I loathe the snails, but from loathing to actual butchery, trucidation of multitudes, there is still a step that I hesitate to take

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1101.]

To his parents [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 133-134]

La Solitude, Hyères, May 8, 1883

My dear people,

I was disgusted to hear my father was not so well. […]


I have a most troubled existence of work and business. But the work goes well, which is the great affair. I meant to have written a most delightful letter; too tired, however, and must stop. Perhaps I’ll find time to add to it ere post.

I have returned refreshed from eating, but have little time, as Lloyd will go soon with the letters on his way to his tutor, Louis Robert (!!!!), with whom he learns Latin in French, and French, I suppose, in Latin, which seems to me a capital education. He, Lloyd, is a great bicycler already, and has been long distances; he is most new-fangled over his instrument, and does not willingly converse on other subjects.

Fanny (standing, left) and her new family in 1883.

RLS, Fanny, Lloyd and RLS’s parents, 1883.

LLoyd in 1880 [http://upload.wikimedia.org/]



Our lovely garden is a prey to snails; I have gathered about a bushel, which, not having the heart to slay, I steal forth withal and deposit near my neighbour’s garden wall. As a case of casuistry, this presents many points of interest. I loathe the snails, but from loathing to actual butchery, trucidation of multitudes, there is still a step that I hesitate to take. What, then, to do with them? My neighbour’s vineyard, pardy! It is a rich, villa pleasure-garden of course; if it were a peasant’s patch, the snails, I suppose, would have to perish.

Chalet La Solitude, Hyères [http://imageweb-cdn.magnoliasoft.net/]


The weather these last three days has been much better, though it is still windy and unkind. I keep splendidly well, and am cruelly busy, with mighty little time even for a walk. And to write at all, under such pressure, must be held to lean to virtue’s side.


My financial prospects are shining. O if the health will hold, I should easily support myself. – Your ever affectionate son,


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