"Please don't discuss my affairs, my big sex book" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xvi
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 16 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: 51; Draznin 1992: 264-5
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.
1Tuesday night ^evening^
2
3I am sorry your head is bad, it needs to be comforted I think. Don’t
4you? You are working & thinking, or rather feeling too much. I think
5that article on Ibsen’s later plays would be a good thing for you to
6write next.
7
8I did not go to Miss Jones’s to day she has asked me to go & spend
9tomorrow. I shall get out of it by saying I have to see Wilfred which
10is true. I feel so sad this evening a kind of feeling of physical
11sinking, & I d was nearly suffocated in the night last night
12
13Yes, the only way will be for you to have rooms close by. Could you
14come on Friday week. I don’t think I shall be able to go to Eastbourne,
15 but the weather may be better by that time. I think Miss Jones is so
16anxious I should go there, so that if you come, I shall feel bound to
17invite her, always. Oh Henry, I feel so sad & hopeless this evening I
18don’t know why. I think seeing Miss Jones always makes me feel so.
19
20Perhaps the rooms near here will be full just at Xmas, & then we must
21put off the coming a few days.
22
23Later. I think it is my cold room here at the top of the house with
24nothing over it makes my chest so bad. I have never had a cough keep
25on week after week like this before. Oh Henry I want to be strong &
26vigorous I don’t mind any pain, any suffering, but not to be dragged down.
27
28I have got splendid books, & the guide to Switzerland. The plays of B
29& F which I have read are “A Made’s Tragedy” & “Philaster” & the
30“Woman Hater.”
31
32Fancy, I can’t understand Balzac ^even^ when I have the translation in
33my hand, & I can read Manon almost without the dictionary.
34
35I wish you were here this evening, Henry. Send me back the “Pall Mall.
36” What was that article in the “Daily Tel”? Good bye, my sweet one, my
37treasure. I love you much more when I see strangers. “It is the world,
38the world that throws friend into friend’s arms” as Balzac says. When
39other people are near you then you
40
41^feel how one with you, how part of you that other one is.^
42
43Olive
44
45^Tell me how your head is.^
46
47Of course I didn’t mention Mrs Haddon’s article to Mrs. Cobb.
48
Notation
Upside down on the last sheet Schreiner has written and crossed out ‘Are you. Isn’t’. Schreiner refers to Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher (1862) Plays (selected by Leigh Hunt) London: Henry G. Bohn. Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.