[As usual, for critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1925.]
To Richard Harding Davis
[Sangree, R.H. Davis, Ainslee’s Magazine 7, 1901, p. 9]
[Saranac Lake, c. 24 October 1887]
Why, thank you very much for your frank, agreeable and natural letter. It is certainly very pleasant that all you young fellows should enjoy my work, and get some good out of it; and it was very kind in you to write and tell me so.
The tale of the suicide is excellently droll; and your letter, you may be sure, will be preserved.
If you are to escape, unhurt out of your present business, you must be very careful, and you must find in your heart much constancy. The swiftly done work of the journalist, and the cheap finish and ready-made methods to which it leads, you must try to counteract in private writing with the most considerate slowness and on the most ambitious models. And when I say “writing” ― O, believe me, it is re-writing that I have chiefly in mind. If you will do this, I hope to hear of you some day.
Please excuse this sermon from Your obliged,
Robert Louis Stevenson