"Please don't discuss my affairs, my big sex book" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/186/80
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateJune 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToIsie Smuts nee Krige
Other VersionsRive 1987: 363
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. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Box 406
2 Johannesburg
3
4 Dear Mrs Smuts
5
6 Thank you very much for your letter, & the book. I began reading it
7last night when I went to bed & finished it before morning.
8
9 What I feel most is a great sympathy with the writer’s view of life
10& love. I suppose she it is by a woman. I am keeping it a couple of
11days longer for my husband to read.
12
13 If we should be able to come over to Pretoria, my husband & I, next
14Saturday afternoon to stay with you till Monday afternoon would it be
15quite convenient? If it would, I’ll wire on Friday afternoon if we
16are able to come. My heart has been troubling me a bit since I came
17back, & I’m not sure I shall be able to come. But it would be a
18great pleasure to spend a day with you & little Baas Koosie, a baby is
19a great joy to me. My little girl died when she was two days old.
20
21 I think we shall not go to the Free State. My husband would have all
22the mechanical editing of the paper, proof correcting &c to do, & he
23feels he could not do justice to paper with so little time for leaders
24&c: the salary is only £400 so he could not afford to pay £250 out
25of it for an assistant. If they are willing to give him he will go but
26not otherwise. It is just to help the South African cause that he wants
27to go! Here he can do nothing, as by the terms of his agreement as an
28articled clerk he must take no part in politics. I would rather stay
29here, but he chaffs so much against his inactivity here that if it can
30be arranged we shall go. We shall know by the end of the week. Don’t
31mention the possibility of our going to anyone, as my husband fears
32the men with whom he is will make a difficulty about letting him go if
33they know the purpose for which he is leaving. They are "Reformers".
34
35 Please give the enclosed to your husband.
36
37 One reason why I should like to stay in Johannesburg is that then I
38shall see more of you.
39
40 Yours most sincerely
41 Olive Schreiner
42
43 ^Mrs Smuts^
44
45
46
Notation
The book Schreiner received from Isie Smuts has not been established. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.