“I am now a salaried person… but the slavery may overweigh me”

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1886.]

To W.E. Henley [Colvin 1911, 3, pp. 9-10]

New York [c. 24 September 1887]

My dear lad,

Herewith verses for Dr. Hake, which please communicate.

The verses here sent by RLS to Dr Hake will be published only in 1896, as no. XIX of ‘Songs of Travel’.

Thomas Gordon Hake (1809-95=, English physician and poet, friend of D.G. Rossetti’s, c. 1870s. He had sent RLS some verses [https://collectionimages.npg.org.uk]


Dr. Thomas Gordon Hake, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1872[https://upload.wikimedia.org]


I did my best with the interviewers; I don’t know if Lloyd sent you the result;

Lloyd Osbourne, RLS’s stepson (1868-1947), c. 1892 [http://robert-louis-stevenson.org]

my heart was too sick: you can do nothing with them; and yet ____ literally sweated with anxiety to please, and took me down in long hand!

I have been quite ill, but go better.

Hotel St. Stephen, c. 1880. RLS was staying here, 46-52 East 11th Street. The hotel was built in 1875-76 by Albert S. Rosenbaum. [http://thehotelalbert.com]

In 1879, Rosenbaum acquired the two-story house just west of the St. Stephen, and in 1880 built an expansion on the site, designed by architect Henry Fernbach, matching the design of the original [http://thehotelalbert.com]

Room of the Hotel St. Stephen-Hotel Albert, early 1900s. RLS’s rooms might still be seen “as when he last occupied them” [http://thehotelalbert.com]


I am being not busted, but medallioned, by St. Gaudens, who is a first-rate, plain, high-minded artist and honest fellow; you would like him down to the ground.

Saint-Gaudens’s medallion of RLS, modeled in 1887 and cast in 1893.: the sculptor told he found the writer “astonishingly young, not a bit like an invalid . . . and a bully fellow” [www.sothebys.com]

Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), American sculptor [https://images.findagrave.com]

I believe sculptors are fine fellows when they are not demons. O, I am now a salaried person, £600 a year, to write twelve articles in Scribner’s Magazine;

Scribner’s Magazine, first issue, January 1887 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

it remains to be seen if it really pays, huge as the sum is, but the slavery may overweigh me. I hope you will like my answer to Hake, and specially that he will.

Love to all. − Yours affectionately,


(le salarié)




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