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Letter ReferenceMary Gladstone (Mrs Drew) Add. 46244, ff.177-179
ArchiveBritish Library, Department of Manuscripts, London
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date4 April 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Drew nee Gladstone (m. 1886)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the British Library for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 De Aar
2 April 4th 1911
4 Dear Mrs Drew
6 I have just learnt from my niece Lyndall Schreiner that you were in
7South Africa. I should have written to welcome you had I known of your
8coming. I have read your article in the English Woman which I think
9very fine. I want some of our womens societies to read it at their
12 I do wish I were in Cape Town to come & see you. If you are passing de
13Aar do let me know & I'll come down to the station to see you for the
14few minutes the train stops, if I am at all able. The station is about
15a mile from my house, & I am not always able to walk so far; but I
16will come if I possibly can. If de Aar were a more interesting place I
17should beg you to stay a day over here. We have a first class hotel
18(as South African Hotels go!) but that is nearly our only advantage.
19If you could spend a day here it would be delightful. I have such a
20tiny house, & do my cooking &c myself, so I can't make anyone
21comfortable, but I'm sure you would be comfortable at the hotel; but
22there really is nothing to see here of interest, only a big railway
25 I hope her time in South Africa has greatly benefited your daughter.
27 I wonder if you would be at all interested to meet a very charming
28little Jewish woman in Cape Town. Ruth Alexander? Her father was a
29professor of Hebrew at Cambridge for many years, but now head of a
30large Jewish college in New York.
32 She is married to a Jewish Barrister ?her Alexander, a progres
33Unionist member of parliament. She is the best speaker we have among
34our women in South Africa; she has a very quiet simple way of speaking,
35 almost childlike. But at the first meeting at which I got her to
36speak a thing happened which I have never see happen at any woman's
37meeting - men & women all seemed to have a cold in the head, & all
38wanted their handkerchiefs. You will not be much impressed by her at
39first. She has a shy awkward little manner, & a painfully nervous
40little laugh, but I find her very beautiful & interesting. Her husband
41is a clever Jew but not her equal of in refinement. If you did care to
42see her her address is
43 4 Hastings Rd
44 Tamboer's Kloof
45 Cape Town, & I know she would be delighted to come & see you. But
46perhaps you have only come here for rest; thats what people generally
47come here for, & the one thing it can give. I am afraid I am perhaps
48thinking more of the pleasure it would give her to meet you, than of
49the pleasure it would give you! When I first came out after my ten
50years in London, I felt for some months I didn't want to see anyone -
51just the veld & the mountains, & rest.
53 I hope your stay here will be a very happy one.
55 Yours very sincerely
56 Olive Schreiner
58 I've greatly admired your brother for standing out with regard to that
59case of the native & white woman. Women's attitude with regard to the
60natives in this country has been a deep sorrow to me.
Mary Drew's article in The English Woman has not been traced: the most likely review is The Englishwoman's Review, but this ceased publication with its July 1910 issue.