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Letter ReferenceW.P. Schreiner BC112/B31/4
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Sunday 1891 ; Before End: 1892
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToFrances (‘Fan’) Schreiner nee Reitz
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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. ‘Before the birth of Ursula?’ has been written on this letter in an unknown hand, confirmed by content. Ursula Scott nee Schreiner was born in 1892, thus the dating of the letter.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Sunday night
3
4 My darling Fanny
5
6 Now you are settled in your new home & I want to know all about it & I
7know you & Will, the worthless one, wont tell me anything about it so
8I’m going to send Mr Fort on a visit of inspection & he’s to tell.
9He gave me a long account of his visit to you last Sunday. How you sat
10in the chair by the desk in the study, & Dot on your knee & Wills &
11Charley on his, & how Dot said ?Fidsty Full There was half a page
12about Dot how she sat on your knee & said it "with the little finger
13raised," with such wonderful force & expression & he will never forget it.
14
15 I’m so glad he thinks her wonderful that its not only us. I think
16she is the most wonderful exceptional child th in the world. But she
17will need very careful bringing up. She will have a curious complex
18character. Willie is more deep & sensitive, but his character is more
19all of a piece than her’s I think. Oh my darling you don’t know
20how often I think of you that dear little one we shall one day see. I
21think of it every day. I hope it will be a little girl because it
22would be so good for Dot to have a little sister, but we shall love it
23what ever it is. Take care of yourself darling, & of our little one.
24
25 My dear friend Nelly has just sent me word that she has a little son &
26is very happy.
27
28 Now darling as to my coming to town in September. I certainly would
29not stay with you ^for months^ unless you let me pay you at least some
30slight sum like £5 a month. You don’t know how touched I always
31feel when I see your simple little wardrobe & the simple way in which
32Will & live & yet spend so much on others. You may say you have Nell
33or Mrs Joubert or any one else to stay with you but that’s quite
34different. You ought to have someone with you Will being so much away
35who can be a companion to you & help with the house & all that sort of
36thing, but I with my writing, & my need of long walks & open air
37exercise would simply be like having no one in the house except at
38meal times. If I could feel I was doing anything at all for you in
39return for being there I should like very much to come & live with you
40till I go up to the Zambesi - & you’ll never see me anymore because
41I shall die up there – but as it is I don’t see my way clear. I
42have however to come to town about the tenth of October of a & shall
43if I’m not troubling you spend a week or perhaps a fortnight with
44you if you will have me. Then I can look about well. I feel as if I
45should work better if I were not so utterly alone.
46
47 This is private & not to be mentioned to any one but Will
48
49 Do you remember my telling you & Will about a M woman who had caused
50me no end of trouble & would come out after me & stay with me. Well Mr
51Fort
has just sent me a cutting from a paper in which it is said that
52she is coming out to stay pay a visit to her friend Olive Schreiner in
53South Africa!!!
54
55 I really came out to this country greatly to get ride of her. If ever
56you see me bolt suddenly into your house in Hoff street you will know
57I am escaping from her & that she is behind me, & you must hide me
58under [wordspace]. You can’t have any idea what a nightmare that
59woman is to me. Please don’t say any thing to your friends or anyone,
60 but if a tall thin woman comes to ask you or Will what my address is
61you wire up to me, & I shall not be in Matjesfontein when she comes
62here!
63
64 Good bye darling sister. Don’t trouble to answer this in a hurry. I
65know what you & Will are as letter writers. Tell Will he’s to send
66up that beautiful cutting I sent him. I hope Kitty I hop is getting on
67all right. Tell her she mustn’t think of answering my note. But that
68I shall turn up some day at K.W. town.
69
70 Your little sis
71 Olive
72