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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold2/1909/35
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date16 July 1909
Address FromDe Aar, Northern 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.
1 De Aar
2 16 July 1909
4 Dear Laddie
6 I was glad to get your letter from Maderia, & find the voyage had been
7pleasant to you both. I am very very anxious to hear from you from
8London. I cannot of course at all gather from the news papers how it
9has gone with you. The last wire is that you had a meeting with
10Aborigines Protection Society, to decide as to what was to be done. I
11know how busy you will be, but try to drop me a line.
13 Darling, Cron & several other men say if you’d only gone to them an
14hour before & given notice of your movement, they would have voted
15with you. You mustn’t spring things on slow thinking men.
17 Cron’s position is of course very solitary, he attends no more of
18the ^S.A.^ parties ?caucus meetings, & Merriman Sauer &c did not speak
19to him once during the session. – beyond nodding good morning! I of
20course in his place would strike out a time line & try to form a party
21for myself. He went can’t. He went down fully determined to work
22with you; & meet you the first day meaning to have a long political
23talk, but you simply shelved off any talk & asked how I was, & went
24off. You might either have suggested to Cron who did not approve of
25your saying you accepted the bill draft act, that he should move on an
26amendment saying the first clause should be should be left out of your
27motion. (He would ^have^ been then defeated on of course on the
28amendment, but having made the protest he could have voted for with
29you on the second clause, or, what I think would have been quite easy;
30if you had argued the matter with him sympathetically not from a
31lawyers standpoint nor arg arguing with a opposing lawyer, but as a
32leader speaking to one of his companions. Yo Your political leader is
33the man you sympathize with who shares his thoughts & feeling & plans
34with you: & this must be specially the case when a tiny party is
35fighting a huge majority with all the gifts & profits of political
36life in its hands. Nothing but love & sympathy can bind such men
37together. Two other men spoke very sorely in Cape Town to me now about
38your attitude towards those who whant want to work with you. They said
39you were so noble, so loveable in private life &c why in politics do
40you try to drive people from you by mistrust & an appearance of
41haughty indifference I am sure you are far from feeling. I tell them
42its only manner; you’ve been a lawyer so long, that you can’t help
43asking questions where of them, in a superior sort of way; when you
44should sympathetically express your views & so help them to form
45theirs. I do want so so my darling, if you are going to continue in
46Political life, to gather a few men about you who will stand loyally
47by you & help you; but it can only be if you will cease to be the
48questioning lawyer, & become the instructing sympathizing leader. Dear,
49 you know I’m writing all this because I want to help you.
51 I hope at least physically your time in England will do you good. But
52it is terribly depressing as I found it when I went home with Peter
53Halket, to be always throwing yourself against a stone wall. It was
54the most awful solitary time a human creature ever passed through. I
55had not one human being to stand by me: & Theo & Kate Stuart & even
56Ettie were spreading all the lies they could about me: some of the
57letters they wrote were sent to me. Ah Will, its no use talking of the
58past. When I die I want them only to write on my grave "She wrote
59Peter Halket". No name or anything else. No one would understand why;
60its not the artistic value of the work; its the poorest thing I ever
61wrote. It’s what it cost me. No one will ever know the price I paid.
62Well good bye dear Laddie. It doesn’t matter how we seem to fail is
63some day far off some good comes from it.
65 Olive