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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/188/70A
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date26 December 1904
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. Although Schreiner has written on 1907 as the year of this letter, content shows it is clearly 1904.
1 Hanover
2 Dec 26 / 07
3
4 Dear Isie
5
6 You will have wondered at not having heard from me, but since I came
7home I have been ill, & in Johannesburg the four days I spent there I
8was so over run with visitors I had not one second. Twenty minutes
9before the train started I had to ask some people to leave that I
10might pack my things.
11
12 I can’t thank you enough for the very, very, happy time I had with
13you. It is years since I felt so strong & well & enjoyed any holiday
14so much. The only draw back was that little Santa was not well enough
15for me to romp with her, & the thought that it couldn’t be good for
16you to have that great house full of us in your delicate state. I
17think you stood it all just wonderfully. I always feel a woman ought
18to have six weeks of perfect quite & rest after the birth of her baby,
19just to think of it & enjoy it, & nothing else. I wonder if you could
20spare the time, or get Mary Reitz just to send me a post card to say
21how you all are. I shall be so glad to heart Santa’s teeth are
22through. I keep seeing her face with its big blue eyes, & it’s
23wonderful little smile. I wonder if she is so beautiful when she is
24well! Please give my love to your dear mother if she is still with you.
25 I shall certainly go to Stellenbosch just to have the pleasure of
26seeing her again. I should like to know more of Garfield too. He looks
27to me almost as interesting as Ella, but I had no chance of talking
28with him. It’s so beautiful to me that the quite young generation of
29Africanders seems growing up with so much promise. Garfields face is
30like Ellas; its the face of someone who really can think. Most people
31just live without thinking. I spent an afternoon at Johannesburg with
32Malan’s parents. His sister is such a beautiful girl, strong & sweet
33in character, exactly like her brother. All the sons & daughters
34resemble the mother who is a very fine woman. The father is quite
35common place, & one wonders how he comes to have such remarkable
36children till you see the mother. I had a very very happy time in
37Johannesburg too, but didn’t get to Roodepoort to see my little name
38sake. I am afraid the child will be disappointed as I promised to go,
39but I had not a moment to spare. We had a very trying journey down:
40not a place to lie down in, over 230 passengers on the train, & not
41one mouthful of food to be got from the time I left Johannesburg at 8.
4220. one evening till I got to Hanover Rd at 8.10 the next. Except some
43soda water which I got out of the train & bought at Bloemfontein. The
44unreadable passengers ate up all the food on the train, before we
45could get any. When we got to Hanover Rd the cart I had ordered had
46gone back again, would not wait as the train was some hours late, & I
47had to sit out on the platform till half past ten the next morning.
48But all the rest of the journey was so delightful I am very thankful I
49went. Please tell your mother Mrs. Malan is going to have a photograph
50of her sons taken for me & sh & I will send her one with all their
51names written below. The youngest was only 14 when he joined at the
52beginning of the war & all the brother’s fought to the end. The old
53lady is so proud of them, & well she may be! All good & loving wishes
54for you all for the new year.
55
56 Olive.
57
58 ^Malan of Ons Land got into the train at Bloemfontein but I was so
59tired & there were so many people I couldn’t look for him. His wife
60is a very sweet woman: you would like her much. I wish you would be
61down at Stellenbosch when parliament meets. Is there any chance of
62your being down there?^
63
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