Home Today's Reason to Drink November 13: Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday

November 13: Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday

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It’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday.  Born on this day in 1850, the British author wrote some of the most beloved and read books in English literature, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He wasn’t one of those writers who hid in his garret, making things up. He went out and took the world by the throat, criss-crossing the globe and very nearly dying on numerous occasions for a variety of reasons. “Death by misadventure” was always how he thought they’d start his obituary.  “I wish to die in my boots,” he wrote when he somewhat unexpectedly reached the age of 40. “To be drowned, to be shot, to be thrown from a horse — aye, to be hanged, rather than pass again through that slow dissolution.” So did Robert like a drink? He certainly did, particularly wine. “Wine is bottled poetry,” he famously said, and he must have really liked poems because he drank a helluva lot of wine. True story: Stevenson died while struggling to pull a stubborn cork from a bottle of wine at his home on the island of Samoa. He suddenly shouted, “What’s that?”, turned to his wife, demanded, “Does my face look strange?”, then fell flat on the floor. He died shortly thereafter, most likely from a cerebral hemorrhage. The great man was killed by a cork, and not in the metaphorical sense those Temperance lecturers used to drone on about.

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