“The remainder of a joint of mutton”

At this time, there was no railway right into the village, and the freshness of supplies could not always be guaranteed. Thirty years later the recipient of the note presented it to the Stevenson Society: it is still kept in the RLS Memorial Cottage, Saranac Lake.

[For critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 2004.]

To Harry Oldfield [Steuart, RLS, Man and Writer, 1924, II, 102]

[Saranac Lake, 3 February 1888]

Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson presents his compliments to Mr. Oldfield, and begs to return him the remainder of a joint of mutton which he refuses either to eat or pay for.



Fillet of beef had been ordered as far back as Monday.

Free Range Whole Beef Fillet


Mr. Stevenson can readily understand there might arise some difficulty in supplying that; but at least Mr. Oldfield knew that Mr. S. would want something on Thursday; and Mr. S. prefers to hope it was in error that Mr. O. sent him anything so perfectly uneatable as the joint of which he now has the pleasure to return him part.


Early village of Saranac Lake, 1800’s [www.bunksplace.com]


Saranac Lake, late 1800s [https://localwiki.org]


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