[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1320.]
To W.E. Henley [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 239-240]
Bournemouth, [c. 10] November 1884
We are all to pieces in health, and heavily handicapped with Arabs.
I have a dreadful cough, whose attacks leave me ætat. 90. […] I never let up on the Arabs, all the same, and rarely get less than eight pages out of hand, though hardly able to come downstairs for twittering knees.
I shall put in [Ted]’s letter.
He says so little of his circumstances that I am in an impossibility to give him advice more specific than a copybook. Give him my love, however, and tell him it is the mark of the parochial gentleman who has never travelled to find all wrong in a foreign land. Let him hold on, and he will find one country as good as another; and in the meanwhile let him resist the fatal British tendency to communicate his dissatisfaction with a country to its inhabitants. ‘Tis a good idea, but it somehow fails to please.
[…] In a fortnight, if I can keep my spirit in the box at all, I should be nearly through this Arabian desert; so can tackle something fresh.
[…] – Yours ever,