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A Child's Garden of Verses by Stevenson

A CHILDS GARDEN of VERSES

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _A Child's Garden_]

A CHILD'S GARDEN of VERSES

By ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

ILLUSTRATED by E. MARS AND M. H. SQUIRE

RAND McNALLY & COMPANY CHICAGO NEW YORK LONDON

[Illustration]

_Copyright, 1900, by_ ROBERT HOWARD RUSSELL

_Copyright, 1902, by_ RAND MCNALLY & COMPANY

All rights reserved Edition of 1928

[Illustration] Made in U. S. A.

BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION

Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson, or Robert Louis Stevenson, as the world knows him, was still a boy when he published this rare volume of "A Child's Garden of Verses," although by the calendar he was thirty-five years old. You and I have sighed, no doubt, to be a boy again, but here was one who, while he outgrew his knickerbockers, never outgrew the quick sympathy, the brave heart, the fresh outlook, the confident faith and buoyant spirit of the little Scotch boy who roamed the hills 'round Edinburgh. Better than any man of any time he was able to enter into the heart of a boy, to view things with a boy's eyes, and to write of them in simple verse, touched with the warmth and color of his rich imagination. In these "Verses" he writes as a child rather than about children, and in this lies much of the charm which they possess for little readers. There is in them the surprise of reality, the beauty of a simple rhythm, and the mysterious flavor of magic that grips a boy's heart and will not let him go until the book has become a part of him. Surely this is a rare quality in schoolbooks.

The Stevensons had been famous engineers for more than a hundred years, building lighthouses along the Scottish coast, and it was natural that his father should have expected Robert Louis to follow in the family footsteps. But the slim boy with brown eyes, who at eight had written a "History of Moses," and illustrated it with his own pen; who was slow to learn from books, but quick to understand things that he saw and felt; the boy who carried a volume of history in one pocket and a notebook in another, had other plans for himself, and even his father came to see the wisdom of his son's choice of a literary life. As early as 1873, when only twenty-three years old, Stevenson was ordered south for the winter by his physician, to ward off impending consumption. For more than twenty years, or until his death in Samoa late in 1894, he was never far from this pursuing enemy. It followed him over tossing seas and through many lands as he journeyed in search of health; yet through all these years he carried a brave and happy heart, and wrote at the end this Requiem, the last three lines of which are upon his tomb on the mountain-top in Samoa;


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