"Don't come, Cron's dear old mother" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3a-x
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 16 November 1884
Address From144 Marina, St Leonards, East Sussex
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 45; Rive 1987: 52-3; Draznin 1992: 217
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. In the absence of other information, dating this letter has followed Draznin (1992), who has done so by reference to Cronwright-Schreiner’s The Letters. Schreiner was resident in St Leonards at different addresses from mid October 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Sunday Night
2
3I feel very sad, very miserable, very dissatisfied with myself this
4evening, Henry. Yes, I think you are right, things which are pure &
5right for you are not for me. I can’t tell you how grand & good you
6seem to me to be.
7
8I have been lying down most of the day. My chest is very painful. It
9isn’t asthma, it isn’t like it used to be this pain under my shoulder
10I feel as if there were a real swelling there, only of course there is
11not. I must try & work tomorrow if it is only for ten minutes.
12
13It was a nice letter from that man on the East Coast, wasn’t it? I’m
14glad my book helped him when he was ill & lonely. I would rather that
15than anything in the wide world
16
17I shall never spend another Autumn or Winter in England If I can’t get
18my book done in time I will borrow the money from my brother & go to
19Madeira or the Cape, & come back to England in the Spring.
20
21Henry, my sweet boy that I love so, that is more help, & unreadable
22comfort to me than anyone else ever was. I feel so tender to you all
23today.
24
25^Later.^
26
27I think I am going to get bronchitis. You know Henry one thing that
28troubles me so is that I see if am to live I must leave England
29^forever.^ y^Y^ou don’t know what that means to me; it is death. I left
30Africa without a tear, my real life is here, & if I leave England if I
31live for fifty years still I am dead. It isn’t only about my brother;
32the one fixed unchanging dream of all my life was to come; to have to
33go back makes all life a blank^,^ nothing left. I was right in an
34African Farm, Henry. A striving & a striving & an ending in nothing.
35Oh God, if I had health would I care what happened or what came. I
36know now that I shall never be well again.
37
38Take care of that sweet old boy that I love so There’s a long,
39beautiful life & much love waiting for my boy somewhere^, far away^ Good
40night, my darling, my sweet boy,
41
42Olive
43
Notation
The book ‘getting done’ is From Man to Man. Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.