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and made for it an inscription: “Con- the life of a hero. Like Ulysses, like sidering the great love of his Excellency Aeneas, he was struck by adverse fates. Tusitala in his loving care of us in our He was an exile and a wanderer. His tribulation we have made this great gift; it life was one long struggle against disease, shall never be muddy, it shall go on for- as theirs were long struggles in war and ever, this road that we have dug."
banishment. Like them, he joyed in Is it not like a return of the days of the the struggle. old heroes, of Ulysses and Aeneas, with And now what was this hidden treasure their care of their people, their teaching of that Robert Louis Stevenson, like Jim the ways of peace and honest labor, and Hawkins, went out to find? The pirates their telling of tales?
he met were not those that we meet in the
story. Rather, they were the same under “It shall go on forever, this road that we have dug."
other names. The hiuden treasure was not
gold buried under a giant tree, to be found So this series of hero-stories goes on only if you read accurately a queer map. forever. It is told now of Ulysses, again What it was is for you to determine. Some of Aeneas; again, at the dim beginning might say it was health, that he found for of our English race, of Beowulf. It is told a few brief years before he died. Some of Walter Scott. It is told of Robert Louis might say that it was fame. It might be Stevenson. It applies, you see, not merely adventure, for his life, like his stories, was to the stories themselves. “The Complete crowded with adventure: strange cities, Works of Robert Louis Stevenson” fill strange faces, strange modes of life, and quite a bit of space in our libraries. They always a battle, cheerfully borne, against fill quite a bit of space in our hearts. But the foe that killed him at last. Again, it they fill this space because Tusitala lived might he happiness, this hidden treasure.
In a prayer that he wrote, he said that he wished he and those he loved might wake "with morning faces and with morning hearts-eager to labor eager to be happy, if happiness shall be our portion-and if the day be marked for sorrow, strong to endure it." There are other answers that might be given. But the story of his life shows how a man may realize himself, that is, how he may make real and concrete the thing that he was born to express. His father and his grandfather were distinguished engineers. Perhaps he would have
become an engineer, or a lawyer, or historian, if it had not been for the seeming handicap of health. In his letters, among the most beautiful in the English language, you may read how bravely he met this handicap. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, forcing him into becoming Tusitala instead of engineer or lawyer. There
a hidden treasure for which he searched, always watched by a foe that was more evil than Captain Flint, the Blind Man, or Silver, and this treasure he found.
ROBERT Louis STEVENSON
TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER
If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
And buccaneers and buried gold,
Exactly in the ancient way,
The wiser youngsters of today
So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
So be it, also! And may I
Where these and their creations liel
member him looking round the cove THE OLD SEA DOG AT THE
and whistling to himself as he did so, "ADMIRAL BENBOW"
and then breaking out in that old
sea-song that he sang so often afterSquire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and wards: the rest of these gentlemen having
Fifteen men on the dead man's chestasked me to write down the whole Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! particulars about Treasure Island,
in the high, old tottering voice that from the beginning to the end, keep- seemed to have been tuned and ing nothing back but the bearings of
broken at the capstan bars. Then he the island, and that only because there rapped on the door with a bit of stick is still treasure not yet lifted, I take
like a handspike that he carried, and up my pen in the year of grace 174,
when my father appeared, called 10 and go back to the time when my
roughly for a glass of rum. This, father kept the “Admiral Benbow”
when it was brought to him, he drank inn, and the brown old seaman, with
slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering 40 the saber cut, first took up his lodging
on the taste, and still looking about under our roof.
him at the cliffs and up at our signI remember him as if it were yes
board. terday, as he came plodding to the
“This is a handy cove,” says he, inn door, his sea-chest following be
at length; "and a pleasant sittyated hind him in a handbarrow; a tall,
grog-shop. Much company, mate?" strong, heavy, nut-brown man; his
My father told him no, very little 20 tarry pigtail falling over the shoulders
company, the more was the pity. of his soiled blue coat; his hands
“Well, then,” said he, “this is the ragged and scarred, with black, broken
berth for me. Here you, matey,' nails; and the saber cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I re
34. broken at the capstan bars, see line 11, page 115.
he cried to the man who trundled the some did, making by the coast road 50 barrow; "bring up alongside and help for Bristol), he would look in at him up my chest. I'll stay here a bit,” he through the curtained door before he continued. “I'm a plain man; entered the parlor; and he was always and bacon and eggs is what I want, sure to be as silent as a mouse when and that head up there for to watch any such was present. For me, at ships off. What you mought call least, there was no secret about the me? You mought call me captain. matter; for I was, in a way, a sharer
Oh, I see what you're at—there”; and in his alarms. He had taken me 10 he threw down three or four gold aside one day, and promised me a
pieces on the threshold. “You can tell silver fourpenny on the first of every 60 me when I've worked through that,”
month if I would only keep my says he, looking as fierce as a com- "weather-eye open for a seafaring man mander.
with one leg,” and let him know the And, indeed, bad as his clothes were, moment he appeared. Often enough, and coarsely as he spoke, he had none when the first of the month came of the
appearance of a man who sailed round, and I applied to him for my before the mast; but seemed like a wage, he would only blow through his
mate or skipper, accustomed to be nose at me, and stare me down; but 20 obeyed or to strike. The man who before the week was out he was sure to
came with the barrow told us the mail think better of it, bring me my four- 70 had set him down the morning before penny piece, and repeat his orders to at the "Royal George"; that he had look out for “the seafaring man with inquired what inns there were along
one leg.” the coast, and hearing ours well spoken How that personage haunted my of, I suppose, and described as lonely, dreams, I need scarcely tell you. On had chosen it from the others for his stormy nights, when the wind shook place of residence. And that was the four corners of the house, and the all we could learn of our guest.
surf roared along the cove and up
the He was a very silent man by custom. cliffs, I would see him in a thousand All day he hung round the cove, or forms, and with a thousand diabolical so upon the cliffs, with a brass telescope; expressions. Now the leg would be cut all evening he sat in a corner of the off at the knee, now at the hip; now he parlor next the fire, and drank rum was a monstrous kind of creature who and water very strong. Mostly he had never had but the one leg, and would not speak when spoken to; only that in the middle of his body. To look up sudden and fierce, and blow see him leap and run and pursue me through his nose like a foghorn; and over hedge and ditch was the worst of
we and the people who came about nightmares. And altogether I paid 40 our house soon learned to let him be. pretty dear for my monthly four
Every day, when he came back from penny piece, in the shape of these 90 his stroll, he would ask if any seafaring abominable fancies. men had gone by along the road. At But though I was so terrified by first we thought it was the want of the idea of the seafaring man with company of his own kind that made
one leg, I was far less afraid of the him ask this question; but at last we captain himself than anybody else began to see he was desirous to avoid who knew him. There were nights them. When a seaman put up at the when he took a deal more rum and “Admiral Benbow" (as now and then water than his head would carry; and
then he would sometimes sit and sing there was the sort of man that made his wicked, old, wild sea-songs, mind- England terrible at sea. ing nobody; but sometimes he would In one way, indeed, he bade fair to call for glasses round, and force all the ruin us; for he kept on staying week trembling company to listen to his after week, and at last month after stories or bear a chorus to his singing. month, so that all the money had been Often I have heard the house shaking long exhausted, and still my father with “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of never plucked up the heart to insist
rum”; all the neighbors joining in for on having more. If ever he men10 dear life, with the fear of death upon tioned it, the captain blew through
them, and each singing louder than the his nose so loudly that you might say other, to avoid remark. For in these he roared, and stared my poor father 60 fits he was the most overriding com
out of the room. I have seen him panion ever known; he would slap wringing his hands after such a rehis hand on the table for silence all buff and I am sure the annoyance round; he would fly up in a passion and the terror he lived in must have of anger at a question, or sometimes greatly hastened his early and unbecause none was put, and so he happy death.
judged the company was not following All the time he lived with us the 20 his story. Nor would he allow any captain made no change whatever in
one to leave the inn till he had drunk his dress but to buy some stockings himself sleepy and reeled off to bed. from a hawker. One of the cocks of 70
His stories were what frightened his hat having fallen down, he let it people worst of all. Dreadful stories hang from that day forth, though it they were; about hanging, and walk- was a great annoyance when it blew. ing the plank, and storms at sea, and I remember the appearance of his the Dry Tortugas, and wild deeds and coat, which he patched himself upplaces on the Spanish Main. By his stairs in his room, and which, before
own account he must have lived his the end, was nothing but patches. 30 life among some of the wickedest men He never wrote or received a letter, that God ever allowed upon the sea; and he never spoke with any
but the and the language in which he told neighbors, and with these, for the 80 these stories shocked our plain country most part, only when drunk on rum. people almost as much as the crimes The great sea-chest none of us had that he described. My father was ever seen open. always saying the inn would be ruined, He was only once crossed, and that for people would soon cease coming was toward the end, when my poor there to be tyrannized over and put father was far gone in a decline that
down, and sent shivering to their took him off. Dr. Livesey came late 40 beds; but I really believe his presence one afternoon to see the patient, took
did us good. People were frightened a bit of dinner from my mother, and at the time, but on looking back they went into the parlor to smoke a pipe 90 rather liked it; it was a fine excite- until his horse should come down from ment in a quiet country life; and there the hamlet, for we had no stabling at was even a party of the younger men the old “Benbow.” I followed him who pretended to admire him, calling in, and I remember observing the him a “true sea dog," and a “real old contrast the neat, bright doctor, with salt," and such-like names, and saying his powder as white as snow, and his
25. walking the plank, walking blindfold on a plank which tipped the victim into the sea.
96. powder as white as snow, an allusion to the custom of powdering the hair or the wig.