"Woman question secondary to native question" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3a-vii
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 17 November 1884
Address From144 Marina, St Leonards, East Sussex
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsRive 1987: 46-7; Draznin 1992: 200-1
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 an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to. Schreiner was resident in St Leonards at different addresses from mid October 1884 to the end of April 1885.
3I am so utterly worn out. No work today Your letter with Miss
’s I have just got.
6Miss Jones seems, apart from any thing else, to forget that when
7people say they are engaged, or married, they speak simply of an
8external fact. When people are “friends-” does she expect them to
9enter upon an analyze ^analysis^ “I kiss him ^or her^ some times, I love
10some one esls better, but I feel so & so to him,” &c &c. He^r^
11relationship to you may give her a right to know every thing about me.
12Her relationship to me gave her no right to question me as she did the
13first time she saw me^, & so^ I don’t fancy that what you have said to
14her can give her a right to question you either. I know that What are
15you to say?
17I think I should like Rodent Noel much. I have read some articles of
18his. Thanks for what he says about S.A.F.
20I wish other people would leave us alone Henry, to love eachother as
21we like. It always seems to me that the beauty goes out of friendship
22& everything else when they touch & claw at it.
24I don’t want to make you sad; what can I do for my ^own^ boy. I hope
25your head doesn’t feel like mine does, my sweet head that comforts
26me so.
28Good bye
31^I can see you sitting in the parlour & playing I wish I could put my
32head against your knee. It aches as if it were going to burst. If I
33can work I shall forget it.^
37If you ^come^ from Charing + it won’t do. You must come from L. Bridge
38or Victoria. & take your ticket for West Marina or they will put you
39down a mile & a half from this. The C + Railway has no station at this
40end of St Leonards. Come as early on Monday as you can, & I will be at
41the station to meet you. Ach, my Henry.
43^If you happen to be in ?Bo Gower St. could you look in somewhere & ask
44the price of apartments I want to know if they are very dear there.
45Don’t go on purpose because I shan’t need them for months^
The paragraph starting ‘Later’ is a torn off half sheet of paper, on its back is a short piece of text from From Man to Man, as follows:

‘Rebekah put her can down in wonder.
“I wish I were pretty & clever, & had white hands. I wish I were like anything but what I am! I wish I were you, Rebekah!” She raised her large white’

The speaker here is Rebekah’s sister Bertie. For Roden Noel’s comments on The Story of an African Farm, see Schreiner’s letter to Fred Schreiner, November 1884 (HRC/CAT/OS/1b-xiii). Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version has been misdated, omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect.