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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/13
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: September 1910 ; Before End: December 1910
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrederick ('Fred') Pethick-Lawrence
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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. A typescript only of this letter is available. The transcription here follows this typescript and includes uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on. The date is provided by reference to the Union Parliament election in September 1910.
1 (first page missing) Undated
2
3 …at a large Suffrage meeting in Cape Town. I am glad he has spoken
4out for us at last. The Mrs. Alexander whom the Cape Times attacks is
5a beautiful little Jewish woman whom I discovered in Cape Town. Her
6speech is not reported at all. She is the one really eloquent woman
7speaker we have in South Africa She was not in favour of the Suffrage
8when I met her two years ago, but I got her to join us. At her first
9speech in a large drawing-room meeting there was hardly a person who
10was not in tears a thing I never saw at any women’s meeting before.
11She has a strange, slow, quiet way of speaking just as though she were
12speaking to one person alone: but when she comes suddenly to her point
13in a little story she is telling, or an appeal she is making, you find
14you can’t breath and have a cold in your head! I wish you had her to
15help you. Her father was a Dr Schechter, teacher of Hebrew at
16Cambridge University and she’s only been here three years, married
17to a young Jewish barrister in Cape Town.
18
19 Did I ever tell you about the sudden conversion of a young man who
20read one of Emmeline’s pamphlets. He was a great anti-suffragist
21getting quite angry when people spoke of Woman Suffrage to him. One
22Sunday afternoon he had nothing to read, and a friend offered jokingly
23to give him one of your wife’s pamphlets I had given her, to take to
24his room. He took it, and when he came out to tea he said he had now
25entirely changed his views, saw the whole matter in a new light & was
26now in favour of Woman Suffrage. And he has since been quite the most
27ardent of all our men helpers!
28
29 I am waiting anxiously to hear of your big demonstration.
30
31 Cron is away in Cape Town visiting his mother. He has not been
32returned for Union Parliament. He showed himself too independent
33during the last session both on the drink question and the woman
34question. Some of his supporters came and begged him to say he was not
35in favour of Woman’s Suffrage if he was questioned or he would ruin
36his chances, but of course he refused.
37
38 The Dutch seem to be growing narrower and narrower in this country.
39But I believe the politicians will give us the vote next year because
40they realize that if they do not the Dutch will sweep the country.
41
42 Thank you so much for the Japanese book. The pictures are exquisite.
43Something of Turner, something Japanese but wholly individual. Did you
44send us Euripodes’ "Trojan Women"? I like it better than anything of
45Shakespeare’s.
46
47
48
Notation
The book referred to is: Euripides (1905) Trojan Women (trans. Gilbert Murray) London: Allen and Unwin. The 'Japanese book' cannot be established. The Cape Times attack on Ruth Alexander cannot be traced in the absence of more precise dating information.