How a Teenage Robert Louis Stevenson Asked His Parents for Money


Robert Louis Stevenson was born on this day in 1850, and if you tend to forget that famous 19th century authors like him were once teenagers, then this letter from the Treasure Island author to his parents will set the record straight. Like most annoying 15 year olds, he’s harassing his parents for some extra cash — but because this is Robert Louis Stevenson, he does it with a lot more style than we once did.

“Every year I have cost you an enormous — nay, elephantine — sum of money for drugs and physician’s fees, and the most expensive time of the twelve months was March,” Stevenson writes. “But this year the biting Oriental blasts, the howling tempests, and the general ailments of the human race have been successfully braved by yours truly. Does not this deserve remuneration?” Head over to Letters of Note to read his full plea to his “respected paternal relatives.”