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Letter ReferenceLetters/508
Epistolary Type
Letter DateAugust 1912
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 314-5
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Mrs. Francis Smith.
2De Aar, Aug.
4... Oh Adela, I have had such a lovely time. Will and his son Oliver
5came on Friday morning and stayed till this morning four whole days
6and a night. It was lovely. I wish you really knew Oliver, but young
7men of 22 are so difficult to get to know; older men are much easier.
8He has one of the most beautiful natures I have ever known. With all
9his really remarkable intellectual gifts, he is like a little child in
10his tender lovingness. He so deeply interested in the problems of life.
11 I always think of him together with you and Con. and my beautiful
12friend Bob. It isn't a bit because he's my nephew; I've heaps of other
13nephews and nieces that I think nothing more than the most ordinary.
14It's wonderful combination of intellect with tenderness of heart
15that's so beautiful in him. The last thing he said to me when he held
16my hand as he sat in the cart to drive away was that he would never
17miss writing to me every week while he was in England. How few young
18men at Cambridge would trouble to write to a little old aunt every
19week. I hardly think one. My old Will was as beautiful and sweet as
20only he can be. He said he had such a happy happy time here, and
21rested so. He looked quite different when he went away from what he
22looked when he came. Oliver is a great joy to him; you would love to
23see his tenderness to his father and his admiration for him. He said
24it had been an important part of his legal education to go up with him
25now to Kimberley and watch him conduct a great diamond and will case
26he has just had.
28I'm telling you all this dear because I know how your beautiful nature
29loves to share your friends' joys with them as much as their sorrows.
30Will and I talked often of you.