One confession I have to make, and one for which I can hardly hope for absolution, whether from my friends or from my enemies. I have never done anything; I have never been a doer, a canvasser, a wirepuller, a manager, in the ordinary sense of these words. I have also shrunk from agitation, from clubs and from cliques, even from most respectable associations and societies. Many people would call me an idle, useless, and indolent man, and though I have not wasted many hours of my life, I cannot deny the charge that I have neither fought battles, nor helped to conquer new countries, nor joined any syndicate to roll up a fortune. I have been a scholar, a Stubengelehrter and voilà tout!
Much as I admired Ruskin when I saw him with his spade and wheelbarrow, encouraging and helping his undergraduate friends to make a new road from one village to another, I never myself took to digging, and shoveling, and carting. Nor could I quite agree with him, happy as I always felt in listening to him, when he said: " What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do." My view has always been the very opposite!