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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/19
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date19 December 1910
Address FromPortlock, Graaff-Reinet, Eastern 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 any uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on.
1 Portlock
2 Nr. Graaf Reinet
3 December 19th, 1910
4
5 I am looking forward most anxiously to next mail to get the "Votes for Women"
6& hear some fuller & truer account of the great conflict than the
7paper wires give us. One letter I got from a woman friend in London
8this week talks of her wish to shoot Asquith or Lloyd George or
9Winston Churchill. My fear is that such a thing may ever happen. I
10should regret it not for the woman’s sake, because if hanged she
11would not feel it probably, but because I do not feel that brute force
12- which men men have always applied to us - is no argument, I don’t
13believe in capital punishment in any form even in the case of a Czar
14or Lloyd George or Asquith. It is passive resistance, the wrong we
15endure in a cause, that wins in the long run – as I believe our
16Indians are going to win in the Transvaal after the long cruel
17oppression and injustice of their treatment.
18
19 I am staying here for the summer on a solitary farm high up in the
20mountains beyond Graaf Reinet, boarding with some friends called
21Murray. I found out the other day, oddly enough, that Jim Parker, Mrs
22Murray’s
brother is a friend of yours; that it was to his farm that
23you went near Bethulie? Mrs Murray is a delightful woman & one of the
24strongest suffragettes in South Africa. She started a branch of the
25Suffrage League in Graaf Reinet & I spoke at a meeting there last week
26– but I hate public speaking – I like to write. A little book of
27mine called "Woman and Labour" is soon coming out. I have just posted
28the corrected proofs of the book to the publishers (Don’t mention
29the book till the publishers announce it as he may not like it.) Its a
30little remembrance from my big book on "Women and Sex" which the
31British destroyed in Johannesburg during the war. I wrote it out in
32that little room in Miss Viljoen’s house in Hanover during the
33height of the war (Boer). It is very fragmentary. It is strange to me
34why so much of my life should have been thrown away with the
35destruction of that big book which might have been of a little help to
36the cause of woman. But all life is a long acceptance of the
37incomprehensible.
38
39
40
Notation
The book referred to is Schreiner's Woman and Labour, and her 'big book on "Women and Sex"' is the manuscript preceding it which was destroyed when her house in Johannesburg was badly damaged during the South African War. The Women's Social & Political Union's newspaper Votes for Women was edited by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence.