The following is addressed to the son of the Irish-American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was at that time 8 years old.
[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 2097.]
To Homer Saint-Gaudens [Colvin 1911, 3, pp. 69-70]
Manasquan, New Jersey, 27th May 1888
Dear Homer St. Gaudens,
Your father has brought you this day to see me, and he tells me it is his hope you may remember the occasion. I am going to do what I can to carry out his wish; and it may amuse you, years after, to see this little scrap of paper and to read what I write.
I must begin by testifying that you yourself took no interest whatever in the introduction, and in the most proper spirit displayed a single-minded ambition to get back to play, and this I thought an excellent and admirable point in your character.
You were also (I use the past tense, with a view to the time when you shall read, rather than to that when I am writing) a very pretty boy, and (to my European views) startlingly self-possessed.
My time of observation was so limited that you must pardon me if I can say no more: what else I marked, what restlessness of foot and hand, what graceful clumsiness, what experimental designs upon the furniture, was but the common inheritance of human youth.
But you may perhaps like to know that the lean flushed man in bed, who interested you so little, was in a state of mind extremely mingled and unpleasant: harassed with work which he thought he was not doing well, troubled with difficulties to which you will in time succeed,
and yet looking forward to no less matter than a voyage to the South Seas and the visitation of savage and desert islands.
– Your father’s friend,
Robert Louis Stevenson