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two letters, about as long as this, which you can read whenever you
like. You will find it give you great facility in design, without being a
call upon you for extra labour; for when you are once familiar with
the general laws, violent transgression is avoided by instinct, and accu-
racy is only necessary in cases of complicated architecture, where it is
much more an assistance than a difficulty.

I suppose you had not tir.e to go and look at Roberts. 2 It is
curious how artists differ in their advice. Harding said to me yester-
day, "Never use a lead pencil, or a brush, when you are sketching
from nature; do everything in chalk. I never made twenty coloured
sketches in my life." De Wint said to me, " Never take anything up
but your brush and moist colours. 11 Roberts advised pencil and Turner
everything, and I shall take his advice, for your material should vary
with your subject. I went to the Royal Academy to look after Rich-
mond, and was much gratified, though I was surprised to find a man,
who had (I think you said) attacked Turner for his colour, using no
grey at all, and laying down everything with positive colour, the tones
being subdued in quality the red a brick red, and the yellows tawny
but hardly an inch of grey in the drawing. It was nevertheless un-
questionably the best drawing of the kind in the room, and I heard
him mentioned by a good artist the other day as the only man in
England who could paint a miniature of a gentleman.

I shall write you pretty often from abroad, as I shall have little
else to do ; but do not bother yourself about answering, and take care
of your health. I will send the papers on perspective soon, and as
plainly written as I can 3 if I could recommend you any book I would,
but I don't know one that is practical.

1 [See Vol. I. p. xxxviii.]

2 [That is, at the exhibition of his Eastern sketches, mentioned in Preeterita,
ii. 20 (Vol. XXXV. p. 262).]

3 [Presumably letters of hints on perspective: compare, above, p. 19.]



GENKVA, June 6th [1841]. 1

MY DEAR SIR, Your kind letter has been a thorn in my side for
this month past which I am sure was the last thing you intended it
to be my sin turning its good into my evil ; but when I tell you I
have been running fast through Venice, Verona, and Milan the three
most glorious cities of Italy you will conceive my eyes have always
been tired, and my hand shaky, by the end of the day ; and as one or
two of my college correspondents send me quantities of metaphysics
by way of amusement, and require metaphysical replies, I have been
obliged to see the sun go down time after time upon your retiring
date of March 1st, 2 in utter incapability of arresting the increase of
distance between it and mine. But I cannot delay longer, having just
received your second kind and entertaining letter, for which I owe
you double gratitude, being a most unmerited favour. The causes of
vexation enumerated in both your first pages are enough certainly to
bear down anything but your kind and patient temper; but I am
rejoiced to see by your last that things are looking brighter in Bridge
Street; 3 and as for Cornhill, it must be consolation to you to reflect
that your only sin against F. O. and Messrs. S. and E. has been that
of furnishing the former with too much brains for the society it keeps,
and the latter with a book too good for their market. The people
for whom the last volumes of F. O. have been fitted are those who look
with scorn on the whole race of annuals, and those on whose support
it is thrown cannot get on without a larger supply of butterflies, blue-
bells, and dew, of fluttering, fainting, and dropping, than the dignity
of F. O. has lately admitted. I fancy annuals always depend more for
sale on their nonsense than on anything else. If you admit two or
three children of from six to twelve as contributors, you will have
the whole family circle buying the book by chests full, and all the
aunts and uncles making presents of it to all the cousins, but Thomas
Miller and T. K. Hervey 4 could only be appreciated by people \vho do

1 [Ruskin remained on the Continent until the end of June 1841. For W. H.
Harrison, see the Introduction (above).]

* [The date on which lie was to retire from his position as editor of Friendship 's
Offering, published by Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.]

[The office of tlic Crown Insurance Company, where Harrison was employed :
see Vol. XXXI V. p. 00.]

4 [Thomas Miller (1807-1874), poet, novelist, and bookseller; granted a Civil
List Pension by Disraeli. Thomas Kibble Hervey (1799-1850), edited Friendship's
Offering 1820-1827, and the Amaranth 18,39; edited the Athenaum 1840-1853.]


not buy annuals. I suspect that if next year there be a full supply
of impromptus in eight lines of six syllables, and sonnets to spring,
summer, autumn, and winter, the morning, the evening, the moon,
the rose, and the lily, by very young ladies with their full names in
very large print at the top there will be a decided improvement in
the immediate sale ; but I also think that if Messrs. S. and E. keep
their present volumes for four or five years back in saleable state, they
may find a greater demand for them four or five years hence than for
the most splendid piece of blue binding with which the eyes of the
public may be then attracted by even Lady Blessington or Lady Stuart
Wortley. 1 I consider myself so far engaged for the completion of the
very particularly broken Chain, but I think it so unlikely that I shall
be able to finish it to my satisfaction while I am busy with the Alps,
that I let them have Arion 2 instead. I may send them the Chain, but
I think it improbable, unless we have three days of constant rain,
which the Gods forbid.

We feel excessively hermit-like and innocent with respect to all
literary matters here, being only able to get an occasional Athenaeum
or Atlas to bring us up. What are these Carlyle lectures? 3 People are
making a fuss about them, and from what I see in the reviews, they
seem absolute bombast taking bombast, I suppose, making everybody
think himself a hero, and deserving of " your wash-up," at least,
from the reverential Mr. Carlyle. Do you remember the Sketches by
Box there is a passage quoted by the Atlas as "brilliant, 1 " every sen-
tence beginning with " What," between which and the dinner lecture
of Horatio Sparkins, Esq., beginning " We feel we know that we
exist nothing more what more" 4 there exists a very strong parallel.
And what is Boz about himself?

I saw another advertisement of Barnaby Rudge the other day,
and hope better things from it than we have got out of the
Clock. 5 Can it be possible that this man is so soon run dry as the
strained caricature and laborious imitation of his former self in the
last chapters of the Curiosity Shop seem almost to prove ? It is
still what no one else could do; but there is a want of his former

1 [The "Annuals" known as Heath's Book of Beaut}/ and The Keepsake, edited
at different times by Lady Blessington and Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley, issued
in bindings of blue and red silk.' Later on (1845 and 1846) Ruskin contributed
poems to these Annuals.]

2 fSee Vol. II. pp. 114 seq."]

3 [The lectures On Heroes, delivered in 1840, and published in 1841.]

4 [See p. 384 of Sketches by Box (1856 edition), with which passage compare
Lecture i. of Heroes (" What is it? Ay, what? At bottom we do not yet know;
we can never know at all/' etc.]

5 [It will be remembered that both The Old Curiosity Shop (1840) and Bamaby
Hudge (1841) appeared originally in Master Humphrey's Clock.]


clear truth, a diseased extravagance, a violence of delineation, which
seem to indicate a sense of failing power in the writer's own mind.
It is evident the man is a thorough cockney, from his way of talking
about hedgerows, and honeysuckles, and village spires; and in London,
and to his present fields of knowledge, he ought strictly to keep for
some time. There are subjects enough touched in the Sketches which
might be worked up into something of real excellence. And when he
has exhausted that particular field of London life with which he is
familiar, he ought to keep quiet for a long time, and raise his mind
as far as in him lies, to a far higher standard, giving up that turn
for the picturesque which leads him into perpetual mannerism, and
going into the principles out of which that picturesqneness should
arise. At present he describes eccentricity much oftener than char-
acter ; there is a vivid, effective touch, truthful and accurate, but on
the surface only ; he is in literature very much what Front is in art.
I ^c Bulwer l has some passages in his Xight and Morning which
are, I think, a little indebted to reminiscences of Boz for their manner
of finish the scene on the heath, where Sydney is carried off, par
exemple, and two or three churchyard bits towards the end. If I were
not afraid of turning your stomach, I should venture to ask you of
this last work, whether you didn't think it fine ! but I am afraid poor
Bulwer has no chance with you. I think he is the '-'uly person on
earth who can complain of your being uncharitable towards him. . . . 2
I think I am getting on much better myself on the whole since
I left Rome. I have had some threatening about the chest, but no
real attack since I got out of the great sepulchre ; 3 and one morning
last Wednesday before breakfast, among the high Alps, 4000 feet up,
gave me back more spring of spirit than I have had for years past.
I am sorry enough to leave my window here, looking down on the
blue Rhone, and over to Mont Blanc, but if it were only to see
what Turner has been doing in the Academy, I must come home. I
see Etty's pictures much praised, especially the Nymphs surprised by
a Szcan.* I am happy to hear his Nymphs can be surprised by any-
thing, and still happier to find your Gretna theory false. I have
been doing little enough myself, though I have got one or two sub-
jects which I think will interest you. I had a thorough examination
of the Doge's palace at Venice the other clay got into all the rooms

For another reference to his novels, see Vol. I. p. 370 w.]

For the passage of this letter here omitted, see Vol. I. pp. 309-370 n.]

'See Prttttritu, ii. o2 (Vol. XXXV. p. lii

4 "Female Hathc'rs surprised by a Swan," bought by Mr. Vernon and included
in his ^i'.'t to the National Gallery (No. ,'}f>(>) now (1900) lent to the Liverpool

'on n i ft i ii iu YtM'ori a
1 N'l J

/ui- in She posseseirr, of H P Mdckrell. Esa


of the Inquisition, and the Council of Ten, and up to the prisons in
the garrets and down to the prisons in the cellars (nice little rooms
of eight feet by six, under the canal, with one circular hole four
inches across to admit air), and examined every hole and corner of
the canals, for I shall have no heart to go to Venice when they have
got a railroad there. 1 It will spoil my pet Verona too, so I shall keep
to the Alps; nothing can spoil them but the Day of Judgment. We
hope to be home soon now, in about three weeks, if all goes well,
and I hope to find some more epigrams resultant from your present
misanthropy only don't attack poor Bulwer. I am excessively obliged
to everybody for the most kind inquiries you inform me of. Pray
remember me to Mr. Etty and Mr. Roberts when you meet them.

To the Rev. W. L. BROWN 2

HERNK HIM,, Nov. 2lst [1841].

MY DEAR, SIR, Thanks to you for taking the trouble of looking
over the Friendship's Offering. I cannot with any conscience inflict on
you any answer to your observations, even were I bold enough to differ
from them, which I in reality do not, except thus far. The "Arion"
and " Psammenitus " 3 are, of course, more to be read as dramatic than
as lyrical poems, and I have endeavoured to make them such as gentle-
men in such uncomfortable situations might produce at a shot, not
such as I, with two spermaceti candles and a luxurious armchair, and
other agreeablenesses of the kind, about me, might be disposed to set
down as intelligible or harmonious, upon mature consideration. As
far as I have had any experience of mental pain, I think its tendency
is to render intellectual impressions at once rapid, distinct, material,
and involuntary; so that, for instance, the memory, totally disobedient
to its helm, totally unable to recall any single circumstance at com-
mand, is yet in wild and incontrollable action, dragging up mass after
mass of innumerable images, without apparent or reasonable connec-
tion, pressing them heavily and ponderously on the whole heart and
mind so that they cannot escape from them, yet flying from one to
another with the wildest rapidity, and placing an inconceivable number
before the mind at the same instant, while the outward senses and
inward emotions seem to change places with each other all emotions
becoming material and suggesting material impressions of darkness or

1 [It was opened in 1845 : see Vol. IX. p. 412 ??.]

1 [For Mr. Brown, lluskin's tutor at Christ Church, see the Introduction (above).]

3 [See Vol. II. pp. 114, 18,5.]


weight or sound, and all external impressions mixing with these and
becoming mistaken for them, and adding to their cause all inanimate
objects becoming endowed with a strange sympathy, and having in-
fluence like living things. This strange confusion of the functions of
the intellect and senses I particularly aimed at giving in the "Psam-
menitus.'" I ought to have succeeded, for it was written as a relief from
considerable mental excitement. But whether this, which I have felt,
or thought I felt, be one of the general truths of nature, with which
alone we should work, I cannot tell, and still less if I have succeeded
in representing even this. I am glad that Bourchier is going on with
his drawing, but I should rather hear that he had met with difficulties
than that he had not (perspective excepted). Working up hill is the
only way to command the country. Remember me to him, and Bevan,
and White. 1 I convey your message about the wine to my father.
With renewed thanks for your kindness in giving me so much of your
time, and kindest regards to yourself and Mrs. Brown, and best wishes
for Mademoiselle, in which my father and mother most sincerely join,
believe me ever, my dear Sir, most respectfully yours, J. RUSKIX.

To the Rev. W. L. BROWN

[Feb. 12, 1842. *]

MY DEAR SIR, I should have replied to your kind letter instantly,
but could not make up my mind as to which of my books I should
send. I have never coloured much, and what I have clone, chiefly
three or four years ago the results of which premature process I indeed
keep, as highly valuable when I want a little humiliation, or amusement,
but which I am most thoroughly ashamed to show to any one else.
After these, in the same book, come a few sketches, which you saw
with the others, at Oxford, in the olden time, and which are a little
more decent, being all done, as far as they go, on the spot, but still
far too bad to be used as copies; and after these there are one or two,
scraps from this last journey, one of which, the view on the top of
Mont Cenis, may perhaps be of some little use in giving effects of rock
and turf. It is absolutely true-, as far as it goes the intense golden
brown of the Alpine moss, and green-blue of the little lake (being

1 [Pupils reading- with Mr. Brown.]

4 [lluskin, OH his return from Italy in the summer of 1841, underwent a "cure"
at Leamington, and spent the autumn and winter of 1841-1842 in reading and
drawing a t home. There are "Letters to a College Friend" covering this jxjriod,
Vol. I. pp. 4.)5-4(>4. In April 1842 he went up again to Oxford, passed his final
examination, and took his degree. He then went to Switzerland with his parents,
Vol. III. p. xxiii. There are few letters, and no diary, of this tour.]


positive colour in the water, and no optical effect) being tones which
it is utterly impossible to exaggerate. The snow looks too near for
the rest, and so it does in nature. The form of it like a greyhound at
the shore of the lake is very ugly, but I couldn't help it it is fact,
which was what I wanted. The sketch of Vesuvius, which my mother
fixed in upside down, looking as it does nearly as well one way as the
other, may also be of some little use, as it was all done at once. It was
a rushing endeavour to put down the actual effect, as it appeared for
a quarter of an hour one clear, wet, windless morning in February.
The white spots left by the brush at its base you are to take on credit
for villages. Bad as these are, I have no other sketches in colour by
me, not having used colour for, I should think, more than three hours
altogether on my whole last journey. I wish I could send some of my
grey sketches, but they are nearly all architectural, and in wooden
frames which do not admit of carriage. I will send the book of colours
on Monday, and pray keep it till I come to Oxford, which I shall do,
I hope, at degree time but I am getting desperately frightened. You
know, I did not read at all (effectively) while I was abroad, and it
was not my fault, neither. I sent an immense box of books to meet
me at Rome, and took some with me in the carriage, but I found my
eyes would not let me read while in motion ; we were six or seven
hours a day on the road, and the fatigue and excitement, as well as
what I thought something of a duty noting down the facts I had
learned in the course of the day altogether prevented any application
in the evening. I got to Rome, and after the first week did something
regularly till the fever seized me, after which I could not read for
three or four weeks. I set to work again at Naples, and was just
getting into something like application, and perfectly well remember
certain bits of landscape about Capua and the Falernian hills, by close
associations with parts of Matthias's Greek grammar, then and there
learned, and just as I was settling to something like work, the attack
of blood came back at Albano, 1 so violently that I hardly dared walk
across the room or stoop my head for a month after it. I got very
blue upon this, and gave up everything. I must have written you some
of my plans, I think how I would live in Wales, and lie on the grass
all day ; and in pursuance of these sage resolutions I was going into
Wales this last summer, thinking no more of degree than of dying
not quite so much, indeed when Jephson caught me at Leamington,
and put me so far to rights as to let me think of Oxford again. I
have since then been reading but little, and that not hard I dare not.

1 [See Preeterita, ii. 52 (Vol. XXXV. p. 291). The attack of fever at Rome
is not mentioned in the Autobiography.]


I have much exercise to take, and cannot read by candlelight. I have
forgotten, I find, nearly all I ever knew, and find it desperately laborious
to master the allusions to the infinite number of unheard-of people in
Juvenal, and I think I seem to know less Latin every day. I don't
know my four books one bit better than I did my fourteen I have
scraps of historical and ethical knowledge which will not be of the
least use to me, and don't know things of necessity. I think it is
hardly possible for me to get through without making some fatal
mistake, and I don't know what to do. I work at my grammar, but
stopping at every word does not get me through my books. I have no
command of Latin words, and don't find it increase though I write
some of Terence every day and am always doubtful of genders, and
genitives in him and iim, and what is worse, am liable to forget the
most common things, conjugations of verbs, etc., which I really do know
for a minute or two time enough to appear not to know them. I
must go up it kills me with hanging over me. Besides, I have no right
to delay longer now my health is restored ; but I am getting quite ill
about it. I think it would kill my father outright if I were not to
pass ; he has no conception of the state I am in, and I don't like
to hint it to him. Ever, my dear Sir, most respectfully yours,


Kindest regards to Mrs. Brown from all here. Remember me to
Bevan and \Vhite, if with you.

I have taken /Eschylus for Aristophanes couldn't get on with
the latter. 1


DIJON, At a./ 18lL\

. . . And so, my cool fellow, you don't find any " refreshment v
in my poems. ..." Refreshment," indeed ! Hadn't you better try
the alehouse over the way next time? It is very neat of you after
you have been putting your clerical steam on, and preaching half the

world to the de (I beg pardon what teas I going to say ?) and

buck again to pull up at Parnassus expecting to find a new station
and "refreshment" rooms fitted up there for your especial convenience
and we as the young lady behind the counter, to furnish you with
a bottle of ginger-pop. . . .

[The estrangement from Aristophanes was, however, of short duration : sec
Vol. XXXV. p. 1510.]

2 [Possibly the Rev. Edward Clayton (for whom, see Vol. I. p. liii.). This extract
is printed from "The Handwriting of John Kuskin/' )>y J. Holt Schooling, in tin-
a-trimd Magazine, December l*Ji).Ji, ]>|>. (>7(M>~1.]



[On his return from Switzerland in 1842, Ruskin set himself to writing the
first volume of Modern Painters, which was published in May 1843. He then began
work upon study for the second volume; there are "Letters to a College Friend"
giving some account of himself at this time, Vol. I. pp. 493-498.]

To GEOKGE RICHMOND l r , r , olo n

[May, 1843.]

DEAR RICHMOND, I send you a copy of the book which I suppose
you meant, and which I should be glad if you would glance at, as I
certainly agree in most of the opinions it expresses. But, remember,
whatever conjectures, or more than conjectures, you may make in
reading it respecting the author are, if you love me, to be kept
altogether to yourself not because I should dislike to be supposed
the author (for I think it a mighty clever book) but because my
being supposed so would entirely prevent it from having the influence
which otherwise, if there be any truth in it, it might have. Farther,
although you will see at once from some passages that I have seen
the book before it was printed and perhaps have had something to
do with it you cannot in the least tell how much, or how little.
Perhaps I may be under an engagement to the real author to help
to keep the public eye off' him by taking some of the discredit myself,
and so may not be at liberty to deny it. At all events I am in-
terested in the book's being read which it most certainly will not
be if you throw it on my shoulders. Please remember, therefore, that
all secrets are told through a circle of best friends. The author
would perhaps be glad to acknowledge the book to his intimate
friends, if in so doing he did not take away from them the power
of saying to impertinent questions that they know nothing about the
matter which answer I hope you will make to all inquirers, without
any emphasis on the " know. 1 ' 1 Farther, I should be glad if even your
suspicions were not hinted, unless already so, even to your brother ; or
if already, please show him this letter.

I hope your eyes are better; pray don't play tricks with them, nor
work too much. Just consider what a curse upon the life of a man

1 [With a copy of the first volume of Modern Painters, published anonymously :
see Vol. III. p. xxxi., where a passage from Kuskin's diary of May 1843 is given,,
noting that Richmond had no idea of the authorship. For Raskin's friendship
with Richmond, see the Introduction (above).]


of your feelings the loss of sight would be. Were I you, I should go
and live in a cottage a mile or two from town, and risk nothing for the
support of a large establishment. I beg your pardon, however, for
speaking thus only I am really very anxious about you, and so are
all here. With compliments to Mrs. Richmond and love to your
brother, ever yours affectionately, J. KUSKIN.


MY DEAR RICHMOND, -Since I last saw you I have been looking
very carefully over the portfolio of Blake's drawings, and I have
got nervous about showing them to my father when he comes home,
in the mass. He has been very good to me lately with respect to
some efforts which I desired to make under the idea that Turner

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