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I have put up a stone for Bertha, which would have
come before, but I wanted to see the moss on it quite dry,
that I might be sure it would reach her in an available state.
Let her do any bit of it she thinks pretty, about this size — ^
the moss and stone background being of course of their real
size — as they would be seen through a hole cut in paper the
size of the proposed drawing, and put close to them.

She will thus get practice at once in delivery of arbores-
cent form and shadow of background — which must look
transparent and detach the moss from it by the mysterious
variety of its half seen detail, not by any mere trick of
painting. Only, she cannot detach this moss more than she
can see it detached in nature by closing one eye, or looking
through a small hole, — for nature displays small distances
stereoscopically more than by shade.

You made me very happy, not by disagreeing with me,
but by giving me knowledge. My belief is that our opinions
are — on all subjects with which we are equally acquainted,
far more at one than our feelings — closely as these often

Can you tell me, please, where a verse (of yours?) quoted
by me in " Sesame and Lilies " — " saddens us with heavenly
doubts," comes from ? I am divided between you and Blake
as author of it.

My true regards to Mrs. Patmore and Bertha — and from
us all here to yourself, your affect".,

J. Ruskin.

' A sketch is given in margin of letter.



Coniston, Lancaster,
3rd August, [1875 ?J
My Dear Patmore,

Most truly rejoiced shall I be to see you, whenever
you like to come — and for as long as you can spare me time.
You have only to take the N. W. line to Windermere,
(branching through Kendal from Oxenholme station on the
main line). I will have a carriage at the Windermere station
waiting for you, if you tell me the day.

I expect Bertha's copy to be much better than the
original. When she gets into the country, I wish she would
now try to paint some very fine creeping moss or stones
from nature ; I should probably engrave the drawing for my

With true regards to Mrs. Patmore and both your
daughters, Ever affectionately yrs.,

Coventry Patmore, Esq.


Weens, by Nowik,

Friday 21st,


Dear Patmore,

I return the lovely rose at once in case anything
should happen to it. It is utterly beautiful, and I doubt
not the miracle of finish will be so too. Vou can teach her
as well or better than I, that everything done in "pride" will
be ill done, that her excellence will be according to her
love of beauty, and dutiful, not insolent, industry.

No time for more, your loving,


After all, I keep the rose till Monday, can't part with it
so soon, and want to tell B. about the snowdrops.

Corpus Christi College,

[July, 1876?]

Dear Coventry,

Yes, I wish I could come. But I have duties here —
and many loving friends who want me elsewhere. And
talk is delightful, but deed needful, now-a-days.


You will see in next " Fors " something of Catholic
Faith wider than yours !

Bertha's drawing is quite beautiful. I cannot praise it
enough ; she must surely have learned a great deal in doing

I return it to-day with the copy, which she may keep if
she likes, and another phot^ on the back of which are in
pencil, directions for what she is to do. It is a Byzantine
altar at Rome of extreme beauty in San Nereo and Achille

Ever your affectionate,


Oh ! the Angels have come, and I'm so very glad to
have them.

Corpus Christi College,

1 2th Nov.

Dear Coventry,

Bertha's drawing came safely, with the books for
which my truest thanks. I can't have too many if you have
really more to spare. The drawing is beautiful, but it would
not be accepted at an exhibition, nor can I explain to Bertha
how it fails, till she has done simpler exercises, whereof I
must forthwith provide her. She needs chiefly perception
of relation of parts. I shall send her some ornaments in
black and white speedily. My love to her, and I am ever yours


Coniston, Lancashire.
Dear Patmore,

I am very grateful for your letter, and for the book.
More I cannot say — except — even of Bertha's exquisite
work — and of yours — in most cases, as finished verses.

"The Cat will mew, and the Dog will have his day"
And therefore — Bertha must bear from me, and for herself,
this Cat and Dog message.

1. Never reduce Angelico angels to blow trumpets in a
letter B.

2. Make your work pleasing to the simple — girl's work


should never express anything but what will be as generally
intelligible as a daisy.

3. Are there no leaves on the earth but ivy-leaves — and
no Catholic missals but the Countess Yolande ? '

Ever your affectionate


Leaf returned registered " to-day " - loth June, 1881.


The remaining letters are of general interest, or
refer to family events. Among the latter are Ruskin's
acceptance of sponsorship for Henry John, Patmore's
youngest son (the second name was, no doubt, given
on account of this association), the illness of Patmore's
first v^ife, the obtaining of a nomination for the Blue-
Coat school for Tennyson, Patmore's second son, and
his tribute to Emily Honoria Patmore's appearance
when they met in 1868 (quoted vol. i., p. 269). The
last two letters refer to the death of Patmore's second
wife, for whom Ruskin evidently had a warm regard.

Dear Patmore,

My head is good for nothing just now : and I don't
know when Pve felt more inclined to knock it off. But I
assure you I forget my own business as well as other

Can you come out to-morrow, Sunday — Either to dinner
at half-past four or in the evening.

I should not have forgotten this matter had I ever
found I zans useful to my friends. But I have so many
enemies that it is enough to ruin any man that I should take
the slightest interest in him. I assure you this is true — but
I'll convince you of it when I see you

Always affectionately yours
J. Ruskin.

Sincere regards to Mrs. Patmore.

Missal of Yolande of Navarre.
Ruskin's Motto on his seal.


Geneva, nth June, i860.
My Dear Patmore,

It will give me pleasure to accept the duty with
which you and Mrs. Patmore wish to entrust me. I am
vexed at not having been able to see more of you this winter
but it was all I could do to get my own business done ; your
report of Mrs. Patmore's health troubles me also. It would
trouble me yet more but that I know Mr. Simon will either
give, — or put you in the way of getting, the best possible
advice that can be had in London.

What are you doing yourself — or what interested in ? A
line to Denmark Hill will always be forwarded to me.
With sincere regards to Mrs. Patmore

Ever faithfully yours


To Emily Augusta Patmore,

[1861 or 1862.]

Dear Mrs. Patmore,

I've no doubt I shall have the presentation this
Spring — though I cannot say what month — you probably
know the school regulations better than I. (To my shame.)
I hope the boy will be what you wish him and that Coventry
will be able some time this twenty years, to write a poem on
Fatherhood as he has on Loverhood. But take care of the
boy's health — It is a rough school — It would be of little use
that he should be a Grecian if it cost his health.

Most truly yours,


To Marianne Caroline Patmore.

Denmark Hill, S.

9th January, 1868.

Dear Mrs. Patmore,

I have been truly desirous of waiting upon you this
week, to thank you for the happiness I had, and which I
think you must have seen I had, in the hours of Friday
evening. But the weather has at last beaten me down with
an oppressive cold, and I cannot leave the house.


Pray — however little I may be able to avail myself of
the great privilege which I feel it to be — to know your
husband and you — do not — ever — doubt my respect and

I cannot break through the too long fixed habits of my
secluded life — and may perhaps only get glimpses of you
and your children from time to time, but be assured always
of my faithful rejoicing in your happiness.

I send a little book of Richter's, a favourite of mine — if
my little Godson has it not — I should like him to have it
from me — (nor will you be without pleasure in it.) — But if he
has it — give it to any of your child-friends who would care
for it.

With great love to your husband

Ever faithfully yours


I did so like my left-hand companion — that evening,
too — and looking over at the quiet, intelligent sweetness of
your daughter's face.

To Bertha Patmore.


Coniston, Lancashire,

1 6th April, 1880.

My Dear Bertha,

It was very dear and kind of you to write to me,
and to think of me as of one whose pity you would care to
have. Many and many a time — and much especially of late,
I have been thinking of you, though it is only with extreme
difficulty that I get anything I would say written in any
way worth sending. Please write soon to me again, saying
how your father is ; and something also of yourself, and
whether this sorrow will cause any change in place or way
of life to you.

My dear love to your father.

Ever your faithful and affectionate friend,




Coniston, Lancashire,

20th April, '80.
Dear Patmore,

It was good of you to write to me, but your letter
still leaves me very anxious about you.

I do not at all understand the feelings of religious people
about death. All my own sorrow is absolutely infidel, and
part of the general failure and meanness of my heart. —
Were I a Catholic, I do not think I should ever feel sorrow
in any deep sense — but only a constant brightening of days
as I drew nearer companionship — perhaps not with those I
had cared for in this world — and certainly with others be-
sides them. My own longing, and what trust I have, is only
for my own people. But I have been putting chords of
music lately, such as I can, to Herrick's " Comfort." ^

In endless bliss
She thinks not on
What's said or done
In earth.

Nor doth she mind
Or think on't now
That ever thou
Wast kind.

— fearing only that it is too true.

Ever your affectionate,


^ The full title of the poem quoted is " Comfort to a youth that
had lost his Love." The last word in the first line should be



THE date of the following letter can be fixed
by the life of Lord Tennyson, which records
a journey to Scotland in 1848. The letter
proves that Patmore had written about architecture
earlier than 185 1, though I am unable to identify
any articles previous to that recorded, vol. i., p. 109.
In vol. i., p. 198, I have printed a memorandum of
Patmore's which alludes to the same subjects, and
states that Tennyson had been converted by Emer-
son to a favourable opinion of Patmore's views.
The intercourse which led to this result must have
occurred in 1847 or 1848.

What the "Museum business" was can only be
conjectured, but was probably this : Patmore entered
as a supernumerary, and desired to be placed on the
permanent staff, a change which would have secured
him certain advantagfes. I am indebted for this in-
formation to Dr. Garnett.

My Dear Coventry,

I got your letter, by'r Lady, some weeks ago, and
have been ever since in a state of self-reproach for not
answering you, every day intending to do it, but my purpose
always being nipt in the bud by the fat finger of sloth, or
washed out by the sight of great lochs or crushed b\'
Ben Cruachan and Ben Lawers and other Bens which emboss
the land of cakes. However, I now thank you very much
for your able inaugurative essay on architecture, and live
in the expectation of its successors. I hope that eventually


you will be able to publish them all together. I have
only just arrived here, and take the first quiet moment
to express my contrition for my silence, and trust I may be
forgiven. I trust that Mrs. Patmore is well and flourishing,
and also young Procter-Milnes. With respect to the
Museum business, I will certainly introduce you to Hallam
whenever I come up to town, which I shall do, as far as I
can guess, some time in November ; will that be too late ?
or would you like me to send you a letter of introduction to
him ? If so, direct to me here at once, for I am off again in
a day or two into Lincolnshire. I met Milnes in Scotland,
and wanted him to interest himself in your case, but he
said it was not in his power to do anything for you ; Hallam
would be the better man to appeal to. Ever yours (in vast
haste, having at least a dozen letters to answer),

A. Tennyson.

Oct. 2, [1848]

The two following letters refer to Patmore's visit
to Tennyson, shortly after Tennyson's marriage
(see vol. i., pp. 195- 197). Tennyson Patmore was
born on August 9, 1850.

[Tent Lodge, Coniston, July, 1850].

My Dear Coventry,

We shall certainly be here some weeks longer, and
very glad to see you if you come : it will be as well however
for you to give me some little notice before you come, as if
you don't I may not be at home, but on Crummock Lake,
or Buttermere, or Heaven knows where. We have but
rough accommodation here at present, but by the time you
come I hope we shall be better off: I have no books here,
which is a bore. Love to Mrs. P.

Ever yours
A. Tennyson.

We rather expect would you wish not to meet him?

if so you must say.

My wife will take great care of you if you are unwell. I
am very sorry to hear that you are. Come as soon after the
birth as you can. I wish you had been content with one.


Tent Lodge,
Coniston Water,


My Dear Coventry,

You had much better, if you can, come on the 12th ;
four or five weeks hence we might not be here. I believe
there is a pubHc conveyance to Coniston from Windermere,
but you will not be in time for it. Windermere is 12 miles
from us : Ambleside is 8 : you will find a coach from W. to
Ambleside which will take you for a shilling, after that I
fear you will have to come by car ; for to walk after that
long journey would be too fatiguing, particularly as you are
not well. I am sorry that we have no carriage to send for
you. Whether you walk or drive, make for Tent Lodge ;
here is a map.^

Take the road leading to Tent Lodge where it forks at
the top of the hill — it turns to the left as you see.

A car from Ambleside will cost you 10 shillings, including
driver ; but if you stopt all night at Windermere and took
the conveyance, I believe that altogether would come to as
much or more ; the hotels here are not cheap.

Will you get me a Tait ? ^ My wife wants to see the
Review there of L M. She sends Mrs. Patmore her kind
regards, and good wishes.

Ever yours,
A. Tennyson.

Your note is dated six. The London postmark is the
seventh. I would have answered by return of post, but it
was not well possible, as you will understand when you

The date of the following letter can be fixed with
certainty, as it evidently refers to a time when the
birth of one of Tennyson's sons was almost co-
incident with the birthday of Patmore's second son,
the god-son of thej Tennysons (see vol., i. p. 137).
Tennyson Patmore was born August 9, 1S50 and

^ A rough map of the locality is given in the letter.
^ There wtjs a review in Tail's Magazine of " In Memoriam,"
by Franklin Lushington.


Hallam, the present Lord Tennyson, on August ii,

[Aug. 12, 1852.]
My Dear Mrs. Patmore,

I know that your kind, womanly heart, will rejoice
in hearing that it is all safely over. She had a very easy
confinement, and was delivered of what the nurse calls " a
fine boy," yesterday. We are keeping her very quiet accord-
ing to advice, but, as soon as she can see anybody, she would
be glad to see you. She was so anxious that the little god-
son should have the cup on his birthday (for it was her
thought, not mine), that there was no time to write and
enquire the exact initials and get them engraved.
Ever yours, in great haste,

A. Tennyson.

The next letter refers to the birth of Lionel
Tennyson (March 16, 1854) and is of interest as
showing that none of the war passages in " Maud,"
had been written at this time.

Farringford, Freshwater,

I. of W.

[April, 1854].

My Dear Patmore,

Many thanks for your congratulations, if the births
of babes to poor men are matters of congratulation. When
you call me such a happy man you err : I have had vexations
enough since I came here to break my back. These I will
not transfer to paper, tho' I can yet scarcely repeat with
satisfaction the proverb of let bygones be bygones ; for most
of these troubles have not gone by. My wife, though now
a full month from her confinement, is still so weak as not
to be able to walk ; or she would have answered a letter
from Mrs. Patmore which came round to us from Bonchurch,
on the other side of the Island, where a friend of ours saw
it lying in the Post Office. So you have made acquaintance
with Aubrey de Vere, whom I have not seen since he went
over to Rome. I wish, as he likes this place so much, he
would pay me a visit here. We have hardly seen a human
face since we came here, except the members of our house-
hold. Happy, I certainly have not been. I entirely dis-


agree with the saying you quote of happy men not writing
poetry. Vexations (particularly long vexations of a petty
kind) are much more destructive of the " gay science," as the
Troubadours (I believe) called it. I am glad to hear you
have been busy. The Baltic fleet I never saw ! not a vessel :
not a line have I written about it or the war. Some better
things I have done, I think successfully. End of my paper.
Good-bye. Love to Mrs. P.

A. Tennyson.

The following letter from Mrs., afterwards Lady,
Tennyson to Emily Augusta Patmore refers to the
continental tour which is thus recorded in the Life
of Lord Tennyson :

"On July 15 [1851] they left Boulogne on their
way to Italy. ' The Daisy' gives the journey better
than any prose of mine can give it." The poem,
which Tennyson considered to be "a far-off echo of
the Horatian Alcaic," should be read in connection
with this letter. The following stanza may be noted
as commemorating the " continual rain all the way."

" But when we crossed the Lombard plain
Remember what a plague of rain ;

Of rain at Reggio, rain at Parma ;
At Lodi rain, Piacenza rain."

Lady Tennyson's opinion of the comparative
merits of the interior and exterior of Milan Cathedral
is opposed to Shelley's, who in a letter to Thomas
Love Peacock (Ap. 20, 1818) extols the exterior, but
considers the interior "sepulchral." Tennyson, in
" The Daisy," praises both equally :

" The chanting quires,
The giant windows' blazoned fires,

The height, the space, the gloom, the glory,
A mount of marble, a hundred spires ! "

My own opinion is in accord with Lady Tenny-

Shelley mentions the chestnuts near the Bagni



di Lucca in two letters, both addressed to Thomas
Love Peacock. In the first (July 25, 1818) he
writes : " The great chestnut trees, whose long and
pointed leaves pierce the deep blue sky in strong
relief." In the second (Aug. 16, 1818) he writes:
"The chestnut woods are now inexpressibly beautiful,
for the chestnuts have become large, and add a new
richness to the full foliage."

Nov. 3rd., [185 1].
Chapel House.
My Dear Mrs. Patmore,

We arrived home last Wednesday evening, after
having seen and enjoyed much. Do not think I forgot my
promise of writing to you, or that I never meant to fulfil it,
for I did on the contrary fully mean to fulfil it, if we had re-
mained for the winter in Italy : as it was, we were stationary
for so short a time, except at the Bagni di Lucca and at
Florence, that there was little chance of writing. At the
Bagni I felt I had little to tell, and at Florence there was so
much to be seen, there was small opportunity of writing about
it; and now I suppose I shall say we had better tell you by
word of mouth all we have seen and done than write about
it. But I will not be quite so lazy. I will just tell you our
route, and leave the particulars to be told when we meet.
We went by the Rhone and the Riviera, taking the usual road,
except that we did not go so far as Marseilles, but crossed
from Aix to Fr^jus, and a pleasant drive it was a great part
of the way. I looked for the first time on the stone pines,
and smelt their delicious odour, and we gathered our first
wild myrtle in the course of it. The olives were more
beautiful than I expected : they, with their soft gray and
with their violet shades, had an inexpressible charm, growing
down close into the blue sea. The palm trees too sometimes
added a little to the scene when in favourable situations,
standing for instance against the sky on a projecting rock,
or overtopping the olives and lemons. At the Bagni we
were tempted to stay, by finding friends there : the views from
the heights are certainly delightful, but then the heat forbad
these being climbed except in the evenings, and these were
scarcely long enough for such excursions. All day we looked
out on a high hill clothed from top to bottom with chestnuts :


every side we looked, if we stretched our heads out of the
windows, there were similar green hills all clothed with
chestnuts, so that I fear my husband's time was rather lost
here. Thence we went to Pisa : its famous buildings charmed
us most under the bright moon : thence to Florence, an en-
chanting city. Thence to Bologna and the Lombard cities :
continual rain all our way : still we continued to visit and
admire the old Lombard cities, the Churches especially. I
have got to think no Church inside perfect without a dome :
no Church indeed I think quite perfect without its five aisles
and arches reaching near the roof, and no triforium nor
clerestory, but all the three tiers of windows seen one above
another, and the windows of the dome above these : such is
Milan Cathedral. Perfect it seems to me in the conception
of its internal parts, imperfect in those of the outside : very
likely Mr. Ruskin would tell me I am egregiously wrong but
I should only say I care not : to me this is the most glorious
of all temples inside. From Milan we went to the Lake of
Como : very beautiful : then to Chiavenna on our way over
the Splugen ; also very beautiful, with an imperial kind of
beauty. We came home by Zurich and the Rhine ; went
out of our way to Heidelberg and afterwards to Antwerp ;
but I will say no more except that my husband looks thin
and is not, I fear, the better for his journey, though not so
much the worse that he does not talk of Rome and Naples
next year. Had I been a good sea-traveller, we should, I
think, have done this ; but the sea was stormy, and he would
not hear of my braving it, and people told us it was as much
as our lives were worth to go by land to Rome and Naples
before Nov. and he wished to be home for the winter. So
we are come back, I am sorry to say to rather a melancholy
house. I hope you are all well. Have Mr. Patmore and his
brother been out anywhere this year? Does our little god-
son get on well ? and Mr. Woolner, how is he and what is he
doing? I will not add to my list of questions, but trust to
your kindness to tell me all that is likely to interest us, or to
beg Mr. Patmore to do so if you should be otherwise engaged.
Alfred does not know I am writing, or he would as you know
send affectionate messages to you both.

Yours most sincerely,
Emily Tennyson.

Woolner's bust of Tennyson, now in the library


of Trinity College, Cambridge, was executed in
1857. This approximately dates the following letter.

March 19th, [1857?].
My Dear Mrs. Patmore,

I have been waiting to answer Mr. Patmore's kind
letter in the hope that I should be able to tell you we had a
comfortable room to offer you if you might venture upon our
rough climate, but it seems there is no chance of it, as our
Mother and Matilda ^ are likely to come soon, and for how
long a time I cannot tell, certainly until after Horatio's
marriage, which is at present fixed for Easter week. Have
I told you he is about to be married to Miss Charlotte

Online LibraryBasil ChampneysMemoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) → online text (page 23 of 36)