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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Ruth Alexander MSC 26/2.1.3
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date11 June 1912
Address FromVilla Flandre, Newlands, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToRuth Alexander nee Schechter
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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 Villa Flandre
2 Newland
3 June 11th 1912
4
5 Ruth dear, I don't know what you must have thought of me the other day
6I was half dazed. I'd just been sitting for some hours by the death
7bed of my husband's mother. She was buried on Sunday afternoon. Two of
8my sister's little step-grand children died also on Saturday & & were
9buried on Sunday & I seem to have been living in such an atmosphere of
10suffering that I'm not good company I'm afraid. I was so glad dearest
11to see you looking so bonnie. You & that dear fine little son are the
12brightest things I've seen here since I came.
13
14 I saw the Browns yesterday Their house is lovely, & they both look
15better. If I can I'll come & see you again. I just caught a glimpse of
16the girlies. They looked fine.
17
18 It was very sweet of your husband to say he wanted to send a
19contribution to that cot in the hospital which some temperance people
20speak of. But all of us feel that if anything were raised in her
21memory it ought to be something connected with the natives & Coloured
22people she loved so & had worked for since she was a little girl, or
23for temperance work among them. I think she had rather my feeling of
24horror of hospitals. But of course those people who propose it mean
25very well, & kindly. But none of us like the idea.
26
27 I hope the weather will keep fine for you my darling & that soon you
28will be able to sit out on the balcony. But do take a long rest before
29you try to walk about. The longer you rest now the stronger you will
30be later. After each child I believe one should take a longer & longer
31rest. The women I have known who have born many children & kept
32perfect health were women who rested long after each birth.
33
34 I'm so thankful that little girl is so good to the children. She's
35just the sort of gentle girl I should like to have with my children.
36
37 Good night, my bonnie Ruth
38 Olive
39
40
Notation
Ruth Alexander in fact appreciated Schreiner's visit following the birth of her son a great deal, as the following letter in response indicates:

Kimberley Villa
Muizenberg
June 18th

Darling Olive,

Once again you have been good to me as only you could have been. You came to see me, in the middle of my joy and your heavy sorrow, and you never told me from what an ordeal you had come; you never spoke of all that must have been uppermost in your heart. With the self lessness that is yours, and only yours, you just sat and loved me, and my mother couldn't have been sweeter, and more full of ^happy in^ my joy. You gave me an additional happiness, a warm sweet feeling that was never mine with the other two convalescences. You have given me so much that I can never repay. Olive darling, but I do love you.

My nurse was to leave me on Friday. But I shall be quite all right. Baby will be 31/2 weeks old then, and is well and good that I will not have to work too hard. And my own ?new good strength is a unreadable pleasure to me. Alex saw you often with your dear niece; She must have been a blessed comfort to you.

With many thanks and my heart?s love,
I am yours,
Ruth

(Olive Schreiner BC16, Box 12, Fold1, Undated)