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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/1
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date8 January 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 343-4
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 resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899.
1 Dear Laddie
2
3 I wrote you a long letter of six sheets yesterday but have just torn
4it up. The weight of each man’s life is enough without having that
5of another. I only heard a few days ago that Cron had written to you
6about the Pretoria affair.
7
8 Of course under no conditions would I have taken money from the
9Transvaal government (though I feel greatly their generosity) after
10all Rhodes has said. It would appear as though his miserable lies
11about Peter Halket are true. The money might have saved my life &
12given me a few more months of work, but I couldn’t take it, as I
13would have done gladly if it had been offered by the English
14government.
15
16 I cannot offer Cron advice about taking the post. He has his mother &
17sister to think of & must do what seems best for them to himself. He
18is not getting any payment in the office where he is working now, but
19will get £15 after the end of next month. but I have mortgaged my
20little house in Kimberley up to its full value, with rigid economy we
21can manage till the end of the year; what will happen then I don’t
22know, I am breaking down more & more.
23
24 ?The One reason why I do not wish Cron to take the government
25appointment if offered him, is that I am sure there will be troubles
26here, & I think he is more likely to be of use out of the office than in.
27
28 I have had for the last three or four months exactly the feeling I had
29before the raid. A blow will fall, though I cannot tell how or where
30it will fall. If I analyze the feeling I find Rhodes character is the
31ground of my certainty. To right himself now he must plung South
32Africa in war, & he will do it.
33
34 Every one laughed at me here two months ago when I stated my feeling.
35Now, every one expects war sooner or later. What is you view? What are
36you folk doing. Of course you realize how essential it is to keep in
37with the governor. It may be that the physical condition of my heart
38increases it, but such a sense of coming war has never hung over me
39before for land & people. Why oh why do they not start their news
40paper? Or influence public opinion through the English press in Review
41articles? &c. If I were as I was even two years ago I could do so much.
42 But I find even my household duties taking from me more than I can
43give. Write to me dear when you can, & tell me whether my fears for
44the future are misplaced.
45
46 A friend of mine who is very intimate with the league & FitzPatrick
47unreadable set, came to see me on Xmas morning & solemnly to warn me
48that if p in the present state of my health I could not stand it, I
49was to leave Johannesburg before April as there was to be trouble then.
50 I tell you this for what it is worth. unreadable
51
52 Good bye, dear Laddie you have made a splendid stand this year. You
53are a great comfort to me. I like to think you will be living &
54working after I have gone, but to this end you must take care of
55yourself.
56
57 Your little sister
58 Olive
59
60 There is no doubt that your position personally in the country has
61been enormously strengthened in the last few months.
62
63
64
Notation
Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.