Love-letters, when the personality of the writer is interesting enough to save them from monotony, must always possess a very strong attraction for the rest of mankind. All men fall in love, and like, therefore, to find their own, it may be inarticulate, emotions expressed as they would have them, or mirrored with perhaps greater intensity in the soul of another.
Love-letters to be of any value, however, must possess one all-embracing quality - they must be sincere. In ordinary letter-writing, sincerity is only one of the qualities demanded, but in love-letters it is everything. The love-letter must reflect the whole nature or nothing; it must reveal a soul in all its simplicity.
In writing love-letters there is no question of writing for an audience - a consideration which must, consciously or unconsciously, influence those who are speaking to the world at large.
To the writer of the love-letter there is no world except that which is contained in one person, and the idea that another might overhear the sentiments is merely horrible.
Love-letters are, at the same time, the most intimate and the most universal things that exist, and because of their sincerity all lovers find in them a true comment on their own experiences.
There are people who, when reading love-letters, have an uncomfortable sensation of guilt; they feel conscious of eavesdropping, and to them the publication of love-letters - at any rate, until a long'time after the death of the writer - is like the violation and exhibition of the contents of a tomb.
There is much to be said from this point of view in an age little appreciative of secrecy and reserve, and only too ready to rend the veils of the most intimate sanctuaries, merely from curiosity, for the sole purpose of seeing what lies behind. The instinct which condemned the publication of the Browning letters was perhaps a right one. At any rate, a century must elapse before things so sensitive can be revealed without a shock to many.