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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-160
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateThursday 24 July 1884
Address FromBolehill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Address To
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 34; Rive 1987: 48; Draznin 1992: 110-11
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 information written onto it by Ellis. 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.
1Thursday Afternoon
2
3I have been reading “Love’s Martyrdom” and “The Two Loves.”
4Do you know that there is great worth in them. I have first seen it
5clearly now. “The two loves” has power, not only power of thought,
6but power of expression, that is to me almost wonderful. It came on me
7just now with a thrill of pleasure when I was reading. The Woof of
8Reminiscence has wonderful word power also. It I think it it is the
9peculiarity of your^self^ & of all that belongs to you, that it ^you^
10im?proves^fold^ on acquaintance, it unfolds. Voice, manner, every thing
11unfolds, & shows more than one ^ever^ thought of. You are a kind of
12sweet surprise. Take great care of ^all^ the sonnets you write. All I
13have seen ought to be published except “Life & Love” That isn’t
14like you If I read it with out knowing it was yours I should never
15dream you had written it It has not that strength which nothing else
16of yours lacks, that strength which is shown most in your critical
17power & in your tenderness. I think you are tenderest ^strongest^ where
18you are strongest. ^tenderest^ I think those last lines of The Two Loves
19are so tender & strong.
20
21Dr. Aveling & Miss Marx have just been to see me. She is now to be
22called Mrs. Aveling. I was glad to see her face. I love her, but she
23looks so miserable.
24
25Henry, what a great & solemn thing love is. I want in my life’s work,
26 if I work much & live long, to show what a wonderful power love has
27over the physical & through it over the mental nature, over what we
28call the soul, the inner-self. In this book I have tried to show it,
29but you see when I wrote it I did not know what the last three years
30have taught. I can only now try to show it
31
32^here & there. Good evening friend.^
33
34Olive
35
36I am going to work some more now.
37
38^I have a funny feeling that I could write in the same room where you
39were. I don’t know if I could. I should like to try some day. Any
40other person stops utterly my mental work, but I was feeling just now
41that if you were lying on the bed behind me I should work just the
42same, better I think.^
43
Notation
The 'Woof of Reminiscence' and the other titles mentioned are of poems in Ellis's Sonnets With Folk Songs. See Havelock Ellis (1925) Sonnets With Folk Songs From the Spanish Waltham St Lawrence: Golden Cockerel Press. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is different in some respects from our transcription. Rive's (1987) version is taken from Cronwright-Schreiner. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.