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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold4/1897/4
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date9 March 1897
Address FromRome, Italy
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
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.
1 Post Restante
2 Rome
3 March 9 / 97
5 Dear Laddie
7 I have just this moment got Fred’s letter to say you had landed in
10 Had I known you were coming I should have stayed on a few weeks longer
11in London to see. Don’t you think you need a run out here just for
12ten days to see what Italy is like & see me at the same time?
14 There are two matters I should like to mention to you. One is that
15when on board ship Garrett told me jeeringly when I mentioned ^J.W.^
16Sauer that he would never dare to oppose Rhodes from the shoulder
17because he (Sauer) had made more money out of Rhodes than any other
18man in South Africa, When that Rhodes had his thumb on him. When I
19said I did not believe it, he said he had it from Rhodes. He also in
20his sneering way that said that other people Hofmeyer & others
21were in the same boat.
23 I knew he meant you. Of course I did not mention your name. I simply
24told it him that if Rhodes had ever advised men who were at the time
25his close friends as to the movement of their money, or other wise
26aided them, if he could mention it to any human being that he ^had^ done
27so he neither a man nor a gentleman. I had of course felt very anxious
28about you in this matter after the brutal statement Logan made at
29Matjesfontein. All the while I was in Cape Town, Fan it was
30sticking in my throat to ask you if you were in Rhodes power in that
31way, but you know how impossible it is to ask some questions. Last
32night unreadable Cron suddenly said what a comfort it was that you
33were not monetarily in Mr Rhodes power at all, that you had never
34taken the tip direct from him &c. I asked him how he knew, & he said
35you told him so the last night he was in Cape Town. I had never even
36been able to mention the matter to Cron. The relief to me was immense.
38 With regard to Hofmeyer I have never believed what was said in the
39Cape of him, in this matter; even when Logan told me he had papers in
40his hand which would prove it to me; but in London I met a very well
41known public man, whose name I had perhaps better not mention who told
42me that Hofmeyer had told him himself "I have invested a little money
43with Rhodes & made a few pounds out of him, but what of that;"
44shrugging his shoulders. So I suppose with Hofmeyer it is true.
46 My idea was that Rhodes power over Hofmeyer lay simply in the power
47which every low treacherous nature can exert over those with with whom
48it has been closely related, owing to the dread it can awaken of
49betrayal, & of dastardly misrepresentation. This power Rhodes has over
50all who know him. It’s the knife he keeps up his sleeve!
52 Dear Laddie, don’t fear him. There are crucial moments in a man’s
53life when all his future depends upon the clearness with which he can
54see before him the great end, the Right & follow after it without
55regarding colateral issues. This is what Rhodes never has done; & it
56this that makes association with him so morally dangerous to best ^the^
57men; they see him gain his ends by these means - wriggling wriggling
58wriggling - & they get to feel that that is how things are gained in
59life, not realizing it’s only money & the rotten little fame of a
60day that’s got so. A man may wriggle & wriggle & wriggle, & creep
61safe out of every thing, & with his skin whole, but in the process he
62may have squeezed out of himself everything that makes life worth
63living, honour manhood, courage, he had better have died in the
64process. There is some absolute failure that is better than success.
65All good be with the dear one & the strength to walk thy walk
66straightly & as a man.
68 Your little sis
69 Olive
71 PS Did I tell you how on boardship Rhodes dared not to wash his hands
72in his cabin because he had to pass me? If one man only one in the
73Cape Parliament would stand & fight him straight from the shoulder, he
74dare never show his face there
. I know you will will say, Yes, but
75Rhodes fear of you won’t keep him from stabbing you in the back. Yes,
76 I know that also I know how Garrett & he will vomit out filth on me
77through the press South African press, I know well enough what he has
78already done: one must just calculate all one will have to suffer, &
79then stand prepared. It is just this fear of Rhodes underhand weapons
80that keeps all men silent. Cron sends his love to you. He says I am to
81tell you we need a few honest men here to speak the truth & he’s
82glad you’ve come.
84 Olive