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Robert Louis Stevenson as a Young Teenager

Robert Louis Stevenson as a Young Teenager Biographies Famous People

This image depicts Robert Louis Stevenson, in November of 1863, when he was 13 years old.

At the time, he was a student at Burlington Lodge Academy, located in Spring Grove, Isleworth (situated within the Borough of Hounslow in Greater London).

While his parents were staying at Menton, in the south of France—because of his Mother’s poor health—“Laurie,” as his family called him then, was living at the school. His Mother’s sister—Jane Balfour—lived nearby and some of his cousins were also students at Burlington.

Stevenson loved his Aunt Jane very much. He wrote a poem about her:

Chief of our aunts -- not only I,
But all the dozen nurslings cry--
What did the other children do?
And what was childhood, wanting you?
(See A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson, at page 23.)

Despite his love for Aunt Jane, Stevenson was lonely at Burlington Lodge Academy. He missed his parents, very much, as evidenced by this letter which he wrote on November 12, 1863:

My dear Papa, you told me to tell you whenever I was miserable. I do not feel well and I wish to get home. Do take me with you. (See Letters and Miscellanies of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume I, published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons, in 1902, at page 8.)

The following month, RLS told his parents that the Academy was closing on the 18th of December and that he wished to be with his parents:

I am wearying very much you may be sure for the time when I am to come to Mentoni. (See A Catalogue of Robert Louis Stevenson Autograph Material published, in 1921, by The Brick Row Book Shop in New York City, at page 5.)

By the time Stevenson wrote this December letter, his Father (Thomas Stevenson, a famous lighthouse engineer) was already en route to retrieve him from Isleworth. R.L.S. stayed with his parents, at Menton, until May of 1864.

He never went back to Burlington Lodge Academy.


Media Credits

Image of Robert Louis Stevenson, as a student at Scotland's Burlington Lodge Academy, as he appeared during November of 1863.

 

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