"Pen dipped in blood, hasten union" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3a-xx
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date29 November 1884
Address FromAlexandra House, Denmark Place, Hastings, East Sussex
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 47; Rive 1987: 55; Draznin 1992: 234-5
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscript Collections. This letter has been dated by reference to an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to. Schreiner was resident at two addresses in Hastings from the end of November 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Oh Henry my darling, my darling. I am getting worse & worse I can’t
2get better. Oh Henry what would I do without you, the thought of you
3is all that helps me in this agony & loneliness Where shall I go what
4shall I do? If I had only gone to Switzerland or Madiera when I left
5London. I was still strong then
7Later I have got your letter of Thursday & the two books. Thankyou. I
8can’t write for the New Life. I will the first thing when I can. I
9have read your letter agreat many times. I thought my eyes were so
10swollen with crying that I couldn’t see, but I could see that.
12Of course I wouldn’t mind taking anything from you. I’m not clear as
13to where you begin & I end. There is only one person who is kind to me,
14 it is the housemaid I seem to cling to her so. I am always looking
15forward to the time she will come up though she doesn’t say anything.
17I never spit pure mouthfuls of blood it is mixed with the
18expectoration like the black is. I have got to day ^“Powels^ Balsam of
19Aniseed.” I spend about £1. in medicine.
21Tell me if you think of anything good to try. If I were to go to the
22Hydropath. Establishment & take baths do you think I would perhaps get
23well? I wish some one would think for me, & tell me what to do.
25I wish there were paying Hospitals to which people could go. Real
26paying hospitals to which people could go paying £1. or ^£^2. or ^£^3. a
27week. They might save hundreds of valuable lives. Not private, public,
28so that there was no cheating & trying to wring money out of you like
29in private houses Such an agony comes over one thinks of becoming a
30real invalid & having no where to go. If I could only have written my
31book first so that I could have got a little money, you & I might have
32gone together to Italy.
34This is Sat night
38I have a warm bath at half past nine every evening. Then I get into
39bed, then soon the suffocation comes on. It is worse worst from when
40ever I try to lie down. But do you know Harry never since I left
41Fitzroy St have I been able to lie down & rest. I tell you all this
42because you like to know the little things. Good night, my boy. If you
43were here I would kiss your ears that they mightn’t have that singing.
Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.