"The baby's holy little life" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-135
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date25 April 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 184; Rive 1987: 170; Draznin 1992: 459-60
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. The end of this letter is missing.
2April 25 / 90
4Your journal was very interesting. But write me a little note with it
5if you have ever any thing to tell about yourself. I am well, very, &
6working. It is so strange after these years of physical agony to be
7free again. But some how just now I feel more fit for practical work
8travelling, climing mountains &c I seem to drink in the external world
9through every little pore. Never before, never when I was a child,
10have I been able to live such an objective life, a life in which I
11feel not the least wish to give out to express, seem conscious of
12nothing but an alpowerful desire to drink in through my senses. I look
13& look at the skies & the bushes & & the men & the material things as
14if I was just new born, & was learning to know them. I suppose it is
15after these long, long years buried in abstract thought, in a way
16which even you have not understood, that I turn with such a keen kind
17of refle relish to the external world. It’s no use fighting against it
18whether it be good & great or not. I must be as I am. Oh how my eyes love
19to look at the world & feed on it. I have the same kind of feeling to
20objective things that a person has to ^solid^ food who has been ill for
21months & begins to eat again, it is something quite different from
22ordinary hunger. My nature craves it. I wish you were
24[page/s missing]
Added to the last line in Havelock Ellis’s hand-writing is: ‘here, too, to be so happy with me.’ Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version is taken from Cronwright-Schreiner. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.