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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold3/1904/57
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date24 December 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 date of this letter as 1904 is surmised from content and its place in the archival sequence. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Hanover
2 Xmas Eve
4 Dear Friend
6 I am sitting here in my little study again. The time at Pretoria was
7splendid. No accounts of the funeral that I have seen do it any
8justice, & I’m not fit enough to write one now. I did wish so much
9that you & Miss Molteno were there.
11 I stayed with the dear Smuts’s. De Wet stayed there too. I love &
12admire him more every time I see him. He is not lest but more an
13object of poetry to me the more I see of him. Mrs Botha did not call
14on me, so I saw nothing of Botha but the glimpse I had when we shook
15hands at the railway station. De la Rey is most impressive looking but
16does not touch my heart nor do I feel he mentally belongs to me as de
17Wet does. There is something very attractive in the expression of
18Botha’s face very different from his photos. The scene in the
19Susanna Saal where the body lay in state was something more beautiful
20& impressive than I can des-cribe. I have seen many impressive scenes
21in Europe, but nothing like that. The solemn rows of burgers in their
22old fighting clothes about the door were very touching to me but the
23scene in the dim hall lighted by electric lights, & the the hundreds &
24hundreds of wreathes covering floor & walls to the far end where the
25rough old hero lay in his coffin was moving beyond pl words, in the
26room behind were huge books in which all who came wrote their names.
27The dear Smuts’ were all that is sweet & kind. She has another
28little girl, unreadable just ten days old the day I arrived, & only
29sixteen months younger than the last, an exquisite child. but now ill.
30Dear General Malan came with ten of his commando to see me at Smuts’.
31 & the
33 I stayed in Pretoria four days & then went over to Johannesburg I had
34the room of my niece Wynny Hemming the building specially for teachers,
35 as she was away in the Colony. I went out to visit Malans people at
36Langlaagete, a few miles out of Johannesburg. Malan is the very image
37of his mother, except that she is very big & stout. She has even the
38same droop in the left eye. All the children are most interesting. The
39three sons who fought to the end, the youngest being only fifteen when
40he joined the commando, but the most attractive of all is the eldest
41daughter a really beautiful girl exactly like Malan, with the same
42curious self restraint over intense passion. The father is entirely
43unlike the family, they seem to have inherited entirely & solely from
44the mother; he is a common-place looking old fellow with rough light
45beard & hair & blue eyes & a low forehead (another illustration of the
46fact that men of genius inherit their gifts from the mother!!)
48 The most interesting thing of all was the jingoes I saw in
49Johannesburg, who innundated me from morning till night. – "We are
50all pro-Boers now
!" The change of feeling is something almost too
51astonishing! But I will tell you all about it in in my next letter. I
52wasn’t awake in the morning when albums were thrust in at my door
53for me to sign. I also was almost in danger of ^my^ life where there two
54years ago just after the war am now a most popular person!! The next
55thing will be the Johannesburgers will be raising a statue to Oom Paul!
56! I will tell you about some interviews I have had. I was very very
57well in Johannesburg & especially at Pretoria but had a trying journey
58down. There were 250 people in the train; could get nothing to eat all
59day. When I got to Hanover Rd at eight o’clock ^in the evening^ the
60cart I had asked to have sent for me & for which I was paying well had
61gone back to Hanover, as the train was late, & I had to sit out on the
62bench on the verandah from eight o’clock on one evening till half
63past ten the next day waiting for a cart that never came, Good by & am
64knocked up a bit. Good bye.
66^More next week.^