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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box5/Fold2/1913/42
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 31 October 1913
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 De Aar
2 Thursday
4 Private
6 Dear Will
8 The enclosed from Miss H - will explain itself.
10 I had to write to her at very politely & kindly, but telling her that
11I could not be hurried in any of my plans. That I must be quite free
12to change them from day to day as my health required & as my movements
13were quite uncertain she had better make her plans in Europe quite
14independently of me. It was her saying the Pethwick Lawrences were to
15take her about if they took me that was the last hair that broke the
16camel’s back! People may sit on me as much as they like but they are
17not to interfere with my friends. You are quite mistaken in the idea
18of our being great friends. I know hardly anything of her except that
19I have done her all the little services I could. I may not go to
20Florence at all but stay on in the Riviera till the Nauheim treatment
21begins. I shall be guided entirely by the advice of the doctors in
22London my old friend Sir Horatio Donkin, & Dr Mackenzie, a big heart
23specialist, whom I used to know when he was a young man.
25 The only reason why I thought of returning ^going^ on the same boat with
26her was because she told me she had such a splendid trained maid who
27if I would pay her a small sum would attend to me when Miss H was not
28needing her. It appears this splendid maid is a myth – she has no
29maid at all. But she has written insisting that I must have a first
30class maid! If I had arranged to go in the same steamer with her what
31would have happened would have been this – about ten days before we
32sailed she would have appeared in your chambers in St Georges Street
33– without saying a word to me – & would have represented to you
34that in my state of health it would be quite impossible for me to
35travel without a first class attendant, & she had found just the woman
36only she wanted £30 or £40. (Perhaps she would bring the woman with
37her!) Will in your generous openhearted way what could you do but
38offer to pay for your poor little sisters attendant? Once on board
39ship of course the maid would devote all her time to Miss Hobhouse
40(who tells me she has to be washed, dressed, bathed just like a baby)
41& should be left to myself, & perhaps to help the maid wait on Miss
whenever I was able! I am as certain that this ^would have been ^
43as her plan as that I am alive!
45 No Madeira wouldn’t do at all for me, dear one. Its to me a deadly
46climate. I only begin to recover from the heat of the tropics when I
47get the cooler air in the Bay of Biscay. You’ve no idea what I’m
48like in the tropics dear. I should have died the time before last when
49I came out if the doctor hadn’t got to give me up his got the first
50officer to give me up his beautiful large cabin on the top deck – &
51even that was not enough for three nights in the tropics they carried
52me up & lay me on a p mattress on that little bridge where the captain
53walks up down. I can’t remember them carrying me there or taking me
54down, but I can remember waking at night & seeing the stars above me &
55the tall figure of the captain walking up & down beside me. I suppose
56such a thing has never been done for any other passenger but the
57doctor told the captain it was my life.
59 I am afraid of the tropics, dear; but if once I get to the Bay of
60Biscay I shall pull through. unreadable I shall get you & Dr Brown to
61speak to the Doctor on board before I sail – its he thats got to
62save me with injections of strychnine & digitalis every few hours.
63What good on earth could Miss Hobhouse be to me! Forgive this long
64egotistic dear. Keep clear, of Miss Hobhouse as far as I’m concerned.
65 Don’t trouble to answer this. Just put Miss H’s letter in
66enclosed envelope.
68 My dear love to you.
69 Olive
'The enclosed from Miss H' is no longer attached.