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Letter ReferenceT120 (M722): W.T. Stead Papers/1- pages 39-41
ArchiveNational Archives Depot, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: January 1889 ; Before End: March 1889
Address FromMentone, France
Address To
Who ToWilliam Thomas Stead
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 156; Rive 1987: 153
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Micofilm Collections. The year has been written on this letter in an unknown hand; Schreiner was resident in Mentone from December 1888 to the end of March 1889.
1Mentone
2
3I am very glad to hear about Greenwood.
4
5I shall never be of much use to your paper, but you & it will be
6followed with my loving sympathy in your growth.
7
8I am returning to Africa in August, And may then send you a series of
9letters on the Cape politics & affairs ?given as they appear to a
10Colonist after ?about 8 years absence.
11
12I will perhaps re-visit the Diamond Fields, & go on to the Gold Fields
13& further north yet, ^if I can manage it.^
14
15I had a terrible illness about two years ago, low fever, & very nearly
16died. I shall not fuly pull together till I get back to my own
17countrie. One sees “God” on those great plaines & one’s soul rests
18completely in him.
19
20You underline the word un-married with regard to yourself, implying
21that to be married has greatly strengthened & helped you. I do not
22doubt it. I believe in marriage. The man who has a wife & children
23always to turn to must be much stronger to fight the outer world. It
24is the perfect the natural condition. But it is for those who are
25called.
26
27Some years ago I couldn't see a little tiny babe without an
28inclination to burst out hysterically crying, & to see a happy husband
29& wife with their children seemed to wake in me the same unaccountable
30feeliting feeling. Now: I must I have entirely conquered it. I
31know my work & have accepted my little part in life. Of course all
32this is private
. The real thing I am going to the Cape for is to see
33my brother's two small babyes & play with them.
34
35Olive Schreiner
36
Notation
The ‘series of letters on the Cape politics & affairs given as they appear to a Colonist’ refers to what eventuated as Schreiner’s ‘A Returned South African’ essays, originally published in a range of magazines and intended to be reworked in book form, as Stray Thoughts on South Africa. A dispute with a publisher and then the outbreak of the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this, and they were in the event with some additional essays published posthumously as Thoughts on South Africa. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of this letter and is incorrect in minor ways. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in a range of ways.