"That I may finish that book, 'From Man to Man', being of some use, tragedy & bitterness of woman's fate" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/71/4/6
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday September 1897
Address FromHighstead, Rondebosch, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other VersionsRive 1987: 313-14
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. This letter has been dated by reference to content. Schreiner stayed in Cape Town for part of September 1897 following her arrival from Britain, then left for Matjesfontein and Hopetown en route for Kimberley.
5 Dear Mr Merriman
7 I got your note last night. It was very good of you & Mrs Merriman to
8ask us to come, & we should have been delighted to do so, but I have
9been sent out again by the doctors on account of my health & am not
10better since I got here, so we are going up to the Karroo tomorrow. We
11are going to break the journey at Matjesfontein & again at Hope Town
12where I shall stay for some days or weeks till I am fit to go on to
13Kimberley If you should by any chance be writing to me address K to
14Hope Town, care Mrs Wright.
16 It would have been a very great pleasure to me to come have a talk
17with you on South African matters. To me matters seem more hopeless
18than when I left, not on the surface but essentially.
20 One thing I should like to say to you - Don't "stand off" or miss any
21opportunity that offers of meeting & entering into personal relations
22with the new Governor; He may not be the man we should have chosen,
23but it will be a terrible thing if the better class of men stand back
24& leave him to fall entirely into the hands of the Sievewright & Co
25set. You unreadable I think more than any other person in South Africa
26might have a beneficial influence on him. I am very sorry to to have
27had the pleasure of accepting your invitation
29 Yours sincerely
30 Olive Schreiner
32 I have been much amused ^to^ hear that some people here have taken quite
33seriously the Rhodesian statement that my book Peter Halket was paid
34for by the Transvaal Government. Just fancy Oom Paul & ^his^ fellow
35Transvaalers approving of a book which inculcates that it may be your
36duty to love a nigger!!!
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.