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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/24
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date31 May 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 354-5
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. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation. Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899.
1 May 31st 1899.
3 Dear Friend
5 I wish I could write you a long letter, & tell you all about what is
6going on here. I have a curious dead feeling. It will be better when
7the conference is over & we know our fate. The state of tension here
8is something one cannot describe. I sent Milner a copy of my article
9(a rough printers proof) to meet him at Beaufort West, that he might
10read it before he gets here. unreadable
12 All good be with you both
13 Olive
15There is no business doing in the town: Men just stand in groups &
16talk. Surely Milner cannot be so mad as to force war on us. It would
17be something too awful. The Boers have got their back to the wall &
18they fight to the last.
20PS. No one here wants war except the little Rhodes lot. Men, English
21men, I have never seen have rushed up to me in the streets to shake
22hands & say how the article expressed their views. It is really the
23voice of Johannesburg if Milner will only believe it.
The article referred to is An English South African's View of the Situation, originally published in the South African News over three successive days; see 'Words in Season. An English South African's View of the Situation' South African News 1 June 1899 (p.8), 2 June 1899 (p.8) and 3 June 1899 (also p.8). It was also reprinted in a number of other newspapers. It then was published as a pamphlet, then as a book. A second edition of the book was ready but withdrawn from publication by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.