I always comforted myself with that when my conscience pricked me about a letter to you. 'Thus conscience' - O no, that's not appropriate in this connection. - Ever yours,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
I say, is there any chance of your coming north this year? Mind you that promise is now more respectable for age than is becoming.
R. L. S.
Letter: TO CHARLES BAXTER
[EDINBURGH, OCTOBER 1875.]
NOO lyart leaves blaw ower the green, Red are the bonny woods o' Dean, An' here we're back in Embro, freen', To pass the winter. Whilk noo, wi' frosts afore, draws in, An' snaws ahint her.
I've seen's hae days to fricht us a', The Pentlands poothered weel wi' snaw, The ways half-smoored wi' liquid thaw, An' half-congealin', The snell an' scowtherin' norther blaw Frae blae Brunteelan'.
I've seen's been unco sweir to sally, And at the door-cheeks daff an' dally, Seen's daidle thus an' shilly-shally For near a minute - Sae cauld the wind blew up the valley, The deil was in it! -
Syne spread the silk an' tak the gate, In blast an' blaudin' rain, deil hae't! The hale toon glintin', stane an' slate, Wi' cauld an' weet, An' to the Court, gin we'se be late, Bicker oor feet.
And at the Court, tae, aft I saw Whaur Advocates by twa an' twa Gang gesterin' end to end the ha' In weeg an' goon, To crack o' what ye wull but Law The hale forenoon.
That muckle ha,' maist like a kirk, I've kent at braid mid-day sae mirk Ye'd seen white weegs an' faces lurk Like ghaists frae Hell, But whether Christian ghaist or Turk Deil ane could tell.
The three fires lunted in the gloom, The wind blew like the blast o' doom, The rain upo' the roof abune Played Peter Dick - Ye wad nae'd licht enough i' the room Your teeth to pick!
But, freend, ye ken how me an' you, The ling-lang lanely winter through, Keep'd a guid speerit up, an' true To lore Horatian, We aye the ither bottle drew To inclination.
Sae let us in the comin' days Stand sicker on our auncient ways - The strauchtest road in a' the maze Since Eve ate apples; An' let the winter weet our cla'es - We'll weet oor thrapples.
Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN
[EDINBURGH, AUTUMN 1875.]
MY DEAR COLVIN, - FOUS NE ME GOMBRENNEZ PAS. Angry with you? No. Is the thing lost? Well, so be it. There is one masterpiece fewer in the world. The world can ill spare it, but I, sir, I (and here I strike my hollow boson, so that it resounds) I am full of this sort of bauble; I am made of it; it comes to me, sir, as the desire to sneeze comes upon poor ordinary devils on cold days, when they should be getting out of bed and into their horrid cold tubs by the light of a seven o'clock candle, with the dismal seven o'clock frost-flowers all over the window.
Show Stephen what you please; if you could show him how to give me money, you would oblige, sincerely yours,
R. L. S.
I have a scroll of SPRINGTIME somewhere, but I know that it is not in very good order, and do not feel myself up to very much grind over it. I am damped about SPRINGTIME, that's the truth of it. It might have been four or five quid!
Sir, I shall shave my head, if this goes on. All men take a pleasure to gird at me. The laws of nature are in open war with me. The wheel of a dog-cart took the toes off my new boots. Gout has set in with extreme rigour, and cut me out of the cheap refreshment of beer. I leant my back against an oak, I thought it was a trusty tree, but first it bent, and syne - it lost the Spirit of Springtime, and so did Professor Sidney Colvin, Trinity College, to me. - Ever yours,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Along with this, I send you some P.P.P's; if you lose them, you need not seek to look upon my face again. Do, for God's sake, answer me about them also; it is a horrid thing for a fond architect to find his monuments received in silence. - Yours,
R. L. S.
Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL
[EDINBURGH, NOVEMBER 12, 1875.]
MY DEAR FRIEND, - Since I got your letter I have been able to do a little more work, and I have been much better contented with myself; but I can't get away, that is absolutely prevented by the state of my purse and my debts, which, I may say, are red like crimson.