A little something to share. I came across an old friend at a used bookstore a while ago. Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin, 1897 edition. Probably should do this in bookworld, but anyway.
Just a little quote inspired by J'Pol's appearance today.
"The place you desire," and the place you fit yourself for, I must also say ; because, observe, this court of the past differs from all living aristocracy in this :- it is open to labour and to merit, but to nothing else. No wealth will bribe, no name overawe, no artifice deceive, the guardian of those Elysian gates. In the deep sense, no vile or vulgar person ever enters there.
At the portieres of that silent Faubourg St. Germain, there is but brief question : "Do you deserve to enter? Pass. Do you ask to be the companion of nobles? Make yourself noble, and you shall be. Do you long for the conversation of the wise? Learn to understand it and you shall hear it. But on other terms? - no. If you will not rise to us, we cannot stoop to you. The living lord may assume courtesy, the living philosopher explain his thought to you with considerate pain ; but here we neither feign nor interpet ; you must rise to the level of our thoughts if you would be gladdened by them, and share our feelings if you would recognise our presence".
Sesame and Lilies was originally published 1882. The passage above is referring to great literature and our access to it.
But it seems like he could be writing about this forum, a hundred years before it existed.