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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xivaHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xivb
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 14 December 1884
Address FromAlexandra House, Denmark Place, Hastings, East Sussex
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 50; Rive 1987: 59; Draznin 1992: 261-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
1Sunday
2
3I think that article of Roden Noel’s splendid. It is the best thing
4that ever was written on Hinton. What is the article in the Daily Tel
5about & who is the woman who wrote it. I have come up from lunch. I
6don’t know if it ought to go out this afternoon it’s so wild & cold,
7but I don’t like to disappoint her. I shall only stay half an hour.
8
9My other-self, the little word I write to you & the word you write to
10me every day just makes life livable. I do not write about myself
11because just now practically I do not exist; my book exists; that is
12all, as far as my daily life goes. Bertie sitting there that hot day
13in the bush, with John Ferdinand. That is why writing makes me happy
14because then my own miserable little life is not. My darling, the one
15person who understands me, the one thing that is my very own, & to
16whom I belong whether I wish it or not! I think that’s so true that
17you only belong to those people to whom you can’t give yourself
18because they have you.
19
20Let me know as soon as you hear from Escott. I think he will take it.
21
22Olive
23
24^It has begun to rain. I can’t go to Miss Jones; I will write Are you
25going to the Progressive I wonder.^
26
27Sunday Night
28Late.
29
30I am just going to bed. I have been thinking so much about you I don’t
31know if I used to write you nicer letters than now. You were just
32nothing to me compared to what you are now. I was trying to fall in
33love with you at first, that I might “forget”. Now I know I cannot
34fall in love. If I love now it must be the slow long growth of years.
35
36I wish I could see some place for your coming It is so miserable even
37to have meals with these people here. They are so vulgar & it is like
38being at a private table. The landlady is a skeeming Mama & daughter
39is more painful still.
40
41Oh I wish you were a woman.
42
43Sweet, I am near to you. I would like you to be near me to night, so
44that we could nestle our heads together & tell eachother things about
45long ago. I like that little boy.
46
47Good night.
48Olive
49
Notation
Upside down at the end of the last page of the letter is 'Alexandra House Denmark Pl Hastings Dec 4 / 84', the discarded start of another letter. Roden Noel’s article on Hinton cannot be traced. Bertie and John Ferdinand are characters in From Man to Man. Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version is misdated, omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.