Finding Stevenson, Finding Eliot

The ‘tache season is soon upon us. I speak not of our bearded friend from Lapland (or is it the North Pole?) or even our explosive friend Mr Fawkes – there are plenty of people dressing up as both of these characters just now – no, no, I’m talking about Edinburgh’s very own Robert Louis Stevenson Day!!!* Yay!!!

Being a bit traditional and emotionally repressed, I’m not involved in all of this gowkery and jollity. I won’t be wearing a fake moustache. Literature is a dish best served served cold. Is RLS Day a good way of spending literary funds in the city? Well, I’ll let you decide that one.

I have a story about “Finding RLS”, but for now, I’ll tell you how I tried to find George Eliot.

Finding Eliot

George Eliot (1819-1890) was the pen name of Mary Ann – or Marian – Evans. She was originally from Warwickshire. She wrote many well-known novels including “Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876).” Eliot was one of many notable friends of Francis, Lord Jeffrey, of Craigcrook Castle, which is to be found on the east side of Corstorphine Hill.

Back in October, I made one of my rare visits to London. To Highgate and Hampstead, to be precise, pretty well-heeled areas I hadn’t been round before. I made a beeline for Highgate Cemetery (pictured). It is the only cemetery I’ve ever had to PAY to get into! Four pounds. And you can see from the photograph what most of it looks like.

There are many famous people buried in there – Karl Marx famously, but also Bert Jansch, Douglas Adams, Alan Sillitoe… Jeremy Beadle… even its own vampire but I couldn’t find George Eliot’s grave! Bummer! If I had, you’d be seeing the picture of it right now.


* Is it a coincidence this occurs during “Movember”? If you don’t know what Movember is, click on the blue link – it’s to raise funds to cure “male” cancers.

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