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The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson   By: (1856-1935)

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. Author's spelling has been maintained.]

[Illustration: Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson during the English period.]

THE LIFE OF

MRS. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

BY

NELLIE VAN DE GRIFT SANCHEZ

ILLUSTRATED

LONDON CHATTO & WINDUS 1920

Copyright, 1920, by Charles Scribner's Sons, for the United States of America

Printed by the Scribner Press New York, U. S. A.

TO ISOBEL FIELD

IN TOKEN OF OUR COMMON LOVE FOR HER WHOSE LIFE STORY IS TOLD IN ITS PAGES THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.

PREFACE

When I first set out to tell the life story of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson, I received the following letter from her old friend Mr. Bruce Porter:

"Once when I urged your sister to set down the incidents of her life she listened, pondered, and then dismissed the suggestion as impossible, as her life had been like a dazed rush on a railroad express, and she despaired of recovering the incidental memories. The years with Stevenson have of course been adequately told, but the earlier period Indianapolis and California had a romance as stirring, even if sharpened by the American glare. This sharpness has already, for all of us, begun to fade, to take on the glamour of time and distance, and I cannot think of a better literary service than to make the fullest possible record now, before it utterly fades away."

It was not only the difficulty of recalling events that caused her to resist all urgings to undertake this task, but a certain shy reluctance in speaking of herself that was characteristic of her. It has, therefore, fallen to me to collect the widely scattered material from various parts of the world and weave it into a coherent whole as best I may, but my regret will never cease that she did not herself tell her own story.

It would take a more competent pen than mine to do her justice; but whoever reads this book from cover to cover will surely agree that no woman ever had a life of more varied experiences nor went through them all with a stauncher courage.

It is right that I should acknowledge here my profound obligation to the kind friends who have generously placed their personal recollections at my disposal. These are more definitely referred to in the body of the book. Aside from these personal contributions, the main sources of material have been as follows:

Ancestral genealogies, including The Descendants of J├Âran Kyn , by Doctor Gregory B. Keen, secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

Data concerning the genealogy of the Keen and Van de Grift families collected by Frederic Thomas, of New York, nephew of Mrs. Stevenson.

Notes covering the life of Mrs. Stevenson up to the age of sixteen years, as dictated by herself.

A collection of her own letters to friends and relatives.

Letters to Mrs. Stevenson from friends.

Extracts from various books and magazines, including The Letters of Mrs. M. I. Stevenson (Methuen and Company, London); The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson , by Graham Balfour; The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson , edited by Sidney Colvin; Vailima Memories , by Lloyd Osbourne and Isobel Osbourne Strong, now Mrs. Salisbury Field; The Cruise of the Janet Nichol , by Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson; McClure's , Scribner's , and the Century magazines. Acknowledgment is due the publishers of the above books and periodicals for their courteous permissions.

A diary kept by Mrs. Stevenson of her life in Samoa, for which I am indebted to the considerate kindness of Miss Gladys Peacock, an English lady, into whose hands the diary fell by accident.

My own personal recollections.

Above all, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mrs... Continue reading book >>




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