Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Havelock Ellis, 6 June 1888, NLSA Cape Town, Special Collections, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
|Letter Date||6 June 1888
|Address From||Maidenhead, Kent
|Who To||Havelock Ellis
|Other Versions||Cronwright-Schreiner 1924: 136; Rive 1987: 140
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Life...
(1924) and The Letters of Olive Schreiner
(1924), with few exceptions he then destroyed the original letters in his possession. When Olive Schreiner’s originals can be compared with his edited versions, his versions are severely shortened, and/or inaccurate in sometimes minor but sometimes major respects, and/or are combinations of a number of original letters. The status of ‘the Cronwright-Schreiner letters’ is therefore that they are artefacts of his editorial practices, rather than being ‘Olive Schreiner letters’ as such. Consequently, where original letters which appear in The Letters...
have been traced, they appear in the context of the appropriate archive collections and not as ‘a Cronwright-Schreiner letter’. In addition, where a version exists as one of the Extracts made in preparing The Letters...
, the extract version is provided because usually longer and in other ways closer to the characteristic writing practices of Schreiner’s original letters. The remaining ‘Cronwright-Schreiner letters’, of which this is one, are provided for the sake of completeness, because they give clues as to where Schreiner was resident at different points in time, and indicate some of her activities. However, they should be read and used with considerable caution for the reasons spelled out here.
1: To Havelock Ellis.
2: Maidenhead, 6th June.
4: Please come on Friday. I do love you in a kind of way; it would come
5: out if you needed me. But I feel such shrinking from all human
6: creatures. We none of us sympathise with each other, none of us
7: understand each other, each one only himself. The lesson of the last
8: five years has been to me that there is no such thing as friendship,
9: just as the lesson of the two before was that there is no such thing
10: as sex-love, only sex-selfishness. We are good and true and earnest at
11: heart, meaning the best, we humans. But we can't understand each other,
12: and understanding is friendship. ... Can you go with me to Harpenden
13: to look for rooms? We'll spend all the day there on the common.