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Letter ReferenceHRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-DailyNews/2
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date28 December 1885
Address From9 Blandford Square, Paddington, London
Address To
Who ToDaily News
Other VersionsRive 1987: 70-1
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. This draft letter has been dated by reference to its companion draft (see HRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-DailyNews/1). Schreiner was resident at Blandford Square from October to late December 1886.
3A short time back the remark was made in my presence, that, no in
4London no Englishwoman was safe from the hands of the police.
6I regarded this statement with the cool scorn with which we are apt to
7regard ^what we consider^ the uncritical, assertions generalizations of
8hasty speakers ^those who we consider hasty thinkers^ A few miserable &
9forlorn women without money or friends might suffer; ^but^ the great
10mass of Englishwomen, ensconced in their homes, armed with friends &
11intellectual power, were safe from this insult.
13There is a marvellous philosophic calm with which one regards the
14suffering of ones fellow-men from the h

16With philosophic calm from ones study fire one surveys the sufferings
17of the world beyond before makin recording the facts which I wish to
18make Public, ^to avoid mis-conception^ it may be well to state that I am
19a writer, that I have taken interest in raising the protected age of
20girls, that my name will be found among the two hundred English women
21who signed a recently published letter on that subject.
23On Sunday ^evening^, having ^I^ spent the evening with a friend whose
24husband is a well known medical man at ^in^ the West End; on leaving a
25friend, a well known physician offered connected with one of our large
26hospitals, offered to accompany me home. The square in in which I live
27is large, well lighed, & one of the quietest in London closed at one
28end by a convent.
30We alighted from the cab, the man had drawn up before the wrong number
31^number^ & for some moments we walked slowly up & & down ^the square, & then
32stood still
^ before the house finishing the dis-cussion we had begun in
33the cab
, I holding his arm.
35Presently a After a few moments a police man came up, & passing said
36something in an insulting tone, he then turned short, & said I wont
37have this whats up, whats up, what are you doing here, & came close to
38me in an insulting manner
. My friend stated that I lived in the house
39before which we stood. I said you may ring & see. ^My friend offered
40him his card^ ^& said he would be at a loss to understand what right the
41police had to interfere with two ?people who were not breaking the
42public peace.^ ^he said politely, I’ve nothing to do with you, I
43don’t want to interfere with you its her I want.^ We moved a few
44steps, he said you’d better stand still where you are, if you move a
45step I’ll walk you off to the station.
47My friend I asked my friend for his pencil & a bit of paper I wished
48to take down the mans’ number & his exact word that I might be
51(He rang the ^but it seemed somehow too lighly to be hear^) “Want to
52take my num do yer,” he said “I’ll walk yer off to the
53station”. What are yer ^do out at this time of night^ He rang the bell
54but too lightly to
He rang the bell again lightly & ?rushed down to us
55saying in a ?skimmking whisper something to the effect that if I told
56him my name he would go away. ^It was evident that he wanted money^. I
57told him to ring the bell louder & he would be answered. He touched
58the knocker lighly, but as some one was waiting for me the door was at
59once opened. We asked him if he were satisfied. He slunk down the
60steps with the look of a disappointed wild animal.
62If any one thinks it a matter of importance that an individual ^well
63able to defend themselves^ should be insulted, that they are entirely
64mistaken; but there are in London more than a hundred thousand women
65unable to fend themselves against the our police.
67If a Any one wishing for ^to ?taken^ the number of the police man may ^do so^
68obtain it. I enclose my address
70Yours, &c.
71Olive ^O.S^
Two different drafts of this letter exist (see also HRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-DailyNews/1). Rive's (1987) version includes parts of both drafts and is various other respects incorrect. In fact the letter was published in The Standard, see The Standard / 5 January 1887, page 5, col 6