"Thrown away 10 years of my life to prevent inevitable" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/3
Epistolary Type
Letter Date4 April 1877
Address FromRatel Hoek, Halesowen, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToWillie Cawood
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 1-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Willie Cawood (the second son).
2Ratel Hoek, 4th April.
4I suppose by this time you've quite forgotten me and when you get this
5letter you have to sit for half an hour and rub your head before you
6can remember who Olive Schreiner was. I'm afraid so, but hope not, for
7I don't like big people or little people to forget me if I love them.
9We are having very great storms here. One night, just in the middle of
10the night, I thought the house was struck by the lightning and in the
11morning we found four sheep dead in the kraal close by the house. You
12can't think what a place for snakes this is, Will. This morning Mrs.
13Aurett heard a funny hissing noise in the parlour, and Mr. Aurett went
14in and killed a big yellow snake just by the piano. And the other day
15when we went into the school-room we saw a great fellow lying asleep
16in one corner of the room. He was too lazy to run away. He just looked
17up at us, as much as to say, "What do you mean by making such a noise
18and waking me up?" and then he went to sleep again, so we soon killed
19him. Now when we go to school we always peep in the corners to see if
20his brother has not come to look for him. There's a nice little
21schoolmaster here to-day, but I don't think you would like him to be
22your schoolmaster. Guess what he does when the boys are naughty! He
23has a stick with the end all split, and he sticks it into their hair,
24and twists, and twists, till he gets a little bunch of hair out. If I
25was one of his boys I would cut my hair so short that there was not
26any left for him to pull.