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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/53
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date31 December 1902
Address FromHanover, Northern 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. The name of the addressee of this letter is indicated by content. The end of the letter is missing.
1 Hanover
2 Dec 31st 1902
4 Darling,
6 I am sending you the money for the wire to Mrs Austin. Thank you so
9 Please ask John to let me know me know as soon as his plans are sure
10as to the time he leaves for Kimberley. Dear, I wonder if it is wicked;
11 but it seems so beautiful to me to think that perhaps this time next
12year I mayn’t be here. It come to me like such an exquisitely lovely
13thought. And yet I may have many years to go on still. One is
14satisfied if it is so; life is beautiful too. But death is more so.
16 I’ve been thinking a lot about Alice lately. You know its funny but I
17think now I understand her life as no one understood it; I put little
18things together & I understand it. Such a curious thing happened: you
19know not long before she died. (I cannot now say how long, but it must
20only have been a few very few months, because I was living in the same
21boarding house in London where I got that letter as w I was when I
22heard of her death, & I only lived there three months altogether), it
23I got a letter from her it was the last she ever wrote me.
25 I fancy it was just before you got to Fraserburg. I had write her a
26rather sympathetic letter about the death of all her children. I
27seldom wrote to her I don’t think I’d written to her for two years,
28but something made me write; & she wrote me back such a curious letter,
29 it was so unlike her, you who know she always wrote such little
30matter of fact letters about the children &c.
32 It was such a strange passionate out cry: "Oh Olive Olive, it is n’t
33the death of my little children that matters. My heart is broken but
34it’s not that that has done it. People sympathize with you & are sorry;
35 but its not the things they think if that have killed you." It was
36those words or all but those words, & then a few weeks afterwards I
37heard she was dead. I hope that letter of hers
39[page/s missing]