From Fors Clavigera
by John Ruskin


BRANTWOOD, 9th February, 1880.

IT is now close on two years since I was struck by the illness which brought these Letters to an end, as a periodical series; nor did I think, on first recovery, that I should ever be able to conclude them otherwise than by a few comments in arranging their topical index.

But my strength is now enough restored to permit me to add one or two more direct pieces of teaching to the broken statements of principle which it has become difficult to gather out of the mixed substance of the book. These will be written at such leisure as I may find, and form an eighth volume, which with a thin ninth, containing indices, I shall be thankful if I can issue in this tenth year from the beginning of the work.

To-day, being my sixty-first birthday, I would ask leave to say a few words to the friends who care for me, and the readers who are anxious about me, touching the above-named illness itself. For a physician’s estimate of it, indeed, I can only refer them to my physicians. But there were some conditions of it which I knew better than they could: namely, first, the precise and sharp distinction between the state of morbid inflammation of brain which gave rise to false visions, (whether in sleep, or trance, or waking, in broad daylight, with perfect knowledge of the real things in the room, while yet I saw others that were not there,) and the not morbid, however dangerous, states of more or less excited temper, and too much quickened thought, which gradually led up to the illness, accelerating in action during the eight or ten days preceding the actual giving way of the brain, (as may be enough seen in the fragmentary writing of the first edition of my notes on the Turner exhibition); and yet, up to the transitional moment of first hallucination, entirely healthy, and in the full sense of the word ‘sane’; just as the natural inflammation about a healing wound in flesh is sane, up to the transitional edge where it may pass at a crisis into morbific, or even mortified, substance. And this more or less inflamed, yet still perfectly healthy, condition of mental power, may be traced by any watchful reader, in Fors, nearly from its beginning,— that manner of mental ignition or irritation being for the time a great additional force, enabling me to discern more clearly, and say more vividly, what for long years it had been in my heart to say.

Now I observed that in talking of the illness, whether during its access or decline, none of the doctors ever thought of thus distinguishing what was definitely diseased in the brain action, from what was simply curative had there been time enough of the wounded nature in me. And in the second place, not perceiving, or at least not admitting, this difference; nor, for the most part, apprehending (except the one who really carried me through, and who never lost hope Dr. Parsons of Hawkshead) that there were any mental wounds to be healed, they made, and still make, my friends more anxious about me than there is occasion for: which anxiety I partly regret, as it pains them; but much more if it makes them more doubtful than they used to be (which, for some, is saying a good deal) of the “truth and soberness” of Fors itself. Throughout every syllable of which, hitherto written, the reader will find one consistent purpose, and perfectly conceived system, far more deeply founded than any bruited about under their founder’s names; including in its balance one vast department of human skill,— the arts,— which the vulgar economists are wholly incapable of weighing; and a yet more vast realm of human enjoyment the spiritual affections,— which materialist thinkers are alike incapable of imagining: a system not mine, nor Kant’s, nor Comte’s;— but that which Heaven has taught every true man’s heart, and proved by every true man’s work, from the beginning of time to this day.

I use the word Heaven here in an absolutely literal sense, meaning the blue sky, and the light and air of it. Men who live in that light,— “in pure sunshine, not under mixed-up shade,”— and whose actions are open as the air, always arrive at certain conditions of moral and practical loyalty, which arc wholly independent of religious opinion. These, it has been the first business of Fors to declare. Whether there be one God or three,— no God, or ten thousand,— children should have enough to eat, and their skins should be washed clean. It is not I who say that. Every mother’s heart under the sun says that, if she has one.

Again, whether there be saints in Heaven or not, as long as its stars shine on the sea, and the thunnies swim there every fisherman who drags a net ashore is bound to say to as many human creatures as he can, ‘Come and dine.’ And the fishmongers who destroy their fish by cartloads that they may make the poor pay dear for what is left, ought to be flogged round Billingsgate, and out of it. It is not I who say that. Every man’s heart on sea and shore says that if he isn’t at heart a rascal. Whatever is dictated in Fors is dictated thus by common sense, common equity, common humanity, and common sunshine not by me.

But farther. I have just now used the word ‘Heaven’ in a nobler sense also: meaning, Heaven and our Father therein.

And beyond the power of its sunshine, which all men may know, Fors has declared also the power of its Fatherhood,— which only some men know, and others do not,— and, except by rough teaching, may not. For the wise of all the earth have said in their hearts always, “God is, and there is none beside Him;” and the fools of all the earth have said in their hearts always, “I am, and there is none beside me.”

Therefore, beyond the assertion of what is visibly salutary, Fors contains also the assertion of what is invisibly salutary, or salvation-bringing, in Heaven, to all men who will receive such health: and beyond this an invitation passing gradually into an imperious call to all men who trust in God, that they purge their conscience from dead works, and join together in work separated from the fool’s; pure, undefiled, and worthy of Him they trust in.

But in the third place. Besides these definitions, first, of what is useful to all the world, and then of what is useful to the wiser part of it, Fors contains much trivial and desultory talk by the way. Scattered up and down in it,— perhaps by the Devil’s sowing tares among the wheat,— there is much casual expression of my own personal feelings and faith, together with bits of autobiography, which were allowed place, not without some notion of their being useful, but yet imprudently, and even incontinently, becanse I could not at the moment hold my tongue about what vexed or interested me, or returned soothingly to my memory.

Now these personal fragments must be carefully sifted from the rest of the book, by readers who wish to understand it, and taken within their own limits,— no whit farther. For instance, when I say that “St. Ursula sent me a flower with her love,” it means that I myself am in the habit of thinking of the Greek Persephone, the Latin Proserpina, and the Gothic St. Ursula, as of the same living spirit; and so far regulating my conduct by that idea as to dedicate my book on Botany to Proserpina; and to think, when I want to write anything pretty about flowers, how St. Ursula would like it said. And when on the Christmas morning in question, a friend staying in Venice brought me a pot of pinks, ‘with St. Ursula’s love,’ the said pot of pinks did afterwards greatly help me in my work;— and reprove me afterwards, in its own way, for the failure of it.

All this effort, or play, of personal imagination is utterly distinct from the teaching of Fors, though I thought at the time its confession innocent, without in any wise advising my readers to expect messages from pretty saints, or reprobation from pots of pinks: only being urgent with them to ascertain clearly in their own minds what they do expect comfort or reproof from. Here, for instance, (Sheffield, 12th February,) I am lodging at an honest and hospitable grocer’s, who has lent me his own bedroom, of which the principal ornament is a card printed in black and gold, sacred to the memory of his infant son, who died aged fourteen months, and whose tomb is represented under the figure of a broken Corinthian column, with two graceful-winged ladies putting garlands on it. He is comforted by this conception, and, in that degree, believes and feels with me: the merely palpable fact is probably, that his child’s body is lying between two tall chimneys which are covering it gradually with cinders. I am quite as clearly aware of that fact as the most scientific of my friends; and can probably see more in the bricks of the said chimneys than they. But if they can see nothing in Heaven above the chimney tops, nor conceive of anything in spirit greater than themselves, it is not because they have more knowledge than I, but becanse they have less sense.

Less common-sense,— observe: less practical insight into the things which are of instant and constant need to man.

I must yet allow myself a few more words of autobiography touching this point. The doctors said that I went mad, this time two years ago, from overwork. I had not been then working more than usual, and what was usual with me had become easy. But I went mad because nothing came of my work. People would have understood my falling crazy if they had heard that the manuscripts on which I had spent seven years of my old life had all been used to light the fire with, like Carlyle’s first volume of the French Revolution. But they could not understand that I should be the least annoyed, far less fall ill in a frantic manner, becanse, after I had got them published, nobody believed a word of them. Yet the first calamity would only have been misfortune,— the second (the enduring calamity under which I toil) is humiliation,— resisted necessarily by a dangerous and lonely pride.

I spoke just now of the ‘wounds’ of which that fire in the flesh came; and if any one ask me faithfully, what the wounds were, I can faithfully give the answer of Zechariah’s silenced messenger, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” All alike, in whom I had most trusted for help, failed me in this main work: some mocked at it, some pitied, some rebuked,— all stopped their ears at the cry: and the solitude at last became too great to be endured. I tell this now, because I must say some things that grieve me to say, about the recent work of one of the friends from whom I had expected most sympathy and aid,— the historian J. A. Froude. Faithful, he, as it appeared to me, in all the intent of history: already in the year 1858 shrewdly cognizant of the main facts (with which he alone professed himself concerned) of English life past and present; keenly also, and impartially, sympathetic with every kind of heroism, and mode of honesty. Of him I first learned the story of Sir Richard Grenville; by him was directed to the diaries of the sea captains in Hakluyt; by his influence, when he edited Fraser’s Magazine, I had been led to the writing of Munera Pulveris: his Rectorial address at St. Andrew’s was full of insight into the strength of old Scotland; his study of the life of Hugo of Lincoln, into that of yet elder England; and every year, as Auld Reekie and old England sank farther out of memory and honour with others, I looked more passionately for some utterance from him, of noble story about the brave and faithful dead, and noble wrath against the wretched and miscreant dead-alive. But year by year his words have grown more hesitating and helpless. The first preface to the history is a quite masterly and exhaustive summary of the condition and laws of England before the Reformation; and it most truly introduces the following book as a study of the process by which that condition and those laws were turned upside-down, and inside-out, “as a man wipeth a dish,— wiping it, and turning it upside-down;” so that, from the least thing to the greatest, if our age is light, those ages were dark; if our age is right, those ages were wrong,— and vice versa. There is no possible consent to be got, or truce to be struck, between them. Those ages were feudal, ours free; those reverent, ours impudent; those artful, ours mechanical: the consummate and exhaustive difference being that the creed of the Dark Ages was, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;” and the creed of the Light Ages has become, ‘I believe in Father Mud, the Almighty Plastic; and in Father Dollar, the Almighty Drastic.’

Now at the time when Mr. Froude saw and announced the irreconcilableness of these two periods, and then went forward to his work on that time of struggling twilight which foretold the existing blaze of day, and general detection of all impostures, he had certainly not made up his mind whether he ought finally to praise the former or the latter days. His reverence for the righteousness of old English law holds staunch, even to the recognition of it in the most violent states of literal ebullition: such, for instance, as the effective check given to the introduction of the arts of Italian poisoning into England, by putting the first English cook who practised them into a pot of convenient size, together with the requisite quantity of water, and publicly boiling him,— a most concise and practical method. Also he rejoices in the old English detestation of idleness, and determination that every person in the land should have a craft to live by, and practise it honestly: and in manifold other matters I perceive the backward leaning of his inmost thoughts; and yet in the very second page of this otherwise grand preface, wholly in contravention of his own principle that the historian has only to do with facts, he lets slip this conciliating is it? or careless? or really intended?— in any ease amazing sentence, “A condition of things” (the earlier age) “differing both outwardly and inwardly from that into which a happier fortune has introduced ourselves.” An amazing sentence, I repeat, in its triple assumptions each in itself enormous: the first, that it is happier to live without, than with, the fear of God; the second, that it is chance, and neither our virtue nor our wisdom, that has procured us this happiness;— the third, that the ‘ourselves’ of Onslow Gardens and their neighbourhood may sufficiently represent also the ourselves of Siberia and the Rocky Mountains of Afghanistan and Zululand.

None of these assumptions have foundation; and for fastening the outline of their shadowy and meteoric form, Mr. Froude is working under two deadly disadvantages. Intensely loving and desiring Truth before all things, nor without sympathy even for monkish martyrs,— see the passage last quoted in my last written Fors, p. 54,— he has yet allowed himself to slip somehow into the notion that Protestantism and the love of Truth are synonymous;— so that, for instance, the advertisements which decorate in various fresco the station of the Great Northern Railway, and the newspapers vended therein to the passengers by the morning train, appear to him treasures of human wisdom and veracity, as compared with the benighted ornamentation of the useless Lesche of Delphi, or the fanciful stains on the tunnel roof of the Lower Church of Assisi. And this the more, because, for second deadly disadvantage, he has no knowledge of art, nor care for it; and therefore, in his life of Hugo of Lincoln, passes over the Bishop’s designing and partly building, its cathedral, with a word, as if he had been no more than a woodman building a hut: and in his recent meditations at St. Albans, he never puts the primal question concerning those long cliffs of abbey-wall, how the men who thought of them and built them, differed, in make and build of soul, from the apes who can only pull them down and build bad imitations of them: but he fastens like a remora on the nearer, narrower, copper-coating of fact that countless bats and owls did at last cluster under the abbey-eaves; fact quite sufficiently known before now, and loudly enongh proclaimed to the votaries of the Goddess of Reason, round her undefiled altars. So that there was not the slightest need for Mr. Froude’s sweeping out these habitations of doleful creatures. Had he taken an actual broom of resolutely bound birch twigs, and, in solemn literalness of act, swept down the wrecked jackdaws’ nests, which at this moment make a slippery dunghill-slope, and mere peril of spiral perdition, out of what was once the safe and decent staircase of central Canterbury tower, he would have better served his generation. But after he had, to his own satisfaction, sifted the mass of bone-dust, and got at the worst that could be seen or smelt in the cells of monks, it was next, and at least, his duty, as an impartial historian, to compare with them the smells of modern unmonastic cells; (unmonastic, that is to say, in their scorn of sculpture and painting,— monastic enough in their separation of life from life). Yielding no whit to Mr. Froude in love of Fact and Truth, I will place beside his picture of the monk’s cell, in the Dark Ages, two or three pictures by eye-witnesses yes, and by line-and-measure witnesses of the manufacturer’s cell, in the happier times “to which Fortune has introduced ourselves.” I translate them (nearly as Fors opens the pages to me) from M. Jules Simon’s ‘L’Ouvrière,’ a work which I recommend in the most earnest manner, as a text-book for the study of French in young ladies’ schools. It must, however, be observed, prefatorily, that these descriptions were given in 1864; and I have no doubt that as soon as this Fors is published, I shall receive indignant letters from all the places named in the extracts, assuring me that nothing of the sort exists there now. Of which letters I must also say, in advance, that I shall take no notice; being myself prepared, on demand, to furnish any quantity of similar pictures, seen with my own eyes, in the course of a single walk with a policeman through the back streets of any modern town which has fine front ones. And I take M. Jules Simon’s studies from life merely because it gives me less trouble to translate them than to write fresh ones myself. But I think it probable that they do indicate the culminating power of the manufacturing interest in causing human degradation; and that things may indeed already be in some struggling initial state of amendment. What things were, at their worst, and were virtually everywhere, I record as a most important contribution to the History of France, and Europe, in the words of an honourable and entirely accurate and trustworthy Frenchman.

“Elbœuf, where the industrial prosperity is so great, ought to have healthy lodgings. It is a quite new town, and one which may easily extend itself upon the hills (coteaux) which surround it. We find already, in effect, jusqu’à mi-côte (I don’t know what that means,— half-way up the hill?), beside a little road bordered by smiling shrubs, some small houses built without care and without intelligence by little speculators scarcely less wretched than the lodgers they get together”—(this sort of landlord is one of the worst modern forms of Centaur,— half usurer, half gambler). “You go up two or three steps made of uncut stones” (none the worse for that though, M. Jules Simon), “and you find yourself in a little room lighted by one narrow window, and of which the four walls of earth have never been whitewashed nor rough-cast. Some half-rotten oak planks thrown down on the soil pretend to be a flooring. Close to the road, an old woman pays seven-pence halfpenny a week,” (sixty-five centimes,— roughly, forty francs, or thirty shillings a year,) “for a mud hut which is literally naked neither bed, chair, nor table in it (c’est en demeurer confondu). She sleeps upon a little straw, too rarely renewed; while, her son, who is a labourer at the port, sleeps at night upon the damp ground, without either straw or covering. At some steps farther on, a little back from the road, a weaver, sixty years old, inhabits a sort of hut or sentry-box, (for one does not know what name to give it.) of which the filth makes the heart sick” (he means the stomach too fait soulever le coeur). “It is only a man’s length, and a yard and a quarter broad; he has remained in it night and day for twenty years. He is now nearly an idiot, and refuses to occupy a better lodging which one proposes to him.

“The misery is not less horrible, and it is much more general, at Rouen. One cannot form an idea of the filth of certain houses without having seen it. The poor people feed their fire with the refuse of the apples which have served to make cider, and which they get given them for nothing. They have quantities of them in the corner of their rooms, and a hybrid vegetation comes out of these masses of vegetable matter in putrefaction. Sometimes the proprietors, ill paid, neglect the most urgent repairs. In a garret of the Rue des Matelas, the floor, entirely rotten, trembles under the step of the visitor; at two feet from the door is a hole larger than the body of a man. The two unhappy women who live there are obliged to cry to you to take care, for they have not anything to put over the hole, not even the end of a plank. There is nothing in their room but their spinning-wheel, two low chairs, and the wrecks of a wooden bedstead without a mattress. In a blind alley at the end of the Rue des Canettes, where the wooden houses seem all on the point of falling, a weaver of braces lodges with his family in a room two yards and a half broad by four yards and three-quarters long, measured on the floor; but a projection formed by the tunnels of the chimney of the lower stories, and all the rest, is so close to the roof that one cannot make three steps upright.

“When the husband, wife, and four children are all in it, it is clear that they cannot move. One will not be surprised to hear that the want of air and hunger make frequent victims in such a retreat (reduit). Of the four children which remained to them in April, 1860, two were dead three months afterwards. When they were visited in the month of April, the physician, M. Leroy, spoke of a ticket that he had given them the week before for milk. ‘She has drunk of it,’ said the mother, pointing to the eldest daughter, half dead, but who had the strength to smile. Hunger had reduced this child, who would have been beautiful, nearly to the state of a skeleton.

“The father of this poor family is a good weaver. He could gain in an ordinary mill from three to four francs a day, while he gains only a franc and a half in the brace manufactory. One may ask why he stays there. Because at the birth of his last child he had no money at home, nor fire, nor covering, nor light, nor bread. He borrowed twenty francs from his patron, who is an honest man, and he cannot without paying his debt quit that workshop where his work nevertheless docs not bring him enough to live on. It is clear that he will die unless some one helps him, but his family will be dead before him.”

Think now, you sweet milkmaids of England whose face is your fortune, and you sweet demoiselles of France who are content, as girls should be, with breakfast of brown bread and cream, (read Scribe’s little operetta, La Demoiselle à Marier), think, I say, how, in this one,— even though she has had a cup of cold milk given her in the name of the Lord,— lying still there, “nearly a skeleton,” that verse of the song of songs which is Solomon’s, must take a new meaning for you: “We have a little sister, and she has no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day of her espousals?”

“For the cellars of Lille, those who defend them, were they of Lille itself, have not seen them. There remains one, No. 40 of the Rue des Etaques; the ladder applied against the wall to go down is in such a bad state that you will do well to go down slowly. There is just light enough to read at the foot of the ladder. One cannot read there without compromising one’s eyes: the work of sewing is therefore dangerous in that place; a step farther in, it is impossible, and the back of the cave is entirely dark. The soil is damp and unequal, the walls blackened by time and filth. One breathes a thick air which can never be renewed, because there is no other opening but the trap-door (soupirail). The entire space, three yards by four, is singularly contracted by a quantity of refuse of all sorts, shells of eggs, shells of mussels, crumbled ground and filth, worse than that of the dirtiest dunghill. It is easy to see that no one ever walks in this cave. Those who live in it lie down and sleep where they fall. The furniture is composed of a very small iron stove of which the top is shaped into a pan, three earthen pots, a stool, and the wood of a bed without any bedding. There is neither straw nor coverlet. The woman who lodges in the bottom of this cellar never goes out of it. She is sixty-three years old. The husband is not a workman: they have two daughters, of which the eldest is twenty-two years old. These four persons live together, and have no other domicile.

“This cave is one of the most miserable, first for the extreme filth arid destitution of its inhabitants, next by its dimensions, most of the cellars being one or two yards wider. These caves serve for lodging to a whole family; in consequence, father, mother, and children sleep in the same place, and too often, whatever their age, in the same bed. The greater number of these unhappies see no mischief in this confusion of the sexes; whatever comes of it, they neither conceal it, nor blush for it; nay, they scarcely know that the rest of mankind have other manners. Some of the caves, indeed, are divided in two by an arch, and thus admit of a separation which is not in general made. It is true that in most cases the back cellar is entirely dark, the air closer, and the stench more pestilent. In some the water trickles down the walls, and others are close to a gully-hole, and poisoned by inephitic vapours, especially in summer.

“There are no great differences between the so-called ‘courettes’ (little alleys) of Lille, and the so-called ‘forts’ of Roubaix, or the ‘convents’ of St. Quentin; everywhere the same heaping together of persons and the same unhealthiness. At Roubaix, where the town is open, space is not wanting, and all is new,— for the town has just sprung out of the ground,— one has not, as at Lille, the double excuse of a fortified town where space is circumscribed to begin with, and where one cannot build without pulling down. Also at Roubaix there are never enough lodgings for the increasing number of workmen, so that the landlords may be always sure of their rents. Quite recently, a manufacturer who wanted some hands brought some workwomen from Lille, paid them well, and put them in a far more healthy workshop than the one they had left. Nevertheless, coming on Thursday, they left him on Saturday; they had found no place to lodge, and had passed the four nights under a gateway. In this open town, though its rows of lodgings are more than half a mile from the workshops, they are not a bit more healthy. The houses are ill-constructed, squeezed one against another, the ground between not levelled, and often with not even a gutter to carry away the thrown-out slops, which accumulate in stagnant pools till the sun dries them. Here at hazard is the description of some of the lodgings. To begin with a first floor in Wattel Street: one gets up into it by a ladder and a trap without a door; space, two yards and a half by three yards; one window, narrow and low; walls not rough-cast; inhabitants, father, mother, and two children of different sexes,— one ten, the other seventeen: rent, one franc a week. In Halluin Court there is a house with only two windows to its ground floor, one to the back and one to the front; but this ground floor is divided into three separate lodgings, of which the one in the middle”— (thus ingeniously constructed in the age of light)— ” would of course have no window at all, but it is separated from the back and front ones by two lattices, which fill the whole space, and give it the aspect of a glass cage. It results that the household placed in this lodging has no air, and that none of the three households have any privacy, for it is impossible for any person of them to hide any of his movements from the two others. One of these lodgings is let for five francs a month; the woman who inhabits it has five children, though all young, but she has got a sort of cage made in the angle of her room, which can be got up to by a winding staircase, and which can hold a bed. This the lodger has underlet, at seventy-five centimes a week, to a sempstress, abandoned by her lover, with a child of some weeks old. This child is laid on the bed, where it remains alone all the day, and the mother comes to suckle it at noon. A gown and a bonnet, with a little parcel which may contain, at the most, one chemise, are placed on a shelf, and above them an old silk umbrella an object of great luxury, the débris of lost opulence. Nearly all the inhabitants of this court are subject to fever. If an epidemic came on the top of that, the whole population would be carried off. Yet it is not two years since Halluin Court was built.”

Such, Mr. Froude, are the ‘fortresses’ of free as opposed to feudal barons; such the ‘convents’ of philosophic as opposed to catholic purity. Will you not tell the happy world of your day, how it may yet be a little happier? It is wholly your business, not mine;— and all these unwilling words of my tired lips are spoken only because you are silent.

I do not propose to encumber the pages of the few last numbers of Fors with the concerns of St. George’s Guild: of which the mustard-seed state (mingled hopefully however with that of cress) is scarcely yet overpast. This slackness of growth, as I have often before stated, is more the Master’s fault than any one else’s, the present Master being a dilatory, dreamy, and to the much vexation of the more enthusiastic members of the Guild an extremely patient person; and busying himself at present rather with the things that amuse him in St. George’s Museum than with the Guild’s wider cares;— of which, however, a separate report will be given to its members in the course of this year, and continued as need is.

Many well-meaning and well-wishing friends outside the Guild, and desirous of entrance, have asked for relaxation of the grievous law concerning the contribution of the tithe of income. Which the Master is not, however, in the least minded to relax; nor any other of the Guild’s original laws, none of which were set down without consideration, though this requirement of tithe does indeed operate as a most stiff stockade, and apparently unsurmountable hurdle-fence, in the face of all more or less rich and, so to speak, overweighted, well-wishers. For I find, practically, that fifty pounds a year can often save me five or at a pinch, seven of them; nor should I be the least surprised if some merry-hearted apprentice lad, starting in life with a capital of ten pounds or so, were to send me one of them, and go whistling on his way with the remaining nine. But that ever a man of ten thousand a year should contrive, by any exertion of prudence and self-denial, to live upon so small a sum as nine thousand, and give one thousand to the poor,— this is a height of heroism wholly inconceivable to modern pious humanity.

Be that as it may, I am of course ready to receive subscriptions for St. George’s work from outsiders whether zealous or lukewarm in such amounts as they think fit: and at present I conceive that the proposed enlargements of our museum at Sheffield are an object with which more frank sympathy may be hoped than with the agricultural business of the Guild. Ground I have, enough and place for a pleasant gallery for such students as Sheffield may send up into the clearer light;* but I don’t choose to sell out any of St. George’s stock for this purpose, still less for the purchase of books for the Museum,— and yet there are many I want, and can’t yet afford. Mr. Quaritch, for instance, has an eleventh century Lectionarv, a most precious MS., which would be a foundation for all manner of good learning to us: but it is worth its weight in silver, and inaccessible for the present. Also my casts from St. Mark’s, of sculptures never cast before, are lying in lavender or at least in tow invisible and useless, till 1 can build walls for them: and I think the British public would not regret giving me the means of placing and illuminating these rightly. And, in fine, here I am yet for a few years, I trust, at their service ready to arrange such a museum for their artizans as they have not yet dreamed of;— not dazzling nor overwhelming, but comfortable, useful, and in such sort as smoke-cumbered skies may admit,— beautiful; though not, on the outside, otherwise decorated than with plain and easily-worked slabs of Derbyshire marble, with which I shall face the walls, making the interior a working man’s Bodleian Library, with cell and shelf of the most available kind, undisturbed, for his holiday time. The British public are not likely to get such a thing done by any one else for a time, if they don’t get it done now by me, when I’m in the humour for it. Very positively I can assure them of that; and so leave the matter to their discretion.

Many more serious matters, concerning the present day, I have in mind and partly written, already; but they must be left for next Fors, which will take up the now quite imminent question of Land, and its Holding, and Lordship.

* An excellent and kind account of the present form and contents of the Museum will be found in the last December number of Cassell’s Magazine of Art.