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Robert Louis Stevenson: A Memorial
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Work Of Later Years
MR HAMMERTON, in his STEVENSONIANA (pp. 323-4), has given the humorous
inscriptions on the volumes of his works which Stevenson presented to Dr Trudeau, who
attended him when he was in Saranac in 1887-88 - very characteristic in every way, and
showing fully Stevenson's fine appreciation of any attention or service. On the DR
JEKYLL AND MR HYDE volume he wrote:
"Trudeau was all the winter at my side:
I never saw the nose of Mr Hyde."
And on KIDNAPPED is this:
"Here is the one sound page of all my writing,
The one I'm proud of and that I delight in."
Stevenson was exquisite in this class of efforts, and were they all collected they would
form indeed, a fine supplement and illustration of the leading lesson of his essays - the
true art of pleasing others, and of truly pleasing one's self at the same time. To my
thinking the finest of all in this line is the legal (?) deed by which he conveyed his
birthday to little Miss Annie Ide, the daughter of Mr H. C. Ide, a well-known American,
who was for several years a resident of Upolo, in Samoa, first as Land Commissioner,
and later as Chief Justice under the joint appointment of England, Germany, and the
United States. While living at Apia, Mr Ide and his family were very intimate with the
family of R. L. Stevenson. Little Annie was a special pet and protege of Stevenson and
his wife. After the return of the Ides to their American home, Stevenson "deeded" to
Annie his birthday in the following unique document:
I, ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, advocate of the Scots Bar, author of THE MASTER
OF BALLANTRAE and MORAL EMBLEMS, civil engineer, sole owner and patentee
of the palace and plantation known as Vailima, in the island of Upolo, Samoa, a British
subject, being in sound mind, and pretty well, I thank you, in mind and body;
In consideration that Miss Annie H. Ide, daughter of H. C. Ide, in the town of Saint
Johnsbury, in the County of Caledonia, in the State of Vermont, United States of
America, was born, out of all reason, upon Christmas Day, and is, therefore, out of all
justice, denied the consolation and profit of a proper birthday;
And considering that I, the said Robert Louis Stevenson, have attained the age when we
never mention it, and that I have now no further use for a birthday of any description;
And in consideration that I have met H. C. Ide, the father of the said Annie H. Ide, and
found him as white a land commissioner as I require, I have transferred, and do hereby
transfer, to the said Annie H. Ide, all and whole of my rights and privileges in the 13th
day of November, formerly my birthday, now, hereby and henceforth, the birthday of the