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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.100
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 2 April 1896
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 271-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 The Homestead
2 Mar April 2 / 96
3 Thursday night nine o'clock
5 Darling
7 Your letter came late this evening, & at first I decided to wire "yes,"
8 & then I decided "no." It isn't only that I've no servant (I've only
9a little wild Kaffir boy of 14, & have to do all cooking & house work
10myself; he only fetches water, chops wood, & washes up) & that I
11therefore couldn't make you comfortable; or that I'm busy copying
12articles that must go to England at once - I know you'd put up with
13roughing it, & not mind my shutting myself up to write. But I've got a
14reason why I can't have you or any one just now.
16 Cron's dear old Mother wrote me the other day that she & Cron's sister
17wanted to come & spend two months with me. I think you know how
18sensitive one feels where one's husband's relations are concerned? It
19was such great pain to say I couldn't have them. I would have had to
20give up all my work & Cron said I mustn't. The dear old lady wrote a
21very sweet letter, & said she was not at all pained. But I couldn't
22have anyone else now! She would never be able to understand, that it
23was quite a different thing to have you or Miss Molteno, or Mrs & her
24dear old heart would be pained.
26 I had written to ask Miss Molteno to come up next June, but I tore up
27the letter. I think you will understand. Cron's mother is unreadable a
28sweet, noble old lady, something like your mother; but neither Cron
29nor I would be able to work if she were staying here. Some day when I
30have done this work, I am going to have her & her daughter for a month,
31 & then I can have all my other friends without paining her.
33 //I should like to come down to Cape Town this winter for a few weeks,
34but I fear I shan't be able to. I'm I long to see you dear, & I'm sure
35you'd like it here, primitive as it all is. (I was cleaning the pots
36at the kitchen door when Mr lnnes drove up the other day, & couldn't
37shake hands with him till I'd washed my hands!!) Don't mention about
38Cron's dear old mother to anyone
40^because people might repeat it in a different way. It's wonderful how
41things do get repeated.^
43 ^Goodnight, dear one. Cron sends much love.
44 Good bye,
45 Olive
47 I had a long letter from Lady Loch the other day.^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.