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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/128
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateApril 1912
Address FromVilla Flandre, Newlands, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHenrietta (‘Ettie’) Schreiner m. Stakesby Lewis (1891)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. This letter has been dated by reference to content around the final illness of Ettie Stakesby Lewis. Schreiner visited her, staying at Villa Flandre, in April 1912. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1 Villa Flandre
2 Newlands
4 My own darling
6 Oh how strange it seems to be so near you & not able to get to you.
8 Its all been such a series of strange mischances. The moment Fan got
9the telephone asking her to get Julie Brown or Elsie Martin I took a
10cab down there. Neither of them could go. Elsie was just going out &
11Julie was at home looking after the house. They unreadable talked
12about the hospital nurse. I knew you would not want her, but I made
13her promise she would tell you it was only for one night & she would
14be quite glad to come back the next morning if not needed. Then I
15tried every where here to get a cart to take me out at once. I offered
16a man here £3 to take me but he said his horses could not do the sand.
17 Then I got a wire to say Kate Stuart had gone so I supposed you plan
18was to have her failing a real nurse. I would have come out all the
19same if I could have got a cart. It was so hard to sit at Milnerton
20the next day & see Blauwberg seemingly so near, & so ungetatable!
22 We are coming whether it rains or not on Sunday.
24 It seems to me no other humanity knows all you are suffering as I do,
25& you must be a little comforted if I am with you. Oh my darling it is
26so terrible that you who all your life from your earliest childhood
27have nursed & cared for any sick & suffering creature near you should
28suffer so, & we all be so powerless to help you. Will will tell you
29something of the plans for you. He does love you so dear, & it is such
30a joy to him to feel he can help you. I do wish you could know how
31beautifully he spoke the other day about his wish to have you here at
32his home.
34 I realize how splendid the air is for you; but the difficulty of
35getting to & fro does seem terrible. Even dear little Dot wanted to go
36out to see you, but of course it is such a difficulty.
38 Good bye my own darling. Oh Ettie do rest if you get a little better.
39Its not death that one fears for oneself of those one loves. It’s
40the possibility of long months even years of struggle, actual struggle
41Oh it is good to think I shall see my darling tomorrow.
43 Olive