Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: James Walter Ferrier (1850–1883)
Biography: James Walter Ferrier was born in 1850 in Edinburgh, the son of philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864) and Margaret Anne Wilson. His parents were first cousins, his paternal great aunt was author Susan Edmonston Ferrier (1782–1854), and his maternal grandfather was author John Wilson ("Christopher North," 1785–1854). At the University of Edinburgh, where his father and grandfather worked, he met and befriend Robert Louis Stevenson. Together, the two "bosom friends" edited a college magazine together. After university, Ferrier moved to London where he wrote a single novel Mottiscliffe: An Autumn Story (1877) and some translations. Unfortunately, he became a "victim of vice and dissipation" and died in 1883 in London at a relatively young age. Stevenson paid tribute to his friend in his essay "Old Mortality."
References: David Angus, "Robert Louis Stevenson--The Secret Sources," Studies in Scottish Literature (1993); DNB (James Frederick Ferrier, Susan Edmonston Ferrier, John Wilson); "Reminiscences of Robert Louis Stevenson," Manchester Courier (17 April 1908)