Vailima Letters

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Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

18th

Miserable comforters are ye all! I read your esteemed pages this morning by lamplight and the glimmer of the dawn, and as soon as breakfast was over, I must turn to and tackle these despised labours! Some courage was necessary, but not wanting. There is one thing at least by which I can avenge myself for my drubbing, for on one point you seem impenetrably stupid. Can I find no form of words which will at last convey to your intelligence the fact that THESE LETTERS WERE NEVER MEANT, AND ARE NOT NOW MEANT, TO BE OTHER THAN A QUARRY OF MATERIALS FROM WHICH THE BOOK MAY BE DRAWN? There seems something incommunicable in this (to me) simple idea; I know Lloyd failed to comprehend it, I doubt if he has grasped it now; and I despair, after all these efforts, that you should ever be enlightened. Still, oblige me by reading that form of words once more, and see if a light does not break. You may be sure, after the friendly freedoms of your criticism (necessary I am sure, and wholesome I know, but untimely to the poor labourer in his landslip) that mighty little of it will stand.

Our Paul has come into a fortune, and wishes to go home to the Hie Germanie. This is a tile on our head, and if a shower, which is now falling, lets up, I must go down to Apia, and see if I can find a substitute of any kind. This is, from any point of view, disgusting; above all, from that of work; for, whatever the result, the mill has to be kept turning; apparently dust, and not flour, is the proceed. Well, there is gold in the dust, which is a fine consolation, since - well, I can’t help it; night or morning, I do my darndest, and if I cannot charge for merit, I must e’en charge for toil, of which I have plenty and plenty more ahead before this cup is drained; sweat and hyssop are the ingredients.

We are clearing from Carruthers’ Road to the pig fence, twenty-eight powerful natives with Catholic medals about their necks, all swiping in like Trojans; long may the sport continue!

The invoice to hand. Ere this goes out, I hope to see your expressive, but surely not benignant countenance! Adieu, O culler of offensive expressions - ’and a’ - to be a posy to your ain dear May!’ - Fanny seems a little revived again after her spasm of work. Our books and furniture keep slowly draining up the road, in a sad state of scatterment and disrepair; I wish the devil had had K. by his red beard before he had packed my library. Odd leaves and sheets and boards - a thing to make a bibliomaniac shed tears - are fished out of odd corners. But I am no bibliomaniac, praise Heaven, and I bear up, and rejoice when I find anything safe.

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Chicago: Robert Louis Stevenson, "18th," Vailima Letters, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Curtin, Jeremiah, 1835-1906 in Vailima Letters Original Sources, accessed February 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8N3X6K1RIBP7F33.

MLA: Stevenson, Robert Louis. "18th." Vailima Letters, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Curtin, Jeremiah, 1835-1906, in Vailima Letters, Original Sources. 4 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8N3X6K1RIBP7F33.

Harvard: Stevenson, RL, '18th' in Vailima Letters, ed. and trans. . cited in , Vailima Letters. Original Sources, retrieved 4 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8N3X6K1RIBP7F33.