“Times are changed since the Lothian Road”

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1942.]

To Charles Baxter [Colvin 1911, 3, p. 24]

[Saranac Lake], 18th November 1887

My dear Charles,

No likely I’m going to waste a sheet of paper. […] I am offered £1600 ($8000) for the American serial rights on my next story!

RLS, ‘The Misadventures of John Nicholson. A Christmas Story’, Dec. 1887.

image of page 697

RLS, ‘The Master of Ballantrae’, Scribner’s Magazine Nov. 1888-Oct. 1889 [https://babel.hathitrust.org]

RLS, ‘The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter’s Tale’. New York/London: Scribner’s/Cassell, 1889.


As you say, times are changed since the Lothian Road.


St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, 1882. RLS met Charles Baxter (1848-1919) in 1871 and developed a lifelong friendship: the two young men would often drink in pubs on the Lothian Road [https://2.bp.blogspot.com]


Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh, 19th century. Here, in a pub, RLS and friends like Bob Stevenson and Charles Baxter created the LJR, League Liberty, Justice, Reverence. The club’s tenet was “disregard everything our parents taught us” [https://i.pinimg.com]


Well, the Lothian Road was grand fun too; I could take an afternoon of it with great delight. But I’m awfu’ grand noo, and long may it last!

Remember me to any of the faithful − if there are any left. I wish I could have a crack with you. Yours ever affectionately,


I find I have forgotten more than I remembered of business. […] Please let us know (if you know) for how much Skerryvore is let;


Skerryvore Cottage, Bournemouth, was a gift from RLS’s father to his daughter-in-law, 1885. It was let till 22 February 1888 at the total sum of £109 [www.awesomestories.com]

you will here detect the female mind; I let it for what I could get; nor shall the possession of this knowledge (which I am happy to have forgot) increase the amount by so much as the shadow of a sixpenny piece;



but my females are agog.


Fanny Stevenson, 1885 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]


Margaret Isabella Stevenson, 1887 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]


Yours ever,






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