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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/1b-iiiHRC/OS/FRAGHRC/UNCAT/OS-159
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 July 1884
Address FromBolehill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 30-1; Draznin 1992: 92-4
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 is composed of a number of pages which are now separated in the HRC collections as the result of pre-archiving happenstance, and its beginning is missing. It has been dated by reference to an associated envelope and its postmark, which also provides the address it was sent to. Schreiner stayed at Bolehill near Wirksworth from early to late July 1884, moved to Buxton for about ten days, and then returned to Bole Hill from mid August to early September 1884.
1[page/s missing]
3Sh though mine is so completely blended with my mind, that it is not
4as strong in me. It is not so easily awakened in me, but it is much more
5intense even as a physical feeling I think.
7I am very glad you did not enter the church. How could you think of
8it? ^And yet in one way it would have suited you better than any thing.^
9I must have a long talk with you some day (perhaps in a letter) on
10your use of the word ?ol “God” & the old symbols generally. The use
11of them by people like ^you &^ me is never quite true. (That is what
12makes Hinton’s writings so false.) We cannot always stop to define
13what what we mean by God &c, &c, so the best way is not to use the
14terms at all. I have taken care that the word God does not occur in
15this last book of mine; hateful, damned name that it is. A word may
16become so defiled by bad use that it will take a century before it can
17be purified & brought into use again. I’m not explaining what I mean,
18but I think you will understand.
20I am now able to understand your feeling for Hinton it was just
21^principally^ the time at which he came to you that has made him so much
22to you, & I have now a new kind of feeling to Hinton myself.
24Your passion for that little girl who pulled up her stockings is so
25well to me. You darling!
27Yes, you did need nearness to a woman when you were in Australia. I am so
29 [top of page torn off] to [papertorn] to you & you to her. I think it was
30good for you both. For me all love was meant to he a curse & suffering,
31 – & yet, ^no,^ not a curse, one wouldn’t have been without it, but I
32hope I shall never love any-thing so again.
34You say on one page that you are writing it, & perhaps some one will
35one day read it & understand it, & love you. It [top of page torn off]
37^And^ When I was living just like you on a lonely farm & at night when
38my work was over going out to walk under the willow trees or at the
39dam wall, & I used to think “One day I must find him.”
41Good bye
44I am going to keep your diary some time longer because I’ve
46not done with it yet. What made you delicate when you went out to
47Australia, my sweet? Goethe has been just for you what he has been to
48me & I think ^it was^ at the same time.
52I have just got your letter.
54Yes, I have felt afraid that in my feeling that Hinton had too much
55power over you I might effect you too strongly on the other side. But
56I think that in after years when you look back we “will” see that I
57have been to some extent right. Hinton, is a great man, the world will
58he better for hearing what he has to say; you are doing good work in
59helping the world to hear it. In truth I do not think it was so much
60dear old Hinton himself as the effect of Hinton’s admirers that has
61not been good for you. I can quite imagine that if I were among people
62who were always telling me I was a second George Sand, I might in the
63end fancy I was & lose some of my own virtues in trying to imitate
64hers. And yet I never would be George Sand, & I should lose Olive
65Schreiner who might be every bit as good.
67If you heard me defending Hinton to other people you wouldn’t say I
68“must like him a little”. I love Hinton because he had a great free
69loving soul. I hate his clinging to the old symbols when he didn’t
70cling to the thing meant
. & his fear of saying the things he meant in
71naked black & white. Darling, you mustn’t let me trouble you on this
72point. If you feel that I am not good for you in this way you must
73tell me not to write about it any more. Perhaps if all Hinton wrote
74were nakedly published that kind of holding back I complain of would
75be found not to be in the man. Yes, my boy, we are only children
76together, to help eachother to grow.
78Why did you tell me about that little cottage, & you all alone in it?
79Now I keep wanting it, & the only thing I can do is take a bedroom for
80you in a little house about a half a minutes walk from this. Yes, this
81is close to Wirksworth. It is the last house on the side of the hill
82above the little town. It is about a mile & a half to the station. The
83woman here charges me 25/- for board & all That’s not dear is it? I
84think the ^best^ plan will be ^to^ arrange that we take our meals together,
85 & you just have your bedroom in the other house. How long could you
86perhaps stay? It would be so much nicer if we could be in the same
87house, some-how eh?
89^Yes I want letters, but I mustn’t get them when you are busy.^
Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is different in some respects from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.