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Letter ReferenceLetters/373
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date16 November 1889
Address FromCeres, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 169-70
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.
2Ceres, 16th Nov.
3
4This is a little up-country village among the mountains. I got very
5ill at my beloved Visch Hoek and the doctor ordered me up here. You
6ride half a day or eight hours by train from Cape Town and then get
7out at a little railway station in the middle of a wide plain with
8mountains all round, and then you hire a cape-cart (if there is one to
9be had at the little solitary inn) and, by one of the most beautiful
10passes in the country, one comes up into the mountains, great wild
11rocky mountains covered with wild untouched bush and ferns and flowers.
12 When you get to the top you break out suddenly into a little plain
13with mountains of every form and kind piled up all round its edge, and
14in the centre of it lies the tiny green village, if one can even call
15it a village. There is such a sense of surprise in finding human
16habitations here among these wild rocks that adds to its beauty. The
17air here is splendid, high, dry mountain air, and yet beautifully calm
18and sheltered from winds with the peaks of the mountains about it. I
19am telling you all this about it because I remember what you said
20about living at the top of a mountain, and if ever you come to Africa
21you must come here. When I look out through my open door as I write I
22see through the branches of the trees the glorious still high sky and
23bits of the bare stone mountain.
24