Lighthouse design was the family's profession; Thomas's father (Robert's grandfather) was civil engineer Robert Stevenson, and Thomas's brothers (Robert's uncles) Alan and David were in the same field.
Thomas's maternal grandfather Thomas Smith had been in the same profession.
To provide some security, it was agreed that Stevenson should read Law (again at Edinburgh University) and be called to the Scottish bar.
Say not of me that weakly I declined The labours of my sires, and fled the sea, The towers we founded and the lamps we lit, To play at home with paper like a child.
He showed from the start no enthusiasm for his studies and devoted much energy to avoiding lectures.
This time was more important for the friendships he made with other students in the Speculative Society (an exclusive debating club), particularly with Charles Baxter, who would become Stevenson's financial agent, and with a professor, Fleeming Jenkin, whose house staged amateur drama in which Stevenson took part, and whose biography he would later write.His father was proud of this interest; he had also written stories in his spare time until his own father found them and told him to "give up such nonsense and mind your business." He paid for the printing of Robert's first publication at 16, entitled The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666.It was an account of the Covenanters' rebellion which was published in 1866, the 200th anniversary of the event.In April 1871, Stevenson notified his father of his decision to pursue a life of letters.Though the elder Stevenson was naturally disappointed, the surprise cannot have been great, and Stevenson's mother reported that he was "wonderfully resigned" to his son's choice.Born and educated in Edinburgh, Stevenson suffered from serious bronchial trouble for much of his life, but continued to write prolifically and travel widely in defiance of his poor health.As a young man, he mixed in London literary circles, receiving encouragement from Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, Leslie Stephen and W. Henley, the last of whom may have provided the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.But she also cared for him tenderly in illness, reading to him from John Bunyan and the Bible as he lay sick in bed and telling tales of the Covenanters.Stevenson recalled this time of sickness in "The Land of Counterpane" in A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), Stevenson was an only child, both strange-looking and eccentric, and he found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at age 6, a problem repeated at age 11 when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy; but he mixed well in lively games with his cousins in summer holidays at Colinton.He is currently ranked as the 26th most translated author in the world.Stevenson was born at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland on 13 November 1850 to Thomas Stevenson (1818–87), a leading lighthouse engineer, and his wife Margaret Isabella (born Balfour, 1829–97). At about age 18, he changed the spelling of "Lewis" to "Louis", and he dropped "Balfour" in 1873.