Memoirs

Across The Plains 1844 by Robert Louis Stevenson

By Robert Louis Stevenson

I. around the Plains II. The outdated Pacific Capital III. Fontainebleau IV. Epilogue to ''An Inland Voyage'' V. Random thoughts VI. Random stories endured VII. The Lantern-bearers VIII. A bankruptcy on desires IX. Beggars X. Letter to a tender Gentleman XI. Pulvis et Umbra XII. A Christmas Sermon

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From the mission church the eye embraces a great field of ocean, and the ear is filled with a continuous sound of distant breakers on the shore. But the day of the Jesuit has gone by, the day of the Yankee has succeeded, and there is no one left to care for the converted savage. The church is roofless and ruinous, sea-breezes and sea-fogs, and the alternation of the rain and sunshine, daily widening the breaches and casting the crockets from the wall. As an antiquity in this new land, a quaint specimen of missionary Page 31 Across The Plains - Robert Louis Stevenson architecture, and a memorial of good deeds, it had a triple claim to preservation from all thinking people; but neglect and abuse have been its portion.

And no sooner are these first difficulties overcome, than fresh perils spring up upon the other side; and the bourgeois and the tourist are knocking at the gate. This is the crucial moment for the colony. If these intruders gain a footing, they not only banish freedom and amenity; pretty soon, by means of Page 33 Across The Plains - Robert Louis Stevenson their long purses, they will have undone the education of the innkeeper; prices will rise and credit shorten; and the poor painter must fare farther on and find another hamlet.

The vigorous forest air, the silence, the majestic avenues of highway, the wilderness of tumbled boulders, the great age and dignity of certain groves these are but ingredients, they are not the secret of the philtre. Page 32 Across The Plains - Robert Louis Stevenson The place is sanative; the air, the light, the perfumes, and the shapes of things concord in happy harmony. " He may dally with his life. Mirth, lyric mirth, and a vivacious classical contentment are of the very essence of the better kind of art; and these, in that most smiling forest, he has the chance to learn or to remember.

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