"Wicked mad diplomacy, lying & darkness" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold3/1896/26
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 28 August 1896
Address FromKowie River (Port Alfred), Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 289
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. Schreiner was at the Kowie River, Port Alfred, from the middle to the end of August 1896.
1 Friday
2
3 Dear old Lad,
4
5 Dear old lad I am quite just to Rhodes. I have a higher idea of his
6ability complexity ^than even you have^ but that makes not the slightest
7difference in my view of his political conduct or his moral character.
8
9 A lion is the finest animal in the brute world, but the most dangerous.
10 It is just the strength which you admire which makes him dangerous.
11There are many men much worse than Seivwringht ^Sievewright^, but because
12Sievewright is a man of such really remarkable abilities, & with
13something that wins its way to the heart of many people therefore we
14must keep him out of power.
15
16 Rhodes is one of the most loveable, fascinating geniusful - men
17without cons-cience & without loyalty that ever lived.
18
19 Poor old Theo can’t understand this position at all. We were
20dis-cussing Rhodes some years ago, & the when I told Theo what I
21thought of his character, poor old Theo couldn’t make out how I
22could say I liked him if he wasn’t "good," as if one didn’t often
23detest people you know are good & love those you know are wicked.
24
25 Cron is the same, he cant love people he thinks wicked, I can.
26
27 We are just leaving for Webbers.
28
29 The poor ho little mother has not written to me for the last three
30weeks till yesterday, when I got a post card, merely to say that Laing
31had called, & what a dear great noble fellow he was & what good his
32talk had done her. What I said about Laing (whom I like much
33personally) was that he "has ^not^ a friend in the land") & that seems
34to have cut the dear old mother more than any thing!
35
36 I write to her every day week but & I know the dear little soul will
37soon be all right. It is all entirely Lilly Orpens doing. I may be
38unjust in saying so, but I think so.
39
40 Good bye my dear old Boy.
41 Olive
42
43
44
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.