"Death of Leo, I never knew I loved you so much" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-119
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 January 1888
Address FromAlassio, Italy
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 127; Draznin 1992: 438-9
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.
1Alassio
2Jan. 3rd 1888
3
4Don’t criticise my allegory darling. It isn’t written. It came
5like that. Do you think it good enough to print? Just say yes or no.
6Won’t you & I talk a lot in June May. I’m working most splendidly,
7but some how I don’t get any “forader”!!
8
9“Work done most slowly art most cherishes.” Oh does it? I think
10I’ll die like old Paolo Uchelly. “How beautiful is this
11perspective
.” and in the end nothing come of it! Of course I have
12the satisfaction of seeing these wonderful works of art completed –
13but will any body else!!
14
15I love you, Harry, very sincerely.
16
17How beautiful is this novel of mine! I’m going to work now. I
18wouldn’t like you always to have you work so hard as you have now,
19but I don’t care for the next two years. I think it’s good for you.
20 My horror was that you would sink down into the mere literary man,
21like Leslie Stephen, or worse still something like Laing.
22
23It is the scientific side of your nature will save you, & you will be
24a man of the stamp of George Lewis than which there is not a more
25delightful. I shall not be at all sorry if you have not much time for
26literary work for two years. But I wish you could afford to travel
27much. That would he good for you. Are you learning to talk. I am
28getting silent as I used to be in the Cape. I mean I’ve a horror at
29the thought of having to write to any one even. I’m curled up.
30
31If you come to Venice you’ll have to talk.
32
33Try & get K P’s book Ethic of Freethinking as soon as you can. I’m
34going to get the German one. That hateful Karl Pearson he is getting
35all his work done & I not mine.
36
37Your comrade
38Olive
39
40Tell Louie not to mention to Mrs. Nettleship &C. that you are coming
41to Venice to meet me. Mrs. Cobb & all of them will say those things
42again, & I will have to fight the whole fight out again. For we
43wrestle not with flesh & blood, but with our own damned souls
44
45Olive
46
47^Do you think allegory good enough for “Fortnightly” I want £5.^
48
49^Please tell send it to Eleanor Aveling.^
50
Notation
The particular allegory which Ellis had criticised cannot be established. The book referred to is: Karl Pearson (1888) The Ethic of Freethought London: T. Fisher Unwin. Schreiner wrote a review of this, which was published in the Pall Mall Gazette 29 January 1889. The novel which is 'beautiful' is From Man to Man. 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.