DENMARK HILL [Utk Sept.) 1866].
DEAR MR. CARLYLE, How can I ever thank you enough for being
to me what this Milan letter says (and your saying is like nature's
one with deed) that you are and for trusting and loving me enough
to be able to write so to me ? Then oh me if I had lost this letter !
God keep you and give you back some of your care to use your
inner strength the strength is itself unbroken.
I cannot say more to-day. Ever your loving J. RUSKIN.
To C. A. HOWELL 2
Please just look over enclosed and see if any little good can or
ought to be done. I want you to go to Boulogne for me to see after
the widow of a pilot who died at Folkestone of cholera. They were
dear friends of mine, both as good as gold she now quite desolate.
When could you go, taking your cousin with you, if you like, for a
few days ? You would be well treated at the Hotel des Bains. I'll
come over to-morrow and tell you about it.
To C. A. HOWELL
I don't think it will be necessary for you to stay at Boulogne
longer than the enclosed will carry you. It is more as a bearer of
the expression of my sympathy that I ask you to go than to do much.
The poor woman ought to be able to manage very well with her one
child, if she lives, and I doubt not she will do all she ought; but at
present she is stunned, and it will do her good to have you to speak to.
1 [Carlyle had lost his wife on April 21, 1866, and Ruskin had written to
condole with him. Carlyle's reply (May 10, 1866) has been printed in Vol. XVIII.
p. xlvii. It had apparently been forwarded to Milan, where Ruskin had intended
to, but did not, go, and ultimately reached him in London.]
2 [This letter, and the following, are from M. H. Spielmann's John Ruskin, 1900,
516 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1866
TO C. A. HOWELL 1
DK.VMARK HILL, 26th Sept., 1866.
MY DEAR HOWELL, My mother is terribly nervous about the cholera
at Boulogne so, I find, is Rossetti. I am not, and I hope you are not
most assuredly I should have gone myself just now, but for leaving my
mother alone. But, under the circumstances, I feel it my duty to beg
you to return instantly. I mean this for as much of an order as it
would be becoming to our friendship for either of us to receive from
the other under any circumstances, and I shall be seriously annoyed if
you do not immediately comply with it (your good-nature might else
make you delay). Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To C. A. HOWELL 2
DENMARK HIM,, 1866.
DEAR HOWELL, This H - business is serious. Write to Miss
B - that I do not choose at present to take any notice of it, else
the creditor would endeavour to implicate me in it at once, if there
was the least appearance of my having been acquainted with the trans-
action and I don't at all intend to lose money by force, whatever I
may do for my poor friend when she is quit of lawyers. If people
in this world would but teach a little less religion, and a little more
common honesty, it would be much more to everybody's purpose and
The etching will not do. The dear old man has dwelt on serious
and frightful subject, and cultivated his conscientiousness till he has
lost his humour. He may still do impressive and moral subjects,
but I know by this group of children that he can do fairy tales no
I think he might quite well do still what he would feel it more
his duty to do illustrations of the misery of the streets of London.
He knows that, and I would gladly purchase the plates at the same
| \ New Review, March 1092, p. 282, where the letter is given in facsimile.}
\H>id., pp. 282-28.1, and Spielmaim's John Kmkin, pp. .52, ll;l]
1 [Nearly twenty years later, Ruskin thus again referred to Cruikshank's lost
power, as testified in these two plates of the "Pied Piper" and Grimm's "Story
of the Blue Light " : " It was precisely because Mr. Cruikshank could not return
to the manner of the Grimm plates" (published in 1822), "but etched too finely
and shaded too much, that our project came to an end." See Vol. XXXIV.
1866] GOVERNOR EYRE 517
Here is the cheque for this, and Miss B 's note. Ever affec-
tionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
Give my dear love to Mr. Cruikshank, and say, if he had been
less kind and good, his work now would have been fitter for wayward
children, but that his lessons of deeper import will be incomparably
more precious if he cares to do them. But that he must not work
while in the country.
To THOMAS CARLYLE 1
DENMARK HILL, 29th Sept., 1866.
DEAR MR. CARLYLE, I went in to Waterloo Place and gave Mr.
Hume that letter about Lord Russell, yesterday, and the bearer of
this has already delivered his pamphlet to him to-day. I asked him
also whether he might not be helped in his present work by the lawyer's
precision of my friend Mr. Pattison (I heedlessly called him Harrison
to you the other night having another lawyer and politico-economist
friend of that name). But Mr. Hume looked a little disconcerted at
the proposal so it is best, I suppose, at present to leave matters in his
1 [In answer to the following letter from Carlyle about business connected with
the Governor Eyre Defence Committee :
"CHELSEA, 27 Sepr., I860. DEAR RUSKIN, I have again read all those
letters, but do not, from Mr. Price or his Jamaica Staiidard, get the least
glimmer of light about ' The Tramway Swindle ' or any of the other
miracles alleged, which I can only conceive as more or less natural mis-
births of that nearly inconceivable little Chaos in a Coalbox (probably very
violent, and sure to be fuliginous) which they call ' House of Assembly';
and all intent upon talk of various kinds, while their Governor was push-
ing towards work and result. A mere heap of flaming soot ; abstrusely
equal to zero to us ! Mr. Price, I have no reason to doubt, was and is
perfectly honest and bona-fide ; but need not concern us farther.
"The best thing you can now do is to consult seriously that practical
Mr. Harris ; and if, unfortunately, he won't be of the Committee, get him
to undertake that lucid Digest, or conclusive little Summary of facts and
principles, which must be set forth, and addressed to the British People
for their answer. Such a thing would have immense results, if rightly
done ; and, to all appearance, he is the one man for it. Be diligent. I
bid you !
"The letter from Christie (ex-Brazilian Excellency, and a very shrewd
fellow) came this morning. I leave a memorandum of it with Hume ; to
whom, if you chance to look in, you may give it in corpore : otherwise,
keep or return hither. J expect you again about Wednesday, and hope to
be alone and get more good of you. Ay de mi! Yours ever,
In a later letter (October 11) Carlyle complains of a statement as " presented as
if wrapt in bales of wool, or by the broadest end, or even by the side, instead of
the point," and bids Ruskin see what he can do to help the author to mend it.]
518 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1866
very willing and active hands. I spoke to him about the Price matters ;
your kind note being, for the rest, quite enough for me; however,
I spoke to Hume about it, and he read me Eyre's own letter about
Price which is conclusive.
The reason I attached overdue weight to Price's letter you might
partly guess from his niece's, which I left with you, not inadvertently.
I do not know if you looked at it again or thought of it in any wise ;
but if you could be troubled to glance over this two-in-one letter en-
closed, which you see bears (receptive) postmark, " Lu/ern, 28th Nov.,
1861," you will see how it is that I can't work now so well as I used
to do ; and why you must not scold me for not always being able to
" look valiantly upon these things." Ever your loving J. RUSKIN.
The passage about governesses refers to a gallant thing she did in
defiance of all scoldings by her friends namely, nursing her children's
sick governess herself, through a month's long illness requiring closest
watching, during some part of it, night and day.
I have opened my letter to put in also one that has come by this
post, which I think you will like in answer to what I told her of your
impression of Mr. Price.
I'll come over on Wednesday as usual. I am so glad you like to
have me alone.
To THOMAS CARLYLE
DENMARK HILL [Oct. I, 1866].
DEAR MR. CARLYLE, Please, I'll come over and take you to the
Committee 1 on Wednesday. Then I'll come on Thursday evening for
talk if that will do or Friday as you like best.
I've been looking for accounts of Gustavus Lutzen, etc. can't get
anything human about them.
It seems to me that a magnificent closing* work for you to do
would be to set your finger on the turning points and barriers in
European history, to gather them into train of light, to give without
troubling yourself about detail or proof, your own final impression of
the courses and causes of things and your thoughts of the leading
men, who they were, and what they were. If you like to do this,
I'll come and write for you a piece of every day, if after beginning
it you still found the mere hand work troublesome. I have a notion
it would be very wholesome work for me, and it would be very prou.l
and dear for me. But that's by the way only think of the thing
itself. Ever your loving J. UUSKIX.
1 [The Eyre Defence Committee : see Vol. XVIII. p. xlvi.]
1866] DESTITUTION AND CHARITY 519
TO C. A. HOWELL 1
DENMARK HILL, 3rd November .
LEAK HOWELL, I enclose your cheque for the 8th. You are now
quits with me, and we come to our 50 at February, but let me know
always fearlessly when you want any quicker help. . . . You can't at
all think what complicated and acute worry I've been living in the
last two months. Fm getting a little less complex now, only steady
headache instead of thorn fillet. I don't mean to be irreverent, but
in a small way, in one's poor little wretched humanity, it best expresses
the difference. That's why I couldn't think about Cruikshank or any-
thing. Ever affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.
To C. A. HOWELL 2
DENMARK HILL^ Qth November .
MY DEAR HOWELL, All that you have done is right and nice, but
I am sorry to see you are yourself overworked also. I will take some
measures to relieve you of this nuisance by writing a letter somewhere
on modern destitution in the middle classes. I hope to be able to
do this more effectively towards the beginning of the year, and to
state that for the present I must retire from the position necessarily
now occupied by a publicly recognised benevolent or simple person.
In the meantime, whenever you don't think a letter deserves notice,
merely say you "have forwarded it to me." Forward them to me in
packets, merely putting a cross on the back of any you wish me to
read. I may, or may not, but I will take the onus of throwing the
rest into the fire.
I simply have at present no more money, and therefore am unable
to help in fact, I am a long way within my proper banker's balance,
and I don't choose at present to sell out stock and diminish my future
power of usefulness.
I think I shall do most ultimate good by distinctly serviceable
appropriation of funds, not by saving here and there an unhappy soul
I wish I could when I hear of them, as you well know. I am at
the end of my means just now, and that's all about it.
I am going to write to Rutter 3 to release Cruikshank from the
1 [New Eeview, March 1892, p. 283.]
- [Ibid., pp. 283-284.]
3 [Mr. Henry Rutter, LL.B., junior partner in the firm of J. C. llutter & Son,
whose senior partner was executor to Ruskin's father.]
520 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1866
payment of that hundred. 1 He gave some bonds which may be useful
to him, and I shall put the 100 down as I said I would to the
Take care of yourself. Don't answer letters at all when you're
tired. Suppose you are me, myself of course / can't answer them.
Ever, with love to your cousin, your affectionate J. HUSKIN.
To Miss LILY ARMSTRONG
DENMARK HILL, 19th November, 18G6.
MY DEAREST LILY, I am in great pride and delight with my
letter to-day ; I think it so kind and pretty and good in you and
Lottv not to forget me through all this long time; and it is so nice
of you to write out this long, tiresome lecture which I wanted. I do
so wish I could come and see you but I am thoroughly ill at present,
though the doctors say they could make me quite strong again if only
they could keep me in good humour; but they can't, I'm so naughty.
However, I'm just a little better than I was in the summer and
perhaps I shall be able to make another little drawing for Lanty by
Christmas time. You have done me a great deal of good by writing
to me to-day, you darlingest of Lilies; and so have Susie and Nellie.
I'm so glad Nellie is there still with you ; I must write to her but I
can't more to-day, for I've been studying "Desiccation of Calcite" till
I'm giddy. I want to do a little sequel to the Ethics this winter
(only it will all be quite dead detail with plates no dialogue), 2 and
I'm doing a great deal with botany if only I had more strength for
work I should have some really useful books for you soon done; they're
all in my head, but they do me no good there, except make me giddy
they're ever so much worse than Irish jigs.
Yes, it is nice that Venice is free from the Austrians, 3 but Venice
and all Italy are still enslaved to an emperor they know not of and
there is no hope for them till they have broken his yoke asunder, and
cast his cords from them. 4 For as our true monarch is not Victoria but
Victor Mammon, so theirs is Victor ah not Emmanuel, but Belial
"To vice industrious but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful." 5
1 [See letter of Oth April 18GG.]
' 2 [This intention was not carried out.]
3 [By the treaty of peace between Italy and Austria signed on October 3,
Venice was annexed to the kingdom of Italy.]
4 r.See Psalms ii. JJ.]
* [Paradise Lout, ii. 11".
1866J THE RISE AND FALL OF VENICE 521
And the only idea of the Venetians, in regaining what they imagine to
be liberty, is not to recall the Toil of Venice by which she Rose but
the Pleasures by which she Perished.
To WILLIAM MICHAEL RossE-m 1
DENMARK HILL, 2 December, 1866.
MY DEAR ROSSETTI, I don't often read criticisms (disliking my
own as much as or more than other people's), but I have read this;
and like it much and entirely concur with you as far as you have
carried it. But you have left the fearful and melancholy mystery un-
touched, it seems to me, . . . the corruption which is peculiar to the
genius of modern days.
I hope George Richmond will dine with me on Tuesday next, the
4th, at six : if this reaches you in time, I wish you could come too.
It is so long since I have seen you. Love to Gabriel always. Ever
faithfully yours, J. RUSKIN.
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON 2
DENMARK HILL, 28th December, 1866.
MY DEAR NORTON, I have not written to you because I did hope
to have sent you some account of the portrait, but both Jones and I
have been ill, / very seriously, as far as any chronic illness can be
serious, being variously tormented, down into the dust of death and
near his gates, and no portrait seems finishable, for the present, so I
have cancelled your cheque, sending you back the enclosed torn bit to
assure you thereof; and if either he or I (for I suspect I can draw
myself better than anybody can 3 ) can do anything worth your having,
you shall have it for nothing.
I am working at geology and botany, and hope to get something
done in that direction, of a dry and dim nature, this next year. Which,
as it will be my 7 X 7th, is likely, not merely for that reason but for
many, to bring many troubles to an end for me, one way or another.
My mother is wonderfully well, and I am in some sort better than
for some time back. The doctors say there's nothing the matter with
me but what it isn't their business to deal with.
Did I tell you anything of my summer tour this year? I forget.
Let me know how you are. Ever your affectionate J. RUSKIN.
1 [Rossetti Papers, by W. M. Rossetti, pp. 216-217. The "criticism" is the
pamphlet, Swinburne's Poems and Ballads. A Criticism. By William Michael Rossetti
(John Camdeu Hotten, 1866).]
2 [No. 47 in Norton; vol. i. pp. 160-161.]
3 [Afterwards Ruskin sent two portrait-sketches of himself to Mr. Norton : see
Vol. XXXVII. p. 92.]
522 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1867
[This was a year in which Raskin's literary output was for him small : see
Vol. XVIII. p. xvii. His life at Denmark Hill during the earlier months is noted
in Vol. XIX. pp. xxii.-xxvi. After receiving an honorary degree and delivering
the Redo Lecture at Cambridge in May, he went for some weeks to the Lake
District. Letters to his mother written thence are given in Vol. XIX. pp. xxviii.-
To CHARLES ELIOT NORTON l
DENMARK HILL, 23rd January, 1867.
DEAR NORTON, I have just got your New Year's letter (for which
a thousand thanks and thoughts); but I am vexed because you seem
never to have got mine, giving account of Burne-Jones's breakdown
with the portrait and enclosing a fragment of your fifty-pound cheque
to show that it was destroyed ; and promising, if ever I can draw
again, to try and do you a sketch of myself. This letter was sent a
good while ago ; I forget how long, but you should certainly have had
it before the end of the year, it seems to me. However, it is always
late enough to hear of failures. I am painting birds, and shells, and
the like, to amuse myself and keep from sulking, but I sulk much.
Yes, it is indeed time we should meet but it will be to exchange
glances and hearts not thoughts for I have no thoughts I am so
pu/zled about everything that I've given up thinking altogether. It
seems to me likely that I shall draw into a very stern, lonely life, if
life at all, doing perhaps some small work of hand with what gift I
have, peacefully, and in the next world if there is any I hope to
begin a little better and get on farther. I want to send this by
" return of post " and must close. Ever your affectionate
My mother's love. She is well, but her sight is failing fast now.
She may revive a little in spring, perhaps mav only last long enough
to let her see my father's tomb. I have made it quite simple, with
a granite slab on the top so ~ supported bv a pure and delicate
moulding from my favourite tomb of Ilaria di Caretto, at Lucca (a
slender green serpentine shaft at each corner), and on the granite slab,
[Here followed the. inscription, which is printed in J'of. \ I'll. p. Lrxrii.~\
1 [Atlantic Mimth/i/, July 1!)04, vol. 94, pp. 17-1B. No. 48 in Norton; vol. i.
pp. 1(52-1 04.]
1 [" Here was a slight drawing." (.'. E. N'.]
1867] THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE 523
DENMARK HILL, February 1st, 1867.
MY DEAR SIR, My publisher has forwarded your letter to me ; and
while I am deeply flattered and gratified by its contents, I must yet
respectfully pray you to waive your intention of making extracts from
my works at present. There are many imperfect statements and reason-
ings in them, which I wish to complete before their publication is ex-
tended. Some papers begun last year in the Art Journal, under the
title of The Cestus of Aglaia? were intended to do this; they were
interrupted by broken health. As soon as I am able to resume and
complete these, I should be very grateful to any translator who would
honour me by putting them before the public in France. Believe me,
Sir, with sincere respect, your faithful servant, J. RUSKIN.
To ERNEST CHESNEAU 3
DENMARK HILL, February 13th, 1867.
MY DEAR SIR, I am sincerely obliged by the favour of your letter,
and of the volumes which accompanied it, and I am heartily grateful
for the flattering expression of your wish to translate, and write an
introduction to, some of my works. I am quite sure that I could never
hope for more just and more charitable interpretation. I am entirely
convinced that the spirit (body I would more sadly say) of the age
is such as to render it wholly impossible for it to nourish or receive
any great art whatsoever. It has polluted and crushed our Turner
into the madnesses which you saw (and which none mourned more
than I) ; it has turned your Gustave Dore into a mirror of the mouth
of Hell; made your Gerome an indecent modeller in clay instead of
a painter, and puffed up the conscientious vanity of the Germans into
unseemly mimicries of ancient error and hollow assumption of repulsive
religion. I have no hope for any of us but in a change in the discipline
and framework of all society, which may not come to pass yet, nor
perhaps at all in our days ; and therefore it is that I do not care to
write more, or to complete what I have done, feeling it all useless.
Still less to send it abroad in its crude state. Always, believe me. my
dear Sir, faithfully and respectfully yours, J. RUSKIX.
1 [No. 1 in Letters from John Ruskin to Ernest Chesneau, edited by Thomas
J. Wise, privately printed, 1894, pp. 3-4. For M. Chesneau, see the Introduc-
tion, above, p. Ixx. The original letter was sold at Sotheby's, July 5, 1888
(No. 332). On M. Chesneau's scheme for putting Ruskin's works before the French
public, see Vol. HI. p. 683.]
2 [Vol. XIX. pp. 41 seq.]
2 [No. 2 in Chesneau, pp. 5-6.]
524 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1867
DENMARK HILL, 17 th February, 1867.
DEAREST MR. CARLYLE, I should indeed have written to you, as
you bade me long ago, if it had not been that I had nothing to say
except either what you knew very well (that I loved you and because
I did, was glad, for the time, I had lost you) or what it would have
made you very angry with me to know. Which, as it must be told,
may as well now be at once got confessed. Namely, that one day
soon after you left I sate down gravely to consider what I could say
about poetry, and finding after a weary forenoon that the sum of my
labours amounted to four sentences, with the matter of two in them,
that also my hands were hot and my lips parched and my heart
heavy I concluded that it was not the purpose of fate that I should
lose any more days in such manner, and wrote to the Oxford people
a final and formal farewell. For which they have graciously expressed
pretty regrets : but I have since felt none except those which related
to the letter I had some day to write to Mentone.
One pleasant thing I had to tell you of, however, was a most
happy evening we had with your sister. I think she enjoyed it too.
My mother was entirely happy with her at once, and my cousin re-
joiced in her, and I rejoiced in all three. Her modest gentleness of
power is notable to me above anything I have yet seen of womankind.
She saved a little bit of Frederick the Great from the housemaid
and sent it me for which I am ever her grateful servant.
She told me a little thing that touched me closely also that you
had thought it worth while to keep labelled that little scrawl of
curved lines I made one evening. And I think I shall be able to
show you, when you return, that my poor little gift, such as it is, does
lie in eye and hand not in brains for, since I finally gave up the
Oxford matter, I set myself (chiefly to put some too painful thoughts
from me) to do in painting one or two little things as well as I
could. (Which I never did before for all my drawing hitherto has
only been to collect data never for its own sake.) And, doing as well
as I could, I have done not ill several things a dead partridge,
1 [This letter was written to Carlyle, who was seeking change of scene, after
his wife's death, at Mentone ; hence Ruskin was glad of his absence. The letter
is exhibited at the C'arlyle Museum, and is the property of the Carlyle House
Memorial Trust, by whose permission it is here given. It is an answer to the
letter from Carlyle, of February 15, given in Vol. XVII. p. .'WJ . The first part
refers to Ruskin's proposed candidature (approved, it would seem, by Carlyle) for the
Professorship of Poetry at Oxford, in succession to Matthew Arnold. Ruskin's with-
drawal left the field clear for Sir Francis Doyle (see \V. II. Mutton's Letters of liishop
p. 114). For a note on the fncaim ilc, see the Introduction, above, p. cxii.]
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