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Full text of "Autobiographical notes of the life of William Bell Scott, and notices of his artistic and poetic circle of friends, 1830 to 1882. Edited by W. Minto; illustrated by etchings by himself and reprod. of sketches by himself and friends"

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AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 

OF THE LIFE OF 

WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

ff. R.S.A., LL.D. 




A 



UTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 

OF THE LIFE OF 

WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

.//.R.S.A., LL.D. 

And Notices of his Artistic and Poetic 

Circle of Friends 

1830 to 1882 



EDITED BY W. MINTO 






Illustrated by Etchings by Himself 
and Reproductions of Sketches by Himself and Friends 

VOL. II 





NEW YORK 
HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE 

1892 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II 



CHAPTER I 

DR. SAMUEL BROWN SIR WALTER AND LADY TREVELYAN 
AND MY PICTURES AT WALLINGTON JOHN RUSKIN 



CHAPTER II 

FIRST APPEARANCE OF A. C. SWINBURNE AN AMUSING 
EXPERIENCE WITH THOMAS CARLYLE DEATH OF 
DR. SAMUEL BROWN . . .14 



CHAPTER III 

RESUME" OF LETTERS FROM FRIENDS IN LONDON, 1856-58 

ADDITIONS TO THE CIRCLE THERE 28 



CHAPTER IV 

RESUME OF LETTERS FROM FRIENDS, 1859-60-61 THE 
ROSSETTIS, HOLMAN HUNT, WOOLNER, MUNRO, 
ETC. LADY TREVELYAN Miss BOYD . . 46 



vi WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



CHAPTER V 

PAGE 

DEATH OF MRS. ROSSETTI ANECDOTES OF WELLINGTON 
MY SERIES OF PICTURES OF BORDER HISTORY 

BEING FINISHED, I LEAVE NEWCASTLE RETURN 

TO LONDON . . . .64 

CHAPTER VI 

PENKILL CASTLE AND Miss BOYD DEATH OF SPENCER 
BOYD MY PAINTING OF THE STAIRCASE 
MACLISE . . . . -73 

CHAPTER VII 
LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT, JERUSALEM, 1870-71 . 88 

CHAPTER VIII 

1868 TO 1870 MY "KING'S QUAIR" PICTURES AT 
PENKILL FINISHED D. G. R. SPENDS AUTUMNS 
1868-69 THERE WITH US RECOMMENCES HIS 
POETIC STUDIES THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR 
MY REMOVAL TO 92 CHEYNE WALK, SEPTEMBER 
1870 ..... 107 

CHAPTER IX 

LETTERS FROM D. G. ROSSETTI, AUTUMN 1871, AT 
KELMSCOTT ON HIS OWN POETRY THEN IN 
PROGRESS ALSO ON MINE . . .127 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER X 

PAGE 

1872 ROSSETTI'S ILLNESS STOBHALL , .168 



CHAPTER XI 

1873 MY LAST VISIT TO ITALY DR. FRANZ HUEFFER 

F. M. BROWN 182 



CHAPTER XII 
THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY, 1875 . . 192 

CHAPTER XIII 

MY POEMS PUBLISHED 1875 ALMA TADEMA MY 

"DEDICATIO POSTICA" . . .202 

CHAPTER XIV 

HOLMAN HUNT'S PICTURE "THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT," 

NOW CALLED " THE TRIUMPH OF THE INNOCENTS " 221 

CHAPTER XV 
SPIRITUALISM . . . . 235 

CHAPTER XVI 

DEATH OF G. H. LEWES AND GEORGE ELIOT OF 
R. N. WORNUM OF SIR WALTER TREVELYAN 
AND LADY PAULINE .... 244 



vni WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

CHAPTER XVII 

PAGE 

MORE DEATHS THOMAS DIXON OF SUNDERLAND 

RICHARD BURCHETT SOLOMON HART . .264 

CHAPTER XVIII 

ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 . . 278 

CHAPTER XIX 

PENKILL &. (Miss BOYD), 1880. . . 291 

CHAPTER XX AND LAST 
MY "POET'S HARVEST HOME" DEATH OF ROSSETTI 303 

CHAPTER XXI 
CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY EDITOR . .321 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

VOL. II 

ETCHINGS AND PHOTOGRAVURES 

Portrait of Author. Profile. Etching by himself . Frontispiece 
A. C. Swinburne. Etching by W. B. S. . To face page 18 

Miss Boyd Drawn by D. G. R. Etched by W. B. S. 56 

Penkill Castle. Photogravure . . . . ,-, 74 

Staircase of Penkill. From a painting by A. Hughes ,, 82 

Design for Door, South Kensington. By W. B. S. . 170 

Fireplace, etc., at Stobhall. By W. B. S. . . 172 

Exterior of Hall, Penkill. Photogravtire . . ,, 324 

Interior of Hall. From a painting by A. Hughes . ,, 326 

Bedroom in Penkill Castle. Photogravure . . ,, 328 

FACSIMILES OF SKETCHES 

"Mr. Porcupine." Sketch by Lady Pauline Trevelyan . page 52 

Roll Moulding, Penkill Castle ,,74 

D. G. R. in Bennan's Cave. Sketch by W. B. S. . . ,,115 

Human-headed Vases. Sketch by W. B. S. . . . ,,289 

In the Glen at Penkill. Sketch by H. A. Bowler . . ,,296 

Monograms of Scotch Lawyers in i6th Century . . ,,301 



CHAPTER I 

DR. SAMUEL BROWN SIR WALTER AND LADY TRE- 

VELYAN AND MY PICTURES AT WALLINGTON JOHN 
RUSKIN. 

NOTWITHSTANDING my reluctance to re-enter Edin- 
burgh, I had many occasions to go there, and to find 
myself among friends. One of these most pleasant 
to meet was Samuel Brown, who had established his 
laboratory in suburban Portobello. His physical 
science repudiated my poem The Year of the 
World, or rather, I should say, discredited the 
perfectibility of the human creature, although it 
carried him in his own theories any length in 
ameliorating the conditions of the body ! As years 
passed on his health prevented his working and 
deprived him of the mental exuberance so exciting 
and amusing in earlier life, and he, like so many 
others, returned to his native lair to die. His and 
my brother's latest literary circle gradually broke 
up ; he saw nothing of Professor Nichol, De Quincey, 

VOL. II B 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



and even of Gilfillan, and other younger men ; and 
his most assiduous friend Mrs. Crowe, whose cares 
for him were almost as great as those of his devoted 
wife, disappeared from Edinburgh through a deeper 
species of malady than even his own. The Night 
Side of Nature and the Seeress of Prevorst had 
taken too strong a hold of her mind, quick and 
active as it was ; her faith in new and unknown 
conditions of life suspended that in the ordinary laws 
of nature. Still she was constant to Samuel Brown, 
her bodily strength being unimpaired, till one 
Sunday morning, leaving her bed, she quietly escaped 
the observation of her attendants, and armed only 
with a card in her hand inscribed with three mystical 
marks which she believed rendered her invisible, 
sallied out to visit him. Fortunately it was a Scotch 
Sabbath-day, not a soul was within sight. She had 
gone but a few steps in George Street, not far from 
her own door, when she was met by an astonished 
medical friend known to both, who threw over her 
his top-coat and took her back to her house. This 
was the painful gossip of the time, and in effect this 
lady, so much respected by the Edinburgh literary 
coteries, vanished from among them. In fact, 
except Samuel's cousin, Dr. John Brown, the author 
of Rab and his Friends and much else ; and some 
early friends Ballantine, Steell, now Sir John, the 
sculptor, Sir William Harvey, the painter of 
Covenanter celebrity I knew so few that I could 
walk the streets a whole day without being 
recognised. 



i S7/? WALTER AND LADY TREVELYAN 3 

De Quincey was the last left of the illustrious 
literati of the previous generation, and he had 
become more and more erratic in his habits. I 
have always found original genius of a concentrated 
and peculiar kind the most dangerous endowment ; 
it is only the Shakespeare or the Goethe who can 
carry out unalloyed the specific energy, and retain 
manhood and rational common sense in all the 
affairs of life ; poets like Byron or Shelley could not 
do so. 

However, this chapter is intended to deal with 
other matters, and I introduced Dr. Samuel Brown, 
not to describe his circle, but because he was the 
means of bringing me into communication with the 
Trevelyans, my dear and helpful friends of so many 
years. Sir Walter and Lady Trevelyan were among 
the admirers of Samuel Brown, and at his desire 
she wrote the review that appeared in the Scotsman 
newspaper of my Memoir of my brother David. 
When my little book of poems (Poems by a Painter] 
was published in 1854, I sent it to Sir Walter, at 
Wallington Hall, a large modern mansion near 
Morpeth which they preferred to Nettlecombe 
Court, their lovely Elizabethan house in Somerset. 
I received in reply a pressing invitation to visit 
them. 

It was a long drive at that time after alighting 
from the railway at Morpeth. About midday, as I 
approached the house, the door was opened, and 
there stepped out a little woman as light as a feather 
and as quick as a kitten, habited for gardening in a 



4 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

broad straw hat and gauntlet gloves, with a basket 
on her arm, visibly the mistress of the place. The 
face was one that would be charming to some and 
distasteful to others, and might in the same way 
be called rather plain or rather handsome, as the 
observer was sympathetic or otherwise. In a very 
few minutes the verdict would be understood and 
confirmed by the lady, whose penetration made her 
a little feared. This habit of looking well at a 
stranger and concluding correctly about him has 
always been fascinating to me, even when seasoned 
with the mild satire generally associated with 
penetration. Why not enliven life by that play, 
innocent on the tongue of the amiable, mild in the 
hands of a lady who knew reply was out of court, 
and beneficial too from so trenchant an observer as 
the possessor of the hazel eyes that saw through 
one and made him careful to avoid affectation of any 
complexion, such care being his only safety in the 
interview ? 

Lady Trevelyan said she was going to look at 
her own garden, and asked whether I would accom- 
pany her, or enter and make myself known to the 
familiar of the family, Mr. Wooster, the only inmate 
at that moment, Sir Walter having been called from 
home at an hour's notice. I went with her and in 
half an hour we were old friends ; she had asked 
many questions, and received the directest and 
truest answers. In each case she showed that she 
liked my plain speech and recognised it to be 
genuine and unconventional, and in her own way 



i SIX WALTER AND LADY TREVELYAN 5 

felt grateful and pleased. Walking on from one 
spot to another, she made me acquainted with 
various picturesque features and little nooks she had 
sketched, with the bulrushes and water-lilies. I 
rowed her across one of the artificial ponds before 
we returned and entered the house. 

It was fortunate that I had Lady Trevelyan 
these few days all to myself, Sir Walter being so 
difficult to become acquainted with. Not that he 
drew a line round himself as many do whose only 
recommendation in the world lies in their belongings, 
but he was a man of few words, and many un- 
acknowledged peculiarities. Inheritor too of the 
bluest blood, his name, spelt the same as now, being 
in the Doomsday-book for the same Devonshire 
property the family still possess, though a Whig by 
descent and a philosophical leveller in some respects 
by inclination, the inherited habits of thirty genera- 
tions were not to be cast aside. 

With all Lady Trevelyan's discrimination in art 
matters and acquaintance with the works of old masters 
and with living modern artists, she had not risen above 
the Turner mania ; and the exponent of Turner, Mr. 
Ruskin, I soon found, held an overpowering influence 
over her. Many incidents had conduced to this. She 
had taken his part before, and was now prepared 
indignantly to stand by him again. At Oxford she 
had been especially amused by some of the dons 
confessing to her they had hoped better things of 
him than his present course indicated, spending his 
time writing about pictures ! 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



Wallington House had been a quadrangle, but 
the interior court, open to the sky, had been long 
found productive of only damp and cold, and Dob- 
son, the architect of so many able works in the North 
of England, turned this blind space into a saloon by 
opening the walls into arcades and covering the 
whole by a coffered roof. Paved and surrounded 
by hot-water pipes, the whole house was made com- 
fortable and a place provided for pictures and 
decoration, which I was to supply. When this was 
determined on in the beginning of 1856 I drew out 
a scheme, and Lady Trevelyan prevailed on me to 
consult Mr. Ruskin, which I did with strong mis- 
giving. I sent him a sketch of a compartment, 
telling him at whose instance I had done so, wishing 
him to think over the scheme and give us such 
suggestions as might occur to him. His reply 
was not very useful, but such as it was I may enter 
it here. My design was that the lower pilasters 
between the pictures should be filled by tall plants 
as foxglove, bulrush, corn of different kinds, and so 
forth painted on the stone, and the spandrels with 
spreading foliage of native trees oak, lime, elm, 
and others, the upper tier of pilasters to be only 
panelled, and the spandrels decorated sparingly with 
grotesques as they approached the ceiling, which 
was rich in stuccoed Roman mouldings and pateras. 
In a few days Lady Trevelyan, then [May 1856] 
living at Tynemouth, enclosed his answer, saying, 
"The enclosed came yesterday. Mr. Ruskin was 
at Amiens when he wrote, on his way to Geneva. 



MR. RUSK IN 



He was quite knocked up, and is obliged to be 
absolutely idle for some time. He says in his 
letter to me that even if he were well he does not 
think he could help us. He likes the plan very 
much." 

DEAR MR. SCOTT I am quite vowed to idleness for 
a couple of months at least, and cannot think over 
the plan you send. I am as much in a fix as you are 
about interior decoration, but incline to the All Nature in 
the present case, if but for an experiment. The worst of 
nature is that when she is chipped or dirty she looks so 
very uncomfortable, which Arabesque don't Mind you 
must make her uncommonly stiff. I shall most likely 
come down and have a look when, I come back in 
October. 

So get on that I may have plenty to find fault with, 
for that, I believe, is all I can do. Help you I can't 
But am always, truly yours, J. RUSKIN. 

I did get on, beginning the series of pictures 
with the " Building of the Wall of Hadrian" ; 1 and 
in the autumn, visiting London, I willingly agreed 
to go to him if he would let me, expecting much 
pleasure, if not also advantage, from listening to the 

1 [This seems to be a slip of memory. At least the first of the 
series to be completed and exhibited was " St. Cuthbert on Fame 
Island," which was exhibited in the rooms of the Literary Society at 
Newcastle in November 1856. "The Building of the Roman Wall 
was exhibited in July 1857, and the remaining six appeared at regular 
intervals in the following order, " The Death of Bede," " Danes 
descending on the Coast at Tynemouth," "The Spur in the Dish," 
" Bernard Gilpin," " Grace Darling," " Iron and Coal." The whole 
series of eight pictures was exhibited at the French Gallery in Pall 
Mall at the end of June 1861. References to the various pictures, 
as in the course of composition, occur in the subsequent notes and 
letters. ED.] 



8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

most eloquent writer and most enthusiastic hero- 
worshipper of this or perhaps of any age. On 
reaching town I found an invitation to dine at 
Camberwell, the note saying that he " understood I 
wished to gain some information about the teaching 
pursued at the Working Man's College," which we 
could visit afterwards. He knew I was attached to 
the Department of Art ; indeed the note was ad- 
dressed there. The Working Man's College re- 
pudiated every point of the curriculum of the 
Government system, and there was an impertinent 
jealousy in the mind of every one of the teachers, 
all volunteers as they were, carrying on the art 
classes at that unendowed seminary. I felt it neces- 
sary to answer that this was a mistake, at least in 
any particular way ; that Lady Trevelyan wished 
me to make his acquaintance ; but if he liked in a 
friendly manner to receive me on that ground, I 
should be very pleased to accept his invitation, and 
to accompany him afterwards to Red Lion Square, 
the evening in question being his evening there. I 
mentioned this to Rossetti, who volunteered to go 
with me self-invited. 

These particulars and the others following are 
of little value, but are necessary to make my future 
relation to Mr. Ruskin understood ; he may never, 
however, be mentioned in future pages. There are 
natures sympathetic to each other, and there are 
others antipathetic. I endeavoured to be very 
modest, and tried to be agreeable, but it was of no 
use. I had sent him my little volume of poems at 



MR. RUSK IN 



the lady's desire, and D. G. R. asked him what 
he thought of the book ; he pretended to be surprised 
it was mine. His late visit to Edinburgh led us to 
talk of Scottish artists, when he mentioned David 
Scott, some of whose works had been pointed out 
to him. He thought they possessed some quality in 
colour, but nothing else, though he believed the artist 
had valued himself on quite other qualities ! " Scott's 
brother, you mean," suggested D. G. R., whereat 
he again simulated surprise. This was still followed 
by some other supercilious pretence, and I could 
bear him no longer, thought I would have a good- 
humoured reprisal, and the conversation turning 
soon, of course, on Turner, I said the evidence of 
the personality and talk of a man was in the most 
of cases conclusive as to the character of his works, 
and I told Thomson of Duddingston's anecdote 
of his " introdoocing a bit of sentiment " into the 
view of the place where Harold Harefoot fell [see 
vol. i. p. 84]. At this Gabriel laughed, and asked 
him if Turner really talked in that way, and how 
he got over that sort of thing. The poisonous 
expression of his face was a study. His hero- 
worship of Turner was not an affectation at all ; 
but his overpowering passion in talk as in writing 
was a determination to find out qualities no one 
else could see, and to contradict or ignore those 
evident to every one else. 

We drove in to Red Lion Square, and here I 
found drawing from copies as preliminary practice, 
drawing from beautiful ornamental objects or human 



io WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

figures everything indeed to be seen in academic 
or Government schools of art practice ignored. I 
remembered F. M. Brown's class in Camden Town, 
where all the pupils were drawing from wood-shavings. 
Instead of these, here every one was trying to put 
on small pieces of paper imitations by pen and ink of 
pieces of rough stick crusted with dry lichens ! He 
drew my attention to the beauty of these as giving 
the pupils a love of " nature" ! but I suppressed my 
expression of dissent in the presence of the young 
men. What astonished me was Rossetti's abetting 
of such frightful waste of time, especially as I found 
Woolner, who had a modelling class, teaching the 
human figure. 

I came away feeling that such pretence of educa- 
tion was in a high degree criminal ; it was intellectual 
murder ; not one of the young men who attended 
at the Working Man's College ever acquired any 
power of drawing. The only one who could ever 
be quoted was employed by Ruskin to copy Turner's 
drawings, which he could do before he entered the 
class ; he copied them by elaborate stippling, cover- 
ing an inch or so in a day ! I found Miss Siddal 
was then in the South of France for her health, 
Ruskin having persuaded her to go. His wealth 
and entire carelessness about it enabled him to do 
very kind things, and this was the cause of his 
influence as much as his rhetorical genius. In a 
letter a short time before, D. G. R. had told me 
about his volunteering at the Working Man's College. 
" You think I have turned humanitarian perhaps, 



MR. RUSKIN ii 



but you should see my class for the model ! None 
of your Freehand Drawing- Books used. The British 
mind is brought to bear on the British mug at once, 
and with results that would astonish you." This 
was what any one would have expected from him, 
the British mug being interpreted living model ! 
and walking home I reminded him of this letter, 
but I did not find him communicative or even ex- 
planatory. I concluded he planted himself into the 
party that evening just to see and hear what passed 
when I was face to face with Ruskin and the class 
drawing from bits of stick. He was my dearest 
and, I may say, most attached friend, my admiration 
in poetry and, to some degree, in art too ; but I 
wished he could or would act and speak in a more 
manly and ingenuous manner. Why could he not 
have acknowledged Ruskin's liberality to Lizzie 
Siddal, and yet objected to etching with a pen from 
lichenous sticks ! 

Let me finish here with Mr. Ruskin. In 1861 I 
think it was, after the last of my eight pictures was 
placed, and instead of arabesques on spandrels of 
the upper circle of arches in the hall, Sir Walter 
had agreed to my painting eighteen scenes from 
the ballad of Chevy Chase, Ruskin, who had not 
been there since his eventful visit with his wife and 
Millais, at last accomplished his visit to paint one of 
the pilasters. Lady Trevelyan had kept for him 
the great white lily, commonly called the Annuncia- 
tion Lily, but the modesty of the professor would 
not allow him to take that sacred flower. No ; he 



12 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

would take the humblest the nettle! Ultimately 
wheat, barley, and other corn, with the cockle and 
other wild things of the harvest-field, were selected, 
and he began, surrounded by admiring ladies, Miss 
Stewart Mackenzie, then on the eve of her marriage 
with Lord Ashburton, and others being guests at 
the time. At dinner we heard a good deal about 
the proficiency of the pupils at the Working Man's 
College, and next morning he appeared with his 
hands full of pen-and-ink minute etchings of single 
ivy leaves the size of nature, one of which he en- 
trusted to each lady as if they had been the most 
precious things in the world. He took no notice of 
me, the representative of the Government schools. 
I could stand by no longer. He had been giving 
lessons on drawing, had set Miss Mackenzie to 
draw a table, prohibiting her to make a preliminary 
general sketch, but directing her to begin at one 
corner and finish as she went on ; this being next to 
impossible, she had applied to me, but I had declined 
to interfere. Now I could not remain silent, so I 
gave them a little lecture on the orthodox method of 
teaching and the proper objects to be used as models, 
and in a very cool, confident way showed the sensible 
women, as they all were, that spending so much 
time niggling over a small flat object with a pen was 
teaching nothing, but ruining the student for any 
application of art except that of retouching and 
spoiling photograph card portraits. I asserted that 
long practical knowledge made me certain of what I 
said, and I appealed to him to tell us if he had ever 



MR. RUSK IN 13 



found any young man apply what he had thus 
learned to any purpose whatever ? The revulsion 
in the minds of my audience was visible at once ; 
he grinned in contemptuous silence. The subject 
was dropped. 



CHAPTER II 

FIRST APPEARANCE OF A. C. SWINBURNE AN AMUSING 

EXPERIENCE WITH THOMAS CARLYLE DEATH OF 

DR. SAMUEL BROWN. 

BY midsummer of the year after I received my com- 
mission to paint the eight pictures at Wellington, 1 
I had got the two ladies, Lady Trevelyan and Miss 
Capel Lofft, fully interested and occupied on the 
decorative portions of the saloon work, and my first 
picture was in its place. They worked under my 
direction, so that I was very frequently in that 
quarter, and very soon I began to recognise a little 
fellow who used to pass my post-chaise on the road 
descending from Cambo to Wallington. He was 
always riding a little long-tailed pony at a good pace 
towards the village. He had the appearance of a 
boy, but for a certain mature expression on his 
handsome high-bred face, which had bright, coarse 
yellow hair flowing on his shoulders, and flashing 
out round his head. On his saddle was strapped a 
bundle of books like those of a schoolboy. He 

1 [i.e. in 1857. ED.] 



CHAP, ii A. C. SWINBURNE 15 

recognised me as quickly as I did him, and the con- 
scious look he gave in passing raised my curiosity, 
which was soon gratified by finding him one day 
kissing his hand to Lady Trevelyan at the door of 
the Hall, and by my learning that he was the grand- 
son of a neighbouring baronet, Sir John Swinburne, 
and was now spending his school recess at Capheaton, 
his grandfather's house, whence he rode over to read 
with the incumbent at Cambo. 

Cambo was a very little village on the top of an 
ascent of a mile from Wallington, with an inn ex- 
hibiting a swinging signboard which gave it the 
name of the Queens, as it showed on the south side 
the head of Queen Elizabeth painted by Lady 
Trevelyan, and on the other towards the north that 
of Mary of Scots by Miss Capel Lofft. Many a 
pedestrian and disciple of Isaac Walton knew this 
sign, and remembered it as a deception and a snare ; 
as no beverage but tea, coffee, and ginger-beer the 
best of things, but not to their liking was to be 
had within this temperance hostelry. This quietest 
of villages had the smallest of churches, where Sir 
Walter read the lessons from his own pew, and the 
amiable clergyman, Algernon's tutor, went through 
all the forms the same as if he had had an audience 
of five hundred ; suffering, too, from a nervous 
agitation when he mounted the pulpit that made 
him catch his breath and hem between the sentences. 
He used to dine every now and then at the great 
house, where Lady Trevelyan, who took a motherly 
care of Algernon, used to ask him how his pupil 



16 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

went on, receiving always the same answer, that he 
was too clever and never would study. 

Swinburne must have been at this time about 
eighteen, but from his small figure and from his 
boyish style of manners, though he had been at a 
public school for several years and was now about to 
enter Balliol, he gave the impression, as said before, 
of greater youth. This caused him to be so treated, 
which treatment, again, made him affect to be 
younger than he was. At this time, and long after 
it, he could, so to speak, believe what he liked, or 
rather, what the people he liked chose to expect to 
be true. He had got a prize for French, which 
made him childishly proud, and, indeed, made him 
all his life delighted with that tongue the most 
unfortunate for poetry a fact it was impossible for 
him to admit. This was, I think, the only success 
he made at school or college, which none of his 
intimate friends could fathom, as he was able to 
acquire without trouble, and had a memory enabling 
him to recite long poems by once reading. When 
he began to write poetry, which he was always fond 
of reciting, he never needed to carry his manuscript 
about with him ! 

A few days after my first meeting him he ap- 
peared with the prize -book, entering the saloon 
where we were all at work hopping on one foot, his 
favourite expression of extreme delight. It was a 
large edition of Notre Dame de Paris gorgeously 
bound, with illustrations by Tony Johannot ; but the 
exuberance of his delight was so comical that even 



ii A. C. SWINBURNE 17 

Lady Trevelyan could not resist a smile, and Miss 
Capel Lofft, a very nervous person, begged him to 
sit down quietly and show her the prints. For my 
part, not yet recognising in this unique youth the 
greatest rhythmical genius of English poetry, I 
looked on with wonder as at a spoilt child. The 
whole forenoon that book was never out of his sight. 
If it lay on the table his eyes were always wandering 
to it. The fascination of first love was nothing to 
this fascination ; and when we all adjourned for an 
interval to the garden, there it was tightly held 
under his arm, while he ran on before backwards 
and ran back to us again, and the sharpest of eyes 
were fixed on him with their amused but maternal 
expression. 

Can it have been that this school prize-book, the 
Notre Dame de Paris, made Victor Hugo his hero 
for life ? I do not mean to suggest that egotism 
was the key to his feelings. Far from that ; he was 
altogether free from that unamiable selfishness. And 
much as he loved and admired his own advantages, 
internal or external, it was in the frankest spirit 
of admiring what was good ; his friends' excellent 
qualities were equally loved and admired. He had 
the greatest power of loving his friends, and bearing 
with them. His enthusiasm was measureless. 

From small beginnings great results arise. From 
one step to another, his own natural temperament 
impelling him, and these trifling incidents determin- 
ing its direction, the Gallo-mania that has been the 
motif in so much of his writing became a proclivity 

VOL. II C 



1 8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

infecting all the young verse-writers and critics of 
the day. The sound of Swinburne's verse, which is 
in danger of becoming tedious by his unbounded 
facility of repeating the same rhythm exactly, and 
the Gallo-mania associated with it, have been the two 
characteristics of this decade or longer. At this 
moment [1877] I know half a dozen ambitious and 
innocent young men who talk of the literature of our 
neighbours as if it were altogether delightful, and as 
if they, each one of them, had discovered the fact, and 
that Victor Hugo, too, was the greatest of possible 
poets and mortals. Was it all because Algernon 
Swinburne when a boy had Notre Dame de Paris 
presented to him at school ? 

In 1860, when his first drama was published, I 
painted a small portrait of him in oil. He used to 
come in and live with us in Newcastle, and when I 
was out or engaged he was to be seen lying before 
the fire with a mass of books surrounding him like 
the ruins of a fortification, all of which he had read, 
and could quote or criticise correctly and acutely 
many years after. This portrait used to arrest him 
long afterwards, when he visited me, as if it was 
new to him. He was delighted to find it had some 
resemblance to what he called his portrait in the 
National Gallery. This was the head of Galeazzo 
Malatesta in the picture of the Battle of Sant' Egidio 
by Uccello, which certainly was not merely the same 
type, but was at this time exceedingly like him. 

I soon began to look for him every time he had 
written ballad or scene that pleased himself, and his 



ii A. C. SWINBURNE 19 

advent had the charm of sunshine or champagne on 
one with many burdens conscientiously borne, and 
an extreme love of an idleness I could never 
indulge. He was a creature above all the ills of 
life or difficulties of art, emancipated from ordi- 
nary annoyances. He was not like Rossetti, self- 
tormented by the ambition to paint, which he could 
not do to his own satisfaction till late in life ; nor 
distracted by responsibilities like myself. His 
pockets were always crammed with papers ; still 
he recited quires of manuscripts without consult- 
ing them. But his nervous excitable nature could 
not stand strain : pain was nothing to him, yet 
he would not bear the slightest inconvenience a 
moment. One morning he had a toothache, and at 
once determined to have the tooth out. He would 
not stand it another minute ; off he would go to 
the dentist, and I should accompany him. It was a 
mighty grinder, and the operator exerting his whole 
muscular force, lifted him from the seat without 
extracting the tooth. I held his head, the grinder 
broke ; Swinburne swore, not against the dentist, 
but against the tooth, and had it out piecemeal 
without complaining! 

In future years, amidst the wear and tear of 
poetical composition, when living in London when 
Oxford had been left behind, with its quiet habits 
we used to wonder how his amazing physical 
powers stood the hard usage he gave himself. But 
the stock he came from was a good one, and I 
recollected how his grandfather, at the time of my 



20 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Wallington work, astonished the doctor. This 
doctor, who used to ride past Wallington, to and 
from Capheaton, told us one morning that Sir John, 
then more than ninety years of age, had ruptured 
the tendon-Achilles, and could not put his foot to 
the ground. Of course, the conclusion formed by 
the surgeon was that the old gentleman would never 
walk again, the restoration of the tendon at his 
age not being thought possible. He would not, 
however, keep his bed ; in a few weeks he was well 
again ! 

I may here enter a very droll passage with the 
gruffest and most ungenial of all mortals, though 
one of the intellectual potentates of the age and of 
all time, Thomas Carlyle. In the attempt to refresh 
my memory about Swinburne, I find I have nearly 
missed out my third adventure with that redoubtable 
friend and fellow -Scotchman. Bound to him for 
ever, as I have said, by his prompt notice of the 
lying report circulated by the bookseller's canvasser, 
I sent him my book of Poems by a Painter, as the 
volume has been often called, from its having an 
etched frontispiece with these words under it. 
Critics are tired out by repetition of the same kind of 
work, and, with a load of new books waiting for 
their manipulation, they hurry over what does not at 
the first instant arrest them ; my respected friend 
Carlyle, though not a professional critic, was a hard- 
worked and slowly industrious litterateur, and could 
not find leisure to look at anything in my little 
book, except the frontispiece, which, however, he 



THOMAS CARLYLE 



had not studied to good purpose. Like the Irish 
editor who would not prejudice his mind by perus- 
ing the book, he wrote me the following note, that 
startled me not a little : 

CHELSEA, 26th October 1854. 

DEAR SIR I have, with many thanks for your good- 
ness to me, received your pretty little volume. Every- 
where in it I find proof of your assiduity, your ingenuity, 
in short, of your talent for doing something much more 
useful in the world than writing rhymes never so well. 
If you will take any advice of mine in this matter (which 
I hardly expect you will) then know that according to 
my notion a man's speech is next to nothing in compari- 
son to the man's deed; what he can do and practically 
perform, not at all what he can speak or sing', is the first 
question we ask of every man ; to which I only add that 
if the man has anything to say, he had better say it than 
sing it, at this time of day. 

Silence, with pious thought and strenuous practical 
exertion superadded, will do much more for a man of 
worth and parts than any speech can or could. You 
may depend upon it I have nothing but goodwill towards 
you, though I say these unwelcome things. I am, yours 
very truly, T. CARLYLE. 

This note, its manner as well as its meaning, 
puzzled me more the longer I thought of it. I had 
only been in his house once or perhaps twice, it is 
true, but my circle was his circle, and in every way 
I was favourably known to him. Besides, I had 
some vague recollection of having seen or heard 
the very same kind of sententious elocution before. 
It seemed an echo of something written by him I 
had seen in a newspaper. My first feeling soon 
gave way to one of mirth at the absurdity of a man 



22 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

whose doings had been very feeble indeed, only as 
a parish schoolmaster at Kirkcaldy, and who had 
subsided into endless objurgatory prose speech, but 
for which neither I nor any other man above the 
village blacksmith in that lang tow.n would ever 
have heard of him. I tried to be still on the friend- 
liest terms with him, and in a fortnight wrote him 
as follows, endeavouring, in fact, for an explanation : 

NEWCASTLE, nth November, 1854. 

MY DEAR SIR I am in receipt of your note on my 
little book of Poems. I acknowledge a very considerable 
influence possessed by your feelings and opinions written 
or printed ; and therefore cannot help writing a word or 
two in reply to your note of the other day. 

Of all men in the world, I appear to myself precisely 
the last whom it is necessary to remind that what a man 
does is more important than what he says or sings. 
Ever since boyhood I have had burdens fall to my share 
that left me no possibility of doubting the superior 
efficacy as well as the imperious necessity of ceaseless 
activity and tangible work. The habit of doing has thus 
become so natural to me that the smallest interval of 
time is filled up by work if not for others, then for 
myself ; thus I endeavoured to establish my brother's 
claims by publishing his Memoir, and thus, too, I sent 
you this little volume of Poems illustrated by myself. 
My habit of doing brings upon me your warning against 
writing, i.e. idle talking and singing ! 

The oddest thing is that yours is the warning voice, 
since maxims the most opposite are so frequently to be 
found in your writings. You may (must ?) have for- 
gotten the circumstance long ago, but I once had the 
temerity to write you regretting the absence of a Hero of 
Work, an Art- Hero, from your book of hero-worship. 
Curious it is, and a little funny, to find myself replying 
to your late note as I do now. 



ii THOMAS CARLYLE 23 

But, after all, the thing I most want to say is, that 
my book of Poems is something done, not merely said or 
sung, but for the most part experienced, and in some 
part felt to the marrow of my life. If it were merely 
good singing, it would meet approval from a greater 
number than it is likely to do as it is. 

My dear Mr. Carlyle, with much respect, yours, 

W. B. S. 

In a few days the mystery was solved : I received 
the following : 

CHELSEA, i6th November 1854. 

MY DEAR SIR It is too certain I have committed 
an absurd mistake, which indeed I discerned two weeks 
ago with an emotion compounded of astonishment, 
remorse, and the tendency to laugh and cry both at 
once ! The truth is I am pestered with incipient volumes 
of verses from young lads that feel something stirring in 
them ; on the frontispiece of your little volume, I read 
Printer (not Painter, as I should have done), nor did your 
written note, in the hurry I was in, recall to me your 
identity ; fancying, therefore, it was an ingenious printer 
lad in your coaly town, who was rashly devoting his 
extra gifts, evidently rather valuable ones, to the trade of 
verse-making, I wrote and admonished (hastily reading 
five or six stanzas here and there), in the singular manner 
you experienced ! Never was a more distracted qui pro 
quo. On discovering that Printer was Painter, and hear- 
ing that you had published a volume of Poems, I at once 
found my " Idle Apprentice " converted into a grave, 
earnest man, of mature mastership, with a beard almost 
as gray as my own, whose surprise at my reception of 
him it was at once ludicrous and horrible to picture to 
myself ! This is the naked truth ; and I hope you will 
find in it an explanation of everyhing. 

For the rest, I must say, you take the affair, even in 
its unexplained shape, in a spirit which I must call 
chivalrous, and in every way humane and noble, for 
which accept praises and thanks from me, very cordial 



24 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

indeed. I need not add that verses of your writing, 
were they only the sport of well-earned leisure, come 
under a very different rubrick from verses by my sup- 
posed young gentleman playing truant ; and are likely to 
be much more deliberately read and judged of in this 
place ; and that my doctrine about work and speech was, 
and continues to be, so far as I can perceive, precisely 
your own. 

On the whole, I will ask you to come and see me 
again, if you can spare half an hour (3 to 4 P.M.), while in 
London ; to consider me reading your new Poems (as my 
purpose was) the first spare evening I have ; and always, 
as remembering with pleasure and respect the friendly 
man, recognisable as an earnest fellow-labourer in the 
vineyard, whom I once saw here. You may believe me, 
yours very sincerely, T. CARLYLE. 

I had signed myself "with much respect "his, 
as the right thing to do, writing as I did, but, after 
all, I did not feel my respect quite so great now 
that the explanation had come. He had a stereo- 
typed form of discouragement for the young, even 
although the idle apprentice could do what he now 
professed to respect, finding it the work of a middle- 
aged friend ! I did go to see him again, and in the 
course of conversation he told us over again the 
same story he had told me before, and in the exact 
same words ! The story was of his visit to the field 
of the Battle of Dunbar, in an autumn afternoon, 
and seeing Irish reapers resting all along the road 
after their long, weary journey. Like the tenor of 
my letter, this story was evidently prepared as a 
show-piece of descriptive elocution ! Alas ! yet it 
had become so perhaps only after the publication 



SAMUEL BROWN 25 



of the Cromwell. Whether or not, I cannot open 
any of his greater works without thinking of him as 
one of the greatest men of the time. 

Let me take up here and enter, for the last time, 
perhaps, in these desultory pages, the name of a 
dear friend who remains in my mind associated 
with Carlyle, and still more with my brother, and 
others belonging to a cycle now closed and shut 
away by the door of death 

The door of gold 
That mortal eyes can not behold. 

Samuel Brown ought certainly to have left an hon- 
ourable name in various walks. He perceived the 
underlying truth in scientific things by the supreme 
intuition of the discoverer, while the way to show it 
to others he had still to find. His instincts were 
sure, while his experimentalism did not always 
answer. I remember his venturing on the now very 
generally accepted idea that colour would be found 
to be one, not three components, blue and yellow 
being light and darkness, leaving red as the inherent 
appearance of physical things. This as far as I 
understood him at the time, but then came the 
difficulties of experiment, which was necessary 
" Triumphant Analysis," of which he was so fond of 
talking, having reached its limit. But the social in- 
fluence he possessed, by means of his specific learning 
and wonderful power of ready speech, has left a 
deeper impression and a more charming recollection 
of his personality than his chemical discovery, or 



26 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

supposed discovery, relating to the atomic theory, 
his essays, admirable as they were, or his drama, 
Galileo Galilei, which is about as good as Carl von 
Gebler's later celebration of the same hero. He 
might have made any reasonable success as a 
physician, I venture to think ; but he, like my 
brother, would have no medium success ; their 
triumphs were to be in the highest walk, and both 
failed not for want of genius, but for want of 
talent. 

His cousin, John Brown, who has left a more 
lasting name, but whom I had only met in an 
accidental way, wrote me that Samuel was going 
down very fast. My last sight of him was at his 
native place, Haddington, still brimful of specula- 
tion on his favourite topics, though furnace and 
crucible had quitted his hand. I have none of his 
letters to embellish my narrative withal, as they were 
gathered in by his wife, with a view to publication, 
after he was gone ; but I may preserve one from the 
author of Rab and his Friends, written a few days 
after his death : 

MY DEAR SCOTT Let me thank you most cordially 
for your note. I knew it would go to your heart, for few 
men loved him as you did, and as he knew you did. I 
could not write anything. I tried and broke down. I 
send the Scotsman, which is by his unfailing nurse, J. C. B. 
The Nezvs is, I think, by Professor Nichol. It is all so 
sad, so pathetic ; such a mournful eclipse of so much 
brightness and power ; the sun going down while it is yet 
day, the tree withering in its spring leaves ; and without 
one word of complaint from him. He appeared before 
the time was ripe, and has paid the forfeit. Do you re- 



ii DR. JOHN BROWN 27 

member old Grotius's epitaph on the Schoolmaster ? The 
idea is from the tenses of the verb 

Prcesens 
Imperfectum 

Perfectum 

Plus quam perfectum 
FUTURUM. 

Always glad to hear from you for your own sake, as well 
as for your brother's and Samuel's. Yours, 

J. BROWN. 

September 1856. 



CHAPTER III 

RESUME OF LETTERS FROM FRIENDS IN LONDON, 
1856-58 ADDITIONS TO THE CIRCLE THERE 

I MUST now return to my London circle of friends, 
as I may properly call the new school of painters, 
and other men with whom they were associated. 
For some time after attaching myself to the " School 
of Design," on visiting London I kept up some 
association with my former friends by visiting them, 
especially Frith, O'Neil, and Egg. But I found the 
game was not worth the candle ; all these had found 
entrance into the Academy, and that made a differ- 
ence to them similar, in a way, to the change which 
takes place on the ordinary young woman when she 
gets married, has a house of her own, and has little 
more to expect in life. I wholly dissented from 
Frith's treatment of Pope in his picture of Lady 
Wortley Montague laughing at him in contemptuous 
fashion, however well painted it might be. I could 
not tell him I thought it represented the characters 
of the poet and the lady from the point of view of 
the cad, but I thought so. Egg was a valuable man 
in a way, but without power pf any kind whatever. 



CHAP, in WOOLNER 29 

Other old friends were gone out of town, or dead, as 
Poole, Meadows, or Patric Park, sculptor. 

To explain the mutual relation and activities of 
my newer friends I must recur to their letters, as far 
as they have been preserved. Taken year by year 
they may be amusing. 

From Woolner in May 1855. He says there is 
very little artistic news : growlings, of course, at the 
Academy Committee. They hung Millais even 
Millais their crack student in a bad place, he being 
too attractive now ; but that celebrity made such an 
uproar the old fellows were glad to give in and place 
him better. Millais' amusement when Woolner wrote 
was to go about and rehearse the scene that took 
place at the Academy between him and the ancient 
magnates, especially the horse - painter, Abraham 
Cooper. Hunt had not yet returned from Jerusalem, 
nor did Woolner know when he would return. 

Tennyson is publishing some new poems, most lovely 
things : I think them the best he has done. I hope you 
have heard of the new illustrated edition of his works, to 
appear with all our set in it, if Rossetti can be got to work. 
There is to be an engraving of my medallion of the royal 
Alfred for frontispiece. I have made a new one of him, 
much better than the last ; also a new Carlyle, better than 
the old one. Carlyle is extremely pleased with it, and 
says it is the best likeness of him that has ever been done. 
That brute beast, the public, begins to think there is a 
. glimmering of sense in the much -ridiculed Latter-Day 
Pamphlets. The stone which the builders rejected, etc. ; 
but every one must bide his time. Concerning Went- 
worth's statue, which brought me home, it has turned out 
a failure. Wentworth has resolved on founding a fellow- 
ship at the Sydney University with the money instead. 



30 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

This is at least fifteen hundred out of my pocket, coming 
back to England when I did. 

" It was the only chance I ever had of making 
any money," Woolner says in the despairing way 
of young fellows, and ends with the reflection : 
" Throwing up a certainty for promises which prove 
false does not sweeten one's temper." 

From Alexander Munro, a little while later 
[October 1855]. 

I have delayed writing till after my return from Paris, 
where I have been to see the Great Exhibition with 
D. G. R. I got home on Tuesday, but Rossetti only 
returned to-day. We enjoyed Paris immensely, in different 
ways of course, for Rossetti was every day with his sweet- 
heart [E. S.], of whom he is more foolishly fond than I 
ever saw lover. Great affection is ever so to the mere 
looker-on, I suppose. Well ! well ! Hamon's pictures 
are indeed lovely, but Decamps is the great fellow ; Ingres 
is often stupid, and Delacroix's drawing often bad. The 
grand sight was the Emperor and his court blazing in gold 
and colour at the distribution of medals ; the Empress 
looking more lovely than ever, her head and neck very 
gracefully bending like a bell-flower. Old Horace Verney 
was there, resplendent in decorations from every country 
but ours. I spent one delightful evening with the Brown- 
ings, who are living in Paris ; the Trevelyans I did not 
meet, although they were there. 

William Rossetti writes [June 1855] in a long 
letter difficult to epitomise. I had asked him about 
Woolner in my last, so he also gives me the account 
of the Wentworth statue having gone among the 
, " were to be." 



in NEWS-LETTERS FROM THE ROSSETTIS 31 

Poor old sturdy Woolner is done again ; he thinks of 
returning to Australia, where he was going on swimmingly, 
staying a year or two, then finally back to England. 
Allingham's little volume, such as it is, is about ready, illus- 
trated by Hughes with woodcuts, also by Millais and 
Gabriel. Hunt, when he wrote last, was to leave Jeru- 
salem shortly, and to be at Constantinople before now. I 
have a long-pending engagement to meet him at some 
point on the Continent on his way home. He has not 
had any picture ready to send over from the East for the 
Exhibition, but a life-size crayon of his father, admirably 
finished, has been rejected ; they wanted to do the same 
for Millais, but did not dare. Are you aware he [Millais] 
is now at Perth, whither he started last Monday, to be 
married (to-morrow I think). Such is the scene at present 
on the stage of that curious and mournful tragi-comedy. 
Ruskin himself, for whom almost exclusively Gabriel is now 
engaged painting, has been very unwell of late, poor 
fellow, and is staying at Tunbridge, but he will be back 
to town on Thursday. I have met him repeatedly, and 
know few men I like better. 

This is very pretty of William. He was the 
most amiable and generous of friends and brothers. 
Here is something from Gabriel on the same matters, 
and to the same effect. I wish I could transcribe it 
all, ending as it does with a sonnet. 

I see your book in Mudie's last list [he says], together 
with The Angel in the House, whose gifted author's face 
must afford a fine rainbow study, since that vile stuff in 
the Athen&um. [This was an amusing review in verse, 
exactly like that of the poem reviewed, but printed as 
prose.] However, his book, it seems, is selling at a hundred 
a month. I remember you asked me how I liked it. Oh, 
it's done to a nicety, really well and extra well. But I 
know I need not read it again, although the author is 



32 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

asking his friends all round to do so, and marginise on it 
suggestions for the new edition. But the book is a first- 
rate one in its way. Allingham is shortly to be out with 
a new or a demi-semi-new volume, for which I have not 
yet ceased to be astounded at having drawn an illustration 
on wood in a moment of enthusiasm, but if it is not well 
cut it shall be cut out. I have been asked by Moxon to 
do some for the Tennyson, and said I would, but don't 
know whether I shall, as all the most practicable subjects 
have been given away already my own fault, however, 
as I had been asked to choose long ago. Millais but 
perhaps you have heard variously about him ! In painting 
he is hard at work apotheosising the fire-brigade [painting 
his picture of the children saved from a house on fire]. 
Han nay did you see his Satire and Satirists ? a real 
book, the best he has done is going to publish Nettle- 
Flowers, a Collection of Epigrams, etc., and means to 
contract for a few cudgellings in a mild way, as advertise- 
ment. Here is a rough recollection of one : 

PRIAPUS HIGG loquitur. 

With fraud the church, the law, the camp are rife, 
Nothing but wickedness ! O weary life ! 
I must console me with my neighbour's wife. 

W. M. R. again, dated December 1856. He 
sends " many thanks for the Leaves of Grass, which 
I have not yet received from Woolner, but shall 
be eager to read as soon as I get it. Woolner and 
others denounce the book in the savagest of terms ; 
but I suspect I shall find a great deal to like, a great 
deal to be surprised and amused at, and not a little 
to approve, all mingled of course with a lot of 
worse than worthless eccentricity." Soon after he 
adds, " The Leaves of Grass has come to hand. 



m NEWS-LETTERS FROM THE ROSSETTIS 33 

My best expectations are more than confirmed by 
what little I have read as yet ; and Gabriel, who 
has had nothing but abuse for it hitherto, tends even 
towards enthusiasm. You could not have given me 
anything I should better like to receive." This was 
the introduction of Walt Whitman's work to the 
English literary world. A travelling bookseller, 
who had been in America, and been all through the 
war with Whitman, had brought over a number of 
copies of the first edition, an eccentric man of 
republican principles and very hard-up. In America 
the book being ignored by all booksellers, who 
declined at first even to lay it on their counters, he 
had got a quantity of copies and was now trying to 
sell them at Sunderland by Dutch auction. Thomas 
Dixon, my constant friend, a perceptive man and a 
public-spirited, though then only a working cork- 
cutter, sent the book to me as a curiosity. Instantly 
I perceived the advent of a new poet, a new Ameri- 
canism, and a new teacher, and I invested in several 
copies. The one I sent to W. M. R. was the cause 
of his editing the English edition, which raised 
Whitman into a celebrity. 

At that moment I had induced Woolner to 
visit Sir Walter Trevelyan with me, which was a 
fortunate circumstance in his professional career, as 
he carried away a commission for a marble group 
to occupy the centre of the hall, and this was the 
beginning of his great success. W. M. R. goes on 
to speak of this group, which was to carry out, 
express, or typify in some manner, the result 

VOL. II D 



34 U'JLLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

of all the history I was then painting round the 
walls. 



What is Woolner's " centre sculpture for the Hall " at 
Wallington to be, do you know? I asked him about it 
just after receiving your note, and he did not seem to 
have any distinct idea of either the subject or the extent 
of the commission. I hope it will be a good one, and 
that he will make a good thing of it, for really it is 
beginning to be high time he should take up his proper 
position. Of Lady Trevelyan I saw but little when I 
met her at Mrs. Loudon's, but she seems particularly 
frank, unaffected, and good-humouredly willing to be 
pleased. I had more conversation with Sir Walter a 
fine-minded man, of both natural and acquired dignity. 
He would do well for Don Quixote not the Don of the 
caricaturist, however. Both spoke most lovingly of you 
[which gave me great pleasure]. Aurora Leigh [just 
published] was sent to Gabriel, and also to Woolner, by 
Mrs. Browning herself, and both are unboundedly enthusi- 
astic about it. I have read as yet something less than 
two books of it, stuffed and loaded with poetic beauty 
and passionate sympathy and insight. It is certainly 
better than only a succession of fine things, though, even 
to take the book from that point of view, it would be quite 
a wonderful thing of the kind. I confess, however, I stand 
somewhat taken aback at the prospect of the 14,000 lines 
of blank verse, introspection, and humanitarian romance, 
and I would not venture to name any early day for coming 
to the end of it I have alluded to Thomas Seddon's 
death [Hunt's friend who died in the East]. You have 
probably met him among our set in London, though I am 
not certain. He was doing good service in the application 
of the Pre-Raphaelite principle to landscape of historic 
interest, such as Jerusalem, Egypt, etc., and in a year or 
more would have made a very decided position. His 
sudden death from dysentery at Cairo at the age of thirty- 
five is very melancholy, both for his own family and for 



in NEWS-LETTERS FROM THE ROSSETTIS 35 

the wife he had married only a year and a half ago. 
Hunt, like the fine fellow he is, was the first to suggest 
that some public recognition and substantial fruit of his 
exertions might be attained by exhibiting the works he 
has left. I am just setting off to a meeting at Brown's 
where four or five of us are to talk the matter over. [The 
result was a subscription which purchased and presented 
to the National Gallery the picture of Jerusalem.] 

Now for a rapid dash at our news. Hunt is painting 
at his " Christ and the Doctors in the Temple," having 
established himself for the present in the Crystal Palace for 
some use that he can turn the Alhambra Court to for the 
background. Gabriel has done four of his Tennyson 
designs, and is preparing with some seriousness to paint 
an altar-piece for Llandaff Cathedral subject, the Nativity. 
Millais is still at Perth. Woolner, well on with his Tenny- 
son bust in marble. Arthur Hughes, with sufficiency of 
commissions and also a baby. Hannay is writing for the 
Quarterly. The Brownings are back to Florence ; their 
presence in London was most delightful to all of our set 
who know them. Brown, who has not yet begun his 
picture of " Work," has done a small oil portrait of me, 
capital in painting and likeness, which he has presented 
to my mother. 

Gabriel follows a month later or so (February 
1857) from 14 Chatham Place, where he remained 
so long : 

I have been meaning to write you ever since Brown 
showed me the photograph from your noble picture of 
" St. Cuthbert." I had not, in the state of sleepy worry 
in which one lives here, woke up to the consciousness that 
such things were being done, and it came to me as a 
most delightful surprise. I shall hope some day to see 
the original. I suppose it is the only picture existing as 
yet of so definitely " historical " a class, in which the 
surroundings are all real studies from nature ; a great 



36 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

thing to have done. The sky and sea are sky and sea, 
and the ancient boats are all real as if you had got such 
things to sit to you. The whole scene too, and the quiet 
way in which the incident is occurring, at once strike the 
spectator with the immense advantage of simple truth in 
historical art over the " monumental " style. The figures 
all seem very fine, although their lower limbs are out of 
focus in the photograph. The only one which at all fails 
to satisfy me is the priest in the centre ; but perhaps you 
are right in curtailing him of much individuality. [This 
figure represents Bishop Theodore, an Oriental from Smyrna, 
whom I had consequently made very dusky in complexion. 
He accompanied the young King of Northumbria to the 
island of Cuthbert's hermitage, having celebrated mass 
before embarking. I represented him apparelled for the 
celebration to give contrast to the hermit's wrapper. 
This may be considered by some a sacrifice to pictorial 
convention ; if so, it is the only one in the picture, or, as 
far as I know, in any of the series of pictures.] A suc- 
cession of works such as this cannot fail to establish your 
reputation. I hear you are now at work on the " Building 
of the Roman Wall." One of the future subjects, " Barnard 
Gilpin taking down the Gauntlet," should inspire you ; it 
will be a glorious opportunity for a stirring work. I 
have done a few water-colours in my small way lately, and 
designed five blocks for Tennyson, some of which are 
still cutting and maiming. It is a thankless task. After 
a fortnight's work my block goes to the engraver, like 
Agag, delicately, and is hewn to pieces before the Lord 
Harry ! 

ADDRESS TO THE D L BROTHERS 

O woodman, spare that block, 
O gash not anyhow ; 
It took ten days by clock, 
I'd fain protect it now. 

Chorus, wild laughter from DalziePs workshop. 

Your friend W. J. Linton did two for me. [I am 
delighted to quote his good opinion.] I am convinced he 






in NEWS-LETTERS FROM D. G. ROSSETTI 37 

is a long way the best engraver living, now that old 
Thomson is nearly out of the field. But unluckily the 
two that went to Linton were just the least elaborate. 
All the most careful ones have gone to Dalziel, and have 
fared but miserably, though I am sure the greatest pains 
have been bestowed upon them. Yesterday I made 
Linton's acquaintance, as he came to town on business ; 
he seems a most agreeable fellow. 

Two young men, projectors of the Oxford and 
Cambridge Magazine, have recently come to town also 
from Oxford, and are now very intimate friends of mine. 
Their names are Morris and Jones. They have turned 
artists instead of taking up any other career to which the 
University generally leads, and both are men of real 
genius. Jones's designs are marvels of finish and imagina- 
tive detail, unequalled by anything unless perhaps Albert 
Diirer's finest works ; and Morris, though without practice 
as yet, has no less power, I fancy. [Such is D. G. R.'s 
first impression of the two close friends and men of 
original genius. Besides, he goes on to say] : He [Morris] 
has written some really wonderful poetry too, and as I 
happen to have a song of his in my pocket I enclose it to 
you. [This song has been lost, or possibly returned ; I 
cannot find it, or remember what it was.] 

Gabriel writes again in March 1857, sending me 
three numbers of the Oxford and Cambridge Maga- 
zine containing three poems of his. Regarding one 
of these he wants to protest that it appears in the 
same number with a praise of one of his pictures, 
quite innocently on his part : 

The praise was written by my most kind friend Vernon 
Lushington [whose name I now heard for the first time] 
before I knew of his intention, and I never saw it till 
ready for press. The poem had been some time in the 
editor's hands, and got put in unluckily just then. Non 
me a culpa. 



38 WILLIAM HELL SCOTT CHAP. 

He says again : 

I hope some day to see your pictures ; but also think 
there ought to be some steps taken, if possible, to show 
them in London when several are completed. 1 Could not 
they be fixed only temporarily in the Hall at present ? I 
shall not forget to keep photographs of my blocks for 
Tennyson for you. Besides these three I have done two 
more, which W. J. Linton has cut well, and of which, 
therefore, I need not regret having no photograph. I 
have forwarded your " Seddon " subscription to William. 
About the new art paper, it is to be feared it will not 
come to anything : Ruskin bites not. You asked about 
the capitals (botanical) for the Oxford Museum. I have 
not undertaken any, but promised some time ago to 
design the sculpture in the arched doorway to the street 
how call you it ? but have not, however, heard from 
Woodward [the architect of the museum] very lately. 
He is, as you surmise, well worth knowing, but is the 
stillest creature out of an oyster-shell. 

Woodward had appeared as a guest at Walling- 
ton, and also Dr. Acland, and I had designed the 
first of the capitals of pillars which were to form a 
series all round the museum supporting the gallery, 
and were expected, by combining four or six plants 
on each cap in a Gothic manner, to represent all the 
botanical classes. That year, on visiting Oxford, I 
found some of these cut by the O'Sheas, very good 
indeed ; but those expert stone-carvers disliked copy- 
ing drawings could only, in fact, improvise with a 
vague resemblance to the copy. 

Again in June 1857 Rossetti writes me, mainly 
on my new picture of the " Building of Hadrian's 

1 [The pictures were ultimately exhibited, when the series of 
eight was completed, at the French Gallery in June 1861. ED.] 



39 



Wall" and about a small semi -private exhibition 
opened by the set or coterie we may as well call a 
spade a spade in Fitzroy Place, accessible by free 
tickets, which exhibition was a forerunner of the 
Hogarth Club, constituted a year after. I will not, 
however, indulge myself again in transcribing his 
praises. Here are his tidings about the two friends 
from Oxford : 

Morris has as yet done nothing in art, but is now 
busily painting his first picture, " Sir Tristram after his 
Illness in the Garden of King Mark's Palace, recognised 
by the Dog he had given to Iseult," from the Morte c? Arthur. 
It is being done all from nature of course, and I believe 
will turn out capitally. His chum Jones, who is by far 
the most advanced of the two, is getting commissions 
fast, and has done some wonderful cartoons in colour for 
stained glass, which would delight the soul of you. He 
has an order for an oil picture from Mr. Flint of Leeds, 
and has done me the honour of choosing for subject 
my "Blessed Damozel," which he is to illustrate in two com- 
partments. I have no doubt it will be in our next year's 
exhibition. I hope you will send us one of your pictures, 
but I have as yet no idea of their size. [This picture 
was never done, Mr. Flint having died.] 

Thus my circle of friends was being gradually 
enriched by those I met, Swinburne and others, 
under the friendly wing of Lady Trevelyan ; and 
these notices in London letters were the first inti- 
mations of the advent of two youths who were both 
destined to fill an important place in the intellectual 
history of our time. They were undergraduates 
together at Oxford at the time D. G. R.'s poetry 
brought them to him in connection with the Magazine, 



40 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

in which they were both actively concerned Burne- 
Jones feebly, however, and William Morris enthusi- 
astically, as he contributed many wonderful tales 
and some poems. They were then fast friends, and 
they have remained so ever since. The powers of 
the two men were, however, very distinct, although 
at this their starting-point they were both equally 
bent on becoming artists. Morris's first step in 
this direction was to article himself to George 
Edmund Street, then located in the University 
town as architect to the diocese. He paid his 
premium, and soon tiring of the regular office work, 
left it off, and they both, as we have seen, appeared 
in London. Morris was entirely his own master, 
but E. B. J.'s course of action was not so free, as 
he had a father living, and it was only by the 
mediation and warm assurance of Rossetti as to his 
son's extraordinary talent that the paternal bias to 
the Church for his son's career gave way ; D. G. R. 
told me. Perhaps the best of Morris's tales in the 
Oxford and Cambridge Magazine were "Gertha's 
Lovers " and the " Hollow Land," but all of his 
contributions were unmistakable in imaginative 
beauty, and will some day be republished. 

At this time the Union debating club-house and 
library was just finished building. Those interested 
in it, Dr. Acland, Mr. Woodward, the architect, and 
others, accepted the offer on the part of Rossetti 
I think it must have been mainly in his hand, as he 
asked me to join in the work to surround the 
gallery of the great room with life-size subjects 



in WILLIAM MORRIS 41 

from the romance of the Round Table. Both of 
these youths went into the scheme ; Arthur Hughes 
also, and a youth whose name has not yet adorned 
these pages, Valentine Prinsep. The work was 
voluntary ; the remuneration was to be the honour ; 
the expenses of living there while the work was 
going on and the bills for colours being defrayed by 
the Union. I did not avail myself of the invitation 
to join the party, as I had fortunately other occupa- 
tion. But will it be believed, not one of the band 
from first to last knew anything whatever of wall- 
painting and its requirements ! It was simply the 
most unmitigated fiasco that ever was made by a 
parcel of men of genius. The " great work " Gabriel 
as we see holds out hopes of Morris accomplishing, 
that begun by Rossetti himself, and the one next it 
by Valentine Prinsep all went rapidly on, but only 
apparently, as they were painted in water-colours on 
the irregular brick wall merely whitewashed ! The 

o * 

wall being a common brick wall meant to be primed 
with plaster, one might have expected even the 
architect Woodward would have expostulated. He 
did not : the edges of all the bricks caught the dust ; 
and as no adhesive medium, so far as I could dis- 
cover, was used, the powder colours rubbed off the 
flat surfaces. When I saw them only a few months 
after they were executed, 1 they were beginning to be 

1 [In an old pocket-book containing entries about this visit to 
Oxford, which seems to have been in June 1858, I find a note of 
Mr. Scott's impressions of the Union paintings, which is worth 
transcribing. ED.] 

"The paintings by the new-school artists in the Union are very 



42 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

unintelligible. By this time they must have largely 
disappeared. Still the remains are curiously inter- 
esting, and ought to be preserved. 

What gave Morris his proper position was the 
publication in the following year (1858) of the 
Defence of Gnenevere. This book was and is the 
most notable first volume of any poet ; many of the 
poems represent the mediseval spirit in a new way, 
not by a sentimental nineteenth - century- revival 
medisevalism, but they give a poetical sense of a 
barbaric age strongly and sharply real. Woolner 
wrote to me at the time of publication, " I believe 
they are exciting a good deal of attention among 
the intelligent on the outlook for something new." 
Nevertheless, like Swinburne's first volume, the book 
was still-born. The considerable body of perfectly- 
informed but unsympathetic professional critics are, 
strange to say, so useless as directors of public taste 
that they have never yet lifted the right man into 

interesting. They are poems more than pictures being large 
illuminations and treated in a mediaeval manner, not studied from 
nature nor endeavouring to represent nature indeed at least not 
restricting the means of suggestion by the limitation of correct 
imitation. The drawing is such as men who have scarcely practised 
at all can do without the model before them, and the colour is all 
positive, like mediaeval work, the execution stippling like a miniature. 
The conception of the whole artistically, the method of working, and 
the character of colour and design are undoubtedly all due to 
Rossetti ; indeed the work is properly his work, Morris also showing 
in the roof the originality one might expect from his character as a 
poet. This is shown in Rossetti's picture being so much more 
perfect than the rest. In it the stippling is admirably expressive of 
the detail, but in all the others it means nothing. However, this 
stippling with a little brush is simply the result of his habit of paint- 
ing nothing but little water-colours. The invention in his picture 
and in some of the others is most lyrical and delightful." 



D. G. ROSSETTI 43 



his right place at once. After repeated volumes had 
attracted public favour, both of these little volumes 
were reprinted ; the original impression having been 
returned to the paper-mill, this destination being the 
successor to "the trunkmaker" of old times. 

I have quoted one of Rossetti's letters expressing 
great praise of one of my Wallington pictures. I 
might have quoted many more. The admiration 
for the scenic treatment and the accessories in the 
"St. Cuthbert" picture, for the sea and the sky, the 
birds, and other matters, which he repeats with 
still increasing emphasis of other following pictures, 
suggests a few remarks. I have always believed 
the best unofficial education for an artist is daily 
sketching, keeping a pocket sketch-book as Thomas 
Sibson, a friend too soon lost, as already noticed, 
was in the habit of doing. If he in this way records 
every characteristic action, every beautiful feature or 
form he observes, not only in the accidents of society 
or active human life, but also in vegetation or among 
the lower animals, he will be real and natural in 
expressing whatever he invents. " All painted from 
nature " is very excellent, as Rossetti says Morris is 
doing at the Union ; this, however, meant merely 
that he got sunflowers into the gallery, but as he 
could not get Tristram along with them the sun- 
flowers were so obtrusive he only showed Tristram's 
head over them ! The best professional education 
for a painter is perhaps scene -painting, but for 
designing, thinking pictorially, the vital habit 
necessary is observing and recording, however 



44 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

slightly and transiently, the multitudinous aspects of 
life. 

The absence of this habit made Holman Hunt, 
the most conscientious of men and the most realistic 
of painters, a slave to the circumstances under which 
he worked ; and D. G. R., poet and imaginative 
inventor, who never made a memorandum of any 
thing in the world except from the female face 
between sixteen and twenty-six, was torn to pieces 
by the waste of energy and excruciating difficulty 
entailed by the getting of his picture backgrounds 
reasonably right. I shall not say true to life or 
nature that he never considered ; but he would 
unwittingly make the wall of a house only two inches 
thick, or its perspective entirely wrong. In the 
water-colour picture I got Lady Trevelyan to com- 
mission, "The Virgin in the House of St. John," 
he had to introduce a distaff; after spending weeks 
in looking for one he drew one "out of his head," 
and made the lint drawn from the top of the mass 
looking somewhat like a smoking chimney in the 
painting. True Italian as he was, he never went 
home even as tourist, where he could have seen the 
old women about Rome still using the distaff; he 
cared for nothing, in short, but what he invented. 
Had he gone he would never have sketched the old 
women with distaffs. He would have come back as 
ignorant as he went pictorially, but wiser in every 
other respect. I prevailed on him to alter the 
fallacy, but even after explanation he could not 
make it right. In the little vignette for his sister's 



D. G. ROSSETTI 45 



Prince s Progress he made an open window looking 
on a garden in which was a labyrinth ; this he 
actually represented as the plan, not the picture, of 
a labyrinth ! I knew at once he had taken it from 
the plan of the labyrinth at Hampton Court given 
in the sixpenny guide to that locality. He would 
rather buy the book, and not trouble to go into the 
maze itself! 

He has all his life been occupied and absorbed 
in his own conceptions of art or of poetry. But we 
cannot live by bread alone ; life is multiform, and 
art for art's sake is a narrow field. Without the 
faculty of observation the ideal becomes simply the 
unreal. Jones is a painter by nature ; the aspect is 
everything to him, the reality little. Rossetti is a 
poet, and feels the core of the matter to be all- 
important ; but his powers of observation of the 
actual world are nearly nil. I mention these defects 
in the accessories of his pictures as an argument for 
the value of sketching from nature ; they were 
infinitely insignificant compared with the richness 
of invention, purity of feeling, and loveliness of the 
figures represented in the works of each of these 
men. 



CHAPTER IV 

RESUME" OF LETTERS FROM FRIENDS, 1859-60-61- 
THE ROSSETTIS, HOLMAN HUNT, WOOLNER, MUNRO, 
ETC. LADY TREVELYAN MISS BOYD. 

I HAVE now arrived at a period when painting 
occupied all my days and nights too, though I still 
conducted the School of Art. I shall therefore 
have little to say about myself, and shall again fall 
back upon letters, such as were annually saved from 
the waste-basket of the year at Christmas. Not 
any of these letters were other than friendly and 
accidental, but as they relate mainly to passing 
events, their want of elaboration is no defect, and 
no confidences are violated by what I shall extract. 

Sometimes a sketch or a verse, even satirical or 
caricature in a good-humoured way, recalls more 
vividly still the impression of the passing moment. 
Louis Napoleon, or, as Swinburne called him, "the 
Beauharnais," was now in his glory; Victor Hugo, 
and others dear to all of us, were refugees. Swin- 
burne, always possessed by some pet subject of 
hatred or admiration, was carried away by un- 
governable fury at the success of the wretched 



CHAP, iv THE HOGARTH CLUB 47 

adventurer, or weak-minded innocent, now settled 
in the Tuileries, and practised his ingenuity in in- 
venting tirades against him, sometimes full of humour 
and splendour, at other times grossly absurd. Lady 
Trevelyan, always ready to enter into his mood, used 
to assist him ; but learning he was going to accom- 
pany his family to France, she predicted that he 
would be caught by the police, and sketched the fate 
that awaited him. The figure of A. C. S. addressing 
the people was wonderfully good. 

I. The first letter I find is from my best friend 
and letter - writer of that day (ist March 1858), 
W. M. R., relating to the formation of the Hogarth 
Club, of which I have spoken before. All the names 
on the list of the proposed Portfolio Club and many 
more were enrolled, the only important one not among 
them being that of Millais, who could not join a 
body including Ruskin. The only non- artistic 
members I remember meeting were Vernon Lush- 
ington and his brother Godfrey, sincere and intelli- 
gent lovers of art and its professors ; and in many 
ways Vernon was and is one of the most admirable 
of men I knew little of Godfrey. This club ought to 
have been still in existence, and under able manage- 
ment it should have by this time taken a place 
only second to the Royal Academy in professional 
importance, but its existence was short. Ruskin 
was the first dissentient : the committee invested in 
a billiard table, which he took as an insult, as he 
could play at no games, so he left ; then the arrange- 



48 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

ment of an Exhibition open to the public on payment, 
instead of a changeable show of pictures open only 
to the members' friends, brought up conflicting 
opinions. Strangely enough, F. M. Brown was the 
opponent of the scheme ; the club broke up under 
the pressure of the struggle. 

The most important picture shown on these 
semi-private club occasions was Martineau's " Last 
Day in the Old Home." The two most popular of 
all the thousands of works afterwards shown in the 
International Exhibition of 1862 were it and Brown's 
" Last of England," in which he painted himself and 
his wife, with the infant Oliver (afterwards to be 
mentioned) in her lap. I may say of this picture 
parenthetically, that it represents what might have 
been a fact in F. M. Brown's career. When 
Woolner went to the gold-fields, and Holman Hunt 
was hesitating about giving up painting, Brown had 
similar plans floating in his mind, only, being of a 
reticent nature, and also slow to act, he neither 
talked of them nor put them in practice, except in 
the way of producing this record of them after he 
had found some small successes at home. These 
successes were in finding a " patron " or two, the 
principal being my friend James Leathart of New- 
castle, who, with my advice, made an excellent 
collection of the works of the new men Holman 
Hunt and Millais to begin with, then Rossetti and 
Arthur Hughes, Martineau, and above all, F. M. 
Brown. 

II. Here is a long note from Holman Hunt, 



iv HOLM AN HUNT 49 

much of it, however, about his affairs, which it is 
needless to quote. The rest is mainly about a new 
medium in painting and other matters of his studio, 
highly worthy of record to the initiated. It is dated, 
Tor Villa, Campden Hill, Kensington, nth February 
1860, while he was finishing a long process extend- 
ing over years his " Christ in the Temple." He 
says he had put away my "good-natured letter" to 
answer at leisure, and now he finds it a month and 
a half old, and is 

overpowered by the feeling that no protestations of mine 
will convince you of the pleasure I had in receiving it. 
You know, however, that we are not always able to do 
what we like best, and so will believe that I would have 
sat down to have a chat with you about varnishes and 
about my present plans and engagements long ago, if I 
had been able. . . . Well then : I seldom mix my copal 
and turpentine together, not because there would be any 
danger to the permanency of the work by such proceeding, 
but only because the character of the surface obtained 
thereby is not so pleasant to my taste as the fat full 
firmness got by paint in its pure state as mixed with oil, 
or when compounded only with copal. To avoid the 
excess of this quality when it becomes difficult to work, I 
often begin by modelling all out with a turpentine dilution 
of the copalled pigment. When I repaint over old work, 
I often, too, soften the surface of the dry ground, and 
modify the colour of it with washes of turpentine colour, 
a dodge which has many advantages, not the least being 
that it enables the two coats of paint to combine together, 
as if painted at once, and thus obviates the danger of one 
tearing up the other. You will, I daresay, have found out 
the same plan, and by this time may have got over all 
your difficulties with copal. . . . 

I had written him about a small water-colour, a 

VOL. II E 



50 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

commission from a friend long in hand, but he was 
unable even yet to say much, his great picture being 
not yet quite finished, and in its last tedious state of 
finish he was afraid to think of the smallest subject 
of another kind, lest he should be seduced from the 
little scrapings and stipplings-up of odd corners, 
which was his present labour. When he had finished 
this Temple picture, he said he would have to do the 
same service for two other Eastern pictures brought 
home, and several sketches, which would exhaust his 
present Oriental mania, so that he would be glad to 
clean his brushes and palette for open-air practice 
somewhere in a green field with daisies and 
country lasses sprinkled about. This would only 
be a temporary aberration, however, for he cannot 
believe that art should let such beautiful things pass 
away, as are now passing in the East, without any 
exertion to chronicle them for the future. 

So I promise to return in spirit to the land of the 
good Haroun Al Raschid, if I can't get there in the body 
before the year is out The little subject Mr. Crawhal 
wants [this was the water-colour picture a friend in New- 
castle wanted from one of Hunt's illustrations to Tenny- 
son's poems] will scarcely require me to fight the fates in 
the East, so I think I may promise to have it done and 
forwarded to him, or kept here for his refusal, without the 
danger of its being touched up by the hand of a quaran- 
tine officer at some Syrian seaport, with the sharp punch 
which promotes ventilation at all risks in articles pass- 
ing through his hands. The important picture for Mr. 
Leathart is a more serious affair, because I don't see how 
I can paint it out of the rotation of commissions which 
are of some depth and with my slow brushes will require 
some time. As I never or rarely undertake special com- 



D. G. ROSSETTI 51 



missions for settled subjects, but merely let the friends, 
one after another, whose names are down, have the refusal 
of each as finished, it is possible that I may have some- 
thing earlier than would seem likely. I always try to 
paint every new picture as unlike the one last painted as 
possible, so people are frequently taken by surprise when 
I show them my work, and thus pictures not my worst at 
all, pass six or seven applicants before they are taken up. 
. . . [He hopes I won't dread incommoding him if Mrs. 
Scott and I should be coming to town, and will be his 
guests.] I live so regularly that a lady would not be in 
my way at all ; but I will not interfere with your earlier 
plans. If you come alone, however, you could not be 
more conveniently posted, or with more pleasure to your 
host, than here. 

This note, with its conscientious particularity and 
exactness of detail, and kind, candid, and friendly 
spirit, is very characteristic, and the press of com- 
missions shows the mighty revolution in his fortunes 
after the popularity of the " Light of the World " 
had confirmed his position. 

III. The process of finishing here described is 
in curious contrast to that indicated by Rossetti 
in a letter received about the same time, i3th 
November 1859, both having been leaders in the 
same movement. He says : 

I have painted a half figure in oil, in doing which I 
have made an effort to avoid what I know to be a 
besetting sin of mine, and indeed rather common to P.R. 
painting that of stippling on the flesh. I have succeeded 
in quite keeping the niggling process at a distance this 
time, and am very desirous of painting, whenever I can 
find leisure and opportunity, various figures of this kind, 
chiefly as studies of rapid flesh painting. I am sure that 



52 WILLIAM HELL SCOTT CHAP. 

among the many botherations of a picture where design, 
drawing, expression, and colour have to be thought of 
all at once (and this, perhaps, in the focus of the four 
winds out of doors, or at any rate among somnolent 
models, ticklish draperies, and toppling lay figures), one 
can never do justice even to what faculty of mere paint- 
ing may be in one. Even among the old good painters, 
their portraits and simpler pictures are almost always their 
masterpieces for colour and execution, and I fancy if one 
kept this in view one must have a better chance of learn- 
ing to paint at last. One of the things I have finished 
last you have seen the " Sir Galahad." But far more 
than that anything done I have been struggling in a 
labyrinth of things which it seems impossible to get on 
with, and things which it seems impossible to begin. 

This letter is of infinite importance in the history 
of Rossetti's painting. It marks the first success in 
life-size oil-painting, and the practice of his whole 
later art-life has shown increasing mastery over half- 
length female figures of a similar type. Millais also 
before this time had protested that life was too short 
to continue painting in detail as he had done with 
such amazing rapidity and success. He was now 
married, full of commissions, and unable to take up 
half the success that lay to his hand. As to the 
remark about the old masters, Rossetti had not seen 
any of their chef-d'ceuvres, never 
having been in Italy ! 




IV. Let me enter here some 
extracts from Lady Trevelyan's 
friendly notes. In her more familiar letters she 
used often to address me as Mr. Porcupine, the 



iv LADY TREVELYAN 53 

defensive creature being drawn neatly instead of 
the word, and sometimes indulge in very rare 
humour. We must be contented with only such 
extracts as will add to our narrative. 

WALLINGTON, May 1860. 

I have finished my panel and am prepared for any 
amount of abuse you may be pleased to bestow upon it. ... 
I have not heard lately from Algernon, but what I hear 
of him is good. He has passed for his degree, and he 
has written a poem (for the Oxford competition on The 
Loss of Sir John Franklin} which his father and people like 
very much. I am glad the Academy have ill-used the 
Preraffs, it will perhaps lop off some rotten branches 
in the shape of weak brethren, who paint bone- 
less imitations of the school and bring discredit on it. 
If these are convinced it is unpopular and does not pay 
they will give it up, which will be an unmixed good. 
I believe Mr. Ruskin is only going to Switzerland for 
the summer. He will never go away for a very long 
period while his father and mother are living. He has 
always said that but for them he would go and live in 
some favourite place in Switzerland. I shall be very 
thankful if he doesn't write the Notes this year, for he is 
quite tired with his last volume, which he is just finishing ; 
and if he does Notes at all, he should do them with all 
his strength instead of half in joke, and at the end of six 
months' hard work, while longing for a holiday. Is 
Hunt's bargain really concluded ? We expect to go 
south on Monday, when I will write you again. 

V. Next from London, June 1860: 

I am glad to hear a good account of you from 
Sir Walter, and that he had the pleasure of entertaining 
the School of Art, students, inspector, and all, at a pic- 
nic. I can only wish you had had a finer day for it. 



54 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

How was the light for seeing the Hall ? Holman Hunt 
spent an evening here very well and jolly. He is 
finishing up odds and ends that have been put aside for 
the great picture, and is very diligent at rifle-drill. My 
brother Roland is also up and off to Walham Green 
every morning at seven, for ball practice, spending 
bushels of cartridges. Yesterday I sent you a paper 
about Captain Snow's Arctic search : he is to lecture at 
Newcastle on the iQth and collect subscriptions. Now 
I conjure you by all you believe in, misty philosophy, 
gooseberry pie, and anything else equally sacred to you, 
go to hear him and make others go. Do puff, do 
ventilate the subject and make others take an interest in 
it. If they don't care for the records and Journal, there 
is always a chance of finding some of the crew alive ; if 
they don't care for those, they may be moved by our old 
flag going first round the world by the Arctic route and 
not leaving that triumph to the stars and stripes, which 
will be before us as sure as fate, if we don't mind. 
I have set my whole heart on this search ; read the 
Saturday Review of this week about it. ... 

SEATON, AXMINSTER, August 1860. 

VI. I have been very long without writing, but I have 
been awfully busy. I always am so here, where I am 
among my lace people. Sir Walter gave me your note about 
the spandrels. They have hung on hand shamefully, but 
as we have been away this summer, I suppose we shall 
stay at Wellington in winter, and then I'll paint the yew, 
and the fir, and anything one can get in winter, and be 
very industrious. Dreadful weather we have had, no paint- 
ing out of doors, but I suppose it was all sunshine while 
you were with Miss Boyd that was so of course. 
Holman Hunt wrote the other day to ask if the white 
lilies were to be had, and offered to go down and do 
them, but of course they are dead and gone weeks ago ; 
so I told him if he will be in England next lily season, 
we would wait for that ; but if not, he must come to us 
as soon as we get back and do dahlias, or sunflower, or 



iv LADY TREVELYANMISS BO YD 55 

what we can get. He was just starting on a tour with 
Alfred Tennyson to Brittany, and I have not got his 
answer. This was a week ago. Things get on so 
slowly here when we are away. Sir Walter has determined 
not to leave till our school is finished and its work started. 
Mr. Woodward is also designing some seaside houses 
for us, but it is such a dear little place, I don't complain 
of staying on. . . . We have been in the west of 
Cornwall, where the red geranium grows up to the bed- 
room windows, and we found Mr. Nash painting at 
Kyname Cove : he had been on the same picture for ten 
weeks. . . . What are you doing now ? smoking and 
getting fat in your new studio ? I expect to find you 
fearfully fat and stupid when I come home. Is Grace 
Darling finished ? Is she fearfully and wonderfully ugly ? 
[I answered that Grace Darling was too far in storm to 
be anything, but that the principal figure nearly the size 
of life the woman whose child had died in her bosom 
unknown to her was wonderfully noble, having been 
painted from Miss Boyd.] Woolner can't get a block 
of marble at present to do the Fairbairn children, so he 
has been working on our group. Dr. Acland had a 
gloomy voyage with the Prince to Canada. They were 
in a dense fog as soon as they started, so wet a fog that 
their clothes, beds, everything, were damp the whole time 
till they were about 150 miles from Newfoundland, when 
they suddenly sailed into bright clear air all ablaze with a 
brilliant sunset, and they saw the fog behind them like a 
thick white curtain from sea to sky. 

# # * # # 

SEATON, October 1860. 

VII. I think I had a letter from you since I wrote 
the one describing your " Grace Darling" picture, which we 
have not yet seen, in which you go in as a great marine 
painter, which, no doubt, you ought to be considering 
your great love of the sea and your passion for voyaging 
upon it, so that you are a sort of a fat peaceable sea-king. 
Not like that " Cockney Turner," who used to go for a 



56 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

voyage whenever he could, and had himself lashed to 
the mast to watch storms when they came. 

***** 

I am afraid we shall not see much of Algernon in 
the north now dear kind Sir John Swinburne is gone. 
What a loss he is ! It seems ridiculous to feel as if a 
man of ninety-eight had died too soon, yet he certainly 
has, for he enjoyed life and added to the enjoyment of 
many other people. The shock of Sir Henry Ward's 
death was the exciting cause of his last illness. 

I have been reading Mr. Woolner's poem. Some of 
it is very fine and there is a great deal of himself in it ; 
but doubtless you will have seen or heard most of it. 
I was in some hopes that the Tennysons would have 
come to Wallington when we returned there, but that 
has had to be given up, and they have gone back to the 
Isle of Wight to receive some guests. Holman Hunt 
was left somewhere near Falmouth making sketches. 

I have taken advantage of some fine days to try and 
make a little oil study of some plants out of doors, but of 
course I got into many troubles. Hang the oil-colours ! ! 
why do they look so bright and strong and jolly, and in 
two or three days go in and are all dim and dingy ? The 
picture seems to want varnish. Must it wait for a year, 
till it is quite hard, before it is varnished ? Now, I'll be 
civil if you'll help me I hope Mrs. Scott is well, and 
that you've given up smoking. 

Some allusions in these extracts require com- 
mentary. Above all others, there is the first 
mention of Miss Boyd, so dear to me from that 
time till the present moment of writing. On the 
1 8th March 1859, though I have omitted to record 
the incident, while I was painting Bernard Gilpin 
addressing the borderers in the church of Rothbury 
after having taken down the gage of battle from 



iv NEWS-LETTER FROM W. M. ROSSETTI 57 

the wall, I had a visit from a lady some few years 
over thirty, ill and weary from watching by the 
death -bed of her mother. I had not heard her 
name before. She wanted to find a new interest 
in life, and thought to find it in art. She was 
somehow or other possessed, to me, of the most 
interesting face and voice I had ever heard or 
seen. T devoted myself to answer this desire of 
hers, and from day to day the interest on either 
side increased. At this moment I am sitting, on 
a fearfully wet day, in her old family castle, Pen- 
kill, in Ayrshire, where all these notes have been 
written. This ancient house has been my summer 
home and that of my wife, for many years, and 
all the friends, with few exceptions, mentioned in 
these pages have come to see us here ; the winter 
half of the year Miss Boyd is our guest in London. 
As important in my life as Wallington, infinitely 
more so, indeed, the name will be or ought to be 
the principal one in my later pages. 

VIII. From my dear W. M. R., i4th May 1860. 
He had kindly sent me a summary of about twenty 
pages of the history of Sordello I ought to call 
it an explanatory essay on Browning's poem. Un- 
happily I thought this nearly as obscure as the 
poem itself. He says : 

As to Sordello, I must give you up, hoping that the 
pains of heresy don't await you round the corner some- 
where or other. The particulars of his life given not 
given, you would say by Browning are nearer the 
truth than most people suppose, or at least nearer some 



58 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

versions and hints of the truth, for his life is involved in 
great obscurity. I have read the notice of him in Nostra- 
damus's Lives of tJic Provencal Poets, and there is an 
extended account of him in Tiraboschi's Italian literature 
which I shall look carefully into one day. [All of which 
he might very reasonably have saved himself the trouble 
of doing.] The sale of Hunt's picture is now settled ; 
if the arrangement of which he told me yesterday week 
came to pass, as I cannot doubt it did, Gambart buys 
the picture with copyright for .5500, of which ^3000 
was to be paid last Wednesday, and the remainder in 
bills at eighteen months. This is a miraculous draught 
of fishes, though I have little doubt that Gambart, being 
a wide-awake man, will pay himself splendidly for the 
outlay by exhibition and engraving, and finally by the 
re-sale of the picture, which will have accumulated a huge 
reputation meanwhile. A little time ago the receipts 
at the door were ^30 a day, and a very easy sum in 
arithmetic will show what this would come to throughout 
the year. I concur as to the poorness of what has been 
written about the picture. The one in Fraser ought to 
be above the average : it is by a son of Sir F. Palgrave. 
I have not seen it yet. The author has already published 
various things, especially an anonymous book called the 
Passionate Pilgrim, which evokes the enthusiasm of Pat- 
more and some others. ... I have always been curious 
to see what you make of " Grace Darling," and trust it 
will be in my power, as a conscientious and eminent critic, 
to pat your breakers on the head. 

W. M. R. next asks me if I knew that Gabriel 
is about to marry or, perhaps, is now married to 
Miss Siddal, whom you have heard about and 
possibly seen ? The family had been a little taken 
by surprise at receiving from him at Hastings, 
about a month before, the definite announcement 
of the forthcoming event, then to be enacted as 



iv D. G. R:S MARRIAGE 59 

soon as possible. Still later he had determined 
that it might possibly be on last Saturday, his 
thirty-second birthday. She is in the opinion of 
every one a beautiful creature with fine powers 
and sweet character. If only her health should 
become firmer after marriage. William thinks it 

o ' 

will be a happy match. At all events he is glad 
that Gabriel is settled upon it. " He leaves Black- 
friars, but I think has not yet managed to suit 
himself elsewhere." This sudden news was the 
first I heard of Gabriel's marriage ; nor did either 
I or his own family hear directly from him for 
some little time after. Instead of leaving Black- 
friars he at last appeared there with his wife, 
where he fitted up another room or two and 
continued to live till her death. 

IX. Three months later (in the summer of 
1860) I was for the first time visiting Miss Boyd 
and her brother at Penkill Castle in Ayrshire. 
My wife was in London, and writes me about the 
people she meets. 

I am truly glad [she says] you are in such good 
company as Miss Boyd and her brother, and finding 
such delightful landscape subjects in the glen. . . . On 
Wednesday we drove to the top of Highgate Hill, where 
is S. Mary Magdalene Home. We spent a pleasant day 
with the sisters and penitents in the open air, the Bishop 
of London, etc. etc. . . . Christina is now an Associate, 
and wore the dress, which is very simple, elegant even ; 
black with hanging sleeves, a muslin cap with lace edging 
quite becoming to her with the veil. Yesterday, at All 
Saints, whence Christina and I went to see Woolner and 



60 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the marble group for Wallington, which is now going 
on. It is beautiful : and there, too, at last I have met 
Tennyson. In the evening we had a party of about 
twelve, among whom were Mr. E. Burne-Jones and his 
wife. She is pretty, a very little creature, indeed, and 
sang the ballad of " Green Sleeves " and others in loud 
wild tones quite novel and charming. E. B. J. I think 
extremely like a tall boy from school. William Morris 
and his wife also looked in, but only for a few minutes, 
having to go out of town by railway. You have not yet 
seen either of these ladies, and I now heard that Mrs. 
Gabriel Rossetti has not yet been seen in his mother's 
house, and has been invisible to every one. I can't 
think what countrywoman Mrs. Morris is like, not an 
Englishwoman certainly ; but she did not untie her 
bonnet, their hour by the train being at hand. Mrs. 
D. G. R. has been ill I suppose this preventing her 
coming out : she was really dangerously ill on their 
return from Paris, where she had been so well. Gabriel 
has been planning to take up his abode there. It seems 
Mrs. Madox Brown and her mother have been associated 
intimately somehow, so she is with her every day. All we 
little women looked quite diminutive beside Mrs. Morris. 

These few words serve to show how nearly in 
point of time these matrimonial affairs came to- 
gether ; unless, indeed, the two now first mentioned 
above had not been late events, although the ladies 
were new to my wife. The Morris party going out 
of town indicates that the house he built after his 
marriage, the Red House, was already inhabited 
by them ; and we must remember that the painting 
of the Union gallery at Oxford, if it had no artistic 
result, had an important one on the fate of William 
Morris. One evening, after the labours of the day, 
the volunteer artists of the Union regaled themselves 



iv THE RED HOUSE 61 

by going to the theatre, and there they beheld in the 
front box above them what all declared to be the 
ideal personification of poetical womanhood. In 
this case the hair was not auburn, but black as 
night ; unique in face and figure, she was a queen, a 
Proserpine, a Medusa, a Circe but also, strangely 
enough, a Beatrice, a Pandora, a Virgin Mary. 
They made interest with her family, and she sat to 
them. Morris was at that time sworn to be a 
painter ; she sat to him ; he forthwith ventured to 
propose marriage, and here they were, starting for 
his new house at Upton. In this house I first saw 
her. It was designed by Morris in what he called 
the style of the thirteenth century. The only thing 
you saw from a distance was an immense red-tiled, 
steep, and high roof ; and the only room I remember 
was the dining-room or hall, which seemed to occupy 
the whole area of the mansion. It had a fixed settle 
all round the walls, a curious music-gallery entered 
by a stair outside the room, breaking out high upon 
the gable, and no furniture but a long table of oak 
reaching nearly from end to end. This vast empty 
hall was painted coarsely in bands of wild foliage 
over both wall and ceiling, which was open-timber 
and lofty. The adornment had a novel, not to say 
startling, character, but if one had been told it was 
the South Sea Island style of thing one could have 
easily believed such to be the case, so bizarre was 
the execution. This eccentricity was very easily 
understood after a little consideration. Genius 
always rushes to extremes at first ; on leaving the 



62 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

beaten track of every day no medium is to be pre- 
served. The repudiation of whatever is modern in 
sentiment is immediate. There was the hatred of 
Louis XIV., and all possible relation to school 
advice and Birmingham taste. Morris did what- 
ever seemed good to him unhesitatingly, and it has 
been very good : not " Songs of the Art-Catholic," 
certainly, but " Songs of mediaeval life " ; The 
Earthly Paradise has been the ultimate result. 
In ornament he succeeds not quite so well, but he 
has made an important position ; by and by he will 
likely do better than anybody else. 

X. Here under date of 5th October is some- 
thing at last from D. G. R. ; as usual, I make use of 
the letter only to carry forward my story- 
Many thanks for your note with its inquiries regarding 
my wife, who I trust improves gradually. She is certainly 
stronger now than some months back, and the approach 
of winter does not seem to hurt her yet. We sent no 
cards, too much trouble you know, or certainly you 
would have got some. My wedding-trip was rather pro- 
longed, and no place out of my studio must know me 
this autumn, in spite of various invitations, tempting to 
wife and self. 

Soon after he writes again : 

Lizzie is gone for a few days to stay with the Morrises at 
their Red House at Upton, and I am to join her there 
to-morrow, but shall probably return before her, as I am 
full of things to do, and could not go there at all, but 
that I have a panel to paint there. I shall soon be taking 
up Leathart's picture, almost immediately, but have been 
much interrupted lately by getting settled. 



D. G. ROSSETTI 63 



This was the picture he now called " Found," 
and this reference to it did not, I fear, really indicate 
any intention of taking it up. My friend Leathart 
had bought it at my recommendation, and paid for 
it, as the figures were nearly done, but strange to 
say, the background and the perspective baffled him. 
He never carried out the proposal to bring it down 
and paint it with me beside him at Hexham, but had 
tried to carry it out by himself over and over, and 
from the first had got the simple matter of perspec- 
tive into a muddle. As years went on Leathart 
became impatient, the arrangement was annulled, 
with my intervention, to enable him to return the 
money : the picture never was finished. 

I wish you could see how comfortable we have made 
ourselves. And, by the bye, we have always a spare bed- 
room, which please do not forget when you and Mrs. Scott 
come to town. 

This friendly invitation was never available, 
indeed could only have been so for the next season : 
before a second summer D. G. R.'s married life was 
cut short by his wife's tragic death. 



CHAPTER V 

DEATH OF MRS. ROSSETTI ANECDOTES OF WALLINGTON 
MY SERIES OF PICTURES OF BORDER HISTORY 

BEING FINISHED, I LEAVE NEWCASTLE RETURN TO 

LONDON. 

THE auguries of happiness from his marriage, enter- 
tained by some of Rossetti's friends, were frightfully 
dispelled. For myself, knowing Gabriel better than 
his brother did, though from the outside, I knew 
marriage was not a tie he had become able to bear. 
His former bachelor habit of working till 9 P.M., then 
rushing out to dine at a restaurant, was continued ; 
Mrs. Siddal Rossetti, little accustomed to the cares 
and habits of domestic life, willingly conforming. 
She had become a genius in art, imitating her 
husband's inventions in water-colours in a way I 
clearly saw to be damaging to the peculiarities of his 
own works, though her uneducated performances 
were at once praised by him immoderately. After 
her death we heard nothing from Gabriel, or from 
any of the family, till he wanted me to be again his 
banker to enable him to leave Chatham Place, where 
he had not slept since the sad event. He then, 



CHAP, v D. G. ROSSETTI 65 

after a temporary abode in Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
took the Chelsea house, 16 Cheyne Walk, where he 
remained, and began a professional success which 
increased through all the rest of his career. 

To return for a moment to the great trial of his 
life. In ignorance of the main circumstances, and 
in obedience to a desire to comfort him, on receipt of 
his letter about leaving Blackfriars I ventured to 
tell him I never thought him fitted for a Benedict ; 
but even to this he replied nothing, though long 
after his mental prostration had subsided, and his 
MS. book of poems was buried with her, I had to 
listen, alas, too much to the painful narrative. On 
the eventful night they had dined as usual at a cafe- 
restaurant ; he had returned home with her, advised 
her to go to bed, and unheedingly taken himself out 
again. On his next and final home-coming he had 
to grope about for a light, and called to her without 
receiving a reply. What was said or done at the 
inquest I know not. 



Time is the great physician, but for the next 
seven years, till his first autumn visit to Penkill in 
1868, he wrote scarcely a line of poetry, except 
sonnets for pictures. Why he revenged himself thus 
on his distinguishing faculty I never could tell. 
When success in painting, properly speaking, first 
began on his acquiring a larger style on a large 
scale, he became for him proportionately gay and 
hospitable, carefully hiding the wound which, how- 

VOL. II F 



66 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

ever, continued to bite like the Spartan's fox. He 
had a marquee erected in the garden in which he 
entertained in the evenings, and at same time con- 
structed enclosures and cages for animals and birds. 
But, on the other hand, he began to call up the 
spirit of his wife by table-turning. Curious to be 
present at this serious divertisement, and not with- 
out hope of undeceiving him in this matter of spirit- 
ualism, I went one evening by appointment. I 
refused to make one at the table unless I saw the 
medium's feet all the time, as well as those of the 
table. This being indignantly objected to by him 
(not by her !) the stance was broken up. I never 
went back, objecting to see him believing so im- 
plicitly in a creature so abject. 

This attempt of mine to be present was four 
years after his wife's death; it was in 1866, but 
long before that year a common friend had written 
to me : " One thing I must remember to tell you. 
Our old friend Gabriel has gone into spiritualism, 
and fancies he can call up bogies, and make them 
knock on a table. I am exceedingly sorry. There 
is only one consolation, it does not follow as a 
necessity that a man's friends will be obliged to 
confine him for such irrational doings. Many have 
done this for years, pursuing their ordinary avoca- 
tions, insane only on one point." Other indications 
of unrest were soon apparent, resulting from a 
confusion between external realities and mental 
impressions, suggesting the question of what might 
further develop in future life. 



v WALLINGTON HALL 67 

To return to my own affairs. The suggestion 
that I should exhibit in London the eight large 
pictures, now drawing to a close, was carried out, 1 
but Gambart pushed it over the season for other 
more promising ventures ; the Exhibition did little 
good. 

The decoration of Wallington, however, left 
room for other artistic labours besides my own, 
which deserve to be recorded. In one of Lady T.'s 
letters, already quoted, she speaks of Holman 
Hunt's going there to paint a pilaster, and Ruskin's 
visit to do so has been mentioned. Hunt never 
managed to do this, but Arthur Hughes and others 
did, especially Mrs. Mark Pattison, at that time 
lately married to the Master of Lincoln, and one of 
the most perfectly lovely women in the world. She 
is now distinguishing herself in literature, but then 
she gave proof of great ability in painting. The 
group in marble for the centre of the Hall suggests 
a little history. " Sturdy old Woolner," as W. M. R. 
calls him in a friendly colloquialism, was invited 
there through me. When I proposed the visit to 
him I found him in a disposition to revenge himself 
on the world at large for his want of success. At 
first he swore loudly that he would not go near any 
people with handles to their names ; they were all 
" devastators of the day, maggots in the wounds of 
us poor devils who have to fight the battle of life ; 
Carlyle thought so, and also Tennyson!" His 
phraseology was sometimes very strong, but his 

1 [In 1 86 1, see vol. ii. p. 7. ED.] 



68 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

bark being worse than his bite, he did come, and 
was commissioned to prepare this sculpture. He 
was to summarise the result of all the surrounding 
history, a vague motive which at last suggested 
the beautiful work he produced, and which is now 
there. 

The commission was a pleasant surprise to me, 
and was the beginning of immense success to him, 
but, unfortunately, it was the mistaken cause of the 
loss of my friend, Alexander Munro. Munro had 
been with me to Wallington more than once ; the 
year before Woolner's visit he had there modelled 
both his host and hostess, afterwards executing one 
of them in marble ; and he jumped to the conclu- 
sion that but for me being interested in a brother 
poet, Woolner would never have stepped in. At the 
opening of the International Exhibition of 1862 
the feud between the two sculptors a feud of long 
growth previously was the cause of a public 
scandal, through the Official Catalogue of the sculp- 
ture there collected giving vent to a murderous 
criticism against Munro's works. The sanction of 
the Royal Commissioners to the publication was 
withdrawn, but the evil was done. Munro never 
recovered his position, and, as the fates would have 
it, he was shortly after attacked by a mortal illness 
that sent him to Cannes to seek recovery, where he 
remained the rest of his life. 

One more anecdote about ever-dear Wallington 
and its inmates. It was close upon Christmas of 
1862, when we that is, the Newcastle group, Miss 



v A. C. SWINBURNE 69 

Boyd, Letitia, and myself were preparing to 
change the scene by flitting to the wild sea-coast 
at Tynemouth for a holiday, when Woolner passed 
through on his way north to see Sir Walter. Two 
days later, early in the forenoon when we were 
great-coated and packed for the railway, Swinburne 
suddenly appeared, having posted to Morpeth from 
Wellington early that morning. Why so early ? he 
could not well explain ; just thought he had been 
long enough there ! he wanted letters at the post, 
but had not given his address ! I could inquire no 
further ; there appeared to be some mystery he did 
not wish to explain ; we went by a later train, and 
he would accompany us. So we had him to walk 
with us by the much -resounding sea, when he 
declaimed the Hymn to Proserpine and Laus 
Veneris, two of the most lovely, perfect, and 
passionate among the triumphs of his best period 
of poetic performance, never to be forgotten when 
recited in his strange intonation, which truly repre- 
sented the white heat of the enthusiasm that had 
produced them. The sea, too, was in sympathy, 
the breaking waves running the whole length of the 
long level sands towards Cullercoats, and sounding 
like far-off acclamations. 



My series of pictures being finished, and a com- 
plete change effected in the organisation of Govern- 
ment Schools of Art, so that we early masters 
appointed by the Board of Trade had the option of 



70 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

retiring with a small pension ; proximity to Edin- 
burgh being besides unnecessary now my family 
was extinct; I returned to London in 1864. 

When we prepared to leave Newcastle, we met 
with various demonstrations of kindness, in the way 
of public meetings, and- 1 took with me a commission 
for a picture of the building of the " New Castle " 
by the son of William the Conqueror. Also for 
eighteen pictures for the upper spandrels of Wal- 
lington Hall, representing the history of Chevy 
Chase, from Earl Percy's going out to the bringing 
home of the dead. 

If a man, artist, litterateur, or other, with a 
specific professional object, lives in the country, he 
may live a higher life than in town, but out of daily 
collision with other men, his fellows in literature or 
what not, he ceases to strive as they do for the 
objects they value. He sees better because he takes 
a bird's-eye view of the battle, and finds that many 
things struggled for are not worth having. The 
game is not worth the candle. Yet is it necessary 
for him to live in society for even the poet. The 
acres of flatness in Wordsworth belong to the 
country life he led ; his innovations and inspired 
work to his association with Coleridge and others. 

We settled down in Elgin Road, Notting Hill. 
. . . Being now again in London with an oppor- 
tunity of entertaining my friends, I tried to bring 
some of them about me again, and I may here give 
some relics of the process. Meadows, I was one 
day told, was still to be seen about his favourite 



v KENNY MEADOWS C. H. LEWES 71 

Strand and Haymarket, so I sent him an invitation 
to meet some of the men of a newer generation. 
But he was in Jersey. Letter- writing was not in 
his line ; but here is his reply, perhaps the only 
fragment of epistolary rhetoric the old boy ever 
indulged in. 

i TIVOLI VILLAS, ST. AUBEN'S ROAD, 
JERSEY, September 1867. 

MY DEAR SCOTT Your kind recollection was like a 
glass of our toddy of old times in a cold night, or a 
sunbeam on a bleak world a climax with the apex 
downwards but you will observe by it that your invita- 
tion has driven me into fine writing. I should have 
seized with avidity the opportunity of meeting some of 
my old friends once more before I am made a cherub of, 
but you see it was not to be done. The wind is S.S.E. 
by north, and an antagonistic trifle of something like two 
hundred miles lies between us. Nevertheless the invita- 
tion was as agreeable as if it had been a chicken and a 
bottle of champagne. Being at this distance I know not 
if ever I shall see you again ; the event must occur before 
we can be certain of it I am living with Lucy and her 
husband, who think me an old fool not fit to be trusted 
alone, and perhaps they are right. But whether or no, I 
shall always remember W. B. Scott, and with him every- 
thing he can wish for himself. KENNY MEADOWS. 

G. H. Lewes I was sure of finding. He and 
George Eliot were shortly leaving town, but he 
invited me to dine with them and get acquainted 
with his new wife, whom I found the most bland 
and amiable of plain women, and most excellent in 
conversation, not finding it necessary to be always 
saying fine things. He, the plainest of men, was 
much improved with years, and yet as enthusiastic 



72 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, v 

as ever. " I am often in that study of yours in 
Edward Street," he wrote, "where we passed the 
night ' talking of lovely things that conquer death.' 
We both hope to see you again." When they 
returned to town, I sent them both an invitation to 
dinner, which brought this reply : 

THE PRIORY, 
NORTH BANK, REGENT'S PARK. 

MY DEAR SCOTT Ever since we came to live in 
London, Mrs. Lewes has been forced to adopt the rigorous 
rule of not going out, nor returning calls, except to friends 
living out of town. On no other condition would life 
have been practicable (that is peaceful and workful) for us. 
This has also made me adopt the same rule, though less 
absolutely, and as I do sometimes make exceptions, I 
cannot refuse an old friend like you, so I shall gladly 
come to you on the 25th. Yours, G. H. L. 



CHAPTER VI 

PENKILL CASTLE AND MISS BOYD DEATH OF SPENCER 

BOYD MY PAINTING OF THE STAIRCASE MACLISE 

WHEN we returned to London towards the end of 
1864, Alice Boyd, whom I shall probably in future 
designate by her monogram &., also desiring to 
leave Newcastle, it was arranged that she should 
make her winter home with us. She was detained 
in the North by her brother's illness during our first 
winter in town, but every winter since she has been 
with us, and every year we have spent the late 
summer and autumn months at Penkill. 

Penkill Castle, the ancient Ayrshire homestead 
of the younger branch of the Boyds, a family 
sufficiently historical in Scottish annals, had been 
suffered to fall into decay, the acres having been sadly 
diminished, and Spencer, the heir, living in England. 
When he came of age, he devoted himself to its 
restoration, re-roofing the early part and building a 
great new staircase instead of the narrow newel of 
former years. 

This old building was so interesting to me with 
its recessed windows with stone seats and grooves 




74 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

half-way down the window-jambs, showing which 
portion had been glazed and which closed by shut- 
ters, that I puzzled out its history very completely. 
A large dormer window on the earliest part, orna- 
mented with the nail-head, and a roll moulding 

which terminated in a 
knot, George Edmund 
Street, certainly one of 
our best authorities for 
the history of our early 
architecture, thought could 
not be later than 1450 ; 
but in outlying places I see 

reason to think an ornament was retained later than 
it continued to be produced in more central places. 
Whatever date might be assigned to the first building, 
it was simply a square tower, a peel as it has been 
elsewhere called, consisting of four stories, the upper- 
most having two corner turrets, pierced with loop- 
holes for defence. The lowest of these apartments, 
that level with the ground, was the stable, vaulted by 
means of thin stones embedded edgewise. Above 
this vault was the living-room, not large enough to 
be called a hall, paved with very thick red and 
yellow tiles. This room had probably been access- 
ible only by a wooden stair outside, an arch in the 
rubble wall indicating where the door had been. 
Above this was the apartment called in ballads the 
" Ladies' Bower," divided no doubt by partitions, as 
here was a garderobe in the solid of the wall. A 
narrow stair in the end wall also reached this room 



vi PENKILL CASTLE 75 

from the one below, and another similar ascended to 
an upper apartment, which may have had an outlet 
to a narrow promenade surrounding the roof. In 
1628, on the marriage of the then laird, the narrow 
accommodation of this defensible house, typical of 
the later middle ages, was found insufficient, an 
outside stone staircase being built, and three large 
rooms added, still, however, with thick walls and 
small windows. Over the entrance to this narrow 
newel staircase was inserted a tablet bearing the 
heraldry of the two families, with their initials and 
the date 1628. Two rudely-carved oak chairs, with 
exactly the same heraldry, date, and initials, are still 
among the furnishings of the house, a large one with 
arms for the laird, and a little low one, a nursing- 
chair, for the lady. From the old times a high stone 
wall had enclosed the house, with a dove-cote at one 
corner and a gate defended by a movable grill or 
portcullis, which had latterly lain at the neighbour- 
ing smithy for a century till its final decay. 

The last addition, that made by Spencer Boyd, 
had been done by renovating the whole building, and 
making ante-rooms and landings between the great 
new staircase and the rooms of both former build- 
ings on each floor. These changes indicating the 
development of civilisation have a historical value : 
they bear an unmistakable evidence of our social 
national advancement, as the geological periods do 
of the development of the world at large. 

The glen below the house was most interesting 
to me, and revived my ancient landscape proclivities. 



76 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Every summer for nearly ten years I painted there. 
The " friendship at first sight" was confirmed. Time 
could not strengthen it, but the impression or instinct 
of sympathy was changed by experience into satisfied 
conviction and confident repose. I speak of my own 
feeling of course. All my life I had tried for confiding 
affection both from men and women when I had a 
chance ; had made many attempts to realise it with- 
out success. Not that I gave up the faith that two 
men who are not brothers by birth can be more than 
brothers by harmony of life. But while the fates 
had been against me with men, here at last was a 
perfect intercourse, made possible by the difference 
of the sexes. As we sat painting together by the 
rushing Penwhapple stream, in the deep glen, which 
D. G. R. afterwards commemorated, listening to the 
"Streams Secret " before he put it into verse and I 
too, by my three series of sonnets called The Old 
Scottish J-fome, Oiitside the 7^emple, and those entitled 
Lost Love, when there was a chance of ^B.'s health 
giving way ; or in town during the long winter 
evenings reading a hundred books or enjoying 
whatever a London season cast in our path, there 
had never occurred a misunderstood word or wish 
which might divide us. My wife had faith in us 
too, and SB.'s brother as well. 

But he was soon to part from her and his beloved 
old place. Their father having died when they were 
infants, and their mother having married again, they 
had been inseparable till the time when /B. came 
to join us in London. This was in the spring of 



SPENCER BO YD 77 



1865. Her brother was to spend the following 
Christmas with us ; we amused ourselves by deco- 
rating the dining-room with a large banderole 
inscribed Welcome, to receive him, and promised 
ourselves a pleasant time. 

For a few days we made holiday. Spencer Boyd 
appeared quite well. His knowledge of architecture 
and love of it induced us to spend a day inspecting 
the clearing-out and refitting of St. Bartholomew's 
Church in Smithfield, where we chanced to witness 
an incident so curious as to be worth record, although 
it breaks in upon my narrative and delays the sad 
denouement. The workmen were lowering the 
floor, which had become so silted up that the bases 
of the piers were covered. To do this they were 
removing the pavement, which was mainly of tomb- 
stones, and as we entered they were prising up a very 
heavy one, with an inscription still partially legible, 
having been protected by the floored seats placed 
over the entire nave at a later time. This was the 
tombstone of the hairdresser to His Majesty Charles 
II., one of the makers of the mighty wigs we see 
him painted in, but I forgot to transcribe his name ; 
and packed in below was a large quantity several 
wheelbarrows full of white terra-cotta pins about 
half an inch thick by three and a half long, each end 
slightly enlarged. Neither the workmen nor their 
superintendent could guess what these were for, but 
we carried away some of them, and I found they 
were curling-pins for these great wigs of the period. 
The curling-pins were heated, and every long curl 



78 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

of the wig was wrapped round one of them. This is 
the latest instance known, I daresay, of the belong- 
ings of the deceased being buried with the owner. 

The evening of that day Spencer died. We 
were sitting at tea ; my dog and his were heard 
barking ; he set down his cup, saying he would let 
them out ; we heard him do so, but he did not 
return. By and by Alice, always careful about him, 
went out to ascertain what caused his delay, and in 
a little while I followed to hear her calling out his 
name at his bedroom door, which she had found 
locked on the inside. She had a presentiment that 
caused her to be dreadfully excited, so that I threw 
myself with all the force I possessed against the 
door, bursting it open, and we found him already 
dead. He had attempted to get into bed, but had 
been unable to do so. The first doctor who arrived 
undid his clothes, and I saw again the dark blue 
suffusion round the region of the heart I had seen 
on my brother Robert. He had died from the same 
disease of the heart. 

I forbear to describe the grief on that endless 
night of the dearest of friends. We buried him in 
the wildest storm of snow I ever remember, in the 
family enclosure in the ancient ruin of Old Dailly 
Church. He was the last of the direct line of the 
Boyds of Penkill and Trochrague, who figure in 
Scottish biographical dictionaries under various 
headings : Mark Alexander, a soldier of fortune and 
writer of Latin and Greek poems, some printed at 
Antwerp 1592, others remaining in manuscript in the 



vi PROPHECY ABOUT THE PENKILL BO YDS 79 

Advocates' Library in Edinburgh ; Robert, Principal 
of Glasgow University, and his father ; and that very 
interesting and eccentric person Zachary, who wrote 
no end of curious poetry, very like Quarles in some 
points, but unique in the familiarity with which he 
treats his sacred heroes. 

The summer after this sudden change to /B., 
as we were driving in the neighbourhood of the little 
seaside town, Girvan, passing a place where had 
traditionally existed a tower, possibly the oldest 
house of the Boyds in these parts, we found a villa 
in course of building on the very spot. Robert 
M'Lean, the old coachman of the family, drew up 
and looking about him, pointed to the shattered 
stump of an ash-tree, and drew his mistress's atten- 
tion to it. "That's it," was his emphatic announce- 
ment. I found on inquiry that this remainder of a 
tree was an after-growth from the stool of the last of 
a pair of great ashes once associated with the tower, 
long dear to the inhabitants of the little town, and 
that there was a rhyme current among them to this 
effect 

When the last leaf draps frae the auld aish tree, 
The Penkill Boyds maun cease to be. 

To defeat this prophecy, apparently approaching 
realisation, a piece of the old wood, bearing a young 
shoot still green and fresh, was cut off and carefully 
planted. " The popular prophecy is of course correct 
about us," said /B., "but let us try if we can break 
the connection with the ash-trees " ; so it was nursed 
carefully, perhaps too carefully, as an ash-tree is not 



8o WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

quite at home in a heated greenhouse ; next summer 
it was still alive but its leaves were few, the second 
season it was gone. 

Towards the end of the year, back in town again, 
I was preparing my winter's work in my studio, 
when the long banderole with the word " Welcome," 
turned up, a melancholy memento of Spencer Boyd's 
visit, and just then W. M. R. appeared, stepping 
out of a cab at the door. It was a holiday at the 
Inland Revenue office, he explained, and he had 
come to get me as a companion to visit Mrs. Marshall, 
the quondam washerwoman, now expert in calling 
up the bogies and making tables rap. I had tried 
various experiments in this matter of communicating 
with the dead, but without the smallest shade of suc- 
cess, but I would try again, and off we went, although 
I did not expect much, he having been present at 
his brother's on the evening I have mentioned. 

The supposition of such communication is so 
irrational, environed on all sides with irrationalities, 
that I confess I only did try the experiment as an 
amusement, but William Rossetti had written down 
question and answer with all the circumstances of 
the interviews he had had with experts for years, 
and I was inclined to regard his judgment with 
respect on literary matters at least. Besides, the 
irrationalities in this species of spiritualism resemble 
those of some forms of religion that are sufficiently 
respectable. Invocation of saints is exactly the 
same ; saints are the bogies of good people long 
deceased, and they must be ubiquitous to answer 



SPIRIT - RAPPING 8 1 



every one's prayers, the same as those the spiritualists 
try to bring about us. Well, as we drove along in 
a rattling cab, thinking of the banderole I said to 
William I would ask for Spencer Boyd. There 
were two devotees besides ourselves with Mrs. 
Marshall and her son and daughter-in-law. The two 
men might have been confederates, but even then I 
think it was impossible that my writing could have 
been overseen. The room was upstairs, the largest 
room in the house of the moderately respectable 
domicile ; and the two women, old and young, were 
as uncultivated and mentally unfurnished as the evil 
genius of D. G. R. already mentioned. We sat 
down at the table with the frowsy old mother, 
her smart daughter-in-law, and the two strangers. 
I wrote the name of my deceased friend on the 
interior of a half- unfolded letter, and then, as 
desired, I went along an alphabet, touching each 
letter, and the knocks came correctly, spelling Boyd. 
I began again and the knocks came correctly spelling 
Spencer, a rare name. I then asked if the spirit 
would tell me how long ago he died. " Ask it by 
months," said the girl, "saying one, two, and so on." 
The result was the knocks came at eight instead of 
ten months, not a great fallacy for a spirit who is 
reasonably supposed to keep no diary or pocket 
calendar. Where did he die ? was my next ques- 
tion. "At Eldon" and with a little hesitation, 
"Road" Elgin Road was my address, still this was 
nearly right, especially as there was a Lord Eldon 
as well as a Lord Elgin. But this very mistake, 

VOL. II G 



82 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

appearing to have a reason in it, as well as the young 
woman proposing I should ask by months for the 
period in my former question, indicated to a suspicious 
observer some previous knowledge. No other ques- 
tion was answered approximately right. 

I went again to Mrs. Marshall with Mrs. Lynn 
Linton without good result ; but this first interview, 
instead of giving me any addition to my faith in 
the table-rapping of spirits, had the opposite effect. 
I saw in the approximation to truth the clever 
guessing of the practised thought -reader by the 
expression of the countenance. Every card-sharper 
has this faculty, showing him how far he may go ; 
and every successful schemer and man of law or 
business, with or without his consciousness of any 
impropriety, works by the same means. It was 
at best guessing nearly right while the first clue 
guided, and then farther and farther wrong. Read- 
ing the expression is the art, and I believe women 
who are not usually troubled by logic and habits 
of ratiocination are quicker than men in it. Miss 
Boyd and I have a game at bezique every evening, 
and I have found her a hundred times tell me what 
card I had drawn, simply by looking at me. "You 
have got a good card this time, I see ! I believe it 
is the king yes, the king, not the ace ! " and so 
it has been. 

The death of Spencer left his sister well dis- 
posed to carry out his pious work of re-edifying 
the old house, and she did so by proposing that I 
should paint with some pictorial history the great 









''/?//: 



vi WALL-PAINTING OF PENKILL STAIRCASE 83 

circular staircase which her brother had built. I 
selected as my subject a series of scenes from 
the lovely story of The Kings Quair, the poem 
written by King James the First of Scotland at 
the end of his imprisonment at Windsor. This 
work, executed on the wall with oil pigments, the 
medium being wax dissolved in turpentine, en- 
caustic in short, occupied me three or four months 
in each year, beginning in 1865 and ending 1868. 
The wall was three feet thick, and therefore taking 
very long to be free either of damp or of the 
corrosive quality of the lime. I had begun upon 
it rather too soon, occasioning some repainting, 
but I found this species of encaustic was almost 
perfect ; most probably the pictures will now re- 
main without further change. 

Before determining on this method of wall- 
painting, the water-glass being then in successful 
use by Kaulbach in Germany, and as it appeared 
admirable in the hands of Maclise, in his great 
picture, finished two years before, " The Meeting 
of Wellington and Blucher," perhaps the noblest 
of all war -pictures ever done, though scarcely at 
all known to Englishmen, I consulted him. He 
was unknown to me. I availed myself of the 
introduction of Mr. F. G. Stephens, one of the 
original P.R. B. set of men, who had gradu- 
ally dropped into his true field, that of daily and 
weekly critic of the art season. Slowness of 
imagination and want of artistic excitability pre- 
vent the mass of people and generality of critics 



84 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

from even accepting so mighty and dramatic a 
work as this in the Houses of Parliament, the 
meeting on the field of Waterloo of the two 
triumphant generals, simply because the painter 
has brought the elements of the historic scene 
into tragic proximity closer together, in short, 
than they were on the wide area of the field of 
battle. Stephens was too cultivated to make any 
such prosaic detraction from the value of the picture 
in his writing about it in the Atken&um, and 
Maclise received his introductory note in a kindly 
spirit. I found him to be a large, phlegmatic, sad- 
voiced man, to whom success in life seemed to 
have brought no pleasure, nor had the possession 
of artistic genius adorned him with any social 
nimbus. He was then drawing to a close with 
"The Death of Nelson," on the opposite wall, 
and in it he had taken care to avoid the fault 
mentioned, fault in the eyes of the uninitiated, 
but no fault at all in an epic invention. He 
told me he had taken correct measurements of 
the deck of the Victory or of some other ship 
of equal dimensions, from gun to gun, had so 
planned every point included in the picture from 
careful observation and sketches, and had seen 
the corps of men (seven in number if I remember 
rightly) serve each gun as in action. No other 
mode of operation could have given so vivid an 
idea of the frightful daring of the old sea battles, 
when the great wooden hulls with a thousand 
men serving a hundred guns ran close together. 



vi MAC USE 85 

yard-arm to yard-arm, and blew each other to 
pieces. 

When I explained my object in seeing him, 
he gave me a slow sad look, and said his first 
advice was not to undertake such work at all. 
"But," he added after a moment, "if you do and 
adopt water-glass as your plan, you can have all 
my traps, which I am glad to be done with. I will 
make you a present of the whole remainder of 
materials. I hope to return to my studio and to 
the easel pictures which I wish I had never left ! " 
Saying this he pointed to his whole array of pots 
of colour, palettes, and vessels, including the tin 
kettle sort of machine for steaming the work when 
done. His offer took me by surprise, especially 
as there was no opinion expressed as to the merits 
of this and other methods, or their comparative 
difficulties. I could not, of course, take advantage, 
or indeed reckon on such an offer, even if I had 
determined on the water-glass medium. This I 
expressed, adding my wonder at his state of 
regret, instead of triumph on the completion of 
such great works. "Well, yes, I daresay you 
are right. I know what they are, of course, 
but the people I have to please are such indif- 
ferent brutes and such ninnies. Nobody cares 
for the pictures after they are done, or wants them 
as far as I can see. Literally so, no one comes 
to see this now it is about done. I have asked 
the Ministers and others, and I see them passing 
in droves to inspect Herbert's ' Moses ' there," 



86 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

pointing over his shoulder to the room where Her- 
bert's picture was. " That convert to Romanism, the 
barrister, brings them in droves and Herbert is 
working the oracle, which I can't do, and shouldn't 
put myself into the necessity of doing, do you 
see. They look on him as a Michael Angelo 
they even knock at the door of this my wooden 
chamber and inquire where the great picture is to 
be seen ! " The outspoken candour of our one 
supreme English history-painter was almost painful ; 
I could only assent to his disgust at oracle-working. 
"Well," he went on, "you think I need not care? 
Perhaps not, but as I am not going to do any more 
of this, but am about to return to what I like best 
in my studio at home, I have no more use for all 
these things." 

This interview, showing me as in a glass, but 
not darkly, the true feelings of a true man, was 
not of much use to me in the matter in hand, but 
of infinite interest. A similar feeling, modified by 
the individual character of the speaker, I have 
encountered repeatedly in the best painters I have 
known. My brother for one completed his best 
works in a state of despair. When I went into 
D. G. R.'s studio to see his large " Dante's Dream," 
I found him in a similar state, hidden under a kind 
of ferocity ; and I remember Holman Hunt, the 
success of whose "Christ in the Temple" was too 
great to allow of discontent, saying with a haggard 
expression of face, "It is well for once, but I'll be 
now found out. I can never do anything more ! " 



vi DESPONDENCY IN MEN OF GENIUS 87 

The cause of this, which has descended to us from 
the time of Michael Angelo himself, but is more 
peculiarly an insular disease nowadays, results 
mainly from the unpopularity of exceptional genius. 
The man as well as his work is shied by his pro- 
fessional associates as well as the public : he is 
not "one of us." There are exceptions where 
popular qualities are mixed with the unique merits 
that render a work peculiar and original, so en- 
suring the praise of the public and of the critics 
who cannot see, or will not risk recognition of the 
greater qualities. Popular qualities make work 
easy, and mitigate the mental strain. Among 
poets I have never seen any similar frame of 
mind follow publication, even when no recogni- 
tion at all has followed. In this respect the fate 
of the painter is harder. 



CHAPTER VII 

LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT, JERUSALEM, 1870-71 

BEFORE returning to my own home circle I may give 
here some letters from Holman Hunt, then living in 
Jerusalem, struggling indefatigably, as he always did, 
with a new subject, this one being the " Shadow of 
Death." The tone of Hunt's mind and letters is 
in curious contrast to our idle experiments about 
spirit-rapping and such like stuff, but perhaps not 
so amusing. He has allowed me to give these letters 
verbatim. 

JERUSALEM, ^t/l April 1870. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I have a long time to stay here 
still, and I don't feel disposed to wait patiently until 
my return to England for the next communication with 
you. I send this scrap, then, as a threatener of future 
letters, and as a petitioner for some news and thoughts 
of yours. 

You should see how grand I am in my desolate house 
here ; it is about large enough for a family of ten or twelve, 
and I walk in dismal dignity about the unfriended rooms. 
Two servants attend upon me, and sometimes a country 
man or woman is staying here as a possible model. I 
assure you at first starting, even with my old experience, 
it required no ordinary perseverance and energy to get to 



CHAP, vii LETTERS FROM HOLM AN HUNT 89 

work. The house was the first difficulty, and then the 
model-finding. The difficulties were all the greater to 
me because I had altogether forgotten my Arabic at first. 
Little by little now I am getting about as forward as 
I was when I left nearly fifteen years ago, and as I pay 
well, the procuring people to sit does not promise to 
be such a bother as formerly. One great trouble, indeed, 
is to know what to think of my own work. If I could 
show it to some one like yourself I might save much 
painful uncertainty. 

You are one of the few men I know who would truly 
appreciate this country. When I say this, I remember 
very well some of your views about religious matters 
associated with Palestine, but you would be delighted with 
the number of realisations of ancient days and ways one 
feels as one goes about. We pass not merely from village 
to town, and from town to desert, or to an Arab encamp- 
ment, lying down for the night's rest under the unscreened 
stars ; but we pass from century to century, from Abraham 
to Cambyses, from Herodotus to Jesus Christ, then to 
Mohammed and so to the Crusaders. There are, too, such 
undreamed-of scenes as though they did not belong to 
this world, but rather to the moon. You know how 
above all my life-affections is my love of Christ, yet of 
late I had felt it to be time that I should take stock of 
thoughts which should never crystallise. Since leaving 
England I have been reading Ecce Homo, Kenan's Life 
of Christ, etc., * * * * 

also I have further 

re-read very attentively the whole Testament, marking 
down all its questionable points and comparing passages 
with determination towards unbiassed judgment, and the 
result is that I believe more defiantly than ever. You 
will think I am not consistent when I say further 
that I think the evangelists made many mistakes, that 
they did not themselves understand what had been said 
to them. But nevertheless, as the books stand, being 
written in absolute good faith, correctly reporting what 



90 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

passed, this seems to furnish convincing arguments for 
the truth of their subject. As to Renan, with all the 
valuable and splendid observations in his book, I saw 
symptoms of bad faith in his search for truth, and I 
find his acumen very shallow, and his sentiment most 
tawdry, and this assisted in making me feel that Chris- 
tianity, even in its highest pretensions, must be true. 
You will know I am not saying this in ignorance of 
critical and scientific theories. I wish I had you here to 
explain more thoroughly my way of accepting evidences. 
I should not hope to convert you, but think I should be 
able to show you ways of interpreting not at all generally 
propounded, and make you more prepared to see Chris- 
tianity sending out fresh branches than you are now. 

I ought to explain what I mean by " highest preten- 
sions." I do not use the phrase in relation to the 
authority of the Church, I mean the direct supernatural 
origin and nature of Christ, that He really came down 
from heaven, from the dwelling-place of divinity, that He 
performed miracles, that He rose from the dead, and 
returned again into heaven, there ! I have almost written 
out the creed. My belief is that as man was a new 
development in animal life so was Christ to us. You 
may contend that this was by gradual evolution. My 
reply would be that nothing comes of nothing, and that 
a new perfection must be made by the Master Artist. 

I am glad that you have been publishing the Life of 
Diirer, not that I know the book yet, but I rejoice, now 
that so many who know nothing about Art issue volumes 
in tens and hundreds about it, that an artist should once 
on a time say something derived from practical observation 
and experience. Professed critics and I say it with all 
deference to our old friends who follow that line of busi- 
ness are becoming a great impediment to true healthy 
art. They fabricate theories by brain machinery, every 
one has his law. To hear A. when at Rome pro- 
pounding his dogmas was too edifying ! I did not argue 
with him, because for the short time we were together we 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLM AN HUNT 91 

had much more entertaining talk. It is the same with 
B., somewhat the same with C, and also with D., who 
is of course a critic too. They talk as though they 
regarded artists as waiting for their orders. We, too, 
at times have our crotchets at nights, but the easel work 
of the following day modifies them : we determine, to 
wit, that on no occasion should the teeth be shown 
in a face, etc. etc., but some exceptional case is soon found 
when the ingenious idea will not do, another and another 
case for which it is not suitable arise, and then we give it 
up, perhaps even forget it, while as theorists we should 
have sworn by it to the end of our days. Art is now, it 
seems to me, becoming less hopeful in England, because 
two or three sets of influential artists are adopting " laws." 
To me their art is losing the vitality which gives worth 
of a lasting kind. Sculptors are most driven to become 
traditional, because there are so few subjects which they 
can take from passing life either for form or idea. Albert 
Diirer, to return to our particular subject, seems to me a 
greater man as a designer for engraving than in painting. 
All that I saw of him in Italy disappointed me. I had 
imagined much more perfect drawing and painting too 
than I found. 

I am now reading an Italian translation of Marc' 
Aurelio Antonino. He strikes me as having been a sort of 

classical . His head never appeared to me that 

of a strong man, but until now I had never read enough 
of him to trust that impression., When I was a boy, a 
friend of mine who worshipped him used to talk much of 
him, and quote much ; at that time his philosophy seemed 
to me more wonderful and comprehensive than it does 
now. 

Have you lately given any attention to spiritualism ? 
A painter who came here for a short time, who did not 
appear a fool though he was not a very wonderful artist, 
openly professed himself a thorough believer in it, and 
the evidence he advanced would have been convincing 
had he not been deceived. This I felt he must have been, 



92 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

when it came to light that a man he had trusted here, and 
who had acted as his interpreter, had robbed him in the 
most ridiculous manner from his very pocket, time after 
time. His great agent was Mrs. Marshall, and he declared 
that all the artists, naming several academicians, were 
taking it up. Here there seems to be something of the 
kind among the Moslems, but it is only practised in great 
secret. The reports of the proceedings are wonderfully 
like those of the spiritualists at home, although having no 
tables they are less ridiculous, and the manifestations are 
more material ; they begin, however, by imploring the aid 
of Shaitan, or I would try to get them to operate here. I 
have no reason to believe in it, but I should have liked to 
examine it impartially. Mrs. Guppy came to Florence 
while I was there and startled some people, but on inquiry 
I found that the more sensible members of her seances 
had been convinced that she had recourse to imposture. 
Old Kirkup was still a believer ; I should think by this 
time he must be a spirit himself. , 

How can you get on in London without Arabic ? 
Tyib, mafish, inshallah, wakri, etc. etc., are surely words 
that no fellow can do without ! Confess now, don't you 
often find yourself in difficulty for want of them ? I select 
those because they have no gutturals. Have you heard 
of the drought we have had here ? at last some supplies 
have reached us, not much, but enough to make painting 
in water-colour a possibility. Yours ever, 

W. HOLMAN HUNT. 



This " scrap," as he calls the document, interested 
me much. The persistent dependence on the prin- 
ciples that recommend themselves to the common 
sense of the generality is notable, and the criterion 
by which he sets aside the trustworthiness of 
the advocate of Mrs. Marshall's miraculous powers 
is very characteristic. One of the most valuable 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLM AN HUNT 93 

features of Holman's intellect is his acute practicality 
in the ordinary affairs of life. Thus the man who 
let himself be robbed systematically was not to him 
a credible witness : and he was perfectly correct. I 
wrote to him both about his views of the historical 
part of the New Testament and about other things. 
Happily it is not possible to enter my letter here, 
but this is his reply, dated Jerusalem, loth August 
1870: 

MY DEAR SCOTT I will take up the questions in 
your letter of the 26th May in the order in which they are 
presented. You are surprised, first, by my declaration 
that recent examination here in Syria of the history 
recorded in the Gospels has removed difficulties I was 
ready to admit If I said that increased confidence had 
resulted from the opportunity of seeing the actual spots 
where the writers place the events, I was saying more 
than I intended. My objections were silenced rather by 
closer and more free-thinking examination of the records. 
Artistically I admire the country very much as suitable 
for such history, although I see it would not satisfy your 
requirements any more than it does those of the clergymen 
who come here, who confess, perhaps reluctantly, their 
disappointment with nearly one voice. This feeling of 
theirs forces me to recognise that they cannot bear the 
actual realisation of the subject. Their ideas are still 
mythical and vague, and thus it is difficult to regard them 
as happy and confident in their belief, since they cannot, 
like you, regard the history simply as a poetic dressing of 
half-forgotten facts. You start with the proposition that 
the history is supernatural, this in its most scientific 
sense ; my mind commences with the inquiry as to what 
is within and what without the pale of natural law. 

You don't answer a question I put in my letter, 
whether you have had any recent experience in spiritualism? 
I have never had any, but I may take you as a witness to 



94 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the fact that certain mysterious powers acting on others 
do exist in individuals, which science wholly rejected when 
they were first brought before the public. It will serve 
here to revert to the story of your visit to Mrs. Marshall, 
when she told you that within a twelvemonth a friend had 
died suddenly in your house, speaking with sufficient exact- 
ness to make you think she had had information of the 
death of Mr. Boyd. It may be said this information had 
been obtained by material agency, although the difficulties 
in the way of this solution were considered by you too great. 
Mesmerism in other forms remains beyond question, forms 
which were regarded as impossible when first announced ; 
what is or is not supernatural is not, you see, infallibly 
determined. My notions of this world and our life in it 
come from what I feel and see myself and hear from 
others. If no scientific explanation of what has occurred 
to myself can be given, I will not accept it for other and 
greater questions in history. Your difficulty in believing 
in the Godhead of Christ comes, as it seems to me, from 
your terribly distant idea of God. [He refers here to 
my holding by the " Shorter CatccJdsni of the Divines at 
Westminster" definition of God: "God is a Spirit, in- 
finite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his power, wisdom, 
holiness, justice, goodness, and truth"] I come with no 
preconceived ideas of any kind to the subject ; I am 
ready to accept the most practical of the many pre- 
sented to me, that which tallies best with the view of 
His purpose of increase in the goodness, justice, and 
love, which the world, as made by Him, exhibits. I 
have no fear of offending by not doing justice to His 
dignity, because I find that men who think of their 
dignity are poor creatures. And the discovery that man 
has invented an infinity of fables to incorporate his 
notions of deity, need only be kept in mind as a reason 
for scrutiny. ... I see no difficulty in admitting the 
possibility of " supernatural " acts in connection with 
paganism. I believe entirely in the Daemon of Socrates, 
and I credit, without hesitation, the possibility of a " re- 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT 95 

velation," in a dimmer way, to the Greeks, Egyptians, and 
Persians ; but it was a lower grade than that of the Jews 
and Christians. 

Perhaps, however, the strongest conviction I have on 
these subjects comes from the consideration of the effect 
of the two views (religion or no religion) on life. What 
is the reason of the dead-alive poetry and art of the day, 
if not in the totally material nature of the views cultivated 
in modern schools ? Trying to limit speculation within 
the bounds of sense only must produce poor sculpture, 
feeble painting, dilettante poetry. What else could be 
produced when the mind revels only in the body's hopes ? 
To measure and imitate the works of soul-inspired workers 
of previous ages is not producing the bread of life. It is 
foolish as it were to give a babe a lay figure for a wet 
nurse. I again wish you were here, not because I think 
the country would satisfy your poetic dreams, but because 
you would for the time be able to consider the question 
free from the influence of European artificial life. 

With all the weakness of the men who conduct the 
business of religion, the noblest efforts of society are made 
by them. Who try to civilise the savage, to reclaim the 
convict ? Who pick up the ragged boys from the gutter ? 
who snatch the children from premature labour in pit or 
factory ? who try to work out a plan of life without war ? 
who try to raise women from infamy ? " By their fruits 
ye shall know them " is an axiom simple and divine in 
wisdom. What, on the other hand, do your philosophers 
do ? Surely nothing of an unselfish kind in comparison, 
although I thoroughly believe that much is left for them 
as counterpoise to the narrowness and rancour of bigots. 
In going over the Bible and Testament you will find lots 
of difficulties and objections if you are like me. I find 
man to be slow of conviction and still slower in change of 
habit, and the prophets have spoken oft and men have 
professed to be converted, and their actions have proved 
this to be delusion. I am sure that you would find 
wisdom by careful study which had not appeared before. 



9 6 



Everything shows me that this life itself is a trial and a 
question. I lately made out the parable of the unjust 
steward ; what had seemed actually objectionable before, 
I saw in an instructive and interesting sense. But I must 
not go on to all eternity though this convulsion of war 
may reach here any hour, and time close upon us before 
the closing of this sheet ! Yet I must add a few words, 
for I had altogether neglected one of your arguments, viz. 
that of the physical absurdity of His body having been 
received up into the clouds (which are nothing, while 
astronomical distances are vacuums thousands of years 
away), and you find this part of the story to be explained 
by the cosmogony of the time that heaven was in the 
circumjacent sky. Now our artistic experience may give 
some illustration of the way in which God might work. 
In finding a desirable idea to illustrate we have a sense 
of its beauty not limited in any way. When we have 
to express this to others all manner of restrictions present 
themselves, from the nature of the language and the 
materials of our art, and from consideration of the intel- 
ligences we address. The object of the artist, as of the 
Creator, is to put the idea into material form, and I can- 
not think of any better way of suggesting that this One 
had escaped death than by making Him visibly ascend 
from this earth. What became eventually of the body it 
is scarcely in our province to determine ; but since we 
are told that a condensation of gases in the atmosphere 
can make a solid body like a thunderbolt, it is competent 
for us to imagine that His body was resolved into its 
original elements, to be reorganised perhaps at a later 
time. 

You ask about my subjects. As I am very anxious 
that you should see my pictures without any preconceived 
ideas in your mind, I would rather defer revealing them. 
I may perhaps in the spring get one of these finished, and 
I sh^ll come with it to England, and then I shall ask you 
to tell me whether my work is good or bad. I am paint- 
ing very hard indeed. I should like, meantime, to know 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT 97 

what you are doing, for you are working among others 
and perhaps not keeping your subjects a secret. 

But I must shut up now. Kind regards to your wife, 
and any friends you meet. Yours ever, 

W. HOLMAN HUNT. 

I find among my papers of this next year, too, a 
continuation of the Holman Hunt correspondence, 
which, long as the letters are, ought to be introduced 
here. He is still painting in Jerusalem, and still 
thinking about religious matters ; but he is becom- 
ing tinged with a morbid distrust of his own great 
powers, and also with doubts of his friends at home. 
He is evidently shut up too much by himself, and 
working too hard confined too much to one subject. 
This first letter is dated 2Oth February 1871. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I was glad to hear from you at last. 
Your letter came by our latest post. Your long silence 
had not led me to think that you were bitten with the 
fever which so many of my friends and acquaintances 
seem to suffer from, making them conclude I am a mon- 
strously over-rated person, and that it is their particular 
duty to let me know this important fact as distinctly as 
their several natures will allow. After exhausting the 
surmises of accidental hindrances, the danger was that I 
should jump to this conclusion ; but my constant experi- 
ence of your extremely broad principles in estimating art 
and character forbade me to take such a leap as I might 
have done with others. But there are not many of the 
band who used to treat me as their authority, who have 
not lately indulged in a conscientious avowal of their 
recognition of my demerits ! Thus the wind blows 
towards the sun ! 

I hope, after all your trouble in the old house you 
have taken [Bellevue House, Chelsea], you will find it a 

VOL. II H 



98 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

comfortable haven of rest. I remember looking at and 
talking of it with friends many times as an inviting one 
for an artist. Chelsea I have always liked ; but when in 
England last I was obliged to avoid all proximity to the 
Thames from having the Syrian ague in my blood. This 
guest would probably be no quieter from my second 
residence here, which has given me two or three fresh 
attacks of it ; so if I ever come to live in London, I shall 
still have to choose Kensington, Hampstead, or Highgate 
as my place of torture from organ-grinders, halfpenny (?) 
postmen, tax-collectors, etc. 

We are going to be still farther apart, it seems, in the 
next life ! You are going into the Elysian fields with all 
the genius of the age, while I am to make myself as 
comfortable as circumstances will permit with greasy 
methodists and spick-and-span orthodox parsons in the 
commonplace heaven ; but I have not Dante's assurance 
in claiming Paradise for my home. I don't pretend to 
know what my deserts may be but it will be said that I 
am rather too fast here, counting too much on my host 
where no host may be found, seeing God Almighty does 
not exist at all. Here was a truth to discover ! Hitherto 
men of worldly wealth only delighted in the thought ; I 
think no one of intellect in any century before ours could 
have done it : an inspiration no, that's not the word a 
conception, in all the majesty of the big-boy style, at first 
by Shelley, not held proudly by him later, but now by 
other combinations of poetic atoms, even more newly 
moulded from earth, but now published as settled with 
omniscient penetration of mind that can reach within the 
innermost veil of all, and discover there is nothing, where 
poets before them have dreaded even to peep, lest an 
awful majesty should revenge itself. Thus foolish genera- 
tions have died in the hope of reward for their awe at 
least. Unhappy slaves were these who without the 
eternal halo of genius round their names are lost in the 
world to come. I have no idea of the grim sublimity : it 
seems to me that in this day the eternal powers I re- 



vii LETTERS FRO At HOLM AN HUNT 99 

cognise have a great sense of fun, and that were they 
such as we, they might be in some danger of convulsions 
just now. 1 

You say true, that I have had no experience whatever 
of (professional) spiritualism of a kind to justify me in 
believing in any celestial guidance of the affairs of the 
world, and that I have no arguments to offer in proof of 
the possibility of facts such as those recorded in the 
Testament But in my own experience I have had 
occasional presentiments and other psychological con- 
sciousnesses, of a nature that forbid me the conclusion 
that we are mere burning bonfires, to cease with the con- 
sumption of the fuel. These experiences, of course, would 
only serve to my own conviction, and so they need not be 
cited ; from the conclusions they suggest to me, however, 
it is an easy transition to the best religious revelation I 
can find. I thought perhaps your own consciousness had 
given you something not less indicative of post-terrestrial 
vitality than I had experienced ; every man must be 
guided by his own light : if I can find any that suits me 
more than that I see by at present, so much the better. 

I hope you will not give up painting, but am glad you 
are writing on art. There is a temperance and an insight 
at the same time that practical men have, wanting in the 
criticisms of those who have no means of testing and 
refining their groping ideas and theories. The fault 
practical men are in danger of, in writing for the public, 
is the adoption of a spirit of severity and exclusiveness 
necessary for the studio, where we must settle upon one 
particular treatment only. No man that I know is freer 
from this peril than you. 

As yet I have no confidence that I shall get my 

1 I cannot now remember in the least what could have called 
forth this astounding tirade. It must have been some report or 
statement in my letter Hunt had just then received. In copying this 
out, at first I began by combing the entangled sentences a little 
smooth, but soon gave that process up. He seems to have been in 
such a state of excitement that his language flew in tatters. The 
reader must puzzle out the intention of his harangue. 



ioo WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

picture done. Much depends on the weather ; lately it 
has been so wet and windy I have not been able to get 
out of doors to paint. Unless there is a break I have no 
chance whatever. Fortunately there is a prospect of this, 
but at the best I am in doubt. If I come home it will be 
about the end of April ; should I be too late for this I 
shall probably stay here another year, and thus get enough 
done to be able to move to another part of the world for 
future work. ... I am glad to hear there is a chance of 
England doing something in art after all ! The discour- 
aging fact I saw was that men were getting into the way 
of doing annuals, a certain number for every season. At 
the Paris Exhibition of 1856 I was much struck by the 
insignificance of certain pictures that had been great stars 
on their first appearance in Trafalgar Square. The 
French, with what seemed to me decidedly lower painting 
talent, were doing better things, showing the particular 
qualities we had in such perfection up to about thirty 
years ago in Wilkie, in Turner, and even in Leslie 
freedom from pose-plastique or theatrical character. We 
seemed to have lost and the French to have gained this, 
but without the poetry and beauty, and it struck me we 
had got in exchange qualities that would not wear very 
well : but the evil may correct itself. Certainly as 
years go on in one's life they teach us that many things 
one looked to to give life interest are mere bubbles ; 
one's occupation of time becomes even more sacred. 
In this way I feel the most intense desire that our 
country should be glorious in art, at least in painting, in 
which it has certainly done enough to give hope were 
there architectural patronage. Yours ever truly, 

W. HOLMAN HUNT. 

P.S. I add a postscript and a bit of maidenhair fern, 
from Nazareth, for your wife. I collected it myself from 
a cave there, so I know it is genuine, which will make her 
value it the more. 

Ah, the war ! I of course have not had the details 



LETTERS FROM HOLM AN HUNT 



that every one in London has devoured, but it has been a 
subject of exciting interest to us all : the poor French 
connected with the Consulate seem to have lost all their 
life. Ordinarily all Europeans come out at five or six for 
a promenade, the Consuls attended by kawasses (con- 
stables with long silver batons) ; but after the reverses of 
their army the French postponed their walk until dark, 
when all but myself had abandoned the road, and latterly, 
since the greater distresses, they have hidden themselves 
altogether. When by chance one was met he nearly 
always had red eyelids, and had lost all his national 
gaiety. There is one very nice fellow here, a concelleria 
to the Consul, who recently, having absolutely disappeared 
till then, came and called upon me, perhaps because he 
heard that I avoided every other soul in the place, and I 
have made an exception with him, and enjoy seeing him. 
It is more fortunate that I happen to have anti-Prussian 
feelings of late, this because I feel persuaded that Bismarck 
played the whole game of bringing on the war at his own 
foolish time, managing so to irritate L. N. and the French 
nation, that they saved him from the appearance of being 
its author. When the Prince of Prussia was here, without 
seeking the honour, I had the privilege of talking with him 
and some of his suite, and they impressed me as such 
superior people, that the success of their army has not 
surprised me. I believe it is, where other things are equal, 
personal morality tells in an army. What could be ex- 
pected from a set of immoral braggarts like the French 
soldiers against a set of vigorous husbands and healthy 
lads with honest sweethearts behind them as the 
Prussians are ? I dislike the Prussians only because they 
seem to be at this juncture Machiavellian-led, and are 
believing in craft for national policy, and are successful in 
this for the time. 

I was here when the Crimean War was going on there. 
I could not understand how people in England could 
think, as they seemed to do, of anything else. When I 
heard of a man marrying it struck me as being against all 



102 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

natural feeling : I was wrong of course, but remembering 
that time I am now rather surprised and pleased to see 
how much England seems stirred at the misery of this 
war. Is the world getting softer-hearted ? I hate war, 
but sometimes reading of it I feel a fury urging me to 
rush into its midst and spill my life, in desperation to 
have done with a world in which I can see no place for 
peace and hope. W. H. H. 

JERUSALEM, 3O/// September 1871. 

MY DEAR OLD SCOTT I should never have let so 
long a time go by without acknowledging and answering 
your last letter, but, indeed, this picture of mine treats me 
so severely that I am a miserable slave, with no time for 
anything but just the attempt to sustain life and strength 
enough to wrestle with my work, which plays the part of 
a tenacious foe. I have engaged myself in a very 
difficult struggle, and I have been unwise in many ways 
in the battle. Do you remember Herodotus's account of 
Scythian warriors, who being absent on a long campaign, 
came back to find that their impatient wives, anticipating 
widowhood, had elevated their hewers of wood and drawers 
of water into the position of second husbands, and that these 
their successors came out armed to do battle, and indeed 
did valiantly contend with the veteran warriors, until one 
old Ulysses said in council, " What do we ? We are treating 
our slaves like equals, and so they are inflated with 
courage to fight with us ; but now follow me, and we will 
soon vanquish them." So saying he took a whip, and with 
this rushed into the ranks of the impudent servants, and 
thus put the ignoble rabble to rout. Now, you see, I 
change my relative position to show the application of 
this. I am now in my psychical entity one of the Scythian 
warriors. My picture in its conceived perfection is the 
disputed plane of the eternal earth, or part of it. My 
happiness and ease are my wife (or wives, for I may be a 
polygamist in my art loves). I have too long left the 
dwelling-place of comfort, and now my paints, my brushes, 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT 103 

my tools, my aids, the sun, morning, evening, working time 
and resting time, the wind, the clouds all my helpers in 
proper place have risen with my peace of mind, long since 
unfaithful to me, to oppose my resumption of my rights. 
And here I recognise the wisdom of the old Scythian's 
counsel too long unacted upon because I have been im- 
patient, and too anxious to take vengeance upon my slaves. 
If I had treated them from the beginning more contempt- 
uously I might long ago have vanquished them. To speak 
prosaically and plainly, I have grappled with the difficulties 
of this picture so seriously and slavishly for so long that 
I suffer now in my capacity for completing it from want 
of that elasticity of mind so essential to one for triumph- 
ing over the final difficulties of a picture. But, indeed, in 
this case there was no choice, for the work had and has 
peculiar obstacles, which could only be confronted by 
extra and even unlimited steadiness. Without this I 
should have had to give up my work, and with it the 
question is whether I shall not then be like a warrior 
who, in conquering, has desolated the country and made 
it worthless ; nous verrons. Looking at it in my dejection, 
I am apt too much to trust the cheerless view of the 
end ; however, rest may give me a better idea of it. I 
have no loving eyes to cheer me such as I hoped to have 
ever with me when I left England. I shall enjoy the 
opportunity of showing it to you whatever its prospects 
may be, for to have come to an end with it, and to be 
free to do another picture, will in itself be a comfort. 

Do you know not in a manner of speaking, but in 
sober earnestness I thought in the middle of the summer 
it would be the death of me. I got but about four hours' 
sleep each day, and these were scarcely rest, for my 
feverish anxiety went on through the night, and I dreamed 
of nothing but newly-discovered faults of paint drying 
before it could be blended, of wind blowing down my 
picture and breaking it, etc. until my eyes sank so 
deep into my head, and I became green, and my body 
seemed such a heavy, stiff, and unelastic corpse that I 



104 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

thought the next stage must be coffinward. And now 
that it is past, people here tell me they thought me a 
doomed man. Had I got a fever or any illness, I daresay 
I should have made my way to the place, whichever it is, 
reserved for me either the meeting with all that are dear 
and gone or, if you will, the dreamless sleep, which alter- 
natives Socrates regards even at the lowest as enviable, and 
he had children and friends too. His interest in the next 
world or no world had grown into such a curiosity that 
nothing was so dear to him as the opportunity of satisfying 
it. I can imagine too he reasoned about his children 
thus : If there were tutelar gods, these would look after 
them ; if none, it mattered nothing what course they took, 
only let the cock be paid to Esculapius, for that is a debt. 
As I grow older I have enough of this feeling to make 
me, in the possibility of death, unusually careless ; and 
thus during the time I speak of I did not take a step to 
change my fate, for my life has not often been a joyful 
one. 

I think my rides out on Sunday saved me. As I lay 
out on the hillside taking my lunch and watching the 
horse graze, I felt like a sponge sucking in ease and health 
at every breath, and this restored me for the week. There is 
a man here whom I have made into a model, and who was 
a notorious highway robber. I did not know of his wild 
side at first. He has become very much attached to me, 
and when I want to find out-of-the-way places I take him 
with me on excursions at times. He rides like a Centaur, 
but with his knees up to the horse's shoulders, as all Arabs 
do ; and as his old character is still accredited to him, we 
strike a wholesome dread into all the country wherever 
we go ; but we are very harmless, although armed to the 
teeth, which is necessary since, owing to the tameness of 
our present improved views of Government in England, 
Englishmen are without any civil means of redress for 
injuries done to them. Thieves, if caught, are kept in 
hand until they or their friends pay a good bribe to the 
Cady, the Pasha's secretary, and the Consul's dragoman, 



vii LETTERS FROM HOLMAN HUNT 105 

and then they are discharged to repay themselves by 
other robberies. Just within the last three weeks a party 
of Arabs, who murdered an English subject here about 
fourteen years ago, have been liberated. They were 
apprehended on the evidence of an eye-witness, who gave 
evidence about three months past. They got off, it is 
declared, at an expense of 200, divided between the 
above-mentioned worthies. I would confer with the 
Consul about it, and publish the facts in England, but I 
have no time to get into another row. My correspondence 
with the bishop about a certain rascal whom he was pro- 
tecting sixteen years ago cost me too much time to allow 
me to venture expressions of moral indignation for public 
good. The gentleman in question, too, at that time tried 
to murder me with his gang of housebreakers, but found 
me too wary, which I might not be again against a similar 
attempt. Soon after he was apprehended, sentenced to 
have his right hand cut off, and to be imprisoned for life. 
But last Sunday when alone I met him on the road, he 
having escaped both evils by becoming convinced of the 
exclusive orthodoxy of the Latin Church ! Thus he gained 
the protection of the French Consul, who liberated him for 
fresh villainies. He politely recognised me in passing, but 
if he had thought of avenging himself thus late, he deferred 
it out of respect to a double -barrel breech-loader gun 
which I held slightly raised on my saddle, and which his 
pistol would scarcely have been a match for. 

You refer with much surprise to the idea I expressed 
that I had some enemies of a less outlawry character in 
England, and you prove to me that I have many friends, 
which I rejoice to acknowledge. I would, however, give 
you some instances on the other hand, which might serve 
to raise laughter as much as grief; yet the balance in 
my account just now would be of the painful sort, so I will 
not rake up the question any more. 

I am sorry to believe your assurance that you are 
amongst the unhappy ones of the earth. I had always re- 
garded you as one who had made peace, as well as a truce, 



106 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, vn 

with life ; but the bitterness is not felt least by those who 
show it least. My trust is only in the ultimate loving 
goodness of the Great Father ; without this I should lose 
all patience. You gave me the news of the engagement 

of Miss Y . X is a lucky fellow to get such a 

wife. I wonder all the unmarried men in London, with 
anything approaching a Roman nose, from little Tom to big 
Z , did not engage in a series of combats for her. My 
crotchet is that no fellow without an aquiline profile should 
marry a girl deficient thus, so I should never have engaged 
in the contest. Y pere deserves no commiseration, for 
I heard that when the young lady once wanted to marry 

the beautiful Lord , he was not even then satisfied 

with the proposed son-in-law. My story may be all 
wrong : anyhow the father was not pleased. Kind 
regards to Mrs. Scott. Yours ever, 

W. HOLMAN HUNT. 



CHAPTER VIII 

1868 TO 1870 MY KING'S QUAIR PICTURES AT PENKILL 

FINISHED D. G. R. SPENDS AUTUMNS 1868-69 THERE 

WITH US RECOMMENCES HIS POETIC STUDIES - 

THE FRANCO -GERMAN WAR MY REMOVAL TO 92 

CHEYNE WALK, SEPTEMBER 1870. 

FOR three years or so before the summer of 1868 I 
had been largely employed on the windows in the 
South Kensington Keramic Gallery. Intensely- 
coloured windows were found demoralising in a 
museum, and will be so found, I affirm, everywhere 
on a somewhat wider experience of their result in 
destroying the adequate effect on the eye of all 
objects seen by their light. My instruction from 
Mr. Cole was to represent a pictorial history of the 
Keramic arts in a medium that would obscure the 
prospect through the windows, and prevent the sun- 
shine being offensive, without blinding the spectator 
by the violent colours of " pot-metal," as the glass- 
painters call glass on which the colours are flushed 
in the making. After many breakages I succeeded 
in giving the designs in graffito, painted on burnt 
umber ground in silica, making a true picture like 



io8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

a great etching, only partially picked out orna- 
mentally in bright yellow. The long series of 
windows were now finished, as also were my 
staircase pictures at Penkill from James I.'s poem 
The Kings Quair. 

It was now midsummer, and /B., finding D. 
G. R. in a depression of mind from the idea 
that his eyes were failing, prevailed upon him to 
accompany me to Ayrshire for an autumn vacation. 
He did so ; we were a party of four Miss Boyd's 
cousin, Miss Losh of Ravenside, being a visitor 
at that time. This old lady she was about 
seventy years of age had somehow or other 
taken a jealous dislike to me, thinking I had too 
much influence over her younger cousin, who en- 
tertained me so much and who lived with us in 
London in the winter. She had therefore looked 
forward to Rossetti's appearance, fully intending 
to play him off against me, which accordingly she 
did in the most fantastic way, without in the least 
knowing anything of the fearful skeletons in his 
closet, that were every night, when the ladies had 
gone, brought out for his relief and my recreation. 
These skeletons, which were also made to dance 
along the mountain highroad during our long walks, 
would have surprised the old lady not a little. 
They shall not be interviewed here, and without 
them we got on pretty well, although his talk 
continually turned upon his chance of blindness 
and the question, why then should he live ? " Live 
for your poetry," said I. Strangely enough, this 



D. G. ROSSETTI 109 



seemed never to have occurred to him as a possible 
interest or resource. Live for your poetry was 
echoed by the ladies. 1 

We determined to follow up the suggestion, little 
as we believed in the seriousness of his monomania 
about blindness. One day, when Miss Boyd was 
with us on a walk up Penkill Hill, we persuaded 
him to recall such of his poems as he could recollect, 
and he repeated The Song of the Bower, perhaps 
the most perfect of all his early verses in harmony 
between sound and sense, cadence and sentiment. 
I understood because I knew the history of this 
pagan poem ; ^B. did not, having neither heard 
nor read any of his verses, except such as were 
published in the Germ, or in the Oxford and 
Cambridge Magazine. She could scarcely speak, so 
moved she was, and I confess that I was almost 
for the first time conscious of the full value of 
his faculty. Lifted to a rhetorical moment I said 
much, affirming that the value of his paintings 
lay in their poetry, that he was a poet by birth- 
right, not a painter. After this I found there was 
established in his mind a new prevailing idea, able 

1 [In the preface to his " Illustrations of the King's Quair," 
privately printed in 1887, Mr. Scott refers as follows to this incident : 
" Miss Boyd and I found it no easy matter to change the bias of 
these late years during which he had become quite successful as a 
painter. Rossetti was a poet before he was a painter, and will prob- 
ably retain his place as a poet when his pictures are mainly remem- 
bered by their poetic suggestions in design. We recalled him so 
strenuously to his early love, making him repeat the poems he re- 
membered, that at last suddenly, like a dying man with a new life 
transfused into his veins, he became absorbed in the desire to have 
them all written out and printed." ED.] 



no WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

to contend with the monomania, and when we left 
for London at the end of September he had begun 
to write out many of his lost poems, his memory 
being so good. Many loose poems he also had 
by him in manuscript, and by and by he began to 
send them to the printer. 

Before this return to town, however, the old 
lady's admiration had culminated in an offer of a 
loan of money to any amount to prevent him 
using his eyes in painting or in any other trying 
occupation ; he would get better and repay her, 
but till then he might depend on her. This 
generous offer was made one morning. He never 
got up till near midday, my difficulty every evening 
being to leave him after we had emptied endless 
tumblers of the wine of the country in the shape 
.of whisky -toddy. This morning she had him all 
to herself, and her daily delight was to see him 
smashing his eggs on the plate, to the loss of half 
of them, and making innumerable impressions of 
his tea-cup on the damask table-cloth. "You see, 
Alice dear," she would say to /B., "he is not 
like one of us, he is a great man, can't attend to 
trifles, is always occupied with great ideas ! " so 
she was often left to enjoy the sight all by herself 
at that hour of the day. She intended indeed that 
this plan should be a secret one between them, but 
no sooner had we started on our daily constitutional 
than he entrusted it to me, with much effusion and 
gratitude, at the same time protesting he would never 
think of availing himself of her kindness. This 



D. G. ROSSETTI in 



determination I strenuously encouraged, and we 
heard no more of the matter until after the old 
lady's death, when the evidences to the contrary 
were all too clear. 

Rossetti returned with me to Penkill next 
summer. A great part of my occupation in the 
intervening winter had been preparing my Life and 
Works of Albert Diirer, not a bad book at the 
time, as, strange to say, there was no such work 
previously published, even in Germany, to my 
knowledge. The difficulty with me was the trans- 
lation of Dtirer's own letters and journal, which 
were spelt phonetically and rendered archaic by 
the three centuries and a half that had passed 
since they were written. At that time, at Girvan, 
there lived a priest who had been educated at the 
Scotch (originally Irish) college at Ratisbon, so 
I took my materials down, as I had done the 
previous season, and he kindly assisted me. As 
to Rossetti, he was more hypochondriacal than ever, 
and our nightly sederunts more prolonged, so I 
did not do much, and Mr. Reid, the priest in 
question, had rather a holiday. Neither /B. nor 
I saw or heard anything of chloral ; we have 
therefore come to the conclusion that no such 
habit as that which was so injurious to him after 
his severe and too real illness had then been 
contracted. Miss Losh was not at Penkill that 
season, so Miss Boyd sometimes drove us about 
the country, instead of leaving us to take those 
long walks I found so trying in the previous year. 



112 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

One day she took us to the Lady's Glen, a romantic 
ravine in which the stream falls into a black pool 
round which the surrounding vertical rocks have 
been worn by thousands of years of rotating flood 
into a circular basin called, as many such have 
been designated, the Devil's Punch-Bowl. We all 
descended to the overhanging margin of the super- 
incumbent rock ; but never shall I forget the ex- 
pression of Gabriel's face when he bent over the 
precipice peering into the unfathomed water dark 
as ink, in which sundry waifs flew round and 
round like lost souls in hell. In no natural 
spectacle had I ever known him to take any 
visible interest ; the expression on his pale face 
did not indicate such interest ; it said, as both 
Miss Boyd and I at the same moment interpreted 
it, "One step forward and I am free!" But his 
daily talk of suicide had not given him courage ; 
the chance so suddenly and unexpectedly brought 
within his grasp paralysed him. I advanced to 
him, trembling I confess, for I could not speak. 
I could not have saved him ; we were standing 
on a surface, slippery as glass by the wet green 
lichen. Suddenly he turned round, and put his 
hand in mine, an action which showed he was 
losing self-command and that fear was mastering 
him. When we were safely away we all sat down 
together without a word, but with faces too con- 
scious of each other's thoughts. 

So for that time we escaped, and after all 
I did continue to be his keeper, or at least his 



D. G. ROSSETTI 113 



companion. We encountered no such danger 
again, but on the very next day, I think it was, 
occurred an adventure more extraordinary than 
any I have ever heard of in connection with a 
man writing his best poetry, painting his best 
pictures, and exercising a daily shrewdness of 
business habits, the wonder and admiration of all 
who were in any way connected with him. The 
feeble-minded English law declares the suicide to be 
of unsound mind, whereas he is anything but that ; 
it is the privilege of man alone, the only reasoning 
suicidal creature in the world. 

But the circumstance I am now to relate, in- 
dicating the subversion of reason itself, it appears 
to me highly desirable to place on record. It is 
a problem for doctors and psychologists alike. 
Mounting the ascending road towards Barr, we 
observed a small bird, a chaffinch, exactly in our 
path. We advanced : it did not fly but remained 
quite still, continuing so till he stooped down and lifted 
it. He held it in his hand : it manifested no alarm. 
" What is the meaning of this ? " I heard him say to 
himself, and I observed his hand was shaking with 
emotion. "Oh," I said, "put the pretty creature 
down again. It is strange certainly: it must be very 
young, perhaps a tame one escaped from a cage." 
" Nonsense ! " was his reply, still speaking sotto voce, 
" you are always against me, Scott. I can tell you 
what it is, it is my wife, the spirit of my wife, the 
soul of her has taken this shape ; something is 
going to happen to me." To this I had nothing to 

VOL. II I 



114 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

reply, but when we reached home in silence, by a 
chance which often takes place in life, incidents of 
similar kinds falling together, Miss Boyd hailed us 
with the news that the household had had a surprise 
the house bell, which takes a strong pull to ring 
it, had been rung, and rung by nobody ! Rossetti 
inquired when this had taken place, and finding 
it must have been just about the time when we 
met the bird, he turned his curiously ferocious look 
upon me, asking what I thought now ? a question 
as perplexing as the conviction under which he 
laboured ! But I observed he did not relate the 
story of the bird to Miss Boyd with the same 
confidence he had shown at first, and when he saw 
she was altogether averse to entertain it, he shut 
up at once. Nothing more was said at the time, 
but we have thought of it often since, trying in 
vain to understand him. 1 He had brought a mass 
of " proofs," and nearly every day brought him 
more. But besides he was writing better than in 
the earlier days : both Eddn Bower and Troy 
Town were elaborated now. Almost every day 
he would seclude himself in the glen. Here I 
used to find him face to the wall lying in a shallow 
cave that went by the name of a seventeenth- 
century Covenanter, Bennan's Cave, working out 
with much elaboration and little inspiration, The 

1 [In the " Illustrations " already quoted, Mr. Scott says of Ros- 
setti : " His whole nature destined him to have a tragic, not a comic 
or placid background to his journey in this world. This, and his pro- 
found love of, and actual faith in, the marvellous, made him not only 
the dearest of friends before bad health overtook him, but the most 
interesting of men." ED.] 



D. G. ROSSETTI 



Streams Secret. After it was done he did not 
know what to call this poem, till reading 
over my series of sonnets called The Old Scotch 
House, and finding one called "The Stream's 




Secret," he simply appropriated that name for his 
own performance. Nothing would restrain him : 
" No name in the world would suit me but that, it 
expresses what I want ! " No doubt it did, but it 
also expressed what I wanted to say in my sonnet, 



ii6 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

which ended the octave with the words "passing 
away," and the sestet with the truth, but "never past 
away." A deadly quarrel I could not bear, so here, 
as always, he had his way. 

One advantage he gained in these visits to 
Penkill was a knowledge of The Kings Quair, i.e. 
book, cahier, or quire of paper, and an interest in 
the author's death, which afterwards germinated 
into The Kings Tragedy. Perfectly acquainted 
with the early poetry of his own country, properly 
so called, he knew nothing of that of this country, 
and the perfectness of the scheme of The Kings 
Quair struck him with wonder. Pity it was he 
injured his Kings Tragedy by trying to quote some 
verses of the original turned into octo-syllabic metre 
very poorly. 

My pictures, which had been finished the season 
before, though painted in a wax medium, impress 
me with the conviction of which Sir H. Cole was 
firmly convinced, that any wall-painting in this 
climate is a mistake. Part -of the circular staircase 
was an outer wall, part was not. The last only has 
remained perfect, the picture on the outer wall had 
to be partly repainted, and partly lined with sheets 
of zinc. 

But I must return to the story of my dear friend 
D. G. R.'s poetic studies. They led him out of one 
difficulty into another. Before he left us, he had 
a volume in print, thin indeed and with the prose 
story of his early days called Hand and Soul 
inserted at the end. But what then ? He would 



D. G. ROSSETTI 117 



not publish. There cropped up the fear of a public 
ordeal of miscellaneous criticism, which had prevented 
him from exhibiting his water-colour pictures, and had 
shut him up exclusively in his own studio. If he 
could not publish, what else would he do with the 
printed poems ? Give them to his friends with a 
preface as a privately printed volume ? Even for 
this, considering the whole question, I could not 
help agreeing with him, that the introduction of 
the prose tale was an exhibition of poverty not to 
be thought of. He suddenly determined to reclaim 
the MS. book buried with his wife. What he 
wanted most was the poem called "Jenny," written 
at the same time as he painted " Found." In a few 
days he was gone. 

I have so repeatedly expressed my unbelief in 
all the vulgar or popular forms of supernaturalism 
that I feel a little hesitation in recording a circum- 
stance resembling that class of things which began 
the very evening after his departure. I could now 
get a little peace to revise my Durer Journal, and 
my German friend Mr. Reid, who had given me 
an hour, stayed to dinner. Rossetti's habit when 
composing or even correcting the press, was to 
retire after dinner to the room above, the draw- 
ing-room of the old house, to read aloud to himself, 
when by himself. This he did in a voice so loud 
that we in the dining-room beneath could almost hear 
his words. Well, as we were sitting after dinner, 
when he must have been approaching London in 
the train, what could it be we heard ? The usual 



u8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

voice reading to itself in the usual place over our 
heads! I looked at ^R, she was listening intently 
till she could bear it no longer, and left the room. 
Our learned priest found me, I fancy, to be rather 
distrait, so he rose saying it was about his time, and 
besides, he continued, " I hear Miss Boyd has some 
friend in the drawing-room, so I won't go up. Give 
her my goodbye and respects." I joined her at 
once, but of course we heard nothing in the room 
itself. Such is the circumstance as it took place. 
Mr. Reid, who knew nothing of the habit of D. G. R., 
hearing the voice as well as we did, although it 
sounded to him like talking rather than reading, 
was a sure evidence we were not deceiving our- 
selves. Next night it was the same, and so it went 
on till I left. When we tried to approach it was 
not audible, or when the doors of the drawing-room 
and its small ante -room communicating with the 
staircase were left open, we could make nothing of 
it. It gradually tapered off when Miss Boyd was 
left by herself; by and by the whole establishment 
was bolted and barred for the winter. Next season 
it had entirely ceased. 

I may now return to my own affairs. My 
eighteen pictures from the ballad of Chevy Chase 
had been finished and placed in the beginning of 
1870. Previous to this the long series of windows 
for the Keramic gallery, South Kensington Museum, 
done in graffito as I called it, were nearly complete. 
I determined on settling into a house of my own. 



vin THE FRANCO -GERM AN WAR 119 

When we turn into the sixties, the battle of life 
ought to be a little relaxed in its severity : some 
indulgence in matters of taste may be allowed. A 
lovely old house close to the Chelsea end of the 
picturesque old wooden bridge to Battersea, a house 
built by the Adamses, with a garden buttressed up 
from the river, and a studio behind to be easily 
made out of a music-room, in which its first owner 
indulged himself and in which Handel's organ had 
stood in these former years. Early in 1870 I 
arranged the purchase to be completed in November, 
the requisite money being at the time invested in 
Berlin Water Work shares and Egyptian Bonds, 
going down shortly after in a confident frame of 
mind to our usual summer months at Penkill. A 
few weeks later we were driving through the town 
of Girvan to the coast, to enjoy a picnic by the 
multitudinous sea. What was it bringing people 
on the street and making the newspaper shops so 
attractive ? Suddenly as an earthquake or a West 
Indian tornado, a European war had been declared 
the French army was moving towards the Rhine ! 
The invincible army of Austerlitz, with a Bonaparte 
happily a degenerate one at its head. An army 
of 200,000 without a button wanting on a gaiter ! 
In one of his letters from Jerusalem, already given 
in a previous chapter, Holman Hunt spoke of this 
war as then likely to sweep away the Christians 
from that city. This letter was dated the loth of 
August, but here the crisis was over by that time. 
A few weeks later Hunt had actually to fortify 



120 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

himself in his large house, provisioned for a siege, 
but here the death-grapple of Germany and France, 
the mastiff and the wolf, was already loosening ; 
the throat of the more savage beast was already 
giving way under the irrevocable teeth of the 
nobler animal. But for a moment in the east a 
new complication seemed to threaten the world. 
Russia made a move as if to take advantage of the 
moment. It was this that had alarmed Jerusalem, 
and for another hour and day my position was an 
awkward one. At first my Berlin Water Work 
shares went down, down to zero: anon M'Mahon's 
carriages filled with ladies' attire were flying 
the French Cavalry were worth nothing. The 
shares went up again day after day, till they were 
at their former premium. Russia quieted down too, 
and the Egyptian Bonds threatening to be unsaleable 
were higher than before. The Gallic cock ceased 
to crow : every mail brought greater and greater 
tidings of the total discomfiture of France. 

These monetary interests no doubt intensified 
one's greater interest in this most rapid, most decisive, 
and most important war. The concealed anxiety 
of the papal party, and of all retrograde thinkers, 
increased the importance of every day's news. But 
without these helps the tremendous ability of Prussia, 
and the overwhelming punishment of the Beau- 
harnais, as Swinburne used to call Louis Napoleon, 
made that autumn the most exciting in my life. 
Strange to say, the majority of Englishmen were in 
favour of France, although the ultimate triumph of 



vin THE FRANCO -GERMAN WAR 121 

Italian unity was involved, and the suppression of 
papal encroachment, besides the rabid tendency of 
France to indulge in conquest if it had been success- 
ful. The vast mediocrity, literary or other, went in 
for France. An instance of this was afforded by 
Appleton, the editor and proprietor of the Academy, 
in which publication the Fine Art section was under 
my care at the time. The editor, who had some 
pretence to learning and philosophy, sent round a 
circular to his collaborateurs proposing that every 
one of us should sacrifice our pay for a certain 
period, allowing it to be sent over as a contribution 
to the war expenses of France. I gave him a bit of 
advice, my readers may be sure ! Our own battles 
of life affect our sleep and our health, but this 
Franco-German war was exhilarating only. Living 
quietly at Penkill, I used to waylay the postman, 
take the daily morning paper into the garden, and 
in the summer-house read every word of the news. 
On the way I passed an immense Foxglove just 
beginning to bear its lowest bloom when the struggle 
began. Before its last blossom was shed the crown- 
ing destruction of the French army at Sedan was 
over. I afterwards commemorated this in two little 
poems, which I should like to reprint here in 
connection with the rest of my story. 



122 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

THE FOXGLOVE 

A REMINISCENCE OF THE WAR OF I 870 

I 

That foxglove by the garden gate 
The very day the war began 
Opened its first, its lowest flower : 

The post that day was late, 
Anxious I waited for the man 
Then went into the wild-rose bower 
And heard the warning voice of fate. 

Week by week, even day by day, 
Another petal opened fair, 
Advancing up the long light stem : 

I counted them 

As I passed there, 
While my heart was far away, 
Listening early, listening late, 
To the German march the march of Fate. 

And when France lay 
Quivering in the gory clay, 

The topmost bell 
Rang a dirge before it fell. 

II 

Oft throughout that deadly fight 
We owned that might was right, 
For from the steps of the Madeleine 
Amid the trumpets' loud fanfare, 
Years long ago we had seen there 
Louis, triumphant from the South, 
Hailed by the brutal popular mouth ; 
Along the streets where late the stain 
Of blood lay, did his triumph fare ; 



vin SETTLEMENT AT BELLEVUE HOUSE 123 

I heard the cheer ; 

While many said, the day must come, 
When God with us, right shall be might : 
Behold ! with cannon, trump and drum, 

Now was it here ! 

The span of time 

A foxglove bloom its stalks might climb, 
He passed for ever from our sight. 

When I got back to London and became an 
inhabitant of Chelsea, with the wide river flow- 
ing before the windows, I congratulated myself on 
having ably overcome one of the greatest evils of 
life the necessity of periodical house-hunting and 
migration. The hermit crab had found a permanent 
shell, a better one than if he had grown it. Here 
was a room for my books, or two of them, and a 
room for my prints the dear early Germans and 
Italians that had cost me so much trouble and 
money to collect, and that had been the exciting 
cause of my writing the books on Albert Dtirer and 
the Little German Masters. I felt as if I too, as 
well as Marshal Moltke, was having a triumph, and 
I celebrated it in a sonnet, not for publication, but 
as it is in a way autobiographical, it may be added 
here. 

ON GOING TO LIVE IN BELLEVUE HOUSE, 
CHELSEA 

November 1870. 

Here, then, I am, to find my latest stage : 
A good old home with elbow-room, I wis : 
As if dame Fortune dealt her blindfold kiss 

To one who had so often lost his wage, 



124 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

A ruminant wandering creature, until Age 

Touched him upon the shoulder, and said, " So ! 
Here we are, confrere, walking rather slow : 

Strange your light barque should find such harbourage ! " 

But sooth to say, two diligent nimble hands 

Oft save wool-gathering brains from bankruptcy, 

For if we daily till the common lands 

That yield plain food, work out the tasks that lie 

About us, serving thus the general hive, 

The fates will let even a Poet thrive. 

Yet, pleasant as it was to have found a point cfappui 
in life, at this very moment came a circumstance to 
make me contemplate returning altogether to Edin- 
burgh. This was a chair of the Fine Arts being 
established in Edinburgh. The number of men 
combining literary and artistic powers of any value 
were so few that I was advised to offer myself for it. 
The only other man who had any equal chance 
was, it appeared to me, P. G. Hamerton, the clever 
etcher and writer on etching, who had, however, 
given up his chance of ever becoming a painter. I 
got into communication with the Senatus and their 
head, Sir A. Grant. I quickly came to the con- 
clusion there was some bar in the way, and retired. 

In the course of my short correspondence with 
Mr. Hamerton, I received a letter which may be 
worth preserving here. 

PRE CHARMOY, AUTUN, SAONE ET LOIRE, 
i&thjuly 1871. 

MY DEAR SCOTT During the war the postal service 
was so irregular, and even unsafe, that I thought it better 



vni P. G. HAMERTON 125 

to keep your prints 1 along with my own papers. I send 
them under a separate cover. 

I am glad you have got a house to your liking at 
Chelsea. I remember houses there that seemed to me 
charming. You will have pleasant society within easy 
reach, which I rather envy you. In country places like 
this in France, although there are a few educated men, 
they are always divided by social or political demarca- 
tions. I had some thought of trying to found a club 
here. We have men enough, but their divisions render 
such a project Utopian. 

I am practising just now, with great pleasure, my new 
positive process in etching, of which I sent an account to 
the Portfolio. I work out of doors, and see every stroke 
in black on a white ground, just when I do it, which avoids 
much of the deception in the old half-blind process. As 
the plate is in the acid all the time I have to mind to 
etch the blackest places first, and go by a careful cal- 
culated gradation to the palest ; but I find that this sort 
of analysis becomes easy enough by practice. When the 
drawing with the etching-point is done, the plate is ready 
for printing, avoiding all the old bother of stopping-out. 
The new process is so agreeable that I could not go back 
to the old one now ; besides, there is a great economy of 
time. 

During the war I saw a battle from my study window, 
about 5000 men engaged on each side. I had a good 
telescope, and saw the men plainly enough. The cannon- 
ade went on from 2 P.M. till nightfall, and afterwards 
began again in the moonlight. We should have had the 
Prussians at our house most probably, if we had not been 
protected by a stream which was rather swollen, so they 
thought they could not cross it without leaving some of 

1 What the prints were that P. G. H. mentions in his letter I 
cannot now remember. My Collection, after having been very useful, 
ceased to retain their interest, and I sold them to a gentleman who 
promised to keep them together, but who last year brought them to 
the hammer at Sotheby's, July 1885. They brought ,1260. I insert 
this note, September 1886. 



126 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, vm 

their artillery in the mud. We were considerably anxious 
of course, but next day the Prussians retired. The only 
evil that has occurred to me during the war was a fort- 
night's illness brought on by an imprudence. On a very 
cold day in winter, acting as guide to a lot of Garibaldian 
cavalry, I had to lead them through a flooded river. I 
had the icy water up to my saddle-seat, and rode after- 
wards for several hours in wet clothes. The mortality in 
the (French) army here was terrible during the severity of 
the winter I remain, yours very truly, 

P. G. H. 



CHAPTER IX 

LETTERS FROM D. G. ROSSETTI, AUTUMN 1871, AT 
KELMSCOTT ON HIS OWN POETRY THEN IN PRO- 
GRESS ALSO ON MINE. 

WHEN D. G. Rossetti left us at Penkill, and re- 
covered his buried MS. volume, he at once aban- 
doned the Privately Printed volume he had already 
printed, which only exists since in two or at most 
three copies. The only really important poem 
recovered, except such as he had remembered, was 
" Jenny," which had its origin contemporaneously 
with the design for the promised etching to illustrate 
my poem first called <( Rosabell." The two works had 
their origin together, when he visited me first in 
Newcastle, when I was in the act of arranging my 
first miscellaneous little volume sometimes called 
Poems by a Painter. However suggested, it was 
years on the anvil, and at last had a daring circum- 
stance included in its story, which some friends 
tried in vain to get altered. " Jenny " bears the 
evidence of its derivation by being the only poem 
D. G. R. wrote on the morals or the period of our 
own day, and is really, notwithstanding its confes- 



128 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

sional character, one of the ablest of all his poems, 
even to the end of his life. The others, 1 such as 
" Dante at Verona," " A Last Confession," are com- 
paratively boyish and worthless, except, indeed, 
"Sister Helen," which he held in memory and 
afterwards improved. However, he included all. 

On the very successful reception of the volume 
by the public, his hypochondria about his eyes disap- 
peared, along with the nervous fear about publishing. 
Still, however, he to the last moment would work 
the oracle, and get all his friends to prepare laudatory 
critical articles to fill all the leading journals. 2 Against 
this he would take no advice. His brother especially 
offered him the wisest and kindest counsel. " I often 
sadly reflect," as he said afterwards, " that I used to 
urge Gabriel not to go diplomatising (as I got to 
call it) to have his book reviewed in various papers 
by friends and henchmen, and that if he had taken 
this advice the soreness of outsiders would have 
been avoided." How much reason had we all to 
wish he had denied himself " the jubilant proclama- 
tion of the merits of his poems." And yet who can 
say ? No one could predict the effect adverse 

1 [Mr. Scott is speaking here of the poems recovered from Mrs. 
Rossetti's grave, and not contained in the privately printed volume, 
but included in the printed and published volume which was issued 
in 1870. ED.] 

2 [A reader who should come upon this passage without knowing 
the strength and constancy of the autobiographer's friendship for 
Rossetti and admiration of his powers, might suspect him here of 
ill-naturedly disparaging his friend. This would be entirely to mis- 
take the spirit of the record, which is intended only to illustrate that 
morbid fear of criticism which was so paradoxical and so disastrous 
an element in Rossetti's character. ED.] 



ix D. G. ROSSETTI 129 

criticism had upon him when it came ; it was the 
morbid feeling in his own mind that made him work 
heaven and earth to render it impossible, as he 
thought, that such should reach him ; and the very 
first, I should say the only, powerful attack upon his 
book knocked him over like the blow of the butcher's 
axe on the forehead of the ox. He had felt that such 
would be the effect of severe strictures, and feared 
them, else why the reluctance to publish, the desire 
to issue his privately printed volume when we had 
prevailed upon him to take up poetry again, and 
why the disagreeable expenditure of energy in work- 
ing the oracle, to furnish all the ordinary channels 
of criticism with articles ready made under his own 
eye ? The question is exactly similar to that of the 
habit and effect of the chloral he took. I had 
known him too long to believe it had much to do 
with either the mental or bodily peculiarities from 
which he latterly suffered. I asked Professor 
Marshall, his medical adviser, and his answer was 
that the chloral was merely a desperate attempt to 
cure his evils, not the cause of them. As to the 
article that troubled him so deeply, perhaps his 
anxiety to forestall criticism brought it upon him. 
The critic is the natural enemy of the poet, Gautier 
has said in a way sufficiently amusing though un- 
quotable here, and critics who are themselves 
" literary poets " are the worst disposed of all. 

Meantime, however, he was in excellent spirits, 
and an almost daily correspondence began to pass 
between us. I have none of my own letters, and 

VOL. II K 



130 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

never had the habit of copying them, but all his are 
with me still and deserve to be carefully printed, 
showing as they do the careful reconsideration he 
gave his poems. 

Morris had at that time lighted upon a lovely 
ancient manor house, not the house of seven gables, 
but of ten, to be let near Lechlade. It was a house 
lying low, and sometimes surrounded by floods : the 
rooms, many and irregular ; the kitchens and sitting- 
rooms on the entrance floor, being lower than the 
ground outside, were not always safe from the 
inundation. Among the larger apartments above 
(the house properly speaking) was one hung with 
tapestry, the later tapestry with life-sized figures in 
Roman costume. This Rossetti, who joined for a 
time with Morris in renting the house, tried to make 
a studio, but found the draughts unbearable, the 
hanging waving about on all sides, making the 
room like a house attacked by vertigo. The first of 
the following letters was written shortly after he 
went thither, to me, then living at Penkill, a dwelling 
as thoroughly Scottish as Kelmscott was English, 
only of a century later. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (I.) 

THE MANOR HOUSE, KELMSCOTT, 
LECHLADE, \ithjuly 1871. 

DEAR SCOTUS You see I write to you among sur- 
roundings new to me, but of such an old fashion in them- 
selves that it is easy to identify one's own sense of use 
and habit with them, and to believe one has always known 
them. This is a wonderful old place which you must 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 131 

some day see, and of which I must get photos taken when 
I can, but photography is, I should think, unknown as 
yet in Kelmscott. The house and garden, with all their 
riverside fields and sleepy farm -buildings, make up a 
delicious picture to the eye and mind, and afford so much 
home variety that there is no need of seeking farther. 
When one does so, however, one is bound to confess that 
the country roads possess little interest, being so extremely 
flat that they may almost be said to present no objects at 
all ; and the solitude is as absolute as at Penkill, but not 
nearly so impressive in its natural features. I am writing 
in my delightful sitting-room or studio, the walls of which 
are hung with tapestries which I suppose have been here 
since the house was built (by the same family who have 
only just left it). The subject of the tapestries is the 
history of Samson, which is carried through with that un- 
compromising uncomfortableness peculiar to this class of 
art manufacture. Indeed, I have come to the conclusion 
that a tapestried room should always be much dimmer 
than this one. These things constantly obtruded on one 
in a bright light become a persecution. However, it won't 
do to take them down, as they might get moth-eaten, and 
heaven knows what their value may not be in the eyes 
of their owners. We have got plenty of things into the 
house, and even a moderate amount of order by this time 
Janey [Mrs. W. Morris] has been taking five and six mile 
walks without the least difficulty, and her children are the 
most darling little self-amusing machines that ever existed. 
The nearest town to this is Lechlade, some three miles 
off, a beautiful old place and not a station. I expect to 
be here for two months at least, though I may perhaps run 
back to London midway for a day or so to see what is 
doing in my studio, where a radical cure is to be effected 
in the light during my absence under Webb's directions, 
after which I shall have as good a studio as any one, I 
hope. I shall make a replica I have to do while here, 
and make some drawings besides, I hope. Whether 
writing will come of it I cannot yet tell. The weather is 



132 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT. CHAP. 

warm and genial at last here, and the same I hope with 
you. Have you really got Miss Losh at Penkill ? Will 
you give my love to her (if there), as well as to Miss 
Boyd ; and tell me whatever is to tell between one " haunt 
of ancient peace " and another. We have fallen back on 
Shakspeare here as at Penkill in the evenings, and are 
" doing " him religiously, sometimes indoors and some- 
times out. A pretty fair supply of books has been got 
into the place, and the children, who are indefatigable 
readers, read about a volume of the Waverley Novels a 
day. Little May, the youngest, seems lovelier every day. 
I shall make drawings of both while I stay here Allan 
and Emma [husband and wife, servants from London 
house] have come down with me ; and we have besides 
the children's nurse and two native retainers. The garden 
is full of fat cut hedges that seem to purr and simmer in 
the sun, as do the farm buildings also on all sides. We 
shall have erelong to keep a trap of some sort as well as 
a cow and pig. Does Miss Boyd, I wonder, know any- 
where of a highly desirable Ayrshire cow to be had ? I 
am told that race is in demand, but the only question is 
whether the carriage would very vastly add to the expense. 
Otherwise the advantages of friendly selection out there, 
and security against cheating, would be good gains. Do 
write to your affectionate D. GABRIEL R. 

P.S. I suppose you know that mamma and Christina 
are at Hampstead. 

In this first letter there seems nothing calling for 
any notice. The cow question opened up corre- 
spondence, which does not demand record here, 
although it filled many pages till it was found im- 
practicable. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (II.) 

KELMSCOTT, LECHLADE, 
Wednesday. 

DEAREST SCOTUS Your letter was very welcome, 
but did not reach me till to-day. However, let me go in 



ix D. G. R.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 133 

at once for another, which I hope will not be so long on 
the way. 

I send you a little ballad or song or something made 
in a punt on the river not a very poetic style of locomo- 
tion. It's rather out of my usual way, rude aiming at the 
sort of popular view that Tennyson perhaps alone succeeds 
in taking. Not (I hope) that it's at all chargeable with 
imitation of Tennyson, but I mean that nobody but he 
tries to get within hail of general readers. But I fear, 
however much I might like to do so, that it's not my 
vocation except in such a trifle as this once in a way ; 
and I daresay this would be voted obscure. I fancy it 
ought to be suited for music. 

I have discovered some nice riverside walks now the 
floods have subsided, and there is a funny little island 
midway in one walk, which can be reached by a crazy 
bridge, and does very well as a half-way house to commit 
sonnets to paper going and coming. It may perhaps lead 
to further effusions. I got one sonnet out of it to-day. 
I daresay I shall get a fair stroke of painting work done 
here, as I have had all my things sent down together, 
with that picture of " Beatrice " to make a replica, and 
am also at work on a drawing for a small picture I mean 
to paint here to fit a beautiful old frame I have. 

I also mean to make drawings of the children. The 
younger, Mary, is quite a beauty the more one knows her, 
and will be a lovely woman. She is very clever too, I 
think, and has a real turn for drawing when she gets a 
little less lazy. The older one buries herself in books, 
but is not so observant as the younger. 

I got the Academy to-day, with an article on a German 
Diirerite, which smacks of the rival adept, though not 
unfair certainly. I shall want to see your article in 
Fraser, and must get the Portfolio, which I suppose is out 
now, containing that on Blake. I am extremely sorry to 
hear of Wallis's attack with his eyes, but seeing how 
completely he got over the first, I cannot suppose these 
attacks to be really dangerous in the worst sense. It is 



134 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

almost a pity he did not go with Top to Iceland. No 
news of the latter yet, though expected before this. I 
had a letter from Stillman, very loud of course in pro- 
claiming his wife's enchantment with America and all 
American people and things. They are coming back, he 
says, this month by sailing-ship. I suppose you heard of 
their dreadful passage out. 

I'm afraid I shan't do much poetry here, as my walks 
are seldom taken alone, Janey having developed a most 
triumphant pedestrian faculty ; licks you hollow, I can 
tell you. We are doing a good deal in papering and 
painting here, as well as other repairs. So time does not 
run to seed. 

If I were at Penkill I know, as you say, that I should 
do something decided in poetry to wit, " The Orchard 
Pits " poem, which I much want to do ; but I find it 
almost impossible to write narrative poetry in scenery 
that does not help it, and so have little chance of setting 
to that here. 

I was sorry to hear that you had not Miss Losh with 
you, and hope her health is not the cause of her being 
unable to join you. 

How intensely stupid it was of me when I wrote 
before to forget that Letitia was with you now. I can 
only account for it by the fact that I was never at Penkill 
while she was there. Janey's love to her, and mine to 
all. Ever your affectionate D. G. R. 

THE RIVER'S RECORD 

Between Holmscote and Hurstcote 

The river-reaches wind, 
The whispering trees accept the breeze, 

The ripple 's cool and kind : 
With love low-whispered 'twixt the shores, 

With rippling laughters gay, 
With white arms bared to ply the oars, 

On last year's first of May. 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 135 

Between Holmscote and Hurstcote 

The river 's brimmed with rain, 
Through close-met banks and parted banks, 

Now near, now far again : 
With parting tears caressed to smiles, 

With meeting promised soon, 
With every sweet vow that beguiles, 

On last year's first of June. 

Between Holmscote and Hurstcote 

The river 's flecked with foam, 
'Neath shuddering clouds that hang in shrouds 

And lost winds wild for home : 
With infant wailings at the breast, 

With homeless steps astray, 
With wanderings shuddering tow'rds one rest, 

On this year's first of May. 

Between Holmscote and Hurstcote 

The summer river flows 
With doubled flight of moons by night, 

And lilies' deep repose : 
With lo ! beneath the moon's white stare 

A white face not the moon, 
With lilies meshed in tangled hair 

On this year's first of June. 

Between Holmscote and Hurstcote 

A troth was given and riven ; 
From heart's trust grew one life to two, 

Two lost lives cry to Heaven : 
With banks spread calm beneath the sky, 

With meadows newly mowed, 
The harvest paths of glad July, 

The sweet school-children's road. 
KELMSCOTT, July 1871. 

The poem here given, " Between Holmscote and 
Hurstcote," or "The River's Record," I now forget 



136 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

what I said of. It was not in D. G. R.'s way, as he 
says, but still has its good qualities. 

D. G. R. toW. B. S. (III.) 

KELMSCOTT, LECHLADE, 
2nd August 1871. 

DEAR SCOTUS Your verdict on my popular rhymes 
is more favourable than I looked for ; but I fear I have 
no more the popular element than yourself. 

Did I, in the fourth line of verse one, fail to put apos- 
trophe in " ripples " ? I don't otherwise see why you 
consider the line " isolated " in character. " Cool " resulted 
from experience, while writing of the impression produced. 
As to the repetition of rippling, this seems necessary, as 
you will observe that two epithets are interchanged in 
each stanza between the landscape and the emotion. I've 
no doubt your objection to the title is valid, though I sup- 
pose I meant A record of the river. Would " May and 
June " be better ? So I called it at first, but this seemed 
hardly incisive enough. 1 

Your sorrows in connection with that infernal word 
" quaint " recall my own. Only quite lately I had it re- 
vived by a friendly critic on my work, though a lapse of 
years had occurred since I last heard it in such relation, 
and I had hoped it and I had parted company. However, 
it will be " in at the death " with both of us. Good God, 
I cannot see the faintest trace of this adjective in either 
of your etchings which you mention, nor in the design of 
your mantelpiece (the carrying out I have not seen) in 
any objectionable sense, though I suppose, so far as it 
differs from other mantelpieces, it might be described as 
peculiar, if that is one meaning of the hellish " quaint" 

By the bye, on this point I have always meant, and 
always forgotten, to ask you if you noticed an astounding 
controversy raised in Notes and Queries about a wretched 
little daub of mine called " Greensleeves." Bad the thing 

1 [The title finally adopted was " Down Stream." ED.] 



ix D. G. K.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 137 

is, probably enough ; but how it should suggest to any 
human mind the maniacal farrago conjured up in these 
letters is incomprehensible, except as revealing to one the 
degree to which the world considers oneself insane. On 
reading them my brain whirled, and I sent to Agnew for 
the thing, to see if it bore any internal explanation with 
it. It seemed a poor daub when examined, but certainly 
innocent of the special enormities charged to it. However, 
once having laid hands on it, I gave it a good daub- 
ing all over, and transmogrified it so completely (title and 
all) as to separate it for ever, I hope, from this Bedlam cor- 
respondence, which, by the bye, I find revived this week 
to end God knows when or where ! 

I hope you get Notes and Queries regularly, as by my 
directions. If you don't, I'll see to the posting myself. 

And now, Scotus, you may just return the compliment 
by posting to me the Fraser and Portfolio with your 
articles (if you have them by you), as otherwise I shall go 
to the expense for them, which you counsel me not to 
incur. 

I am getting to work now, both on the replica of 
" Beatrice " (Cowper Temple's picture, which I borrowed 
and have here) ; on a small picture to fit a beautiful old 
frame I have, and to which I mean to put a view of the 
winding river for background ; and on the drawings of 
the children. 

A little sonnet-writing gets done too, and a ballad 
of the Sister Helen kind rather is floating paperwards 
on a slow brain-breeze enough. I wrote an Italian song 
the other day ! But I do a deal of making up in my head 
before I put pen to paper. 

It would really give me great pleasure to see that dear 
old barn which has been the bounding of so many pleasant 
walks and talks embodied in a picture of yours, and I 
really hope you'll do it, as it is just the sort of material 
which half does a picture to one's hand. 

Midway with this letter, Janey shows me at last one 
from Top, who writes from some unpronounceable place 



138 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

in Iceland, and seems to have had much pleasurable ex- 
perience already, though nothing much to report at second 
hand, except the delightful fact that a packet from the 
co-operative stores, opened eagerly for table delicacies, was 
found to contain Floriline and violet powder. However, 
I judge it was the only one, or it would not serve Top for 
an epistolary horse-laugh. An Iceland paper also came, in 
which the arrival of the travellers is reported, Top being 
described as a " Skald." He ought to go by no other 
name for the future, and " The Bard " be reserved for 
Swinburne. 

Browning's poem, Balaustioris Adventure, looks 
alarming beforehand. I have written to have it sent me 
when out, which will not be till the 8th. I see what it 
all means : B. has been inveighing all his life against 
translations (when I sent him my Italian Poets, I re- 
member he never answered at all !), and now having by 
some accident slipped a translation of Alcestis, he had to 
look about for a consistent plan for putti-ng it into print, 
and has hit on this alarming scheme. However, no doubt 
there will be plenty to admire and enjoy. Browning seems 
likely to remain, with all his sins, the most original and 
varied mind, by long odds, which betakes itself to poetry 
in our time. 

Brown and family, with Hiiffer and Miss Blind, are, as 
perhaps you know, at Lynmouth, where Miss B. has un- 
earthed an old woman who knew Shelley and Harriet 
when they were staying there. I may as well enclose you 
a letter of B.'s giving some particulars on this curious 
matter, though indeed it will swell this epistle to a most 
portentous size. By the bye, you might send me your 
International Report if you have it. I see the Academy 
Journal is a very dry stick this time. 

What you tell me of Allingham is no worse than I am 
myself, so I mustn't wonder. I cannot sleep, except at 
the back of my house, for the noise, and require all sorts 
of usualnesses all round me to make life possible. Alas 
for flying years ! One wonders if one was always so, and 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 139 

is reminded how far one is looking back by the difficulty 
of remembering. Ever yours, and Miss Boyd's and 
Letitia's, if still with you, affectionately, 

D. G. R. 

I cannot recollect what the strange writing in 
Notes and Queries that troubled him so was. The 
Fraser and the Portfolio he wanted, with articles 
of mine, I duly sent him. I think he mentions 
them again. The International I also sent him. 
The article by me was one of the critical articles 
published as separate pamphlets, written by various 
selected people, on the great International Ex- 
hibition that year. 

At the end of the letter the mention of 
Allingham was called forth by his taking the 
friendly offer of my house at Chelsea while my 
wife and I were in the North. He [A.] could not 
sleep in the bedroom he occupied ; it was too near 
the street, and the occasional noise of passers-by 
was too much noise for him. This brings out a 
similar confession from D. G. R. as to his sleep- 
lessness. This, written in August 1871, is the 
earliest allusion to the sleeplessness, etc., so severely 
felt by him after his return to town and severe 
illness at the end of this year. 

The letter about Mrs. Blackmore, the old 
woman who had had Shelley and Harriet lodging 
in her house (or friend's house) at Lynmouth, 
contains nothing of any importance to make it 
worth preservation. Shelley lived a long time 
there, and as in every place where accidental 



140 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

record is found of his having stayed, he left without 
paying up, so there still remained an unpaid balance. 
They used to play about like children, Mrs. Black- 
more with them. . . . After reading every word 
in Dowden's immense life, I believe it will at last 
be found that his dislike to Harriet began when 
she had begun to treat with laughter his folly in 
thinking to reform the world with his paper-boats 
and fire-balloons. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (IV.) 

COMMANDMENTS 

Let no man ask you of anything 
Not yearborn between Spring and Spring. 
More of all worlds than he can know 
Each day the single sun doth show : 
A trustier gloss than you can give 
From all wise scrolls demonstrative, 
The sea doth sigh and the wind sing. 

Let no lord awe you on any height 
Of earthly kingship's mouldering might. 
The dust his heel holds meet for your brow 
Has all of it been what both are now : 
And he and you may plague together 
A beggar's eyes in some dusty weather 
When none that is now knows sound or sight. 

Let no priest tell you of any home 

Unseen above the sky's blue dome. 

To have played in childhood by the sea, 

Or to have been young in Italy, 

Or anywhere in the sun or rain ; 

To have loved and been beloved again, 

Is nearer Heaven than he can come. 



D. G. X.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 141 



SUNSET WINGS 

To-night this sunset spreads two golden wings 

Cleaving the western sky ; 
Winged too with wind it is, and winnowings 
Of birds ; as if the day's last hour in rings 

Of strenuous flight must die. 

Sun-steeped in fire, the homeward pinions sway 

Above the dovecote-tops ; 

And clouds of starlings, ere they rest with day, 
Sink, clamorous like mill-waters at wild play 

By turns in every copse : 

Each tree heart-deep the. wrangling rout receives, 

Save for the whirr within, 

You could not tell the starlings from the leaves ; 
Then one great puff of wings, and the swarm heaves 

Away with all its din 

Even thus Hope's hours, in ever-eddying flight, 

To many a refuge tend : 

With the first light she laughed, and the last light 
Glows round her still ; who natheless in the night 

At length must make an end. 

And now the mustering rooks innumerable 

Together sail and soar, 

While for the day's death, like a tolling knell, 
Unto the heart they seem to cry farewell, 

No more, farewell, no more ! 

Is Hope not plumed, as 'twere a fiery dart ? 

Therefore, O dying day, 
Even as thou goest must she too depart, 
And sorrow fold such pinions on the heart 

As will not fly away ? 



142 WILLIAM SELL SCOTT CHAP. 

These two poems came without commentary. 
They have fine things in them, but are imperfect. 
He says in another letter he has now thirty new 
sonnets to add to the House of Life, since printing 
last year. I had just published a Christmas book 
on Belgian Art, and he wishes to see it. He sends 
"Through Death to Love," "The Lover's Walk," 
"The Dark Glass," and " Heart's Haven," also the 
first version of " Cloud Confines." 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (V.) 

KELMSCOTT, 13/7* August "71. 

DEAREST SCOTUS I send back the Fraser and the 
Kensington papers. The first contains in your article an 
exhaustive summary, sure to be very valuable one day, of 
this year's art, which, owing to continental events, has 
assumed in England a very unusual aspect It was a 
much better plan to do this than to retrace the circle of 
the Academy walls. 

Your own paper among the Reports is of course solid 
good work, and Pollen's shows signs of something besides 
amateurishness. The others that I have looked at are 
mere pretentious vapouring, such as in England floats 
uppermost in all enterprises. 

I have sent you two missives within the last day or 
two first, a poem not long but meant to deal with 
important matters, and second, Browning's new book, of 
an extremely irritating structure it is so absolutely every- 
thing that Greek ideas are not Still there is much good 
work, and even pure simple diction in the translated part, 
and Browning is too great a man already to make it 
matter much what one thinks of a leisure work like this. 

I ordered and got the last Portfolio and find to my 
vexation that Blake's Flea, etc., must have been in the 
July one. I don't know whether I .shall try again now 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 143 

it is so provoking. I just this minute ask Emma about 
N. and Q. She says they have gone to you regularly, 
the only one in the house now being to-day's. This 
seems strange. It would really be worth your while one 
day, if you keep N. and Q., to look back at the first 
of these Greensleeves letters ; it would enlarge your ideas 
as to the gaping astonishment and perverse misconstruc- 
tion of which we were writing lately. As my name was 
in the heading, I wonder it did not catch your eye. 

I send you another little poem (done from nature) 
with this, and may perhaps soon muster energy to copy a 
few sonnets, only they seem such lackadaisical things 
to send about. I have now thirty new ones in MS. for 
the House of Life since printing last year ; I suppose 
several of the last must have been unseen by you. I 
should like greatly to see what you have written on the 
Belgians. Pray send it. I hope, being clear of it now, 
you will at any rate find some sonnets lurking in you, 
and, above all, collect and print your poetry ere long. Do 
you see the Athenaum gossip about my intentions this 
week ? Who ever conceives and then condenses such 
inventions ? I saw the paragraph about my father, and 
had heard of the matter before at home. My own view 
was quite yours viz. that it ought to be done ; but I 
know nothing would induce my mother to consent 
[This was the removal of his father's remains to Italy.] 

It appears from something I see written by Knight 
that there has been a very obtuse review of Swinburne 
in the Edinburgh done, I suppose, by the same puny 
Scotch hand which scribbled about Morris lately. 

I am quite rejoiced to hear of Wallis's improvement 
and pedestrian labours. It would be a real treat to 
witness his first enjoyment of the beautiful glen. Pray 
give him my love, and say how much I wish (if one could 
be in two places at once) that I were making a fourth 
stroller in the shelter of the glen slopes (hardly, however, 
with much water-noise in one's ears now) from the sudden 
heats we have come in for. 



144 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

This place needs no Sunday to quiet it, so that I only 
identify the day by the trouble of having to send to the 
town for letters and papers. I am getting used a little 
now to the tapestry, though still the questions, Why a 
Philistine leader should have a panther's tail, or Delilah a 
spike sticking out of her head, or what Samson, standing 
over a heap of slain, has done with the ass's jaw-bone, 
will obtrude themselves at times between more abstract 
speculations. I have nearly finished my replica, which has 
gone wonderfully quick, and am getting on with the little 
picture with river background. 

I suppose if Wallis is at all in working trim he will 
be sure to have an easel up in the glen before long, and 
you will not be behindhand with another, I should say. 
Here we read Shakspeare and Plutarch just as the first 
builders of the house might have done, and are on the 
whole Elizabethan enough. By the bye, there is one 
subject in Plutarch not done by Shakspeare and quite 
worthy of him Pompey the Great. Some one should yet 
go in for it as a play. With love, ever yours, D. G. R. 



THROUGH DEATH TO LOVE 

Like labour-laden moon-clouds faint to flee 

From winds that sweep the winter-bitten wold, 
Like multiform circumfluence manifold 

Of night's flood-tide, like terrors that agree 

Of fire dumb-tongued and inarticulate sea, 

Even such, within some glass dimmed by our breath, 
Our hearts discern wild images of Death, 

Shadows and shoals that edge eternity. 

Howbeit athwart Death's imminent shade doth soar 
One Power than flow of stream or flight of dove, 
Sweeter to glide around, to brood above. 
Tell me, my heart, what angle-greeted door 
Or threshold of wing-winnowed threshing-floor 

Hath guest fire-fledged as thine, whose lord is love ? 



D. G. R.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 145 



THE LOVERS' WALK 

Sweet twining hedge-flowers wind-stirred in no wise 
On this June day ; and hand that clings in hand : 
Still glades ; and meeting faces scarcely fanned : 

An osier-odoured stream that draws the skies 

Deep to its heart ; and mirrored eyes in eyes : 
Fresh hourly wonder o'er the summer land 
Of light and cloud ; and two souls softly spanned 

With one o'erarching heaven of smiles and sighs : 

Even such their path, whose bodies lean unto 
Each other's visible sweetness amorously, 
Whose passionate hearts lean by Love's high decree 

Together on his heart for ever true, 

As the white-foaming firmamental blue 
Rests on the blue line of a foamless sea. 



THE DARK GLASS 

Not I myself know all my love for thee : 

How should I reach so far, who cannot weigh 
To-morrow's dower by gage of yesterday ? 

Shall birth, and death, and all dark voids that be 

As doors and windows bared to some loud sea, 

Lash deaf mine ears and blind my face with spray ; 
And shall my sense pierce love, the last relay 

And ultimate outpost of eternity ? 

Lo ! what am I to Love, the Lord of all ? 

One murmuring shell he gathers from the sand, 
One little heart-flame sheltered in his hand. 

Yet through thine eyes he grants me clearest call 

And veriest touch of powers primordial 
That any hour-girt life may understand. 

VOL. II L 



146 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 



HEART'S HAVEN 

Sometimes she is a child within mine arms, 

Cowering beneath dark wings that love must chase ; 

With still tears showering and averted face, 
Inexplicably filled with faint alarms : 
And oft from mine own spirit's hurtling harms 

I crave the refuge of her deep embrace, 

Against all ill the fortified strong place 
And sweet reserve of sovereign counter-charms. 

And Love, our light at night and shade at noon, 
Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away 
All shafts of shelterless, tumultuous day. 

Like the moon's growth, his face gleams through his tune ; 

And as soft waters warble to the moon, 
Our answering kisses chime one roundelay. 



THE CLOUD CONFINES 

The day is dark and the night 

To him that would search the heart ; 
No lips of cloud that will part 
Nor morning song in the light. 
Only, gazing alone, 
To him wild shadows are shown, 
Deep under deep unknown, 
And height above unknown height. 
Still we say as we go, 

" Strange to think by the way, 
Whatever there is to know, 
That shall we know one day." 

The Past is over and fled ; 

Named new, we name it the old ; 

Thereof some tale hath been told, 
But no word comes from the dead ; 



D. G. K.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 147 

Whether at all they be, 
Or whether as bond or free, 
Or whether they too were we, 
Or by what spell they have sped. 
Still we say as we go, 

" Strange to think by the way, 
Whatever there is to know, 

That shall we know one day." 

What of the heart of hate 

That beats in thy breast, O Time ? 
Red strife from the furthest prime 
And anguish of fierce debate ; 
War that shatters her slain, 
And peace that grinds them as grain, 
And eyes fixed ever in vain 
On the pitiless eyes of Fate. 
Still we say as we go, 

" Strange to think by the way, 
Whatever there is to know, 
That shall we know one day." 

What of the heart of love 

That bleeds in thy breast, O man ? 
Thy kisses snatched 'neath the ban 
Of fangs that mock them above ; 
Thy bells prolonged unto knells, 
Thy hope that a breath dispels, 
Thy bitter, forlorn farewells, 
And the empty echoes thereof. 
Still we say as we go, 

" Strange to think by the way, 
Whatever there is to know, 
That shall we know one day." 

The sky leans dumb on the sea 

Aweary with all its wings ; 

And oh ! the song the sea sings 
Is dark everlastingly. 



148 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Our past is clean forgot, 
Our present is and is not, 
Our future's a sealed seed-plot, 
And what betwixt them are we ? 
Atoms that nought can sever 

From one world-circling will, 
To throb at its heart for ever, 

Yet never to know it still. 
gt& Augusi 1871. 

I must have been long in answering, for his 
next missive is nothing but this 

There's a Scotch correspondent named Scott 
Thinks a penny for postage a lot ; 

Books, verses, and letters 

Too good for his betters 
Cannot screw out an answer from Scott 

To this I answered 

It was not the penny or groat 

That stuck in the Scotchman's throat ; 

But, faith, he did lack 

Nutcrackers to crack 
Verses set his weak jaw on the rack. 

[It would appear from the next letter in the 
series that a long, letter about the said verses 
from the " Scotch correspondent " was on its way 
when the impatient remonstrance was penned. ED.] 

* 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (VI.) 

KELMSCOTT, 25^ August 1871. 

DEAREST W. B. I will generously consider our court 
of minstrelsy or bardic contest as closed with your re- 
joinder. I suppose you understood mine to have been 



ix D. G. R'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 149 

written and sent before receipt of your later communica- 
tions. 

I may as well enclose the cutting from Sunday Times, 
though I suppose you have most likely seen it, and it is 
hardly an exhaustive treatment of the subject. 

Many thanks for the Blake paper, which is full of 
interest. B.'s view about the flea is a muddle as far as 
expressed. One would suppose the figure, seen as you 
say, to be a sort of generic Eidolon of flea-hood, were 
it not for what the spectre is made to say of " I myself" 
as an individual. Perhaps it is not rightly reported by 
Varley. The etching is a valuable addition to Blake 
records, but I am uncertain whether you have rendered 
Milton's wife quite exactly. In yours there seems to 
me a certain soup con of Miss Boyd ! Can you or she see 
it ? Perhaps, however, this may exist in the original (if 
indeed in yours), though I did not notice it. 

I have read your Belgian book and find it thoroughly 
readable either for artist or layman. Your article on 
Leys takes, I think, quite the true view and is equal to 
its important theme. However, I am not sure that you 
dwell quite strongly enough on the fascination which L.'s 
intensity as antiquarian and colourist gives him even to 
the most ideal class of poetic minds, though, as you say, 
it be quite questionable whether there were any absolute 
poetry in his springs of action. I think you give Tadema 
his full dues, though perhaps not more. However, to 
many dii Minor es I think you are far too lenient, having, 
I fancy, a leaning towards Belgians because at any rate 
they are not Frenchmen. Your placing Portaels by the 
side of Delaroche seems to me something like treason, I 
must say, and to me the leading and crying characteristic 
of Mr. Van Lerius is such wretched badness that that not 
being first executed, critique of such minor merits as he 
may possess appears irrelevant. I fancy some of the 
best Belgians are unrepresented with you, but might at 
least have been referred to. There is a family of De 
Brackeleer, one member, at least, of which is quite a 



ISO WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

remarkable realistic colourist and character -painter, and 
the late International contained a landscape by Lamor- 
iniere which struck me, on a rather cursory glance, as 
the only good Belgian picture there. Lastly, I am much 
concerned to find that you have alluded in no way what- 
ever to Wiertz, whose works I never saw (with one large 
exception quite noteworthy enough to increase curiosity), 
but who, I am sure, must have been the greatest mental 
genius (except Lego in his very different walk) whom 
they have had yet. Your power of treating a critical 
subject lightly and yet thoroughly is as evident here as 
in the French volume. I am rather sorry, by the bye, 
that you have stated so positively that the death of Leys 
resulted from his alarm during a thunderstorm. I have 
heard this point spoken of by several who knew him and 
do not think it seems so certain, while it is a painful 
association one would wish away if possible. 

I am very sorry I did not send the Fraser and other 
papers before Wallis left you, but had stupidly forgotten 
that such was your motive in wishing their speedy return. 
Another happy man, after all, seems to be Allingham, for 
all his want of " success." Nothing but the most absolute 
calm and enjoyment of outside nature could account for 
so much gadding hither and thither on the soles of his 
two feet. Fancy carrying about grasses for hours and 
days from the field where Burns ploughed up a daisy. 
Good God ! if I found the daisy itself there, I would 
sooner swallow it than be troubled to carry it twenty 
yards. 

In what you say of my sonnets I agree absolutely 
as to principles and partially as to application. For 
instance, I quite think with you that the two sonnets you 
prefer are better than the other two for the reason given ; 
and I hardly ever do produce a sonnet except on some 
basis of special momentary emotion ; but I think there 
is another class admissible also and that is the only 
other I practise, viz. the class depending on a line or 
two clearly given you, you know not whence, and calling 



ix D. G. RSS LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 151 

up a sequence of ideas. This also is a just raison d'etre 
for a sonnet, and such are all mine when they do not in 
some sense belong to the " occasional " class. However, 
I cannot at all perceive that I have a habit of using 
images a second time, and think that any impression to 
that effect must result from hardly making due allowance 
for the general theme of the series. I do not know 
where you would find an instance in point, certainly it 
does not seem to me that there is any more than a 
generic likeness between the two called " The Dark Glass," 
" Through Death to Love," or any likeness in either to 
any sonnet previously written by me. Certainly there 
is a reference in both to love and death, but the keynote 
of one " Not I myself," etc., is a very special and 
quite individual theme, and I cannot see that the word 
" Glass " occurring in the title of the one and the body 
of the other is worth thinking about. What possible 
resemblance there can be between either of the other 
two and any former sonnet of mine I cannot conceive, 
though you seem to include these partially, if not so 
strongly, in the same objection. Moreover, Scotus, some 
of your verbal cruces remain quite dark to me. What 
particular fault can be found in the line " All shafts of 
shelterless, tumultuous day " I endeavour to trace but 
fail entirely ; also to discover the weak point in the 
last word of " Cloud confines," which is " still." Can 
it be that you think it might seem ambiguous with its 
synonym meaning quiet? Surely not. Your remarks 
on the sunset poem baffled me too moreover I seem 
to trace in the charge of being "fantastic" a covert form of 
the insidious " quaint." There, Scotus ! ! As for " Com- 
mandments," the three verses came into my head during 
a walk, and I think of carrying it further probably, only 
such like verses do not interest me much. I wish I 
could get some serious verse-writing done here, but begin 
to see that I shall not. In fact I cannot carry it on 
with painting to do also, at any rate not unless I am 
quite alone ; and I had some painting task -work to do, 



152 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

and have set about a little not task-work also ; and these 
have kept me from the other Muse, who, I believe, after 
all is my true mistress. I am painting a little portrait 
of Janey for a beautiful old frame I have, and am getting 
into the background the leading features of Kelmscott, 
the house, the picturesque old church, and the river- 
banks. I think it will be pretty. I have made chalk- 
drawings, too, of the kids and of their mamma. 

I am sorry you do not seem to see your way quite 
clearly about the Nativity at the old barn, but hope you 
will yet drop into it. I think you ought to do some 
painting again, for your own satisfaction above all, for I 
am sure when one has once got used to brush-work one 
cannot, somehow, do without it. I hope Miss Boyd is 
also at something, for I feel sure that her last efforts show 
great advance, and believe her to possess at least as much 
power in painting as any woman I know even the best. 
Brown wrote to me from the Dark Blue for a poem which 
he was to illustrate, and I sent him that " Holmscote " 
thing now called " Down Stream," which removes your 
just objection to title. 

The Stillmans are back and have brought me a 
Yankee Polly. Tell me if you want your loans (Mags, 
and Belgian book) back at once. With love Yours, 

D. G. R. 

I hope all this palaver doesn't look as if I did not 
value your opinion, which I assure you I set great store 
by, and only call in question because it sets me thinking. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (VII.) 

DEAR SCOTUS Your three Burns Sonnets 1 are such 
as only yourself could produce, in their tension of relish- 
ing reality with an effortless command of thought. I 
have no doubt they are the very best things ever written 
about Burns in verse, or in any prose but Carlyle's. The 
first yields perhaps a little too much to momentary mood 

1 The sonnets are given later on, p. 164. 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 153 

in its octave section, seeming a little hard to identify or 
localise, fresh and fine as it is. The last line of Sonnet 
I. must, I think, be altered. " I ween " is almost always a 
makeshift and moreover is essentially the same rhyme 
as " between." If the rest of the line remains as it is 
" now ours " will not do, will it, for sound ? " Made ours " 
might mend it perhaps. In II. the first line of the sextet 
seems to have a sing-song quality by the placing of the 
words " tares " and " years " ; the same is the case with 
the tallying sound of the first halves of lines 1 1 and 
1 2 ; and surely the rhyme " man " and " one " will not 
do except Scottice no pun meant ! Might line 1 2 run 

" Die autumn-sounds, and lo ! This man alone." 

Not so forcible of course, but I fear me an unavoidable 
compromise. " Years " and " whirr," with their tallies 
come ill together as a combination of rhymes (of course I 
do not suppose them meant to rhyme with each other), 
but this it seems necessary to let be. Sonnet III. seems 
as satisfactory in form as in sense. I would only myself 
prefer the omission of the first " it " and the break in 
line I ; and in my copy there is an oversight in line 13, 
" beats " for " beat." I really think it will be a serious 
matter for regret if you do not go over everything you 
have by you carefully and bring out a volume again. I 
am sure it would be worth your while in every way. 
What a monstrous event is the rejection of Lady Janet \ 
but published in a volume it would take its place at once 
I have no doubt at all. I hope these three sonnets are to 
set you going again. What a very strange event seems 
the fall of Kilkerran occurring just in this little nook of 
time since my visit. I have often thought of it and the 
strange water-whirl near it. 

Brown is doing the cut for my verses, and I wanted 
him to come here (en garqoii) for his background, but he 
seems not easy to move. 

We did not expect to hear again from Morris till his 
return, as the steamer which took him brought the first 



154 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

letter we got on its passage back, and no other steamer 
would come thence till the one by which he will return 
I believe about the 9th or loth. However, a few days 
ago a letter did come (entrusted to some Danish merchant- 
man sailing thence), and gave a very pleasant account, 
though not an elaborate one. He is enjoying himself 
thoroughly, finds the people so hospitable (when there are 
any) that his party has no lack of bearable provisions, 
and their rides consist of a cavalcade of no less than 
twenty-eight horses ! Tent-sleeping they do not suffer 
from at all even in cold weather, as the cold is thoroughly 
excluded. He has seen all kinds of localities connected 
with the Sagas. He took sketching materials, but does 
not say if he has used them. 

I have left no proper space to pulverise " criticasters " 
on behalf of my muse, so I will e'en leave her and them 
to their own respective devices. However, what do you 
think of this as a change in the last 4 lines of " Cloud 
Confines " ? 

Oh never from Thee to sever 
Who wast and shalt be and art, 

To throb at Thy heart for ever 
Yet never to know Thy heart. 

Does this not seem as if it meant a personal God ? I 
don't think it need do so. 

I've done no more verses (hardly) except to begin a 
long ballad about a Magic Crystal but I don't know 
when I may get it done. 

My best love to Miss Boyd as well as to yourself. The 
Woodchuck has the same but (at Chelsea) wots not of it. 
Stillman, I hear, has brought me a green parrot. Ever 
yours, D. G. R. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (VIII.) 

DEAREST SCOTUS " Cloud Confines " again ! One's 
" I " is obtrusive enough in this world at any rate. 

I don't go with your objection to the wind-up as 
contradictory. It is meant as the possible answer to the 



ix D. G. R:$ LETTERS FROM K ELM SCOTT 155 

question. I cannot suppose that any particle of life is 
extinguished, though its permanent individuality may be 
more than questionable. Absorption is not annihilation ; 
and it is even a real retributive future for the special atom 
of life to be re-embodied (if so it were) in a world which 
its own former ideality had helped to fashion for pain or 
pleasure. Such is the theory conjectured here. But I 
believe I am of opinion with you, perhaps, that it is best 
not to try to squeeze the expression of it into so small a 
space, but rather to leave the question quite unanswered. 
When I sent you the change, however, it was a thought 
of the moment, and I have since made it fit better : as 
thus 

(Last_/fo lines.) 

And what must our birthright be ? 
Oh, never from thee to sever, 

Thou Will that shalt be and art, 
To throb at thy heart for ever, 

Yet never to know thy heart. 

However, I now incline to reject this and adopt the 
other plan, only to wind up with the old refrain would 
hardly be either valuable or artistic. I should propose to 
end thus 

What words to say as we go ? 

What thoughts to think by the way ? 

What truth may there be to know ? 

And shall we know it one day? 

Now about your Burns Sonnets. 

I think your new last lines to Sonnet II. a great im- 
provement, and of course much better than my suggestion, 
which, I said, was but a poor one. However, you've not 
removed the " eyes " and " dies," making a false rhyme at 
equal intervals a great defect always, I think. Suppose 
we say " fails " for " dies." Since I wrote you last, a 
change for the first lines of Sonnet I. has occurred to me, 
which seems helpful in clearness, though it is rather 
venturesome to give it you. However, take it for what it 
may be worth 



156 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

" Out of the road, you ploughman clad in gray, 
With hosen knitted by your mother's hand ! " 
(Methinks I hear some magnates of the land,) 

" Stand from our carriage-wheels, you stop the way ! " 
Awed is he ? etc. 

P.S. If you want to make Sonnet I. perfect, here I 
come bothering again. The form of apostrophe adopted 
seems too long in sequence, and rather inconsequent to 
the ear, though not in reality. 

To me it would seem better if it merely said 

He keeps his happy way on foot between, etc. 
Cheeky all this, but never mind ! 

P.P. etc. 5. ! 

I almost forgot something. 

The Daily Telegraph (!) has put a notion in my head, 
by an article on lithography. I should like to try and 
lithograph myself that big picture of mine, and see if one 
could make anything fit for publication, and what would 
come of it. I mean on the scale and style somewhat of 
the French organ-player subject. If one could do some- 
thing of this sort with one's inventions (much the best 
quality I have as a painter) one might really get one's 
brain into print before one died, like Albert Du'rer, and 
moreover be freed perhaps from slavery to " patrons " 
while one lived. 

I fancy such a thing might be possible to my eyes if 
I could do it, but I always hear lithography cannot be 
done in England because of the climate or something or 
other. Do you know anything about it, or what is the 
best firm for printing such things? 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (IX.) 

KELMSCOTT, \yh September 1871. 

DEAREST W. B. I hope I shan't disgust you by 
saying that I miss the spirited start of Sonnet I. in your 
present version, though, of course, it elucidates the sense. 



ix D. G. R.'S LETTERS FROM K ELM SCOTT 157 

Moreover, the first line now seems of a Browningian 
ruggedness rather, and suggests a very rutty carriage-road. 
Also (alas !) I miss the original plan of bringing Burns 
and ourselves in contact in the last line. This seems a 
great loss. 

Morris only stayed a few days here, but is coming 
back. He has kept a diary in Iceland, but not for 
publication, and his stories (as far as I have heard) are 
not so funny as I hoped. The best is to the effect that 
Faulkner and Magnusson, at one hospitable mansion 
which they visited, had their breeches deferentially re- 
moved by the lady of the house on retiring to refresh 
themselves and prepare for dinner ! Of this national 
custom they had heard before starting, but it was only 
actually observed on this occasion. I do not know how 
Morris escaped, and he was silent on that point ; but I 
should think most likely the evident imminence of a 
defensive bootjack flying through the air may have caused 
his kind hostess to think twice about this time-honoured 
tradition in his case. He seems to have been much the 
best traveller of the four, though he declares now that he 
feels no yearning towards a second experience .of the 
same kind. One day he was here he went for a day's 
fishing in our punt, the chief result of which was a sketch 
I made, inscribed as follows : 

Enter Skald, moored in a punt, 
And Jacks and Tenches exeunt. 

And this seemed to be the course of events. 

My poem, " The Beryl Stone," has not a comic side, 
Scotus, or at least not an intentional one ; indeed it is so 
consumedly tragic that I have been obliged to modify the 
intended course of the catastrophe to avoid an unmanage- 
able heaping up of the agony. I have made a complete 
prose version beforehand, and so get on with it easily, 
and shall finish, I hope, before leaving here. I hope it is 
a good thing, but there is so much incident that it is 
necessarily much more of a regular narrative poem than is 
usual with me, and thus lacks the incisive concentration 



I 5 8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

of such a piece as " Sister Helen." I have had to make 
three Parts of it, though the whole will not, I hope, now 
exceed 150 five-line stanzas. I shall be glad to make it 
less if possible, as this, I think, should be the great aim 
of all poetry which has not absolutely epic proportions. 
Nor should these be undertaken at all if avoidable. 

Your suggestion about chiaroscuro engraving is one 
I should like to talk over. Two things sent me by 
Norton from Italy, and which I have stuck on my bed- 
room wall here, are, I think, of that class, done some 
hundred years ago perhaps. They are from Veronese 
and Tintoret, painters whom I have got to think simply 
detestable without their colour and handling. The 
Veronese is by an engraver named Jackson ; the Tintoret 
I suppose to be Italian. I presume the line part in such 
work is wood-engraving, is it not ? This at once calls in 
a hand not one's own, and I must confess the general 
effect seems to me wanting in depth and colour, though 
it might conceivably include both perhaps. 

I am delighted to hear of the progress of the Nativity 
subject, from which I shall expect real results, and sur- 
prised to hear that the Burns picture has actually been 
accomplished. Howell is at Northend, I believe, and has 
actually got his father with him at last, as I hear ! The 
Tademas will be lucky if they get the " Rainy Day," 
which, however, is rather an ominous wedding -present. 
The Portfolio you asked after is not worth sending, I 
think. With love to Miss Boyd, of whose work you tell 
me not, I am ever yours, D. G. R. 

P.S. Discontent again ! I think the " and " before 
" lo ! " in line 1 2, Sonnet II., is wanted. Could it not run : 

Of stream and hoppers hushed ; and lo ! this one, etc. ? 

In this letter we hear of his getting well on with 
his longest mystical poem, " The Beryl Stone," which, 
however, he does not send me any portion of; in 
fact he never showed an incomplete work in poetry. 



ix D. G. fi.'S LETTERS FROM KELM SCOTT 159 

It is to be observed that he has made a complete 
prose version beforehand, a plan that he now began 
to practise, to the ruin of his impulse and invention. 
The subject " Orchard Pits," which he had planned 
before his departure from Penkill, and which I saw 
reason to think would have turned out his finest 
imaginative Ballad Poem, was ruined by his making 
a similar prose version. This being done had the 
effect of crippling his powers. The instant I read 
this preliminary piece of work, I felt the poem itself 
would never follow. 

His idea of chiaroscuro prints was never tried. 
The things he mentions as being sent him by 
a Mr. Norton from Italy were detestable perform- 
ances : attempts to revive the ancient chiaroscuros 
by early Germans and Italians, Da Carpi and many 
others, who, being themselves great artists, made 
admirable prints in a wild rough style of effect. All 
these I had among my collection, and still have 
many ; but Jackson was a very poor artist and his 
works are base. He tried his revival towards the 
middle of last century, and had some influence in 
rendering printed wall-papers the rival of stamped 
leather as interior humble decoration. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (X.) 

KELM SCOTT, Friday (1871). 

DEAR SCOTUS I have two only pieces of news I 
think ; let the worst come first 



Obiit Woodchuck 



160 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

I have really felt very sad about him, poor dear. 1 Don't 
ask details of his decease, for I know none. 

I really forget whether you or I be the epistolary 
debtor, but this news had to be told. The other news is 
that I have finished " Rose Mary," my magic poem three 
parts making 160 stanzas. I hope it's a good 'un. It's 
no good thinking of sending it you, being too long to 
copy, and I want the one I have moreover, shouldn't 
like to risk loss. It ought to have been done at Pen- 
kill, however, being a sort of Scotch or Border story. I 
found I could make it nothing else, though on this 
account I avoided setting about the long - delayed 
" Orchard Pits." I should like to do that and another 
now as soon as may be and then with smaller things 
might perhaps make a fair volume again. 

A brother Yankee sent me a queer account of Miller 
the other day cut from a New York paper. He seems to 
be known in the newspaper parlance as The Wild Byron 
of the Untrammelled Plains. Perhaps there's a deal of 
lying about him. 

I shall have to get back soon now, with less painting 
done than I hoped, as the poem clawed hold of me and 
had to be done. I hope your picture gets on. 

Let's have a line from you. You're owing it now, 
whether or not you were before. Ever yours, 

D. G. R. 

Hiiffer has come to be our neighbour at 1 1 Cheyne 
Walk. He wrote me that a Tauchnitz volume of my 
things is to appear. 

D. G. R. to W. B. S. (XI.) 

Monday (2nd October 1871). 

Here comes my last Kelmscott letter, Scotus, and 
I'm blowed if I haven't been a better correspondent than 

1 The Woodchuck was one of the many favourites D. G. R. in- 
dulged in keeping. It was a curious creature ; and should have 
lived for ever if the servants in his absence had attended to it. 



ix D. G. R:S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 161 

you have though I daresay I've done as much work too. 
I'm glad to hear you've got the barn painted, but view the 
proposal to leave it as barn simple, as a base one after my 
liberality in bestowing that splendid subject on you. 

I fancy I shall be in town certainly before you, though 
I can't say exactly what day I leave here. They are all 
at Euston Square again, and Wm.'s news of Christina is 
that she is now much in her average state of health and 
spirits. 

Morris has been here twice since his return, viz. for a 
few days at first, and just now for a week again. He is 
now back in London, and this place will be empty of all 
inmates by the end of this week, I think. M. has set to 
work with a will on a sort of masque called " Love is 
Enough," which he means to print as a moderate quarto, 
with woodcuts by Ned Jones and borders by himself, 
some of which he has done really very beautifully. 

The poem is, I think, at a higher point of execution 
perhaps than anything that he has done having a 
passionate lyric quality such as one found in his earliest 
work, and of course much more mature balance in carrying 
out. It will be a very fine work. 

Of course I'm leaving here just as I was getting into 
the poetic groove, and I know were I to stay I should have 
a volume ready by the end of another three months. 
But it may not be. My title of " Rose Mary " is a 
compounded name, dedicatory to the Virgin, quite possible 
enough and useful to my scheme. The poem is much 
more plain-sailing narrative, I think, than any of mine 
hitherto; but one must not forget that when Browning 
finished "Sordello," he wrote to his friends from Italy that 
now at any rate he had done something which his worst 
enemies could not call obscure. 

I see by advertisements I figure as the first victim in a 
series (I presume) under the title of the " Fleshly School 
of Poetry " l in the Contemporary Review for October, but 

1 This was the first notice of the blow that nearly lost him his 
life. Byron's impudent couplet 

VOL. II M 



162 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

haven't seen it yet. Brown's drawing to my verses 
(stanza i) in the Dark Blue is a very fine one, I think 
two indeed there are, and the minor one (stanza 4) also is 
very nice. You ask me about America. My vol. was 
printed there at once, and I received through the publishers 
many reviews some enthusiastic, others sulky or dis- 
paraging. All the author's percentage they have sent me 
is a beggarly 20* and I don't believe the thing has had 
a popular success there. 

Did you see in the Pall Mall Gazette a letter about a 
Communalist Benevolent Society in London ? It interested 
me, as they seem really, poor fellows, to be helping each 
other in a very bad plight, and I sent a subscription to 
Colvin, asking him to get it conveyed through the Pall 
Mall, but have not heard from him. Poor old Courbet's 
escape was satisfactory, though after all it seems probable 
he may be stripped of all he possesses, being the only one, 
it seems, with any money to meet the joint liability of the 
prisoners for their expenses. It put me in a great rage 
all along to see the contempt with which this really 
meritorious man was treated by the press, as contrasted 
with the excitement about everything concerning so paltry 
an adventurer as * 

I have read several of Scott's novels here, and been 
surprised both at their usual melodramatic absurdities of 
plot and their astounding command of character in the 
personages by whom all these improbabilities are enacted. 

Strange that the soul, that very fiery particle, 
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article 

has been entirely denied as applied to Keats. There can be no 
doubt of its truth applied to D. G. R. He was saved from immed- 
iate death by Professor Marshall, but he never recovered his mental 
balance, even such as it had been for many years before. 

1 This puts me in mind of Emerson's answer, when I asked him 
on his last visit to England (he called twice on me at Chelsea) why 
the Americans had not taken to Rossetti as a poet. His answer 
included Christina's poetry as well, and showed the keenness of his 
critical incision. " Yes ; we scarcely take to the Rossetti poetry ; 
it does not come home to us ; it is exotic ; but we like Christina's 
religious pieces." 



ix D. G. R.'S LETTERS FROM KELMSCOTT 163 

The novels are wonderful works with all their faults. 
Guy Mannering and St. Ronaris Well neither of which 
I knew before delighted me extremely. Another I read 
is the Fair Maid of Perth, which is on a level with the 
Victoria Drama in some respects, but in some points of 
conception and vivid reality in parts can only be compared 
to the greatest imaginative works existing. 

I am sorry Miss Boyd is not to return with you, as it 
will thus be some time before we benefit by the society 
of Hiiffer, Boyce, or our old friend Tacitus. Will you 
give her my love and believe me your affectionate 

GABRIEL. 

P.S. I hear through William that the proposal to 
move our father's remains being negatived by my mother's 
objections, a memorial is to be erected to him in Santa 
Croce, Florence. 

And so the one-sided correspondence ends. I 
may, however, make a finale by quoting a distich on 
his poor lost friend the Woodclmck, which I have 
somehow preserved, while losing the leaf of his last 
letter on which it must have been written. The 
title " Parted Love " is chaff directed to my Sonnets 
so called, which he held to the highest honour of 
any poems I had ever done. 

PARTED LOVE! 

Oh, how the family affections combat 
Within this heart, and each hour flings a bomb at 
My burning soul ; neither from owl nor from bat 
Can peace be to me now I've lost my Wombat ! 

But since I have given Rossetti's complimentary 
opinion as well as persevering criticism, showing 
both the fulness of his expression of friendly and 



1 64 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

favourable verdict, and his willingness to aid with 
advice, I think it necessary to give the reader the 
Sonnets about Burns themselves, that he may 
satisfy himself regarding the works calling forth so 
much notice from the author of such great per- 
formances as the "White Ship," and the "King's 
Tragedy." 

THREE SONNETS 

ON VISITING BURNS'S COTTAGE AND MONUMENT 

I 

" You Ayrshire ploughman clad in homespun gray, 
And hosen knitted by your mother's hand 
(Methinks I hear some magnate of the land, 
Loitering upon fashion's smooth highway), 
" Step out and sing to pass our time away. 

We'll call thee Phoebus in his shepherd trim, 
Or eastern Bacchus with the wine in him. 
Your song is done ? Good-night then, do not stay ! " 

But why now think of him except between 

The plough shafts, or with seed-corn in the spring, 

Or by his native streams with loves unseen, 
Or where autumnal flowering hedgerows bring 
Odours and bees, and reaping lasses sing, 

Whose brows now wear his myrtle ever green ? 

II 

This is the cottage room as 'twas of old : 

The window four small panes, and in the wall 
The box-bed, where the first daylight did fall 
Upon their new-born infant's narrow fold 
And poor, when times were hard and winds were cold, 



ix SONNETS ON BURNS 165 

As they were still with him. Lo ! now close by 
Above Corinthian columns mounted high 
The old Athenian Tripod shines in gold ! 

The lumbering carriages of these dull years 

Have passed away : their dust has ceased to whirr 

About the footsore : silent to our ears 

Is that maelstrom of Scottish men ; this son 
Of all that age we count the kingliest one : 

Such is Time's justice, Time the harvester. 



Ill 



Could we but see the Future ere it comes, 
As gods must see effects in causes hid, 
How calmly could we wait till we were bid ! 

Heroes would hear triumphal far-off drums, 

Would see fame's splendours ere the threads and 
thrums 

Had formed it in to-morrow's living loom ; 

Would feel the honours round the marble tomb 
O'er the black fosse in which this life succumbs. 

If it were so ! but wiser fates take care 

That it is not so : passing mists and storm, 
The sunlight and the drifting clouds all form 
A rent but triple veil 'gainst which the wings 
Of crimson passion beat, a lock-fast gare, 
Where, blinded nightingale, the poet sings. 

It may be naturally asked why I did not print 
these three sonnets, which had received so much 
approbation from the greatest of our circle, and from 
others. The answer requires a little explanation. 
In my estimate of the poet's true mission in this 



166 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

world, I hold that whatever he says should be the 
vital truth in relation to the thing mentioned, man 
or fact in story or nature, and I had come to the 
conclusion that Burns's moral nature disqualified 
him in my mind from receiving such eulogium. 
Poetry without this absolutely critical sincerity and 
truth may be beautiful, but its beauty is to me not 
charming but offensive. It is as a Cyprian, to be 
relegated to shores of Paphos and left there. At 
this very time I had been engaged to edit the poetry 
of the Ayrshire bard, to edit and illustrate, a task which 
occupied a goodly share of study. This edition was 
never published, although paid for by my publisher, 
but it brought me into intimate correspondence with 
Mr. Scott Douglas of Edinburgh, among others who 
had dedicated themselves to the most elaborate and 
careful examination of successive actions in the life 
of the poet. Mr. Scott Douglas's subject was the 
hitherto-considered lovely idyll of the swearing fealty 
across the running stream, and giving Mary the 
Bible with the same oath inscribed in it. By the 
dates of various incidents and letters, Mr. Scott 
Douglas established beyond doubt that Burns, im- 
mediately on Mary's leaving the neighbourhood to 
visit her relatives before her expected marriage, 
made up his old intimacy with Jean Armour. Had 
Mary not died on her journey to meet him again, 
she would have found his oath gone to the winds, 
and Burns already married. The Bible may still be 
seen in the Mausoleum at Dumfries, but with the 
inscription carefully pasted over by the family of the 



ix SONNETS ON BURNS 167 

girl. This discovery with all its possibilities of 
treachery so disgusted me that I threw the sonnets 
aside ; only converting the last of the three into a 
celebration of Keats, who died with the belief that 
he had written in water ! l 

1 [Sonnet II., however, was published in The Poet's Harvest 
Home, 1882, among the sonnets " Of Poets," p. 125. ED.] 



CHAPTER X 

1872 ROSSETTl's ILLNESS STOBHALL 

OCTOBER of 1871 having begun and ended, all of us 
had returned to Cheyne Walk. D. G. R.'s vigour in 
all things, painting, poetry, and letter-writing the 
tone of the latter showing a healthy elasticity he 
had left never to find again. We recommenced our 
whist, sometimes with Boyce or H Offer, and some- 
times by ourselves with our classical friend Quartus 
Tacitus, but the article in the Contemporary, referred 
to in his last letter, was to him like a slow poison, 
till at last he could not follow the game, and used 
to throw down his cards. 

A few words about ourselves. Miss Boyd had 
become heiress to a large share in a vast ironwork, 
and to a considerable share in the Tyne Main coal- 
mine. One of these great commercial undertakings 
became overhead in debt, cut out by other better- 
located iron companies, when none of them were 
very remunerative, and the water came into the 
Tyne Main pit ! Whether the ancient family place 
would be lost to her was hanging in the balance, 
yet she showed no anxiety, but, like a heroine 



CHAP, x D. G. ROSSETTPS ILLNESS 169 

determined to meet her fate without closing her 
eyes, she waited the end; which was not so serious 
as it threatened to be. She had found, too, after 
her brother's death, that Penkill was mortgaged ! 
I mention these things, which are not properly 
within the compact with myself in writing these 
notes, just to show the contrast in the trio thus 
meeting together in the attempt to m#ke life pass 
pleasantly. One a lady able to/ bear herself 
equably on the verge of what she felt to be the 
greatest misfortune possible to befall her affairs ; 
another, the man thought by his world (myself 
among the number) one of the greatest geniuses of 
the age, visibly breaking down under the paltry 
infliction of "an article." The third, an old boy, 
making himself contented at last to be a pictor 
ignotus, a poet withotit recognition, during the span- 
long time of his journey in the world ; supported, it 
may be, by the belief that sooner or later, somehow 
or other, we all get some part of our deserts, and if 
we do not it matters little. I was, indeed, haunted 
by the consciousness of having missed my mark by 
following "all things by starts, and nothing long" 
a habit that had become necessary to me ; it was 
ruinous to me, in one way, but my salvation in 
another, assisting me in keeping up a naturally 
defective interest in life, and filling every moment 
with more than its due weight of occupation, my 
most efficient means of preventing the recurrent 
attacks of a species of nervous despair. This 
mental disease, although not mentioned before as 



170 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

far as I remember, had been all my life one of my 
most perplexing and dangerous enemies. I had 
gradually outlived it ; and now, much the oldest of 
the three, I was able to sympathise with and to 
assist both. 

Sir Henry Cole had committed to my hands a 
scheme for decorating the staircases to the two 
doors of the lecture theatre at the Museum of South 
Kensington. Had this been carried out it would, 
I believe, have affirmed my position in art, but the 
increase of the Museum made the accumulation of 
new objects swarm even up the staircases ; at least 
the fear of that delayed the work till funds had to 
be otherwise applied. The drawings in small were 
deposited in the archives of the Museum, but here 
is a tracing of my design for one of the doors, 
representing The Genius of Art recording names in 
a Libro d'Oro, and on the pilasters on either side 
the apple boughs of Knowledge, with the serpent 
round the stems, modelled and cast in metal. 
Among the literary work of the passing day I 
wrote a Christmas book on the Venetian School, 
and one on the Spanish, which Sir W. Stirling 
Maxwell kindly read over in proofs. Others fol- 
lowed, on English Sculptors ; English Landscape 
Painters ; Italian Masters, Lesser and Greater, etc. 
These were better than they deserved to be, and 
only made me feel that I was throwing my time 
away, and was in danger of looking like a literary 
hack ; so I did no more. When the scheme for paint- 
ings on the staircases collapsed, I said to Sir Henry 



D. G. ROSSETT1 171 



Cole how much I regretted the failure, adding that 
my chances somehow were always withdrawn. " Oh, 
we make our own chances," was his reply, which I 
have never forgotten, so true and yet so delusive, 
temperament having so much command over us. 
For myself the bias natural to me is to somnam- 
bulate, not to act ; never to play first fiddle, rather 
to pay him ; to reflect mainly, and to absorb amuse- 
ment from my surroundings and friends. 

At last midsummer of 1872 was drawing on. 
^B. had left us for Penkill, and I was looking 
forward to following her. One day I had some 
friends to dinner ; ten used to be my number, two 
or three times in the season before leaving town. 
On this particular day one of the friends was 
D. G. R. ; we were loitering about the drawing- 
room waiting for the latest man, who was Gabriel 
himself. At last we heard a tremendous peal at 
the bell, and knocking, a great noise ascended the 
stair, and he burst in upon us, shouting out the 
name of Robert Buchanan, who, it appeared, he 
had discovered to be the writer of the article in the 
Contemporary Review which was so distracting him. 
He was too excited to observe or to care who were 
present, and all the evening he continued unable to 
contain himself, or to avoid shouting out the name 
of his enemy. I was glad when the sitting came to 
an end, and one after another left with a private 
word of inquiry regarding Rossetti. From this 
time he occupied himself in composing a long reply, 
which he read over a hundred times, till the lives of 



172 WILL f AM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

his friends became too heavy to bear. But in a 
very few weeks the crisis came. 

One morning at an early hour W. M. R. came 
along to me now living at hand, at No. 92 in a 
desponding state of mind. He wished me to 
accompany him at once. Swallowing a cup of tea, 
we hurried to No. 16, and found our friend in a 
condition painful to witness. Professor Marshall, 
and Dr. Hake, whose verses Rossetti had so 
admired and assisted now doctoring his doctor in 
another art were there, and agreed that the patient 
must change his surroundings. Where was he to 
go ? Dr. Hake answered that question by offering 
to take him out with him to his house at Roe- 
hampton. A cab was brought at once ; we all 
thought it strange to see him so willing to go, but 
that night it was too evident he wanted to be 
secluded, and for three days he lay as one dead, 
and only by a treatment, invented for the moment 
by Professor Marshall, was he cured. But as I was 
only at Roehampton on one visit, not to him, but to 
William, who was made seriously ill by his brother's 
state, it does not fall to me to give any further 
account of my friend's sad condition, till it was 
determined that he was not to return to Chelsea, 
but that a further change of scene would be neces- 
sary, and I volunteered to be a second with young 
George Hake, to take charge of him. His new 
retirement was to be far off, at Stobhall, near 
Perth, the shooting and fishing quarters of William 
Graham, M.P. for Glasgow, his most efficient 



D. G. ROSSETTI 173 



friend, and the greatest admirer of his art. Brown 
and George Hake took him down, and when I was 
free to leave town, just two days after, I released 
the former and stayed with him there for three long 
weeks. 

The place where we lived, Stobhall, by the Tay 
near Perth, was, two centuries ago, one of the 
houses of the ancient family of the Drummonds, the 
head of which, the Duke of Perth, as the Jacobites 
called him, lost everything in the rebellion of 1715. 
It was originally a peel tower with a very un- 
common appendage, a chapel of the same early date 
as the tower ; and now it had one of the most 
charming old gardens I have ever seen, with Irish 
yews and hollies, trained by long years of careful 
shaping into straight columns 25 feet high, and roses 
almost reaching to the same height supported on 
poles. The part we lived in was more modern, but 
some of the small rooms in the early portion of the 
house were lovely in their rude but pure style. I 
painted a water-colour picture of the garden, and 
here is a sketch of a primitive fireplace, dated 1578, 
and recessed window in a small room. The chapel, 
I considered on careful examination, had been the 
earliest portion of the building. There is no other 
example of a peel or defensible square tower, incor- 
porated with which is a chapel, and in this case the 
chapel occupies the ground, and the house has 
been built partly over it. After a time, the larger 
dwelling-house in which we lived, with its gateway 
and causewayed courtyard, had been added. 



174 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



CHAP. 



Of our lives these melancholy weeks I shall 
say little. He could not take much walking 
exercise, a partial lameness or paralysis of one side 
having resulted from the days of unconsciousness 
during which he had remained rigidly in one con- 
strained position. He could not bear reading, nor 
would he join us in the old game. From all the 
letters I wrote at that time I make no extract. I 
have not hitherto used my own letters, the few I 
have access to, in this writing, and shall not do so 
now ; it would be too painful ; although, indeed, I 
cannot help feeling that his malady was unique- 
different from other maladies, as he himself was 
different from other men. His delusions had a 
fascination, like his personality. 

Meanwhile his brother William had been so 
prostrated by anxiety, loving Gabriel much and 
fearing him not a little, that F. M. Brown took all 
business matters out of his hand. Gabriel's affairs 
were alarmingly out of order, and it was thought 
proper to have all his pictures, finished or in progress, 
removed elsewhere. They were accordingly taken 
to my house, which was conveniently near, among 
them the large " Dante's Dream." The blue china 
which he had collected, partially but very in- 
adequately accounting for the exhaustion of his 
exchequer, was precipitately sold. This aesthetic 
passion, which would have excited the laughter of 
any other poet, except the most artificial man of the 
Hotel Rambouillet, if such gentlemen of the full- 
bottomed wig and the clouded cane can be called 



D. G. ROSSETTI 17 S 



poets, was still so strong upon him that when in a 
few months his amazing power of resuscitation 
brought him back to health, the loss of this china 
appeared to trouble him more than anything else ! 
Perhaps it might be that the disposal, without his 
knowledge, of this assemblage of pots and dishes 
proved to him how ill he had been, as he still con- 
tinued to assert that we were under delusions and not 
he himself, as to the number of his enemies, and it 
was difficult to make him own he had been ill at all. 

I have spoken of the amazing bodily power of 
recovery our friend showed ; week by week the 
cloud rose, and towards the end of September he 
insisted on leaving Scotland, and returning, not to 
Penkill, whither Miss Boyd had invited him, but to 
Kelmscott, which at that moment he could have all 
to himself. 

From there he wrote to me in the beginning of 
October. " Here I am, as well as ever I was in my 
life. I passed the greater part of yesterday with my 
mother and sisters at Euston Square, and came on 
here to-day. Even my lameness seems a little 
better the last few days, and my voice is itself again. 
Your character as a correspondent is entirely gone. 
Are you ever going to give me news of yourself 
again ? If I wanted to get possession of the large 
' Dante's Dream ' picture, now at your house, how am 
I to do so ?" This inquiry showed he had returned 
to painting again ! And so it was : I visited him, 
and found him hard at work, as if no break in the 
continuity of his habits had taken place ! Anxious 



176 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

for some medical news of him before I went to Kelms- 
cott, I wrote to Dr. Hake, and he answered that 
he heard very often of Rossetti, directly or indirectly, 
and found every account satisfactory in a high 
degree. " The past seems to be dwindling into a 
dream, and I cannot doubt but that it recurs to our 
gifted friend only in that light, though he will, to 
avoid a painful avowal, never return to the subject 
with his friends, and it is best perhaps that it 
should be treated as forgotten. His mind appears 
now to be in a state of healthy activity as regards 
painting, but I doubt if he will resume literature for 
some time to come, his poetry having produced him 
so painful an experience." 

I was at this time (as I have already said) much 
occupied on a new edition of Burns, both as editor 
and illustrator, and Mr. Scott Douglas of Edinburgh, 
kindly assisting me, among other things sent me an 
unpublished letter of Burns, so exuberant in its flowers 
of speech, I sent a copy to amuse Rossetti, fearing I 
should not be able to have it printed, and not being 
able at once to visit him. This letter of the Ayr- 
shire poet's delighted him immensely. He replies : 
" Many thanks for this wonderful epistle! to what 
Corinthian, Galatian, or other, seems not to be 
known. It is Burns himself for once, instead of 
Burns trying as usual in his letters to be Addison, 
Pope, or any one else. Is it really possible that such 
a document should not get into print? It stands 
out among the mass of his correspondence and should 
absolutely be in print. If you could only get a few 



x BURNS TO A INS LIE 177 

more such letters, your edition would supersede all 
other editions." Then he goes on to notice all the 
news of our friends current at the day, just as he 
used to do before his illness ! Colvin's success and 
F. M. Brown's unsuccess at the Cambridge election 
of the first Slade Fine Arts professorship, and his own 
extraordinary activity in painting, having begun his 
"Proserpine" five distinct times on five canvases, 
and having at last brought it nearly to a close, after 
infinite pains making it his "best picture." He has 
been reading Vasari, Benvenuto Cellini, and among 
new books Salammbo, "a mighty and altogether 
new kind of French abomination, very wonderful 
and unsufferable." Besides, he has got together all 
the necessary books for the purpose of translating 
and editing M. Angelo's poems, which he is to set 
about at once in the evenings. 

Here is this astounding letter of Burns's with an 

alteration : MAUCHLINE, id March 1788. 

MY DEAR AlNSLlE I have been through sore tribu- 
lation and under much buffeting of the wicked one since 
I came to this country. Jean I found banished like a 
martyr forlorn, destitute, and friendless all for the 
good cause. I have reconciled her to her fate ; I have 
reconciled her to her mother ; I have taken her a room ; 
I have taken her in my arms ; I have given her a 
mahogany bed ; I have given her a guinea, and I have 
kissed her till she rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory. But as I always am on every occasion I 
have been prudent and cautious to an astonishing degree. 
I swore her privately and solemnly never to attempt any 
claim upon me as a husband, even though anybody should 
try to persuade her she had such a claim, which she had 
not, either during my life or after my death. She did all 

VOL. II N 



1 78 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

this like a good girl, and I kissed her again with a 
thundering kiss. Oh, what a peacemaker that is ! It is 
the Mediator, the Guarantee, the Umpire, the Bond of 
Union, the Solemn League and Covenant, the Plenipoten- 
tiary, the Aaron's Rod, the Jacob's Staff, the Prophet 
Elisha's Pot of Oil, the Philosopher's Stone, the Horn of 
Plenty, and the Tree of Life between man and woman. 

To MR. ROBERT AINSLIE, at MR. S. MITCHELSON, W.S., 
CARUBBER'S CLOSE, EDINBURGH. 

When I did get down to Rossetti at Kelmscott 
the change upon him was a metamorphosis ; it was 
like a miracle ! A few months ago he was paralysed 
on one side of his body, and entirely out of his 
mind ; now he was perfectly well, painting better 
than ever, and talking with his old incision ! Young 
George Hake was still his wakeful attendant, though 
little necessary, and his father, the doctor himself, 
developing "the ideal" in solitude in the room 
below at the rate of about two lines a day. From 
the clearing away of breakfast there he sat by the 
fire, a pencil in one hand and a folded piece of 
paper in the other. On the table near him lay a 
little heap of other pieces of paper, his failures at 
the improvement of the same couplet in various 
transformations, sometimes expressing quite different 
meanings. The old gentleman in the character of a 
poet had interested all of us. He had retired from 
medicine determined to cultivate poetry. And he 
was really accomplishing his object by perseverance 
and determined study, utterly pooh-poohing the 
maxim that if a man has not made a good poem at 
twenty-five he never will. 



D. G. ROSSETTI i?9 



I was not sanguine in considering that my dear 
friend now looked back on his former state as dreams. 
They were still to him realities. But here I stop ; 
perhaps, indeed, finishing all I shall have to say of 
him. The habit of taking chloral for insomnia 
the origin of which or the time of its commencement 
I am ignorant of, but of which I observed nothing 
at Penkill in 1868 or 1869 is fondly credited with 
all his evils by some of his intimate friends. But 
these evils were in fitful activity very long ago, and 
were really the cause of his resorting to chloral 
not the effect of that in any w r ay. 

On the i Qth of April 1874 I received these 
words by post : " MY DEAR SCOTUS I am likely to 
be needing ^200 in a few days, and happen un- 
luckily at this moment to be run rather dry. Could 
you manage to lend it me ? and if so, to oblige me 
with a cheque at once ? " Knowing his affairs to be 
prosperous at the time, I could not view this request 
with composure. He was living quietly at Kelms- 
cott ; but I came to the conclusion that it was my 
duty as his friend to keep his mind easy. Accord- 
ingly by next post the cheque was despatched. By 
next again it came back to .me in a note, saying he 
had "just received some money, and he returned 
my cheque no less thankfully than if he had needed 
it." He had by that time lost nearly every old 
friend save myself; did he now suspect that I was 
among his enemies, and had he done this to try me ? 
I fear this semi-insane motive was the true one. 

A very short time after he suddenly left Kelms- 



i8o WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

cott for altogether, having got into a foundationless 
quarrel with some anglers by the river, unnecessary 
to describe. He sent for me. I found him quiet 
and taciturn ; he only said the change would do him 
good. From that time till now that I write this he 
has lived within the house, never going even into 
the street, never seeing any one. Holman Hunt, 
Woolner, and other artists had left him long ago ; 
now Swinburne and Morris were not to be seen 
there. Even Dr. Hake deserted him, feeling 
aggrieved by his patient and long-suffering son 
George having been driven away after several years' 
sacrifice. The old doctor would see him no more. 
Before his worst attack, a few days before Hake 
took him out to his house at Roehampton, Brown- 
ing had sent him Fifine at the Fair, which obscure 
performance greatly aggravated Rossetti's state of 
mind ; he believed it was entirely written about 
him, and against him, all the innuendoes and in- 
sinuations being aimed at him ! Browning, as his 
manner was, had never acknowledged Rossetti's 
presentation copy of his poems, and now this con- 
firmed him to be among the enemies. What did the 
book mean if it did not mean what Rossetti said ? 
And in truth none of us could say at once what 
Fifine at the Fair did mean ! Only two quite new 
men were now to be seen about him : one was 
William Sharp, a poet to be ; the other Theodore 
Watts, who, being professionally a lawyer, managed 
everything for him, and who was just then beginning 
to write criticisms in the weekly papers, so was 



D. G. ROSSETTI 181 



looked upon by poor D. G. R. as doubly important. 
Happily Watts has been invaluable since then in 
many ways : fascinated by Rossetti, ill as he was, and 
always ready and able to serve him. For myself, 
Rossetti had been the last of a succession of men I 
had loved and tried to make love me ; for each of 
them I could have given all but life, and I was 
again defeated by destiny. Equal candour and 
confidence he never had to give, but now his singular 
manias made ordinary friendly intercourse impossible 
to him. After having been both his banker and his 
nurse I could not depend upon him either in action 
or word. Still I remained faithful to the old tie, 
and Miss Boyd agreed in doing so also. We con- 
tinued our occasional visits, either morning or even- 
ing, the only two of all his old circle. 



CHAPTER XI 

1873 MY LAST VISIT TO ITALY DR. FRANZ HUEFFER 

F. M. BROWN 

BY 1873 our permanent settlement at Chelsea had 
attained to a tolerably perfect state of furnishing, 
and in that year I was for the first time appointed to 
assist in the examination of the annual works of 
Schools of Art at South Kensington. William 
Rossetti had recovered his composure of mind ; all 
seemed settled into serenity. It was the time for a 
long holiday. William and I arranged for a visit to 
Rome by Genoa and Pisa, to take with us Miss 
Boyd (who had overcome the danger of having to 
part with her family place) and my wife. Neither 
of the ladies had hitherto been across the Alps. We 
proposed to go by Pisa, and return by Venice and 
St. Gothard. At the last moment F. M. Brown's 
daughter Lucy was added to our party, and our 
expedition had a pleasant sequel in a wedding 
celebrated soon after our return. 

F. M. Brown was one of the few men of genius 
I knew, and I may here record some particulars of 
another addition to his family circle. To do this I 



CHAP, xi F. HUEFFER 183 

must go back a year or two and introduce an amiable 
and a very charming man with all the talents of the 
tlite of his native country Germany, who appeared 
just then in Brown's circle ; universally learned and 
able in languages, yet unpretentious, and even re- 
gretting the ability to think in several tongues as a 
disadvantage, the habit being a distraction to a 
literary composer. He had also some of the defects 
of the German nature, at least as we think of it. 
With the determination of critical thoroughness he 
was lazy beyond any one I had ever known. Franz 
Hueffer was a youth of twenty-five, but being un- 
seasonably stout and unseasonably bald, he looked 
like double his age ; and when he made love to 
Brown's second and handsome daughter Cathy, who 
was in mind as well as body like a child, there 
seemed a little discrepancy in the intended union. 
However, he persevered, and feeling that he should 
have a profession he began his literary career. I 
tried to help him through my friend, Mr. William 
Longman. But he could not settle himself to the 
continuous hard work of writing a book ; his mind 
was too much in suspense, and he became the most 
fidgety of white elephants. 

Yet it happened that at that moment he rushed 
in upon me visibly in the happiest frame of mind, 
reporting that he had got an offer of a kind quite to 
his mind in his then happy state an offer quite to 
his taste, which was this: he was to have ^150 a 
year for doing nothing! His knowledge of both 
classic and modern languages was coming good to 



1 84 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

him ; it had helped him to this ! though, alas ! it 
did not help him to an understanding of London 
literary life or business. I found on inquiry that he 
had been offered a directorship in the management 
of a new company. A number of literary men had 
bought the plant of a great printing-office, and 
formed themselves into a board of directors, with 
salaries of the sum named, and had invited him to 
join them, only he must sign the deed of transfer. 
I advised him to examine the whole matter first, 
but he repudiated that troublesome preliminary. 
They wanted some other good names on their pro- 
spectus ; would I join ? 

I agreed at once ; we sallied out to make in- 
quiries. We went first to the great printing-office, 
which we found shut up under sequestration of bank- 
ruptcy ; then to my bank, finding it to be the same 
named on their printed circular, which I produced to 
the manager. Here I found the new company had 
been warned not to use the name of the bank till 
further proof of validity ! " Now," said I to him, 
"let's go to the meeting (the meeting whereat the 
deed of transfer was to be signed) if you are not yet 
satisfied." Thither we went, to find the men who 
were to have ^"150 a year for doing nothing 
anxiously waiting in the empty office of a solicitor in 
Chancery Lane. I could scarcely believe my senses 
when I saw Hueffer taking the pen in hand to sign ; 
however, I immediately took the odious duty of re- 
porting where we had been, and what we had seen 
and heard, and got him away. Even then he was 



F. HUEFFER 185 



inclined to continue in the delusion that I had stood 
in his way to fortune. 

I left to go down to Stobhall to take charge of 
my sick friend when his wedding came off. Here is 
the intimation of the happy occasion : 

FAIR LAWN, LOWER MERTON, 
T,oth Augtist 1872. 

MY DEAR SCOTUS The above legend, simple as it 
may appear to the eye at first glance, is for me the symbol 
of a sea of past troubles and tribulations. I daresay you 
know what it is to hunt after a house for more than a 
fortnight, and afterwards to furnish it ; but you are 
luckily unaware of the unmitigated misery this idea con- 
veys to a man who hitherto has not cared to know the 
difference between one piece of furniture and another. 
However ! I have at last got landed in a delightful little 
cottage surrounded by countrified simplicities, and I hope 
the spare bedroom which, by the way, has a delightful 
view will soon shelter the illustrious sage, poet, and 
painter. What a pity you can't come to the wedding, my 
dearest Scotus. I shall miss you tremendously, as I have 
always considered you as my dearest friend. 

So I am going to be " spliced " next Tuesday, and 
offer my bachelor liberty on the shrine of matrimony, as 
they say. I wonder what this clerical operation will feel 
like, which is to open the gates of happiness for life. 
Upon the whole, I am mystified, and much more happy 
and contented than Schopenhauer would approve of. But 
I still see distinctly that the grand foundation of matri- 
monial happiness is the principle of keeping the pot boiling, 
and with that view have enclosed the accompanying letter 
[here follow some business particulars]. Goodbye, dear 
Scotus. With kind regards to the fair chatelaine of Penkill, 
I am ever your devoted friend, F. HUEFFER. 

A little while after his honeymoon only four 
months after our escape from getting ^150 a year 



1 86 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

for doing nothing reading the Daily News one idle 
morning, I fortunately observed the names of the 
directors of the proposed company we had met at 
that seductive gathering in Chancery Lane, in the 
police reports. It was a case of a dozen starving 
compositors and pressmen having the board of 
directors of a new printing company before the 
Marylebone magistrate for non-payment of wages ! 
What made it more perfect was that the sitting 
magistrate asked the lawyer for an explanation. "Is 
it," he asked, " that these directors divide the profits 
among themselves ? " whereon the attorney answered 
" that he could assure his honour that not one of the 
directors had received a penny ! " I posted the 
paper to my friend Hueffer, with some chaff and a 
little advice, and here is his acknowledgment in the 
same spirit. At the same moment I received a letter 
from the Secretary of the Newcastle Literary Society, 
complaining that he had never answered an invita- 
tion to lecture there ! 

DEAREST SCOTUS You have actually managed to 
bring forward in the three pages of your letter three dis- 
tinct charges against poor me (i) Imprudence; (2) Un- 
punctuality ; (3) Neglect in answering letter. Your 
mixing up with this broth of defamation a monstrous 
amount of self-praise is, of course, in keeping with the tone 
of your letter, and your character in general, is it not ? I 
have succeeded in cramming the essence of my indigna- 
tion into the following verses, which I hope will silence you 
for some time to come : 

There's a grumpy old Scotchman called Bell Scott, 
Who deserves to be roasting in hell's cot, 



F. HUEFFER 187 



So he would be, forsooth, 
But for Lucifer's tooth, 
Which shuns the tough morsel of Bell Scott. 

Perhaps you will think I have been assisted by some 
printer's devil of the " London Printing and Publishing 
Company" especially as I still send kindest regards. Even 
under the blast of your satire Your " blooming shrub," 

F. H. 

I enjoyed this fun of his, and asked him to dine 
with us on Christmas Day. In answer to the invita- 
tion arrived the following : 

DEAREST SCOTUS Ever so sorry we can't come and 
share your Christmas pudding, but the fact is, we have 
been engaged for a long time to eat our dinner en famille. 
Many thanks, also, for your forgiveness for my energetic 
utterances regarding his hellish majesty's dental faculties. 
I now subjoin another rhyme, which imperfectly expresses 
my later feelings : 

There's a darling old Scotchman called Scotus, 
Who, when fear and repentance had smote us, 

Has nobly forgiven 

Sure he would be in heaven, 
But that earth cannot spare that dear Scotus. 

The habit of making satirical rhymes like these 
was an outcome of the appearance of Lear's Book of 
Nonsense. D. G. R. began the habit with us, the 
difficulty of finding a rhyme for the name being often 
the sole inducement. Swinburne assisted him and 
all of us ; and every day for a year or two they used 
to fly about. The dearest friends and most intimate 
acquaintances came in for the severest treatment ; 
but as truth was the last thing intended though 
sometimes slyly implied nobody minded. Of course 



1 88 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

I came in for a few. When I at once lost all my 
hair after a severe illness, he began one : 

There's that foolish old Scotchman called Scott, 
Who thinks he has hair, but has not. 

Another about me has some sense in it ; indeed I 
adopted the second line in beginning to write these 
notes, now extended to so many pages : 

There's a foolish old Scotchman called Scotus, 
Most justly a Pictor ignotus, 

For what he best knew 

He never would do, 
This stubborn donkey called Scotus. 

This I revenged by the following on Gabriel him- 
self: 

There's a painter his friends call G , 

Whose pictures the public ne'er see ; 
If you want to know why, 
It's because he 's so shy 
To show how funny they be. 

The allusion to his determination never to exhibit 
did not please him ; but he made one on himself 
severe enough : 

There is a poor sneak called Rossetti, 
As a painter with many kicks met he 

With more as a man 

But sometimes he ran, 
And that saved the rump of Rossetti. 

Here is one on our dear learned friend Huffer, 
using a jocular pronunciation of the name current 
in our circle, which at last made him write his name 
Hueffer : 



xi F. MADOX BROWN 189 

There's a solid fat German called Huffer, 
Who at anything funny 's a duffer : 

To proclaim Schopenhauer 

From the top of a tower 
Will be the last effort of Huffer. 

One of the cleverest I remember was the 
following : 

There's the Irishman Arthur O'Shaughnessy, 
On the checkboard of poets a pawn is he, 

Though bishop or king 

Would be rather the thing 
To the fancy of Arthur O'Shaughnessy. 

My notice of our dear friend Franz Hueffer has 
led me into a vortex of the nonsense verses of that 
day which used to afford us much amusement at that 
time, and so into a digression. But, indeed, my 
whole manuscript is digressive, and sometimes far 
from progressive. 

To return to the family of Ford Madox Brown, 
of whom Hueffer was now a member. F. M. B. 
was one of the highest thinkers among the English 
artists, and one of the ablest painters ; he was, in 
spite of singular caprices, one of the leaders of the 
new school, and one much beloved by many of us. 
Much beloved by all within the charmed circle of 
the P.R.B., he was respected by all artists, and by 
the world at large, holding a high character, which, 
however, never brought him fortune nor even fame. 
I have already given D. G. R.'s account of his first 
introduction to Madox, the beginning of a life- 
long friendship ; but to make the reader understand 



190 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

further what manner of man he was, and why he 
was so late in life before taking the position in 
the art-world to which his powers entitled him, I 
shall relate another anecdote which comes into my 
memory at this moment. In doing so I am far 
from laughing at my friend, and indeed am conscious 
that I myself might be accused of very similar 
absurdities in moments of anger. Be that as it may, 
the anecdote was funny enough at the time. 

Mr. Cole, afterwards Sir Henry, was then finish- 
ing the central saloon of the S. K. Museum by filling 
the top niches with figures of great artists, including 
workmen deserving the distinction. Many of the 
artists employed were entirely unconnected with the 
department, and among others he invited Madox 
Brown to do one, selecting for him Julio Clovio 
the miniaturist. Calling on my own affairs a few 
days later, Mr. Cole asked if my friend Brown had 
gone out of his head. On my replying with some 
surprise, he placed in my hand a letter, which I saw 
immediately was in Brown's writing the absurdest 
thing of its kind I had ever seen. To make its 
absurdity understood, I must premise that the vast 
Department correspondence was, and probably is, 
facilitated by the use of a certain size (foolscap) 
paper, having printed on the top corners, right and 
left, forms containing a number appropriated to the 
document, and other directions to the correspondents 
all this being printed within ruled and ornamental 
square enclosures. 

F. M. B. had looked at this half-printed folio, 



xi F. MADOX BROWN 191 

and not finding it anything he understood at the 
first moment, became furious, read it wrong, and 
replied in a moment by cutting a piece out of an 
old drawing-sheet, making some grotesque scribbles 
in the top corners, which had struck Mr. Cole as 
examples of lunacy, filling the paper below with a 
refusal to do any such thing as celebrate any such 
fool as Julio Romano, and posted his reply at once. 
I was most curious to unravel the mystery, and 
took care not to be very long before calling on 
F. M. B., who seemed quite in his usual frame of 
mind. "My dear fellow," I said, "why did you 
repudiate the invitation to do one of the cartoons for 
the Museum ?" The explanation was just what I 
have given above, only he had mistaken the name, 
and thought they had selected for him, not Julio 
Clovio, but his pet hatred among Italian artists, who 
happened to be Julio Romano ! 



CHAPTER XII 

THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY, 1875 

SEVERAL new persons have been introduced to my 
little drama in these latter pages ; there are more 
to follow. Poetry was the speciality of them all. 
Poets in outward form are numerous nowadays, and 
the British Museum abounds with them, although 
verse-writing and publishing proclivities are per- 
emptorily discouraged by the heads of the depart- 
ments there. Twenty-five years ago I had met the 
single poet of the establishment, Coventry Patmore, 
and since then his single successor had been Richard 
Garnett. Now they were impatiently hiding their 
productions at every desk, poets with whom new 
forms were everything ; French verses, rondels, and 
rondeaux being the perfect thing with them; imagina- 
tion, knowledge of life, insight, and power of thought, 
the motive or sentiment, were very well, but not to 
be had, so not to be required. English heroic verse 
was presumed by them to be dead and buried ; ballad 
quatrains, blank, verse, and so forth, were all spoken 
of with contempt ; and Tennyson's line in a lately- 
published poem noting the danger to our poetical 



CHAP, xii THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY 193 

literature from the "poisonous honey brought from 
France," was the subject of mild but endless humour 
among them. 

The first of these to come in my way was E, W. 
Gosse, who introduced himself by a note so long ago 
as March 1870, on the publication of my Life and 
Works of Albert Dilrer a book good for the 
English public at the time, but now antiquated by 
the rapidly-developed Diirer literature in Germany, 
which has culminated in the thoroughly -studied 
Memoirs by Dr. Thausing. I had omitted to men- 
tion the pictures by Patinier, or rather never had 
observed them in the National Gallery, and my new 
correspondent pointed them out to me and asked 
me whom I thought they were by, as they had some- 
what attracted him, and he remembered a picture 
with this painter's name attached to it in some 
gallery at Antwerp. He apologised for trespassing 
on my time, but would be glad to hear from me. 
This note, dated from Tottenham, associated itself 
in my mind with an individual of the same name and 
address who had bought a picture by me from the 
Hogarth Club. The note of my new correspondent 
had all the aplomb of an amateur of long standing 
intimate with obscure early masters. It flashed 
into my mind that here was my old friend turning 
up again, and that perhaps he might be a purchaser 
once more. I accordingly invited him to call upon 
me some day to inspect my Dlirer's prints, of which 
I had already a formidable collection, and to talk 
over old German art. Instead of my former patron, 

VOL. II O 



194 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the portly gentleman of middle life, who should 
appear but a boy of nineteen ! We took to him, 
however. 

The next of the British Museum poets who came 
within my ken was Theodore Marzials, who had 
indeed published a volume, which he called The 
Gallery of Pigeons, half a year before, marked by 
surprising individuality and imaginative qualities, 
that ought to have given its author celebrity. 
Marzials had previously circulated as a pamphlet 
one of the poems in the volume called Passionate 
Dowsabella, which made us look for the coming 
book with curiosity. This was not disappointed. 
But he was of a restless, nervous nature, rushing 
into elevation or depression of spirits, and I have 
never ceased to regret that the reception his first 
volume met with has prevented him from persever- 
ing. Among discouraging letters D.G.R.'s seemed 
to have hurt him most. This letter passed through 
my hands, but I knew nothing of its contents till I 
had the following from Marzials : 

MY DEAR MR. SCOTT I have to thank you for so 
many things I hardly know with which to begin. Your 
truly kind and sympathetic letter about my book I need 
not tell you how much I value. And for sending me 
Rossetti's letter your intention has so flattered me, the 
deed could hardly have done it more. I mean " flattered" 
in the French sense delighted and gratified. I think I 
am right, or rather was right, in taking Rossetti's criticism 
as a great kindness, since I feel that what he says is true, 
that my book is crude and immature, and, what to my 
mind is worse, trivial. But I may say in confidence to 
yourself that when one considers how every reader of only 



xii THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY 195 

one line of mine becomes my critic and how very few, 
some half-dozen, perhaps there are in the world whose 
sympathy one can honestly care for sympathy for one's 
aim, I mean it is hard to lose it. Rossetti does not seem 
to see (by what he picks out to admire) what I am driv- 
ing at ; he praises my imitations, and not the mc y in the 
book. 

On asking D. G. R. what he had said in the letter 
that had so hurt a noble but eccentric man like 
Marzials, he was sorry for what he had written. 
"But," he added, "if work sent to me is weak, I 
prefer silence ; but if it is not, I take it the author 
can only wish for one's real opinion either way. I 
have since dipped into some of the poems again, 
with the same result as before, except that I have 
been even more struck with the daintiness and fancy 
of the last poem. It is so much more a whole than 
almost any of the others, that I should suppose it to 
be the last written. [This was a mistake, it was an 
early one.] I must say the first in the book seems 
about the worst of all quite irritating in its pettiness 
and absurdities." Unhappily, again, this was Mar- 
zials's last and best, according to his own ideas ; the 
one representing himself. It was full of surprising 
beauties, but expressed in the most wilful way. 
Rossetti's criticism was not perspicuous, though in a 
measure intelligent, resembling those on the appear- 
ance of Keats's poem Endymion, which Marzials's 
workmanship closely resembled. 

The third of the British Museum youths to be 
mentioned here, but really the eldest, the most 
accomplished, and the earliest lover of the Muses 



196 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

"the last shall be first"- is Arthur O'Shaughnessy, 
a man with the most sensitive temperament, and the 
strongest artistic faculty among them, though with 
less literary facility. He did not, however, touch 
one with any lively interest, although he had some 
surrounding of admirers, one of whom, Nettleship, 
an artist by determination, in spite of the lateness 
of his beginning, illustrated his friend's first volume 
with remarkable inventions showing distinct imagina- 
tive power. Nettleship had published a book on 
Browning's poetry, an enthusiastic eulogium, the 
first evidence that the difficulties of Browning's style 
and scheme of writing, as well as thinking, would at 
last tell in his favour. The first time I met Nettle- 
ship was by invitation, with others, to inspect a 
portfolio of his drawings, some of which were very 
extraordinary attempts to represent supernatural and 
^mrepresentable ideas. Two of these were life-size 
heads of the Jupiter Olympius type, with the mighty 
envelope of hair, only not adequately drawn ; one of 
these was smiling blandly, the other with great tears 
like solid marbles such as gods may shed only they 
never weep rolling down his cheeks from closed 
eyes. These were, he said in a jaunty, off-hand 
voice, "the Almighty rejoicing he had created the 
world, and the Almighty weeping over the existence 
of evil, despite himself." It was astounding to find 
a man drawn to apply himself to painting dealing 
with such subjects ; one could not resist respecting 
him, at the same time having to warn him off meta- 
physics, as Thornton Hunt warned myself when I 



xii THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY 197 

told him I was reading in that quasi-science, about 
the time I first visited his father. 

Nettleship's speciality was really wild animals. 
D. G. R. gave him a commission, paying him well 
beforehand ; but the way in which he performed it 
was as extraordinary as the drawings of the Creator, 
which I shrewdly guessed were inspired by the 
anthropomorphism of Blake. A year and a half 
after the commission was given a child of the 
" Marchioness " species left with Mr. Nettleship's 
compliments a roll of dirty paper cut into by the 
string that tied it and dog-eared at the corners a 
disreputable roll it appeared, for I was present when 
it happened to arrive. This being undone, disclosed 
to view a rude water-colour of two lions lashing 
about enormous tails and grinning at each other as 
if they were laughing presumably at D. G. R., who 
had commissioned the drawing. 

Another aspirant belonging to the O'Shaughnessy 
choir was John Payne, an able man in various ways, 
whose Gallicanism was as pronounced as that of 
the B. M. set. It was, however, independent of 
Swinburnian example and influence, his knowledge 
of early French poetry being as intimate as his 
acquaintance with Musset, Baudelaire, and others 
whose heavy odours charmed those young men who 
spent their innocent lives between the office desk in 
the B. M. and the quiet lodging in a neighbouring 
street. If they were not fast in practice they could 
at least be fast in literary tastes. Another jaunty 
tenet they all held was art for arfs sake ; what 



198 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

matters the sense, motive, or morals of a poem, if it 
is beautiful ? Art above everything ! One of them 
called the year of the Franco-German war (that war 
that changed the face of Europe, reversed the 
position of the two countries, ensured the independ- 
ence and unity of Italy, and broke the power of the 
Papacy) "the year when Regnault died." To 
return to Payne. I thought him at once one of those 
who develop. I do not mean that Payne will rise 
into the highest regions of poetry, but that he will 
show an intellectual advance through life, perhaps 
even of a surprising kind. 

Entirely unconnected with this coterie, if I may 
so call them, there came within my knowledge at 
this time several other men more worthy of a leaf 
of the laurel 

The rod of marvellous growth, the laurel bough. 

The first was perhaps Austin Dobson, in his 
nature one of the most amiable of men, and con- 
sequently most charming of friends. By a natural 
bias, however, giving himself up to the celebration 
of the eighteenth century, and to the writing of vers 
de socittt, he is sure not only of popularity, but of 
celebrity, every one of his little poems being so 
perfect of its kind. Another was Philip Bourke 
Marston, an able sonnet-writer ; a boy of the class 
we speak of as born to do some wonderful thing, 
had not Providence made him blind from his birth. 
But the more I mention, the more I ought to name. 
Verse-writing and the study of poetry, not only our 



xii THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY 199 

own of the beginning of the century, and of the 
generation now gradually passing away, but of the 
classic and the early poetry of the world, has spread 
rapidly of late years. The vast advance begun by 
Wordsworth and Coleridge, and varied by so many 
developments up to about 1825, has not ceased for 
a single year. My own contemporaries, the stars 
of the first magnitude among whom are so often 
mentioned in these pages, were and are much more 
learned than those leaders at the opening of the 
century, and now at the present writing, every little 
writer of verse is a more expert critic than any 
editor of a century ago. Imagine Coleridge in his 
early little book publishing a dozen sonnets or so 
under the name of Effusions and applying to Lloyd 
or to Charles Lamb for help to fill up his meagre 
volume. This increase of educated ability is indeed 
not confined to poetry, it has spread over all litera- 
ture, as every leader in every penny newspaper can 
prove ; but in other fields it is nearly unmixed gain, 
while in poetry the case is altogether different. The 
more knowing the aspirant is, the more imitative he 
is, and the less he depends on original powers, 
invention, and knowledge of life. The form becomes 
all-important to him, and there is no form of verse 
native or exotic, however artificial and silly, but it 
will find adherents, men or women who have nothing 
to say. This has therefore become the age of 
literary poets, every year giving out innumerable 
green i2mos, perfectly well done in the eyes of 
their authors, but without vitality or any raison 



200 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

d'etre. To be sympathetic human creatures with 
eyes in their heads and hearts in their bosoms, to do 
and to feel, to know something of the men and 
women about them, is not necessary to them. What 
is necessary is only to read and write ; reading and 
immediately writing is the amusement, and in great 
measure the work of all of us, and writing, with- 
out something urgently requiring to be said, ends 
in imitation, restoration, selection. The important 
question becomes, How is it to be done ? Is it to be 
a sonnet ? Is the verse to be anapaestic ? What 
will the schoolmaster say ? 

The ladies as yet have not come out so strongly 
in verse as might have been expected, considering 
the novel-writing powers they exhibit, but that may 
be because the publication of poems is not very 
remunerative ; still I know whole households com- 
peting with each other. A pretty sight, but not so 
safe as bezique to short tempers, nor so economical, 
if the desire to appeal to the public supervenes as it 
generally does, keeping up the large annual amount 
of money thrown to the printer's devil. 

In Dr. Lonsdale's honest little Life of Words- 
worth, in the fourth volume of the Worthies of 
Cumberland, we find him quoting a letter of the 
poet to Archdeacon Wrangham, wherein he says 
" he had not spent five shillings on new books for 
five years." How would our numerous decorative 
poets of 1879 get along under similar privations, 
being left, in short, to the imaginative faculties God 
has allotted them ? This cultivation from without 



xii THE RISING GENERATION IN POETRY 201 

has given us a new critical term, whereby to dis- 
tinguish classes, and we speak of the " Literary 
Poet," without the offence implied by the word 
poetaster. 

This popular extension of knowledge of the 
forms of poetry has another result, altogether satis- 
factory. If poets have become more numerous, 
their audience has still more greatly extended. The 
" Literary poet " is the professional critic, and a better 
informed auditory happily makes his verdict of less 
effect : the majority of his readers have or presume 
they have as much knowledge of the matter as he 
has himself. Thus we see The Light of Asia, and 
Lang's Helen of Troy, and other able works, have 
taken their important places without the presumptive 
help of dailies or weeklies, as far as I have observed, 
but simply from their intrinsic value. 



CHAPTER XIII 

MY POEMS PUBLISHED 1875 ALMA TADEMA MY 

DEDICATIO POSTICA 

FINDING an expectation on the part of my friends, 
old and new, that I would print my poems old and 
new, and so give some evidence of my powers, 
little or great, in that now so popular art and mystery, 
I began to think such a thing reasonable. The 
younger men knew me only by hearsay as a poet at 
all, so I began preparing the book ultimately issued 
in the beginning of 1875, illustrated by AlmaTadema 
and myself. I find in a letter from D. G. R., about 
the end of 1873, so m e allusion to this intended publi- 
cation. What I tell him of my present stagnation 
surprises him, he says, as he has always been used 
to view me as beating him hollow in constant 
occupation, which is much less his plan of work 
than mine. However, he thinks something is coming 
of it before long. 

At any rate such a moment is the very one for such 
a piece of work as doing justice to your poetical chances 
once for all ; thus a moment when regular occupation 
is slackened may be made quite as seriously serviceable 
as any other to the mass of your life's productiveness. I 



CHAP, xin 1875 VOLUME OF POEMS 203 

think there is no doubt whatever that the thing to do is 
to collect old and new poems together. As to vignettes, 
the plan you name is much the prettiest as in those 
Stothard and Turner books of Rogers's, and would really 
be worth doing, but liable to delay matters perhaps. I 
think there is nothing so uncomfortable as thick separate 
plates in a book of poetry, which should be easy handling. 
That last splendid ballad {Lady Janet May Jean] should 
not lie idle, but should be got out. It should, I think, 
stand first in your volume, unless you think some pleasanter 
subject more attractive to open with. 

Having amused myself by preparing some 
designs, I held by the intention to publish my poems 
as an illustrated book. This was, I am sorry to say, 
a mistake, as it narrowed the number of buyers very 
certainly, and changed their character. However, 
having set my affections on making a set of small 
etchings, I once more missed my aim, lured away 
by another fancy. These etchings I finished in the 
studio at Penkill in the summer of '74, when Tadema 
and his wife, the amiable Laura, joined our party. 
He was a little hipped with hard work, and wanted 
repose, which he found in The Old Scotch House 
and its glen and garden. I had brought down with 
me sixteen little plates, and was etching the first 
one when he arrived and made his first appearance 
in our new studio, when he offered to do some if I 
would help him in the technique, in which I had 
already in London given him a forenoon's lesson. 
He went into the task in the most friendly spirit, 
working in his impetuous way while I sat with him 
revising the text, and Laura made pen-and-ink 
sketches of us. He did his best, but partly by being 



204 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

new to the process, and partly by a difficulty in 
understanding poetry in English, and to say the 
truth, I was never sure that he quite made out what 
any of the poems was about, his aid was not so 
efficient as it might have been ; and alas, my amiable 
critics attributed the appearance of that highly 
popular artist in my book to a desire on my part to 
bolster up my now inadequate powers of pleasing. 
At the eleventh hour also I conceived the idea of 
making the book record my attachment to the three 
friends with whom I had been for some years most 
intimate, and with whose poetical successes I had 
most sympathy ; and to do this I added a dedicatory 
sonnet at the end, inscribed to Swinburne, Rossetti, 
and Morris, which was similarly interpreted. To say 
the truth, I printed this sonnet in a purely friendly spirit, 
and not by any means to imply any inferiority either 
poetically or socially, but to express the fact that I 
had published nothing for upwards of twenty years. 
But it pleased my critics to understand it differently. 
The helpful Tadema was not long about his 
friendly aid ; his health, too, was quickly restored, 
and he became the loudest and most overpowering 
of housemates. It was of as little use to protest 
against his robustness as to advise him about his 
designs ; his vigour became boundless, and his good 
humour endless. He was up long before anybody 
else in the house, was heard struggling with the 
great door, and after a cessation of all sound for half 
an hour or so, during which he had had a bath 
under a waterfall twenty feet high, his voice was 



xiii ALMA TADEMA 205 

heard calling on his wife and every other person to 
look alive. I suppose this was his habit at home. 
In the evening we finished up by whist, which he 
now played for the first time in his life, though he soon 
began to lay down the law to the others, who knew 
the game pretty well. He made a number of rapid 
little pictures, leaving a space for the figure which 
was to give them value ; and the certainty of hand 
so exhibited, and the unerring instinct, were delightful 
to see. 

I call it instinct, because Tadema really does 
fortunate things in his works without consciously 
intending them beforehand. Such is the artist by 
nature, nascitur non fit, endowed with another sense 
as it were. A sound mind in a sound body, troubled 
by no metaphysic, believing in no intellect or more 
soul than can look out of the actor's eyes, he is the 
most successful man in the world, and in some sense 
the happiest. A functionary for all the world and 
for all times alike is the painter, the giver of pleasure 
to those to whom thinking is repulsive. This sphere, 
that of representing life by externals, is narrowed 
the more our education advances. The more scien- 
tific and analytical our education becomes, common 
life conforms the more to great regularity of habit, 
rejecting on the one hand ideals, on the other 
picturesqueness, in both of which the painter 
delights. These are left at last to him to deal with 
only on canvas. 

When the Tademas left Penkill, Miss Boyd and 
I accompanied them to Edinburgh. He was greatly 



206 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

pleased with some of the pictures in the National 
Gallery there, especially those by living artists of 
the Scottish School. Noel Paton's " Oberon and 
Titania," and George Harvey's " Columbus," on the 
first sight of the New Continent at the moment of 
revolt among his marines, pleased him immensely. 
This last picture represented Columbus, not as a 
splendid, heroical Guy, but as buff-coated manhood, 
hardy enough for anything. Sir G. Harvey was 
one of my oldest friends, and Sir Noel Paton one of 
my newest, so we called upon both. The first was 
then President of the R. S. A. We found him 
broken down by long illness, but still genial and 
pleasant ; the other was absent from town. We 
also visited James Ballantine, who had sat beside me 
drawing from the antique forty-five years ago, and 
who had also attained now an ample material success, 
visible in the carriage standing at his door, in which 
he had just returned from church, the day being 
Sunday. When I introduced Tadema, it was evident 
Ballantine had never heard of him, which made the 
visit not so great a success as it might have been, 
but this faux pas over, we stayed and lunched, the 
addition of four guests not incommoding the ample 
family table. These two visits I was afterwards truly 
glad to have accomplished, if even in an accidental 
way ; very shortly afterwards both of my old friends 
died. Both of them were men, not simulacra of 
men ; they had taken a strong grip of life as well as 
of art in their several ways. Harvey's Covenanter 
pictures showed his conscientious sympathies, and 



ALMA TADEMA 207 



opened a new page of history which his audience 
throughout Scotland thoroughly rejoiced in ; and 
Ballantine, in the Gaberhmzies Wallet, which Lord 
Cockburn says in his Life of Jeffrey, " Robert Burns 
would not have been anxious to disown," added to 
the literature of the country. 

We parted from Tadema and his dear wife at 
the railway, they taking their places to Newcastle to 
visit my friend, James Leathart, and see his collec- 
tion, and we returning to Penkill. The next day 
took place that singular dynamite explosion on board 
a boat on the Regent's Canal opposite their house. 
The boat was lying under a stone bridge, which was 
blown utterly out of existence, and the line of houses, 
of which Tadema's was one, were all more or less 
wrecked and shattered. This , house had employed 
his powers of ornament for a number of years, and 
had gradually been transformed from an ordinary 
citizen's habitation into a sort of miniature palace, or if 
you like it better, a " make-up of trumpery," as G. E. 
Street characterised it when called into consultation 
as to its repair. Here is the note in which Tadema 
informs us of his misfortune, which, however, does 
not prevent his trying his powers at punning on my 
initials W. B. 

TOWNSEND HOUSE, $t/i October 1874. 

MY DEAR BUBBLE-YOU-D I am sure you and Miss 
Boyd especially must be anxious to hear from us. How 
conceited this sounds ; but never mind, I am conceited 
and half-ruined. Not in health, you know, as Miss Boyd's 
and my nymph's hospitality [the nymph of the waterfall 
where he took his morning bath] have saved me in that 



208 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

way, but in material possessions. Luckily bones and 
pictures are safe, though doors and windows and roof are 
gone. We received the news in Newcastle, where we 
enjoyed your friend's hospitality. We enjoyed the castle 
too and Durham, which is nice, but not paintably so. 

The mob here is mad, for they all sing the new song 
of the " Poor Creatures of the Explosion " of Regent 
Park. Thousands of people come and go ; cabs and 
carriages without end. We are rather badly housed, as 
every door and window is barred with boards. The 
children are at Devonshire Street, and the governess 
brings them every morning to stop the day with us. The 
scene of desolation is a very wide one, the disaster ex- 
tending at least for several miles. How we are not more 
hurt I cannot understand. Of course our blue china is 
singularly diminished. The ceilings are dropping, and 
marked a great deal. And now I will direct this to Miss 
Boyd in case you are gone ; that kind lady will have 
news of us at least. Ever yours, L. A. T. 

Mrs. Tadema appended a nice little note : 

I must squeeze in a few words to say, dear Miss B., 
that really our delightful visit to your castle has made my 
husband so strong and well able to endure our sad trouble. 
It would have been too much for him two months ago. 
So much love and so many thanks from yours affection- 
ately, LAURA. 

My volume of poems, with etchings by myself 
and four by Tadema, was published in 1875. Its 
Dedicatio Postica to the three poets and most in- 
timate friends mentioned so often in these pages 
brought them to me in a way curiously characteristic 
of each. Rossetti wrote me at once, with much 
earnestness, showing a careful perusal, pointing out 
critically things good and bad and such poems as he 



xiii 1875 VOLUME OF POEMS 209 

most esteemed. The letter is dated from 1 6 Cheyne 
Walk, 3rd May 1875. To make his amusing com- 
mentary on the dedicatory verses fully intelligible, I 
had better copy the sonnet here : 

DEDICATIO POSTICA 

Now many years ago in life's midday, 

I laid the pen aside and rested still, 

Like one barefooted on a shingly hill : 
Three poets then came past, each young as May, 
Year after year upon their upward way, 

And each one reached his hand out as he passed, 

And over me his friendship's mantle cast, 
And went on singing every one his lay. 

Which was the earliest ? Methinks 'twas he 

Who from the Southern laurels fresh leaves brought, 

Then he who from the North learned Scaldic power, 
And last the youngest, with the rainbow wrought 

About his head, a symbol and a dower 
But I can't choose between these brethren three. 

From D. G. R. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I have got into a habit of ac- 
knowledging welcome poetry by letter, which should not 
be foregone because we are likely soon to be meeting. 
Your book is welcome and goodly beyond others the 
real result of native unforced powers, struggling manfully 
and successfully through every fissure of a rocky life. I 
have read old and new with equal pleasure, and I had no 
idea till now (when the whole spread before one gives a 
clear view) of what extraordinary beauty exists in some 
of your earliest pieces, even when open to fault-finding. 
The Ode to Keats is well worthy of him ; that to Shelley 
second to it, but still good ; the Fable is a little master- 

VOL. II P 



210 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

piece in its way, and the piece called Midnight admirable, 
though here I recognise (perhaps) its finest passage as an 
addition. The Four Acts of St. Cuthbert delighted me 
greatly on re-reading. All these pieces are replete with 
wellbeing, clear-breathing youth ; one is glad to see such 
work not lost at last. I never knew that Anthony be- 
longed to the same early period. It is among your finest 
things, in spite of an unkempt quality which (as it seems 
to me) might easily have been called to order. This same 
matter, I must confess, disturbs me somewhat throughout 
the volume, though much less in the sonnets and other sus- 
tained metres than where greater irregularity of structure 
requires one to keep one's eye on the ruts, and guard against 
a jolt. When you come to a second edition I should like, 
if you thought it worth while, to glance with you over my 
copy, in which I have marked some of the more decided 
instances. A trifle here and there might be registered as 
actual errata. . . . Many alterations in old poems seem 
to me questionable more than questionable some of 
those in Morning Sleep and the Monody, the former of 
which I think much injured. Of the " Studies from 
Nature " the finest are Midnight and Sunday Morning 
Alone, the latter not to be surpassed in its way. The 
Duke's Funeral is quite equal on its own grounds, though 
necessarily less poetical. The Requiem too must not be 
forgotten, and here the changes seem beneficial. . . . 
Among the Ballads the one which, to my mind, stands out 
from all the others as a very piece of your Scotchest self, 
is the Witch's Ballad. This I admired absolutely from 
the first, and I believe it is now even better. There is 
here a truer sum of the quintessential qualities which 
really make Burns's humour what it is, than could be found 
in any direct follower of his ; and the much that there is 
besides makes the piece utterly your own, and I suspect 
unique in the language. Lady Janet May Jean strikes me 
as things do when they are intricate in their nature, and 
have never before been seen properly, but only heard or 
hastily deciphered in MS. I think it could hardly be 



xiii 1875 VOLUME OF POEMS 211 

understood at a first reading, if thoroughly even at a last ; 
but I fancy if some decisive explanatory touches putting 
the reader on the track of the dream -structure of the 
poem were introduced with a firm hand in one or two 
stanzas following stanza I, and some slight alterations 
(which melody as well as clearness renders most advisable) 
made here and there throughout, this objection might be 
removed. [Here follows much analytical criticism of 
great value to me if I ever print the poem again.] I see 
I have been dwelling at some length on I will not say 
objections, but critical impeachments not passing the 
point of query. You know what I think of the vigour 
and originality of the theme and its treatment, and of 
the extraordinary beauty of many among the varied 
burdens. 

Among the Sonnets the speculative ones are still, on 
the whole, the finest, I think, and probably are unrivalled 
on their own ground. I must not forget the Dedicatio 
Postica, an adjective, by the bye, on which Latinity seems 
to cast a rather lurid light ! Regarding this sonnet I 
would almost, venture to suggest that line 9 appears 
hardly in a final state. If chronological doubt hovers 
round its subject, I think that 

Who earliest ? I should rather think 'twas he, etc., 
or else 

Who earliest ? On the whole perhaps 'twas he, etc., 

might be a racier form ; but if, on the other hand, some 
certainty could be arrived at, it might even be safe to say 

Who earliest ? By nine years or so, 'twas he, etc., 

only it is true that thus the initials of the heading would 
seem rather out of their natural sequence. 

Pardon a moment's chaff, my dear Scotus. Thanks 
warmly for my share in your generous dedication as 
good a title to goodwill assuredly, as my poor memory 
will have to show and one which you have bestowed at 



212 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the pretty certain risk of some responsive bespatterings 
from the scavengers of the press-ga.r\g. However, yours 
is a book which has its place, and cannot be robbed of 
it. Ever affectionately yours, D. G. ROSSETTI. 

I had, indeed, somehow or other placed the 
initials of the youngest (A. C. S.) first, and so given 
rise to this last reflection. Swinburne was in bed 
when the book reached him, by the hand of a 
friend, who found him unwell. In a few hours, 
however, his cab drives up at my house, and I hear 
his voice on the stairs : " Where is he ? Let me 
see him. I want to speak to him at once." I was 
unwell myself, lying on two chairs in the library, 
when in rushes Swinburne. " Tell me now, mon 
cher, tell me exactly what you alluded to as the 
rainbow wrought about my head!" "Well," I 
said, "you know you are hailing in the new time 
hopefully ; you are assisting the advent of the 
brighter day ; you are writing Songs before Sun- 
rise." " Ah ! is that all ? I was in hopes you meant 
the glory of my hair, that used to be so splendid, 
you know ! " 

The last of the three, William Morris, was in 
no such hurry, but after a few days came the fol- 
lowing : 

HORRINGTON HOUSE, 6th May 1875. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I must ask you to forgive me for 
letting a week go by without taking any notice of the 
gift of your book ; but I do think you remember that I 
am a bad letter-writer even on ordinary matters, and often 
on extraordinary ones a helpless shamefacedness holds 
me back till I find I have committed an act of rudeness 



xin 1 875 VOLUME OF POEMS 213 

as now, which I am very far from meaning. I trust 
to your good nature to understand that, and to for- 
give me. 

I was very glad to see your book, with the poems 
that I first found so sympathetic when I came up to 
London years ago, when I was pretty much a boy ; and 
also that there were others that seemed to me as good, 
of which I have heard nothing meanwhile. Pray believe 
that I was touched and delighted by the affectionate 
inscription in the beginning, and though not more so (in 
some sense) by my share of the dedication at the end, 
yet as much, amidst my surprise at the honour of it ; for 
indeed, I did not suppose you would have put me in the 
same place with A. C. S. and D. G. R., both of whom I 
consider for the most part as " passed masters " over me in 
the art. 

I am sorry we have seen but little of each other for 
so long. I was thinking of coming in one morning next 
week to see if you would come over here some evening 
soon, and meet Ned Jones. I was very vexed that my 
Welsh engagement kept me from coming to you that 
evening you asked me. . . . With hearty thanks for your 
book and its dedication. I am, yours affectionately, 

WILLIAM MORRIS. 

Having thus recommenced quoting the letters 
of friends, I may add something of an interesting 
one Rossetti wrote to Miss Boyd half a year later 
from Bognor, where he was living under the care 
of George Hake and Theo. Watts in a state of 
health which has been represented to me by these 
gentlemen as even alarming, but of which there 
appears not the slightest symptom in the letter, 
which was dated at Aldwick Lodge, Bognor, 
Sussex, 3rd November 1875. They had been for 
some little time here, he says, hitherto chiefly idle 



214 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

after getting through a new picture in London. He 
has taken the house they are inhabiting for an 
indefinite time, and will possibly keep it till the end 
of the year. It is within one minute's walk of the 
sea-beach, which is a fine one ; the sands like a 
carpet at low water ; and he has been meaning to 
write Miss Boyd a line ever since he had an oppor- 
tunity of showing her picture of " Taliessen " to 
his friends in London, who admired it greatly. 
(This picture of /B.'s, her chef d'ceiivre perhaps, 
had been sent to the studio from the Dudley 
Gallery, where it was exhibited. It represented 
the tradition of the Welsh bard hearing his deceased 
master's harp playing by itself as it hung on the 
wall.) Of course Rossetti reckons on going on 
with his work here, getting both the " Venus 
Astarte " done, and the " Blessed Damozel," for 
Mr. Graham. His delay in leaving town had had 
the good result of keeping him for a visit from an 
appreciative amateur, who had given him the com- 
mission for this "Venus Astarte," at the price of 
2000 guineas, so that he starts fair with the paint- 
ing. He is, however, first finishing a new work for 
Mr. Leyland, from Coleridge's lines 

A damsel with a dulcimer 
In a vision once I saw. 

As to poetry, it seemed to have fled from him, 
and indeed " it has no such nourishing savour about 
it as painting can boast of, but is rather a hungry 
affair to follow." Nevertheless he means to write 



xin LETTER FROM D. G. ROSSETTI 215 

some more poems yet, and good ones too. He 
says he was greatly pleased to hear from Moncure 
Conway that the Yankees have got an edition of 
W. B. S. as well as the Britons, and asks if they 
have adopted the etchings also. (This was a mis- 
take, I am sorry to say. There was no American 
edition of my poems.) Towards the end of his 
letter he says he has sat with poised pen for a 
minute or two, thinking whether more news were 
in the air or not ; but no breath responds. They 
see almost no one, and when they do they learn 
nothing worth report. He will take much interest 
one day seeing Miss Boyd's portrait of Scotus, 
" Poor Maggie " (his sister Maria, who was then 
entering an Anglican Sisterhood, and who died 
about a year and a half later) " is parting with her 
grayish hair next Sunday, and annexing the kingdom 
of heaven for good." 

In a postscript, nevertheless, he says he is forced 
to reopen his letter to tell what he designates a 
wondrous tale. Some four years ago G. F. Watts 
(R.A.) painted a head of him for which he only 
gave that artist two sittings, and which remained 
unfinished. His impression of it was appalling, 
though possibly from the exactness of its likeness, 
and people have ever since kept telling him it was 
horrible. Accordingly he executed a coup de main. 
He finished a spare chalk drawing, and sent Dunn 
with it to Little Holland House, sending also a 
note saying that he should be very much obliged 
if Watts would make an exchange, as he wanted the 



216 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

picture, not for himself; and that the bearer would 
call next day at same time for it to save trouble. 
"This resulted," he continues, "in my getting the 
picture next day, though Watts's note with it 
showed plainly that it was even as a tooth out of 
his jaws. Now that I have got it, I really think 
it very fine, and am quite ashamed to have played 
him such a trick. D. G. R." 

After our return to town in 1875, the Tademas 
left for Rome, whence he wrote me some letters 
amusing and interesting in some degree, and filled 
with the exuberant spirits that distinguished him- 
self. He was now elected an Associate of the Royal 
Academy, and in reply to my congratulation says, 
"Of course for the honour I feel greatly obliged, 
but I feel more so when friends tell me they believe 
in the schools there my experience can be of some 
use for the coming generation." This he has cer- 
tainly proved. His mastery over the difficulties of 
art is greater than that of any other man I have 
known. His command over the palette is like a 
miracle, yet his powers only give him pleasure when 
extrinsic evidences are awarded him. Now he 
could make a necklet of orders and crosses for his 
wife, and still wants more. The other men of great 
power in art I have known have never thought in 
this way. One day I asked Burne-Jones if he had 
been awarded a Medaille d ' Honneur, as I had heard. 
His reply was: "What does it matter, my dear 
Scotus, whether they give one a medal or not, if one 
can't do what one tries or wishes to do; and I can 



xin PERSEVERANCE AND GENIUS 217 

only come near what I wish, and am unhappy in 
consequence." 

Thinking over this and other observations, all 
going to prove how much we inherit our mental and 
moral individualities, and following out this train of 
thought, I may add my conviction that it is essentially 
vain for the most of us to labour to accomplish what 
we cannot do by natural endowment ; in short, to 
aspire after artistic excellences as objects of ambition. 
Anything really worth doing in the arts, including 
poetry, must be in absolute harmony with ourselves, 
and come easy to us. I remember Tadema passing 
sentence on an aspirant highly recommended to him. 
On my asking him why he thought he would never 
do great things, " Because," he replied, "he had no 
awe of me, showing he had no respect for art." This 
was the moral aspect of the same question. I must 
say, I have always from the first seen what every 
one of my acquaintances would or could do, and, if 
he lived for a thousand years, would continue to do. 
In the spirit of his work, I mean the essentials. 
" Diligence and perseverance accomplish every- 
thing," as Reynolds says; but I would add, "in 
what can be acquired " ; they ensure comparative 
success, and a good share of turtle soup ; they fill 
professorships and academies ; but if any whose en- 
dowments are these, and no other, is troubled by 
" the last infirmity of noble minds," he will find they 
do nothing for him. Time will most certainly dis- 
close the difference between the real and the automatic, 
between inherited and acquired mental possessions. 



218 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

This conviction of the ultimate uselessness of 
endeavoziring to do greater things than one is bound 
to do of learning and acquiring from without by 
ambitious labour is detrimental to success in life, 
of course ; it is a great hindrance, it makes a man 
more a spectator than an actor, especially if he is 
indifferent to the vox popidi. But the part of 
spectator, however pleasant, is dangerous besides. 
Bacon has said that in this universe of life " it is 
only for God and His angels to be spectators " ; and 
in all that conduces to material well-being, or to the 
fulfilment of a man's duties to the world or to his 
family, he may be clearly right diligence and per- 
severance being the wings that carry us forward in 
all improvement ; and what would come of history 
without the continuous advancement in civilisation ? 
But confining myself to personality, I have another 
conviction, resulting from temperament, no doubt, 
which makes me questionBacon's aphorism, and limits 
my respect for perseverance in one exclusive path. 

This other practical virtue I would discredit, or 
rather limit, in the conduct of life is not persever- 
ance pure and simple, but that negative kind of it 
constantly recommended under the form of the pro- 
verb, " Let the shoemaker stick to his last," the 
avoidance, in short, of dispersing one's forces by 
following various attractions. If the shoemaker 
sticks to his last he may, it is to be hoped, make 
good shoes ; but will he, after all, make the best 
possible shoes ? Further, if he never tires of his 
last, his soul must have had originally, or must have 



xin PERSEVERANCE AND GENIUS 219 

contracted, some affinity with it must be more or 
less a foot-shaped and ligneous soul, and what can 
come of that ? To all his eternity that is to the 
end of his consciousness he will be nothing but a 
shoemaker. So it is with all specialists. If shoes are 
wanted in the world where all are spectators, he will 
be welcome. But possibly the angel-spectators may 
not need shoes, and in that case will not care about 
the society of the man who has exclusively stuck to 
his last. Perhaps the spectator class here below are 
qualifying themselves to become angels ! The clever 
practical fellows about us generally hate reflection, 
which is the food of the spectator. Thoreau the 
American, we are told, invented or perfected some 
valuable improvement in the trade to which he was 
apprenticed. Thereupon all his friends said, " Now 
Thoreau will make his fortune " ; but Thoreau said 
to himself, " Now I leave this manufacture off: I have 
done all that can be made of it : I need not do the 
same thing over again," or something to that effect. 
He would not go round and round. None of us have 
too much time for culture and discipline ; he turned 
to cogitation and found his life more harmonious. 

It is this sticking to the LAST, this limitation, that 
makes a strong man within a narrow sphere : the 
smith's arm is strong, but then it is the strongest part 
of him, and he is a hireling, a poor devil, whatever 
amount of money he may accumulate, and though he 
is made baronet or lord. What if our performance, by 
concentration of our abilities, is the best that can be 
done in that way ? Is the performer wiser, better, or 



220 WILLIAM DELL SCOTT CHAP, xin 

more beautiful ? Yet common prudence is always 
howling against turning from one study to another, from 
one love to another, from one form of art to another. 
It may be few can do this without losing their way, 
coming to grief; it requires tact to hold half a dozen 
lines without allowing them to tangle, or to ride six 
horses as they do in the circus. Trying to sit on 
two stools is thought to be likely to land one on the 
ground ; and I am far from supposing that a certain 
amount of success is not necessary to peace of mind 
and well-being, or that a wise man should die poor. 
Carlyle than whom no able shoemaker ever stuck 
more closely to his last once thought he would like 
some routine post, and applied for the appointment 
of Astronomer for Scotland, as if that was one ! In 
his account of the transaction he acknowledges that 
he never had looked through a telescope in his life. 
Nay, he affirms that he is sure he could do anything 
or everything he chose to do, from making a hut to 
building a palace ! One wonders what he would 
have set about on being elected Astronomer for 
Scotland. By concentration and limitation he was 
great, but on meeting him closely we found him 
almost a monomaniac ; and there is this to be added, 
he enjoyed life less than most men. For myself, spec- 
tator and even somnambule as I am, had I to re-live 
twenty or thirty years of the past, I would say with 
the pedantic gentleman in an old play trying to make 
love by teaching astronomy, " Let us turn round the 
celestial globe once more ! " Then, I own, I believed 
in myself as poetically nascitur non fit\ 



CHAPTER XIV 

HOLMAN HUNT'S PICTURE "THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT," 
NOW CALLED "THE TRIUMPH OF THE INNOCENTS*' 

AFTER all this wisdom, deduced from my experiences 
of life and perceptions of my own character, I may 
return to my friends. Holman Hunt returned from 
Jerusalem with his wife and son, and his new picture 
of the "Flight into Egypt," or "Triumph of the Inno- 
cents," in the spring of 1 877 ; and I went to lunch with 
them one Sunday after they had got partially settled. 
The dear, serious, successful, and yet in some degree 
disappointed man I found, after his long absence, 
the same as ever. No change could possibly take 
place either on his art or himself, except the change 
of years : on myself I could not detect the effect of 
advancing age, but I saw it on all my friends ; and 
they generally told me they were surprised they did 
not see it on me. I suppose the cause of this im- 
mobility was that I now took all things easy, having 
reached a table-land, and contented myself with the 
before - mentioned character of Spectator. With 
Hunt it was not so. He was more than ever an 
anxious man spoke of going again for a month or 



222 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

two to the East to finish his picture ; meanwhile 
he had taken a studio here, and begun struggling 
with certain difficulties resulting from the canvas, a 
Syrian cloth, on which he unfortunately began his 
picture. 

Among others, Millais dropped in with his two 
daughters, his eldest and youngest the eldest now 
close on twenty, very handsome, as might have been 
expected. I had not met him for many years, 
except once, and that was at the funeral of John 
Leech, where he was one of the pall-bearers, with 
manly tears filling his reddened eyes ; and in him 
now it was easy to recognise the old nature, always 
happy and at ease, but with a great development 
into the affirmation of success and worldly wisdom. 
In me he professed to see no change ! I asked him 
who the young lady was was she really his daughter ? 
"Yes, she is one of my girls the eldest; did you 
think she was my wife ? " he answered in his old 
chaffy way. " She is going over with me to Paris 
to speak French for me : I can't parley-vous at all 
now." When he first appeared in London, he and 
his parents had come from the Channel Islands, and 
he was bi-lingual ; but having little care for conver- 
sation or reading liking, indeed, everything else 
better, such as going out with Leech to the meet- 
ings of hounds, or shooting, or whist he must have 
lost his French if he had really lost it from disuse. 

He did not say so perhaps was generously 
afraid Hunt might feel that he too should have been 
included in a similar compliment but I heard after- 



xiv //? JOHN MILLAIS 223 

wards that he was only going to Paris, the Interna- 
tional Exhibition being open, because of an invitation 
from a party of artists who proposed to present him 
with an honorary memorial of some sort. He had 
had Carlyle for two sittings to paint his portrait. 
The philosopher of Chelsea turned round upon him 
on the stair of his new house, which is said to be quite 
a scala dei giganti, and inquired, "Has paint done 
all this, Mr. Millais ? " On being answered, with a 
laugh, in the affirmative, Carlyle continued, "Ah, 
well, it shows what a number of fools there are in 
the world ! " A very amusing anecdote of Millais 
was told me by F. B. B., worth record because it is 
about as characteristic of the painter as the other is 
of Carlyle. A Frenchman, who had caught sight of 
a handsome cook Mrs. Millais had, became trouble- 
some in his persevering attentions. The cook com- 
plained, as well as Mrs. M., and Millais warned him 
off the premises. The Frenchman could not 
comprehend, bowed himself away, but immediately 
reappeared, just as they were all sitting down to 
dinner. Millais caught sight of him ringing the 
area bell, rushed out of the room, collared the per- 
tinacious offender, ran him up to the top of the street, 
and over against the railing of the new Natural 
History Museum to be, where a crowd immediately 
collected, the poor man volubly and breathlessly re- 
monstrating. Millais retreated home, after explain- 
ing his position hastily to the crowd ; but it was 
worse at home, where all the ladies of the house- 
hold laughed him to scorn ! 



224 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

The next Sunday Hunt and I walked over to 
Battersea to find a model he wanted who lived 
there. . On the way we talked of the old times of 
his struggle to be a painter, a time he was fond of 
dwelling upon ; and I was pleased to find that but 
for Millais he would have given up the battle and 
gone, most probably, to be a farmer with his uncle. 
Both the old Millais explained to Hunt that their 
son John had told them how sorry he was to let 
Hunt abandon painting, and that they seconded 
their son to the full in the plan of lending W. H. H. 
money as long as he required it. At last they 
prevailed, and for a long time, about three years I 
think, till "The Light of the World" was finished, 
this generous scheme took effect. Even then his 
difficulties did not cease, of course not, as he was 
in debt and anxious to repay, and Gambart could 
scarcely be brought to give him ^400 for that 
enormously successful picture, as he averred that 
sacred subjects would not pay in this country. The 
accomplishment of his first Eastern journey was 
again the cause of debt, and when he brought 
back the " Scape-goat," an eminent picture-dealer 
would not look at it. "You have no business to 
paint animals," said he ; " the Scape - goat ? I 
never heard of him, is he a Syrian creature ? What 
will the public care for a Scape-goat ? " Hunt 
explained that every one in Great Britain knew all 
about it, that the Scape-goat was a type of Christ,. 
a kind of sacrifice of atonement, and that if Mr. 
had read the Bible he would have known 



HOLM AN HUNT 



225 



that too. " Bible, Bible ! well, well, there are two 
English ladies in the house ; I will call them in and 
we will see if they know anything about this Scape- 
goat." The conclusion of the interview was very 
amusingly told by Hunt. The ladies were not sure 
that they had heard about the Scape-goat, but at 
last the picture was bought for a moderate sum, and 
the publication succeeded in a way, but not so greatly 
as " The Light of the World," which Gambart in a 
court of justice declared had yielded him a thousand 
pounds a year for a series of years. 

Hunt continued to struggle with his picture, 
which would not come right, and had in consequence 
a severe illness that reduced him to death's door, 
and forced him to take a long holiday. After this 
he began again. On the last day of the year 1879, 
having been all the intermediate time labouring 
fitfully and nervously with his bewitched canvas, he 
sent his man with a pencilled note in hand, request- 
ing me to come to his studio in Manresa Road at 
hand in my neighbourhood to see the picture. I 
had never asked to see it, though I had heard it 
said that it had been secretly seen by some friends, 
and I immediately went there. My curiosity as to 
his treatment of the subject, and my growing anxiety 
as to the prolonged technical difficulty, were great. 

I found him in a state of suspense and suppressed 
excitement, his temperament being one that showed 
no emotion in ordinary ; even when taken by surprise 
he would show no signs of such being the case. He 
is in fact one of the kind who seem to count twenty- 

VOL. II Q 



226 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

five before replying to any unexpected interrogation. 
Now he said that I would see his work was far from 
finished, but he had determined to show it to me 
first of all, a compliment for which I thanked him. I 
was surprised to find he had stepped out of his usual 
form of invention altogether ; not only leaving the 
realities of Oriental life, but introducing supernatural 
actors and appearances. He still indeed retained 
the Syrian costume on the Virgin and Joseph, and 
the ass on which she rode with the child in her 
arms was a Syrian ass, but he had surrounded the 
orthodox group with a running dance of many very 
elaborately-painted children, whose heads and bodies, 
and, to speak more exactly, their feet also, were 
surrounded with a bright phosphoric nimbus. There 
was something exceedingly charming in this 
rhythmic accompaniment of the Flight, in this very 
vividly and solidly painted troop of bright creatures 
wreathed with flowers, and carrying palms and 
lilies, of the same age as little Jesus. Besides, they 
seemed there for His amusement and delectation. 
The treatment of the halo as an inborn phosphoric 
light shining outwards, which mesmerists have 
affirmed to be sometimes visible in real life, is here 
introduced with great effect. Little cherubs or 
amorini employed in natural actions have been 
often brought into pictures of the Flight into Egypt 
by the old masters ; and I accepted these super- 
naturals as such, although they had no wings. Some 
of them expressed joyful emotions, but others were 
represented with the flaccid helpless character of 



HOLM AN HUNT 227 



quite new-born things. The light and shade too of 
the whole picture struck me as a confusion between 
sunlight and moonlight. Up to the time of my 
present writing the picture has never been exhibited ; 
but some day or other it is to be hoped it will be 
visible to all the world, so I shall not further describe 
it ; I have only done so so far as to explain the 
correspondence which followed. He had also 
startled and grieved me by relating a preternatural 
incident, or something like one, that had happened 
to him a few days past, on Christmas Day. Reflect- 
ing on these matters, I wrote him next morning. 

MY DEAR HUNT I have thought a great deal about 
your picture and cannot help coming to the conclusion 
that it will be a perfect success. This is a very bad day, 
otherwise I would venture to call again and offer you, or 
press upon you, it might be, a criticism on the lighting 
of your picture, particularly of the angels (?). I want to 
speak more from a poetical point of view than as a 
question of pictorial treatment. You have lighted them 
not by any natural means, as they are brightly lit when 
the rest of the scene is in partial moonlight, lit in a 
preternatural way, receiving light as they would in their 
native region heaven, I suppose, "of such is the kingdom 
of heaven " ; to fleck them with shadows as if from inter- 
rupted sunlight is not therefore allowable. 

Thus I wrote, with more to the same effect, 
enlarging on the treatment in other respects. I 
ended with an allusion to the apparition, if I can so 
call it, when nothing was visible : 

I have related your strange adventure on Christmas 
Day to the ladies here, my wife and Miss Boyd, and find 
them curiously interested. Would you mind writing me a 



228 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

few words to say how you knew no one was in the house at 
the time ? What o'clock was it ? Yours seems a common 
cast-metal stove ; if riveted, it seems such stoves some- 
times crack or throw out a rivet with a tremendous noise, 
if intensely heated. My dear Hunt, ever yours, 

W. B. S. 

The picture had now been under his hand a long 
series of years refusing to come right. In his frame 
of mind he had come to believe not that the world 
was in league as his enemy, but that the devil 
himself was fighting against him. In two days 
I received a painfully interesting answer to my 
note, recounting the incident at length. I was 
wrong in my precipitate conclusion that the num- 
erous charmingly- painted children were angels ; 
he had a much more original idea than that stale 
one : they are the souls of the innocents massacred 
by the orders of Herod. I must insert his letter, 
which enters fully into both subjects, and is, indeed, 
one of the most interesting and charming letters 
I have ever received. 

2 WARWICK GARDENS, KENSINGTON, W., 
tyh January 1880. 

MY DEAR SCOTT It was very good of you to write 
to explain your impressions of the points in my picture 
which invite reconsideration. 

The first question about the light on the supernatural 
figures I debate thus : The children must be so treated 
that they shall not be mistaken for infantine angels of 
heaven or amoretti, which previous illustrations of the 
subject would lead people to expect to find them to be. 
The beings I want to represent really differ in this, that 



HOLM AN HUNT 229 



they have only just left this life instead of having got 
altogether established as celestial creatures. Some of 
them, if not all, may indeed scarcely have altogether lost 
the last warmth of mortal life. It seems desirable, there- 
fore, to avoid a treatment which would make them like 
the angels who regard the face of our Father in heaven. 
A support to this view I find also in the desirability of 
avoiding to distinctly pronounce the figures to be either 
subjective or objective. I wish to avoid positively declaring 
them to be more than a vision to the Virgin conjured up 
by her maternal love for her own child, the Saviour, who 
is to be calling her attention to them. Having got so far 
in my reading of the conception, I rely for the next step 
upon what, to use a presumptuous phrase, I will call my 
experience of the embodiment of ideal personages. These 
develop in solidity and brightness by degrees, and I 
imagine the Virgin to have seen these children at first, 
scarcely discerning that they were not natural figures 
under the natural light which illuminates the other sur- 
rounding objects, until, with longer examination and 
recognition of the individuals as the neighbouring babies 
of Bethlehem, the more distinctive parts of each figure 
become lighted up with the fullest light, and as a full con- 
solation, she sees the glory of their new birth. The division 
of the two the natural and the supernatural illumination 
cannot be avoided, but when the picture is completed, 
I think the light on the duller parts will be more ethereal 
in effect, and therefore less separated from the brighter. 
The criticism about the immature development of the 
ankles I will attend to in some way when I get to these 
parts again. 

The story about the unaccountable noise, you will 
remember, I gave as an illustration of the degree to 
which the difficulty with my picture has distressed me. 
For four years this torment has been going on, wasting 
my life, and health, and powers, just when I believe they 
should be at the best, all through a stupid bit of temper 
on the part of a good friend. I don't like to hold him 



230 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

responsible, although his agency caused the beginning of 
my difficulties, but I have got into the way of thinking 
that it is one of many troubles during these seven years 
(balanced by much joy of my last four years) which the 
Father of Mischief himself only could contrive. What 
I told you is only a good story, as my impressions give 
the experience. It is not evidence, remember, one way or 
the other, although I give the exact truth. I was on 
Christmas Day induced to go and work at the studio 
because I had prepared a new plan of curing the twisted 
surface, and, till I could find it to be a practicable one, 
it was useless to turn to work which I had engagements 
to take up on the following days. When I arrived it 
was so dark that it was possible to do nothing, except 
with a candle held in my hand along with the palette. 
I laboured thus from about eleven. On getting to work 
I noticed the unusual quietness of the whole establishment, 
and I accounted for it by the fact that all other artists 
were with their families and friends. I alone was there at 
the group of studios because of this terrible and doubtful 
struggle with the devil, which, one year before, had brought 
me to the very portals of death ; indeed, almost, I may say, 
beyond these, during my delirium. Many days and nights 
too, till past midnight, at times in my large, dark studio in 
Jerusalem, had I stood with a candle, hoping to surmount 
the evil each hour, and the next day I had found all had 
fallen into disorder again, as though I had been vainly striv- 
ing against destiny. The plan I was trying this Christmas 
morning I had never thought of before the current week, 
but it might be that even this also would fail. As I groaned 
over the thoughts of my pains, which were interwoven with 
my calculations of the result of the coming work over my 
fresh preparation of the ground, I gradually saw reason to 
think that it promised better, and I bent all my energies 
to advance my work to see what the later crucial touches 
would do. I hung back to look at my picture. I felt 
assured that I should succeed." I said to myself half 
aloud, " I think I have beaten the devil !" and stepped 



HOLMAN HUNT 231 



down, when the whole building shook with a convulsion, 
seemingly immediately behind my easel, as if a great 
creature were shaking itself and running between me and 
the door. I called out, "What is it?" but there was no 
answer, and the noise ceased. I then looked about ; it 
was between half-past one and two, and perfectly like night, 
only darker ; for ordinarily the lamps in the square show 
themselves after sunset, and on this occasion the fog hid 
everything. I went to the door, which was locked as I 
had left it, and I noticed that there was no sign of human 
or other creature being about. I went back to my work 
really rather cheered by the grotesque suggestion that 
came into my mind that the commotion was the evil one 
departing, and it was for this I told you the circumstance 
on the day of your visit. I do not pretend that this 
experience could be taken as evidence to support the 
doctrine of supernatural dealings with man. There might 
have been some disturbance of the building at that moment 
that caused the noise which I could not trace ; indeed, 
I did not take pains to do this. Half an hour afterwards 
I heard an artist, who works two studios past mine, come 
up the stair, and before he arrived by my door he said 
to some one with him, " It is no use going in, it is as dark 
as pitch," and they went down again. This was the only 
being that came to my floor during my whole stay, which 
was till 3.30. I perhaps should have taken more pains 
to explain the riddle, but while I quite accept the theory 
of gradual development in creation, I believe that there 
is a " divinity that shapes our ends " every day and every 
hour. So the question to me is not whether there was a 
devil or not, but whether that noise was opportune, for I 
still hope that the wicked one was defeated on Christmas 
morning about half-past one. Thus, you see what a child 
I am | Yours truly, W. HOLMAN HUNT. 

To me the state of mind here indicated, though 
I respect it so much, is so foreign as to be impossible 
as an experience ; but in this, again, I recognise our 



232 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

mental conformations are inherited even like our 
family likeness. I consider humanity as an organised 
portion of nature, only with the power of self-con- 
templation which separates it from all other organisms 
and places us over the rest of the physical world, so 
that life is to the human creature a preordained fight 
with every object we meet from adolescence to the 
grave. This fight is for self-preservation and for 
self-advancement. I hold that progress, mental and 
bodily aggrandisement, and ultimate victory in the 
course of time in this world, is a law of the nature of 
a being with self-conscious powers. Religion gives 
us ideals ; science gives us command ; morals give 
us justice ; arts, beauty ; medicine preserves and 
improves the body ; civil law defends us against 
ourselves. 'But out of or beyond this controlling 
egoistic order of advancement there is no good 
thing ; out of or beyond nature there is nothing at 
all but God, space, and time. 

Does this end in a platitude ? Let me try to 
explain myself, and save my attempted wisdom from 
so appearing. Our latest acquisitions of knowledge 
go to show us that the farthest star is like this world 
we live in, chemically and elementally, and subject 
to the same necessities and activities. Life, there- 
fore, throughout creation is presumably physical, and 
only possible by the same means as with us. And 
in the second place, all attainment of an organic sort 
is a performance perfected by processes requiring 
millions of years by progressive steps. Many 
millions before vegetation covers the earth as grass ; 



HOLMAN HUNT 233 



many, again, before any kinds of four-footed creatures 
live by eating other kinds. We see that the tentacle 
after millions of years becomes a fin associated with 
a spine ; and that is clothed with feathers as a wing ; 
and again with hair and claws as a forefoot ; and 
again the articulation is freed into fingers, and the 
hand of man with all his upright anatomy results at 
last a result which must have been preordained 
before the manifold transformations began, in or by 
some Divine force. But in all this the scheme of 
nature, which is a scheme of life there is clearly no 
room for a devil or a ghost till we ascend to the 
intellect. Out of the intellect only they can come ; 
they are therefore not entities, but ideas. This 
scheme of progressive or creative energy we call 
Nature ; outside or beyond this we can predicate 
nothing save the Divine force we name God, Space, 
and Time. 

Since that time, January 1880, I have seen him 
many times. He has abandoned the so troublesome 
canvas, and copied the whole picture on a fresh one ; 
but still the difficulties in his way follow him, even 
on the new and sound English double canvas. The 
good friend he alludes to in his letter was his friend 
of many long years, F. G. Stephens, who had 
simply made the mistake of using too large a box, 
which he jocularly called Goliath. This large box 
could not travel by any means of transit known to 
the stony roads in Palestine ; its address and key 
had both been lost, and it was laid away at the sea- 
port till by accident Hunt saw it after nearly a year. 



234 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, xiv 

The "joy" he mentions experiencing during the 
latest four years of the seven was doubtless his second 
marriage, which has really been his salvation by the 
amiability and helpfulness of the noblest of women. 

On one of my latest visits I determined to say 
what I had long thought, that his difficulties were 
imaginary, not caused by the canvas, but in his own 
overworked or over-anxious brain. He took the 
remonstrance in good part, answering with a gentle 
smile that he knew too well all the different causes 
of the trouble, and alluded in a distant way to the 
incident of Christmas Day, acknowledging that the 
influence, of whatever kind it was, had not yet been 
fairly banished. Very shortly after this, I must add, 
his brow cleared ; his picture went all right ; it was 
finished ; both pictures were finished admirably ! 



CHAPTER XV 

SPIRITUALISM 

THE unpleasant subject of mesmerism, table-rapping, 
or spiritualism, quid sit nomen f has turned up in 
these pages now and then ; ugly enough I may 
describe it, like one of the misshapen things in the 
Dutch Temptations of St. Anthony, yet I would like 
finally to introduce it again after the interesting 
relation of the preceding chapter, and the faith in it 
held by D. G. R. and others already noted. The 
incident in Hunt's studio was somewhat similar to 
asserted phenomena among spiritualists, but it was 
totally different, inasmuch as my dear friend Hunt is 
a sincerely orthodox believer, whereas the so-called 
spiritualists have neither faith nor philosophy worth 
inquiring about. The absurdity of men who do not 
believe in any hereafter calling up the dead is so 
great that it needs only to be mentioned to be 
laughed at, and it is clear that if the visitation of the 
souls of the deceased can be credited, it must be as 
a belief dependent upon other dogmas, and resulting 
from faith in new life endowed with full conscious- 
ness and memory of the life here. A new revelation 



236 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

would be necessary to give authority to any scheme 
of future existence supporting this vulgar, sensuous 
intercourse ! However, putting all absurdities out 
of the question, the direct power of one mind over 
another is very great and obscure ; there may be 
much yet unknown within the ordinary bounds of 
human nature. 

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, when my series 
of pictures from the History of the English Border 
was in progress, a young relative of Sir Walter 
Trevelyan returned from India, sold out of the 
army, and was much with us both at Wallington 
and at Newcastle. He was a clever and amusing 
addition to the circle. He was bitten by the evi- 
dence of great fortunes being made in the iron trade 
in these parts ; lost his fortune at once by investing 
it in a failing concern ; and on our migration to 
London we saw him from year to year, finding him 
always promulgating astounding schemes for retriev- 
ing himself. He went to South America to catch 
wild horses, a scheme he kept to himself till his 
return after failure. Next he came in for a family 
legacy, and left us, again disappearing for a series 
of years. 

In the summer of 1878, when preparing to leave 
town, a card was brought to me with his name in a 
new form, the maternal name being incorporated 
in full with his own, and beneath it, instead of an 
address, the words, Universal Republic. Without 
the danger-signal. I immediately rushed from my 



SPIRITUALISM 237 



library to meet him, and found the tall handsome 
man standing in the middle of the room, perfectly 
self-possessed, but literally in rags. Even in this 
disguise the maid-servant had had the perception 
that he was a gentleman, and treated him accordingly. 
I received him after a moment's surprise as if nothing 
peculiar was observable. He talked as of old, told 
me he had been to America, and gave me without 
reserve his experiences of the continent from New 
York to the Great Salt Lake. At first he had been 
in society of the best cultivation, as a descendant on 
both sides from two of the most ancient houses in 
the old country ; he had also associated with several 
kinds of new-light sets of people, especially with 
magnetists and spiritualists ; sometimes he had 
laboured in the fields ; he had been told he ought 
to do so, and he did ; we all ought ; why should we 
let others do what we thought beneath ourselves. 
At last he fulfilled his apprenticeship, so to say, and 
came home ; but as he had spent all his money, he 
worked his passage over. There again he conformed 
to the law of human equality, and learned something 
besides. He had no reservation ; he perfectly be- 
lieved in spiritual supervision, but he objected to 
the danger-signal ! On inquiring into this, and 
wishing an explanation, he would scarcely believe I 
could have lived so long without being consciously 
aware oftentimes that impulses or warnings were 
conveyed into the mind in a moment from some 
outward power. In his case this definite impression 
from without, which, as he described it, closely 



238 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

resembled what my dear Quaker friend called in 
her pious way having a line of action or conviction 
" pressed in upon her," was accompanied by a 
smart pain. To this he objected. "And you see," 
he added, pointing to his card still lying on the table, 
" I have said that I do not practise, and wish to be 
without this momentary pain." To all this I utterly 
objected, and he politely received my objections as 
natural on my part, if I had experienced nothing. 

He dined with us, criticised the wine, and now I 
ventured to speak of his habiliments, and I asked 
him where he lived. This he took frankly and in 
the best way, owning that he would have better 
clothes if he had any money to buy them ; but, after 
all, why should he ? He had been told that all his 
family and his old friends were in the opposite 
camp ; he, belonging to the Universal Republic, 
knew this. He found, however, that / was not 
objected to ; so he had called on me. " But the 
weather is warm ; one can live on amazingly little. 
I have no place of abode ; this is my house, my 
library, and my bed." With that he opened his 
great ragged wrapper of a coat, showing absence of 
shirt, but with the pockets filled with books and 
loose printed papers. Seeing books, curiosity got 
the better of me. I said I should like to know 
what they were ; he pulled out two, left them with 
me, and disappeared. 

These books were American productions by 
women-authors creatures, I think I may say, bent 
upon distinguishing themselves by a mixture of 



SPIRITUALISM 239 



imposture (conscious or unconscious) and egotism, 
relying upon ignorance to overrule reason and make 
them received as peculiarly gifted. One of them 
was an Essay on Symbolism, the symbols having 
been revealed to the authoress as a medium, and 
illustrated by coloured designs of the maddest mean- 
ing. One of them was called Christ without Hands, 
followed by another called Christ the Female. 
These meant that doing, working, using the human 
fin in any way was of no avail, but that the reign of 
the higher nature, i.e. the female, is about to begin ! 
Man has the power of the genus Bos, and the equine 
qualities ; he has had his day, the nobler spiritualism 
and weaker bodily qualities of the woman are to 
succeed ; the time is ripe ; she is to carry human 
nature into the divine sphere. The male organism 
is only the servant of the female, and once at least 
in the history of the world its service has been 
dispensed with already : the product of the woman 
alone was the Christ ! There is a daring, if not very 
charming, heterodoxy about this that indicates a 
new era indeed, and spiritualism, of which women are 
generally the cleverest media, is the key to open it ! 
A year after this, the desire to hear something 
of my friend increased to such an extent that I made 
inquiry by writing Sir Walter, a step I had long 
meditated. No direct answer arrived, but, shortly 
after, the father of my friend, whom I had not hitherto 
seen, called upon me. No tidings of the wanderer 
had been heard for a long time ; I had been the 
latest to see him on the visit I have recorded, but 



240 WILLIAM DELL SCOTT CHAP. 

just a few weeks before my note of inquiry reached 
Sir Walter, my friend's brother, passing up Regent 
Street, suddenly recognised him selling flowers at 
the curbstone! His brother had rushed forward 
and tried to embrace him, begging him to come 
home to his chambers. This the wanderer peremp- 
torily refused to do. His brother would then buy his 
flowers. "Take them," said my friend; "I paid 
half-a-crown for them this morning ; take them for 
a shilling." A half-crown was placed in his hand in 
exchange for the flowers, but he threw it down, and 
fled. The result of this dreadful meeting was to 
increase the alarm of the family to such an extent 
that they took a house in town, and so the father 
had been able to call. He thought, as I seemed 
less tabooed by his son, that I might be able to 
assist in finding him ; but I had no clue. His only 
plan now was to be always everywhere about, on the 
chance of meeting him. The world of London is 
large, but exhaustible. Walking with little hope in 
one of the parks in that June weather he saw his 
son sitting on one of the seats ; he could not be 
mistaken ! Cautiously he advanced, and cautiously 
addressed him ; a singular meeting, the second 
indeed in the short history, and this one had a better 
result than that in Regent Street. He promised to 
see his mother, and to do so consented to go to the 
tailor first. Me he has never called upon again, 
and I have never ventured to ask for information, 
his state so nearly resembled madness. I only 
know that his father had placed a sum of money in 



SPIRITUALISM 241 



a bank known to his son, to which he could apply. 
He was like a madman, yet he was not mad ; his 
whole nature was changed by spiritualism. He had 
impressed me as a modern John the Baptist. 

The difference between persistent enthusiasm 
and monomania is often extremely slight, and difficult 
to define. In the East Holman Hunt met a man 
in whom they were very closely combined, who 
followed him to England, where Hunt took so great 
a liking to him that he took charge of him for years. 
Monk was this old man's name, a rather handsome, 
innocent, large, white-bearded man. While Monk 
lived with Hunt he painted the enthusiast's portrait, 
calling it "The Prophet." Monk did not pretend 
to that character, but devoted his whole life to the 
formation of a new society of the Faithful, which was 
to own and inhabit the Holy Land ; this was like 
forming a rope of sand. The first time I saw Hunt 
after the correspondence about the great noise be- 
hind the picture, he asked me if I remembered 
Monk, and produced a letter from him, now in the 
East again, or rather a circular, requiring all who 
received it to give up to the writer a tenth of their 
entire property to form a fund for the purchase of the 
sacred soil. Hunt had declined this fanciful pro- 
posal, and spoke of old Monk with a clear enough 
perception of the true nature of the character ; but 
he had just had a visit from Ruskin, who had 
received a similar letter, which he had signed with 
an intention to conform to the demand. I have 
never heard that he did so. 

VOL. II R 



242 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

About the same time Alfred and Anna Mary- 
Watts came to live in Cheyne Walk, and so joined 
our Chelsea society. Mrs. Watts Anna Mary 
Howitt of the old time was now a neat little 
elderly lady with plenty of white hair, as pretty and 
vivacious what people call bright as ever, and 
both were as much attached to spiritualism as 
before. She had become vegetarian, and so closely 
adhered to her programme that she objected even 
to eggs. This, she believed, made her less bound 
by the body, more free of the physical trammel, and 
she had given up painting a long time, though she 
still had some of her little water-colour drawings, 
inspired by the spirits, hanging on the walls. Mrs. 
Lynn Linton told me a curious anecdote of the old 
Mrs. Watts, who died a year or two ago. One 
forenoon she found the old lady spinning a top on 
the large dining-room table. At first Mrs. Linton 
came to the conclusion that the poor soul had lost 
her wits, but Mrs. Watts turned upon her saying: 
" Do you wonder why I am spinning a top ? But of 
course you do. I am only amusing the dear little 
children ; the room is full of them, and they like 
nothing so much as to see me spin the top ! " 

It was instructive to see the enthusiastic girl 
who went to Munich to study painting, and wrote 
the Art-Student in Munich, changed into the idle- 
handed, passive woman of fifty-five, with all the 
sweetness and gentleness still left, listening not so 
much to you as to the empty air. I found her one 
evening sitting by the drawing-room fire alone, 



SPIRITUALISM 243 



looking at the flames ; not a book or newspaper, or 
fancy work, or piano, in the apartment. Suddenly, 
however, I found the inherited literary ability in 
both her and her husband, as vivid as ever, by their 
book of poems called Aurora. 

This little volume with the significant name is, to 
my mind, the best outcome as yet of the spiritualism 
of the day, full of beautiful things beautifully said, 
though the light in it is the moonlight giving sharp, 
but doubtful visions, in which the true colours of 
material things are lost. 

But enough of this : it would not have appeared 
in these notes at all, but that so many times I have 
had this spiritualism or kindred states of mind 
forced upon my attention, even by some of the 
ablest men mentioned in my story. 



CHAPTER XVI 

DEATH OF G. H. LEWES AND GEORGE ELIOT OF 

R. N. WORNUM OF SIR WALTER TREVELYAN AND 

LADY PAULINE. 

THE years 1878-80 have furnished me with a great 
many recollections, and I must still recur to them ; 
they were the most fatal to my friends of all the 
years of my life. Lewes and Wornum, Sir Walter 
Trevelyan, Thomas Dixon of Sunderland Carlyle 
at the beginning of 1881 and many others, not to 
be mentioned here, all passed away. All these 
have already appeared in these pages ; to carry out 
my principle, preserving my interest to the last in 
all the friends whose intimacy has been dear to me, 
I must place them again on my record, and close 
the story of each. 

On the last day of November 1878 Miss Edith 
Simcox Lawrenny as she signed herself in the 
Academy and other journals thinking, very kindly, 
that she ought to be the first to inform me, wrote 
to my wife that Lewes was dead. She and George 
Eliot (Mrs. Lewes) had become inseparably attached ; 
she had been at their house, the Priory, daily. I 



CHAP, xvi G. H. LEWES 245 

was his oldest literary friend now living, she said. 
The feeling that I was much to blame living so apart 
from him, took possession of me. He is nearly 
the only man among all my friends who has never 
ceased to advance. At first he was only the clever 
fellow, but at a very early time he became the 
literary adept, then the able investigator, and lastly, 
the scientific thinker and philosopher, one of the 
most trenchant and advanced minds in the science 
of this country. The day was an aguish drizzle 
characteristic of the season, but in a sad frame of 
mind I went to leave a card at North Bank, and 
returned not the better of my excursion. 

We use the word genius in a very loose way. 
It has a meaning always comparative, yet we use 
it as if its signification was definitive and fixed. 
To Lewes we would not apply it, and yet his 
mental powers were inherent, not cultivated. He 
set about learning any language necessary, or any 
science he chose, and never missed an experiment, 
never forgot a word or a proposition. This was 
partly or primarily no doubt because his memory 
was retentive, but no sooner did he possess himself 
of a science or language than he used his knowledge 
in such a manner that the men who had been all 
their lives occupied with that single subject, ac- 
knowledged him their comrade. At the time of his 
death I had not seen him for many months, 'a year 
perhaps it might be. They had then called 
together ; it was the first time George Eliot had 
been in my house ; she was evidently occupied at 



246 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the moment with houses and furnishing ; they had 
just got possession of their new place in the country, 
and she was much interested in our new abode, with 
its many reception-rooms. He was so too ; there 
was the sort of self-complacent feeling between us 
of two old fellows who had not stuck in the world, 
but had made some considerable way since we 
used to meet in my first studio, which was a room 
up two stairs in Edward Street, Hampstead Road, 
where we talked well into the night, as youngsters 
do, but on the wisest and most recondite subjects. 

It was remarkable that only a few weeks before 
I had made an etching from a pencil sketch done in 
Leigh Hunt's house in Cheyne Row, I think, one 
evening when he and I met there, nearly forty 
years ago. The pencil sketch was slight, but it 
conveyed the bodily semblance and characteristic 
action of both Hunt and Lewes Hunt, with his 
face well raised, with a quantity of hair he con- 
tinued to part in the middle, that made him look a 
large-headed man, as indeed he was, having found 
other men's hats, including those of Shelley and 
Byron, would not go on his head ; and Lewes, a 
fidgety little fellow, stooping forward in an inquisi- 
tive, interrogating attitude. The only other person 
in the sketch, besides myself, was Vincent Hunt, 
then a boy, whose death was a grievous blow to 
Hunt in his later years. I now wish I had shown 
this etching to Lewes. His advancement in learn- 
ing and position was carried out by advancement 
also in temper and person ; he would have been 



xvi GEORGE ELIOT AND CHELSEA 247 

pleased probably with this memorandum of the old 
time, and so might George Eliot, but I was not 
sure enough of this to venture placing it in his 
hand. The reason I did not was that he used to 
be called the ugliest man in London, and his poor 
little wife of that day was one of the prettiest. My 
etching, however, does not exhibit his plainness 
particularly. They had been buying a billiard table 
for their country residence not, as he explained in 
a doubtful accent, to play himself, but for guests on 
a rainy day. Now I am the only one in this sketch 
remaining in the land of the living. 

George Eliot did not forget the impression she 
carried away of our house, and the view of the 
Thames we had. Not long after the death of 
Lewes she took the mansion at the other end of 
Cheyne Walk, in which Daniel Maclise painted his 
latest picture, and we congratulated ourselves on 
having her added to the Chelsea circle of friends 
as Mrs. Cross. By this time we had been about 
ten years inhabitants of that locality, and very much 
attached to it, finding it in many respects like a 
quiet country town, although it is an integral part 
of the busiest and greatest of cities. Old-fashioned 
shops are the rule, many of them kept by the same 
families for several generations. Everybody knows 
something of everybody else ; there are coteries 
without the exclusive feeling, great people like the 
son of Shelley, and the grandson of Byron, settled 
near each other, and the esoteric junto of the 
privileged, artists and literati. There were also 



248 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the public characters of a country town. The old 
woman who called watercresses ; the groggy old 
gentleman whom the boys waylaid, and induced to 
chase them with his brandished stick ; and the 
ancient barber, too, who actually still had daily 
customers whom he shaved, was to be met on his 
beat, with brush, comb, etc., peeping out of the 
pocket of his snow-white apron. On Monday 
mornings my wife witnesses a different indication of 
provincial habits. Calling on the grocer with a list 
of household items wanted, she finds the incumbent 
of the old parish church (the charming old church 
where the great Bible is still to be seen chained on 
its reading-desk, as ordered by Henry VIII. for the 
use of the public) with piles of copper money before 
him, which he and his parishioners count out into 
shillings on the counter, getting silver instead, and 
expatiating on the fact that there were two half- 
crowns and a five-shilling piece in the plate yester- 
day ! Is it not charming that in London we are 
still in this idyllic life ? But Mrs. Cross was not to 
enjoy it. 

After her death some of the daily writers, who 
produced the overstrained notices of her career and 
genius, omitted all mention of Lewes. She was 
said to be great in philosophy, and wise beyond 
measure, but the mention of her instructor was not 
to be tolerated for the sake of propriety. An 
amusing revelation of the difference between the 
conventional style of the printed eulogium and the 
private verdict, is afforded by a reported conversa- 



R. N. WORNUM 249 



tion with Carlyle on the adoption of George Eliot 
by the ignored Lewes long years ago. " Ah ! George 
Eliot is a female writer of books like myself and 
himself. I got one of them and tried to read it, but 
it would not do. Poor Lewes! Poor fellow!" were 
the words with which the " philosopher of Chelsea " 
eased his mind. 

With Ralph Wornum the close amity of the early 
day when he, Tom Sibson, and I spent every 
Saturday night together over a male life study of an 
hour and a half, and a glass of toddy or punch after 
it, was never disturbed. He became lecturer to 
the Government Schools of Design, and on his visits 
to Newcastle was my guest. On one occasion he 
found me painting the trial of Sir William Wallace 
as rebel at Westminster, and gave me a study from 
his own Herculean arms and chest, and I found him 
possessed of a nearly perfect human form, only a 
little too fleshy. My picture was a rather imaginary 
piece of British history, but I afterwards discovered 
a subject from the same story of a sublimely dramatic 
character. The execution of the hero took place on 
a day of the Fair of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, 
so that the hurdle with the doomed patriot, the 
executioner, and a little John Bull of an officiating 
sheriff, passed along among the zanies and quacks 
and dumb heads of heifers. Another fine subject, 
of a quite different kind, I have often thought of, if 
the R. A. had ever treated my pictures with a grain 
of consideration. This was the marriage of dear 
Albert Diirer, and was suggested on my visit to 



250 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Niirnberg by the loveliest of backgrounds in the 
"Bride's Door" of St. Sebald's Church, with its 
decorative statuettes of the wise and foolish Virgins ; 
Diirer having been married in the parish of St. 
Sebald. Imagine Agnes in her good and pretty 
young days, and the strangely interesting Albert 
himself, and old Wolgemut, and Albert the old, and 
the boy's godfather, the printer of the chronicle ! 

This muscular power and beauty of Ralph 
Wornum did not save him from a comparatively 
early break-up in his general health. One day I 
had my fellow-examiners from South Kensington to 
dinner, and Wornum came to meet them. He had 
long parted with the department for the position of 
Keeper and Secretary of the National Gallery, under 
Eastlake, who procured his appointment, so pleased 
was he with Wornum's solution of the difficulty that 
he, Professor Long, and some others, were at the 
moment troubling their heads about, whether Claud 
Lorraine was in boyhood a baker of pies or a painter 

of pies -pistor or pictor. 

* * * * * 

TV* "JF TP ^F rt" 

The night of that dinner-party, if I remember 
right, was one of the thickest fogs of the London 
season, so thick that no cab or carriage ventured 
out, and Wornum had to expose himself to it, refusing 
to remain with us all night, I am sorry to say, and 
was very ill on the way home. I only saw him once 
after, these being very busy years with me. He 
had long determined to write a life of St. Paul, 



N. WORNUM 251 



placing, as he believed, the true character of the 
apostle of the Gentiles before the literary world for 
the first time. At last the voluntary labour was 
completed ; a goodly volume, which had entailed 
late evening labour for years, now that Greek and 
other necessary acquirements for such a task were 
rather fading out of his mind, and it was published 
under the name of Saul of Tarsus. At the National 
Gallery I met him. Mrs. Wornum, his sustaining 
friend, had accompanied him from home and waited 
to take him back. The strong man was giving way. 
Supporting himself by leaning heavily on the barrier 
protecting the pictures in the great room, he told 
me he was gradually getting weaker. " I should 
have taken fewer tasks in hand," he said ; " some of 
them will never see the light ; Saul of Tarsus has 
conquered." This was very painful to me. Yes, it 
is fruitless to fight against convictions, the accretions 
of centuries. Here was my dear friend Wornum 
saying again with Julian, the philosopher and " apost- 
ate," Vicisti, Galil&e. 

A few months after the death of Ralph Nicholson 
Wornum, Senator Schcelcher, who still retained his 
villa in the neighbouring street (Upper Cheyne 
Street, the street or road where Leigh Hunt lived 
when I knew him), although his time was now mainly 
spent in France attending on his political duties, 
presented me with a similar book. He had intro- 
duced himself to me as a brother print-collector. In 
his house the walls from cellar to garret were literally 
covered with framed engravings, from the time of 



252 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, 

Schongauer to our day, his task being to find a 
specimen of every engraver or artist whose name is 
preserved in a dictionary, and his object in so doing 
was to present the collection at last to the Ecole des 
Beaux Arts. He, too, had discovered that Saul of 
Tarsus was unworthy of his place in the calendar, 
and he had then (1879) published in Paris Le Vrai 
Saint Paid, sa vie, sa morale : a labour prompted by 
a conscientious desire to disclose the truth, which 
shared the same fate as Wornum's larger and com- 
pleter criticism. 

The prolonged winter of 1879-80 was sadly fatal 
to many old people. We counted eleven deaths 
within the radius of our coeval friends, and now, 
just as the cold was giving way to spring, though 
still at the end of March the snow recurred, and the 
icicles formed again as the snow ceased to melt, while 
the daffodil persisted in opening, tidings arrived of 
the disappearance of Sir Walter Trevelyan, whose 
acquaintance and employment made to me the most 
important milestone in my life journey, the meta 
ultima marking the end of the hard and harassed 
period of my uphill labours and family misfortunes, 
and the beginning of a continual excitement, and 
the pleasure of many years of success in the pictures 
for Wallington and other gifts of fortune. He was 
eighty-two a good age to live up to and to die at, 
the age at which it is well to die ; and he died after 
one day's illness, which is also well. When I saw 
him, even for the first time, his aspect was that of 
indefinite age, and no change was visible upon him 



xvi SIH WALTER TREVELYAN 253 

to the end. He was a man of the coolest tempera- 
ment, yet constantly active in many minor pursuits 
that did not strain his intellect, only kept it occupied, 
avoiding excitement of every kind, preserving as a 
duty the normal equanimity of his pulse ; always 
well in health, which he attributed to avoiding 
stimulants. Two years ago he fell by stepping on a 
frozen pool hidden under a thin carpet of snow, 
putting his shoulder out and endangering his life, 
and now on the last flying storm of the " sullen rear" 
of another winter he dies. Of the three charming 
places he owned, Nettlecombe Court in Somerset, 
a lovely Elizabethan mansion in an ancient deer 
park, full of comfortable warmth ; Seaton-by-the-Sea 
in the genial climate of Devon, the property entered 
under the family name in Doomsday-book, he elected 
to live all the year round at Wallington in Northum- 
berland, where the fierce weather killed him at last. 
Now and then he continued to write me, and to en- 
close a mass of printed papers of all sorts referring 
to the small reforms and benevolent objects always 
occupying him, and his last communication, exactly a 
month before his death, was very characteristic. He 
says, "This is the longest and severest winter I 
remember without any appearance yet of its ending ;" 
and he encloses a paper by Combe "On Voluntary 
Distortions," reprinted fromthe Phrenological Journal 
of forty years ago, for distribution by Sir Walter ; 
"Argument for a Popular Veto on the Liquor 
Traffic," by Sir Wilfrid Lawson ; a reprint of Lady 
Pauline's review of my Memoir of my brother ; 



254 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

his own pamphlet " On the Alcohol and Opium 
Trades " ; " Bishop Selwyn and the Maine Law " ; 
" On the Purity of Beer and Cider " ; " Correspond- 
ence with Thomas Bewick on Certain Birds " ; and 
other things. All these were of the driest character. 
He had no humour ; in this respect unlike his brother 
Arthur, whose tract in the shape of an advertisement 
of " Death and Company's Foreign and British 
Spirits," gave a glowing account of their deleterious 
qualities, ending with a " Nota bene Sacramental 
wine always on hand!" When his nephew Alfred 
became Roman Catholic, much to the chagrin of the 
head of the house, one day Sir Walter was showing 
us some curiosities in his museum ; among other 
things he drew out of a cedar-wood cabinet a drawer 
of human bones picked up in the Catacombs. The 
convert lifted them, drawer and all, to his nose, and 
called out, " Oh, they have the odour of sanctity ! 
they are the bones of martyrs !" The face of Sir 
Walter, expressing impassivity struggling with sup- 
pressed derision, was a study, but at last he said, 
without any perceptible change of voice, " The 
odour is that of the cedar-wood drawer, my boy." 
I was glad to have the note I have mentioned, 
although it was loaded with such a mass of matter 
for the waste-basket, ending as it did with a hope 
that I would come to see him, and find " The Way 
to Wallington," thus quoting an old electioneering 
song of his father's time, when the intimation of his 
final departure came so soon after. 

I like to preserve a record of the last of the noble 



xvi SIR WALTER TREVELYAN 255 

old patrician whose action on my life was so bene- 
ficial, and so shall transcribe a letter Captain Perci- 
val kindly wrote me on the occasion : 

WALLINGTON, \st April 1879. 

DEAR MR. SCOTT You will, I know, like to hear 
some particulars respecting the end of Sir Walter Tre- 
velyan, of which event you have already heard. It appears 
he had caught cold about a week before ; but on the day 
before his death he was well enough to propose driving 
over to Hallington, and only put off so doing as he thought 
it might be too cold for his lady. 

That night he had a shivering fit : Lady T. wished to 
send for the doctor, but he would not allow her. He went 
early to bed and slept a couple of hours, when he suddenly 
woke up and said, " Tumours are forming on the lungs." 
The doctor was immediately sent for. He came about 
eight on Sunday morning, found the pulse quiet, nothing 
wrong with the lungs, Jie thought, only a slight tendency to 
bronchitis, but not to cause alarm. He left declaring he 
saw no occasion to return that day. 1 

When the post arrived, after reading his letters, Sir 
Walter dictated an answer to one of them ; Lady T. left the 
room for only about five or six minutes to write this out ; 
when she returned he was gone ; his eyes were closed, his 
hands crossed on his chest, there was no sign of a struggle 
or a pang ; he appeared to have passed away in sleep. 
You will be sorry to hear that poor Lady T., who at first 
could not realise the fact, is now seriously ill, and from 
one cause or another has now congestion of the lungs. 

The funeral took place at Cambo on Thursday, when 
he was carried to his grave by his tenants, of whom up- 
wards of a hundred attended, in the face of a terrible 

1 It would have been highly interesting to have made a post- 
mortem, so as to ascertain whether the tumours had really formed. 
Perhaps at that moment Sir Walter, like the " Seeress of Prevorst," 
had internal vision. 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



snowstorm, which added a cruel wildness to the scene. I 
remain here till Lady T. is quite out of danger. Believe 
me to be yours sincerely, G. R. PERCIVAL. 

P. S. 2nd April, five o'clock P.M. I regret to say the 
doctor, who has just gone, thinks the state of Lady T. 
very critical. 

Evening. I open this to say, all is over. 

This was the second wife of Sir Walter, Laura 
Capel Lofft before marriage not the dear and 
admirable chatelaine of the period of my intimacy 
with Wallington. How different they were, the first 
and the second ladies who reigned there ! Pauline, 
my never-to-be-forgotten good angel ; small, quick, 
with restless bright eye that nothing in heaven or 
earth or under the earth escaped ; appreciative, yet 
trenchant ; satirical, yet kindly ; able to do whatever 
she took in hand, whether it was to please her father 
in Latin or Greek, or herself in painting and music ; 
intensely amusing and interesting to the men she 
liked, understanding exactly how much she could 
trust them in conversation on dangerous subjects, or 
in how far she could show them she understood or 
estimated them. This was intensified by the want of 
humour and imagination in Sir Walter, which must 
have been a grievance, but was only perceptible as a 
secret amusement to her. When I knew her first I was 
not learned in the female character, my own wife being 
the most difficult of human creatures to understand. 
She soon saw through me, and was the best of 
friends. Always amiable and often complimentary 
to strangers, towards me she had the appearance of 



xvi SIR WALTER TREVELYAN 257 

severity, rating me for pride, for ignorance of the 
world, for conceit in things below my mark, as she 
too kindly said, till at last her young niece, then 
called Kitten, remonstrated, thinking her more cruel 
to Mr. Scott, who was making so many pictures for 
the hall, than to any one else ! She had been 
married at nineteen or less, had lived in Rome after 
marriage, and travelled on mule-back in Greece with 
her husband, the most self-centred, unaffected, high- 
intentioned man I ever knew ; and she became in 
many respects in perfect harmony with him. She 
was a true woman, but without vanity, and very 
likely without the passion of love. 

When Sir Walter died he had a volume nearly 
ready, called Selections from the Literary and 
Artistic Remains of Pauline Jermyn Trevelyan, 
one of the essays in which was the review of my 
Memoir of my brother, reprinted and enclosed in 
the last letter of Sir Walter to me, with so many 
other things. This book was edited by his secretary 
David Wooster ; but it is to me a capitt mortuum, so 
great is the difference often between the personality 
and the prepared productions of many individuals. 
Still let me copy out one of her poems that my pages 
may possess something by her : 

STREET MUSIC 

It was a squalid street, in truth, 
Where crime and misery cowered side by side, 
Where wretched infancy and ruined youth 
And helpless hopeless age, swam down the deathward tide. 

VOL. II S 



258 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Redly the sunset came 

Flickering oh high, far up the blackened walls, 
Less like heaven's light than that unhallowed flame 
Lit by exulting hands when some sad city falls. 

All through the impure air 

Came sounds of grief and wickedness and strife, 
Sickness and childhood moaned unheeded there, 
Drowned in the turmoil of discordant life. 

When high above the din 
Rang the shrill bagpipes of the mountaineer ! 
Strains born of pastoral glen and rock-pent linn 
Had joined the meaner misery walled-up here. 

Coarse was the hand that played, 
Without one touch of feeling or of fire, 
Yet by the rugged notes were strifes allayed, 
And pallid children danced amid the mire. 

Oh, brother mortals, hail ! 
Sinful and sorrowful, yet brethren still, 
Come from your loathsome dens, your garments stale, 
Our inmost souls meet in that music's thrill. 

I mused and passed away 

From that dark street to where sweet Avon flows, 
'Midst gleaming rock, soft grass, and woodland spray, 
And nature's primal voice on my tired ear arose. 

Go ask yon mountain rill, 
Why it makes unheard music to the woods 
Why do the wild-flowers paint the soulless hills, 
And cloud and sunbeam play over the ocean's floods ? 

But what if angels' eyes 

Are gazing downwards on those unknown streets ? 
Ah, what if angel melodies arise 
Echoing those notes far off in heaven's retreats ! 



xvi LADY TREVELYAN 259 

For what can Art do more 
Than waken childhood's feelings by her voice ; 
Make pure tears gush from founts long sealed before, 
And saddened hearts obey its summons to rejoice ? 

This is better in an intellectual than in a rhyth- 
mical point of view, and after all I think it not one 
of her best ; and the pictorial portion of the publica- 
tion is very inferior to what she accomplished in 
aiding the decoration of the hall. The extraordinary 
Will he left kept Sir Walter's name before the public 
for some time after his death. He left the authorities 
of the British Museum, National Gallery, and other 
public institutions, permission to select what they 
chose from his collections. The director of the latter 
institution went down to Wallington a few months 
later to see if he could avail himself of Sir Walter's 
offer. Here is Sir Frederick Burton's letter to me 
on his return : 

43 ARGYLL ROAD, W., zist August 1879. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I have been down to Wallington, 
and have been fortunate in two fine days there. Sir Charles 
and Lady Trevelyan have been very kind and hospitable. 
I enjoyed my visit, but came away empty-handed. There 
was nothing placed at our disposal (i.e. of the National 
Gallery) by the Will, which I felt in the least tempted to 
lay claim to. 

The place, its contents, and its associations, strongly 
interested me. Above all, I was pleased to see again 
your compositions for the hall. They are as fresh as ever; 
and the imagination and thought manifested in them, the 
great excellence and fulness of the composition in each, 
their originality and variety, engaged me as much as when 
I saw them in London it must be about twenty years 
ago. It is only to be regretted that the necessities of the 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



case involved their being placed so low down ; for, although 
their horizon is no doubt calculated for that position, I 
think they would look better and be better seen if placed 
much higher. I have little doubt you would have made 
them fit the arches, but that, of course, a space to light 
the passages behind was indispensable. I was also inter- 
ested in the twin portraits of yourself and your brother 
(these ought to be in the Scottish Academy). And again, 
in the early water-colour by Rossetti. 

I had so often heard you and others speak of Sir 
Walter, and the whole place was so redolent of him as an 
individuality, that a strange feeling of sadness haunted me, 
as I, although for the first time, wandered about it, now in 
other hands, and likely to undergo some changes. They 
are going to make an alteration in the entrance, by push- 
ing the hall and its pillars some feet forward, enlarging 
the entrance hall by throwing down the partition on the 
left, diminishing the size of the ante-room where the cases 
of porcelain are, and so opening a way from the door 
direct to the great central hall. This will be an improve- 
ment, and will admit of there being an inner glass door 
to keep out winter draughts. However, both Sir Charles 
and Lady T. seem anxious to make as few changes as 
possible. 

The British Museum people took away a good many 
things from Wallington : porcelain, coins, etc. A residue 
of Sir Walter's museum goes to Newcastle. But the 
terms of the Will with its sixteen codicils are somewhat 
complicated. While there I slept in that delightful room 
lined and furnished with Miss Julia Calverly's work in 
embroidery. Bless the dear soul, her works give more 
pleasure than those of some of our contemporaries in art 
are likely to do one hundred and eighty years hence \ I 
hope to get off abroad towards the middle of September ; 
till then I am here. Ever yours, F. W. BURTON. 

The " twin portraits " mentioned are two cabinet- 
size pictures, one of my brother David by R. S. 



xvi SSR WALTER TREVELYAN 261 

Lauder, of the Scottish Academy, and the other of 
myself by Waite, both very well executed ; they are 
now at Nettlecombe Court in Somerset. The 
elaborate Will referred to was unfortunate, suggest- 
ing actions at law, which were, however, gradually 
compromised ; the most amusing item was the 
bequest of his immense cellar of wines to Dr. B. W. 
Richardson, a brother in temperance agitation, to 
be " employed for scientific purposes." This cellar 
contained perhaps the rarest collection in the world. 
Under Lady Pauline's rule wine was to be seen on 
the dinner- table ; I remember a visitor on one 
occasion, after a glass of the port laid down 
by Sir Walter's father, offering to be a purchaser 
of the whole at a guinea a bottle. Sir Walter 
declined the transaction, quietly adding, " No, I 
mean to have the whole carried out some day and 
emptied into the Wansbeck ! " Dr. Richardson told 
me when the lawyer's first letter arrived he believed 
it was an April trick, but the key followed, and con- 
firmed the letter. 

The lists sent him included nearly thirty kinds 
of wines and spirits, but a great proportion was lost 
by decay of the corks. Still from sixty to eighty 
dozen labelled and entered in a book appeared in 
London, affording a delightful subject to the daily 
papers, from one of which I preserved an extract 
which I may enter here : 

These were the most precious contents of the cellar as 
Sir Walter Trevelyan found it thirty years ago, when he 
sold the common poisons, but kept these heirlooms even 



262 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

as another man might keep a bottle of aqua tofana which 
had been distilled by Rene, the Florentine, for Catherine 
de Medicis. Most of it was carefully dated, and the 
oldest liquid of all, the Tokay and St. George, both of 
1752, were said to be bought of Edward Wortley, and 
may possibly have been fellows to wine tasted by Lady 
Mary herself. There were Magnums of Hock of 1777, 
an age, if we mistake not, hardly to be paralleled in the 
most famous cellars on the Rhine itself, where the opera- 
tions of the French patriots were far from favourable to 
the conservation of vintages. There was Cyprus of 1762, 
which we are told M. Gennadius, the Greek minister, 
pronounces " superb." Sherry-sack, " of date unknown," 
may have been of a vintage consumed by Shakespeare 
himself for aught that we know ; and Malmsey, also of 
unknown date, duly suggests to Dr. Richardson the Duke 
of Clarence. There was port of 1784, which we are 
rather surprised to find was also pronounced magnificent, 
though it is generally held that fifty or sixty years is the 
.utmost life of drinkable port wine. Some Arrack of 
extraordinary age even made Dr. Richardson or somebody 
else write a poem of an anti-Bacchic but still panegyrical 
character. After these things dates with the figure 1 8 at 
their left seem quite modern and scarcely worth re- 
garding. 

All this wine inherited by Sir Walter recalls to 
my mind a saying of his, one night when his gout 
was so bad he had to ascend the stair on his knees. 
I, carrying the light, suggested that he might console 
himself by reflecting that he had not himself to 
blame. " No ! " he rejoined, " my father and grand- 
father drank the port and I came in for the gout ! " 

I have mentioned the laudation of George Eliot 

o 

which followed her death. That which followed on 
the demise of Carlyle was almost as great, till the 



xvi EFFECT OF CARLYLES "REMINISCENCES" 263 

direct honesty of speech in his Reminiscences turned 
the tide of praise into something like a howl of 
execration not altogether to be accounted for. I 
was on the committee to further the erection of 
Boehm's admirable statue. At first the subscrip- 
tions swarmed in : then the Reminiscences appeared, 
and there was no more money to be got ! 



CHAPTER XVII 

MORE DEATHS THOMAS DIXON OF SUNDERLAND 

RICHARD BURCHETT SOLOMON HART 

THESE memorials sadly portending the winding up 
of my autobiographic notes, like the curfew to the 
parting day, will only be prolonged by the commem- 
oration of one or perhaps two more of those friends 
whose names have appeared in the earlier pages. A 
few years after my undertaking the Government 
School of Design work in the North, I received a note 
from Sunderland, very queerly spelt but rather ably 
expressed, inquiring what steps were necessary to 
obtain an institution in that town similar to that I 
had inaugurated in Newcastle, and also expressing 
some hints that the writer was agitating for a Free 
Library on the plan then promulgated of a public 
penny tax. Similar letters had reached me before, 
to which I had replied with punctuality, as I now 
did to Sunderland. A deputation was immediately 
arranged, and I of course expected to find the 
mayor, or an alderman, or two shipbuilders, 
or other important worthies, ready to come 
forward with funds and influence, but instead of 



CHAP, xvn THOMAS DIXON 265 

those, Thomas Dixon, the writer of the first letter, 
and three or four other working men presented 
themselves. 

A little taken by surprise at first, I received 
them in the same spirit and with the same attention 
as if they had been the most important persons the 
town could show, and was very agreeably interested 
by their confessing that they were only carpenters, 
and that their leader Dixon was a cork-cutter. 
" Not that I could benefit by such an institution as 
we want," said that gentleman, "but I want to see 
my native town possess the great advantages of 
having a School of Art. I have no talent, but I 
know several who have, and I come to speak for 
them." This was another example of a power of 
self-dependence and unegotistic manhood I had met 
in the North, such as it would be vain to look for 
anywhere else in England. It had nothing to do 
with politics, there was neither pretence of their 
ability to carry such a scheme forward nor com- 
plaint against the magnates of the locality for not 
doing more. On the contrary they took up the 
common-sense position that people who could have 
expensive teaching, and had plenty of books in their 
own homes, did not need to care for public schools 
and libraries, but that they, the workmen, wanted to 
help themselves. 

All these men I knew afterwards. One of them, 
Pickering by name, was not a carpenter but a printer, 
and had secretly practised design, with a view to 
illustration, showing an amount of power unaccount- 



266 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

able in one who had no other teaching than what he 
could give himself by the purchase of a few books 
such as he could afford. But Dixon was the one 
who affected me most, and who continued for the 
rest of his life to look upon my occasional advice 
and entertainment of his ideas with a sort of proud 
gratitude, all the while he was effectually carrying 
out in a quiet unostentatious way schemes that made 
me feel my own deficiencies as an agitator. This 
letter-writing to every one who appeared to him 
worthy of admiration in any way brought him in 
contact and into correspondence with many illustrious 
and powerful people, who, I found afterwards, had 
waved aside the want of education so visible in his 
letters, and had received him as a friend and equal. 
Both the Free Library and the School of Art were 
established in Sunderland. I must not say through 
his activity, but had he not, day and night, I may 
say, kept these proposed institutions before the eyes 
of his own class as well as before the authorities, it 
is very doubtful whether Sunderland would have 
been so early in the field. Not only was a School 
of Art instituted but a local gallery of pictures, 
open to the public, established in connection there- 
with. He it was to whom Ruskin wrote the 
" Letters to a working man," afterwards published 
by him. Had he interleaved his own letters 
with those of his correspondent, as Dixon said 
he at first proposed to do, the book would 
have been more interesting and dramatic, if less 
egotistic. 



xvii DIXON AND WALT WHITMAN 267 

Dixon had a constant habit of picking up curious 
things and books of a peculiar kind, and sending 
them to such of his friends as might, in his phrase, 
" make a better use of them than he could do." He 
knew instinctively what would interest certain men, 
and through his agency I have received several 
pieces of peculiar literary knowledge I might have 
otherwise missed. One of these books was Walt 
Whitman's Leaves of Grass. It was seen by him in 
some quantity in the stock of a sort of peddler-book- 
seller who had been in America. He sent it me ; 
and I at once invested in other copies, one of which 
I sent to W. M. Rossetti, as has been mentioned 
previously in these notes, who after an interval of 
some years brought out the edition that made the 
new development known to the English public, and 
largely conduced to the changed position, of Whit- . 
man in America. 

About the beginning of 1879, seeing in one of 
the illustrated American magazines an article about 
the author of Leaves of Grass and his book, ignoring 
altogether the critical influence of England in respect 
to the fame of Walt, I conceived the idea of asking 
Dixon particularly how he got the copies I had from 
him. His answer is worth preserving : 

I will tell you willingly [he says] about the first copies 
of the Leaves of Grass, which are still dear to me from 
the association of the man who brought them here, and 
because I, at least, knew by whom Walt Whitman would 
be valued. There is a plan of dealing in books called 
hand -selling, which is selling by a kind of auction, the 



268 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

dealers who adopt this plan not being lawfully-qualified 
auctioneers. The value (upset price) of a book is gradu- 
ally reduced till somebody takes it. Say it starts at five 
shillings, then it is reduced less and less, till it comes to a 
shilling or sixpence. A man came here at that time (I 
think it must have been about the beginning of the year 
1856), James Grindrod by name, following this trade, with a 
stock of books that had missed their market, or had never 
been rightly published at all. Long after this long after 
the American War was finished he came back again to 
Sunderland and recommenced the bookselling trade in the 
old way, but his wife (from whom he had separated, though 
he had left her in a comfortable way of business) being 
still here, made him soon leave the town again. I was 
very sorry for this, because he used to bring such lots of 
wonderful curious books books you don't in a regular 
way see. Since then we have never had a man like him 
in this trade. He used to come and take tea with me on 
the Sunday afternoons, and then I found out he had been 
in the thick of the American Civil War as well as Whit- 
man. He did not care to speak of his war experiences, 
only my sympathy used to draw him out, for I longed to 
hear how they had pulled through. He had joined one 
of the States regiments, and was most part of the time in 
the army led by General Sherman. He was with Sher- 
man in all the fearful raids towards the end, and was often 
without food, and was many times compelled to eat almost 
any thing, however loathsome, they could find during arduous 
marches in the wasted country ; he saw many men drop 
down and die for want of food. " But when we did reach 
the depots where food was, we were all taken very good 
care of and nursed ; but I never in all my life experienced 
any trial like that want of food during these raids." He 
was with Sherman at the taking of Atlanta, and then he 
got his discharge with others of the men who had done 
the same hard service. 

He would not remain in Sunderland, though he could 
sell his books. He travelled about, went into Lancashire, 



THOMAS DIXON 269 



and there he met his death in a railway collision in a 
tunnel a year or two afterwards. So you now have the 
history of the book. 

It will be remembered that the first edition, a 
large thin book with a small portrait of the author, 
had no publisher's name on its title-page, and was 
never seen on the counter nor in the list of any 
American bookseller. Emerson had written a singu- 
larly laudatory letter to Whitman privately, which 
the latter made public as far as he could, but only in 
the obscurest way ; so that we may say that but for 
this travelling bookseller with his "hand-sale" of 
queer volumes that had scarcely ever seen the light 
of day, the Leaves of Grass might never have reached 
this country at all. 

The last time we saw Dixon was in London, so 
lately as in July 1880. He had saved money, and 
felt himself to be independent of his trade, which he 
never liked, its patrons being mainly the public- 
houses and gin-palaces of the Tyne and Wear. He 
was forty-nine years of age, but his thin white face, 
with its rather noble profile, indicated a feeble body, 
contrasting with the large strong figure of his 
travelling companion, Skipsey the pitman, and 
author of a volume of poems possessing consider- 
able charm from their expression of some features 
of the writer's daily life. One of the smaller poems 
of this class, called Get Up ! was considerably 
quoted, and Burne-Jones, going out to stay a day 
or two with the Premier, Mr. Gladstone, took the 
book in his pocket and read this poem to Miss 



270 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Gladstone, which reading resulted in her father 
getting Skipsey placed on the Civil Pension List 
for a very small sum, it is true, being only ^10 ; but 
the honour was worth more to hirri. These two 
good men and true were well received and enter- 
tained by many illustrious persons besides Burne- 
Jones and his wife, who took Dixon to see the 
Grosvenor Gallery. He had just managed to make 
a beginning with the establishment of the Picture 
Gallery for Sunderland, in which several of us aided 
him. One evening he came on to Bellevue, having 
just left Carlyle, who had received him, though then, 
in the last twelve months of his long life, he habit- 
ually resisted the inroads of all visitors. Dixon sat 
down, looking tired and worn, and told me where 
he had been, going on thus : " Mr. Carlyle looked 
at me very sadly, and said, ' When a man lives to 
be as old as I am, you see, he is about ready to go, 
and willing to be done with all this turmoil about 
him here.' This was his speech to me, and I am 
sure his life is sad, and the words he spoke were 
sincere ; he is a lonely man, and has been for long, 
maybe for all his life." Saying this, Dixon's eyes 
filled with tears ; he, too, felt himself a lonely man. 
His wife died a good many years ago, leaving him 
two sons, to one of whom I stood godfather. The 
elder of these became a sailor, and was washed over- 
board in a storm ; the other resisted the education 
his father wanted to give him and took himself off 
to Australia. I sympathised profoundly with this 
middle-aged man, old before his time, as well as 



xvn THOMAS DIXON 271 

with his friend Skipsey, able-bodied and slow, con- 
tented with his fate, feeling it in his own hand, 
happy with his crowd of children and the mild 
appreciation of a few friends more cultivated than 
himself. 

He was to leave London next day, and in a 
week or so after he suddenly died simply ceased 
to exist when the servant had left his bedside after 
giving him some breakfast. The information came 
to me from William Brockie, as admirable a man as 
either of these, and, it may be, abler ; an Oriental 
scholar who has published some really compre- 
hensive and enlightened short expositions of Hindoo 
philosophy, badly printed and unnoticed, their author 
living among men who take no note of such things. 
D. G. R. was much affected by the disappearance of 
the excellent Dixon. He wrote me on the occasion : 
"He was a good man if ever there was one. I fear 
poor Skipsey, who is of a tougher mould, will miss 
him very seriously. But much as I admire Skipsey, 
I feel it is of little use to speak of him as a poet ; the 
metal is too coarse ; it is not beaten, but cast." I 
assisted in getting a bust of this simple and true 
public servant executed for the Sunderland Picture 
Gallery by Boehm, and a portrait of him was placed 
without my aid in the Free Library. At the public 
meeting on the occasion of this portrait being pre- 
sented, a letter from Max Mliller was read, full of 
such loving admiration, I preserved it from the daily 
waste, and still further preserve an extract from it 
here : 



272 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

You have indeed lost a good and brave man at 
Sunderland. I wish I could have seen and known more 
of him, but our life is so busy that we seldom find time 
for what is the greatest enjoyment of life, free interchange 
of thought with our fellow-men. You know that Thomas 
Dixon was not a learned man, but I can assure you that 
his letters, in spite of occasional mistakes in spelling, 
showed a clearer insight into the true objects of all my 
writings, and conveyed to me more useful criticism than 
many a review in the best weekly, monthly, or quarterly 
journals. How he found time to do all he did, and to 
read all he read, and to think out all that he thought 
out for himself, is still a riddle to me. Nothing gives me 
a stronger faith in the intellectual vigour and moral 
strength of the English people than that such a man as 
Thomas Dixon could have lived and passed away almost 
unknown, except to his friends and fellow-citizens. We 
must not judge England by its so-called head or capital 
city, which at present seems often very silly and crazy, 
but by its backbone, that runs through the provinces, and 
by its noble heart that beats so strongly in the breasts of 
such men as Thomas Dixon a provincial cork-cutter, if 
you like but a truer, nobler man than many a duke or 
marquis. 

One or two more of the artistic order of social 
humanity, and I have done with my records of the 
dead. The first of these I shall name is Richard 
Burchett, an able, self-dependent actor in the affairs 
of life, yet one whose action was rarely to his own 
benefit, although largely to the benefit of those under 
him in his official position that of Director of the 
Training Class, when Messrs. Cole and Redgrave 
determined to substitute certificated teachers for the 
artists previously elected in a haphazard manner by 
the Board of Trade as Masters of the Schools of 



xvn RICHARD BURCHETT 273 

Design. Of these last I was one, and so entitled to 
a Civil Service pension in proportion to the length of 
service ; others, the few whose names I can remem- 
ber, were Zephaniah Bell, one of the gainers of prizes 
at the Westminster Hall Exhibition ; W. C. Dobson, 
now member of the R. Academy ; Young Mitchell, 
a portrait-painter of moderate ability ; Hammersley, 
a landscape-painter ; and Nursey, who had been 
assistant to Sir David Wilkie. Not one of us, I 
may say, knew anything of scholastic ornament, or 
of the application of art to any manufacture what- 
ever. Our Director at Somerset House, who was 
accountable for everything, was Charles Heath 
Wilson, against whom the whole of the advanced 
students rose in a body under the leadership of 
Richard Burchett. A Parliamentary Committee of 
Examination carried the day against Wilson, and on 
the change of Schools of Design into a Department 
of Science and Art, which matured itself by degrees, 
Burchett had entrusted to him the organisation of a 
Training Class for future masters, every provincial 
centre being now (partly through the first great 
International Exhibition of 1851) intent upon having 
efficient education in art in their own localities. This 
he did with great intelligence, arranged a curriculum, 
and prepared text-books on Perspective Geometry, 
etc. At the same time, however, he, like poor 
little Collinson, the P.R.B., converted himself into 
Roman Catholicism, took to a sort of farming at 
considerable expense, and gave himself up to histori- 
cal painting on a rather large scale just the kind of 

VOL. II T 



274 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

art which English taste and the R. Academy as the 
mediocre exponent of the same would like to crush 
out of existence. He began to get into deep water, 
and into the hands of 20 per cent money-lenders. 
Still he fought bravely with his difficulties, and even 
when his large salary was placed under trustees, he 
went on with his historic subjects. An anecdote 
regarding one of these I must give, as showing how 
a picture, like an action in actual life, is capable of 
even opposite interpretations. At this time Mr. 
Peter Stewart, shipowner, of Liverpool, realising a 
vast fortune, had built a great gallery for pictures, and 
visited Burchett to see his latest work. Stewart was 
an extreme Radical in religious and political creeds, 
a companion of my dear friend W. J. Linton in the 
benevolent action of securing food and lodging for 
a whole shipload of Polish refugees. The subject 
of Burchett's picture was the priest bearing the 
sacred elements, thus barring the way and prevent- 
ing the conquerors after the Battle of Tewkesbury 
from invading the church, sword in hand, where 
their discomfited enemies were sheltered. Burchett 
had chosen the subject as a glorious example of the 
power of the Church and the faith of the prince at 
that blessed period in Merry England. Stewart 
looked a long time at the picture, admired the 
armour and the priest's cope and the monstrance he 
held, and at last spoke out. " I admire the picture, 
Mr. Burchett, it is excellently painted, and I like it 
for its subject ; these men in full armour won't go 
in, they won't end the day completely after risk- 



xvii SOLOMON HART 275 

ing all their lives, because of that old priest with 
the jack-in-the-box ! Superstition, you see, turns 
them into caitiffs ! " This knocked over poor 
Burchett so much, the transaction came to nothing. 
Indeed, everything went amiss with him, and he 
died in what should have been the middle of his 
career. 

The other artist I have to mention here is a 
contrast to Richard Burchett. Much associated 
with him in the examination of the works of the 
Provincial schools, not at all in private life, I never 
looked upon him as an artist. This was Solomon 
Hart, whose two great successes were his election 
into the Academy, and into the Athenaeum Club, 
where he dined every day and only went home to 
bed. He, too, had tried the large historic canvas. 
His subject, the " Execution of Lady Jane Grey," 
I remember very long ago, it must have been, I 
think, when, as a boy, I drew a few months in the 
British Museum. It was not at all like Burchett's 
works, capable of suggesting anything to anybody ; 
it was only a row of beef-eaters, larger than life, in 
red loose jerkins, and above them, on a high shelf, 
a young woman in black, with a bishop in white 
lawn, and an executioner. He never tried the large 
historic again, but somehow the Royal Academy 
rewarded him by adoption. He was very learned 
in the prices English artists had been in the habit 
of receiving, amazingly small until our own day : 
he assured me that neither Stothard, nor any of his 
contemporaries, nor any earlier artist up to Richard 



276 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Wilson, inclusive except the two great portrait- 
painters made more than, or so much as, three 
hundred pounds a year. I have found a place for 
dear old Solomon Hart here, in spite of his contin- 
ual habit of punning, even scheming to introduce a 
pun for half an hour, and after all our having politely 
to laugh at it for the twentieth time. My reason for 
doing so is that at his funeral in the Hebrew 
Cemetery I discovered the origin of the words 
Requiescat in Pace, still used by the Roman 
Catholic Church in the obituaries, and on grave- 
stones of the faithful, a form of record on a Chris- 
tian grave which has all my life been a puzzle to 
me. On every upright gravestone and every 
grave had a similar upright stone I observed three 
Hebrew words inserted towards the end of every 
inscription, the rest being in English. These 
words, my informant, who was a Hebrew, told me, 
were only translatable " May he rest in peace," 
exactly the same as the Romanist inscription " Re- 
quiescat in Pace," and they had been in use he 
said, time out of mind by the Chosen People. Why 
should this remain still in use with us Christians, 
whose boast it is that " Immortality has been 
brought to light through the Gospel," to whom, 
therefore, death is the opposite of eternal sleep, 
an awakening to a higher life? The truth seems 
to be, that the earliest Christians in Rome 
were Jews, whose graves in the catacombs con- 
tinued to be so inscribed, and these again were 
imitated by later converts ; and so the form of 



xvn "REQUIESCAT IN PACE" 277 

inscription continued to be ignorantly followed 
afterwards by the Church, even down to this nine- 
teenth century ! Such is the tenacity of life in 
religious usages, when they have once become 
authoritative. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 

I MAY enter here, a better opportunity being want- 
ing, certain speculations of more or less artistic 
interest, which came in my way in these late days 
of literary loitering. One of the most inventive 
and superb designs of Hans Sebald Beham is the 
large woodcut representing the " Fountain of Re- 
juvenescence." A picture by Lucas Cranach, at 
Berlin, has long been a point of attraction to 
imaginative visitors ; in both of these works the old 
people totter along or are carried to the bath or 
Fountain, which in Beham's print a woodcut of 
about four feet long is a large water surrounded 
by a grand Renaissance colonnade, under which the 
renovated men and women, active and handsome in 
the prime of middle life, sport together. In writing 
about the Little Masters I tried to find the origin 
of this myth in mediaeval times, but Dr. Littledale 
assured me it was not at all an old fable, but one 
brought home from the Caribbean Sea by mariners 
following the discoveries in the New World. In 
all histories of these wonderful discoveries we find 



CHAP, xvin ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 279 

the account of Juan Ponce de Leon spending years 
vainly looking for the problematic island called 
Bimini, where the equally problematic fountain of 
youth existed. But then Ponce was only contem- 
porary with the Little Masters, and Sir Frederick 
Burton told me he believed there was a picture 
attributed to Dirk Stuerbout, who died in 1475, of 
this subject, and I found in Passavant a print de- 
scribed under the heading " Le maitre de 1464," 
representing a hexagonal bason in which are men 
and women ; men being seen carrying their wives 
towards the bason, and one throwing his wife into 
it. Behind the side of the bason is a man standing 
in complete armour, and on the ground at his feet 
are the words Hie est fons juventutis. The same 
print is entered by Bartsch under the heading 
" Anonymes du XV Siecle." Sir Frederick was so 
much interested in the inquiry that he followed it 
out to some extent, as the following letter indicates. 

43 ARGYLL ROAD, y>th December 1879. 

MY DEAR SCOTT That question about the " Fountain 
of Youth " is a curious one, and it would be pleasant to 
see it cleared up. It may be that Dr. Littledale has 
substantial grounds for his statement. I mean, that it is 
not founded upon negative conclusions merely. But one 
would like to know what those grounds are. Considering 
the remote antiquity and the universality of the attribu- 
tion (often well-founded) to springs and fountains of 
curative and renovating virtues and the superstitions 
which amongst every people have sprung out of this 
belief, with myths and legends of all sorts connected with 
them, the one extraordinary thing would be to find no 
notion of a fountain which not only healed diseases, but 



28o WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

restored youth to the decrepit. Such a notion would 
seem the most natural possible in legendary fancies and 
in myth-making times. 

Yet I must confess that I have in vain searched in 
Grimm (" Deutsche Mythologie ") and in Preller, as well 
as in Herodotus, for any myth or story of the sort. Nor 
do I find one amongst the Irish legendary lore, although 
we might easily suspect a Celtic origin for the notion. 

It might very well arise amongst a notoriously pleas- 
ure-loving race such as the West Indian Islanders (not 
Caribs) are reported to have been, whose greatest horror 
must have been the approach of a period of life when 
they could no longer enjoy and whose dreams might 
well have suggested the hope of an eternal renewal of 
youth. Yet I cannot help suspecting that the story 
published by the Spaniards, and which set Ponce de 
Leon off on his sagacious quest, arose from a mistake. 
Ignorant as they were of the languages of the Indians, 
save such vocables as they picked up, their chief com- 
munication with the natives must have been conducted 
by means of signs. They heard of a fountain which had 
healing properties ; a wonderful spring that cured all 
maladies and " made people young again " a figure of 
speech not unknown to us either. Ready to believe any- 
thing of those marvellous new-found lands, where almost 
everything differed from the old world, the Spaniards 
left their own imagination free play and themselves 
invented more than they heard so that not only their 
ears, but their very eyes deceived them. I think it was 
Ponce's companions, who, coming upon the huts of the 
Floridians, which were rough -cast with an extremely 
white stucco that glittered in the sunshine, at once came 
to the conclusion that they were cased in silver. They 
would only have to slaughter the natives (having first 
offered them Christianity) and then peel off the precious 
metal by the ton. However, even if the Spaniards were 
mistaken as to what they heard, and unwittingly in- 
vented the story of the magic fountain themselves, it does 



xviii ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 281 

not, of course, alter the complexion of Dr. Littledale's 
statement, or in any way invalidate it. It is enough if 
the Spaniards can be shown to have been the dissemina- 
tors of the story in Europe, and to have brought it with 
them, however acquired, from the New World. That is 
the question one would like to see set at rest, and that 
can only be done by finding some traces of the story in 
Europe or the East earlier than A.D. 1492, or some years 
after. 

The daughters of Pelias we know tried to boil their 
father young again. But we are not told that they used 
the water of any particular fountain in cooking him ; and 
so it is not a case in point especially as the poor old 
gentleman was none the better of the operation. Yours 
ever, F. W. BURTON. 

This suggested my stating these earlier dates to 
my learned friend Dr. Littledale, but he still held 
by the story of Ponce de Leon as the origin of the 
fable in Europe, at the same time suggesting the 
possibility of its being a materialistic symbolisation of 
the Christian doctrine of regeneration by baptism. 
"This is quite likely," he adds, " to have arisen in 
highly literalist minds, but I have never met with 
any documentary evidence of this. All sorts of 
wild notions were flying about in the fifteenth cen- 
tury." In this case the figure in full armour might 
be St. George or the angel Michael. 

The suggestion of a symbolisation of regeneration 
by baptism is, I must think, the origin of the fans 
juventutis, the subtilties of that period being most 
curious and recondite. In art this took the form of 
allegorical figures, a pedantic tendency gathering 
strength from every successive development of the 



282 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Renaissance till it became effete. As it appears in 
the hand of Giotto and others in the Arena chapel 
in Padua, and above all in the great Saloon in the 
same city, the allegorical and the symbolical is replete 
with poetic character. Indeed that mighty hall with 
its innumerable pictures, unhappily repainted more 
than once, and its wide barrel roof, through which 
an opening is made to allow the sun to draw a line 
on the floor marking the daily meridian, is to me 
one of the most interesting buildings in the world. 

The profoundest thinker in this partially mystical 
line of invention was the greatest of modern artists, 
Michael Angelo, and the most surprising example 
of it is in the picture of "God the Father creating 
Adam " on the ceiling of the Sistine. I confess to 
having lain on my back, the better to examine that 
ceiling, for hours, and yet to have missed the nature 
of the figure within the left arm of the Creator a 
female figure with smooth parted hair, rising from 
behind, looking intently on the now living man, 
whose finger is raised to touch the finger of God. 
But when I saw the large photographs by Braun I 
was at once arrested by the beautiful steady gaze of 
this figure, unmistakably female, by her bust and 
smooth hair, not one of the lusty cherub boys that 
bear up the drapery that envelops the Deity ; and 
I afterwards found that a large, though rude, con- 
temporary woodcut existed. This woodcut was 
sent by some one to the Burlington Club for ex- 
amination after my letter was published in the 
Athenaum. The woodcut is inscribed Caspar Ruena 



xvin ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 283 

fecit, without a date, but from its style may be safely 
considered contemporary, and if so, probably done 
from an original sketch of the great artist, as so 
many large woodcuts at that time were produced 
from very slight sketches. In this print the sex of 
the figure within the left arm of the Almighty Father 
is conspicuously expressed, and I have no doubt 
Michael Angelo intended to express the coming 
wife of Adam ; the figure is therefore the ante-type 
or eidolon of Eve ! 

With respect to strictly allegorical treatment, 
which was always more affected by sculptors than 
by painters (indeed Giotto in the Arena Chapel at 
Padua depicts the emblematic personages introduced 
between his pictures in monochrome relief, as if 
sculptures), I found on careful study that it had 
been always carefully avoided by Michael Angelo. 
The recumbent statues on the Medici tombs, usually 
called Night and Day, Morning and Evening, 
have no such weak and scarcely definable signifi- 
cance. They have always, for these four centuries 
nearly, passed under the foolish names they bear 
simply because works of art have never received 
adequate criticism except for their external qualities. 
These statues really represent conditions of life 
sleeping and watching, rest and unrest. How much 
more significant they are placed on the tombs of 
the Medici when reviewed under the higher inter- 
pretation ! Sleep is for the night, therefore the 
sculptor placed an owl beside the sleeper, and that 
owl is all the authority for all the figures having 



284 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

received the absurd appellations of Night and Day, 
Morning and Evening. In the epigram sent to 
Michael Angelo by Giovanni Strozzi that poet speaks 
of the sleeper with the owl beside her as La Notte, 
but in the answering epigram the sculptor corrects 
him by speaking of it as if it represented sleep, which 
of course it does. Michael Angelo's last line is this : 

Pero non mi destar deh parla basso. 

The difference between a piece of sculpture repre- 
senting a mental or bodily condition and an alle- 
gorical human creature flourishing a suggestive 
implement, or accompanied by a previously under- 
stood adjunct, is the difference between the natural 
and the artificial, between poetry and riddles : 
recognisable, one would say, by the meanest under- 
standing. Yet at this time Heath Wilson, whom I 
knew in our earliest active life in Edinburgh, and 
also in London when I joined the executive of the 
miserable " Schools of Design," repudiated the dis- 
tinction I drew in his book on Michael Angelo, and 
laughed at my elucidation of the female appearing 
in the group round God the Father in the Creation 
of Adam. He went farther, showing his want of 
sense by pronouncing the discovery of no conse- 
quence ! Mr. Fagan too accepts the old meaningless 
nomenclature of Night and Day, Morning and 
Evening, applied to the statues on the Medici tombs, 
in his smaller work, just out. He was, however, 
much struck by my suggestion, especially on my 
definition to him of the last line of Michael Angelo's 



xvin ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 285 

poetical reply to Strozzi's epigram. But so it will 
go on ; such is the wholly exoteric nature of art- 
writing, treating the artist only from the point of 
view of taste and workmanship. 

Let me give another instance bearing on the 
same subject. I had been long interested in the 
old controversy as to the author of the illustrations 
to the pedantic romance published in Venice in 
1499, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, This book, 
thought unique in its way, dealing with the love of 
Poliphilus, a sort of impersonation of art, for Polia, 
a representative of classic taste perhaps, is valued 
mainly for its illustrations, which show minute 
acquaintance with antique architecture and orna- 
ment, and also charming purism of drawing in the 
figure subjects. The origin of those designs, which 
are on wood or on the soft metal much used by 
engravers for surface - printing after the book- 
making from metal types had arrived at perfec- 
tion, as we see by the truly wonderful cuts in the 
Books of Hours by Simon Vostre and others in 
Paris, was a favourite subject of inquiry. All the 
greatest painters of the greatest period of painting 
were accredited with them, from Raphael, who 
would appear to critics to have had as many hands 
as Briareus, with eyes in proportion to direct them, 
down to the least of all those exclusively known 
by their extant pictures. I knew practically that no 
painter in great repute and practice would be found 
to have had any hand in the work. Ottley 
and others attributed the engraving of Albert 



286 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Dtirer's best prints on wood to his own hand, as if 
he who never, as far as we know, cut a single line 
on wood, could at once surpass the most expert 
holzschneider in Nlirnberg. Had they selected the 
worst as probably done by the painter, they would 
have been nearer the rational understanding of the 
matter. How is it at the present day so few of 
our best masters of the palette are great designers ? 
As for the designer or inventor of the illustrations in 
the Hypnerotomachia being also the engraver, that 
did not follow ; even in Venice, where engraving 
either in wood or copper had scarcely penetrated as 
yet, it is very unlikely that he was. The earliest 
volume printed in Venice bears a German name as 
printer, and the immediate rise of a number of noble 
editors, issuing works with admirable woodcut title- 
pages, suggests that German formschneiders resorted 
thither at once. 

Ottley had indeed suggested that the designer 
and engraver of prints in an Ovid printed in Venice 
shortly after the Hypnerotomachia was the same 
person. Dr. Lippmann too suggested that not only 
that engraver, but also Jacob Walsch or Walch 1 
had been connected with that work, because he had 
returned to Venice to undertake as draftsman, no 

1 This artist was formerly considered to belong to the German 
school, if indeed he was not a German by birth ; now he is given up 
to the Italians. He was living in Niirnberg at the end of the fifteenth 
century when Diirer returned thither from his Wanderjahre, and 
finding Jacob there as an engraver, must have learned much from 
him. Jacob's style of engraving is so much more closely allied to 
the German manner that it is probable his stay in Niirnberg was to 
educate himself in engraving, and even after his return to Venice he 
had no effect on Italian engraving. 



xvni ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, iS?g-8o 287 

doubt, a large view of Venice to be cut on wood, a 
copy of which is to be seen in the British Museum. 
But a book came into my hand, just then published, 
which enabled me to identify the style of drawing of 
the much-disputed illustrations with that of other 
illustrative works publishing about the same year, 
1499, in Venice, and to find the initials of the name 
to be those of an artist who has been accredited 
with many nielli or quasi-nielli. This book was 
Die Bilcherornamentik der Renaissance, Leipzig, 
1878, a collection of a hundred reproductions of the 
title-borders of Venetian and other works at the end 
of the fifteenth century. Several of these had an 
absolutely unmistakable resemblance to the style of 
those in the Hypnerotomachia, and on one were the 
initials S. C. P., with I. below them, no doubt repre- 
senting the word Inventor. Five minutes' examina- 
tion by an artist, especially one expert in drawing 
on wood, is worth a year's deliberation of men 
who do not possess special knowledge, and internal 
evidence, the evidence of style, is worth all other. 
Here were the initials of the name of the artist of 
these illustrations ; they were done by a quite 
obscure draftsman Vasari had never heard of. I 
showed the title-border Herr Butsch had faithfully 
given by means of some new scientific process to 
several artists, painters, illustrators, and engravers ; 
they were all agreed as to the identity of the style 
of drawing, and I wrote a letter to the Athenceum, 
which was published 2/th March 1880, with con- 
siderable satisfaction. 



288 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

And who was this S. C. P. ? I called him a 
quasi-niellist, because the works attributed to him 
in the British Museum, signed by these initials or 
various combinations of them, had the lettering in 
the ordinary way not reversed, as the true niello 
inscriptions always were. The name in full, as 
given on one of these doubtful nielli, and as repeated 
without question by Passavant, an unquestionable 
authority, is Stephanus Csesenas Peregrini. Un- 
happily these little engravings have been all, or 
nearly all, invalidated as ancient works, and are now 
believed to be modern forgeries ; at least they have 
lately come to light in extraordinary numbers. 
This, however, is nothing to me. The forgers may 
have taken the name from this title-border, which is 
beyond dispute, or they may have invented the 
name from the initials ; I know nothing of that 
matter. 

Looking up this letter to the Athenceum I find 
some notes on the very earliest rudimentary begin- 
nings of imitative art, with sketches to illustrate 
them, which may be interesting enough to preserve 
here. .They were made in the exhibition of Dr. 
Schliemann's Collection of Antiquities from Hissarlic, 
1877-78. Among these the most important things, 
in fact, were an immense number of red clay vessels 
for water, called by him " Owl-headed Vases." He 
found these in great numbers, and in his very inter- 
esting work lays considerable stress on them, con- 
ceiving that they are capable of bearing evidence to 



XVIII 



ARTISTIC INQUIRIES, 1879-80 



289 



a favourite doctrine that the Trojans were originally 
Hellenes, the owl here supposed to be represented 
being " the great-great-great-grandmother of the 
bird of Pallas Athena " ! 

The indefatigable excavator, in descending below 





J 




the very cradle of Greek civilisation, has persuaded 
himself to believe anything ; these vessels are not 
in the shape of the owl, but in that of the human 
figure. Some of them have ears, the later ones 

VOL. II U 



290 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, xvm 

mouths, and the eyes quite differently represented. 
It is this difference, showing the progressive steps 
of imitative art, that drew my attention to them. I f 
we observe a child's earliest attempts at drawing or 
modelling, the eyes are represented not as a feature 
but as an organ, the iris and pupil are expressed as 
a circle. The child and the savage feel alike in 
this, and art in this follows nature herself, the earliest 
true eye being bare as in the fish. The second 
stage of delineation is to express the eye as a feature ; 
the appearance becomes the important thing, the 
lids are mainly represented, and a long slit is the 
aspect of the organ. Some of the heads on these 
vessels have the eyes so modelled. These are the 
product of a later period, a period of years or cen- 
turies. The handles are more developed also to 
represent arms. The ears and the mouth are much 
more expressed, and as the body of the vase really 
represents the upper part of the human body to 
follow it any farther, keeping the purpose of the 
vessel in view, being impossible the breasts and 
the navel are carefully recorded. 

These particulars, as indicating, to use Dr. 
Schliemann's phrase, the great-great-great-grand- 
mother of the art of the Parthenon, appear to me 
amusing as well as interesting, and render the vases 
worthy of a place in our Museum. The presence of 
the mammae as elevations or knobs, and the navel 
as a third lower down, the smallness of the mouth, 
seem to prove the head to be that of a female, more 
probably that of Aphrodite than of Pallas Athena. 



CHAPTER XIX 

PENKILL &. (MISS BOYD), 1880 

IT has been well said, the nation is happy that has 
no history. It is so with individuals as well as 
nations, and as years creep on with less struggle 
and more ease there is less to record, life becomes 
more orderly, and time fleeter on the wing, one year 
resembles another. As spring advances into summer 
and my work at South Kensington draws to a 
close, we prepare to emigrate to Scotland. /B., who 
has wintered with us in London, has gone in May, 
and our almost daily exchange of letters or journals 
goes on till July, when we follow, thirsting for the 
quiet of the Old Scotch. House, its gray walls chequered 
by the shade of the great trees, and the jackdaws 
sitting for ever on its vane or towers. 

The absolute silence of the country after noisy 
Chelsea, and after trying to sleep with one's ear on 
a railway pillow, if we travel by a sleeping carriage, 
is like a suggestion of preternatural life. Sounds 
inaudible in London to the human sense begin 
to grow on the ear ; the silence becomes animated 
with charming, soothing characteristics, the air is 



292 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

filled with the hum of insects, the fine winnowing of 
small birds' wings, the rustle of a dress on the grass. 
In my usual restlessness in the early morning, I got 
up to-day to find a book wherewith to return to bed. 
From the window the landscape was as still as the 
house within. The sky was white, the sun un- 
speakably white, making the shadows of the trees 
faintly chequer the smooth green terrace. On the 
point of one of the leaves of a great aloe below, 
perched a thrush, silent and motionless ; two wild 
rabbits were sitting on the green terrace still as if 
they were carved in stone. In the clear air every 
leaf on every tree had an individuality, and every 
pebble on the walk, as if shade and even colour were 
defects of nature, yet there was a luminosity at that 
hour that gave a peculiar unity to the whole scene, 
removing it from mid-day impressions. It was as if 
I had looked from the palace of the Sleeping Beauty, 
in its enchanted and limitless repose. But it sug- 
gested a higher tone of feeling than this ; it was as 
if I had awoke into another world beyond the pulsa- 
tion of the senses, a state of things that would last 
for ever. Repeatedly in earlier times I had felt 
this almost awe-inspiring impression from absolute 
silence and stillness, and I have tried to express it 
in a sonnet. 

Certainly such an emotional moment as this is 
not possible in town. Town is the theatre for 
activity in relation to the actual world, solitude in 
the country creates reflection, the luxury or the pain 
of life. I say solitude, because a perfect under- 



xix PENKILLJB; (MISS BO YD), 1880 293 

standing and sympathy with a single friend of twenty 
years' standing is something more not less than 
solitude. Anxiety about the house in Chelsea with 
all its belongings carries my wife back thither earlier 
than I care to return. She had no jealousy ; the 
perfect friendship, the ambition of my life, had come 
within my grasp, and year after year had made its 
possession secure. To /B. I had been of use in the 
affairs of life ; on her 

The vanward clouds of evil days 
Had spent their malice and the sullen rear 

had exhausted itself in vain ; her mind had retained 
all its elasticity. She had an inexhaustible power 
of perceiving what was in the mind of any one she 
loved, and of meeting them midway, as if she, too, 
had thought as they did ; she would rather please 
them than herself. It was so truly ; she enjoyed 
others' happiness and others' ideas exactly as if they 
were her own. There is a couplet, said to be by 
Prior, a very imperfect poet, that I have seen quoted, 
and have a hundred times repeated to myself, in- 
wardly connecting it with /B. 

Abra was ready ere I named her name, 
And when I named another Abra came. 

She had, moreover, a quickness in attaining to any 
handicraft or artistic accomplishment that made her 
critically the most perceptive arbiter I have ever 
known. 

Our way of life was this. She was our guest in 
winter, and we were hers in summer. I have already 



294 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

spoken of Chelsea as a country town, though a 
portion of the mighty metropolis. We had or could 
have had many friends there, but we become more 
self-centred as we get old, and our environment, the 
scenery of life, becomes more important. This 
division of the year between the two localities, with 
local improvements or other businesses employing 
spare hours in both, became our habit. November 
found us settled into a life of fires and books, and 
the eve of the New Year found us waiting with 
unabated pleasure for the midnight bells of Battersea 
rising and falling over the running river. The first 
winter I spent in London I heard the bells ring out 
the old year while walking through St. James's Park 
to my Pimlico lodgings. Last year we were sitting 
in my library playing bezique, with a hurricane 
carrying the sounds fitfully over the Thames to us. 
This contrast suggested these two sonnets : 

NEW YEAR'S EVE. 1879-80 

I 

Long years ago when love was lord of me, 

And all life's gifts were in the impending year, 
At this same hour I heard afar and near 

These New Year's bells flood heaven with melody 

Over the snow-clad Park, as over sea 
Voices of welcome to the mariner 
Returning fortunate, till in the rear 

St. Paul's great voice made lesser voices flee. 

And now again I hear them ! far-off Bells, 
Across the rushing river, in the wind, 



xix PENKlLLjB. (MISS BO YD}, 1880 295 

Fainting or rising as the tempest swells ; 

The river rushing like dark years behind 
Chasing dark years gone by, and those sweet knells 

High overhead like memories intertwined. 

II 

Ring out again, ye Bells of Battersea, 
Over the seaward Thames, as I sit here 
Lamplit with moistened eyes and hungering ear, 

Recalling thoughts of things once hoped to be, 

Past now, forgotten ; for to me 

Those wild harmonics in the waves of air 
Changing, yet still repeating, here and there, 

Yet truly ordered, ring life's history. 

Life's history and life's prophecy withal : 
Shouted the sons of God when a new ray 
Showed them this infant world, and each new day 

They shout, and each new year renews the call 
To higher hopes, continuous and alway, 
Rhythmical, storm-borne, past life's echoing hall. 

As spring advances, we begin to look forward 
to the change. jfB. must see all the Exhibitions 
of the season opening in May. But before that 
time, on the morning of the 1 8th of March, a note 
from Sir Frederick Burton informed me at breakfast 
that a good copy of the picture painted by Durer in 
Venice, the " Rosenkrautzfest," was to be sold that 
day at Christie's. It was the anniversary of my 
first meeting with /B., and we both determined 
to go, and if possible to buy it in commemoration 
of the day, to me the day of days. The copy of 
the "Rosenkrautzfest" was the size of the original 
and brought too much money, but we persevered 



296 



WILLIAM SELL SCOTT 



CHAP. 



in our determination so far, we bought a little 
Florentine picture, an Annunciation imitative of the 
manner of Fra Angelico, which is now here at Pen- 
kill, to be hung in the great Hall, now in course of 
erection from my design. 

Towards the end of May then Miss Boyd leaves 
us in town and towards the end of July my wife and 
I follow, and all through the late summer and 



I ' 




autumn I remain at Penkill. The garden attains 
its perfection and slowly diminishes again, the 
harvest becomes yellow and disappears, the equi- 
noctial winds begin to blow and the white horses 
appear on the distant sea. But now and again our 
friends appear on the scene, like birds of passage ; 
and here while I write arrives a doggerel note from 
my dear Reverend but humorous Dr. Littledale, 
who promised to be one of this year's visitors. He 
has been suddenly seized with one of his visitations 



xix PENKILLJB. (MISS BO YD), 1880 297 

of illness, still his indomitable spirits survive. " I 
have been mending," he says, "but am still too 
utterly weak and tired to do any work, even to write 
a chant-royal or a villanelle. Still I begin to think 
I shall try, and here it goes : 

" I sit in town the weary weeks, 
I cannot reach the Northern land 
Where hurdles do without the breeks, 

Where sporran still the Gael bespeaks, 
Where Farintosh is aye at hand, 
And salmon kippered in the reeks 

You'll say ' Don't try poetic freaks, 

The lyre responds not to your hand, 

By rights tears should be on your cheeks ! ' 

But no, I love not snivelling sneaks, 
I can no waterworks command, 
Like infant thieves before the Beaks, 

Though I must pass those aimless weeks 
In Holborn, Fleet Street, or the Strand, 
W 7 here hansom rolls and waggon creaks, 

While you are supping cock-with-leeks 
And haggis too, I understand, 
'Neath Penkill's pepper-boxy peaks 
Stop, stop, I hear protesting shrieks 
From the thistly Northern land ! F. R. L." 

Here on rainy days, with no painting or writing 
in progress, I have got acquainted with the oddest 
collection of books. Books on Horse-shoeing, on 
the Grape, the Kitchen Garden, and so forth ; the 
once fashionable novels, neatly-bound little volumes 
such as The Female Quixote, and The Adventures 
of a Guinea, and some of the works " no gentleman's 



298 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

library should be without;" but the old Magazines 
are the most interesting. Here are the Universal 
Magazines of the end of last century with the 
accounts of the French Revolution and the doings 

o 

of the guillotine, succeeded by a page or two of 
poetry, called The British Muse, amusing by its 
now incredible badness. In the advertisements of 
new publications we see in the same number with 
the account of King Louis's death, Godwin's Political 
Jiistice, 2 volumes, 4to, 2 : 2s. ; an answer to Paine's 
Rights of Man by Mr. Adam, is. 6d. ; Priestley's 
Appeal on the Riot of Birmingham, part 2, 35. 6d., 
all indicating the topics agitating England in its 
sympathy with France. We see from the specimens 
of the British Muse how unpoetic the age was just 
before the uprising of the Lake poets. Even Horace 
Walpole found it hard to beat out a few rhymes on 
the three Vernons, the beauties of his circle. In the 
volume for 1 789 we find also ample evidence of the 
brutality both of the people and of the law, lawyers 
having always been the last to move towards reform. 
In the December session that year there were at 
the Old Bailey 26 condemned to death ; 5 to be 
publicly whipped in different streets named, then 
imprisoned ; 2 more to be discharged after whipping ; 
and 36 to be transported ; while Robert Kelly stood 
in the pillory twice and was so savagely treated by 
the populace that the sheriff took him away after 
an hour and twenty minutes, his full time being two 
hours. This brutality we find also indicated by the 
boxing matches at which the royal Dukes were 



xix PENKILLjB. (MISS SO YD), 1880 299 

spectators. The principal sawdust pit was in 
Tottenham Court Road, established by subscription, 
where these fights were sometimes fatal ; a man 
called Tyne kills his antagonist in 1788, and 
reappears in the next volume as having died of 
bruises "received last Tuesday in a battle at 
Wimbledon." 

On the same page with this intimation we find 
the Judge, Lord Kenyon, "with his usual humanity," 
as the editor has it, and Mr. Erskine, counsel for the 
Crown, protecting these royal Dukes by trying "Mr. 
Walter for publishing (ist February 1789) in a 
newspaper called The Times two libellous para- 
graphs reflecting on the character of the Dukes of 
York, Gloucester, and Cumberland," as " having been 
insincere in their expressions of joy in his Majesty's 
happy recovery " ! Not till five months afterwards do 
we find the sentence recorded. Mr. Walter is to 
pay a fine of ^50, to be imprisoned for a year, to 
stand in the pillory one hour at Charing Cross, and 
to find ample security for good behaviour for seven 
years ! The same judge and counsel a few days 
later try and convict the Rev. Dr. Withers to the 
same penalties less the pillory, for a libel on Mrs. 
Fitzherbert. Here the leading counsel, Mr. Erskine, 
who was of course shortly after raised to the Bench, 
said " he had the honour to be acquainted with the 
lady, who was a person of the most amiable character 
and gentle manners," and the judge, among other 
observations, lamented that " the most exalted virtue 
was no shield against calumny." A third case of 



300 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

libel is that of Mr. Stockdale, the bookseller, accused 
of reflecting on the House of Commons for their 
course of procedure against Mr. Hastings. This of 
course was nobody's interest, and the jury acquitted 
him. 

On iQth November the King (George III.), 
now remarkably cheerful and well, goes in state to 
the theatre with the Queen and three Princesses, to 
see the pleasant comedy of the Dramatist. The 
house was kept in a roar of laughter in which their 
majesties and the Princesses most heartily joined. 
The King was dressed in blue velvet embroidered 
with gold lace. The Queen's dress was a deep 
rose-coloured satin trimmed with diamonds ; a white 
cap ornamented with a black velvet bandage studded 
with diamonds, and diamonds in different parts of 
her hair. The Princesses were in buff satin striped 
with silver and adorned with point lace, white caps, 
with blue and white feathers and diamonds in the 
hair. 

Old magazines are some protection against a wet 
day in the country, but a shortlived one ; another 
was rummaging in a great iron box containing the 
family documents. No one except myself had ever 
thought of this as an amusement, and I did not find 
it remunerative. I found, however, a great seal of 
Mary Queen of Scots appended to a very small 
charter, and dated to my surprise only a year or two 
after the death of her father James V., when she 
must have been still a child. 

Neither this nor any other paper or parchment 



PENKILL& (MISS BO YD), 1880 



301 



was of the least interest, and the only curiosities I 
found were the singular monograms appended to 
their signatures by the Scotch lawyers of the six- 
teenth century. Some of them I copied, as here 
reproduced. 





L3L 





T 'l I '1*~L 



f 



To close this chapter, perhaps the last in these 
notes, I will transcribe a sonnet recording the twenty- 
first Anniversary of my first meeting /B. 



To /B., i8TH MARCH 1880. 2isT ANNIVERSARY 

Spring comes with all the firstlings of the year, 
Leaping around her careless of the cold ; 
Soon summer's tale so charming will be told, 

The rose-leaves fall, the sun shrinks back in fear. 

Alas, the hours fly faster, and more near 



302 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP, xix 

Yule draws to Easter when the hair turns gray, 
Sooner it seems the swallows fly away, 
And wintry floes brim full the quivering wear. 

What matters it ? These are but things we know, 
Things that pass by as Chronos gives command ; 

Your smile is still as bright as long ago, 

We still are gathering shells on life's seashore, 
We still can walk like children hand in hand, 

Friendship and love beside us evermore. 






CHAPTER XX AND LAST 

Begun August 1882 

MY POET'S HARVEST HOME DEATH OF ROSSETTI 

WHEN I left off the previous chapter with an anni- 
versary sonnet to /B., I laid this MS., such as it 
is, aside with the feeling that it was closed ; but 
already since then two incidents have unexpectedly 
transpired of vital importance, such as cause me to 
add another chapter to my story. The unexpected 
incidents are my writing without premeditation 
and with a quite novel feeling of spontaneity a 
hundred or more little poems, expressing the mental 
state of the day in the simplest manner, with the 
comparatively successful publication of the same 
under the name of A Poet's Harvest Home ; and 
the death of my dear friend for so many years, whose 
intercourse has occupied a very considerable space 
in this manuscript. 

With regard to the poems, the novelty of their 
unplanned production, while it deprived them of 
recognised form, gave them simplicity of expression, 
not one elocutionary or unnecessary word being 



304 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

admitted. This has indeed been always more or 
less characteristic of the advent of my poems, good, 
indifferent, or bad as they may be judged ; but in 
the present case this centum of poems or rhymes- 
many of them abrupt as epigrams should be, others, 
ballads or short narratives or sonnets came to me 
fully dressed, as it were, every morning between 
waking and rising, in the autumn months of 1881. 
The motive, with every line to be employed in its 
development, came to me as if from memory ; they 
were written down in pencil on pieces of paper I had 
placed under my pillow the night before. Every 
day I thought, now the good fairy has exhausted 
himself, I shall have no more ! but still it went on 
till I had a good many over a hundred, some morn- 
ings bringing me two or three. The house was full 
of company, but I found time to make fair copies, 
and to read them over to /B. in the garden bower, 
where in 1870 I used to read the wonderful war 
news in the daily paper. Then we threw out or tore 
up a number, as she objected violently to such as 
were either satirical or metaphysical. 

While this incubation was going on, I was sur- 
prised by a letter from Rossetti, whom we had left 
in a very low state of general health, even suffering 
from a total loss of the hope of recovery, the greatest 
loss a sick man can suffer. The letter was dated 
from an out-of-the-way farmhouse in Cumberland, 
whither he had passively allowed himself to be carried 
by a young man to whom he had suddenly become 
exclusively attached, Mr. T. Hall Caine. 



D. G. ROSSETTI 305 



When our time came for returning to town I was 
shocked to find the dear old Gabriel prostrate on the 
old sofa we had so often in the earlier times seen 
filled with the most genial friends. He was, it now 
appeared to me, going down fast ; but I tried to 
keep up the usual deception we apply to invalids. 
I had gone alone, thinking it best to make this first 
visit so ; but he was by himself, no one attending or 
trying to cheer the man whose spirits were down to 
zero. 

When he and I were alone, he wept and com- 
plained, and made unkind speeches, or showed me 
things he thought would wound me, as when he 
made his servant lay before me a large chalk 
sketch he called "Questioning the Sphinx." This 
wounded me, because it happened that I had made 
an illustration in my first issue of The Year of 
the World, that juvenile "poem with a purpose," 
of the hero-traveller leaning on an augural staff with 
his ear to the mouth of a Sphinx, which I called 
by that name, and which the beloved D. G. R. of 
that early time used to make game of, as if I had 
mistaken the ancient fable in which the Sphinx was 
the questioner, not the questioned. I had besides 
written a poem called " To the Sphinx considered as 
the symbol of religious mystery." Lying on the 
sofa dying, as he was, I saw that singular expression 
of ferocity that used to take possession of his face if 
he surmised a quarrel was coming. I laid the sketch 
aside, but he kept staring at me ; I refused to take 
up the gauntlet, and I could not venture to speak of 

VOL. II X 



306 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

the sketch itself, the style of drawing being so bad 
as to show his illness .was destroying his work. 

As the year drew to a close I was variously 
harassed and occupied, among other things, with 
reading my new poems to literary friends, and in 
trying to find a publisher, as, since the death of Mr. 
W. Longman, I had no interest in that world. Had it 
not been for the favourable verdict pronounced on 
the majority of my poems I would not have published 
at all ; in Rossetti in particular, when very short 
readings sufficed to tire him, the old enthusiasm in 
my verse burst out, and the tears that came to his 
eyes were answered by mine, alas ! from a different 
cause. One or two such effusions of feeling were 
the last flashes of ancient friendship I have to record. 

Professor Marshall's object in sending young Mr. 
Maudsley and a nurse was to cure, by sub-cutaneous 
injections of morphia gradually decreased, his con- 
sumption of chloral of late enormously enlarged by 
his increasing insomnia. The result was a complete 
success. Maudsley decreased the dose, and gradu- 
ally diluted it without the knowledge and without 
the consciousness of the patient, till at last he injected 
only water, Rossetti actually going to sleep immedi- 
ately after the operation ! Altogether before this 
treatment, with its surprising result, a new idea had 
taken possession of his mind which caused us painful 
agitation. He wanted a priest to give him absolu- 
tion for his sins ! I mention this hallucination as I 
have related previous ones ; for example, that of the 
chaffinch on the highway, so long ago as 1869, not 



D. G. ROSSETTI 307 



loving him the less but the more, sympathising with 
him almost mesmerically. Italian as he was, he had 
no living tie to the country, had never visited it, 
although Italy is conventionally the country of paint- 
ing. His mother was affectionately attached to the 
Church of England, and his father's book of poems 
called Arpa Evangelica was evangelical enough. 
But the aesthetic side of anything was his exclusive 
interest ; in poetry and in painting the mediaeval 
period of history was necessary to him. Everything 
he ever did in either art was mediaeval in date and 
in spirit, except his picture called " Found " and his 
poem called " Jenny," which had both one origin and 
inspiration. I am nearly certain he never entered a 
Romish church in his life, except to look at some 
picture that might be there, and that he knew simply 
nothing of its ritual or its sacraments. 

At first no one took any notice of this demand 
for a confessor. We thought his mind wandering, 
or that he was dreaming. But on its earnest repeti- 
tion, with his eyes open, I for one put him in mind 
of his not being a papist, and of his extreme 
agnosticism. " I don't care about that," was his 
puzzling reply ; " I can make nothing of Chris- 
tianity, but I only want a confessor to give me 
absolution for my sins ! " This was so truly like a 
man living or rather dying in A.D. 1300, that it was 
impossible to do anything but smile. Yet he was 
serious, and went on : " I believe in a future life. 
Have I not had evidence of that often enough ? 
Have I not heard and seen those that died long 



3 o8 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

years ago ? What I want now is absolution for my 
sins, that's all!" "And very little too," some out- 
sider in the room whispered, as a gloomy joke ; 
none of us, the deeply -interested few who heard 
him, could answer a word. 

Shortly after this he had a slight attack of 
paralysis, or fancied he had. He was carried up- 
stairs to bed, and never came down again. The 
difficulty in believing in his sensations made his 
illness a problem to every one, and I remember 
William Morris, when he came one evening to hear 
some of my new poems read, asking me if I really 
thought Rossetti so ill, or was he only acting to 
keep those about him in suspense ? I declared I 
knew him to be very ill, but Morris still hesitated 
to accept my assurance. He was in fact preparing 
to die. He became weaker, more natural, without 
the chloral, perhaps, but less vital ; and one morn- 
ing I was surprised by J. P. Sedden, the architect, 
who had been building houses of the bungalow 
type at Birchington-on-the-Sea, calling with the 
information that he had placed one of them at the 
service of the invalid, who was, at the moment of 
our conversation, leaving for that place with the 
young doctor, and others attending. I felt it was 
too late to see him again, before going ; but he 
never returned, so I saw him no more. 

The picture I have drawn had been a painful 
one to witness in the original, and has been only 
less so to indicate in narrative, even carefully 
omitting the most repulsive elements of the scene. 



D. G. ROSSETTI 



309 



At Birchington he lived four months or more, till 
the Qth of April, but the presence of his mother and 
sister, Christina, cleared the air of the sickroom, 
and made the period sacred. I saw him no more. 

My Poet's Harvest Home had been issued just 
the day before. Let me finish my task by my usual 
method, quoting, or giving entire letters of friends 
about it. Here is one from Morris himself: 

KELMSCOTT HOUSE, UPPER MALL, 

HAMMERSMITH, z'jth April 1882. 

MY DEAR SCOTT I have never written to thank you 
for sending me your book, because I have been trying to 
get round to see you to do so in person, but I must put 
that off till next week ; so I write now. 

I have just the same impression on me now I have 
seen the poems in print, as I had when I heard you read 
them : that they are original and full of thought, and that 
their general atmosphere is most delightfully poetical and 
real ; that there is real beauty about them, and I con- 
gratulate you heartily on the book, which for the rest is a 
very pretty little book. . . . With best wishes, yours 
ever, WILLIAM MORRIS. 

Some other letters within the bundle I have 
untied I cannot resist the impulse to copy here, 
they are so pleasant to me as expressions of friendly 
feeling. Here is one from "our Director," as some 
of us call him, F. W. Burton : 

43 ARGYLL ROAD, KENSINGTON, W., 
2\st April 1882. 

MY DEAR SCOTT Having had to return to the 
National Gallery late yesterday afternoon, I found there 
on my table a little book, packed up, which I, being 
hurried at the moment, put into my pocket as it was, and 
brought home with me. 



3io WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

Great was my pleasure when on uncovering and 
opening the tiny volume, I found my name inscribed in 
it by the hand of one whose innate worth, whose high 
and varied talents, and whose close friendship I value the 
more deeply the longer I know him, and as to whom my 
earnest prayer is that he may long be spared to us all 
as an affectionate and dear friend, and an example of 
thorough integrity of heart and mind, and of spotless 
honour. 

Before going to bed last night I read a few of the 
verses in the Poet's Harvest Home, but will not attempt to 
say with what delight. Later on we may talk over the 
whole matter. At present I will only return my thanks 
for the book. 

One thing I must say here, which could not be so 
well said face to face that among the many associations 
which make dear to me the memory of our great and lost 
Gabriel Rossetti, not the least dear is that it was through 
him I first learned to know William Bell Scott. Believe 
me ever your affectionate friend, F. W. BURTON. 

From my friend, Sir Frederick, this note gave 
me a great deal of pleasure, knowing the usual 
moderation of his language. But if I went on in 
my selection of letters still extant, I might bring 
into one bouquet all the valued friends left me 
whose names appear in the previous reminiscences. 
This would be pleasant, and artistically proper 
withal ; but was there ever an autobiography or 
even a memoir by a closely -attached friend pro- 
duced which was not overdone ? and I hold brevity 
more and more imperative nowadays ; it is not 
the " soul of wit " certainly, but rather the body. I 
found the stringency with which I held in my little 
steed in these " Hundred Short Poems" confirmed 



xx "POET'S HARVEST HOME" 311 

my views on this matter, and I can less and less 
understand why Swinburne, publishing a poem ten 
books long, of two hundred to eight hundred lines 
each, in which he has glorified passion by presenting 
it in an atmosphere of poetic splendour almost un- 
paralleled should load the volume with two hundred 
pages more of inferior matter ! 

So I must allow myself to give one or two more 
letters, nearly entirely relating to my book, coming 
from men I have mentioned before in these pages. 
The first is from Holman Hunt, somewhat autobio- 
graphic in its nature, and showing, moreover, that 
he had in his mind a renewal of the ancient amity 
and intercourse with D. G. R., which had died out 
with bitterness many years before. It is dated i7th 
April 1882. 

MY DEAR SCOTT My first thought on getting your 
little volume is to envy you. I wish so much that I could 
write poetry ! I tried a little in early youth, but then, 
as with music at a still earlier time, and for somewhat 
similar reasons, i.e. that I had almost more than I could do 
to avoid being driven from painting, I was discouraged, and 
lost the chance, if ever I had one, of training my ear in 
the melody of sweet sounds. It seems to me that I 
have been assailed more than most men in attempts to 
work by obstructing demons, so that it has been impossible 
to listen duly to angels' lessons. In poetry, I may say, 
that I try to console myself by fancying out poems with- 
out words ; but I long for the further power, that I might 
tell my dreams to others. 

Although I have by no means had time to go through 
your little volume thoroughly, I have read enough to feel 
that the poems are very dainty and thoughtful, with that 
tender pitifulness that can only be expressed by an Ancient 



312 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT , CHAP. 

justified by confidence in the authority he holds, but who 
would not imitate the defiant neck of men of earlier days ; 
an elder doubtful whether the objects of a holy war have 
not often been missed by the hectoring spirit of the young 
who have adopted the confidence in their mission of the 
enlisting sergeant Your poems have the ripeness of Age 
without the loss of faith in effort which is so often a mark 
of length of days, and I treasure the book in the hope that 
some day I may talk to my children about its author as 
one they have desired to know more of. , 

Rossetti's death is ever in my mind, for all my old 
thoughts turn up in order to be fresh marked with the 
painful fact I had long ago forgiven him, and forgotten 
the offence, which, in fact, taken altogether, worked me 
good rather than harm ; indeed, I had intended in recent 
times to call upon him, but the difficulties arising from 
this Jerusalem canvas had already humiliated my spirit 
so much, that when the visit was in question I felt the 
need of conquering the task before I went, and awakened 
memories of early days, when, partly by the noisy blunder- 
ing of followers, we were driven to stand as though we 
were reckless in our challenge of the whole world of self- 
seeking fools. Illness of Rossetti hindered our meeting 
still more, and thus our talk over the past is deferred until 
our meeting in the Elysian fields, when, if, as you suggest 
in your little book, he may defer so long to drink the 
waters of Lethe, and I retain my memory so long, we 
may talk over back history as having nothing in it not 
atoned for and wiped out long ago, and as having value 
only as experience which has done its work in making us 
both wiser and better. Yours ever affectionately, 

W. HOLMAN HUNT. 

What this ancient but now forgiven offence was 
we shall not now inquire, but this admirable letter 
deserved preservation. 

I shall now give a few extracts from verses 
furnished by the same occasion. 



xx "POET'S HARVEST HOME" 313 

Dr. Littledale, my comic versifier, quoted before 
in similar strains, sent me now a sheet of verses 
in the newest measures a Triolet, a Kyrielle, a 
Rondeau, and a Villanelle. The Rondeau he pub- 
lished in the Academy. 

His " Harvest-home " the poet brings, 

Harvest of rich and lovely things, 
Piled high upon the loaded wain 
That bears the fruitage of the brain, 

Begirt with flowery garlandings. 

With generous hand its gift he flings 
To all with gracious welcomings ; 
And so to scatter wide is fain 
His Harvest-home. 

Not like the niggard's grasp that clings 

To hoarded gold is his who sings, 

Sings for pure love and not for gain : 
Then sing we too, with glad refrain, 
His Harvest-home. 

" I began," he says, " by amusing myself with 
parodying a public favourite, and then thought it a 
shame not to put down my real sentiments also. I 
send them to you exactly as they were scribbled off 
in the original draft. But an hour and a half is not 
enough time to write four poems in, even for a great 
poet like myself." This was the Villanelle : 

The harvest-home of seventy years 

Not scant and thin but lush and fair, 
And rich with heavy golden ears. 

In sooth a pleasant sight that cheers, 
And half unloads the heart of care, 
This harvest-home of seventy years ; 



3M WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

For should not youth discard its fears 
If eld can home such harvest bear, 
All rich with heavy golden ears ? 

The honoured eld which still endears 

The singer-artist's boon we share 
The harvest-home of seventy years. 

Swinburne's sonnet I need not transcribe, as it 
is printed in his Tristram volume ; but here, in 
answer to a complimentary copy, is a trifle by 
Christina Rossetti, which has an exceedingly inter- 
esting reference to the first visit I paid to her 
household about thirty-five years ago, when I first 
saw her standing writing at a small high desk, as 
already recorded in these notes : " before I was 
twenty " indicating her age pretty nearly at the 
epoch I mean : 

My old admiration before I was twenty, 
Is predilect still now promoted to se'enty ! 
My own demi-century plus an odd one 

Some weight to my judgment may fairly impart. 
Accept this faint flash of a smouldering fun, 

The fun of a heavy old heart. C. G. R. 

This was sent me a month or more after Gabriel's 
funeral. I will end by "A Rhyme to W. B. S. " 
from Professor Dowden, who says in the accompany- 
ing letter : "I was happy in reading your Harvest 
Home, because I had not to look into the clear 
serene through hangings and trappings of rhetoric. 
The worst of this rhetoric is the injury it does to 
the vital variety of true feeling by its uniform high- 
pressure glare and blare." 



xx "POET'S HARVEST HOME" 315 

A burden of tired thoughts to ease 

I called your " little dears " 1 to me, 
And set a pair upon my knees, 

For I had heard their voices free 
And seen the sunlight on their hair ; 

And but to touch their cheeks, I thought, 
To make my circling arms their lair, 

To lay in mine each tiny palm, 
To feel the clinging of small feet, 

To live within their breathing sweet, 

It will be balm 
For fretted heart and brain o'envrought. 

I had no fear, no touch of awe : 
Ah, " little dears," what gifts you brought 
Beyond my careless reckoning ! 
For they had questions far more wise 
Than our accustomed old replies ; 
And in their baby eyes I saw 
The deeps of life, and in their breath 
Heard the strong song of death. 

Some few last words on the actual death of 
Rossetti may be given here, derived from letters 
from his brother, written immediately after, from 
Birchington-on-Sea ; and also an account of his 
funeral, which indisposition prevented me from 
attending, in a letter kindly written me by Judge 
Lushington, who had been intimate with Rossetti in 
his earlier and better days. He had seen nothing of 
D. G. R. through all the later period of his career, 
but still retained so much interest in the singular 

1 [In the Prologue to A Poefs Harvest Home the writer had 
spoken of his poems as " Little Dears," and asked 
Ah me ! then, reader, can you say 
" Little dears " to these to-day? ED.] 



316 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

endowments of the poet as to assist at the honours 
of the funeral. 

W. M. R. writes to me in answer to my tele- 
gram. He says : "It is too true that we have lost 
Gabriel. He died about 9^ P.M. yesterday. The 
immediate cause of death said to be uraemia poison- 
ing, or, as we might say, functional derangement of 
the kidneys leading to a bad state of the blood. ' : 
William had been at Birchington on Saturday and 
Sunday, and had formed a bad opinion of his 
brother's condition, so on receipt of a telegram from 
Christina he returned again at once on Good Friday, 
and found the invalid fatally sinking. Up to 9^ 
in the evening the anxious watchers did not see that 
he was getting worse, but then the blood-poisoning, 
"as the doctor says," went to the brain; Gabriel 
cried out twice, immediately fell into a sort of con- 
vulsive lethargy, and to all appearance expired un- 
conscious and unsuffering. 

For more reasons than one the family had con- 
cluded to have the funeral there, not at Highgate, 
where old Rossetti lies, and Gabriel's wife. Would 
it be consistent with my feelings, he asks, and other- 
wise manageable for me to attend on Friday, the 
day appointed for the funeral ? If so, they would 
like to see me. They mean to write to a few other 
intimates to the same effect. 

William writes me again three days later. 
"We continue here," he says, "in that state of 
hushed sorrowfulness which can be imagined, waiting 
for the funeral to-morrow." In all their minds there 



xx DEATH OF D. G. ROSSETTI 317 

was the feeling that it really was an alternative 
between loss of life and gradually increasing, and 
finally, perhaps, total loss of his powers, even of all 
force of mind, and that the loss of life was ten thou- 
sand times the less painful and miserable branch of 
the alternative. D. G. R. looked in death serene 
and restful, and so natural as to suggest sleep rather 
than death. This is usually the case, but they could 
see no alteration up to the morning of the funeral. 
On Monday, a mould had been taken from the face 
and hand, one of the smallest of full-grown male 
hands. 

His Honour, Judge Lushington, on reaching 
home wrote me as follows : 

36 KENSINGTON SQUARE, i^h April 1882. 

DEAR MR. SCOTT I think you will like to hear how 
your dear friend Gabriel Rossetti was buried, so I will tell 
you for, thanks to your kind telegram, I was there ; I 
had hoped to see you there, and was grieved to hear that 
you were prevented by illness. 

The church at Birchington stands back about three- 
quarters of a mile from the sea, on slightly rising ground, 
which looks over the open land and the sea. It is of 
gray country flint, built in the twelfth or thirteenth century, 
and restored a few years ago, I thought simply ; it is nicely 
kept, and to-day was full of Easter flowers. It has an 
old gray tower, and gray shingle spire, which went up, as 
I noticed during the ceremony, into a pure blue sky. 
The churchyard is nicely kept, too ; it was bright with 
irises and wallflowers in bloom, and close to Gabriel's grave 
there was a laurestinus and a lilac. The grave is on the 
south side close to the porch ; it was cut so clearly it 
seemed carved out of the chalk. Altogether it was a 
sweet open spot, I thought. 



318 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHAP. 

At the graveside, wonderful to say, was the old mother, 
supported by William on one side and Christina on the 
other a most pathetic sight. She was very calm, extra- 
ordinarily calm, but whether from self-command or the 
passivity of age, I do not know probably from both ; 
but she followed all the proceedings with close interest. 
Then around was a company of about fifteen or twenty, 
many of them friends of yours, and several whom I did not 
know. The service was well read by the vicar. Then we 
all looked into the resting-place of our friend, and thought 
and felt our last farewells many flowers, azaleas and 
primroses, were thrown in. I saw William throw in his 
lily of the valley. 

This is all I have to tell you. Sad it was, very sad, 
but simple and full of feeling, and the fresh beauty of the 
day made itself felt with all the rest. 

I shook hands with William, and came home with Mr. 
Graham. Dear Gabriel, I shall not forget him. 

I hope you are getting better. Pray remember me to 
Mrs. Scott. Always very truly yours, 

VERNON LUSHINGTON. 

And so my Notes bring themselves to an end, 
at least as far as we can be sure of anything we say 
or do ending as long as we live. My work has not 
been Art for Art's sake, but truth for truth's sake. 
There is no other writing quite honourable for a 
man to do ; and I shall miss the little task I have 
always fallen back upon as an occupation in the 
absence of any other more urgent in this pleasant 
retirement I enjoy, invalid as I am, waiting till the 
fatal bell shall call me home. The day is a fine, 
warm day in late September ; Miss Boyd and the 
gardener are among the flowers preparing for the 
next spring beforehand, by cutting and layering such 



END OF NOTES 319 



as are preservable ; so the seasons bring their 
everlasting repetition of interest. I shall go to join 
them as soon as I have wound up by transcribing 
the following poem, written last year : 

ON MY BIRTHDAY, JE. 70 

So many years I've gone this way ! 
So many years ! I must confess 
Waste energies, much disarray, 
Yet can I own no weariness, 
Nor see I evening shadows fall 
Down my much-inscriptioned wall ; 
The warm air still is like mid-day, 
And many mournful ghosts have past, 

Laid still at last. 

The Fabulist's fardel lighter grew 
As near the bourne the bearer drew ; 
Life can, alas, no more surprise 
By its continuous compromise ; 
New faces fill the chairs, and so 
Our interest in the game runs low ; 
Quiet pleasures longest stay ; 
Experience packs so much away. 

I wait and wonder : long ago 

This wonder was my constant guest, 

Wonder at our environing, 

And at myself within the ring ; 

Still that abides, and still some quest 

Before my footsteps seems to lie, 

But quest of what I scarcely know, 

And life itself makes no reply : 

A quest for naught that earth supplies, 

This is our latest compromise. 

So many years I've gone this way, 
It seems I may walk on for aye ; 



320 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT CHA 

" Long life, God's gift," my brother prayed, 
Nearing the confines of the dead, 
Going reluctant, not afraid ; 
With thankful breath I bow the head 
Thinking of those grave words to-day. 

The ancient tempter well divined 
This longing of the sunlit blind : 
" Ye shall be wise as gods," he said : 
" If ye obey me undismayed." 
Ah, never may this be ! though still 
In hope we climb the topless hill. 
'Tis but the ending of the strife, 
Calms while it crowns the weary head, 
Weary yet anxious still with eyes 
Bent forward to some hoped-for prize. 
But not until beyond our life, 
Can the life's oracle be read, 
When the unanswered brain and heart 
Have ceased to ask and ceased to smart, 
And all the centuries to come 
Like centuries past to us are dumb. 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER 
BY THE EDITOR 

NINE more years remained to Mr. Scott after he 
wrote the grave and touching verses with which his 
Autobiography ends. When he died on the 22nd of 
November 1890, he had nearly completed the full 
sum of fourscore years. During the last six of 
them his strength was greatly impaired by recurring 
attacks of angina pectoris. That his long extension 
of life beyond the ordinary span was not labour and 
sorrow, was due entirely to that other " God's gift " 
besides "long life" for which he has recorded his 
gratitude, the gift of a noble woman's devoted 
friendship. When it became apparent that he could 
no longer stand the strain of active work, Miss Boyd 
put her house at his service, devoted her whole time 
to him, and nursed him with a care and skill to 
which it would be hard to find a parallel. The 
poet's dreams of an ideal friendship were realised as 
such dreams can seldom have been. Often and 
often has Dr. Valentine, the kindly and efficient 
doctor who attended him in those last years at Pen- 
kill, a sympathetic philosopher as well as a physician, 

VOL. II Y 



322 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

spoken to me of Miss Boyd's self-sacrificing devotion, 
of the tender care and cheerful tact with which she 
guarded her patient from excitement and worry, 
from everything that might remotely bring on one 
of the dreaded paroxysms, and the ready and 
resourceful presence of mind with which she 
administered the necessary remedies when attacks 
came in spite of all her care. 

I have asked Miss Boyd to furnish me with 
some notes of the beginnings of this intermittent 
illness and the invalid's habits in its intervals. I 
give them here in her own words. 

The weakness of his heart first showed itself on the 
23rd April 1885. 

He had been working at South Kensington, at the 
examination of students' drawings, from the I 3th of April, 
and did not feel well, but had no idea of anything serious 
being the matter till the 23rd of the month at three o'clock 
in the morning, when he was seized with frightful heart- 
spasm, and from that time till his death he was liable to 
dreadful attacks of the same, and never recovered his 
bodily strength, always requiring to be most careful of 
cold or exertion of any kind. 

This beginning of his illness took place at his Chelsea 
home (Bellevue), where he remained till his doctors thought 
him well enough to bear the journey to Scotland. They 
considered this change might be useful to him. Dr. R. 
Thompson and Professor John Marshall were his medical 
advisers. 

So we made an arrangement for a through invalid 
carriage from Euston to take us to Girvan without change. 

Unfortunately, owing to the stupid carelessness of the 
officials, clerks at the ticket-office, and porters, he had so 
much exertion at the station before starting that he was 
greatly exhausted, and almost fainted. We (he and 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 323 

I) went by the 8.45 P.M. train, and journeyed all night, 
on the 25th-26th of June. As the night advanced he be- 
came very cold, and at about three o'clock in the morning, 
when the train was going at great speed, he was attacked 
by a frightful heart-spasm, and I thought he was dying. 
I could hardly get the necessary medicines given, from 
the swinging of the carriage ; a dreadful night of suffering 
it was. At last the paroxysm passed away, and though 
much exhausted and very weak, he appeared to have 
recovered by the time we got to our journey's end. 

Alas ! this was not the case, for on the night of the 
28th there was a dreadful return of illness, with congestion 
of the lungs. When we got to Penkill on the 26th it 
would have been right for him to have gone to bed and 
kept quiet, but the pleasure of finding himself at last back 
at the old place made us imprudent, and we walked and 
drove about, thinking our troubles were over. 

A very long illness followed, and the first time he got 
out again into the sunshine was the 2Oth of July. After 
this he regained strength to some extent, and we were 
always hoping that in time he might be able to resume a 
more active life, but on the 28th September another 
attack, followed by congestion of the lungs, showed that 
this was not to be, although sometimes months would 
pass without a relapse. Once, indeed, he was free for 
eight months, and even / was rather hopeful. 

Looking back one sees how each year there was a 
change ; something had to be given up, until at last he 
had no power of walking or taking the least exertion. 

It was wonderful how the mental powers were un- 
changed, and how alive he was to everything that before 
had interested him ; but all this you know better than I 
can tell you. 

I give you this painful, short sketch of the progress 
of his illness as you ask me to do so ; but from your own 
observation you can understand better than I can tell you 
how patiently and nobly he endured five long years of 
sickness, how unselfish and thoughtful he was for those 



324 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

about him, and kindly and loving to all his friends ; 
always ready, if in his power, to help those in trouble, 
even thinking of what he could do for them when suffering 
greatly himself. 

He read a good deal, as you know, and friends were 
most kind (you among the number) in sending him books 
that they thought would interest him. 

Now and then he painted a little when well enough, 
and his hand and eye never lost their power the one as 
firm and the other as clear as ever to the last, as his hand- 
writing can show. 

The picture which he painted from a sketch done 
years ago of the landing-place of St. Columba, on lona, 
shows how he retained his sense of colour and feeling 
for the beauties of wild, rugged landscape scenery, and 
the painting of the sea is as good as at any time of his 
life, and that is not saying a little. He began this picture 
on the loth September 1887, and from time to time 
worked upon it to within about a year of his death. It 
is not quite finished, but is a beautiful work, full of poetic 
feeling. He always had a great love of the sea, seen from 
the land, for he was no sailor, and one of the drives he 
loved best was along the coast, south of Girvan, where 
you and I went the last time you were here. Sometimes 
when the sea was very calm he would stop the carriage to 
listen to the wash of the waves till his eyes filled with 
tears. 

Fortunately his love of Penkill was so great that he 
never tired of it ; and the enjoyment he had in the change 
of the seasons the flowers as they came, and the farming 
operations, ploughing in the autumn, with flocks of white 
sea-birds following in the new-turned furrows, the sower 
going out to sow, scattering the seed as he goes was 
always a delight. Then the harvesting the strong man 
on the reaping machine, his powerful arms regulating the 
swathes of corn with his large rake, and the " gatherers " 
ready, each in his place, quickly and deftly securing and 
binding his or her sheaf. When possible, we used to drive 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 325 

our brougham into the field, and watch row by row of the 
golden corn fall as the large horses slowly wended their 
way. 

The fact was that work, big or little, really done well, 
gave very great delight to his true artist's eye. When our 
new hall 1 was building he would (this was before his illness) 
sit watching the masons placing their stones and proving 
their lines by the " plumb," and anything done not as it 
should be was very disturbing to him ; and often have I 
been made to do things over again when I thought them 
pretty good ! 

This desire to do the best possible ran through all his 
actions in life, and a most severe critic he was of himself, 
and so tender-hearted that I have known him deprived of 
sleep by the thought that perhaps a spoken or written 
word of his might hurt the feelings of a friend. 

I should like it to be recorded how very ready he was 
to give wise advice to young men entering upon life ; and 
however busy he might be when called upon, he seldom, 
if ever, sent them away without a hearing, and to many 
he became a loving, helpful friend. 

To read a list of the many good, kind friends who 
came from far to see him here, as he could not go to them, 
shows the loving interest they had in him. I give you a 
list of those I remember. Others there were who would 
have come, but his illnesses prevented him from seeing 
them. 

Vernon Lushington (many times). Eyre Crowe. 

F. Hueffer. J. W. Gibb. 

H. Bowler. William Morris. 



1 [The foundation of this extension of Penkill (the exterior of 
which is shown in the annexed photograph) was laid in March 1883; 
the building was finished by the end of the season, and it was ready 
for habitation in the summer of 1884. It was designed entirely, 
outside and inside, stonework and woodwork, down to the smallest 
detail of decoration, by Mr. Scott. He had no professional assist- 
ance except from the local master-workmen, and he was naturally 
proud of it as his solitary achievement in architecture. The annexed 
view of the interior is from a painting by Mr. Arthur Hughes. ED.] 



326 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

Arthur Hughes (many times). W. J. Linton (twice). 

Hubert Home. F. G. Ellis (from Torquay}. 

Mr. Hipkins. T. Bayne. 

J. W. Mackail (many times}. Professor Nichol. 

William Minto (many times}. Rev. W. Anderson. 

Sydney Morse. Walter C. Smith. 
J. M. Gray. 

From what Miss Boyd says it will be seen 
that the dear old Hermit, as we used to call him, 
though invalided from active work, had lost none of 
his interest in life, and kept up many of his old 
occupations. For more than a year after his enforced 
seclusion at Penkill, he cherished the hope of being 
able to return to London, but as his strength was 
gradually weakened by attack after attack of the 
painful malady, he resigned himself to the inevitable. 
Thus I find him writing as follows in a letter dated 
nth June 1886 : 

As to myself. I have been very much the same all 
through this long winter and longer and worse spring. 
In general health well, but unable to bear the very least 
fatigue of body or exposure to the air. I am not 
allowed to go up a stair even ; and the other day (three 
weeks ago indeed) I tried to walk the very short way to 
the garden, and that night suffered one of the breathless 
attacks so painful and which throw me back. The result 
is my medico gives it as his opinion that I can't be 
allowed to travel, so here I remain, an idle man trying to 
fill up my time by writing a little, drawing or painting a 
little, reading a little, and being read to a great deal. 
Sometimes a friend comes for a few days ; the last was 
Vernon Lushington, so long ago as in the beginning of 
the year. If I could induce you to come, I should be so 
glad. Miss Boyd tells me to say how glad she should be 
also. 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 327 

Later on in the same year, in a letter dated 3Oth 
November, he says : 

I daresay you are surprised to find me still here. The 
truth is I remain exactly the same, very weak and unable 
almost to go about, now and then having those dreadful 
night attacks of heart disturbance that make my doctor 
prohibit travelling, and my best of friends, Miss Boyd, is 
not tired of me. Mrs. Scott comes and stays a month or 
so, and in the intervals of my attacks I am quite well, 
that is to say, I apply myself to writing, painting, or any 
other work that does not require athletic exercise. 

In the autumn of the following year, a propos of 
a visit that I proposed to make, after saying that it 
was " the most delightful proposal he had had since 
Christmas, when F. S. Ellis came from Torquay, 
' once errand,' as we say in Scotland, all that way, 
for a good long talk about old friends," he wrote : 

About my health. You will do me a great deal of good. 
Living here so much alone with Miss Boyd, the best of 
company, indeed, but without the concussion of the 
robuster nature, after spending all my life in the society 
of sets or coteries, if you like, men closely associated and 
seeing each other daily I sometimes get into a lowish 
key which prevents me applying myself to anything 
whatever, and does not assist to get me out of the invalid 
groove. At present I am amazingly well, having had 
none of the night attacks of congestion for some months, 
but I am so weak and so unable to walk that I am never 
out except in a brougham. When planted in an easy 
chair I may say I am as well as ever I was, and expect 
you will treat me as an impostor, as many of my friends 
have done, thinking to meet a ghost of a creature with a 
voice scarcely articulate. 

Another extract or two from his letters to me, 
which gradually became less frequent, will show 



328 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

how fit after fit of the terrible angina pulled him 
down, and how buoyantly he continued to rally after 
each successive attack. In January 1888 he 
writes : 

I am again clothed and I hope in my right mind, 
being trusted with a pen in my hand, although under a 
severe admonition not to write much, nor about anything 
very trying to the nerves. Do you know this last month 
of 1887 has been the severest trial in life I have yet had, 
and yet I have got over it remarkably well, and can look 
forward to your promised visit in the spring with great 
pleasure. 

More than a year later, in April 1889, he 
writes : 

You see I have just been allowed to write by the 
medico, but I feel no difference after so long a cessation, 
and suppose you don't see any difference in my scrawl. 
Yet this latest heart-spasm has pulled me down more 
than any of my late attacks have done. . . . Having just 
been allowed pen in hand I am expected to write only a 
few words, so I shall stop, having little more to say. This 
morning I have got by post a copy of W. J. Linton's 
volume of poems just published by Nimmo. It is full of 
spirit, and beautiful lyrics, and is dedicated to me, as the 
friend of fifty years. He is my age, yet all his later 
poems are on LOVE, a fack that baffles me to understand. 

His wide knowledge of men and books and art, 
and the scope and freshness of his interests, made 
him one of the most delightful of partners in a talk, 
and my visits to Penkill must always remain among 
my most pleasant memories. In the morning and 
early afternoon we had no fear of the effects of over- 
excitement on the night's rest, and he was equal to 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 329 

the toughest of conversation, always eager to hear 
and keen to discuss any kind of inquiry, literary or 
philosophic, that I happened to be engaged in, or to 
bring on the tapis any book or article that had 
attracted his attention. In the evening we had to 
be more careful. I then did my best to second 
Miss Boyd's skilful efforts to turn the tide of talk on 
pleasant reminiscences. A very picturesque figure 
he looked propped up in the curiously-carved bed in 
the tapestried chamber, of which a photograph is 
printed in this volume. His scarlet biretta and 
cowl made one think of an invalid Cardinal Inquisitor, 
but very far from inquisitorial was the laugh with 
which he capped our little jokes and anecdotes. 
These evening hours were the happiest hours of his 
invalid day, when the lamps were lit, a little square 
red box ranged on the bed before him, and placed 
thereon the glass of hot grog which was one of the 
milder features of his severe regimen. 

A certain hankering after serious work, a desire 
to be still producing " were it but the infinitesimallest 
fraction of a product," never quite left him. He 
had been so indefatigable a worker all his life long 
that he could not be idle without uneasiness, and 
never could quite get rid of an uncomfortable feeling 
that he ought to be doing something. This restless- 
ness was Miss Boyd's greatest difficulty as an ever- 
vigilant nurse. She quickly discovered how much 
he could do without risk, and kept him within safe 
limits with the most delicate and delightful tact. 
Only a brute would have been refractory under 






330 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

such tender authority, enforced as it was with the 
liveliest wit, and he was as docile as a good-natured 
child. The smile of placid content with which after 
some demur and protest he resigned himself to a 
judicious restriction on his freedom of will was one 
of the most perfect expressions of happiness it has 
ever been my lot to see. 

One of his occupations was to prepare a series 
of etchings from his paintings on the Penkill staircase, 
with a preface on The Kings Quair from which the 
subjects were taken. This he had privately printed, 
and issued to his friends in 1887. He wrote very 
little verse. All his life it had been a principle with 
him never to write verse except under a strong 
inspiration, and this excitement being dangerous 
was not encouraged. Now and again, however, the 
impulse seized him and would not be denied, and 
one of his last labours was to prepare for the printer 
in his punctiliously neat manner a small collection 
of pieces to follow a second edition of his Harvest 
Home as an Aftermath. This he asked me, in the 
spring of 1890, to see through the press, the con- 
dition being that he was to see nothing of it till the 
book appeared ; but the negotiations with a publisher 
were hardly begun when Miss Boyd saw that the 
prospect made him anxious, and it was given up. 
Perhaps his chief occupation during his years of 
illness was reading and revising the Autobiographic 
Notes now printed. In the last chapter he speaks 
as if his intention had been in 1882 to lay them 
aside for ever. But this he could not do. Miss 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 331 

Boyd tells me that she often left him apparently 
tranquil, quietly reading or disposed to sleep, and 
returned to find him with the MS. before him, busily 
revising, re-writing, and interpolating. Till I 
discovered that this had been his practice, I was 
often puzzled by allusions that seemed to be of later 
date than the ostensible time of writing, and any 
confusion arising from this I have tried to put 
straight. With characteristic love of order he neatly 
pasted in every correction, so as not to break the 
continuity of the MS. 

If he wrote little during those last years, he read 
and was read to a great deal, keeping himself well 
abreast of everything going on outside his quiet 
hermitage. Like his other friends I went to Penkill 
only when his kind hostess had the doctor's consent 
to the invitation. But to the last I could never see 
any falling-off in the old breadth and variety of his 
interests. His mind continued to be a mirror of the 
English world of art and letters. Any new move- 
ment at once caught his attention and was eagerly 
followed. To take the first examples that occur to 
me, I heard of Robert Bridges from him before Mr. 
Lang's praise had made that name as familiar as it is 
now. Of his interest in Mr. Lang's own brilliant 
career he has spoken in his Notes ; it continued to 
the last. I sent him Mr. Henley's Book of Verses 
when it came out : my copy was returned by and by 
with a message that he had ordered one for his own 
use. Before his illness he had designed a frontis- 
piece for Love in Idleness. One of the three then 



332 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

youthful authors, Mr. Mackail, is in Miss Boyd's 
list of frequent visitors to Penkill. Another name 
also there is Mr. Hubert Home's. The ideas and 
aims of the Century Guild were likely to commend 
themselves to one who was in himself an embodi- 
ment of the unity of the Arts. He contributed a 
poem to the Hobby Horse as in years gone by he 
had contributed to the Germ. And while young 
men found his appreciation of their work as fresh as 
it was in the Pre-Raphaelite days, he continued to 
maintain pleasant relations with many old friends, 
and to receive public acknowledgments of respect 
and affection. I have quoted from a letter in which 
he speaks of Mr. W. J. Linton's dedication of a new 
volume of Poems and Translations to " the friend of 
nearly fifty years." A poet of a younger generation, 
Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse, inscribed Corn and Poppies 
to his veteran friend. But the tribute in this kind 
which naturally gratified the old man most was the 
splendid poem in which Mr. Swinburne dedicated 
to him his third series of Poems and Ballads. 

That Mr. Scott should have kept the love and 
respect of so many friends was but just, for he was 
essentially a man of a genial and friendly disposition, 
as these autobiographical notes abundantly testify. 
With some, as I have been surprised to hear since 
his death, he had the repute of saying severe things, 
of taking characters to pieces in a grudging spirit, of 
reducing personal pretensions to the lowest possible 
denomination something after the manner of Carlyle. 
This I simply cannot understand, except as a mis- 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 333 

understanding. Those who knew him best do not 
say this of him. It is very far from being my own 
impression. I had many a long talk with him in 
the sixteen years during which I had the privilege 
of knowing him, and I can aver that I have never 
heard him say an unjust or uncharitable word, and 
that I have heard him say many a generous one. 
It is true that though he lived all his life, as he says 
in one of the letters I have quoted, in sets or coteries, 
he had not the coterie weakness an amiable enough 

o 

one in its way of seeing only the merits of his 
fellow-members. He had too scrupulous a literary 
and artistic conscience for this. He simply could not 
praise what he did not honestly admire. Perhaps 
he was sometimes too outspoken about shortcomings. 
The less a member of a coterie says about the work 
of his fellow-members, except in the way of uphold- 
ing it against the envious and calumniating tooth of 
the world, the better for his peace of mind, for a 
bird of the air, in the shape of a candid friend, is 
generally ready to carry the voice. Mr. Scott had the 
knack of putting things happily, in graphic phrases 
that exactly expressed his meaning, and when they 
came to his lips, he could not always judiciously keep 
them back. Thus I have heard him, after a very 
just and liberal allowance of merit, sum up by saying 
that So-and-so " had no devil in him," or that So- 
and-so " was no doubt a very respectable codger "- 
the remark, of course, applying to the artist, not to 
the man. He would not, of course, say such things 
to So-and-so himself. The friendliness of his nature 



334 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

would lead him rather to keep any sense of demerit 
or defect in the background. But a candid friend 
might carry the voice. 

I do not, however, conceive that it is any part of 
my duty to comment on the character of my much- 
beloved old friend. It is very fully and frankly 
revealed in these Autobiographic Notes. A wise 
and charitable soul makes itself felt in every chapter 
of them. I have no doubt that those who knew 
him will have the same feeling that I had myself on 
first perusing them. So direct and sincere is their 
utterance, they are written so exactly as the man 
was in the habit of speaking, that one seems to hear 
his voice behind every sentence the grave-pitched 
kindly voice with its slow measured articulation 
which was so true an index of the grave, thoughtful, 
kindly nature. 

He died on the 22nd of November 1890. A 
few weeks after his death there appeared in the 
Athenceum a noble tribute to his memory which 
I have Mr. Swinburne's permission to reprint here. 

MEMORIAL VERSES 

ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

A life more bright than the sun's face, bowed 
Through stress of season and coil of cloud, 

Sets : and the sorrow that casts out fear 
Scarce deems him dead in his chill still shroud, 

Dead on the breast of the dying year, 
Poet and painter and friend, thrice dear 

For love of the suns long set, for love 
Of song that sets not with sunset here, 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 335 

For love of the fervent heart, above 

Their sense who saw not the swift light move 

That filled with sense of the loud sun's lyre 
The thoughts that passion was fain to prove 

In fervent labour of high desire 

And faith that leapt from its own quenched pyre 

Alive and strong as the sun, and caught 
From darkness light, and from twilight fire. 

Passion, deep as the depths unsought 

Whence faith's own hope may redeem us nought, 

Filled full with ardour of pain sublime 
His mourning song and his mounting thought. 

Elate with sense of a sterner time, 

His hand's flight clomb as a bird's might climb 

Calvary : dark in the darkling air 
That shrank for fear of the crowning crime, 

Three crosses rose on the hillside bare, 
Shewn scarce by grace of the lightning's" glare 
That clove the veil of the temple through 
And smote the priests on the threshold there. 1 

The soul that saw it, the hand that drew, 
Whence light as thought's or as faith's glance flew, 

And stung to life the sepulchral past, 
And bade the stars of it burn anew, 

Held no less than the dead world fast 
The light live shadows about them cast, 

The likeness living of dawn and night, 
The days that pass and the dreams that last. 



1 [The reference here is to Mr. Scott's picture of the theme : 
" And, behold ! the vail of the Temple was rent in twain from the 
top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks 
rent." ED.] 



336 WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 

Thought, clothed round with sorrow as light, 
Dark as a cloud that the moon turns bright, 

Moved, as a wind on the striving sea, 
That yearns and quickens and flags in flight, 

Through forms of colour and song that he 
Who fain woi.id have set its wide wings free 
Cast round it, clothing or chaining hope 
With lights that last not and shades that flee. 

Scarce in song could his soul find scope, 
Scarce the strength of his hand might ope 

Art's inmost gate of her sovereign shrine, 
To cope with heaven as a man may cope. 

But high as the hope of a man may shine 
The faith, the fervour, the life divine 

That thrills our life and transfigures, rose 
And shone resurgent, a sunbright sign, 

Through shapes whereunder the strong soul glows 
And fills them full as a sunlit rose 

With sense and fervour of life, whose light 
The fool's eye knows not, the man's eye knows. 

None that can read or divine aright 

The scriptures writ of the soul may slight 

The strife of a strenuous soul to show 
More than the craft of the hand may write. 

None may slight it, and none may know 
How high the flames that aspire and glow 

From heart and spirit and soul may climb 
And triumph ; higher than the souls lie low 

Whose hearing hears not the livelong rhyme, 
Whose eyesight sees not the light sublime, 

That shines, that sounds, that ascends and lives 
Unquenched of change, unobscured of time. 



CONCLUDING CHAPTER BY THE EDITOR 337 

A long life's length, as a man's life gives 
Space for the spirit that soars and strives 

To strive and soar, has the soul shone through 
That heeds not whither the world's wind drives 

Now that the days and the ways it knew 
Are strange, are dead as the dawn's giy dew 

At high midnoon of the mounting day 
That mocks the might of the dawn it slew. 

Yet haply may not and haply may 
No sense abide of the dead sun's ray 

Wherein the soul that outsoars us now 
Rejoiced with ours in its radiant sway. 

Hope may hover, and doubt may bow, 
Dreaming. Haply they dream not how 
Not life but death may indeed be dead 
When silence darkens the dead man's brow. 

Hope, whose name is remembrance, fed 
With love that lightens from seasons fled, 

Dreams, and craves not indeed to know, 
That death and life are as souls that wed. 

But change that falls on the heart like snow 
Can chill not memory nor hope, that show 

The soul, the spirit, the heart and head, 
Alive above us who strive below. 

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE. 



VOL. II 



INDEX 



ACADEMY, Royal, i. 107, 109, no 
Allan, Sir W., i. 80 
Allingham, W., ii. 31, 32 
Antiquarian Gleanings, \. 220 
Arloshes of Woodside, i. 221 
Armitage, painter, i. 169 
Art and Artists in 1837, i. 105-13 
Art, Italian, heresies on, i. 231 ; 

Bavarian, 318 

Atlas, The, Editor of, i. 123 
Autobiography of 1854 destroyed, i. 

3. 276 



B 



BALDER, i. 80, 100 

Ballads, Jacobite, i. 79 

' ' Ballad Singer, Old English, " picture, 

i. 108, no, 114 
Ballantine, James, fellow - pupil in 

Edinburgh, i. 81 ; ii. 2, 206 
Barker, Fiott, i. 342, 343 
Barnby, Goodwin, the Proto-Shiloh, 

i. 174, 175 

Battersea Bells, sonnets, ii. 294, 295 

Bavarian Art, i. 318 

" Bede, Death of," picture, ii. 7 

Bee, The, i. 21 

Beetham, Father, i. 349 

Beham's " Fountain of Rejuvenes- 
cence," ii. 278 

Bell, Henry Glassford, i. 78 

Bell's English Poets, i. 14 

Bentham, Leigh Hunt's opinion of 
his atheism, i. 129 

Bewick, compared with Rosch, i. 
194 

Bewick, Robert, i. 194-96 



Blair's Grave, i. 21, 68, 74 

Blake's designs for The Grave, i. 21, 
23 ; Sonnet on, 23 ; Songs of In- 
nocence, 22 

"Boccaccio and Dante's Daughter," 
picture by W. B. S., i. 305 

Bowler, H. A., sketch by, ii. 296; 
325 

Boyd, Miss, ii. 54, 56, 57, 59; 
removes from Newcastle to London 
with the Scotts, 73 ; tries to defeat 
a prophecy, 79; 163, 169, 181, 
182, 291-302, 318, 321 

Boyd, Spencer, ii. 75, 77 ; death of, 
78; name "thought-read" by a 
medium, 81 

Boyd ell's Shakespeare, i. 1 6 

Brown, F. Madox, D. G. R. a pupil 
of, i. 287 ; might have gone to 
Australia, ii. 48 ; his family circle, 
183 ; the high character of his 
painting, 189; a funny mistake, 
190 

Brown, John, letter from, ii. 26, 27 

Brown, Samuel, as medical student 
in Edinburgh, i. 92 ; in London, 
157, 158 ; rhabdomancy, 219 ; his 
laboratory in Portobello, ii. i ; 
death of, 25-27 

Brown, Tom, engraver and man of 
science, i. 45, 82 

Browning, performance of Strafford, 
i. 124 ; W. M. R. on Sordello, ii. 
57 ; D. G. R. on Balaustion's 
Adventure, 138 ; Fifine at the 
Fair, 180 

Browning, Mrs., Aurora Leigh, ii. 
34 ; in Paris, 30 ; in Florence, 35 

Burchett, R., ii. 272-75 

Burnet, John, engraver and printer, 



340 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



apprentice wi th R. Scott, a ' ' genius, " 

i. 19 ; his career, 46, 47 
Burns, sonnets on, ii. 164; Rossetti's 

criticisms of, 152, 155 ; W. B. 

S.'s edition of, 166; unpublished 

letter of his, 177 
Burton, Sir F. W., letter about 

Wellington, ii. 259 - 60 ; letter 

about Fons Juventutis, 279-81 ; 

letter in acknowledgment of Harvest 

Home, 309, 310 . 



CAINE, T. HALL, ii. 304 

Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, \. 70 

Carlyle, his Hero -worship, i. 158 ; 
satire of his Cromwell, 159; Hades 
sent to him, 159 ; first meeting 
with, 269 ; droll passage-at-arms 
with, ii. 20-24 5 on Millais' stair- 
case, 223 ; and Thomas Dixon, 
270 

Carlyle, Mrs., i. 270 

Carmichael, Newcastle painter, i. 
185, 209, 210 

Cartoon Competition for Houses of 
Parliament, i. 166-73; second 
competition, 214 

Chevy Chase, subject of picture at 
Wellington, ii. 1 1 , 1 1 8 

Cholera at Newcastle, i. 341 

Clennell, Luke, painter, i. 163 ; son 
of, 198-201 

Cloud Confines, poem by D. G. R., 
ii. 146, 154, 155 

Cole, Sir H., head of Science and 
Art Department, i. 181, 329 

Collins, Charles, P.R.B., i. 285, 286 

Collinson, James, P.R.B., i. 281 ; 
ii. 273 

Constable, in 1837, i. 106 

Cope, painter, i. 169 

Cowen, Joseph, M.P., i. 122, 338 

Crowe, Eyre, ii. 325 

Crowe, Mrs., i. 218, 219 ; ii. 2 

Curate, muscular, in cholera epidemic, 
i. 340, 347, 348 

" Cuthbert, St.," picture, ii. 7 ; D. 
G. R.'s criticism, 35, 36 



DADD, RICHARD, chairman of mal- 



contents, i. in; in Houses of 
Parliament Cartoon Competition, 
172 

" Danes at Tynemouth," picture, 
ii. 7 

Design, Schools of, History of, i. 
180, 327-31 

De Quincey, i. 98 ; ii. 3 

Deverell, Walter, P.R.B., i. 285 ; 
his "Twelfth Night" picture, 286, 
315, 321 ; his ill-health, 305, 320; 
D. G. R.'s letter on his death, 320 

Dixon, Thomas, of Sunderland, ii. 
33, 264-72 

Dobson, Austin, ii. 198 

Doubleday, Thomas, Newcastle poet, 
i. 198 

Dowden, Prof., a "Rhyme to W. 
B. S.," ii. 314 

Diirer, Albert, analogue of his work- 
shop, i. 45 ; his copper-plates, 50; 
visit to Niirnberg, 317; picture of 
his house, 319; W. B. S.'s Life of, 
ii. 193 

Dyce, William, painter, on prospects 
of historical art, i. 208 ; and wall- 
painting, 215 



E 



EASTLAKE, Sir C., i. 168-70 

Ebsworth, J. W., i. 264 

Education, W. B. S.'s early, i. 12- 

24 

Eldin, John Clerk, Lord, i. 18 
Emerson, R. W. , letter from, i. 240 ; 

intercourse with, 241, 242; portrait 

by D. Scott, 241 
Engraver's business at beginning of 

century, i. 1 8-20 
Enthusiast, an, ii. 237-41 
Epps, Dr. John, i. 255 ; his poetic 

butler, 256 



FAIRBAIRN, J. C., early friend of W. 

B. S., i. 92 ; letter from, 93, 94 
Fine Arts, chair of, in Edinburgh, i. 

124 
Fons Juventtitis, inquiry into myth, 

ii. 281-83 
Foxglove, The, a poem, ii. 122 



INDEX 



341 



Franco - German War of 1870, ii. 

119-26 

Franklin, book illustrator, i. 162 
Fresco painting, remarks on, i. 214, 

215 

Frith, painter, in 1837, i. no, 1 12 
Fuseli's designs, i. 17 ; influence on 
Blake, 23 ; influence on Von Hoist, 
162 ; price of a picture by, 263 



" GRACE DARLING," picture, ii. 7, 

55, 58 
Graffito paintings in S. K. Keramic 

Gallery, ii. 107 
"George Eliot," ii. 71, 247, 248; 

Carlyle on, 249 
Germ, The, i. 282-84, 323 
Gilfillan, G., on David Scott, i. 267 
" Gilpin, Bernard," picture, ii. 7, 56 
Gosse, E. W., ii. 193 



II 



HALL, S. C.'s Book of Ballads, i. 

108 

Hake, Dr., ii. 172, -176, 178, 1 80 
Hamerton, P. G., ii. 124-26 
Hancocks, the, of Newcastle, i. 184 
Hannay, ii. 32, 35 
Hart, Solomon, ii. 275 
Harvey, Sir G., ii. 206 
Haydon, B. R., personal traits, i. 

166-68 ; at the Westminster Hall 

Cartoon Competition, 171 
Henley, W. E., ii. 331 
Henning, sculptor, i. 115 
" Hexham Market-Place, " picture, i. 

224, 322 

Hogarth Club, ii. 47 
Hogarth's designs, i. 17 
Hogg, " Ettrick Shepherd," his 

Justified Sinner, i. 69 
Hoist, T. von, painter, i. 162-64 
Home, Hubert, ii. 326, 332 
Home, R. H., the farthing Orion, i. 

253 

Horoscope, i. 1 1 9 
Howitt, W., i. 297, 315 
Howitt, Anna Mary, letter from, i. 

322, 323 ; her spiritualism, ii. 242, 

243 
VOL. II 



Hueffer, F., ii. 163, 168, 183 ; 
letters from, 185-87; nonsense 
verses, 187, 188 

Hughes, Arthur, ii. 31, 35, 67, 325 

Hunt, Holman, his painting in 1848, 
" Light of the World," i. 280 ; 
Ayrshire sermon on this picture, 
309 ; letter giving its history, 311 
14 ; fled to the desert, 320 ; in 
the East, ii. 31 ; painting at home, 
" Christ and the Doctors," 35, 49 ; 
letter on technical matters, 49 ; 
proposed return to East, 50 ; 
sketching at Falmouth, 56 ; sale 
and exhibition of pictures, 58 ; 
letters from Jerusalem, 1870, 1871, 
88-106; his "Triumph of the 
Innocents," 221, 225-27 ; letter 
concerning, 228-32 ; the model 
of " The Prophet," 241 ; letter on 
Harvest Home and death of D. G. 
R-, 3"> 312 

Hunt, Leigh, i. 125 

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, ii. 285-88 



ILLUSTRATIONS, character of, in 1830, 

i- 15 

Introspective tendency, i. 3, 329 
" Iron and Coal," picture, ii. 7 
Italian art, heresies on, i. 23 1 



J 



JONES, BURNE, his first designs, ii. 

37 ; his indifference to opinion, 

216 
Jones, Ebenezer, i. 252 



K 



KEATS, early study of, i. 88 ; Leigh 
Hunt and, 128 

Kelly, Father, i. 348 

Kelmscott, ii. 130 

Kennedy, fellow-pupil in Edinburgh, 
i. 80 

Kings Quair, subject of wall-paint- 
ings at Penkill, ii. 83 ; suggestion 
of D. G. R.'s King's Tragedy, 
116 

Z 2 



342 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



LANG, ANDREW, ii. 201, 331 

Lawyers' marks from Penkill chest, ii. 
301 

Leathart, James, picture collector, ii. 
48, 207 

"Legion, Prince," a series of designs, 
i. 131, 132 

Lewes, G. H., note from, i. 129, 
130 ; his turn for language, 131 ; 
reference to early friendship in 
Leader, 132 ; his youthful ambi- 
tions, 133 ; letter about Year of 
the ll'orlit, 238 ; resumes acquaint- 
ance, ii. 71, 72; death of, 244; 
his powers, 245 

Lilly, the astrologer, i. 119 

Linton, W. J., friend of Mazzini, i. 
121 ; verses by, 121 ; at Brant- 
wood, 122 ; and Emerson, 241 ; 
and politics, 252 ; D. G. R.'s 
opinion of, ii. 36 ; and Polish 
refugees, 274 ; poems, 328 

Little Boy, poem, i. 41 

Littledale, Dr., humorous verses by, 
ii. 296, 313, 314 

Losh, Miss, of Woodside, a Cum- 
berland "Worthy," i. 221 

Lushington, Vernon, ii. 37, 47 ; 
letter on D. G. R.'s funeral, 317, 
325, 326 



M 



MACKAIL, J. W., ii. 326, 332 
Maclise, in 1837, i. 107, 112 ; and 

wall-painting, 215; price of a 

picture by, 263 ; ii. 83-86 
Marshall, Calder, sculptor, i. 161 
Marshall, Mrs., spirit medium, ii. 

80-82 

Marston, Philip Bourke, ii. 198 
Martin, John, brother of, i. 196 
Marzials, Theo., ii. 194 
Mazzini, i. 121, 255 
Meadows, Kenny, recollections of, 

i. 113-15 ; his views of town and 

country, 175; letter from Jersey, 

ii. 71 
Michael Angelo," Creation of Adam," 

ii. 282, 283 ; figures on the Medici 

tombs, 283, 284 
Millais, as P.R.B., i. 278; "The 

Carpenter's Shop," 279 ; his fun, 



306-8 ; resents bad hanging, ii. 
29 ; anecdotes of, 222, 223 

Milton, Thomas, engraver, i. 17 

Monk, a model, ii. 241 

Monkhouse, Cosmo, ii. 336 

Mormonism in Newcastle, i. 334, 335 

Morris, William, fresh from Oxford, 
ii. 37 ; his first picture, 39 ; his 
tales in Oxford and Cambridge 
Magazine, 40 ; his Defence of 
Guenevere, 42 ; his Red House at 
Upton, 60, 6 1 ; in Iceland, 153 ; 
at Kelmscott, 157, 161 ; letter to 
W. B. S. on publication of Poems, 
212, 213 ; on Harvest Home, 309 

Morse, S., ii. 326 

Motherwell, W., i. 79 

Miiller, Max, on Thomas Dixon, ii. 
271 

Munro, Alex., sculptor, makes me- 
dallion of W. B. S., i. 307 ; letters 
from, 320 ; ii. 30 ; busts of Sir 
Walter and Lady Trevelyan, 68 



N 



NETTLESHIP, artist, ii. 196, 197 
Newcastle in 1844, i. 182, 183 ; 
amusements of society there, 185, 
1 86; art manufactory, 189 
Nichol, Professor, astronomer, i. 218, 
219, 3345 " i 



O 

OLIPHANT, FRANCIS, i. 188 
Ord, Walker, i. 78 
Orsini, i. 255 
O'Shaughnessy, ii. 189, 196 



PARK, PATRIC, sculptor, i. 161, 162 ; 
his busts of Haydon and Napoleon 
III., 164 ; his unlucky generosity, 
165 

Parliament Square, Edinburgh, en- 
graver's shop there, i. 13, 43-50; 
its "little masters," 45 et seq.; 
burnt in 1824, 49 

Patmore, Coventry, i. 252, 297, 306 ; 
ii. 31 



INDEX 



343 



Paton, Sir Noel, ii. 206 

Pattison, Mrs. Mark (Lady Dilke), ii. 
67 

Paul, Emperor, relic of his murder at 
St. Petersburg, i. 212 

Payne, John, ii. 197 

Penkill Castle, ii. 57 ; description 
f> 73 5 paintings on staircase of, 
83, 108, 116; way of life at, 291- 
302 

Perseverance and genius, ii. 217-20 

Poems, on Blake's designs, i. 23 ; 
Little Boy, 41 ; Pillars of Selh, 
57-60; Rosabell, 135 ; on W. A. 
C. Shand, 204 ; on his brother's 
death, 261 ; sonnet to his brother, 
266 ; " My Mother," sonnets, 274, 
275; The Foxglove, ii. 122; On 
Going to Live in Bellevtie House, 
123 ; Dedicatio Pasticci, 209 ; New 
Year's Eve, 294, 295 ; to Miss 
Boyd, anniversary, 301 ; &tat. 
70, 319, 320 

Poetry, causes of its popularity ob- 
scure, i. 254 

Poet's Harvest Home, ii. 303 

, 

Poets, the rising generation in 1875, 
ii. 192-201 

Poole, painter, i. 1 1 1 

Pre-Raphaelites, i. 248 el scq. ; first 
knowledge of the name, 277 ; the 
P.R.B.'s and their principles, 277- 
87 ; the Germ, 282 et seq. ; short 
history of the brotherhood, 323- 
26 ; ill-used by the Academy, ii. 
52 



R 



REQUIESCAT IN PACE, origin of, ii. 

276 
Richardson, Anna, Quaker, i. 351- 

56 
Richardson, T. M. , Newcastle painter, 

i. 207 

Roberts, David, scene-painter, i. 8 1 
" Roman Wall, Building of," picture, 

ii- 7, 38 
Ronge, Johannes, and Holy Coat of 

Treves, i. 336-40 ; letter from, 

339 
Rosabell Bonally, acquaintance with, 

i. 101 ; poem on subject of, 135 ; 

Rossetti and this poem, 289, 305, 

322 



Rosch, compared with Bewick, i. 
194 

Rossetti, Christina, i. 247 ; a draw- 
ing pupil, 279 ; verses in acknow- 
ledgment of Harvest Home, 317 

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, autobio- 
grapher's third "friend," i. 88; 
first letter from, in 1847, 243 ; 
sends "Songs of the Art-Catholic," 
245 ; in Holman Hunt's studio, 
248 ; early pictures, 278, 281 ; 
visits Newcastle, 287 ; fascination 
of, 289 ; walks back through 
Shakespeare country, letters, 291- 
93 ; his opinion of " Self-Culture," 
293; news-letters, 301-3; epi- 
taph on Scotus, 305 ; develop- 
ment, 314, 315 ; and Miss Siddal, 
316; proposes sketching club, 
325 ; and Ruskin, ii. 8-10 ; news- 
letter in 1855, 31, 32 ; criticism of 
"St. Cuthbert" picture, 35, 36; 
designs woodcuts for Tennyson's 
poems, 35, 36 ; first impressions of 
W. Morris and Burne-Jones, 37 ; 
paintings in the Oxford Union, 
40-42 ; his habits of painting, 
43-45 ; succeeds in life-size paint- 
m g> 5 1 ' 5 2 > liters after his 
marriage, 62, 63 ; his picture 
" Found," 63 ; his wife's death, 
65 ; spiritualism, 66 ; at Penkill 
in 1868 and 1 860, 108-18 ; is 
persuaded to resume poetry, 109 ; 
in Bennan's Cave, 115; deter- 
mines to recover the buried MS., 
117; letters to W. B. S. from 
Kelmscott, 127-63; his sleepless- 
ness, 139; the attack on "The 
Pleshly School," 161 ; how 
affected by, 168, 171 ; his ill- 
ness, 172; at Stobhall, 173; 
letters from, 175, 176; at Kelm- 
scott, recovered, 178 ; mysterious 
letter from, 179 ; nonsense verses, 
187-89; urges publication of 
poems, 202, 203 ; letter on publica- 
tion, 209- 1 1 ; letter from Bognor, 
213-16 ; broken health, 304-308 ; 
death, 315 

Rossetti, W. M., visits Newcastle in 
1848, i. 277 ; sonnet in Germ, 
324 ; news-letter in June 1855, ii. 
30, 31 ; in 1856, 32-35; edits 
Walt Whitman, 33, 267 ; news- 



344 



WILL f AM BELL SCOTT 



letter in 1858, 47 ; letter on 
Sordello, etc., 58; takes part in 
a stance, 80 ; anxiety about his 
brother, 174; one of a party in 
Italian tour, 182 ; letters on his 
brother's death, 315-17 
Ruskin, J., ii. 5, 7-12 



SCHLIEMANN'S " Owl-headed Vases," 
ii. 288-90 

Schoelcher, Senator, Le Vrai St. 
Paul, ii. 252 

Scotland's Skaith, i. 21 

Scots Magazine, i. 13, 18, 70 

Scott, David, early influences on his 
art, i. 15, 17 ; Memoir of, 26, 
267, 268 ; in Rome, 83 ; contri- 
butes to Souvenir, 92 ; in Cartoon 
Competition for Houses of Parlia- 
ment, 1 68, 169, 171 ; his egoism, 
171 ; his specimen of fresco, 216 ; 
his studio, habits, and character, 
216-19 > last illness and death, 
259, 260; Requiem, 261 ; his char- 
acter, 262-69; "Maxims from 
Italy," 265; Rossetti concerning, 
283 

Scott, George, uncle of W. B. S., i. 
29-31; his nursery rhymes, 30; 
his game eggs, 71 ; his last days, 
219 

Scott, Mrs. (L. M. N.), i. 118; 
takes part in religious inquiries, 
332 ; letter from, ii. 59, 60 ; 327 

Scott, Robert, engraver, his shop, i. 
13) 43-5; personal appearance, 
28 ; his Sunday books, 28 ;' his 
religious services, i. 27, 32 ; his 
teaching, 38, 39 ; his financial 
troubles, 61-63 

Scott, Robert, brother of W. B. S., i. 
27 ; boyish adventure, 65 ; early 
death, 67 ; return from West 
Indies, 99 

Scott, Sir Walter, his strong language, 

i. 70 ; interview with, 72-75 
Scott, William Bell, birthplace, i. 7- 
12, 31 ; home education, 12-24; 
his father's household, 25-32 ; his 
mother, 25 ; his uncle George, 29- 
31 ; reminiscences of childhood, 
33-42 ; early religious influences, 



53 ; first attempts at poetry, 56- 
60 ; his first picture, 77 ; art 
studies, 80-8 1 ; his engraving of 
"The Martyrs' Tombs," 83; his 
early friends, 87 ; poetic and 
philosophic studies, 88, 89 ; essays 
in ballad and octosyllabic, 89 ; 
contributes to Edinburgh Uni- 
versity Souvenir, 91, 92 ; leaves 
Edinburgh in 1837, 99, 100 ; his 
equipment and hopes, 102, 103 ; 
"painter's etchings," 105; first 
picture in London, historical, 1 08 ; 
his horoscope, 119; makes ac- 
quaintance of Leigh Hunt and G. 
H. Lewes, 123-34; his "Prince 
Legion," 131; his poem of Jfosa- 
bell, 135 ; takes part in Cartoon 
Competition for Houses of Parlia- 
ment, 1 68; appointed to master- 
ship in School of Design at New- 
castle, 1844, 173 ; his motives in 
accepting, 173, 251 ; his work as 
art master, 177 et seq.; publishes 
Antiquarian Gleanings, 22O ; 
anatomical studies at Durham, 
220 ; landscape haunts in the 
North, 220-28 ; unaffected by 
Continental tours, 231 ; heresies 
on Italian art, 231-33; writes 
The Year of the World, 234 ; 
first letter from D. G. R., 243 ; 
makes acquaintance of the Ros- 
setti family, 247 ; of Holman 
Hunt, 248 ; his brother's death, 
259 ; his mother's death, 273 ; 
early autobiography (destroyed), 
276 ; visits Paris, 299 ; gives 
" Half - hour Lectures on the 
Arts," 330 ; inquires into in- 
fluence of religion on character, 
331-56; invited to Wallington 
Hall, ii. 3-6; pictures commis- 
sioned illustrative of Border his- 
tory, 7 ; makes acquaintance of 
Miss Boyd, 56, 57 ; first visit to 
Penkill Castle, 59 ; returns to 
London, 1864, 70; reflections on 
town and country life, 70 ; paints 
Keramic Gallery windows in 
graffito, 107 : completes Chevy 
Chase series, 118; buys Bellevue 
House, Chelsea, 119 ; settles there 
in 1870, 123; writes Life of Albert 
Diirer, 193; edits Burns, 1 66 ; 



INDEX 



345 



designs door for Lecture Theatre, 
South Kensington, 1 70 ; visits Italy, 
182; publishes poems in 1875, 
202; artistic investigations, 278- 
90; way of life at Penkill, 291- 
302 ; publishes Poefs Harvest 
Home, 303; last years, 321-34; 
designs new hall for Penkill, 325 ; 
prepares Aftermath, 330 

Seddon, Thomas, painter, ii. 34 

Selous, painter, i. 169 

Shand, W. A. C., first friend, i. 87 ; 
friendship at first sight, 88 ; holi- 
day song by, 95 ; youthful plans, 
97 ; offer to De Quincey, 98 ; 
parting festivities, 100 ; his lin- 
guistic ability, 131 ; reappears at 
Newcastle, 202 ; last sight of, 

204 ; poem on, 204 
Sharp, William, ii. 180 

Shelley, early admiration of, i. 88 ; 
how qualified, 89 ; poem on, in 
Tatt's Magazine, 91 ; Leigh Hunt 
and, 128; at Lynmouth, ii. 139- 
40 

Sibson, Thomas, early friend, i. 87 ; 
career, 153-56 ; at Newcastle, 

205 ; his genius in art, 206 ; 
specimen of his design, 207 

Siddal, E. E. (Mrs. Rossetti), i. 315, 
316; with D. G. R. in Paris, 
ii. 30; marriage to D. G. R., 
58, 60, 62, 63 ; death of, 64, 

65 
Siddons, Mrs., Henning's anecdote 

of, i. 116 

Skipsey, the pitman poet, ii. 269 

Spiritualism, ii. 235 

" Spur in the Dish, The," picture, 
ii. 7 

Steell, Sir John, sculptor, ii. 2 

Stobhall, ii. 173 

Stoddart's Death Wake, i. 80, loo 

Swinburne, A. C., first met at Wal- 
lington, ii. 14-18; portrait painted 
by W. B. S. , 1 8 ; his physical 
courage, 19 ; his dislike of Louis 
Napoleon, 46 ; a holiday at Tyne- 
mouth, 68 ; first in W. B. S.'s 
triple dedication, 212; dedicates 
poems to W. B. S., 336 ; me- 
morial verses, 339 

Swinburne, Sir John, anecdote of, ii. 
19 ; death of, 55 

Symbolism in Art, ii. 283-89 



TADEMA, ALMA, visits Penkill, ii. 
203 ; contributes etchings to W. 
B. S.'s poems, 203, 204 ; his 
mastery of his art, 205, 216; letter 
from, 207 

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, i. 297 ; a 
political forecast, 300 ; Woolner's 
bust of, ii. 29, 35 ; D. G. R.'s 
woodcuts for poems, 35, 36 

Thomson of Duddingston, clerical 
amateur painter, i. 83 

Trevelyan, Lady Pauline, reviews 
Memoir, ii. 3 ; first visit to, 3- 
6 ; W. M. R. and, 34 ; letters 
from, 51-56; her character, 256; 
selections from her writings, 257 

Trevelyan, Sir Walter, ii. 3, 5 ; W. 
M. R. and, 34 ; death of, 253 ; 
his bequest to National Gallery, 
259-61 ; bequest of his cellar to 
Dr. Richardson, 261-63 

Turner, J. M. W. , anecdote of, i. 
84; ii. 9; in 1837, i. 106 ; on 
ruin of Royal Academy, i. 109 ; 
private sketches, 251 



VALENTINE, Dr., ii. 321 
Varley, the astrologer, i. 1 1 8 



W 

WADE, THOMAS, poet, i. 253 
Wailes, W., Newcastle art manu- 
facturer, i. 189-91. 
Wallington Hall, first visit to, ii. 3- 
6 ; pictures there, ^ ; exhibited in 
London, 38, 66 ; decoration of, 67 
"Wallace," picture of, i. 231; ii. 

249 

Ward, E. M., i. Ill, 168 
Watts, Theodore, ii. 180, 213 
Weatherley, Captain, Chairman of 
School of Design at Newcastle, 
i- i?9) *97 5 a Peninsular story, 

211 

Weingartshofer, Dr., citizen of the 
world, i. 343-47 ; his exegesis, 345 
Weir, W., i. 79 
Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass, 



346 



WILLIAM BELL SCOTT 



sent by W. B. S. to W. M. R., ii. 
32, 33 ; 267-69 

Wilkinson, Garth, i. 22 ; his poetry, 
298 

Wilson, C. H., Director of Schools 
of Design, i. 179, 181 

Wilson, John, "Christopher North," 
advises W. B. S., i. 71, 72 ; Car- 
lyle concerning, 75 ; his after- 
dinner speaking, 77 ; at breakfast, 
78 ; receives a dedication, 83 ; gives 
opinion of a poem, 89 ; opinion 
of Shelley, 91 ; advice, 100 

Woodchuck, the, ii. 159 ; epitaph on, 
163 

Woolner, T., introduces W. B. S. to 
Carlyle, i. 269 ; his medallion of 
Carlyle, 270, another, ii. 28 ; 
his renunciation of poetry, i. 271 ; 
My Beautiful Lady, 282 ; goes to 
Australia, 295 ; letter after his 
return, 305 ; news-letter from, ii. 
29 ; his Wentworth statue com- 
mission, 30, 31 ; central sculpture 



for Wallington Hall, 33, 34, 67 ; 
bust of Tennyson, 35 ; on W. 
Morris's poems, 42 

Wordsworth, not so congenial to his 
youth as Shelley, i. 88 ; a humble 
imitator, i. 256 

Wornum, R. N., i. 1 12 ; his wife, 
Miss Selden, 156 ; a Sweden- 
bo rgian, 160; in Cartoon Com- 
petition, 1 68 ; lecturer to School 
of Design, 328 ; death of, ii. 244, 
249, 250 ; his " Saul of Tarsus," 
251 



YEAR OF THE WORLD, THE, pro- 
jected, i. loo ; written, 234 ; 
account of, 235-38 ; reception of, 
238, 239; letter from G. H. Lewes 
concerning, 238 ; from Emerson, 
240 

Young's Night Thoughts, i. 21, 68 



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