Friday, June 16, 2006

R. L. Stevenson

I was trying to find the source for Robert Louis Stevenson's famous quote,** but got sidetracked: Letters, Volume 1.

2 Sulyarde Terrace, Torquay, Thursday (April 1866).

RESPECTED PATERNAL RELATIVE, - I write to make a request of the most moderate nature. Every year I have cost you an enormous - nay, elephantine - sum of money for drugs and physician's fees, and the most expensive time of the twelve months was March.

But this year the biting Oriental blasts, the howling tempests, and the general ailments of the human race have been successfully braved by yours truly.

Does not this deserve remuneration?

I appeal to your charity, I appeal to your generosity, I appeal to your justice, I appeal to your accounts, I appeal, in fine, to your purse.

My sense of generosity forbids the receipt of more - my sense of justice forbids the receipt of less - than half-a-crown. - Greeting from, Sir, your most affectionate and needy son,


Let's hope his dad was impressed :)

** Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, til the sun goes down. And this is all life really means.