Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another thing I read in Nelson.

Cam had an excerpt up on his office wall which I now know is from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1879 book "Travels with a Donkey". I was a little disappointed to find that I got my history mixed up and Robert was not in fact the inventor of Stephenson's Rocket. Oh well. Despite not being the inventor of any steam engines, I really like this bit from "A Night Among the Pines" that Mr Stevenson wrote:

"A faint wind, more like a moving coolness than a stream of air, passed down the glade from time to time; so that even in my great chamber the air was being renewed all night long. I thought with horror of the inn at Chasserad├Ęs and the congregated nightcaps; with horror of the nocturnal prowesses of clerks and students, of hot theatres and pass-keys and close rooms. I have not often enjoyed a more serene possession of myself, nor felt more independent of material aids. The outer world, from which we cower into our houses, seemed after all a gentle habitable place; and night after night a man's bed, it seemed, was laid and waiting for him in the fields, where God keeps an open house. I thought I had rediscovered one of those truths which are revealed to savages and hid from political economists; at the least, I had discovered a new pleasure for myself. And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became aware of a strange lack. I wished a companion to lie near me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within touch. For there is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect. And to live out of doors with the woman a man loves is of all lives the most complete and free".