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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1894/2
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date20 February 1894
Address FromMiddelburg, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 232-3
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 Middelburg
2 Feb 20 / 94
3
4 My dear old Man
5
6 Thank you, I have your letter, & Fred’s cheque. I shall return the
7£20 next week when I cash my publishers cheque. As to the £50 I
8shall only take £12.10 as I told Fred only gives it me till I
9marry. The dear old man wanted to pay my passage out to this country,
10but I wouldn’t let him so he wrote me he would send me the £40 the
11passage cost with my other money as a present. He may want me to He
12said nothing about it in his latest, so I shall then send the £36
13back to him. So much for business.
14
15 Now as to the little mother, nothing happen in Grahamstown ^&^ she has
16gradually been becoming more friendly. The thing that pained her &
17which I very foolishly did the week before I left England was to
18enclose through her two notes from Ettie & Theo, rather affectionate I
19thought the moment I’d done it, but it was too late. When I got out
20here she wrote me only a couple of lines expressing no joy at my
21coming but simply asking me to tell Theo he was a wicked & unnatural
22son for not writing. I wrote most affectionately, & persisted writing
23& writing but she only wrote me one post card in the first month I was
24here. At last I wired to Maddie Orpen to know if she was well, Maddy
25wired back she was. What made matters worse was that for Theo wired to
26tell her of my landing! She wouldn’t come to see me for the first
27two days I was in town but I have never allowed it to make one moments
28difference in my
conduct. I write continually, & write more
29affectionately than ever. I fear that his coming up to my wedding will
30pain her. But I shall not mention it to her, & she may not hear of it.
31She is now I think sorry, & try but the best way is just to hold on
32the right course. I could say then a word in a moment about Theo &
33Ettie which would make matters worse all right, but it’s a word that
34of course can’t be spoken. To make matters worse, Cron wrote me & in
35a conversation with mother the little mother went into ecstasy over
36Ettie’s nobility of character & strength &c!!!
37
38 It seems to me jealousy causes all the difficulties in life but one
39must just hold straight on believing things will come right. I have
40never missed writing to mother every day since I was in town. I know
41what she is wanting me to say & I can’t say it. Theo saved my life
42when I had measles & it’s a thing I can never forget. But It will
43all come right shortly but especially when I was so ill it seemed an
44intolerable addition to the burden of life.
45
46 I’m going to be married on Saturday morning. It would have been very
47beautiful if you could have been here my dear old Laddie. I would
48rather have had you with me than any other soul on earth. You will
49think of me at 9 on Saturday morning. We are just going to walk up to
50?Roux’s house & get married there in the drawing room. Theo Cron & I
51& perhaps old Mr Jack & a Miss ?Gowie who’s staying here, as
52witnesses.
53
54 There isn’t a train we can get away by till 3.30 so we shall have
55lunch here. I shall just wear my ordinary little grey dress that I
56wore in Kimberly, & the "wedding" will last about one minute. We shall
57get to Krantz Plaats at 7.30 that evening, & drive down to the farm
58house. My faith in the beauty & strength of Cron’s nature grows
59stronger as I know him better; he is a strong man. The worship which
60it has all my life been my dream that marriage should enable one to
61give will I know not be mine; but ^marriage^ will give me I believe
62something to love abidingly ^& naturally^ ?I that I have needed greatly;
63I feel satisfied it is right.
64
65 I have not the smallest shade of ecstatic expectation nor any
66excitement, but a calm, very calm, conviction I am doing right. We
67shall be greatly interest in getting our little house right, Cron is
68going to put up shelves, & make tables, & I’m going to hang curtains
69make sarsartees. My great fear is that Krantz Plaats may not suit me,
70but it will be much better in winter than summer. Cron is wondrous
71tender & good to me in the way of tenderness. I have always resolved
72to keep my own name when I married, & so that we & our may both have
73the same name he is going to take mine & be Cronwright Schreiner. This
74has touched me more than anything he could have done for me. You must
75come & rest with me one day, my old Will: a bit of a stay at the farm
76would rest you more than anything. You could go out shooting, there
77are plenty of bucks. What I look forward to most almost is having Fan
78& the children there, if ever they go to see mother. His feeling for
79Dot is quite curious. I asked him the other evening whether if we
80should not have a child he would like to adopt one, & he said no, the
81only child he longed to adopt Dot. I should like to see Ollie Pollie
82trotting about after the goats & lambs, & running away from the old
83ram.
84
85 Dear Laddie, I have never clung to all my folk so, & felt so near them
86as I do now. unreadable Nothing can ever divide you & me. All your
87letters will be only for me, if they hold anything private no one
88should see them. I have always felt it was as much a betrayal if one
89repeated what I told them to a husband or wife as if they printed it
90in a newspaper.
91
92^Good bye my own old Laddy: you’ll think of me on Saturday at 9
93o’clock. ^
94 Your little sister always & ever,
95 Ol
96
97 unreadable Cron said the other evening when we were sitting on the
98stoep – "We’ll never let politics or anything come in between us &
99old Will, & they never could.
100
101
102
103
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.