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Old 16 June 2012, 05:45 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,640
Reading Robert Louis Stevenson on consequences

Comment: I use this RLS Quote as my signature

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

elsewhere it is quoted in varying ways as above
Someone told me and showed where it is actually said by RLS

It is my understanding that that particular phrase has never been printed
in any of his works. It is commonly linked to a statement in his essay Old
Mortality: "Books were the proper remedy: books of vivid human import,
forcing upon their minds the issues, pleasures, busyness, importance and
immediacy of that life in which they stand; books of smiling or heroic
temper, to excite or to console; books of a large design, shadowing the
complexity of that game of consequences to which we all sit down, the
hanger-back not least.”

I am HAPPY using what i found in a quote place as my signature and will
continue to do so
Can you please check, i am sure a few people have given there own take on
what he actually said
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Old 16 June 2012, 09:37 PM
Brad from Georgia's Avatar
Brad from Georgia Brad from Georgia is offline
Join Date: 21 June 2000
Location: Snellvile, GA
Posts: 13,142

"Jim, lad, there be consequences an' then there be consequences. Devil take 'em all, says I, and pass aft the rum."
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Old 17 June 2012, 06:55 PM
Bonnie's Avatar
Bonnie Bonnie is offline
Join Date: 01 January 1970
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 144

For what it's worth, it seems that a quote containing "a banquet of consequences" has been attributed to Stevenson since the 1930s and frequently used, not surprisingly, by members of the clergy.

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Stevenson was using "game of consequences" in the more literal sense of "a game of consequences," a parlour game popular during his lifetime, symbolizing how we sometimes find ourselves with unplanned chapters (going with the book or writing metaphor) in our lives, rather than using "game" in a larger figurative sense, denoting (as the OED puts it) "a proceeding, scheme, intrigue, undertaking, followed up like a game." Perhaps a reading of Stevenson's text in the second sense (life as a calculated endeavor involving inevitable outcomes) led someone to change "game" to "banquet," which moves the imagery from sitting down to a game of Consequences (to signify, less seriously, happenstance or capriciousness) to having by necessity to make a meal of our choices in life, both the good and the bad. (I think the second interpretation would be more useful to ministers in need of fodder for sermons.)

For what it's worth, I'm all for retaining the sig, because it's interesting on its own, but dropping the attribution to Stevenson. In case your correspondent were thinking about it, snopes, adding "attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson" or "modified from Robert Louis Stevenson" doesn't really help, at least not to my mind.

By the way, those interested might like to read Stevenson's complete essay.
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