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Scottish essayist, poet and novelist
(1850 - 1894)
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When we have discovered a continent, or crossed a chain of mountains, it is only to find another ocean or another plain upon the further side. . . . O toiling hands of mortals! O wearied feet, travelling ye know not whither! Soon, soon, it seems to you, you must come forth on some conspicuous hilltop, and but a little way further, against the setting sun, descry the spires of El Dorado. Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.
      - El Dorado [Traveling]

There are, indeed, few merrier spectacles than that of many windmills bickering together in a fresh breeze over a woody country; their halting alacrity of movement, their pleasant business, making bread all day with uncouth gesticulation; their air, gigantically human, as of a creature half alive, put a spirit of romance into the tamest landscape.
      - Foreigner at Home [Wind]

I never weary of great churches. It is my favourite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.
      - Inland Voyage [Churches]

I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house.
      - Kidnapped [Books (First Lines)]

Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal.
      - Memories and Portraits [Ancestry]

It is not for nothing, either, that the umbrella has become the very foremost badge of modern civilization--the Urim and Thummim of respectability. . . . So strongly do we feel on this point, indeed, that we are almost inclined to consider all who possess really well-conditioned umbrellas as worthy of the Franchise.
      - Philosophy of Umbrellas [Umbrellas]

It is the habitual carriage of the umbrella that is the stamp of Respectability. The umbrella has become the acknowledged index of social position. . . . Crusoe was rather a moralist than a pietist, and his leaf-umbrella is as fine an example of the civilized mind striving to express itself under adverse circumstances as we have ever met with.
      - Philosophy of Umbrellas,
        written in collaboration with J.W. Ferrier

Umbrellas, like faces, acquire a certain sympathy with the individual who carries them. . . . May it not be said of the bearers of these inappropriate umbrellas, that they go about the streets "with a lie in their right hand?" . . . Except in a very few cases of hypocrisy joined to a powerful intellect, men, not by nature, umbrellarians, have tried again and again to become so by art, and yet have failed--have expended their patrimony in the purchase of umbrella after umbrella, and yet have systematically lost them, and have finally, with contrite spirits and strunken purses, given up their vain struggle, and relied on theft and borrowing for the remainder of their lives.
      - Philosophy of Umbrellas [Umbrellas]

Now the hedged meads renew
  Rustic odor, smiling hue,
    And the clean air shines and twinkles as the world goes wheeling through;
      And my heart springs up anew,
        Bright and confident and true.
          And my old love come to meet me in the dawning and the dew.
      - Poem written in 1876 [Spring]

Under the wide and starry sky,
  Dig the grave and let me lie;
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
      And I laid me down with a will.
        This be the verse you grave for me;
          "Here he lies, where he longed to be;
            Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
              And the hunter home from the hill."
      - Requiem,
        written for himself and engraved on his tombstone

It was in the month of May, 1813, that I was so unlucky as to fall into the hands of the enemy.
      - St. Ives [Books (First Lines)]

The spirit, Sir, is one of mockery.
      - Suicide Club, in "New Arabian Nights"

I saw that island first when it was neither night nor morning. The moon was to the west, setting but still broad and bright. To the east, and right amidships of the dawn, which was all pinks, the daystar sparkled like a diamond. The land breeze blew in our faces and smellt strong of wild lime and vanilla: other things besides, but these were the most plain; and the chill of it set me sneezing. I should say I had been for years on a low island near the line, living for the most part solitary among natives. Here was a fresh experience; even the tongue would be quite strange to me; and the look of these woods and mountains, and the rare smell of them, renewed my blood.
      - The Beach at Falesa (ch. 1)
        [Books (First Lines)]

On a certain afternoon, in the late springtime, the bell upon Tunstall Moat House was heard ringing at an unaccustomed hour.
      - The Black Arrow [Books (First Lines)]

There was a man in the island of Hawaii, whom I shall call Keawe; for the truth is, he still lives, and his name must be kept secret; but the place of his birth was not far from Honaunau, where the bones of Keawe the Great lie hidden in a cave.
      - The Bottle Imp, a short story
        [Books (First Lines)]

The full truth of this odd matter is what the world has long been looking for and the public curiosity is sure to welcome.
      - The Master of Ballantrae (ch. 1)
        [Books (First Lines)]

Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was to his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye; something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, but more often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years.
      - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
         (ch. 1) [Books (First Lines)]

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
  Nor a friend to know me;
    All I ask, the heavens above,
      And the road below me.
      - The Vagabond [Happiness]

Youth is wholly experimental.
      - To a Young Gentleman [Youth]

Every book is, in an intimate sense, a circular-letter to the friends of him who writes it.
      - Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17--, and go back to the time when my father kept the "Admiral Benbow" inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
      - Treasure Island [Books (First Lines)]

The gauger walked with willing foot,
  And aye the gauger played the flute;
    And what should Master Gauger play
      But "Over the Hills and Far Away".
      - Underwoods, "A Song of the Road" [Music]

It is the season now to go
  About the country high and low,
    Among the lilacs hand in hand,
      And two by two in fairyland.
      - Underwoods, "It is the Season Now to Go"

It's an owercome sooth fo' age an' youth,
  And it brooks wi' nae denial,
    That the dearest friends are the auldest friends,
      And the young ones are just on trial.
      - Underwoods, "It's an Owercome Sooth"

It is not for nothing that this "ignoble tabagie," as Michelet calls it, spreads over all the world. Michelet rails against it because it renders you happily apart from thought or work; . . . Whatever keeps a man in the front garden, whatever checks wandering fancy and all inordinate ambition, whatever makes for lounging and contentment, makes just so surely for domestic happiness.
      - Virginibus Puerisque (I) [Tobacco]

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