I do hope wise men will not attempt to fight the working men on the head of this notorious injustice. Any such step will only precipitate the action of the newly enfranchised classes, and irritate them into acting hastily; when what we ought to desire should be that they should act warily and little for many years to come, until education and habit may make them the more fit.

All this (intended for my father) is much after the fashion of his own correspondence. I confess it has left my own head exhausted; I hope it may not produce the same effect on yours. But I want him to look really into this question (both sides of it, and not the representations of rabid middle-class newspapers, sworn to support all the little tyrannies of wealth), and I know he will be convinced that this is a case of unjust law; and that, however desirable the end may seem to him, he will not be Jesuit enough to think that any end will justify an unjust law.

Here ends the political sermon of your affectionate (and somewhat dogmatical) son,

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON

MENTONE, JANUARY 7, 1874.

MY DEAR MOTHER, - I received yesterday two most charming letters - the nicest I have had since I left - December 26th and January 1st: this morning I got January 3rd.

Into the bargain with Marie, the American girl, who is grace itself, and comes leaping and dancing simply like a wave - like nothing else, and who yesterday was Queen out of the Epiphany cake and chose Robinet (the French Painter) as her FAVORI with the most pretty confusion possible - into the bargain with Marie, we have two little Russian girls, with the youngest of whom, a little polyglot button of a three-year old, I had the most laughable little scene at lunch to-day. I was watching her being fed with great amusement, her face being as broad as it is long, and her mouth capable of unlimited extension; when suddenly, her eye catching mine, the fashion of her countenance was changed, and regarding me with a really admirable appearance of offended dignity, she said something in Italian which made everybody laugh much. It was explained to me that she had said I was very POLISSON to stare at her. After this she was somewhat taken up with me, and after some examination she announced emphatically to the whole table, in German, that I was a MADCHEN; which word she repeated with shrill emphasis, as though fearing that her proposition would be called in question - MADCHEN, MADCHEN, MADCHEN, MADCHEN. This hasty conclusion as to my sex she was led afterwards to revise, I am informed; but her new opinion (which seems to have been something nearer the truth) was announced in a third language quite unknown to me, and probably Russian. To complete the scroll of her accomplishments, she was brought round the table after the meal was over, and said good-bye to me in very commendable English.

The weather I shall say nothing about, as I am incapable of explaining my sentiments upon that subject before a lady. But my health is really greatly improved: I begin to recognise myself occasionally now and again, not without satisfaction.

Please remember me very kindly to Professor Swan; I wish I had a story to send him; but story, Lord bless you, I have none to tell, sir, unless it is the foregoing adventure with the little polyglot. The best of that depends on the significance of POLISSON, which is beautifully out of place.

SATURDAY, 10TH JANUARY. - The little Russian kid is only two and a half: she speaks six languages. She and her sister (aet. 8) and May Johnstone (aet. 8) are the delight of my life. Last night I saw them all dancing - O it was jolly; kids are what is the matter with me. After the dancing, we all - that is the two Russian ladies, Robinet the French painter, Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone, two governesses, and fitful kids joining us at intervals - played a game of the stool of repentance in the Gallic idiom.

O - I have not told you that Colvin is gone; however, he is coming back again; he has left clothes in pawn to me.

The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 1 Page 22

Robert Louis Stevenson

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