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Heartbreak of a lost love

Photo - National Library of Scotland


heartbreaking letter from the widow of Robert Louis Stevenson detailing the last moments of the writer’s life has been acquired by the National Library of Scotland.

Indianapolis-born wife in Samoa.

The emotional transcript, written just hours after her husband died, reveals the emotional pain and loss suffered by his wife of 14 years, Fanny Stevenson .

“His life had been one long romance and he hoped to have a romantic end; the artist in him demanded that completeness,” writes Fanny in her tight script on small notepaper.

The letter was sent to a family friend the day after the sudden collapse of the 44-year-old author of classic tales, such as Kidnapped, Treasure Island and the Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

“To grow old he could not bear. He has had his wish and, for that, I try to be thankful, though all the rest of my life will be empty and lonely. True, I have my children but I have not Louis. No one knows what that means but me.”

Stevenson was just 44-years-old when he died on 3 December 1894 from a suspected brain haemorrhage at the home he shared with his


In the letter Fanny Stevenson expresses her sense of loss but also her gratitude that her husband had achieved his wish of dying before he got old.

In the days leading up to the writer’s collapse Fanny claims she had been crushed by a sense of impending

Robert Louis Stevenson

Scotland Correspondent issue 1