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This report is taken from PN Review 90, Volume 19 Number 4, March - April 1993.

Letter from America Roger Burford Mason
The fall colours are improbably beautiful - the reds ranging from rich, sacerdotal purple to what my Irish in-laws call 'knicker-pink', the yellows washed out, the golds brassy and bright, and who could have imagined so many shades of brown?

Hunters' Home is a good place from which to look at the fall colours. A large, robust, early 19th-century house, it stands on a hillside above the Saranac river in upstate New York, with the small town of Saranac Lake at its back, and Pisgah and Baker mountains rising dramatically before it, coloured in all the impossible glory of a New England fall.

It is no accident that Robert Louis Stevenson lived for a year in Saranac Lake, but a happy one that he found Hunters' Home and made it his rural idyll for that year.

By the late 1880s, Stevenson was already famous and financially secure from the success of Treasure Island and Kidnapped. He had gone to the United States for his health, believing that the climate in California would be good for him, but though there were some improvements, the heat and dry air did not cure him.

So it was, that early in 1888, in search of specific treatment for his tuberculosis, he was recommended to the noted American specialist, Dr Edward Livingstone Trudeau, who ran a clinic in the Adirondac mountains on the outskirts of the small town of Saranac Lake.

Stevenson, travelling in the United ...


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