The Death of Mr. Wolcott Balestier

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Death of Mr. Wolcott Balestier is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in The Pall Mall Gazette on 8 december 1891.

The Death of Mr. Wolcott Balestier

The Pall Mall Gazette (8 december 1891, p. 2)

To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.

Sir, — May I add my word to the tribute paid in your columns by Mr. Hall Caine to the late Mr. Wolcott Balestier? Many a writer’s heart, like my own, would turn heavy when he saw that ominous headline in your issue of to-night. There are none who knew him who will doubt that British and American literature has sustained a loss which can never be fully realized by the general public. He was but seven or eight and twenty, full of energy, enthusiasm, and the loftiest literary ideals. His power and delicacy in conversation were remarkable, and he had a felicity of expression and a quickness of sympathy which made him a charming companion. His great talents were at the time of his death just beginning to take shape and form, and his novel had been accepted as the serial for the Century next year. In the Century, too, is to be found the romance which he has written in collaboration with Mr. Rudyard Kipling. It is pitiable that a career which had only just opened, and which gave such sure promise of brilliancy, should be brought to so untimely an end. Yet the finest instrument is usually the most delicate, and no one could look at his eager, finely chiselled face without feeling that its intense spirituality was as sure an index of a weak body as of a powerful and lofty mind. Almost his last words before he left England were that he was looking forward to a short visit which he had promised to pay me when he returned. How little did either of us think that that return would never be! — Yours faithfully,

A. Conan Doyle.
12, Tennison-road, South Norwood, Dec. 7.