which Mr. Eisenkraemer l offered me was the very piece I always was
so fond of, with the two chalets under the Aiguille Blaitiere. I
went straight up saw Eisenkraemer, thought it over in a walk up
and down the Montanvert, and bought the ground for 120 (18,000
francs). It has, as far as I remember, the richest pasturage of all
Mont Blanc side (for from 15 to 20 cows); and entirely splendid rock
and wood, the space of ground being altogether about 100 times as large
as the village of Chamouni. It is unmeasured ; but bounded by com-
munal ground with very accurate limits. Couttet is to get a rough
estimate of the space, but they never think of measuring surface the
rocks making it so irregular, both in form and value. The principal
smooth bit of it is that on right hand in the finished grey sketch
of Chamouni in your room : my limit on that side is the torrent, and
I have all the three chalets. I mean to have the Brezon as well ;
but the negotiations for that cannot be concluded in less than three
months. This Chamouni bit gives me something to fasten on and
think of at once.
To FREDERIC LEicirrox 2
[DENMARK HIM,, June, 1863.]
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
MY DEAR LEIGHTOX, Fve only just had time to look in, yesterday,
at R. Ac., and your pictures are the only ones that interest me in it ;
and the two pretty ones, peacocks and basket, interest me much.
1 [See above, p. 118.]
- [From the Life, Letters, and Work of Frederic Leighton, vol. ii. p. 120. The
pictures referred to were No. 382 ("Jezebel and Ahab having caused Naboth to
be put to death, go down to take possession of his vineyard ; they are met at the
entrance by Elijah the Tishbite") ; No. 406 ("A Girl with a basket of fruit") ; and
No. 429 ("A Girl feeding peacocks").]
446 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. 1 [186s
Ahab I don't much like. You know you, like all people good for
anything in this age and country (as far as Palmerston), are still a
boy and a boy can't paint Elijah. But the pretty girls are very
nice very nearly beautiful. I can't say more, can I? If once they
were beautiful, they would be immortal too. But if I don't pitch
into you when I get hold of you again for not drawing your Cane-
phora's basket as well as her head and hair ! You got out of the
scrape about the circle of it by saying you wanted it hung out of
sight (which / don't). But the meshes are all wrong inelegantly wrong
which is unpardonable. I believe a Japanese would have done it
better. Thanks for nice book on Japan with my name Japanned. It
is very nice too. I wish the woodcuts were bigger. I should like it
so much better in a little octavo with big woodcuts on every other
page. But I never do anything but grumble. Faithfully yours,
[DENMARK HILL, June, 1863.]
MY DEAR LEIGHTOX, The public voice respecting the lecture you
are calumniously charged 2 with is as wise as usual. The lecture is
an excellent and most interesting one, and I am very sorry it is
I am also very sorry the basket i-s yours, in spite of the very pretty
theory of accessories. It is proper that an accessory be slightly
sometimes even, in a measure, badly painted ; but not that it should
be out of perspective; and in the greatest men, their enjoyment and
power animated the very dust under the feet of their figures much
more the baskets on their heads : above all things, what comes near a
head should be studied in every line.
There is nothing more notable to my mind in the minor tricks of
the great Venetians than the exquisite perspective of bandeaux, braids,
garlands, jewels, flowers, or anything else which aids the rounding. <i
of their heads.
It is my turn to claim Browning for you, though I know what
your morning time is to you. I must have you over here one of these
summer mornings, if it be but to look at some dashes in sepia by
Reynolds, and a couple of mackerel by Turner 3 which, being principals
^Froin the Life, Letters, and H'or/r of Frederic Ldyhton, vol. ii. pp. 1120-121.]
1 Possibly A Discourse on Jajxinese Art, delivered at the Royal Institution, May I,
18H;}, by John Leifrhton (privately printed).]
3 [The "dashes in sepia by Reynolds" were perhaps those no\v at Oxford
(Standard Serie.-, 2!)-.'U), Vol. XXI. p. 24. Turner's studies of Mackerel were ;il<o
given to Oxford (Educational Series, 182), Hid., p. i)J.]
1863] CRITICISM OF LEIGHTON 447
instead of accessories, I hope you will permit to be well done, though
they're not as pretty as peacocks.
I have been watching the " Romola " plates with interest. 1 The
one of the mad old man with dagger seemed to me a marvellous study
(of its kind), and I feel the advancing power in all.
Will you tell me any day you could come any hour and I'll try
for Browning. Ever faithfully yours, J. RUSKIN.
I'm always wickeder in the morning than at night, because I'm
fresh; so I'll try, this morning, to relieve your mind about the pea-
cocks. To my sorrow, I know more of peacocks than girls, as you
know more of girls than peacocks and I assure you solemnly the
fowls are quite as unsatisfactory to me as the girl can possibly be to
you; so unsatisfactory, that if I could have painted them as well
as you could, and had painted them as ill, I should have painted
To FREDERIC LEIGHTON 2
[DENMARK HILL] Monday.
DEAR LEIGHTON, I saw Browning last night ; and he said he
.couldn't come till Thursday week : but do you think it would put
you quite off your work if you came out here early on Friday and I
drove you into Kensington as soon as you liked? We have enough
to say and look at, surely, for two mornings one by ourselves?
I want, seriously, for one thing to quit you of one impression
respecting me. You are quite right "ten times right" in saying
I never focus criticism. Was there ever criticism worth adjustment?
The light is so ugly, it deserves no lens, and I never use one. But
you never, on the other hand, have observed sufficiently that in such
rough focussing as I give it, I measure faults not by their greatness,
but their avoidableness. A man's great faults are natural to him
inevitable ; if very great undemonstrable, deep in the innermost of
things. I never or rarely speak of them. They must be forgiven, or
the picture left. But a common fault in perspective is not to be so
passed by. You may not tell your friend, but with deepest reserve,
your thoughts of the conduct of his life, but you tell him, if he has
an ugly coat, to change his tailor, without fear of his answering that
1 [For each instalment of Romola as it ran through the pages of the C'ornhill
Magazine, Leighton supplied illustrations. The " old man with dagger" (Baldas-
sare), illustrating ch. liii., was frontispiece in the Cornhill for May 1863. See vol. ii.
p. 220 of the illustrated ed. of 1880.]
2 [From the Life, Letters, and Work of Frederic Leighton, vol. ii. pp. 121-122.]
448 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I
you don't focus your criticism. Now it so happens that I am in deep
puzzlement and thought about some conditions of your work and its
way, which, owing to my ignorance of many things in figure painting,
are not likely to come to any good or speakable conclusion. But it
would be partly presumptuous and partly vain to talk of these ; hence
that silence you spoke of when I saw you last. I wish I had kept it all
my life, and learned, in peace, to do the little I could have done, and
enjoy the much I might have enjoyed. Ever faithfully yours,
Send me a line saying if you will give me the Friday morning,
and fix your own hour for breakfast to be ready ; and never mind
if you are late, for I can't give you pretty things that spoil for wait-
To HENRY ACLAND, M.D.
[DENMARK HILL, June, 1803.]
MY DEAR ACLAND, So many thanks. I should have liked the walk
with you and the Dean and Newton, but could not have come. The
soreness shown in my letter to Mrs. Acland hinged mainly on what I
thought you both being religious people ought to feel when your
friends went towards the Dead Sea. I thought you ought to have
been either plaguing me, or at least inquiring whether I had yet been
made salt or bitumen of supposing you couldn't get me back and it
began to take a little the look of excommunication when I saw how
Colenso's friends really good people, who had loved him treated him.
Then the Bishop of Oxford was very rude to me at the last breakfast
I met him at in London, and I had a fancy he might have been
giving you some episcopal views of friendship. He was wonderfully
civil once, and used to pretend to be interested in pictures he never
took me in but I couldn't think what made him all at once as
studiously uncivil ; for I never supposed he had taken the pains
to search out the mischief underlying a strange stray paragraph or
two of the last vol. of Moil. P., which, as far as I know, nobody
has ever read ; and which, if they had, I had kept so carefully un-
intelligible that I thought no human creature would know what they
meant. I'll send you the Institution abstract of the lecture, 1 which I
must draw up myself. There are two new things in it, as far as I
know what in geology is new or old.
1 ["On the Forms of the Stratified Alps of Savoy," at the Royal Institution,
June o, ]<;:$: see Vol. XXVI. p. ',}.]
1863] W. B. RICHMOND 449
I stay here till August will come and see you some day if you'll
tell me your movements. Ever affectionately and gratefully yours and
Mrs. Acland's, J. RUSKIN.
I will send the sketches before the 16th I have been suddenly
occupied on coming home by this lecture and by R. Academy evidence 1
this last is of importance, as you will see.
To WILLIAM MICHAEL RossETTi 2
DENMARK HILL, 15 June, 1863.
DEAR ROSSETTI, The book is delightful, and thank you much for
sending it. I should like to go and live in Japan.
I'm going to hunt up Gabriel, but am so good-for-nothing and full
of disgusts that I'm better out of his way : still, I'm going to get
into it. Always yours truly, J. RUSKIN.
To GEORGE RICHMOND, A.R.A.
16th June .
DEAR RICHMOND, I can't tell you how much I liked Willy's picture. 3
I only saw it yesterday, or should have written before. It is very
wonderful and beautiful the prettiest thing to me in the room (except
little head which takes my fancy more by chance than anything else
"The First Sitting" in corner of large room). Your Lord Shaftesb.
is a grand drawing ugly subject. I hope Willy's all right again.
He's going ahead too fast. Love to all the children. Ever affection-
ately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON 4
[DKNMARK HILL] 2Qth July, '63.
DEAR NORTON, I answer your kind note instantly to-day. I
would have rejoiced with you, if I could have rejoiced in anything,
1 [Given on June 8 before a Royal Commission : see Vol. XIV. pp. 476-489.]
2 [Rossetti Papers, p. 25. "This note refers," says Mr. W. M. Rossetti, "to a
book of uncoloured Japanese landscapes, of a direct naturalistic treatment, which
I had recently bought, and had produced for Ruskin's inspection. He is more
complimentary here to Japanese art than he has been in some other utterances."
See Time and Tide, Vol. XVII. pp. 340-341 n.]
3 ["Mary, daughter of J. W. Ogle, M.D.," by W. B. Richmond, No. 679 in
the Academy of 1863. G. Richmond's portrait of Lord Shaftesbury was Xo. 798.
"A First Sitting," by W. Fisher, was No. 108.]
4 [No. 36 in Norton; vol. i. pp. 142-144. Parts of the letter ("I am still very
unwell . . . helpless," and "It is not theology . . . truth") had previously been
printed by Professor Norton in his Introduction (p. x.) to the American "Brantwood"
edition of Ethics of the Dust, 1891.]
xxxvi. 2 F
450 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. 1 [is6s
but the world is much too horrible in its aspect to me to allow me
to take pleasure in even the best thing that can happen in it. That
a child is born even to my friend is to me no consolation for the
noble jrrown souls of men slaughtered daily through his follies, and
I kept a diary for you a little while, 1 but when I read it, it was
loathsome to me, and I burnt it. I am still very unwell, and tor-
mented between the longing for rest and for lovely life, and the sense
of the terrific call of human crime for resistance and of human misery
for help though it seems to me as the voice of a river of blood
which can but sweep me down in the midst of its black clots, help-
less. What I shall do I know not or if dying is the only thing
possible. I would have written to you, but it is no use talking of
myself nor to you, in your present blind, sweet, blessed life, as of
birds and flowers ; I would fain not trouble it (more than these short
lines must do) but you cannot give me share of it. Ever your affec-
tionate J. RUSKIN.
I am at home with my father and mother ; am going back to
Savoy for the autumn, but hope to spend winter here.
I find only a ragged scrap of foreign paper, but it would have
been of no use to take a larger for I can't talk of things. It is not
theology that plagues me, but base injustice, selfishness, and utter
scorn of thought or truth.
To LADY NAESMYTH
[DENMARK Hax, July 30, 1863.]
DEAR LADY NAESMYTH, I have had your nice second letter a long
time. It is very nice of you to care about me still. Fin so glad you
are at Lucerne and enjoy it. Yes, you are quite right in quoting
me against myself "To love to hope to pray," 2 but I should have
added " wisely." One may do all three unwisely, and get no good,
until at last one ceases to do them at all. " Hope,"" for instance, I
have just now none of any sort which is not a lively state of being.
I was pleased that you noticed my seal. It is not an old one.
In the Heralds 1 College there is a shield belonging to the name
" Rus/i'672, " (not "kin") which has six spear's heads, silver on sable
with the chevron. This, as we have no genealogy, my father put three
1 [As promised above ; sec pp. 48(5-7.]
' [See Modern Painters, vol. iii. (Vol. V. p. 882).]
1863] THE AUTHOR'S MOTTO 451
crosses on, that he might purchase the right to use it. I chose or
made the motto only lately, and had it cut as you see on a solid
piece of rock chalcedony, drooping in stalactites from the lava of
Iceland the kind of thing which I am getting to be myself flint
out of hot rock. It is about a pound in weight, and the little seal
is an irregular circle, being cut on the end of a stalactite.
You won't be able to read a word on this thin paper. The motto
means as you say a great many things. You may read it "To-day
if ye will hear his voice " or " To-day, while it is called to-day.'" 1 1
To me it has another meaning, which is of no consequence to any-
body else. But practically, and especially, to help me to cure myself
a little of procrastination, if it may be.
Well, perhaps to-morrow, or the day after, I may really look
after Sir John's Liber Studiorum at last.
This enclosed abstract may perhaps amuse you a little on the
zigzag of Lake Lucerne. With sincere and affectionate regards to
Sir John and Miss Ada, yours ever gratefully, J. RUSKIN.
To his FATHER
CORXHILL, Wednesday Evening, 19th [August].
I have all your nice letters with picture cleaning, Bayne, Solomon,
etc. I hope to post this at Thirsk to-morrow, so you will know when
you get it I am so far south again. I have had a long, pleasant,
though melancholy walk by Tweedside this afternoon it is so intensely
like the Tay, it makes me feel as if all the air were full of ghosts.
The Eildon Hills came out against the sunset. I stopped to outline
them with some bits of the Tweed bank, and a small house opposite
which came prettily among the trees; just as I was drawing the roof
and chimneys, it came tumbling into my head that it must be Ashestiel,
but I forget where Ashestiel was; and nobody here knows that Sir
Walter ever lived anywhere but at " Abbotsford House." So I must
wait to find out. I drove over to Ford about eleven o'clock. Lady
W(aterford) is living in a little flowery cottage all clematis and
geranium, under the hill on which she is rebuilding her castle or at
least its turrets. It is an ugly castle enough, but wonderfully beautiful
in position looking over Flodden Field, which, with "King James's
mountain throne," 2 is part of the estate. She has been planting part
1 [Psalms xcv. 7 ; Hebrews iii. 13.]
2 [" . . . From his mountain throne
King James did rushing come." Marmion, vi. 25.]
452 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [186s
of the hill with wood lately, and the descent on the side towards
Twizell bridge is studded Avith trees like the hills in Raphael's back-
grounds. Hut she has not been getting on with her frescoes as well
as I expected. 1 . . . She got lunch for me, but I took nothing; and
drove back here to dinner at four, our old-fashioned travelling hour,
getting my walk by Tweedside afterwards. I am going to drive to
Berwick to-morrow, that I may get a glance at Xorham, and then
catch the south express. Write to Mr. KingsleyY 2
To his FATHER
WINNINGTO.V, 30<A Augitftt, '63.
I have your kind note of yesterday, with the Cornhill number, 3
which is the most interesting to me I have ever read. The art article
is entirely right and admirable and pleasant, because it puts me into
great good-humour with myself. There is a delicious passage about
David lloberts in it. 4 I wonder who wrote it.
The description of the night at the Jura Chalet is refreshing and
interesting (I am afraid I shall be answerable for another such mad-
cap excursion some day, for I have been giving the girls some sketches
of Savoy geology, and having insisted somewhat on the difficulty of
getting up to the Rochers de Lanfon above the Lake of Annecy two
who are always together in mischief, and in good, have vowed to meet
at the foot of them " some day " and get up or perish in the attempt).
Then the bits of novel, "Allington" and "Out of the World, 1 '
are both good. And the opera and several more; and the "anti-
respectability" looks interesting but I have not read it.
1 [" Iluskin's visit," wrote Lady Waterford, " was only a morning one, as the
cottage was quite full. He condemned (very justly) my frescoes, and has certainly
spirited me up to do better " (A. J. ('. Hare, The Start/ of Two Noble Lives, vol. iii.
2 [The llev. William Kingsley, Rector of South Kilvington, near Thirsk : see
the Introduction, above, p. ciii.]
3 [The number for September 1803, containing inter alia an instalment of
Anthony Trollope's The Small House, at Allington ; the first part of a short story,
"Out o'f the World"; a paper on "The Opera 1833-1803" (pp. 295-307); one on
"Anti-Respectability" (pp. 282-294); and a paper on "Art Criticism" sisrned
"P. G. II." (no doubt I'. G. Hamerton : pp. 334-343); and an account (pp. 317-
333) of " How we Slept at the Chalet des Chevres," illustrated by Du Maurier.
To the latter lluskin refers in Vol. XVIII. p. Ixix.]
4 [Th;- passage on Roberts (not mentioned by name) is: "A certain famou>
painter, whose services as an illustrator of interesting buildings wore before tin-
invention of photographic printing of quite inestimable value, has for some year-
exhibited a peculiar kind of cleverly tinted drawings in oil of which he i- the
inventor," etc. Compare Kuskin's own remarks, Vol. XXXV. p. f!2o.]
1863] QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOUSEWIFERY 453
Apropos of which, I hear from Mrs. Scott about the simplicity and
good housewifery of the Queen at Balmoral ; perhaps one of the nicest
being that, some time ago, one of the little princesses having in too
rough play torn the frock of one of her companions (a private gentle-
man's daughter), the Queen did not present the young lady with a new
frock, but made the princess darn the torn one. I would not at first
believe that the princesses had learned to "darn 1 ' 1 ; but Miss Bell was
able at once to refer me to a notice of one of their exclamations at
the great Exhibition about the sewing-machine, which showed being
an expression of an earnest wish to have one, " for it would save so
much trouble" that they had real experience of what sewing meant.
I hear a good deal also about the Princess Alice's husband or rather
his family, his only sister being the chief friend and constant corre-
spondent of one of my old favourites among the children here a
simple country clergyman's daughter (Miss Bramwell). The English
family were staying accidentally at Darmstadt or some such place the
young princess wanted an English girl-friend and they have been fast
friends ever since. The English girl was well worthy of her choice
being now one of the hardest working and most useful young women
(among the manufacturing poor) in all the country. There are many
good girls here now, but I think none quite like her.
To his FATHER
CHABIOUNI, 14//i [Sept. 1863].
The first thing after breakfast this morning I sent for the notary
and Couttet to take counsel with, and we have got the act drawn
up in form ; it is very simple and unmistakable. Couttet has been
inquiring while I was in England into the titles of the property, and
finds them all right. There is a Government duty on purchases of
land which is either 6 or 6-| per cent., which will add < J 50 nearly to
the price. But, on the other hand, being proprietor in the Valley
gives me the right to a share of all the common pasture and wood,
which is much more than 50 worth. You had better now send me
a credit to Geneva for <1000 the odd 200 I shall want for travel-
ling, for Allen, etc. . . . Gordon likes the look of this place very much
nobody seems to approve of the Brezon it suits me, however,
perhaps all the more. The only thing that grieves me is when these
old mountain feelings pass from me. It is a cloudless day, and at this
moment 25 minutes past ten a little black cluster of five people are
just visible creeping up the last snow wreath of the Mont Blanc
454 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [\86s
summit it is all glittering and smooth about them and blue above.
The glaciers below have sunk and retired to a point at which I never
saw them till this year ; if they continue to retire thus, another summer
or two will melt the lower extremity of the Glacier des Bois quite off
the rocks. This is no advantage, as large spaces of fearful rubbish
are left bare. I am pretty well and in fair spirits.
To his FATHER
CHAMOUNI, Sept. 18, 1863.
I have written to Rossetti to scold him for letting that photo, get
abroad. 1 The broad-hatted individual I always forget to tell you is
Scott, the painter of Lady Trevelyan's hall a very good and clever
man, and one of the honestest and best scions and helpers of the best
part of the Pre-Raphaelite school. He has painted for Lady Trevelyan
a very interesting series of historical pictures, from the building of
the wall against the Picts by the Romans down to the forgery of
Armstrong guns at Newcastle. So I have no reason to be ashamed
of my company.
To F. J. FURNIVALL 2
CHAMOUNI, September 2Gth, 1863.
DEAR FUENIVALL, It is too late to congratulate you on your
marriage, but I may on the getting your amanuensis back from the
country, with all my heart. I wish I had one for the sake of other
people, my readers, if not for my own.
Yes, let Jeffrey 3 get an artist to help him if he can. I don't
mean to give in because Tin forty, but I'm unable at present to do,
or to plan, anything. Carlyle says I'm moulting, and I hope that's
all. But it has been a good deal like dying, and very unpleasant,
and I'm not fit for anything yet. As soon as I'm at all good for
anything you'll hear of me pitching into Mill again, so you may look
out for that as the first sign of my recovery. That I can look forward
to recovery is always something.
Kindest regards to Jeffrey. I hope to be of some use as a visitor
at any rate. I am to be home, D.V., by the end of November.
Ever affectionately yours, J. RITSKIX.
1 [Plate XVIII. ; a photograph by Messrs. Downey of Rossetti, Raskin, and
William Bell Scott, taken in Rossetti's garden at Chelsea. For Scott's frescoes at
Wellington, and a less favourable account of them, see Vol. XIV. pp. 491-493.]
2 [No. -2.~) in Fiirnivull, pp. 03-04.]
3 [Mr. Jeffrey, an early member of the Working Men's College, and at this time
an assistant art-teacher there : see The Working Men's College, 1854-1904, li)04, p. -'37.]
W.B.Scott, Raskin, and Rossetti
I H G 3
1863] FITZGERALD'S "OMAR KHAYYAM" 455
To Mrs. JOHN SIMON
CHAMOUNI, Sunday, 27th Sept. '63.
DEAR MRS. SIMON, Please tell John I have his nice letter, and
on receiving it yesterday walked down to Judith's a wet afternoon
partially clearing. Found her washing and making serac 1 out of butter-