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Letter ReferenceLetters/571
Archive
Epistolary Type
Letter Date27 August 1915
Address FromLlandrindod Wells, Wales
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 353-4
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.
2Llandrindod Wells, 27th Aug.
3
4I'm glad to hear you are working. One's always happy when one can work.
5 One of the great drawbacks to living here is that there are no books.
6I have been actually driven to read Oliver Twist again.
7
8I think one of the reasons why your views and mine are opposed about
9this war is the reason which makes my standpoint so different from
10most other people's in the affairs of personal life. I cannot base my
11opinion in any matter upon just what has happened at the last moment.
12If a man and woman quarrel, or any two human beings, I cannot [but] go back
13to the past where the root of the present always is. You may have
14strangely to invert your views if you do that. The attitude and
15condition of Germany cannot possibly be understood by one who forgets
16for a moment that only this time last century she was trampled under
17the feet of France, torn and desolated, her objects of art, even the
18sword and mementos of Frederick the Great, carried off from Berlin to
19Paris, the King and Queen of Prussia insulted, the whole land under
20the heel of France. If in the next century there is a war between
21Belgium and Germany, can anyone judge justly of it who does not
22continually remember the events of last year?
23
24The villainy of our proposal to dismember Turkey is something much
25deeper than merely the attempt of a big nation to crush a small one.
26Be she good or bad, we bathed the world in blood to keep Russia out of
27Constantinople; we enabled her to keep her hold on the Balkan peoples.
28A nation, no more than an individual, can wash its hands of the past. ...
29
30What do you think of The Dark Flower? It's not so artistic as his
31other works; it's got a touch of Wells' vulgarity and coarseness in it
32that pained me. But it interested me because it touches on a thing
33I've thought out so much during the last years, and it explains what I
34couldn't understand in my youth: why the love-making of all young men
35had poetry and beauty about it and was an honour to you, and the least
36approach even to attention and admiration from older men was an insult
37and loathsome. It's because the young man loves you and the old man
38loves nothing but himself and is merely seeking his own youth by means
39of yours. Your good and joy is nothing to him.
40