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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box6/Fold2/1916/37
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSaturday 29 July 1916
Address FromTrevaldwyn, Llandrindod Wells, Wales
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at Llandrindod Wells between mid June and mid September 1916.
1Saturday
2
3Thank you for your letter. I am so glad the Boy is so near you; I
4wonder if it chanced so, or if you managed to arrange it. I am deeply
5anxious he should ultimately keep the full use of the arm; but I am
6more anxious that he should be out of the trenches for a year or so.
7
8I think he’s about done his part. I am only so afraid the elbow
9being such a sensitive spot he may suffer much pain & inconvenience
10even when all inflammation is gone. That dear old arm that was always
11stretched out to do little kindnesses for others – the little
12kindnesses that are really the big things in life.
13
14Mrs Baerlien writes me that she & her husband will arrive here on the
158th of Aug & her sister Mrs Moser & her husband on the 2nd of Aug. Old
16Sir Otto & Lady Jaffe are arriving here today so there will be quite a
17little lot of the people we met on the continent. I hope you are going
18to get a real holiday this August & take the boy off somewhere if his
19arm will allow. This is a splendid place for golf but now, alas, he
20will be out of it.
21
22I hope you will soon have news again of our old Bill. The thing
23one’s most anxious about out there is that if they get ill they may
24be almost without the comforts & necessities they have on the Western
25front here.
26
27Yes Alice Corthorn has had a most serious & terrible operation
28(don’t mention this to her as she may have told me this in
29confidence, & not wish it talked of). I have heard twice from her. How
30much of what we look upon as ^mental^ unreadable is really physical in
31its origin. All the strange change that has come over her in the last
32two years sh has been surely coming to this. It is wonderful she has
33held out as she has. She may be much better now for a time.
34
35Good bye my dear old man. I’m so thankful the boy is with you & that
36at least for a time you will have him near you.
37Ol
38
39I will give your message to Mrs Baerlin. I wish you & Fan & the Boy
40were coming too.
41
42Cron will be so glad to hear Oliver is in London near you.
43
44Aren’t those lists appalling when you remember Wellington only lost
45(killed) 100 officers at Waterloo. He had only
4635, 000 English troops
478000 Kings German Legion
485000 Brunswickers (Germans)
4915, 000 Hanovarians
5017, 000 Netherlands
51
52Nearly half his troops were Germans, ^& much^ more than half not English.
53 This quite apart from the German army old Blucher brought up in the
54afternoon.
55
56It is strange how the scene remains the same only the partners change
57from generation to generation Yester-day it was German English &
58Belgians against France: today Germans against English French &
59Belgians; tomorrow, perhaps in ten or fifteen years it will be English,
60 Germans, & other Western peoples against Russia backed by Japan &
61perhaps with the vast hords & resources of China to draw on, fighting
62the big fight between the Slav-Mogul & the Western nations of Europe.
63A curious nightmare life when you study it historically! Never the
64less the dawn of civilization will break on Earth one day – though
65the day may yet be far off.
66
67I enclose you a bit of Cron’s letter just come about Ol.
68
69Your little old sister
70Olive
71
Notation
Schreiner's reference in the penultimate paragraph to 'the dawn of civilization eventually breaking' concerns her never completed 'The Dawn of Civilization'. A version edited by Cronwright-Schreiner was published posthumously: "The Dawn" Nation & Athenaeum 26 March 1921 vol 28, no 26 pp. 212-14, and also appears in Stories, Dreams and Allegories from the second edition on.