"Heart dying up last 5 or 6 years, 'Soul of a People' like rain falling on dry parched soil" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold3/1900/66
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 26 November 1900
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other Versions
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. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation.
1 Hanover
2 Tuesday
3
4 Dear Friend
5
6 If you see the Merrimans remember me very warmly to them. I was
7rereading one of Merriman’s speeches in Parliament yesterday. Its
8brilliancy is wonderful, but no speaking does any good now. England is
9mad & blind, & driving on to her fate – a fate which will also be
10such an awful one for this Colony. This burning of the houses &
11capturing the women & children is simple besotted madness. We shall
12arrive in Worcester on Tuesday night (or rather Wednesday) ?leaving at
1310’clock, & on Thursday I shall return to Cape Town with the evening
14train as I must not sleep a second night in Worcester. If Miss Greene
15has the little article by her I sent yesterday, she might ask Mr
16Merriman if he has time to glance at it & tell me what he thinks of my
17figures. I do not think there is more than about 1 & 1/30 of an
18Englishman to in each 30 of the population including the natives,
19South of the Zambeezi but it is difficult to get exact figures. I
20shall not make a speech at Worcester. I’m too unfit. I suddenly
21almost faint two or three times a day. It may be weakness or it may be
22my heart, I fancy it is as I was like this in Italy. I’ll see
23Stevensen in Cape Town. Cron will probably stay for a little while
24with his mother, but I will return at once. It will be so good to see you
25
26 Olive
27
Notation
The 'little article' which Alice Greene was sent is likely to refer to Schreiner's address to the Worcester Volkskongres held in December 1900. Although the letter comments that she would not speak at the Volkskongres, other reports imply that she did. Schreiner sent written addresses to some of the Volkskongresses and peace congresses and spoke at others, as follows: Graaff-Reinet Volkskongres, April 1900 (spoke); Cape Town women's meeting, June 1900 (spoke); Somerset East peace congress, October 1900 (a letter of address); Paarl, November 1900 peace congress (a letter of address); Worcester Volkskongres, December 1900 (spoke).