last night as i lay under my blanket in the cockpit, courting sleep, i had a comic seizure. there was nothing visible but the southern stars, and the steersman there out by the binnacle lamp; we were all looking forward to a most deplorable landfall on the morrow, praying god we should fetch a tuft of palms which are to indicate the dangerous archipelago; the night was as warm as milk, and all of a sudden i had a vision of - drummond street. it came on me like a flash of lightning: i simply returned thither, and into the past. and when i remember all i hoped and feared as i pickled about rutherford's in the rain and the east wind; how i feared i should make a mere shipwreck, and yet timidly hoped not; how i feared i should never have a friend, far less a wife, and yet passionately hoped i might; how i hoped (if i did not take to drink) i should possibly write one little book, etc. etc. and then now - what a change! i feel somehow as if i should like the incident set upon a brass plate at the corner of that dreary thoroughfare for all students to read, poor devils, when their hearts are down. and i felt i must write one word to you. excuse me if i write little: when i am at sea, it gives me a headache; when i am in port, i have my diary crying 'give, give.' i shall have a fine book of travels, i feel sure; and will tell you more of the south seas after very few months than any other writer has done - except herman melville perhaps, who is a howling cheese. good luck to you, god bless you.