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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mary Sauer MSC 26/2.11.106
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSeptember 1896
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMary Sauer nee Cloete
Other VersionsRive 1987: 294-5
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. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Kimberley from early August 1894 to November 1898.
1 Strictly Private. ^Is your arm quite strong?^
3 My darling Mary
5 No, there has been nothing wrong with my womb, I am sure! Each of my
6mis-carriages has had more than an complet ^adequate^ cause. One was
7from riding a very fresh horse which nearly bucked me, & it threw me
8down with such force on the saddle that I felt something crack on the
11 The other times it has been caused by mental agony & worry. I have got
12letters from my mother & other members of my family, (not my brother
13Will) that have keeped me two nights out of bed walking up & down on
14the verandah all the time, & near morning the second night (I didn't
15know it I was pregnant) it suddenly came on.
17 I am pregnant again now, but I have simply written to all my relations
18& begged them not to write to me on political questions. If they want
19to write they must write to Cron. It's not only since the raid; it
20began two years ago when I wrote that political situation paper. I can
21beare so much from outsiders, but the attacks from my own family kill
22me. And I believe a cousin of mine has been at the bottom of it all.
23But it's best not to think of these things. It's one of the terrible
24features of the Rhode's influence that in every way, directly &
25indirectly, it works nothing but evil for the people of this
26unfortunate land.
28 How long are you going to stay in England? Write to me soon. Unless I
29should mis-carry again of course, I won't go home. The doctors here
30say there is no reason I should, if I keep perfectly quiet mentally &
31physically - which is hard for me!! I'm not printing the last the last
32two articles of the series because, there always are ^always^
33misunderstanding & that worries me. In a couple of months when the
34great danger is over I'll publish them.
36 No, you are quite wrong as to a minority not being able to do anything.
37 Three resolute men, or two such as Mr Sauer & Mr Merriman might keep
38Mr Rhodes from ever daring to show his face in the Cape Parliament. I
39don't know much of Rhodes, but this I know, he would never dare to
40face them, ^even^ if they had not a man to back them. I think my dear
41heart, you are mistaken about Mr Innes. You see I have been much about
42in the Eastern Province & among that party; & there has been an
43unusually strong feeling against Mr Sauer because he was a Dutchman -
44though he's half a German! There was a wide spread feeling that he was
45playing into the hands of the bond, & that he was going to go over to
46the Bond even on the native question. I was confidently told by some
47people that if the next year a strop bill was brought in Mr Sauer was
48going to vote for it to catch the Bond vote; & it was no use my saying
49I did not believe this was true. Let Mr Sauer just stand quietly by
50his colours, & in four years' time at longest, men will see the stand
51of the Telegraph ^was the right one.^ It is wonderful how in Kimberley &
52else where the feeling is beginning to veer against Rhodes.
54 Would you do something dear if you are in London I want very much to
55get four combinations like the pattern I am sending you. The great
56point is that they must be g smocked around the leg like the pattern I
57send. Especial when I am in this condition I can't bear the pressure
58of the light ^plain^ combinations round my leg.
60 I want them largest woman's size, or they get too tight. I like them
61big & lose. I want two with long sleeves & two with short. I want them
62pink if possible, if not white or grey will do.
64 I want them good quality If not the very thick & not the ^very^ thin
65summer the medium thickness. They must both have high necks, the two
66with short sleeves as well as those that have long. I always used to
67get them at the army & navy stores. But if they are out of them they
68will always make them to order. I want the Alpin, with the dogs head.
69Other makes are not. Would you mind doing this for me dear, I should
70be so grateful. I will send you the £5 next week. The post office is
71shut now.
73 Olive
The 'last two articles of the series' refers to Schreiner's 'Returned South African' essays, which appeared in reviews and journals at various points in the 1890s. In particular, Schreiner may be referring to: "The African Boer" The Cosmopolitan vol 29, no 5, September 1900, pp.451-467; and "The African Boer (Continued)" The Cosmopolitan vol 29, no 6, October 1900, pp.593-602. A series of these was to have been published as 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. However, although prepared for publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War prevented this. They and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.