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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"


1 Schoolmen * who adapted Aristotle's philosophy to the Catholic

Sainte-Beuve (1804-69), French critic and essayist, admired
and imitated by Matthew Arnold, who says that * as a guide to
bring us to a knowledge of the French genius and literature he is
unrivalled.' He was a regular contributor from the outset to the
Revue des Deux Mondes. His chief writings are his Portraits and
Causeries du Lundi,

Belvedere, literally ' fine prospect.' Hence, a balcony from which
a fine view is obtained.

Colonel Newcome, Fred Bayham, Mr. Barnes, characters in
Thackeray's famous novel.

Northeote, a cynical and eccentric old painter and Royal Acad-
emician, a friend of Hazlitt's, who himself began life as an artist.
Hazlitt published his Conversations in 1830.

quality of mercy.    Merchant of Venice, iv. i.

Circumlocution Office. From Little Dorrit, where, as in Bleak
House, Dickens ridicules * Red Tape' in Public Departments.

careless of the single life.    In Memoriam, stanza LV.

Sir Thomas Lucy, the owner of Charlecote Manor near Stratford.
According to tradition Shakespeare had to flee to London because
he had shot the deer in Charlecote Park. He afterwards ridiculed
him as Justice Shallow in Henry IV and the Merry Wives of

Atlas, the giant who, according to Greek mythology, held up
the world on his shoulders. He was turned into stone by Hercules,
and is the modern Gibraltar.

Pharaoh.    See Exodus, chap. v.

Master of the Ceremonies. So Marcus Aurelius speaks of God
in the Meditations,


This essay is described by the author as a ' Darwinian Sermon.*
While accepting the doctrine of evolution, Stevenson dwells on the
glorious paradox of a moral sense persisting in a universe which
does so little to encourage it. The same train of thought runs
through much of In Memoriam. After his dangerous illness of
1884, a new note appears in Stevenson's writings, and he himself
confesses that here ' the lights are turned a little low.5 But, he
hastens to add, * there is nothing in it but the moral side,—the great
battle and the breathing times and their refreshments.* The
title, c Dust and Shadow,' is taken from his favourite Horace
(Odes, iv. 7) :

Nos, ubi decidimus

Quo pater Aeneas, quo dives Tuttus et Anous,

Pulvis et umbra swnus.

We, soon as thrust,

Where good Aeneas, Tullus, Ancus, went,

What are we ?    Dust!