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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/34
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date28 September 1899
Address FromKarree Kloof, Kran Kuil, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 383-4
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 name of the addressee is indicated by salutation.
1 Karree Kloof
2 Via Kran Kuil
3 Sep 28 / 99
4
5 Dear Friend
6
7 I hope you are better again. I have sent a copy of your article letter
8about him to General Butler, in case you forgot to do so. The thought
9of that true Englishman is a great consolation to me.
10
11 Life is beautiful as ever here. Cron has gone out with 12 other men on
12horse back this morning to round up the ostriches. They have 500 full
13grown birds here beside all the chicks. Oh my rides in the evening are
14so delightful that coming home alone in the dark with the stars above
15you & the great quiet velt about. What is so beautiful to me is the
16dim out line of the koppjes & bushes against the clear night sky, so
17dark, & yet so clear.
18
19 There is a little puppy here I love as I hardly ever loved a puppy
20before. It is one of the dearest most sympathetic intelligent little
21puppies that ever lived. Cron’s cousin would give it me but if there
22is war I can’t go about with my train of puppies behind me. This
23place is really very like heaven. It can’t be quite so bad in
24Johannesburg again after this little glimpse of beauty. I’d got to
25feel as if there was nothing left but Johannesburg & no more hope.
26
27 The piece of good luck may not come off, or may not turn out so good
28as I at first thought. I’ll tell you about it if ever it does. It
29doesn’t concern us directly, but indirectly it will make all the
30difference in our future lives. I’m getting on nicely with my
31writing.
32
33 Perhaps Cron may get a letter from the heads of his firm, to say we
34must go up to Johannesburg at once. We are waiting on from day to day
35to hear. They are leading intriguers & have all run away. They may
36want someone up there to look after the place. If there were only
37different kind of men it would not be so terrible to me, to be up here.
38
39 Over 100 horses are just coming out of the Kraal before my window.
40Isn’t it curious to think there are some people who don’t love &
41understand animals.
42
43 Olive
44
45 You were not far-out about the men being sand-baggers in Commissioner
46St. Among the 12 men taken up for ^in^ the last case of murder & highway
47robbery are several whom Cron knows well, who were always about
48Commissioner St, & ^some^ who were spectators on the stock exchange.
49There may be, & no doubt are, some good average folk in Johannesburg,
50but the bulk of the inhabitants no more represent the average human
51creature than the bulk of women in a brothel represent average
52woman-hood or the bulk of the gamblers at Monte Carlo represent the
53average population in Europe! If there had been 100 honest honourable,
54cultured English gentlemen ^in Johannesburg^ they would have risen up to
55protest against the action of the Rhodes ?Epstein gang.
56
57 There are many good hearted ignorant men, but I do not believe there
58are 100 really cultured, able & honourable men in Johannesburg & there
59would be in any ordinary city of half its size. Thats what people in
60England, & I believe in Cape Town even do not understand. Johannesburg
61has collected the off-scourings of the earth; all the sharp clever
62scoundrels on one hand, and & the poor helpless good-for-nothings on
63the other. If I thought
64
65^Johannesburg represented the average of humanity, I would not wish to
66live another day.^
67
68 Love to you both.
69Olive
70
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.