"Terrible blow fallen on me about Cronwright-Schreiner & an action against him" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceMacFarlane-Muirhead/28
ArchiveMacFarlane Collection
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 March 1915
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To64 Great George Street, Hillhead, Glasgow, Scotland
Who ToRobert Franklin ('Bob') Muirhead
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Mrs Hazel MacFarlane for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter to Bob Muirhead, which is part of the MacFarlane family collection of Muirhead Papers, Special Collections, University of Glasgow Library. The date of the letter is provided by the postmark on an attached envelope, and the address it was sent to is on its front. The letter is written on printed headed notepaper.
1Telephone: 3675 Kensington.
2Telegrams: Apartment, London.
4Kensington Palace Mansions & Hotel,
5De Vere Gardens, W.
7Dear Bob, I hope I made myself clear. I wrote so hurriedly.
9When you had been here you left me with the idea quite distinctly
10^fixed^ that it was some kind of new ship or motor which had to be made
11to take the Submarines ^& I had no idea your invention was ready yet.^
12Every one was talking about the nets – but I never connected them
13with you
– till as I sat here writing ^at my desk^ it suddenly struck
14me “What if I was wrong about the thing Bob invented being a ship -
15& is it perhaps after all the nets every one is talking about, & which
16I have laughed at as impossible. A man has just now told me that they
17are fasted onto ships, & have ships ^which are^ placed all along to
18guard them
, but as I first heard of them they were to be fasted on to
19nothing & just ^float &^ intangle the submarines!! I simply can’t bear
20to think you should think I would have talked of any thing you had
21told me. People say this trawler which took the destroyed a submarine
22yesterday did so by means of one of these nets.
24If you did invent the nets you certainly took good care not to tell me
25anything about them
, ^& so mislead me!^ If I had any idea ^guess^ about
26the invention in my own mind it was that there would to be ^probably be^
27a new sort of under water gun, so s-cientificaly built that it could
28fire true under whol ^water^ water ^without being deflected.^ - a thing
29which to my ignorant mind does not seem impossible!
31When people first talked about the nets I thought it was one of those
32endless lies one hears about everywhere & that there was no such
33things. If the nets do exist some people must have made them & some
34people must work them, & its quite impossible such a thing should be
35kept secret.
37Your letter, though it says nothing, makes me suspect your invention
38may be the nets, but I never ever heard of them till every one was was
39talking about them openly.
41It has always been my internal boast all my life that any one stranger
42or friend, man or woman, could confide anything to me, & it would be
43as though buried in the grave. If you had told me the nature of your
44invention not even to Ed Carpenter who loves you as much as I do,
45would I have mentioned it.
47If you did invent the nets, & (they are being talked about every where,)
48 What made you think I had connected them with you as you never
49mentioned them to me
? If you had, you might have known I would never
50have spoken of them, even if other people were talking about ^them^. You
51may wonder at my being so distressed but its the first time in my life
52any one has thought I had given them away.
54Its very sad about your friend, just when perhaps success was coming!
55Well Well whether its nets, or ships, or guns, I hope you’ll be
56making so money to give say more time for other work.
58Thine ever
61Love to Lene & the children.