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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-53HRC/UNCAT/OS-54
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 June 1885
Address From41 Upper Baker Street, Marylebone, London
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 75; Draznin 1992: 364-5
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.
141 Upper Baker St.
2June 30 / 85
4My dear sweet other self, the only human being to whom I ever can say
5that, I was untender to you this afternoon. I know how you feel my
6darling, & it because my heart & feels sore about it, that I feel
7tender. Do you understand. My darling what can I do, what must I do to
8make you happy, what must I do. I don’t think I meant what I said
9about Hintonism but I think some such feeling was in my heart. I trust
10you absolutely as a friend, could I trust you as a lover? Can any
11woman trust any man? I was longing to put my arms round you all the
12time Alf St Johnston was here. I want you now darling. I have such a
13sad feeling that there is something in our nature that divides us.
14That is what pains me so, because when I am just myself I pain you so.
15Will it always be so with any man no matter whether he is a friend or
16lover, if I’m myself you don’t like me. I know I I seem selfish
17and selfabsorbed when you come, but I’m never so with other people.
18What can I do to make you happy. Dear heart, my love if I cause you
19pain be free of me! You said we were going to be happy little children
20together, can’t it be? But I can’t think you could be happy with
21out me. I need you, other-self, & I fancy you need me. I couldn’t be
22happy without you, I couldn’t bear life; but if you feel that you
23would be happier at any time ever, you won’t let me burden you? I
24long ago gave up the idea of love as a thing that might possibly give
25happiness, but I believed in friendship. Now I must give that up too.
26It is best a human being should live entirely in their work, & not try
27to go out & meet other human souls. You are not to blame that I make
28you miserarable it must be something in my own miserable nature. Only
29I don’t know how I can alter it or change it in any way. I have
30never since the first day I saw you wanted to do anything to make you
33I am stupid this evening & worried in a way that must seem absolutely
34stupid to you about rooms. If I could find quiet anywhere, & could
35lose myself & my life for a little time so that I could finish my book.
36 I just feel that I ^can’t^ bear the pressure of my life any more I am
37afraid to writing lovingly to you or to be loving to you, because the
38more I come near you the more miserable I make you. I know the only
39thing you want is for me to be some one else & not Olive Schreiner.
40There are plenty of somebody else’s who could be all you want. You
41couldn’t find many women who could sympathize with you in your life
42& work as I could & perhaps stimulate you a little as you comfort me.
43But you could find hundreds of women who could love you passionately.
44I give you all I have to give, & you despise it. Olive
Draznin's (1992) version of this letter differs in some respects from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract includes material from a different letter and is also incorrect in other ways.