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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold4/1897/5
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date15 March 1897
Address FromRome, Italy
Address ToMorley?s Hotel, Trafalgar Square, London
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 305-6
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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. The address this letter was sent to is provided by an attached envelope.
1 Address: Poste Restante
2 Amalfi
3 ------------------------------
4 Rome
5 March 15 / 97
6
7 Dear Laddie
8
9 Ellis was in town staying at the Temple all the time I was in England.
10He has just returned to
11 Carbis Water
12 Lelant
13 Cornwall
14
15 He seemed much interested in the matter of the Gallery. When I return
16to London I shall go & see my dear old friend Watts the painter, &
17perhaps he will give us some photographs of his splendid picture for
18the gallery. You ought to go & look at the exhibition of his pictures
19in the new New Gallery Regent St. Look at his picture of Mammon & his
20picture of the Minator. They are the incarnation of the evils of our
21time. He is to my mind without any doubt the greatest of living
22artists.
23
24 Dear dear Laddie, you didn’t understand what I meant. I didn’t
25mean you were bought, I never thought of such a thing. But I did fear
26that when you absolutely loved & trusted him, if you had a thousand
27pounds to invest that he might have said invest it here or there;
28(Given you the tip direct as his crew calling call it). If you had
29done what he advised you it would have been quite ground enough for
30them to have brandished it about you were living on him. If Merriman
31or Innes for instance, advised one as to the investment of money it
32would be quite right to accept the little service: it would only be
33wrong in Rhodes case because Rhodes is Rhodes: & if one did not know
34him as Rhodes & thought of him as a man & a gentleman there would be
35nothing wrong in taking a kindness from him. You once did believe in
36him, & therefore I feared. Can you understand, dear Laddie. That you
37had ever taken the any money directly from him I never dreamed.
38
39 A very curious thing happened here today. When we were in London Cron
40& I went to Zoo & when we went into the refreshment room the first
41thing we saw one table off was Rhodes & Jameson very well & jolly
42looking having lunch together. Of course I took care not to catch his
43eye. I said to Cron when we talked of coming to Rho Rome I know Rhodes
44would come here too, & Cron laughed at the idea. Only yesterday
45afternoon I said I felt certain we should meet Rhodes here. This
46morning Cr I was too ill to get up & Cron & my friend Symons went to
47the Colosseum, & climbed to the top & there they found Rhodes &
48Rochfort Maguire. They were within a foot of each other. It is very
49curious that to hear them tell how very cautiously Rhodes approached
50the edge of the building!!
51
52 My dear Laddie, I do trust in you; I do hold that you are one of the
53most truthful humanbeings I have ever met. But it is so terrible to be
54surrounded by liars & blackguards that at times a panic seizes one, &
55one feels it is perhaps wiser to remain silent & maintain a policy of
56masterly inactivity & so a man may lose his own soul, not by doing any
57thing; but by not doing anything. But The devil never appears to any
58noble spirit saying, "die ?imsrefiresent," but he does appear saying
59"Take care of yourself; what right has the world of to your knowledge
60& your thoughts: Each man for himself & God for us all."
61
62 I’m too ill today dear Laddie, & can’t write all I would. We leave
63for Amalfi tomorrow. I should soon get well there I think. I shall
64have you much in my thoughts tomorrow. Cron sends his love to you: he
65says I am to tell you loves a man; & he believes in you.
66
67 Merriman spoke very kindly of you in unreadable his last to me. I am
68glad of this, because in my small way I have tried all I can to bring
69you together. No good men at the Cape who are for any purity in public
70life at the Cape can afford to be divided at this moment. There are
71times when all secondary considerations must sink. He that is not
72against us is with us.
73
74 With regard to Peter Halket being over drawn, dear Laddie; perhaps
75much as you know about most points connected with South Africa more
76than I do; there are I may know some aspects of the Northern matter
77better. You see I have known intimately such numbers of young men up
78there, & from their letters, the journals they have sent me, & from
79the conversations we have had with them some of them in Kimberley when
80they came down. It would take me too long to tell you about things,
81but Peter Halket is a very toned down dead picture of the reality.
82
83^Good bye my darling boy ^
84 Your little sis
85 Olive
86
87
88
89
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.