"Could Bertrand Russell come & see OS tomorrow" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/153
Epistolary Type
Letter Date20 January 1886
Address FromShanklin, Isle of Wight
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 92; Rive 1987: 72
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Letters of Olive Schreiner, with few exceptions he then destroyed her originals. However, some people gave him copies and kept the originals or demanded the return of these; and when actual Schreiner letters can be compared with his versions, his have omissions, distortions and bowdlerisations. Where Schreiner originals have survived, these will be found in the relevant collections across the OSLO website. There is however a residue of some 587 items in The Letters for which no originals are extant. They are included here for sake of completeness. However, their relationship to Schreiners actual letters cannot now be gauged, and so they should be read with caution for the reasons given.
1To Havelock Ellis.
2Shanklin, 20th Jan.
4I am changed, but it is not to you. An instinct, I think of
5self-preservation, is making me draw in, but not to you so much as to
6others. People with sympathetic natures like mine must shield
7themselves from their own sympathies or they must be cruelly crushed
8and life's work left undone. I don't know if you understand what I
9mean, yet you ought to, for in that silent passivity of yours you have
10always a shield up between you and the world. I have dropped my shield
11for the last four years, but I mean to take it up again. ... If I
12marry now I will marry the man who needs me most. But I shall not