This belonged to my father. The copyright page lists the copyright date as 1918, but it may have been a type of textbook series (“The Modern Student’s Library”) that my father bought in the 1940’s, while he was in graduate school at Columbia after the war, courtesy of the G.I. bill. He penciled his name in the cover, along with a notation about some other literature. Most people remember Stevenson as the author of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Treasure Island,” if they remember him at all. These 24 essays on Thoreau, Pepys, Whitman, idlers, marriage, reading in general and other topics were written before his fame, and some are quite fine. My father scribbled notes in the margins of some, notably “Crabbed Age and Youth” (1878) and here is Stevenson’s humbling wisdom, a shout 130 years into the future:

“In short, if youth is not quite right in in its opinions, there is a strong probability that age is not much more so. Undying hope is co-ruler of the human bosom with infallible credulity. A man finds he has been wrong at every preceding stage of his career, only to deduce the astonishing conclusing that he is at last entirely right.”