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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold3/1900/30
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 May 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. Schreiner stayed at Wagenaars Kraal from 21 February until late July 1900.
1 May 23 / 00
3 Dear Friend
5 I am sending you the two articles on the woman question. Please return
6them when you’ve done with them as I’m short of copies. They are
7only an introduction to what follows, & does an injustice to deal with
8only one half of an argument to the argument itself. I think you will
9like the last part which deals with the relations of men & women & you
10will then see what I was working up to.
12 I wait in a kind of paralized state for more news.
14 Yes, Christians have not come out well in this matter. Even old Lloyd
15has ratted, as soon as he saw the tide turning! It is notable, but not
16strange, that nearly all the people in England who are not the side of
17the Republics are free thinkers & not Christians Herbert Spencer,
18Ouida, Sarah Grand, Ed Carpenter, Ellis, Morley, Courtney &c, &c, &c.
19All the the work-men of the socialist & independant labour parties,
20who are solid on on our side are free-thinkers. I never met one in my
21ten years working among them who was a Christian in any sense. The few
22Christians who are with us are Quakers; & one or two men like Walsh &
23Averling whom the orthodox Christian would denounce. If Jesus were on
24the earth now it is very certain he would not be a Christian; but, as
25he was in his own day, a freethinker.
27 Dear old Frederick Harrison & the positivists are making a fine stand.
28From the reports I hear the Boers must have made a fine stand at
29Mafeking, but I have not yet got the papers. If only they blow up
30Johannesburg I shall feel this war has not been in vain.
32 Good bye. Are you going to Graaff Reinet?
33 Olive
35 ^I think after the 21st of next month I shall be in Beaufort West I
36have heard of a boarding house there. I am very fit in health, this
37place suits me wonderfully. I am able to lie down every night.^
39 ^N. B. Two of the letters you have sent me have been open you didn’t
40lick them properly.^
The two articles referred to were on 'Woman'; they were originally conceived as part of a major theoretical work on 'man and woman', but the manuscript was left in Johannesburg when Schreiner went to Karree Kloof in late August 1899 and was destroyed when her house was badly damaged and burned by marauding troops during the war. They eventually became Woman and Labour.