"Spencer's First Principles, key books, we who have never been to school starved, you overfed" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceLetters/501
Epistolary Type
Letter DateMay 1912
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 307
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.
2De Aar, May.
4... My father was infinitely tenderer to us as children and had a much
5greater heart than my mother. A woman loves her own little babies with
6a selfish animal instinct, but as children grow up it is continually
7the father who gives the widest, most sympathetic love. And as for
8other people's children, are not the words step-mother and
9mother-in-law the two bitterest words in the world? Who farm little
10babies and starve them to death? Women in most cases and not men. Who
11keep brothels and betray young children and girls into a life which
12means disease and generally early death, without motherhood or
13wifehood or love? Women! ... I don't for one moment believe in the
14moral superiority of women. Perhaps the noblest, most unselfish,
15tender woman-soul I know is Con Lytton - but Bob Muirhead is just as
16good and rare in gifts of heart.