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His architectural work, "Stones of Venice," etc., I am not so competent to judge, but I believe that while on the one hand he did great good by bringing out the virtues of Gothic architecture and awakening the interest of the world in the art that was passing away, on the other hand he did harm by repressing the influence of the better form of Renaissance, which is often of the noblest and truest art, and is far more adapted to our modern ways of work and uses than is the Gothic. He uses here the same bitter polemics and biased judgment as in the "Modern Painters." In the lovely little Renaissance church of the Miracoli at Venice, where are the most exquisite decorations in the style of which I know, Ruskin finds among the arabesques a child's head tied by its locks among the tendrils of the vegetation, and inveighs bitterly against the brutality of such a conception as putting a bodiless head in the decoration. But he never stops to think that it is a cherub among other cherubim, and that, as it is in the character of the cherub to have no body, the tying of one of them by the hair to the vine is only a bit of playful invention in which there is no brutality whatever, but the most seraphic of practical jokes by the other cherubim on the bodiless and helpless state of the charming little creature, a creation which in Gothic days might have been believed in as an actuality, but which the Renaissance only looked at as a fiction of mythology with the Tritons and Sirens, and therefore with no reverence. But with Greek art, all that in any way sympathized with its dominant character meets his anathema. It seems to me that even in architecture his influence is not catholic, but is tinged by his devotional tendencies, although he introduces an element of common sense into the criticism of architecture unknown before him.
But Ruskin's true position is higher than that of art critic in any possible development. It is as a moralist and a reformer and in his passionate love of humanity (not inconsistent with much bitterness, and even unmerited, at times, to individual men) that we must recognize him. His place is in the pulpit, speaking largely and in the unsectarian sense. Truth is multiform, but of one essence, and, such as he sees it, he is always faithful to it. I have taken large exception to his ideas and teachings in respect to art because I feel that they are misleading. His mistakes in art are in some measure due to his fundamental mistake of measuring it by its moral powers and influence, and the roots of the error are so deeply involved in his character and mental development that it can never be uprooted. It is difficult for me (perhaps for any of his
contemporaries) to judge him as a whole because, besides being his contemporary and a sufferer by what I now perceive to be the fatal error of his system, I was for so many years his close personal friend, and because, while I do not agree with his tenets and am obliged by my own sense of right to combat many of his teachings, I still retain the personal affection for him of those years which are dear to memory, and reverence the man as I know him; and because I most desire that he should be judged rightly, as a man who for moral greatness has few equals in his day, and who deserves an honor and distinction which he has not received, and in a selfish and sordid world will not receive, but which I believe time will give him,-that of being one who gave his whole life and substance to the furtherance of what he believed to be the true happiness and elevation of his fellow-men. Even were he the sound art critic so many people take him to be, his real nature rises above that office as much as humanity rises above art. When we wish to compare him with men of his kind, it must be with Plato or Savonarola rather than with Hazlitt or Hamerton. Art cannot be clearly estimated in any connection with morality, and Ruskin could never, any more than Plato or Savonarola, escape the condition of being in every fiber of his nature a moralist and not an artist, and as he advanced in life the ethical side of his nature more and more asserted its mastery, though less and less in theological terms.
If I have assumed the right to pass judgment on his art teachings, it is because I have devoted most of my life to the study of art and more years than Ruskin had when he finished his most important books; but when I come to the moral problem, so vast, so profound and momentous in comparison with any questions of culture, I have not the presumption to judge a man whose moral nature I know to be so exceptional, and winged to flights that I can only honor from below. Here we enter into a world where only the Judge of all life can pronounce and where my opinion must be respectful, for the unquestionable loftiness and unselfishness of his nature and the consecration of his life to the advancement of truth as he has seen it, give him, to me, an authority I dare not debate with, and which I insist on all the more because I know the world does not accord it to him. No one has yet dared answer Pilate, and I have no disposition to judge whether Ruskin's social reforms and political theories are in accordance with eternal truth or not - whether they are practical or not is, perhaps, a question of epoch simply.
As an indication of Ruskin's position,more free, possibly, because more personal than
those given in his early works,-I quote part of one of his first letters to me (about 1851). I had been involved in mystical speculation, partly growing out of the second volume of "Modern Painters," and had written to him for counsel.
doing: mingle some physical science with your imag inative studies: and be sure that God will take care to lead you into the fulfillment of whatever Tasks he has ready for you, and will show you what they are in his own time.
"Thank you for your sketch of American art. I do hope that your countrymen will look upon it, in time, as all other great nations have looked upon it at their greatest times, as an object for their united aim and Strongest efforts. I apprehend that their deficiency im landscape has a deep root- the want of historical associations. Every year of your national existence will give more power to your landscape painting — then — do fed with Ruins of Abbeys. I believe the first thing you you not want architecture? Our children's taste is have to do is to build a few Arabic palaces by way of novelty-one brick of jacinth and one of jasper.
"Write to me whenever you are at leisure and think with sympathy or in any way, I can be of use to you and believe me always interested in your welfare and very faithfully yours, "J. RUSKIN."
I could not quote from his published works so condensed a summary of the creed of the man: it maintains the supremacy of the moral element which has obtained in his life-work taken as a whole.
“I did not indeed understand the length to which your views were carried when I saw you here, or I should have asked you much more about them than I did, and your present letter leaves me still thus far in the dark that I do not know whether you only have a strong conviction that there is such a message to be received from all things or whether in any sort you think you have understood and can interpret it, for how otherwise should your persuasion of the fact be so strong? I never thought of such a thing being possible before, and now that you have suggested it to me I can only imagine that by rightly understanding as much of the nature of everything as ordinary watchfulness will enable any man to perceive, we might, if we looked for it, find in everything some special moral lesson or type of particular truth, and that then one might find a language in the whole world before unfelt like that which is forever given to the Ravens or to the lilies of the field by Christ's speaking of them. This I think you might very easily accomplish so far as to give the first idea and example; then it seems to me that every thoughtful man who succeeded you would be able to add some types or words to the new language, but all this quite independently of any Mystery in the Thing or Inspiration in the Person, any more than there is Mystery in the cleaning of a Room covered with dust -of which you remember Bunyan makes so beautiful a spiritual application, so that one can never more see the thing done without being interested. If there be mystery in things requiring Revelation, I cannot tell on what terms it might be vouchsafed us, nor in any way help you to greater certainty of conviction, but my advice to you would be on no account to agitate nor grieve yourself nor look for inspiration- for assuredly many of our noblest English minds have been entirely overthrown by doing so - but to go on doing what you are quite sure is right- that is, striving for constant purity of thought, purpose and word:-not on any account overworking yourself-especially in headwork: but accustoming yourself to look for the spiritual meaning of things just as easily to be seen as their natural meaning: and fortifying yourself against the hardening effect of your society, by good literature. You should read much-and generally old books: but above all avoid German books- and all Germanists except Carlyle, whom read as much as you can or like: Read George Herbert and Spenser and Wordsworth and Homer, all constantly: Young's Night Thoughts, Crabbe-and of course Shakespeare, Bacon and Jeremy Taylor and Bunyan: do not smile if I mention also Robinson Crusoe and the Arabian Nights, for standard places on your shelves: I say read Homer: I do not know if you can read Greek, but I think it He considers himself the pupil of Carlylewould be healthy work for you to teach it to yourself for me he floats in a purer air than Carlyle ever if you cannot, and then I would add to my list Platobreathed. As a feminine nature he was captibut I cannot conceive a good translation of Plato. I had nearly forgotten one of the chief of all-Dante. But in doing this, do not strive to keep yourself in an elevated state of spirituality. No man who earnestly believed in God and the next world was ever petrified or materialized in heart, whatever society he kept. Do whatever you can, however simple or commonplace, in your art; do not force your spirituality on your American friends. Try to do what they admire as well as they would have it, unless it costs you too much but do not despise it because commonplace. Do not strive to do what you feel to be above your strength. God requires that of no man: Do what you feel happy in
That comparatively few people have read. the "Fors Clavigera" I know, for having occasion to complete my set not long since, I found that several of the numbers supplied me by the publisher were from the first thousand, published years ago; and yet this is the work which more than any other gives us a clear insight into the character and mental tendencies of Ruskin. He is here at his ease, not bound by any prepossessions and theories; wayward, outspoken, indifferent to praise or blame; speaking with full possession of himself and frank appreciation of his audience, addressing himself" to the workmen and laborers of Great Britain," not so much in the hope that they would come to fill his school, but because he knew that only by the poor and the despised by the great world was there any hope of the reconstruction of society, as he dreamed it, being effected or accepted. The drift of all Ruskin's preaching (and I use the word in its noble sense) is a protest against materialism in ourselves, impurity in our studies and desires, and selfishness in our conduct towards our fellow-men.
Vated by the robust masculine force of his great countryman, and there was in the imperial theory of Carlyle much that chimed with Ruskin's own ideas of human government. The Chelsean regretfully looking back to the day of absolutism and brutal domination of the appointed king was in a certain sense a sympathetic reply to Ruskin's longings for a firm and orderly government when he felt the quicksands of the transitional order of the day yield.
ing under his feet, but in reality the two regarded Rule from points as far removed from each other as those of Luther and Voltaire. Carlyle's ideal was one of a Royal Necessity, an incarnate law indifferent to the crushed in its marchings and rulings, burly, brutal, contemptuous of the luckless individual or the overtaken straggler; his Rule exists not for the sake of humanity, but for that of Order, as if Order and Rule were called out for their own sake; he puffs into perdition the trivial details of individual men, closing accounts by ignoring the fractions. Ruskin loses sight of no detail, but calls in to the benefit of his Order and Rule every child and likeness of a child in larger form, full of a tenderness which is utterly human yet inexhaustible. Carlyle's Ruler is like a Viking's god, his conception utterly pagan; Ruskin's is Christlike; Carlyle's word is like the mace of Charlemagne, Ruskin's like the sword of the Angel Gabriel; if Ruskin is notably egotistical, Carlyle is utterly selfish; if Ruskin dogmatizes like an Evan
gelist, Carlyle poses as a Prophet; and the difference, when we come to sum up all the qualities, moral, intellectual, and literary, seems to me to be in favor of Ruskin. Their ideals are similarly antithetical,- Ruskin's lying in a hopeful future, an unattainable Utopia, perhaps, but still a blessed dream; Carlyle's in a return to a brutal and barren past, made forever impossible by the successful assertion of human individuality, and for whose irrevocability we thank God with all our hearts and in all hope of human progress. The public estimate has not overrated Ruskin, just as he had not overrated Turner, because the aggregate impression of power received was adequate to the cause; but in the one case as in the other the mistake has been relative, and consisted in misestimating the genius and attributing the highest value to the wrong item in the aggregate. I may be mistaken in my estimate of Ruskin, but I believe that the future will exalt him above it rather than depress him below it. W. J. Stillman.
WOULD I were as eagles are, That I might fly o'er hill and plain, A trackless course; defenseless, bare To the cold dash of mountain rain, But armed against a world of pain. Or that I were as morning dove That shoots into her forest green; Or that I had the wings of love, The spirit speed, and heart serene,
But yesterday a Hawk I saw !
Forgetting all to be once more as I have Had hunger urged, or cold or tempest him
For now I live where none rejoice;
I move amid a world of woe.
How from its husky throat the voice
Oh, weary lot! would thou wert dead!
Langdon Elwyn Mitchell.
THE OLD MAN AND JIM.
LD man never had much to say -
And Jim was the wildest boy he had
And the Old man jes' wrapped up in him! Never heerd him speak but once
Er twice in my life,- and first time was
Take keer of yourse'f!"
Never was nothin' about the farm
The Old man 'peared wrapped up in him: But when Cap. Biggler, he writ back 'At Jim was the bravest boy we had In the whole dern rigiment, white er black, And his fightin' good as his farmin' bad'At he had led, with a bullet clean Bored through his thigh, and carried the flag Through the bloodiest battle you ever seen,The Old man wound up a letter to him 'At Cap. read to us, 'at said,-"Tell Jim Good-bye;
And take keer of hisse'f."
Jim come back jes' long enough
To take the whim
'At he'd like to go back in the calveryAnd the Old man jes' wrapped up in him!—
Jim 'lowed 'at he 'd had sich luck afore,
And last he heerd was the Old man say,— "Well; good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"
Tuk the papers, the Old man did,
Fully believin' he 'd make his mark
Some way-jes' wrapped up in him! And many a time the word 'u'd come 'At stirred him up like the tap of a drum At Petersburg, fer instance, where Jim rid right into their cannons there, And tuk 'em, and p'inted 'em t' other way, And socked it home to the boys in gray, As they skooted fer timber, and on and on Jim a lieutenant and one arm gone,
And the Old man's words in his mind all day,
"Well; good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"
Think of a private, now, perhaps,
'At's clumb clean up to the shoulder-straps
And the Old man jes' wrapped up in him! Think of him-with the war plum' through, And the glorious old Red-White-and-Blue A-laughin' the news down over Jim And the Old man, bendin' over him The surgeon turnin' away with tears 'At had n't leaked fer years and years As the hand of the dyin' boy clung to His father's, the old voice in his ears,"Well; good-bye, Jim:
Take keer of yourse'f!"
James Whitcomb Riley.
THE GRAYSONS: A STORY OF ILLINOIS.*
BY EDWARD EGGLESTON,
Author of "The Hoosier Schoolmaster," "The Circuit Rider," "Roxy," etc.
BARBARA'S PRIVATE AFFAIRS.
ROM childhood Barbara's ambition had centered in Tom: it was her plan that the clever brother should give standing to the family by his success in life. If Tom could only be persuaded to be steady, he might come to be a great man. A great man, in her thinking, was a member of the State legislature, or a circuit judge, for example: to her provincial imagination the heights above these were hazy and almost inaccessible. The scheme of a professional career for Tom had been her own, in conception and management; for though her brother was nearly two years her senior, she, being prudent and forecasting, had always played the part of an elder. Tom's undeniable "brightness" was a great source of pride to her. In spite of his heedless collisions with the masters, he was always at the head of his classes; and it seemed to Barbara the most natural thing in the world that she, being a girl, should subordinate herself to the success of a brother so promising. She had left school to devote herself to the house and the cares of the farm, in order that Tom might be educated in the moderate sense of the word then prevalent. The brother was far from being ungrateful: if he accepted his sister's sacrifices without protest, he repaid her with a demonstrative affection and admiration not often seen in brothers; and there were times when he almost reverenced in her that prudence and practical wisdom in which he found himself deficient.
It was only during this summer that Barbara had been seized with independent aspirations for herself; and perhaps even these were not without some relation to Tom. If Tom should come to be somebody in the county, she would sit in a reflected light as his sister. It became her, therefore, not to neglect entirely her own education. To go to Moscow to a winter school was out of the question. Every nerve was strained to extricate the farm from debt and to give a little help, now and then, to Tom. It chanced,
however, that a student from an incipient. Western college, intent on getting money to pay his winter's board bills, had that summer opened a "pay school" in the Timber Creek district school-house, which was only two miles from the Grayson farm.
Those who could attend school in the summer were, for the most part, small fry too young to be of much service in the field, and such girls, larger and smaller, as could be spared from home. But the appetite for "schooling" in the new country was always greater than the supply; and when it was reported that a school was "to be took up" in the Timber Creek school-house, by a young man who had not only "ciphered plumb through the Rule of Three," but had even begun to penetrate the far-away mysteries of Latin and algebra, it came to pass that several young men and young women, living beyond the district limits, subscribed to the school, that they might attend it, even if only irregularly;- not that any of the pupils dreamed of attacking the Latin, but a teacher who had attained this Ultima Thule of human learning was supposed to know well all that lay on the hither side of it. The terms of a "pay school," in that day, were low enough,-a dollar and twenty-five cents was the teacher's charge for each pupil for thirteen weeks; but the new schoolmaster had walked from home to avoid traveling expenses, the log school-house cost him no rent, and he had stipulated that he should "board 'round" in the families of his patrons, so that the money he received from twenty pupils was clear profit, and at the price of living in those primitive times would pay his board at college for six months.
Barbara, for one, had resolved to treat herself to a dollar and a quarter's worth of additional learning. The Timber Creek schoolhouse was on the road leading to the village of Moscow: she could therefore catch a ride, now and then, on the wagon of some farmer bound to the village, by mounting on top of a load of wood, hay, or potatoes; and often she got a lift in the evening in a neighbor's empty wagon rattling homeward from town, or for a part of the way by sitting in the tail of some ox-cart plying between forest and prairie; but more frequently she had to walk
* Copyright, 1887, by Edward Eggleston. All rights reserved.