"Hounding of Mashona, evil keeps begetting itself, mills of God" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/450
Epistolary Type
Letter Date12 July 1897
Address FromMorley’s Hotel, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToAdela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 223
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Miss Adela Villiers (later Mrs. Francis Smith).
2Morley's Hotel, Trafalgar Square, 12th July.
4...The only point in which I don't quite agree with her is where she
5says you can't judge of a child's character before 12. When I look
6back to my early childhood I can see how exactly I and my brothers and
7sisters were, as little children, what we are to-day. What I do think
8is that, from about 12 to twenty-two or three or even twenty-eight, a
9certain deflection takes place; but as one fully develops one returns
10to what one was as a little child
. I know that I am to-day far more
11like what I was at 7 years old than what I was at 16. The child is
12father of the man, not of the youth.
14Of course, you must be keen enough to read the child’s character!
15Children are such mysterious things that few grown up people, even
16those who are keen readers of adult character, can understand them.