From Scotland to Silverado. Comprising The Amateur Emigrant, The Silverado Squatters, & Four Essays on California
By Robert Louis Stevenson. Edited by James D. Hart. The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1966.
In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson left his native Scotland on a journey to California to meet up with Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, a married woman whom he had met and fallen in love with several years before, and whom he would eventually marry. In The Amateur Emigrant,
he describes his three-week journey, by boat to New York and by emigrant train to Monterey, an arduous trip that left him seriously ill.
At the time, observes James D. Hart in his informative introduction to this volume, the two most important works Stevenson had written were An Inland Voyage
and Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.
Both of these were “records of pleasure trips, undertaken in part simply to provide material for books,” and they were known for their charm.
The Amateur Emigrant
is an altogether different kind of work. (more…)