Autograph Letter Signed, addressed to [antiquarian bookseller] John B. Day. Robert Louis Stevenson.

Autograph Letter Signed, addressed to [antiquarian bookseller] John B. Day.

One page, dated (by RLS) June 30th 1893. N.p. [but at Vailima Plantation, Apia, Samoa].

This letter is hand-addressed by Stevenson to: "John B. Day Esq. | 5 Blythwood Villas | Stroud Green | London N.", and reads as follows:

Dear Sir, I am unfortunately confined to the house by influenza, but as soon as I shall be able to go abroad, I shall institute inquiries for your son, and hope by next mail -- or the mail after -- to give you some intelligence. Yours truly [signed] Robert Louis Stevenson.

In the mid-1890s, John B[ellence?]. Day was buying and selling old books out of his residence at the above address. In an 1891 periodical he was referred to as "the only surviving member" of the old Day & Son (founded in London as Day & Co. ca. 1824), which earlier in the century had been the dominant British firm in the field of chromolithographic printing (even as "Lithographers to the Queen"); however the firm had failed in 1867, several years after its ill-advised decision to print Hungarian banknotes for Louis Kossuth, in advance of his planned revolution against the King of Hungary.

By the time of this letter, Robert Louis Stevenson had been living for several years with his family in Samoa (in self-exile, seeking relief from his lung disease). We have been unable to establish any relationship between RLS and John B. Day other than this correspondence -- in which Day had apparently asked RLS for help in locating his son, presumably thought to be in that part of the world. Although RLS here told Day that he would "institute inquiries" once his health allowed him to "go abroad," it is unlikely he ever did anything in that regard -- as just eighteen months later, his lungs finally failed him.

The letter is in very good-plus condition (a couple of faint mounting marks on the verso, one crease where once folded); the laid paper shows general light foxing, typical for paper that spent time in the South Pacific and then on board a ship to England. Item #14065

Price: $2,250.00

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