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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner SMD/30/34/c
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date2 July 1913
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. ('Cron') Cronwright-Schreiner
Other Versions
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 has been written on as 'before 2 July' in an unknown hand. Part of the envelope has been torn away, so while the year on the date stamp is visible, the rest of the date is not. Schreiner was resident in De Aar from November 1907 until she left South Africa for Britain and Europe in December 1913, but with some fairly lengthy visits elsewhere over this time.
1 My dear Pal
3 You have so many letters to read I'll be as short as I can, darling. A
4year & a half ago when Emily Hobhouse wanted to collect the money for
5me to go to England & try the cures, I told her I couldn't go. Some
6how I felt I couldn't leave Africa with you in it & know that for six
7months or a year however ill you were or whatever happened I couldn't
8get to you or see you. But when you said you were going I felt the
9only tie with Africa was broken. I don't want to be with; how could I
10in my present condition only needing doctors & nurses travel about
11sight seeing! If you wanted me to, I couldn't. I just want to go
12quietly & try cure after cure, & if I get better settle down at the
13Riviera & do a little writing. But if you were not in Engl Europe when
14I left or were not soon coming I couldn't go. If you will pay al my
15passage money I'll take all I have for the doctors & I know Will help
16me if I run short. Oh please dear let us plan to go. I want to do the
17voyage alone, I don't want to trouble any of my friends. I might ask
18Miss Molteno & Miss Greene to come with me but just because I'm so ill
19I can't. I can't bear to trouble any one. Don't you see that's the
20burden my beloved that I don't want to trouble any one.
22 Dear I wrote as far as this some time ago, & then I thought it was no
23use my going on as I would never go to England under any conditions.
24Now I feel a little better I think I'll give it you any how. Dear one
25do go: try & get a man to look after your business. Can't you get that
26young de Villiers? Think how beautiful it would be to me if I were
27being treated in Florence or Nauheim to know you were travelling about
28& seeing things, & not staying in this hole in De Aar. What made it so
29hard in that last long terrible summer in Cape Town, was the thinking
30of you alone up here. You do need rest & change, change most of all.
31If happened to be in London at any time when you were I should be at
32Alice Corthorn's undergoing treatment, & I suppose you would be at Dr
. I would be willing to meet Mrs Philpot if she called on me
34because she is unreadable your friend; that would be necessary. She
35could not feel me insincere, because she knows well that I know her, &
36what I think of her though I have never told her. I should be quite
37polite to her, & that would be all. Dear noble old Philpot I should
38always be glad to see.
40 Oh dear love do this thing for your Olive, & promise her you will try
41to go just before I go or just after. I couldn't leave Africa & feel
42we should never be in the same continent again. It would break me down
43at once. It will not cost me so very much while I am with Alice.
44Please dear do what I ask. You suggested going: darling husband try &
45carry it out.
47 Your Brakje
The date has been written on this letter as 'received 2.7.13' in Cronwright-Schreiner's hand. Schreiner was resident in De Aar from November 1907 until she left South Africa for Britain and Europe in December 1913, but with some fairly lengthy visits elsewhere over this time. The letter also has a footnote added to it by Cronwright-Schreiner, as follows:

To this I replied (a) that I was not going to stay with the Philpots & had never meant to (b) that her attitude to Mrs P. was an insult & that I hoped she'd not call, (c) that she had no more right to resent my friendship with Mrs P. or think ill of it than I had with regard to her friendships with Ellis, Muirhead & other men, (d) that if she wrote to me thus again about Mrs P. or any other woman, the result would be disastrous.


OS has written 'Private', underlined twice, on the accompanying envelope to SCCS, addressed to

Cronwright Schreiner Esq
Box 24
De Aar