In the country, even angels may be decently welcomed in tweed

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 839 and 840.]

To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, p. 58]


The Cottage, Castleton of Braemar, August 19, 1881.

If you had an uncle who was a sea captain and went to the North Pole, you had better bring his outfit. Verbum Sapientibus.

J. Verne, ‘The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras’, 1864 []

I look towards you.

R.L. Stevenson

To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 58-59]

[Braemar, August 19, 1881.]

My dear Weg,

I have by an extraordinary drollery of Fortune sent off to you by this day’s post a P[ost] C[ard] inviting you to appear in sealskin.

Eskimo sealskin, 1844 []

But this had reference to the weather, and not at all, as you may have been led to fancy, to our rustic raiment of an evening.

The Cairngorms, near Braemar []

The Cairngorms []

The Cairngorms near Braemar []

The Cairngorms []

As to that question, I would deal, in so far as in me lies, fairly with all men. We are not dressy people by nature; but it sometimes occurs to us to entertain angels.

E.C. Burne-Jones, The Angel, 1881[]

In the country, I believe, even angels may be decently welcomed in tweed;

‘Balmoral tweed’, designed by Prince Albert in the 1850s []

I have faced many great personages, for my own part, in a tasteful suit of sea-cloth with an end of carpet pending from my gullet. Still, we do maybe twice a summer burst out in the direction of blacks – and yet we do it seldom.

J. Tissot, ‘Mavourneen’ (Portrait of Kathleen Newton), 1877 []

In short, let your own heart decide, and the capacity of your portmanteau.

Victorian portmanteau []

If you came in camel’s hair, you would still, although conspicuous, be welcome. […]


The sooner the better after Tuesday. Yours ever,

Robert Louis Stevenson

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One Response to In the country, even angels may be decently welcomed in tweed

  1. Bellissima questa lettera! 😀


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