The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 2

by

Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 2 Page 01

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume II

CHAPTER VIII - LIFE AT BOURNEMOUTH, CONTINUED, JANUARY 1886-JULY 1887

Letter: TO MRS. DE MATTOS

[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH], JANUARY 1ST, 1886.

DEAREST KATHARINE, - Here, on a very little book and accompanied with lame verses, I have put your name. Our kindness is now getting well on in years; it must be nearly of age; and it gets more valuable to me with every time I see you. It is not possible to express any sentiment, and it is not necessary to try, at least between us. You know very well that I love you dearly, and that I always will. I only wish the verses were better, but at least you like the story; and it is sent to you by the one that loves you - Jekyll, and not Hyde.

R. L. S.

AVE!

Bells upon the city are ringing in the night; High above the gardens are the houses full of light; On the heathy Pentlands is the curlew flying free; And the broom is blowing bonnie in the north countrie.

We cannae break the bonds that God decreed to bind, Still we'll be the children of the heather and the wind; Far away from home, O, it's still for you and me That the broom is blowing bonnie in the north countrie!

R. L. S.

Letter: TO ALISON CUNNINGHAM

[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH], 1ST, 1886.

MY DEAR KINNICUM, - I am a very bad dog, but not for the first time. Your book, which is very interesting, came duly; and I immediately got a very bad cold indeed, and have been fit for nothing whatever. I am a bit better now, and aye on the mend; so I write to tell you, I thought of you on New Year's Day; though, I own, it would have been more decent if I had thought in time for you to get my letter then. Well, what can't be cured must be endured, Mr. Lawrie; and you must be content with what I give. If I wrote all the letters I ought to write, and at the proper time, I should be very good and very happy; but I doubt if I should do anything else.

I suppose you will be in town for the New Year; and I hope your health is pretty good. What you want is diet; but it is as much use to tell you that as it is to tell my father. And I quite admit a diet is a beastly thing. I doubt, however, if it be as bad as not being allowed to speak, which I have tried fully, and do not like. When, at the same time, I was not allowed to read, it passed a joke. But these are troubles of the past, and on this day, at least, it is proper to suppose they won't return. But we are not put here to enjoy ourselves: it was not God's purpose; and I am prepared to argue, it is not our sincere wish. As for our deserts, the less said of them the better, for somebody might hear, and nobody cares to be laughed at. A good man is a very noble thing to see, but not to himself; what he seems to God is, fortunately, not our business; that is the domain of faith; and whether on the first of January or the thirty-first of December, faith is a good word to end on.

My dear Cummy, many happy returns to you and my best love. - The worst correspondent in the world,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO MR. AND MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON

[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH], JANUARY 1ST, 1886.

MY DEAR PEOPLE, - Many happy returns of the day to you all; I am fairly well and in good spirits; and much and hopefully occupied with dear Jenkin's life. The inquiry in every detail, every letter that I read, makes me think of him more nobly. I cannot imagine how I got his friendship; I did not deserve it. I believe the notice will be interesting and useful.

My father's last letter, owing to the use of a quill pen and the neglect of blotting-paper, was hopelessly illegible. Every one tried, and every one failed to decipher an important word on which the interest of one whole clause (and the letter consisted of two) depended.

I find I can make little more of this; but I'll spare the blots. - Dear people, ever your loving son,

R. L. S.

I will try again, being a giant refreshed by the house being empty. The presence of people is the great obstacle to letter-writing.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

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