with the absurdest faults and failings, David Elginbrod. z Read about
Harry's education at end of first volume. . . . You say you have "no
future in this world." Why should you? What does that matter if
you love Christ and expect to see all you love with Him ? / have no
future in ANY world.
And now I'm going to see about some cracks in a vein of carbonate
of lime, which I daresay I shall be soaked into some day myself, (if
there are any phosphates in it,) for it runs near my place that I'm
going to die at. And so I can't write any more to-day. They're
such pretty cracks you can't think. Just like people's veins with
stone blood in them, quite as human as a great deal of human
To JAMES ANTHONY FIIOUDE
[? February, 1864.]
MY DEAR FROUBE, I am very glad to have the lecture. 8 It is
very nice, but it seems to me a great talk, and wise one, about what
nevertheless could have been settled in two sentences. There is no
law of history any more than of a kaleidoscope. With certain bits of
glass shaken so, and so you will get pretty figures, but what figures,
heaven only knows. Add definite attractions and repulsions to the
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
angles of the tube your figures will have such and such modifications.
But the history of the world will be for ever new.
The wards of a Chubb's lock are infinite in their chances. Is the
Key of Destiny made on a less complex principle ?
When are you coming ? Ever affectionately yours,
We've all been very ill, and I am still, or I should Avrite better.
1 [A piece of the letter is here cut off.]
- fliy George Macdouald, 3 vols., 1863.]
3 [Probably the lecture on "The Science of History/' delivered at. the Royal
Institution, February 5, 1864. For Ruskin's friendship with Fronde, see the
Introduction ; above, p. xcvii.]
XXXVI. 2 G
466 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [186*
To E. S. DALLAS
DENMARK Hirx, February 10, 18G4.
MY DEAR DALLAS, Do you recollect the German story of Dummling
and the golden goose ? l which first the clerk got hold of and couldn't
let go, and then the parson ran to pull away the clerk and couldn't
let go, and then the bishop ran after the parson. I forget who ran
after the bishop, the Devil, I suppose and he wouldn't let go. But
this blessed Shakespeare business is just like it. 2 I refused twice in
terms of great contempt for the whole business ; then I thought it
had all come happily to grief, when I got a letter from Stratford
saying that Tennyson, Lord Carlisle, and Charles Buxton had come
on to a new Committee, would I join ? I didn't like to look as if
I thought myself wissr than Tennyson ; so I wrote saying, as far as
my own judgment went, I could only repeat what I had said that
Shakespeare needed no memorial, that I thought we dubbed ourselves
idiots if we wanted one of him ; and that nothing could be done
anyhow, but that nevertheless, if I could be of any use, my name was
at the disposal of those three gentlemen. I would not have gone so far
as this, but I thought it just possible that some effort might be made
to get a pure and lovely type of theatrical performance set before
the public the better sort of them. I've had this at heart for years.
But I've no ideas. I'm not well. I should like to come, and see you,
but we're all sick and sad, and I've no heart for anything, but I'm
always most truly yours, J. HUSKIX.
You can't have a monument. No human creature alive is fit to
do a stone of it.
To Miss HUNT
DENMARK HILL, 10/A Feb., 18(54, evening.
I thank you for your letter : no one living of your father's friends
will mourn for him more deeply than I : it was my pride, that I
1 (See pp. 122 scq. of German Popular Stories, irith introduction by John
- [Various schemes had been set on foot for celebrating the Tercentenary of
Shakespeare's birth (1804), Ruskin's friend, William Cowper (Cowper-Temple)
being 1 a prominent member of the Executive Committee of a "National Memorial"
scheme. The whole thing came to nothing, owing to dissensions and delays (see a
letter in the Times, January 20, 18(54).]
3 [These extracts from letters to the daughter of William Hunt, the artist, were
Nos. .'J.5,3, .'354 in a Catalogue of Autograph Letters issued by Messrs. Kobson & Co.,
23 Coventry Street, W.] '
1864] THE LIVING AND THE DEAD 467
could recognize his unrivalled powers in art and one of my chief
happinesses that I could sometimes hope he took pleasure in my sym-
pathy and admiration.
DENMARK HILL, 14th Feb., 1864.
I have your kind letter, and I entreat you not to think that
because I cannot come to you to-morrow I am wanting in respect or
regard for your father. I am naturally of sad disposition, and I simply
cannot go to funerals I was not at Turners. I differ from every one
nearly in my dealings with the living and dead. Most people thwart,
malign, distress and dishonour the living and then build fine tombs
for the dead. / try to honour the living as best I may. 1 Once lost it
is a matter of indifference to me how many plumes are at the grave.
To Miss JULIA RICHMOND
LONDON, S., Feb. 17, '64.
MY DEAR JULIA, I am really and utterly vexed at not having
been able to inquire for you. I am kept from getting to town by
the great kindness of Mr. Munro who comes out here to make a
study of my unmanageable face and I can't put more difficulties in
his way than the thing itself does. I am sure he will be glad when
he has done.
Would you be at home on Saturday evening if I were to come
I can't answer your sad letter. I have no words of comfort in me
just now for anything but believe me faithfully and affectionately
yours, J. RUSKIN.
To EDWARD BURNE- JONES 2
Saturday [DENMARK HILL, March 5, 1864].
MY DEAREST NED, I have a nice line from Miss Bell this morning
you have not such nice ones from me. But Mama and I are still
well, and I hope she is quite safe. I'll write again on Monday, if
Meantime, you are to be a good boy and amuse the children and
draw pretty things for them, and I can send you any little things
* [Compare Vol. XXXIV. p. 559.]
2 [Then staying at Wilmington. Raskin's father had died two days before. A
few lines at the end of this letter have already been given in Vol. XVIII.
468 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [186*
casts and such like that you want, perhaps better than if I were at
my old work, for this sort of petty business will be good for me.
Also it seems to me rather an occasion for you to practise, every now
and then, painting with fewer colours than you usually allow yourself.
I should say, for instance, put the black out of the box, and the
browns, and the indigo blue or perhaps it might be shorter to shake
everything out of the box and then put back in it the vermilion and
the violet carmine, and the cobalt and smalt, and chinese white, and
perhaps a little emerald green or so, and try what you can do with
those, on gold ground, so as not to have any nasty black and brown
things to make me look at when I come to ask what you've been about.
I rather think I shall do some awful thing in the way of dress
just now. I can't conceive, for instance, considering how all over this
world one is bothered with people's talk about another, why women
who don't want to marry again (which I suppose at eighty-three is
not probable) can have the impiety, and general wrong-iety, to call
themselves "Widows" and wear horrid caps and things. 1 But I can't
write more about this to-day. Tell Emma that I haven't answered her,
not because I love her less than my other children, but because I
think she can bear worse treatment than the others. Tell Annie I'll
write her a long letter soon, and tell pet Stella that it's cloudy
weather for her to shine in and she must twinkle all the brighter.
Tell Lucy I'm sure she will be very sorry for me; the rest have
had plenty messages lately. I had a rough time of it from Tuesday
evening to Thursday morning, which I'll tell you about some day,
but I find a curious thing, that natural sorrow does not destroy
strength, but gives it, while an irregular, out-of-the-way, avoidable
sorrow kills, according to its weight. Ever, with love to Georgie.
your affectionate PAPA.
To HKXRY ACLAXD, M.D.
DENMARK HIM., 1th March, 18(14.
MY DKAK ACLAXD, When von said to me some few months ago
that you had always thought I was under a peculiar blessing because
of my carrying myself kindly to my parents and when in the High-
lands you told me that you thought I lived the life of an Egyptian
slave with them you were in each case just as wrong as you are now
1 [Lady Hume-Jones, on a visit to Denmark Hill presently, noticed that Ruskin's
mother " wore no widow's rap. Afterwards I learned that this was from love of
her son, for, knowing how much lie disliked that conventional sign of mourning,
1864] THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER 469
in supposing that I ever spoke so as to cause my father much sorrow ;
but you have certainly chosen a curious time to say what you thought
in this instance. If (as I suppose is always the case) death invariably
makes us remember what we have done wrong to the dead, and forget
what we did faithfully to them, I think our friends may generally
leave Death to give his own somewhat rude messages in his own words.
His voice is quite loud enough, considering the peculiar advantages
also of the four sounding-boards of his pulpit.
I was surprised, certainly, as I held my father in my arms during
the last day and night of delirium (which were, in fact, merely twenty-
four hours of dissolution), and especially when I felt the heart beating
under my hand still literally for hours after the rest was dead (for it
was a phenomenal death, I believe, in slowness John Simon and my
cousin both say so) I teas surprised to feel how much light was
thrown on all the occasions, and they were numberless, on which I
might have given my father pleasure by the mere expression of my
love of him, and never did. For the pain I have given him much,
only in cases where it was not my fault, but error I feel bitter regret;
it was never given without more in myself, a hundred-fold ; but for the
pleasure I have not given him, I shall mourn in the past, as whenever
anything happens that would have rejoiced him I shall mourn in the
future. This appears to me a very impious state of mind why you
religious people ever should be sad about anything, or expect others
to be so, I can't think. You can get all your sins forgiven (for the
asking), and suppose you are no worse, but rather the better, for them,
don't you ? I'm rather out of practice in my theology lately, but that
is the proper faith, is it not ?
My mother is marvellously well I hope quite safe, now all the
worst danger over. Yet it took her and me, both, wholly by surprise.
On Saturday week I was out at dinner, came home at one in the
morning a very unusual hour for me found my father sitting up
for me, very proud of two business letters he had written on a diffi-
cult subject, during the evening. Well he might be ! they were monu-
mental works of a master hand in its craft, splendid in writing,
faultless in expression.
So he read them both to me (boring me mightily, for I was dog-
tired, though he wasn't, for the fever was coming on him). I listened
to and praised the first : the second and this I shall be always,
she never put one on, but had instead a soft, closely-fitting cap of another shape,
with delicate net quiltings round the face and narrow white satin strings. These
were pinned with a fine diamond and emerald brooch, and later on she told me
with tender remorse why she always wore this bright fastening upon her mourning
dress" (Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. p. 278).]
470 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [186*
though foolishly enough, sorry for I got thinking of something else
in the midst of, which he seeing rose and bade me good-night. In
the morning, when he came down to breakfast, he was shivering,
and had cut himself in shaving, in several places. I have seen him
apparently as ill before, but I said, after breakfast, " Father, if you
won't mind, Til bring my work out of my study and sit beside you
this morning, in case I can fetch you anything." So he said at once
I might which frightened me more, for it was not like him. I
brought down my things and began working on a coin of Syracuse
(fountain Arethusa); presently I wanted a softer pencil, and ran up
to get it; as I was choosing it I heard my father come upstairs, go
into his bedroom, and lock the door. He was constantly in the habit
of doing this, so for a little while we took no alarm, but as he stayed
long etc., etc., etc. he never spoke rationally more, and died at half-
past eleven on Thursday morning expired, that is : he died, I should
say, some time on the Tuesday night. The pitiful lest thing to look
at was a resolved effort he made to brush his teeth that (Tuesday)
morning partially succeeding.
There were other curious points about the thing which will be
highly valuable, I doubt not, to all my medical friends.
Don't worry yourself about having been ridiculous you are so
much less than most others, who have been as prosperous and happy
and Tm not a bit angry with you though I've scolded you, because
you needed it. Ever affectionately yours, J. HUSKIK.
Don't write any more just now, for I should have to answer again
if you wrote something pretty, and I haven't time.
To HENRY ACLAND, M.D. 1
9th March, 1864.
MY DEAR ACLAXD, You will be glad to hear that my mother
keeps well she slept quite well last night. The upholsterers are to
have their dramatic entertainment to-morrow, but I hope I can keep
her out of hearing of everything but the wheels on the gravel if
this snow holds she may not even be troubled with that. You must
not be too much hurt at my losing my temper with you it is just
because I know your regard for me that I was provoked at the want
of understanding of the relations between my father and me, which
you were one of the very few who might have understood and helped
me to mend, perhaps in proper time. You might be pu/zled by what
1 [A few lines of tins letter have been given in Vol. XVIII. p. xxviii.]
A FATHER'S LOVE 471
I said about " prosperity " for those whom you love you at least may
claim as much as Dogberry of his money. 1 You are "one that hath
had losses." But you never have had nor with all your medical
experience have you ever, probably, seen the loss of a father who
would have sacrificed his life for his son, and yet forced his son to
sacrifice his life to him, and sacrifice it in vain. It is an exquisite
piece of tragedy altogether very much like Lear, in a ludicrous
commercial way Cordelia remaining unchanged and her friends writing
to her afterwards wasn't she sorry for the pain she had given her
father by not speaking when she should ?
I enclose you a line of Froude's to look at, which is pretty it's
not quite fair to him to let any one else see it, but I send it you as
a type of the sort of thing one expects on these occasions, so that
yours came like sand in one's teeth. You may write again now, only
don't bother, about this or anything else. But send me back Froude's
note, which I'm proud of though it lies. 2
It's a great lark, to me, that debate about Jowett's money. 3 That
Oxford disgraces itself in the decision is of no particular consequence,
but that the decision, right or wrong, is made and received in the
spirit of boat-racing and a Ch. Ch. meadow mob, is a very black piece
of evidence concerning the ecclesiastical system.
To Mrs. BURNE- JONES 4
[DENMARK HILL, March 11, 1864.]
MY DEAREST LITTLE NARROW GEORGiE, You may expand in mind
as much as you like, but don't get fat otherwise or I shan't like
you at all.
1 [Much Ado about Nothing, Act iv. sc. 2: "A rich fellow enough, go to: and
a fellow that hath had losses."]
2 [For an extract from Froude's letter, see Vol. XVIII. p. xxviii. Ruskin's
remark here applies not of course to the appreciation of his father there given,
hut to some remarks which Froude added about Ruskin's own hehaviour to him.]
3 [The reference is to an incident in the long-drawn opposition to the Uni-
versity voting Jowett's salary as Professor of Greek, on account of the alleged
"heretical" character of his contribution to Essays and Reviews. As a compromise,
Pusey proposed that the salary should be granted "on the understanding that
the University shall be held to have pronounced no judgment upon his writings."
When the proposal came before Convocation (March 8), " a curious incident occurred,
characteristic of the flurry and excitement which had seized the whole assembly."
The Senior Proctor announced tbe result of the voting wrongly. There was much
hurrying to and fro, and many cheers and hisses. The vote was negatived by
467 to 395: see Life and Letters of Benjamin Jowett, vol. i. pp. 314, 315.]
4 [At Wilmington. Part of this letter ('' The tapestry . . . progress ") is printed
in Memorials of Edward Burne- Jones, vol. i. pp. 275-276, and has been cited in
Vol. XVIII. p. xxviii.]
472 LETTERS OF RUSKIN Voi, I [1864
The tapestry is just as much to me as it ever was, and far more
likely to come into direct use now, than it was before not that I
either have, or can form, any plans yet; my mother would live
wherever I asked her to live, but I am not at all sure that I shall
wish her to live elsewhere than here her old friends are useful to
her, and such London gossip as I can bring her is very pleasant to
her, and I find that beautiful things don't make one happy (except
only eyes, and hair, and Turner drawings, but there are more of
those in England than elsewhere), but only one's own quiet order and
work, and progress, which may be more here than, even, on Lago
Maggiore, where (I have it recorded in my diary !) IVe been some-
times mightily bored.
My mother is well, and so calm and self-possessed that she actually
began talking the day before yesterday of sending me to Winnington
by myself, because she thought it would do me good ! And indeed,
so confident am I now in her power of peace, that if I thought it
would do either you or me good, I should have no hesitation in
coming but it would only trouble me just now. I could not go into
things, and should be vexed at vexing etc. etc., etc. I am better
here, and when I can get my mother down with me, 111 come.
But don't be making yourselves miserable about me. I am nearly
always the same very sulky, when everybody says I should be happy
not a bit sulkier when everybody thinks I should be dying. You
have seen me, without knowing it, under sharp sudden sorrow which
in many ways was far more deadly to me than this. Love of loves
to Ned. Ever your affectionate Papa, J. KUSKIX.
What you tell me of yourself, and of Ned's being so well, gives
me great delight.
To THOMAS CAIILYLE
l'2th March .
DEAR MR. CARLYLE, You will not think it was out of thought-
lessness or disrespect that I have not written to you. You had
enough sorrow of your own, and could by no means help us in ours.
To-day I have a note from Lady Trevelyan saying Mrs. Carlyle is
much better this gives me courage to ask for you both. My mother
and I are in all practical and necessary wavs able for what has come
upon us. She is very wonderful to me; I have little doubt but that
I may yet, if I am spared, procure her some years of no false or
slight, but peaceful and hopeful, happiness. Ever affectionately yours,
1864] PARENTS AND CHILDREN 473
To GEOKGE RICHMOND, A.R.A.
[DENMARK HILL, March, 1864.]
DEAII RICHMOND, I am very much touched by your note. I never
think anybody likes me I fancy the best they can do is to " put up
with me" somehow I never feel as [if] they could like me. I always
thought you fond of my father, and that you endured me a good
deal for his sake. So I'm glad of your note, as you may fancy.
Please read the book l now, slowly. It's very dull in parts, but there
is occult mischief in others, which will make you laugh a little when
you come on it, and I assure you it is all mathematically right ; and
quite unshakable by any quantity of abuse and doing, little by little,
and invulnerably, the work I meant it to do.
I am so very glad the children enjoyed their evening; we did,
too, and I was the better for it this morning, though in general
mere stupidly vegetative rest is more helpful to me than pleasant
things. How nice all your children are ! How unfair it is that some
fathers and mothers have all nice, and others have none nice ; and
I'm sure it has nothing to do with education, for children are what
they are and there's an end. Ever affectionately yours,
To F. J. FURXIVALL 2
DENMARK HILL, May 12th, 1864.
DEAR FURXIVALL, I can write nothing just now. Somehow my
friends cant understand that I'm ill. But otherwise, though I love
Mazzini, and fear nobody, I could not go in for it with him just now.
I have to go in with Colenso far deeper than I intended. Had I
kept fair with the black coats I could have done something for the
red caps ; but I should only swamp myself uselessly, and do Mazzini no
good, besides shutting myself out of Austrian Italy though 1 would
do that if I could be of real use to the rest of Italy, but I can't.
Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIX.
Can you come out for a talk on Sunday evening?
1 [No doubt Unto this Last,]
[No. 26 in Ftirnivall, pp. 65-66.]
474 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1864
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON l
[DENMAUK HILL] Gth August, 1804.
MY DEAR NORTON, The truth is, I am quite too lazy, with a
deathful sort of laziness, to write. I hate the feeling of having to
drive pen up and down lines, quite unconquerably, and I have really
nothing to say. I ani busy with Greek and Egyptian mythology, and
all sorts of problems in life and death and your American business
is so entirely horrible to me that, somehow, it cuts you off from all
possibility of rny telling you any of my thoughts. It is just as if I
saw you washing your hands in blood, and whistling and sentimental-
izing to me. I know you don't know what you are about, and are
just as good and dear as ever you were, but I simply can't write
to you while you are living peaceably in Bedlam. I am getting my
house in order, and perhaps shall die as soon as Fve done it but
I'm a little better. When I'm quite settled, I will write to you with
some general facts.
Ever, with faithful regards to your mother and sisters, yours
affectionately, J. RUSKIN.
To HENRY ACLAND, M.D. 2
It is my h'xed opinion that if you had come to see me long ago
you would not have had scarlet fever now, and that you ought to have
come and looked after me. For you know well enough that there are
very few people who have any influence over me at all, and it seems
to me much more the duty of those who have, to use it when I am
in need of them than to cure indifferent people of stomach aches and
colds in the head ! There are times in a man's life when his profession
must be everything; and if the cholera were in Oxford, I shouldn't say
" Come and see me." But no man's profession ought ever to occupy
him so as to render it impossible for him to look after his friends
I don't say this angrily but steadily and dogmatically. I know you
did what you thought right, and couldn't but do it, and I say it
1 [Atlantic Monthly, July 1904, vol. 94, p. 1(>. No. 38 in Norton; pp. 14G-147.
A sentence from the letter ('"'I am busy , . . my thoughts") had previously been
printed l>y Professor Norton (p. xi.) in his Introduction to the American " lirant-
wood " edition of Ethics of the I>itxt, 1891. J
2 [This part of a letter is printed (with some omissions) in J. B. Atlay's
Memoir of >/> lli-nry Aclnnd, p. .'521. It was the postscript of the letter printed
in Vol. XVIII. pp. xxxiv., xxxv.]
1864] A KING OF EGYPT 475
was wrong and you've got scarlet fever for it. And now you must
indeed just look after yourself a little while, but next year I shall
make you come and see me. Ever affectionately yours,
To Mr. and Mrs. BunNE-JoNES l
[DENMARK HILL, September 13, 1864.]
MY DEAREST CHILDREN, It is very good and dear of you to tell
me how you enjoy yourselves, and to write me such lovely letters.
I wish all churches were damp and full of spiders (not merely to
please you), with all my heart, and that churchyards were full of
nothing but sheep. The Canine St. Peter coming " round the corner "
must have been delightful. It is very good of Ned to make Seven
Lamps. I came on a glorious building of a house (Pyramid, i.e.}