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The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition, Vol. 8, Page 2

Robert Louis Stevenson


  _No one but myself knows what I have suffered, nor what my books havegained, by your unsleeping watchfulness and admirable pertinacity. Andnow here is a volume that goes into the world and lacks your_imprimatur: _a strange thing in our joint lives; and the reason of itstranger still! I have watched with interest, with pain, and at lengthwith amusement, your unavailing attempts to peruse "The Black Arrow";and I think I should lack humour indeed, if I let the occasion slip anddid not place your name in the fly-leaf of the only book of mine thatyou have never read--and never will read._

  _That others may display more constancy is still my hope. The tale waswritten years ago for a particular audience and (I may say) in rivalrywith a particular author; I think I should do well to name him--Mr.Alfred R. Phillips. It was not without its reward at the time. I couldnot, indeed, displace Mr. Phillips from his well-won priority; but inthe eyes of readers who thought less than nothing of "Treasure Island,""The Black Arrow" was supposed to mark a clear advance. Those who readvolumes and those who read story papers belong to different worlds. Theverdict on "Treasure Island" was reversed in the other court: I wonder,will it be the same with its successor?_

  _R. L. S._

  _Saranac Lake, April 8, 1888._