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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/1
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 2 July 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToLyndall, Newlands, Cape Town, Western Cape
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 366
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 date of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, which also provides the address it was sent to.
1 Sunday
3 Dear Laddie
5 I was over at Pretoria on Friday, but Hoffmeyer will be able to tell
6you so much more about things there that it no use my writing.
8 Private
10 I had a delightful letter from Lady Butler yesterday in answer to my
11pamphlet which I sent her, expressing her indignation of the idea of
12war, & her sympathy with South Africa & the view of the pamphlet.
13It’s a pity we couldn’t have B- as Governor. Here excitement &
14tention grow higher & higher, we are a city in a state of siege to our
15own fears. The excitement here is terrible; the unreasoning crowd is
16being worked up, & the cry is war, whatever franchise they give. They
17are quiet & reasonable people, but they are growing few. It is more
18like Hell to be here than anything I had ever conceived on God’s
19earth. I don’t think one would mind much dying here because life
20seems so great an evil.
22 If Miss Molteno & & Miss Greene go down to Cape Town, when they leave
23this tomorrow they will call & see you & tell you a little of
24Johannesburg condition.
26 Miss Molteno is a great lover of yours. Meet her a bit warmly. She is
27very concerned lest you should think she thinks as his wife & ^some^
28other friends do that he should have been attorney general. She says
29she fancies when you last met her, that you may have thought so. She
30is one of the noblest & best women living: one who rises entirely
31above all self interest. The world will never come right, till the
32human mother, the female element of the race makes it's influence felt.
34 Good bye, dear Laddie
36 Your little sis
37 Olive
The pamphlet 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'vSouth 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. Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899. Rive's (1987) version omits part of theis letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.