HK Golfer historian Dr Milton Wayne highlights the connections between the legendary writer Robert Louis Stevenson, Samoa and the greatest game
In 1867, Stevenson entered Edinburgh University as a science student, where it was tacitly understood that he would follow his father's footsteps and become a civil engineer. However, Robert was at heart a romantic, and while ostensibly working towards a science degree, he spent much of his time studying French Literature, Scottish history, and the works of Darwin and Spencer. When he confided to his father that he did not want to become an engineer and instead wished to pursue writing, his father was rather less than impressed. They settled on a compromise, where Robert would study for the Bar exam and if his literary ambitions failed, he would have a respectable profession to fall back on.
Slowly but surely, Stevenson earned a name for himself in journalism and writing in general and in 1876, on a trip to France, he met an American married woman, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was 10 years his senior. Osbourne, it seems, had travelled to Europe in an attempt to escape her estranged husband's influence. Against the wishes of his family, Stevenson moved in with her and spent the next few years on the Continent before she returned to California's Monterey Peninsula when her divorce was finalised. Stevenson, despite his continuing poor health, made the lengthy trans-Atlantic journey to join her shortly afterwards, and by the time they were married, in 1880, he was "a mere complication of cough and bones, much fitter for an emblem of mortality than a bridegroom."
Written by Dr. Milton Wayne
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