"Don't come, Cron's dear old mother" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1893/5
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 27 October 1893
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 227-8
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1Friday
2
3Dear Laddie
4
5 I’m much better. It seems too good to be true that perhaps I shall
6see you here. If I could go on as far as Krantz Plaats with you, could
7we stop there a few hours & see the place, & then you go on to to G
8Town by the night train, & I if not able to go as far as Grahamstown,
9you might drop at Mrs Cawoods. Cronwright would be so glad if you
10could spend a few hours there. If you came here one morning & we spent
11the day here & had a nice rest, & spent went on to Cradock the next
12morning, & you & I spent a few hours at Crons, if you got to
13Grahamstown in the morning it would only take one day from your visit
14to mother, though of course it would give you an extra night in the train.
15
16 It’s very cool of me to ask so much, but do it if you can. I’m so
17glad Cron loves you so. I don’t think any one I know understands you
18& loves you as well as he does, & it’s a great bond between us. It
19is n’t so much that he loves you, as he understands you, which
20always matters so much. He understands me very well. I think we shall
21be married in the middle of January. The difficulty is that I can’t
22live at Krantz Plaats on account of asthma, & we can’t hire a cheap
23enough farm here (he’s been inquiring) so I shall have to live here
24at the hotel as at present, & he will come to me every fortnight. I
25don’t like the plan, because the great thing I want is his constant
26companionship, & it will make our living more expensive (we shall be
27very poor) but if we can’t manage other wise we shall manage so.
28
29 Dear y one, the very number of opposers you have on each hand, make me
30feel how straight & independent you have stood & makes me proud of you,
31 dear. You know Will you have more the qualities of a great &
32wonderful administrator than those that go to make a politician. You
33have none of the vices that are almost indispensable to the successful
34politician, & your virtues are not virtues which will tell. You would
35make a superb judge, & I believe you would make a fine administrator
36of a district or Governor of a Colony. You would always be just when a
37?anirect case came before you (I really shouldn’t be afraid of
38being tried by you if I were a Kaffir!) & you would try to hold the
39balance evenly & understand all classes, I believe if you were a
40governor. But except possibly as the unreadable member of a very
41enlightened, cultured, advanced but moderate party (like a certain
42party they have in the French political world), you are not going to
43make a successful politician. Cron, will never I hope, make a
44successful politician in the vulgar sense. It is curious that already,
45though he is hardly in the political world, overtures which are from
46my point of view distinctly politically immoral, have been made to him
47& he has had to make a stand against "policies of the progressives"
48which when it comes to a question of electioneering tacks is not one
49which wit cleaner than that of the Bond. Of course I can’t tell
50you details; but I am more sick of the Progressives than of the Bond
51if possible. To me the place for the strong straight man during the
52next ten five years in Africa will be to stand free, rousing &
53directing public opinion, or, if he goes into parliament, to be
54content to stand absolutely alone, & to hated worse by the men whose
55views are nearest his own, & who will therefore most bitterly resent
56his opposition. Cron & I are going over his article today. I want him
57when he publishes it in pamphlet form, to bring forward also the fact
58that the last ministry was an unclean combination of men who with
59perfect integrity could never have worked together. And that no
60measure as opposed to progressive principles as been passed in the
61last ten years in Africa, as the franchise bill which wass passed by a
62ministry in which "but unreadable three progressives still consented
63to continue." Politics makes one "sick at the stomach".
64
65 I am very near Cron. We are very close friends. And we understand each
66other better every hour we are together.
67
68 Good bye, my dear one,
69Your little sis
70 Olive
71
72 I enclose £1.10 Dear you did spend such a lot for me, cabs seeing
73about luggage &c &c when you I was in town & ^you know you can’t
74afford it now.^
75
76 ^Get Dot her crackers.^
77
78
79
Notation
Cronwright-Schreiner published many short pieces in newspapers at this time; the particular article referred to has not been traced. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.