"Your astonishing letter, family duties, will never mention Katie's name as long as I live" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold1/1908/9
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date24 February 1908
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
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.
1 De Aar
2 Feb 24th 1908
4 Thank you for your letter, dear.
6 This is my wedding day. I’ve been married 14 years to-day.
8 I saw the notice of your old college making you an honorary member
9yesterday. I’m glad. Its so good to feel ones not forgotten; that
10there are still ties binding us to our old lives. How the old man at
11Eastbourne would have rejoiced at this.
13 I can only say about our boy Bill, that I hope I am mistaken; that I
14hope it is a wise path you & he are following. I can’t understand it!
16 With regard to Ursie if she wishes to study for exams, by all means
17let her study. She knows her own needs mentally. She’ll guide
18herself all right. What she does need is an immense amount of love &
19sympathy. Nothing to harden her, every-thing to soften her. The more
20Ursula is loved & idolized, the better for her nature; & the least
21little bit of hardness will always do her harm. I think she ought not
22to try for Honours, simply for a pass in all her exams. If she once
23takes her B.A, then, if later she wants to strike out a path for
24herself, she can.
26 // I am expecting dear old Kier Hardie tomorrow afternoon to stay with
27us till Wednesday evening when he leaves for Cape Town. I would give
28him a letter of intro-duction to you, but you may not care to meet him
29or may be too busy. If you wish that I should do so, send me a wire on
30Wednesday on getting this. I fancy he is going to stay a day with the
at Kalk Bay
33 // I didn’t see Ollie as he passed. He said vaguely "about the 17th
34or 18th he would be passing." But I couldn’t have gone if I’d
35known. My heart has been giving me much trouble, & the only time in
36ten days when I left this room was when they burgled it!
38 I’m trying hard to get on with my book, "the encyclopedia" as Cron
39calls it, "that is going to be finished in the next century." My heart
40is getting quickly worse & worse, & yet if I could live under more
41possible conditions than I have lived under for the last 14 years I
42might perhaps finish it I cling to it as the only thing I have left in
43life; the thought that if I finish it before I die perhaps some day
44some soul in the dark will read it & find help in it, & all these last
45years of my life will not have been utterly thrown away. But here in
46de Aar it is a hand over hand fight to live at all.
48 On the 7th Cron is going away for ten days electioneering in the
49Beaufort district. I don’t think I can stay here alone. It is only
50to be near him that I stay here one hour. I may if old ?Smut will come
51down in his ?charges go to Matjesfor ^Matjesfontein^. If I am there
52could you not spend a day with me there if you go to Queenstown while
53I am there? I don’t want to miss seeing you. Tell me of your
56 Olive
58 I told old Field you were sorry not to see him the last time you
59passed. He burst out into a stream of admiration ‘You were the one
60man in South Africa for him, &c, &c’. He hoped to see you in power.
61He wanted neither the Bond or Jameson
63 ^& Crewe &c &c. You were his idea of the public man.^
The encyclopedia' Schreiner was 'trying to get on with' was From Man to Man.