The references in the first paragraph are to the volume Familiar Studies of Men and Books.
[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 940.]
To Alexander H. Japp [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 89-91]
Chalet am Stein, Davos, April 1, 1882.
My dear Dr. Japp,
A good day to date this letter, which is in fact a confession of incapacity.
During my wife’s […] illness […] I somewhat lost my head, and entirely lost a great quire of corrected proofs. This is one of the results; I hope there are none more serious. I was never so sick of any volume as I was of that; I was continually receiving fresh proofs with fresh infinitesimal difficulties. I was ill – I did really fear my wife was worse than ill. Well, it’s out now; and though I have observed several carelessnesses myself, and now here’s another of your finding – of which, indeed, I ought to be ashamed – it will only justify the sweeping humility of the Preface.
Symonds was actually dining with us when your letter came, and I communicated your remarks. […] He is a far better and more interesting thing than any of his books.
The elephant was my wife’s; so she is proportionately elate you should have picked it out for praise – from a collection, let me add, so replete with the highest qualities of art.My wicked carcase, as John Knox calls it, holds together wonderfully.
In addition to many other things, and a volume of travel, I find I have written, since December, 90 Cornhill pages of magazine work – essays and stories: 40,000 words, and I am none the worse – I am the better.
I begin to hope I may, if not outlive this wolverine upon my shoulders, at least carry him bravely like Symonds and Alexander Pope. I begin to take a pride in that hope.
I shall be much interested to see your criticisms; you might perhaps send them to me. I believe you know that is not dangerous; one folly I have not – I am not touchy under criticism.
Lloyd and my wife both beg to be remembered; and Lloyd sends as a present a work of his own. I hope you feel flattered; for this is simply the first time he has ever given one away. I have to buy my own works, I can tell you. – Yours very sincerely,
Robert Louis Stevenson