He is different from other men you know, by the breadth and vividness of his sympathies, by power of living as few other men can live, in Admiration, Hope and Love. Retirement at Brantwood was only partial. Ruskin's habits of life made it impossible for him to be idle, much as he acknowledged the need of thorough rest.
In this quiet retreat at Brantwood the echoes of the outer world did not sound very loudly. Ruskin had been too highly praised and too roundly abused, during fifty years of public life, to care what magazine critics and journalists said of him.
Charles E. Merrill & Co., of New York, to bring out the "Brantwood" edition of Ruskin, under the editorship of Professor C.E. Norton. Though the sale of Ruskin's books in America had never, until so recently, brought him any profit, his own business in England, started in 1871 with the monthly pamphlet of "Fors," and in 1872 with the volume of "Sesame and Lilies," prospered singularly. Mr.
Down at the Lodge, a miniature Brantwood, turret and all, the Severn children live when they are at Coniston. Then there are the gardens, terraced in the steep, rocky slope, and some small hot-houses, which Ruskin thinks a superfluity, except that they provide grapes for sick neighbours. Outside the harbour the sail-boats are moored, Mr. Severn's Lily of Brantwood.
"Can you tell me how far it is to Brantwood?" I asked. "Oh, not far just across the lake." He arose and flung the shutter open so I could see the old, yellow house about a mile across the water, nestling in its wealth of green on the hillside. Soon the waiter brought our lunch, and while we discussed the chops and new potatoes we talked Ruskiniana.
Picture, then, the young Ruskin in those dressy days. A portrait was once sent to Brantwood of a dandy in a green coat of wonderful cut, supposed to represent him in his youth, but suggesting Lord Lytton's "Pelham" rather than the homespun-suited seer of Coniston. "Did you ever wear a coat like that?" I asked. "I'm not so sure that I didn't," said he.
He has gifts of insight and power of reaching the best feelings and highest hopes of our too indifferent generation which are very rare." With much encouragement in his work, he returned to Brantwood for the summer, and resolved upon another visit to Savoy for more geology, and another breath of health-giving Alpine air.
The Professor, suddenly mollified, took off his hat in turn, and apologised for his reception of the news: "but," said he, "I shall never care for Hardraw Waterfall again." "The Professor," said Mr. Severn, "dislikes railways very much:" and on his arrival at Brantwood after that posting journey he wrote a preface to "A Protest against the Extension of Railways in the Lake District," by Mr.
On March 4th, the Turner Exhibition opened, and day by day the bulletins from Brantwood announcing his condition were read by multitudes of visitors with eager and sorrowful interest. Newspapers all the world over copied the daily reports: in the Far West of America the same telegrams were posted, and they say even a more demonstrative sympathy was shown.
He was Ruskin's chief secretary at Brantwood from Jan., 1876 to 1882, when the death of his father, and ill-health, led him to resign the post, which was then filled by Miss Sara D. Anderson. A Brantwood dinner is always ample; there is no asceticism about the place; nor is there any affectation of "intensity" or of conversational cleverness.