"The old world is cracking, Mrs Partington & her broom" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box 12/Fold1/Undated/7
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: June 1896 ; Before End: July 1896
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The year and a range of months have been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at The Homestead, Kimberley, from mid 1894 to late 1898. The letter has torn and has frayed edges and is very difficult to read as a consequence.
1Dear Laddie
3Some one writes me from Cape Town that Rhodes is drinking heavily &
4quite stone broke (I don’t know how they can know it!). It’s
5curious how unhappy it makes me. Some times I wish I’d sent him the
6long letter I wrote him at Middleburg in January; but all my writing &
7talking never had the least effect on him before, why should it now.
8For the man himself I feel such awful pity, & his wickedness is no
9greater to me now than it was four years ago, I saw then he was riding
10straight for his fall: & my fs fear when you joined him was that he
11would drag you down with him – not so much publicly & materially as
12moraly. I never had a worse time than that night at Sweet ?Repose when
13you said [papertorn] ’d joined him. [papertorn] ! [papertorn] When I think of
14 [papertorn] hodes in relations not only to South Africa, but to the
15individual whom he has degraded I feel horror. When think of Rhodes in
16relation to his own [papertorn] dividuality I fel f [papertorn] a [papertorn]
17infinite pity, al [papertorn] love. God seems to have had no right to
18make such a man, endow him with his wonderful intellect, & then leave
19hi [papertorn] absolutely devoid of [papertorn] emotions but that
20 [papertorn] goism!
22C [papertorn] n has been very [papertorn] bu [papertorn] was better wh [papertorn]
23he left for Cradock. He goes from Cradock to spend a fortnight with
24his mother & sisters at a farm [papertorn] ond Hope Town, & [papertorn] e is
25going to see [papertorn] Trek-bok, which [papertorn] there in hundreds
26 [papertorn] f thousands. It is astonishing how much he & I are becoming
27to each other. I wish you really knew him because you would like him much.
29Good bye, dear Laddie [papertorn] od grant the light [papertorn] ys the
30upward path th [papertorn] lead to failure for the unreadable [papertorn]
32Your little [papertorn]
34^So you think it is true that Rhodes is such a physical wreck??^