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me, I am all at sea myself all that I am sure of is that we live in
very " dark ages " compared with ages which will be ; and that most
churches are in a sad way because they all keep preaching the wrong

1 [Such as the one printed in Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, vol. ii.
pp. 299-302.]

2 [See above, p. 240. " My book " is The Political Economy of Art (above,
p. 276).]

3 [For record of their Conversations, see Vol. XXXIV. pp. 659, 660.]



280 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [IS5S

way upwards, and say " Know and you shall do " instead of " Do and
you shall know/' 1 As I read the Bible my main result in way of
belief is that those people are to be exalted in eternity who in this
life have striven to do God's will, not their own. And so very few
people appear to me to do this in reality that I don't know what to
believe the truth as far as I can make it out seems too terrible to
be the truth. All churches seem to me mere forms of idolatry. A
Roman Catholic idolizes his saint and his relic an English High Church-
man idolizes his propriety and his family pew a Scotch Presbyterian
idolizes his own obstinacy and his own opinions a German divine
idolizes his dreams, and an English one his pronunciation ; and all their
mistakes, and all their successes and rightnesses, are so shabby and
slight and absurd, and pitiable, and paltry, and so much dependent on
early edu no early teaching of prejudices, and on the state of their
stomachs in after life, and of the weather, that I can't conceive any great
Spirit's ordering them either into hell or heaven for anything of the
kind; their beliefs and disbeliefs seem to me one worth about as much
as the other, their doings and shortcomings alike blind and ridiculous
not by any means worth being d d for. It always haunts and forces
itself upon me that the Creator's voice to them is always, " You poor
little, dusty, cobwebby creatures, go and lie down in your graves, and
be thankful you've come to any sort of end at last." I am very ready
to accept the notion of their immortality, but it seems to me just
as natural to expect the immortality of the bloom on a plum and to
talk of the little blue creatures that make it up being made Kings
and Priests, as of our being made so.

And so, that's just where I am and if you can help me any -way,
either of you, please do. And so good-bye for the minute. I haven't
seen those poems of W. Morris's you speak of, but I've seen his poems,
just out, about old chivalry, 2 and they are most noble very, very great
indeed in their own peculiar way. Ever your affectionate

J. RUSKIX.

To hi-s FATHKR

RIIKINFKMJKN, 22wrf May, 185H.

Reading this morning Plutarch's life of Phocion, who, if I recollect
right, is one of my mother's two chosen ones among the ancients, I
was struck by this passage as bearing upon the question of merriment

1 [See John vii. 17.]

2 [The Defence of Guinevere and other Poems, 18oH. It is not clear what other
poems Mrs. Browning had alluded to (as this was Morris's first volume) possibly
pnems in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine."]



1858] PLUTARCH'S PHOCION 281

in our Houses of Parliament: "No Athenian ever saw him laugh,
or cry ; or move his hand from under his mantle when he appeared
dressed in public: wherefore when Chares the orator handled him one
day roughly concerning his morose looks, and the Athenians seemed
pleased with him for it, Phocion answered, 'The Gravity of my
countenance never made any of you sad ; but the laughter of these
sneerers has cost you many a tear/"" 1

How strange it is that in all our classical education, the last thing
our youth are made to notice is just the one thing which all classical
literature mainly inculcates, the connection of simplicity of life with
strength of character. And I warrant that all the Latin they teach
young ladies nowadays, or Greek either, will not enable them to read
or remember how the ambassadors of Alexander found Phocion's wife
"employed in the pastry work with her own hands," or how she
answered to the Ionian lady showing her jewels, "My only ornament
is my good man Fhocion."

Yesterday was one of the cloudless Swiss days, which it seems a
shame to waste on this side Jura, but if I left this town now, I
should never have the chance of it again its towers show evident signs
that their stones must soon lie in Rhine-bed. I never saw such a
country for wild strawberries and raspberries. Elsewhere, the straw-
berries grow only in beds; but here, they are the regular roadside
weed, fresh leaved and large blossomed.



To WILLIAM WARD Z

RHEINFELDEN, May 23rd, 1858.

DEAR, WARD, I have your sketches, which are quite what I want.

If a Mrs. Elizabeth Beeby writes to you from Croydon, will you
be so good as to give her what help you can, without making any
charge? She wants to teach drawing in our way, and seems to me
a deserving person.

Please make for me another outline of that " Geneva " 3 at Marl-
borough House, and send it me by post as soon as you can. Make

1 [See chaps, iv. anil v. ; and for the following passages, xviii. and xix.j

2 [No. 15 in Ward; vol. i. pp. 31-33.]

3 [A pencil drawing by Turner in the National Gallery. " My copy of Turner's
'Geneva,'" writes Mr. Ward, "was etched by George Allen. Mr. Ruskin made
a drawing of Geneva from Turner's point of view, and this was also etched by
Allen. I believe they were intended to be contrasted in Modern Painters. I have
these two etchings." They are here reproduced (Plates XIV., XV.). Ruskin's
drawing was made in 1861.]



282 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [isss

it on this paper, dip it in boiling milk, 1 and send it folded in a
letter. Fll put it to rights here. If you send it to-morrow week,
direct: Post Restante, Schwytz, Switzerland. Always truly yours,

J. RUSKIN.



To WILLIAM WARD 2

HKI.LIN/.II.VA, June 2lst, 1858.

MY DEAR WARD, I have your letter with the sketch of Geneva,
which is very nice, and useful to me. I do not know, however, if you
got a letter requesting you to do some Naples subjects for me or
whether Mr. Wornum gave you leave to copy them. He speaks in a
letter I have to-day of looking over the Naples subjects for you, so I
hope it is all right. But please send me a line addressed Poste Re-
stante, Bellinzona, and tell me all about what is going on. And please
bear apologies from me, respectfully, to Miss Helps 3 for my carelessness
in not leaving out the Libers, as I said I would. I was so driven the
last day that I left (as you know) very important documents of my
own behind me, and on the morning of starting I locked up every-
thing in a heap where no one can get at them. Those I left with you
are for your pupils generally, and I wish you to have them in service
as much as you can ; so that you must ask Miss Helps to be kind
enough to choose one, and finish working from that, and then exchange
it for another; as I left you quite few enough for your work. And
so with all your pupils ; you had better lend one only at a time, it
gains better attention for it.

I shall be able to answer anything you want to ask me by return
of post, if you send your letter to Bellinzona within a couple of days
after receiving this.

Send me word especially how we stand in money matters. Yours
always faithfully, J. RUSKIX.

P.S. I have just got a letter from Mr. Wornum involving some
more business. Please go to Mr. Rudland, 4 at Marl borough House.
I don't know if he has got rid of the packets of my old Catalogue >
by sending them anywhere, but I suppose not. Please take them

1 [To fix the pencil lines.]
" [No. 17 in Ward; vol. i. pp. 3,j-,m]
1 [Daughter of Sir Arthur Helps.]

4 [A curator of the Turner collection exhibited at Marlborough House in 18.5?.]
& Catalogue of Turner Sketches and Drawings exhibited at Marlborough House in
1857-1858.]




V>?W "i

I'f: &H



1858] A VAL MAGGIA MAIDEN 283

away with you, and put them into any cellar or lumber-room. I want
you to be able to get at them, because the prefatory remarks may be
generally useful to your pupils, and to other people to whom I may
want to send one now and then. Ask Mr. Rudland, also, how the
new Catalogue is selling; if he has made any progress with his first
batch, and is likely to want some more. Send me one of the Cata-
logues here instantly, as I must look it over before any more are
printed. Send it to Poste Restante, Bellinzona. J. R.

Please call at 4 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square. Inquire for Miss Hill, 1
and ask her to write a line to me at the above address. Also find
out Butterworth ; 2 he was last staying at 2 Cold Harbour Place,
Camberwell. Give, or send, him the enclosed note.



To his FATHER

LOCARNO, 5th July, Monday Morning,

It is quite worth coming here, if only to see the ugliest costume in
Europe. There may perhaps be elsewhere something as ugly uglier
cannot be. It consists of a round, simple, strong straw hat of this
shape, 3 wholly guiltless of any sort of turn, twist, coquettish plait
of straw, variety of curve, curl of rim, riband, knot, flower or any
other conceivable relief. It is simply a pickle jar in the middle of
a flat dish, and so strongly made as to be not at all liable to any
picturesque discomposures of form by wind or rain. Under this, the
head appears with the hair chiefly concealed in the hat : a little only
left at the side of the face. The nature of petticoat or bodice cannot
be seen, for a kind of pinafore is fastened a little below the neck, just
above the heart; and with holes to let down the arms, falls at once
like a sack to a little below the knees. Then appear white thick
woollen trousers, not full enough to be Turkish, but quite full enough
entirely to hide all shape of limb, and slouched down at the ankle
over a very thick, solid shoe ; giving the idea of the foot of a coal-
heaver thrust through a pair of old sailor's trousers. An Italian
maiden of the Val Maggia is, therefore, in her national costume one
of the most remarkable objects which I have ever seen in the course of

1 [Miss Octavia Hill.]

1 [For whom, see the Introduction ; above, p. Ixiv.]

3 [A rough sketch was here given; the shape being like a silk "top-hat."]



284 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1858

my travels; and I mean to apologise to Mr. Vacher in my next Notes
for finding too much fault with his figures. 1

(BELLINZONA, Monday evening.) I have just got yours of the 30th,
and am much relieved by hearing you are not anxious about letters,
tho" 1 despondent at my being away. Tm sure I do not wonder ; I often
miss you and mama very sadly in the midst of all this interest of work
and beauty of scene; how much more must you in the quietness of
home and the oppressiveness of a feverish summer and dull business.
However, I hope my letter saying when I was coming home will have
given you some little pleasure in looking forward.

To his FATHER



, 2 Tuesday, July 6th, 1858.

I was saying that I had been disgusted at Locarno. The chapel
stations, as usual, (going up to church on top of rock called of the
Madonna del Sasso) are filled with representations of the Passion
that of the Last Supper is highly curious, representing the table with
a real cloth on it bread, knives and forks, plates and wine, all in
very well imitated disorder, (as after supper) made in plaster; but the
notable point is that the preparers of the scene have not known what
the Last Supper was really made of. It is all of fish (fish of the
Lago Maggiore, by the way) not a bit of lamb anywhere. We dwell
far too much on Romanism as a false religion, instead of a merely
shallow and ignorant condition of religion ; anybody who has much
respect for its traditions ought to go to Locarno. When I got to
the top of the rock, I met a number of peasant girls fortunately not
in Val Maggia costume carrying huge stones on their shoulders like
the proud people in the Purgatorio ; only the girls had each a wooden
frame formed of a plank with two cross bars for the shoulder, so
[sketch]. They were giving their Sunday's forenoon to work of the
church, and carrying sand and stones for the repairs up the hill alter-
nately : about a hundred pounds weight, Couttet said, in each load ;
when twelve o'clock came, they had some soup in a room beside the
convent kitchen, and afterwards came out into the garden and sat
under an oleander tree all burning with blossom, and sang hymns to
the Virgin as loud as they could, till the rocks thrilled again, the
voices being strong and lovely not always, I am sorry to say, in
harmony. The whole thing very sad and painful, as well as beautiful ;
testifying in various ways to superstition, and misery : to superstition,

Academy Notes, 18.57 : Vol. XIV. p. 137.]
late XVI., here given, is from a dniwiug made " nenr Bellinzona" at this time.]



1 [See

2 [Plal




xMI i n r, <m a



1858] TURNER'S "CAREW CASTLE" 285

in so far as the hymns to the Virgin were sung clearly for mere
recreation, with loud laughs when any voice went wrong; to misery of
life, in the worn features, and evident habit of labour in ways unfit
for women. Four or five, but for this strain in the features, would have
been very beautiful one with a twisted olive branch in her hair made
some amends for the Val Maggia damsels.



To WILLIAM WARD 1

BORROMEAN ISLANDS, LAGO MAGGIORE, ITALY, July 9th, 1858.

MY DEAR WARD, I have now received all your letters, and am
much obliged for all you have done.

I like the piece of Naples outline 2 well, but it has failed in some
important way in the piece of foliage in the centre. Please do that
bit over again with intense care, and send it me.

Your corrections of the Catalogue are all quite true and useful. 3
The " Okehampton " is a great mistake ; I intended to change the draw-
ings and forgot to do so. The " Carew Castle " mistake (until I get
a new Catalogue prepared, which I will immediately) may be a little
mended by your going up to Mr. Halsted's, in Bond Street, and getting
a print of " Carew Castle " or proof if he has no print telling him to
put it to my account. Get a decent portable frame for it, and give
it to Mr. Rudland to show, or nail up, as he thinks best. If Hal-
sted has not a print, inquire before buying a proof at any of the
other print-shops; the old Wardour Street ones often have these
things. A print is quite as good (if neatly mounted it often gives
a better idea of the drawing than a proof) for all that is wanted. If
you buy a proof, don't cut its margin, if you buy a print, cut its
margin, and give it a raised mount like the drawings.

Write to me to say if you have this to Poste Restante, Arona, Lago
Maggiore, Italy.

Nothing can be better than all you are doing; I am glad to hear
of the coloured study.

You may comfort the young lady whose hand runs away with her
by telling her that when once she has bridled it, properly, she will
find many places where she can give it a pleasant canter or even
put it to speed in sketching from nature. But it must be well
bitted (braceletted, perhaps, would be a better word) at first. Always
most truly yours, J. RUSKIN.

1 [No. 18 in Ward; vol. i. pp. 39-41.]

' [A study from one of Turner's sketches at the National Gallery.]

:! [For note of these, see Vol. XIII. pp. 23-3, 234.]



286 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. 1 [1858

To JOHN SIMON, M.D. l

TURIN, 20th July, 1858.

DEAR MR. SIMON, I hope this will welcome you to peace and un-
remorseful rest: Mrs. Simon gives me a pensive account of you which
much vexes me, for I don't quite think you right in allowing yourself
to be so tormented or at least in doing so much work with no
probable result at present. It seems to me you ought simply to do
what is absolutely necessary, and to reserve your health and power
for a proper time of action not to grieve because you cannot act
immediately. Every day opens more and more the public mind to
the necessity of some observance of laws of health, and execution of
their requirements how sorry you would be if an opportunity suddenly
opened to you and you were too ill to seize it. Surely this statistical
work, aided by the authority of your position, can neither be useless
nor uninteresting; and when you have done all you can do in a formal
way, ought you not to be glad if the temporary inactivity of your
department leaves you leisure to carry on inquiries which may make
its future activity more telling? Of course it must be tormenting to
know that 4000 people die annually because A. or B. is indolent or
nervous; but I don't see why it should be more tormenting than to
see countries left savage because nobody will pay to cultivate them, or
devastated, because kings quarrel with one another to see millions
ruined or starved by the madness of an absurd demagogue or two, or
kept dead in soul by the cunning of a priest or two. Surely, if, as you
are described by Mrs. Simon, you are suffering deeply in the sense of
the degradation of belonging to a perforce useless department, we all
of us ought to suffer as much in the sense of belonging to that useless
department " the world." Please make yourself quite cheerful directly,
and you shall have a bout, some day, at fever and ague, as I have had
at Turner sketches. I am staying at Turin, having found three grand
Paul Veroneses there. On Monday I leave for the Vaudois valleys,
and I will write to Interlachen to say how I get on. A line addressed
Poste Restante, La Tour, near Pignerol, will find me for a week yet.
Please give enclosed line to Mrs. Simon, and believe me affectionately
and gratefully yours, J. HUSKIN.

You know you really are to teach me some medicine one of these
days. I begin to think it's almost the only thing in the world worth
knowing. History one can't know, and other things one needn't but
to know how to stop pain must be wonderful.

1 [Who, since 18oo, had held the post of Medical Officer to the Privy Council.]



1858] THE ALPS FROM TURIN 287

To WILLIAM WARD 1

TURIN, July 21st, 1858.

MY DEAR WARD, I send you eleven slips (two stuck together) with
corrections of my Catalogue in them. Get a Catalogue from Mr. Rud-
land, and pin these slips on the pages they belong to. Take the whole
to my printers (Spottiswoode's, New Street Square, Fleet Street) ; show
them this note, requesting them to make the alterations and to throw
off fifty copies, and send them to Mr. Rudland. Ask Mr. U ml land to
make use, as soon as he receives them, of these altered ones, not selling
any more of the present ones. I know there's only a month yet to
run, but I want the alterations made, nevertheless.

If the engraving of " Carew "" 2 is not put up by the sketch, as I
have now stated it to be, you and Mr. Rudland may put in any sentence
explanatory of what you have done ; or you may leave the sentence in
parenthesis out, if you have done nothing.

Please write immediately, Poste Restante, Turin, saying if you have
this note all right. Most truly yours, J. RUSKIN.



To his FATHER

[TURIN] Wednesday, 4th August [1868].

This must be a short letter, for I have stayed at drawing longer
than usual. Solomon 3 is getting on nicely ; I hope great things of him.
The weather here is quite delightful just warm enough to let one live
in the open air by always having the windows open, yet not at all
oppressive. I could not understand why I thought so much less of the
Alps seen from here than I used to do ; but yesterday evening they
appeared again in all their glory, and I see that the effects of atmos-
phere have been too clear in general hitherto, and made them look
small, (except only on that one stormy night that I told you of,)
but yesterday there was a great deal of soft mist, and they looked
magnificent.

I went to the Protestant church last Sunday (having usually spent
all the forenoon in hunting regiments) and very sorry I was that I

1 [No. 19 in Ward; vol. i. pp. 42-43.]

2 [Engraved by W. Miller for Turner's England and Wales. For the explana-
tion of the corrections here noted, see Vol. XIII. pp. 233, 234, 314 .]

3 [Iii Paolo Veronese's picture of the Queen of Sheba, which Ruskin was copying :
see Vol. XVI. pp. xxxvii.-xl.]



288 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1858

did go. Protestantism persecuted, or pastoral in a plain room, or a
hill chapel whitewashed inside and ivied outside, is all very well ; but
Protestantism clumsily triumphant, allowed all its own way in a capital
like this, and building itself vulgar churches with nobody to put into
them, is a very disagreeable form of piety. 1 Execrable sermon cold
singing. A nice-looking old woman or two of the Mause Headrigg
type; 2 three or four decent French families; a dirty Turinois here and
there, spitting over large fields of empty pew ; and three or four soldiers,
who came in to see what was going on and went out again, very wisely,
after listening for ten minutes, made up the congregation.

I really don't know what we are all coming to, but hope for some-
thing better from the Vaudois. Monte Viso looks very inviting, but
by the maps he seems terribly difficult to get at.



To his FATHER

TURIN, Sunday, 29M August, 1858.

(Afternoon.) I've been in the gardens to see the company and
hear bands, and then at Protestant Italian afternoon service the
Band gratis the Sermon two francs (poor-box), and very dear at the
money. But the gardens were beautiful to-day, and the autumn
season is just going to begin, and some of the better people have
come back to town, so that there were a great many pretty ladies ;
and the Italian ladies are delightful in the way they stand to be
looked at. An English woman, the moment she finds out what you
are about which of course she does directly looks like a Gorgon,
or turns her back ; but the Italian ladies, provided of course you look
properly and as if you weren't looking, will stand for you quite quietly
through the variations of a whole air, and even give you the front
face when you had only ventured on a position commanding the profile
if the front is the best, and you don't go too near. I maintain
the English proceeding to be at once dishonest, foolish, and rude-
dishonest, because if a woman doesn't want to be noticed, why does
she dress ? foolish, because if she does want to be noticed, she is none
the prettier for the Gorgon expression ; and rude, because she couldn't
behave worse to you if you weren't a gentleman and had really stared
at her impudently, while the Italian lady says frankly, " Of course
you know that I put on this nice bonnet and braided my hair so

1 [For a reference to this service, see Prceterita, ill. 23 (Vol. XXXV. p. 49.5).]
* [See Prerti-rita, Vol. XXXV. pp. G3-G4.]



1858] ITALIAN BEAUTY 289

carefully that people might see how pretty I am ; and you are
quite right in thinking me so, for I am one of the prettiest ladies
in the gardens to-day, and provided I see you are a gentleman, and
you see that / am a lady, you may look as long as you like, and
welcome."

With these advantages, I came to some further conclusions respect-
ing Italian beauty. It may be the work I have had with Paul
Veronese, but I am getting rather to admire the type of countenance
which I mentioned to you as having a slight shadow of the negress
in it : there were several very fine to-day ; the lips slightly too thick,
but very perfectly cut; complexion dark, but rich and pure eyes
nearly black foreheads very square hair dark and magnificent. A
head of this kind does not look well in a bonnet, depending as it
does chiefly on the noble hair for its character; and I was surprised
to see how thoroughly the women of the type accepted it, and dressed
with points of colour which suggested the form of the head and
extinguished the bonnet. One in particular I noticed for her daring
treatment of her bonnet itself; she wore two earrings of blue enamel,
which caught the eye and kept it to the outline of the head, and she had
fastened her back hair with a golden pin, with a ball of chased gold
nearly an inch in diameter, thrusting the pin right through the bonnet
and so nailing it to her hair ; of course the imagination went straight
to the hair, and the bonnet went for nothing. She could not have done
this in London or Paris, but here, the ladies' real national costume
is a black silk dress, with white veil fastened by a golden pin of this
kind to the back hair; so that the cruel treatment of the bonnet
was not so conspicuous. (I fear the above account gives some impres-
sion of the thing's being done roughly. Mama and Mrs. Edwardes
will understand, I doubt not, that the bonnet was transfixed with
exquisite tenderness and precision, in the right place no surgical
operation could have been performed with greater care, or more accom-



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