Vailima Letters Being Correspondence Addressed by Robert Louis Stevenson to Sidney Colvin, November 1890-October 1894

By Robert Louis

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...Transcribed from the 1908 Methuen edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

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... 36 ESSEX STREET

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... 46
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... 135
XVI....

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... XXIX. April 25—May 23, 1893 ...

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... 333
...

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...yet set nor his way
of life determined. But to know him was to recognise...

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...both the affection, to me
inestimable, of which the following correspondence bears evidence, and
the habit, which...

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...remoteness and inaccessibility of the scenes he
visited inevitably interrupted all correspondence for months together;
and when...

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...of an
intimate correspondence after his death would have been impossible. I
have tried to do...

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...stead we find, what to some
readers may be hardly so welcome, the observations of a...

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...may have been of a nature disconcerting to the official
mind, but his purposes were at...

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...combat with axes and dollars. I went crazy over
outdoor work, and had at last...

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...wayside flowers. About a quarter way up I met a
native coming down with the...

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...of which has been four times, and all twice
written, certainly fifty pages of solid scriving...

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...not but be
reminded of old Mayne Reid, as I have been more than once since...

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...la_
Raratonga, burned my lip and eye with orange juice. Now, all day, our
three small...

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...afraid of ghosts, so
that he dare not walk alone up in the banana patch—see map....

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...you tell him
go ’way. I no want him here. That boy no good.’—_Peni_...

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...in their calls. Vaea mountain about sundown sometimes
rings with shrill cries, like the hails...

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...the path. I could not go into my bush path for two reasons: 1st,...

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...make
a flurry of herself. Her day so far. _Cetera adhuc desunt_.

...

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... Savao and Faavao.
4. Cries in the High Wood.
...

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...experiment,
when I am less on the hot chase of the beast—that, even at the instant...

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...out a lot of stuff for the book. How
this works and fits, time is...

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... Yours

...

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...how Henry stands his evenings here; the Polynesian
loves gaiety—I feed him with decimals, the mariner’s...

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...it is supposed that Fanny has outwitted her; she grins behind
broad planks in what was...

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... ...

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...out by Henry in a
devil of an agitation; he has been made the victim of...

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...why the house was so dirty! Was it grateful? Was it politic? ...

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... ...

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...see them return at night, axe on
shoulder, feigning to march like soldiers, a choragus with...

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...singular to see the starlight drip down
into the crypt of the wood, and shine in...

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...some hundred yards before the head of the glen. Its
course is seen full of...

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...feet high. To get the easier down, I swung
myself by a wild-cocoanut—(so called, it...

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...the wind passing high
overhead with a strange dumb mutter, or striking us full, so that...

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...my means can be
stretched so far, I’ll come to Egypt and we’ll meet at Shepheard’s...

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...Moors at one end
with my wife, I at the other with Mrs. M., between us...

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...The great
_aitu Saumai-afe_ was once a living woman; and became an _aitu_, no one
understands how;...

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...really most unpalatable labour. Then I changed every stitch,
for I was wet through, and...

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... R. L. S.




CHAPTER IV


...

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...his knees before the Chief Justice on the end of the pier and in full
view...

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... ...
...

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...noon our
run was 203 miles (if you please!), and we are within some 360 miles...

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... ...

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...am done
with it, this dreadful ink rubs off.) I have a strange kind of...

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...beds, an empty
case for a table, a chair, a tin basin, a bucket and a...

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...a sentence on the matter to yourself; it does not get written;
_autant en emportent les...

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...Swift and Dryden’s Latin hymns; judge if I love
this reinvigorating climate, where I can already...

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...composed and smiling still, he
white and shaking like an aspen. He could explain everything;...

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... ...

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...I’ll
correct proofs!

...

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...was conscious of a
certain envy for the man who was out of the battle. ...

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...other; could not even think yesterday; I took to
inventing dishes by way of entertainment. ...

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...* * * * *

...

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...attitude
about that book; the stuff sent was never meant for other than a first
state; I...

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...and for good or
evil I must finish it. It is really good, well fed...

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...idle himself, the cause of idleness in others, grumbling, a
self-excuser—all the faults in a bundle....

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... ...

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...this goes out, I hope to see your expressive,
but surely not benignant countenance! Adieu,...

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...contract. The second boss (an old man) wore
a kilt (as usual) and a Balmoral...

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...* * *

[_Letter resumed_.]

...

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... _The...

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... ...

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...Chap. V. The Grandfather. VI. Alan Stevenson. VII. Thomas
Stevenson. My materials for...

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...and both the German and the English consuls
besought Lloyd not to go. But he...

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...so
steep, so silly—it’s a hallucination I have outlived, and yet I never did
a better piece...

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... ...

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...the old petty, personal view of honour? I should
blush till I die if I...

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...to these
little laws; the big he does not, he never will, understand; I may be
wrong...

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... ...

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...banished to the Tokelaus. Who has changed the
sentence? We are going to stir...

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...of slacknesses and (what is worse in
this kind of thing) some literaryisms. One of...

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... * * * * *

...

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...six. We
may say roughly we have no soda water on the island, and just...

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...is now. By about five the thing was done; and
we sat down to dinner...

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...committee. Slight sketch of
procedure agreed upon, self appointed spokesman, and the deputation sets
off. ...

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... _May_, _October_...

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...and the second book of
Montaigne; and a little while back I was reading Frederic Harrison,
‘Choice...

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...so tight over my little band before, has raised a deuce of a
row—new proclamation, no...

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...of wars, you surely know enough of me to be aware that I like
that also...

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... _Historia Samoae_? A History for Children?
Fiction? I have had two hard months...

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... ...

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...plantation house. On the way down
Fanny said, ‘Now what would you do if you...

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...long as
you choose, three sentences, thirty pages, the thing I should like is
your name. ...

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...The only way is to judge slowly, and write boldly, and
leave the issue to fate....

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... ...

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... ...

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...them, packed close, in the corners of the
verandah. From twelve on Friday till five...

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...of this climb, which was
very hot and steep, and the pulses were buzzing all over...

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...little fountain.
It was in a very dreary, marshy part among dilapidated trees that you see
through...

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...after nearly smashing me by
accident, and from mere scare and insubordination several times,
deliberately set in...

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...little by west of north;
the sides the whole way exceeding steep, the expedition buried under
fathoms...

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... ...

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... ...

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...on us with smiles. The excitement was delightful. Some very
violent squalls came as...

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...on the barrier reef, I
could see the individual breakers curl and fall, and hear their...

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...and unless I finish myself off with this letter, I’ll have
another hour and a half,...

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...afternoon’s work at the plantation house, and still faster
back. On the return Jack fell...

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... One of my horses died this
morning, and another is now dying on the front...

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...women in it at all; but when I remember I had the
_Treasure of Franchard_ refused...

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...has to stop to paint, or paints
excitedly, so that you see the author skipping before...

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...over-grazed. S. came up
with the news, and I saw I must now strike a...

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... ...

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... I got into my Saranac
snow boots. Lauilo got a cutlass; Mary Carter, our...

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... _March_ 2_nd_.

Since I last wrote, fifteen chapters of _David Balfour_ have been
drafted, and five...

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...one drugged and you must take this (which is
all I can give you) for what...

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...me sick is to think of Scott
turning out _Guy Mannering_ in three weeks! What...

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...though, to be sure, last month was February, and I might
take grace. These notes...

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... ...

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...pitted speck I have said is our precentor. It is always a
woman who starts...

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...bed, and to lie there till dawn. In the morning I
had a longish ride...

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...Ythan

by R. L. S.





O, Shovel—Shovel waits his turn, he and his ancestors. I would...

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...I could
make a good thing, I believe, and it must go as it is! ...

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...a heavenly
pink, the cap, the moustache, the eyebrows were of a bluish gray; to see
this...

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... The state of these
islands, and of Mataafa and Laupepa (Malietoa’s _ambo_) had been much...

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...I was sharply ill on
Wednesday, mail day. But on Thursday I had to trail...

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...I positively expected to hear news of its
arrival in Malie by the sound of laughter....

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... ...

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...got to Malie and were received with the most
friendly consideration by the rebel chief. ...

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...very fine native houses, high, domed, oval
buildings, open at the sides, or only closed with...

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...mangroves,
and the black and scarlet crabs, to Mulinuu, to the doctor’s, where I had
an errand,...

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...I have been from six to seven hours upon it daily since I last
wrote; and...

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...disgust Wiltshire.—Again, the idea of publishing the Beach
substantively is dropped—at once, both on account of...

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...a
good sentence in it, but perhaps—I don’t know—it may be found an honest,
clear volume.

...

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...grossness. However,
this David Balfour’s love affair, that’s all right—might be read out to a
mothers’...

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...woman. This queer tale—I mean queer for me—has taken a great
hold upon me. ...

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...all the boys kava in honour of her
arrival; along with a lean, side-whiskered Tongan, dimly...

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... ...

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...a twinge of age; I put on an
under-shirt yesterday (it was the only one I...

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...and I had breakfast; we had scarce done
before my mother was at the door on...

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... Here the boat
joined us. My mother and Salé continued in the canoe alone,...

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...field of outspread food,
gradually covering acres; the gifts were brought in, now by chanting
deputations, now...

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...tallied as they came in) were now announced by a
humorous orator, who convulsed the audience,...

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...air a
flight of live chickens, which, as they came down again, were sent again
into the...

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...laving in it.

All this time I had kept my temper, and refrained as far as...

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...the verandah.

_Saturday_ 28_th_. I was wakened about 6.30, long past my usual hour, by
a...

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... ...

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...by the name of —, a genuine living
lunatic, I believe, and jolly dangerous; my troubles...

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...them; he R.I.P. in Chapter XXII.

On Saturday I went down to the town, and fetched...

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...tell you of our feast. It was long promised to the boys, and came
off...

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...made a little speech, Henry
translating. If I had been well, I should have alluded...

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...forward, like a striking
snake: I say ‘ran,’ but this strange movement was not swift. ...

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...she, Lafaele darkly whispers, has abused it. This remarkable tree we
must try to identify.

The...

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...things for which I have to forgive
my old cattle-man his manifold shortcomings; they are heroic—so...

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... ...

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... ...

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... ...

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...delay was due to D.’s infinite precautions, leading them up lanes, by
back ways, and then...

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...small—‘I
do not wish the King,’ says he, ‘to think me a boy from Apia.’ ...

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...the King; he poured one drop in
libation, drank another, and flung the remainder outside the...

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...Thursday we had Eeles and Hoskyn (lieutenant and doctor—very,
very nice fellows—simple, good and not the...

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...occupations, I did a bit of a supposed epic describing our
tryst at the ford of...

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... _Thursday_, _Sept._ 1_st_.

I sit to write...

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...the branches arch from the ground
level, range themselves, with leaves exquisitely green. The whole
interspace...

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...some ways my best work; I am pretty sure,
at least, I have never done anything...

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...anybody else; but he is so jolly insidious and
ingratiating! No, sir, I can’t dislike...

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...to occupy a very
unstrategic position. On the way down, a little dreary, beastly drizzle
beginning...

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...well on with the third part of the _Débâcle_. The two first I
liked much;...

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... ...

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...that
our boys had got up a siva in Lafaele’s house to which we were invited.
It...

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...fine, healthy, prostrating colds of the dear old
dead days at home. Here was I,...

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...voluble. The Amanuensis did not strike
me the same way; she was probably thinking, but...

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...but mighty content
with my night’s work, and to-day, with a headache and a chill, have
written...

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... ...

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...possible that
even if none of our boys had stolen the pig, some of them might...

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... ...

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... ...

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... ...

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... ...

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... ...

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...a clan fight
which has grown apparently endemic in the west of Tutuila. At the...

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... ...

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...name to St. Ives during his escape. It is my idea to get a
ring...

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...it looks beautiful. I wish you could see the
hall; poor room, it had to...

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...book about Paris, and the _first return_ of the
_émigrés_ and all up to the _Cent...

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...fowl for breakfast, to say nothing of a tower of hot cakes. Belle
and I...

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... ...

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... ...

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...and our wounded. I am now very
dandy: I announced two years ago that I...

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...plainer.

_Chap._ XIII., I fear it has to go without blows. If I could get...

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...But
on the whole, I am far indeed from being displeased with the tailie.
They want more...

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...IX. and XI. so
uncompromisingly bad. It looks as if XI. also would have to...

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...a bad foot; Butler, prostrate with a bad leg. Eh, what a
faim’ly!

...

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...though I
have suffered from crushed wormery, which is not good for the body, and
damnation to...

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... ...

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... And at any rate it is another chance for this distracted
archipelago of children, sat...

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... ...

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... ...

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...after such a crucifixion! And
indeed I’m only bragging for a change before I return...

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... ...

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...forbid. Fanny is down
now, and the last link that bound me to my fellow...

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...violent, alembicated style is most abhorrent
to me; it can’t be helped; the note was struck...

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...a veil of words over it;
and I like more and more naked writing; and yet...

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... ...

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... ...

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... _Sunday_, _June_...

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... ...

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...pages of chips, and have spent thirteen days about as
nearly in Hell as a man...

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... ...

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...which is not impossible altogether. _The Owl_,
_The Sleeper Awakened_, and the _Go-Between_ end reasonably...

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...the whole much appreciated,
and I kind of hope it ain’t bad myself. ’Tis a...

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...off my mind,
and though I could wish I had rewritten a little more of _David_,...

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...from; marches of bodies of men across
the island; concealment of ditto in the bush; the...

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...penetrated into Mataafa’s lines—all the foreigners trying to
protect their goods; and the Chinaman’s verandah overflowed...

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...seen a
child doing the same antics long before in a dance, so that it is...

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...is not unimposing; with his
white beard and his violet girdle he looks splendidly episcopal, and...

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...see
what ails him, then it appears that he has an engagement with the Chief
Justice at...

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...the
boats have been coming in from the windward, some of them 50 strong, with
a drum...

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...one that was shot in the bowels—he was dying rather hard, in a
gloomy stupor of...

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..._Evening_.

Can I write or not? I played lawn tennis in the morning, and after...

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... It is no joke to
play lawn tennis after carrying your right arm in a...

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...of our life
here, which I believe you could not help liking. Our horses are...

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... _Thursday_, 13_th_.

Mataafa driven away from Savaii. I cannot write about this, and do...

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...of them
believe after former deceptions? The three consuls were scampering on
horseback to Leulumoega to...

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...of pieces of paper, a huge welter of inconsequence,
and that glimmer of faith (or hope)...

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... ...

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...and worked about 2 hours and got to sleep ultimately and ‘a’ the
clouds has blawn...

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... _Monday_.

Well, here goes again for the news. Fanny...

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...not to be planted in Scotland—that I can never deny—if I could
only be buried in...

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...that. Manono all destroyed, one house standing in
Apolima, the women stripped, the prisoners beaten...

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...in my throat.

...

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... ...

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... ...

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... [_Later_.]

This is disgraceful. I have done nothing; neither work nor letters. ...

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...Europe again? did she appreciate that if we
were in London, we should be _actually jostled_...

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...fined a man a
sixpence, he would have quit work that hour, and now I remove...

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... _Pulu_, who is also
...

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...you never see a Samoan run, except at
Vailima. Do you not suppose that makes...

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...have
_charge d’âmes_ in that riotously absurd establishment, Apia Gaol. The
twenty-three (I think it is)...

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...the
ava (kava). The highest chief present was a magnificent man, as high
chiefs usually are;...

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...as best as I was able through
a miserable interpreter; and all the while, as I...

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...dandy’—until we turned up at last into our road as the dusk
deepened into night. ...

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...with the meanest possible letter this month, and
unfortunately I find I will have to treat...

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... But I am nervous.




CHAPTER XXXVII


...

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...there is a change in journalism, too gradual for you to remark
it on the spot,...

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...charity school, kept in
a grotesque livery, and shaved twice a week? And I had...

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...it is not much wonder if your letter and my whole mail
was left at the...

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...that Austin had entered and lost about a bottle
of sherry! He turned with great...

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...myself a little too much as
Grandfather William? I am certainly not so young as...

Page 241

...and prayer and ink, and should
leave something, no, not good, but not all bad—a very...

Page 242

...great victory. I have never borne a
cold with so little hurt; wait till the...

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...pleasant. But by to-morrow or next day noon, we
shall see the whole clan assembled...

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...gradually resolved themselves into two
petty officers and a native guide. Drawing himself up and...

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...go in the
evening to a _Bierabend_ at Dr. Funk’s. We are getting up a...

Page 246

...to work, and have been instead doing
my two or three hours in the plantation every...

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...vol. III., to be these resuscitated letters—_Miscellanies_,
vol. II.—_comme vous voudrez_, _cher monsieur_!

...

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...been only blessed at baptism.

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

Page 249

...what to advise, and second that they sometimes don’t
take my advice—though in some notable cases...

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...politeness and compliment, but when he came on to the
object of their visit, on their...

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... ...

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...with acceptance. It remains a nice point
of conscience what I should wish done in...

Page 253

...anyway! for it seems
to have sold the Edition. And I look forward confidently to...

Page 254

...Because I have not drugged myself with successful work, and
there are all kinds of trifles...

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... ...

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...story of the Scottish moorlands, in which the
varieties and the strength of border character were...

Page 257

...romance there
is to be found work more masterly, of more piercing human insight or more
concentrated...

Page 258

...of the most
ennobling and inspiring of examples; and to his friends an image of the
memory...

Page 259

...shall be spared, it shall be here
perpetuated; partly for my pleasure and in my gratitude;...

Page 260

...in the mountains of my own country—Scotland—and my heart was
sad. These were a fine...

Page 261

...fast and have your children living on and
honouring your memory in the land you received...

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...talents—not for love of
Tusitala, but for the love of his brothers, and his children, and...