‘Paul’ is Ch. Kegan Paul & Co., the London editor who had refused RLS’s Studies ‘writing an insolent letter… in answer to one of my father’s’. He also refused to part with the copyrights of ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and ‘An Inland Voyage’, then put into an half-crown series.
[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 936.]
To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 88-89]
[Chalet am Stein, Davos, March 28, 1882]
My dear Weg,
And I had just written the best note to Mrs. Gosse that was in my power. Most blameable.
I now send (for Mrs. Gosse)
Also an advertisement of my new appearance as poet (bard, rather) and hartis on wood. The cut represents the Hero and the Eagle, and is emblematic of Cortez first viewing the Pacific Ocean, which (according to the bard Keats) it took place in Darien. The cut is much admired for the sentiment of discovery, the manly proportions of the voyager, and the fine impression of tropical scenes and the untrodden WASTE, so aptly rendered by the hartis.
I would send you the book; but I declare I’m ruined. I got a penny a cut and a halfpenny a set of verses from the flint-hearted publisher, and only one specimen copy, as I’m a sinner. [Paul] was apostolic alongside of Osbourne.
I hope you will be able to decipher this, written at steam speed with a breaking pen, the hotfast postman at my heels.
No excuse, says you. None, sir, says I, and touches my ‘at most civil. (extraordinary evolution of pen, now quite doomed — to resume —) I have not put pen to the Bloody Murder yet. But it is early on my list; and when once I get to it, three weeks should see the last bloodstain — maybe a fortnight. For I am beginning to combine an extraordinary laborious slowness while at work, with the most surprisingly quick results in the way of finished manuscripts.
How goes Gray? Colvin is to do Keats.My wife is still not well. — Yours ever