Yet, after all, I dare say, a short shrift and a nice green grave are about as desirable.
Poor devil! how I am wearying you! Cheer up. Two pages more, and my letter reaches its term, for I have no more paper. What delightful things inns and waiters and bagmen are! If we didn't travel now and then, we should forget what the feeling of life is. The very cushion of a railway carriage - 'the things restorative to the touch.' I can't write, confound it! That's because I am so tired with my walk. Believe me, ever your affectionate friend,
R. L. STEVENSON.
Letter: TO CHARLES BAXTER
DUNBLANE, TUESDAY, 9TH APRIL 1872.
MY DEAR BAXTER, - I don't know what you mean. I know nothing about the Standing Committee of the Spec., did not know that such a body existed, and even if it doth exist, must sadly repudiate all association with such 'goodly fellowship.' I am a 'Rural Voluptuary' at present. THAT is what is the matter with me. The Spec. may go whistle. As for 'C. Baxter, Esq.,' who is he? 'One Baxter, or Bagster, a secretary,' I say to mine acquaintance, 'is at present disquieting my leisure with certain illegal, uncharitable, unchristian, and unconstitutional documents called BUSINESS LETTERS: THE AFFAIR IS IN THE HANDS OF THE POLICE.' Do you hear THAT, you evildoer? Sending business letters is surely a far more hateful and slimy degree of wickedness than sending threatening letters; the man who throws grenades and torpedoes is less malicious; the Devil in red-hot hell rubs his hands with glee as he reckons up the number that go forth spreading pain and anxiety with each delivery of the post.
I have been walking to-day by a colonnade of beeches along the brawling Allan. My character for sanity is quite gone, seeing that I cheered my lonely way with the following, in a triumphant chaunt: 'Thank God for the grass, and the fir-trees, and the crows, and the sheep, and the sunshine, and the shadows of the fir-trees.' I hold that he is a poor mean devil who can walk alone, in such a place and in such weather, and doesn't set up his lungs and cry back to the birds and the river. Follow, follow, follow me. Come hither, come hither, come hither - here shall you see - no enemy - except a very slight remnant of winter and its rough weather. My bedroom, when I awoke this morning, was full of bird-songs, which is the greatest pleasure in life. Come hither, come hither, come hither, and when you come bring the third part of the EARTHLY PARADISE; you can get it for me in Elliot's for two and tenpence (2s. 10d.) (BUSINESS HABITS). Also bring an ounce of honeydew from Wilson's.
R. L. S.
Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON
BRUSSELS, THURSDAY, 25TH JULY 1872.
MY DEAR MOTHER, - I am here at last, sitting in my room, without coat or waistcoat, and with both window and door open, and yet perspiring like a terra-cotta jug or a Gruyere cheese.
We had a very good passage, which we certainly deserved, in compensation for having to sleep on cabin floor, and finding absolutely nothing fit for human food in the whole filthy embarkation. We made up for lost time by sleeping on deck a good part of the forenoon. When I woke, Simpson was still sleeping the sleep of the just, on a coil of ropes and (as appeared afterwards) his own hat; so I got a bottle of Bass and a pipe and laid hold of an old Frenchman of somewhat filthy aspect (FIAT EXPERIMENTUM IN CORPORE VILI) to try my French upon. I made very heavy weather of it. The Frenchman had a very pretty young wife; but my French always deserted me entirely when I had to answer her, and so she soon drew away and left me to her lord, who talked of French politics, Africa, and domestic economy with great vivacity. From Ostend a smoking-hot journey to Brussels. At Brussels we went off after dinner to the Parc. If any person wants to be happy, I should advise the Parc. You sit drinking iced drinks and smoking penny cigars under great old trees. The band place, covered walks, etc., are all lit up.