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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-34
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSaturday 9 May 1885
Address From30 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 73; Draznin 1992: 351-2
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 stayed for just over a week at Downshire Hill in early May 1885.
1Saturday 6:30
3It was so sweet to me to get your letter. I’m a poor miserable
4creature, I feel really ill all-over & couldn’t come to my boy. I
5hate myself. Oh if he had come to me today. I was longing so for you,
6am now as I sit here. How beautiful if you had come in while I was
7lying on the sofa just now. I’ve got I don’t know what the matter
8with me. I can’t read or walk, my head & all my body aches so like
9hay fever. Perhaps I shall have to go back to St Leonards on Friday. I
10will meet you if I can in the N.G. on Monday at 10. If you are not
11able to come I will look at the pictures. I hope I will get a letter
12on Monday. I have been half sleeping on the sofa all the afternoon.
14Why do I love you so today. Harry you see I can’t get better & work.
15What is the matter with me. You know I am always feeling so ill now
16even when I am what I call well. As if my constitution had no more
19Wasn’t my boy very tired after all that walking about? And perhaps
20your feet were wet & I never took your boots off for you.
22I am going to write a note to John Purgslove now to ask him to lend me
23£5 till my book comes out. You see then I am sure to have a couple of
24hundred. I shall if I live haf have plenty of money one day.
26My sweet treasure I get so dizzy when I try to sit up.
31I will post this tomorrow then perhaps I shall be quite right.
33Yes, the girl has really got eysiphilus She is very bad. Oh Hary I
34want you so, I want you so, I wish you’d come this afternoon. ^If I
35don’t turn up on Monday morning by 11, you must come to me.^
37Sunday Morning
39I went to bed at seven last night I wanted to see you. I too all your
40letter I have had these last days & put them under my face. I am very
41tired of living
After a little time I woke with a great fit of asthma
42which lasted till four o’clock. My eyes have been burning like that
43ever since you were here. It is asthma. I think I must come back to St
44Leonards on Friday morning I can’t look for rooms in London I’m
45too tired & I can’t stay there. The air is deadly. I will come to
46morrow to the National Gal. I shall be able to breathe there in the
47heart of London. I don’t know anything Havelock except that I would
48like so to see you.
52At ten o’clock tomorrow if it doesn’t pour with rain.
Upside down on the last sheet of paper, Schreiner has started and abandoned another letter, probably to her old friend John Pursglove:

“30 Downshire Hill
My dear old John
I’ve been”

Schreiner’s comment about ‘my book coming out’ refers to From Man to Man. Draznin’s (1992) version of Schreiner's letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract includes material from a different letter and is also incorrect in various ways.