Modestine is my anesse; a darling, mouse-colour, about the size of a Newfoundland dog (bigger, between you and me), the colour of a mouse, costing 65 francs and a glass of brandy. Glad you sent on all the coin; was half afraid I might come to a stick in the mountains, donkey and all, which would have been the devil. Have finished ARABIAN NIGHTS and Edinburgh book, and am a free man. Next address, Poste Restante, Alais, Gard. Give my servilities to the family. Health bad; spirits, I think, looking up. - Ever yours,
R. L S.
Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON
MY DEAR MOTHER, - I have seen Hamerton; he was very kind, all his family seemed pleased to see an INLAND VOYAGE, and the book seemed to be quite a household word with them. P. G. himself promised to help me in my bargains with publishers, which, said he, and I doubt not very truthfully, he could manage to much greater advantage than I. He is also to read an INLAND VOYAGE over again, and send me his cuts and cuffs in private, after having liberally administered his kisses CORAM PUBLICO. I liked him very much. Of all the pleasant parts of my profession, I think the spirit of other men of letters makes the pleasantest.
Do you know, your sunset was very good? The 'attack' (to speak learnedly) was so plucky and odd. I have thought of it repeatedly since. I have just made a delightful dinner by myself in the Cafe Felix, where I am an old established beggar, and am just smoking a cigar over my coffee. I came last night from Autun, and I am muddled about my plans. The world is such a dance! - Ever your affectionate son,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Letter: TO W. E. HENLEY
[TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, AUTUMN 1878.]
MY DEAR HENLEY, - Here I am living like a fighting-cock, and have not spoken to a real person for about sixty hours. Those who wait on me are not real. The man I know to be a myth, because I have seen him acting so often in the Palais Royal. He plays the Duke in TRICOCHE ET CACOLET; I knew his nose at once. The part he plays here is very dull for him, but conscientious. As for the bedmaker, she's a dream, a kind of cheerful, innocent nightmare; I never saw so poor an imitation of humanity. I cannot work - CANNOT. Even the GUITAR is still undone; I can only write ditch-water. 'Tis ghastly; but I am quite cheerful, and that is more important. Do you think you could prepare the printers for a possible breakdown this week? I shall try all I know on Monday; but if I can get nothing better than I got this morning, I prefer to drop a week. Telegraph to me if you think it necessary. I shall not leave till Wednesday at soonest. Shall write again.
R. L. S.
Letter: TO EDMUND GOSSE
[17 HERIOT ROW, EDINBURGH, APRIL 16, 1879]. POOL OF SILOAM, By EL DORADO, DELECTABLE MOUNTAINS, ARCADIA
MY DEAR GOSSE, - Herewith of the dibbs - a homely fiver. How, and why, do you continue to exist? I do so ill, but for a variety of reasons. First, I wait an angel to come down and trouble the waters; second, more angels; third - well, more angels. The waters are sluggish; the angels - well, the angels won't come, that's about all. But I sit waiting and waiting, and people bring me meals, which help to pass time (I'm sure it's very kind of them), and sometimes I whistle to myself; and as there's a very pretty echo at my pool of Siloam, the thing's agreeable to hear. The sun continues to rise every day, to my growing wonder. 'The moon by night thee shall not smite.' And the stars are all doing as well as can be expected. The air of Arcady is very brisk and pure, and we command many enchanting prospects in space and time. I do not yet know much about my situation; for, to tell the truth, I only came here by the run since I began to write this letter; I had to go back to date it; and I am grateful to you for having been the occasion of this little outing. What good travellers we are, if we had only faith; no man need stay in Edinburgh but by unbelief; my religious organ has been ailing for a while past, and I have lain a great deal in Edinburgh, a sheer hulk in consequence.