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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/9
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 March 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other Versions
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. Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899. The end of this letter seems to be missing.
1 March 22nd 1899
3 My dear Friend
5 Yes, it’s very, very long since I wrote to you. I don’t know if
6I’m worse than I was in Kimberley, but I’m more tired. I think
7more than ever of my friends but seem to have nothing worth saying to
8them. Such a curious blankness.
10 I am copying out my articles steadily.
12 I’m glad you saw the Sauers. Did Mary Sauer say she was coming to
13Johannesburg in May? I hope so. Mrs Chapin is here now, & often comes
14to see me. Oh my dear friend, Johannesburg is such a terrible place,
15the women here are so terrible. Mrs Chapin didn’t seem anything much
16in England, but she is so wonderful & delightful here. I hope perhaps
17I shall in June or July be able to go down to the Colony & fetch my
18little girls.
20 [page/s missing]
The articles which Schreiner was 'copying out steadily' refers to one of the different writing projects she had underway at this time. This could refer to her ‘A Returned South African’ essays, originally published in a range of magazines, with this first one published in the Fortnightly; she intended to rework them in book form, as Stray Thoughts on South Africa. A dispute with a 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. It could also refer to the 'articles on the woman question' published in the US as two essays on 'Woman'; these were conceived as part of a major theoretical work Schreiner intended to published, but the manuscript of this was destroyed when her Johannesburg house was badly damaged and burned by marauding troops during the South African War; these two articles eventually became Woman and Labour.