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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/171
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter DateSaturday 20 August 1904
Address FromBalfour, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 248
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner were produced by Cronwright-Schreiner in preparing The Life and The Letters of Olive Schreiner. They appear on slips of paper in his writing, taken from letters that were then destroyed; many of these extracts have also been edited by him. They are artefacts of his editorial practices and their relationship to original Schreiner letters cannot now be gauged. They should be read with considerable caution for the reasons given. Cronwright-Schreiner has written the date and where it was sent from onto this extract, and that Olive Schreiner had written that there were only five or six houses but many gardens and land in Balfour and ‘lots of little Hottentot huts scattered about.’ There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters....
1 …My husband, we left Bedford on Thursday afternoon in a strange old
2buck-waggon with a little tent at the back. We have a Boer and a
3Kaffir driver & leader, so we have plenty of folk. We have travelled
4through two whole nights. We have ten oxen in the wagon… The heat
5was terrible at Bedford & Adelaide. The drought is terrible. I have
6never seen Stockenstroom like this, yet even now it is beautiful past
7words. In the dim light of the morning we got here. It is strange and
8almost unearthly to be here again where so many of my early childish
9days were passed. It is so passing strange to see the old house & the
10old mountains, and all the old people gone. Of the people I used to
11know who lived here in the old days, I have seen only one, a little
12hunchbacked Hottentot girl called Mietje, who is now a woman of thirty.
13 I am writing in the wagon with paper on my knee, we have outspanned
14on the side of the mountain just above father’s grave, with the
15hamlet of Balfour lying below us. I wish you were here my husband.
16People are very kind. One lady gave me a jug of milk, wouldn’t take
17any money for it, & when we sent to buy a fowl another lady sent it us
18for nothing. Ettie won’t let us begin at father’s grave today,
19because it’s Saturday, her Sunday, & tomorrow we can’t work
20because it’s Sunday But we shall begin early Monday with four men &
21shall I think get all done on Monday. On Tuesday we shall go to
22Katberg, from there Philipton & Hertzog, & on to Healdtown. I think we
23should reach Fort Beaufort about Thursday & Bedford on Friday or
24Saturday, & I shall leave at once for Cookhouse & home...