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Vailima Letters by Robert Louis Stevenson

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I suppose you're right about Simon. But it is Symon
throughout in that blessed little volume my father bought for
me in Inverness in the year of grace '81, I believe - the
trial of James Stewart, with the Jacobite pamphlet and the
dying speech appended - out of which the whole of Davie has
already been begotten, and which I felt it a kind of loyalty
to follow. I really ought to have it bound in velvet and
gold, if I had any gratitude! and the best of the lark is,
that the name of David Balfour is not anywhere within the
bounds of it.

A pretty curious instance of the genesis of a book. I am
delighted at your good word for DAVID; I believe the two
together make up much the best of my work and perhaps of what
is in me. I am not ashamed of them, at least. There is one
hitch; instead of three hours between the two parts, I fear
there have passed three years over Davie's character; but do
not tell anybody; see if they can find it out for themselves;
and no doubt his experiences in KIDNAPPED would go far to
form him. I would like a copy to go to G. Meredith.


Well, here is a new move. It is likely I may start with
Graham next week and go to Honolulu to meet the other steamer
and return: I do believe a fortnight at sea would do me good;
yet I am not yet certain. The crowded UP-steamer sticks in
my throat.


Yesterday was perhaps the brightest in the annals of Vailima.
I got leave from Captain Bickford to have the band of the
KATOOMBA come up, and they came, fourteen of 'em, with drum,
fife, cymbals and bugles, blue jackets, white caps, and
smiling faces. The house was all decorated with scented
greenery above and below. We had not only our own nine out-
door workers, but a contract party that we took on in charity
to pay their war-fine; the band besides, as it came up the
mountain, had collected a following of children by the way,
and we had a picking of Samoan ladies to receive them.
Chicken, ham, cake, and fruits were served out with coffee
and lemonade, and all the afternoon we had rounds of claret
negus flavoured with rum and limes. They played to us, they
danced, they sang, they tumbled. Our boys came in the end of
the verandah and gave THEM a dance for a while. It was
anxious work getting this stopped once it had begun, but I
knew the band was going on a programme. Finally they gave
three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, shook hands, formed up
and marched off playing - till a kicking horse in the paddock
put their pipes out something of the suddenest - we thought
the big drum was gone, but Simele flew to the rescue. And so
they wound away down the hill with ever another call of the
bugle, leaving us extinct with fatigue, but perhaps the most
contented hosts that ever watched the departure of successful
guests. Simply impossible to tell how well these blue-
jackets behaved; a most interesting lot of men; this
education of boys for the navy is making a class, wholly
apart - how shall I call them? - a kind of lower-class public
school boy, well-mannered, fairly intelligent, sentimental as
a sailor. What is more shall be writ on board ship if

Please send CATRIONA to G. Meredith.


To-morrow I reach Honolulu. Good-morning to your honour. R.
L. S.


OCT. 23rd, 1893.

DEAR COLVIN, - My wife came up on the steamer and we go home
together in 2 days. I am practically all right, only sleepy
and tired easily, slept yesterday from 11 to 11.45, from 1 to
2.50, went to bed at 8 P.M., and with an hour's interval
slept till 6 A.M., close upon 14 hours out of the 24. We
sail to-morrow. I am anxious to get home, though this has
been an interesting visit, and politics have been curious
indeed to study. We go to P.P.C. on the 'Queen' this
morning; poor, recluse lady, ABREUVEE D'INJURES QU'ELLE EST.
Had a rather annoying lunch on board the American man-of-war,
with a member of the P.G. (provincial government); and a good
deal of anti-royalist talk, which I had to sit out - not only
for my host's sake, but my fellow guests. At last, I took
the lead and changed the conversation.

R. L. S.

I am being busted here by party named Hutchinson. Seems


Home again, and found all well, thank God. I am perfectly
well again and ruddier than the cherry. Please note that
8000 is not bad for a volume of short stories; the MERRY MEN
did a good deal worse; the short story never sells. I hope
CATRIONA will do; that is the important. The reviews seem
mixed and perplexed, and one had the peculiar virtue to make
me angry. I am in a fair way to expiscate my family history.
Fanny and I had a lovely voyage down, with our new C. J. and
the American Land Commissioner, and on the whole, and for
these disgusting steamers, a pleasant ship's company. I
cannot understand why you don't take to the Hawaii scheme.
Do you understand? You cross the Atlantic in six days, and
go from 'Frisco to Honolulu in seven. Thirteen days at sea
IN ALL. - I have no wish to publish THE EBB TIDE as a book,
let it wait. It will look well in the portfolio. I would
like a copy, of course, for that end; and to 'look upon't
again' - which I scarce dare.


This is disgraceful. I have done nothing; neither work nor
letters. On the Me (May) day, we had a great triumph; our
Protestant boys, instead of going with their own villages and
families, went of their own accord in the Vailima uniform;
Belle made coats for them on purpose to complete the uniform,
they having bought the stuff; and they were hailed as they
marched in as the Tama-ona - the rich man's children. This
is really a score; it means that Vailima is publicly taken as
a family. Then we had my birthday feast a week late, owing
to diarrhoea on the proper occasion. The feast was laid in
the Hall, and was a singular mass of food: 15 pigs, 100 lbs.
beef, 100 lbs. pork, and the fruit and filigree in a
proportion. We had sixty horse-posts driven in the gate
paddock; how many guests I cannot guess, perhaps 150. They
came between three and four and left about seven. Seumanu
gave me one of his names; and when my name was called at the
ava drinking, behold, it was AU MAI TAUA MA MANU-VAO! You
would scarce recognise me, if you heard me thus referred to!

Two days after, we hired a carriage in Apia, Fanny, Belle,
Lloyd and I, and drove in great style, with a native
outrider, to the prison; a huge gift of ava and tobacco under
the seats. The prison is now under the PULE of an Austrian,
Captain Wurmbrand, a soldier of fortune in Servia and Turkey,
a charming, clever, kindly creature, who is adored by 'HIS
chiefs' (as he calls them) meaning OUR political prisoners.
And we came into the yard, walled about with tinned iron, and
drank ava with the prisoners and the captain. It may amuse
you to hear how it is proper to drink ava. When the cup is
handed you, you reach your arm out somewhat behind you, and
slowly pour a libation, saying with somewhat the manner of
NEI.' 'Be it (high-chief) partaken of by the God. How (high
chief) beautiful to view is this (high chief) gathering.'
This pagan practice is very queer. I should say that the
prison ava was of that not very welcome form that we
elegantly call spit-ava, but of course there was no escape,
and it had to be drunk. Fanny and I rode home, and I
moralised by the way. Could we ever stand Europe again? did
she appreciate that if we were in London, we should be
ACTUALLY JOSTLED in the street? and there was nobody in the
whole of Britain who knew how to take ava like a gentleman?
'Tis funny to be thus of two civilisations - or, if you like,
of one civilisation and one barbarism. And, as usual, the
barbarism is the more engaging.

Colvin, you have to come here and see us in our { native /
mortal } spot. I just don't seem to be able to make up my
mind to your not coming. By this time, you will have seen
Graham, I hope, and he will be able to tell you something
about us, and something reliable, I shall feel for the first
time as if you knew a little about Samoa after that. Fanny
seems to be in the right way now. I must say she is very,
very well for her, and complains scarce at all. Yesterday,
she went down SOLA (at least accompanied by a groom) to pay a
visit; Belle, Lloyd and I went a walk up the mountain road -
the great public highway of the island, where you have to go
single file. The object was to show Belle that gaudy valley
of the Vaisigano which the road follows. If the road is to
be made and opened, as our new Chief Justice promises, it
will be one of the most beautiful roads in the world. But
the point is this: I forgot I had been three months in
civilisation, wearing shoes and stockings, and I tell you I
suffered on my soft feet; coming home, down hill, on that
stairway of loose stones, I could have cried. O yes, another
story, I knew I had. The house boys had not been behaving
well, so the other night I announced a FONO, and Lloyd and I
went into the boys' quarters, and I talked to them I suppose
for half an hour, and Talolo translated; Lloyd was there
principally to keep another ear on the interpreter; else
there may be dreadful misconceptions. I rubbed all their
ears, except two whom I particularly praised; and one man's
wages I announced I had cut down by one half. Imagine his
taking this smiling! Ever since, he has been specially
attentive and greets me with a face of really heavenly
brightness. This is another good sign of their really and
fairly accepting me as a chief. When I first came here, if I
had fined a man a sixpence, he would have quit work that
hour, and now I remove half his income, and he is glad to
stay on - nay, does not seem to entertain the possibility of
leaving. And this in the face of one particular difficulty -
I mean our house in the bush, and no society, and no women
society within decent reach.

I think I must give you our staff in a tabular form.


+ o SOSIMO, provost and butler, and my valet.

o MISIFOLO, who is Fanny and Belle's chamberlain.


+ o TALOLO, provost and chief cook.

+ o IOPU, second cook.

TALI, his wife, no wages.

TI'A, Samoan cook.

FEILOA'I, his child, no wages, likewise no work - Belle's

+ o LEUELU, Fanny's boy, gardener, odd jobs.


+ ELIGA, washman and daily errand man.


+ o HENRY SIMELE, provost and overseas of outside boys.




PULU, who is also our talking man and cries the ava.

The crosses mark out the really excellent boys. Ti'a is the
man who has just been fined half his wages; he is a beautiful
old man, the living image of 'Fighting Gladiator,' my
favourite statue - but a dreadful humbug. I think we keep
him on a little on account of his looks. This sign o marks
those who have been two years or upwards in the family. I
note all my old boys have the cross of honour, except
Misifolo; well, poor dog, he does his best, I suppose. You
should see him scour. It is a remark that has often been
made by visitors: you never see a Samoan run, except at
Vailima. Do you not suppose that makes me proud?

I am pleased to see what a success THE WRECKER was, having
already in little more than a year outstripped THE MASTER OF

About DAVID BALFOUR in two volumes, do see that they make it
a decent-looking book, and tell me, do you think a little
historical appendix would be of service? Lang bleats for
one, and I thought I might address it to him as a kind of
open letter.


No time after all. Good-bye.

R. L S.


MY DEAR COLVIN, - One page out of my picture book I must give
you. Fine burning day; half past two P.M. We four begin to
rouse up from reparatory slumbers, yawn, and groan, get a cup
of tea, and miserably dress: we have had a party the day
before, X'mas Day, with all the boys absent but one, and
latterly two; we had cooked all day long, a cold dinner, and
lo! at two our guests began to arrive, though dinner was not
till six; they were sixteen, and fifteen slept the night and
breakfasted. Conceive, then, how unwillingly we climb on our
horses and start off in the hottest part of the afternoon to
ride 4 and a half miles, attend a native feast in the gaol,
and ride four and a half miles back. But there is no help
for it. I am a sort of father of the political prisoners,
and have CHARGE D'AMES in that riotously absurd
establishment, Apia Gaol. The twenty-three (I think it is)
chiefs act as under gaolers. The other day they told the
Captain of an attempt to escape. One of the lesser political
prisoners the other day effected a swift capture, while the
Captain was trailing about with the warrant; the man came to
see what was wanted; came, too, flanked by the former gaoler;
my prisoner offers to show him the dark cell, shoves him in,
and locks the door. 'Why do you do that?' cries the former
gaoler. 'A warrant,' says he. Finally, the chiefs actually
feed the soldiery who watch them!

The gaol is a wretched little building, containing a little
room, and three cells, on each side of a central passage; it
is surrounded by a fence of corrugated iron, and shows, over
the top of that, only a gable end with the inscription O LE
FALE PUIPUI. It is on the edge of the mangrove swamp, and is
reached by a sort of causeway of turf. When we drew near, we
saw the gates standing open and a prodigious crowd outside -
I mean prodigious for Apia, perhaps a hundred and fifty
people. The two sentries at the gate stood to arms
passively, and there seemed to be a continuous circulation
inside and out. The captain came to meet us; our boy, who
had been sent ahead was there to take the horses; and we
passed inside the court which was full of food, and rang
continuously to the voice of the caller of gifts; I had to
blush a little later when my own present came, and I heard my
one pig and eight miserable pine-apples being counted out
like guineas. In the four corners of the yard and along one
wall, there are make-shift, dwarfish, Samoan houses or huts,
which have been run up since Captain Wurmbrand came to
accommodate the chiefs. Before that they were all crammed
into the six cells, and locked in for the night, some of them
with dysentery. They are wretched constructions enough, but
sanctified by the presence of chiefs. We heard a man
corrected loudly to-day for saying 'FALE' of one of them;
'MAOTA,' roared the highest chief present - 'palace.' About
eighteen chiefs, gorgeously arrayed, stood up to greet us,
and led us into one of these MAOTAS, where you may be sure we
had to crouch, almost to kneel, to enter, and where a row of
pretty girls occupied one side to make the ava (kava). The
highest chief present was a magnificent man, as high chiefs
usually are; I find I cannot describe him; his face is full
of shrewdness and authority; his figure like Ajax; his name
Auilua. He took the head of the building and put Belle on
his right hand. Fanny was called first for the ava (kava).
Our names were called in English style, the high-chief wife
of Mr. St- (an unpronounceable something); Mrs. Straw, and
the like. And when we went into the other house to eat, we
found we were seated alternately with chiefs about the -
table, I was about to say, but rather floor. Everything was
to be done European style with a vengeance! We were the only
whites present, except Wurmbrand, and still I had no
suspicion of the truth. They began to take off their ulas
(necklaces of scarlet seeds) and hang them about our necks;
we politely resisted, and were told that the King (who had
stopped off their SIVA) had sent down to the prison a message
to the effect that he was to give a dinner to-morrow, and
wished their second-hand ulas for it. Some of them were
content; others not. There was a ring of anger in the boy's
voice, as he told us we were to wear them past the King's
house. Dinner over, I must say they are moderate eaters at a
feast, we returned to the ava house; and then the curtain
drew suddenly up upon the set scene. We took our seats, and
Auilua began to give me a present, recapitulating each
article as he gave it out, with some appropriate comment. He
called me several times 'their only friend,' said they were
all in slavery, had no money, and these things were all made
by the hands of their families - nothing bought; he had one
phrase, in which I heard his voice rise up to a note of
triumph: 'This is a present from the poor prisoners to the
rich man.' Thirteen pieces of tapa, some of them
surprisingly fine, one I think unique; thirty fans of every
shape and colour; a kava cup, etc., etc. At first Auilua
conducted the business with weighty gravity; but before the
end of the thirty fans, his comments began to be humorous.
When it came to a little basket, he said: 'Here was a little
basket for Tusitala to put sixpence in, when he could get
hold of one' - with a delicious grimace. I answered as best
as I was able through a miserable interpreter; and all the
while, as I went on, I heard the crier outside in the court
calling my gift of food, which I perceived was to be
Gargantuan. I had brought but three boys with me. It was
plain that they were wholly overpowered. We proposed to send
for our gifts on the morrow; but no, said the interpreter,
that would never do; they must go away to-day, Mulinuu must
see my porters taking away the gifts, - 'make 'em jella,'
quoth the interpreter. And I began to see the reason of this
really splendid gift; one half, gratitude to me - one half, a
wipe at the King.

And now, to introduce darker colours, you must know this
visit of mine to the gaol was just a little bit risky; we had
several causes for anxiety; it MIGHT have been put up, to
connect with a Tamasese rising. Tusitala and his family
would be good hostages. On the other hand, there were the
Mulinuu people all about. We could see the anxiety of
Captain Wurmbrand, no less anxious to have us go, than he had
been to see us come; he was deadly white and plainly had a
bad headache, in the noisy scene. Presently, the noise grew
uproarious; there was a rush at the gate - a rush in, not a
rush out - where the two sentries still stood passive; Auilua
leaped from his place (it was then that I got the name of
Ajax for him) and the next moment we heard his voice roaring
and saw his mighty figure swaying to and fro in the hurly-
burly. As the deuce would have it, we could not understand a
word of what was going on. It might be nothing more than the
ordinary 'grab racket' with which a feast commonly concludes;
it might be something worse. We made what arrangements we
could for my tapa, fans, etc., as well as for my five pigs,
my masses of fish, taro, etc., and with great dignity, and
ourselves laden with ulas and other decorations, passed
between the sentries among the howling mob to our horses.
All's well that ends well. Owing to Fanny and Belle, we had
to walk; and, as Lloyd said, 'he had at last ridden in a
circus.' The whole length of Apia we paced our triumphal
progress, past the King's palace, past the German firm at
Sogi - you can follow it on the map - amidst admiring
exclamations of 'MAWAIA' - beautiful - it may be rendered 'O
my! ain't they dandy' - until we turned up at last into our
road as the dusk deepened into night. It was really
exciting. And there is one thing sure: no such feast was
ever made for a single family, and no such present ever given
to a single white man. It is something to have been the hero
of it. And whatever other ingredients there were,
undoubtedly gratitude was present. As money value I have
actually gained on the transaction!

Your note arrived; little profit, I must say. Scott has
already put his nose in, in ST. IVES, sir; but his appearance
is not yet complete; nothing is in that romance, except the
story. I have to announce that I am off work, probably for
six months. I must own that I have overworked bitterly -
overworked - there, that's legible. My hand is a thing that
was, and in the meanwhile so are my brains. And here, in the
very midst, comes a plausible scheme to make Vailima pay,
which will perhaps let me into considerable expense just when
I don't want it. You know the vast cynicism of my view of
affairs, and how readily and (as some people say) with how
much gusto I take the darker view?

Why do you not send me Jerome K. Jerome's paper, and let me
see THE EBB TIDE as a serial? It is always very important to
see a thing in different presentments. I want every number.
Politically we begin the new year with every expectation of a
bust in 2 or 3 days, a bust which may spell destruction to
Samoa. I have written to Baxter about his proposal.


JAN. 29TH, 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - I had fully intended for your education and
moral health to fob you off with the meanest possible letter
this month, and unfortunately I find I will have to treat you
to a good long account of matters here. I believe I have
told you before about Tui-ma-le-alii-fano and my taking him
down to introduce him to the Chief Justice. Well, Tui came
back to Vailima one day in the blackest sort of spirits,
saying the war was decided, that he also must join in the
fight, and that there was no hope whatever of success. He
must fight as a point of honour for his family and country;
and in his case, even if he escaped on the field of battle,
deportation was the least to be looked for. He said he had a
letter of complaint from the Great Council of A'ana which he
wished to lay before the Chief Justice; and he asked me to
accompany him as if I were his nurse. We went down about
dinner time; and by the way received from a lurking native
the famous letter in an official blue envelope gummed up to
the edges. It proved to be a declaration of war, quite
formal, but with some variations that really made you bounce.
White residents were directly threatened, bidden to have
nothing to do with the King's party, not to receive their
goods in their houses, etc., under pain of an accident.
However, the Chief Justice took it very wisely and mildly,
and between us, he and I and Tui made up a plan which has
proved successful - so far. The war is over - fifteen chiefs
are this morning undergoing a curious double process of law,
comparable to a court martial; in which their complaints are
to be considered, and if possible righted, while their
conduct is to be criticised, perhaps punished. Up to now,
therefore, it has been a most successful policy; but the
danger is before us. My own feeling would decidedly be that
all would be spoiled by a single execution. The great hope
after all lies in the knotless, rather flaccid character of
the people. These are no Maoris. All the powers that
Cedarcrantz let go by disuse the new C. J. is stealthily and
boldly taking back again; perhaps some others also. He has
shamed the chiefs in Mulinuu into a law against taking heads,
with a punishment of six years' imprisonment and, for a
chief, degradation. To him has been left the sole conduct of
this anxious and decisive inquiry. If the natives stand it,
why, well! But I am nervous.


FEB. 1894.

DEAR COLVIN, - By a reaction, when your letter is a little
decent, mine is to be naked and unashamed. We have been much
exercised. No one can prophesy here, of course, and the
balance still hangs trembling, but I THINK it will go for

The mail was very late this time; hence the paltryness of
this note. When it came and I had read it, I retired with
THE EBB TIDE and read it all before I slept. I did not dream
it was near as good; I am afraid I think it excellent. A
little indecision about Attwater, not much. It gives me
great hope, as I see I CAN work in that constipated, mosaic
manner, which is what I have to do just now with WEIR OF

We have given a ball; I send you a paper describing the
event. We have two guests in the house, Captain-Count
Wurmbrand and Monsieur Albert de Lautreppe. Lautreppe is
awfully nice - a quiet, gentlemanly fellow, GONFLE DE REVES,
as he describes himself - once a sculptor in the atelier of
Henry Crosse, he knows something of art, and is really a
resource to me.

Letter from Meredith very kind. Have you seen no more of

What about my grandfather? The family history will grow to
be quite a chapter.

I suppose I am growing sensitive; perhaps, by living among
barbarians, I expect more civility. Look at this from the
author of a very interesting and laudatory critique. He
gives quite a false description of something of mine, and
talks about my 'insolence.' Frankly, I supposed 'insolence'
to be a tapua word. I do not use it to a gentleman, I would
not write it of a gentleman: I may be wrong, but I believe we
did not write it of a gentleman in old days, and in my view
he (clever fellow as he is) wants to be kicked for applying
it to me. By writing a novel - even a bad one - I do not
make myself a criminal for anybody to insult. This may amuse
you. But either there is a change in journalism, too gradual
for you to remark it on the spot, or there is a change in me.
I cannot bear these phrases; I long to resent them. My
forbears, the tenant farmers of the Mains, would not have
suffered such expressions unless it had been from Cauldwell,
or Rowallan, or maybe Auchendrane. My Family Pride bristles.
I am like the negro, 'I just heard last night' who my great,
great, great, great grandfather was. - Ever yours,

R. L. S.


MARCH 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - This is the very day the mail goes, and I
have as yet written you nothing. But it was just as well -
as it was all about my 'blacks and chocolates,' and what of
it had relation to whites you will read some of in the TIMES.
It means, as you will see, that I have at one blow quarrelled
with all the officials of Samoa, the Foreign Office, and I
suppose her Majesty the Queen with milk and honey blest. But
you'll see in the TIMES. I am very well indeed, but just
about dead and mighty glad the mail is near here, and I can
just give up all hope of contending with my letters, and lie
down for the rest of the day. These TIMES letters are not
easy to write. And I dare say the Consuls say, 'Why, then,
does he write them?'

I had miserable luck with ST. IVES; being already half-way
through it, a book I had ordered six months ago arrives at
last, and I have to change the first half of it from top to
bottom! How could I have dreamed the French prisoners were
watched over like a female charity school, kept in a
grotesque livery, and shaved twice a week? And I had made
all my points on the idea that they were unshaved and clothed
anyhow. However, this last is better business; if only the
book had come when I ordered it! A PROPOS, many of the books
you announce don't come as a matter of fact. When they are
of any value, it is best to register them. Your letter,
alas! is not here; I sent it down to the cottage, with all my
mail, for Fanny; on Sunday night a boy comes up with a
lantern and a note from Fanny, to say the woods are full of
Atuas and I must bring a horse down that instant, as the
posts are established beyond her on the road, and she does
not want to have the fight going on between us. Impossible
to get a horse; so I started in the dark on foot, with a
revolver, and my spurs on my bare feet, leaving directions
that the boy should mount after me with the horse. Try such
an experience on Our Road once, and do it, if you please,
after you have been down town from nine o'clock till six, on
board the ship-of-war lunching, teaching Sunday School (I
actually do) and making necessary visits; and the Saturday
before, having sat all day from half past six to half-past
four, scriving at my TIMES letter. About half-way up, just
in fact at 'point' of the outposts, I met Fanny coming up.
Then all night long I was being wakened with scares that
really should be looked into, though I KNEW there was nothing
in them and no bottom to the whole story; and the drums and
shouts and cries from Tanugamanono and the town keeping up an
all night corybantic chorus in the moonlight - the moon rose
late - and the search-light of the war-ship in the harbour
making a jewel of brightness as it lit up the bay of Apia in
the distance. And then next morning, about eight o'clock, a
drum coming out of the woods and a party of patrols who had
been in the woods on our left front (which is our true rear)
coming up to the house, and meeting there another party who
had been in the woods on our right { front / rear } which is
Vaea Mountain, and 43 of them being entertained to ava and
biscuits on the verandah, and marching off at last in single
file for Apia. Briefly, it is not much wonder if your letter
and my whole mail was left at the cottage, and I have no
means of seeing or answering particulars.

The whole thing was nothing but a bottomless scare; it was
OBVIOUSLY so; you couldn't make a child believe it was
anything else, but it has made the Consuls sit up. My own
private scares were really abominably annoying; as for
instance after I had got to sleep for the ninth time perhaps
- and that was no easy matter either, for I had a crick in my
neck so agonising that I had to sleep sitting up - I heard
noises as of a man being murdered in the boys' house. To be
sure, said I, this is nothing again, but if a man's head was
being taken, the noises would be the same! So I had to get
up, stifle my cries of agony from the crick, get my revolver,
and creep out stealthily to the boys' house. And there were
two of them sitting up, keeping watch of their own accord
like good boys, and whiling the time over a game of Sweepi
(Cascino - the whist of our islanders) - and one of them was
our champion idiot, Misifolo, and I suppose he was holding
bad cards, and losing all the time - and these noises were
his humorous protests against Fortune!

Well, excuse this excursion into my 'blacks and chocolates.'
It is the last. You will have heard from Lysaght how I
failed to write last mail. The said Lysaght seems to me a
very nice fellow. We were only sorry he could not stay with
us longer. Austin came back from school last week, which
made a great time for the Amanuensis, you may be sure. Then
on Saturday, the CURACOA came in - same commission, with all
our old friends; and on Sunday, as already mentioned, Austin
and I went down to service and had lunch afterwards in the
wardroom. The officers were awfully nice to Austin; they are
the most amiable ship in the world; and after lunch we had a
paper handed round on which we were to guess, and sign our
guess, of the number of leaves on the pine-apple; I never saw
this game before, but it seems it is much practised in the
Queen's Navee. When all have betted, one of the party begins
to strip the pine-apple head, and the person whose guess is
furthest out has to pay for the sherry. My equanimity was
disturbed by shouts of THE AMERICAN COMMODORE, and I found
that Austin had entered and lost about a bottle of sherry!
He turned with great composure and addressed me. 'I am
afraid I must look to you, Uncle Louis.' The Sunday School
racket is only an experiment which I took up at the request
of the late American Land Commissioner; I am trying it for a
month, and if I do as ill as I believe, and the boys find it
only half as tedious as I do, I think it will end in a month.
I have CARTE BLANCHE, and say what I like; but does any
single soul understand me?

Fanny is on the whole very much better. Lloyd has been under
the weather, and goes for a month to the South Island of New
Zealand for some skating, save the mark! I get all the
skating I want among officials.

Dear Colvin, please remember that my life passes among my
'blacks or chocolates.' If I were to do as you propose, in a
bit of a tiff, it would cut you off entirely from my life.
You must try to exercise a trifle of imagination, and put
yourself, perhaps with an effort, into some sort of sympathy
with these people, or how am I to write to you? I think you
are truly a little too Cockney with me. - Ever yours,



VAILIMA, MAY 18TH, 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - Your proposals for the Edinburgh edition
are entirely to my mind. About the AMATEUR EMIGRANT, it
shall go to you by this mail well slashed. If you like to
slash some more on your own account, I give you permission.
'Tis not a great work; but since it goes to make up the two
first volumes as proposed, I presume it has not been written
in vain. - MISCELLANIES. I see with some alarm the proposal
to print JUVENILIA; does it not seem to you taking myself a
little too much as Grandfather William? I am certainly not
so young as I once was - a lady took occasion to remind me of
the fact no later agone than last night. 'Why don't you
leave that to the young men, Mr. Stevenson?' said she - but
when I remember that I felt indignant at even John Ruskin
when he did something of the kind I really feel myself blush
from head to heel. If you want to make up the first volume,
there are a good many works which I took the trouble to
prepare for publication and which have never been
republished. In addition to ROADS and DANCING CHILDREN,
referred to by you, there is an Autumn effect in the
name of it - in CORNHILL. I have no objection to any of
these being edited, say with a scythe, and reproduced. But I
heartily abominate and reject the idea of reprinting the
PENTLAND RISING. For God's sake let me get buried first.

TALES AND FANTASIES. Vols. I. and II. have my hearty
approval. But I think III. and IV. had better be crammed
into one as you suggest. I will reprint none of the stories
mentioned. They are below the mark. Well, I dare say the
beastly BODY-SNATCHER has merit, and I am unjust to it from
my recollections of the PALL MALL. But the other two won't
do. For vols. V. and VI., now changed into IV. and V., I
propose the common title of SOUTH SEA YARNS. There! These
are all my differences of opinion. I agree with every detail
of your arrangement, and, as you see, my objections have
turned principally on the question of hawking unripe fruit.
I daresay it is all pretty green, but that is no reason for
us to fill the barrow with trash. Think of having a new set
of type cast, paper especially made, etc., in order to set up
rubbish that is not fit for the SATURDAY SCOTSMAN. It would
be the climax of shame.

I am sending you a lot of verses, which had best, I think, be
called UNDERWOODS Book III., but in what order are they to
go? Also, I am going on every day a little, till I get sick
of it, with the attempt to get the EMIGRANT compressed into
life; I know I can - or you can after me - do it. It is only
a question of time and prayer and ink, and should leave
something, no, not good, but not all bad - a very genuine
appreciation of these folks. You are to remember besides
there is that paper of mine on Bunyan in THE MAGAZINE OF ART.
O, and then there's another thing in SEELEY called some
spewsome name, I cannot recall it.

Well - come, here goes for JUVENILIA. DANCING INFANTS,
at the end of them, as it's really rather riper), the t'other
thing from SEELEY, and I'll tell you, you may put in my
letter to the Church of Scotland - it's not written amiss,
and I daresay the PHILOSOPHY OF UMBRELLAS might go in, but
there I stick - and remember THAT was a collaboration with
James Walter Ferrier. O, and there was a little skit called
the CHARITY BAZAAR, which you might see; I don't think it
would do. Now, I do not think there are two other words that
should be printed. - By the way, there is an article of mine
might find room for somewhere; it is no' bad.

Very busy with all these affairs and some native ones also.


VAILIMA, June 18th, 94.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - You are to please understand that my last
letter is withdrawn unconditionally. You and Baxter are
having all the trouble of this Edition, and I simply put
myself in your hands for you to do what you like with me, and
I am sure that will be the best, at any rate. Hence you are
to conceive me withdrawing all objections to your printing
anything you please. After all it is a sort of family
affair. About the Miscellany Section, both plans seem to me
quite good. Toss up. I think the OLD GARDENER has to stay
where I put him last. It would not do to separate John and

In short, I am only sorry I ever uttered a word about the
edition, and leave you to be the judge. I have had a vile
cold which has prostrated me for more than a fortnight, and
even now tears me nightly with spasmodic coughs; but it has
been a great victory. I have never borne a cold with so
little hurt; wait till the clouds blow by, before you begin
to boast! I have had no fever; and though I've been very
unhappy, it is nigh over, I think. Of course, ST. IVES has
paid the penalty. I must not let you be disappointed in ST.
I. It is a mere tissue of adventures; the central figure not
very well or very sharply drawn; no philosophy, no destiny,
to it; some of the happenings very good in themselves, I
believe, but none of them BILDENDE, none of them
constructive, except in so far perhaps as they make up a kind
of sham picture of the time, all in italics and all out of
drawing. Here and there, I think, it is well written; and
here and there it's not. Some of the episodic characters are
amusing, I do believe; others not, I suppose. However, they
are the best of the thing such as it is. If it has a merit
to it, I should say it was a sort of deliberation and swing
to the style, which seems to me to suit the mail-coaches and
post-chaises with which it sounds all through. 'Tis my most
prosaic book.

I called on the two German ships now in port, and we are
quite friendly with them, and intensely friendly of course
with our own CURACOAS. But it is other guess work on the
beach. Some one has employed, or subsidised, one of the
local editors to attack me once a week. He is pretty
scurrilous and pretty false. The first effect of the perusal
of the weekly Beast is to make me angry; the second is a kind
of deep, golden content and glory, when I seem to say to
people: 'See! this is my position - I am a plain man dwelling
in the bush in a house, and behold they have to get up this
kind of truck against me - and I have so much influence that
they are obliged to write a weekly article to say I have

By this time you must have seen Lysaght and forgiven me the
letter that came not at all. He was really so nice a fellow
- he had so much to tell me of Meredith - and the time was so
short - that I gave up the intervening days between mails
entirely to entertain him.

We go on pretty nicely. Fanny, Belle, and I have had two
months alone, and it has been very pleasant. But by to-
morrow or next day noon, we shall see the whole clan
assembled again about Vailima table, which will be pleasant
too; seven persons in all, and the Babel of voices will be
heard again in the big hall so long empty and silent. Good-
bye. Love to all. Time to close. - Yours ever,

R. L. S.


JULY, 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - I have to thank you this time for a very
good letter, and will announce for the future, though I
cannot now begin to put in practice, good intentions for our
correspondence. I will try to return to the old system and
write from time to time during the month; but truly you did
not much encourage me to continue! However, that is all by-
past. I do not know that there is much in your letter that
calls for answer. Your questions about ST. IVES were
practically answered in my last; so were your wails about the
edition, AMATEUR EMIGRANT, etc. By the end of the year ST.
I. will be practically finished, whatever it be worth, and
that I know not. When shall I receive proofs of the MAGNUM
OPUS? or shall I receive them at all?

The return of the Amanuensis feebly lightens my heart. You
can see the heavy weather I was making of it with my unaided
pen. The last month has been particularly cheery largely
owing to the presence of our good friends the CURACOAS. She
is really a model ship, charming officers and charming
seamen. They gave a ball last month, which was very rackety
and joyous and naval. . . .

On the following day, about one o'clock, three horsemen might
have been observed approaching Vailima, who gradually
resolved themselves into two petty officers and a native
guide. Drawing himself up and saluting, the spokesman (a
corporal of Marines) addressed me thus. 'Me and my shipmates
inwites Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Strong, Mr. Austin, and
Mr. Balfour to a ball to be given to-night in the self-same
'all.' It was of course impossible to refuse, though I
contented myself with putting in a very brief appearance.
One glance was sufficient; the ball went off like a rocket
from the start. I had only time to watch Belle careering
around with a gallant bluejacket of exactly her own height -
the standard of the British navy - an excellent dancer and
conspicuously full of small-talk - and to hear a remark from
a beach-comber, 'It's a nice sight this some way, to see the
officers dancing like this with the men, but I tell you, sir,
these are the men that'll fight together!'

I tell you, Colvin, the acquaintance of the men - and boys -
makes me feel patriotic. Eeles in particular is a man whom I
respect. I am half in a mind to give him a letter of
introduction to you when he goes home. In case you feel
inclined to make a little of him, give him a dinner, ask
Henry James to come to meet him, etc. - you might let me
know. I don't know that he would show his best, but he is a
remarkably fine fellow, in every department of life.

We have other visitors in port. A Count Festetics de Solna,
an Austrian officer, a very pleasant, simple, boyish
creature, with his young wife, daughter of an American
millionaire; he is a friend of our own Captain Wurmbrand, and
it is a great pity Wurmbrand is away.

Glad you saw and liked Lysaght. He has left in our house a
most cheerful and pleasing memory, as a good, pleasant, brisk
fellow with good health and brains, and who enjoys himself
and makes other people happy. I am glad he gave you a good
report of our surroundings and way of life; but I knew he
would, for I believe he had a glorious time - and gave one.

I am on fair terms with the two Treaty officials, though all
such intimacies are precarious; with the consuls, I need not
say, my position is deplorable. The President (Herr Emil
Schmidt) is a rather dreamy man, whom I like. Lloyd, Graham
and I go to breakfast with him to-morrow; the next day the
whole party of us lunch on the CURACOA and go in the evening
to a BIERABEND at Dr. Funk's. We are getting up a paper-
chase for the following week with some of the young German
clerks, and have in view a sort of child's party for grown-up
persons with kissing games, etc., here at Vailima. Such is
the gay scene in which we move. Now I have done something,
though not as much as I wanted, to give you an idea of how we
are getting on, and I am keenly conscious that there are
other letters to do before the mail goes. - Yours ever,




MY DEAR COLVIN, - This is to inform you, sir, that on Sunday
last (and this is Tuesday) I attained my ideal here, and we
had a paper chase in Vailele Plantation, about 15 miles, I
take it, from us; and it was all that could be wished. It is
really better fun than following the hounds, since you have
to be your own hound, and a precious bad hound I was,
following every false scent on the whole course to the bitter
end; but I came in 3rd at the last on my little Jack, who
stuck to it gallantly, and awoke the praises of some
discriminating persons. (5 + 7 + 2.5 = 14.5 miles; yes, that
is the count.) We had quite the old sensations of
exhilaration, discovery, an appeal to a savage instinct; and
I felt myself about 17 again, a pleasant experience.
However, it was on the Sabbath Day, and I am now a pariah
among the English, as if I needed any increment of
unpopularity. I must not go again; it gives so much
unnecessary tribulation to poor people, and, sure, we don't
want to make tribulation. I have been forbidden to work, and
have been instead doing my two or three hours in the
plantation every morning. I only wish somebody would pay me
10 pounds a day for taking care of cacao, and I could leave
literature to others. Certainly, if I have plenty of
exercise, and no work, I feel much better; but there is Biles
the butcher! him we have always with us.

I do not much like novels, I begin to think, but I am
enjoying exceedingly Orme's HISTORY OF HINDOSTAN, a lovely
book in its way, in large quarto, with a quantity of maps,
and written in a very lively and solid eighteenth century
way, never picturesque except by accident and from a kind of
conviction, and a fine sense of order. No historian I have
ever read is so minute; yet he never gives you a word about
the people; his interest is entirely limited in the
concatenation of events, into which he goes with a lucid,
almost superhuman, and wholly ghostly gusto. 'By the ghost
of a mathematician' the book might be announced. A very
brave, honest book.

Your letter to hand.

Fact is, I don't like the picter. O, it's a good picture,
but if you ASK me, you know, I believe, stoutly believe, that
mankind, including you, are going mad, I am not in the midst
with the other frenzy dancers, so I don't catch it wholly;
and when you show me a thing - and ask me, don't you know -
Well, well! Glad to get so good an account of the AMATEUR
EMIGRANT. Talking of which, I am strong for making a volume
out of selections from the South Sea letters; I read over
again the King of Apemama, and it is good in spite of your
teeth, and a real curiosity, a thing that can never be seen
again, and the group is annexed and Tembinoka dead. I
wonder, couldn't you send out to me the FIRST five Butaritari
letters and the Low Archipelago ones (both of which I have
lost or mislaid) and I can chop out a perfectly fair volume
of what I wish to be preserved. It can keep for the last of
the series.

TRAVELS AND EXCURSIONS, vol. II. Should it not include a
paper on S. F. from the MAG. OF ART? The A. E., the New
Pacific capital, the Old ditto. SILVER. SQUAT. This would
give all my works on the States; and though it ain't very
good, it's not so very bad. TRAVELS AND EXCURSIONS, vol.
III., to be these resuscitated letters - MISCELLANIES, vol.


I have a sudden call to go up the coast and must hurry up
with my information. There has suddenly come to our naval
commanders the need of action, they're away up the coast
bombarding the Atua rebels. All morning on Saturday the
sound of the bombardment of Lotuanu'u kept us uneasy. To-day
again the big guns have been sounding further along the

To-morrow morning early I am off up the coast myself.
Therefore you must allow me to break off here without further
ceremony. - Yours ever,



VAILIMA, 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - This must be a very measly letter. I have
been trying hard to get along with ST. IVES. I should now
lay it aside for a year and I daresay I should make something
of it after all. Instead of that, I have to kick against the
pricks, and break myself, and spoil the book, if there were
anything to spoil, which I am far from saying. I'm as sick
of the thing as ever any one can be; it's a rudderless hulk;
it's a pagoda, and you can just feel - or I can feel - that
it might have been a pleasant story, if it had been only
blessed at baptism.

Our politics have gone on fairly well, but the result is
still doubtful.


I know I have something else to say to you, but unfortunately
I awoke this morning with collywobbles, and had to take a
small dose of laudanum with the usual consequences of dry
throat, intoxicated legs, partial madness and total
imbecility; and for the life of me I cannot remember what it
is. I have likewise mislaid your letter amongst the
accumulations on my table, not that there was anything in it.
Altogether I am in a poor state. I forgot to tell Baxter
that the dummy had turned up and is a fine, personable-
looking volume and very good reading. Please communicate
this to him.

I have just remembered an incident that I really must not let
pass. You have heard a great deal more than you wanted about
our political prisoners. Well, one day, about a fortnight
ago, the last of them was set free - Old Poe, whom I think I
must have mentioned to you, the father-in-law of my cook, was
one that I had had a great deal of trouble with. I had taken
the doctor to see him, got him out on sick leave, and when he
was put back again gave bail for him. I must not forget that
my wife ran away with him out of the prison on the doctor's
orders and with the complicity of our friend the gaoler, who
really and truly got the sack for the exploit. As soon as he
was finally liberated, Poe called a meeting of his fellow-
prisoners. All Sunday they were debating what they were to
do, and on Monday morning I got an obscure hint from Talolo
that I must expect visitors during the day who were coming to
consult me. These consultations I am now very well used to,
and seeing first, that I generally don't know what to advise,
and second that they sometimes don't take my advice - though
in some notable cases they have taken it, generally to my own
wonder with pretty good results - I am not very fond of these
calls. They minister to a sense of dignity, but not peace of
mind, and consume interminable time always in the morning
too, when I can't afford it. However, this was to be a new
sort of consultation. Up came Poe and some eight other
chiefs, squatted in a big circle around the old dining-room
floor, now the smoking-room. And the family, being
represented by Lloyd, Graham, Belle, Austin and myself,
proceeded to exchange the necessary courtesies. Then their
talking man began. He said that they had been in prison,
that I had always taken an interest in them, that they had
now been set at liberty without condition, whereas some of
the other chiefs who had been liberated before them were
still under bond to work upon the roads, and that this had
set them considering what they might do to testify their
gratitude. They had therefore agreed to work upon my road as
a free gift. They went on to explain that it was only to be
on my road, on the branch that joins my house with the public

Now I was very much gratified at this compliment, although
(to one used to natives) it seemed rather a hollow one. It
meant only that I should have to lay out a good deal of money
on tools and food and to give wages under the guise of
presents to some workmen who were most of them old and in
ill-health. Conceive how much I was surprised and touched
when I heard the whole scheme explained to me. They were to
return to their provinces, and collect their families; some
of the young men were to live in Apia with a boat, and ply up
and down the coast to A'ana and A'tua (our own Tuamasaga
being quite drained of resources) in order to supply the
working squad with food. Tools they did ask for, but it was
especially mentioned that I was to make no presents. In
short, the whole of this little 'presentation' to me had been
planned with a good deal more consideration than goes usually
with a native campaign.

(I sat on the opposite side of the circle to the talking man.
His face was quite calm and high-bred as he went through the
usual Samoan expressions of politeness and compliment, but
when he came on to the object of their visit, on their love
and gratitude to Tusitala, how his name was always in their
prayers, and his goodness to them when they had no other
friend, was their most cherished memory, he warmed up to
real, burning, genuine feeling. I had never seen the Samoan
mask of reserve laid aside before, and it touched me more
than anything else. A.M.)

This morning as ever was, bright and early up came the whole
gang of them, a lot of sturdy, common-looking lads they
seemed to be for the most part, and fell to on my new road.
Old Poe was in the highest of good spirits, and looked better
in health than he has done any time in two years, being
positively rejuvenated by the success of his scheme. He
jested as he served out the new tools, and I am sorry to say
damned the Government up hill and down dale, probably with a
view to show off his position as a friend of the family
before his work-boys. Now, whether or not their impulse will
last them through the road does not matter to me one hair.
It is the fact that they have attempted it, that they have
volunteered and are now really trying to execute a thing that
was never before heard of in Samoa. Think of it! It is
road-making - the most fruitful cause (after taxes) of all
rebellions in Samoa, a thing to which they could not be wiled
with money nor driven by punishment. It does give me a sense
of having done something in Samoa after all.

Now there's one long story for you about 'my blacks.' - Yours



OCT. 6TH, 1894.

MY DEAR COLVIN, - We have had quite an interesting month and
mostly in consideration of that road which I think I told you
was about to be made. It was made without a hitch, though I
confess I was considerably surprised. When they got through,
I wrote a speech to them, sent it down to a Missionary to be
translated, and invited the lot to a feast. I thought a good
deal of this feast. The occasion was really interesting. I
wanted to pitch it in hot. And I wished to have as many
influential witnesses present as possible. Well, as it drew
towards the day I had nothing but refusals. Everybody
supposed it was to be a political occasion, that I had made a
hive of rebels up here, and was going to push for new

The Amanuensis has been ill, and after the above trial
petered out. I must return to my own, lone Waverley. The
captain refused, telling me why; and at last I had to beat up
for people almost with prayers. However, I got a good lot,
as you will see by the accompanying newspaper report. The
road contained this inscription, drawn up by the chiefs


'Considering the great love of Tusitala in his loving care of
us in our distress in the prison, we have therefore prepared
a splendid gift. It shall never be muddy, it shall endure
for ever, this road that we have dug.' This the newspaper
reporter could not give, not knowing any Samoan. The same
reason explains his references to Seumanutafa's speech, which
was not long and WAS important, for it was a speech of
courtesy and forgiveness to his former enemies. It was very
much applauded. Secondly, it was not Poe, it was Mataafa
(don't confuse with Mataafa) who spoke for the prisoners.
Otherwise it is extremely correct.

I beg your pardon for so much upon my aboriginals. Even you
must sympathise with me in this unheard-of compliment, and my
having been able to deliver so severe a sermon with
acceptance. It remains a nice point of conscience what I
should wish done in the matter. I think this meeting, its
immediate results, and the terms of what I said to them,
desirable to be known. It will do a little justice to me,
who have not had too much justice done me. At the same time,
to send this report to the papers is truly an act of self-
advertisement, and I dislike the thought. Query, in a man
who has been so much calumniated, is that not justifiable? I
do not know; be my judge. Mankind is too complicated for me;
even myself. Do I wish to advertise? I think I do, God help
me! I have had hard times here, as every man must have who
mixes up with public business; and I bemoan myself, knowing
that all I have done has been in the interest of peace and
good government; and having once delivered my mind, I would
like it, I think, to be made public. But the other part of

I know I am at a climacteric for all men who live by their
wits, so I do not despair. But the truth is I am pretty
nearly useless at literature, and I will ask you to spare ST.
IVES when it goes to you; it is a sort of COUNT ROBERT OF
PARIS. But I hope rather a DOMBEY AND SON, to be succeeded
CITIES. No toil has been spared over the ungrateful canvas;
and it WILL NOT come together, and I must live, and my
family. Were it not for my health, which made it impossible,
I could not find it in my heart to forgive myself that I did
not stick to an honest, common-place trade when I was young,
which might have now supported me during these ill years.
But do not suppose me to be down in anything else; only, for
the nonce, my skill deserts me, such as it is, or was. It
was a very little dose of inspiration, and a pretty little
trick of style, long lost, improved by the most heroic
industry. So far, I have managed to please the journalists.
But I am a fictitious article and have long known it. I am
read by journalists, by my fellow-novelists, and by boys;
with these, INCIPIT ET EXPLICIT my vogue. Good thing anyway!
for it seems to have sold the Edition. And I look forward
confidently to an aftermath; I do not think my health can be
so hugely improved, without some subsequent improvement in my
brains. Though, of course, there is the possibility that
literature is a morbid secretion, and abhors health! I do
not think it is possible to have fewer illusions than I. I
sometimes wish I had more. They are amusing. But I cannot
take myself seriously as an artist; the limitations are so
obvious. I did take myself seriously as a workman of old,
but my practice has fallen off. I am now an idler and
cumberer of the ground; it may be excused to me perhaps by
twenty years of industry and ill-health, which have taken the
cream off the milk.

As I was writing this last sentence, I heard the strident
rain drawing near across the forest, and by the time I was
come to the word 'cream' it burst upon my roof, and has since
redoubled, and roared upon it. A very welcome change. All
smells of the good wet earth, sweetly, with a kind of
Highland touch; the crystal rods of the shower, as I look up,
have drawn their criss-cross over everything; and a gentle
and very welcome coolness comes up around me in little
draughts, blessed draughts, not chilling, only equalising the
temperature. Now the rain is off in this spot, but I hear it
roaring still in the nigh neighbourhood - and that moment, I
was driven from the verandah by random rain drops, spitting
at me through the Japanese blinds. These are not tears with
which the page is spotted! Now the windows stream, the roof
reverberates. It is good; it answers something which is in
my heart; I know not what; old memories of the wet moorland

Well, it has blown by again, and I am in my place once more,
with an accompaniment of perpetual dripping on the verandah -
and very much inclined for a chat. The exact subject I do
not know! It will be bitter at least, and that is strange,
for my attitude is essentially NOT bitter, but I have come
into these days when a man sees above all the seamy side, and
I have dwelt some time in a small place where he has an
opportunity of reading little motives that he would miss in
the great world, and indeed, to-day, I am almost ready to
call the world an error. Because? Because I have not
drugged myself with successful work, and there are all kinds
of trifles buzzing in my ear, unfriendly trifles, from the
least to the - well, to the pretty big. All these that touch
me are Pretty Big; and yet none touch me in the least, if
rightly looked at, except the one eternal burthen to go on
making an income. If I could find a place where I could lie
down and give up for (say) two years, and allow the sainted
public to support me, if it were a lunatic asylum, wouldn't I
go, just! But we can't have both extremes at once, worse
luck! I should like to put my savings into a proprietarian
investment, and retire in the meanwhile into a communistic
retreat, which is double-dealing. But you men with salaries
don't know how a family weighs on a fellow's mind.

I hear the article in next week's HERALD is to be a great
affair, and all the officials who came to me the other day
are to be attacked! This is the unpleasant side of being
(without a salary) in public life; I will leave anyone to
judge if my speech was well intended, and calculated to do
good. It was even daring - I assure you one of the chiefs
looked like a fiend at my description of Samoan warfare.
Your warning was not needed; we are all determined to KEEP
THE PEACE and to HOLD OUR PEACE. I know, my dear fellow, how
remote all this sounds! Kindly pardon your friend. I have
my life to live here; these interests are for me immediate;
and if I do not write of them, I might as soon not write at
all. There is the difficulty in a distant correspondence.
It is perhaps easy for me to enter into and understand your
interests; I own it is difficult for you; but you must just
wade through them for friendship's sake, and try to find
tolerable what is vital for your friend. I cannot forbear
challenging you to it, as to intellectual lists. It is the
proof of intelligence, the proof of not being a barbarian, to
be able to enter into something outside of oneself, something
that does not touch one's next neighbour in the city omnibus.

Good-bye, my lord. May your race continue and you flourish -
Yours ever,


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