"Olive died peacefully" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xv
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 16 December 1884
Address FromAlexandra House, Denmark Place, Hastings, East Sussex
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 50; Draznin 1992: 265-6
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. Our transcription follows archival order, while the version in Draznin (1992) is differently assembled. Schreiner was resident at two addresses in Hastings from the end of November 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Tuesday Night
3I think I read your letter over five times this evening. I am going to
4sit up & unreadable write late, because I have just got a new idea
5splendid. I have been trying to condense a chapter the wo wrong way
6now, I feel where I was wrong. I felt, I was wrong before but I didn’t
7know where. Your book on religion I know will be splendid, & I shall
8love it. My other self. Yes artistic work takes the life blood out of
9one. It lives by just as much as you lose
11^May I lend that Hinton thing to Mrs. Brown or are you in a hurry?^
13^Harry, I would like to kiss your old forehead.^
15^Read that little bit in ‘Far from &c’ about comradeship. It is at the
16end where they get engaged. It’s so beautiful.^
20Boy of mine, try to work & think to make up for me. I am going to try
21& work a little this morning. Fancy, I am not going to work for love
22of my work, the thing that drives me this morning is wanting money. It
23is dreadful to be so helpless & depend on other humanbeings but I
24can’t sacrifice my work for for money, & it will take me so long to
25finish it truly. If I had money I could always have some one I loved
26near me, & I could help other people who are lonely. & comfort them.
27Harry, how can I write hardly in my books when I know how all
28important love & sympathy are? Life seems
30^determined to keep pressing that on me till it spoils me as an artist.^
An Ellis book on religion cannot be traced. 'That Hinton thing' is likely to be a reference to James Hinton's unpublished essay, 'Thoughts on Home', which Ellis had been lent by Mrs Hinton and later passed on to Schreiner, 'Far from &c' is Thomas Hardy (1875) Far From the Madding Crowd London: Smith, Elder & Co. Draznin's version of this letter is in some respects different from ours. A short extract appears in Cronwright-Schreiner (1924).