"Rhodes wriggling wriggling" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Havelock Ellis 2006.29/18
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday June 1911
Address FromVictoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 301-2
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. The date minus the year has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner's visit to the Victoria Falls was in early June 1911. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1 Victoria Falls Hotel
2 Zambesi
3 S.A.
4 Thursday
6 Dear Havelock boy,
8 We leave tomorrow this most lovely & beautiful & wonderful of earthly
9sights. No pictures, nothing that has ever been said of it gives the
10faintest conception of what this is. The vast "Spirit of the Waters."
12 A mile & a quarter of water leaping down into the almighty chasm with
13the roar of thunder that sounds for eighteen miles, & which as it
14falls leaps up again into the into clouds of white & rainbow tinted
15mists 4000 feet high. The colours, the colours, the wild spirits of
16the mist it is that that overpowers one & fills one with joy. One
17cries but only from happiness. We were nearly all drowned on Tues-day,
18the motor boat we were on broke down & we were drifting down onto the
19falls. We were only saved by a canoe coming past & going for help to
20the landing & calling six more canoes which took us all out & towed
21the boat to land. The pluck of all the women & girls except one
22miserable old Christian was wonderful. I must tell you all about it
23some day. The curious thing is that having been so near death in its
24arms instead of making me feel horror of it, seems to draw me so much
25nearer it - my falls that I was nearly part of!! I have never loved
26any natural phenomena so.
28 Olive
30 You've no idea what a wild splendid country we pass through coming
Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) version of this letter is incorrect in a range of respects.