It will be finished some day, bar the big accident

 

To a correspondent not personally known to RLS, who had by some means heard of the Great North Road project. RLS’s novel was published posthumous and unfinished (8 chap.) in the Illustrated London News, Christmas Supplement 1895 .

[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1441.]

To C. Howard Carrington [Colvin 1912, p. 206]

Skerryvore, Bournemouth, June 9th [1885]

Dear Sir,

The Great North Road is still unfinished;

Illustration for The Great North Road, by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Great North Road (unfinished, 8 chap.) was published posthumous in the Illustrated London News, Christmas Supplement 1895 [http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com]

it is scarce I should say beyond Highgate:

J. Constable (1776-1837), View from Highgate Hill [www.john-constable.org]

J. Constable (1776-1837), View from Highgate Hill [www.john-constable.org]

North Road, Highgate, London [www.memoriespostcards.co.uk]

North Road, Highgate, London [www.memoriespostcards.co.uk]

North Road, Highgate, London [www.memoriespostcards.co.uk]

North Road, Highgate, London [www.memoriespostcards.co.uk]

 

but it will be finished some day, bar the big accident. It will not however gratify your taste; the highwayman is not grasped: what you would have liked (and I, believe me) would have been Jerry Ahershaw:

Louis Jeremiah Abershaw (1773-95), a notorious highwayman on the roads between London, Kingston and Wimbledon, was hanged for murdering a constable. The project of a highway story, Jerry Abershaw, remained a favourite one with RLS, but was abandoned [www.stand-and-deliver.org.uk/]

Louis Jeremiah Abershaw (1773-95), a notorious highwayman on the roads between London, Kingston and Wimbledon, was hanged for murdering a constable. The project of a highway story, Jerry Abershaw, remained a favourite one with RLS, but was abandoned [www.stand-and-deliver.org.uk/]

but Jerry was not written at the fit moment; I have outgrown the taste – and his romantic horse-shoes clatter faintlier down the incline towards Lethe.

The legend of Theoderic, St. Zeno, Verona [www.carnetdevoyage.it]

G. Doré, Dante at the river Lethe, c. 1880 [www.waggish.org]

G. Doré, Dante at the river Lethe, c. 1880 [www.waggish.org]

Truly yours,

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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