Two sheets of handwritten letter
Fanny Stevenson's letter.

Fanny Stevenson's signature on a letter
Fanny's signature.

A heart-rending letter describing the final hours of Robert Louis Stevenson has been acquired by the National Library of Scotland.

In the letter to a friend the day after his death, the novelist's widow, Fanny Stevenson, says that her husband died as he had lived.

'His life had been one long romance and he hoped to have a romantic end; the artist in him demanded that completeness,' she wrote on 3 December 1894.

Stevenson died suddenly from a suspected brain haemorrhage at the couple's home in Samoa at the age of only 44.

In her letter, Fanny also describes the devotion of native Samoans who cut a path through the bush to fulfil Stevenson's wish that he be buried at the summit of Mount Vaea.

The letter is one of a number that the National Library bought at auction. Included in the purchase were an unfinished essay, telegrams, photographs and newspaper cuttings. They add to the Library's existing rich collection of Stevenson material.

Read more in our Robert Louis Stevenson media release.

2 December 2016