It was published as a fragment in _The Illustrated London News_, in 1895.]

[Note 6: _What will he Do with It_? One of Bulwer-Lytton's novels, published in 1858.]

[Note 7: Since traced by many obliging correspondents to the gallery of Charles Kingsley.]

[Note 8: _Conduct is three parts of life_. In _Literature and Dogma_ (1873) Matthew Arnold asserted with great emphasis, that conduct was three-fourths of life.]

[Note 9: _The sight of a pleasant arbour_. Possibly a reminiscence of the arbour in _Pilgrim's Progress_, where Christian fell asleep, and lost his roll. "Now about the midway to the top of the hill was a pleasant arbour."]

[Note 10: "_Miching mallecho." Hamlet's_ description of the meaning of the Dumb Show in the play-scene, Act III, Sc. 2. "Hidden treachery"--see any annotated edition of _Hamlet_.]

[Note 11: _Burford Bridge ... Keats ... Endymion ... Nelson ... Emma ... the old Hawes Inn at the Queen's Ferry_. Burford Bridge is close to Dorking in Surrey, England: in the old inn, Keats wrote a part of his poem _Endymion_ (published 1818). The room where he composed is still on exhibition. Two letters by Keats, which are exceedingly important to the student of his art as a poet, were written from Burford Bridge in November 1817. See Colvin's edition of Keats's Letters, pp. 40-46.... "Emma" is Lady Hamilton, whom Admiral Nelson loved.... Queen's Ferry (properly _Queensferry_) is on the Firth of Forth, Scotland. See a few lines below in the text, where Stevenson gives the reference to the opening pages of Scott's novel the _Antiquary_, which begins in the old inn at this place. See also page 105 of the text, and Stevenson's foot note, where he declares that he did make use of Queensferry in his novel _Kidnapped_ (1886)(Chapter XXVI).]

[Note 12: Since the above was written I have tried to launch the boat with my own hands in _Kidnapped_. Some day, perhaps, I may try a rattle at the shutters.]

[Note 13: _Crusoe ... Achilles ... Ulysses ... Christian_. When Robinson Crusoe saw the footprint on the sand, and realised he was not alone.... To a reader of to-day the great hero Achilles seems to be all bluster and selfish childishness; the true gentleman of the Iliad is _Hector_.... When Ulysses returned home in the _Odyssey_, he bent with ease the bow that had proved too much for all the suitors of his lonely and faithful wife Penelope.... Christian "had not run far from his own door when his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears and ran on crying, 'Life! Life! eternal Life!'"_--Pilgrim's Progress_.]

[Note 14: _]_. The Greek heavy-weight in Homer's _Iliad_.

[Note 15: _English people of the present day_. This was absolutely true in 1882. But in 1892 a complete revolution in taste had set in, and many of the most hardened realists were forced to write wild romances, or lose their grip on the public. At this time, Stevenson naturally had no idea how powerfully his as yet unwritten romances were to affect the literary market.]

[Note 16: _Mr. Trollope's ... chronicling small beer ... Rawdon Crawley's blow_. Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) wrote an immense number of mildly entertaining novels concerned with the lives and ambitions of English clergymen and their satellites. His best-known book is probably _Barchester Towers_ (1857).... _Chronicling small beer_ is the "lame and impotent conclusion" with which Iago finishes his poem (_Othello_, Act II, Sc. I).... _Rawdon Crawley's blow_ refers to the most memorable scene in Thackeray's great novel, _Vanity Fair_ (1847-8), where Rawdon Crawley, the husband of Becky Sharp, strikes Lord Steyne in the face (Chap. LIII). After writing this powerful scene, Thackeray was in a state of tremendous excitement, and slapping his knee, said, "That's Genius!"]

[Note 17: _The end of Esmond ... pure Dumas_. Thackeray's romance _Henry Esmond_ (1852) is regarded by many critics as the greatest work of fiction in the English language; Stevenson here calls it "the best of all his books." The scene Stevenson refers to is where Henry is finally cured of his love for Beatrix, and theatrically breaks his sword in the presence of the royal admirer (Book III, Chap.

Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson Page 52

Robert Louis Stevenson

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book