“If you could see the ink … They don’t write much here; I bet what you please”

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1894.]

To Charles Fairchild [Colvin 1912, pp. 233-234]

Post Office, Saranac Lake,

Adirondacks, N. Y.

[c. 8 October, 1887]

My dear Fairchild,

I do not live in the Post Office; that is only my address;

Saranac Lake Postmaster, Milo B. Miller (1844-1917), who built the first real post office in his store, 44 Main Street, and held the office during RLS’s staying [https://localwiki.org]

Place of the old Post Office, Saranac Lake, 44 Main Street.


I live at “Baker’s,” a house upon a hill, and very jolly in every way.

Baker’s cottage, Saranac Lake, c. 1900-1910 [https://localwiki.org]


I believe this is going to do: we have a kind of a garret of a spare room, where hardy visitors can sleep, and our table (if homely) is not bad.


Baker’s cottage, now RLS Museum at Saranac Lake. Upstairs there were Lloyd’s bedroom and the spare room [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

And here, appropriately enough, comes in the begging part. We cannot get any fruit here: can you manage to send me some grapes?

Eugene Henri Cauchois (1850-1911), Grapes in a wicker basket [https://images.niceartgallery.com]

I told you I would trouble you, and I will say that I do so with pleasure, which means a great deal from yours very sincerely,

Robert Louis Stevenson

P.S. – Remember us to all yours: my mother and my wife are away skylarking; my mother to Niagara,

Risultati immagini per niagara 19th century october

Niagara Falls, 1850s [https://assets.atlasobscura.com]

my wife to Indianapolis;

File:Groll, Theodor - Washington Street, Indianapolis at Dusk - Google Art Project.jpg

Theodor Groll, Washington Street, Indianapolis, at dusk, 1892-95 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

and I live here to-day alone with Lloyd,

Picture of Lloyd Osbourne Stock Photo

Lloyd Osbourne (1868-1947), RLS’s stepson.



Lloyd Osbourne (right) and Valentine Roch (left), 1887 [http://robert-louis-stevenson.org]

some cold meat,

Libby, McNeill & Libby Corned Beef, 1898 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]


and four salmon trout, one of which is being grilled at this moment of writing;

Fresh salmon trout steaks on grill Stock Photo


so that, after the immortal pattern of the Indian boys, my household will soon only reckon three.


Harry Smith, Three Brook Trout, 1880 [https://auctions.bidsquare.com]


As usual with me, the news comes in a P.S., and is mostly folly.


P.P.S. – My cold is so much better that I took another yesterday. But the new one is a puny child; I fear him not; and yet I fear to boast. If the postscript business goes on, this establishment will run out of P’s; but I hope it wasn’t you that made this paper – just for a last word – I could not compliment you upon that.

Charles Fairchild (1838-1910) was President of the Fairchild Paper Company, Boston [https://www.uwalumni.com]

And Lord! if you could see the ink – not what I am using – but the local vintage! They don’t write much here; I bet what you please.









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