"Post-war typhoid, misery, common bond gone" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold2/1909/5
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date5 February 1909
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
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.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Feb 5th 1909
3
4 Dear Laddie
5
6 I have just got your wire & answered it. Theo is doing splendidly. His
7temperature is quite normal 99 – the same as mine or yours. For the
8last three nights he has only woken once about 4 o’clock to get a
9drink. The doctors said from the first day he came that if it was
10typhoid it was a very slight attack. Joe Fulton was here staying at
11the hotel, & he asked whether I thought we should wire to tell you
12Theo was not well. I said I would rather cut off my hand than do such
13a thing, you pressed down almost to breaking point with this mighty
14case upon you & your weak heart! – What could you do, you couldn’t
15have come even if he’d afterwards got bad! & as he was never once
16bad. The only thing I was ever anxious was his heart, but the doctor
17says it is going splendidly strong again. He has since he was ill had
18only one attack of angina, & that was not so bad as I & Het get every
19day & sometimes more than once.
20
21 I said nothing to Fan about it; but she & Dr Brown talk it over. Dr
22Brown
agreed that she should on no account worry you about it; & all the
23& she Fan, sent £5 to Kate Stuart. Now we find that the very first
24day, without any request from Theo Kate Stuart wrote off to tell you.
25She’s a - well God hasn’t made anything worse; all the evil poor
26old Theo has done he has been lead into by her. It has been very
27painful to me to go & speak to her & still more to be near her, but
28when I heard Theo had typhoid & all the people here were afraid to go
29& help of course I went. I sat up for the whole of three nights
30running as long as there was any fever. Now he is sleeping the whole
31night through, so the Hottentot servant sleeps at his door & calls
32Kate if he wants anything, he reads the papers all day & chats about
33everything & says he feels his heart better than for years. The doctor
34says this is the third week so in five days he should be up. They have
35had no extra expenses except getting ice from Cape Town to mix with
36his milk & soup. Alice Findlay & Het offered to come up & nurse him
37but we Kate wired it wasn’t necessary, there would be nothing for
38them to do.
39
40 I will send you a post card daily, so you need fear nothing, & will
41wire at once if he should eat anything & get ill at all. We are giving
42him only strong soup, milk &c.
43
44 The railway doctor a splendid man came every other day. He charged
45
46Matjesfontein
47 Feb 2nd 1909
48 My dear Laddie

49
50 Kate unreadable Stuart nothing for all the time he attended her, as
51they are great friends; & he will make only a very small charge if he
52makes one at all. He has to come past here on his ^railway^ rounds every
53two days.
54
55 Dear Heart, your defence looks splendid so far. Wasn’t that fine
56about Christ & the Christians. Wasn’t that grand that our little
57Ursie passed. Oh Will do encourage her on
58
59 ^in studying. She must. Olive.^
60
61 ^I often want to write to you, & send interesting letters I have from
62Malan &c – but won’t till the trial is over because your brain
63must not have the tiniest particle added to its weight. People who
64know nothing of the weight of long continued intense thought can’t
65understand.^
66
67
68
Notation
The crossed-out address and start of a letter in the middle of this letter is on a new piece of paper. Schreiner had begun a letter to Will on 2 February but not written it and then later reused the paper.