Because of the quality of the writing of arguably our greatest ever story writer as exemplified in this collection on which I embarked upon today I will feature each tale in a separate post as I work my way through the book.
Claire Harmon’s introduction is as insightful and poetically written as Stevenson’s own work, and Michael Foreman’s sensitive full colour illustrations a suitable match.
The front board features an image by the artist.
The post title story, opening, as it does with a lyrical description of falling snow reminiscent of François Villon’s famous line “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?” (“But where are the snows of yesteryear?”) reveals the depth of our author’s knowledge of this talented poet and criminal rogue of late Mediaeval Paris.
The snow itself as it falls to cover then ceases to to reveal the footprints of Villon as he finds himself fleeing his guilt over an action of which he is innocent, is in fact a character in itself.
Stevenson’s delightfully descriptive yet simple prose engages all our senses. We are transported in the snow and involved in the conversation Villon has as he debates with the man who gave him shelter. As will be seen he has been robbed and intended to do the same.
The 19th century author confronts poverty and exposure to the elements with lack of adequate protection.
As usual, I hope to convey the essence of the story without giving it away.