From Fors Clavigera
by John Ruskin

From Letter XXV, January, 1873.

[... a very old and elaborate recipe for a "goose pie" ...]

Possessed of these instructions, I immediately went to my cook to ask how far we could faithfully carry them out. But she told me nothing could be done without a “brown-bread oven;” which I shall therefore instantly build under the rocks on my way down to the lake: and, if I live, we will have a Lancashire goose-pie next Michaelmas. You may, perhaps, think this affair irrelevant to the general purposes of Fors Clavigera; but it is not so by any means: on the contrary it is closely connected with its primary intentions; and besides may interest some readers more than weightier, or, I should rather say, lighter and more spiritual matters. For, indeed, during twenty-three months, I had been writing to you, fellow workmen, of matters affecting your best interests in this world and all the interests you had, anywhere else:— explaining, as I could, what the shrewdest of you, hitherto, have thought, and the best of you have done;— what the most selfish have gained, and the most generous have suffered. Of all this, no notice whatever is taken. In my twenty-fourth letter, incidentally, I mentioned the fact of my being in a bad humour, (which I nearly always am, and which it matters little to anybody whether I am or not, so long as I don’t act upon it,) and forthwith I got quite a little mail-cartful of consolation, reproof, and advice. Much of it kind,— nearly all of it helpful, and some of it wise; but very little bearing on matters in hand: an eager Irish correspondent offers immediately to reply to anything, ‘though he has not been fortunate enough to meet with the book;’ one working man’s letter, for self and mates, is answered in the terminal notes;— could not be answered before for want of address;— another, from a south-country clergyman, could not be answered any way, for he would not read any more, he said, of such silly stuff as Fors;— but would have been glad to hear of any scheme for giving people a sound practical education. I fain would learn, myself, either from this practical Divine, or any of his mates, what the ecclesiastical idea of a sound practical education is;— that is to say, what in week-day schools (— the teaching in Sunday ones being necessarily to do no manner of work)— our clergy think that boys and girls should be taught to practise, in order that, when grown up, they may with dexterity perform the same. For indeed, the constant object of these letters of mine, from their beginning, has been to urge you to do vigorously and dextrously what was useful; and nothing but that. And I have told you of Kings and Heroes, and now am about to tell you what I can of a Saint, because I believe such persons to have done, sometimes, more useful things than you or I: begging your pardon always for not addressing you as heroes, which I believe you all think yourselves, or as kings, which I presume you all propose to be, or at least, if you cannot, to let nobody else be.