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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/2
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 9 October 1905
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrederick ('Fred') Pethick-Lawrence
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. A typescript only of this letter is available. The transcription here follows this typescript and includes any uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on. The letter was written after that of 3 October and before the visit made by the Pethick-Lawrences to Hanover on 14 October 1905 and only one Monday occurs in that period, thus the dating of the letter.
1 Hanover
2 Monday morning, October 1905
4 I have just got your note. The strangest thing has happened. In all
5the years I have lived in Hanover (I came here when I left Cape Town
6in 1900 when you were there) only three times has a friend come to see
7me, once for one day, Miss Molteno and Miss Greene, and twice for one
8day old Dr. Brown. Otherwise I have never in all these years here seen
9the face of any human being I had ever seen before. Now this morning
10comes your letter saying you will be here on the 14th, and one from Dr.
11 & Mrs Purcell saying they will arrive on the 12th!! They are most
12lovely and beloved folk, the only friends of a close kind I have in
13the Cape Colony now. Miss Molteno and Miss Greene have gone: they are
14both strong pro-Boers. She is the author of some of those little poems
15in "Songs of the Veld" which no doubt you will have read. I have much
16wished you to know them and have written to them to tell them to ask
17you to stay with them, (the Purcells) on your return to Cape Town.
18They have the most lovely place near Constantia, and I know your stay
19with them will be one of the pleasantest memories you will carry away
20from South Africa. It will be lovely that you should first meet and
21learn to know each other here. Just at first I will confess that I had
22a little selfish feeling that if you and your wife can only stay here
23a couple of days and I can perhaps never see you again, I wished I
24could have you here "all to myself"! But on the other hand it will be
25so nice to have you all together because I know you will like them as
26much as they will like you both.
28Now as to business. You must see you get a through carriage, booking
29straight for Hanover Road in which case you arrive at 10.0’clock at
30de Aar on Saturday. You will without changing get to Hanover Road at
31about 12.o’clock. I shall see that the old man who takes passengers
32to & from the station is there with his cart waiting for you, and an
33hour and a half’s drive will bring you to the village. The Purcells
34also will be staying at the same hotel and have the room next yours,
35and I will be there to meet you.
37These are one or two little hints for your travelling. If you are tea
38or coffee drinkers, be sure to take your tea baskets & spirits with
39you and get a supply of good tea and coffee at Cartwrights in Adderley
40Street. The tea and coffee in the train & everywhere in South Africa
41is terrible.
43 Also be sure to take enough warm wraps & clothing with you; don’
44think because it is summer & hot you won’t need them. Here for
45instance we sometimes have heavy sudden frosts in October. Also take
46plenty of good soft pillows with you, not only one. I never travel
47with less than three. In these immense train journies it makes all the
48difference whether you have plenty of pillows to prevent your feeling
49the jar of the train in your head.
51 If you are coming on a through ticket to Rhodesia you can still take
52your seats in the part of the train that comes past Hanover Road. The
53train stops about fifteen minutes, and at de Aar you can take the
54ticket to Hanover Road. The train divides at de Aar, one part going
55North and one part coming this way. If you are going to Bulwayo and
56the Falls, you ought to go at once. The fever time will soon come. It
57is altogether such a pity you were not able to come out in April
58instead of October. You would then have had the splendid six winter
59months for travelling in. By the end of November it becomes
60intolerably hot everywhere. You must find time to go to the Eastern
61Province the most lovely part of South Africa and see our dear Kaffirs,
62 also to Basutoland, which is most interesting. You must see our
63natives a little. The native question is the real question of South
66 My husband sends warm greetings to you both.
The book referred to is: Anonymous (1902) Songs of the Veld and Other Poems: Reprinted from ‘The New Age’ London: New Age Press.