From Fors Clavigera
by John Ruskin

From Letter LXXIV, January, 1877.


I. Affairs of the Company.

Our accounts I leave wholly in the hands of our Companion, Mr. Rydings, and our kind helper, Mr. Walker. I believe their statement will be ready for publication in this article.

[For accounts of the St. George’s Fund and Sheffield Museum see opposite and four following pages.]

Our legal affairs are in the hands of our Companion, Mr. Somervell, and in the claws of the English faculty of Law: we must wait the result of the contest patiently.

I have given directions for the design of a library for study connected with the St. George’s Museum at Sheffield, and am gradually sending down books and drawings for it, which will be specified in Fors from time to time, with my reasons for choosing them. 1 have just presented the library with another thirteenth-century Bible,— that from which the letter R was engraved at page 188 of Fors, April 1872; and two drawings from Filippo Lippi and Carpaccio, by Mr. C. F. Murray.

II. Affairs of the Master.

I am bound to state, in the first place,— now beginning a new and very important year, in which I still propose myself for the Master of the St. George’s Company,— that my head certainly does not serve me as it did once, in many respects. The other day, for instance, in a frosty morning at Verona, I put on my dressing-gown (which is of bright Indian shawl stuff) by mistake for my great-coat; and walked through the full market-place, and half-way down the principal street, in that, costume, proceeding in perfect tranquillity until the repeated glances of unusual admiration bestowed on me by the passengers led me to investigation of the possible cause. And I begin to find it no longer in my power to keep my attcniion fixed on things that have little interest for me, so as to avoid mechanical mistakes. It is assuredly true, as I said in the December Fors, that I can keep accounts; but, it seems, not of my own revenues, while I am busy with the history of those of Venice. In page 254, Letter LXXII., the November expenses wrere deducted from the sum in the first column instead of from that in the third, and the balance in that page should have been 670 9s. 4d.; and in last Fors, 275 9s. 4d. My Greenwich pottery usually brings me in 60; but I remitted most of the rent, this year, to the tenant, who has been forced into expenses by the Street Commissioners. He pays me 24 16s. 9d., bringing my resources for Christmas to the total of 300 6s. 1d. My expenses to the end of the year are as follows :

s. d.
Dec. 18. Raffaelle (a) 15 0 0
22. A. Giordani (b) 20 0 0
23. Self 50 0 0
25. Gift to relation 60 0 0
Paul Huret (c) 50 0 0
27. Downs 10 0 0
160 0 0

(a) In advance, because he goes home to Assisi at Christmas.

(b) The old Venetian sculptor who cast the Colleone statue for the Crystal Palace. Payment for casting Noah’s vine on the Ducal Palace.

(c) My godson at Boulogne. (His father, a pilot, now dead, taught me to steer a lugger.) Christinas gift for books and instruments.

Thus leaving me, according to my own views, (I don’t vouch for the banker’s concurrence in all particulars,) 140 6s. 1d. to begin the year with, after spending, between last New Year’s Day and this, the total sum of —— I won’t venture to cast it till next month; but I consider this rather an economical year than otherwise. It will serve, however, when fairly nailed down in exposition, as a sufficient specimen of my way of living for the last twelve years, resulting in an expenditure during that period of some sixty thousand, odd, pounds. I leave, for the present, my Companions to meditate on the sort of Master they have got, begging them also to remember that I possess also the great official qualification of Dogberry, and am indeed “one that hath had losses.” In the appropriate month of April, they shall know precisely to what extent, and how much or little I have left of the money my father left me. With the action I mean to take in the circumstances.