The Black Arrow:
A Tale of the Two Roses
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON,
Author of "Treasure Island," "Kidnapped," &c.
CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited:
LONDON, PARIS, NEW YORK & MELBOURNE.
Critic on the Hearth,
No one but myself knows what I have suffered, nor what my books have gained, by your unsleeping watchfulness and admirable pertinacity. And now here is a volume that goes into the world and lacks your imprimatur: a strange thing in our joint lives; and the reason of it stranger still! I have watched with interest, with pain, and at length with amusement, your unavailing attempts to peruse The Black Arrow; and I think I should lack humour indeed, if I let the
occasion slip and did not place your name in the fly-leaf of the only book of mine that you have never read—and never will read.
That others may display more constancy is still my hope. The tale was written years ago for a particular audience and (I may say) in rivalry with a particular
author; I think I should do well to name him—Mr. Alfred K. Phillips. It was not without its reward at the time. I could not, indeed, displace Mr. Phillips from his well-won priority; but in the eyes of readers who thought less than nothing of Treasure Island, The Black Arrow was supposed to mark a clear advance. Those who read volumes and those who read story papers belong to different worlds. The verdict on Treasure Island was reversed in the other court: I wonder, will it be the same with its successor?
April 8, 1888.
Book III.—MY LORD FOXHAM.