He is better this morning.

If I had written last night, I should have written a lot. But this morning I am so dreadfully tired and stupid that I can say nothing. I was down at Leith in the afternoon. God bless me, what horrid women I saw; I never knew what a plain-looking race it was before. I was sick at heart with the looks of them. And the children, filthy and ragged! And the smells! And the fat black mud!

My soul was full of disgust ere I got back. And yet the ships were beautiful to see, as they are always; and on the pier there was a clean cold wind that smelt a little of the sea, though it came down the Firth, and the sunset had a certain ECLAT and warmth. Perhaps if I could get more work done, I should be in a better trim to enjoy filthy streets and people and cold grim weather; but I don't much feel as if it was what I would have chosen. I am tempted every day of my life to go off on another walking tour. I like that better than anything else that I know. - Ever your faithful friend,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN

[EDINBURGH, FEBRUARY 1876.]

MY DEAR COLVIN, - 1ST. I have sent 'Fontainebleau' long ago, long ago. And Leslie Stephen is worse than tepid about it - liked 'some parts' of it 'very well,' the son of Belial. Moreover, he proposes to shorten it; and I, who want MONEY, and money soon, and not glory and the illustration of the English language, I feel as if my poverty were going to consent.

2ND. I'm as fit as a fiddle after my walk. I am four inches bigger about the waist than last July! There, that's your prophecy did that. I am on 'Charles of Orleans' now, but I don't know where to send him. Stephen obviously spews me out of his mouth, and I spew him out of mine, so help me! A man who doesn't like my 'Fontainebleau'! His head must be turned.

3RD. If ever you do come across my 'Spring' (I beg your pardon for referring to it again, but I don't want you to forget) send it off at once.

4TH. I went to Ayr, Maybole, Girvan, Ballantrae, Stranraer, Glenluce, and Wigton. I shall make an article of it some day soon, 'A Winter's Walk in Carrick and Galloway.' I had a good time. - Yours,

R. L S.

Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN

[SWANSTON COTTAGE, LOTHIANBURN, JULY 1876.]

HERE I am, here, and very well too. I am glad you liked 'Walking Tours'; I like it, too; I think it's prose; and I own with contrition that I have not always written prose. However, I am 'endeavouring after new obedience' (Scot. Shorter Catechism). You don't say aught of 'Forest Notes,' which is kind. There is one, if you will, that was too sweet to be wholesome.

I am at 'Charles d'Orleans.' About fifteen CORNHILL pages have already coule'd from under my facile plume - no, I mean eleven, fifteen of MS. - and we are not much more than half-way through, 'Charles' and I; but he's a pleasant companion. My health is very well; I am in a fine exercisy state. Baynes is gone to London; if you see him, inquire about my 'Burns.' They have sent me 5 pounds, 5s, for it, which has mollified me horrid. 5 pounds, 5s. is a good deal to pay for a read of it in MS.; I can't complain. - Yours,

R. L. S.

Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL

[SWANSTON COTTAGE, LOTHIANBURN, JULY 1876.]

. . . I HAVE the strangest repugnance for writing; indeed, I have nearly got myself persuaded into the notion that letters don't arrive, in order to salve my conscience for never sending them off. I'm reading a great deal of fifteenth century: TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC, PASTON LETTERS, BASIN, etc., also BOSWELL daily by way of a Bible; I mean to read BOSWELL now until the day I die. And now and again a bit of PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Is that all? Yes, I think that's all. I have a thing in proof for the CORNHILL called VIRGINIBUS PUERISQUE. 'Charles of Orleans' is again laid aside, but in a good state of furtherance this time. A paper called 'A Defence of Idlers' (which is really a defence of R. L. S.) is in a good way. So, you see, I am busy in a tumultuous, knotless sort of fashion; and as I say, I take lots of exercise, and I'm as brown a berry.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 38

Robert Louis Stevenson

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