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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Havelock Ellis 2006.29/6
ArchiveNational English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 16 July 1884
Address FromBole Hill, Wirksworth
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 31-3
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National English Literary Museum (NELM) for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. The date of this letter has been derived from the postmark on an attached envelope, with the address it was sent to on its front.
1 Bole Hill
2 Wirksworth
3 Wednesday
4
5 Thank you for the Law Breaker. Can I keep that article of yours till
6you come because I want us to talk over it? I will send it if you want
7it, but you must bring it with you when you come. I want you when you
8come here to go for some very long walks alone. I think it will rest
9you so. I am so thankful you can stay a fortnight.
10
11 Speaking of the effect sexual feeling has on the mind, it is very
12clearly proved in the case of women. I must make more inquiries among
13other women, my friends who will have noticed & been able to analyze
14their feelings. With myself while I am unwell every month my feelings
15are particularly sensitive & strong. A little word that would not pain
16me at another time causes me acute agony. I can not help feeling, & a
17little word of tenderness is so precious to me (Especially the man who
18loves you ought to be tender with you then). The time of greatest &
19most wonderful mental activity is just after, & perhaps the last two
20days of the time ^too^. My mind is a I was unwell last week; & though
21now my chest is so unreadable troublesome I can be on the sofa half
22asleep, & the thoughts are all continually to crowding in on me
23unreadable. Last night it suddenly flashed into me, the unreadable ^solution^
24of all my difficulties with "From man to man". It has been brooding in
25the back ground of my mind these many days, & now it has suddenly come.
26 I shall have no more difficulty with it, it is as clear as day light.
27I have got what I wanted. It is so splendid, I mean this feeling is, I
28get so excited I don't know what to do.
29
30 But to go back to the sexual feeling. Of course one may easily
31exaggerate what I have been talking about, but there is no doubt there
32is some truth in it. Eleanor Marx the only woman I have spoken to on
33the subject feels much the same. My acquisitive power, my power of
34learning, is not at all weaker just at the time, but my feelings are
35so strong. Ask Louie how she feels. I am going to ask Mrs Walter &
36some of my intimate friends. This subject in interesting, because as
37far as the power of the purely physical-sexual extends, so far must
38the power of ?bra the mental-sexual extend
. If the physical
39feelings extend their power over a certain portion of the soul, then
40the relationship between man & woman will be able to work upon the
41same portion. Do you carefully observe (I mean un consciously, I
42always look at it myself unconsciously ^don't you?^) the ?rebel
43interaction of your manly upon your mental nature.
44
45 I should like to know the man's side of the question too. I should
46think the relationship must be always ^almost^ as close. Look at the
47effect of celibacy on monks & hermits, &c.
48
49 Yes, you must never look any one in the face, ah? I wouldn't
50understand it ^at first^. I think what I called that glorious look in
51eye in your eyes was just the once or twice when you looked really
52into mine. They were godlike. What is rather funny is that some years
53ago I never looked at anyone in the eyes; I couldn't. I had a cousin
54who used to hate me & wasn't kind to me, & she used to say that I
55never looked at anyone, & that that was why she couldn't bear me. I
56wonder if you will change like I have, & look people full in the face
57like I do now. And I used to be so reserved, & secretive without any
58reason for it; I'm not like that now.
59
60 If I talked to any one I used to turn my face half away from them. I
61couldn't help it. I'm glad you turn away your face from people &
62
63^look down I don't think you will always.
64
65I should like to send you some day some letters of my mother's to read.
66 My grandfather's name was Lyndall. I think I told you about him
67though I've written to my mother to ask her about the Olivers. I
68should like to have your blood in me, shouldn't you like to have mine.
69
70I liked Under the Greenwood Tree. Tell me all you can about Hardy.
71
72Good bye, my boy-brother.
73
74Olive^
75
76^Is the London Review published in India?^
77
Notation
The final insertion is on the envelope. The books referred to are: James Hinton The Law Breaker and The Coming of the Law (ed. M. Hinton) London: Kegan Paul & Co; Thomas Hardy (1872) Under the Greenwood Tree London: Tinsley Brothers. Schreiner's request to keep an article by Ellis may refer to: Havelock Ellis (1883) 'Thomas Hardy's Novels' Westminster Review no.119: 334-64. The version of this letter in Cronwright-Schreiner (1924) is incorrect in a range of respects.