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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold2/1909/44
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 August 1909
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 Aug 30th 1909
4 My dear Laddie
6 This is your birthday. I’ve been thinking of you, dear. I almost doubt
7whether this will find you still in England. But I hope it may, & that
8you will have a little rest after your business is over.
10 I know it’s been in many ways a sad time for you, dear. One has to
11cling to the hope that though we cannot understand it, some-where,
12some-way, some-time, things come right.
14 Those lines of dear old Browning’s, written when he was an old man,
15not long before he die, come often to my mind as as covering almost
16the highest Ideal.
18 "One who never turned his back
19 but marched breast forward,
20 Never doubting clouds would break,
21 Never dreamed, though right was
22 worsted, wrong would triumph,
23 Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
24 Sleep to wake."
26 And yet, I don’t know whether the highest moments in life are not
27those when we fight on, in blank despair, with no hope, fighting just
28because we must.
30 I don’t see what the future is to be in this country. I only comfort
31myself by thinking that however wisely & deeply human plans are laid
32they often mis-carry. We can only do day by day the thing that seems
33just & right - & leave the rest.
35 I was so glad to get your lines this week. It was good of you to find
36time to write at all.
38 Alice Corthorn tells me she thought you looking very tired & sad. I
39hope the voyage out will rest you a bit. I’m so glad you’ve had Fan &
40Dot with you.
42 I’m glad Maurice ?Henlette spoked sympathizingly of my work, because
43his work seems to me to have in it, what hardly any other other modern
44novelists work today has, a touch of real poetry.
46 Yes I should like to see Europe again. But I think it will never be; &
47if I got there in the future I might be too broken to grasp things.
49 Give my love to Dot. Tell her her letter was lovely. I’ll write to her
50next week.
52 Thy small sister,
53 Olive
The 'Sleep to wake' quotation comes from the 'Epilogue' of Robert Browning's (1889) Asolando London: Smith, Elder & Co.