Madame proposes to hire a copyist

Mrs Andrews is the wife of James Bruyn Andrews, former American lawyer, now living in Menton because of ill-health, at Villa d’Adhémar.

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sir Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 1, 236].

To his Mother [Colvin 1912, p. 57-58]

[Menton, January 29, 1874,] Thursday.

Marot vol. 1 arrived. […]

The post has been at its old games. A letter of the 31st and one of the 2nd arrive at the same moment.

Clément Marot, Oevres complètes, Vol. I (1544), ed. 1867 []

I have had a great pleasure. Mrs. Andrews had a book of Scotch airs, which I brought over here, and set Madame Zassetsky to work upon them. They are so like Russian airs that they cannot contain their astonishment. I was quite out of my mind with delight. “The Flowers of the Forest” – “Auld Lang Syne” –

“Scots wha hae” –

“Wandering Willie” –

“Jock o’ Hazeldean” –

“My Boy Tammie,” which my father whistles so often –

I had no conception how much I loved them. The air which pleased Madame Z. the most was “Hey, Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin’ yet?”

It is certainly no end. And I was so proud that they were appreciated. No triumph of my own, I am sure, could ever give me such vainglorious satisfaction. You remember, perhaps, how conceited I was to find “Auld Lang Syne” popular in its German dress; but even that was nothing to the pleasure I had yesterday at the success of our dear airs.


The edition is called “The Songs of Scotland without Words for the Pianoforte,” edited by J.T. Surrenne, published by Wood in George Street. As these people have been so kind to me, I wish you would get a copy of this and send it out. If that should be too dear, or anything, Mr. Mowbray would be able to tell you what is the best substitute, would he not? This I really would like you to do, as Madame proposes to hire a copyist to copy those she likes, and so it is evident she wants them. Ever your affectionate son,

Robert Louis Stevenson

The dance music of Scotland: a collection of all the best reels and strathspeys both of the Highlands and Lowlands for the pianoforte arranged and edited by J.T. Surrenne, Edinburgh 1870 []

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