"Olive died peacefully" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-139
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSaturday 11 October 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 197-8; Draznin 1992: 469-70
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 in Matjesfontein from mid April 1890 to mid March 1891, with occasional short visits elsewhere. The end of the the letter seems to be missing.
1Saturday Night
3My Boy.
5You must be gentle to me when you write to me: you hurt me. I know I
6hurt you sometimes but then I don’t mean to!
8It is a wild windy night. I am sitting alone in my little house. I
9think you would like to see this place & stay here a little time.
11Have to read “the life & works of Albrecht Dürer,” by a Mrs. Heaton?
12Its very interesting I love Dürer best of all painters in the world.
13Oh I wish you could see his pictures at Munich. So I would paint if I
14were a painter. It is n’t any one picture I love especially, its all
15his pictures the spirit in them what ever they were about. He & Watts,
16but I love him more than Watts. You know when I say I love those gates
17at Florence & Michal Angelos four figures, & Notre Dame best of all
18works of art in the world, I mean that I feel one with them. Its such
19a curious feeling that they are part of your own soul, of your own
20individuality. That secret self that you know, standing out there
21before you, & you feel the first time you see them, as if you were
22finding something that you used to know very well long ago, & that you
23were quite rejoined to see a gain. I felt N like that to Notre Dame
24the first night in the gathering dark when I walked up to its front.
25It seemed that I knew it when I was a little girl & lived at Witteburg.
26 I feel like that to Dürer’s pictures too. This book of Mrs. Heaton is
27an old book printed 20 years ago.
29Oh the wind is howling so. I wish I could see you, my brother. My dear
30true one, who has loved me more truly & faithfully than anyone.
32[page/s missing]
The book referred to is: Mary Heaton (1870) The History of the Life of Albrecht Dürer London: Seeley, Jackson & Halliday. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive's (1987) version omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.