[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1012.]
To his Mother [Colvin 1911, 2, p. 110]
Campagne Defli, St. Marcel, Banlieue de Marseille, November 13, 1882.
My dear Mother,
Your delightful letters duly arrived this morning. They were the only good feature of the day, which was not a success. Fanny was in bed – she begged I would not split upon her, she felt so guilty; but as I believe she is better this evening, and has a good chance to be right again in a day or two, I will disregard her orders.
I do not go back, but do not go forward – or not much. It is, in one way, miserable – for I can do no work; a very little wood-cutting, the newspapers, and a note about every two days to write, completely exhausts my surplus energy; even patience I have to cultivate with parsimony.
I see, if I could only get to work, that we could live here with comfort, almost with luxury. Even as it is, we should be able to get through a considerable time of idleness. I like the place immensely, though I have seen so little of it – I have only been once outside the gate since I was here! It puts me in mind of a summer at Prestonpans and a sickly child you once told me of. […]
Thirty-two years now finished! My twenty-ninth was in San Francisco, I remember – rather a bleak birthday.
The twenty-eighth was not much better;
but the rest have been usually pleasant days in pleasant circumstances.
Love to you and to my father and to Cummy.
From me and Fanny […] and Wogg.