Letters of John Ruskin



IN the summer of 1868 I again went to Europe with my family. During a week or two which we passed in London Ruskin was with us frequently, and we were more than once at Denmark Hill. At his own home he was charming in his cordial, animated, sympathetic eagerness to give pleasure. He had a boyish alacrity in bringing out his treasures, whatever they might be, — manuscripts, drawings, precious stones, — and he displayed them with such genuine pleasure in the appreciation of them by his guests as to make their enjoyment complete. I see him now on his knees before a chair on which he had set up a Turner drawing, while we stood around listening to his words concerning it; now running to fetch another drawing from his chamber; now mounted on a chair holding a candle to show a picture on the wall. His mother still ruled the house from her upstairs room, and still kept close oversight over the proceedings of her dependents, of whom her son was the chief. Denmark Hill, outwardly, was still one of the pleasant old-fashioned suburban homes, but within there never was another like it.

For three months in the late summer and autumn we were established at Keston, a little village remote from the railway, some thirteen or fourteen miles from London, in a pleasant part of the chalk region of Kent. Down, the home of Mr. Darwin, was perhaps a mile away, near enough for pleasant neighborly relations. Ruskin did everything to make our stay in the country pleasant, coming over to see us, often writing and sending books or water-color drawings by Turner, himself, and others, to light up the somewhat dull rooms of the old Rectory in which we were living, sending also gifts to my little children, and in every way manifesting a friendly thoughtfulness for our pleasure and comfort.

He had changed since I last saw him; he had become, as I gradually noted, mentally more restless and unsettled, and though often gay, and always keen in his enjoyment of whatever charm the passing moment might afford, he hardly seemed to possess even the moderate happiness and the imperfect peace such as life may afford to a nature so susceptible and so undisciplined as his. The contrast of his sweet and modest bearing, and his considerate regard for the feelings of others in personal intercourse, with the frequent arrogance of expression in his writings was always striking, but the trait which now seemed to me more evident and more controlling than in former years was that of which he has said in writing of his childhood,1 “Another character of my perceptions I find curiously steady — that I was only interested by things near me, or at least clearly visible and present. I suppose this is so with children generally; but it remained — and remains — a part of my grown-up temper.” I said to him one day that when he was looking at a sunset he was altogether forgetful of the sunrise. “Yes,” he replied, “but to-morrow morning I shall care only for the sunrise.” His mind was of “a temper so interwoven,” to use his own words again, so open to strong impressions from widely different objects, that there was an extraordinary variety in his interests, both personal and intellectual, and little consecutiveness in his occupations.

Copyright, 1904, by CHARLES ELIOT NORTON.

In the autumn of 1868 I spent a few delightful days with him at Abbeville, an interesting old town, where he was busy in drawing the church of St. Wulfram, one of the finest late constructions in the flamboyant Gothic style. We went thence for a day or two to Paris, where we had the good fortune to find Longfellow and his admirable brother-in-law Tom Appleton. Neither of them had previously met Ruskin, and one evening we had a dinner at Meurice’s, than which there could not have been a pleasanter. Ruskin, Longfellow, and Appleton were each at his respectively unsurpassed best, and when late at night the little company broke up, its members parted from one another as if old friends. Longfellow had been spending a part of the day with Sainte-Beuve, and he told us much of their talk, mentioning, among other things, the saying of Sainte-Beuve, which has since been more than once in print, when after much conversation about the literary men of the century, and of the relative merits of Chateaubriand and Lamartine, SainteBeuve wound up the talk with “Eh bien, charlatan pour charlatan je préfère Lamartine.”

The next summer I met Ruskin again in Switzerland. He was much out of heart, depressed, worried, embittered. He had fallen in with Longfellow and his party, earlier in the season, at Verona. “The last time I saw him,” wrote Longfellow to me two years afterwards, “was at Verona, perched upon a ladder, copying some detail of the tomb of Can Grande; thus representing the coat of arms of the Scala family in his own person. I admired his enthusiasm and singleness of purpose.”

During the summer of 1870 my home was in one of the spacious old villas near Siena, and there Ruskin came, with a party of charming ladies, to pass a week with us. His mood was far happier than in the preceding year; for the moment no cloud darkened his soul. He spent several days in drawing the wonderful pulpit in the wonderful Cathedral. We drove and walked through many of the roads and paths of the picturesque region, and he enjoyed to the full the loveliness of the Tuscan landscape, the interest of its historic associations, and the charm of the Italian atmosphere. He was a delightful inmate of the household.

I returned to England in the autumn of 1872, and till the next spring, when I came home, I saw him frequently in London and in Oxford. He had been elected to the Slade Professorship of Fine Arts in 1869, and his first course of lectures at Oxford had been given in the winter of 1870.

During all these years, in the intervals of our meetings, he wrote often to me, in various moods, as the following letters give evidence.

DENMARK HILL, July 20th, 1868.
MY DEAREST NORTON, - I am very deeply glad that you are with us again. I cannot write to you — cannot thinks of you rightly — when you are so far away. I will be here at any time for you, but the sooner you come the better, as exhibitions are fast closing.
My mother, confined now unhappily to the level of her room, requires both quiet and space in that story of the house, and in many ways this renders it impossible for me to make arrangements that would be comfortable in receiving friends. I can always make up a bed for you, but could not make it at all right for Mrs. Norton also — you will see, when you come, how it is so — come soon, please — but yet (except for exhibitions) not in any haste interfering with your comfort. I must be here for three or four weeks longer at all events.
Ever your affectionate
My true regards to all with you.

DENMARK HILL, 22nd August, 1868.
MY DEAR CHARLES, — Five of the little pebbles were sent yesterday to be polished, and will be sent, or brought to you, next week; if the children are told on “Saturday” next, they can’t be disappointed. I have looked out to-day a few fossils of the chalk — flints and the like — of which I know nothing, though I have them as illustrations of certain methods of mineralization. But they will show you what kind of things are now under your feet, and in the roadside heaps of stones, and the first time Darwin takes them in his hand they will become Prim-Stones to you — (I am glad to escape writing the other word after “ Prim”) — and Stones-Lips, instead of Cows. Not that they’re worth his looking at, otherwise than as the least things have been. (They are worth carriage to America, however, as you have n’t chalk there.) But the little group of shattered vertebræ in the square piece of chalk may have belonged to some beast of character and promise. When is he going to write —ask him—’the “Retrogression” of Species or the Origin of Nothing? I am far down on my way into a flint-sponge. Note the little chalcedony casts of spiculæ in the sea-urchins (wrapt up more carefully than the rest). Next, as Mrs. Norton remembered that bird of Hunt’s, I thought she might like to have one a little like it, which would otherwise only be put away just now, and I ’ve sent it, and a shell and bit of stone of my own which I’m rather proud of (I want Darwin to see the shell — only don’t say I did, please); I can do much better — but it looked shelly and nice, and I left it. . . .
Ever your affectionate

ABBEVILLE, 11th September, 1868.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — Come whenever it is most convenient to you — I shall have my work in a more comfortable state in about a week’s time than it is now — but come at your own time. . . .
I have often thought of setting down some notes of my life; but I know not how; I should have to accuse my own folly bitterly — but not less, as far as I can judge, that of the fondest, faithfullest, most devoted, most mistaken parents that ever child was blest with, or ruined by. For myself, I could speak of my follies and my sins — I could not speak of my good. If I did, people would know the one was true — few would believe the other. Many of my own struggles for better things I have forgotten. I cannot judge myself — I can only despise and pity. In my good nature, I have no merit—but much weakness and folly. In my genius I am curiously imperfect and broken. The best and strongest part of it could not be explained. And the greatest part of my Life — as Life (and not merely as an investigating or observant energy), has been ... a series of delights which are gone forever, and of griefs which remain forever — and my one necessity of strength or of being is to turn away my thoughts from what they refuse to forget. Some day, but not now, I will set down a few things — but the more you understand the less you will care for me. I am dishonest enough to want you to take me for what I am to you, by your own feeling — not for what I am in the hollowness of me. I bought a cane of palm tree a week ago — it was a delightful cane to me — but it has come untwisted, — it is all hollow inside. It is not the poor cane’s fault — it would let me lean upon it — if it could. . . .
Ever your affectionate

DENMARK HILL, February, 1869.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — The enclosed is not a Washington autograph, but I think you will like to have it, as evidently the first sketch of the Moral Theory of his work by the great author of Modern Painters.
The Guide came all right—it is so very useful.
Ever your affectionate
J. R.

The enclosures were the following letter and verses. The letter is written in pencil, the verses which follow it are neatly printed in ink.

May, 1827.
MY DEAR PAPA — I have missed you very much especially on Sunday for though I do miss you on the evenings yet I miss you more on Sunday Mamma is always thinking of you for when she fills Miss deprey’s cup she only puts in the milk and sugar and leaves the rest to Miss depreey. I have changed very much in my lessons for while mary was with me I said them very ill every day, but now I almost say them very well every day. we are perhaps going to make a balloon today, perhaps not for a good while. just as I was thinking what to say to you, I turned by chance to your picture, and it came into my mind now what can I say to give pleasure to that papa. the weather is at present very beautiful, though cold. I have nothing more to say to you, dear papa.
Your affectionate son,
Mamma says that I may tell you I have been a very good boy while you have been away.


That rock with waving willows on its side
That hill with beauteous forests on its top
That stream that with its rippling waves doth glide
And oh what beauties has that mountain got
That rock stands high against the sky
Those trees stand firm upon the rock
and seem as if they all did lock
Into each other; tall they stand
Towering above the whitened land


What beauties spring thou hast the waving lilac
and the stiff tall peach with roselike flowers
with yellow chorchorus and with nectarine blossom
some with grace wave and some though tall are stiff
waving is lilac, so is yellow chorchorus
waving is cherry blossom though not so graceful
as the spiry lilac and the hyacinth
stiff is the pear and nectarine with the peach
and apricot, all these are stiff but in return
their flowers are beautiful. so are birds and beasts
as well as flowers some are wild and cruel
such are the tiger, panther, lynx and ounce
so also in return these animals
are pretty in the other sort
some dogs are ugly, but conceal within
some good intentions good ideas good thoughts
but spring, there is one tree that thou bring’st forth
that is more beautiful than all the others —
this is the apple blossom o how sweet
is that fine tree and so I end.

VERONA, 21st June, ’69.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — Do you recollect that line of Horace’s about Ulysses, “ Adversis rerum immersabilis undis ” ? I do not know any sentence in any book that has so often helped me as that, but there is so strange a relation between it and the end of Ulysses in Dante. I recollect no evidence of Dante’s knowing Horace at all: and it is so very strange to me that he has precisely contradicted Horace, in his mysterious death, — “Infin che il mar fu sopra noi richiuso.” It is the most melancholy piece in all Dante — that — to me. I wish I could give you, for an instant — my sense of sailing on lonely sea — and your writing to me from far away about things so very practical and important on the shore, which of course I ought to care for, and to leave all properly arranged — fin che il mar sia sopra me richiuso. But I don’t care about them. Or, take the comic side of it — Jonathan Oldbuck leaves Lovel — who is sensible and practical — to bring out his essay on the Prætoriuin. Lovel does n’t bring it out — and writes its titlepage calling it “ an attempt at identification of the Kaim of Kinprunes — with the landing place of Agricola” and keeps leasing Jonathan to write his Will. . . .

24 th June.
And, indeed, if I were to die now, the life would have been such a wreck that you could n’t even make anything of the drift wood. It really is more important and practical for me to try before I die to lead two or three people to think “ whether there be any Holy Ghost” than even to make sure that you have my watch and seals to play with — though I should like you to have them. Only I’m not sure after all whether it is really me, or an ideal of me in your head, that you love. I don’t believe anybody loves me, except my mother and poor little Joan.2
I really am getting practical. Last night — full moon — the metal cross on the tomb summit — which I have named in the Stones of Venice as “chief of all the monuments of a land of mourning”3 " reflected the moonlight as it rose against the twilight, and looked like a cross of real pale fire — for the last time I believe from the old roof, for they take it off to-day, or to-morrow, to “restore it.” Well, in old times, I should have thought that very pretty; whereas now I reflected that with four tallow candles stuck on the crossends I could produce a much brighter effect. And I’m thinking of writing Hamlet’s soliloquy into Norton&-Millesque. “The question which under these circumstances must present itself to the intelligent mind, is whether to exist, or not to exist,” etc. . . .
Don’t send me any letters that will require any sort of putting up with or patience, because I have n’t got any. Only this I’ll say — I’ve suffered so fearfully from Reticences all my life that I think sheer blurting out of all in one’s head is better than silence. . . .
By the way, Charles, when I’m dead, do you mean to publish my sketches entitled “An attempt to draw the cathedral of Verona,” etc., etc., because that would be quite true; but remember, one does n’t “attempt” to interpret an inscription.4 One either does it right or wrong; it is either a translation or a mistake. Of course, there are mistakes in all interpretation, but the gist of them is either a thing done or undone — it is not an attempt, except in the process of it.
This Italy is such a lovely place to study liberty in! There are the vilest wretches of ape-faced children riding on my griffins all day long, or throwing stones at the carvings — that ever were left to find the broad way to Hades without so much as a blinker, let alone a bridle.
Can’t write any more to-day.
Ever your loving
J. R.

VERONA, 9th August, ’69.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — . . . Several things have concurred lately in furthering my preparation for the plan I told you of about the Valais. — To-day in coming from Venice I met an engineer who is negotiating a loan of four millions of francs for an aqueduct to Venice, and had various talks with a Venetian merchant about the lagunes just before. Of course, the thing to be done is to catch — and use — and guide — the rain — when first Heaven sends it. For 1200 years, the Venetians have been fighting vainly with the Brenta and its slime. Every wave of it is just so much gold — running idly into the sea, and dragging the ruin of kingdoms down with it. Catch it when it first falls, and the arid north side of the Alps would be one garden, up to 7000 feet above the plain, and the waters clear and lovely in what portion of them was allowed to go down to the plain for its cultivation. Not a drop should be allowed to find its way into the sea from Lombardy, except as much as would make the Po navigable as far at least as Pavia, or, better, Casale; and the minor rivers constant with clear water in one fifth of their present widths of bed. . . .
Omar is very deep and lovely. But the universe is not a shadow show, nor a game, but a battle of weary wounds and useless cries, and I am now in the temper that Omar would have been in, if somebody always stood by him to put mud into his wine, or break his amphora. You don’t quite yet understand the humor of thirsty souls, who have seen their last amphora broken—and “del suo vino farsi in terra lago.”5

The Valais plan, however, is only the beginning of a bigger one, for making people old-fashioned. The more I see of your new fashions the less I like them.— I, a second time (lest the first impression should have been too weak), was fated to come from Venice to Verona with an American family — Father and mother and two girls — presumably rich — girls, 15 and 18. I never before conceived the misery of wretches who had spent all their lives in trying to gratify themselves. It was a little warm — warmer than was entirely luxurious — but nothing in the least harmful. They moaned and fidgeted and frowned and puffed and stretched and fanned, and ate lemons, and smelt bottles, and covered their faces, and tore the cover off again, and had no one thought or feeling during five hours of travelling in the most noble part of all the world, except what four poor beasts would have had in their den in a menagerie, being dragged about on a hot day. Add to this misery every form of possible vulgarity, in methods of doing and saying the common things they said and did. I never yet saw humanity so degraded (allowing for external circumstances of every possible advantage). Given wealth, attainable education, and the inheritance of 18 centuries of Christianity, and 10 of noble Paganism; and this is your result—by means of “Liberty.”

I am oppressed with work that I can’t do, but must soon close now. Send me a line to Lugano. Love to you all.
Ever your affectionate
J. R.

DENMARK HILL, 7th August, 1870.
My DEAREST CHARLES, — Your letter and the photographs, which are delightful, arrived last night — it is better to send some little word of answer at once to your two questions about Turner. His, “I have been cruelly treated,” was reported to me by his friend Mr. Griffith (who was much with him before his death) as having been said one day almost without consciousness of speaking aloud, as he was looking sorrowfully at the pictures then exhibiting at Pallmall — from his gallery — everybody admiring them too late. The other saying came from an unquestionable quarter — Mr, Kingsley of Cambridge—Charles Kingsley’s cousin — was in Turner’s own gallery with him. They came to the “Crossing the Brook ” — a piece of paint out of the sky, as large as a 4d piece, was lying on the floor. Kingsley picked it up, and said, “Have you noticed this?” “No,”said Turner. “How can you look at the picture and see it so injured?” said Kingsley. “What does it matter?” answered Turner, “the only use of the thing is to recall the impression.” Of course it was false, but he was then thinking of himself only, having long given up the thought of being cared for by the public.

It was very curious your reading Ste. Beuve’s Virgil with me. You will have seen by the lectures already that I feel as strongly as he, and much more strongly. (I like Ste. Beuve much, and see why you spoke of his style as admirable; but he is altogether shallow, and therefore may easily keep his agitation at ripple-level. Please compare his translation of Homer’s Eolus at p. 204 with mine in Queen of Air, p. 22, and see how he has missed the mythic sense of the feasting, and put in “viandes savoreuses” out of his head, not understanding why Homer made the house misty.) But for Virgil, all you say of him is true — but through and under all that there is a depth and perfectness that no man has reached but he; — just as that Siena arabesque, though in a bad style, is insuperable — so Virgil, in (not a bad — but) a courtly and derivative style, has sterling qualities the most rare.
Thank you for writing what you had told me, but what I am only too glad to have written, of Cervantes. I will look at the two parts carefully.
Yes, I’ll write often now, little words to tell you what I am feeling, and trying to do. Loving memory to you all.
Ever your grateful,

9 August, 1870.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — I did not, in my last letter, enter at all on my real meaning in saying Don Quixote was mischievous, and I want you to know it.
I never discerned the difference you point out between the parts. But I read the whole as the First — not as the Last. It always affected me — throughout with tears, not laughter. It was always throughout, real chivalry to me; and it is precisely because the most touching valour and tenderness are rendered vain by madness, and because — thus vain they are made a subject of laughter to vulgar and shallow persons; and because all true chivalry is thus by implication accused of madness, and involved in shame — that I call the book so deadly.
Ever your loving,
J. R.

OXFORD, 23rd February, ’71.
... I am setting to my work here, recklessly, to do my best with it, feeling quite that it is talking at hazard, for what chance good may come. But I attend regularly in the schools as mere drawing master —and the men begin to come — one by one — about fifteen or twenty already— several worth having as pupils in any way — being of temper to make good growth of.
1 am living in a country inn, or, rather, country-town inn — the Crown and Thistle of Abingdon, and drive in, six miles, to Oxford every day but Sunday - two days every week being statedly in the schools — and contingently there or in the Bodleian on others. This seems to put an end, abruptly, to all Denmark Hill life.

[DENMARK HILL] 3rd April, ’71.
... I have had much disturbed work at Oxford, and coming home a few days ago for rest, my poor old Annie dies suddenly, and I’ve just buried her to-day, within (sight of!) her old master’s grave. It is very wonderful to me that those two, who loved me so much, should not be able to see me any more.6

At Oxford, having been Professor a year and a half, I thought it time to declare open hostilities with Kensington, and requested the Delegates to give me a room for a separate school on another system. They went with me altogether, and I am going to furnish my new room with coins, books, catalogued drawings and engravings, and your Greek vases;7 the mere fitting will cost me three or four hundred pounds. Then I’m going to found a Teachership under the Professorship, on condition of the teaching being on such and such principles, and this whole spring I must work hard to bring all my force well to bear, and show what I can do.
It is very sad that I cannot come to Venice, but everything is infinitely sad to me — this black east wind for three months most of all. Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil-working of nature herself — my disgust at her barbarity — clumsiness — darkness — bitter mockery of herself — is the most desolating. I am very sorry for my old nurse — but her death is ten times more horrible to me because the sky and blossoms are Dead also.

CONISTON, LANCASHIRE,<BR/> 14th September, 1871.
In haste — more to-morrow — I ’ve bought a small place here, with five acres of rock and moor, a streamlet, and I think on the whole the finest view I know in Cumberland or Lancashire with the sunset visible over the same.
The house — small — old — damp — and smoky chimneyed—somebody must help me get to rights.

MELROSE, 24th September, 1871.
... I shall in all probability be fairly settled in the house in November, for one of the reasons of my getting it is that I may fully command the winter sunsets, in clear sky — instead of losing the dead of day in the three o ’clock fog of London. Meantime, I am very thankful for that sense of rest, which you feel also; but it is greatly troubled and darkened and lowered by the horrible arrangement of there being women in the world as well as mountains and stars and lambs, and what else one might have been at peace with — but for those other creatures!
What a lovely Tintoret that one at Dresden must be! — I never saw it; and what a gigantic, healthy, Sea-Heaven of a life he had, compared to this sickly, muddy, half eau sucrée and half-poisoned wine which is my River of Life; and yet how vain His also, except to you and me. I am writing a word or two of his work — as true “wealth” opposed to French lithographs and the like, in the preface to second volume of my revised works, Munera Pulveris.

DENMARK HILL, 9th December, ’71.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — It is Saturday — and on Tuesday last my mother died, and yet I have not written to tell you, feeling continually the same dread that I should have of telling you anything sad concerning yourself.
I am more surprised by the sense of loneliness than I expected to be — but it can only be a sense, never a reality, of solitude, as long as I have such friends as you.
I have been very curious to ask you — since you will not admit Frederick to have been a hero, what your idea of heroism is ?
I believe I shall have to give a subject for an essay at St. Andrews this year — the oldest university of Scotland. I am going to give, “The definition of Heroism, and its function in Scotland at this day.”
Ever your loving
[Added in Mrs. Severn’s hand.] P. S. He has n’t told you that he has been made Lord Rector of St. Andrews.

[DENMARK HILL] 4th January, 1872.
I have been so singularly, even for me, depressed and weak since the beginning of the year, that I could not write to you. One of the distinctest sources of this depression is my certitude that I ought now to wear spectacles; but much also depends on the sense of loss of that infinitude of love my mother had for me, and the bitter pity for its extinction.
I much delight in this coin of Frederick, and very solemnly and with my whole heart prefer it to the Hercules. I should even prefer my own profile to the Greek Hercules, though mine has the awfullest marks of folly, irresolution and disease. But Frederick and I had both of us, about the worst education that men could get for money, and both had passed through rough times which partly conquered us — being neither of us, certainly not I, made of the best metal, even had we been well brought up. One of the quaintest things in your last letter was your fixing in your search for bad epithets for Frederick on “Unsociable.” And yet you love me.
But not to continue so insolent a comparison any longer, take the one instance of Frederick’s domestic and moral temper, that having been in danger of death under the will — almost sentence of a father partly insane, he yet never accuses, but in all things justifies, and evidently reverences that father, through life.

I have the registered letter, and will pack the “Slaver” forthwith.
It is right that it should be in America,8 and I am well pleased in every way, and always
Your lovingest,

Easter Sunday, ’72.
I left my Denmark Hill study to go back no more on Thursday, and have passed my Good Friday and Saturday here, quite alone, finding, strangely, one of my Father’s diaries for my solace, giving account of all our continental journies, from the time I was six years old, when he and my mother, and I, and a cat, whom I made a friend at Paris, and an old French man-chambermaid, were all very happy (yet not so much in degree as completeness) at Paris — my Father some twelve years younger than I am now.

LANCASTER, 27th December, '72.
MY DEAREST CHARLES, — I brought your Siena home from Oxford with me, and have been reading it all the way down, having carriage to myself.
It is curious that the first drawing I ever made of Italian art should have been from Duccio, and that I should have sent it to you the day before I read the account you give of him — twenty times more interesting than Cimabue.
I was greatly surprised by the early dates you assign, and prove, for the fall of Siena, and also by your ascribing it in the end, so completely, to the failure of religious faith.
Qu. and this is the only thing which during the whole day I wanted my pen to suggest — all the rest being unquestionable, ... — should we not rather say, the failure of the qualities which render religious faith possible, and which, if it be taught, make it acceptable ?
How far religion made — how far destroyed — the Italians is now a quite hopelessly difficult question with me. My work will only be to give material for its solution.
My cold is nearly gone. I will do Sher drawing and you yours, at Brantwood. I have been dining on turtle soup and steak, and have had more than half a pint of sherry, and feel comfortable — here in King’s Arms Inn, with picture of Dickens’s Empty Chair behind me, and his signature to it, cut out of a letter to the landlord. Volunteer band playing, melodiously and cheerfully. Mind you get acquainted with a conscientious Punch.
P. S. Pitch dark day. Qu. (not a critical one) After that time of homicide at Siena, Heaven sent the Black Plague. “ You will kill each other, will you ? You shall have it done cheaper.”
We have covered ourselves with smoke. “You want darkness?” says Heaven, “You shall have it cheaper.”

(To be continued.)

  1. Prœterita, vol. i, ch. vi.
  2. His cousin Miss Agnew, now Mrs. Arthur Severn.
  3. The exact words in the Stones of Venice (vol. i, ch. xi, ad fin.) are: “this pure and lovely monument, my most beloved throughout all the length and breadth of Italy; — chief, as I think, among all the sepulchral marbles of a land of mourning.” They are the close of a description of (these are Ruskin’s words) “ as far as I know or am able to judge the most perfect Gothic sepulchral monument in the world . . . the nameless tomb standing over the small cemetery gate of the Church of St. Anastasia at Verona.” No one will differ widely from Ruskin in his estimate of the beauty and impressiveness of this tomb, who has become familiar with the simplicity and dignity of its design, and the exquisite refinement of its decoration.
  4. Ruskin had left England in April. He had gone off hastily, in a condition of great depression and weariness, leaving many affairs at loose ends and in confusion. He had given me charge of some of these affairs ; among them, of revising the final proofs of The Queen of the Air, and this sentence must have reference to some ill-judged suggestion of mine, which I have quite forgotten, in regard to the title, which now stands in full as The Queen of the Air : being a study of the Greek Myths of Cloud and Storm.
  5. “ Delle mie vene farsi in terra lago.”Purgatorio, v. 84.
  6. Anne or Annie, as she was indifferently called, was an important and characteristic member of the Denmark Hill household, — one of the wheels on which it ran its steady course. In 1873 Ruskin wrote of her in Fors Clavigera, Letter xxviii, words which he repeated twelve years later in the first number of Prœterita, and which, because of my pleasant memories of her keen inspection and her kind old-fashioned attentions to me as her master’s friend when I was at Denmark Hill, I am glad to reprint here : “Among the people whom one must miss out of one’s life, dead, or worse than dead, by the time one is past fifty, I can only say for my own part, that the one I practically and truly miss most next to my father and mother . . . is this Anne, my father’s nurse and mine. . . . From her girlhood to her old age, the entire ability of her life was given to serving us. She had a natural gift and speciality for doing disagreeable things, not things disagreeable to others, but those which others found disagreeable to do for themselves. She was altogether occupied, from the age of fifteen to seventy-two, in doing other people’s wills instead of her own, and seeking other people’s good instead of her own.” Anne was no saint, but few saints have deserved as she did such a tribute.
  7. Vases which I had obtained in Italy for him.
  8. Turner’s superb and astonishing picture, now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.