[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 2063.]
To Charles Baxter [Baxter Letters, 1956, p. 208, at www.hathitrust.org]
[Saranac Lake, 12 April 1888]
My dear Charles,
I write mainly to inform you that as Henley has not written to me, I have written to him:
whether well or ill I know not, but putting the grounds of my annoyance honestly before him, which seemed to me (upon the whole) the best. I am in a frame of mind highly human: I wish I were dead and have no mind to die. The bottom wish of my heart is that I had died at Hyères: the happy part of my life ended there;
since then I have never been well enough really to enjoy life, except for a day or two at a time, and I fear my character has suffered and I know that troubles have grown upon me. Poor Henley! – well, and poor me!
It occurs to me that you may be puzzled (knowing my opinions) at my eagerness about having the verses destroyed.
One word will explain it: the lad has had scandals enough about his own father;
it would be too bad if there followed one about me.
Charles, God knows I don’t want to be hard, but in my heart I think niether I nor my wife have been kindly used;
and to wholesale concession there appears no end. If I could trace one step of my own that had a share in it, I would write and ask pardon; but I had done literally nothing when this shell burst suddently upon my peace. Living in hope still, only wishing I had died before many things, I am