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a poor little pet dog, or pet pig. But my cold is better, and I am getting on with this botany; but it is really too important a work to be pushed for a week or a fortnight.” Then he goes into details about the plans for his botany, which occupied him chiefly for the rest of the autumn.

Early in 1879 his resignation of the Slade professorship was announced; and he was more free than ever to spend his time in the researches which had always interested him, and which, he sometimes imagined, were his forte. The severe winter of 1878–79 was particularly favorable for watching the phenomena of icicles and ice-formation, and this study commended itself to him in a twofold sense. On the one hand it illustrated the great problem of crystallization in general, and on the other it touched the question of glaciers. Enough has been said (Book III., chap. iii.) to show the attitude he had taken for fifteen

years past, as a disciple of Forbes, against the ordinary theory of glacial action, to which he had assented in “ Modern Painters,” vol. iv. But he was now confirmed in his views of what he, and a group

of Forbes's friends, considered to be the unfair action of Professor Tyndall, whose contributions did not warrant, as they. thought, his treatment of the pioneer, in this country, of Alpine investigations. Mr. Ruskin did not make the most of his position in the eyes of the public by inserting his remarks on Professor Tyndall, insufficiently supported with argument and illustration, among very different

kinds of matter in “Fors,” and by allowing himself to write at moments when the ill-health of three years left him — " the greatest gladiator of the age,” as he has been called — hardly a match for the cool fence of his opponent.

But it was his wish now to go into the subject again, in “ Deucalion.” The following letter to a friend at Chamouni (July 25, 1879) will show, at any rate, the kind of method upon which he was intending to work, and the extreme views he had come to take:

“ Yes. Chamouni is as a desolated home to me — I shall never, I believe, be there more: I could escape the riffraff in winter and early spring; but that the glaciers should have betrayed me, and their old ways know them no more, is too much.

" I was gladly surprised to hear of your going to the Aiguille du Tour, if the whole field round it is still pure; but all 's so wrecked; perhaps it's all mud and stones by this time.

“ However, the thing I want of you is to get as far

the old bed of the Glacier des Bois as you can, and make a good graphic sketch for me of any bit of rock that you can find of the true bottom among the débris. Graphic, I say, — as opposed to colory or shadowy; show me the edges and ins and outs, well — with any notes of the direction and effect of former ice on it you can make for yourself. You know I don't believe the ice ever moves at the bottom of a glacier at all, —

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in a general way, but on so steep a slope as that of the Bois, it may sometimes have been dragged a little at the bottom, as it is ordinarily at the sides. Anyhow, sketch me a bit of the rocks and tell me how the boulders are lodged, whether merely dropped promiscuously, or driven into particular lines or corners.

“ Please give my love to the big old stone under the Breven, a quarter of a mile above the village, unless they ’ve blasted it up for hotels.”

A little later he planned to write a “ Grammar of Ice,” with the same pupil's help, and he plunged deep into the study of crystallization. I have before me a great quantity of letters to an assistant, discussing the mathematics of crystallography, sending specimens for microscopic examination, acknowledging drawings; and all illustrated, on every page, with the cleverest pen-sketches of crystal forms. Somewhere at Brantwood there is a deep drawer full of material for “ Deucalions" that never were published, for the storm-cloud came down upon him just as he was beginning to find his way out of the wood.

Whatever might have been the value of Mr. Ruskin's work on this subject, after the serious study of his later years, one book that he planned and began I take leave to regret. It was to be a manual of the actual forms, the phenomenology, of native gold and silver and other minerals which crystallize into fronds and twigs and tangles, and pretty, plant-like shapes, unregarded by the ma. thematician and quite unexplained by the elementary laws of crystallography. Illustrated from the beautiful specimens in Mr. Ruskin's collection, with such exquisite drawings as he makes of these tiny still-life subjects, it would have been a fairy-book of science. For that reason, perhaps, “ Fata Morgana,” or the “third Fors,” was jealous, or perhaps “ Proserpina” and “ Deucalion ” quarreled over these flowers of the under-world, and left them in the babies' limbo among the things that might have been.




“In that Library I pass away most of the Days of my Life, and most of the Hours of the Day. In the Night I am never there. There is within it a Cabinet, handsome and neat enough, with a very convenient Fireplace for the Winter, and Windows that afford a great deal of light and very pleasant Prospects." — COTTON, Montaigne.

Sixty years of one of the busiest lives on record were beginning to tell upon the hero of our story. He would not confess to old age, but his recent illness had shaken him severely. It was obvious that he could no longer stand to his post at Oxford; and though, in spite of everything, Oxford was loath to part with him, his resignation was accepted early in 1879.

The next three years were spent chiefly at Coniston, in comparative retirement; but neither in despair, nor idleness, nor loneliness. He had always lived a sort of dual life, — solitary in his

thoughts, but social in his habits; liking company, especially of young people; ready, in the intervals of work, to enter into their employments and amusements, and curiously able to forget his cares in hours of relaxation. Sometimes, when earnest admirers made the pilgrimage to their

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