From Fors Clavigera
by John Ruskin

From Letter XXIV.

November 7th, 1872.


I shall not call you so any more, after this Christmas; first, because things have chanced to me, of late, which have made me too sulky to be friends with anybody; secondly, because in the two years during which I have been writing these letters, not one of you has sent me a friendly word of answer; lastly because, even if you were my friends, it would be waste print to call you so, once a month. Nor shall I sign myself “faithfully yours” any more; being very far from faithfully my own, and having found most other people anything but faithfully mine. Nor shall I sign my name, for I never like the look of it; being, I apprehend, only short for “Rough Skin,” in the sense of “Pigskin”; (and indeed, the planet under which I was born, Saturn, has supreme power over pigs,)— nor can I find historical mention of any other form of the name, except one I made no reference to when it occurred, as that of the leading devil of four, Red-skin Blue-skin and I forget the skins of the other two who performed in a religious play, of the fourteenth century, which was nearly as comic as the religious earnest of our own century. So that the letters will begin, henceforward, without address; and close without signature. You will probably know whom they come from, and I don’t in the least care whom they go to.

. . .

[... description of a rabbit hunt ...]

Of course all this is quite natural to a sporting people who have learned to like the smell of gunpowder, sulphur, and gas-tar, better than that of violets and thyme. But, putting the baby-poisoning, pigeon-shooting, and rabbit-shooting of to-day in comparison with the pleasures of the German Madonna, and her simple company; and of Chaucer and his carolling company: and seeing that the present effect of peace upon earth, and well-pleasing in men, is that every nation now spends most of its income in machinery for shooting the best and bravest men, just when they were likely to have become of some use to their fathers and mothers, I put it to you, my friends all, calling you so, I suppose, for the last time, (unless you are disposed for friendship with Herod instead of Barabbas,) whether it would not be more kind, and less expensive, to make the machinery a little smaller; and adapt it to spare opium now, and expenses of maintenance and education afterwards, (besides no end of diplomacy) by taking our sport in shooting babies instead of rabbits?

Believe me,

Faithfully yours,