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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/66
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date4 October 1903
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. This letter has been dated by reference to content. Rebecca Schreiner died in September 1903. Schreiner was resident in Hanover from September 1900 to October 1907, after 1902 with visits, sometimes fairly lengthy, elsewhere.
1 Hanover
2 Oct 4 / 03
4 It is one month today since the little mother rested.
6 How are you, my dear one, & are you well? I’ve had the likenesses two
7days & I haven’t been able to write about them. The one is so
8unutterably beautiful, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my
9life. I keep leaving off my work in the kitchen & about the house &
10going into the bedroom to look at it. It fills me with such joy. Not
11calm peace, but a thrill of joy that I have hardly ever known for some
12years now. Beautiful death. When one reaches our age one leaves off
13crying about death, one cries for life – for all the unutterable
14suffering our beloveds have gone through, not abut the peace.
16 The other pictures are very fine & very beautiful. It is wonderful
17that in all her life she should never have had any real likeness taken
18till just at the end, & then these some of which are simple striking.
19I think in a way the one I love best is the little ?nos one no 3 in
20the first ^set^ unreadable with the white cape. It is so sweet. But the
21power, the genius, comes out in the big pictures, the wonderful
22strength & life: & also in them there is the shadow of coming death! I
23did not at first notice what you had written on ^the paper^, them, & I
24thought they were the first, & I thought how strange it was that in
25the big ones there was the coming shadow so much more plainly. No 1 of
26the ?big the ones is the most wonderful of the whole set; but no 2.
27where she was looking at you with the half smile is the one I want to
28keep always hanging before me. The beautiful glorious picture & the
29one of the grave at a distance I am going to have framed & hang just
30at the foot of my bed. The other one taken afterwards, I dare not ?let
31look at, I value it very much, if but there are the traces of pain in
32the face, something that cuts me to the quick: in years to come I
33shall look at it if I am here, but now I can’t. Don’t you think no 3
34of the first set very sweet? The little group where you four are
35together is very precious. The shadow of what was coming was on the
36little mothers face then, for all the eyes are so bright & large. But
37oh, it’s a ^beautiful shadow.^ - "how I praise the that are dead more
38than the living."
40 I want to write much more about the pictures but I can’t tonight. Oh
41darling, if you could know how sweet that lovely picture is to me. I
42slept with the little pillow last night. I always have something under
43my left shoulder to keep the pressure off the side. I think she would
44have liked to
46 ^know I used it.
48 Good bye my own sweet darling
49 Olive^
51 ^Don’t ask Will about the photo. I fancy it’s the very one that comes
52in the photograph & he might like to keep it himself. I only thought
53he might be giving it away to someone else.^