The devil always has an imp or two in every house, and my imps are getting lively

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1107.]

To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 136-137]

La Solitude, Hyères-les-Palmiers, Var, France, May 21, 1883

My dear Gosse,

The night giveth advice, generally bad advice; but I have taken it. And I have written direct to Gilder to tell him to keep the book back and go on with it in November at his leisure. I do not know if this will come in time; if it doesn’t, of course things will go on in the way proposed. […]

A first incomplete version of ‘The Silverado Squatters’, RLS’s travel memory of his two-month honeymoon trip with Fanny and her son Lloyd to Napa Valley, California, in 1880, was published in the Century Magazine for Nov. and Dec, 1883 []

Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909), American poet and editor of the Century, by Cecilia Beaux []

“The Silverado Squatters”, here in its London edition by Chatto & Windus, 1883 []

The £40, or, as I prefer to put it, the 1000 francs, has been such a piercing sun-ray as my whole grey life is gilt withal. On the back of it I can endure. If these good days of Longman and the Century only last, it will be a very green world, this that we dwell in and that philosophers miscall. I have no taste for that philosophy; give me large sums paid on the receipt of the MS and copyright reserved, and what do I care about the non-bëent?

Only I know it can’t last. The devil always has an imp or two in every house, and my imps are getting lively.


The good lady, the dear, kind lady, the sweet, excellent lady, Nemesis, whom alone I adore, has fixed her wooden eye upon me. I fall prone; spare me, Mother Nemesis! But catch her!

Nemesis, Roman copy from a 5th century BC original, Neaples []

I must now go to bed; for I have had a whoreson influenza cold, and have to lie down all day, and get up only to meals and the delights, pure delights, of business correspondence.

You said nothing about my subject for a poem. Don’t you like it? My own fishy eye has been fixed on it for prose, but I believe it could be thrown out finely in verse, and hence I resign and pass the hand. Twig the compliment?

‘Memoirs of the Rebellion in 1745 and 1746 by the Chevalier de Johnstone’: RLS had suggested Gosse to write a poem from this book. See my previous post, October 4, 2015.

 Yours affectionately,


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