Every invitation he received to come to America, Ruskin declined. He could not, he said, “even for a couple of months, live in a country so miserable as to possess no castles.” Faced with an excuse so unanswerable in its altitude, so wonderfully (and ludicrously) majestic, so frank yet refined in the scorn it displays, who can ever feel justified in saying “no” again? Until we have learned to wriggle free of what is asked of us with a finesse and fraud equal to that of this Victorian master of contempt, we are basically obliged to yield. It is incumbent on anyone incapable of rivaling Ruskin in the art of rejection to agree . . . to agree to everything.