But that I could have so felt astonished me beyond description. There is a wonderful callousness in human nature which enables us to live. I had no feeling one way or another, from New York to California, until, at Dutch Flat, a mining camp in the Sierra, I heard a cock crowing with a home voice; and then I fell to hope and regret both in the same moment.

Is there a boy or a girl? and how is your wife? I thought of you more than once, to put it mildly.

I live here comfortably enough; but I shall soon be left all alone, perhaps till Christmas. Then you may hope for correspondence - and may not I? - Your friend,

R L S.

Letter: TO W. E. HENLEY

[MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, OCTOBER 1879.]

MY DEAR HENLEY, - Herewith the PAVILION ON THE LINKS, grand carpentry story in nine chapters, and I should hesitate to say how many tableaux. Where is it to go? God knows. It is the dibbs that are wanted. It is not bad, though I say it; carpentry, of course, but not bad at that; and who else can carpenter in England, now that Wilkie Collins is played out? It might be broken for magazine purposes at the end of Chapter IV. I send it to you, as I dare say Payn may help, if all else fails. Dibbs and speed are my mottoes.

Do acknowledge the PAVILION by return. I shall be so nervous till I hear, as of course I have no copy except of one or two places where the vein would not run. God prosper it, poor PAVILION! May it bring me money for myself and my sick one, who may read it, I do not know how soon.

Love to your wife, Anthony and all. I shall write to Colvin to-day or to-morrow. - Yours ever,

R. L. S.

Letter: TO W. E. HENLEY

[MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, OCTOBER 1879.]

MY DEAR HENLEY, - Many thanks for your good letter, which is the best way to forgive you for your previous silence. I hope Colvin or somebody has sent me the CORNHILL and the NEW QUARTERLY, though I am trying to get them in San Francisco. I think you might have sent me (1) some of your articles in the P. M. G.; (2) a paper with the announcement of second edition; and (3) the announcement of the essays in ATHENAEUM. This to prick you in the future. Again, choose, in your head, the best volume of Labiche there is, and post it to Jules Simoneau, Monterey, Monterey Co., California: do this at once, as he is my restaurant man, a most pleasant old boy with whom I discuss the universe and play chess daily. He has been out of France for thirty-five years, and never heard of Labiche. I have eighty-three pages written of a story called a VENDETTA IN THE WEST, and about sixty pages of the first draft of the AMATEUR EMIGRANT. They should each cover from 130 to 150 pages when done. That is all my literary news. Do keep me posted, won't you? Your letter and Bob's made the fifth and sixth I have had from Europe in three months.

At times I get terribly frightened about my work, which seems to advance too slowly. I hope soon to have a greater burthen to support, and must make money a great deal quicker than I used. I may get nothing for the VENDETTA; I may only get some forty quid for the EMIGRANT; I cannot hope to have them both done much before the end of November.

O, and look here, why did you not send me the SPECTATOR which slanged me? Rogues and rascals, is that all you are worth?

Yesterday I set fire to the forest, for which, had I been caught, I should have been hung out of hand to the nearest tree, Judge Lynch being an active person hereaway. You should have seen my retreat (which was entirely for strategical purposes). I ran like hell. It was a fine sight. At night I went out again to see it; it was a good fire, though I say it that should not. I had a near escape for my life with a revolver: I fired six charges, and the six bullets all remained in the barrel, which was choked from end to end, from muzzle to breach, with solid lead; it took a man three hours to drill them out. Another shot, and I'd have gone to kingdom come.

This is a lovely place, which I am growing to love.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 51

Robert Louis Stevenson

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