Click here to Download Vailima Letters PDF Book by Robert Louis Stevenson Language English having PDF Size 2.1 MB and No of Pages 165.
My dear Colvin,—This is a hard and interesting and beautiful life that we lead now. Our place is in a deep cleft of Vaea Mountain, some six hundred feet above the sea, embowered in forest, which is our strangling enemy, and which we combat with axes and dollars. I went crazy over outdoor work, and had at last to confine myself to the house, or literature must have gone by the board.
Vailima Letters PDF Book by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Nothing is so interesting as weeding, clearing, and path-making; the oversight of labourers becomes a disease; it is quite an effort not to drop into the farmer; and it does make you feel so well. To come down covered with mud and drenched with sweat and rain after some hours in the bush, change, rub down, and take a chair in the verandah, is to taste a quiet conscience.
And the strange thing that I mark is this: If I go out and make sixpence, bossing my labourers and plying the cutlass or the spade, idiot conscience applauds me; if I sit in the house and make twenty pounds, idiot conscience wails over my neglect and the day wasted. For near a fortnight I did not go beyond the verandah; then I found my rush of work run out, and went down for the night to Apia.
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Put in Sunday afternoon with our consul, ‘a nice young man,’ dined with my friend H. J. Moors in the evening, went to church—no less— at the white and half-white church—I had never been before, and was much interested; the woman I sat next looked a full-blood native, and it was in the prettiest and readiest English that she sang the hymns.
Back to Moors’, where we yarned of the islands, being both wide wanderers, till bed-time; bed, sleep, breakfast, horse saddled; round to the mission, to get Mr. Clarke to be my interpreter; over with him to the King’s, whom I have not called on since my return; received by that mild old gentleman; have some interesting talk with him about Samoan superstitions and my land—the scene of a great battle.
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In his (Malietoa Laupepa’s) youth—the place which we have cleared the platform of his fort—the gulley of the stream full of dead bodies—the fight rolled off up Vaea mountainside; back with Clarke to the Mission; had a bit of lunch and consulted over a queer point of missionary policy just arisen, about our new Town Hall and the balls there —too long to go into.
But a quaint example of the intricate questions which spring up daily in the missionary path. Then off up the hill; Jack very fresh, the sun (close on noon) staring hot, the breeze very strong and pleasant; the ineffable green country all round—gorgeous little birds (I think they are humming birds, but they say not) skirmishing in the wayside p. Vailima Letters PDF Book
Flowers. About a quarter way up I met a native coming down with the trunk of a cocoa palm across his shoulder; his brown breast glittering with sweat and oil: ‘Talofa’—‘Talofa, alii—You see that white man? He speak for you.’ ‘White man he gone up here?’—‘Ioe (Yes)’—‘Tofa, alii’—‘Tofa, soifua!’ I put on Jack up the steep path, till he is all as white as shaving stick—Brown’s euxesis.
Wish I had some—past Tanugamanono, a bush village—see into the houses as I pass—they are open sheds scattered on a green—see the brown folk sitting there, suckling kids, sleeping on their stiff wooden pillows—then on through the wood path—and here I find the mysterious white man (poor devil!) with his twenty years’ certificate of good behaviour as a book-keeper, frozen out by the strikes in the colonies.
Come up here on a chance, no work to be found, big hotel bill, no ship to leave in—and come up to beg twenty dollars because he heard I was a Scotchman, offering to leave his portmanteau in pledge. Settle this, and on again; and here my house comes in view, and a war whoop fetches my wife and Henry (or Simelé), our Samoan boy, on the front balcony. Vailima Letters PDF Book
And I am home again, and only sorry that I shall have to go down again to Apia this day week. I could, and would, dwell here unmoved, but there are things to be attended to. My dear Carthew,—See what I have written, but it’s Colvin I’m after—I have written two chapters, about thirty pages of Wrecker since the mail left, which must be my excuse.
And the bother I’ve had with it is not to be imagined, you might have seen me the day before yesterday weighing British sov.’s and Chili dollars to arrange my treasure chest. And there was such a calculation, not for that only, but p. 102 for the ship’s position and distances when—but I am not going to tell you the yarn —and then, as my arithmetic is particularly lax.
Lloyd had to go over all my calculations; and then, as I had changed the amount of money, he had to go over all his as to the amount of the lay; and altogether, a bank could be run with less effusion of figures than it took to shore up a single chapter of a measly yarn. However, it’s done, and I have but one more, or at the outside two, to do, and I am Free! and can do any damn thing I like. Vailima Letters PDF Book
Before falling on politics, I shall give you my day. Awoke somewhere about the first peep of day, came gradually to, and had a turn on the verandah before 5.55, when ‘the child’ (an enormous Wallis Islander) brings me an orange; at 6, breakfast; 6.10, to work; which lasts till, at 10.30, Austin comes for his history lecture; this is rather dispiriting, but education must be gone about in faith—and charity.
Both of which pretty nigh failed me to-day about (of all things) Carthage; 11, luncheon; after luncheon in my mother’s room, I read Chapter XXIII. of The Wrecker, then Belle, Lloyd, and I go up and make music furiously till about 2 (I suppose), when I turn into work again till 4; fool from 4 to half-past, tired out and waiting for the bath hour 4.30, bath; 4.40, eat two heavenly mangoes on the verandah.
And see the boys arrive with the pack-horses; 5, dinner; smoke, chat on verandah, then hand of cards, and at last at 8 come up to my room with a pint of beer and a hard biscuit, which I am now consuming, and as soon as they are consumed I shall turn in. Such are the innocent days of this ancient and outworn sportsman; to-day there was no weeding, usually there is however, edge in somewhere. Vailima Letters PDF Book
My books for the moment are a crib to Phædo, and the second book of Montaigne; and a little while back I was reading Frederic Harrison, ‘Choice of Books,’ etc.—very good indeed, a great deal of sense and knowledge in the volume, and some very true stuff, contra Carlyle, about the eighteenth century. A hideous idea came over me that perhaps Harrison is now getting old.
Perhaps you are. Perhaps I am. Oh, this infidelity must be stared firmly down. I am about twenty-three—say twenty-eight; you about thirty, or, by’r lady, thirty-four; and as Harrison belongs to the same generation, there is no good bothering about him. My dear Colvin,—As I rode down last night about six.
I saw a sight I must try to tell you of. In front of me, right over the top of the forest into which I was descending was a vast cloud. The front of it accurately represented the somewhat rugged, long-nosed, and beetle-browed profile of a man, crowned by a huge Kalmuck cap; the flesh part was of a heavenly pink, the cap, the moustache, the eyebrows were of a bluish gray. Vailima Letters PDF Book Download
To see this with its childish exactitude of design and colour, and hugeness of scale—it covered at least 25°—held me spellbound. As I continued to gaze, the expression began to change; he had the exact air of closing one eye, dropping his jaw, and drawing down his nose; had the thing not been so imposing.
I could have smiled; and then almost in a moment, a shoulder of leaden-coloured bank drove in front and blotted it. My attention spread to the rest of the cloud, and it was a thing to worship. It rose from the horizon, and its top was within thirty degrees of the zenith; the lower parts were like a glacier in shadow, varying from dark indigo to a clouded white in exquisite gradations.
The sky behind, so far as I could see, was all of a blue already enriched and darkened by the night, for the hill had what lingered of the sunset. But the top of my Titanic cloud flamed in broad sunlight, with the most excellent softness and brightness of fire and jewels, enlightening all the world. It must have been far higher than Mount Everest, and its glory. Vailima Letters PDF Book Download
As I gazed up at it out of the night, was beyond wonder. Close by rode the little crescent moon; and right over its western horn, a great planet of about equal lustre with itself. The dark woods below were shrill with that noisy business of the birds’ evening worship. When I returned, after eight, the moon was near down.
She seemed little brighter than before, but now that the cloud no longer played its part of a nocturnal sun, we could see that sight, so rare with us at home that it was counted a portent, so customary in the tropics, of the dark sphere with its little gilt band upon the belly. The planet had been setting faster, and was now below the crescent.
They were still of an equal brightness. I could not resist trying to reproduce this in words, as a specimen of these incredibly beautiful and imposing meteors of the tropic sky that make so much of my pleasure here; though a ship’s deck is the place to enjoy them. O what awful scenery, from a ship’s deck, in the tropics! People talk about the Alps, but the clouds of the trade wind are alone for sublimity. Vailima Letters PDF Book Download
Yesterday came yours. Well, well, if the dears prefer a week, why, I’ll give them ten days, but the real document, from which I have scarcely varied, ran for one night. I think you seem scarcely fair to Wiltshire, who had surely, under his beastignorant ways, right noble qualities. And I think perhaps you scarce do justice to the fact that this is a place of realism à outrance; nothing extenuated or coloured.
Looked at so, is it not, with all its tragic features, wonderfully idyllic, with great beauty of scene and circumstance? And will you please to observe that almost all that is ugly is in the whites? I’ll apologise for Papa Randal if you like; but if I told you the whole truth—for I did extenuate there!—and he seemed to me essential as a figure, and essential as a pawn in the game.
Wiltshire’s disgust for him being one of the small, efficient motives in the story. Now it would have taken a fairish dose to disgust Wiltshire.—Again, the idea of publishing the Beach substantively is dropped—at once, both on account of expostulation, and because it measured shorter than I had expected. Vailima Letters PDF Book Free
And it was only taken up, when the proposed volume, Beach de Mar, petered out. It petered out thus: the chief of the short stories got sucked into Sophia Scarlet—and Sophia is a book I am much taken with, and mean to get to, as soon as—but not before—I have done David Balfour and The Young Chevalier.
So you see you are like to hear no more of the Pacific or the nineteenth century for a while. The Young Chevalier is a story of sentiment and passion, which I mean to write a little differently from what I have been doing—if I can hit the key; rather more of a sentimental tremolo to it. Lafaele, long (I hope) familiar to you, has this day received the visit of his son from Tonga.
And the son proves to be a very pretty, attractive young daughter! I gave all the boys kava in honour of her arrival; along with a lean, side-whiskered Tongan, dimly supposed to be Lafaele’s step-father; and they have been having a good time; in the end of my verandah, I hear Simi, my present incapable steward, talking Tongan with the nondescript papa. Vailima Letters PDF Book Free
Simi, our out-door boy, burst a succession of blood-vessels over our work, and I had to make a position for the wreck of one of the noblest figures of a man I ever saw. I believe I may have mentioned the other day how I had to put my horse to the trot, the canter and (at last) the gallop to run him down. In a photograph I hope to send you (perhaps with this) you will see Simi standing in the verandah in profile.
As a steward, one of his chief points is to break crystal; he is great on fracture—what do I say?—explosion! He cleans a glass, and the shards scatter like a comet’s bowels.