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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Margaret McNaughton
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date24 September 1878
Address FromGanna Hoek, near Cradock, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToMargaret McNaughton
Other VersionsRive 1987: 18
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. There is a page or pages missing from this letter and it is unclear whether it was ever sent.
1 Ganna Hoek
2 Sep 24th 1878
4 My dear Miss McNaughton!
6 After having six months to pass I feel more than half ashamed to
7fulfil my promise of writing to you; but in truth I should have done
8so long ago had I not waited, hoping I should be able to send a
9likeness when I did write.
11 I saw so very little of you in Colesburg but I never met with any one
12whom I so much wished to know more of, & if it had been possible for
13me to see you oftener, my life in that most miserable of all the stony
14holes on the face of the earth would have had at least a few pleasant
15memories connected with it.
17 I make no doubt that by this time you have left it, so address my
18letter to Cape Town where I hope it will find you, though I am not
19sure if I spell your name rightly.
21 You will see from the date of my letter than that I am now at Ganna
22Hoek - a farm buried away among the mountains ^&^ about forty miles
23distant from Cradock. I have been here ever since I left Colesburg &
24shall certainly remain for the next six months, & perhaps for
25unreadable as many years. It is as quiet & out of the way corner of
26the world as you can well imagine. An English face one never sees &
27when now & then an old boer puts in an appearance it is quite a
28momentous event in our little world.
30 The family consists of the Dutch man & his wife & their three or four
31children - my pupils - & as they never go into Cradock you may fancy
32how very quiet & monotonous the life we lead here is. But 'tis a life
33that I can & do thoroughly enjoy & the six months I have past here
34have been the most uninterruptedly happy of my whole life. I feel, & I
35am sure must look, like another human being & a very different one
36from the miserable misanthropic life sick old creature as I was when I
37left that most unblessed of spots.
39 This is a wild beautiful place. The farm house is perched high up, on
40the side of one of the mountains & the bush which comes down to the
41very garden is as unman defiled as one could wish & wild as one can
42wish ^&^ I have only to teach for five or six hours a day & all the rest
43of my time I can spend out of doors, or in my own little room studying.
44 I have plenty of books & if in one way I don't make as much head as I
45should do is I had ass [page/s missing]
Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.