Mr. Polak, a friend of mine, came to see me off to Durban, and left with me a book to read during the journey, which he said I was sure to like. It was Ruskin's Unto This Last.
The book was impossible to
lay aside, once I had begun it. It gripped me.
Johannesburg to Durban was a twenty-four hours' journey.
The train reached there in the evening. I could not get
any sleep that night. I determined to change my life in
accordance with the ideals of the book.
I believe that I
discovered some of my deepest convictions reflected in
this great book of Ruskin, and that is why it so
captured me and made me transform my life.
The teaching of Unto This
Last I understood to be :
1. That the good of the
individual is contained in the good of all.
2. That a lawyer's work
has the same value as the barber's inasmuch as all have
the same right of earning their livelihood from their
3. That a life of labour,
i.e. the life of the tiller of the soil and the
handicraftsman is the life worth living.
The first of these I knew.
The second I had dimly realized. The third had never
occurred to me. Unto This Last made
it as clear as daylight for me that the second and the
third were contained in the first. I arose with the
dawn, ready to reduce these principles to practice.