Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson Selected and Edited With an Introduction and Notes by William Lyon Phelps

By Robert Louis

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ESSAYS OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


SELECTED AND EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY WILLIAM...

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...lungs caused great anxiety to all the family except
himself; but although Death loves a shining...

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...intense literary activity,
and yet found time to take an active part in the politics of...

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...where meteors shoot clouds form,
...

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...combination of the Artist and the
Moralist, both elements being marked in his writings to a...

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...and grant us in the end the gift of sleep."


III

STEVENSON'S VERSATILITY

Stevenson was a poet, a...

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...to show that a book might be crammed with the
most wildly exciting incidents, and yet...

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...the _Spectator_ are of course notable; but it was not
until the appearance of Charles Lamb...

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...in my notes.


WORKS

1878. An Inland Voyage.
1879. Travels with a Donkey.
1881. Virginibus Puerisque.
1882. Familiar Studies of...

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...on what is
good, and shut our eyes against all that is bleak or inharmonious. We
learn,...

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...way of life that was in its place upon
these savage hills. Now, when I am...

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...it was the same. A
river, indeed, fell into the sea near the town where I...

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...between some
painters and their sober eyesight, so that, even when the rest of
their picture is...

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...a
church-top, with the blue sky and a few tall pinnacles, and see far
below us the...

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...something that the last storm had left imminent and the
next would demolish entirely. It would...

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...me, and I kept repeating to myself--

"Mon coeur est un luth suspendu,[24]
...

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...nature before and after Wordsworth (England's greatest
nature poet) is exceedingly interesting. See Myra Reynolds, _The
Treatment...

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...of country he begins to
describe in the next paragraph. Is there really any contradiction in
his...

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...word
"dining-hall" preserves the old significance of the word. The familiar
expression, "bower and hall," is simply,...

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...of the
ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry
itself. It...

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..."Young man, ply your book
diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years...

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...and should'st thou not be plying
thy Book with diligence, to the end thou mayest obtain...

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...which they will forget before the week
be out, your truant may learn some really useful...

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...hawthorn.

Extreme _busyness_, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a
symptom of deficient vitality;...

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...his wife and children, his friends and relations, and down
to the very people he sits...

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...the quality of mercy,[20] they are not strained, and
they are twice blest. There must always...

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...happier if he were dead. They could easier do without his
services in the Circumlocution Office,...

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...they play their farces was the
bull's-eye and centrepoint of all the universe? And yet it...

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...idleness upon principle, and
always repelled every attempt to urge excuses for it. A friend one...

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...about the year 389 B. C. A good account is
given in T. Arnold's _History of...

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..._Emphyteusis_ and
_Stillicide_, are terms in Roman Law. Stevenson is of course making
fun of the required...

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...the supposedly dead body of Falstaff by Prince Hal--"I could have
better spared a better man."...

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..._Pharaoh ... Pyramid_. For _Pharaoh's_ experiences with the
Israelites, see the book of _Exodus_. Pharaoh was...

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...built upon the side of fiery mountains, and
how, even in this tremendous neighbourhood, the inhabitants...

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...into marriage, so much
more dangerous than the wildest sea? And what would it be to...

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...and the earthquake swallows us on the instant. Is
it not odd, is it not incongruous,...

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...life, in the sense that we are greatly
preoccupied about its conservation; that we do not,...

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...the
Permanence of the Possibility, a man's head is generally very bald,
and his senses very dull,...

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...becomes so engrossing, that all the
noises of the outer world begin to come thin and...

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...die in one's own
lifetime, and without even the sad immunities of death! As if it...

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...volume, as well as for its author's relations with the editor
of the _Cornhill_, see our...

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...immediately closed over him, and Rome was
saved. Although the truth of the story has naturally...

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..._Leaves_ _of Grass_ (1855) excited an uproar
in America, and gave the author a much more...

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...Dr. Hill's admirable index in his edition
of the _Life_.]

[Note 19: _Mim-mouthed friends_. See J. Wright's...

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...to have a fact, a thought, or an
illustration, pat to every subject; and not only...

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...or
conversation. All sluggish and pacific pleasures are, to the same
degree, solitary and selfish; and every...

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...pious,
musical and wise, that in their most shining moments they aspire to
be. So they weave...

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...trading on a common knowledge, toss each other famous names, still
glowing with the hues of...

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...summer
weather; daily they talked with unabated zest, and yet scarce wandered
that whole time beyond two...

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...is more remarkable; the insane
lucidity of his conclusions, the humorous eloquence of his language,
or his...

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...turn his powers of transmigration on
yourself, create for you a view you never held, and...

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...more is he,
to place your faith in these brand-new opinions. But some of them are
right...

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...be more
radiantly just to those from whom he differs; but then the tenor of
his thoughts...

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...it, but so right that the
sensitive are silenced. True talk should have more body and...

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...the virtues are all active,
life is alert, and it is in repose that men prepare...

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...desire as much as possible
of what we may call human scenery along the road they...

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...is our
spirit tossed. Yet long before we were so much as thought upon, the
like calamity...

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...his old honest heart--these are "the real
long-lived things"[33] that Whitman tells us to prefer. Where...

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...sympathies dated the
man almost to a decade. He had begun life, under his mother's
influence, as...

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...his confession that he had never read _Othello_ to an
end.[43] Shakespeare was his continual study....

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...affair--a hyphen, _a
trait d'union,_[45] between you and your censor; age's philandering,
for her pleasure and your...

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...talk between the sexes degenerates into
something unworthy of the name. The desire to please, to...

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..._tete-a-tete_
and apart from interruptions, occasions arise when we may learn much
from any single woman; and...

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...and drawing-rooms of England, good conversation was
regarded as a most desirable accomplishment, and was practised...

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...into many modern languages, produced a whole school of
literature known as the "Character Books," of...

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...I
have ever met.... What was specially his, and genuine, was his
faculty...

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...many of Stevenson's friends as a wanton assault on his
private character. Whether justified or not,...

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...its splendid climate, Davos
has but one advantage--the neighbourhood of J.A. Symonds. I dare say
you know...

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..._Restoration comedy ... Congreve_. Restoration comedy is a
general name applied to the plays acted in...

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...in 1853, has written a long
series of novels, of which _My Lady Greensleeves, The Sin...

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...Ends Well_. It is still an open question as to whether or not
Shakspere wrote _Titus_.]

[Note...

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...with the
doings of John Rann or Jerry Abershaw;[4] and the words "postchaise,"
the "great North road,"[5]...

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...a man shall choose to do, but on how he manages to do it; not...

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...anchor; behind, the old garden with the trees.
Americans seek it already for the sake of...

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...The threads of a story come
from time to time together and make a picture in...

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...Some people work, in this manner, with even a strong touch.
Mr. Trollope's inimitable clergymen naturally...

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...delight,
read _Robinson_. It is like the story of a love-chase. If he had heard
a letter...

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...of the showman visibly propels them;
their springs are an open secret; their faces are of...

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...money satisfy the reader's mind like things to eat. We are dealing
here with the old...

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...push the
hero aside; then we plunge into the tale in our own person and bathe
in...

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...a
model instance of romantic method.

"'I remember the tune well,' he says, 'though I cannot guess...

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...truthful; but the trite, obliterated features of
too many of his heroes have already wearied two...

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...question. But the subject was
hardly fit for so chatty a paper, and it is all...

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...is Lady Hamilton, whom Admiral Nelson
loved.... Queen's Ferry (properly _Queensferry_) is on the Firth of
Forth,...

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...the English language; Stevenson here calls it "the best
of all his books." The scene Stevenson...

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...was published in
1877.]

[Note 26: _Swiss Family Robinson_. A German story, _Der schweizerische
Robinson_ (1812) by J.D....

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...sound like strange anachronisms. An automaton
he certainly is; a machine working independently of his control,...

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...body but confesses guilt. To a dog of gentlemanly
feeling theft and falsehood are disgraceful vices....

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...months pass, and when you
repeat the process you will find nature buried in convention. He...

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...certain of practical immunity; in each we shall
find a double life producing double characters, and...

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...he proceeded to attack the aged also. The
fact is worth remark, showing as it does,...

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...tea at Christmas. No longer content to pay a flying
visit, it was the whole forenoon...

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...for the poor man's dog is not offended by
the notice of the rich, and keeps...

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...twice been known
to steal, and has often nobly conquered the temptation. The eighth is
his favourite...

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...an art, as with the shepherd or the poacher, the
affection warms and strengthens till it...

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...the
vivisectionists with contempt, implying that they were cowards. In
Bernard Shaw's clever novel _Cashel Byron's Profession_,...

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...142.]

[Note 10: _The law in their members. Romans_, VII, 23. "But I see
another law in...

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...nature ... are no creations of
the Author's brain."]

[Note 21: "_Rake the backets_." The "backet" is...

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...worth describing, and town and country are but one
continuous subject. But I worked in other...

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...many masters; in the first draft of
_The King's Pardon_, a tragedy, I was on the...

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...truly prefers, the student should have tried all that are possible;
before he can choose and...

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...tablet to the virtues of a
former secretary. Here a member can warm himself and loaf...

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...winter. For years
thereafter he lived I know not how; always well dressed, always in
good hotels...

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...have been a rare vein of
courage, that he should thus have died at his employment;...

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...should be able, upon my compact
income of twelve pounds per annum, payable monthly, to meet...

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...volume, not for any
worth of its own, but for the sake of the man whom...

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...book is often echoed in Stevenson's essays.... Sir
Thomas Browne (1605-1682), regarded by many as the...

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...much read as
formerly.... For John Webster and Congreve, see Notes 37 and 26 of
Chapter IV...

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...parts of this essay,
as these portions are unimportant, and may be omitted by the student;
they...

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...D'Artagnan--the elderly D'Artagnan of the _Vicomte
de Bragelonne_.[6] I know not a more human soul, nor,...

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...only a book for those who have the gift of reading.[11] I will
be very frank--I...

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...faults and shining
virtues cohabit and persevere in the same character. History serves us
well to this...

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...to the plane of
art; it is themselves, and what is best in themselves, that they
communicate.

I...

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...to understand that
he is not punctually right, nor those from whom he differs absolutely
wrong. He...

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...others as widely different as Archdeacon Farrar
and Rider Haggard. In the same year (1887) the...

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...medical rather than of literary interest."
--Prof. W. Raleigh, _The English Novel_, remarks on _Tom Jones_,
Chap....

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...47 of Chapter IV above. Stevenson
never tired of singing the praises of this novel.]

[Note 20:...

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...is not strange if we are tempted
to despair of good. We ask too much. Our...

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...in some degree the inversion of the
other: the second rooted to the spot; the first...

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...bringing forth in
pain, rearing with long-suffering solicitude, his young. To touch the
heart of his mystery,[5]...

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...the ceremonial calumet
and uttering his grave opinions like a Roman senator; in ships at sea,
a...

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...no longer like a thing
apart. Close at his heels we see the dog, prince of...

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...man
that wearies in well-doing,[17] that despairs of unrewarded effort, or
utters the language of complaint. Let...

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...the phrase, however, is quoted from
Horace "pulvis et umbra sumus"--_we are dust and ashes_. It...

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... "In this world, the isle of dreams,
While we sit by sorrow's streams,
...