[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1181.]
To his mother [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 181-182]
La Solitude, Hyères [November 1883]
My dear Mother,
You must not blame me too much for my silence; I am over head and ears in work, and do not know what to do first. I have been hard at Otto, hard at Silverado proofs, which I have worked over again to a tremendous extent; cutting, adding, rewriting, until some of the worst chapters of the original are now, to my mind, as good as any. I was the more bound to make it good, as I had such liberal terms; it’s not for want of trying if I have failed.
I got your letter on my birthday; indeed, that was how I found it out about three in the afternoon, when postie comes. Thank you for all you said. As for my wife, that was the best investment ever made by man; but ‘in our branch of the family’ we seem to marry well.
[…] I, considering my piles of work, am wonderfully well; I have not been so busy for I know not how long. I hope you will send me the money I asked however, as I […] am not only penniless, but shall remain so in all human probability for some considerable time. I have got in the mass of my expectations; and the £100 which is to float us on the new year cannot come due till Silverado is all ready; I am delaying it myself for the moment; then will follow the binders and the travellers and an infinity of other nuisances; and only at the last, the jingling-tingling.
Do you know that Treasure Island has appeared? In the November number of Henley’s Magazine, a capital number anyway, there is a funny publisher’s puff of it for your book;
also a bad article by me. Lang dotes on Treasure Island: ‘Except Tom Sawyer and the Odyssey,’ he writes, ‘I never liked any romance so much.’ I will inclose the letter though.
The Bogue is angelic, although very dirty.
It has rained – at last! It was jolly cold when the rain came.
I was overjoyed to hear such good news of my father. Let him go on at that! […] – Ever your affectionate,