"Going with me to England, think it all over carefully" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/194/10/64
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date16 December 1912
Address FromNewlands, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToIsie Smuts nee Krige
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 Newlands
2 Dec 16th 1912
4 Isie dear,
6 It is indeed a terrible trouble that has overtaken you all. For the
7parents it must be a dreadful blow; one can bear so much when one is
8young. It is good that at least one of you was with him. The only
9comfort I ever find when one I love is taken from me by a sudden
10terrible blow, is the thought that perhaps they have been saved from
11the terrible agony of a slow lingering death – which seems to me the
12supreme evil in life. When y my father, & later my favourite nephew
13dropped dead in the midst of apparent health & strength it did comfort
14me to think they had escaped the long slow agony many of us will have
15to pass through. But the awful blank is just the same for those who
16are left, & its so sad when the young who haven’t yet really drunk
17of life go. I am going to write to your dear mother & Ella; but no
18words of sympathy can really come near such awful sorrow.
20 I am glad Ella is with the old people.
22 I am longing to see you down here. I had to come down as the heat at
23de Aar was crushing me; but it was hard to leave my old husband in it.
25 It will be nice for your mother to have you & the children down here &
26be able to see you sometimes. I wonder if Ella has a child.
28 Thank you from my heart dear, for wanting me to come to you; but I
29couldn’t fix myself down on you for all that time! But I’ll often
30come to see you as Schmitts’ Café is not further than I can manage
31to walk when its cool; especially in the evenings I can come.
33 Since the news of the trouble in the ministry came down here I have
34been delighted to hear how every one that I have met, English as well
35as Dutch speaks of "onse Jannie". They all feel that he is the man, &
36that he must be at the centre of things. My only fear is that he will
37overwork himself. I sympathize with Hertzog in his objection to the
38British Empire, but he realy has made things impossible for the
39ministry by his personal & narrow attacks. A really good & noble man,
40which I believe Hertzog to be, may often do more harm to the life of a
41nation than a bad one who has wisdom & understanding.
43 Good bye, dear. I am so glad you are coming soon because when one is
44in great sorrow change of place & scene is so good for one.
46 Your loving little
47 Auntie Olive