"Climbing Table Mountain, silence is golden, don't talk about personal, love you for loving Shippard" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold2/1909/20
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 9 April 1909
Address FromCape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
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 in Cape Town from early to mid April 1909.
1 Good Friday morn
3 My dear Laddie
5 I’ve just made a little allegory, in bed this morning. It came to me
6the minute I opened my eyes. I suppose because I was full of certain
7matters when I went to sleep last night.
9 That scene in the house yesterday, was without any exception the most
10contemptible from the broad human stand-point I have ever seen in my
11life, which has been pretty long & varied. It seemed as though the
12curse of the serpent had fallen on them all – "on thy belly shall
13thou crawl & dust shalt thou eat." I hardly know what was the most
14awful thing Jamesons face, so much worse than it ever used to be, with
15even that with an uncomfortable leer on it, – or dear old Malan
16looking like a lost soul. – for he has a soul & a noble one! And as
17they squirmed & lied, & each one giving the other away, & all gave
18away principle, all the while there was Abdurahman’s drawn dark
19intellectual face looking down at them. Men selling their souls & the
20future – & fate watching them. One sees strange things from that
23 Dear you seemed to me in great distress. You don’t know how my heart
24went out to your old bowed head. Fight on dear, quite alone. Any man
25can fight in a company, & for reward – only a great man fights quite
26alone. The terrible thing in life is that just at the moment when it
27is all important one should stand with freshness & courage, one’s
28spirit is utterly worn out. When I went out of the house I met Charles
. He said you were quite right in your view but you were ^he was^
30going to vote against your amendment because it "wasn’t practical."
31You know I just felt so depressed, I went out to Sea Point on the
32train, I couldn’t come back to the house. All those men on the
33Convention know, that the real force hurrying them on is crush the
34native – cheap labour – new mines – the native territories.
36 I think I was unreadable for Sauers more polite way of treating you &
37your views, though quite unintentionally on my part. I’ll tell you
38if we meet.
40 Good bye, dear. Have no fear that if one holds by what is right no
41loss & no loneliness matter.
42 Olive
44 Hofmeyr is playing a game too of course he is as much against the
45native as any one I fancy?
Which little allegory Schreiner had 'just made' cannot be established.