Joseph Conrad to R. B. Cunninghame Graham
Saturday 30th July, '98.
TRES CHER AMI,
This morning I had the Aurora* from Smithers, No. 2 of the 500 copies.
C'est tout simplement, magnifique, yet I do not exactly perceive what on earth they have been making a fuss about.
I am afraid Henley is a horrible bourgeois. Who drew the frontispiece? I can't imagine anybody whose name I know. Is it an English drawing? It does not look like it. I notice variations in the text as I've read it in the typewritten copy. This seems the most finished piece of work you've ever done. Il y a une note, une resonnance la-dedans, vibrant de ligne en ligne. C'est tres fort. No one will see it.
I've read the little book three times, this morning,--and behold! I am disgusted with what I write. No matter.
Blackwood's Magazine for this month has an appreciation of F. M. Kelly's edition of Don Quixote. Very fair. Nothing striking, but distinct recognition.
I do like the attitude of the Maga [Blackwood's Magazine] on the Spanish business.
Viva l'Espana! Anyhow.
Do you believe in a speedy peace? Write me all you know, I would like to see the thing over and done with, though, mind, I think that Spain is perfectly invulnerable now and may keep the Yanks capering around for an indefinite time.
When do you start for Morocco?
I've been seedy,--in my head,--in my idiotic cabeza. I feel lazy (always did) and sleepy. When I've written a page, I feel it ought to be sold to the ten-cent paper man in New York. This is all it's good for.
C'est Zolaesque ce que je viens d'ecrire, hein? But look at the circumlocution. If you want to know how I exactly feel towards my work put the above into plain Zola language and it will give you a faint idea then.
Assez. Toujours le votre.
Mes devoirs a Madame votre femme.
*Aurora la Cujini, a Realistic Sketch in Seville by R. B. Cunninghame Graham (London: Leonard Smithers, 1898).
-from Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters edited by G. Jean-Aubry (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, 1927) p. 241-42.