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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/38
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 November 1898
Address FromDounan?s House, Hospital Hill, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToGirls Collegiate School, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 338
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 name of the addressee and the address this letter was sent to are provided by an attached envelope.
1 Dounan’s House
2 Hospital Hill
3 Nov 1st 1898
5 So glad of your letter. Am full of plans for you & Miss Greene coming
6up here some day. On Sunday I & Cron walked to a koppje out of the
7town where you get a most wonderful view all round, & the great rocks
8& bushes are as untouched as if there were no civilization for
9thousands of miles. I lay on my back under a bush on the delightful
10soft rocks (there is nothing so restful as a rock I think) & we were
11quite sorry when it was evening & we had to come back. I kept thinking
12how Miss Green would have loved it. At our feet lay the great valley
13beyond Johannesburg covered with vast plantations of trees stretching
14for miles, & among them beautifully laid out farms which supply
15Johannesburg with fruit & vegetables, & away beyond are the flats, &
16far blue mountains. I shall never like this so much as the ^bare^ Karroo,
17 but its a marvellous rest to get out of the town. It's curious that
18people have lived here for years & years who have never been out for a
19walk on the koppjes & know, & care to know, nothing of Johannesburg
20but the town!
22 We are very comfortable in our boardinghouse. Such a nice man & woman.
23I am reading old Pepys’s Diary straight through. It’s so nice &
24doesn’t excite one. The doctors say I mustn’t write a line for two
25years at least. But they needn’t say so - because I can’t! I’ve
26twice got out my papers & in about ten minutes I’ve completely gone
27to pieces.
29 I am very anxious as to the supreme court trials. You know men who are
30complete scoundrels have always a great advantage in law over those
31who are not because they can always get people to swear falsely & so
32can bring any evidence they wish.
34 Yes, it’s very good to see the younger generation of women wanting
35to work; if when your girls leave you you have only wakened up in them
36the dawning of that desire, they have got what they have would never
37have got at the ordinary school. That was the terrible thing about the
38D.S.G. in the old days, that it filled the girls with the "fine lady"
41 Cron sends his love. He hasn’t got a post yet but we are hopeful of
42his getting into an office in a couple of weeks.
44 You would like the Kaffir boys up here. The terrible thing is that
45nothing is being done for the natives at the mines. They are herded
46together like animals, & feed on bad brandy, & see nothing but the
47most brutal & selfish side of our civilization. Missionaries are sent
48all over the world to look for heathens, & here they are collected by
49tens of thousands, & no attempt is made to civilise or save them.
51 Olive
53 ^Please give the enclosed to Miss Smith with my love^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.