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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold3/1904/13
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date10 June 1904
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAlice Greene
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. Schreiner was resident in Hanover from September 1900 to October 1907, after 1902 with visits, sometimes fairly lengthy, elsewhere.
1 Little Hell of Desolation
2 June 10 / 04
4 Dear Friend
6 I did not understand you intended to start at once for Hanover, but
7thought you would spend some weeks first at Nels Poort &c. or I should
8have wired yesterday as soon as I got here to tell you there were
9still three case of typhoid, one quite a recent one a few days old; so
10it seems the typhoid is still going on steadily.
12 The cold here too is terrific! Bitter cutting winds & white clouds
13with a grey sky. My chest is bad already & I have only been here 24
14hours. Mrs Van Zÿl also has no room to let now, but at the end of the
15month the bank clerk is going away & she will have a room to spare. Of
16course the air here may not affect you as it does me; to me this place
17is hell.
19 It is 8 o’clock in the evening. I am sitting in our little front
20room which is dining room study & drawing room in one. We have
21finished supper. Cron has gone out to work at the office till eleven
22o’clock. The meerkats are in bed & Neta is asleep. My little Kaffir
23boy is still awake in the kitchen. He is a sweet little fellow, but
24quite a baby; I am sure he cannot be more than ten instead of 13 as
25they make out in his form.
27 The more I think of it the more glad I feel that Miss Molteno is going
28to England with you. She must go some where where she can forget a
29little this terrible past & present. For myself, were it not for Cron
30& the fact that I can’t live away from him, I should long ago have
31left South Africa perhaps never to return to it till my body was
32brought back.
34 There is going to be a terrible native war before long & we (you or I)
35are quite powerless to do anything. I have unreadable thrown away 10
36years of my life in trying to stop the inevitable. What iota of good
37have I done? Was one Matabele kept alive by Peter Halkett? Was one
38English shot arrested by all my writing with regard to the Boer war?
40 Good bye, my darling friends. All good be with you. I can’t help
41thinking if you went to visit the friends at ?Besfispoort you would
42enjoy it. Later if there is no fresh case of typhoid you might come on
43here. If your hearts are sound the place may not affect you as it does me.
45 Olive
47 It would have been lovely if you could have come with us as far as
48Nels Poort. So far as that the air was simply heavenly. We got here in
49such clouds of dust you could not see the village as we drove across
50the plain towards it. I am sure Miss Molteno needs the rest & change
51of Europe. Yo