For my part, I never was able to get over his eminently respectable name; Isaiah is the boy, if you must have a prophet, no less. About Clarissa, I meditate a choice work: A DIALOGUE ON MAN, WOMAN, AND 'CLARISSA HARLOWE.' It is to be so clever that no array of terms can give you any idea; and very likely that particular array in which I shall finally embody it, less than any other.

Do you know, my dear sir, what I like best in your letter? The egotism for which you thought necessary to apologise. I am a rogue at egotism myself; and to be plain, I have rarely or never liked any man who was not. The first step to discovering the beauties of God's universe is usually a (perhaps partial) apprehension of such of them as adorn our own characters. When I see a man who does not think pretty well of himself, I always suspect him of being in the right. And besides, if he does not like himself, whom he has seen, how is he ever to like one whom he never can see but in dim and artificial presentments?

I cordially reciprocate your offer of a welcome; it shall be at least a warm one. Are you not my first, my only, admirer - a dear tie? Besides, you are a man of sense, and you treat me as one by writing to me as you do, and that gives me pleasure also. Please continue to let me see your work. I have one or two things coming out in the CORNHILL: a story called 'The Sire de Maletroit's Door' in TEMPLE BAR; and a series of articles on Edinburgh in the PORTFOLIO; but I don't know if these last fly all the way to Melbourne. - Yours very truly,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN

HOTEL DES ETRANGERS, DIEPPE, JANUARY 1, 1878.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - I am at the INLAND VOYAGE again: have finished another section, and have only two more to execute. But one at least of these will be very long - the longest in the book - being a great digression on French artistic tramps. I only hope Paul may take the thing; I want coin so badly, and besides it would be something done - something put outside of me and off my conscience; and I should not feel such a muff as I do, if once I saw the thing in boards with a ticket on its back. I think I shall frequent circulating libraries a good deal. The Preface shall stand over, as you suggest, until the last, and then, sir, we shall see. This to be read with a big voice.

This is New Year's Day: let me, my dear Colvin, wish you a very good year, free of all misunderstanding and bereavement, and full of good weather and good work. You know best what you have done for me, and so you will know best how heartily I mean this. - Ever yours,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN

[PARIS, JANUARY OR FEBRUARY 1878.]

MY DEAR COLVIN, - Many thanks for your letter. I was much interested by all the Edinburgh gossip. Most likely I shall arrive in London next week. I think you know all about the Crane sketch; but it should be a river, not a canal, you know, and the look should be 'cruel, lewd, and kindly,' all at once. There is more sense in that Greek myth of Pan than in any other that I recollect except the luminous Hebrew one of the Fall: one of the biggest things done. If people would remember that all religions are no more than representations of life, they would find them, as they are, the best representations, licking Shakespeare.

What an inconceivable cheese is Alfred de Musset! His comedies are, to my view, the best work of France this century: a large order. Did you ever read them? They are real, clear, living work. - Ever yours,

R. L. S.

Letter: TO MR. AND MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON

PARIS, 44 BD. HAUSSMANN, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1878.

MY DEAR PEOPLE, - Do you know who is my favourite author just now? How are the mighty fallen! Anthony Trollope. I batten on him; he is so nearly wearying you, and yet he never does; or rather, he never does, until he gets near the end, when he begins to wean you from him, so that you're as pleased to be done with him as you thought you would be sorry.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 42

Robert Louis Stevenson

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