“The Master is finished, and I am quite a wreck and do not care for literature”

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Graham Balfour. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter see Mehew 6, 2171.]

To his Mother [Balfour, II, pp. 64, 67]

Honolulu [? 20 May 1889]

[…] I had been twice to lunch on board [scil.: of the Cormorant], and H.B.M.’s seamen are making us hammocks;

Naval hammocks [https://sites.google.com]

so we are very naval. But alas, the Cormorant is only waiting her relief, and I fear there are not two ships of that stamp in all the navies of the world.


HMS Cormorant was an Osprey-class sloop launched at Chatham in 1877. The Osprey class were of composite construction, with wooden hulls over an iron frame. T he primary purpose of ships of the class was to maintain British naval dominance through trade protection, anti-slavery, and surveying. In 1879 she served on the Australia Station, in April 1886 she was on the Pacific Station, and became a receiving ship at Gibraltar on 1889 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

The Master is finished, and I am quite a wreck and do not care for literature.

The first edition cover of ‘The Master of Ballantrae’, published by Cassel in 1889 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]
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