Stevenson’s baby book, being the record of the sayings and doings of Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, son of Thomas Stevenson, C.E. and Margaret Isabella Balfour or Stevenson; 1922; John Howell / J.H. Nash, San Francisco .
A remarkable record of the first few years of author Robert Louis Stevenson’s life, as noted down by his mother in a “Baby Book”. The book featured above, published in 1922, consists of a facsimile of the original handwritten baby book followed by a transcription. Amid various baby-related milestones, such as first teeth, crawl, walk, etc., we hear reports of a young “Lou” (also called “Boulihasker, Smoutie, Baron Broadnose, Signor Sprucki,.. Maister Sprook”) first engaging with and questioning the world around him… here’s a few little golden snippets:
When 1 year old…
Jan 13th: Smout gives up his forenoon sleep and calls books “oufs” because he expects to find pictures of dogs in them.
3 years old…
April 17th: When Smout was drawing pictures he said “I have drawed a man’s body, shall I do his soul now?”
4 years old…
January 10th : When Lou saw the sun looking red he said “It’s just like a great big orange thrown up into the sky.”
February 6th: Lou dreamt that “he heard the noise of pens writing.”
March 17th: Smout’s dream ” I dreamt that I was going downstairs and I saw a Russian bear looking out at the pantry door, and it came up and took hold of my foot and I awoke and it was just a dream.”
March 27th: Another dream.” I dreamt that I was at a marriage and a boy asked me to go to his room and when I looked out at the window I saw a basket hanging down from the sky and it was full of doors all around and somebody gave me something that wasn’t good for me and I would not take it.” The something appeared to be a cookie of some kind and he said the basket “was hung on a nail driven into a cloud.”
|Housed at: Internet Archive | From: California Digital Library|
|Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights|
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