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“We are the cranks of a huge machine – I do believe – of righteousness”

This next letter was written at sea on an expedition to Sydney at the beginning of 1891. Only some paragraphs of it were printed by Colvin, the rest consisting, as he said, “of a sermon or vehement remonstrance against certain … Continue reading

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“I do not so far deceive myself as to think I should change my character by changing my epoch”

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1693.] To Theodor Watts-Dunton [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 347-348] Skerryvore, Bournemouth [Early September 1886] Dear Mr. Watts, The sight of the last Athenaeum reminds me of you, and of … Continue reading

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Whether on the first of January or the thirty-first of December, faith is a good word to end on

[As usual, for correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1508.] To Alison Cunningham [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 305-306] [Skerryvore, Bournemouth] Jan. 1st, 1886 My dear Kinnicum,   I am a very bad dog, but not for … Continue reading

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I spy a little bright cafe in one corner of the port, in front of which I now propose we should sit down

There is no certain clue to the date of the following; neither has it been possible to make sure what was the enclosure mentioned. The special illness referred to seems to be that of the beginning of May 1884. [Dots … Continue reading

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In not many years shall we not all be clay-cold and safe below ground, you with your loud-mouthed integrity, I with my fastidious briskness

This refers to some dispute which had arisen between Henley and the editor W.H. Pollock concerning the refusal of an article on the great Italian actor Tommaso Salvini, who was appearing in plays in London. “Fastidious Brisk” was a name … Continue reading

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The truth is I have no appearance; a certain air of disreputability is the one constant character that my face presents: the rest change like water

During the height of the Provençal summer, 1883, RLS went with his wife to the Baths of Royat in Auvergne (travelling necessarily by way of Clermont-Ferrand, Hôtel de la Poste). His parents joined them at Royat for part of their … Continue reading

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You just indulge the pleasure of your heart, that’s all; no trouble, no strain

The following records the beginning of work upon Treasure Island, the name originally proposed for which was the Sea Cook. Lloyd (Fanny’s son, then aged 13) on holiday from school had joined the Stevensons at Braemar. Treasure Island had its … Continue reading

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You know I was a story-teller ingrain; did not that reassure you?

  The volume of studies was eventually called Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882), and the one of the essays Virginibus Puerisque (1881). The essays here mentioned on Benjamin Franklin and William Penn were projects long cherished but in … Continue reading

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I do not think many wives are better loved than mine will be

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 682.] To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1912, pp. 132-135] 608 Bush Street, San Francisco, California, Jan. 23, … Continue reading

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People must be themselves, I suppose

In 1875, Frances (Fanny) Van de Grift Osbourne (1840-1914), estranged from her American husband, had taken her children to France, where she and her daughter Belle would be pursuing their art studies. RLS met Fanny at Grez-sur-Loing in 1876, and  … Continue reading

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