[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1530.]
To Katharine De Mattos [Colvin 191, 2, pp. 286-287]
Skerryvore, Bournemouth, [27 January] 1886
My dear Katharine,
‘Tis the most complete blague and folly to write to you; you never answer and, even when you do, your letters crackle under the teeth like ashes; containing nothing as they do but unseasonable japes and a great cloudy vagueness as of the realm of chaos. In this I know well they are like mine; and it becomes me well to write such – but not you – for reasons too obvious to mention.
We have both been sick; […] but to-day I am up, though with an aching back. But I hope all will be better. Of your views, state, finances, etc. etc., I know nothing. We were mighty near the end of all things financially, when a strange shape of a hand giving appeared in Heaven or from Hell, and set us up again for the moment;
yet still we totter on a whoreson brink. I beg pardon. I forgot I was writing to a lady; but the word shall stay: it is the only word; I would say it to the Q—n of E—–d.
How do you like letters of this kind? It is your kind. They mean nothing; they are blankly insignificant; and impudently put one in the wrong. One has learnt nothing; and forsooth one must reply. Yours, the Inexpressive Correspondent,
Hey-ey-ey! Sold again. Hey-ey-ey!
Postscript: sold again.