"Case against Cronwright-Schreiner; OS asks Will Schreiner seven legal questions" Read the full letter
Collection Summary | View All |  Arrange By:
< Prev |
Viewing Item
of 586 | Next >
Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/1b-xi
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 29 July 1884
Address FromBolehill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 35-6; Draznin 1992: 114-5
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. 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. A large section of the second page has been torn away, leaving legible passages at the bottom of each side, but scattered words only down the edges.
1Tuesday Morning
2
3I was going to tear up the bit I enclose, but I won’t because perhaps
4you would like to see it. I can’t explain what I mean by this fear not
5even to my-self, perhaps you can for me. I am so afraid of caring for
6you much I feel such a bitter feeling with myself if I feel I am
7^perhaps^ going to. I think that is it. I feel like someone rolly
8rolling a little ball of snow on a mountain side, & he knows at any
9minute it may pass out of his hand & grow bigger & bigger & go – he
10knows not where.
11
12Yet, when I get a letter, even like your little matter-of-fact note
13this morning, I feel “But this thing is yourself.” In that you are
14my-self I love you & am near to you; in that you are a a man, I am
15afraid of you & shrink from you.
16
17^Do^ You know that butterfly that the artist of ^the^ beautiful makes in
18Hawthorne’s story?
19
20Thankyou for that notice about Will Sharp’s book. I mean to get it.
21How is our exam going. ?feeling ?miss It’s this dry-as-dust part of
22the work that must be so horrible. Especially, you see, if you don’t
23think in your future life of making the practise & study of ^medicine^
24it the central point (& I feel most distinctly that your “call” is f
25to literature, just as mine was, in spite of my medical longing).
26
27Yesterday I heard part of Ibsen’s play “Ghosts”, still in MS. It is
28one of the most wonder-ful & great things that has long, long been
29written. I wanted you so too, to be sitting there too ^by me^ to hear it.
30 There was one line that touched the^se^ last three years. It made me
31almost mad. I cried out aloud & I couldn’t help it. Please If there
32had been a hundred people there I could^not^ have helped it.
33
34I have just got a telegram from my brother to say I must be in [paper
35torn away]
36
37is a friend of Mrs. Walter’s. His, from what she tells me, is another
38case in which the sister has been the determining & good power in a
39man’s life. This sister whom I
40
41 [paper is torn away]
42
43Good night
44Olive
45
46Mrs. Walters says that I seem years unreadable gladder younger than
47when she saw me this time last year, like just as if I were only
48fifteen. Do you know it is you who have made me feel so young. Almost
49altogether you. I feel younger much
50
51^than when I was about a child of ten. Your Olive^
52
Notation
The 'bit enclosed' is no longer attached. The books referred to are: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1846) 'The Artist of the Beautiful' in his Mosses From an Old Manse New York: Bohn's Standard Library; Henrik Ibsen (1881) Ghosts (trans. Henrietta Frances Lord) London: Griffith, Farran & Co. The reference to Will Sharp may be to the poet; see William Sharp (1889) American Sonnets London: Walter Scott. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is different in some respects from our transcription. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract includes material from a different letter and is also incorrect in various ways.