Herein are two pallet beds, two mosquito curtains, strung to the pitch-boards of the roof, two tables laden with books and manuscripts, three chairs, and, in one of the beds, the Squire busy writing to yourself, as it chances, and just at this moment somewhat bitten by mosquitoes. He has just set fire to the insect powder, and will be all right in no time; but just now he contemplates large white blisters, and would like to scratch them, but knows better. The house is not bare; it has been inhabited by Kanakas, and - you know what children are! - the bare wood walls are pasted over with pages from the GRAPHIC, HARPER'S WEEKLY, etc. The floor is matted, and I am bound to say the matting is filthy. There are two windows and two doors, one of which is condemned; on the panels of that last a sheet of paper is pinned up, and covered with writing. I cull a few plums:-
'A duck-hammock for each person. A patent organ like the commandant's at Taiohae. Cheap and bad cigars for presents. Revolvers. Permanganate of potass. Liniment for the head and sulphur. Fine tooth-comb.'
What do you think this is? Simply life in the South Seas foreshortened. These are a few of our desiderata for the next trip, which we jot down as they occur.
There, I have really done my best and tried to send something like a letter - one letter in return for all your dozens. Pray remember us all to yourself, Mrs. Boodle, and the rest of your house. I do hope your mother will be better when this comes. I shall write and give you a new address when I have made up my mind as to the most probable, and I do beg you will continue to write from time to time and give us airs from home. To-morrow - think of it - I must be off by a quarter to eight to drive in to the palace and breakfast with his Hawaiian Majesty at 8.30: I shall be dead indeed. Please give my news to Scott, I trust he is better; give him my warm regards. To you we all send all kinds of things, and I am the absentee Squire,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Letter: TO CHARLES BAXTER
HONOLULU, APRIL 1889.
MY DEAR CHARLES, - As usual, your letter is as good as a cordial, and I thank you for it, and all your care, kindness, and generous and thoughtful friendship, from my heart. I was truly glad to hear a word of Colvin, whose long silence has terrified me; and glad to hear that you condoned the notion of my staying longer in the South Seas, for I have decided in that sense. The first idea was to go in the MORNING STAR, missionary ship; but now I have found a trading schooner, the EQUATOR, which is to call for me here early in June and carry us through the Gilberts. What will happen then, the Lord knows. My mother does not accompany us: she leaves here for home early in May, and you will hear of us from her; but not, I imagine, anything more definite. We shall get dumped on Butaritari, and whether we manage to go on to the Marshalls and Carolines, or whether we fall back on Samoa, Heaven must decide; but I mean to fetch back into the course of the RICHMOND - (to think you don't know what the RICHMOND is! - the steamer of the Eastern South Seas, joining New Zealand, Tongatabu, the Samoas, Taheite, and Rarotonga, and carrying by last advices sheep in the saloon!) - into the course of the RICHMOND and make Taheite again on the home track. Would I like to see the SCOTS OBSERVER? Wouldn't I not? But whaur? I'm direckit at space. They have nae post offishes at the Gilberts, and as for the Car'lines! Ye see, Mr. Baxter, we're no just in the punkshewal CENTRE o' civ'lisation. But pile them up for me, and when I've decided on an address, I'll let you ken, and ye'll can send them stavin' after me. - Ever your affectionate,
R. L. S.
Letter: TO CHARLES BAXTER
HONOLULU, 10TH MAY 1889.
MY DEAR CHARLES, - I am appalled to gather from your last just to hand that you have felt so much concern about the letter. Pray dismiss it from your mind. But I think you scarce appreciate how disagreeable it is to have your private affairs and private unguarded expressions getting into print.