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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1906:214
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date13 November 1906
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 Matjesfontein
2 Nov 13th 1906
3
4 Dear Mr Merriman
5
6 I am just reading a book that fascinates & pleases me greatly - the
7letters of Robert Lytton edited by his daughter Lady Betty Balfour.
8His daughter Con Lytton who is one of my closest friends has just sent
9it me. It is without any exception the most interesting book of
10letters I have ever read. As a rule a book composed of letters I
11simply will not read, & the more I love the person the less I am
12willing to read the letters because it always shows them in an a
13monotonous distorted light; but these letters have been chosen with so
14much tact & judgement they are really charming. If you should read
15them, I wish you would tell me what you think of them.
16
17 In politics I am of course as far divided from him as the East from
18the West; but on early all other points I have always felt a most
19curious sympathy with him. It is one of the tragedies of life that the
20people you most sympathize with in politics are those you least
21sympathize with in any other direction; & those you disagree with in
22politics are your own along all other lines. The letter he writes to
23John Morley when he feels that political differences are breaking
24their fellowship is very touching. Nothing in life is so agonizing as
25the parting of those who have once loved & trusted each other.
26
27 So, the world has gone round, & you are invited to Port Elizabeth, to
28enlighten the darkness there! Whatever else isnt true it certainly is
29true that the world goes round!
30
31 If you should pass through Matjesfontein please let me know that I may
32have the pleasure of going over to the station & shaking hands with
33you. I shall be here till the tenth of December. My husband is coming
34down from de Aar on Friday to spend two days with me; but just at
35present I am the only person in this big hotel It is really very
36comfortable here; I wonder why people don't come oftener.
37
38 Yours with many greetings to you both
39 Olive Schreiner
40
41 ^Have you read Coniston yet? My husband was as much impressed by it as
42I was.^
43
Notation
The books referred to are: Betty Balfour (ed. 1903) Personal and Literary Letters of Robert First Earl of Lytton London: Longmans Green; Winston Churchill (1906) Coniston New York: Macmillan and Co.