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Letter ReferenceHRC/CAT/OS/2a-xviii
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 9 September 1884
Address FromBlackwell, Alfreton, Derbyshire
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 40-1; Rive 1987: 51-2; Draznin 1992: 145-6
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 in Alfreton for most of September 1884.
1Tuesday Evening
3I have got all your letters out & sewed them into little books
4according to the time I got them & numbered the little books so I know
5how they came. No one else ever sees them you know I lock them up. I
6was a nice work & I couldn’t do anything else.
8I landed in England on the 30th of March 1881. I have looked the date
9up from my books I think it is right. I went to the Crystal Palace
10concerts once or twice in ’82 (in the summer or spring it was that I
11heard the Choral Sym. of Beethovens that seems so splendid to me &
12helped me so, & I think it was the Saturday before that I heard
13unreadable The Italian Symphony. That helped me so too, no music will
14ever seem like that to me I think I was sitting near the back in the
156d seats.
17What a wonderful change it would have made in my whole life if I could
18have known you then. Perhaps you were sitting quite close to me. How
19much better & sweeter life is to me now, how much I have to be
20thankful for. It seems to me such a wonderful & sweet thing that you
21should have come into my life.
23Good night,
26I think that medicine has done me much good already I feel that I
27could eat. I have read one of those dear little stories
29^Have you read “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” Do!^
31^I send you a stupid little child’s story I wrote for my brother’s
32school magazine just at the time I went to hear that music. Every
33thing, even such a little story, shows my then weakness. I think I’m
34getting quite strong now in spirit, this weakness is just from illness
35& want of food being able to eat you know. But I shall always be more
36sympathetic now, to all kinds of human suffering. That’s weakness in
37one way, but a kind of strength too. Only physically I shall never be^
39^what I was when I landed in England.^
The book referred to is: Bret Harte (1996 [1869]) Bret Harte's Gold Rush: Outcasts of Poker Flat, the Luck of Roaring Camp, Tennessee's Partner, & Other Favorites New York: Heydey Books. The 'stupid little child's story' is likely to be one of the short allegories originally published in the New College Magazine in 1882. Draznin's (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive's (1987) version omits part of the letter and is in a number of other respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner's (1924) extract is incorrect in various ways.