Saturday, December 18, 2021


Markheim is a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. You can read it online at this link or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It opens on Christmas Day. It begins,
"Yes," said the dealer, "our windfalls are of various kinds. Some customers are ignorant, and then I touch a dividend on my superior knowledge. Some are dishonest," and here he held up the candle, so that the light fell strongly on his visitor, "and in that case," he continued, "I profit by my virtue."

Markheim had but just entered from the daylight streets, and his eyes had not yet grown familiar with the mingled shine and darkness in the shop. At these pointed words, and before the near presence of the flame, he blinked painfully and looked aside.

The dealer chuckled. "You come to me on Christmas Day," he resumed, "when you know that I am alone in my house, put up my shutters, and make a point of refusing business. Well, you will have to pay for that; you will have to pay for my loss of time, when I should be balancing my books; you will have to pay, besides, for a kind of manner that I remark in you to-day very strongly. I am the essence of discretion, and ask no awkward questions; but when a customer cannot look me in the eye, he has to pay for it." The dealer once more chuckled; and then, changing to his usual business voice, though still with a note of irony, "You can give, as usual, a clear account of how you came into the possession of the object?" he continued. "Still your uncle's cabinet? A remarkable collector, sir!"


  1. What an intriguing excerpt. I'm off to read the rest of this.

  2. ...a new Christmas story for me.

    1. There are more out there than I'd realized.

  3. I've never read any Robert Lewis Stevenson except a few of his classics in school. Another author I should give a try I guess. Happy Saturday.

  4. This sounds good! Valerie

  5. I agree this sounds really good.

  6. I haven't read Stevenson in ages!

  7. Love the twist at the end. :)