The following tale was taken down from Mr. Stevenson's dictation by his step-daughter and amanuensis, Mrs. Strong, at intervals between January, 1893, and October, 1894 (see Vailima Letters, Vol. II, pp. 98-104, 179, 217, 230, 253). About six weeks before his death he laid the story aside to take up Weir of Hermiston. The thirty chapters of St. Ives which he had written (the last few of them apparently unrevised) brought the tale within sight of its conclusion, and the intended course of the remainder was known in outline to Mrs. Strong. For the benefit of those readers who do not like a story to be left unfinished, the delicate task of supplying the missing chapters has been intrusted to Mr. Quiller-Couch, whose work begins at Chapter XXXI.
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