"Dipping pen into ink but really blood" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/50
Epistolary Type
Letter Date10 February 1885
Address From19 Charlotte Street, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 59; Rive 1987: 62
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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.
219, Charlotte St., 10th Feb.
4I am vaguely conscious that in moral questions I am still, as I have
5been for the last two years, passing through a crisis like that which
6followed the break up of my religious ideas. I am willing, perfectly
7willing, to follow what is right, as I then was to follow what was
8true. But I didn't quite know at first what was true, and I don't now
9see what is right. Some day I shall see clearer. But one cannot hasten
10sight; it has to grow clear slowly. When one breaks away from all old
11moorings, and shapes a higher path of morality for oneself, and
12perhaps for others who shall follow one, it cannot be done without
13suffering (I am not explaining rightly what I mean, only I dimly see
14it; and know what I mean, though I can't express it.) I do desire as
15sincerely to do what is right as I used to desire to know what was
16true when I couldn't see truth anywhere. ... What help and comfort you
17are to me I hardly think you realise.