Letters of Olive Shreiner

To Havelock Ellis

Bole Hill,
2nd August, 1884.

I am beginning to have such a horror of Dr. A. [Aveling], other-self. To say I dislike him doesn't express it at all I have a fear and a horror of him when I am near. Every time I see him this shrinking grows stronger. Now, you see, when I am at Bole Hill they come every day to see me. We shouldn't be much alone; and we have so many things to talk about....It may be the last time we are together (certainly for months), perhaps for years. I have to stick to my book till the winter (and I don't know that I shall have it ready by November), then I shall have to go to the South of France or at nearest to Ventnor.... And if we are at Wirksworth the Avelings will be always with us. I love her, but he makes me so unhappy. He is so selfish, but that doesn't account for the feeling of dread. Mrs. Walters has just the same feeling. I had it when I first saw him. I fought it down for Eleanor's sake, but here it is, stronger than ever.

I wish I could read Bebel's book before you come, but now until my little boy [Fred's son Wilfrid] goes I shan't be able to look at a book or a newspaper. When he is with me I only play and amuse him and tell him stories and walk about with him from the time he gets up till the time he goes to bed. Then I am too tired to read or write. We must read all we can on the woman question. Just now it is our question. In after years it may be something else. I will tell you about Ghosts when you come. It deals with the question of equal moral laws for both sexes, and of physical relationship even between a half-brother and sister "when good"–and with what wonderful art! It is a translation by Frances Lord. The book is considered too strong even on the Continent. What will they think of it in England!

Do you know that Wirksworth is the scene of Adam Bede and that George Eliot's aunt lies buried there? Ach, I want you to see Wirksworth, ugly as it is, we will arrange everything when you come.