[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1322.]
To W.E. Henley [Colvin 1912, p. 197]
Bonallie Towers, Bournemouth, November 11, 1884.
I have been nearly smashed altogether; fever and chills, with really very considerable suffering; and to my deep gloom and some fear about the future, work has had to stop. There was no way out of it; yesterday and today nothing would come, it was a mere waste of tissue, productive of spoiled paper. I hope it will not last long; for the bum-baily is panting at my rump, and when I turn a scared eye across my shoulder, I behold his talons quivering above my frock-coat tails.
Gosse has writ to offer me £40 for a Christmas number ghost story for the Pall Mall: eight thousand words. I have, with some conditions, accepted; I pray Heaven I may be able to do it.
But I am not sure that my incapacity to work is wholly due to illness; I believe the morphine I have been taking for my bray may have a hand in it. It moderates the bray, but I think, sews up the donkey.
I think my wife is a little better. If only I could get in trim, and get this work done, I should be quite chipper. […]