"On helping set up women's branch of Democratic Foundation 1880s London" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/187/97
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date27 April 1903
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 April 27th 1903
3
4 Dear Isie
5
6 How can I thank you enough for your letter & the two wires I got today.
7 I would like more than you can think to be with you in your dear home,
8 which seems like a home to me too. But I can’t stand the climate at
9Pretoria; the last time I was there, I was six weeks in bed when I got
10home, & whenever I’ve gone out from Johannesburg in the winter its
11had the same effect on me. If only you lived in Bloemfontein! I wanted
12to go there but I hear there is not a house or room to be had. I
13don’t know where I shall go. I have spent £4 on advertising already,
14 & have had only one answer from a farm near Beaufort West, so I
15suppose I shall have to go there, though the people are great jingoes.
16If it wasn’t for my husband I should go to Italy & spend the rest of
17my life there; but I should always be fancying he was ill & perhaps
18needing me. I’d have my body brought back to this old country; but
19life is very hard here now, & I can do no more good here. When to keep
20silent is all you can do for your country, you may as well be silent
21in one place as another; & I would copy out & finish off one of my
22novels & so earn money if I were in Italy.
23
24 Thank you so much for your husband’s photo. Many of the folk here
25have been to see it. It’s very good, but a little "kwaai".
26
27 If Mrs de Wet (the General’s wife) is still in Pretoria please give
28my my kind regards. I should like so much to have a photograph of her.
29I hope her daughter’s heart is better. Give my love to Daisy when
30you write please. I hope she is getting all right, & will get quite
31strong. We are I am going down to Grahamstown to Jan Van der Berg’s
32trial on the 11th of May; they will do all they can to get him off &
33prove him not guilty, & so make it appear that our innocent men were
34present when the train was wrecked. If they do I don’t care what
35anyone says or how the politicians may weep, I’ll show the whole
36thing up in the English news papers. I never get any time for writing
37now; when my work’s done I’m just glad to get to the bed & lie
38down. But perhaps I shall be able to write a little during the winter
39if I get a warm place.
40
41 We are having a tiny little cottage build, the whole not much bigger
42than your dining room to move into when the parliament is over. There
43is not even a room to be had here. Miss Molteno & Miss Greene wrote
44this week that they were coming up, but but I had to wire & tell them
45not. I can’t understand what is the matter with country: it seems
46all gone wrong. It will be fifty years before its fit for a decent
47person to live in. We are going to have a public meeting here on the
489th.
49
50 I hope you are keeping strong.
51
52 Affectionate greetings to you all; & deep thanks for your really
53wishing to have me. I could have cried when your wires came today; it
54seemed so nice any one should care to have me.
55 Yours ever
56
57 Olive Schreiner
58
59 Have you read a nice book of poems by Earnest Crosby called Swords &
60Ploughshares
, ^there are some good poems on South Africa in the book.^
61
Notation
The book referred to is: Ernest H. Crosby (1903) Swords and Ploughshares London: Grant Richards.