"My arms stretching out to Alice Greene; if I could put my love into words, must feel it coming to you across the miles" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold1/1908/14
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 March 1908
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Brown nee Solomon
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The name of the addressee has been written on this letter in an unknown hand and is confirmed by content.
1 Matjesfontein
2 March 22nd 1908
3
4 My dear brave, darling,
5
6 It has done my heart good to know you were were working on so in spite
7of all things; but I am very much afraid the wine farmer will carry
8the day. I suppose in a little more than a month you will be off to
9Ray & Mollie & baby. It is good you can get away from the winter rain;
10but I shall miss you if I do come to town.
11
12 Mrs du Vaal told me the real long cession of Parliament would ^will^
13probably begin at the end of June, so they will sit ^July,^ August &
14September, October, the three worst months of the year.
15
16 I felt the first week I was here as if I wasn’t going to get my feet
17on the ground in the wonderful way I do always here; but the last
18three days I’ve begun to dis-cover I am a distant connection of the
19Olive Schreiner who used to live here; & I may end by finding out
20I’m related to her. To-day I walked for the first time to my
21favourite little tree on the top of a kopje about one mile & a half
22from this: I have loved many individual trees, but I don’t think any
23one quite like this. There is the most wonderful silent motionless
24view from it of these great undulating plains & the dear great
25mountain ranges. And it’s all so un-change since I used to sit there
2616 years ago before I was married. The tiny little tree like a thick
27open umbrella over one’s head seems hardly to have grown any larger.
28
29 This is a wild windy night & I keep thinking of my poor old Cron in
30that terrible de Aar; but of course it isn’t to him as to me. He has
31his work there, & the things in the people & life that seem so
32crushing to me, don’t affect him in the same way, perhaps could
33affect no man as it does a woman.
34
35 Isn’t it wonderful how the woman movement is advancing in England?
36Have you noticed how the tone in all papers & magazines is changing?
37
38 There is a poor man in a little house just behind the hotel, a miner
39from the Transvaal dying of the kind of consumption miners get. He can
40never lie down any more. He has been dying for two weeks but still he
41suffers on, & may go on for weeks or death may come at any time. The
42good Catholic priest is staying here day after day to be with him at
43the last. I got to see him, but one can do nothing. He has a wife &
44several little children in England & is only 35. He has a young
45brother & sister with him who take care of him. He was in such great
46agony yesterday crying out aloud for hours that they had to send to
47Laingsberg for the Doctor who injected morphia, & to-day he has had
48peace; but always sitting up. Oh, the mystery of life & death! What
49always comes back to me is, how unnecessary it is that we should ever
50try to inflict pain on eachother, when if we human’s did all we
51could for each other, there would be still such a weight of anguish &
52torture to be struggled against; from the external conditions of life,
53there is nothing that redeems the tragedy of life, but love.
54
55 Good night dear friend. I’ve written a post card for Molly on her
56birthday, but I fear it will get there too late.
57
58 OS
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