"Women's Enfranchisement Leaguecommittee decisions" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Mimmie Murray 2001.24/63
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Tuesday January 1911 ; Before End: September 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToMinnie or Mimmie Murray nee Parkes
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. This letter has been approximately dated by reference to content. Content indicates that Schreiner was in De Aar when it was written. Schreiner stayed in Muizenberg and places near it in January and February 1912.
1 De Aar
2 Tuesday
3
4 Darling Friend
5
6 How sweet of you to think of me so. The reason why I have not written
7is that I wanted to write a real answer to your letter; & have never
8had time. I should love to come to Graaff Reinet now but staying at
9Muizenberg to Jan. & Feb is so terribly expensive I have to save all
10my little pennies for that.
11
12 I am sending a bit of a letter I wrote dear Anna Purcell which will
13explain to a little to you my attitude. I asked her to send it back
14that I might send it you. You know I don't sympathize with Mrs Solly's,
15 but the letter she got was the most insolent & conceited I ever saw
16written by one woman to another. Who is Mrs Catt that she dares to
17write so to other woman. When she has won the vote for American women
18I think she can come & dictate to South Africans. If you or Mrs
19?Miller had written the letter I should have said "Well they are South
20Africans, & they feel all people living in one country have a right to
21dictate to others living in it - though I don't think so." You would
22imagine she was a Queen or an Empress from the way she writes! It is
23just like Mrs Solly might write, only conceited & overbearing. One
24feels ashamed to think of such a woman. If the Queen wrote to me in
25such a way I should leave her letter unanswered. I do not say you are
26wrong my darling friend in joining in supporting the Transvaal & Free
27State basis of franchise. You have your views, & have as much right to
28them as I to mine; but you would never dream of writing scornfully
29ordering me what I was to do.
30
31 It is always such a sad thing to me, the South African women & men too,
32 submit to be dictated to by any one who comes from another country.
33The Dutch with all their faults are nobler than we English in that. I
34believe that in the future that the dividing line between parties in
35South Africa will not be race at all, but the great fight of the
36future will be in trying to defend the more liberal institution of the
37the old Cape Colony, built but by such enlightened Englishmen as Sir
38George Grey
, Sir William Porter, Saul Solomon & others against the
39retrogressive institution of the Republics.
40
41 I often wonder why it is that as soon as they touch public work,
42especially the franchise a certain class of women become so
43overbearing & dictatorial. It is because a slave always tries to
44dominate as soon as he has a chance: He doesn't understand "freedom"!?
45
46 Give my love to the darling children. How I would love to see you all
47again. The week before last I had four of the happiest day I have ever
48spent in my life. My brother Will & his son Oliver who has come out
49here on a visit from Cambridge came to visit me. I felt as if I was a
50little child again, like when I & my sister Ettie used to play at
51having houses & pay visits to each other. Oliver has one of the
52sweetest & most loving natures I have ever known. He writes to me
53every week & there are few young men of 22 at Cambridge who would
54trouble to do that to an old Aunt. Ursula has just started her medical
55studies this month. Lyndall is going on with her law work, but she has
56a bad attack of influenza which will I fear put her back.
57
58 I got a little note this week from darling Constance Lytton written
59with the left hand; the right is still quite paralyzed; so weak &
60shaky, but such a joy to me after the long months of silence.
61
62 Good bye. I wish I could come & be with you at Graaff Reinet. I hope
63your entertainment will be a great success. Don't think I don't deeply
64sympathize with work that's not along my own line. Each soul must take
65its own path, & not dictate to others. Did you read Miss Greenes fine
66paper? It is going to be reprinted in the State.
67
68 Greetings to Mr Murray
69 Olive
70
71 Aren't you perhaps coming down to Cape Town in the summer. Do if you
72can. I shall stay here as long as I possibly can hold out not to leave
73my dear husband but I expect I'll have to go in November or early in
74December.
75
76
Notation
Alice Greene's 'fine paper' cannot be established.