“A set of shambling lines that don’t know whether they’re trochees or what they are”

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1557.]

To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, p. 322]

[Skerryvore, Bournemouth, Feb. 17, 1886]

Dear Gosse,

Non, c’est honteux! for a set of shambling lines

Gosse had procured the payment from the Century Magazine (May 1886) for the set of verses addressed by RLS to Low (see previous post of Jan 15 2017, Letter 1503) [http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu]

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928), portraied by John Singer Sargent in 1886 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

that don’t know whether they’re trochees or what they are, that you or any of the crafty ones would blush all over if you had so much as thought upon, all by yourselves, in the water-closet.

Victorian bathroom, 1880s [http://lowres-picturecabinet.com.s3-eu-west-1.amazonawa.com]

   

But God knows, I am glad enough of five pounds;

Gold sovereign, 1880 [www.bullionbypost.co.uk]

and this is almost as honest a way to get it as plain theft, so what should I care? – Ever yours,

R.L.S.

Salva

Salva

Salva

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