"Heart dying up last 5 or 6 years, 'Soul of a People' like rain falling on dry parched soil" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/64
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 14 September 1903
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToHenrietta (‘Ettie’) Schreiner m. Stakesby Lewis (1891)
Other Versions
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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.
1 Hanover
2 Sep 14th 1903
3 Monday night
4
5 My darling
6
7 I got today your note of Saturday today dear. I can’t make out from
8it dear if either you or Will found time to drop me a line on Friday
9^the^ 4th Saturday the 5th or Sunday the 6th. In any case I have not got
10the lines & am not likely ever to get them as all letter coming for me
11from the colony were not allowed to reach me in the Free State. The
12post master here says he redirected several to me that arrived here on
13Monday & must have been posted on Friday the 4th or Saturday the 5th
14in Cape Town.
15
16 If none of you found time to drop me a line I shall quite understand
17it, my darling. For me I feel stupefied & can’t write to any one.
18Don’t try to write me a long letter darling just answer the
19following questions
20
21 1) Was Mother’s death quite sudden, or had she been worse for some
22days?
23
24 2) Was any one with her & who, at the last moment?
25
26 3) Was it a cold or influenza or simply the heart failing?
27
28 4) Did she know at all she was dying?
29
30 5) Did she suffer much?
31
32 6) Was she buried on ^Sunday^ Saturday, as you stated she would be in
33the wire from you & Will?
34
35 7) Were only the family at the funeral, & was it Catholic or
36Protestant?
37
38 Just answer these few questions shortly dear. It is eleven days since
39she died, & yet except that wire of two lines ^which I got on Saturday
40morning^ & your notes about unreadable the photograph I know nothing. I
41know how hard it is to write dear, but perhaps if you can’t Arthur
42Brown
would just a few lines in answer to my 7 questions. The
43photographs will be very very precious to me.
44
45 Good bye, my darling.
46 Your little sister
47 Olive
48
49 If any of you wrote me a line on Friday ^4th^ or Saturday the 5th or
50Sunday the 6th please write to the Authorities at Bloemfontein I have
51written & the post master here has written but they have taken no
52notice of my letters. Possibly the censor has destroyed them, but they
53might mention having done so Both photographs will be very very
54precious to me.
55
56 Olive
57
58 I should have come down to Cape Town on Saturday, though I knew I
59should be to late, but I couldn’t afford it; of course I should have
60come whatever it had cost me if I could have seen her face. I can’t
61help thinking it must have come very suddenly at the end because if
62you had been expecting it you would have let me know I know.
63
64 I wonder what time in the afternoon mother died: so many times, even
65as long ago as at ?Willebury & as lately as at Seymour she has said
66about four in the afternoon or five, "Oh this is the time I know I
67shall die. I always have such a strange sad feeling at this time."
68
69