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Steel Engravings by W. Roffe, from drawings by Kate Greenaway 2. “ Dust OF GOLD"
A PAGE OF THE MS. OF LETTER 74 (§ 1)
Between pp. 30, 31 A PASSAGE FROM THE MS. OF Scott's “FORTUNES OF NIGEL"
264, 265 A PAGE OF THE MS. OF LETTER 91 (SS 8, 9)
446, 447 A PAGE OF THE MS. OF LETTER 92 ($ 12).
460, 461 A PAGE OF THE MS. OF AN UNPUBLISHED PASSAGE .
INTRODUCTION TO VOL. XXIX
This volume contains Letters 73-96 of Fors Clavigera (corresponding to volumes vii. and viii. of the original issue of the work); an Appendix, consisting of additional passages or letters, relating to Fors; and an Index. Full particulars of the original publication, and of subsequent alterations, are given in Bibliographical Notes; in the case of the Letters, at p. xxix., in that of the Index at p. 603.
Letters 73–84 were issued during 1877, and with them may be grouped Letters 85–87, for these followed consecutively during the first three months of 1878. There then comes a break of two years, caused by Ruskin's serious illness. The period of his life and work which is covered by Letters 73–87 has already been dealt with in a previous Introduction (Vol. XXIV.), but some additional notes may here be given in illustration of passages in Fors Clavigera.
The earlier Letters (73–78), as also the later Letters in the preceding volume, are dated from Venice, where, it will be remembered, Ruskin spent the winter of 1876 and spring of 1877. While carrying on the general scheme of the book, these Letters reflect his Venetian interests, and the temper of his mind under Venetian influences. They contain discussions of Venetian pictures and architecture, and recite Venetian legends. They show him at work with photographers, artists, and sculptors, collecting examples for St. George's Museum at Sheffield. They have at times a mystical strain which was connected, as already explained, with his imagination of St. Ursula. His Venetian friend Count Zorzi has recently published some Reminiscences of Ruskin ? during this Venetian period which give a vivid picture of his occupations, interests, and thoughts during the months when the Venetian Letters were written. Among the young artists whom Ruskin had
1 See Vol. XXIV. pp. xliii., xliv.
? In the Cornhill Magazine, August and September, 1906. Extracts are here given by courteous permission of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. Some letters from Ruskin, printed in Count Zorzi's articles, are given in a later volume of this edition.
working for him at Venice was Signor Raffaelle Carloforti of Assisi, whose name figures repeatedly in the Accounts published in Fors." He was acquainted with Count Zorzi, and had spoken to Ruskin of the Count's desire to publish a pamphlet of protest against the restoration of St. Mark's. Ruskin had bidden Carloforti to invite Count Zorzi to bring his manuscript:
“When at eight o'clock that evening I entered his study and drawingroom, Ruskin, upright and serious, was seated at a large writing-table, covered with books, manuscripts, and writing paper, and in his hand he held an immense cork pen-holder as thick as a Havana cigar: he gave me one like it some time later.
“He wore a dark-blue frock-coat, a high cravat, and a higher collar. His ruddy face, his reddish hair and whiskers, and indeed his whole figure, were illuminated by a number of candles burning in silver candlesticks. It seemed to me there were seven of them: perhaps because my head was full of the Seven Lamps of Architecture.
“He rose quickly and, with his slight person full of dignity, advanced to meet me as Carloforti introduced me, and thanked me for coming, in very English Italian. Then sitting down again and signing to me to take an arm-chair near him, he continued :
“ • And I thank my good friend Raffaele for having fulfilled the mission with which I charged him. So—they are assassinating St. Mark's?'
“Yes, sir, most unfortunately. And no one can see that better than yourself. They have been at it a good while, and they are going on.'
“I must say that you are very courageous, and that you have taken upon yourself a right hard task. I see you have brought your manuscript with you, as I told Carloforti to ask you to do. Will you be kind enough to read me some of the most important passages?'”
The Count proceeded to read the pages which were presently published with a preface by Ruskin : 2
“ I spoke with impetuous enthusiasm, for all my heart was in the subject. All at once Ruskin interrupted me by springing to his feet. I did the same, and found myself in his arms.
“For thirty years,' he said, with emotion, kissing my forehead, 'I have been seeking a Venetian patrician—an artist—who would think and write about Venice and about St. Mark's as you have done, my young friend, and I am happy to have found you.""
1 See Vol. XXVIII. pp. 583, 633, 677, 729, 769; and below, p. 50.
“Why do you not publish?" asked Ruskin. The Count, it seems, had not the means to venture on separate publication; he proposed to send his chapters piecemeal to the Adriatico :
"No, no, that is not to be thought of; the polemics roused day by day by your criticisms would spoil the effect of your arguments. Your terrible book must come out as a whole; it must be a big gun and do its work at a single shot. It must sweep away the evils of restoration as practised hitherto on the ancient monuments, evils deeply rooted not only here but in the whole of Europe. Allow me to offer you the means necessary for the publication, and find a publisher at once. Permit me to say that you are young; and although you have already engaged in the struggle for the conservation of the monuments of your city with isolated publications, this is the moment when you may be said to begin the real war against powerful adversaries who enjoy the confidence of the Government--the existing commissions, the bureaucracy. It is true that your artist colleagues and contemporaries are on your side; but you need an old general well known in Europe for the battle on behalf of your new ideas. I will therefore write you a letter addressed to every art centre in Europe, in which I will support and justify everything that you have expressed at greater length so ably and so courageously, touching these matters of archaology, art, and history, which interest the whole civilised world. And you will be kind enough to insert my letter as a preface to your book.' Do you know,' he burst out gaily, in a louder tone-do
you know that the Academy of Fine Arts elected me one of its honorary members a good while ago, and that the “Società Veneta di Storia Patria," on April 25 last, almost as soon as it was started, also wanted to have me among its founders ? I am yours ! I am yours! I am at last a Venetian !!
"After a pause he went on in a sympathetic tone : Carloforti has told me of the recent loss you have sustained in the death of your good father, and described him to me as a real Venetian gentleman of the good old stamp. He told me also that your mother is a Morosini, Pray offer her my respectful homage, and say that I shall feel honoured to pay her a visit if she will permit me.'
"The idea of meeting a real Morosini--who was not only the greatgranddaughter of the last Procurator of St. Mark's and descendant in the direct line of the Doge Domenico Morosini (1148–1155), who was buried in Santa Croce, and in whose reign the Campanile of St. Mark's was completed, and of the Doge Marino Morosini (1249-1252), who was buried in St. Mark's Atrium, and at whose death the custom was introduced of hanging up the arms of the Doges in the Basilica--filled Mr. Ruskin with the greatest joy. XXIX.
“I shall never forget the moment in which, after stopping a long while in Corte Bottera at San Giovanni e Paolo (where I then lived) to admire a precious Byzantine arch, still in situ, having escaped the clutches of the robber speculators, he entered my study and bowed before my mother, kissing her hand as he would have kissed the hand of a queen. Never as long as I live shall I forget the veneration with which, stretching out both arms wide, he bent down and laid his forehead on the pile of parchment documents, wills, etc., belonging to the Morosini family, which I had laid out for his inspection on a large table.”
A translator for Ruskin's Preface was found in a young Polish lady (Miss Eugenia Szczepanowska), then staying at Venice and now Count Zorzi's wife. The Count polished his proofs; Ruskin wrote his Preface; and they often met to compare notes :
“I used to visit him every evening from seven to ten o'clock at the • Calcina' on the Zattere, where, as he said to me, he had transported his household gods in order to be quieter. Sometimes he invited me to supper, and then, as we drank our wine, I toasted him, and Our Venice, and he drank to my health, my mother's and Eugenia's. We talked about Venice, Rome, Assisi, Ravenna, and about Siena, which I had not then seen; discussed Carpaccio, Gentile Bellini, Tintoretto, Raphael, Michael Angelo, and Art in general. Not infrequently the conversation turned on religion. He told me about his visit to the tomb of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul,' and said to me:
«* Although I a Protestant, and have little in common with Romish priests, I knelt down there several times and wept at the thought of Peter, and of the great apostle of civilisation and of the Gentiles.'
“He confided to me that an English friend of his in England had had certain revelations, and was far advanced in the Scienza di Dio.' He spoke of his friend's revelations with such conviction that I was amazed, and he confirmed them repeatedly as if talking to himself, but always with the idea that the listener must give all his attention to what he was saying. While he talked he bent his head from time to time, and then raised it with an energetic movement, gazing upwards with eyes looked into vacancy or into the infinite, and repeated to himself:
“Oh, yes, yes; he has gone very far! And he has had many, many clear revelations.'
“ Sometimes in our talks politics were introduced .; and all at once, leaping from Italy to England, he assured me:
See Letter 43 (July 1874), Vol. XXVIII. pp. 119–120. ? See Vol. XXIÙ. pp. xxii.-xxiv., xliii. xliv.