If you could see my roses, and my aloes, and my fig-marigolds, and my olives…

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1105.]

To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 135-136]

La Solitude, Hyères-les-Palmiers, Var [May 20, 1883]

My dear Gosse,

I enclose the receipt and the corrections.

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928). RLS sent him some corrections to the ‘Silverado Squatters’ MS (now at Yale) [http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/]

As for your letter and Gilder’s, I must take an hour or so to think; the matter much importing – to me. The £40 was a heavenly thing.

Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909), American poet and editor of the Century Magazine NY, 1881-1909 [http://georgemacdonald.info/]

I send the MS by Henley, because he acts for me in all matters, and had the thing, like all my other books, in his detention. He is my unpaid agent – an admirable arrangement for me, and one that has rather more than doubled my income on the spot.


William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) [www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/]

If I have been long silent, think how long you were so and blush, sir, blush.

I was rendered unwell by the arrival of your cheque, and, like Pepys, ‘my hand still shakes to write of it.’

On 10 May 1667 Samuel Pepys saw the body of Basil Fielding who had been killed by his brother with ‘a broad wound, which makes my hand now shake to write of it’ [http://static.guim.co.uk/]

To this grateful emotion, and not to D[elirium] T[remens], please attribute the raggedness of my hand.

An alcoholic man with delirium tremens on his deathbed, 1900 [http://bigpictureeducation.com/]

This year I shall be able to live and keep my family on my own earnings, and that in spite of eight months and more of perfect idleness at the end of last and beginning of this. It is a sweet thought.

This spot, our garden and our view, are sub-celestial. I sing daily with my Bunyan, that great bard,

‘I dwell already the next door to Heaven!’

Prudence, Piety and Charity inviting Christian to enter the Palace Beautiful, 1887 edition of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The verse quoted is the last line of the song sung by Christian on awaking in the Palace Beautiful [www.victorianweb.org/]

If you could see my roses,


and my aloes,

Aloes in bloom at Hanbury Garden, Ventimiglia [http://postmediavancouversun.files.wordpress.com/]

and my fig-marigolds,

Fig-marigolds (Mesembryanthemum) [www.bruceaiken.net/]

and my olives,


 and my viewover a plain,

Hyères [https://upload.wikimedia.org/]

and my view of certain mountains as graceful as Apollo, as severe as Zeus, you would not think the phrase exaggerated.

Hyères [www.campingartaudois.com/]

Apollo, British Museum [https://upload.wikimedia.org/]

Zeus, British Museum [https://uncrated.files.wordpress.com/]

It is blowing to-day a hot mistral, which is the devil or a near connection of his. This is to catch the post. – Yours affectionately,

R.L. Stevenson

This entry was posted in Letters, Robert Louis Stevenson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.