Johnson as * a loose sally of the mind; an irregular undigested piece ; not a regular and orderly composition/ but it is a studied negligence, an ' admired disorder/ concealing the highest art. Miniature work of this polished kind particularly appealed to Stevenson. Another char- acteristic of the essay is its personal note. Personality, self-revelation, has been the keynote of the essay from the days of the genial Sieur de Montaigne down to those of Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb. And it is to this class of writers that Stevenson belongs. He loves to take his reader completely into his confidence. 'Self- portraiture, a genial egotism, was a passion with him. ' He was of his essence/ to quote Henley once more, * what the French call personnel. He was, that is, incessantly and passionately interested in Stevenson. He could not be in the same room with a mirror but that he must invite its confidences every time he passed it; to him there was nothing obvious in time and eternity, and the smallest of his discoveries, his most trivial appre- hensions, were all by way of being revelations, and as revelations must be thrust upon the world ; he was never so much in earnest, never so well pleased (this were he happy or wretched), never so irresistible, as when he wrote about himself.' * Belonging to the race of Scott and Dumas, of the romantic narrators and creators/ says Sir Sidney Colvin, ' Stevenson belongs no less to that of Montaigne and the literary egoists.' Without any further materials, it would be possible to reconstruct R. L. Steven- son frpm his Essays, Memories and Portraits^ Across the Plains and Virginibus Puerisque. * These papers/ he himself says, e are like milestones on the wayside of my life/ Of no writer can it be said, with the same truth as of Stevenson, that * the style is the man'; from every line lie writes, peeps out the whimsical, kindly face of the Nerli portrait. And yet in Stevenson there is none of the morbid self- analysis, the sickly Introspection, of works like Eousseau's Confessions. He does not even, like his friend Henley, stop to thank God for his unconquerable soul. Yet few people have laboured in more depressing circumstances.