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Something of this contempt for scientific facts and theories which he had never faced, and easy admission of mysteries he cared not to solve, is traceable in a letter written soon after the period we have been describing, and in sequel to the Savoy Alps discussion. I print it, with a few others of his, from the originals, as illustrating the intercourse of our British Elijah with his Elisha. Since about 1850, Carlyle had been gradually becoming more and more friendly with Mr. Ruskin; and now that this social and economical work had been taken up, he began to have a real esteem for him, though always with a patronizing tone, which the younger man's open and confessed discipleship accepted and encouraged. This letter especially shows both men in an unaccustomed light: Ruskin, hating tobacco, sends his “master” cigars ; Carlyle, hating cant, replies rather in the tone of the temperance advocate, taking a little wine for his stomach's sake :
CHELSEA, 22 February, 1865. Dear RUSKIN, — You have sent me a munificent Box of Cigars; for whh what can I say in ans? It makes me both sad and glad. Ay de mi.
“We are such stuff,
Gone with a puff —
The Wife also has had her Flowers; and a letter whh has charmed the female mind. You forgot only the first chapter of “Aglaia ;” don't forget; and be a good boy for the future.
The Geology Book was n't Jukes ; I found it again in the
Magazine, — reviewed there : “Phillips,"1 is there such a name? It has agn escaped me. I have a notion to come out actually some day soon; and take a serious Lecture from you on what you really know, and can give me some intelligible outline of, abt the Rocks, — bones of our poor old Mother; whh have always been venerable and strange to me. Next to nothing of rational could I ever learn of the subject. That of a central fire, and molten sea, on whh all mountains, continents, and strata are spread floating like so many hides of leather, knocks in vain for admittance into me these forty years: who of mortals can really believe such a thing! And that, in descending into mines, these geological gent" find themselves approaching sensibly their central fire by the sensible and undeniable increase of temperature as they step down, round after round, - has always appeared to argue a length of car on the part of those gent", whh is the real miracle of the phenomenon. Alas, alas : we are dreadful ignoramuses all of us ! Ans' nothing ; but don't be surprised if I turn up some day.
1 “Jukes,” – Mr. J. B. Jukes, F. R. S., with whom Mr. Ruskin had been discussing in the Reader. · Phillips," — the Oxford Professor of Geology, and a friend of Mr. Ruskin's.
IDEALS OF CULTURE.
“Come, my friends,
WIDER aims and weaker health had not put an end to Mr. Ruskin's connection with the Working Men's College, though he did not now teach a drawing-class regularly. He had, as he said, “ the satisfaction of knowing that they had very good masters in Messrs. Lowes Dickinson, Jeffrey, and Cave Thomas," and his work was elsewhere. He was to have lectured there on December 19, 1863; but he did not reach home until about Christmas; better than he had been, and ready to give the promised address on January 30, 1864. Beside which he used to visit the place occasionally of an evening to take note of progress, and some of his pupils were now more directly under his care.
This more than ten years' connection with a very practical work of education must not be forgotten when we try to estimate his ideals of culture and social arrangements, which hasty readers are apt to suppose the table-talk of an arm-chair philosopher. So energetic a man, one who spent no time in the ordinary recreations of life, — more the pity, ultimately, for his own usefulness and happiness in later periods, - so busy a mind, found opportunity for many occupations. And he does not deserve to be rated as a dilettante or a visionary, simply because other folk cannot imagine how he managed to do more work than they.
It was from one of these visits to the college, I am told, on February 27th, that he returned, past midnight, and found his father waiting up for him, to read some letters he had written. Next morning the old man, close upon seventynine years of age, was struck with his last illness ; and died on the 3d of March. He was buried at Addington Church, near Shirley in Surrey, not far from Croydon; and the legend on his tomb records : “ He was an entirely honest merchant, and his
memory is to all who keep it dear and helpful. His son, whom he loved to the uttermost, and taught to speak truth, says this of him.'
Mr. John James Ruskin, like many other of our successful merchants, had been an openhanded patron of art, and a cheerful giver, not only to needy friends and relatives, but also to various charities. For example, as a kind of personal tribute to Osborne Gordon, his son's tutor, he gave £5000 toward the augmentation of poor Christ-Church livings. His son's open-handed way with dependants and servants was learned