"Saddest & loneliest old years eve, old days at Heald Town" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box11/Fold2/Undated/88
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Monday 5 September 1920 ; Before End: 6 September 1920
Address FromSandown Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty 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 month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner stayed with her sister-in-law Fan Schreiner and her friend Lucy Molteno in Cape Town after her arrival from Britain on 30 August 1920, moving to a boarding-house in Wynberg in late October, where she was resident until her death on 11 December 1920.
1 Sandown Rd
2 Monday
4 Darling Betty
6 I have been here five days. Tomorrow I am returning to Ursie’s &
7then going to spend a few days with Fan, & by that time I hope I shall
8be able to get into a room. There is a place at Wynburg just exactly
9at the train terminus where I can get a tiny room & board for £10 a
10month. The place looks very dirty & miserable now, but the woman has
11just moved in, & it may be better in two week’s time when she’s
12ready. Its practically in Plumstead so I shall be near the friends
13there, & now I can’t walk at all, not even as I could in London I
14must be close to the train; perhaps you’ll come & get a room there
17 I half expect you to come with Dr & Mrs Murray. I am sure it would be
18a joy to Mrs Murray to have you. I wish some one would take me up to
19Elgin for a day. I want to meet Kathleen so. Perhaps Anna will take me
20some day. She looks so beautiful, but sad & changed. Carol is simple a
21splendid girl; & so like Margaret in several ways. John I love as much
22as ever: he’s a darling big fellow: Peter is a little pickle; so
23clever & bright. Virginia reminds me of you in many ways. I have come
24into contact with no nationalists yet. Mary Sauer & Dorothy Van Zyl
25are coming to see me tomorrow afternoon.
27 This is the first really fine day we’ve had since I came. No rain,
28no clouds in the sky & for the first time that shimmer over everything
29which one expects in South Africa & which is so different from that
30terrible pretence of sunshine in England.
32// Have you seen Margaret yet I wonder? they tell me Mrs Molteno, &
33she & Freddie & May are not leaving England till November. When Dr &
34Mrs Murray leave no one I’ve met seems to know.
36 There is going to be a very big ball in Cape Town the day after
37tomorrow & Carol & Lucy & big Lucy are all going to it. & a few days
38after there is to be a big bazaar in Adderley St in the open air for
39the University fund. Everyone is working for it.
41 The life here is curiously still & its quite different from the old
42Cape Town. I suppose when the Parliament sits there will be more life.
43The papers give no news except lies – which everyone here seems to
44believe. They question nothing that the Cape Times says. The food here
45is very good & nourishing a wonderful change after London. Clothes are
46much much dearer & worse ^in quality^ than in England. & all the little
47things like medicines &c are fabulous. Give my love to Margaret if you
48see her.
50 Yours ever & ever
51 Olive