"Put 'She wrote 'Peter Halket'' on my grave" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/187/86
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date11 July 1902
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToIsie Smuts nee Krige
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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 Hanover
2 July 11 / 02
3
4 Dear Isie
5
6 I like to think that by this time you have seen your husband: but am
7so sorry to know from your letter that you must still be weak &
8suffering, if the doctors will not allow you to go home yet. But you
9must not hurry. A little haste after an operation may make all the
10difference between health & invalidism for life. Please tell your
11husband how very very glad I was to get his letter, -- but talking
12would have been so much better. Letters are poor things when the heart
13is full. I hear Commandant Malan is coming into Hanover next week, & I
14hope I shall see him.
15
16 I shall not be able to come up to Johannesburg now will next month, as
17my chest has been a bit bad & I must wait till the weather is warmer,
18I don’t think I shall be able to stay longer than one day in
19Johannesburg & one day in Pretoria; but I do hope you will be there by
20that time, even if I see you for only a couple of hours.
21
22 We are moving into our own little cottage next week I hope, which will
23seem grand after living in one room for nearly two years. There is
24much, much in my heart to say but it must wait.
25
26 I have written ^out^ two little kind of dream allegory sort of stories,
27one called "My Dreams", which I wrote in Cape Town at the end of
28October 19 1899. which I think you will like. I suppose myself to be
29in bed, & to have three dreams following each other like a succession
30of pictures, & another called the "Angel of Freedom" which I wrote on
31a kopje here about three ^six^ months ago. I have also three stories
32written in my head but not set on paper yet though I can repeat them.
33The one is called "The last of the Vander Spuys unreadable of ^of the Van der Spuys."^ & the
34mottor is "Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened unless
35it die
." The scene of that, is in the North Transvaal, about two years
36ago. The second is called "Where is the lad?" & the scene is laid in
37the Priska district, about a year & a half ago. The third is called
38unreadable "Gerbrech, or the Queen’s cannister." The cannister, is
39one of those little, common tin ^tea^ cannisters, with Queen
40Victoria’s picture on ^it^ which little Boer girls used often to prize
41so on out of the way farms. Imagine the scene to be somewhere in the
42Colesberg district, about a year ago.
43
44 The last is called "An African Woman" & is the story of a young girl &
45her lover & why she renounces him. Some day when I’ve a servant & a
46little time I’ll write them out, & later yet publish them together
47as a book.
48
49 I do hope dear that you will soon be able to write to me that you are
50going home.
51
52 Give both Cron’s warmest greetings ^& mine, to your husband. I think
53you will get stronger quickly after you have seen him.
54
55 Olive^
56
Notation
The 'written out' and the 'not set on paper' allegories which Schreiner refers to are as follows: 'My Dreams' seems not now to exist; the 'Angel of Freedom' morphed into 'Seeds-a-growing'; and 'The last of the Van der Spuys', 'Where is the lad?' and 'the Queen's cannister' seem to have been incorporated into what became '1899'. They were published posthumously in Stories, Dreams and Allegories.