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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/41
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date10 November 1898
Address FromDounan?s House, Hospital Hill, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 339
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 is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Dounan’s House
2 Hospital Hill
3 Johannesburg
4 Nov 10th 1898
6 Dear Friend
8 I am sending you a note from John X (private, please return) which
9will comfort you I think, in a way, as showing that some of our party
10are standing together firmly. If they only will hold together & stand
11by one another we must in the end win. Did you know that the bar in
12Cape Town gave a dinner to Will, Innes & Solomon! Will was very much
13please. & I think it shows that public feeling in Cape Town itself
14even is becoming healthier.
16 I send you also a letter of my dear old Doctor Browns to me. I know
17you will be glad to see that he thinks I may pull together. He & Mrs
were up here on a visit when I first came up, & I was so glad to
19see them again before they left for England. He is one of the noblest
20& best souls that ever lived (a cousin of the old man who wrote ?"Bal
21& his friends") but he doesn’t see I couldn’t publish anything I
22wasn’t perfectly satisfied with that I’d much sooner die.
24 I suppose no one understands just how one feels to one’s work, that
25it’s a kind of religion to me. That it lies in a region where neither
26praise nor blame, nor agony nor money can ever touch it as far as
27one’s ^own^ feelings are concerned. I have said good bye to my work, & I
28can burn all my MSS. but (I have passed through that struggle & given
29it up) but I couldn’t publish a line till I was satisfied.
31 I have left it in my will that all my MS are to be burnt when I die.
32Did I ever send you a little Prelude to read called "The Child’s Day."
33I like it best of all the things I have written. I will send it you if
34to read, if I haven’t shown it you before. It’s the Prelude to my big
35novel "From Man to Man." I know whatever the doctors say I shall never
36live to revise any of it, & I have three big books written only
37wanting a few months of health to revise them. It was a great struggle
38a few months ago to give it all up. That was my real death. My
39physical life death when it comes will be nothing. My soul is really
40here under the table in the great box of manuscripts that will all
41have to be burnt when I die.
43 Cron has not yet got any work, but has gone down to see a lawyer this
44morning. I shall be so glad when I know he is in a way to provide
45amply for his mother & sister for the rest of their lives.
47 I got such a beautiful letter from Will the other day. Whatever sorrow
48& darkness the last years have brought him they have been a great
49spiritual gain to him.
51 Olive
53^Love to Miss Greene & you, & tell Miss Greene to take Fellows
54hypophosphates after each meal, & take they yourself. They really do
55strengthen one a little.
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.