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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold4/1905/1
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date11 January 1905
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 Jan 11 / 05
4 My darling Friend
6 I got your beautiful long letter today, also the one from London.
7Isn’t it rather funny I got three such specially long & valuable
8letters today from England, yours & one from Isabella Ford & one from
9Con Lytton & they were all dated Sunday the 18th. You were all sitting
10to write to me the same afternoon. Con Lytton’s is the longest I
11have had from her for years: something seems to have moved you all to
12write to me that day.
14 I hope you have seen Isabella. She is such a noble woman. I feel as if
15you & she would be very great friends. Have you read Carpenter’s new
16book, "the art of creation." Get it; you will like parts of it much.
17If only you could get that money out of the Nell Poort farms, & I
18could get some writing done & earn a little money we could buy a farm
19together or two small farms close adjoining like upper & lower Lily
20Kloof. And then Cron could farm my farm for himself & he could help
21you look after yours, or might farm it on the half. But that’s all a
22day dream because I get such little little times of betterness. My
23heart is getting very large & it is not easy to do anything. Cron left
24today for Beaufort West to see his constituencies & will be back next
25Sunday. The meerkats are well & sweet, & Neta sick & sweet. I do hope
26Hellen Greene’s school at Norwich will turn out a great successes;
27then Miss Greene will feel her heart more free to return to
29^Africa. But till you have money enough to buy a farm you will both be
30happier in England. Unless you have a farm of your own, or some fixed
31home in the country not in a town, South Africa is the least desirable
32place in the world to live in. You know, its wonderful how near I feel
33you to me sometimes I almost feel you in the room with me. ^
35 Olive
37^If you go to the National Gallery again look at the picture by
38Signorelli. A Little Angel (on the right side I think) is trying so
39hard to raise the dead Christ. One day when I was so dispirited & sad
40I went there & that that dear little figure trying & trying to do what
41it couldn’t do, with such sweet infinite tenderness in its little
42face came to me with such wonderful meaning & comfort. No picture has
43ever meant so much to me. Perhaps you will wonder when you see it that
44it could have. There are times when we see a thing we have never seen
45before & never see again. ^
47 Good bye
48 Olive
Schreiner has sent this letter with the top corner of each of the letters referred to in her first paragraph attached to it, as follows:

Alice Greene’s own is:
Sunday Dec 18 / 04
… r Friend

Isabella Ford’s is:
18 Dec 1904
amongst them
behind children, …

And Constance Lytton’s is:
Dec: 18.04.
It is Parliamentary…
work on a farm, on…
allude to when you…
is away all day…

The book referred to is: Edward Carpenter (1904) The Art of Creation London: George Allen.