[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 836.]
To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 57-58]
The Cottage (late the late Miss McGregor’s), Castleton of Braemar, August 10, 1881.
My dear Gosse,
Come on the 24th, there is a dear fellow. Everybody else wants to come later, and it will be a godsend for, sir, Yours sincerelyYou can stay as long as you behave decently, and are not sick of, sir, Your obedient, humble servantWe have family worship in the home of, sir, Yours respectfully
Braemar is a fine country, but nothing to (what you will also see) the maps of, sir, Yours in the Lord
A carriage and two spanking hacks draw up daily at the hour of two before the house of, sir, Yours truly
The rain rains and the winds do beat upon the cottage of the late Miss McGregor and of, sir, Yours affectionately
It is to be trusted that the weather may improve ere you know the halls of, sir, Yours emphatically
All will be glad to welcome you, not excepting, sir, Yours ever
You will now have gathered the lamentable intellectual collapse of, sir, Yours indeed
And nothing remains for me but to sign myself, sir, Yours,
Robert Louis Stevenson
N.B. – Each of these clauses has to be read with extreme glibness, coming down whack upon the ‘Sir.’ This is very important. The fine stylistic inspiration will else be lost. I commit the man who made, the man who sold, and the woman who supplied me with my present excruciating gilt nib to that place where the worm never dies. […]
The reference to a deceased Highland lady (tending as it does to foster unavailing sorrow) may be with advantage omitted from the address, which would therefore run – The Cottage, Castleton of Braemar.