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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box5/Fold2/1913/45
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSaturday 15 November 1913
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrances (‘Fan’) Schreiner nee Reitz
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 date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in De Aar from November 1907 until she left South Africa for Britain and Europe in December 1913, with some fairly lengthy visits elsewhere over this time.
1 Saturday
3 Dear Fan
5 Thank you for your sweet letter. Jessie Innes has written to ask me to
6come straight to her when I come down, but I want to be with you as I
7have such a little time in Africa, & one doesn’t know what the
8future has in store
10 If I can I mean to leave this on the night of Thursday the. If I’m
11not well enough to leave on Thursday I’ll send you a wire. (I shall
12of course arrive Friday evening if I leave Thursday)
14 Might I ask you one thing, dear. If there’s been any of that insect
15killing stuff in the wardrobe or draw in my room would you let the
16girl wash it out well. Its wonderful what a little smell of that stuff
17makes me ill. I have now met two other people with weak hearts who
18faint when they smell it. Mrs ?Lauertadden of the Grand Hotel says she
19fell insensible on a new carpet once that they were unpacking because
20of the smell. They’d put a bit in the shop to keep the moths out. I
21got insensible once at Isaacs & the men had to carry me down stairs &
22out into the street before I recovered. I’m sure it can’t be good
23even for people with strong hearts. Please don’t think I’m too
24troublesome! Also could you order me a bottle of milk every day. I may
25be able to eat other things down there, I always get so much better as
26soon as I am lower but here I only take beaten up egg & milk & soda &
27milk. As soon as I eat solid food those intestinal pains come on.
29 I’m so glad our two Wills have had a case together I wish they could
30have them oftener. It is a help to our boy & a pleasure to the Old Man.
31 You would be pleased to hear the way people all talk about Bill here,
32even the old Hotel keeper & his wife – "Such a gentleman" – they
33all say.
35 Good bye. I hope I shall be better in Cape Town & not be a trouble to
36you all – I always get so much better as soon as I get lower down
37the mountains.
39 I would be too splendid if boy Oliver could take me to Italy. The
40Pethick Lawrences can’t now as they thought I was coming earlier, &
41they have an important engagement on the continent from the 20th of
42Dec – to the 4th of Jan, so they won’t be in England when I get
45 Its the going over in the boat to France, & the changing trains at
46Paris in the middle of the night to catch the Marseilles Express. Oh
47Fan, it is bad to feel so helpless when you’ve always been
48accustomed to do things for yourself & to help other people not be a
49burden on them. If one only only can keep strong enough to the end not
50to trouble any one.
52 Good bye dear old sister; love to all at Villa Flandre.
53 Yours ever
54 Olive