A great variety of small ships launched or still upon the stocks

Of the ‘small ships’ here mentioned, A Misadventure in France was probably a draft of the Epilogue to an Inland Voyage, not published till five years later in Scribner’s for Aug 1888, while The Travelling Companion (of which Colvin remembered little except that its scene was partly laid in North Italy and that a publisher to whom it was shown declared it a work of genius but indecent) was abandoned some two years later.

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1157.]

To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 182-183]

La Solitude, Hyères [8 October 1883]

£10,000 Pounds Reward!

Whereas Sidney Colvin, more generally known as the Guardian Angel, has vanished from the gaze of Mr R.L. Stevenson, the above reward is offered as a means to discover the whereabouts of the misguided gentleman. He was known as a man of irregular habits, and his rowdy […] exterior would readily attract attention in a crowd. He was never known to resist a drink; whisky was his favourite dish. If any one will bring him to Mr. Stevenson’s back area door, dead or alive, the greatest rejoicing will be felt by a bereaved and uneasy family.


Sidney Colvin (1845-1927) [http://robert-louis-stevenson.org/]

Also, wherefore not a word, dear Colvin? […]

My news is: splendid health; […]; great success of the Black Arrow; another tale demanded, readers this time (the Lord lighten them!) pleased;


The Black Arrow’, 1st book edition, 1888. Its previous serialisation was published from June to October 1883 for ‘Young Folks’ [https://ia902607.us.archive.org/]

a great variety of small ships launched or still upon the stocks – (also,why not send the annotated proof of Fontainebleau? ce n’est pas d’un bon camarade);


‘Fontainbleau: Village Communities of Painters’, The Magazine of Art 7, May-June 1884 [https://ia700400.us.archive.org/]

a paper on dogs for Carr;


‘The Character of Dogs’, first published in The English Illustrated Magazine 5, Feb 1884 Incluso in Memories and Portraits (1887). [https://ia802605.us.archive.org/]


J. Comyns Carr (1849-1916), at the time editor of The English Illustrated Magazine [https://upload.wikimedia.org/]


a paper called Old Mortality,


‘Old Mortality’ was first published in Longman’s Magazine 4, May 1884 [http://www.rookebooks.com/]

a paper called A Misadventure in France, a tale entituled The Travelling Companion; Otto arrested one foot in air;


‘Prince Otto’ will be published in 1885 [https://i1.wp.com/deriv.nls.uk/]

and last and not least, a great demand for news of Sidney Colvin and others.

Herewith I pause, for why should I cast pearls before swine […]?



A word, Guardian Angel. You are much loved in this house, not by me only, but by the wife. The Wogg himself is anxious. – Ever yours affectionately,


1883 - with family and Wogg




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