“Hunger my driver, I go where I must”

Evidently a continuation of the previous letter.

[For correct and critical edition of this letter see Mehew 6, 2122]

To Charles Baxter

[Baxter Letters, p. 239-40, http://www.hathitrust.org]

Tautira [8 or 9 November 1888]

My dear Charles,

I forgot:

Mrs. Mary Ann Watts and her credit on Willis and Trantum, the same, please, as last year;

The Stevensons settled in Bournemouth from July 1884 to August 1887. Mary Ann Watts was RLS’s housekeeper there at Skerryvore Cottage, at that time rent out [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

if you haven’t Mary Ann’s address, Miss Boodle will manage it.

Miss Adelaide Ann Boodle (1858-1934) had been neighbour of RLS at Bournemouth. She had become devoted friend of the Stevensons: her book “RLS and his Sine Qua Non” (1926) will give an affectionate account of Bournemouth times [https://babel.hathitrust.org]

Our mainmast is dry-rotten, and we are all to the devil.

The schooner Casco. Captain Otis had found that the mainmast of the yacht had dry rot so had to go back to Papeete to be refitted [www.robert-louis-stevenson.org]

I shall lie in a debtors’ jail.


Never mind: Tautira is first chop.

Traditional village at Tautira, Tahiti, 1885-89 [http://manuelcohen.photoshelter.com]

I am so besotted that I shall put on the back of this my attempt at words to “Wandering Willie”.

The standard lyrics to the tune of “Wandering Willie” , more properly known as “Here awa’ there awa’”, are by Burns [https://edrls.files.wordpress.com]

If you can conceive at all the difficulty, you will also conceive the vanity with which I regard any kind of result; and whatever mine is like, it has some sense, and Burns’s has none.


Home no more home to me, whither must I wander?

Hunger my driver, I go where I must.

Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather;


Thick drives the rain, and my roof is in the dust.


Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree;

The true word of welcome was spoken in the door.

Dear days of old, with the faces in the firelight,

Kind folks of old, you come again no more.

Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces,

Home was home then, my dear, happy for the child.

Fire and the windows bright glittered on the moorland;

Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild.


Now, when day dawns on the brow of the moorland,

Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone is cold.

Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed,

The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the place of old.



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