walked away that he would abstain from such deeds in future. What
was Mr. Gladstone to say to this? Was he to confute it, or show the
difficulties of its practical working ? "
Canon Holland gives other recollections of the same kind, and any
one who knew the two men and their modes of thought can realise
how exquisitely bewildering and amusing a conversation between them
must have been. As Canon Holland well says :
" Ruskin had more than any man the Platonic charm which mingles
humour and seriousness so that the two are inseparable. And this was
the form of humour that was least congenial to Mr. Gladstone. Not at all,
as is so often said, that he did not enjoy humour ; few people enjoyed
more heartily a good piece of fun, or laughed with a larger freedom.
But when Mr. Gladstone was serious he was serious ; while Mr. Ruskin,
like Plato, had ever a quiver of irony and wit stirring within everything
that was most serious, so that it was impossible to separate the two."
Canon Holland asks, " What was Mr. Gladstone to say ? " What
Mr. Gladstone did say may be inferred from a passage in Prceterita in
which Ruskin contrasts, from his personal experiences, the controversial
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
methods of Palmerston, Gladstone, and Disraeli: "Palmerston disputed
no principle with me (being, I fancied, partly of the same mind with
me about principles), but only feasibilities ; whereas in every talk
permitted me more recently by Mr. Gladstone, he disputes all the
principles before their application ; and the application of all that
get past the dispute. Disraeli differed from both in making a jest
alike of principle and practice." 1
The conquest, however, of Ruskin by Gladstone and of Gladstone
by Ruskin, was made when they thus met. Notes which have been pub-
lished from Gladstone's diary pay a high tribute to Ruskin as guest :
"Jan. 12, 1878. Mr. Ruskin came; we had much conversation, interest-
ing of course, as it must always be with him.
11 Jan. 15. Mr. Ruskin went at 10|. In some respects an unrivalled
guest, and those important respects too." :
1 Vol. XXXV. p. 505.
2 Letters to M. G. and H. G., p. vii. In Morley's Life of Gladstone, vol. ii.
p. 581, Mr. Gladstone's diary is cited as saying: "After thirty hours my library
is now in passable order, and I enjoy, in Buskin's words, 'the complacency of
possession and the pleasantness of order."'
Ruskin on his side made public confession, as we have seen in a
previous volume, 1 of his past misjudgment of the character of his host.
To Canon Holland, as they drove away to the station, he " poured
out freely the joy of his discovery."" But there was one difficulty ;
Ruskin was " a little nervous as to how he was going to explain it
to 'the Master' at Chelsea."
How the disciple managed the explanation, history does not
record. Perhaps Carlyle attributed Ruskin's fall from anti-Gladstonian
grace to the charm of Gladstone's daughter ; and this was, no doubt,
an element in the case. Ruskin, having entered the family circle at
Hawarden, accepted all its members who desired his friendship. To
Miss Gladstone's cousin, Mr. Alfred Lyttelton, he gave a letter of
introduction to Carlyle. Miss Gladstone herself became one of the
"pets" upon whom he was fond of bestowing playful affection. The
earlier letters to her tell, with graceful compliment, of his pleasure in
the visit to Hawarden. Then, he dines with her father in London,
enjoys her music, and finds her "a perfect little mother to him." 2
In the autumn of the same year (1878) the visit to Hawarden was
repeated. The late Duke of Argyll an old antagonist of Raskin's
at the Metaphysical Society was, on this occasion, of the company,
and Ruskin felt a certain constraint. The diarist, before quoted,
made a study of "three strongly-contrasted characters." 3 The Duke
found things very well as they are. Ruskin was for remoulding "this
sorry scheme of things nearer to the heart's desire." 4 Ruskin was
against war; he "would have every man in England a soldier able,
if need be, to defend his home and his country ; but not a stand-
ing profession of h'ghters, which must encourage the evil war-spirit."
Ruskin maintained that Christianity was against war; the Duke cited
a sermon of Mo/ley's to the contrary. " You seem to want a very
different world, Mr. Ruskin." " Yea, verily, a new heaven and a new
earth, and the former things passed away." Midway between the two
stood Gladstone; "in spirit going far with Ruskin; accepting, indeed,
almost all his principles, but widely differing as to their practical
applications." At one point they turned out to be in unexpected
accord. Ruskin had attacked his host as a "leveller":
1 Vol. XXVIII. p. 403.
1 See Vol. XXXVII. pp. 239, 254.
3 There was play, as well as talk. Some one produced " Fishponds," and Glad-
stone, the Duke, and Ruskin took their turn. "Ruskin approved the idea of the-
#ame, but wanted lovely little fishes with silver scales instead of little ujrly
lumps of wood to catch " (Letters to M. <i. and H. G., p. 22).
4 FitxGerald's Omar Khayyam.
" ' You see you think one man is as good as another, and all men equally
competent to judge aright on political questions; whereas I am a believer
in an aristocracy.' And straight came the answer from Mr. Gladstone,
' Oh dear, no ! I am nothing of the sort. I am a firm believer in the
aristocratic principle the rule of the best. I am an out-and-out inequali-
tarian,' a confession which Ruskin greeted with intense delight, clapping
his hands triumphantly."
Ruskin's conversation pleased Gladstone no less than before, as the notes
in his diary show:
"Oct. 12, 1878. Mr. Ruskin came; health better, and no diminution
"Oct. 13. Walk with the Duke (of Argyll), Mr. Ruskin and party.
"Oct. 14. Walk with Mr. Ruskin. Mr. Ruskin at dinner developed
his political opinions. They aim at the restoration of the Judaic system,
and exhibit a mixture of virtuous absolutism and Christian socialism. All
in his charming and benevolent manner.
" Oct. 15. Good-bye to Mr. Ruskin and off for London at 9.5 A.M." 1
The correspondence between Gladstone's daughter and Ruskin con-
tinued on the old terms of affection, which was proof even against
some further " naughtinesses " on Ruskin's part against the statesman.
Ruskin on his side affected great injury and difficulty in forgiving
when Miss Gladstone married injury all the greater because it followed
at no long interval the marriage of their common friend Miss Graham,
the " Francie " of Burne- Jones's Memorial'} and the " F." of Ruskin's
Letters to M. G. Miss Gladstone's music was a great delight to
Ruskin ; visits to her, when she would play to him, were among the
occasional pleasures of London in his later years. She, too, was of
the party, during his last term at Oxford, when he obtained permission
from the Dean to have the cathedral closed to the public, that he might
roam up and down and listen to the organ. The " Letters to M. G."
are full of music; and as she had adopted Lady Mount-Temple's
name for him. St. Chrysostom, he calls her in return "St. Cecilia"
on one occasion even addressing the envelope so, a letter which one
1 In 1892 Mr. Gladstone was considering the question of the Laureateship, left
unfilled by Lord Salisbury. "It is no longer a secret that in his endeavour to
* keep it on the high moral plane where Wordsworth and Tennyson placed it,' his
thoughts strayed to Ruskin, and Acland was applied to by him as to whether
Ruskin's health would permit of the offer being made, but Acland could give him
no encouragement, and the project fell still-born " (Memoir of Sir Henry Acland
by J. B. Atlay, p. 487).
is not surprised to hear puzzled the butler. 1 For the rest, though
for the most part slight and playful, the letters contain many passing
felicities of thought and language, to which Mr. George Wyndham in
his Preface to Miss Gladstone's book has called attention. 2
A friend of whom Ruskin saw something during visits to London
in his later years was Cardinal Manning. They had probably become
acquainted through the Metaphysical Society, and Ruskin used to call
on Manning at Archbishop's House. Some of the Cardinal's letters
to him, often accompanied by gifts of books, such as the Fioretti of
S. Francis, have already been quoted, 3 and another may here be
"ARCHBISHOP'S HOUSE, WESTMINSTER, Oct. 21, 1873. MY DEAR MR.
RUSKIN, I can say with truth that ever since our last conversation I have
been thinking of writing to you. But I have been overdone with work,
and have constantly delayed.
" I cannot say with what interest I have read Fors Clavigera. It is
like the beating of one's heart in a nightmare. You are crying out of
the depths of this material world ; and no man will listen. You can now
understand what we feel. We cry and cry, but the nineteenth century
looks upon us as deaf and impassive as the young Memnon. There are
no breaks in the woods on the horizon to let us into infinity. We are
hedged in by the 3 per cents., iron-clads, secularism, and deified Civil
Powers. The God of this World has got his day for a time. Irving said
forty years ago : ' The physical sciences have taken the whole breadth of
heaven to themselves, and the spiritual sciences have gone down into the
earth, and are to be no more found.' It is very true. Could the Ape
theory ever have come up in my mind if they had not first lost spiritual
instincts, and intuitions of the intelligent and moral nature of man ? With
a theist I have sympathy, with an atheist or an agnostic I can find no
human hand or heart to lay hold of. What room for the K aA.cn' or
' pulchrum ' physical, moral, spiritual, ideal in men who feel that they may
be the Sons of an ape ?
1 See Vol. XXXVII. p. 651.
1 "The references (in Vol. XXXVII.) to Mr. Gladstone (p. 239), to Browning
(p. 257), to the Land-League (p. 341), to the law of land-owning (p. 389) are
all of public interest. Again, in another category, the planes 'twisted grandly
by rock-winds' (p. 257), and the profound thought of morning and evening, spring
and autumn (iWrf.), the ' move the shadow from the dial evermore ' (p. 260), the
olives, grass, and cyclamen (p. 413) are treasures not to be kept under lock and
key. On page 273 the reference to Lady Day is important, and, to make a
quick change, I like also to possess the Bishop and Pig-stye (p. 546). And on
p. 341 there is a grand confession of faith."
3 See Vol. XXXII. p. xxiii., Vol. XXXIII. p. xxv., Vol. XXXV., p. Ivi. .
"Your Fors is a vigorous and human protest against this degradation
of man and of Society ; which next after the Church is God's greatest
work. I hope you are well. Believe me, always, my dear Mr. Ruskin,
yours faithfully, HENRY E., Archbp. of Westmr."
The Cardinal, rejoicing in Ruskin's declarations of Catholicism, hoped
perhaps that his Church was about to receive a distinguished convert.
Raskin's letter of January 1878 l must have undeceived him ; to
Manning, as previously to Patmore, Ruskin explained that he was a
" Catholic " in a wider sense than that of the Roman Church. But
though he made light of " Papal pretensions," 2 he remained much
attached to Manning, of whom he writes to other friends as " my dear
There are many friends and acquaintances included in Raskin's
correspondence who have not yet been mentioned in this Introduction.
The letters to them are often interesting or important, but a bare
mention must here suffice, further particulars being given in footnotes
to the letters. In the present volume, reference may be made to Mrs.
Hugh Blackburn, Mr. E. S. Dallas, and Sir John and Lady Naesmyth ;
in the next, to Professor Blackie, Mr. Frederick Gale, Mr. and Mrs.
Alfred Tylor, 3 and many others. Other letters are addressed to Miss
Sara Anderson, cousin of Mr. James Reddie Anderson already mentioned.
She acted as Ruskin's secretary from 1884 to 1890, and subsequently
filled the same post in the Burne-Jones household, where, as at Brant-
wood, her "skill and tact," her "quick pen and quicker wit" 4 made
her a general favourite.
It is now time to turn to some of the closest and most enduring
of Ruskin's friendships which have not yet been touched upon friend-
ships which began early in his life and were ended only by death. In
a passage of Fors Clavigera (1877) Ruskin gives a list of his old and
tried friends, " with their respective belongings of family circle." The
members of this inner circle of his friendship were " Henry Acland, and
George Richmond, and John Simon, and Charles Norton, and William
Kingsley, and Rawdon Brown, and Osborne Gordon, and Burne-Jones,
and Lady Mount-Temple, and Mrs. Hilliard, and Miss Ingelow." 5 Some
1 Vol. XXXVII. p. 240. 2 Ibidm) p< 323.
s The letter of condolence to the latter is admirable (Vol. XXXVII. p. 506).
* Memoir* of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. ii. pp. 228-229. Compare No. 41 in
Buskin's letters to Ellis (Vol. XXXVII. p. 641).
8 See Vol. XXIX. p. 184.
of the friendships thus named have been described already in this
Introduction. It remains for us to notice the others, beginning, how-
ever, with one which lluskin strangely omitted from his list.
Many of the most interesting and intimate of Ruskin's letters are
to Dr. John Brown, the beloved physician of Edinburgh and author of
Rob and his Friends. The letters begin in 1846 and continue till
Brown's death in 1882. It was not, however, till 1853 that he and
Ruskin met. Brown, born in 1810, was the senior of the two men
by nine years. Ruskin traces in PrceterUa 1 certain links of native
sympathy between him and his friend their common race, and in
some respects their similar upbringing. They had, too, many com-
munities of taste. Brown, though closely occupied in the practice of
his profession, was a keen lover of literature and painting. He had
high repute in Edinburgh as an art-critic. He was an ardent admirer
of the genius of Turner. He was "a lover of the meadows and the
woods, and mountains." 1 " How delighted I am with the Border Min-
strelty" he wrote to a friend in 1835, " and how enraged I feel, that
owing to these wretched things called circumstances, I cannot and pro-
bably never will see the places, or wander at will among the Hills.
What secrets which have been hidden in the everlasting hills and in
the fountains of waters which move among them would we not reveal
the day may yet come." 2 In the writer of these words, the first
volume of Modern Painters struck an instant chord of sympathy and
understanding, and his admiration of the '* Graduate's " work was
strengthened by the second volume. He wrote to the unknown author
expressing his gratitude, and Ruskin replied (p. 60) in warm terms which
encouraged further correspondence. Brown much desired to make his
acquaintance, and wondered what manner of man he might be. "Too
much a man of genius," he conjectured, "to be always good-natured. 11
Like every other judicious reader of Ruskin, Brown could not always
go with him. " I once thought him very nearly a god," he wrote in
1851 ; " I find we nmst cross the River before we get at our gods." But
on this side of the River, he was presently to walk with Ruskin as a
friend. The "arrogance" in some obiter scriptum, which had momen-
tarily disaffected Brown, was atoned for when they met. " Never
believe one word against him," Brown wrote; "he is odd and wilful,
and not to be gainsayed, but he is pure and good, and an amazing
genius." 3 And so, again: "I am sure he has wings under his flannel
1 Vol. XXXV. pp. 458, 403, 465. * Letters of Dr. John Hrown, 1907, p. 33.
3 For this, and previously quoted passages, see The letter* of Dr. John lirown,
pp. 93, 88, 118,, 183, 22G.
jacket; he is not a man, but a stray angel, who has singed his wings
a little and tumbled into our sphere. He has all the arrogance, in-
sight, unreasonableness, and spiritual sheen of a celestial. 1 '' " It is now
thirty years," he wrote in 1874, "since he first wrote me, and I have
known no nobler, purer nature since. 11 They had a common friend in
Pauline, Lady Trevelyan, with whom Ruskin stayed at Wellington in
1853, on his way to Edinburgh. She had invited Dr. John Brown
at the same time, and Ruskin thus had made known to him "the
best and truest friend of all his life. 11 On some later occasion, when
they were both at Wallington together, Lady Trevelyan's niece, Miss
Constance Hilliard, then a girl of nine, was staying there. 1 She became
a great pet both of Ruskin and of Brown, and there are several
allusions in their correspondence to "that queer and dear child," as
Brown called her, 2 with the " quaint and witty " ways noted by Ruskin.
She stayed as a child of twelve at Denmark Hill, became the life-long
friend of Mrs. Severn, and is included, through her mother, in Ruskin's
list of his dearest friendships : a letter to her will be found in this
Dr. John Brown, says Ruskin, was his " best friend, because he was
of my father's race and native town; truest because he knew always
how to help us both, and never made any mistakes in doing so." The
published letters of Brown to Ruskin show how constant and appre-
ciative was the sympathy which he gave to his friend ; and Ruskiifs to
him, how much pleasure and encouragement were thereby afforded. In
Ruskin's middle period that of Unto this Last and kindred writings
there was some little relaxation of the sympathy between the two
men, for to Brown, as to most others at that time, the assault upon
the " old " Political Economy seemed bad and mad. It was cause of
lively regret to Ruskin that his friend would not instantly be con-
verted (pp. 340, 416) ; but in later years the full sympathy between
them was restored. Brown was an eager reader of everything that
came from Raskin's pen, and there was seldom an article, a chapter,
or a book which did not bring a word of appreciation from Edinburgh.
" You never sent an arrow more home or to better purpose," wrote
Brown of Ruskin's vindication of James Forbes against Tyndall ; " good-
bye, my own dear friend, and may the Almighty, your father's and
mother's God, bless and cheer you." 11 3 " It did and does give pleasure,"
1 Ruskin in Prceterita confuses this occasion with his first visit to Wallington
2 Letters of Dr. John Brown, p. 206.
3 Ibid., p. 226 (December 27, 1873). See also p. 230
he wrote of the chapters on Scott in Fors Clavigera, " but, oh ! when
will we get the rest ? You should be twenty several men."" l "I gave
myself up on Sunday evening for some hours," he said in another letter,
" to going over the plate" of Modern Painters. I would say more
easily to any one than yourself what was the feeling that grew upon
me as I scrutinised their old and ever new lines of feeling and power.
You should be thankful to God every night you lay down your head
for having done them." 2
Of a chapter of Ariadne Florentina Brown wrote : " I have read
every word of this in my carriage, dodging about from door to door,
from one case to another. Besides being new and true and important
very this is full of ' go,' ' throughout with the full fire of temper
in it.' That dying child ! that miserrimus Miser ! and all that about
anatomy profoundly true." 3 And of Proserpina : "Thanks, as I have
so long and so often had to give you, for the joy and comfort of it ;
it is delightful and informing and more 11 ; 4 and once again of The
Bible of Amiens:
" Zllh December, 1881. I owe you much for some real pleasure this
day, of which I stood in need. Here is indeed no ' loss of general power,
whether in conception or industry ' ; the ' active brightness of the entire
soul and life ' are here as of old. 5 You burn like iron wire in oxygen, and
I often wonder how you survive your own intensity. The Northern Porch
is lovely, quite, in its true sense exquisite searched out and expressed to
the uttermost by the good (I am sure he is worthy) George Allen and
his master. . . ." 6
Letters such as this gave much pleasure to Ruskin, as his answers
sufficiently show. He liked such "frankincense friendship," 7 and was,
on his side, not slow to praise his friend's work ; though, as it
happened, the pieces by which Dr. John Brown is best known to the
general reader were those which Ruskin least liked. He was, like
1 Letters of Dr. John Brown, p. 253 (October 25, 1877).
October 2, 1874; ibid., p. 257, where the letter is wrongly dated "1878," for
it contains a mention of a letter from Ruskin at Lucca (1874).
3 Ibid., p. 225. The references are to Lecture V. (Vol. XXII. pp. 420, the
woodcuts between pp. 416, 417, and p. 407).
Ibid., p. 280. See further, Vol. XXXVII. p. 386 n.
5 Quotations from Appendix iii. and ch. ii. 55 3 in The Bible of Amiens
(Vol. XXXIII. pp. 186, 54).
The rest of the letter is cited in Vol. XXXIV. p. xliv. The "Northern
Porch" is Plate XI. in Vol. XXXIII. ; but Mr. Allen's plate was not in a con-
dition to bear printing from (see ibid., p. Ixiii ).
7 See Vol. XXXVII. p. 340.
his friend, a devoted lover of dogs "Let us both look for the happy
hunting-ground," he said, "where we shall meet all our dogs again";
but, though he appreciated the beautiful writing in Rob, the story
was too sad for him. 1 And so with Marjorie Fleming, the pathos was
too poignant. But to Dr. Brown's other pieces, Ruskin gave unstinted
praise, 2 and especially was he charmed by the account of the doctor's
father. 3 Ruskin's warm sympathy in the sorrows of private life was also a
great comfort to Dr. Brown. He had lost his wife in 1864, and writing
to Ruskin ten years later, he says how often he blessed his friend
for his keen appreciation of her character. A little later Dr. Brown's
health broke down and his "mind lost its self-control for a short
time." " Don't over-cerebrate," he once said to Ruskin. 4 Four years
passed, and Ruskin himself was similarly afflicted. The friends both
knew what it was to pass through the valley of the shadow, and their
latest letters seem touched with a yet deeper note of affection. It
was in these years that Ruskin gave his friend much pleasure by
sending him drawings and engravings to look at, and often to keep.
They had, too, in their later years a further link of attachment in
their common friend, Miss Susan Beever. Dr. Brown, indeed, knew
her only by correspondence ; but he read her character perfectly, and
the two men were equally attracted by the heart of a child which
neither the wisdom of experience nor the weight of years could deaden.
" I trust that we shall both go on yet, in spite of sorrow," wrote
Ruskin at the end of 1881, "speaking to each other through the
sweetbriar and the vine, for many an hour of twilight as well as
morning." But in 1882 Dr. John Brown passed away. "Nothing
could tell," wrote Ruskin, "the loss to me in his death, nor the grief
to how many greater souls than mine, that had been possessed in
patience through his love." 5
Next to Dr. John Brown, Ruskin placed, in the count of his men-
friends, Charles Eliot Norton " my second friend and my first real
tutor." 6 Ruskin's letters to him form not the least interesting, and
from 1856 onwards perhaps the most continuous, series in the present
1 See below, pp. 365-6 ; and for the preceding quotation, Vol. XXXVII.
2 See below, pp. 85, 392, 403 ; and in Vol. XXXVII., Xmas. '73, 29 Dec. '73.
3 Obscured under the title Letter to John Cairns. For further references to
it, see Prccterita,
4 Letters of Dr. John Brown, pp. 226, 206, 230.
5 Praterita, ii. 232 (Vol. XXXV. p. 463).
6 Ibid., iii. 46 (Vol. XXXV. p. 520). Elsewhere, and at an earlier date,
Ruskin speaks of Norton as "the best friend I have in the world, next to
Carlyle" (Vol. XVII. p. 477).
Collection. Other friends had preserved letters from Ruskin, hardly
less numerous, but it has been necessary to represent such collections
more sparingly, as Professor Norton had already printed his long series
in America. 1 It is needless to say much about this friendship ; for
Ruskin has described it in Prceterita, 2 and the letters themselves,
though they are one-sided, sufficiently disclose the relations between
the two men. The letters may be read, says Professor Norton, "as
an irregular narrative of a friendship with which neither difference
of temperament nor frequent and wide divergence of opinion had power
to interfere. 11 3 These differences and divergences were, indeed, neither
few nor slight, as any discerning reader of Ruskin's letters will readily