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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/35
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 October 1899
Address FromKarree Kloof, Kran Kuil, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrances ('Fan') Schreiner nee Reitz
Other VersionsRive 1987: 385
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. This letter has been dated 1899 from content.
1 Karree Kloof
2 October 3rd
3
4 Dear Fan
5
6 Thank you for your so soon sending the paper which I got by this post.
7
8 I’m so sorry to hear of poor old Anna’s misfortune. Has the stroke
9affected her - if not in any way, that from my little knowledge she
10will have a much better chance of recovering.
11
12 //It is about two o’clock in the morning, but I can’t sleep so
13I’ve come to the study to have a bit of a write. Our plans are not
14certain but you may expect us in Cape Town at the end of this month or
15on the first of November. I’ve had another bad attack of the heart
16which shows me that much better as I am I can’t depend on myself &
17that I might break down if I went to the front with the Burgers as I
18want; it is very hard to give it up.
19
20 Perhaps I can do as much by writing here, but if we are defeated I
21should like so much to be with them at Pretoria. I have never felt my
22ill health such a tying & hard thing before. I have sent off some
23cables today to Stead & the Socialist leaders about holding public
24meetings in England, but I am afraid it is very late for talking &
25writing now.
26
27 Cron’s dear cousin with whom we are staying Edward Wright is so good
28& kind. He is a bachelor but has an old coloured woman who looks after
29his house beautifully. He & two young fellows who help him live here
30alone. He has given me the unreadable use of his nice little study
31full of books, & I sit there all day at a nice desk & write almost all
32day from the moment I get up till half past four in the evening when I
33go out for a ride on a quiet old horse. I have done more work in the
34month here than in the last year.
35
36 I am very anxious to get this book published, because it may throw
37some light to people in England on the African question; & I may get a
38thousand or two thousand for it, which is very important as our
39"boedel" is now quite "insolvent." I would come down to Cape Town now
40if I had not to finish this article. Then I have only one more to
41revise & the book will be ready!
42
43 Give my love to Violet & thank her for her letter which was sent down
44to me from Johannesburg. Tell her I have a photograph for her, but its
45in my desk at Johannesburg, where the war will most likely blow it to
46atoms!!
47
48 Good bye, dear. I’m so anxious to see you all & find out how the
49children are getting on. I hope Dot is working hard & that Will has
50gone on well with his music.
51
52 Yours with love from Cron.
53 Olive
54
55
56
Notation
'This book' is likely to refer to the essays intended to compose 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa', with most originally published pseudonymously as by 'A Returned South African'. Although prepared for book publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this. They and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.