Specified "Uncollected" items in RESOURCES are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Compiled by Rosemarie Morgan for TTHA: unauthorised copying is a violation of the United States' copyright laws.

Sampler 111(a)

 

EPISTOLARY PROFILES

Resources

Acknowledgements also to Yale University Press for permission to duplicate The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, eds., Bradford A. Booth & Ernest Mehew, 5 vols (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), hereafter LRLS.

Epistolary Profiles will present a pocket series of Thomas Hardy's literary connections as documented in his letters - collected and uncollected - and will feature in the Thomas Hardy Association's Hardy Review. Contributions are welcome and will be duly accredited upon publication.

 

Sampler 111 (a)


Thomas Hardy and Robert Louis Stevenson : ( RLS:1850-1894, Treasure Island, 1883; A Child's Garden of Verses, 1885; Kidnapped, 1886; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,1889)

Thomas Hardy, 1894

 

I MUCH appreciate the suggestion of the Committee of the London R.L.Stevenson Club that I should become an honorary member, even though, as a matter of fact, I am not what would be called a Stevensonian, in the full sense in which that expression could be applied to so many, probably all, of the club's members. However, the question of my sufficiency does not really arise. I have now reached a great age: one at which I find it necessary to abstain from further association with societies, even if only of an honorary kind, flattering as the connexion may be, and, therefore, I must decline the distinction of being elected one of the London branch of the club.

T.H. Printed in The Times, London, August, 1923; also The Life and Art of Thomas Hardy, ed., Ernest Brennecke, Greenberg: NY, 1925.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE MEMORIES I have of Louis Stevenson are very meagre, as I saw him but a few times. I met him once--possibly on the first occasion--at Mr.(now Sir) Sidney Colvin's house at the British Museum. There were no other guests, and I can recall no particulars of the meeting further than that he said he liked wandering about the precincts of the Museum. A more distinct image of him accompanies my recollections of the first and last visit he paid me at Dorchester, in August, 1885. He came out to my house unexpectedly from the King's Arms Hotel in the town, where he was staying for a day or two with Mrs Stevenson, her son, and a lady who was Louis's cousin. He said that they were on their way to Dartmoor, the air of which he had been told would benefit him. He appeared in a velveteen jacket, with one hand in a sling. I asked him why he wore the sling, as there seemed nothing the matter with his hand: his answer (I am almost certain) was that he had been advised to do it to lessen the effort of his heart in its beats. He particularly wanted to see the room I wrote in, but as I had come into the house quite recently I had not settled into any definite writing place, and could only show him a temporary corner I used. My wife and I went the next day to call on them at the hotel just before they left, where we bade them good-bye, expecting next to hear of them at Dartmoor. To our great surprise and regret a letter from Mrs. Stevenson arrived about three weeks later, dated from an hotel in Exeter, and informing us that Louis had been taken ill on reaching that city, and could get no further; and that they were coming back to Bournemouth immediately he was well enough to travel.

From this point my mind is a blank, excepting as to one fact--that shortly after the publication of The Mayor of Casterbridge in the May of the following year, he wrote to ask if I would permit him to dramatise it, as he had read the story, and thought Henchard "a great fellow," adding that he himself was keeping unusually well. I wrote back my ready permission; and there the matter ended. I heard no more about the play; and I think I may say that to my vision he dropped into utter darkness from that date: I recall no further sight of or communication from him, though I used to hear of him in a roundabout way from friends of his and mine. I should add that some ten years later I read an interview with him that had been published in the newspapers, in which he stated that he disapproved of the morals of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which had appeared in the interim, and probably had led to his silence.

T.H. Printed in I Can Remember Robert Louis Stevenson, ed., Rosaline Masson, Edinburgh and London, 1922, 214-16; also PW, 149-151.

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Robert Louis Stevenson in 1879, aged 28.
Drawing by Peter Severin Kroyer
(Hirschprung Museum, Copenhagen)