Fine Words

I am having to stop myself from copying out vast swathes of Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera for your entertainment and edification. How can you not love a writer who refers in passing to looking something up “in one of my thirteenth-century Bibles”? Here, in any case, are a few lines from Letter XXIII, The Labyrinth:

[H]aving been obliged to write too young, when I knew only half truths, [I] was eager to set them forth by what I thought fine words. People used to call me a good writer then; now they say I can’t write at all; because, for instance, if I think anybody’s house is on fire, I only say “Sir, your house is on fire;” whereas formerly I used to say , “Sir, the abode in which you probably passed the delightful days of youth is in a state of inflammation,” and everybody used to like the effect of the two p’s in “probably passed,” and of the two d’s in “delightful days”.

I do like them… probably too enthusiastically.

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