The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Gentle Art of Making Enemies, The
Record 10 of 181

System Number: 06767
Date: [January 1885/1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: [none]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W761
Document Type: AD

Pall Mall. Nov. 8. 1883 -

Mr Ruskin[2] on "Punch" -
Standard - Nov. 12 -
Ruskin on Nurseries -

"I never write about anything except what I know more of than most other people" - says Mr John Ruskin - and hereupon it is pleasant refreshing to reflect that he has written volumes! -

'He has written right, he has written left, he has written round about him!'

A very dictionary is the Don - Universal is his knowledge and[3] never does he hesitate to but pronounces with effusion upon every subject - Art among others - without reserve -

Political Economy & Painting - Parlour Maids and Poaching - what you will -

Even the Nursery he fearlessly enters, invades - ** (Letter in Standard  Nov. 12)[4] (as witness his letter in the Standard - Nov 12) though in this domain as he acknowledges he has no personal practice, - and dictates forthwith . . . correcting the cap in the Cradle, with Cultures care - morally stirring the pap that it shall be purified yet when has the Teacher been deterred from instruction by want of experience - and so statements are made all so bold and revolutions improvements insinuated without loss of presence - The cap in the Cradle is corrected with Cultures care - the pap in the pot is stired [sic] & diluted with sentiment of the most unfit - outraging the suckling to whom wisdom is revealed - the parents are told that "in the nursery "here" nothing matters save the Mother - the Nurse, and - Air . (in this way, - - putting the child out of the question - in this way Mr Ruskin might have established a nursery of his own) - Much more that is useless & involved comes forth for the occasion - The Sapient The mouth is set & the flow continues and the look inspired whether the words be those of       and the Sayer utters much - and no man shall find in it the grain of mustard seed * is alternately good & wise and simple and tinckles [sic] as the symbal [sic] and blairs [sic] as the trumpet -

he propounds popular propositions & presently "he bables [sic] of green fields"[5] -

* to be used further on -
The word is with him as the grain of mustard seed[6] - that grew & grew until the fowls of the air etc etc -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [January 1885/1890]
These are probably notes relating to JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture', first delivered in February 1885 (see also note below).

2.  Mr Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

3.  and
Word reinstated by dotted underline.

4.  * (Letter in Standard Nov. 12)
Written in left-hand margin. The letter is unidentified.

5.  'he bables [sic] of green fields'
JW uses this Shakespearean quotation in relation to Ruskin in the Ten O'Clock Lecture (Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, p. 150). It is from the death of Falstaff in Act II, Scene III of 'Henry V'.

6.  grain of mustard seed
Biblical., Mark 4:30-32 - 'And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.'