It is a new form of excess for me; but I think it pays less than any of them

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

[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.]

Dear Henley,

I hope to leave Monastier this day (Saturday) week;

Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille, Auvergne, the railway station []

Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille, Auvergne, the castle []

Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille, Place de la Fromagerie []

Irma Morel held the hotel ‘Chez Morel’ at Le Monastier, Place de la Fromagerie, where RLS spent several weeks before starting his travel with a donkey through the Cevennes []

Epicerie Morel, Le Monastier []


Le Monastier, RLS monument []

thenceforward Poste Restante, Alais, Gard, is my address. […] Travels with a Donkey in the French Highlands.

Alais (Alès from 1926 on), the station []






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;

Le Puy-en-Velay []

Le Puy-en-Velay []


Le Puy-en-Velay []

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.



Une tranche de melon []

Jambon perseillé []

Friture de goujons []

Une demi perdrix []

Petits pois à la française []

Ecrevisses en salade []

Fromage Mont’d’Or []

Une pêche []

Biscuits []

Macarons []




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