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Letter ReferenceLetters/390
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date24 February 1890
Address FromCape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 177-8
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.
2Cape Town, 24th Feb.
3
4Old Rumenyi, the great Hungarian violin player, is in Africa. I am
5seeing a great deal of him. This afternoon we went out for a drive
6together with a Mrs. S -. I would give anything if you could meet him
7in London or Paris. He is the perfect type of the child of genius -
8fifty-five and a little child. The people here hate him, as stupidity
9always does; they say he talks about Hell and that he looks like a
10young elephant walking an its hind legs, and that he is greedy because
11he makes a rule of eating only once in the day, at the middle of the
12day. And he says nothing unkind to anyone, goes on like a happy child
13in a flower garden talking to itself-with his violin and his
14curiosities and his abstract ideas. It is so beautiful and wonderful
15to meet such a person here. His playing is divine. I use the word
16advisedly. ... How beautiful genius is, Harry! And it takes genius to
17understand genius. ... That "Joy" allegory is the first I ever wrote;
18all except just the end was made years and years ago, at Hertzog,
19walking about one spring morning when all the fruit trees were in
20blossom. I couldn’t finish it because I didn't quite see the end then.
21I finished it in the Isle of Wight when I first came to England. I
22arrange them according to the first part. ... I am working with joy,
23but don't make much way because I'm trying to hold myself in - and get
24strong that I may do all the wonderful work I see before me.
25
Notation
The ‘Joy allegory’ appeared as 'The lost joy' in Dreams.