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|Letter Reference||Smuts A1/194/9/63
|Archive||National Archives Repository, Pretoria
|Letter Date||16 April 1911
|Address From||De Aar, Northern Cape
|Who To||Jan Smuts
The manuscript of this letter by Olive Schreiner belongs to the Archive referenced above; its ownership of the original should be acknowledged by referencing the letter as indicated: Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Jan Smuts, 16 April 1911, National Archives Repository, Pretoria, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
April 16th 1911
Dear Neef Jan
I note that you are a socialist – but I wonder of what kind? It must
7: break your heart to see the attempts made by a little handful of
8: oligarchic white men, who call themselves "working men" to keep down
9: the millions of their labouring fellow citizens! Verily the Farrars &
10: Philipses go into the Kingdom of Heaven before them. At least they do
11: openly confess the doctrine of "Each man for himself, & the devil for
12: us all." Don’t trouble to answer this – I know how awfully busy
13: you are. I hope you feel physically fit.
I was at Lily Kloof the other day; it was at Lower Lily Kloof where
16: you had the fight & the Englishman was killed – Allaman’s-fontein.
17: Curious to think you were there in my old haunts.
Love to the wife.
I don’t know if my book sells well; I hear so from people in England;
23: but have nothing to do with the sales. I sold it to the publishers.
24: Its better to have sixty pounds sure & in the hand, than the promise
25: of a thousand as a royalty; & then get nothing at all! as with some of
26: my other books. I certainly can’t be one of the meek, for I don’t
27: inherit the earth.
The recent bloody outcry on the part of some women here has at moments
30: made me feel as if though at least the women of South Africa were not
31: fit for the vote now – but when one comes to consider that there are
32: white men capable of almost linching an innocent man in the streets of
33: Jo’burg because his skin is black, one sees, as always there is
34: nothing to choose between them. The longer one lives & studies human
35: nature the more clear it becomes that neither intellectually nor
36: morally is any difference between the sexes. The devil man has the
37: devil woman to match him - & so on & on.
I gave my husband your message. I don’t understand this de Aar
40: business. It doesn’t seem to me to matter one way or the other.
The book Schreiner refers to is her Woman and Labour