"Rhodes system, the matrix, fruits of native policy" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/42
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 November 1898
Address FromDounan?s House, Hospital Hill, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToGirls Collegiate School, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 339-40
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 12 / 98
5 Dear Friend
7 Cron has returned from seeing the lawyers. It seems he can’t get
8work here for money for the first months, so he is going in for
9nothing for a few months. After that they will give him £10 a month.
10Of course at the end of the three years he will be an attorney & able
11to earn plenty for himself & his mother & sister but for the & next
12year he will be getting enough for himself.
14 Now I am telling you all this because I want to ask a great favour
15from you. I can’t take the money you have so sweetly & beautifully
16offered me, because, for one thing you will need it all when you start
17your new school. If you were a woman too who would only spend your
18money on dress & fashion I would say, well it might as well be spent
19on me, but you will spend it just as well as I will. But I want to ask
20you whether you will let me have £200 I giving you a properl legally
21drawn up bond on my house in Kimberley so that if at the end of two
22years I am not well enough to have worked & return it to you, or if I
23should die, you couldn’t possibly lose the money. I have had seven
24hundred & fifty offered for it last year by a man who wanted it ^a year
25ago but who has bought another house now.^ If I put it on a sale now to
26sell at whatever it will fetch I may not get more than unreadable
27£500 for it; & I have a curious wish not to sell it at once. I may
28get bad & want to return there, & I feel I always have some home to
29return to.
31 You see I am asking you a great favour dear one. Because you will be
32giving me the interest you will would get anywhere else. If only we
33had not had that terrible case with Rhodes we should have come out all
34right, & the man will not pay me the 5 £51 he owes me for the article
35I published last April.
37 If I I am going to try & write a little even if only for half an hour
38a day, so that by the end of the year I may have my articles ready, or
39for ten minutes a day. I am much better in that house on the hill, I
40can lie down there & here I have to sit up all night. I am sure I
41shall get better there.
43 I do hope the time at the New Brighton really rested you dear heart. I
44feel some how so sure that all will ultimately go well at Cape Town.
45Merriman’s letter to me was very cheering, because if only our
46straight men will hold together all will come well. Yesterday I had
47such a nice treat, I found a little lark’s nest with four eggs in in
48the long grass up on the ridge behind the house I want to hire! The
49dear little mother was in such a state of mind lest we should touch
50her eggs. I do hope no-one else will find it. It’s so beautiful that
51that lovely little bit of bird life should be going on right in this
52terrible city one might say. If you have any difficulty about letting
53me have the £200 now you ^mustn’t mind saying so.^
55 Olive
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.