[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1907.]
To William Archer [Colvin 1911, 3, pp. 18-19]
Saranac Lake, [Mid-]October 1887
Many thanks for the Wondrous Tale.
It is scarcely a work of genius, as I believe you felt. Thanks also for your pencilings; though I defend ‘shrew,’ or at least many of the shrews.
We are here (I suppose) for the winter in the Adirondacks, a hill and forest country on the Canadian border of New York State, very unsettled and primitive and cold, and healthful, or we are the more bitterly deceived.
I believe it will do well for me; but must not boast.
My wife is away to Indiana to see her family;
my mother, Lloyd, and I remain here in the cold, which has been exceeding sharp, and the hill air, which is inimitably fine.
We all eat bravely, and sleep well, and make great fires, and get along like one o’clock.
I am now a salaried party; I am a bourgeois now; I am to write a weekly paper for Scribner’s, at a scale of payment which makes my teeth ache for shame and diffidence. The editor is, I believe, to apply to you; for we were talking over likely men, and when I instanced you, he said he had had his eye upon you from the first.
It is worth while, perhaps, to get in tow with the Scribners; they are such thorough gentlefolk in all ways that it is always a pleasure to deal with them.
I am like to be a millionaire if this goes on, and be publicly hanged at the social revolution: well, I would prefer that to dying in my bed; and it would be a godsend to my biographer, if ever I have one. What are you about? […] I hope you are all well and in good case and spirits, as I am now, after a most nefast experience of despondency before I left; but indeed I was quite run down.
Remember me to Mrs. Archer, and give my respects to Tom.
– Yours very truly,
Robert Louis Stevenson