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.

chatto

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

immagine

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.

1869_logo_robertsbros_publishers_boston

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

immagine

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.

immagine

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


old-bmth-pier-appr_2462540k

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

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