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Letter ReferenceSchreiner-Hemming Family BC 1080 A1.7/20
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday November 1889
Address FromGrahamstown, Eastern 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. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Grahamstown
2 Wednesday
4 My Ettie.
6 How strangely unlike anything we had planned all is turning out. Here
7I am at Lillies. We got here at five on Monday having travelled with
8out stopping since Friday evening I don’t think I would have got
9here without Robert. His goodness to me has been wonderful. What
10distresses me is the expense of the journey for him. I found the
11little mother looking better than I had expected. What I do not like
12is the horrible dead white colour that comes over her face. She will
13not die now. At the same time, I feel it cannot be for long. It is the
14beginning of the end. I wish so much I could move her to larger
15brighter rooms. I am going to see if I can’t get her moved out for a
16few weeks & have her rooms well done up. I know Fred would like to
17have it done at his cost. I was not able to see mother yesterday, but
18Lilly Auntie & Emma went. Lilly has been more kind to me than any
19words can describe. She made me come here from the hotel & sat up with
20me the greater part of ^whole^ of the first night & the greater part of
21last. Nothing distresses me so much as the helpless burden I am to
22other people. The doctor injected morphine into my arm, & I am taking
23advantage of the few hours freedom from pain to write. I do not know
24yet what my plans are. I can’t give up my Vis-choek without another
25trial. As soon as mother is at all so that I can leave her, I shall
26start but you had better write here as it may not be till next week. I
27shall break the terrible journey by a two or three days stay in
28Cradock. I feel I have been such a bitter disappointed to you my old
29Ettie, but it is your being in Africa that makes it possible for me to
30stay here so far from all my friends in England. Whenever I think of
31you I don’t feel lonely.
33 Address here when you write, & please write at once. Please dear look
34about my room & in the little box & my bath & see whether there is a
35little roll of my allegories most of them printed, some in M.S.
36fastened together by a little metal fastener. Will you please if you
37find them keep them very safe. I am feeling so anxious thinking they
38are lost. I thought they were in the little black box, but they
41 Please write me a line. Give my love to all the children, Wynne &
42Effie when you write
43 Olive
The roll of allegories referred to was permanently lost when Schreiner went to Grahamstown to visit her mother; the loss is referred to frequently in family letters of the time.