milk, and not at all well. I blew her fire up for her, and took my
first lesson in serac-making if I don't ultimately mend their serac-
manners, call me any names you like nasty sour stuff she put into
it, enough to poison the Arve.
Well, she isn't well, and I made an appointment for her to come
here after mass to-day, and John shall have the "Prognostics" to-
I'm a little better than I was, and going on with mineralogy and
such like. Ned Jones has teazed me out of my Brezon plan, 2 and I
don't know what's to happen to me next I've put myself pretty
nearly into his hands to do what he likes with me; I may as well do
that as "lean unto my own understanding." 3 Did John tell you of
the delightful Eastern poem I've got, of eleventh century? Here's
such a jolly stanza out of it :
" Then to the rolling Heaven itself I cried,
Asking ' What Lamp had Destiny to guide
Her little Children stumbling in the Dark ? '
And 'A blind understanding/ Heaven replied." 4
I wish the old Persian could see how much better I write for love
At all events, I'm coming back to London before the last day
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
of November, as far as I know my destiny at present.
Tell John this is going to be a German bath next year, so he
needn't send me anywhere else. The streams have been playing
billiards over the valley meadows to purpose, and have left too many
of their white balls about to look pretty they can't complain of
humans after that.
1 [A cheese made in the Alps, which splits into rectangular pieces ; hence
applied to the towers of a glacier ice-fall.]
2 [See above, pp. 442, 444, 453, and Vol. XVII. p. Ixxviii. A letter from
Burne-Jones dissuading Ruskin from taking up his abode on the top of the Brezon
is printed in Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. p. 2(37.]
3 [Proverbs iii. 5.]
4 [Stanza xxxii. in the first edition (only) of FitzGerald's Rubdii/dt of Omar
Khayyam. For Iluskin's appreciation of the poem, see Vol. XXXIV. p. 70,5.]
456 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [is6s
I sleep a good deal better than I did, tell John also, and came
down from the Tapia in only a quarter of an hour more than he saw
me come down in ever so many years ago, when I used to think
myself fast. Love to him and Boo. . . .
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON*
CHAMOUNI, October 6, 1863.
MY DEAR NORTON, IVe no heart to write to you while this war is
going on, nor much to write of anything going on here; but I have
been asked to write, and beg of you to send us, or put us in the way
of getting, the pamphlet or magazine (Q. Atlantic ?) which contains
Oliver W. H.'s speech on the 4th of last July. 2 There is also an
American periodical which gives an account of a blind man's interview
with Carlyle can you tell me anything of this?
I hope you are well, in that walled Paradise of yours don^t try
to get out. There's a great deal too much elbow room in Hades (for
all that the roads that way are crowded) I can assure you.
I'm trying to get interested in geology again, and should be,
thoroughly, if there were any chance of living long enough to make
anything out. But since my time crystallography alone has become a
science for nine lives, and there are seven new elements or so, names
ending in Um, in Chemistry.
For the rest, I'm a little better, I believe but very slowly. Send
word to Denmark Hill, please. Ever affectionately yours,
[From Chamouni, Ruskiu went to sketch in Northern Switzerland : see
Vol. XVII. p. Ixxvi. The drawing of Baden (Plate XIX.) was made at this
To Miss ELLEN H EATON
DENMARK HILL, IBM Xov., 1!3G3.
MY DEAR Miss H EATON, I wish this week chiefly to ask you to
give me immediate authority to take the Dante's vision 3 away from
llossetti lie may any day take a fancy to rub it half out; and he is
1 [No. 37 in Xorton ; vol. i. pp. 144-145. Part of the letter ("I'm trying . . .
a little better") had previously been printed l>y Professor Norton in his Introduction
(pp. x.-xi.) to the American "Hrantwood" edition of Ethics of the J)ust, 1801.]
1 [Oration tJe!ire.red before the Citn Authorities at Boston on the RTth Anniversary
of the Xtitional Independence of Amerirn, by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Philadelphia :
printed for Gratuitous Distribution, 1803. ]
8 [This may be either "The Vision of Rachel and Leah " (see above, p. 200 /;.)
or "Dante's Dream" both of which drawings belonged to Miss Heaton.J
l c ii . S wi t 50 r la 11 d
i ,s <:> rs .
1863] "SIDONIA THE SORCERESS" 457
in a state of transitional and enfeebled powers just now, in which
every touch would be destructive. Never let the drawing get near
his house again I will send it wherever you like but don't leave it
there. Never mind about the Caius Cestius 1 don't leave your walls
disconsolate ; I've plenty. I shall probably be in town the whole of
the winter after the middle of December. I may be over in France
again for a day or two, and shall be at Winnington a few days before
then, but then shall be settled. The better way to manage about
the Dante will be to write immediately to Rossetti, making him pro-
mise not to touch it, and to tell him to let me have it if I ask for
it. I will ask in a few days, and when you get it back, don't send
it about any more, to any one. It should never be moved, or some-
body will always be asking for it.
I knew perfectly that you did not doubt my being useful at
Winnington. What I thought you did not see Avas that they were
useful to me which poor little, good Constance can't be at present,
but I am very glad to know about her.
You seem mightily scandalised about Sidonia I have never read
the book. 2 Edward told me only she was a witch. I never told him
the drawings were for a young lady, or he would have told me more
about it as it was, I saw no more harm in it than in his drawings
of Medea and Circe, or any other of his pet witches and mine. I'm
devoted to Circe, for instance; and he's making me a drawing of her
poisoning the meat and going all round the table like a cat it will
I was glad to hear of the Manchester Courts. 3 I shall not be in
Leeds or anywhere else north this year, but still hope to see you in
London. Always faithfully yours, J. HUSKIX.
To Miss ELLEN HEATOX
[DENMARK HILL] Sunday, November 23, 1863.
DEAR Miss HEATOX, Thank you for pleasant letter. I am glad to
hear what you and my other friends say of the photograph. I don't
think it like me on the evil side it is as scandalous as both the
[Probably Turner's drawing of "Rome from Monte Testaccio" (with the
Pyramid of Cains Cestius in the foreground), engraved in Hakewill's Italy.']
[William Meinhold's Sidonia the Sorceress, a romance for which llossetti had
"a positive passion" (W. M. Rossetti's D. G. Rossetti, vol. i. p. 101), and which
inspired two small water-colours by Edward Burne-Joues, "Sidonia von Bork " and
" Clara von Bork."]
3 [For another reference to the Manchester Law Courts,, see Vol. XVIII.
458 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i86s
Mr. Richmond's are caricatures on the good side. But I dislike my
face on entirely simple and certain laws because it is bad in colour
and form. I judge it as I would anybody else's, and don't like it;
but I'm glad to know other people can put up with it if they are
used to it, and am glad to know that its expression is intelligible
when I'm talking. I'm not going to talk any more yet, though, for
some time. Also, I'm glad to know you weren't so much put out
about the Sidonia.
I've been to Rossetti's to-day ; the picture is safe, and I have made
him assured that I should think it entirely unfriendly and false of
him if he touched it. He can't bear to be forced to anything, and so
muttered that " it wasn't going to be touched," so my mind is at rest
about it for the present. I had no excuse for taking it away, as I'm
not at Denmark Hill just now; but after he has had it a little longer,
if he has not used it, I shall insist on having it.
He has improved the work I saw some time back considerably, and
is in better state of mind, I hope coming round.
What do you quarrel with "faithfully" for? It is one of the
most serious words I ever use. I would often write " gratefully "-
and do don't I ? to you, and I don't write that to many people.
Hardly any now get an "affectionately," for I've very little affection
left it dries out of one as one gets old. But I'm very heartily yours
(Will that do?). J. RUSKIX.
To his FATHER 1
WIXXIXGTOX, Monday Evening, November 23, 1803.
As I was running down here I scribbled a letter to Bayne,
merely to show him that I paid him some attention and did not
despise his paper. I promised you to publish no more letters with-
out letting you see them, so just glance over this and send it or not
as you like I rather think you will not like, and I daresay you
are quite right. I cannot possibly write now in a proper temper of
anything, or to anything, clerical. This letter may perhaps amuse
1 [A few words of this letter have been printed in Vol. XVII. p. Ixix. ; and a
few others in Vol. XVIII. p. Ixxi. The Weelclji Renew of November 21, 18(53, had
(1) a letter by " J. I)." defending the policy of non-intervention from the attacks
of " impulsive men like Mr. lluskin," and (2) a leading article upon the same
letter, taking the other view, and saying: "A sketch of British policy in its ethical
bearings, since the period of the Russian war, from the pen of Mr. Kuskin would
be worth perusing; and if he enters the lists against ' /. 1>. ' a foeman not un-
worthy of his steel we shall joyfully give place to these right noble warriors."]
1863] YOUTH AND AGE 459
Carlyle a little some day. If you do not send it, perhaps this torn off
might go ?
" To the Editor of the ( Weekly Review '
"SiR, I am grateful to you for the notice you have taken of
my letter to the Liverpool Institute: but I cannot take up the
challenge in your leader of the 21st. If the religious people of
England as a body do not themselves discern their duty, it is
not I who can show it them : and you have yourself, in your
excellent article, anticipated the greater part of what I should
have endeavoured to advance in reply to your correspondent.
Might I request you to correct the misprint of 'anything 1 for
'any' in the last sentence of my Liverpool letter, 1 and to believe
me, very respectfully yours, J. RUSKIN."
If you tear this off and send it, it will do nicely.
It is curious that I feel older and sadder, very much, in now look-
ing at these young children it is especially the young ones between
whom and me I now feel so infinite a distance and they are so
beautiful and so good, and I am not good, considering the advantages
I've had, by any means. The weary longing to begin life over again,
and the sense of fate for ever forbidding it, here or hereafter, is
terrible. I daresay I shall get over it in a day or two, but I was
out in the playground with them this afternoon, and the sun was on
the grass, and on them, and the sense of loveliness in life, and of
overbrooding death, like winter, was too strong. If it were not that
they are very happy to have me, and that I can do them good, I
should run away again to Abbeville directly : I was very cheerful there
perhaps if I get to drawing instead of play here I shall be better.
P.S. On second thoughts, I am so sure you won't like this letter
that I've merely made one of the children copy it that you might see
it, and sent this scrap of thanks to Bayne so never mind about it.
To his FATHER
WINNINGTON, Wednesday, December 15, 1863.
I have your nice letter to Hereford. 2 I have quite given up all
thoughts of that house in Switzerland now, though my doing so
indicates a certain hopelessness and abandonment of all old thoughts
1 [In this edition, Vol. XVIII. p. 547.]
2 [Where Ruskin had been staying (in a "mopy" condition, as he wrote) after
a visit to Lord Somers at Eastnor Castle.
460 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [i6s
and ways which would be little likely to serve me for church-building.
I could build a beautiful little museum or gallery I could not build
a church most deeply do I wish I could. And it would be wrong
in me to wish that you or my mother could suffer the pain of knowing
assuredly and clearly how irrevocably this is impossible ; and yet, so long
as you think that my present ways and words are things of the surface,
not of the deep, how can we in anything understand each other?
I never answered that nice letter of yours about the Glasgow
paper and your " first appearance associated with my fame." It is
really very hard upon you that my courses of thought have now led
me out of the way of fame and into that of suffering for it is a
dark world enough towards the close of life, with my creed. One
thing, however, I wish you could put out of your mind that either
Carlyle, Colenso, or Froude, much less any one less than they, have
had the smallest share in this change. Three years ago, long before
Colenso was heard of, I had definitely refused to have anything more
to do with the religious teaching in this school : my promises to
Mrs. La Touche l would never have been made if I had thought it
likely any such stir would be caused thus early, as Colenso has excited,
but I was then far beyond the point at which he is standing now.
Alas, I cannot build churches.
WouM you please send over directly and ask for Mrs. Carlyle?
I hear she is seriously ill.
P.S. Those verses Miss Bell sent you were mine : I wrote them
for the children to dance to. 2
To his FATHER
x, Thursday, December 10, 1803.
I have your nice letter of 15th. Fm so glad you were moped
at Hereford. For though you think me so weak in indulging regrets
of the past, the fact is, my main mistake is perhaps attributing a
quite natural dulness to illness. I have always been so able until
now to shake off' regret and amuse myself with work of some sort,
that now. when my mountains and cathedrals fail me, and I find
myself feeling dull in a pine forest or a country town, I directly think
I must be dying. Those extracts you sent me from St. Olave's are
excellent but you see the first implies that " people of more ardent
temperament are crushed by dead hopes." It is not that we have
1 [See above, p. 4-35.]
* [The verses headed " Awake ! awake ! :I in Vol. II. p. 24.5. See also Vol. XXXV.
1863] "THE DAYS THAT ARE NO MORE" 461
not the will to work, but that the work exhausts us after the dis-
tress. I stopped at this Bishop^s Castle to draw, and if I could
have drawn well, should have been amused, but the vital energy fails
(after an hour or two) which used to last one all day, and then for
the rest of the day one is apt to think of dying, and of the " days
that are no more." It is vain to fight against this a man may as
well fight with a prison wall. The remedy is only in time, and
gradual work with proper rest. Life properly understood and regulated
would never be subject to trials of the kind. Men ought to be
severely disciplined and exercised in the sternest way in daily life
they should learn to lie on stone beds and eat black soup, but they
should never have their hearts broken a noble heart, once broken,
never mends the best you can do is to rivet it with iron and plaster
the cracks over the blood never flows rightly again. The two terrific
mistakes which Mama and you involuntarily fell into were the exact
reverse in both ways you fed me effeminately and luxuriously to
that extent that I actually now could not travel in rough countries
without taking a cook with me! but you thwarted me in all the
earnest fire of passion and life. About Turner you indeed never knew
how much you thwarted me for I thought it my duty to be thwarted
it was the religion that led me all wrong there; if I had had
courage and knowledge enough to insist on having my own way
resolutely, you would now have had me in happy health, loving you
twice as much (for, depend upon it, love taking much of its own
way, a fair share, is in generous people all the brighter for it), and
full of energy for the future and of power of self-denial : now, my
power of duty has been exhausted in vain, and I am forced for life's
sake to indulge myself in all sorts of selfish ways, just when a man
ought to be knit for the duties of middle life by the good success
of his youthful life. No life ought to have phantoms to lay.
Yes, I shall be home (D. V.} on Saturday, and will go to the Cowpers
on Monday. I am much better in general tone of mind, for all this
but what I might have been ! you are happy in not being able to
fancy. I hope you are right about my general health, but am more
nervous than ever I was before about physical symptoms. I shall
enjoy my mineralogy, etc., but I don't know how to get exercise.
The house is empty now comparatively only fourteen children in
it ; we had such a game of hide-and-seek yesterday in the attics and
empty rooms. I was as hot at last as if I had been up and down
the Montanvert, and it did me good. I must have wood to saw or
something to work at daily.
1 [Tennyson: The Princess.]
462 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [ises
To Mrs. WILLIAM CowpER 1
WINNINGTON, NORTHWICH, Friday [Decemlw, 1863].
DEAR MRS. COWPER, Thank you for your pretty letter I'll come
and dine, then ; there's always a sense of hurry after breakfast. But
it will be ten days or a fortnight, yet, before I can get home. I will
write to you as soon as I know, and then you have only to tell me
your day. Don't tremble ; if I can be of use to you at all, it will be
in casting out all Fear. If I hurt you it can only be in crushing an
uncertain hope. If it should seem even that the Faith of Virgil was
founded as firmly as Dante's, and more reasonably, it might be con-
ceived as not the less happy. With sincere regards to Mr. Cowper,
ever faithfully yours, J. RUSKIN.
[On March 3, 1804. lluskin's father died. Except for some lectures in the
provinces and visits to Winnington, Ruskin remained throughout the year with his
mother at Denmark Hill. Some letters on his father's death, in addition to those
here given, will be found in Vol. XVIII. pp. xxvii.-xxix. It was in this year
that he was led through his friend Mrs. Cowper (Lady Mount-Temple) to attend
some spiritualist se'ances : see the letters to D. D. Home and to her in Vol. XVIII.
pp. xxxi.-xxxiii. An account of his literary and artistic studies during this year
is given in a letter to Aclaudj ibid., p. xxxiv.]
To GEORGE ALLEN
[DENMARK HIM,] \st January, 1864.
MY DEAR ALLEN, I have not written, being quite unable to give
you any accounts of myself, or any clue as to my possible plans.
Perhaps I am getting a little better, but do not know, and at all
events, I have not energy enough at present to carry out any of the
plans I had about Switzerland. The people have disgusted me beyond
endurance, and I find I have a painful association now with every
place I have been staying at. Also, I hear on further inquiry that
there is real danger almost certainty of goitre coming if one stays
in Savoy in the winter; it will be of no consequence if you now
bring your children home, or if I took you into Italy, but I must
give up my Savoy plans.
This has unsettled and vexed me, and I cannot tell you what is
likely to be my next notion. The etching is very nice can't be
1 [Afterwards Lady Mount-Temple : see the Introduction, ahove, p. xcviii.]
1864] RICHARD DOYLE 463
better and I send you the chiaroscuro I did (crumpled up) to go on
with; but I don't think you will be able to finish without being
Probably I shall just come about June for a little ramble about
Sixt to Meillerie and then pack you all up, and bring you home
again, unless you really like to fight it out with the climate, where
there is less bise.
Meantime I wish you all health and happiness. I am to be at
Denmark Hill for two months yet, and shall be perhaps able to
answer a letter or two or get things for you. Kind regards to Hannah
and the children. Yours affectionately, J. RUSKIN.
To W. SMITH WILLIAMS l
15th Jan. '64.
DEAR MR. WILLIAMS, I am so ashamed at not having thanked
you before for the Doyle book. I wanted to look at it carefully. It
is full of power, but entirely wrong in feeling. A form of satire
which will do no good, but there is wonderful work in it, and I am
glad to have it. I liked the Manners and Customs far better, how-
ever; that I have had a long while as a classical work. I wish you
all sorts of happiness for this and all coming years. . . . My kindest
regards to Mr. Smith. Always affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To a CORRESPONDENT 2
Well, it is nice of you to answer so. It is always so provoking
and shamefaced a business with me, when I take up my own early
volumes myself, that I can't endure my friends liking them.
I want you to be interested in my present work and discoveries.
Now what a curious one that is about the names of Shakespeare in
my last paper in Eraser ; z it's worth a dozen of my old chapters.
Still the boy's freshness is good, I admit that, only I want you, as
I grow older, to sympathise with me as I grow old. I can't say any
more to-day. Always most truly yours, J. RUSKIN.
1 [The " Doyle book " is Birds' Eye Views of Society, drawn by Richard Doyle,
engraved by the Brothers Dalxiel, 1864. The earlier one was Manners and Customs
of ye Englyshe drawn from ye Quick by Richard Doyle, 1849. For Mr. W. Smith
Williams (literary adviser to Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.), see Vol. VIII. p. 275 n.
and General Index. It was he who suggested the volume of Selections from
Ruskin, 1861 (see Vol. XVII. p. li.). There is a notice of him at vol. i. p. xix.
of the Supplement to the Dictionary of National Biography.^
2 [No. 39 in Art and Literature, pp. 95-96.]
3 \Muncra Pulveris, ch. v., "Government," 134 published in Frasers Magazine,
April 1863 (Vol. XVII. p. 257 n.).]
464 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [186*
To CAPTAIN BRACKENBURY :
UENMAHK HILL, U)M Jan. 'G4.
... I do not feel that Christianity has failed it is Simonry that
has failed not the Sermon on the Mount not Peter's impetuous one
but his antagonist's. 2 Pray for me that none of these things come
upon me. I believe men are always failing from trusting to their
own imaginations, and reconciliations of religion with them, and that
a practical economy of the Sermon on the Mount has to be tried.
I would say more about art if I had anything to say. But have I
not been always lecturing "it is only to be great if founded on
Faith"? and now what is our faith? I am in too great trouble of
thought and heart to have any fire left in me.
To Mrs. WILLIAM COWPER
24th Jan. [18G4?].
DEAR MRS. COWPER, I can dine with you any day after Monday
next week, if you are alone ; but I want to talk about the Turners,
so please don't let anybody else come. I had a long talk with Carlyle
yesterday. He says Spiritualism is real witchcraft, and quite wrong
(Wicked he meant no, I mean, he said). It is all very wonderful ;
I have a great notion he's right he knows a thing or two. Ever
most truly yours, J. KUSKIX.
To Dr. JOHN BROWN 3
MY DEAR DR. Buowx, It is very happy for me to think I have
been able to do you any good. I never speak of your sorrow. I
have no comfort for any one in sorrow, nor for myself. And remember
that whatever distress may come on us through our once happily fixed
and satisfied affection, there is a more evil-doing sorrow in the deso-
lateness which never has known what it was to have love answereu,
or ever to have love for an instant at rest, which has known nothing
but suffering ever to come of affection one way or another.
Now at this time there are one or two people whom I care for
1 [From a Catalogue of Autograph Letters . . . on Sale lit/ Walter V. Daniel/,
53 Mortimer Street, London, July 11)04, No. 82(5.]
2 [Acts ix. 18-20.]
3 [The first portion of this letter is No. 12 of "Letters of Iluskin" in Letter*
of Dr. John Brown, 11)07, pp. 21)8-291). Dr. Brown's wife bad died on January <!,
1864] THE KEY OF DESTINY 465
and can never see, and many who care for me and cannot see me . . . x
And this is only part of the way of fate in this wonderful wilder-
ness of a world, which the happy people say is all happy, and the
good people say is all right, and then they go and make it more
miserable for others, and more wrong for others, and say they are
Yes, I like that Lily. It has chanced that I read just her and
no more, for novels make me too sad. I try to keep to stones, but
the road is thirsty and dusty sometimes. I'll tell you a good novel