If you don’t know that you have a good author, I know that I have a good publisher

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1304.]

To Andrew Chatto [Colvin 1911, 2, 235]

Wensleydale, Bournemouth, October 3, 1884.

Dear Mr. Chatto,

I have an offer of £25 for Otto from America.


Andrew Chatto (1841-1913). Chatto & Windus publisher, London, had paid £100 for the book rights of RLS’s novel ‘Prince Otto’ [www.twainquotes.com]


Prince Otto, Chatto & Windus ed., 1885 [https://ia802308.us.archive.org]


I do not know if you mean to have the American rights; from the nature of the contract, I think not; but if you understood that you were to sell the sheets, I will either hand over the bargain to you, or finish it myself and hand you over the money if you are pleased with the amount.


Roberts Brothers, Boston, Massachusetts, (1857–1898) published the American edition of ‘Prince Otto’ [https://upload.wikimedia.org]


First American edition of ‘Prince Otto’, 1886 [https://ia902708.us.archive.org]


You see, I leave this quite in your hands. To parody an old Scotch story of servant and master: if you don’t know that you have a good author, I know that I have a good publisher.


The old Scotch story is told of Andrew Fairservice in Scott’s ‘Rob Roy’, ch. 24 [https://ia801401.us.archive.org]

Your fair, open, and handsome dealings are a good point in my life, and do more for my crazy health than has yet been done by any doctor.[…] – Very truly yours,

Robert Louis Stevenson


Bournemouth’s pier approach, 1860 [http://i.telegraph.co.uk]

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