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a visit here, and I have begged her to take charge of a letter to you,
which contains Ida's August money, with my love to you both. You
will get it, I hope, about 3rd or 4th September.

1 [Atlantic Monthly, May 1904, vol. 93, p. 578. No. 2 in Norton; vol. i. p. 7.]

2 [Mr. Norton, after his visit to Denmark Hill in 1855 (see above, p. 222),
had not expected to see Ruskin again ; but they chanced to meet next year, as
Ruskin has described in PrcKtcrita (Vol. XXXV. p. 519), on the steamer on the
Lake of Geneva. Norton called on Ruskiu in the evening, taking with him a
copy of Lowell's Poems.]

* [From Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism, pp. 140-143.]
xxxvi. Q,



242 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [is.56

I am very anxious to hear how you are getting on. I suppose it
is my own fault that I have not; but I thought I had said in my
last that any letters directed to me at 7 Billiter Street, with "to be
forwarded" on cover, will reach me in due course. If you like to send
one now, directed Hotel de Zahringen, Fribourg, Suisse, it will reach
me quickly ; but you must not despatch it before the 24th August,
nor after the 30th, or it may miss me. Tell me all about your pic-
tures, and yourself and Ida; I don't care to hear about anything else.
Have you got my Dante picture and the " Francesca " ? I ordered
them to be sent to you soon after I went away.

I found soon after I wrote to you, on trying to draw a little, 1 that
I was really exhausted, and I have been so idle ever since that now
it is quite a trouble to me to take up a pen from the table. I do
nothing but walk and eat and sleep, and get stupider and lazier every
hour. You see I write even worse than usual, and I haven't a single
idea in my head on any subject. There is the most exquisite view of
Alps from my window at this moment under morning sunshine, but I
am so stupid that I don't much care about it. I wanted to find out
a few simple geological facts when I came here, but I am so stupid
that I can't. I had promised a friend to draw him a bit of snow
and a pine or two, and I have just sense enough left to see that it
is no use trying. I slept from half-past nine last night to six this
morning, and am half-asleep now nothing but breakfast will in the
least brighten me.

We are all pretty well ; my mother much better ; my father
a little oppressed by the heat (for, though not what it is in the
plains, the summer sunshine is glowing enough even here), and I,
as above described. I daresay I am pretty well, but am not clear
about it.

We have been staying at different places in Switzerland, whose
names are of no consequence to you, and doing nothing at them,
which it is no use telling you about.

All goes on in Switzerland just as usual ; they make large quan-
tities of cheese and cherry- brandy, and a great many of them are born
idiots.

20th August (Geneva). The above interesting communication
having been interrupted by breakfast, I kept it three days by me
in hopes of getting an idea about something ; but I haven't got one.
It is nine o'clock, and I am very sleepy. So good-bye. Ever affec-
tionately yours, J. RUSKIN.

1 [The drawing of Bonueville, here reproduced (Plate XIII.), belongs to this
year.]



1856] ROSSETTI'S -NINEVEH" 243

To DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI T

Sunday [August, 1856.]

DEAR ROSSETTI, I am wild to know who is the Author of the
"Burden of Nineveh" in No. VIII. of Oxford and Cambridge. It is
glorious. Please find out for me, and see if I can get acquainted
with him. Ever yours, J. RUSKIN.

To LADY TREVELYAN

DOVER, 2Gth September, '56.

DEAR LADY TREVELYAN, I have been reproaching myself many a
day for not writing, but somehow I have got into quite a stupid
state of indolence for these three or four months, and the sight of a
pen and ink has frightened me so that I hadn't a word to say; nor
have I now, only I know you will be glad to hear that we are on this
side the water again, and all well. We have been dividing our time
between Interlachen, Thun, Fribourg, Chamonix, and Geneva; and I
have done nothing but ramble in the sun, and eat breakfasts and
dinners, and sleep. I am not so much the better for it as I ought to
be, because I don't like it. I get sulky when I can't do anything
and getting sulky puts one out of order, and I don't feel refreshed or
up to my work again ; nor do I intend to do anything much for some
time yet perhaps not all winter. I am going to read for I have
been using my own brains too much and other people's not enough

1 [From Dante Gabriel Rossetti: his Family Letters, with a Memoir, vol. i. p. 197.
No. 8 of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, edited by Morris's friend, the Rev.
W. Fulford, had appeared in August 185(5, Rossetti's (anonymous) poem occupying
pp. 512-516. The first lines of the poem, as printed in the Magazine, were after-
wards altered ; they ran :

"I have no taste for polyglot.
At the Museum 'twas my lot
Just once to jot and blot and rot
In Babel for 1 know not what.

1 went at two, I left at three.
Round those still doors I tramp'd, to win
By the great porch the dirt and din ;
And as I made the last door spin
And issued, they were hoisting in

A winged beast from Nineveh."

Rossetti, in reply to Ruskin's letter, avowed the authorship of the poem (see the
Introduction, above, p. xlvi.); "and I fancy," says Mr. W. M. Rossetti, " that a
very large ' Bravo ! ' which forms the commencement of another letter from Ruskiu
may be the response to this avowal. The word is shaped out of a series of notes
of admiration."]



244 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1856

lately and to see manufactories, and take long walks in the snow. I
expect to get on better so, for in Switzerland I am tormented by the
beauty of the things, when I can't draw them, or by the people build-
ing hotels on my picturesquest places, and so on. I have begun my
readings by a large course of French Novels; but I am not sure that
those are very good for me, for I have fallen in love with three of
George Sand's heroines, one after the other no, with four and am
quite vexed because I c^n't see them seriously vexed I mean ; made
uncomfortable. I was also thrown into a great relapse at Paris by
finding the whole of the apse of Notre Dame, and the most of the
rest of it, utterly restored fairly knocked down and built again, New,
so that Notre Dame now exists no more for me, and every day of my
life I regret Turner's death more, and which will perhaps surprise
you ProuCs; there are so many things turning up now, that I want
to ask Prout about, and there is nobody to take his place, or feel
with me as he did and altogether I am a good deal put out at
present, not to speak of the disagreeableness of finding oneself nearly
forty ; while one is busy one does not think how old one is getting,
but one finds it out in idleness. I calculate that, if I am spared for
so long, it is only some 11,780 days till I shall be seventy, 1 and I give
away every day with a grudge if it happens to be a wet or an idle
one ; and a great many have been wet and idle lately. Out of four
months on the Continent, I have taken only ten days of whole work,
and ten days half work : those were to make some drawings of old
bits of Thun and Fribourg, likely to be destroyed before I get back
to them again ; for I have a plan for etching views of seven Swiss
towns, 2 and bequeathing them to foolish posterity, that it may mourn
and gnash its teeth in its Hotels. I mean to draw, if I can, Basle,
(1) Schaff'hausen, (2) Lucerne, Thun, (3) Fribourg, Sion, and (4) Bel-
linzona; the 1, 2, 3, 4 elaborately to illustrate Turner's multitudinous
sketches of them. There are at least sixteen of Fribourg, seven or
eight of Lucerne, thirty of Bellinzona, and four or five of Schaff'hausen

O *.

among the sketches left to the nation, and I can realise these a
little with detail, so as to explain them and the other three I shall
do, one view of each ; Thun and Sion because I am fond of the places,
and Basle in compliment to Holbein ; and I hope that Berne and
Geneva will be properly humiliated at being left out of the list, as
too much spoiled to be worth notice.

I made myself of some use in Chamouni also, I think not by
working, but by setting others to work. Sir Walter may perhaps have

1 [See the reference to his diary in Vol. VII. p. xxiii.]
[Compare 1'raterita, Vol. XXXV. p. 483.]



1856] GEOLOGY AT CHAMOUNI 245

noticed that there is a great dispute among the geologists whether
Studer and Favre are right in saying that the limestone goes under
the gneiss at Chamouni poor Mr. Sharpe, 1 who was killed last summer
by a fall from his horse, having said it was only cleavage, not bedding.
So I had a hole dug under Mont Blanc, and I got fifteen feet down
between the limestone and gneiss, 2 and found it all as Studer and
Favre and I myself had supposed ; only the gneiss was so rotten that
I couldn't go on underneath it without regular mining apparatus
wooden shield and so on so I stopped till next year, and if the geolo-
gists aren't satisfied, I will dig as deep as they like.

Among the other minor matters for grumbling, the weather worried
me always wet or burning hot and we made a nice finish of it
yesterday afternoon ; the steamboat a small packet waiting off the
pier of Calais three hours for train from Paris. Train arrives with
80 passengers 170 altogether on board the boat. We got away about
six o'clock squally afternoon, and sea rather high from wind before.
The 170 passengers soon presented the appearance of a series of heaps
of some sort of awkwardly made brown fish being sold by Dutch auction,
and kicked about with no buyers. It got pretty dark, with clouds over
what moon there was long swells of sea racing by with crashing light;
and half-way over, really a very violent squall with rain in pailful s
and large pailfuls, too. My father and mother had to sit it out all
on deck \ve are none of us ever ill and the cabins were unenterable,
except by creeping on all-fours over the fish-heaps. My mother, instead
of being the worse, is the better for it this morning; it seems to have
been a kind of water cure for her; she was terribly frightened, and
perhaps that kept her from taking cold.

On the whole, we are all very much the better of our journey, and
perhaps we shall find the good of it more when we get home, and so
I think I have given you enough of ourselves. You are never explicit
enough about yourself. I am only afraid you are not so well as you
ought to be. I am very sorry for poor Miss Mackenzie I should like
to see her again. I daresay I may come down Wallington way next
spring, but I have no notion clearly what I shall do. It depends on
many things most of all on what is done about the Turner bequest,
which I mean now to make as much noise about as I have voice for.
My love to poor Peter, 3 and condolences and congratulations; but
I cannot but attribute his recovery to his having such a very bad
temper. Good-natured dogs always die when anything happens to

1 Daniel Sharpe (1806-1850) ; F.R.S., 1850 ; President of the Geological Society,
1856.

2 For these diggings see Vol. XXVI. pp. xxvi.-xxvii., 545-547.]

3 See below, pp. ,395 n., 414-5.]



246 LETTERS OF RUSK1N VOL. I [1856

them ; the sulky ones have a kind of " I shall live to bite somebody
yet 1 ' spirit in them, which is better than medicine. I have a good
deal of that feeling myself always when I am unwell.

We hope to be at home next Wednesday, and then you have only
to tell me when you are likely to tome south, and I will take care to
have plenty leisure days, and we will have some nice chats ; and I
shall convince you of the beauty and necessity of my new botanical
system, and make a botanist of you at last, as well as an artist. I
am heartily glad to hear the colour does so well at Wallington. I
am quite clear for colour now everywhere and my mother was con-
verted from certain predilections for white work by the inside of the
Sainte Chapelle, last week.

She and my father beg their sincere regards to you both. Love to
Sir Walter, and kind remembrances to Mr. Scott. Ever, dear Lady
Trevelyan, affectionately tind gratefully yours, J. RUSKIN.



To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON ]

Saturday Morning [October, 1856].*

DEAR MR. NORTON, In case I don't find you to-day (and I can't
be at home this afternoon), could you dine with us to-morrow at
half-past four or if not able to do that, come in at any hour you
like to tea in the evening? Yours affectionately, J. RUSKIN.

Of course you will only find my father and mother and me, and
perhaps an old family friend.



To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON* 3

\_Novemlier, 1856.]

DEAR NORTON, It will of course be a privilege to me to take
charge of the vignette 4 while you are travelling, and of course I

1 [Atlantic Monthly, May 1904, vol. 93, p. 578. No. 3 in Norton; vol. i. p. 8.]
1 [" In the autumn, my mother and sisters having returned to America, I was
in London, staying at Fenton's Hotel in St. James's Street, much out of health.
I had promised to let Rnskin know of my coming to London, and on hearing of
it, he at once came to see me, and while I remained there, few days passed in
which he did not send me a note like the following, or come to my parlour, laden
with books and drawings for my amusement, or carry me off in his brougham
for an hour or two at Denmark Hill." C'. K. N.]

[No. 7 in Norton ; vol. i. pp. 24-25.]

* [' Turner's water-colour drawing of Scott's house in Castle Street, Edinburgh ;
'the very thing for you to have/ lluskin had written to me a fe\v days before
in advising me to purchase it." ('. E. N.]



1856] "AURORA LEIGH" 247

should do whatever you bid me faithfully in all matters but I think
a little arrangement of leather case and glass might make the draw-
ing portable for you, and a pleasant companion on your journey. 1 If
I see you to-day I will tell you how; if I don't, please let me know
quickly if you have already Rogers's Italy, and if you haven't no, it
would be too late, perhaps. I will send one in this evening if I
don't find you, and if you haven't got it, keep it, for it's a proof
copy and I'll write your name in it when I see you again. If you
have it, send it me back, and I'll find something else that you haven't
during the winter. Affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.



To ROBERT BROWNING

DENMAUK HILL, 27th November, 1856.

MY DEAR BROWNING, I think Aurora Leigh the greatest poem in
the English language, unsurpassed by anything but Shakespeare not
surpassed by Shakespeare's sonnets, and therefore the greatest poem
in the language. I write this, you see, very deliberately, straight,
or nearly so, which is not common with me, for I am taking pains
that you may not think (nor anybody else) that I am writing in
a state of excitement; though there is enough in the poem to put
one into such a state. 2 I have not written immediately either, partly
because I did not know if you were at Florence yet, partly because I
wished to read the poem quite through. I like it all, familiar parts
and unfamiliar, passionate and satirical, evil telling and good telling,
philosophical and dramatic all. It has one or two sharp blemishes,
I think, in words, here and there, chiefly Greek. I think the " Hat
aside" 3 a great discord in the opening it tells on me like a crack in

1 [Ruskin himself was in the habit of taking some of Turner's drawings with
him as companions of his travels.]

2 [Rossetti also was rapturous over Aurora Leigh (published in the autumn of
1856). "An astounding work," he wrote; "1 know that St. Francis and Poverty
do not wed in these days of St. James' Church, with rows of portrait figures on
either side, and the corners neatly finished with angels. I know that if a blind
man were to enter the room this evening and talk to me for some hours, I should,
with the best intentions, be in danger of twigging his blindness before the right
moment came . . . ; yet with all this knowledge I have felt something like a bug
ever since reading Aurora Leigh. Oh, the wonder of it ! " (Letters of D. G, Rossetti
to William Allingham, p. 189).]

3 ["Such scholar-scraps he talked, I've heard from friends,
For even prosaic men who wear grief long
Will get to wear it as a hat aside
With a flower stuck in't."]



248 LETTERS OF RUSKIN Voi, I [1856

the midst of the sweetest fresco colour. Phalanstery 1 I can't find in
Johnson's dictionary, and don't know what it means. Dynastick z hurts
me like a stick one or two passages in the art discussion I haven't
made out yet. For the rest, I am entirely subdued and raised to
be Mrs. Browning's very humble votary and servant. I feel, for the
time, as if / could do nothing more in describing, or in saying any-
thing as if, indeed, nobody could say anything more now, without
appearing to be saying something weak in thought and melodious in
English, so far does her Saying seem to me above present Best and
sweetests. I am better in every way for reading the poem perhaps
not the least because I feel so crushed by it; but also because it is
like breathing the purest heavenly air; it makes one healthier through
every nerve and purer through every purpose.

It is the first also perfect poetical expression of the Age, accord-
ing to her own principles. But poor Scott ! and the sellers of old
armour in Wardour St. ! 3 I see Mrs. Browning herself has sometimes
no compassion.

I have heard from Miss Heaton that Mrs. Browning and you are
both well, and happy in your Florence home. God grant you, both,
long life and peace, you happy, good, great people that you are.

I will write you again to tell you anything that may interest you
of what is doing here. I do not feel inclined to talk of anything but
the poem just now, and for that I should only weaken the true sense
I would give you of my admiration of it if I tried to put it any more
into words. Only believe me affectionately yours and hers,

J. RrsKiN.

My father and mother beg their sincerest regards. I never saw my
father so taken with a poem in my life. He doesn't usually care for

1 [See Book iii. :

" Have you heard of Romney Leigh,
Beyond what's said of him in newspapers,
His phalansteries there, his speeches liere,
His pamphlets, pleas, and statements, everywhere?"

The word had been coined by Fourier, about twenty years before, to denote a
building 1 or set of buildings occupied by a phalanx or socialistic community.
Kingsley adopted it in Alton Locke (18,50).]

* [Book v. .308: "The rulers of our art, in whose full veins Dynastic glories
mingle." "Hurts me like a stick": see Butler's Hudibras (as quoted in I'ra-fcritu,
Vol. XXXV. p. 387 n.).]

3 [The reference is to such a passage in Book v. as this :

"Nay, if there's room for poets in this world
A little overgrown, (I think there is)
Their sole work is to represent the age,
Their age, not Charlemagne's," etc.]



1856] THE OLD WATER-COLOUR SOCIETY 249

that kind of poetry (likes Pope, and Crabbe), but he sat at it till one
in the morning, and never let the book out of his hand, when he was
in the house, till he had finished it and said it quite did him good
made him better from a little ailing that he was. To my mother I
am reading it out aloud every day.



To DANTE GABRIEL RossEiri 1

[DENMARK HILL, circa Christmas 1856.]

DEAR ROSSETTI, I enclose a letter from John Lewis, and we must
now have your final answer. I object, myself, to the whole system
of candidateship, but, as it is established, neither you nor I can at
present overthrow it. I don't believe there is the least risk of your
rejection, because Lewis is wholly for you, and the others know that
you are a friend of mine and that I am going to write a "notice 11 in
1857 as well as 1856. I don't say that, if they rejected you, I might
[not] perhaps feel disposed to go into further analysis of some of their
own works than might be altogether pleasant. But don't you think
they will suppose so, and that your election is therefore rather safe ?

But suppose the reverse. All that could be said was that they
rejected not Rossetti but Pre-Raphaelitism. Which people knew pretty
well before. But it would give me a hold on them if they did, which
would be useful in after attacks on this modern system, so that,
whether they took you or not, you would be helping forward the
good cause. But all the chances are that you get in, and if you do,
consider what good you may effect by the influence of your work and
votes in that society, allied with Lewis and Hunt !

So pray do this. Write to Lewis instantly, saying you accept.
I will write to Oxford for " Dante." Morris will, I am sure, lend his,
and I will lend my " Beatrice, 11 2 and there we are, all right. Yours
affectionately, J. R.

I will send Ida's drawings by first hand coming into town. Send
me a line saying what you do.

1 [From Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism, pp. 148, 149. J. F. Lewis was
at this time President of the Old Water-Colour Society, of which Ruskin wanted
Rossetti to become a member ; he declined, however, to stand. He agreed with
Ruskin in regarding Lewis and William Hunt as the best water-colourists (see his
Letters to Allinghum, p. 1(54).]

2 [Works which Ruskin proposed that Rossetti should send to the Old Water-
Colour Society. " Dante " is " Dante Drawing the Angel," owned by Thomas
Coombe, of the Oxford University Press, and now in the University Galleries. The
drawing then in possession of William Morris was ' ' Fra Pace" (see p. 249); and
for Ruskin's "Beatrice," see p. 235 .]



250 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1856

To CHAKLES ELIOT NORTON l

[LONDON] 28th December, 1856.

DKAR NOKTON, Railways are good for letters, assuredly; it seems
very wonderful, and is very pleasant, to hear from you in Rome only
a week ago; for I got your letter yesterday, and should have had it
the day before, but that I was staying in town for a few days. And
I hope the enjoyment of that damp and discordant city and that
desolate and diseaseful Campagna, of which your letter assures me,
may be received as a proof of your own improved health, and bright-
ness of heart and imagination.

I think, perhaps, I abuse Rome more because it is as sour grapes
to me. When I was there 2 I was a sickly and very ignorant youth ;
and I should be very glad, now, if I could revisit what I passed in
weariness or contempt; and I do envy you (sitting as I am just now
in the Great Western hotel at Paddington, looking out upon a large
number of panes of grey glass, some iron spikes, and a brick wall)
that walk in sight of Sabine hills. Still, reasoning with myself in the
severest way, and checking whatever malice against the things I have
injured, or envy of you, there may be in the feelings with which I
now think of Rome, these appear to me incontrovertible and accurate
conclusions, that the streets are damp and mouldy where they are
not burning; that the modern architecture is fit only to put on a
Twelfth cake in sugar (e.g., the churches at the Quattro Fontane); that
the old architecture consists chiefly of heaps of tufa and bricks; that
the Tiber is muddy ; that the Fountains are fantastic ; that the Castle
of St. Angelo is too round ; that the Capitol is too square ; that St.
Peter's is too big; that all the other churches are too little; that
the Jews' 1 quarter is uncomfortable; that the English quarter is un-
picturesque ; that Michael Angelo's Moses is a monster ; that his Last
Judgment is a mistake ; that Raphael's Transfiguration is a failure ;
that Apollo Belvidere is a public nuisance; that the bills are high; the
malaria strong; the dissipation shameful; the bad company numerous;
the Sirocco depressing; the Tramontane chilling; the Levante parch-
ing; the Ponente pelting; the ground unsafe; the politics perilous,
and the religion pernicious. I do think, that Li all candour and reflec-
tive charity, I may assert this much.

1 [Atlantic Month/t/, May 1904, vol. 93, pp. .583-584. No. 8 in Norton; vol. i.
pp. -5-31.]

1 [He was there in bad health in the winter of 1840-1841. See Preeterita
Vol. XXXV. pp. 270 srq.]



iff ^* /



A



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^




A PAGE OF A LETTER TO C. E. NORTON (Dec. 28, 185(>)

To f'iff



1856] AMERICA AND ROME 251

Still, I can quite understand how, coming from a fresh, pure, and
very ugly country like America, there may be a kind of thirst upon
you for ruins and shadows which nothing can easily assuage ; that
after the scraped cleanliness and business and fussiness of it (America),
mildew and mould may be meat and drink to you, and languor the
best sort of life, and weeds a bewitchment (I mean the unnatural sort
of weed that only grows on old bricks and mortar and out of cracks



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