“Yours financially, Samuel Budgett”

Will Low and his wife, who were at this time leaving Italy and France for good, had been meditating a visit to the Stevensons at Bournemouth on their way home to the United States. Low had asked RLS if he could have any idea of the probable cost of the journey from Paris to Bournemouth.

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1787.]

To Will H. Low [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 365-366]

[Skerryvore, Early April 1887]

My dear Low,

The fares to London may be found in any continental Bradshaw or sich;

Bradshaw’s monthly continental railway, steam transit, and general guide, for travellers through Europe, 1887.

 

from London to Bournemouth impoverished parties who can stoop to the third class get their ticket for the matter of 10s., or, as my wife loves to phrase it, ‘a half a pound.’

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb/hb_29.100.129.jpg

Honoré Daumier, The Third-Class Carriage, 1862-64 [www.metmuseum.org]

Bournemouth Central Station

Bournemouth Station, arrival from London 1907 [www.streets-of-bournemouth.org.uk]

 

You will also be involved in a 3s. fare to get to Skerryvore; but this, I dare say, friends could help you in on your arrival; so that you may reserve your energies for the two tickets − costing the matter of a pound − and the usual gratuities to porters.

https://i0.wp.com/c7.alamy.com/comp/BTM033/platform-at-a-railway-station-late-19th-century-drawing-by-marchetti-BTM033.jpg

Railway porter and passenger.

 

This does not seem to me much: considering the intellectual pleasures that await you here, I call it dirt cheap. I believe the third class from Paris to London (via Dover) is about forty francs, but I cannot swear. Suppose it to be fifty.

50×2 = 100 ……………………………………………………………………………………………..100 frcs.

https://i1.wp.com/www.dover-kent.co.uk/index_htm_files/2134.jpg

A South Eastern Railway train, Dover, c. 1844. Until the 1920s the line between Dover Town Station and Shakespeare Cliff tunnel was carried on a low timber trestle [www.dover-kent.co.uk]

The expense of spirit or spontaneous lapse of coin on the journey,

     at 5 frcs. a head, 5×2 = 10 ……………………………………………………………………….. 10 frcs.

.https://i1.wp.com/images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/mf_image_3x2/public/501456-iStock-518951160.jpg

 

Victuals on ditto, at 5 frcs. a head, 5×2 = 10 …………………………………………………. 10 frcs.

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/5f/ec/dc/5fecdcee8b1153397344faf5f80f4949.jpg

 

Gratuity to stewardess, in case of severe prostration, at 3 francs ………………………. 3 frcs.

One night in London, on a modest footing, say 20 …………………………………………. 20 frcs.

Two tickets to Bournemouth at 12.50, 12.50×2 = 25 …………………………………….  25 frcs.

https://i0.wp.com/gerald-massey.org.uk/Railway/images/Operational/ILN-22-05-47-1.jpg

Ticket office, The Illustrated London News, 1847 [http://gerald-massey.org.uk]

Porters and general devilment, say 5 ………………………………………………………….. 5 frcs.

Cabs in London, say 2 shillings, and in Bournemouth,

         3 shillings = 5 shillings = 6 frcs. 25 ………………………………………………………. 6.25 frcs.

https://i1.wp.com/c8.alamy.com/comp/DDH8KC/london-hansom-cab-victorian-period-DDH8KC.jpg

 

                                                                                                                                               _______________

                                                                                                                                                                frcs. 179.25

                                                                                                              Or, the same in pounds, £ 7, 3s. 6½d.

                                                                                                              Or, the same in dollars, $ 35.45,

if there be any arithmetical virtue in me. I have left out dinner in London in case you want to blow out, which would come extry, and with the aid of vangs fangs might easily double the whole amount − above all if you have a few friends to meet you.

In making this valuable project, or budget, I discovered for the first time a reason (frequently overlooked) for the singular costliness of travelling with your wife. Anybody would count the tickets double; but how few would have remembered − or indeed has any one ever remembered? − to count the spontaneous lapse of coin double also? Yet there are two of you, each must do his daily leakage, and it must be done out of your travelling fund. You will tell me, perhaps, that you carry the coin yourself: my dear sir, do you think you can fool your Maker? Your wife has to lose her quota; and by God she will − if you kept the coin in a belt.

https://victoriancollections.net.au/media/collectors/4f729f7697f83e030860182d/items/518873b72162ef134418985d/item-media/51887f582162ef1344189e6f/VictorianCollections-medium.jpg

One thing I have omitted: you will lose a certain amount on the exchange, but this even I cannot foresee, as it is one of the few things that vary with the way a man has. […] − I am, dear sir, yours financially,

Samuel Budgett

[…]

 

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

This entry was posted in Letters, Robert Louis Stevenson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Yours financially, Samuel Budgett”

  1. rdury says:

    I like ‘spontaneous lapse of coin on the journey’ as a travel expense.

    Like

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