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of (probably) the only two people who care a damn about you in the world. . .

Here is a good heavy cross with a vengeance, and all rough with rusty nails that tear your fingers, only it is not I that have to carry it alone; I hold the light end, but the heavy burden falls on these two.'

It was not a cheerful opening for a life, and the shadow of this tragedy, though happily the life emerged from it, is over all the man's art. In The Wrecker' you find only indicated a father's disappointment when bis son, the apple of his eye, runs after inconceivable and vagrant ambitions, rejecting those set before him. In Weir of Hermiston' the ethical conflict is depicted with a terrible force : yet in Weir' the tragedy is less than it was in the reality. Archie Weir recoiled from the hanging judge as Stevenson shrank from his father's damnatory creed', but he was not tortured with the sense of stabbing to the heart those who loved him. The full bitterness of that thought is written only in one apologue among the posthumously published fables. In the House of Eld' you read of a youth brought up in a country where all the world wore a gyve on the right leg, except only when they cast it off in secret and danced. At last one day by magical aid, whether from God or devil the fable leaves uncertain, the youth arms himself with a bright sword and goes out to free the people. Shapes meet him bearing the likeness of those he loves, and in his zeal he cuts them down till at last the work is done, and he goes home to find all the world released from the gyve upon the right leg—and now wearing it on the left; and in his own house his father and his mother lying slain with a sword.

His was, therefore, on the whole a tragic youth; but there was another side to it, of whose brightness one does not seek in vain for a reflection. In 1881 Stevenson, then married and living at Davos, writes to the same friend, Mr. Baxter :

*A little Edinburgh gossip, in Heaven's name! Ah! what would I not give to steal this evening with you through the big, echoing, college archway, and away south under the street lamps, and away to dear Brasb’s, now defunct! But the old time is dead also, never, never to revive. It was a sad time too, but so gay and so hopeful, and we had such sport, with all our low spirits and all our distresses, that it looks like a kind of lamp-lit fairyland behind me. O for ten Edinburgh minutes—sixpence between us, and the ever-glorious Lothian Road, or dear mysterious Leith Walk! But here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling; here in this strange place, whose very strangeness would have been heaven to him then; and aspires, yes, C. B., with tears, after the past. See what comes of being left alone. Do you remember Brash ? the sheet of glass that we followed along

George Street? Granton ? the night at Bonnymainhead ? the com pass near the sign of the “ Twinkling Eye"? the night I lay on the pavement in misery?'

It was the seed-time of many thoughts and many qualities, as is contended in the Apology for Idlers,' especially for Stevenson :

*If you look back on your own education, I am sure it will not be the full, vivid, instructive hours of truantry that you regret; you would rather cancel some lack-lustre periods between sleep and waking in the class. For my own part, I have attended a good many lectures in my time. I still remember that the spinning of a top is a case of Kinetic Stability. I still remember that Emphyteusis is not a disease, nor Stillicide a crime. But though I would not willingly part with such scraps of science, I do not set the same store by them as by certain other odds and ends that I came by in the open street while I was playing truant. This is not the moment to dilute on that mighty place of education, which was the favourite school of Dickens and of Balzac, and turns out yearly many inglorious masters in the Science of the Aspects of Life. Suffice it to say this : if a lad does not learn in the streets, it is because he has no faculty of leurning.' Above all, it was the seed-time of friendships, and to few men, as one may judge from the letters, has friendship meant more. Besides Mr. Baxter, there were among bis Scotch familiars Professor Fleeming Jenkin, Mr. Walter Ferrier—whose personality is sketched in a very beautiful letter full of tenderness and regret-and especially his cousin, Mr. R. A. M. Stevenson, now well known as a critic, but then bent on art itself, whose influence was strong upon him. But the fullest and most invigorating sympathy came from outside his own country, in which he met with the fate, if not of all prophets, at least of all budding prophets. In the summer of 1873, at a country-house in Suffolk he met friends who were not slow to recognise in him at least the promise of genius, and to give what youth most needs, the stimulus of encouragement.

These were Mrs. Sitwell, the lady who was his principal correspondent during the next period of his life, and Mr. Colvin. He went back to Edinburgh in the beginning of September,' writes Mr. Colvin, • full of new hope and heart.' The troubles at home continued, but he faced them in a brighter spirit. Half a dozen or so of long journal-letters, written in quick succession within the next two months to the lady who was his friend and counsellor, give unmistakably the picture of this strange brilliant youth who had so much more to give forth than he had yet found mastery to utter.

But the strain of the last year had told upon his weak body,

and in October 1873 doctors sent him to Mentone for rest and sun. The experiences and the thoughts of those days among the olives may be read in the rough in the letters, or crystallised into the essay, Ordered South. Back in Scotland in the summer of 1874, he began literary work in serious earnest, and with a measure of acceptance, upon criticism and descriptive articles. Mr. Leslie Stephen, then editing the Cornhill,' welcomed the new recruit, and introduced him to another, Mr. W. E. Henley, then in an Edinburgh hospital ; and so began one of the most remarkable intimacies of two remarkable lives. In the spring of 1875 Stevenson, accompanying his artist cousin, paid his first visit to a place always dear in his memory, the painters' colony in the forest of Fontainebleau ; and later in the same year he returned thither after his call to the Scottish bar. A winter was spent or wasted in attendance at the Parliament House, but his parents now at length became definitely reconciled to his pursuit of the literary career.

In 1876 his • Inland Voyage' was undertaken, and from that adventure he passed again to the forest life at Grez and Barbizon, where he settled down to write. There he met Mrs. Osbourne, the lady who afterwards became his wife; and so began the romance of his life—the one romance which found no reflection in his writings. The next two years were spent between Edinburgh, Fontainebleau, and the artists' quarter in Paris, and the letters of this time betray only one preoccupation -the pursuit of literary excellence and literary success. The

Inland Voyage' was followed by the Travels with a Donkey'; but the critic and essayist began to add a new string to his bow. The story of the Sire de Malétroit's Door' appeared in • Temple Bar,' and other tales were on the anvil, among them • Will o' the Mill.' But in the autumn of 1878 Mrs. Osbourne returned with her children to America; in the next year Stevenson, learning that she proposed to seek a divorce from her husband, and also that she was in ill-health, determined to follow her to California.

Up to this point what more does one want in the way of biography ? Stevenson's narratives of travel tell their own tale ; the paper called · Forest Notes' sketches his life at Barbizon as no one else could sketch it: • The Wrecker' makes vivid enough his reminiscences of artist life in Paris; and these can be supplemented from the letters, though at this period his correspondence, as has been said, was concerned almost exclusively with books. What is not here is scarcely like to be in any authorised biography. Stevenson, so curiously frank in many things, never wore his heart upon his sleeve. His

opinions, bis habits, the state of his finances, he was ready to proclaim to the world in print; his love-story he kept to himself, and, even if it could be, it is never likely to be divulged. Few marriages ever endured more grievous stress of affliction and discomfort without loss. One may find in the letters here and there such a statement as (for instance) that his marriage was recognised · A 1 at Lloyd's'; one may read explicitly the praise of his life's companion, the vivid portrait of his wife, in the posthumously published Songs of Travel' -a volume which contains the best of his verses, those in which he finds a lyrical cry for the homeward thoughts of his exile, for the fascination of the open road, the wanderer's life, and the bright eyes of danger.' More than this no one has a right to desire to know. But the strange circumstances which immediately preceded his marriage are now, for the first time, made fully public. He well knew that the errand on which he set out when he left England in 1879 would not commend itself to his parents, and he would not ask them for help, but determined, as Mr. Colvin says, 'to test during this adventure his power of supporting himself, and eventually others, by his own labours in literature.' He travelled by steerage and emigrant train, as is told in the essay • Across the Plains,' and during the journey was at work taking notes for a volume which should record his experiences, as the “Inland Voyage,' and Travels with a Donkey' had done. But the trials of the journey told severely on him, and on reaching California he was so ill that he was forced to try his favourite open-air cure, not altogether successfully.

Here is another curious start in my life,' he writes to Mr. Colvin in September. 'I am living at an Angora goat-ranche in the Coast Line Mountains, eighteen miles from Monterey. I was camping out, but got so sick that the two rancheros took me in and tended me.

One is an old bear-hunter, seventy-two years old, and a captain from the Mexican war; the other a pilgrim, and one who was out with the bear flag and under Fremont when California was taken by the States.'

Two nights,' he writes to Mr. Gosse, I lay out under a tree in a sort of stupor, doing nothing but fetch water for myself and horse, light a fire, and make coffee, and all night awake hearing the goat bells ringing and the tree-frogs singing, when each new noise was enough to set me mad. Then the bear-hunter came round, pronounced me “real sick," and ordered me up to the ranche. It was an odd, miserable piece of my life ; and according to all rule it should have been my death ; but after a while my spirit got up again in a divine frenzy, and has since kicked and spurred my vile body forward with great empbasis and success.'

This was surely a long way from Edinburgh or Barbizon. The note to Mr. Gosse was written from Monterey, whither he migrated in October, and where he sat down to write with feverish energy. The 'Amateur Emigrant' experiences were still in hand; so was an essay on Thoreau ; but the drift of his mind had changed or was changing. Fiction gained a larger and larger place in his thoughts; and even in the work that was not fiction his preoccupation was now different.

On the steamer he had written The Story of a Lie'; from Monterey he sent to Mr. Henley · The Pavilion on the Links,' one of his very best tales; he was at work on a novel, that never got finished, called A Vendetta of the West.' Moreover it was at Monterey that he conceived (as one may learn from the preface to it) that very curious and characteristic comedy in narrative, originally thrown into dramatic form, Prince Otto,' which was for a long time cherished in his brain as the future masterpiece. He knew well enough what was happening in his own mind, for in reply to a letter of Mr. Colvin's censuring the execution of the · Amateur Emigrant' he wrote :

If the “Emigrant” was a failure, the “ Pavilion," by your leave, was not; it was a story quite adequately and rightly done, I contend. ... I know I shall do better work than ever I have done before; but, mind you, it will not be like it. My sympathies and interests are changed. There shall be no more books of travel for me.

I care for nothing but the moral and the dramatic, not a jot for the picturesque or the beantiful, other than about people. It bored me hellishly to write the “Emigrant”; well, it's going to bore others to read it—that's only fair.'

That was written from San Francisco, whither be had gone in December 1879 with some notion of earning money by journalism-a scheme which found little success.

Tbe literary atmosphere of San Francisco, along with Stevenson's experiences there, may be gathered from many lively passages in The Wrecker'; the routine of his daily life (in which he had to drop from a fifty-cent to a twenty-five-cent dinner, and ultimately reduced his expenses on food and drink to 1s. 1014. a day, in a country where food is dear) is described in a couple of very gay and amusing letters. But when he wrote that burst of almost aggressive self-confidence to Mr. Colvin, it was in no gay mood. His friend's censure had struck upon him when he was jaded and out of heart, and he put a bold face on the matter to himself and his critic, while at that very time he was sickening for a mortal bout of illness, the gravest that had befallen him since childhood. The accelerating cause was characteristic. There is a strange

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