We have had an awfae time in some ways, Mr. Baxter; and if I wasnae sic a verra patient man (when I ken that I HAVE to be) there wad hae been a braw row; and ance if I hadnae happened to be on deck about three in the marnin', I THINK there would have been MURDER done. The American Mairchant Marine is a kent service; ye'll have heard its praise, I'm thinkin'; an' if ye never did, ye can get TWA YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, by Dana, whaur forbye a great deal o' pleisure, ye'll get a' the needcessary information. Love to your father and all the family. - Ever your affectionate friend,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Letter: TO MISS ADELAIDE BOODLE
TAITI, OCTOBER 10TH, 1888.
DEAR GIVER, - I am at a loss to conceive your object in giving me to a person so locomotory as my proprietor. The number of thousand miles that I have travelled, the strange bed-fellows with which I have been made acquainted, I lack the requisite literary talent to make clear to your imagination. I speak of bed-fellows; pocket- fellows would be a more exact expression, for the place of my abode is in my master's righthand trouser-pocket; and there, as he waded on the resounding beaches of Nukahiva, or in the shallow tepid water on the reef of Fakarava, I have been overwhelmed by and buried among all manner of abominable South Sea shells, beautiful enough in their way, I make no doubt, but singular company for any self-respecting paper-cutter. He, my master - or as I more justly call him, my bearer; for although I occasionally serve him, does not he serve me daily and all day long, carrying me like an African potentate on my subject's legs? - HE is delighted with these isles, and this climate, and these savages, and a variety of other things. He now blows a flageolet with singular effects: sometimes the poor thing appears stifled with shame, sometimes it screams with agony; he pursues his career with truculent insensibility. Health appears to reign in the party. I was very nearly sunk in a squall. I am sorry I ever left England, for here there are no books to be had, and without books there is no stable situation for, dear Giver, your affectionate
A neighbouring pair of scissors snips a kiss in your direction.
Letter: TO SIDNEY COLVIN
TAITI, OCTOBER 16TH, 1888.
MY DEAR COLVIN, - The cruiser for San Francisco departs to-morrow morning bearing you some kind of a scratch. This much more important packet will travel by way of Auckland. It contains a ballant; and I think a better ballant than I expected ever to do. I can imagine how you will wag your pow over it; and how ragged you will find it, etc., but has it not spirit all the same? and though the verse is not all your fancy painted it, has it not some life? And surely, as narrative, the thing has considerable merit! Read it, get a typewritten copy taken, and send me that and your opinion to the Sandwiches. I know I am only courting the most excruciating mortification; but the real cause of my sending the thing is that I could bear to go down myself, but not to have much MS. go down with me. To say truth, we are through the most dangerous; but it has left in all minds a strong sense of insecurity, and we are all for putting eggs in various baskets.
We leave here soon, bound for Uahiva, Reiatea, Bora-Bora, and the Sandwiches.
O, how my spirit languishes To step ashore on the Sanguishes; For there my letters wait, There shall I know my fate. O, how my spirit languidges To step ashore on the Sanguidges.
18TH. - I think we shall leave here if all is well on Monday. I am quite recovered, astonishingly recovered. It must be owned these climates and this voyage have given me more strength than I could have thought possible. And yet the sea is a terrible place, stupefying to the mind and poisonous to the temper, the sea, the motion, the lack of space, the cruel publicity, the villainous tinned foods, the sailors, the captain, the passengers - but you are amply repaid when you sight an island, and drop anchor in a new world.