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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold3/1900/21
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 April 1900
Address FromWagenaars Kraal, Three Sisters, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
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. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content. Schreiner stayed at Wagenaars Kraal from 21 February until late July 1900.
1 April 3rd 1900
3 Dear Friend
5 I was so glad to get your note. I have been laid up for a week or
6should have written sooner. I wonder where you will settle in Cape
7Town. There are some nice little houses just behind my brother Wills
8near your brothers, but perhaps you will feel less tied if you
9hadn’t a house to look after, only now it is so hard to live in
10lodgings where you have continually to meet those who don’t feel as
11you do. Since I came here I have not once exchanged a word on politics
12with any one, indeed I never speak to any one except the baby, or to
13say it is a fine day when I sit down to table. One must either not
14speak at all, or speak exactly as one thinks.
16 I have a feeling that the Boers are still going to have the biggest
17successes they have had!! I wish Milner would go up to the front a
20 Isn’t Innes’s speech terrible? No consideration of what is right,
21only what is expedient! Cron has been having a very hard time, has
22spoken at 15 meetings. In some places they carried the resolution, in
23others he was very much misused. He doesn’t tell me anything about
24this, but I hear from another source that he was kicked miserable by
25the mob in Edinburgh, & had to carried to a cab. He only tells me that
26a man ^a stranger^ called Nutt was very kind to him, in the crowd, &
27asks me to see him when he comes to the Cape as he will do at the end
28of the month. I If you & Miss Green are at the Cape will you ask him
29to come & see you & tell you about Cron & then write & tell me? His
30address will be
32 W H Nutt
33 Professor Chiens Hospital Staff
34 Cape Town
36 He is coming out with that staff. I wish I could see him my self, but
37I am too ill to come back to Cape Town till Next October when the
38rains are over I may come. My book is nearly ready.
40 The mob attacked the house of that Rev Walsh who wrote that nice
41pamphlet, because Cron was there & smashed some of the windows & the
42police had to mon come & keep them off. "Great is Diana of the
43Ephesians" let no man speak against her! We are beholding a wonderful
44& terrible spectacle at the end of this century the decay & decline of
45a great nation. I myself feel no more hope for England "Blot out her
46name then."
48 I wish I could see you & Miss Greene. I haven’t been able to do any
49writing for a week but am up again today, & am going to try & finish
50off my book.
52 Olive
54 I think my darling husband is doing much good by his work in England.
55If only by proving to English people that there are South African
56Englishmen who feel the wickedness of this war. It is miraculous how
57splendidly he is keeping his temper considering how passionate he is.
59 ^I am sending Miss Greene a play in French, will she please read it &
60tell me if she thinks it any good. The man wants me to write a preface
61to the English edition. Its on South Africa.^
The book Schreiner wanted to finish is most likely 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa', which was to have been composed by the essays originally published pseudonymously as by 'A Returned South African'. Although prepared for book publication, a dispute with a US publisher and the South African War prevented this. They and some other essays were posthumously published as Thoughts on South Africa.