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Letter ReferenceLetters/200
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date7 December 1886
Address FromBlandford Square, Paddington, London
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 105-6
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
2Blandford Square, 7th Dec.
3
4I had called up both servants and told them if you came you were to be
5shown straight up. I never dreamed of my landlady's stopping you. Why
6didn't you tell someone to come up and tell me you were here? Do
7always do that. I longed for you all day and listened to every step in
8the street. I must have heard yours. I’ve never had such pain in my
9chest before, though I've been as bad in other ways. Do write to me,
10my friend. My heart calleth to thee. ... Oh, I feel so miserable when
11I think of all the misery in the world. I will never make a friend of
12a man again unless I love him better than anyone else in the world. I
13haven't absolutely made up my mind, but it seems to me that no woman
14should ever allow a man even to kiss her hand unless she has
15absolutely made up her mind, that, as far as she can judge, she will
16never love any other man as well, does not love any man as well, and
17loves that man so well that she would willingly live with him all her
18life, bearing children for him. I would not base this on the idea of
19right and wrong but on the agony to both parties, to the one who gives
20pain and the one who is pained. It may be said: Oh, this is not sexual,
21 it is an expression of friendship. But when the time comes it is
22found to be otherwise. Through what bitter agony we learn all life's
23lesson, and our dreams fall from us one by one. I am in a state of
24despair such as I have not known since I was a girl of fifteen. My
25ideal has been friendship between men and women as between men and men,
26 but it can't be.
27