[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1830.]
To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 332-333]
[Skerryvore, Bournemouth, ? 3 June 1887]
My dear Colvin,
This is to announce to you, what I believe should have been done sooner, that we are at Skerryvore.
We were both tired, and I was fighting my second cold, so we came straight through by the west.
We have a butler […]!
He doesn’t buttle, but the point of the thing is the style. When Fanny gardens, he stands over her and looks genteel.
He opens the door, and I am told waits at table. Well, what’s the odds; I shall have it on my tomb ― ‘He ran a butler.’
He may have been this and that,
A drunkard or a guttler;
He may have been bald and fat ―
At least he kept a butler.
He may have sprung from ill or well,
From Emperor or sutler;
He may be burning now in Hell ―
On earth he kept a butler.
I want to tell you also that I have suppressed your poem. I shall send it you for yourself, and I hope you will agree with me that it was not good enough in point of view of merit, and a little too intimate as between you and me.
I would not say less of you, my friend, but I scarce care to say so much in public while we live. A man may stand on his own head; it is not fair to set his friend on a pedestal.
The verses are now at press; I have written a damn fine ballad.
― And I am, dear S.C., ever yours,