"Johannesburg, lust for gold, moral decay" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box5/Fold2/1913/28
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 17 July 1913
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Thursday
3 Dear Laddie
5 Thank you much for your letter. You don’t know what a few words of
6greeting to me on the road are now.
8 It was good to see our girl; she looked well & very happy I thought.
9You have all your young ones about you now.
11 Yes, a new era has opened in South African history. I take to Botha &
12Smuts called in the British troops, partly to shift the shame of
13bloodshed onto British shoulders, partly because South African troops
14will not readily shoot down their fellow white South Africans - but I
15may be wrong.
17 Our railway men are quite ready to come out the moment the word
18reaches them from head quarters, & if there were a strike & our
19defence force or police were ordered to fire on them, it would be
20their own fathers, brothers, & sons they would have to fire on, for
21they are all related; & the number of Dutch on the railway is great.
22They simply would not fire. I hope you are going to the meeting on
23Sunday, but do not know your views. If I had been well enough & had
24the money I should have gone up to Johannesburg as soon as I heard of
25the strike.
27 All kind of reports are going round here; - that Botha is going to
28resg resign, - that a cession is to be called next month – but one
29knows not what to believe.
31 I liked your little paper much. It is first rate. I sent one copy to
32Adela Smith & have kept one. I should like a few more if you have them
33to spare, dear.
35 No, dear, I doubt whether I shall get to Europe. The shadows are
36growing very long. Cron has offered to pay my return ticket, but I
37would have to revise some of my work to sell in England to pay for
38doctors & treatment. & I can’t. My brain is more tired than my body.
39My illness has entered on a new phase & I find it difficult to leave
40my armchair even to do my few small household duties. If I had all the
41money in the world I doubt whether I could get to England.
43 Poor old Sauer! I see all his mistakes & weaknesses, but I feel for
44him greatly. and He may pull together yet, but I doubt whether he will
45ever stand the strain of office.
47 I hope you are going to take a bit of rest, dear, while while Boy
48Oliver is here. Get away with him to Mossel River, or somewhere for
49some fishing. When once one breaks quite one does nothing more. It is
50better to go slowly. In a few years all your children will be able to
51be self supporting. I am more anxious than I can tell you that our
52little Ursie should succeed. It will be nice if Dot & she can go in
53for their lectures together. You have your children to think of dear,
54who want you more than anything you could give them.
56 Godo bye dear. Your little sister
57 Olive
59 ^I want you too dear. You are the last kith & kin I have left. If you
60went I would be quite alone in the world.^
Insufficient information is provided for Will Schreiner's 'little paper' to be traced.