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Record 20259

Reading Experience:

[On blank recto flyleaf at the beginning of the volume:] 'My Dear Brown,/ Here it is, with the mark of a San Francisco BOUQUINISTE. And if ever in all my "human conduct" I have done a better thing to any fellow-creature than handing on to you this sweet, dignified, and wholesome book, I know I shall hear of it on the last day. To write a book like this were impossible; at least one can hand it on − with a wrench − one to another. My wife cries out and my own heart misgives me, but still here it is. I could scarcely better prove myself − Yours affectionately, R.L. Stevenson. [Later, placed on a blank recto page facing p.166, i.e. the last page of Fruits of Solitude and before Fruits of a Father’s Love:] My Dear Brown, / I hope if you get this far, you will know what an invaluable present I have made you. Even the copy was dear to me, printed in the colony that Penn established and carried in my pocket all about San Francisco streets, read in street cars and ferry boats, when I was sick unto death, and found in all times a peaceful and sweet companion. But I hope, when you shall have reached this note, my gift will not have been in vain; for while just now we are so busy and intelligent, there is not the man living, no, nor recently dead, that could have put, with so lovely a spirit, so much honest, kind wisdom into words. / R.L.S.'
Century: 1850-1899
Date: Between 1 Jan 1879 and 31 Dec 1881
Country: America
Time: n/a
Place: city: Mainly San Francisco?
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Robert Louis Stevenson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 13 Nov 1850
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: Uncommitted
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: America
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: William Penn
Title: Fruits of Solitude
Genre: Personal reflections.
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: Published in Philadelphia by Benjamin Johnson in 1792.
Provenance: owned


Source Information:

Record ID: 20259  
Source - Manuscript Other
  Author: Marginalia,

Citation: Marginalia,, accessed: 06 July 2020

Additional comments:

The evidence is contained in two separate but related presentation inscriptions written by RLS in a copy of William Penn’s [italics]Fruits of Solitude, *expressed* in Reflections and Maxims relating to the Conduct of Human Life, by William Penn, Philadelphia: Benjamin Johnson, 1792. This evidence was communicated to the contributor by Richard Dury, who obtained it from photographs of the volume in question, which is in the University of San Francisco Gleeson Library (Geschenke Center), USA. 1879-80. Olive Classe found the two passages in question on the Internet site of Homepage, given as from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, editor not named, the two passages being reproduced consecutively as Letters to Horatio F. Brown and dated Davos, 1881. The date of writing seems uncertain, apparently 1879-81.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)