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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/1b-ix
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 23 July 1884
Address FromBolehill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 34; Draznin 1992: 108-9
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 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.
3I have read Leckys History of European Morals. That last chapter on
4women, was the first time ^thing^ that I ever heard or knew really
5anything of prostitution. It came on me like a flash, & it has had an
6effect on my whole life. “Is it necessary there should be
7prostitutes?¬ – then let them be set up on high as other good & useful
8things are – But it is not necessary, &, by God, it shall not always
9be!” That was my first feeling. His “History or Rationalism in Europe”
10also had great things for me at the time I read it. Read it if you
11have not. I read “Under-ground Russia” at Aspley Guise. Thank
13I shall send for the other books you mention [rest of the page torn off]
15The first time she came to see me it made me feel that I didn’t care
16to come any nearer to you or that you should come ^any^ nearer to me. A
17kind of disgust. almost. I do not feel that I am of kin with the
18Hinton school (^though^ I should love Mrs. Hinton ^very^ much, I know, &
19sympathise with her!) & it seems to me that perhaps you were right in
20that feeling of drawing back from me with regard to Hinton, darling, &
21that perhaps I was taking tending (in ^far as I had any influence with you)^
22to take you out of an influence that was good & happy for you, better
23than anything I have to give you.
25I have been reading Heine with pleasure; he helps one to forget
26everything, doesn’t he?
28I haven’t heard again from Eastbourne, but I think Wilfred is coming
29on Friday or they would have written. Yes, [part of page torn off]
31soon as he goes, if you care to come. [part of page torn off]
33^or come before. I would take rooms for you in Buxton.^
The books referred to are: Stepniak Kravchinski (1883) Underground Russia London: Smith, Elder; W.E.H. Lecky (1869) A History of European Morals From Augustus to Charlemagne London: Longmans, Green & Co; The History of England in the Eigheteenth Century London: Longmans, Green & Co; (1865) The History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism London: Longmans, Green & Co. 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.