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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-17
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 15 March 1885
Address From4 Robertson Terrace, Hastings, East Sussex
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 64; Draznin 1992: 320-1
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 information written onto it by Ellis. Schreiner was resident at two addresses in Hastings from the end of November 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Sunday Afternoon
3I’ve been reading that French book so nicely without a dictionary. I
4think when I’ve done this I’ll be able to read many books, eh?
5Lend me “Die Frau” if you have it? Miss Müller was telling me
6about a very interesting French man who has written on Prostitution
7whom she has just seen. His name is “Guinot” or something like
8that, do you know of him Olive
10Evening. Did some such splendid work today. Isn’t it wonderful what
11effect the ?fancyest tiniest change does me? You know living here
12alone is something like solitary confinement I mean in its mental
13effect. It isn’t going the length of time two days do me perhaps
14more good than six.
16I was wondering this afternoon why it is that you always make me so
17sleepy if you sit near me or touch me. Why is it? I’d like to see
18that article of Donkin’s some day.
20I dreamed about you all last night such a marvellously vivid dream. It
21was a muddy place & you didn’t love me any more; & I wanted to come
22over the mud to you & Miss Jones & you said I couldn’t I would sink
23in, & I wouldn’t show that I cared & I went & lay on our old sofa at
24Balfour. And you came in & you called me “my duckie”, & I knew you
25didn’t love me because people always call you my duckie when they
26leave off loving you, & it seemed that I cared so much. And then it
27seemed it wasn’t Miss Jones, it was Ellen Verety a girl I knew when
28I was a little child, & her sister Mather came in, & she said she
29would tell her mother that you walked out with Ellen at night, & she
30said you were a Jew. Then old Mrs. Verety came in with a black veil on
31(she has really been dead twenty years now, died of cancer & I’ve
32never thought of her since) & she said she would flog Ellen for
33walking with that Jew, & they began tearing all her clothes off, & I
34woke in such horror. It one of those strange vivid dreams that I have,
35that are quite different from what one ordinarily calls dreams. I have
36had about three a dozen in my life but there much more real than this.
37Such a silly dream too! I think it is the jumbling of old & new things
38makes it seem so horrid Those Vereties used to live at Healdtown
Die Frau appeared in English as August Bebel (1884) Woman in the past, present and future London: Reeves. Yves Guinot's La Prostitution cannot be traced. 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.