It blows an equinoctial gale. Nimbus Britannicus; piping wind, lashing rain

RLS was compelled to abandon the hope of making his permanent home at Hyères, partly by the renewed failure there of his own health, partly by a bad outbreak of cholera which occurred in the old Provençal town about the time he left it.

Arriving in England on Tuesday 1 July 1884, he took up his quarters first for a few weeks at Richmond, Queen’s Hotel, with his wife and their maid Valentine Roch, and was joined there by his parents. After consultation with several doctors, all of whom held out hopes of ultimate recovery despite the gravity of his present symptoms, he moved to Bournemouth, Dorset, on the south coast of England, where his stepson Lloyd (then 16) was already at school. RLS and fanny liked the place well enough to be willing to try it for a home; and such it became for all but three years, from September 1884 to August 1887. In the first months they changed several lodgings on the West Cliff (Highcliff Mansion Hotel, Sunnington Rise, and Wensleydale).

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1300.]

To his parents [Covin 1911, 2, p. 234]

Wensleydale, Bournemouth, Sunday, 28th September 1884.

My dear people,

I keep better, and am today downstairs for the first time.  


West Cliff Gardens, Bournemouth []


Highcliff Mansion Hotel, Bournemouth, Dorset, 1873, part of the Coastguard station, with spectacular sea views []


Highcliff Mansion Hotel, Bournemouth, 1887 []


Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel []


I find the lockers entirely empty; not a cent to the front. Will you pray send us some? It blows an equinoctial gale, and has blown for nearly a week.

Nimbus Britannicus;

piping wind, lashing rain;

the sea is a fine colour, and wind-bound ships lie at anchor under the Old Harry rocks, to make one glad to be ashore.


John Wilson Carmichael, Bournemouth, Dorset, from the Sea, 1861 []

Maidment, Henry, active 1889-1914; Bournemouth, Dorset, by the Sea

Henry Maidment, Bournemouth, Dorset, by the sea, 1890 []




The Henleys are gone, and two plays practically done.


William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) []


Anna Johnson Boyle (1855-1925), Henley’s wife.


The printed (1892) Dedication of Henley and RLS’s play ‘Admiral Guinea’, dated 27 September 1884 []


The printed (1892) Dedication of Henley and RLS’s play ‘Beau Austin’ to Meredith, dated 1 October 1884.


I hope they may produce some of the ready. – I am, ever affectionate son,



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1 Response to It blows an equinoctial gale. Nimbus Britannicus; piping wind, lashing rain

  1. rdury says:

    Nice to see the pictures of the places in Bournemouth (also the weather videos!)

    Liked by 1 person

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