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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/5b-xii
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 4 April 1916
Address FromAlexi, 31 The Park, Hampstead, London
Address ToRose Cottage, Carbis Water, Cornwall
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsDraznin 1992: 506-7
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. Dating this letter has followed an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to.
1Alexi
231 The Park
3Hampstead
4Tuesday
5
6Dear Havelock
7
8I feel so anxious for further news. What I wonder does Etta Sanger
9think ought to be done. I am anxious about you too, dear. You have
10seemed so curiously depressed all the last ^two^ years: you must come to
11London. I wonder how bad Edith is. Does she care to read still. I
12don’t believe there is anything ^organically^ wrong with her brain, that
13a long spell of rest & perfect quiet could not put right.
14
15I have had an attack of that agonizing angina, & have been sitting up
16all night. Its four o’clock now & the birds are all beginning to sing
17in the trees. The attack came on about one o’clock, & it seemed as if
18I must die. I couldn’t send for the doctor because theres only the
19little girl in the house, but about two it began to subside.
20
21Thanks for the opium, but I’ve plenty of opium It doesn’t do any good,
22it only makes me deadly sick. The doctors all order opium & strycine,
23because it acts instantly & stops the spasm. I suppose you wouldn’t
24write me the order because you’re afraid I may I kill myself! But it
25always seems such a cowardly thing to do: one wants to defy God to the
26last bit; & show him that if he can conquer ones body he can’t conquer
27ones mind. I never wanted so much to live as I do now, because I must,
28just must finish my little peace & war book. I’m having massage & I’ve
29going to take Electrical treatment from Cumberbatch who says it does
30wonders for the heart. If it helps me perhaps Edith could try him.
31Have you a good doctor down there. If you had sent me that order for
32the morphine I should have been saved all the agony tonight. This is
33only the second attack of this kind I’ve had since I came to Europe.
34In Africa I was always having them. I thought I’d never have them here.
35 Perhaps Hampstead is too hight. When you come to London you must come
36& spend long days with me here. You can sit out in the sun in the
37garden & write as quietly as you like, or in the drawing room. Its so
38peace-ful I’ll only call you when the meal’s ready. Its quite easy to
39get to by underground or bus.
40
41Good morning. I’m going to draw the curtains now & let the dawn in –
42the blessed dawn
43
44^Olive Does Edith sleep well?^
45
Notation
The ‘little war & peace book’ is Schreiner’s never completed ‘The Dawn of Civilization’. Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription.