[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1448.]
To Anne Jenkin [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 284-286]
[Skerryvore, Bournemouth, June 1885]
My dear Mrs. Jenkin,
I should have written sooner, but we are in a bustle, and I have been very tired, though still well. Your very kind note was most welcome to me. I shall be very much pleased to have you call me Louis, as he has now done for so many years. Sixteen, you say? is it so long? It seems too short now; but of that we cannot judge, and must not complain.
I wish that either I or my wife could do anything for you; when we can, you will, I am sure, command us.
I trust that my notice gave you as little pain as was possible. I found I had so much to say, that I preferred to keep it for another place and make but a note in the Academy.
To try to draw my friend at greater length, and say what he was to me and his intimates, what a good influence in life and what an example, is a desire that grows upon me. It was strange, as I wrote the note, how his old tests and criticisms haunted me; and it reminded me afresh with every few words how much I owe to him.
I had a note from Henley, very brief and very sad.
We none of us yet feel the loss; but we know what he would have said and wished.
Do you know that Dew Smith has two photographs of him, neither very bad? and one giving a lively, though not flattering air of him in conversation? If you have not got them, would you like me to write to Dew and ask him to give you proofs?
I was so pleased that he and my wife made friends; that is a great pleasure. We found and have preserved one fragment (the head) of the drawing he made and tore up when he was last here. He had promised to come and stay with us this summer. May we not hope, at least, some time soon to have one from you? Believe me, my dear Mrs. Jenkin, with the most real sympathy, your sincere friend,
Robert Louis Stevenson
Dear me, what happiness I owe to both of you!