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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold4/1911/5
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date21 April 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address ToKenilworth House, Kenilworth, Cape Town, Western Cape
Who ToCaroline Murray nee Molteno
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. The address this letter was sent to is provided by an attached envelope.
1 De Aar
2 April 21st 1911
4 Dear Mrs Murray
6 I was so glad to get a word from you. You don’t say how you are
7feeling. I hope a little stronger.
9 I wonder if Kathleen & May are with you again. It is more than a year
10since I was in Cape Town & I seem to have lost all touch with things
13 We are having our best time of the year now. We have had better rains
14than for 12 years & the veld is quite green, & theres no dust! I wish
15all my friends were here now.
17 I have not heard of Lucy either for a long time.
19 I’ve been curiously weak, not able to write letters; but now the
20cool weather is coming I shall pick up. This has been a long hot
21dreadful summer, & in the Eastern province we had continual hot
22steaming rains. But its beautiful here now: it seems to put fresh hope
23in one.
25 Have you read Sir William Butlers life? It a noble book I think. I had
26a letter from him just three weeks before he died. It was a comfort to
27me to think that even if I had written on the day he unreadable I got
28it, he could not have got my letter before he died. It is an ideal
29autobiography to me; so artistic & impersonal, & yet one comes so
30close to his dear broad personality. I haven’t seen the review in
31Public Opinion, you mention of my book. I never see Public Opinion.
33 Give my love to dear Lucy when you see her. I hope she will get away
34from the Cape Town rains for this winter.
36 Good bye. Thank you so much for wishing me to be with you; but I
37don’t see any likelihood of my being in Cape Town for a long time.
38You see I have to be away during the four hottest months, so I don’t
39like to be from home a day more if I can help it.
41 Yours ever
42 Olive Schreiner
The book referred to is: William Butler (1911) Sir William Butler: An Autobiography London: Constable and Co. In fact two reviews of Woman and Labour were published in Public Opinion. The first stated that:

"Olive Schreiner has produced a book called 'Women and Labour' (Fisher Unwin, 8s 6d.), which will give a fine lead to the woman's movement, and be the target for much criticism. The book is direct, satirical, and eloquent. It pleads that women should be rescued from being a 'parasite...'" Public Opinion 24 February 1911 p.184.

This rather mealy-mouthed short review was, however, followed by a lengthy review which appeared as the lead article in the next issue. The comment that "Olive Schreiner's brilliant book on 'Woman and Labour'... is destined to run as one of the classics of the woman's movement..." conveys its overall tone, while its evaluation is developed at considerable length; see Public Opinion Friday 3 March 1911, p.197.