I wonder if it's old age? It is a little, I am sure. A young person would get sickened by the dead level of meanness and cowardliness; you require to be a little spoiled and cynical before you can enjoy it. I have just finished the WAY OF THE WORLD; there is only one person in it - no, there are three - who are nice: the wild American woman, and two of the dissipated young men, Dolly and Lord Nidderdale. All the heroes and heroines are just ghastly. But what a triumph is Lady Carbury! That is real, sound, strong, genuine work: the man who could do that, if he had had courage, might have written a fine book; he has preferred to write many readable ones. I meant to write such a long, nice letter, but I cannot hold the pen.

R. L. S.

Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON

HOTEL DU VAL DE GRACE, RUE ST. JACQUES, PARIS, SUNDAY [JUNE 1878].

MY DEAR MOTHER, - About criticisms, I was more surprised at the tone of the critics than I suppose any one else. And the effect it has produced in me is one of shame. If they liked that so much, I ought to have given them something better, that's all. And I shall try to do so. Still, it strikes me as odd; and I don't understand the vogue. It should sell the thing. - Ever your affectionate son,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON

MONASTIER, SEPTEMBER 1878.

MY DEAR MOTHER, - You must not expect to hear much from me for the next two weeks; for I am near starting. Donkey purchased - a love - price, 65 francs and a glass of brandy. My route is all pretty well laid out; I shall go near no town till I get to Alais. Remember, Poste Restante, Alais, Gard. Greyfriars will be in October. You did not say whether you liked September; you might tell me that at Alais. The other No.'s of Edinburgh are: Parliament Close, Villa Quarters (which perhaps may not appear), Calton Hill, Winter and New Year, and to the Pentland Hills. 'Tis a kind of book nobody would ever care to read; but none of the young men could have done it better than I have, which is always a consolation. I read INLAND VOYAGE the other day: what rubbish these reviewers did talk! It is not badly written, thin, mildly cheery, and strained. SELON MOI. I mean to visit Hamerton on my return journey; otherwise, I should come by sea from Marseilles. I am very well known here now; indeed, quite a feature of the place. - Your affectionate son,

R. L. S.

The Engineer is the Conductor of Roads and Bridges; then I have the Receiver of Registrations, the First Clerk of Excise, and the Perceiver of the Impost. That is our dinner party. I am a sort of hovering government official, as you see. But away - away from these great companions!

Letter: TO W. E. HENLEY

[MONASTIER, SEPTEMBER 1878.]

DEAR HENLEY, - I hope to leave Monastier this day (Saturday) week; thenceforward Poste Restante, Alais, Gard, is my address. 'Travels with a Donkey in the French Highlands.' I am no good to-day. I cannot work, nor even write letters. A colossal breakfast yesterday at Puy has, I think, done for me for ever; I certainly ate more than ever I ate before in my life - a big slice of melon, some ham and jelly, A FILET, a helping of gudgeons, the breast and leg of a partridge, some green peas, eight crayfish, some Mont d'Or cheese, a peach, and a handful of biscuits, macaroons, and things. It sounds Gargantuan; it cost three francs a head. So that it was inexpensive to the pocket, although I fear it may prove extravagant to the fleshly tabernacle. I can't think how I did it or why. It is a new form of excess for me; but I think it pays less than any of them.

R. L. S.

Letter: TO CHARLES BAXTER

MONASTIER, AT MOREL'S [SEPTEMBER 1878].

Lud knows about date, VIDE postmark.

MY DEAR CHARLES, - Yours (with enclosures) of the 16th to hand. All work done. I go to Le Puy to-morrow to dispatch baggage, get cash, stand lunch to engineer, who has been very jolly and useful to me, and hope by five o'clock on Saturday morning to be driving Modestine towards the Gevaudan.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 43

Robert Louis Stevenson

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