July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN RUSKIN ; 6 December 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551206-TC-JRU-01; CL 30: 135-136


Chelsea, 6 decr, 1855—

Dear Ruskin,

Many thanks. This is abundantly all that could be wished,—for certain, all that I ever did wish;—and I think it must satisfy Forster himself; to whom I now send your announcement, with charge to make it known in the way most advantageous and least obtrusive. And may the Heavens reward you (as I have no doubt they will, in their own fashion) for your piety to the Manes [ancestral spirits] of Turner,1 and compassion for the straits of these old women.

For the rest you must undertake the bestowal of your Annual Bounty yourself: the sole reward I claim in reference to these poor Misses Lowe is that, after this unblessed bother is once all done, I may never in this world or the next hear more of them;—that is a reward I cannot dispense with, nor must you grudge it me! God knows I had no need of new weight thrown upon my poor back just at present; and I have often asked myself, why in the devil's name I, of all mortals, got connected with such a thing? I will take better heed another time!—

With regard to Miss Erdman,2 and the £10 towards washing purposes (for now I see it must have referred to that), there came to me a distracted scratch of writing from the elder Lowe some time since; very high and defiant of the said Erdman, but otherwise quite Sybilline and unintelligible,—for the rest, of no worth whatever:—I have looked for it this morning to send; but I suppose it is gone into the fire. Whither may all nonsense soon go. Amen, Amen!—

I am longing for your Book;3 the feeling you have about matters is altogether my own; and you have not yet hacked your sword blunt in striking at the stony head of Human Stupidity, but rush in upon it as if it were cleaveable or conquerable,—more power to your elbow. It is and will be incumbent [several words cut away] our whole soul, till we die; [several words cut away] that it cannot be cleft, but is unconquerable by the very gods (according to Schiller),4 and lasts till the Day of Judgement at soonest.

We go into Hampshire for a month (17th decr, that is, monday week), and return on the 17th jany; observe these dates, and remember that you are due here,—payable the sooner the better.

I find a Misses-Lowe annuity of £25 will come rather cheaper than was expected; in spite of the weather symptons, we can still hope to achieve some approximation to that. That, with your five pounds, solves the problem, therefore,—or at least absolves me from it.

[signature cut away]