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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold2/1909/43
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 August 1909
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address ToKamper’s Kraal, Nel’s Poort, Western Cape
Who ToLucy Molteno nee Mitchell
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 date of this letter is provided by the postmark on an attached envelope, which also provides the address it was sent to. Schreiner was resident in De Aar from November 1907 until she left South Africa for Britain and Europe in December 1913, with some fairly lengthy visits elsewhere over this time.
1 My dear Lucy Molteno
2
3 I have kept your letter for 5 days unanswered hoping against hope I
4should get better. I’m so unwell I shall soon have to leave de Aar.
5The heat & dust are crushing. It would unreadable here together, but I
6am just waiting to hear about a place high in the mountains near Graaf
7Reinet, & if they can’t take me there I will try to find a place in
8Basuto Land. Its so terrible in this country that when one is ill
9there are no places to go to. If I had a fortune I would leave it all
10to starting places in South Africa where such people could go, who
11were willing to pay, but for whom there are no places now. In the
12towns it is always dusty & un healthy.
13
14 I do hope you are feeling quite better, dear.
15
16 If only the food at Matjesfontein were at all possible; how lovely it
17would be; we could both go & stay there for a month together. But you
18can’t get a drop of milk there, not whatever you are willing to pay
19for it; no eggs, tinned bad butter, that you smell as you come into
20the dining room, &c. &c. I want such very simple food only a little
21milk & brown bread & ?porridge, & that one can’t get there.
22
23 I am so glad you have had the children with you. It will have helped
24you over the winter, but I don’t like to hear your dear eyes are
25troubling you. On a farm if one has no housekeeping to be able to read
26is the great joy. If one can’t it makes such a difference. I do hope
27I shall be able to go to Cape Town if my husband goes, & then I shall
28see you there. But if I go to Basutu Land I will have to stop there
29till the summer is over; the journey is too long.
30
31 If I do go to Cape Town seeing you there is one of things I shall most
32look forward to.
33
34 I get long letters from Betty, so joyful & excited in the London life
35see seems hardly able to contain herself. I would go to Europe by the
36next steamer, if it wasn’t I couldn’t stand leaving my husband
37
38 Good bye dear
39 Olive Schreiner
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42