"Saddest & loneliest old years eve, old days at Heald Town" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/20
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date25 August 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 375
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899.
1 Dear Will
2
3 Thanks for your letter. Things look dark here but I am quite in the
4dark as to the real movement of the moment. The Smuts’s have written
5begging us to come over to Pretoria & stay with them in their house
6till the war is over, if war breaks out. It seems from their repeated
7letters they must expect it & at once.
8
9 unreadable
10 I have a strange feeling I ought not to leave the Transvaal;
11ridiculous as it seems I feel as if I might be some service in war,
12but Cron wants to go away to his cousin’s farm in the Hopetown
13district. Of course the moment war is declared Cron’s office closes,
14& we are stranded unreadable utterly penniless in Johannesburg!! If
15the asthma would allow me to go to Pretoria we might stay there, where
16we have friends to help us & feed us, but I have been for six weeks
17fighting for breath day & night never lying down, & the doctors say
18the left side of my heart is much more dilated than it was a year ago.
19To insist on staying here helpless & ill would be to burden every one.
20^help no one, & burden all perhaps.^
21
22 I will write you as soon as we see our path.
23
24 Oh Will, what breaks my heart is that it should be England entering on
25this parth of cowardly criminality. Not the worst part of the nation
26alone but the best remains almost silent. If I could get away & get a
27little better I could write.
28
29 Good bye dear. I always know you are doing the best you can.
30Solomon’s was a good speech. The best he has made.
31
32 You have some of our Uitlander crew down in Cape Town now. Look at
33Hull!! If God backs those men he is no God but a devil!
34
35 Olive
36
37 ^Give greetings to J X Merriman tell him his bill & speech were all one
38desires. I would write to him, if I wasn’t so ill.^
39
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.