Tag Archives: language

We were all in a buck basket about halfway between the swing and the gate

RLS’s cousin, Henrietta Traquair (1850-1902), had been reading Penny Whistles (‘family’ edition of “A Child’s Garden of Verses”) and recognised herself and her brother Willie in the poem ‘A Pirate Story’. Henrietta lived in Colinton Road, Edinburgh, and had married … 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 know what a lazy rascal I am

Alison Cunningham, daughter of a weaver of Torryburn, Fife, became RLS’s ‘good nurse’ when he was 18 months old. He was highly influenced by her in his childhood and remained devoted to her, all his life. [As usual, dots between … Continue reading

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The whole necessary morality is kindness

[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 766.] To his mother [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 24-26] [Davos], December 26, 1880. Christmas Sermon My … Continue reading

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What fun we could have, if we were all well, what work we could do, what a happy place we could make it for each other!

RLS was reading up for his history book of the Highlands. The project was eventually abandoned, but he used his research when he came to write his novel Kidnapped (published in 1886). [Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by … Continue reading

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I was an Archangel once

The expression ‘coign of vantage’ is from Macbeth I, VI, 7. The ‘ineffable aurore’ is from V. Hugo’s L’Année Terrible, 1872. [As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sir Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition … Continue reading

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