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Letter ReferenceHRC/UNCAT/OS-3
ArchiveHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateTuesday 4 November 1884
Address From144 Marina, St Leonards, East Sussex
Address To24 Thornsett Road, South Penge Park, London
Who ToHavelock Ellis
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 44; Rive 1987: 52; Draznin 1992: 203-4
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. An associated envelope provides the address the letter was sent to. Schreiner was resident in St Leonards at different addresses from mid October 1884 to the end of April 1885.
1Tuesday Evening
2
3I got a letter from you late last night, yet all day I have been
4restless for another It has seemed so long since I heard from you I
5was waiting down the hall for your letter when it came this evening
6
7When I first knew you I thought here is one person into whose
8relationship with me no pain will ever enter because we are so near
9each other & understand eachother so. Now it seems as if I was going
10to make you so sad. Henry, I would rather that If you could see deep
11into my soul you would see that the feeling that is yours is the most
12pure & perfect feeling that I have ever had for anyone, – I mean the
13kind of feeling that can’t go away. If I had passion for you perhaps
14I couldn’t have this feeling (I think it like Montaign felt to his
15friend) & this is something much more rare, & I think higher. It is no
16figure of speech when I say you are my other self You have taken a
17place in my life which no marriage or passionate love of mine could
18ever take from you. My Henry. my boy, my own. “Can a woman forget
19her suckling child that she should not have compassion on the son of
20her womb? Yea, she may forget, yet will not I for-get thee.” For so
21many years I have longed to meet a mind that should understand me,
22that should take away from the lonelyness of my life, now I have found
23it. Sweet one, you will be happy when once you come to me.
24
25^You will feel how you are coming to help satisfy & rejoice another
26human being & that will make you glad. If you come by the S.E. line
27you will have a mile to walk, but that will be better than coming
28later. Good night, my otherself^
29
30Olive
31
32Ellis, that heart mustn’t be heavy. Olive Schreiner’s otherself,
33the friend she has been waiting for so many years mustn’t be sad.
34
35Wednesday Morning^, early.^
36
37I feel so happy this morning Henry, the sun is shining and the doves
38are leaping in the sunshine out side. Oh it must be weather like this
39when you come. I wish you were here now. I wish you were coming to
40stay for a month. I woke up this morning with such a glad feeling that
41it was so nice to live. You know I’ve wanted for so many years to
42die, but I don’t anymore.
43
Notation
Between ‘from’ and ‘lonelyness’ in ‘take away from the lonelyness’ in line 22, there are three lines upside down, crossed out and clearly not part of the letter; these are possibly a discarded try-out sentence in From Man to Man. They are:

“them among the long brown grasses.
The tulip flowers were still shining out yellow, but they had”

The ‘Wednesday morning’ addition to Schreiner’s letter from line 35 on is on a separate torn-off piece of paper. Draznin’s (1992) version of this letter is in some respects different from our transcription. Rive’s (1987) version is taken from Cronwright-Schreiner. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract includes material from another letter and is also incorrect in various other ways.