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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/1a-xxvii
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 29 June 1884
Address FromHolly Cottage, Mount Pleasant, Aspley Guise, Woburn, Bedfordshire
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 23-4; Rive 1987: 43; Draznin 1992: 73-5, 76-7
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.
1Holly Cottage
2Sunday evening
3
4I am a bit better this evening. I have been reading Heine. Isn’t it
5odd how when you sympathize with a any one in the main you sympathize
6with them in the little tiny things too. Now, Heine’s hatred to
7Wellington is so delicious to me. I never found anyone who could quite
8sympathize with my loathing for that man.
9
10I have read almost the whole vol. of Galton like it very much, ^because^
11it is suggestive, but he generalizes from quite insufficient data, it
12is ludicru [wordspace] some times. Didn’t it strike you so? I don’t
13know when a book has interested me more. I used to try & teach myself
14the multiplication table when I was small, & I couldn’t remember it,
15& I used to cry & pray about it. At last once (I don’t think it was
16in an instant but in a few days) I saw it. It is like a stair or a
17sloping plank & the figures on it in different shads
18(six-times-six-is-thirty-six, is pure, dazzling white) & now I never
19forget it I always see that. I have often wondered if other people saw
20figures in the same way. It isn’t so clear now as it used to be.
21
22I wish you had told me more about what you used to do & think when you
23were in Australia. I can’t tell everything intuitively! & I rather
24like to hear.
25
26Writing is not so nice as talking. When you talk you know it is for
27one ear only, when you write you feel as if it might not be so, & the
28sweetness is gone. Do you not feel so too? I am very much strong
29
30This place doesn’t suit me at all. I want to find a place that is
31not low & damp. If I go Derbyshire I think I shall feel glorious like
32I used to in the karroo. My mind is so full of thoughts that want
33artistic expression it is almost painful I must go where I can work.
34If I go to Derbyshire, & you felt you cared to come into the country a
35bit would that be too far for you to come? It is much more beautiful
36than here & it would do you more good. I fancy you must be like me &
37need stimulating air. Why we thought so strongly & brightly in the far
38away countrys had to do with other things except solitude.
39
40Don’t think too much of Hinton. Your nobler, stronger, many
41sided-self must not be crushed by him, or rather I should say warped,
42for it will not be crushed.
43
44Don’t trouble to read that MS. of mine till you have quite time &
45nothing else to do. The doctor there is my beau-ideal of a man. Do you
46love him a little?
47
48I had a letter from Mr. Norman this morning, & because I had not heard
49from any one else since I came here I was very glad to get it. I have
50not heard from my brother for fourteen days except one line. Mr.
51Norman’s
letter was ^only^ about some books he was going to send me.
52
53I still see always that thing that happened in the bus. Is it not
54strange that it should be so vivid?
55
56Good night. I am going to bed now. I hope you had a nice evening at
57the Browning society. With You know I have a feeling that if you ever
58really care about ^for^ a woman it will be a woman some^thing^ like that
59Lily in New Rush, only she will have a more animal nature, & she will
60crush you out ^completely^ ?powerfully ^mentally & spiritually. Don’t
61you think so.^
62
63Good-night.
64O.S
65
66I wonder if you went to the Progressive this evening. It seems so long
67ago since Herbert Spencer & last Sunday. Months & months seem to have
68passed since then. I wish I was dead.
69
70^When you think of any book it would be good for me to read please, if
71it doesn’t trouble your put it down, & I will put down any book I
72think of that I would like you to read. Did you tell me you you had
73not read Mill’s Logic? I wonder if you have now got on so far that
74it would not be of any help to you.^
75
Notation
'That MS. of mine' refers to Schreiner's unfinished and largely destroyed novel 'New Rush', with the doctor being a character in it. The books referred to are: Heinrich Heine (1880) English Fragments Edinburgh: R. Grant & Son. Francis Galton (1883) Inquiries Into Human Faculty London: J.M. Dent & Co. John Stuart Mill (1843) System of Logic London: Parker. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is different in some respects 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.