"Not a personal matter, all women of Cape Colony, Women's Enfranchisement League" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/204
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date25 December 1886
Address FromClarens, Montreux, Switzerland
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 107
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.
2Clarens, Christmas Day.
3
4This place is just like hell. Anything so hideous and so awful you
5cannot conceive; you know the frozen sea in Dante's hell. No, this sea
6isn't frozen, it's dirty and wet and the fog rises from it. I have
7seen no place in England so awful as this. The air is quite thick with
8water. I thought Geneva was the most awful place I had ever been in,
9but it’s much better than this. … If I keep on getting worse I shall
10start for Davos or Mentone or God knows where on Tuesday morning. I
11ought to have gone to Italy at once; it was insane of me to come here.
12There is no sun here; sometimes through the fog an awful wan ray
13breaks on the water. ... Your letter this morning was so precious, it
14made me able to get up. It seems to me as if it was many years ago
15since I left England, and I'd been in hell ever since. ... No, I
16haven’t kept a journal. If I can only keep sense and strength enough
17to pack my things, that's all I want. I have such a horror of getting
18quite helpless. But one can always kill oneself. Don't show this
19letter to my brother or - . I don’t tell them how I am.
20