"Coming war, fighting now?" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceCC de Villiers A64/93
ArchiveFree State Archives Repository, Bloemfontein
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date17 October 1915
Address FromLondon
Address To
Who ToMrs CC de Villiers
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
1c/o Standard Bank
210 Clements Lane Lombard Street
5Oct 17th 1915
7My dear Mrs de Villiers
9I am longing so much for news from South Africa. We get none in the
10English papers, the few words are all lies & all one on one side.
12I would feel so glad if you could write & tell me a little how you
13think things are going. I suppose the election is soon in full spring.
14& I suppose Botha & Smuts are sure to win. So at least the papers here
15say, & it seems to me likely. I have always been utterly opposed to
16South Africa attacking German West, I believe we shall in years to
17come pay a heavy price for it: but of course I am always for peace &
18passive resistance, not war.
20I am writing & doing what work I can in the cause of peace; I hope all
21goes well with you all.
23Has Boeinzuer started that new paper I heard was to be started? If so
24could you tell me its name & the address of the office. I suppose if
25Botha & Smuts wish to remain in power they will have to join entirely
26with the Unionists? The expectation of ?forsee cut me to the heart.
28I was so much better after I left Nauheim; but the war & the
29conditions of life in England have made my heart worse than it was
30when I left Africa. It is so hard to be so long parted from my dear
31husband: & I long for a sight of the blue sky in this fog & dark.
32England doesnot seem like old England at all. You can have no idea how
33all the life here is changed since the war.
35Yours ever
36Olive Schreiner
38Emily Hobhouse has been in Holland for some time doing peace work but
39is I think returning to England next week.
41How is President Steyn’s health now?
The addressee of this letter appears as a protagonist in both the Cape Town and also the Bloemfontein Women's Enfranchisement League contexts, and she is the mother of Winifred de Villiers and may have been called Winifred herself. Beyond this and the existence of two archive collections with her married name attached to them, nothing can be traced about her. Schreiner’s ‘I am writing’ comment most likely concerns the never completed ‘The Dawn of Civilization’, which she was trying to write at this time. The newspaper that Boonzaier was involved in starting cannot be established.