I am now all alone in Monterey, a real inhabitant

The French doctor, Dr. J.P.E. Heintz, lodged at the ‘French House’, Monterey, a rough rooming-house run by his mother-in-law. RLS took meals at the doctor’s house and when he became ill, Dr and Mrs Heintz took him in and nursed him.

Jules Simoneau was the ‘once wealthy Nantais tradesman’ who run the ‘French restaurant’, Monterey, and became RLS’s lifelong friend and correspondent.

The novel A Chapter in Experience of Arizona Breckonridge was eventually abandoned and the MS apparently destroyed. It seems that the name was suggested by the story of a man who named his numerous daughters after the American States.

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 658.]

To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 1, pp. 294-295]

Monterey, 21st Octobert [1879].

My dear Colvin,

Although you have absolutely disregarded my plaintive appeals for correspondence, and written only once as against God knows how many notes and notikins of mine – here goes again.

Sir Sidney Colvin, by W. Stoneman, ca. 1916 [http://images.npg.org.uk/]

I am now all alone in Monterey, a real inhabitant, with a box of my own at the P.O. […]

Monterey, California, Post Office [http://kihm5.files.wordpress.com/]

Alvarado Street, Monterey, 1873 [http://www.cagenweb.com/]

Chinese fishing village, Monterey [http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/]

Old New Monterey Chinatown, ca. 1906 [http://mhod.weebly.com/]

I have splendid rooms at the doctor’s, where I get coffee in the morning (the doctor is French), and I mess with another jolly old Frenchman, the stranded fifty-eight-year-old wreck of a good-hearted, dissipated, and once wealthy Nantais tradesman.

‘The French House’, Monterey [http://ecx.images-amazon.com/]

Jules Simoneau (left) with French painter Jules Tavernier at Monterey Old Jail, ca. 1881 [http://upload.wikimedia.org/]

 My health goes on better; as for work, the draft of my book was laid aside at p. 68 or so; and I have now, by way of change, more than seventy pages of a novel, a one-volume novel, alas! to be called either A Chapter in Experience of Arizona Breckonridge or A Vendetta in the West, or a combination of the two. The scene from Chapter IV. to the end lies in Monterey and the adjacent country; of course, with my usual luck, the plot of the story is somewhat scandalous, containing an illegitimate father for piece of resistance.

[…] Ever yours,




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