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104         On the Making of Music,

remembered that no work is required to be more than right
as far as it goes; the greatest work cannot get beyond this
and the least comes strangely near the greatest if this can be
said of it.

The more I see of academicism the more I distrust it. If
I had approached painting as I have approached bookwriting
and music, that is to say by beginning at once to do what I
wanted, or as near as I could to what I could find out of this,
and taking pains not by way of solving academic difficulties,
in order to provide against practical ones, but by waiting till
a difficulty arose in practice and then tackling it, thus making
the arising of each difficulty be the occasion for learning what
had to be learnt about it—if I had approached painting in
this way I should have been all right. As it is I have been
all wrong, and it was South Kensington and Heatherley's
that set me wrong. I listened to the nonsense about how I
ought to study before beginning to paint, and about never
painting without nature, and the result was that I learned
to study but not to paint. Now I have got too much to do
and am too old to do what I might easily have done, and
should have done, if I had found out earlier what writing
Life and Habit was the chief thing to teach me.

So I painted study after study, as a priest reads his
breviary, and at the end of ten years knew no more what the
face of nature was like, unless I had it immediately before
me, than I did at the beginning. I am free to confess that in
respect of painting I am a failure. I have spent far more
time on painting than I have on anything else, and have
failed at it more than I have failed in any other respect
almost solely for the reasons given above. I tried very hard,
but I tried the wrong way.

Fortunately for me there are no academies for teaching
people how to write books, or I should have fallen into them
as I did into those for painting and, instead of writing, should
have spent my time and money in being told that I was
learning how to write. If I had one thing to say to students
before I died (I mean, if I had got to die, but might tell
students one thing first) I should say :—

ts Don't learn to do, but learn in doing. Let your falls not
be on a prepared ground, but let them be bona fide falls in
the rough and tumble of the world ; only, of course, let them