"Small band desire peace, far future is ours" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-52
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 June 1885
Address From41 Upper Baker Street, Marylebone, London
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 75; Draznin 1992: 363-4
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.
141 Upper Baker St
2June 30 / 85
4I don’t think you are right or reasonable in saying that I never
5forget myself for two minutes. I do talk of myself when I am with you
6– If I talk of art, or science, or any book I’ve been reading or of
7any subject that interests me you simply shut it up, say you know all
8about it, or something of that kind. If I ask you what you have been
9doing or thinking you say, “Nothing.” I have nothing left but to tell
10you what I have been doing & seeing. It is you who force me back on my
11own miserable life. You seem to resent it when I will look out or live
12in anything, but myself. Probably my health will soon break down again,
13 & then weakness will drive me back to that miserable diseased,
14self-absorbed life & I shall be as wretched as you can desire. I am
15only by a fierce indeavour holding down all the old madness & misery &
16anguish that lies sleeping in my heart ready to leap up the moment my
17power to hold it down goes. I can unreadable quite understand how you
18feel, your but I know too that if I cared for you in a passionate way,
19with in four years your love would have melted down, & you would be
20living an Hintonian life. Let those have men’s love who care for it; I
21absolutely refuse to put myself in the power of any man. And I pray to
22God I may never be in the power of any man again.
26I don’t mean to be unkind to my comrade but he won’t understand me.
28My sweet one I have opened this letter again, I must be a little sweet
29to my darling. I do love you.
Draznin's (1992) version of this letter differs in some respects from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract includes material from a different letter and is also incorrect in other ways.