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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold1/1892/15
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 9 October 1892
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 210-11
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.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Sunday
3 Oct 9 / 92
4
5 Dear Boy,
6
7 I’m writing on the chance of catching you in England. I was so glad of
8your letter, got yesterday on my return from Kimberley. Dear I’m sure
9you’ll feel young when you come back after your trip.
10
11I am I spo hoping you’ll be fitter than ever for ten years. I had
12a note from Fan this morning & a photo of Olly. I simply laughed till
13I couldn’t laugh any more! It’s just like him. Its splendid.
14
15 It rests me a great deal when I think you are having a bit of of rest
16dear, for that tired brain. I hope the crampes are going out.
17
18 I’ve had a funny feeling sometimes when I’ve been thinking hard for a
19very long time as if there were creases in my brain stuff, & I
20couldn’t get them smoothed out. It’s when one works ones brain too
21long in one direction. I wish you could bring Emma out with you. I
22should so enjoy taking her to see mother & going about with her. In
23one way she’s had a very happy easy life: but it’s been a life with
24little change & pleasure of that kind, & I believe she’d thoroughly
25enjoy a trip here, & it would do your her rheumatism good. She’s so
26fond of you, she’d arrive with you, & she can go back with me in April!
27 I’m getting the lid of my box mended & everything ready to go in
28April. What I shall feel so hard is leaving the children. I wish I
29could have little Will up here for a bit. The food is splendid now
30Logan is back, much better than it ever was, & the little Lad was so
31happy here.
32
33 //I’ve just come back from Kimberley. I had the four happiest days
34there that I’ve had in South Africa. The Hilliers with whom I stayed
35were so good to me, & I was so well, & the climate so nice, & I never
36thought I only enjoyed myself. It’s funny what a vast capacity for
37childlike enjoyment one has in one if for a time the pressure of life
38is taken off. In fact I can be happier now than when I was a child,
39but the chances don’t so often offer. I’m going to make a rule of
40going a way for a few days holiday at the end of each month while I’m
41here. Living at the rate I do I need it, & its really cheaper to spend
42the money on travelling than as I had to do on Doctors & medicine, my
43illness cost me £28, & one didn’t get much fun out of the expenditure.
44I’m feeling so fit better than I’ve felt for years. Watt seems a very
45satisfactory fellow. He’s sent me £20 for that tiny story in the New
46Review
. I wouldn’t have got more than £4 for myself.
47
48 Private. Burn this.
49
50 I’ve been having a great look into affairs up in Kimberly. Dr Hillier
51is Dr Jameson’s dearest friend & was his partner. He got a long letter
52from Jameson while I was there & read me parts of it. I’ve a great
53liking for Jameson. After Rhodes, he’s the man I like best in South
54Africa. I suppose you heard before you left that the man Hart who
55flogged the black man to death the other day was fal entertained at a
56great dinner by the ladies & gentlemen of Cathcart the other day, in
57honour his return to them in joy & peace. "Ye shall see greater things
58than this that ye may marvel."
59
60 I enclose a letter I got from the wifie this morning, though I expect
61it will give you no news.
62
63 When I was in Kimberly I heard one thing confidentially. Dick Solomon
64is standing for Kimberly. The F De Beers is supporting ^both^ Solomon &
65Lawrence, but I think Solomon is sure to get in. R The man Rhodes
66wants to keep out is Davis Allen. Rhodes said he would spend £10,000
67rather than that he should get in. Of course one of the de Beers men
68is sure to be returned. Dick Solomon goes in on the understanding
69(this may be private don’t mention) that he supports Rhodes through
70thick & thin with regard to de Beers, & with regard to the northern
71extension; but he is to be entirely independent with regard to all
72colonial measures, excise strop bills &c &c ^& Rhodes has accepted this.^
73
74 Those are the grounds on which I could support Rhodes. What I wonder
75is whether when Solomon gets in he will strong enough to stand on his
76own ground at all.
77
78 About Rhodes, which I always felt sure of though I had no ground to go
79on, which makes him a bigger man & his position a much more difficult
80one than the world dreams. I should If I were in public life I should
81have to fight Rhodes at every step but the man is big.
82
83 I hear often from Lady Loch. You know, I think she really loves me.
84It’s curious to me that she should. She wants me to come down to Cape
85Town to see Lady Lytton when she comes, & I want to see Fan & the
86children. But then I wont be able to come & see you when you return so
87I’m divided. This is a rambling letter I won’t say any more.
88
89 I was going to go forth on the native question, & the long wave of
90re-actionary conduct of which the late mutilations, this flogging to
91death case at East London are only the little first forerunners - but
92you would only laugh at me, so I reserve my mental breath. The day
93will come old man - well, I won’t prophesy, but I have a certain faith
94in the position in which my father’s son will ultimately be obliged to
95find himself, not one which necessarily leads to any immediate power
96or position in South Africa; but something better.
97
98 Good bye, dear old boy.
99 Your little sis
100 Olive
101
102
Notation
The 'tiny story' referred to is likely to be: "Was It Right? - Was It Wrong?" New Review Vol 7, No 41, October 1892, pp.397-403, and also appears in Dream Life and Real Life as "The Policy In Favour of Protection". Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.