little
18: dog Neta live together.
There are said to be 20,000 English soldiers within a few miles of
21: this place, & that de Wet with 3000 men is trying to come down & they
22: are trying to surround him, & for ten days people have momentarily
23: been expecting the village to be attacked. Troops with cannon are on
24: the kopjes round, & there is watch keep up all night. But what the
25: future will bring no one can say.
One just waits week after week. Several people I know have lately been
28: arrested, which is much worse than dying on a battlefield. It's all a
29: funny world! Give my love to Ed & tell him, & the Miss Fords my news.
30: The military censor opens & reads all letters, but I'm glad to say he
31: let yours come through all right. I've often wondered why the & how
32: the Christians came to invent Hell. But last night when I was lying in
33: bed it struck me that the early Christians lived in a time very much
34: like this under the Roman Empire, during its decline & fall; & of
35: course the poor things believed in hell because they saw it. Hell is
36: Martial Law. Give my love to Florence, & tell her that one day "when
37: the War is over" you & she must come out here, because I don't expect
38: I shall ever be feel well enough to go to England again. I hope you're
39: very happy & the world going very well with you, dear Mat. Is your
40: mother still living? Are you thinking of getting married one of these
41: days or is it still in the far future?
Drop me a line soon. I hope Mr Censor will letter this letter through.
I still laugh sometimes when I think of you, & the old farmer. You are
49: just like Cron, good at fighting!! I'm sorry you didn't see Cron. I
50: often told him about you & that you & he were very much alike, in
51: character & also a bit in appearance.