"That I may finish that book, 'From Man to Man', being of some use, tragedy & bitterness of woman's fate" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/192/89
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date5 June 1909
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToIsie Smuts nee Krige
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 de Aar
2 June 5th 1909
4 Dear Isie,
6 Thank you so much for the book of Kaffir-stories you sent me. I would
7like to write you a real long letter about the "woman’s question" &
8so many things, but I’m very sick, dear, & sometimes I feel as if
9all my work were done. Even writing letters to those I love I put off
10from week to week, always hoping I shall be better – but that time
11doesn’t come.
13 I know how lonely you must be with Jan so far away. I see so little of
14my husband he is so busy here; but still I’d rather be near him than
15anywhere away.
17 I shall have to go away in the summer when it gets so hot here that
18even strong men break down, so I want to stay here in the cool weather
19while I can. I have a dear little dog called Ollie who has just had
20four beautiful little pups & two little meerkats, & they are great
21company to me. The great thing in life is to love other things,
22animals, people, every thing – the whole dear old world.
24 I mustn’t forget to ask you about something My sister Ettie has got
25a beautiful old old Dutch house up on the mountain side behind Cape
26Town, its about ten minutes drive into the city: its called the
27Highlands. It’s got about 50 acre of ground about it. Her health is
28quite broken down & she is going to try let it, & go away for change.
29She wants to let the big house all furnished: she will let it for £15
30a month. Some time ago she refused £36 for a month for it but things
31are now so bad in Cape Town no one can afford to pay high rents.
32I’ve been wondering if perhaps you might know of any one who would
33like to hire it. It would just suit you because its so perfectly quiet
34with the big grounds round it; though so near to the town it’s like
35a farm. But she wants to let it at once, & I suppose you will not be
36coming down till the Union parliament meets. If you know of any one
37who might hire it I would be so glad if you would tell them about it.
38I enclose a picture of the house. It’s only Pretoria or Johannesburg
39people who would be likely to want such a big house. There are two
40little houses on the estate one of which she will keep for herself &
41one of which a niece of mine lives in, so it is not quite lonely.
43 Its beautifully cool up there on the mountain side when its quite hot
44in Cape Town itself. It would be the greatest kindness if you could do
45me if you would friend tell any one who would hire it. There are big
46outbuildings where cows, carriages & motor cars could be kept.
48 I hope the little ones are well. I like their pictures much. Santa
49looks just brimful of mischief & life!
51 I wish you were nearer me that I could sometimes go & spend a few days
52with you. It would be such a nice rest. The journey to Pretoria is too
53long & expensive for just a few days. Good bye dear.
55 My unchanging love always turns towards you.
56 Olive
The book of 'Kaffir-stories' Schreiner refers to has not been established.