Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1894) Autograph Letter Signed and Poem from Moral Emblems, Bonwallie Towers, Bournemouth, 10 November [no
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Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1894) Autograph Letter Signed and Poem from Moral Emblems, Bonwallie Towers, Bournemouth, 10 November [no year, likely 1884]. Bifolium inscribed over two and half pages. To Elizabeth Anne Ferrier ('Coggie'), the sister of one of RLS's oldest and most intimate friends Walter Ferrier, remarkably similar but definitely different content from a known and published letter to the same addressee dated 12 November 1884, the present letter with a quote from "Robin and Ben: Or, the Pirate and the Apothecary," old folds, some tears along folds, 8 x 5 in.
Dear Coggie [Elizabeth Ann Ferrier],
Many thanks for your letter. Please tell Campbell [Lewis Campbell (1830-1908)] I got his letter and photos which now decorate my room. The wild woman of the west, alias the [?] alias the Daft Wife s' Bonelly [?], has been much amiss ------------------ and complaining . I was particularly glad to have the Bell Rock, I wonder if you saw me plunge into a controversy? It was a very one-sided affair. The man I attacked cried "Boo-hoo" and referred to more referred me to his big brother. I [?] my cocktail[?] and snapped my fingers; I was about "Rustled[?] out", but the great smiles would not budge; so I slept upon the field of battle------paraded---and came home.
I am glad to send a copy of my poem, "Moral Tales," Robin and Ben----or the Pirate and the Apothecary-------
Come, lend me an attentive ear
A Startling moral tale to hear
Of Pirate Rob and Chemist Ben
and different destinies of men
Deep in the greenest of the vales
That nestle near the coast of Wales
The heaving main but just in view,
Robin and Ben together grew,
Together worked and played the fool
Together shunned the Sunday school
and pulled each other's youthful noses
Around the cots, among the roses.
Together but unlike they grew.
Robin was rough and through and through,
Bold, inconsiderate and manly
Like some historic Bruce or Stanley.
Ben had a mean and servile soul.
He robbed not, though he often stole.
He sang on Sunday in the choir
And tamely capped the village squire.
At length, intolerant of trammels-
Wild as the wild Bithynian camels.
Wild as the wild sea-eagles -Bob
His widowed dam contrives to rob.
And thus with great originality
Effectuates his personality.
Thenceforth, his terror-haunted flight
He follows through the starry night;
and with the early morning breeze
Behold him on the azure seas!
Please excuse this scrawl; understand what is said; and accept for yourself and all in the family, my most sincere good wishes,
Robert Louis Stevenson
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