My last night at Mentone

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sir Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 1, 256].

To Mrs. Sitwell [Colvin 1912, p. 66-67]

[Menton, April, 1874], Monday.

My last night at Mentone. I cannot tell how strange and sad I feel. I leave behind me a dear friend whom I have but little hope of seeing again between the eyes.

To-day, I hadn’t arranged all my plans till five o’clock: I hired a poor old cabman, whose uncomfortable vehicle and sorry horse made every one despise him, and set off to get money and say farewells.

It was a dark misty evening; the mist was down over all the hills; the peach-trees in beautiful pink bloom.


V. van Gogh, ‘Souvenir de Mauve’,1888 []

Arranged my plans; that merits a word by the way if I can be bothered. I have half arranged to go to Göttingen in summer to a course of lectures. Galitzin is responsible for this. He tells me the professor is to law what Darwin has been to Natural History, and I should like to understand Roman Law and a knowledge of law is so necessary for all I hope to do.

Prince Lev Golitsyn (1845-1915) []

Rudolf von Jhering (1818-1892), Prince Golitsyn’s professor of Roman Law at the University of Göttingen []

My poor old cabman; his one horse made me three-quarters of an hour too late for dinner, but I had not the heart to discharge him and take another. Poor soul, he was so pleased with his pourboire, I have made Madame Zassetsky promise to employ him often; so he will be something the better for me, little as he will know it.


I have read Ordered South; it is pretty decent I think, but poor, stiff, limping stuff at best — not half so well straightened up as Roads. However the stuff is good.

God help us all, this is a rough world: address Hotel St. Romain, rue St. Roch, Paris. I draw the line: a chapter finished. — Ever your faithful friend,

Robert Louis Stevenson

The line.


That bit of childishness has made me laugh, do you blame me?

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2 Responses to My last night at Mentone

  1. rdury says:

    Excellent photographs. Who is the ‘dear friend’: Sophie Garschine, do you think? (who writes him a letter in May, reproaching him for having left Paris for Edinburgh).


  2. mafalda says:

    Yes, I think so, even though I’d like to think little Nelitchka, too!


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