"Not love uniting you but greed, gold-thirsty native policy, cheap labour" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold3/1896/13
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 April 1896
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 273
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. Schreiner returned from visiting Middelburg to Kimberley in early April 1896.
1 April 22 / 96
3 Dear Laddie
5 I am just sick with fear at what mother & Lilly will say both of & to
6me when they read my article. Mother talk’s of Cron’s opposition
7to Mr Rhodes making him neglect me & causing my miscarriage: ^but^ she
8has made life and work almost imp an impossibility to me for four
9months. I have not replied directly nor indirectly to one of mothers
10letters just as I have not replied to either Theo nor Ettie.
12 Afternoon. I have just got the copy of Ons Land you sent me. The
13leader fills me with astonishment & I may add pain. How any human
14creature could so misread such an article it is difficult for me to
15understand. I don’t think I have ever felt so deeply wounded by any
16criticism which has been made in the fifteen years I have been writing.
17 It is as though you went to a man’s help when a big man was trying
18to get him down, & he planted you a blow between the eyes! You feel
19quite dizzy.
21 Good bye dear Laddie
22 Ol
24 ^I am a little concerned because I see your name so seldom as having
25cases, but perhaps you are doing chamber work.^
The 'misreading' was of Schreiner's article on 'The Boer', an extract of which has appeared in the Cape Times 16 April 1896; see Ons Land 18 April 1896. The article was one of her 'A Returned South African' essays, which were to have been published as 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa'. However, although prepared for book publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the events of the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this. They and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa. Rive's (1987) version of this letter includes an additional passage from a different letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.