Coming by chance upon the Robert Louis Stevenson memorial at San Francisco, on the edge of Chinatown, I copied its inscription, and in case any reader of these notes may have forgotten its trend I copy it again here; for I do not suppose that its application was intended to cease with the Californian city. It is counsel addressed to the individual, but since nations are but individuals in quantity such ideals cannot be repeated amiss:
To be honest; to be kind; to earn a little; to spend a little less; to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence; to renounce when that shall be necessary and not to be embittered; to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation; above all, on the same grim condition, to keep friends with himself - here is a task for all that man has of fortitude and delicacy.
It is a far cry from San Francisco to Saranac, yet Stevenson is their connecting chain, with the late Harry Widener's amazing collection of Stevensoniana, in his memorial library at Harvard, as a link. The Saranac cottage, which on the day of my visit was surrounded by the sweetest lilac blooms that ever perfumed the air, is still a place of pilgrimage, and one by one new articles of interest are being added to the collection. It was pleasant indeed to find an English author thus honoured. Later, in Central Park, New York, I was to find statues of Shakespeare, Burns and Sir Walter Scott.
It was, oddly enough, in the Adirondacks that I came upon my only experience of simplified spelling in the land of its birth. It was in that pleasant home from home, the Lake Placid Club, where one is adjured to close the door "tyt" as one leaves a room; where one drinks "cofi"; and where that most necessary and mysterious of the functionaries of life, the physician, is able to watch his divinity dwindle and his dignity disappear under the style "fizisn."