"Olive Schreiner's birth certificate" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceEdward Carpenter 359/90
ArchiveSheffield Archives, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date26 October 1905
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToEdward Carpenter
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Sheffield Archives, Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information Services, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Archive Collections.
1 Hanover
2 CC Cape Colony
3 South Africa
4 Oct 26 / 05
5
6 Dear Edward
7
8 It was nice to see your handwriting again. The Lawrence spent some, to
9me very delightful, days here & have now gone up to see the Victoria
10Falls. On the 7th of November they return here. You can’t have any
11idea what the pleasure was of seeing them. I was in a sort of heaven.
12They have given me a book called The Souls Of Black Folk by a coloured
13man Burghardt Du Bois. If you’ve not read it you must get it & read
14it at once. Perhaps it can’t be to any you just what it is to me who
15for years & years have longed, "Oh that one man of dark blood would
16rise, who would express, not what he feels it polite & wise to say to
17white people, but who whould would say what he feels." Uncle Tom’s
18Cabin or poor little Peter Halket are all very well; but you are
19always met with the remark, "Yes thats how you paint the nigger, but
20he’s not realy like that, you put your own thoughts & feeling into
21him, & fancy he feels as a white man, but he doesn’t." - & what can
22one answer. But this book from the heart of a black man can surely not
23be unreadable met so. To me the most wonderful chapter is called "the
24passing of the first-born," where he speaks of the death of his little
25child, a dark child - loved so! I can’t even write of the book it
26touches me so. Of course it can’t be quite the same to you who have
27not all your life been face to face, with persistent quiet oppression
28& humiliation which white man deals out to dark. The book makes me
29feel Before us ^so^ much that sometimes I can’t look at it; it seems
30to come from within me.
31
32 //Before us here looms a terrible thing, a great desolating native war,
33 in which Boers & British will combine to wipe out the black man’s
34freedom, ^take^ his land, his franchise, where he has it, as in the Cape
35Colony & gain cheep labour. The Boer has not got the teeth of the
36Englishmen out of his flesh when he turns around to join him in
37tearing the the dark man to pieces. And one cannot speak - because one
38fears by even whispering under one’s breathe of what one sees
39approaching that one may bring it nearer!
40
41^The only things of Lafcadio Hearn’s I have seen were two short
42articles Ellis sent me. I should like very much to have unreadable any
43thing of his very much indeed. Love to George & Lucy, & Mat if you see
44him. I sometimes hear from Isabella & the dear old Bob. ^
45
46 Olive
47
Notation
The books referred to are: W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) The Souls of Black Folk Chicago: A.C. McClurg; Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852) Uncle Tom’s Cabin Boston: J.P. Jewett; and Lafcadio Hearn (1895) Koroko: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life London: Gay & Bird.