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, 14 December 1888, NLSA Cape Town, Special Collections, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
|Letter Date||14 December 1888
|Address From||Mentone, France
|Who To||Havelock Ellis
|Other Versions||Cronwright-Schreiner 1924: 149
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: Mentone, 14th Dec.
4: Havelock, don't you know of anything I could take to strengthen my
5: nerves? It's no good taking bromide; it simple weakens one yet further.
6: What is given for hysteria? (Awful sensitiveness in lower part of
7: body.) Isn't valerian a good thing? ... If I tell you something you
8: are not to talk of it to anyone. I'm coming to the Endell Street
9: Hospital in May for three months. I must get some hard work which will
10: not allow of my thinking or feeling.