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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold3/1896/8
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 6 February 1896
Address FromMiddelburg, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrances ('Fan') Schreiner nee Reitz
Other VersionsRive 1987: 266
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.
1 Middelburg
2 Thursday
3 Feb 6 / 96
5 Dear Fan
7 I was so glad to get your letter. I would have answered it at once but
8I have not been writing to any one except a daily ^card^ letter to
9mother. I was so sorry to hear you had been ill from Will. He didn’t
10tell me what had been the matter with you, but I feared it might be a
11miscarriage. It leaves one so tired - & seems such a loss. I hope it
12was not that. I do not think the asthma was caused by my condition,
13but for the last month I have been able to take nothing but soda water
14& am sick day & night, so I may be pregnant again but I don’t like
15to tell any one about it till I am sure. I am sorry am sick now
16because I wanted to correct my articles about the Boers for sending to
19 I wrote Will a letter last week begging him not to send little Will to
20school yet. I know you also wish him kept at home too. No child could
21be ^more^ sweet & beautiful in every way than the little lad was we were
22in Cape Town, & with children I believe in letting well alone.
24 We are leaving this for Mr Webbers farm on Sat. Then Cron is going up
25to the Farmer’s Congress, but I am not well enough to go too & shall
26stay with Mrs Cawood till the end of the month. My address will be
27just Mortimer Station if you or Will are writing. We shall be home in
28Kimberley by the first of March.
30 I have felt more distressed for my old Will than for anyone in all
31these troubles. I have hardly liked to write to him for fear of
32paining him in anyway. I know what he has gone through. And he has yet
33more blows waiting for him in the future I fear, when all is made
34clear, if it ever is. How is President Reitz.
36^Give my love to all the little folk. Do write to me soon & give me all
37your news. I have given you all mine. ^
39 Your little sis
40 Olive
42 ^I have not heard from the little mother for a very long time but I
43write to her every day. I never mention politics.^
The 'articles about the Boers' referred to are Schreiner’s ‘A Returned South African’ essays, originally published in a range of magazines. She intended to rework them in book form, as Stray Thoughts on South Africa. A dispute with a US publisher and then the outbreak of the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this, and they were in the event with some additional essays published posthumously as Thoughts on South Africa. Rive's (1987) version of this letter omits part of it.