[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Balfour. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 6, 1971.]
To Ida and Una Taylor
[Balfour, The Life of RLS, 2, 1901, pp. 42-43, 211]
[Saranac Lake, c. 18 December 1887]
All my spare time, is spent in trying to set words to music. My last attempt is the divine theme of Beethoven’s six variations faciles.
Una will know it; and if she does not like it well, she knows nothing of music, or sorrow, or consolation, or religion.
[…] That air has done me more good than all the churches of Christendom.
True to my character, I have to preach. But just read the book.
It is not absolutely fair, for Taine does not feel, with a warm heart, the touching side of their poor soul’s illusions; he does not feel the infinite pathos of the Federations, poor pantomime and orgie, that (to its actors) seemed upon the very margin of heaven; nor the unspeakable, almost unthinkable tragedy of such a poor, virtuous, wooden-headed lot as the methodistic Jacobins.
But he tells, as no one else, the dreadful end of sentimental politics.