"Wonderful Dot Schreiner, tall thin woman who caused me no end of trouble" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/34
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 June 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 358-9
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 has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899.
1 Private
3 Yes dear, you have hit the nail on the head. What they will try to do
4here is get up some kind of a "row," (I have been told by perfectly
5reliable persons, that to their knowledge 2 poor Burgers were offered
6^a large sum of^ money to attack Uitlanders & get up a "row"!) then the
7cry will go forth "the Uitlanders are being attacked, & the end will
8come. Destroy Esselin’s note I sent you yesterday, & of course show
9to no one.
11 Yes Esselin is a dear loveable fellow, yet there is something I’ve
12not got at in him.
14 I got a long letter from Innes of which I can say nothing but that it
15is heartbreaking. If Oliver were to write me such a letter, I should
16say well the child is a child & what else can you expect from the dear
17little fellow! He meanders on about the bribery & corruption up here
18– as if it were not the Uitlanders who were the corrupting force; &
19as if there were not infinitely more corruption among his own
20Progressives & in Kimberley than in all the Transvaal Government & the
21Transvaal put together. The whole letter is simply unanswerable it
22doesn’t enter into the region of statesmanship at all. If it were
23from a woman one would say, "See how unfit the female mind is to grasp
24great complex social problems as a whole & adjudicate upon them"! One
25feels absolute pity for a man who can see no further, & gain no more
26complete unreadable grasp of the situation. I shall not give Milner up
27till I seen what his advice to Chamberlain was after the conference.
29 I am very sorry to hear from Hofmeyers nephew that his health is so
30bad. We could not do without him now.
32 Garrett is of course the evil influence with Milner. Yes patience,
33patience, patience is our card now. Time is with us; & against them.
34Of course if it has to come to war the sooner the better in one sense
35because our old 1880 Burgers are dying; but on the other hand the
36combination & condition of affairs in Europe can never be more against
37us than now
, & they may improve.
39^Therefore^ let us wait in patience.
43 ^I have a Zulu boy who is very devoted to me. He tells me that the Zulu
44boys have all orders to go back to Zulu land as soon as war begins &
45the Englishmen have provided them guns; that they must kill all the
46Boers. It shows what the natives are talking of.^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.