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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold4/1905/28
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 August 1905
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other Versions
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 of this letter is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Hanover
2 Aug 1st 1905
3
4 My darling Friend
5
6 It was a disappointment after your lovely time in Devonshire to hear
7you were ill again in London. I am always hoping to hear you have gone
8off to the continent. If you are in London, & will
9
10 I can’t say I want you come back to Africa yet. I am well & happy
11here because at last I have been strong enough to cut myself off from
12South African life & the Africanders,. They have no need of me. When
13they want me I will help them if I can; when I can’t
14
15 ^I am so fond of that line in Mrs Browning where God says of Aurora
16"Because she hath no need of me; I hath no need of her."^
17
18 I’ll forget them. No one ever comes to see me I haven’t had a
19caller for a month & I never go out. I live with my cookery & my
20scrubbing & my books & my dear animals, & am very happy.
21
22 I’ve got a lovely big picture of the Winged Victory hanging over my
23mantle-piece. It was given me long ago but I only had it framed now
24when I was in town. Did that old Greek sculptor who shaped it two
25thousand years ago, dream that after so many hundred of years the
26thought that moved in him & worked in his hand would have still the
27power to move & live in another mind! No picture has ever been to me
28what this. The original which I’ve seen so often & admired never
29reached me as this picture does. It would seem foolish if I tried to
30tell you all it’s meant to me this last two months since we returned.
31 Broken, defaced, without head or arm - & yet so strong, moving on to
32victory!
33
34 All is going on very well here. The meerkats Ollie & Gobalie are
35flourishing. My darling boy is away at de Aar on business, but returns
36tomorrow. Next week he goes to Cape Town for a few days.
37
38 The dear Purcells propose to come up here for a visit in September. I
39hardly dare to hope that it will be carried out. I am working a little
40at one of my books. I know you & Miss Greene would love it &
41understand it, & I’d like to get time to finish it before I die,
42because then other people would love my dear people in it whom I love
43so Though I haven’t seen them with my bodily eyes I know they live
44somewhere just like that at heart.
45
46 Good bye, dear one. I hope you are better.
47 Olive
48
49 Did you get the post office order I sent last week to to Harston &
50will you tell me if its right. I’ve found my bill from the Army &
51Navy for the first machine I bought there so I think its about right.
52
53 We had a bitter cold wind & sleet this morning. But this evening it
54turned out heavenly. Piercingly cold, but so clear, & a wonderful
55bright light over everything. I went out for a little walk on the
56nearest kopje. I can’t sometimes realize that you & Miss Greene
57really walked in Hanover once.
58
59
60
Notation
The 'line in Mrs Browning' is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's (1857) Aurora Leigh London: Chapman and Hall.