[RLS's first book] London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878. Original light blue cloth decorated in black and gilt, beveled boards.
First Edition of Stevenson's first book, which consisted of just 750 copies. It was preceded only by several tracts such as THE PENTLAND RISING and ON THE THERMAL INFLUENCE OF FORESTS. Included is a frontispiece by Walter Crane. In September 1876, Stevenson and Walter Simpson had taken a canoe trip in Belgium and France together; during the trip RLS had maintained a journal. Back in Edinburgh over a year later, Stevenson rewrote his journal into this book. It did not sell well; to quote from Calder:
Louis and Simpson made a complementary pair. They began their trip on the Scheldt in Antwerp, paddled along canals and navigated the Oise, returning to the Loing. It was a gentle pastime but, unfortunately for the book, remarkably uneventful. Although many people have enjoyed it, the book is about very little. Not very much happened. There is a lack of distinct individuality in the sketches of towns and people... The two odd-looking and ill-assorted companions lived a fine holiday but an uninspiring book.
(The trip was far from a complete loss, however: in the town of Grez, 26-year-old Stevenson met 36-year-old Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, an American married mother of two; he would follow her to San Francisco, she would get a divorce, and the two would be married for the rest of his life.)
This copy has cream-colored endpapers, bearing the Burn & Co. binder's label; some (with the same label) are chocolate-colored -- no known precedence. It is in close-to-fine condition (atypically, the spine is NOT darkened, and the light blue cloth is remarkably clean; the cover gilt remains bright, and there is very little external wear. In all, this is a desirable copy of a book that is becoming increasingly scarce. Beinecke 12; Princeton 6. Item #15142