Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. He was a descendant from a wealthy family of Scottish civil engineers. At school he began to write stories and poems and wanted to be a writer.

Robert first studied engineering and afterwards law at the Edinburgh University. In 1875 he was called to the bar, but he never practised law. Meanwhile he had been writing essays for various magazines and finally made literatury his profession.

Stevenson spent rather little of his life in his native Scotland. This is partly because he quarrelled with his parents, partly because the Scottish climate was bad for his health, and partly because he was a natural wanderer. He strengthen his delicate constitution, he went in for much pedestrian travelling in Scotland and France. His lung-disease having become chronic, so he visited several health-resorts in Europe. In 1876 near Paris Stevenson met an American Fanny Osborn who became his wife.

Most of the works for which Stevenson

is famous were written during the 1880s. He wrote “Treasure Island” (1881), “New Arabian Nights” (1882), “Prince Otto” (1885), “A Child’s Garden of Verses” (1885), “Kidnapped” (1886), “The Black Arrow” (1888). Stevenson’s earliest books were accounts of travelling.

His volumes of collected essays revealed him as a fanciful humorist, a master of graceful and highly polished prose-style.

Robert Louis Stevenson was also the author of several collections of poetry including “Ballads”, “Songs of Travel”. In 1887 Robert went with the family to America. Then he travelled again – he started his cruise in the Pacific (1888), and at last in 1890 he bought the estate in Samoa where he spent his last four years of his life.

That period of life was happy and productive. He had his wife, mother and stepchildren with him, and people who made a receptive audience for his last stories. The Samoan people honoured him with the title, “Tusitala” (Teller of Tales), and when he died suddenly of

a stroke in December 1894 they buried his body on a mountain top as if he was one of their chiefs.

In the morning for breakfast I again had some porridge. The old man asked me many questions about my father and mother and then he said, “I must go to the port now. You will come with me. I must see the captain of a ship which will soon sail to America.”

We went to the port and there we met a tall dark man. This was Captain Hoseason. “You have come in time, Mr. Balfour. That is good,” he said. ” We are going to sail this night.”

My uncle sat down to talk to the captain and he told me to go and look at the sea and the ships.

I walked about for some time near the sea and looked at the ships that were in the port. Then my uncle called rhe. The captain spoke to me in a very friendly way.

He said: ” You may come on board my ship for half an hour. We shall sail soon”.

I wanted very much to see the big ship, so the captain, my uncle and I got into a boat and it took us to the ship. The captain climbed up a ladder on to the deck and I climbed up behind him. When we were on board, I. turned back to see where my uncle was, but the boat was on its way back to the port.

“Where is my uncle? Why is he not coming on board?” I asked the captain. Suddenly he hit me on the head and I fell down on the deck.

It was dark when I opened my eyes. I was in a little dark place. This ship was on its way. Then a door opened and two men came in. One of them was Captain Hoseason.

He told me to get up and to go on deck. When I asked him to take me back to the port, the captain laughed and said:

” My ship is going to America. Your uncle has paid me well. I shall take you to America and there you will work on the tobacco field.”

I understood that I was kidnapped. I was alone and had no friends on board the ship, and I decided to run away when the ship came to America.

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Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)