pp. 269, 321 ; and for the tour of 1856, Time and Tide (original newspaper edition),
Vol. XVII. p. 476, and Prceteritu, iii. 49 (Vol. XXXV. p. 523).]
3 [W. J. Stillman : see Vol. XVII. p. xxi.]
4 [See PrceUrita, Vol. XXXV. pp. 519, 520.]
838 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i860
And so she is getting nice and strong? Ask her, please, when
you write, with my love, whether, when she stands now behind the
great stick, one can see much of her on each side?
So you have been seeing the Pope and all his Easter performances !
I congratulate you, for I suppose it is something like " Positively the
last appearance on any stage." What was the use of thinking about
him? You should have had your own thoughts about what was to
come after him. I don't mean that Roman Catholicism will die out
so quickly. It will last pretty nearly as long as Protestantism, which
keeps it up; but I wonder what is to come next. That is the main
question just now for everybody.
So you are coming round to Venice, after all? We shall all have
to come to it, depend upon it, some way or another. There never
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
has been anything in any other part of the world like Venetian
strength well developed.
I've no heart to write about anything in Europe to you now.
When are you coming back again ? Please send me a line as soon as
you get safe over to say you are all wrong, but not lost in the
I don't know if you will ever get this letter, but I hope you
will think it worth while to glance again at the Denmark Hill pic-
tures ; so I send this to my father, who, I hope, will be able to give
I really am very sorry you are going you and yours ; and that is
absolute fact, and I shall not enjoy my Swiss journey at all so much
as I might. It was a shame of you not to give me warning before.
I could have stopped at Paris so easily for you ! All good be with
you ! Remember me devotedly to the young ladies, and believe me
ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON l
NEUCHATEL, Uth July, 'GO.
DEAR NORTON, I fear you have not received my last letter, sent,
I think, just before I left England, to tell you how happy I was that
you liked the Rossetti, and also to warn you against liking it too
much, either for my sake or his, it being by no means above his
average work (rather, below it), but still the best I could send. Now, I
have yours and Lowell's, which I need not say give me more pleasure
1 [Atlantic Monthly, July 1904, vol. 94, pp. 9, 10. No. 23 in Norton; vol. i.
i860] ENCOURAGEMENT 339
than any letters I have received or could receive on this subject. 1
They are the more comforting to me because the changes in feeling
which you both accept as wise, or conclusive, in me, are, to me, very
painful pieces of new light, and the sunshine burns my head so that
I long for the old shades with their dew again. That depreciation of
the purist and elevation of the material school is connected with much
loss of happiness to me, and (as it seems to me) of innocence ; nor
less of hope. I don't say that this connection is essential, but at
present it very distinctly exists. It may be much nobler to hope for
the advance of the human race only, than for one's own and their
immortality ; much less selfish to look upon one's self merely as a leaf
on a tree than as an independent spirit, but it is much less pleasant. I
don't say I have come to this but all my work bears in that direction.
I have had great pleasure, and great advantage also, in Stillman's
society this last two months. We are, indeed, neither of us in a par-
ticularly cheerful humour, and very often, I think, succeed in making
each other reciprocally miserable to an amazing extent ; but we do
each other more good than harm at least he does me, for he knows
much just of the part of the world of which I know nothing. He is
a very noble fellow if only he could see a crow without wanting to
shoot it to pieces.
We made a great mistake in staying half our time at Chamouni,
which is not a place for sulky people by any means. I hope you
have got a letter which Stillman wrote to you from St. Martin's,
where we thought much of you, and I looked very wistfully often at
the door of the room in which you introduced me to your Mother
and Sisters, and at the ravine where we had our morning walk. . . .
To Dr. JOHN BROWN 2
LAUSANNE, 6th Aug. '60.
DEAR DR. BROWN, Many and many a time have I been thinking
cf you and wishing to write to you, but pens drop from my fingers
when I take them up now. However, I must just send this line to
thank you first for your note about fifth volume, and then for your
enclosure of Manchester merchant to my father, which is very touching
and interesting, and also for all your good interest and care for me,
even though it alarm you sharply at some of my vagaries. You will
1 [The fifth volume of Modern Painters, which had been published in June.]
2 [No. 4 of "Letters from John Ruskin" in Letters of Dr. John Brown, 1907,
pp. 291-292. Passages of the letter have already been cited in Vol. VII. p. Iviii.,
and Vol. XVII. pp. xx., xxiv., xxxiv., 270 n.J
340 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i860
perhaps like the Political Economy better as it goes on ; meantime,
you must remember that having passed all my life in pretty close
connection with the mercantile world and hearing these subjects often
discussed by men of business at my father's table, I am likely to know
pretty well what I am about, even in this out-of-the-way subject, as
it seems, so you must just wait patiently to see the end of it. I find
it rather refreshing to do a little bit of hard thinking sometimes; even
here among the hills it is very dull work to be quite idle, and I don't
know what would become of me if I had to amuse myself all day long.
I am forced to try to do so, being more tired out than the bulk of
that last volume 1 would apparently justify, but not half the work I
did is in it. I cut away half of what I had written, as I threw it into
the final form, thinking the book would be too big; and half, or nearly
half, of the drawings were left unpublished, the engraver not having
time to do them. There are only three etchings of mine in the book,
but I did seven, of which one was spoiled in biting, three in mezzo-
tinting, so that I was very fairly knocked up when I got the last sheet
corrected. I have since been chiefly in the valley of Chamouni draw-
ing Alpine Roses, or rather Alpine Rose-leaves, with little result, but
mortification. Chamouni itself and all the rest of Switzerland are com-
pletely spoiled by railroads, huge hotels, and architects out of employ,
who persuade the town councils to let them knock down the old town
walls for the sake of the job.
My old disgust of the three letters of last year 2 stays by me just
as strongly as ever, and plagues me with indignation whenever I have
got nothing else to do, but it has got to a point now at which I don't
care about writing letters or anything else. The annexation of Savoy
to France will be an immense benefit to Savoy. 3 Already some stir
is being made in the cretinous torpor of the country, and French
engineers are surveying the Arve banks. The river has flowed just
where it chose these thousand years, on one side of the valley to-day,
on the other to-morrow. A few million of francs judiciously spent
will gain to Savoy as many millions of acres of fruitfullest land and
healthy air instead of miasma.
Among the things which have given me chiefest pleasure in my
news from home was the late account of decided improvement in Mrs.
Accept my heartfelt wishes, for her, and for you. Love to Helen
and Jock. Believe me, ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
[The last volume of Modern Painters : compare Vol. VII. pp. 3, 8.J
[See above, pp. 314, 331.]
3 [Compare Munern 1'uh-eris, 147 (Vol. XVII. p. 270 )]
1860] ROSSETTI'S MARRIAGE 341
To DANTE GABRIEL RossETTi 1
DENMARK HILL, 4 September [I860].
DEAR ROSSETTI, This is the first letter I have written since my
return. I specially wished to congratulate you and Ida 2 by word
of mouth rather than by letter : but I could not get your address at
Chatham Place yesterday. Please let me come and see you as soon
as you can, and believe in my sincere affection and most earnest good
wishes for you both. Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
I am trying to get into a methodical way of writing letters ; but,
when I had written this, it looked so very methodical that I must
put on a disorderly postscript.
I looked over all the book of sketches 3 at Chatham Place yester-
day. I think Ida should be very happy to see how much more beauti-
fully, perfectly, and tenderly you draw when you are drawing her than
when you draw anybody else. She cures you of all your worst faults
when you only look at her.
To DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI 4
[DENMARK HILL. ?1860.]
DEAR ROSSETTI, I have read Jenny, and nearly all the other
poems, with great care and with great admiration. In many of the
highest qualities they are entirely great. But I should be sorry if
you laid them before the public entirely in their present state.
1 [From Raskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism, p. 245. Partly printed also in
I). G. Rossetti: his Family Letters, with a Memoir, vol. i. pp. 209-210.]
z [Rossetti and Miss Siddal had been married on May 23, I860.]
3 ["A large handsome volume given to Rossetti by Lady Dalrymple, into which
he inserted a great number of pencil and other drawings" (D. G. Rossetti: his
Family Letters, with a Memoir, vol. i. p. 209).]
4 [From Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism, pp. 233-235 (No. 60), where the
date "1859" is suggested, but 1860 is more probable. With regard to Ruskin's
criticisms, Mr. W. M. Rossetti remarks that Ruskin "had misapprehended the
relation, the merely casual and extempore relation, which the poem intends to
represent between the male speaker and Jenny" (Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-
Raphaelitism, p. 233). Ruskin's objection to rhyming " Jenny " to " guinea " was
(properly, as many will think) rejected; that to "fail" and "Belle" must have
been accepted, for no lines so rhyming appeared in the published poem. "The
Nocturn" is "Love's Nocturn" ("Master of the murmuring courts"). Ruskin's
criticisms of The Portrait were accepted; the words to which he objected did not
appear, and the whole poem (first composed in 1847) was "considerably revised"
(The Collected Works of Rossetti, edited by W. M. Rossetti, 1886, vol. i. p. 519).]
342 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i860
I do not think Jenny would be understood but by few, and even
of those few the majority would be offended by the mode of treat-
ment. The character of the speaker himself is too doubtful. He
seems, even to me, anomalous. He reasons and feels entirely like a
wise and just man yet is occasionally drunk and brutal : no affection
for the girl shows itself his throwing the money into her hair is
disorderly he is altogether a disorderly person. The right feeling is
unnatural in him, and does not therefore truly touch us. I don't
mean that an entirely right-minded person never keeps a mistress:
but, if he does, he either loves her or, not loving her, would blame
himself, and be horror-struck for himself no less than for her, in such
a moralizing fit.
My chief reason for not sending it to Thackeray l is this discordance
and too great boldness for common readers. But also in many of its
verses it is unmelodious and incomplete. " Fail " does not rhyme to
" Belle," nor " Jenny v to " guinea." You can write perfect verses if
you choose, and should never write imperfect ones.
None of these objections apply to the Nodurn. If you will allow
me to copy and send that instead of the Jenny, I will do it instantly.
Many pieces in it are magnificent, and there is hardly one harsh line.
Write me word about this quickly. And could you and William
dine with us on Wednesday to-morrow week ? I hope to see you
before that, however. Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
Or I will take The Portrait if you like it better. Only you must
retouch the two first stanzas. The " there is not any difference "
To DAXTE GABRIEL RossEm 2
[DENMARK HILL. ? I860.]
DEAR ROSSETTI, Thank you for your kind letter. I ... quite
understand your ways and way of talking. . . .
But what I do feel generally about you is that without intending
it you are in little things habitually selfish thinking only of what
you like to do, or don't like: not of what would be kind. Where
your affections are strongly touched I suppose this would not be so
but it is not possihk you should care much for me, seeing me
so seldom. I wish Lizzie 3 and you liked me enough to say put on
[Editor of the Cornhill Magazine, founded in 1800.]
1 [From Kttskin, Ifosxetti, mid I'rc-Itdfituit'litixin, pp. 252-254.]
1 [llossetti's wife (Miss Elizabeth Siddal), generally called "Ida" by Iluskin.]
1860] ROSSETTI AND HIS WIFE 343
a dressing-gown and run in for a minute rather than not see me; or
paint on a picture in an unsightly state, rather than not amuse me
when I was ill. But you can't make yourselves like me, and you
would only like me less if you tried. As long as I live in the way
I do here, you can't of course know me rightly.
I am relieved this morning from the main trouble I was in yester-
day; and am very affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
Love to Lizzie.
I am afraid this note reads sulky it is not that : I am generally
depressed. Perhaps you both like me better than I suppose you do.
I mean only, I did not misinterpret or take ill anything yesterday:
but I have no power in general of believing much in people's caring
for me. 1 I've a little more faith in Lizzie than in you because,
though she don't see me, her bride's kiss was so full and queenly-
kind : but I fancy I gall you by my want of sympathy in many
things, and so lose hold of you.
DENMARK HILL, October 1st, 1860.
DEAR WARD, Come any evening you like. Those drawings by
Miss Dundas 3 are wonderful can't well be better, except outline a
little hard. Has she examined Hunt well in this respect ? The land-
scapes I will talk to you about. If she comes to town I should like
to see her; I can perhaps show her something about landscape which
will save her trouble. She don't seem to me to care enough about it
to bring out her strength. Her sense of colour is superb she ought
never to work but in colour, and pencil outline ; she needn't do
chiaroscuro separate from colour.
Come any evening about half-past seven o'clock.
I'm so glad you like those economy papers. The next^ will be a
smasher, I'm only afraid they won't put it in. If they don't, I'll
print it separate. Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
1 [Compare Prceterita, ii. 225 (Vol. XXXV. p. 457).]
2 [No. 23 in Ward; vol. i. pp. 50-51. The "economy papers" were those in
the Cornhill Magazine, called Unto this LastJ]
3 [Miss Ada Dundas and her sister of the old Scottish family of Largo, Fife,
and Polton, Midlothian were, as will be seen, among pupils whom Ruskiu hid
sent to Mr. Ward. Ruskin counted Miss Ada Dundas among his "jewel friends,"
though he knew her by correspondence only: see a letter to Dr. Brown, of Feb.
6, 1881, in the next volume.]
4 [Chapter iv. It was inserted, but Ruskin was informed that it must be the
last: see Vol. XVII. pp. xxviii., 143.]
344 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i860
To COVENTRY PATMORE*
DEAR PATMORE, We've just had some grapes sent us from the
country, which appear to me in the present state of English weather
phenomenal ; we send them therefore to you, as a poet, as an example
of grapes grown entirely under the influence of Imagination, for they
must have fancied all the sunshine that has ripened them (if ripe they
In case you have not got my yesterday's letter, I am glad of another
bit of paper whereon to testify my intense delight with the new poem. 2
My Mother is confined to bed just now, and I read it to her nearly
all through yesterday, neither of us liking to stop.
I want to see the first letter of advice which Mrs. Graham wrote
Also I want some more letters from Mildred. Knock out some of
the midshipman, and put in some more Mildred, please, in next edition.
I like poetry very well but I like fun better.
You certainly deserve to be made a Bishop. Won't the people
who live in Closes, and the general Spirits of Mustiness, preside over
your fortunes benevolently henceforward ! Also all the people who
have nothing to do but to be graceful. My word ! when you go out
this season you'll be petted. More than Mr. Punch himself. Ever affec-
tionately yours, with sincere regards to Mrs. Patmore,
To LADY TREVELYAN
[DENMARK HILL, October, I860.]
DEAR LADY TREVELYAN, I've just got my last incendiary produc-
tion (for November) 3 finally revised, and am in for a rest, I believe,
which your letter begins pleasantly. My rest at home began badly,
six weeks ago, by my mother's falling down the stairs in her dressing-
room and breaking the thigh bone; all has gone on since as well as
could be; and I did not write to tell you, because it was no use your
being anxious for her and my father and me. The doctors say now
the limb will be quite useful again. The worst of the thing has been
the confinement, which my mother has, however, borne admirably (with
the help, be it confessed, of some of the worst possible evangelical
theology which she makes me read to her, and I'm obliged of course
Memoirs itnd Correspondence of Coventry I } (ttiore, vol. ii. pp. 2~9-2t!0.]
F<t it /if ul for Ever (1860), the third part of The Angel in the Jlonsc.]
L ('hapter iv. of Unto thin Last.']
1860] IRON HAY-MAKERS 345
to make no disparaging remarks of an irritating character. You may
conceive my state of mind after it !).
You shall have a lily next year if I get over the water. It is
a true lily, about this size in the bell [small sketch], pure white, and
growing in clusters something like this ; it is mingled in the pastures
of the Varens with a ranunculus or buttercup-leaved plant, also growing
in clusters, and like an anemone in the flower very beautiful and
with, I believe, a true anemone, golden and magnificent in size, single
If you look at my Political Economy of Art, you Mail see what to
do with your coal merchant. 1 The price of coals is to be fixed by
the guild of coal merchants ; the carriage to be paid like postage
at a uniform rate, and coals of given quality delivered anywhere at
one price for certain fixed periods. But I can't enter into details yet
for a long while till I've corrupted people's minds more extensively.
So Sir Walter likes iron hay-makers. Well, we'll have it out some
day. I haven't recovered my angelic temper yet, it having been dis-
turbed by seeing a steam engine devouring a wheat stack at Tun-
bridge Wells, and hearing it growling over its prey a mile and a
quarter down the valley.
My father is pretty well recovering from the shock which my
mother's accident caused to him ; and contemplating my Cornhill
gambols with a terrified complacency which is quite touching.
Pm very poorly philanthropy not agreeing with me, as you very
properly say it shouldn't. The other thing suits me much better. I
send this scratch merely to thank you for nice letter. I'll write more
soon. Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To J. H. LE KEux 2
DENMARK HILL, October 13th [I860].
DEAR LE KEUX, I cannot tell you how much I am obliged to
you for all your goodness to Allen. 3 I have not been able to look
round since I came home, owing to an accident which has happened
to my mother ; and a good deal of trouble I've had in wading
through the rubbish of modern political economy which one must do
before one can send it to the devil, to whom it properly belongs.
1 [See Vol. XVI. p. 97, where Ruskiii advocates the re-establishment of Trade
Guilds, though he does not specifically mention the fixing of prices among their
[No. 11 in Various Correspondents, pp. 40-41.]
above, p. 330.]
346 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i860
I hear that my people have been practising it on the plates, by
beating down the printers. Would you kindly, send me word what
the printers ought to have, for good and careful printing, and I will
see about it.
This is the first quite free day IVe had, and I begin it by thank-
ing you for all you have done for Allen. I hope we shall do you
credit. IVe been trying to rest in Switzerland, but find that doing
nothing is dull work, and am very stupid in consequence. Ever affec-
tionately yours, J. KUSKIN.
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON l
DENMARK HIIX, -ith November, 'GO.
DEAR NORTON, I had your kind and delightful letter, with Lowell's,
on Lake Lucerne, and waited till I could give some tolerable account
of myself before answering it. Which time of tolerableness seems
hardly likely to come at present, for I am resting now, and find
myself in a general state of collapse. I hate the sight of pen and
paper, and can't write so much as a note without an effort. I don't
think about anything, and feel consequently like Nothing, my chief
sense of existence lately having been in thinking or trying to think.
Stillman knows all about me and will tell you whatever you want to
know. When I begin to think at all, I get into states of disgust and
fury at the way the mob is going on (meaning by mob, chiefly Dukes,
Crown Princes, and such like persons) that I choke; and have to go
to the British Museum and look at Penguins till I get cool. I find
Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in
the world so sympathetically ridiculous ; one can't be angry when one
looks at a Penguin.
I enjoyed my Swiss sojourning with Stillman exceedingly I don't
know what I should have done without him, indeed, for I couldn't
work, and yet moped when I did nothing. Even as it was we moped
a little, both of us being considerably out of heart ; but we did better
than either of us would have done by himself.
I've nothing to tell you either, specially pleasant. I think Hossetti
is getting on, but he does such absurd things in the midst of his
beautiful ones that he'll never get the public with him. He has just
been and painted a Madonna with black hair in ringlets, like a George
1 [Xo. 24 in Norton ; vol. i. pp. 100-10,3. A passage from the letter (" When
I begin . . . get cool") had previously been printed by Professor Norton in his
Introduction (p. xiii.) to the American " Brantwood " edition of Munera Pulreris,
1860] ARTIST FRIENDS 347
the 2nd wig, and black complexion like a Mulatto nigra sum 1 not
that he meant that, but he took a fancy to the face.
It is very pretty, however, to see how much better he draws his
wife than any other model. When he was merely in love with her
he used to exaggerate all the faults of her face and think them
beauties, but now that he's married he just draws her rightly, 2 and
so much more tenderly than other women that all his harshness and
eccentricity vanish whenever she sits.
I see hardly anybody now. Fve got so fastidious and exacting
that I never praise anybody enough to please them so they turn
me out of their rooms in all haste. One or two love me; but though
I admire their work, it's quite out of my way. Munro the sculptor,
like all sculptors, lives in a nasty wood house full of clay and water-
tubs, so I can't go without catching cold. Jones is always doing things
which need one to get into a state of Dantesque Visionariness before
one can see them, and I can't be troubled to get myself up, it tires
me so. So I make old William Hunt draw me Nuts and Oyster-shells,
and other non-exciting objects. I think I may as well, now, instead
of Shells have Oysters. I'll ask him. Read my last bit of Political
Economy, please, in Comhill Magazine for this month. 3 I think
there's some force in it. And take my best love, and give some of
it to your mother and sisters, and believe me ever affectionately and
gratefully yours, J. RUSKIN.
To ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
5th November [I860].
DEAR MRS. BROWNING, I have been these two years back in a state
of mind quite unfit for letter-writing. Partly tired and melancholy :
partly in an unspeakable condition, not knowing what to say of myself
or to any one else. You, I believe, were made ill by Villafranca ;
but you could say your say about it 4 I could not. I wrote three
letters about it to a Scotch paper which I thought would insert them
the editor was frightened at the strong language. I got two put in
another paper ; 5 the third, the strongest and worthiest, nobody would