"About Rebecca Schreiner, OS's childhood, her writing" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/19
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMay 1899
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 349-50
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 month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content. .
1 Dearest Friend
3 I was so glad to see your handwriting again. Things are going rather
4badly again, the league making the most violent efforts to pro-duce
5war: but the mass of Johannesburg people are solid against it & I
6don’t think they will succeed; but they may. I hardly know whether
7it will be best that Innes comes over: as long as there is one strong
8honest man on their said they are hampered in carrying out low or evil
9plans. I believe Rhodes would be very glad to be rid of Innes.
11 After the long spell of terrible damp heavy close weather, we are
12having some bright days; & it is so wonderful to see clear light that
13I feel as if I could do nothing but look out.
15 Cron is getting on well with his work: can write letters in Dutch
16already, & looks very fit. We have got one of those ?Sander’s
17developers, & he practices on it every day for an hour & a half, & I
18practice too, a little. I think its a mistake to depend too much on
19walking as exercise. One may be able to walk so little & yet be able
20to take exercise in other ways.
22 I think Sir Alfred Milner is playing a good part just now: I am told
23by intimate personal friends of his that he profoundly mistrusts
24Rhodes. I wish I could meet him. I have been going through a very
25strange chapter of my life since I came to Johannesburg, & I think
26because the life has been so terrible & intense, & yet the
27circumstances were sho such that I could not write of them to any
28humanbeing, is what has cut me off from attempting to write to any of
29my friends at all. When one is young, & especially as long as one is
30unmarried, one seems to come closer to ones friends, because one can
31open ones heart to them & the one or two nearest & dearest can share
32all your life with you. Afterwards life becomes so complex, that the
33whole personal life must be lived quite alone in silence. To perfect
34strangers you can write & speak more easily; but to those you really
35love it is hardly worth expressing yourself unless it can be from the
36depths of your life; & so you don’t express yourself at all.
38 I am getting on very nicely with my work the last few days. Cron & I
39had our likenesses taken here the other day, & if they are good I’ll
40send you one. I wish I had a really good photograph of you & Miss
. But I’m curious I only care for really good photographs. If
42you have any that are really like you, please send them me.
44 Olive
46 P
Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect