[As usual, for correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 2043.]
To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1912, pp. 236-237]
[Saranac Lake, 31 March 1888.]
My dear Gosse,
Why so plaintive? Either the post-office has played us false, or you were in my debt. In case it should be my letter that has failed to come to post, I must tell again the fate of Mrs. Gosse’s thermometer. It hangs in our sitting-room, where it has often marked freezing point and below; “See what Gosse says”, is a common word of command.
But the point is this: in the verandah hangs another thermometer, condemned to register minus 40° and the class of temperatures; and to him, we have given the name of the Quarterly Reviewer.
I hope the jape likes you.
Please tell the Fortnightly man that I am sorry but I can do nothing of that sort this year, as I am under a pledge to Scribner’s; and indeed my monthly articles take the best of my time.
It was a project I went into with horrid diffidence; and lucre was my only motive. I get on better than I expected, but it is difficult to find an article of the sort required for each date, and to vary the matter and keep up (if possible) the merit. I do not know if you think I have at all succeeded; it seemed to me this really worked paper was more money’s worth (as well as probably better within my means) than the Lang business at the Sign of the Ship.
Indeed I feel convinced I could never have managed that; it takes a gift to do it. Here is lunch. – Yours afftly.,