I cannot say why I like the sea; no man is more cynically and constantly alive to its perils; I regard it as the highest form of gambling; and yet I love the sea as much as I hate gambling. Fine, clean emotions; a world all and always beautiful; air better than wine; interest unflagging; there is upon the whole no better life. - Yours ever,
R. L. S.
Letter: TO E. L. BURLINGAME
[HONOLULU, APRIL 1889.]
MY DEAR BURLINGAME, - This is to announce the most prodigious change of programme. I have seen so much of the South Seas that I desire to see more, and I get so much health here that I dread a return to our vile climates. I have applied accordingly to the missionary folk to let me go round in the MORNING STAR; and if the Boston Board should refuse, I shall get somehow to Fiji, hire a trading schooner, and see the Fijis and Friendlies and Samoa. He would be a South Seayer, Mr. Burlingame. Of course, if I go in the MORNING STAR, I see all the eastern (or western?) islands.
Before I sail, I shall make out to let you have the last of THE MASTER: though I tell you it sticks! - and I hope to have had some proofs forbye, of the verses anyway. And now to business.
I want (if you can find them) in the British sixpenny edition, if not, in some equally compact and portable shape - Seaside Library, for instance - the Waverley Novels entire, or as entire as you can get 'em, and the following of Marryat: PHANTOM SHIP, PETER SIMPLE, PERCIVAL KEENE, PRIVATEERSMAN, CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST, FRANK MILDMAY, NEWTON FORSTER, DOG FIEND (SNARLEYYOW). Also MIDSHIPMAN EASY, KINGSBURN, Carlyle's FRENCH REVOLUTION, Motley's DUTCH REPUBLIC, Lang's LETTERS ON LITERATURE, a complete set of my works, JENKIN, in duplicate; also FAMILIAR STUDIES, ditto.
I have to thank you for the accounts, which are satisfactory indeed, and for the cheque for $1000. Another account will have come and gone before I see you. I hope it will be equally roseate in colour. I am quite worked out, and this cursed end of THE MASTER hangs over me like the arm of the gallows; but it is always darkest before dawn, and no doubt the clouds will soon rise; but it is a difficult thing to write, above all in Mackellarese; and I cannot yet see my way clear. If I pull this off, THE MASTER will be a pretty good novel or I am the more deceived; and even if I don't pull it off, it'll still have some stuff in it.
We shall remain here until the middle of June anyway; but my mother leaves for Europe early in May. Hence our mail should continue to come here; but not hers. I will let you know my next address, which will probably be Sydney. If we get on the MORNING STAR, I propose at present to get marooned on Ponape, and take my chance of getting a passage to Australia. It will leave times and seasons mighty vague, and the cruise is risky; but I shall know something of the South Seas when it is done, or else the South Seas will contain all there is of me. It should give me a fine book of travels, anyway.
Low will probably come and ask some dollars of you. Pray let him have them, they are for outfit. O, another complete set of my books should go to Captain A. H. Otis, care of Dr. Merritt, Yacht CASCO, Oakland, Cal. In haste,
R. L. S.
Letter: TO MISS ADELAIDE BOODLE
HONOLULU, APRIL 6TH, 1889.
MY DEAR MISS BOODLE, - Nobody writes a better letter than my Gamekeeper: so gay, so pleasant, so engagingly particular, answering (by some delicate instinct) all the questions she suggests. It is a shame you should get such a poor return as I can make, from a mind essentially and originally incapable of the art epistolary. I would let the paper-cutter take my place; but I am sorry to say the little wooden seaman did after the manner of seamen, and deserted in the Societies. The place he seems to have stayed at - seems, for his absence was not observed till we were near the Equator - was Tautira, and, I assure you, he displayed good taste, Tautira being as 'nigh hand heaven' as a paper-cutter or anybody has a right to expect.