"Please don't discuss my affairs, my big sex book" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/2
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateAugust 1872
Address FromHertzog, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToHenrietta (‘Ettie’) Schreiner m. Stakesby Lewis (1891)
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. This letter has been dated by reference to content. Schreiner arrived in Hertzog from Dordrecht in early August 1872 and left it to join her brother Theo and sister Ettie at the Diamond Fields or New Rush, now Kimberley, in December 1872. The page starting ‘You say that you have never...’ does not directly follow on, and is perhaps from another letter.
1 My own sister!
3 I am sitting in my little room at Hertzog, at home at last. I arrived
4here yes the day before yesterday with Mr Gau. I left Dordrecht on
5Sunday (that is Sunday week) & stayed with Miss Gau at Willow ?Hark
6till Wednesday afternoon when I started for L. S. with Mr Gau. Wild
7rain & snow, it grew so bad that we were obliged to spend the night at
8?Asenberg’s hotel & only got to Queens Town the next after noon. I
9stayed at Stubbs & had a delightful little cottage all to my self at
10the bottom of the garden I did not have my photo taken as the
11photographer had gone to the Bay We left Queens Town on Saturday & got
12here about three on Sunday afternoon Papa & Mama were not in & we had
13to wait some time before they could be called Mr Gau left at once as
14he wished to reach Beaufort the same night I was so glad to see dear
15Mamma & found her looking very well & also found the little cottage
16much more snug than I expected.
18 Mamma seemed glad to see me but I would be infinitely more happy if I
19could have some thing to do. It’s no use wishing for that however I
20must make up my mind to stay quietly with Mamma for some months as Mr
to whom I am engaged could never bear the idea that his wife had
22had to work for her living. I’ve never told you of my engagement
23Darling as there are circumstances which make it most desirable that
24no one should know any thing of it just now, still I know I can trust
25my old sis not to say one word about it to any one except Theo. & if
26you are quite sure he will will not mention it, to dear old Will also;
27had it not been for this reason (my engagement) I would have been so
28glad to have gone to Mrs ?Mills but that is all past & gone now.
30 I’ve been engaged not quite two months I can’t say as yet when we
31shall be married as we both feel in a very delicate position with
32regard to Miss Gau, who will think as soon as we speak of getting
33married take it as a hint that she must leave for Germany I dare say
34however we shall be married before the end of the summer as she will
35wish to get home in time for the European summer Mr Gau will have his
36photo take in the Bay & when he returns I will send you one.
38[break in the letter]
40 You say that you have never received any letters from me for some time
41– how that is I can’t make out as I have written again & again to you.
42Has Alex ever got the letter I sent him?
44 I have been so much interested at the account Papa has been giving me
45of your life at the Fields; you know his funny way of telling things,
46I quite seem to know Mr Howard &c &c. do tell me all about your selves
47when you write dear Ett.
49 I must close now darling write soon & ask Theo & Will to write to your
50old sister Olive
52 Mamma sends love – Happy happy returns of your birthday Darling