It’s the type of a story that every reader already knows: family drama, disowning and re-acceptance after long-winded apologies, love drama, the “you don’t love me, do you“, illness leading to near death experience, forgiveness, and sometimes, just sometimes, a truly happy ending for all. Such is the type of “The Story of a Lie” by Robert Louis Stevenson (ISBN 1843911817; 124p.; Goodreads), and yet I do dare say it didn’t waste my time.
Our protagonist, Dick Naseby, chances to meet a poor and talent lacking artist in Paris, sketching what seemed to be a cock and a couple of hens. Being a curious man, he indulges the artist called The Admiral, fulfilling his wants and needs for a single evening. He sates his curiosity: the man is a sponge, a parasite living off others, and that is his greatest skill, and maybe even the only skill. In conclusion to that young Naseby goes back home to England, where he runs into the most perfect lady sitting there, sketching. And indeed, she is Admiral’s daughter, with great dreams and winds about the father she barely, if at all, knows.
Now, as I said, this is a common story. But short and fairly neat with that ending. And while thus I can’t give a common short story more than 3 out of 5, I will claim I wasted no time. The Gentleman-English alone was a pearl worth the second glance over.