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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1894/6
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date11 April 1894
Address FromKrantz Plaats, Halesowen, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 236-7
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. Schreiner was resident at Krantz Plaats from 25 February to the start of August 1894.
1 April 11 / 94
2
3 My old Will
4
5 I wish I knew the drift of things in Cape Town & how all went with you.
6
7 I got a very curious letter from Lady Loch, so mightily pained I
8should think they were leaving for good; & now it seems Lord
9Carrington is coming. He’s a great personal friend of old Forts so
10it will be nice for our dear old boy.
11
12 My general health is good, or rather would be very good if asthma
13would leave me alone. I always have terrible asthma in these parts
14except in the very cold weather which fortunately for me will soon be
15here.
16
17 My dear husband is gentleness & tenderness itself to me; & day by day
18my heart clings closer to him. He is a curiously strong man in
19governing himself, & the the man who can govern so is strong all round.
20 My trust in his truth is absolute.
21
22 Lonely intellectually one has been from the moment one began really to
23think, & lonely one will be in the intellect till death folds one
24round; but there is a curious sweet moral & spiritual comradeship
25between me & Cron which holds us very much together. Our feelings for
26nature, the whole religious side of our beings is so intensely one. I
27wish you could come here & spend a few quiet days with us. Cron & I
28rode out hunting up some young horses the other afternoon, & I almost
29rode over four bucks, & started four beautiful wild crains. It was
30very exciting going after the horses; Cron was thrown once but but
31didn’t get hurt. We would give up a week to pure open air life if
32you would come to us, & it would do you more good than the whole of
33your trip to England. But I suppose there’s no hope of this for many
34& many a long day. Cron is sitting writing a news paper article in the
35next room, but he said when he went out that he meant to write to you.
36You would love the dear boy as a brother of your own if you could see
37more of him.
38
39 Good bye, dear old man. Write to me when you can, please.
40
41 My asthma is a sore burden to me & I wish we could get up into the
42Middleburg or Hanover districts which suit me, or up near Kimberly, by
43but for the present there’s no chance of that.
44
45 Good bye again. Love to our small ones & Fan. When is your little one
46to come? I should like to have a child, but I would be quite happy
47with my Husband without one.
48
49 Thine Olive
50
51^Captain Marriot is coming out again.^
52
53
54
55
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect. Soon after the marriage, Will Schreiner wrote to Cronwright-Schreiner a letter that is both welcoming and as measured as some of his sister's about the man she was marrying, to the effect that his concerns about her marrying had not been actually increased by the fact that it was Cronwright rather than someone else:

Cape Town
19th April 1894

My dear Cron:

I was glad to get your letter yesterday. As you hint I should have written to you first, - though after all you should perhaps have applied to me for my consent before running off with my little sister. I do congratulate you, my dear fellow, most heartily on winning her; & I am not exaggerating when I say that I think, with you as husband, her chances of a happy life with continued development of nature & powers are as favourable as they would be in any case. I have had my doubts as to the expediency or wisdom of her marrying at all before the arrival of the Millenium: but they have not been accentuated by the fact that you are the man of her choice. On the contrary I have every reason to believe & hope that, granting that she must marry, your union will be the best for her. Naturally, my dear Cron, I look at it, in my purblind way, from her side. You are, however, as near & dear to her, and are making her so at rest & happy now that I have good reasons for trust & confidence.

You know that she is very dear to me, & I am not sufficiently emancipated to be quite free from a small sense of jealousy, but it is more subdued as regards yourself than I think it would have been in respect of any other man. And I feel that you & I have the capacity of being very good friends, by virtue of mutual candour and outspokenness.

Today is a short day with me, as it is Will's birthday & we are going this afternoon to Sea Point for a sort of picnic. The lad is eight years old today, backward in many respects for that age, but full of thought & mind.

We are all looking out for house in place of our present residence, but it is difficult to get one that suits: the main object being the kids' health. At present they are all well, though I am in my heart anxious about our little Oliver, who is fragile & thin, & almost too good.

Give my love to Olive, & accept the same for yourself from all of us

Your affectionate friend
W.P. Schreiner
(Will Schreiner to SCCS, NELM SMD 30 33d)