I suppose (to judge by your letter) I need not send you these sheets, which came during my collapse by the rush. I am on the start with three volumes, that one of tales, a second one of essays, and one of - ahem - verse. This is a great order, is it not? After that I shall have empty lockers. All new work stands still; I was getting on well with Jenkin when this blessed malady unhorsed me, and sent me back to the dung-collecting trade of the republisher. I shall re-issue VIRG. PUER. as Vol. I. of ESSAYS, and the new vol. as Vol. II. of ditto; to be sold, however, separately. This is but a dry maundering; however, I am quite unfit - 'I am for action quite unfit Either of exercise or wit.' My father is in a variable state; many sorrows and perplexities environ the house of Stevenson; my mother shoots north at this hour on business of a distinctly rancid character; my father (under my wife's tutorage) proceeds to-morrow to Salisbury; I remain here in my bed and whistle; in no quarter of heaven is anything encouraging apparent, except that the good Colvin comes to the hotel here on a visit. This dreary view of life is somewhat blackened by the fact that my head aches, which I always regard as a liberty on the part of the powers that be. This is also my first letter since my recovery. God speed your laudatory pen!
My wife joins in all warm messages. - Yours,
R. L. S.
Letter: TO W. H. LOW
MY DEAR LOW, - The fares to London may be found in any continental Bradshaw or sich; from London to Bournemouth impoverished parties who can stoop to the third class get their ticket for the matter of 10s., or, as my wife loves to phrase it, 'a half a pound.' You will also be involved in a 3s. fare to get to Skerryvore; but this, I dare say, friends could help you in on your arrival; so that you may reserve your energies for the two tickets - costing the matter of a pound - and the usual gratuities to porters. This does not seem to me much: considering the intellectual pleasures that await you here, I call it dirt cheap. I BELIEVE the third class from Paris to London (VIA Dover) is ABOUT forty francs, but I cannot swear. Suppose it to be fifty.
The expense of spirit or spontaneous lapse of coin on the journey, at 5 frcs. a head, 5x2=10
Victuals on ditto, at 5 frcs. a head, 5x2 = 10
Gratuity to stewardess, in case of severe prostration, at 3 francs
One night in London, on a modest footing, say 20
Two tickets to Bournemouth at 12.50, 12.50x2=25
Porters and general devilment, say 5
Cabs in London, say 2 shillings, and in Bournemouth, 3 shillings=5 shillings, 6 frcs. 25
Total frcs. 179.25
Or, the same in pounds, 7 pounds, 3s. 6 and a half d.
Or, the same in dollars, $35.45,
if there be any arithmetical virtue in me. I have left out dinner in London in case you want to blow out, which would come extry, and with the aid of VANGS FANGS might easily double the whole amount - above all if you have a few friends to meet you.
In making this valuable project, or budget, I discovered for the first time a reason (frequently overlooked) for the singular costliness of travelling with your wife. Anybody would count the tickets double; but how few would have remembered - or indeed has any one ever remembered? - to count the spontaneous lapse of coin double also? Yet there are two of you, each must do his daily leakage, and it must be done out of your travelling fund. You will tell me, perhaps, that you carry the coin yourself: my dear sir, do you think you can fool your Maker? Your wife has to lose her quota; and by God she will - if you kept the coin in a belt. One thing I have omitted: you will lose a certain amount on the exchange, but this even I cannot foresee, as it is one of the few things that vary with the way a man has. - I am, dear sir, yours financially,
Letter: TO ALISON CUNNINGHAM
SKERRYVORE, APRIL 16TH, 1887.
MY DEAREST CUMMY, - As usual, I have been a d