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Letter ReferenceNLSAOlive Schreiner: EL to C-S MSC 26/2.16/302
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 December 1906
Address FromHotel Milner, Matjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 257-8
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. This letter by Olive Schreiner is contained among some hundreds of typescripted extracts which were produced by Cronwright-Schreiner using original letters when he was preparing The Life... (1924) and The Letters of Olive Schreiner (1924). Generally he then destroyed the originals, although in this case he preserved Schreiner’s entire handwritten letter. Cronwright-Schreiner has written the date and where it was sent from onto the letter.
1 2
2
3 Hotel Milner, Matjesfontein
4 Dec. 1st 1906
5 Saturday morning.
6
7 I have just got your letter. How like the weather seems here & in
8Hanover! The 29th was with us as with you very hot, the hottest day
9we’ve had. Today Yesterday the 30th cooler but “sticky”, to day cold.
10I hope it’s so with you too. A cold muzzly true coast rain is in; for
11hours together one can’t see the mountains opposite for mist, but
12little rain is falling. I expect this afternoon it will clear up & I
13shall take advantage of the delicious cold to go for a walk to my tree.
14
15 Did I tell you what a curious thing happened to me up there one day. I
16went up & was quite quiet & happy under my tree. It was a glorious day
17with a fresh breeze blowing. I was just beginning to walk across the
18kopje when suddenly, in an instant, I found my self crying aloud in my
19very loudest voice till the hills all round rang again - “My youth, my
20youth! - Give back my youth to me! - Give back my youth!” I never
21could have thought I could have cried ^in^ so loud & deep a voice, it
22was as if they could have heard me at Matjesfontein; & the curious
23thing was that I had no control of it - that it was something beyond
24my self. I’d been so peaceful & small in hand a minute before. It
25wasn’t my physical youth I was crying for, it (was) the hope, the
26faith, the looking forward of youth! In a moment or two I got myself
27in hand, & felt astonished. It was as if my whole soul & body were
28rending me with the cry. Funny wasn’t it? & yet you know I felt more
29peaceful afterwards; as if that just once for a moment absolutely
30letting one’s self go released one.
31
32 There is no reason why one ever should let ones hope & faith go, even
33about one’s own puny little life one should keep it to the end: &
34one’s hope & joy in the great life of the Universe beyond one that can
35never die ^should^ grow. - (A few snowflakes have fallen - I expect it
36is snowing on Hex River today)
37
38 How lovely the house must look. If you can only manage to have a stoep
39or a verandah it will be really beautiful. The comfort & delight of
40having a cool shady place where you could get the fresh air in summer
41would be simply infinite, & it would make all life different. And if
42you sell it it will make all the difference: the ordinary person cares
43so much & in the just place for how a house looks: & if we let it, the
44better the house the better the class of hirer we can expect.
45
46 Poor “Old Party.” She’s getting very wise! She doesn’t call out for
47her lost youth! I do hope Ollie will keep friends with Sancho.
48?Stanley will never bite her.
49
50 I do hope you go out to ?Hesers on Sunday. If you see them after
51getting this, give Mrs ?Heser my love. And Tell me the names of the
52two little boys
I want to send them Xmas cards. Isie Smuts goes past
53with the children on Monday morning but the train only stops for one
54minute.
55
56 You will have the wire first thing Monday. Love to Mrs Burger. Your
57Brakje, Olive.
58
59
60
Notation
There are some differences between this letter and the version of it which appears in Cronwright-Schreiner (1924).