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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/40
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date7 November 1898
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToGirls Collegiate School, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 338-9
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 date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand; the stamp and postmark have been removed from an attached envelope. The name of the addressee and the address the letter was sent to are provided by the envelope. Schreiner 'tested' living in Johannesburg in October and November and then moved her home in December 1898.
1 Dear Friend
3 You’ll never guess where I am? Sitting on the verandah of the little
4house on the top of the krantz, while a Kaffir boy I have hired for
5the day is cleaning it out. I’ve had such asthma the last nights at
6the boardinghouse, that I’ve got the people to whom the house
7belongs to say I can come & sleep here for one or two nights to see if
8I shall be free. Its got 8 rooms & a balcony & a little verandah. The
9view from it is superb, all Johannesburg lies at your feet. You see
10the mines far away in the distance but all far far below you. If we do
11come here we shall only furnish one bedroom upstairs at first & get
12our food at a boarding house. Cron has not yet heard of work, but I
13make no doubt will in a few days. You & Miss Green would love living
14up here. Wild rocks & fir trees & grass all about only two houses, the
15one adjoining & another big one near. This house has been unlet for a
16year because people think it too "lonely". In a way its more quiet &
17comfortable than the dear old Homestead. It’s a beautiful cool day
18almost cold. The climate here is very exhilarating. You may have been
19up with asthma all night, & yet in the day you can walk miles. One
20only seems to have one wish here & that is to be out of doors. I can
21fancy Miss Green striding away over the velt with Cron & his brother
22on their long Sunday walks & getting ever so much good. This certainly
23is the finest climate in Africa.
25 I had a nice, & very sympathetic letter from dear old Merriman this
26morning. I was asked to take the chair at a library meeting on Tuesday
27next week. Of course I couldn’t but Cron is going to. I think he
28will like the life here. He seems so happy after the strain Of
29Kimberley. I had a nice letter from my dear Mary Sauer this week. She
30says she’ll come up if we stay here ^& take rooms close to us^. I
31think if we can live in this house I might get to like Johannesburg.
32Its so different to look down on a place to being in it. If
34 The news in the paper makes me very anxious But even if Du Vaal goes
35over altogether they aren’t strong enough to carry the vote of
36no-confidence. I want the present ministry to stay in at all costs &
37at all price; because of the way it will strengthen Rhodes position at home
38if he or his creatures get it in.
40 Good bye
41 Olive
43 If you go to Cape Town write & tell me just how things are going there.
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.