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Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin

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But mind, I do not mean to say that, in past or present relations
between Ireland and England, you have been wrong, and we right. Far
from that, I believe that in all great questions of principle, and
in all details of administration of law, you have been usually
right, and we wrong; sometimes in misunderstanding you, sometimes in
resolute iniquity to you. Nevertheless, in all disputes between
states, though the stronger is nearly always mainly in the wrong,
the weaker is often so in a minor degree; and I think we sometimes
admit the possibility of our being in error, and you never do.

And now, returning to the broader question, what these arts and
labours of life have to teach us of its mystery, this is the first
of their lessons--that the more beautiful the art, the more it is
essentially the work of people who FEEL THEMSELVES WRONG;--who are
striving for the fulfilment of a law, and the grasp of a loveliness,
which they have not yet attained, which they feel even farther and
farther from attaining the more they strive for it. And yet, in
still deeper sense, it is the work of people who know also that they
are right. The very sense of inevitable error from their purpose
marks the perfectness of that purpose, and the continued sense of
failure arises from the continued opening of the eyes more clearly
to all the sacredest laws of truth.

This is one lesson. The second is a very plain, and greatly
precious one: namely--that whenever the arts and labours of life
are fulfilled in this spirit of striving against misrule, and doing
whatever we have to do, honourably and perfectly, they invariably
bring happiness, as much as seems possible to the nature of man. In
all other paths by which that happiness is pursued there is
disappointment, or destruction: for ambition and for passion there
is no rest--no fruition; the fairest pleasures of youth perish in a
darkness greater than their past light: and the loftiest and purest
love too often does but inflame the cloud of life with endless fire
of pain. But, ascending from lowest to highest, through every scale
of human industry, that industry worthily followed, gives peace.
Ask the labourer in the field, at the forge, or in the mine; ask the
patient, delicate-fingered artisan, or the strong-armed, fiery-
hearted worker in bronze, and in marble, and with the colours of
light; and none of these, who are true workmen, will ever tell you,
that they have found the law of heaven an unkind one--that in the
sweat of their face they should eat bread, till they return to the
ground; nor that they ever found it an unrewarded obedience, if,
indeed, it was rendered faithfully to the command--"Whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do--do it with thy might."

These are the two great and constant lessons which our labourers
teach us of the mystery of life. But there is another, and a sadder
one, which they cannot teach us, which we must read on their

"Do it with thy might." There have been myriads upon myriads of
human creatures who have obeyed this law--who have put every breath
and nerve of their being into its toil--who have devoted every hour,
and exhausted every faculty--who have bequeathed their
unaccomplished thoughts at death--who, being dead, have yet spoken,
by majesty of memory, and strength of example. And, at last, what
has all this "Might" of humanity accomplished, in six thousand years
of labour and sorrow? What has it DONE? Take the three chief
occupations and arts of men, one by one, and count their
achievements. Begin with the first--the lord of them all--
Agriculture. Six thousand years have passed since we were set to
till the ground, from which we were taken. How much of it is
tilled? How much of that which is, wisely or well? In the very
centre and chief garden of Europe--where the two forms of parent
Christianity have had their fortresses--where the noble Catholics of
the Forest Cantons, and the noble Protestants of the Vaudois
valleys, have maintained, for dateless ages, their faiths and
liberties--there the unchecked Alpine rivers yet run wild in
devastation; and the marshes, which a few hundred men could redeem
with a year's labour, still blast their helpless inhabitants into
fevered idiotism. That is so, in the centre of Europe! While, on
the near coast of Africa, once the Garden of the Hesperides, an Arab
woman, but a few sunsets since, ate her child, for famine. And,
with all the treasures of the East at our feet, we, in our own
dominion, could not find a few grains of rice, for a people that
asked of us no more; but stood by, and saw five hundred thousand of
them perish of hunger.

Then, after agriculture, the art of kings, take the next head of
human arts--Weaving; the art of queens, honoured of all noble
Heathen women, in the person of their virgin goddess--honoured of
all Hebrew women, by the word of their wisest king--"She layeth her
hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff; she stretcheth
out her hand to the poor. She is not afraid of the snow for her
household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She
maketh herself covering of tapestry; her clothing is silk and
purple. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it, and delivereth
girdles to the merchant." What have we done in all these thousands
of years with this bright art of Greek maid and Christian matron?
Six thousand years of weaving, and have we learned to weave? Might
not every naked wall have been purple with tapestry, and every
feeble breast fenced with sweet colours from the cold? What have we
done? Our fingers are too few, it seems, to twist together some
poor covering for our bodies. We set our streams to work for us,
and choke the air with fire, to turn our spinning-wheels--and,--ARE
WE YET CLOTHED? Are not the streets of the capitals of Europe foul
with sale of cast clouts and rotten rags? Is not the beauty of your
sweet children left in wretchedness of disgrace, while, with better
honour, nature clothes the brood of the bird in its nest, and the
suckling of the wolf in her den? And does not every winter's snow
robe what you have not robed, and shroud what you have not shrouded;
and every winter's wind bear up to heaven its wasted souls, to
witness against you hereafter, by the voice of their Christ,--"I was
naked, and ye clothed me not"?

Lastly--take the Art of Building--the strongest--proudest--most
orderly--most enduring of the arts of man; that of which the produce
is in the surest manner accumulative, and need not perish, or be
replaced; but if once well done, will stand more strongly than the
unbalanced rocks--more prevalently than the crumbling hills. The
art which is associated with all civic pride and sacred principle;
with which men record their power--satisfy their enthusiasm--make
sure their defence--define and make dear their habitation. And in
six thousand years of building, what have we done? Of the greater
part of all that skill and strength, NO vestige is left, but fallen
stones, that encumber the fields and impede the streams. But, from
this waste of disorder, and of time, and of rage, what IS left to
us? Constructive and progressive creatures, that we are, with
ruling brains, and forming hands, capable of fellowship, and
thirsting for fame, can we not contend, in comfort, with the insects
of the forest, or, in achievement, with the worm of the sea? The
white surf rages in vain against the ramparts built by poor atoms of
scarcely nascent life; but only ridges of formless ruin mark the
places where once dwelt our noblest multitudes. The ant and the
moth have cells for each of their young, but our little ones lie in
festering heaps, in homes that consume them like graves; and night
by night, from the corners of our streets, rises up the cry of the
homeless--"I was a stranger, and ye took me not in."

Must it be always thus? Is our life for ever to be without profit--
without possession? Shall the strength of its generations be as
barren as death; or cast away their labour, as the wild fig-tree
casts her untimely figs? Is it all a dream then--the desire of the
eyes and the pride of life--or, if it be, might we not live in
nobler dream than this? The poets and prophets, the wise men, and
the scribes, though they have told us nothing about a life to come,
have told us much about the life that is now. They have had--they
also,--their dreams, and we have laughed at them. They have dreamed
of mercy, and of justice; they have dreamed of peace and good-will;
they have dreamed of labour undisappointed, and of rest undisturbed;
they have dreamed of fulness in harvest, and overflowing in store;
they have dreamed of wisdom in council, and of providence in law; of
gladness of parents, and strength of children, and glory of grey
hairs. And at these visions of theirs we have mocked, and held them
for idle and vain, unreal and unaccomplishable. What have we
accomplished with our realities? Is this what has come of our
worldly wisdom, tried against their folly? this, our mightiest
possible, against their impotent ideal? or, have we only wandered
among the spectra of a baser felicity, and chased phantoms of the
tombs, instead of visions of the Almighty; and walked after the
imaginations of our evil hearts, instead of after the counsels of
Eternity, until our lives--not in the likeness of the cloud of
heaven, but of the smoke of hell--have become "as a vapour, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away"?

DOES it vanish then? Are you sure of that?--sure, that the
nothingness of the grave will be a rest from this troubled
nothingness; and that the coiling shadow, which disquiets itself in
vain, cannot change into the smoke of the torment that ascends for
ever? Will any answer that they ARE sure of it, and that there is
no fear, nor hope, nor desire, nor labour, whither they go? Be it
so: will you not, then, make as sure of the Life that now is, as
you are of the Death that is to come? Your hearts are wholly in
this world--will you not give them to it wisely, as well as
perfectly? And see, first of all, that you HAVE hearts, and sound
hearts, too, to give. Because you have no heaven to look for, is
that any reason that you should remain ignorant of this wonderful
and infinite earth, which is firmly and instantly given you in
possession? Although your days are numbered, and the following
darkness sure, is it necessary that you should share the degradation
of the brute, because you are condemned to its mortality; or live
the life of the moth, and of the worm, because you are to companion
them in the dust? Not so; we may have but a few thousands of days
to spend, perhaps hundreds only--perhaps tens; nay, the longest of
our time and best, looked back on, will be but as a moment, as the
twinkling of an eye; still we are men, not insects; we are living
spirits, not passing clouds. "He maketh the winds His messengers;
the momentary fire, His minister;" and shall we do less than THESE?
Let us do the work of men while we bear the form of them; and, as we
snatch our narrow portion of time out of Eternity, snatch also our
narrow inheritance of passion out of Immortality--even though our
lives BE as a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then
vanisheth away.

But there are some of you who believe not this--who think this cloud
of life has no such close--that it is to float, revealed and
illumined, upon the floor of heaven, in the day when He cometh with
clouds, and every eye shall see Him. Some day, you believe, within
these five, or ten, or twenty years, for every one of us the
judgment will be set, and the books opened. If that be true, far
more than that must be true. Is there but one day of judgment?
Why, for us every day is a day of judgment--every day is a Dies
Irae, and writes its irrevocable verdict in the flame of its West.
Think you that judgment waits till the doors of the grave are
opened? It waits at the doors of your houses--it waits at the
corners of your streets; we are in the midst of judgment--the
insects that we crush are our judges--the moments we fret away are
our judges--the elements that feed us, judge, as they minister--and
the pleasures that deceive us, judge, as they indulge. Let us, for
our lives, do the work of Men while we bear the form of them, if
indeed those lives are NOT as a vapour, and do NOT vanish away.

"The work of men"--and what is that? Well, we may any of us know
very quickly, on the condition of being wholly ready to do it. But
many of us are for the most part thinking, not of what we are to do,
but of what we are to get; and the best of us are sunk into the sin
of Ananias, and it is a mortal one--we want to keep back part of the
price; and we continually talk of taking up our cross, as if the
only harm in a cross was the WEIGHT of it--as if it was only a thing
to be carried, instead of to be--crucified upon. "They that are His
have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." Does that
mean, think you, that in time of national distress, of religious
trial, of crisis for every interest and hope of humanity--none of us
will cease jesting, none cease idling, none put themselves to any
wholesome work, none take so much as a tag of lace off their
footmen's coats, to save the world? Or does it rather mean, that
they are ready to leave houses, lands, and kindreds--yes, and life,
if need be? Life!--some of us are ready enough to throw that away,
joyless as we have made it. But "STATION in Life"--how many of us
are ready to quit THAT? Is it not always the great objection, where
there is question of finding something useful to do--"We cannot
leave our stations in Life"?

Those of us who really cannot--that is to say, who can only maintain
themselves by continuing in some business or salaried office, have
already something to do; and all that they have to see to is, that
they do it honestly and with all their might. But with most people
who use that apology, "remaining in the station of life to which
Providence has called them" means keeping all the carriages, and all
the footmen and large houses they can possibly pay for; and, once
for all, I say that if ever Providence DID put them into stations of
that sort--which is not at all a matter of certainty--Providence is
just now very distinctly calling them out again. Levi's station in
life was the receipt of custom; and Peter's, the shore of Galilee;
and Paul's, the antechambers of the High Priest,--which "station in
life" each had to leave, with brief notice.

And, whatever our station in life may be, at this crisis, those of
us who mean to fulfil our duty ought first to live on as little as
we can; and, secondly, to do all the wholesome work for it we can,
and to spend all we can spare in doing all the sure good we can.

And sure good is, first in feeding people, then in dressing people,
then in lodging people, and lastly in rightly pleasing people, with
arts, or sciences, or any other subject of thought.

I say first in feeding; and, once for all, do not let yourselves be
deceived by any of the common talk of "indiscriminate charity." The
order to us is not to feed the deserving hungry, nor the industrious
hungry, nor the amiable and well-intentioned hungry, but simply to
feed the hungry. It is quite true, infallibly true, that if any man
will not work, neither should he eat--think of that, and every time
you sit down to your dinner, ladies and gentlemen, say solemnly,
before you ask a blessing, "How much work have I done to-day for my
dinner?" But the proper way to enforce that order on those below
you, as well as on yourselves, is not to leave vagabonds and honest
people to starve together, but very distinctly to discern and seize
your vagabond; and shut your vagabond up out of honest people's way,
and very sternly then see that, until he has worked, he does NOT
eat. But the first thing is to be sure you have the food to give;
and, therefore, to enforce the organization of vast activities in
agriculture and in commerce, for the production of the wholesomest
food, and proper storing and distribution of it, so that no famine
shall any more be possible among civilized beings. There is plenty
of work in this business alone, and at once, for any number of
people who like to engage in it.

Secondly, dressing people--that is to say, urging every one, within
reach of your influence to be always neat and clean, and giving them
means of being so. In so far as they absolutely refuse, you must
give up the effort with respect to them, only taking care that no
children within your sphere of influence shall any more be brought
up with such habits; and that every person who is willing to dress
with propriety shall have encouragement to do so. And the first
absolutely necessary step towards this is the gradual adoption of a
consistent dress for different ranks of persons, so that their rank
shall be known by their dress; and the restriction of the changes of
fashion within certain limits. All which appears for the present
quite impossible; but it is only so far even difficult as it is
difficult to conquer our vanity, frivolity, and desire to appear
what we are not. And it is not, nor ever shall be, creed of mine,
that these mean and shallow vices are unconquerable by Christian

And then, thirdly, lodging people, which you may think should have
been put first, but I put it third, because we must feed and clothe
people where we find them, and lodge them afterwards. And providing
lodgment for them means a great deal of vigorous legislature, and
cutting down of vested interests that stand in the way, and after
that, or before that, so far as we can get it, thorough sanitary and
remedial action in the houses that we have; and then the building of
more, strongly, beautifully, and in groups of limited extent, kept
in proportion to their streams, and walled round, so that there may
be no festering and wretched suburb anywhere, but clean and busy
street within, and the open country without, with a belt of
beautiful garden and orchard round the walls, so that from any part
of the city perfectly fresh air and grass, and sight of far horizon,
might be reachable in a few minutes' walk. This the final aim; but
in immediate action every minor and possible good to be instantly
done, when, and as, we can; roofs mended that have holes in them--
fences patched that have gaps in them--walls' buttressed that
totter--and floors propped that shake; cleanliness and order
enforced with our own hands and eyes, till we are breathless, every
day. And all the fine arts will healthily follow. I myself have
washed a flight of stone stairs all down, with bucket and broom, in
a Savoy inn, where they hadn't washed their stairs since they first
went up them; and I never made a better sketch than that afternoon.

These, then, are the three first needs of civilized life; and the
law for every Christian man and woman is, that they shall be in
direct service towards one of these three needs, as far as is
consistent with their own special occupation, and if they have no
special business, then wholly in one of these services. And out of
such exertion in plain duty all other good will come; for in this
direct contention with material evil, you will find out the real
nature of all evil; you will discern by the various kinds of
resistance, what is really the fault and main antagonism to good;
also you will find the most unexpected helps and profound lessons
given, and truths will come thus down to us which the speculation of
all our lives would never have raised us up to. You will find
nearly every educational problem solved, as soon as you truly want
to do something; everybody will become of use in their own fittest
way, and will learn what is best for them to know in that use.
Competitive examination will then, and not till then, be wholesome,
because it will be daily, and calm, and in practice; and on these
familiar arts, and minute, but certain and serviceable knowledges,
will be surely edified and sustained the greater arts and splendid
theoretical sciences.

But much more than this. On such holy and simple practice will be
founded, indeed, at last, an infallible religion. The greatest of
all the mysteries of life, and the most terrible, is the corruption
of even the sincerest religion, which is not daily founded on
rational, effective, humble, and helpful action. Helpful action,
observe! for there is just one law, which, obeyed, keeps all
religions pure--forgotten, makes them all false. Whenever in any
religious faith, dark or bright, we allow our minds to dwell upon
the points in which we differ from other people, we are wrong, and
in the devil's power. That is the essence of the Pharisee's
thanksgiving--"Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are."
At every moment of our lives we should be trying to find out, not in
what we differ from other people, but in what we agree with them;
and the moment we find we can agree as to anything that should be
done, kind or good, (and who but fools couldn't?) then do it; push
at it together: you can't quarrel in a side-by-side push; but the
moment that even the best men stop pushing, and begin talking, they
mistake their pugnacity for piety, and it's all over. I will not
speak of the crimes which in past times have been committed in the
name of Christ, nor of the follies which are at this hour held to be
consistent with obedience to Him; but I WILL speak of the morbid
corruption and waste of vital power in religious sentiment, by which
the pure strength of that which should be the guiding soul of every
nation, the splendour of its youthful manhood, and spotless light of
its maidenhood, is averted or cast away. You may see continually
girls who have never been taught to do a single useful thing
thoroughly; who cannot sew, who cannot cook, who cannot cast an
account, nor prepare a medicine, whose whole life has been passed
either in play or in pride; you will find girls like these, when
they are earnest-hearted, cast all their innate passion of religious
spirit, which was meant by God to support them through the
irksomeness of daily toil, into grievous and vain meditation over
the meaning of the great Book, of which no syllable was ever yet to
be understood but through a deed; all the instinctive wisdom and
mercy of their womanhood made vain, and the glory of their pure
consciences warped into fruitless agony concerning questions which
the laws of common serviceable life would have either solved for
them in an instant, or kept out of their way. Give such a girl any
true work that will make her active in the dawn, and weary at night,
with the consciousness that her fellow-creatures have indeed been
the better for her day, and the powerless sorrow of her enthusiasm
will transform itself into a majesty of radiant and beneficent

So with our youths. We once taught them to make Latin verses, and
called them educated; now we teach them to leap and to row, to hit a
ball with a bat, and call them educated. Can they plough, can they
sow, can they plant at the right time, or build with a steady hand?
Is it the effort of their lives to be chaste, knightly, faithful,
holy in thought, lovely in word and deed? Indeed it is, with some,
nay, with many, and the strength of England is in them, and the
hope; but we have to turn their courage from the toil of war to the
toil of mercy; and their intellect from dispute of words to
discernment of things; and their knighthood from the errantry of
adventure to the state and fidelity of a kingly power. And then,
indeed, shall abide, for them and for us, an incorruptible felicity,
and an infallible religion; shall abide for us Faith, no more to be
assailed by temptation, no more to be defended by wrath and by
fear;--shall abide with us Hope, no more to be quenched by the years
that overwhelm, or made ashamed by the shadows that betray:- shall
abide for us, and with us, the greatest of these; the abiding will,
the abiding name of our Father. For the greatest of these is


{1} The paragraph that begins "I think I can best tell you their

{2} The paragraph that begins "Does a bird..."

{3} The paragraphs beginning:

79--"I believe, then, with this exception..."
75--"Yet, observe, with exquisite accuracy..."
19--"Now, in order to deal with words rightly,..."
79--"Then, in art, keep the finest models..."

{4} [Greek word which cannot be reproduced]

{5} Note this sentence carefully, and compare the 'Queen of the
Air,' paragraph "Nothing that I ever said is more ..."

{6} 2 Peter iii. 5-7.

{7} Compare the 13th Letter in 'Time and Tide.'

{8} Modern "Education" for the most part signifies giving people
the faculty of thinking wrong on every conceivable subject of
importance to them.

{9} Inf. xxiii. 125, 126; xix. 49. 50.

{10} Compare with paragraph "This, then, is what you have to do..."

{11} See note at end of lecture. I have put it in large type,
because the course of matters since it was written has made it
perhaps better worth attention.

{12} Respecting the increase of rent by the deaths of the poor, for
evidence of which see the preface to the Medical Officer's report to
the Privy Council, just published, there are suggestions in its
preface which will make some stir among us, I fancy, respecting
which let me note these points following:-

There are two theories on the subject of land now abroad, and in
contention; both false.

The first is that, by Heavenly law, there have always existed, and
must continue to exist, a certain number of hereditarily sacred
persons to whom the earth, air, and water of the world belong, as
personal property; of which earth, air, and water, these persons
may, at their pleasure, permit, or forbid, the rest of the human
race to eat, to breathe, or to drink. This theory is not for many
years longer tenable. The adverse theory is that a division of the
land of the world among the mob of the world would immediately
elevate the said mob into sacred personages; that houses would then
build themselves, and corn grow of itself; and that everybody would
be able to live, without doing any work for his living. This theory
would also be found highly untenable in practice.

It will, however, require some rough experiments and rougher
catastrophes, before the generality of persons will be convinced
that no law concerning anything--least of all concerning land, for
either holding or dividing it, or renting it high, or renting it
low--would be of the smallest ultimate use to the people, so long as
the general contest for life, and for the means of life, remains one
of mere brutal competition. That contest, in an unprincipled
nation, will take one deadly form or another, whatever laws you make
against it. For instance, it would be an entirely wholesome law for
England, if it could be carried, that maximum limits should be
assigned to incomes according to classes; and that every nobleman's
income should be paid to him as a fixed salary or pension by the
nation; and not squeezed by him in variable sums, at discretion, out
of the tenants of his land. But if you could get such a law passed
to-morrow, and if, which would be farther necessary, you could fix
the value of the assigned incomes by making a given weight of pure
bread for a given sum, a twelvemonth would not pass before another
currency would have been tacitly established, and the power of
accumulated wealth would have re-asserted itself in some other
article, or some other imaginary sign. There is only one cure for
public distress--and that is public education, directed to make men
thoughtful, merciful, and just. There are, indeed, many laws
conceivable which would gradually better and strengthen the national
temper; but, for the most part, they are such as the national temper
must be much bettered before it would bear. A nation in its youth
may be helped by laws, as a weak child by backboards, but when it is
old it cannot that way strengthen its crooked spine.

And besides; the problem of land, at its worst, is a bye one;
distribute the earth as you will, the principal question remains
inexorable,--Who is to dig it? Which of us, in brief word, is to do
the hard and dirty work for the rest, and for what pay? Who is to
do the pleasant and clean work, and for what pay? Who is do no
work, and for what pay? And there are curious moral and religious
questions connected with these. How far is it lawful to suck a
portion of the soul out of a great many persons, in order to put the
abstracted psychical quantities together and make one very beautiful
or ideal soul? If we had to deal with mere blood instead of spirit,
(and the thing might literally be done--as it has been done with
infants before now)--so that it were possible, by taking a certain
quantity of blood from the arms of a given number of the mob, and
putting it all into one person, to make a more azure-blooded
gentleman of him, the thing would of course be managed; but
secretly, I should conceive. But now, because it is brain and soul
that we abstract, not visible blood, it can be done quite openly,
and we live, we gentlemen, on delicatest prey, after the manner of
weasels; that is to say, we keep a certain number of clowns digging
and ditching, and generally stupefied, in order that we, being fed
gratis, may have all the thinking and feeling to ourselves. Yet
there is a great deal to be said for this. A highly-bred and
trained English, French, Austrian, or Italian gentleman (much more a
lady), is a great production,--a better production than most
statues; being beautifully coloured as well as shaped, and plus all
the brains; a glorious thing to look at, a wonderful thing to talk
to; and you cannot have it, any more than a pyramid or a church, but
by sacrifice of much contributed life. And it is, perhaps, better
to build a beautiful human creature than a beautiful dome or
steeple--and more delightful to look up reverently to a creature far
above us, than to a wall; only the beautiful human creature will
have some duties to do in return--duties of living belfry and
rampart--of which presently.

{13} Since this was written, the answer has become definitely--No;
we having surrendered the field of Arctic discovery to the
Continental nations, as being ourselves too poor to pay for ships.

{14} I state this fact without Professor Owen's permission: which
of course he could not with propriety have granted, had I asked it;
but I consider it so important that the public should be aware of
the fact, that I do what seems to me right, though rude.

{15} That was our real idea of "Free Trade"--"All the trade to
myself." You find now that by "competition" other people can manage
to sell something as well as you--and now we call for Protection
again. Wretches!

{16} I meant that the beautiful places of the world--Switzerland,
Italy, South Germany, and so on--are, indeed, the truest cathedrals-
-places to be reverent in, and to worship in; and that we only care
to drive through them: and to eat and drink at their most sacred

{17} I was singularly struck, some years ago, by finding all the
river shore at Richmond, in Yorkshire, black in its earth, from the
mere drift of soot-laden air from places many miles away.

{18} One of the things which we must very resolutely enforce, for
the good of all classes, in our future arrangements, must be that
they wear no "translated" articles of dress. See the preface.

{19} This abbreviation of the penalty of useless labour is
curiously coincident in verbal form with a certain passage which
some of us may remember. It may perhaps be well to preserve beside
this paragraph another cutting out of my store-drawer, from the
'Morning Post,' of about a parallel date, Friday, March 10th, 1865:-
"The SALONS of Mme. C-, who did the honours with clever imitative
grace and elegance, were crowded with princes, dukes, marquises, and
counts--in fact, with the same MALE company as one meets at the
parties of the Princess Metternich and Madame Drouyn de Lhuys. Some
English peers and members of Parliament were present, and appeared
to enjoy the animated and dazzlingly improper scene. On the second
floor the supper tables were loaded with every delicacy of the
season. That your readers may form some idea of the dainty fare of
the Parisian demi-monde, I copy the menu of the supper, which was
served to all the guests (about 200) seated at four o'clock. Choice
Yquem, Johannisberg, Laffitte, Tokay, and champagne of the finest
vintages were served most lavishly throughout the morning. After
supper dancing was resumed with increased animation, and the ball
terminated with a CHAINE DIABOLIQUE and a CANCAN D'ENFER at seven in
the morning. (Morning service--'Ere the fresh lawns appeared, under
the opening eyelids of the Morn.-') Here is the menu:- 'Consomme de
volaille e la Bagration: 16 hors-d'oeuvres varies. Bouchees e la
Talleyrand. Saumons froids, sauce Ravigote. Filets de boeuf en
Bellevue, timbales milanaises, chaudfroid de gibier. Dindes
truffees. Pates de foies gras, buissons d'ecrevisses, salades
venetiennes, gelees blanches aux fruits, gateaux mancini, parisiens
et parisiennes. Fromages glaces. Ananas. Dessert.'"

{20} Please observe this statement, and think of it, and consider
how it happens that a poor old woman will be ashamed to take a
shilling a week from the country--but no one is ashamed to take a
pension of a thousand a year.

{21} I am heartily glad to see such a paper as the 'Pall Mall
Gazette' established; for the power of the press in the hands of
highly educated men, in independent position, and of honest purpose,
may indeed become all that it has been hitherto vainly vaunted to
be. Its editor will therefore, I doubt not, pardon me, in that, by
very reason of my respect for the journal, I do not let pass
unnoticed an article in its third number, page 5, which was wrong in
every word of it, with the intense wrongness which only an honest
man can achieve who has taken a false turn of thought in the outset,
and is following it, regardless of consequences. It contained at
the end this notable passage:-

"The bread of affliction, and the water of affliction,--aye, and the
bedsteads and blankets of affliction, are the very utmost that the
law ought to give to OUTCASTS MERELY AS OUTCASTS." I merely put
beside this expression of the gentlemanly mind of England in 1865, a
part of the message which Isaiah was ordered to "lift up his voice
like a trumpet" in declaring to the gentlemen of his day: "Ye fast
for strife, and to smite with the fist of wickedness. Is not this
the fast that I have chosen, to deal thy bread to the hungry, and
that thou bring the poor THAT ARE CAST OUT (margin, 'afflicted') to
THY house?" The falsehood on which the writer had mentally founded
himself, as previously stated by him, was this: "To confound the
functions of the dispensers of the poor-rates with those of the
dispensers of a charitable institution is a great and pernicious
error." This sentence is so accurately and exquisitely wrong, that
its substance must be thus reversed in our minds before we can deal
with any existing problem of national distress. "To understand that
the dispensers of the poor-rates are the almoners of the nation, and
should distribute its alms with a gentleness and freedom of hand as
much greater and franker than that possible to individual charity,
as the collective national wisdom and power may be supposed greater
than those of any single person, is the foundation of all law
respecting pauperism." (Since this was written the 'Pall Mall
Gazette' has become a mere party paper--like the rest; but it writes
well, and does more good than mischief on the whole.)

{22} [Greek text which cannot be reproduced]

{23} I ought, in order to make this assertion fully understood, to
have noted the various weaknesses which lower the ideal of other
great characters of men in the Waverley novels--the selfishness and
narrowness of thought in Redgauntlet, the weak religious enthusiasm
in Edward Glendinning, and the like; and I ought to have noticed
that there are several quite perfect characters sketched sometimes
in the backgrounds; three--let us accept joyously this courtesy to
England and her soldiers--are English officers: Colonel Gardiner,
Colonel Talbot, and Colonel Mannering.

{24} Coventry Patmore. You cannot read him too often or too
carefully; as far as I know he is the only living poet who always
strengthens and purifies; the others sometimes darken, and nearly
always depress and discourage, the imagination they deeply seize.

{25} Observe, it is "Nature" who is speaking throughout, and who
says, "while she and I together live."

{26} "Joan of Arc: in reference to M. Michelet's 'History of
France.'" De Quincey's Works. Vol. iii. p. 217.

{27} I wish there were a true order of chivalry instituted for our
English youth of certain ranks, in which both boy and girl should
receive, at a given age, their knighthood and ladyhood by true
title; attainable only by certain probation and trial both of
character and accomplishment; and to be forfeited, on conviction, by
their peers, of any dishonourable act. Such an institution would be
entirely, and with all noble results, possible, in a nation which
loved honour. That it would not be possible among us, is not to the
discredit of the scheme.

{28} See note {19}

{29} That no reference should be made to religious questions.

{30} I have sometimes been asked what this means. I intended it to
set forth the wisdom of men in war contending for kingdoms, and what
follows to set forth their wisdom in peace, contending for wealth.

{31} See "The Two Paths,"--paragraph beginning "You know I said of
that great and pure..."

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