Letter to Innes Doyle about hard work (autumn 1890)

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This letter was written by Arthur Conan Doyle in autumn 1890 to his young brother Innes Doyle.


Bush Villa

Dearest Boy—

I never hear anything about your work, and it makes me uneasy. I do hope that you are pegging into it — for it would be a very serious thing if you fail to pass. Remember that if you do go through you will have all your life then for sport or riding or cricket or what you will, but that the success of your whole life depends upon the use that you make of just these few months that are passing. If you are weak on any subject then work from morning to night, holidays or no holidays, at that one until you are strong at it. You have lots of brains, as I know well, and all you want is steady undeviating industry. Think of nothing else then, I beg you, until this is done. Put your heart and soul into it. You will find that work becomes a pleasure when you stick close to it, and you will feel proud of yourself afterwards when you can look back and see that every day has been well spent. Once in the Sappers[1] your position is assured, and you will have a rare good time in a noble profession.

Goodbye, dear boy,

Your affectionate


  1. The Sappers is a regiment of engineers, a branch Innes hoped to join as an officer.