A Conversation for Robert Louis Stevenson
writer_robin Started conversation May 14, 2005
Robert and Fanny honeymooned in a cabin on the side of Mt. St. Helena, just outside the town of Calistoga in Napa Valley. The area is now known as Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.
While they were there, there was a very active silver mining industry in the Napa Valley. It is thought that this is where he received his inspiration for Treasure Island.
As a boy, I always enjoyed his poems, especially "Windy Nights"
WHENEVER the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?
Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.
Well, it turns out that the rider in this poem had a real-life counterpart. The manager of one of the silver mines would on occasion ride via horseback into Calistoga to visit the bank, to pick up cash to make his payroll. There was a lot of banditry in the area at the times, so whenever possible, he picked stormy moonless nights, in the belief that the inclement weather would keep the bandits at home.
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