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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1895/3
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date16 May 1895
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToHenrietta ('Ettie') Schreiner m. Stakesby Lewis (1891)
Other VersionsRive 1987: 252
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.
1The Homestead
2Ap May 16 / 95
3
4 My darling old Ettie,
5
6 I am sending you three pictures of my little one. When you have looked
7at them send them on to Will, & ask him to show them to Mrs Innes &
8Mrs Sauer & ask Mrs Sauer to send them back to me. They are only taken
9by Cron’s little hand Kodak, but they are all I have.
10
11 Ettie, if you had been here when when my little baby was born I should
12have had it with me still. One day I will write & tell you all that
13happened. I dare not now, because I have to get well for Cron.
14
15 What I say is for your heart alone. I don’t want one moment’s
16suffering to be caused to any human creature by that beautiful, holy
17little life of mine; it is gone now, but one day I will write to you &
18tell you everything. It lived 16 hours.
19
20 My darling, if my little one had lived I would have wanted you to come
21& take care of it ^till I was strong.^ But for myself I want nothing. I
22need nothing but to be well enough to work.
23
24 I had so much milk for it. They gave me some medicine & enough
25plasters to stop it from coming; but the milk ran through the cloths
26they put on my breast, & down my sides. I had enough milk for two
27babies.
28
29 Do you remember how we used to play at having babies when we were
30little girls? I lie here & think of you often. Oh Ettie, my poor old
31Ettie! People say "forget". They don’t know that the one joy is that
32one can never forget: that as long as I live I shall feel that little
33dead body lying in my breast comforting me.
34
35 I have given away one of the little nightgowns you gave me to a little
36illegitimate child of that Miss ?Mires whom you once saw at the
37?resting-home. I shall give them ^all the little things^ away only one,
38but I can’t give them all at once.
39
40 Good bye my own old Ettie, my old sister
41
42 Your sister
43 Olive
44
45 ^I am stopping in bed today because the pains are bad, but on the whole
46considering how I ill I was I am getting on wonderfully. Cron has
47nursed me like a mother. I should have been dead the third day if he
48had left me in the hands of the nurse.^
49
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.