Library Blogs

Robert Louis Stevenson & His Friendship with Jules Simoneau

Published on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Robert Louis Stevenson & His Friendship with Jules Simoneau

Bohemian BFFs

The renowned and beloved Scots novelist, poet, essayist, travel writer, and fabulist spent a few short months in Monterey in 1879.  But Stevenson’s time in Monterey is significant for a few reasons.  One is that is marked a dramatic turning point in the author’s personal life.  Just months before arriving in Monterey, and over the objection of his parents, Stevenson left Scotland seeking independence, his livelihood, and to be with the object of his first and last romantic passion, the already-married Fanny Osbourne.   Despite his delicate constitution, Stevenson had crossed the Atlantic in steerage, endured a miserable journey on a train across the American continent, and arrived in California weary, desperately ill, and almost penniless.

In Monterey, while Fanny pondered indecisively about divorcing her philandering husband, Samuel Osbourne, the physically unwell Stevenson traveled by horseback to Carmel Valley where he was soon found  at his campsite in a state of delirium.  Stevenson received care for two weeks at Jonathan Wright’s goat ranch, and recovered sufficiently to make his way back to Monterey.  He found lodging in Girardin’s French House on Houston Street, and nourishment and companionship at the saloon of Jules Simoneau.  When Stevenson collapsed from overwork, it was Jules Simoneau who brought specially-prepared food and drink to him until the crisis passed. 

Simoneau has been described as “a rare and beautiful character,” French by birth and educated at the Sorbonne.  He was philosophical, deeply interested in human affairs, a lover of art and literature, and possessed a kind and generous nature.  Adept at cooking, he made his livelihood by operating a small restaurant on Pearl Street near Munras Avenue.  Simoneau’s establishment was the haunt of many Bohemian artists who often had no money to pay for their meals; instead Simoneau allowed them to decorate the walls of his restaurant with their paintings. 

In Stevenson, Simoneau found a soul mate with whom he spent countless hours playing chess and discussing the universe.  Stevenson loved Simoneau’s little saloon and wrote, “The intended diner found himself in a little, chill, bar adobe room, furnished with chairs and tables, and adorned with some oil sketches roughly brushed upon the wall in the manner of Barbizon and Cernay.  The table, at whatever hour you entered, was already laid with a not spotless napkin, and by the way of epergne, with a dish of green peppers and tomatoes, pleasing alike to the eye and palate.”  Later in life, Stevenson recalled, “Of all my private collection of remembered inns and restaurants…one particular house of entertainment stands forth alone…Some were beautifully situated, some had an admirable table, some were the gathering place of excellent companions; but take them for all in all, none can be compared with Simoneau’s at Monterey.”

Simoneau has often been credited with saving Stevenson’s life.  At the very least, his care and friendship upheld the suffering Stevenson and enabled him to eventually succeed in literature.  Stevenson wandered far and wide in his short lifetime.  After Fanny Osbourne was at last free to marry Stevenson, they had many adventures together, and his career flourished.  The couple eventually settled in Samoa where Stevenson died in 1894 at the young age of 44. 

Stevenson’s time in Monterey with Simoneau lasted only a few months, but the friendship they forged was maintained by correspondence until Stevenson’s death.   As each complete volume of essays, stories, or novel was published, Stevenson never failed to send an autographed first edition to his old friend in Monterey.  Simoneau’s collection Stevenson’s letters, photographs, and books were his most cherished possessions.  In his inscribed copy to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson wrote, “It would be a stranger case still if ever Stevenson forgot his old friend Simoneau.” Stevenson’s inscription on Simoneau’s copy of New Arabian Nights read, “What there are of my travels,  I find nothing more to scribble about.  Do not forget – RLS.”  Simoneau, in his own hand, added, “He will not forget.”   

 

By Jeanne McCombs 


Note:  The Josephine Simoneau Fussell Collection, 1902 – 1968, was donated to the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room by the RLS Club of Monterey.  The collection includes correspondence, greeting cards, programs, printed matter and memorabilia related to the friendship of Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Simoneau.   The photograph, also in the California History Room Collections, depicts an elderly Simoneau, who continued to make tamales and sell them to his old customers by way of keeping in touch. 

Print
Comments (40)5252

40 comments on article "Robert Louis Stevenson & His Friendship with Jules Simoneau"

Avatar image

Vijaya

10/17/2018 1:24 PM

We give you a quick guide on how to download and install Showbox Apk for Android phone so you can check out this streaming media app.


Avatar image

Showbox

10/17/2018 1:25 PM

We give you a quick guide on how to download and install Showbox Apk for Android phone so you can check out this streaming media app.


Avatar image

Best electric broom

10/19/2018 7:29 AM

Thanks on your marvellous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it. I will remember to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from now on.Also Look for Best electric broom I want to encourage that you continue your great writing, have a nice day!


Avatar image

mcdvoice

10/22/2018 2:23 AM

https://quicksurvey.xyz/mcdvoice-www-mcdvoice-com/








Avatar image

essay writer

1/1/2019 3:19 AM

such an extraordinary weblog for many years I was looking these varieties of topics on friendship and I assume now my research is complete with your post.


Avatar image

sand cars

2/19/2019 2:23 AM

change my software

DraGo++

fotorus

web tunnel






Avatar image

it

5/2/2019 12:41 AM

Nice one..Thank you so much for sharing



Avatar image

Andy Johnson

5/25/2019 8:01 AM

In this age of racism, there is also a race of choosing best wifi names. There are different kinds of interesting names like clever wifi names, funny wifi names, hilarious wifi names, cool wifi names etc.https://stylebuzzer.com/wifi-names/


Avatar image

kissanime

5/27/2019 11:52 PM

An excellent suggestion!


Avatar image

mary

5/28/2019 3:23 AM

such an extraordinary weblog for many years I was looking these varieties of topics on friendship and I assume now my research is complete with your post.

thanks


Avatar image

peq 15

5/28/2019 3:29 AM

I read this article by Jeanne McCombs on Robert Louis Stevenson & His Friendship with Jules Simoneau. It is really interesting to read it. I liked it a lot. Great job. Keep writing and thanks for sharing this amazing article.


Avatar image

run 3

6/3/2019 9:35 PM

It's great to read this kind of article. Thanks for posting it.


Avatar image

Temple run

6/21/2019 3:48 AM

Your article left me a lot of experience and deep impressions, I hope you will have more interesting articles in the near future to share with readers.


Avatar image

john

8/5/2019 5:42 AM

nice post. run 3


Avatar image

https://slope-game.com/slope-unblocked

8/5/2019 5:44 AM

It's great to read this kind of article. Thanks for posting it.



Avatar image

[url=https://edmarshalljewelers.com/diamond-rings]

8/19/2019 11:39 PM

The Diamond Consignment Store is a family had and worked decorations store arranged in Scottsdale Arizona.




Avatar image

mobogram apk download

9/10/2019 9:22 PM

Likewise, you might almost certainly channel them as per its record type or download status (downloaded or not downloaded); Additionally, this File Manager apparatus enables clients to see media documents from an individual contact, gathering, super gathering, or channels.



Avatar image

run 3

9/17/2019 10:01 PM

I will have to follow you, the information you bring is very real, reflecting correctly and objectively, it is very useful for society to grow together



Avatar image

Djjaani

10/5/2019 2:42 AM

Really Nice

Thank you. Good information.

Djjaani

online graphgame company.


Avatar image

djj

10/5/2019 2:42 AM

Thank you. Good information.

https://www.djjaani.com


Avatar image

ad

10/14/2019 3:34 AM

Nice.


Avatar image

David

10/14/2019 3:35 AM

This is really nice. I would like to thank you for the information that you gave to us. Get your online Java homework help services which help you to tackle all your hurdles regarding your assignment help.

https://www.allassignmenthelp.com/java-assignment-help.html



Avatar image

run 3

10/15/2019 9:42 PM

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed reading this post. big fan, thank you!

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment