"George Murray killed; my heart is folding round you with love; I hate war" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/49
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 15 December 1898
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToGirls Collegiate School, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 342
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, which also provides the address the letter was sent to. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Box 2 Johannesburg
2 Wednesday
4 Dearest Friend
6 Yes, that is one of the great & agonizing problems & one which one
7never seems to escape
. May not one really & in the highest sense
8injure ones fellows for doing what they at the moment want? And yet
9how impossible it seems, especially when one’s own unreadable to speak
10& act sometimes, even where we know it might be for the ultimate
11benefit of others: when for the moment we seem only defending our own
12cause! It’s a great & difficult problem. Is not the seeming
13unselfishness in such a case, the real ultimate selfishness often.
15 ^It’s a hard question.^
17 I am feeling much better today, most wonderfully better. For ten days
18I have been almost without sleep, but last night I slept all night &
19all the world seems different
21 I’ll send the little Prelude, but you must remember it’s not revised;
22it’s the first rough cast.
24 I hope you will see my darling Mary Sauer when you are in Cape Town.
26 Good bye. It’s so beautiful to have slept & be alive again a little.
28 Olive
The 'Prelude' referred to is in From Man to Man. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.