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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold3/1896/27
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 15 September 1896
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 290
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The name of the addressee is indicated by content.
1 Tuesday
3 Dear Friend
5 Yes, as far as I can judge that woman would do splendidly, but I will
6tell you all I know of her.
8 I advertised for board & lodging in a private house at the sea side.
9She, who was then living at Bexhill replied among others. She had a
10^boarding^ school & some some rooms she did not use. I took such a fancy
11to her face that I decided to go there.
13 I was there a month or two months. I can’t remember quite how long.
14I was very comfortable, but the noise of the pianos was too much for
15me. I had my meals at the table with them all. She is a very little
16woman if I remember very slight, with a pla pale transparent skin, &
17high forehead & large eyes, very quiet in manner but determined. It is
18of course about 12 years since I saw her. Of course I don’t know her
19intimately; the inner woman I don’t know anything of; she might have
20faults & she might have virtues I didn’t suspect: but as far as I
21know her I should say she would answer well. She is a perfect lady:
22you know what I mean – many women strike you as being good & able,
23but not quite refined. If she had a fault I should say it might be
24that she would be a little strict with the girls. I never heard her
25scold or saw her punish a child: but her will seemed to be law to
26every one. Perhaps if I lived in any school I should feel there was
27too much government!
29 //I got a letter from your brother, a very nice one, but we had
30already got a place for Hamilton at Webbers. He is going to give him
31£12 a year & 25 sheep so it will be a good opening for him. I seem in
32great luck lately getting all my folk places. It would be a splendid
33opening for that woman if you did get her because she could see the
34country, & if you didn’t need her at the end of six months she could
35easily get work else where but I believe you’d like her to stay.
37 Oh I do hope we shall be able to go home to England when you go, or
38see you there. But I’ve had another miscarriage – all my own fault
39riding a rough horse, & I had to ride on for two hours in that state
40till we got to the farm house. I’ve never been so stone-broke. I
41can’t believe I’ll ever work or do anything again & if I can’t
42get the work done I can’t go. I feel so depressed mentally. It’s
43so easy to forgive other people but so hard to forgive yourself for
44doing a foolish thing.
46 Good bye, write & tell me if you are going to England.
47 Olive
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.