"Ellis wants sex love, OS can't give it" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xviiiHRC/UNCAT/NFPbb
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 18 December 1884
Address FromAlexandra House, Denmark Place, Hastings, East Sussex
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 51; Draznin 1992: 267-8
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 is composed of a number of pages, which are now separated in the HRC collections as the result of pre-archiving happenstance. Schreiner was resident at two addresses in Hastings from the end of November 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Thursday afternoon
3My boy
5I send you Mrs Walters letter I wish you could get to like her
6something as I do. I told her you were perhaps going with me to Paris.
7She has been brooding over it ever since I can see. If even she thinks
8so of it would would other people think?!! But they must be taught not
9to think.
11I am going to write now. My chest has not let me work since the day
12before yesterday. My room is very cold so, I have hung up my rugs at
13the window & made it dark like night & I have lit my lamp to make it a
14little warmer. I don’t know that I think so very well of a woman’s
15paper. I object to anything that divides the two sexes. My main point
16is this – that human development has now reached a point at which
17sexual difference has become a thing of altogether minor importance.
18The mistake is that we make so much of it we are men
20^women in the second place humanbeings in the first.^
22That was such a sweet letter you wrote me. You are many ?hundred times
23dearer to me than you were six months ago.
28Is my boy’s cold better? I can’t bear you to have anything the
29matter with you.
31Oh will Escott take our article If he does I want you to write
32something really good, your best on the woman question.
34Give my love to darling old Louie. I wish I had nice rooms & you & she
35came together & spent a whole week with me.
37Your little sister,
42Read the bits in Mamma’s letter about the marks on the legs. Can you
43read the writing?
The 'woman's paper' is probably The Woman’s World edited by Oscar Wilde between 1887 and 1890, in which Schreiner published some of her allegories, although it might also be the Women’s Penny Paper edited by Henrietta Muller. The letter has been dated by reference to an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to. 'Our article' is a reference to: Havelock Ellis (1885) 'The present position of English Criticism' Time December 1885. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.