Posted by: davidlarkin | February 12, 2018

A Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson on his veranda in Vailima, Samoa, c.1893 from an Old postcard.  Robert Louis Stevenson’s most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Last weekend, the AT&T Open PGA golf tournament was played at Pebble Beach next to Carmel, California where I lived in the 80s. Robert Louis Stevenson lived in Pebble Beach in the 1870s, and there is a private prep school there named after him, Stevenson School, formerly Robert Louis Stevenson School. Clint Eastwood, who lives nearby, sent his daughter Alison there.  My brother-in-law Peter graduated from the Stevenson School.

Here is a Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) in the Oxford Book of Prayer:

The day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces. Let cheerfulness abound with industry. Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.

Googling, I found a book of his prayers written at Vailima, Samoa which I ordered for $4.99 from Amazon.

Here is some information about Vailima, Samoa and Robert Louis Stevenson’s final days there from Wikipedia,_Samoa :

Vailima is the name of a village about four kilometres south of Apia, the capital of Samoa. The population is 1,462. Vailima is part of the electoral political district Tuamasaga.

The village is most known as the location of the last residence of Robert Louis Stevenson, named “Villa Vailima”. Vailima Letters: Being Correspondence addressed by Robert Louis Stevenson to Sidney Colvin were first published by Methuen, London, 1895. The estate has had a varied past with it functioning further as the residence for the governor of German Samoa, the administrator of the New Zealand mandatory authority and the Samoan head of state. It is now a museum in honour of Stevenson and has been substantially restored.

The name Vailima means “water in the hand”, according to an old Samoan tale. A woman gave some water (vai) in her hand (lima) to help her thirsty companion. A widely quoted misinterpretation states that the name means “five waters”, as the word “lima” means both “hand” and “five” in Samoan.

Stevenson is buried in a tomb on Mount Vaea overlooking Vailima. He had two wishes for his burial, to be buried on the top of Mt Vaea and to be buried with his boots on as he used those boots to walk on the Samoan lands.


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