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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/3b-xxiv
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateMonday 22 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: 51-2; Rive 1987: 60-1; Draznin 1992: 273-4
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.
1Monday Night
3I don’t know how it is I keep wanting to press my feet together, I
4won’t give way to the feeling, but I have it continually. I have not
5yet written anything today
7Ah, here is my letter!
10I am reading it I have just read the first page. Oh Harry how sweet
11that you think of me so much.
13No I wasn’t unselfish then, but I was trying hard to be, now I
14don’t try it’s becoming natural to me. I mean directly my interest
15comes into conflict with anyone’s, I want, I do give up mine, I
16don’t care for it. Of course always ever since I could remember if I
17loved a person really, like I loved Theo, & Ettie, & Ellie, then I had
18no self, they were everything, they were me, but I don’t call that
19being unselfish.
21Now I’ve read down the other page, & you say exactly what I say. You
22mustn’t do. You always say what I’m going to say. I write any more
23till I’ve finished the letter. What lay before me like an
24^intellectual^ ideal then has become part of me now. [half of the page
25torn off]
27Not that I’m as unselfish as I want to be, but some how it’s quite
28different, I always thought, “I’m cold & selfish now, but one day
29that great good man will love me, & I will be it all then.” Love did
30the work but it did its work differently from
I have finished your
31letter, my darling. If you [half of the page torn off]
33were to come just for two days, mightn’t you come & go without Miss
finding you. One day would be spent in going to Eastbourne. If I
35get better in my new room you must come to go to Eastbourne, though I
36would rather take you when the weather was warm, & it looked like it
37used when I lived there that Spring & Summer.
39Can you explain to me what has made Miss Jones feel to me as she does.
40Have you acted differently to her since you knew me? My other self.
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.