RLS accepted the dedication of Low’s illustrated edition of Keats’s Lamia, and sent him in return the newly published Jekyll and Hyde.
For Keats’s Lamia illustrated by Low, see: https://archive.org/stream/lamia___00keat#page/n0/mode/2up
[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1503.]
To Will H. Low [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 303-4]
Skerryvore, Bournemouth, December 26, 1885
My dear Low,
Lamia has not yet turned up, but your letter came to me this evening with a scent of the Boulevard Montparnasse that was irresistible.
The sand of Lavenue’s crumbled under my heel;
and the bouquet of the old Fleury came back to me,
and I remembered the day when I found a twenty franc piece under my fetish. Have you that fetish still? and has it brought you luck?
I remembered, too, my first sight of you in a frock-coat and a smoking-cap, when we passed the evening at the Café de Médicis;
and my last when we sat and talked in the Pare Monceau;
and all these things made me feel a little young again, which, to one who has been mostly in bed for a month, was a vivifying change.
Yes, you are lucky to have a bag that holds you comfortably. Mine is a strange contrivance; I don’t die, damme, and I can’t get along on both feet to save my soul; I am a chronic sickist; and my work cripples along between bed and the parlour, between the medicine bottle and the cupping glass.
Well, I like my life all the same; and should like it none the worse if I could have another talk with you, though even my talks now are measured out to me by the minute hand like poisons in a minim glass.
A photograph will be taken of my ugly mug and sent to you for ulterior purposes.
I have another thing coming out, which I did not put in the way of the Scribners, I can scarce tell how; but I was sick and penniless and rather back on the world, and mismanaged it. I trust they will forgive me.
I am sorry to hear of Mrs. Low’s illness, and glad to hear of her recovery. I will announce the coming Lamia to Bob; he steams away at literature like smoke.
I have a beautiful Bob on my walls,
and a good Sargent,
and a delightful Lemon;
and your etching now hangs framed in the dining-room.
So the arts surround me. Yours,