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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold2/1903/1
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 February 1903
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
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 of this letter is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Hanover
2 Feb 23 / 03
4 My darling Friend
6 I have just got your letter & also have seen in the paper that Mrs
7Anderson has gone. It will be a sad home coming to dear old Africa for
8you, dear one. But I hope you were in time to see her before the end.
9That will I know be a little comfort to you.
11 How are you feeling? How is Miss Greene? Is she able to take exercise
12as of old. I hope you will see Cron who is now in Cape Town at his
13Mother’s in Rondebosch. He will be able to tell me something about
14you both if he sees you.
16 No we are not having our meals at the hotel. There are too many
17jingoes staying there. I can’t even bear to pass the place.
18unreadable I have no servant of any kind what so ever though I would
19willingly pay any price for one. I am feeling stronger now so the work
20doesn’t tell on me quite so much as a few months ago. When Cron goes
21to Parliament in June I want to go away somewhere for a holiday. I
22think sometimes of Prince Albert which they say is very nice in winter.
23 If you & Miss Greene could join me there, & we could take our bikes &
24have a really good time how fine it would be.
26 Did Miss Greene get my two long letters just before you left London? I
27wrote asking if you & she had read the the most beautiful, the most
28lovely book I have ever read. I’ve such a curious feeling to the
29book as if it was mine; it seems as if it was out of my heart only its
30so infinitely more sweet & beautiful than any thing I ever have
31written or could write. I’ve never had that feeling to any book. If
32you’ve not read it you & Miss Greene must get it & read it. About 12
33or 13 years ago that man wrote me a beautiful letter from Burma
34telling me he had read my books & how much he liked them & I never
35answered him. I put his letter away & it was destroyed with my other
36things in Johannesburg by the English. (I hear now on the best
37authority it was an English column which destroyed my house.) I always
38meant to answer it but never did.
40 It is such a heavenly day here, calm, bright, & still; when life seems
41beautiful; & so, death also! Neither hot nor cold, the air so clear &
44 It is very nice to feel you two are back in Old Africa it has been
45such a blank space left while you you were away.
47 Have you seen dear Anna Purcell? She has been very ill. See my dear
48friend General Malan. He is staying at Mrs Charles de Villiers in the
51 I never write to any one about politics or public matters now.
53 That silence which I spoke of in my pamphlet of 1899 has come! ^Do you
54remember the passage?^ There is silence – There is a time to be
55silent & there is a time to speak.
57 Good bye dear ones
58 Olive
60 Read the Soul of a People it will comfort you.
Schreiner's 'pamphlet of 1899' is An English South African's View of the Situation, originally published in the South African News over three successive days; see 'Words in Season. An English South African's View of the Situation' South African News 1 June 1899 (p.8), 2 June 1899 (p.8) and 3 June 1899 (also p.8). It was also reprinted in a number of other newspapers. It then was published as a pamphlet, then as a book. A second edition of the book was ready but withdrawn from publication by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this. The 'beautiful book' referred to is: Harold Fielding Hall (1898) The Soul of a People London: R. Bentley & Son.