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time by stronger hands than mine; and that if I am wrong, I shall gain nothing by hurry, except the chance of falling into grosser error.

I have often heard of the Shepherd, Lord Clifford, but have never seen a full account of him. Where can I find one ? My impression from what I remember is, that his life was the very type of what I want to urge on our nobles as

evermore their duty, and at this crisis the only chance they have of saving England from revolution, and themselves from contemptible ruin; but they are far lost, I know not how far redeemable.

I wish I could come to see you, but cannot at present leave my mother, who was much shaken by my illness, nor can I leave the arrangement of plans for schools at Oxford, which are now entirely under my

You will write to me as things occur to you when you see the next pamphlet? and believe in the unfailing regard which makes your sympathy to me at once more delightful and more helpful as the years pass on.

Ever affectionately yours,



Hand not so shaky as that from illness, but it's a hot day.


DENMARK HILL, S.E. DEAR MR. Woodd,-Will you forgive my writing with a prettier hand, for mine's very tired just nowand here I've had your books since 9th December it seems without so much as acknowledging them. Whitaker's Craven is of great interest to me—in many other matters than this of the Shepherd Lord—and makes me long to come and see your Yorkshire home; but life has been with me nothing but a longing now, except that day by day I get some little bit of old plans accomplished-only they always branch in execution into so many new ones. The Shepherd Lord, however, disappoints me, for he seems to have been made a shepherd against his will, and his accusation of his son, if just in any wise, takes away one's respect for him, as having so little influence, and if unjust, as the book partly hints .

Did not you say that there are still vestiges of pleasant tradition in the hills about him ?

I forget whether I told you that I have got a little place on Coniston Water with six acres of heather and ten of wood coming down on the house so steeply that the place is called Brantwood—“Brant" being “steep” in old Cumberland.

I will send your books back in the course of this week.
A good New Year to you.

Your affectionate,





[See Letter 26, § 1 (Vol. XXVII. p. 473)]

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common sense

We never enough observe that “

is, at least in one-half of it, a virtue ; because the habit of self-command enables us constantly to perceive truths to which self-indulgence renders us blind. For instance, in my work with the street sweepers in London, it became a question for how much one of them could get a pair of boots. And I found the conditions under which the boots were to be got, were always that some intermediate person should answer for the payment to the bootmaker. The price of the boots was then to be paid by instalments to the intermediate person. It was impossible to explain to my street sweeper, that he paid sixpence extra for his boots, in commission to this intermediate person.

He remained stolidly blind to that calculable fact, because he had never in his life possessed self-command enough to save the price of his boots before he bought them.

The want of intellectual power, definitely connected with the absence of self-command, is not, as I am sure all of us in some time of our lives have painfully felt, confined to uneducated persons.

The entire system of credit on which modern commerce is based assumes for its first principle -that the facility of payment increases by its delay! The actual results to the commercial body are a grievous loss of time and labour, through complexity of accounts, and debate respecting them ;* a still greater loss of health through anxiety, and the maintenance of a certain number of rogues at the expense of honest persons. But the community remains intellectually blind to these entirely demonstrable consequences, because no one has the self-command to delay purchases till he has the money to make them ! Without delaying you by farther instances, I will venture to state positively that the especial power which we term “ common sense, is nothing else than the method of action given by absolute moral selfcommand to the faculties of art, of knowledge, and of wit, granting first that these are of a certain rank.

* I have seen my father over and over again lose the pleasant hours of his summer evening in writing letters to explain to pertinacious customers why they couldu't have credit for nine months instead of six.

1 (This passage was printed as Notes 7 (“Common Sense. Cash Down”) and 8 (“Wastefulness of Credit") in Mr. Faunthorpe's Index to Fors Clavigera," pp. 502-503.]

3 [See Letter 48, § 3 (Vol. XXVIII. p. 204); and the Introduction to that volume, pp. xvi.-xviii.



[See Letter 28, SS 17, 18 (Vol. XXVII. pp. 519–520)]

So that this relation of Master and Servant, in the full breadth of it, embraces your whole existence, but we must begin study of it in various examples, as one would analyse a small stone that we might understand the nature of a rock. And Sir Walter shows, and describes, every honest form of it, as no other man ever did.

Describes, observe, because he can show; that is to say, has himself known in reality, and can therefore make manifest to others. No other description is of any value, nay, is other than deadly and venomous. From Dante's Paradise to Dickens' Prison every word of noble description is w.ritten by personal vision of the facts. Dante had seen Heaven as truly as Dickens the Marshalsea. Understand at once and for ever, if you can, this eternal difference between good and bad work. Dante had seen Love, and Honour, and Learning, and Patience, and Shame in living human creatures, and the glory and happiness of the creatures in them, and can triumphantly declare that these things make the faces of God's children shine as the sun in their Father's Kingdom. And Dickens had seen Lust, and Fraud, and Ignorance, and Covetousness, and Insolent Shame, and all the other gods whom England now serves, in their nakedness, and truly wrote of the conditions of their service. And Scott is the greatest of imaginative artists in fiction,* because he is the faithfullest of observers.2

* I know the outcry which ordinary critics will raise against this statement. They can understand the Flemish art of De Balzac or Thackeray, but have no conception of the power, scarcely a sense of the purpose, of Scott's Gainsboroughtouch.


[This passage is printed from a sheet of MS. at Brantwood.] ? (For Scott's “imaginative power,” see Letter 34, § 8 (Vol. XXVII. p. 630); for his faithfulness of observation, compare Modern Painters, vol. iv. (Vol. VI. p. 42), where Ruskin says that Scott's imagination consists in the involuntary remembrance of things actually seen.)





[See Letter 28, § 19 (Vol. XXVII. p. 521)]

But the Greeks have another word for “their own"-very different from this “idios.” That is the real power of a fine language, to have separate words for separate thoughts.

When Athena is undressing to arm herself, the Iliad says of her that she lets fall on the floor of Heaven “her robe, which she herself had made, and laboured with her hands.” 2

Whatever you have thus made with your hands is yours indeed, utterly and justly, and if well done, to be claimed eternally-with honour; or if ill done, to be eternally answered for with shame. In the best wrought picture which I know in Italy—that in which equality and tranquillity of right emotion have animated the workman's hand most surely from the beginning of it to the end-the said workman has painted himself kneeling at the side of it; and an angel (one of many imagined there) points down to him, saying, “ This one carried the work through." Not merely did it, but did it thoroughly,-- per-fecit.3 Perfected it. What you have so done, is yours indeed, yet all men's besides; of that, though truly your possession, you will find the theory of Common Property holds in a divine way; and what is nobly done is done for all: that which is rightly pleasing to yourself is also pleasing to all.

You cannot sell it, if you would. You have given it, without selling, as the earth gives her fruit.


A certain portion of the work of man must be for his bread. That is his Labour-with the sweat of his face; accomplished as a daily task, and ended as a daily task, with the prayer: “Give us each day our daily

But another portion of Man's work is that in which, according to [The first passage is printed from a sheet of MS. at Brantwood; the second is from a sheet, formerly in Mr. Collingwood's possession, given by him in facsimile as the frontispiece to vol. ii. of the first edition (1893) of his life and Work of John Ruskin. " The facsimile is here reproduced.] : [Book v. 735 : compare Aratra Pentelici, s 106 (Vol. XX. p. 269);}

(For this inscription—"Iste perfecit opus"tion of the Virgin” at Florence, see Ariadne Florentina, § 189 (Vol. XXII. p. 428).

'-on Fra Filippo Lippi's "CoronaStudies of the picture are in the Sheffield Museum (Vol. XXX.).]


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