"Detailed advice for nursing Will Schreiner just before his death" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1895/12
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 August 1895
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 257-8
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.
1 The Homestead
2 Aug 30 / 95
3
4 It’s your birth day, my dear old Laddie. No ones heart goes out
5towards thee more than one here.
6
7 May the next year be a full & good one to thee. I do not doubt it will
8never not be an easy one. Life is never very easy to strong souls,
9whose course through life must always be one of ^strong^ action till the
10last scene of the play comes.
11
12 It was a curious feeling when I stood in that little bedroom in
13Witteberg in which both of us were born, & there flashed on me the
14thought of that long curious life which those two little creatures who
15raised their first cry here, were to be lead. The room is so exactly
16the same now even the long split in the wall above the chimney, but
17they have put a slight partition in the middle to divide it as it were
18into two.
19
20 I see Merriman has a long & very bitter leader against me in the
21Telegraph. But criticism does not hurt me very much when we have got
22to the "I can no other wise; God help me. Amen!"
23
24 I am more grieved with more or less friendly remarks, which seem to
25imply that I do not see the great & the good points in Rhodes. One
26knows it was well that narrow philistine Wellington conquered at
27Waterloo; I suppose one would have fought on his side! – But ones
28heart goes with the little fugitive who sat with a bent head eating
29his supper in the little inn that night, when they whispered "It is
30Napoleon!" There is something almost agonising from my point of view
31in seeing such powers & virtues as those of Rhodes wasted on the ^such^
32– from my point of view - miserably small objects. I never gave up
33all hope of him until one day in Matjesfontein station when he &
34Sievewright & Logan were talking together. I didn’t even say good
35bye to them I just went back to my house. ^One day you will turn around
36as I did then
.^
37
38 Good bye my own Laddie.
39 Your little sister
40 Olive
41
42
43
Notation
A slashing leader called ?The Eternal Petticoat? appeared in the South African Telegraph on Monday 26 August 1895 (p.4). This does not name Olive Schreiner specifically but attacks the woman who ?with a cigarette between her lips? interferes in politics and men?s business generally, rather than staying quiet & out of the way in the domestic sphere. The 'I can no other wise; God help me.' quotation is of Luther speaking before the Diet of Worms in 1521. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.