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Robert Louis Stevenson: A Memorial

Treasure Island And Some Reminiscences
WHEN I left Braemar, I carried with me a considerable portion of the MS. of
TREASURE ISLAND, with an outline of the rest of the story. It originally bore the odd
title of THE SEA-COOK, and, as I have told before, I showed it to Mr Henderson, the
proprietor of the YOUNG FOLKS' PAPER, who came to an arrangement with Mr
Stevenson, and the story duly appeared in its pages, as well as the two which succeeded
it.
Stevenson himself in his article in THE IDLER for August 1894 (reprinted in MY FIRST
BOOK volume and in a late volume of the EDINBURGH EDITION) has recalled some
of the circumstances connected with this visit of mine to Braemar, as it bore on the
destination of TREASURE ISLAND:
"And now, who should come dropping in, EX MACHINA, but Dr Japp, like the
disguised prince, who is to bring down the curtain upon peace and happiness in the last
act; for he carried in his pocket, not a horn or a talisman, but a publisher, in fact, ready to
unearth new writers for my old friend Mr Henderson's YOUNG FOLKS. Even the
ruthlessness of a united family recoiled before the extreme measure of inflicting on our
guest the mutilated members of THE SEA-COOK; at the same time, we would by no
means stop our readings, and accordingly the tale was begun again at the beginning, and
solemnly redelivered for the benefit of Dr Japp. From that moment on, I have thought
highly of his critical faculty; for when he left us, he carried away the manuscript in his
portmanteau.
"TREASURE ISLAND - it was Mr Henderson who deleted the first title, THE SEA-
COOK - appeared duly in YOUNG FOLKS, where it figured in the ignoble midst
without woodcuts, and attracted not the least attention. I did not care. I liked the tale
myself, for much the same reason as my father liked the beginning: it was my kind of
picturesque. I was not a little proud of John Silver also; and to this day rather admire that
smooth and formidable adventurer. What was infinitely more exhilarating, I had passed a
landmark. I had finished a tale and written The End upon my manuscript, as I had not
done since THE PENTLAND RISING, when I was a boy of sixteen, not yet at college. In
truth, it was so by a lucky set of accidents: had not Dr Japp come on his visit, had not the
tale flowed from me with singular ease, it must have been laid aside, like its predecessors,
and found a circuitous and unlamented way to the fire. Purists may suggest it would have
been better so. I am not of that mind. The tale seems to have given much pleasure, and it
brought (or was the means of bringing) fire, food, and wine to a deserving family in
which I took an interest. I need scarcely say I mean my own."
He himself gives a goodly list of the predecessors which had found a circuitous and
unlamented way to the fire
"As soon as I was able to write, I became a good friend to the paper-makers. Reams upon
reams must have gone to the making of RATHILLET, THE PENTLAND RISING, THE
 
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