When I think of the thousands and thousands of pounds which have been spent by the National Art Collections Fund on the purchase of paintings some of questionable merit and dubious condition by Old Masters already represented in the National Gallery it makes me boil with rage to think that in 1905 it would not contribute one halfpenny towards the purchase for the nation of a picture by one of the Great French Masters of the late nineteenth century. It was a short-sighted policy, but the Fund's inertia and snobbish ineptitude are entirely characteristic of the habits of art-officialdom in England.
Think of the heroism of Johnson, think of that superb indifference to mortal limitation that set him upon his dictionary, and carried him through triumphantly until the end! Who, if he were wisely considerate of things at large, would ever embark upon any work much more considerable than a halfpenny post-card? Who would project a serial novel, afterThackeray and Dickens had each fallen in mid-course? Who would find heart enough to begin to live, if he dallied with the consideration of death?Robert Louis Stevenson
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