Art and marriage are two very good stand-bys

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 915.]

To Charles Baxter [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 77-78]

[Chalet am Stein, Davos], 22nd February ’82.

My dear Charles,

Your most welcome letter has raised clouds of sulphur from my horizon. […]

I am glad you have gone back to your music. Life is a poor thing, I am more and more convinced, without an art, that always waits for us and is always new. Art and marriage are two very good stand-bys.

In an article which will appear some time in the Cornhill, ‘Talk and Talkers’, and where I have full lengthened the conversation of Bob, Henley, Jenkin, Simpson, Symonds, […] and Gosse, I have at the end one single word about yourself. It may amuse you to see it.

The Cornhill Magazine, Jan-Jun 1882 []

RLS’s essay on ‘Talk and Talkers’, Cornhill Magazine 45, 1882 []

RLS’s cousin Bob, Robert Alan Mowbray (RAM) Stevenson (1847-1900), art critic []


RLS’s friend, William Ernest Henley (1840-1903), English poet, critic and editor []

RLS’s friend, Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (1833–1885), Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, inventor of the cable car or telpherage, critic, actor, dramatist and artist []

RLS’s friend, John Addington Symonds (1840-93), English poet and literary critic []

RLS’s friend, Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) English poet, author and critic []

RLS’s essay, ‘Talk and Talkers’, p. 418: ‘I know another person who attains, in his moments, to the insolence of a Restoration comedy, speaking, I declare, as Congreve wrote’: the sentence referts to Charles Baxter (1848-1919), Scottish lawyer and one of RLS’s closest friends []

We are coming to Scotland after all, so we shall meet, which pleases me, and I do believe I am strong enough to stand it this time. My knee is still quite lame.

My wife is better again. […] But we take it by turns; it is the dog that is ill now. Ever yours,


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