RLS began studying the piano and composition in 1886. His arrangements and compositions include more than 120 pieces.
The piece mentioned in this letter is RLS’s opus 2, ‘The Shoehorn’. We know from his essay Rosa Quo Locorum (1888) that the title was plagiarised from an old illustrated Bible, ‘where it figured in the hand of Samuel anointing Saul, and had been pointed out to me as a jest by my father’.
[As usual, for correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1758.]
To Bob Stevenson [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 341-342]
Skerryvore [Bournemouth, ? Mid-February 1887]
Herewith another shy; more melancholy than before, but I think not so abjectly idiotic.
The musical terms seem to be as good as in Beethoven, and that, after all, is the great affair.
Bar the dam bareness of the bass, it looks like a piece of real music from a distance. I am proud to say it was not made one hand at a time; the bass was of synchronous birth with the treble; they are of the same age, sir, and may God have mercy on their souls! — Yours,