This letter tells of preparations for RLS’s walking tour in the Cevennes (South-Central France), narrated in Travels with a Donkey. He compared Le Monastier, a town of lace-makers, with Scotland, in terms of habits and accent.
About the modern ‘Randonnée Stevenson’, see http://le.monastier43.free.fr/randonnee-stevenson.htm.
[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 2, 562.]
To W.E. Henley [Colvin 1, p. 264]
[Monastier-sur-Gazeille, 14 September 1878.]
I hope to leave Monastier this day (Saturday) week;
thenceforward Poste Restante, Alais, Gard, is my address. […] Travels with a Donkey in the French Highlands.
I am no good today. I cannot work, nor even write letters. A colossal breakfast yesterday at Puy has, I think, done for me for ever;
I certainly ate more than ever I ate before in my life – a big slice of melon, some ham and jelly, a filet, a helping of gudgeons, the breast and leg of a partridge, some green peas, eight crayfish, some Mont d’Or cheese, a peach, and a handful of biscuits, macaroons, and things. It sounds Gargantuan; it cost three francs a head. So that it was inexpensive to the pocket, although I fear it may prove extravagant to the fleshly tabernacle. I can’t think how I did it or why. It is a new form of excess for me; but I think it pays less than any of them.