"Am going to meet Rhodes, more solitary in this country than you can conceive" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/416
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date6 November 1890
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 198-200
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.
2Matjesfontein, 6th Nov.
3
4The pain in my stomach that I used to get when I had to eat before
5people was really asthma in the stomach, caused by the terrible
6excitement of my heart from nervousness and misery. I have an
7interesting letter from that Miss A. P. - I told you of who suffered
8even more than I did. She has described all I suffered. A - , you know,
9 also suffered in the same way, and Eleanor Marx, I know, did. I am
10writing to ask her about it; I think she will speak frankly of it. But
11now here comes an interesting fact. A - P - 's sister is the most
12terrible sufferer from asthma that I ever saw in Europe, and Eleanor's
13sister, Jenny, suffered from her earliest childhood till the day of
14her death from asthma. I think I have often told you of the curious
15relation I found between that convulsive feeling in the stomach and
16the asthma. I will send you all the letters I get from women about it.
17I will write to Eleanor and if she takes it in the same spirit as the
18others she will give you her experience. Then you might use all our
19experiences to write a valuable article in some medical journal. ... I
20do not say opium absolutely cures, but for the first two months I was
21in this country I was very bad, though the weather was perfect. I then
22had the doctor who injected ¼ grain, and for eight months I never had
23an attack
. For the last month I have been bad. Three days after the
24last injection I climbed Signal Hill. Of course doctors often tried
25morphia, at least twice before I came to England, but it caused
26terrible vomiting, the ½ gr. makes me vomit for twenty-four hours
27after it is injected but not nearly so much. Will you try it if you
28have any asthma cases like mine? It doesn't make me sleep. I lie awake
29for hours after it, and then fall into a light natural doze. You must
30remember that when I lived in Africa before I went to England I had
31more attacks of asthma, pure and simple, than I ever had in England,
32though I was stronger generally. ... I'm doing such beautiful work.
33This life is so peaceful. I'm happy, like when I was living on those
34farms, writing An African Farm. I feel just the same. Life is so
35precious to me. You know I think in this book I will say what I want
36to say. I mean I've sometimes felt as if I couldn't make this book say
37everything I want to say as An African Farm said what I wanted to say
38then. But it will! All that is in that “Sunlight Lay" is in it, only
39simply in an objective form-the first, second, and third heaven. I
40send you an African rose. Dear Harry, I'm loving you so. I'm always
41keeping my eyes open and hoping I will see some good chance that will
42bring you here. I would like to show you Africa, my Africa. It's not a
43bit like Australia, so wonderful with its mixture of races and peoples,
44 and its marvellous diversity of natural scenery. I'm glad I wasn't
45born in any other land on earth.
46
Notation
‘This book’ is most likely From Man to Man while ‘Sunlight Lay’ appears in Dreams.