RLS’s parents had been thinking of trying a winter at Bournemouth for the sake of being near their son, a plan which was eventually carried out. His health was now fast and painfully breaking.
[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1647.]
To his Parents [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 342-343]
Skerryvore, Bournemouth, July 7th, 1886
My dear people,
It is probably my fault, and not yours, that I did not understand. I think it would be well worth trying the winter in Bournemouth; but I would only take the house by the month – this after mature discussion. My leakage still pursues its course; if I were only well, I have a notion to go north and get in (if I could) at the inn at Kirkmichael, which has always smiled upon me much.
If I did well there, we might then meet and do what should most smile at the time.
Meanwhile, of course, I must not move, and am in a rancid box here, feeling the heat a great deal, and pretty tired of things.
Alexander did a good thing of me at last;
it looks like a mixture of an aztec idol, a lion, an Indian Rajah, and a woman; and certainly represents a mighty comic figure.
F[anny] and Lloyd both think it is the best thing that has been done of me up to now.
[…] You should hear Lloyd on the penny whistle, and me on the piano!
Dear powers, what a concerto! I now live entirely for the piano, he for the whistle; the neighbours, in a radius of a furlong and a half, are packing up in quest of brighter climes. – Ever yours,
P.S. – Please say if you can afford to let us have money for this trip, and if so, how much. I can see the year through without help, I believe, and supposing my health to keep up; but can scarce make this change on my own metal. […]