"Olive Schreiner's birth certificate" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/204/147
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 1918
Address From9 Porchester Place, Edgware Road, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToJan Smuts
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. The year has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 9 Porchester Place
2 Edgware Road
3 Monday
5 Dear Jan
7 I was so sorry I could not go for the drive. I had to go & see my
8little niece off to France.
10 I have often wished to write you a long letter, & have almost done so
11– but I feel it would be no good. We two view life from such
12different angles. Can’t you "five wise men of Goshen" * see that the
13longer the war goes on the better for America & perhaps for Japan –
14but for us - !!
16 I know you will laugh to yourself & say, "A little old woman lying on
17a sofa, seeing no one & reading, fancies she sees more than we great
18men in the midst of affairs!" But don’t you know when two clever
19people are playing chess, & a chance on-looker comes in he sees at a
20glance what the men absorbed in the game don’t?
22 But what’s the use of talking.
24 Give my dear love to Isie when you write.
26 Olive
28 I don’t know if I sent you the enclosed little allegory when I wrote
29it. I wrote it in the March of 1915 though I did not publish it till
30last November.
32 I feel there’s no use in writing or talking.
33 Whom the gods wish to destroy
35 ^* Who went to sea in a bowl. If the bowl had been stronger my Tale
36would have been longer!!^
38 ^Written in the great snow storm at Hampstead in ^^March^^ 1915^
Schreiner's final insertion is written on a printed copy of her allegory 'Who Knocks at the Door?' see: "Who Knocks at the Door?" Fortnightly Review November 1916, pp.641-5; it also appears in Stories, Dreams and Allegories.