Henley's sonnets have been taken for the CORNHILL. He is out of hospital now, and dressed, but still not too much to brag of in health, poor fellow, I am afraid.

SUNDAY. - So. I have still rather bad eyes, and a nasty sore throat. I play Orsino every day, in all the pomp of Solomon, splendid Francis the First clothes, heavy with gold and stage jewellery. I play it ill enough, I believe; but me and the clothes, and the wedding wherewith the clothes and me are reconciled, produce every night a thrill of admiration. Our cook told my mother (there is a servants' night, you know) that she and the housemaid were 'just prood to be able to say it was oor young gentleman.' To sup afterwards with these clothes on, and a wonderful lot of gaiety and Shakespearean jokes about the table, is something to live for. It is so nice to feel you have been dead three hundred years, and the sound of your laughter is faint and far off in the centuries. - Ever your faithful

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

WEDNESDAY. - A moment at last. These last few days have been as jolly as days could be, and by good fortune I leave to-morrow for Swanston, so that I shall not feel the whole fall back to habitual self. The pride of life could scarce go further. To live in splendid clothes, velvet and gold and fur, upon principally champagne and lobster salad, with a company of people nearly all of whom are exceptionally good talkers; when your days began about eleven and ended about four - I have lost that sentence; I give it up; it is very admirable sport, any way. Then both my afternoons have been so pleasantly occupied - taking Henley drives. I had a business to carry him down the long stair, and more of a business to get him up again, but while he was in the carriage it was splendid. It is now just the top of spring with us. The whole country is mad with green. To see the cherry-blossom bitten out upon the black firs, and the black firs bitten out of the blue sky, was a sight to set before a king. You may imagine what it was to a man who has been eighteen months in an hospital ward. The look of his face was a wine to me.

I shall send this off to-day to let you know of my new address - Swanston Cottage, Lothianburn, Edinburgh. Salute the faithful in my name. Salute Priscilla, salute Barnabas, salute Ebenezer - O no, he's too much, I withdraw Ebenezer; enough of early Christians. - Ever your faithful

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL

[EDINBURGH, JUNE 1875.]

SIMPLY a scratch. All right, jolly, well, and through with the difficulty. My father pleased about the Burns. Never travel in the same carriage with three able-bodied seamen and a fruiterer from Kent; the A.-B.'s speak all night as though they were hailing vessels at sea; and the fruiterer as if he were crying fruit in a noisy market-place - such, at least, is my FUNESTE experience. I wonder if a fruiterer from some place else - say Worcestershire - would offer the same phenomena? insoluble doubt.

R. L. S.

Later. - Forgive me, couldn't get it off. Awfully nice man here to-night. Public servant - New Zealand. Telling us all about the South Sea Islands till I was sick with desire to go there: beautiful places, green for ever; perfect climate; perfect shapes of men and women, with red flowers in their hair; and nothing to do but to study oratory and etiquette, sit in the sun, and pick up the fruits as they fall. Navigator's Island is the place; absolute balm for the weary. - Ever your faithful friend,

R. L. S.

Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL

SWANSTON. END OF JUNE, 1875.

THURSDAY. - This day fortnight I shall fall or conquer. Outside the rain still soaks; but now and again the hilltop looks through the mist vaguely. I am very comfortable, very sleepy, and very much satisfied with the arrangements of Providence.

SATURDAY - NO, SUNDAY, 12.45. - Just been - not grinding, alas! - I couldn't - but doing a bit of Fontainebleau. I don't think I'll be plucked. I am not sure though - I am so busy, what with this d-d law, and this Fontainebleau always at my elbow, and three plays (three, think of that!) and a story, all crying out to me, 'Finish, finish, make an entire end, make us strong, shapely, viable creatures!' It's enough to put a man crazy.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 33

Robert Louis Stevenson

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