"Position of half-caste, blood thicker than water" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/553
Epistolary Type
Letter DateFriday 1914
Address FromLondon
Address To
Who ToEmmeline Pethick-Lawrence nee Pethick
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 345-6
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Mrs. Pethick Lawrence.
2London, Friday (? 1914).
4Oh, dear Friend, life is so grim now one cannot weep for our beloved
5dead as once we could. I do hope she did not suffer much. It is the
6remembrance of the suffering that crushes us. I am so glad you were
7able to be with her. While in a way, the terribleness of human life on
8earth to-day makes one cling less passionately to life, in another, it
9makes suffering harder to bear. One seems already to have as much to
10bear as one can. There is nothing to help, but, if one is strong
11enough for it, to throw oneself into work and strive to make evil less.
12 Oh, dear friend, in a world with all the suffering and death and
13disease which we humans cannot escape, does it not seem inconceivable
14that we torture and slaughter and crush each other? If we did all we
15could for one another on earth, life would still be tragic. ... If
16ever that League to enforce peace comes into existence, it will form
17the most awful instrument of oppression, and lead to the most
18cataclysmic wars which earth has ever known.