O! be tender to my bathing girls

RLS was suffering at this time from a temporary weakness of the eyesight.

[As usual, for correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1244.]

To Will H. Low [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 209-210]

La Solitude, Hyères [? Late March 1884]

My dear Low,

The blind man in these sprawled lines sends greeting. I have been ill, as perhaps the papers told you. The news – ‘great news – glorious news – sec-ond ed-ition!’ – went the round in England.

Anyway, I now thank you for your pictures, which, particularly the Arcadian one, we all (Bob included, he was here sick-nursing me) much liked.


Will Hicock Low (1853-1932) [http://image1.findagrave.com]


W.H. Low (1853-1932), Illustration for Ballade of Horace’s Loves, 1899 [http://bronxvillehistoricalconservancy.org]


Herewith are a set of verses which I thought pretty enough to send to press.


The verses enclosed were the set entitled ‘The Canoe Speaks’, afterwards printed in ‘Underwoods’, 1887 [https://ia700409.us.archive.org]




Then I thought of the Manhattan, towards whom I have guilty and compunctious feelings. Last, I had the best thought of all to send them to you in case you might think them suitable for illustration. It seemed to me quite in your vein. If so, good; if not, hand them on to Manhattan, Century, or Lippincott, at your pleasure, as all three desire my work or pretend to.


The Manhattan, a short-lived New York magazine, then edited by W.H. Forman.


The Century, first published in the US in 1881 [http://magazinemuseum.net]


The Lippincott’s was published in Philadelphia from 1868 to 1915 [https://ia902708.us.archive.org]


But I trust the lines will not go unattended. Some riverside will haunt you;


A.G. Caillebotte, The Canoes, 1878 [https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com]


V. Van Gogh, The Oise at Auvers, 1890 [www.dia.org]


and O! be tender to my bathing girls.


W.H. Low, An Arcadian Pool, 1891 [http://sun.youinside.me]


C. Pisarro, The Bathers, 1890s [http://3.bp.blogspot.com]


The lines are copied in my wife’s hand, as I cannot see to write otherwise than with the pen of Cormoran,


Cormoran, the Cornish giant slain by Jack the Giant Killer [https://ia600407.us.archive.org]



G. Doré, Gargantua and pilgrims eaten in salads, 1873 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

or Nimrod.


G. Doré, Nimrod and his Horn, 1861 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

Love to your wife. Yours ever,


Copied it myself.

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1 Response to O! be tender to my bathing girls

  1. Charming Arcadian pictures perfectly complementing Louis’s canoe verses. What an idyllic life! stevensonsparis.wordpress.com


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