4 L;uly Mount-Temple gave them to Mrs. Severn.
8 At Broadlands lluskin met Lady Mount-Temple's nephew and niece, Mr. and
Mrs. Ralph Leycester, of Toft Hall, Cheshire, who ever after were among the
most valued friends of lluskin and Urantwood. See Vol. XXVII, p. 302 n.
the acquaintance ripened between them all into a very warm friendship
celebrated by Ruskin, as usual, with familiar names. John Simon
became, from the identity of Christian name, his " dear brother John,"
and Mrs. Simon his "dear P. R. S." (Pre-Raphaelite Sister and Sibyl),
or more shortly " S. " " She, with her husband,' 1 says Ruskin in Proc-
terita, " love Savoy even more than I " ; and " She, in my mother's old
age, was her most deeply trusted friend." 1 The friendly terms on
which Mr. Simon stood with Ruskin's father have been incidentally
shown in an earlier volume. 2 John Simon, M.D., President of the
Royal College of Surgeons, and F.R.S. (created K.C.B. in 1887), of
Anglo-French descent, was, as is well known, one of the chief masters
of sanitary science in this country, and in the year before the Ruskins
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met him had been appointed to the newly created post of Medical
Officer to the Privy Council. It is to his Reports made in this
capacity that Ruskin more than once refers in his books. 3 In 1878
Dr. Simon was in Venice, and made the acquaintance of Rawdon Brown.
" Never in my life,"' wrote Brown to Ruskin (September 13), " did I
sympathise with any one more instantaneously so good, so sensible,
so modest, and so wise; his love for you is not to be described." He
had in 1848 married Miss Jane O'Meara. " Her warm Irish nature
was concealed from strangers," says Lady Burne-Jones, who with her
husband owed friendship with Sir John and Lady Simon to Ruskin's
introduction, "by a singularly impassive manner; but, that once pene-
trated, her fine qualities revealed themselves : amongst them were con-
stancy in friendship and a rare courage and magnanimity in times
of trial." 4 Sir John and Lady Simon were friends in whose society
Ruskin took much pleasure, and to whom he often turned in times of
distress. If he suffered a good deal from ill-health, it was not for
want of the best medical advice, since two of his dearest friends were
Dr. Acland and Dr. Simon ; but Ruskin was always of the persuasion
that the thing to do with advice (as with physic) is not to take it.
A few letters may be given from Sir John and Lady Simon, to
illustrate the sage advice he received from the one, the affectionate
sympathy from the other :
(July 7, 1884.) "DEAR BROTHER JOHN, My ejaculation against 'pole-
mics ' was surely not meant to glance at any such task, deliberately
undertaken where the occasion really demands it, but rather against what
1 Vol. XXXV. p. 433. - See Vol. XVII. pp. xxvii., li.
s See Sesame and Lilies, Vol. XVIII. p. 105, and Time and Tide, 162 (Vol. XVII.
p. 450). For Kuskin's many other references to his friend and his work, see the
4 Memorials of Edward Bume-Jones, vol. i. p. 257.
I may call ' parenthetical polemics ' ; as to which I have sometimes wished
that you had continued in peaceful procession through the meadow, not-
withstanding some shred of scarlet in the hedge. I do not deny the
validity, to some extent, of argument against that wish. It is of course
not to be desired that, for merely artistic reasons, you should use tem-
porary blinkers against side-reds, where there is need to horn them without
any delay. But I have a strong sense of there being terrible likelihood of
injustice when attacks are made by way of parenthesis. The animal which
is proverbially distractable by the red rag is also proverbial for charging
with shut eyes."
(May 12, 1884.) "The older I get and the sadder, and I get very sad,
the more I cling to the comforting of Nature. . . . Oh, Mr. John, how can
you, and others like you, be thankful enough for the world of beauty in
which your lives are habitually past. ... I am never tired of thinking how
easily all might have been ugly or dull, and how all is lovely and bright,
or awfully sublime, in Nature. All its degradation is man's doing and the
pace at which that degrading process is now being carried on, is one source
the chief one of my sadness ; and I find no one, but you, who seems to
have at all the same feeling."
" (40 KENSINGTON SQ., W., Mar. 5th, '94.) How very, very good of you,
dearest Mr. John, to write us such a kind letter ! We are very deeply
grateful, and your faithful ' Brother John ' was quite overcome at the
sight of the dear familiar writing. I am sure you know that you are a
constant presence in our lives, and John often longs to see you. Arthur
and Joan make magnificent offers of personal escort, so perhaps a good
time may come. I am better, and I hope I may soon be again in my
usual moderate health. We send our dear love to you, and are, as ever,
your loving JOHN AND JANE SIMON."
"DEAREST BROTHER JOHN, Though Jane has, as always, identified me
with her few words to you, yet let me, in my own aged handwriting, add
a word to say for myself how very, very glad I am to see again afresh
your signs of life, and to know that you are fairly strong for the calms
though not for the frictions of time. My life is drawing to its close ;
for, as you know, I am not only 2J- years by calendar ahead of you, but
am, of late, sadly aged and failing in strength ; but you will know that,
while I live, my best wishes are ever with you, and that my affection will
go on to the end. God bless you ; I wish I could better write our love
for you, and our gladness at the care which Joan and Arthur take of
you, and of the joy, too, which comes from the children. Ever lovingly
yours, J. S."
Raskin's letters to Sir John and Lady Simon (as also to Lady Mount-
Temple) continued to the end of his writing days ; later letters to
them are not included in the Collection only because of the number
of those to other correspondents which had to be included. Both
Sir John and Lady Simon survived him. Sir John died in July 1904,
in his 88th year ; and Lady Simon rather less than two years before
Another old friend included in the list of " the old and tried ones "
in Fors Clavigera was the Rev. William Kingsley, rector of South
Kilvington, and probably now (1908) the oldest rector in England,
for he is ninety-four. There are many references to him in Ruskin's
books, and one or two letters are included in this Collection. 1
A new friendship which filled a large part in Ruskin's later life
was that of Miss Kate Greenaway. It sprung from his admiration
of her "fancy, unrivalled in its range," which was "re-establishing
throughout gentle Europe the manners and customs of fairyland." 2
There was something of fairyland with its idealising grace and its
pretty play in their friendship. In person, indeed, Miss Greenaway
was the least " Kate Greenawayish " of mortals, and she was already
thirty-seven when Ruskin first saw her. But in character "mixed
child and woman," as he said of her she appealed strongly to him,
and a friendship, founded on mutual admiration, ripened rapidly.
Ruskin had been captivated by the original drawings for Under
the Window, which were exhibited at the Fine Art Society. He
expressed his admiration to Miss Greenaway's friend, Stacy Marks,
who encouraged him to write to her. This he did at the beginning
of 1880 in a letter of charming fantasy, behind which some shrewd
advice may already be discerned. 3 In her reply she disclosed the
admiration which she had long cherished for Ruskin's work. She had
written to another friend of " the holiness " she found in Ruskin's
" words and ideas." 4 The book she mentioned to Ruskin himself was
his favourite Fors Clavigera ; and of this she once wrote to another
friend : " Never shall I forget what I felt in reading Fors for the first
time, and it was the first book of his I had ever read. I longed for
each evening to come that I might lose myself in that new wonderful
world." 5 So, then, the stranger whom Ruskin thought he was address-
ing turned out to be a devoted disciple. The teacher was quick
to seize his opportunity. He began at once to amplify the hints
1 Some slight reminiscences of Euskin are contained in an interview with
Mr. Kingsley which appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post, March 15, 1906.
2 Art of England, 112 (Vol. XXXIII. p. 342).
3 Vol. XXXVII. p. 307. The preceding reference is to p. 508.
4 See the letter from Mr. Locker-Lampson in Kate Greenaway, p. 93,
5 Letter to Miss Violet Dickinson, ibid., p. 223.
contained in the first letter, and to pour in letters of advice upon
methods of study and directions by which she might improve her
technique. She responded eagerly, submitted drawings for his inspection,
and presently asked him to come to her studio. On December 29,
1882, her diary contained the entry, "Mr. Ruskin came. First time
I ever saw him." He and Mrs. Severn alike were delighted with her,
and in the following May she went to stay with them at Brantwood.
There, as her biographers say, she was "plunged into an atmosphere
of thought, art, and literature, which was to her alike new and ex-
hilarating.'" Letters to old friends record her rapture :
"After breakfast I am allowed (which is a great favour) to go into
the study and see all sorts of beautiful things, with little talks and remarks
from Mr. Ruskin as he writes ; then we go drives, walks, or on the lake
till tea-time. Then it is dinner-time ; then he reads us something nice,
or talks in the most beautiful manner. Words can hardly say the sort of
man he is perfect simply."
" Everything is confused, I never know day or date. I'm always look-
ing at books or pictures. I am absorbed into a new world altogether." 1
Miss Greenaway became at once a dear friend of Mrs. Severn and
her daughters, and the visit to Brantwood was often repeated. Ruskin,
for his part, was never so pleased as in attaching a new pupil, and
the pleasure was not diminished if the pupil was an affectionate
woman. In Miss Greenaway he found at once a devoted admirer and
a disciple of the rarest gifts and richest promise. The correspond-
ence shows how rapidly the friendship ripened into affection. " Dear
Miss Greenaway " became " Dearest," " Darling," or " Sweetest Kate,"
and he was her " loving Dinie " a signature which he explained as
short for "Demonie," meaning that he was to be her artistic conscience.
Such endearments are not infrequent in Ruskin's letters to other corre-
spondents ; and he was fond of teasing and playing. It was a standing
jest, for instance, to assume that "Kate" 1 was consumed with jealousy
of "Francesca"; just as Mr. Locker-Lam pson 2 affected jealousy of other
friends of Miss Greenaway. Ruskin works the same vein when he talks
of wreaking his jealousy on M. Chesneau, who had become possessed of
Kate's photograph ; and when she tells him of a present from one of
the Princesses, he wishes he were a Prince and could send her pearls and
1 Kate Ureenairmj, pp. 112-113.
2 See his letters of 1884 and 18S5: "I daresay that Jluskin is sunning his
unworthy self in your smiles." "You must let me be one of your first visitors to
the new house. What will you call it ? The Villa Ruskin, or Dobson Lodge, or
what?" (Kate Greenairay, p. !>1).
rubies. 1 There was a genuine affection underneath Buskin's words, but
they should not be taken too seriously. Let us " know what we're about,"
he wrote once, "and not think truths teasing, but enjoy each other's
sympathy and admiration and think always how nice we are!" 2
The volume of correspondence between Ruskin and Kate Green -
away is very great. Many hundreds of his notes to her have passed
through the editors' hands; and of hers to him more than 1000 are
in existence. He himself kept none of her letters up to 1887; it
is only those which came to Brantwood in later years that were
preserved. Ruskin's letters were one of Miss Greenaway's greatest
pleasures. In order that they might come the more regularly, she
used to furnish him with envelopes already addressed ; 3 and her dis-
appointment was great when they did not arrive. Even we, who are
now admitted into the circle, can understand something of Miss
Greenaway's pleasure ; for the letters to her are fragrant with much
of Ruskin's charm. Also they are intimate, and reveal all his passing
moods. He scolds and praises; he passes from grave to gay, like an
April sky ; fun and sadness are mingled by turns. But what strikes
me most in the letters is their good sense. Behind much good-humoured
chaff, and in many a serious lecture, the advice which he gives is
eminently sound and judicious. No one was more appreciative than
Ruskin of the genius of Miss Greenaway ; and his Oxford lecture upon
her work, 4 in which he praised it with insight and felicity, did much
to confirm her vogue. But he was conscious from the first of her
faults and limitations. Perhaps Mr. Locker-Lampson was right, indeed,
when, on hearing that Ruskin was urging her to higher flights, he
wrote laconically "Beware." 5 But Ruskin was assuredly right in beg-
ging her to give to the play of her fancy a firmer foundation in study
of nature, and to keep her style fiom degenerating into mannerism.
He asked, with gentle irony, for " flowers that won't look as if their
leaves had been in curl-papers all night"; for children for once with-
out mittens; for "shoes that weren't quite so like mussel-shells";
for a " sun not like a drop of sealing-wax " ; for girls that should be
drawn with limbs, as well as frocks. 6 He sent her written lessons
1 See Vol. XXXVII. (31, 15, 5).
3 Vol. XXXVII. p. (520). Lady Dorothy Nevill says : " I have good reason to
believe that at one time the great art critic would not have been at all adverse
to many her, had she felt disposed to think favourably of such an alliance " (The
Reminiscences of Lady Dorothy Nerill, edited by her son, 1906, p. 247). There was,
however, no " good reason " for such a belief. It is a piece of gossip which alto-
gether misjudged the situation.
3 Kate Greenaway, p. 143. 4 Vol. XXXIII. 5 Kate Greenaway, p. 89.
8 Vol. XXXVII". pp. 453, 454, 427, 490, 555.
in perspective ; l he told her what pictures to copy at the National
Gallery ; he ordered her to the seaside to study ankles. " Practise,"
he said, "from things as they are," "and you will find strength and
ease and new fancy and new right coming all together." 2 Of the
studies from nature which he set her to do at Brantwood, we have
heard already; and when she left, he sent her on one occasion some
sods of grass and flowers to paint from. 3
He amused himself with many schemes for their co-operation. He
proposed to use some of her designs for stained glass for "halls in fairy-
land. 1 '' She seems to have asked, where and when ? " In fairyland," and
"the moment Fin sure of my workman," he replied. But other "lovely
plans " came next ; among them, " a book on botany for you and me
to do together you to do the plates and I the text a handbook of
field botany. It will be such a rest for you and such a help for
everybody ! chiefly me." 4 Another plan was to paint with her " some
things at Brantwood like Luca and the Old Masters and cut out those
dab and dash people. I felt when I came out of the Academy as if
my coat must be all splashes." 5 At a later date the idea was to set up
a girls 1 drawing-school in London, with Kate as chief of the " Dons,
or Donnas." Miss Greenaway was delighted at any prospect of artistic
co-operation with Ruskin, and perhaps sometimes took his proposals a
little too seriously. She designed a cover for " The Peace of Polissena,"
one of the chapters in Miss Alexander's Christ's Folk in the Apennine,
which, however, was not used ; but this may have been due only to
Ruskin's illness at the time. She offered to illustrate Prceterita for him,
and he delicately declined the suggestion; the book, he said, might
not be "graceful" or " Katish " enough for her pencil. 6 The actual
instances of co-operation are slight. She drew some cats to illustrate
his rhymes supplementary to Daiiie Wiggins of Lee, 7 and he included
in Fors Clavigera a few of her drawings. Another scheme which he
had much at heart, and which he mentioned in the Oxford lecture, was
to substitute hand-colouring for the colour-blocks by which her designs
were reproduced. "We must get her," he had said, "to organise a
school of colourists by hand, who can absolutely facsimile her own
1 One of these is included in the present collection of letters : Vol. XXXVII.
1 Vol. XXXVII. pp. 485, 483, 506.
3 See Vol. XXX. p. 239, Vol. XXXVII. pp. 488, 489.
* Kate firePTHiifdy, p. 136 (No. 47 in the conspectus in Vol. XXXVII. p. 657).
For the preceding references, see Vol. XXXVII. pp. 455, 459.
5 Kate Greenau-mi, pp. 136-137 (No. 49). For the next reference, see Vol.
XXXVII. p. 572.
Vol. XXXV. pp. lii.-liii. 7 Vol. I.
first drawing.' 1 He trained a young student to do some work in this
kind, but the examples were not issued to the public.
Of Miss Greenaway's letters to Ruskin many are printed in her
Life. One of these is reprinted in this edition, 2 as explaining a
passage in the text. The letters were often accompanied by little
sketches, of which, again, several examples are given in her Life.
Often, too, she sent him drawings; and though he bought several,
he had to devise some reciprocity in giving. So he took to sending
her bundles of his own sketches, nominally for her criticism, but making
it a condition that she or her brother should keep for themselves one
out of every ten. He continued to write to her even in his days of
failing health. "The only person I am sorry to disappoint," he said in
one of his illnesses, "is poor Miss Greenaway," 3 and letters to her
are among the last he ever wrote. Sometimes he was unable to send
any written response, but he took a keen pleasure in hearing what
she had to say or in looking at the little pictures she enclosed.
" Your lovely letter," wrote Mrs. Severn, " with the sweet little people
looking from the ridge of the hill at the rising sun, so delighted
Di Pa. 4 He looked at it long and lovingly, and kept repeating,
' Beautiful ! beautiful ! and beautiful ! ' " 5 And so, when the clouds
gathered round him, Miss Greenaway continued to write to him almost
daily, to the end ; seeking to interest him, as she hoped, in any books,
or sights, or doings which pleased her, and making no mention of
the bodily weakness which was gradually coming upon her. The anni-
versary of his birthday, in the year following his death, was a sad
day for her. " How I always wish," she wrote to Mrs. Severn, " I
had done so much, much more. And I should have, if life had not
been so difficult to me of late years." 6 Nine months later she passed
Another very dear friend of Ruskin's later years was Miss Francesca
Alexander, one or two letters to whom are included in the present
Collection. She is the " Sorel " or " Sorella," and her mother the
"Mammina," mentioned sometimes in his books. We have heard already
of the impression which mother and daughter made upon him, when
he was introducad to them at Florence in 1882. 7 Admiration for their
" vivid goodness " and for the artistic gifts of Miss Alexander grew, as
he came to know them better, into warm affection, and their letters were
one of the principal delights and solaces of his closing years. An old
z Art of England, 116, 117 (Vol. XXXIII. p. 345); Vol. XXXVII. p. 470.
a Vol. XXXVII. p. 575. 3 Kate Greenaway, p. 154.
4 Ruskin's pet name at Bvantwood : see above, p. Ixv. n.
a Kate Greenaway, p. 166. 6 Ibid., p. 251. 7 Vol. XXXII. p. xxii.
friend, with whom Ruskin resumed affectionate correspondence in the
evening of his life, was Hosiers mother, Mrs. La Touche. Her love and
knowledge of birds, beasts, and flowers, added to the memories of happy
days in the past, made him greatly value her visits and correspondence,
and several letters to her interesting, among other things, for their
flower-fancies 1 will be found towards the end of the Collection.
A new friend, who meets us in the letters of 1882, was Mr. R. C.
Leslie, elder brother of Mr. G. D. Leslie, R.A. Some of Mr. Leslie's
letters and reminiscences are embodied in Ruskin's books. 2 In love of
the sea and of animals there was a strong link of sympathy between
them ; and letters from Mr. Leslie, who liked to send him jottings,
cuttings, or gossip about things lovely and of good report, formed, as
it were, a contribution to Ruskin's ideal newspaper. Many of these
were preserved among Ruskin's papers, and his letters to Mr. Leslie,
here included, show how much he valued such messages from his friend.
The only collection of his Letters in the editing of which Ruskin
himself took part is that published in 1887 under the title Hortus
Inclusiis^ and containing his correspondence with the Sister Ladies,
Miss Mary and Miss Susan Beever, of the Thwaite, Coniston. They
were thus his near neighbours; and the ladies of the Thwaite, beloved
by all the village, soon became dear friends of the Brantwood circle.
All the letters sent to the Thwaite belong to Ruskin's Brantwood
period, and his Preface to Hortus is therefore printed in the next
volume, where also bibliographical particulars will be found. The
letters to the elder sister, who died in 1883, are few ; those to
Miss Susan, an old lady of sixty-eight when Ruskin first made her
acquaintance, are very numerous. Mr. Fleming, to whom she be-
queathed her Ruskin letters, has some nine hundred of them. It was
she to whom Ruskin was most drawn, in affectionate sympathy with
birds and flowers, and she whom he permitted to make the widely-
known selection from Modern Painters which he called Frondes Agrestes.
In his Preface to Hortiis, Ruskin sketches, in a few deft touches, the
character of his friends, and surrounds their mountain home with a
tender and idyllic charm. 3 The Garden of the Thwaite was rich in all
1 Sec, for instance, p. 417 in Vol. XXXVII. 2 See the General Index.
3 Miss Susanna Beever was the last representative of a Manchester family which
had been identified with the Lake country for many years. Her elder brother,
John Beever, was the author of a well-known book on Practical Fly-Fishing. (A
new edition of the book, with a memoir of the author by \V. G. Collingwood
and additional notes by A. and A. R. Severn, was published in 18S5.) The
sisters became authorities on local botany, forming collections and contributing
to scientific works. But the most important part of their life was the service
old-fashioned flowers, and there were fruit-trees in abundance for the
birds more than for their mistress. "No one ever passed as she has
done behind the veil which parts us from the animal creation. She
lived out in her daily life the peroration of the Ancient Mariner; none
could talk to her, or read her letters, and not feel a strangely new
and reverential sense of brotherhood with existences to her so entirely
fraternal, as people of her Father's pasture and sheep of her Father's
hand." 1 This is a side of Miss Beever's nature with which Ruskin's
correspondence makes us familiar. For the rest, his letters to " Susie "
are often trivial, though many among them contain passages of beautiful
description or brightly-glancing humour. 2 They require to be read
with an understanding of the playful intimacy and little language of
affection (including, for instance, an agreement to count their years
backwards) with which Ruskin loved to amuse and cheer his aged
friend. Thus read, the letters of Hortus Inclusus will, I think, convey,
even to those outside the pleasaunce, some sense of Buskin's gracious ways,
kindly wisdom, and true lovableness. Miss Beever died on October 29,
1893. 3 It was to her, as she lay on her death-bed, that the last letter
ever written in Ruskin's hand was sent. 4
Ruskin's letters are intensely personal, and, as the notes appended
sufficiently show, they form a running commentary upon his life, his
work, and his charactar. One word of caution will perhaps not be
superfluous. It should not be supposed that every remark and judg-
ment, thrown off in a private letter, is to be taken as conveying the
full mind of the writer. 5 " It is too much the habit of modern
of their neighbours, in care for the poor and sick, and in oversight of the young.
Miss Susanna published in 1852-1853 some tracts on Ragged Schools, and in