"Wicked mad diplomacy, lying & darkness" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceT120 (M722): W.T. Stead Papers/16- pages 88-95
ArchiveNational Archives Depot, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date19 June 1892
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Thomas Stead
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 207-8; Rive 1987: 207
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Micofilm Collections.
1Matjesfontein
2June 19 / 92
3
4Dear Friend
5
6As I am writing letters this evening, & don’t know when I shall be in
7the mood again I’ll write you a few lines to thank for your letter. I
8hate letter writing more & more; it becomes almost a mental & physical
9impossibility to me. I wish I could have all my good English friends
10by my own little fire here, to talk to one by one instead of writing.
11
12I can’t argue with you about all those subjects you raise, because I
13feel my books when they are published, will be the only answer I can
14make. If you don’t understand my standpoint then I’ll give it up!!!
15I’m sending you by this post a little tiny story on the relations of
16women with women which I think you’ll like. Tell me what you think of
17the view it takes.
18
19I saw Mr Rhodes once when I was in town at a dinner party at Sir Henry
20Lochs
. He came up to me & began ^to^ laughing at me about some dream, I
21had ^had. I^ didn't speak to him or ask him what he meant, but I guessed
22you'd been telling him my dream all upside down!!! & your letter which
23I got the next day showed me I was right: there was nothing ridiculous
24in the dream as I told it you. The thing has happened to me hundreds
25of times, to have the most marvellous dreams of which nothing at all
26comes. I don't agree with you at all that Mr Rhodes's falling from his
27fo horse was a fulfilment of my dream, & if it were would not prove
28your great point that “death casts its shadow before it”!
29
30I think my letter writing is a failure this evening, I’m too stupid, &
31will get back to writing at my book, which makes such demands on my
32thoughts now I can’t do anything in any other direction.
33
34Will you tell Garrett if you write to him how terribly sorry I am to
35hear of his illness. I shall be one who is glad to welcome him if he
36comes out here for a time.
37
38Yours always,
39Olive Schreiner
40
41had
42
Notation
The final word ‘had’ in this letter is written upside-down on the last sheet of paper. The 'relations of women with women' refers to: "Was It Right? ? Was It Wrong?" New Review Vol 7, No 41, October 1892, pp.397-403, and also appears in Dream Life and Real Life as "The Policy In Favour of Protection". The book which Schreiner was going to ‘get back to’ is likely to be either From Man to Man or the never published 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of the letter and is incorrect in minor respects. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in a range of ways.