[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 2053.]
To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 3, pp. 64-65]
[Saranac Lake] April 9!! 1888
My dear Colvin,
I have been long without writing to you, but am not to blame. I had some little annoyances quite for a private eye, but they ran me so hard that I could not write without lugging them in, which (for several reasons) I did not choose to do. Fanny is off to San Francisco,
and next week I myself flit to New York; address Scribner’s.
Where we shall go I know not, nor (I was going to say) care; so bald and bad is my frame of mind.
Do you know our – ahem! – fellow clubman, Colonel Majendie?
I had such an interesting letter from him. Did you see my sermon?
It has evoked the worst feeling: I fear people don’t care for the truth, or else I don’t tell it. Suffer me to wander without purpose. I have sent off twenty letters today, and begun and stuck at a twenty-first, and taken a copy of one which was on business, and corrected several galleys of proof, and sorted about a bushel of old letters;
so if any one has a right to be romantically stupid it is I – and I am. Really deeply stupid, and at that stage when in old days I used to pour out words without any meaning whatever and with my mind taking no part in the performance. I suspect that is now the case. I am reading with extraordinary pleasure the life of Lord Lawrence:
Lloyd and I have a mutiny novel –
(Next morning, after twelve other letters) – mutiny novel on hand […] – a tremendous work – so we are all at Indian books. The idea of the novel is Lloyd’s: I call it a novel. ‘Tis a tragic romance, of the most tragic sort: I believe the end will be almost too much for human endurance – when the hero […] is thrown to the ground with one of his own (Sepoy) soldier’s knees upon his chest, and the cries begin in the Beebeeghar. O truly, you know it is a howler! The whole last part is – well the difficulty is that, short of resuscitating Shakespeare, I don’t know who is to write it.
I still keep wonderful. I am a great performer before the Lord on the penny whistle.
– Dear sir, sincerely yours,