[For correct and critical edition of this letter see Mehew 6, 2159.]
To David Christie Murray [Murray, Recollections, 1908, pp. 299-302]
Honolulu [? April 1889]
Dear Mr Christie Murray,
Here is a strange place for me to date a letter from, to a Brother Briton, a Brother artist and (unless your three names belie you strangely) a Brother Scot.
But the truth is I am committed to the South Seas (where I find averything to interest me and more health than I am used to have) for some time;
and I must do that by letter which I had rather do by word of mouth. “By the Gates of the Sea”
was my first introduction to your work; since then I have had a great deal of pleasure from your pages; and this last week, I have been making up lee-way with Aunt Rachel, Hearts,
The Weaker Vessel,
and First Person Singular, which I lay down to write to you.
I wish to thank you, and to congratulate you; setting aside George Meredith, our elder and better,
I read none of my contemporaries with the same delight; and whatever you may think of my own productions, I think you will be like me in this, that you will set a value on the admiration of any fellow craftsman. I should not say what I meant if I did not add my thanks from the tone of your writing; several times you have encouraged me – and several times rebuked.
Take this very stupid scrawl from a worked-out man, who is reduced to the level of writing blank verse when he tries to write prose – (do you know the stage?) – and take it for a little more than it is worth;
for had I been my own man, and could I express adequately what I feel at this moment, you should have had a charming letter. Mrs Stevenson sends her compliments to Mrs Murray,
which I do more humbly; for the result of a prolonged course of your novels is to make us inclined not only to like yourself, but your wife: a man’s wife gets into his fiction, for better, for worse.
Some day, I hope we may meet, and an now,
Your truly obliged reader
Robert Louis Stevenson
For Heaven’s sake, don’t answer this: I know what a business it is; only, when you hear I am back, and have a chance, be as kindly as your books and come to see me.