"South African whites all philistines, no classes" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/188/65
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 July 1904
Address FromHanover, Northern 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 Hanover
2 July 22nd 1904
4 Dear Isie
6 I was so glad to get your letter with its good news of little Sannie &
7all the rest of you, except poor Daisy. I wish I had known she was in
8Tamboer’s Kloof I would certainly have gone to see her often.
10 Our old President is gone! I had no idea I would feel his death so
11much as I did. Botha’s few words on him as reported in the papers
12were I thought very fine. Yes, we will keep silence. I wish I could
13come to Pretoria to his funeral.
15 Cron only stayed a few hours in Pretoria, did not even sleep one night
16there so had no time to come & see you. Thank you very much for having
17meant to send me the oranges & lemons. I told him to buy me some up
18there: but he forgot in all the business & worry of Johannesburg. We
19can now easily get things from the station as the poor men here have
20now got waggons & mules, but the pity is that now they have the
21waggons & teams there are no goods to carry as traid here as
22everywhere else is very slack: & there is no money. We paying for the
23war in a new way. Cron is away from home again down in Cape Town on
24business & I & my little Kaffir boy of nine years old are here alone.
25Did I tell you I’d got him from the reformatory in Cape Town. He
26can’t do much in the way of work, but he carries in the coals for me
27& cleans the pots which saves me a great deal, & he is a dear little
28fellow. It is so nice to have a little loving human being about the
29house as Cron is away all day. If you have Sannie’s photograph taken
30again please send me one.
32 My dear friends Miss Molteno & Miss Greene are going to England this
33week, & may be away for more than a year. Though I so seldom see them
34it will be a great loss to me. I like to know they are in Africa; I
35have so few friends here. All my old English friends in South Africa I
36have lost, & one doesn’t make new ones in their place. The only one
37of my
39^old friends who has stuck to me through all is Lady Innes, & I feel
40grateful to her for it. Though there isn’t much sympathy between us
41now our ideas on the public affairs in this country are so different.
42You & your husband & the Purcells & Miss Molteno & Miss Greene are
43nearly the only friends I have in South Africa, unless I enclude
44General Malan & his sweet & beautiful aunt. Did I tell you Malan spent
45a few days with us in Cape Town. I always have such a wish he could
46meet your sister Ella & they could fall in love with each other. But
47these things never turn out as you wish: & it is a mistake ever to try
48to make them! Good. bye. Give little Sannie a kiss for me. ^
50 Olive Schreiner
52 ^Did I tell you that when we reburied the men from de Aar here, all the
53flesh was quite gone from the bones, but the ropes were there still
54undecayed tied round the bones of the arms & legs; & there were still
55bits of the chairs to which they were tied when they were thrown into
56the holes. There were over 1000 people at the funeral.^