“Dear Louis,

I wanted to make sure I was welcome to come to Vailima. Belle repeated the conversation you had with her and has reassured me that your invitation included me without reservations. I’d like to hear it from your pen as well, if you don’t mind. What happened between us on the last boat trip was unfortunate- perhaps it was just a bit of boyish frustration with each other. If you feel the same way as I do now, I’d be happy to put it behind us. I’m sorry you felt that I was not serious about your project for the traveling diorama and lectures. Lloyd and I might still be able to put it together from the material we collected. I completely understand your concerns about money.

I’ve been working with cameras since I was 15. You have surely come to an understanding of my reaction by now. I would not under any circumstances try to tell you how to write a book. I have always had the utmost respect for you and I hope it has been reciprocated. I have thought of you as a brother-in-arms in the arts. We are practically the same age, with practically the same number of years studying our craft. In fact, I might be a few years ahead since I was not required to study for the bar, but rather immediately went into painting and photography. You have never seemed to have a problem with the covers and illustrations I’ve provided over these many years for your work.

So if you wouldn’t mind reassuring an old friend, I would greatly appreciate it. It would be my last intention in the world to go where I wasn’t really wanted. I have never lived off the graces of another and have no plans to do so. If this arrangement is perceived as that, I won’t come.

I miss our adventures together. I hope you and Fanny and Lloyd feel the same.

Your friend