But if you can help this lady in the matter of the Hospital, you will have helped the worthy. Let me continue to hope that I shall make out my visit in the spring, and believe me, yours very truly,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

It may amuse you to know that a very long while ago, I broke my heart to try to imitate your verses, and failed hopelessly. I saw some of the evidences the other day among my papers, and blushed to the heels.

R. L. S.

I give up finding out your name in the meantime, and keep to that by which you will be known - Frederick Locker.

Letter: TO FREDERICK LOCKER-LAMPSON

[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH], 24TH SEPTEMBER 1886.

MY DEAR LOCKER, - You are simply an angel of light, and your two letters have gone to the post; I trust they will reach the hearts of the recipients - at least, that could not be more handsomely expressed. About the cheque: well now, I am going to keep it; but I assure you Mrs. - has never asked me for money, and I would not dare to offer any till she did. For all that I shall stick to the cheque now, and act to that amount as your almoner. In this way I reward myself for the ambiguity of my epistolary style.

I suppose, if you please, you may say your verses are thin (would you so describe an arrow, by the way, and one that struck the gold? It scarce strikes me as exhaustively descriptive), and, thin or not, they are (and I have found them) inimitably elegant. I thank you again very sincerely for the generous trouble you have taken in this matter which was so near my heart, and you may be very certain it will be the fault of my health and not my inclination, if I do not see you before very long; for all that has past has made me in more than the official sense sincerely yours,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN

SKERRYVORE, DEC. 14, 1886.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - This is first-rate of you, the Lord love you for it! I am truly much obliged. He - my father - is very changeable; at times, he seems only a slow quiet edition of himself; again, he will be very heavy and blank; but never so violent as last spring; and therefore, to my mind, better on the whole.

Fanny is pretty peepy; I am splendid. I have been writing much verse - quite the bard, in fact; and also a dam tale to order, which will be what it will be: I don't love it, but some of it is passable in its mouldy way, THE MISADVENTURES OF JOHN NICHOLSON. All my bardly exercises are in Scotch; I have struck my somewhat ponderous guitar in that tongue to no small extent: with what success, I know not, but I think it's better than my English verse; more marrow and fatness, and more ruggedness.

How goes KEATS? Pray remark, if he (Keats) hung back from Shelley, it was not to be wondered at, WHEN SO MANY OF HIS FRIENDS WERE SHELLEY'S PENSIONERS. I forget if you have made this point; it has been borne in upon me reading Dowden and the SHELLEY PAPERS; and it will do no harm if you have made it. I finished a poem to-day, and writ 3000 words of a story, TANT BIEN QUE MAL; and have a right to be sleepy, and (what is far nobler and rarer) am so. - My dear Colvin, ever yours,

THE REAL MACKAY.

Letter: TO FREDERICK LOCKER-LAMPSON

SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH, FEBRUARY 5TH, 1887.

MY DEAR LOCKER, - Here I am in my bed as usual, and it is indeed a long while since I went out to dinner. You do not know what a crazy fellow this is. My winter has not so far been luckily passed, and all hope of paying visits at Easter has vanished for twelve calendar months. But because I am a beastly and indurated invalid, I am not dead to human feelings; and I neither have forgotten you nor will forget you. Some day the wind may round to the right quarter and we may meet; till then I am still truly yours,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO HENRY JAMES

[SKERRYVORE, BOURNEMOUTH, FEBRUARY 1887.]

MY DEAR JAMES, - My health has played me it in once more in the absurdest fashion, and the creature who now addresses you is but a stringy and white-faced BOUILLI out of the pot of fever, with the devil to pay in every corner of his economy.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 2 Page 18

Robert Louis Stevenson

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book