Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson was born on 13th November 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He changed the spelling of his second name to Louis when he was about 18, and dropped the third when he was 23.

His father was a civil engineer of some standing, and whose name is remembered in connection with some very important building projects.

His early years fore-shadowed the heavy burden of illness that was to bedevil his entire life. He suffered numerous ailments and was 14 before he was able to attend for regular schooling.

He married Frances Matilda (Fanny) Van de Grift Osbourne on 19th May 1880, an American lady whom he had first met in 1876. She was divorced and already had two children. She also suffered from generally poor health but nursed Stevenson devotedly and continuously and she did not die until she was 74.

During the first 8 years of their marriage they lived in a variety of places: Switzerland, Scotland, France, England, and America. Then, from 1888 to 1890 they did a lot of cruising in the Pacific and found that the climate generally suited Stevenson's health. Perhaps it should be recorded that he was a heavy smoker.

So finally (in 1890), they took up residence in Samoa where he became very involved with the islanders, their way of life and their politics. He continued writing and was known to the Samoans as 'tusitala', that is, 'writer of tales'. Also he was able to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, though nothing too strenuous.
It was undoubtedly the happiest period of their lives but, unfortunately, was to last only 4 years.

He died, in the evening, on 3rd December 1894 in Samoa, aged 44.
By his own wish he was buried there, on the summit of Mount Vaea.
Fanny died 20 years later.

Some of his best-known works are:
1879   Travels with a Donkey
1881   Virginibus Puerisque (a collection of essays)
1883   Treasure Island
1886   Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
1886   Kidnapped
1893   Catriona (A sequel to Kidnapped)
1896   The Weir of Hermiston (unfinished at his death)
There were also articles, short stories, and poetry.

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