"Standing by what you write" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/1a-ix
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 16 May 1884
Address From7 Pelham Street, Kensington, London
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 19-20; Draznin 1992: 52-3
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. This letter has been dated by reference to an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to.
17 Pelham St
2South Kensington
3Friday
4
5I shall be at home all Sunday Afternoon so if you come at any time it
6will do. I am cannot travel by the Underground so we will have to
7start rather early.
8
9Thank you for the sonnets I will say what I want to say about them
10when you come. Is the fourth one from a woman to a man or from a man
11to a man? It is more beautiful in the latter case.
12
13I have been in such heaviness with my work today, & I have just made
14up my mind I must tear up & leave out a large bit. I have been so long
15in making up my mind.
16
17Yes, isn’t it beautiful how grateful those women are for little acts
18of tenderness. Ach, if you only handle their babies kindly how
19grateful ^& bright^ they look! Some of those hospital nurses are so
20unkind & rough with them. I wish I was back at my hospital work, the
21brain works better if the hands work too.
22
23I have been to the Brompton Oratory this evening & enjoyed the quiet &
24the music. I got a dark corner where I could kneel down.
25
26Thank you for your letter, but I am still sorry about the other one.
27
28I am so tired that I am writing everything upside down.
29
30Good night,
31Olive Schreiner
32
33PS.
34I shall be staying here till next Th Friday then I think I shall go
35back to St. Leonards, or to some country place.
36OS.
37
Notation
Ellis's sonnets were not published as a set until 1925, although some of them appeared contemporaneously in journals and magazines; see Havelock Ellis (1925) Sonnets With Folk Songs From the Spanish Waltham St Lawrence: Golden Cockerel Press. Schreiner's 'I am so tired that I am writing everything upside down' comment is because she had accidently turned the sheet of paper upside down to write on it. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) short extract is incorrect in various ways.