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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold4/1911/39
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date26 August 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
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.
1 De Aar
2 August 26th 1911
3
4 Dear old Man
5
6 It was a disappointment to me to see from Adelas letter that you had
7not spoken at the races congress! I had looked forward so much to your
8speech & your influence. I can’t understand how it was that time was
9made for Mrs Macfadyens speech – she representing a tiny society –
10while you the leading representative of the native interests in South
11Africa & the Races Congress branch here did not speak. I would have
12made a great effort to write something on this native peril question
13this mad hysterical fashion – if I had not thought you would speak
14much better & with more weight, than anything any thing I should have
15said.
16
17 // I am very anxious to know how you all enjoyed your tea at Adelas, &
18what "Sweet boy Oliver" as Mrs Purcell calls him, thought of that
19dreadful suffragette Con when seen at close quarters. My darling girl
20leaves me tomorrow. I’ve not had such a happy time for years as this
21two weeks she’s spent with me. She looks wonderfully better: has
22nearly lost her cough. I fancy think not that its real asthma, but
23that it is of the nature of asthma. She is sitting by the fire now
24reading "the Prince" by Machiavelli in which she is intensely interest,
25 she is she has just finished "Romola" by George Elliot. She is soon
26going out for a game of golf, as its a lovely afternoon, cold dry
27still & bright. We managed after much difficulty to raise two old
28horses belonging to different men & a cart belonging to a third & ha I
29have taken her out to see four Boer farms. The old "frek ooi" we had
30for dinner at one, made a great impression on her!! I am so glad we
31have had such delightful weather while she was here.
32
33 The oldest farmer living in this part never remembers to have had such
34rains as we have had this winter – the veld is quite green even here.
35 I do hope she will carry out her idea of reading law. If she
36doesn’t complete her course it will not be knowledge thrown away - &
37if she does she can open the way for other women to the bar, for other
38women – even if she never cared to practise. She has a fine
39intellect & a fine many sided nature which would fit her peculiarly to
40be a mother. And if in this this narrow little world of South Africa
41– the whole ^white^ population of Cape Town is smaller than that of my
42European Provincial towns!) – she does not find any one she can &
43ought to marry, she sh must fo have some outlet for her powers or she
44will rust & become ?imbittered.
45
46 I am so glad you’ve gone to Norway to get out of the heat for the
47dear old heart. I’m glad you saw something of the Purcells. Mrs
48Purcell
was much attracted to Oliver; "Sweet boy Oliver" as she calls
49him! And old Merriman wrote very enthusiastically about both our young
50ones. Dear Laddie, if Ursula takes to the idea of studying medicine
51don’t stand in her way. After all, she can come out to see you as
52Dot did & if she begins next year, she will not be older than Oliver &
53Will when will be, when she fits herself for earning her own living.
54She would only be 23 or 24 when she finished. I don’t say press her,
55but if she chose a profession let her have it if you possibly can
56manage it.
57
58 I hope you have seen Adela’s little ones; especially little Olive.
59
60 I am longing for next post to bring me Adela’s letter. I know she
61will tell me about you all. I fear you did not see my friends the Rhys
62Davids’es
as if you did not speak at the congress they will not have
63known you were there.
64
65 Good bye dear. I like to think of you in the dear old Europe I love so.
66
67 Cron sends love.
68
69 Your little sister
70 Olive
71
Notation
The books referred to are: Niccol' Machiavelli (1909 [1532]) The Prince London: Dent; George Eliot (1863) Romola London: Smith, Elder & Co.