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Letter ReferenceMacFarlane-Muirhead/26
ArchiveMacFarlane Collection
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateOctober 1914
Address FromThe Windsor, 61 & 62 Lancaster Gate, Hyde Park, London
Address To
Who ToRobert Franklin ('Bob') Muirhead
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Mrs Hazel MacFarlane for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter to Bob Muirhead, which is part of the MacFarlane family collection of Muirhead Papers, Special Collections, University of Glasgow Library. Schreiner stayed at the Windsor Hotel for two or three weeks in October 1914. The letter is written on embossed headed hotel notepaper.
1Telephone 7266 Paddington
2The Windsor,
361 & 62 Lancaster Gate, W
5Dear Bob
7Thanks for your letter & thanks for asking me to come. But I can’t
8just now.
10I wish I could see you & have a long talk about the war. Perhaps you
11are one of the few Englishmen who can still reason & view things from
12a calm intellectual standpoint. Of course one can form no opinion of
13this war unless one has a clear & definite view of the diplomacy of
14the last ten years which has lead up to it. If you regard that as
15right there can be no dis-cussion, we differ wholy & entirely in our
16out look on human life & human duty.
18When France & England supported the autocracy in Russia with the
19unreadable which enabled her to crush the liberal movement, they
20committed the master crime of their histories. When England entered
21into her league with Russia in all that dirty business in Persia she
22committed a crime compared to which to me the Boer war seems nothing.
23When she made that lea understanding three years ago to fight if
24Russia was at war with Germany, all hope was dead. Never since England
25was England have we had such wicked such mad diplomacy as we have had
26during the last ten years, & all covered up by lying & darkness. You
27may say Gray was a fool – but a fool is the worst of all people to
28have at the head of affairs. But don’t let us talk about the war,
29dear Bob. Let us leave it alone. Of course you can’t understand what
30I feel about British Government having urged South Africa to make an
31attack on German East Africa which had never done us the slightest
32harm. Where thousands of our boys are going up to be killed, in this
33to me unrighteous unnecessary attack. In four years time, those of us
34like John Morley & others who have stood out from this business will
35have everyone on our side, & the funny thing is that the very people
36who are howling for blood now will say they never approved of Grey or
37Churchill or Asquith!!!
39I don’t know if they are as mad in Scotland: here they are simply
40madmad. Terrible things are going to happen in South Africa. You
41saw our great general De La Ray, who opposed to our attacking German
42West Africa was shot by accident!
44We’ll enough of South Africa. There are a few of us here, mainly old
45Pro-Boers who are drawing together to try & see if we can do nothing
46when the war ^madness^ is a little ?over; but its very lonely.
48I wish I could have seen Lene & the children
49Yours ever