"Neta crushed under the wheels, the best friend I ever had" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1912:164
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 October 1912
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 de Aar
2 Oct 22nd 1912
3
4 Dear Mr Merriman
5
6 It's strange how often it happens that just when you are going to
7write to a friend they write to you. I'd an envelope just addressed on
8my dest when your letter came. I wonder much what you felt about
9Hertzogs speeches?
10
11 Thank you for Well's book. I was just wishing to read it. The tone is
12to me as you say much less painful in a certain spiritual coarseness
13than his other late book. But how detestable all his women are; &
14impossible too in the deeper sense! The only woman he's ever painted
15who strikes me as real & lovable is that 'Aunt" in "Tono-Bungay" But
16this "marriage" is profoundly interesting in its attempt to paint the
17pitiful soul of the woman who lives in externals, & who must spend at
18all lost & at all cost to others. But Wells doesn't quite understand
19the woman he paints. If she were as intelligent as he paints says she
20was, she would have had to a wickeder woman to act as she did. If she
21was a "fool" - of course a fool can do anything!
22
23 Wednesday
24
25 I have just been reading the account of Patrick Duncans pamphlet in
26the Argus. It is the one cheering thing I have seen in the papers for
27a long time. Of course you know Patrick Duncan well? I think him an
28exceedingly fine & valuable man.
29
30 I suppose Sauer will soon be out. I do trust he is not going to allow
31himself to be kicked out of the ministry, & then take some highly paid
32post, that would keep him silent for ever. We cannot afford to lose
33him altogether. If he would only stand out & fight, how many of us
34would follow his lead! Numbers are not everything. The one hope for
35South Africa to-day would lie in some small party strong in ability &
36a large liberal out look; whose members first object would be not to
37seek for office; but who were willing to remain out of office & to
38hold the balances between the office seeking parties, & prevent either
39from too retrogressive a course. Do you see any possibility of such a
40party being formed?
41
42 I finished reading "Marriage" last night, found much in it I would
43like to dis-cuss with you.
44
45 Yours very sincerely
46 Olive Schreiner
47
48 The drought here is terrible. Never since de Aar was de Aar the the
49doctors tell me, has there been anything like the amount of illness
50there has been in the last two months.
51
Notation
Patrick Duncan's pamphlet was his 1912 Suggestions for a Native Policy Johannesburg: Central News Agency. The book referred to is: H.G. Wells (1912) Marriage Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz.