(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones"

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 



pA ^^11/^3.? 




1>arvar^ CoUcqc librari? 




^NSFERRED TO 
FINEARTSLIBRARI 



FROM THE BEQUEST OF 

CHARLES SUMNER 

CLASS OF 1830 
SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS 

FOR BOOKS RELATING TO 
POLITICS AND FINE ARTS 




itized by 



Google 









f - J, ■* 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MEMORIALS OF EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



Digitized by 



Google 



;Tti^yS?^o. 



/Google 



Digitized by ^ 






^' 



Digitized by 



Google 




'^.^^Jm-^C'^^t^miL -TikJi. 






Digitized by 



Google 



• MEMORIALS OF 
EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



BY 

Ge-j 

VOLUME I 
I 833-1 867 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON: MACMILLAN ft CO^ LTD. 

1904 

Ail HghU p-tservtd 



Digitized by 



Google 



T Khu\'^.^^ 



R^T^7 










Copyright, 1904, 
By the MACMILLAN COMPANY. 

Set up snd cMciraiypoiL Pu b i iBh cd Deombcf , 1904* 



J. 8 . Cashing ft Co. ~ Berwick ft Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



\f 



■>^- >^ 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 

II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

XV. 



VOLUME I 

MGB 

833-1844 I 

844-1848 14 

849-1851 35 

851-1852 54 

853 71 

854 97 

855 109 

856 . 127 

857-1858 152 

858-1859 178 

860 202 

861-1862 222 

862 241 

863-1864 259 

865-1867 286 



CHAPTER XVI. 

XVII. 

XVIII. 

XIX. 



VOLUME II 

1868-1871. . 

1 872-1 874. . 

1875-1878. . 

1879-1881 . . 



I 

28 

58 
90 



Digitized by LjOOQIC _ 



vi CONTENTS 

PACE 

CHAPTER XX. 1882-1885 "8 

XXI. 1 885-1 886 148 

XXII. 1887-1889 174 

XXIII. 18901891 204 

XXIV. 1 892-1 895 226 

XXV. 1 893-1 895 250 

XXVI. 1896 277 

XXVII. 1897 301 

XXVIII. 1898 327 

INDEX 351 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

VOLUME I ^ „^. 

TO FACE 
PAGE 

" EDWARD BURNE-JONES, xt. 37. From the 
oil painting by G. F. Watts, R.A., in the pos- 
session of Lady Burne- Jones . • Frontispiece 

•^ BENJAMIN COLEY. From an oil painting in 

the possession of Mrs. Coley Choyce ... 2 

^MRS. EDWARD BIVEN JONES (Mary Edith 
Alvin). From an oil painting in the possession 
of Lady Burne-Jones 4 

^ THOMAS BURNE and his wife KETURAH 
JONES, afterwards Mrs. James Catherwood. 
From miniatures in the possession of Lady 
Burne- Jones 32 

^ WILLIAM MORRIS, aet. 23. From a photograph 96 

" CORMELL PRICE, aet 22. From a photograph 104 

- CHARLES JOSEPH FAULKNER, »t. 24. From 

a photograph 106 

^ TWO DESIGNS for illustrations made for a volume 
of Ballads and Metrical Tales illustrating the 
Fairy Mythology of Europe, by Archibald Mac- 
Laren. From the original pen-and-ink drawings 
by Edward Burne- Jones, 1854 and 1856, in the 
possession of Mrs. Williams (Miss Mabel Mac- 
Laren) 120 



Digitized by 



Google 



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



TO FACE 
PAGE 



, VERNON LUSHINGTON,«t-26, From a photo- 

graph 126 

• MISS GEORGIANA MACDONALD (Lady 

Burne- Jones), aet. 16. From a photograph . 134 

' WILFRED HEELEY, aet. circ. 25. From a photo- 
graph 144 

LAUNCELOrS DREAM OF THE SAN- 
GRAAL: sketch bjr D. G. Rossetti for a por- 
tion of his design for a tempera panel in the 
Debating Hall of the Oxford Union Society, 
made in August or September, 1857. From the 
original pen-and-ink drawing in the possession 
of Mr. C. Fairfax Murray 164 

^ MISS JANE BURDEN (Mrs. WiUiam Morris), 
aet. 17. From the original pencil drawing by 
D. G. Rossetti (the first he made of her) in the 
possession of Mrs. William Morris. Inscribed, 
J. B. ^tat. xvii., and signed, D. G. R. Oxoniae 
primo del* 0<a. 1857 168 

MISS ELIZABETH ELEANOR SIDDAL(Mrs. 
D. G. Rossetti), aet. 22. From a water-colour 
drawing by D. G. Rossetti, in the possession of 
Mr. Sydney C. Cockerell. Dated, 1854 . . 178 

• MISS HERBERT. From a pencil drawing by 
D. G. Rossetti, in the possession of Mrs. 
Rochfort. Inscribed, Ruth Herbert, 1858, and 
signed, D. G. R. (in monogram) del* . . . 186 

^MRS. DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, aet. 27. 
From a pencil drawing by D. G. Rossetti, made 
in the summer of i860, in the possession of 
Mr. C. Fairfax Murray 208 



Digitized by 



Google 






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix 

TO PACB 
PAGE 

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE, at. 

circ. 28. From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott 

and Fry 216 

THE MOTHER OF HEALING. From the 
original pencil drawing by Edward Burne- Jones, 
in the possession of Mr. Charles RadclifFe. In- 
scribed and dated, carolo . bland . radcliffb • 

AMICITIAE • CAUSA . GRATIAS . AGENTES . D • D • 
EDWARDUS . ST . GEORGIANA . JONES • APR . 1862 24O 

JOHN RUSKIN, at. 44, and DANTE GABRIEL 
ROSSETTI, aet. 35. From a photograph taken 
at Newcastle-on-Tyne by Messrs. Downey . 250 

WILLIAM GRAHAM, at. 62. From the oil 
painting by Edward Burne-Jones, in the pos- 
session of Mrs. J. F. Homer ^^ v 

The illustrations of 11, Bennett^s Hill, Birmingham, 
and of Red House, Upton, at the beginning and end of 
the volume, are from drawings by F. L. Griggs. 

Of the illustrations in the text, those on pp. 13 and 49 
are reproduced from drawings by Noel Rooke and A. J. 
Gaskin, and the remainder nrom the original drawings by 
Edward Burne-Jones. 



VOLUME II 

EDWARD BURNE-JONES, xt. 64. From the 
oil painting by Sir Philip Burne-Jones, Bt., in 
the possession of Lady Burne-Jones Frontispiece 

THE GRANGE. From a photograph . . . . 



Digitized by 



Google 



X LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

TO FACE 
PAGB 

THE MUSES ON MOUNT HELICON (a 
Dream). From the oil sketch by Edward 
Burne- Jones, in the possession of Mrs. Sidney 
Colvin 24 

DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, xt. circ. 44, 
From a pen-and-ink drawing by D. G. Rossetti, 
in the possession of Mrs. William Morris . . 28 

EDWARD RICHARD JONES, at. 73. From a 

photograph by F. Hollycr 32 

EDWARD BURNE-JONES, at. 41. From a 
photograph taken in the garden of Naworth 
Castle, August, 1874, by Messrs. B. Scott and 
Son, Carlisle 50 

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL. From a water- 
colour drawing by Edward Burne- Jones, in the 
possession of Mrs. J. W. Mackail (Miss Mar- 
garet Burne- Jones) 66 

MISS MARGARET BURNE-JONES, xt 12. 
From a pencil drawing by Edward Burne- 
Jones, in the possession of Lady Burne- Jones. 
Inscribed, M. B. J. Dec. 31. 1877 .... 82 

PHILIP BURNE-JONES, set. 17. From a pencil 
drawing by Edward Burne- Jones, made 12 
January, 1878, in the possession of Lady 
Burne-Jones. Inscribed, P. B. J., mdccclxxviii 90 

PORTRAIT-GROUP OF THE PAINTER'S 
FAMILY. From an unfinished oil painting 
by Edward Burne-Jones, begun OAober, 1879, 
in the possession of Lady Burne-Jones ... 106 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xi 

TO FACE 
PAGE 

EDWARD BURNE-JONES, set. 51. From a 

photograph by F. Hollyer 140 

THE VISION OF ST. FRANCIS. From apencU 
sketch for the water-colour drawing sent to 
Father Damien at Molokai, by Edward Burne- 
Jones, in the possession of Mr. E. Clifford. 
Signed, E. B. J. 1887 176 

WILLIAM MORRIS, act. 55. From a photograph 

taken by Emery Walker, 19 January, 1889 . 194 

NORTH END HOUSE, ROTTINGDEAN. 

From a photograph 196 

THE GARDEN STUDIO AT THE GRANGE, 

27 July, 1890. From a photograph by Miss 
Barbara Leighton 208 

SEAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES. 

From the original sketch by Edward Burne- 
Jones, in the possession of his executors . . 246 

THE PASSING OF ARTHUR. From a sketch 
in pastel by Edward Burne- Jones, in the pos- 
session of Lady Burne- Jones 248 

WILLIAM MORRIS, act. 62. From a photograph 
taken at the Kelmscott Press, 13 September, 
1895 260 

THE DINING-ROOM AT THE GRANGE, 

July, 1898. From a water-colour drawing by 
T. M. Rooke, R.W.S., in the possession of 
Lady Burne- Jones 286 



Digitized by 



Google 



xU LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

TO PACE 
PAGE 

THE STUDIO AT THE GRANGE, i8 June, 
1898. From a water-colour drawing by Am- 
brose M. Pojrnter, in the possession of Lady 
Burne- Jones 350 

The illustrations in the text are reproduced from the 
original drawings by Edward Burne- Jones. 



This book was begun /» 1898 

and finished in 1904 n 



s 

4 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 



i 



> 



9 
f 



/ 



/ 



Digitized by 



Google 




II, BENNETTS HILL, BIRMINGHAM. THE BIRTHPLACE OF 
EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



Digitized by 



Google 



MEMORIALS OF 

EDWARD BURNE-JONES 

CHAPTER I 

1833— 1844 

My mother groaned, my fiither wept. 
Into the dangerous world I leapt. 

THE mother who bore her little son on the 28th of 
August, 1833, did not live long enough to know 
anything about him, for within a week she died. 
He was the second child of his parents ; but the first, a 
girl, had not survived her infancy, so that his birth was 
expeded in a special way to bring with it comfort and 
fresh hope. Before it happened, they removed into a new 
house, built for themselves, and life was to begin again. 

The marriage of Edward Richard Jones and Elizabeth 
Coley was one of great afFeAion, and when, in his thirty- 
second year, the young husband found himself suddenly a 
widower, with a baby of six days old left to him in ex- 
change for the wife of his heart, he could feel no joy in 
the innocent cause of such sorrow. Of this the child him- 
self was never conscious, but the father spoke of it lone 
afterwards with regret and self-reproach, saying that until 
his boy was four years old he could scarcely bear to take 
him into his arms. Not even a portrait of the mother 
exists : the only one known to have been made was an 
ivory miniature, which, in an unlucky moment, was given 
into the hands of her child when he was so young that he 

I. B 



Digitized by 



Google 



2 MEMORIALS OF [1833 

himself destroyed it. Xhys th,e|:e remained only the name 
of mother to a man who, moj-e than most, would seen! to 
have needed one. 

Nobody was able at first to come and take permanent 
care of the infant, who, after passing through the hands of 
one incompetent nurse after another, fell before long into 
such poor case that a friend of the dead mother bestirred 
herself a<5lively to find some one more fitting for the charge 
of both house and baby. This person was a Miss Sampson, 
who had never known the mother, and to whom the 
melancholy, unworldly young father who could not rejoice 
in his own son was incomprehensible'; biit tKe child she 
fostered tenderly. 

The street in which they lived, Bennett's Hill, Birming- 
ham, was a new one in the heart of the town — a short, 
wide street conne<5ling two busier thoroughfares, not 
much used by vehicles, because of its steepness, but with 
a good deal of bustle afoot when it was completed. The 
houses in it were then chiefly banks and offices, as indeed 
they are to this day. No. 1 1 was an exception, however, 
for it was built with a " show-room " in front, a quiet 
room, carpeted with a red floor-cloth and filled with mir- 
rors, pifture-frames, and sometimes a few paintings. A 
side-entrance admitted to the house, and at the back was 
a yard, with a workshop in it where Mr. Jones himself 
worked. What caused him to be a carver and gilder we 
never knew, for he was not brought up as one, but it was 
understood that Mr. Coley, his wife's father, who did not 
much like the marriage because he thought his daughter 
"might have done better," made it a condition before 
giving consent to it, that her husband should have some 
settled business : and possibly this one was to be had. 

Before meeting Miss Coley Mr. Jones had always lived 
in London with his widowed mother ; but she had lately 
died, and he ^jfas alone in the world when he first saw his 
wife. This was at Stourbridge, where they both happened 
to be staying at the same time ; and, as nothing tied the 
young man now to one place more than another, he obeyed 



Digitized by 



Google 




frt^rn n ptiitttitiff. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. i] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 3 

the impulse to follow her when she returned to her native 
town of Birmingham. His marriage to her in 1 830 decided 
where he was to spend the rest of his life. 

They had about three years together of what he called 
perfed: happiness, before her death ; and then everything 
changed. His simple heart, however, followed the straight 

Eath, and turned its baffled feeling into laborious work for 
is child's sake, little as he cared himself for the world 
out of which his "Betsy" had been taken. 

Whatever his business may have been at first, it certainly 
was never very flourishing, and as the child grew older, the 
father worked harder. He has told me that for years he 
often rose at four in the morning and did not get to rest 
until midnight. When he did go, however, he found his 
young son hours deep in sleep on a little bed in a corner 
of the room. 

So &r as is known there was no foreshadowing of the 
gifts of this child in the &mily of either parent. On the 
mother's side we have not any record beyond the grand- 
parents, and on the father's, of only one generation more, 
whilst the Christian name of the great-grandfather is for- 
gotten. In Edward's own handwriting is this brief genea- 
locv I 

^^ ' Don't know his name, but he was 

t schoolmaster at Hanbury. 

' , 

Edward Bivbn Jones, m. Edith Alvdi. 

I ' 1 

Kbturah. Edward Richard Jones, m. Elizabeth Colbt, 

Edith. Edward Bvrne-Jones. 
Biven was the maiden name of the great-grandmother 
at Hanbury, but all we know of her family is that a 
brother of hers, named Edward Biven, who was a wine 
merchant in Lambeth, adopted her son — his nephew and 
namesake — and brought him up to London. This Edward 
Biven Jones married a Mary Edith Alvin (called "Edith" 
only in Edward's note) and died early, a few months after 
the birth of his second child, who was Edward Richard, 



Digitized by 



Google 



4 MEMORIALS OF [1834 

the father of Edward Burne-Jones. The other child was a 
girl, Keturah, whom hergreat-uncle, Edward Biven,adopted 
in succession to her father, and who married a Mr. Thomas 
Burne. She and her husband were god-parents by proxy 
to Edward when he was baptized at St. Philip's Church, 
Birmingham, on the ist of January, 1834. The names 
then given to the child, Edward Coley Burne, explain 
themselves as being those of his father, mother, and 
aunt. 

Next door to No, 11, Bennett's Hill, at the time of 
Edward's birth, was already living a family to whose friend- 
ship he owed much of the pleasure of his first years. The 
household was a Jewish one, and almost patriarchal in 
charafter; for the two partners of a firm of merchants 
established in Birmingham, Messrs. Neustadt and Barnett, 
had married two sisters, and both families, including 
children, a widowed mother, and a maiden aunt, lived to- 
gether under the same roof These children were coming 
into the world about the same time that Edward was born, 
and one of his earliest memories was that of the happy life 
on the other side of the wall, and the kind welcome always 
given to him there. A member of the family now living 
says that he took his place among them "as a cousin," and 
in that house the wprd " cousin " meant much. They 
shared all their pleasures and amusements with him, nor 
was he excluded even fi-om their holy days and festivals. 
At the Feast of Purim he dressed up with the other children, 
and was so eager for the merry-making that when the day 
came round he was always the first guest to arrive. 

Miss Sampson was passionately devoted to Edward, and 
it is pathetic to think how slight a clue she ever had to his 
nature. He loved her in the way that children often love 
parents from whom they greatly differ, seeming never to 
criticize her and never to confide in her. She was un- 
educated, with strong feelings and instinfts, and she must 
have suffered much in seeing him, as he grew up, for ever 
slipping away from her, gently though he treated her, and 
tightly as she clutched him to her heart. The little body. 



Digitized by 



Google 



14 

a 
d 

IS 

J 
I, 
s 
1 

i 




frtnrv €i, p^unttna. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. i] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 5 

however, which his soul inhabited lay peacefully and 
happily at first within her arms. 

It always seemed as if nature had intended him for a 
strong man, for his chest was broad and his limbs straight : 
but perhaps those early motherless months left their mark 
upon him, preventing fulfilment of the promise. Miss 
Sampson was never weary of telling how fi^l she found 
her nurseling when first he was given into her charge : 
often repeating, with the fond insistence of mother and 
nurse in one, how when the great day arrived for him to 
be put into " short sleeves," they had to cut off the sleeves 
of his little dresses an inch at a time lest a sudden chill 
might undo all her care. 

From the first Mr. Jones realized that so delicate a 
child must have as much country life as possible, and in 
the summer time he used regularly to send his little boy 
with Miss Sampson to lodge a few miles away, for the sake 
of purer air. These yearly visits to villages and farms 
were a happy thing for Edward and often mentioned in 
later days. He remembered going when very young to a 
place, then on the outskirts or Birmingham and now swal- 
lowed up in it, the name of which was " Nineveh," and 
heaven only knows the background of imagination that 
this one word made for the child, who thought that of 
course it was " Nineveh in the Bible." Miss Sampson could 
throw no light on the faft of its being within three or four 
miles of their own front door. She had strange friends, 
he said, to whom she used to take him — for her fidelity 
would not allow her to leave the child when she went out : 
and long before she dreamed of it, his watchfiil soul was 
awake and listening. One of the errands on which he re- 
membered they went together was to an old gentleman 
who kept a cloth-shop : " Miss Sampson used to go there 
and buy cloth to be made up into clothes for my father 
and me, in the ftinny old-fashioned careful way we used 
to live. He wore gaiters and a little old, low-crowned hat, 
and spedacles, of course, and after a time he gave up his 
shop^I forget why — and grew older and older and littler. 



Digitized by 



Google 



6 MEMORIALS OF [1838 

but still had some cloth left to sell where he lived, and 
Miss Sampson and I used to go there and buy it." 

With all these friends she talked ceaselessly. He never 
forgot how one of them blamed him for profanity when 
he was building a small city of stones that he called 
"Jerusalem." "You mustn't say * Jerusalem,' Edward," 
sank deeply into his mind. As he grew older. Miss Samp- 
son used to be puzzled sometimes by his silence, and would 
ask suddenly, " What are you thinking of, Edward ? " To 
this demand he told us that he early invented an answer in 
one word : " Camels." 

Two friends of his father, a Mr. and Mrs. Caswell, 
contributed much to the happiness of his childhood, for 
they loved him and thought him gifted. They were child- 
less, and used to invite him to their house ror days at a 
time. Mrs. Caswell, a silvery little old lady when I first 
saw her, told me how when he was staying with them, 
they would delight to watch him in his bath, as real parents 
might have done, and of a game equally enjoyed by all 
three, when he would escape from the tub and from her 
hands, and spin round and round the room with laughter, 
and sing " Jim Crow " as he danced, while she and her 
husband joined in the fan and admired all he did. It was 

Motherless baby and babyless mother. 
Bring them together to love one another. 

Later on, Mr. Caswell was the first person who seriously 
noticed Edward's drawing and tried to dired it, by giving 
him engravings to copy. One of these copies, done when 
he was seven years old, still exists ; the subjed is a group 
of deer, and Mr. Caswell's remarks are written literally 
upon it. The child never forgot this, and as long as he 
lived spoke of the irritation he had felt on seeing words 
written across the sky. Mr. Caswell himself, after he had 
retired from business, took great delight in buying old 
pidures of a moderate size at sales, and touching them up 
according to his fancy, and Edward was very happy watch- 
ing him squeeze the paint he used out of little bladders. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 5] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 7 

Then there was the bliss of the garden with Mrs. Cas- 
well (they lived a short distance out of Birmingham) ; going 
with her to smell the flowers and pick currants and goose- 
berries, and the delicious pies that came of it. Only a few 
years ago he took up a wall-flower from the centre of the 
dinner-table one evening, and smelling it, said, " I'm four 
years old again in Mr. Caswell's garden. How kind they 
were to me, Mr. and Mrs. Caswell, and I never thought 
about it." Another of his memories was of being on a visit 
to them when a friend came in bringing the news of the 
massacre in the Khyber Pass. He says, " I was a very 
little chap, and was terrified at the idea of all the men shut 
in by the rocks, and being shot down and killed from 
above without being able to do anything." 

When he was between four and five years old, one of his 
mother's younger sisters — Amelia — became the third wife 
of a Mr. Choyce, a farmer then living in the depths of the 
country at Wootton in Warwickshire, where her kind 
heart made her soon invite her pale little town nephew to 
come and see them. This was the first of many visits. Here 
he found some cousins-in-law, the children of Mr. Choyce's 
former marriages, but was so soon adopted by them as a 
real relation that they will henceforth be spoken of as such 
without qualification. The change of going from a street 
in town and a house where he was the only child, into the 
midst of family life, the freedom of the fields and the de- 
lightful bustle of a working farm, must have been a true 
shock of pleasure, and he often spoke of the life at Woot- 
ton as if he recalled it day by day. The eldest of the young 
people there was a clever girl, Maria, who is still living, 
and her sister Kitty was a pretty and charming creature 
both then and all the days of her life. These two made a 
great impression on Edward, and as, when a boy, he gener- 
ally preferred the company of his elders to that of his 
juniors, he finally chose them for his especial friends. One 
of them says, " When he first came to Wootton, before he 
was six years old, I remember his attempts at drawing 
which we thought so clever for a small boy." He used to 



Digitized by 



Google 



8 MEMORIALS OF [1839 

draw them all with their distinguishing peculiarities, if 
they had any. The curls which the young ladies wore were 
unmistakeable, but he was baffled by what he called the 
"big heads'* of the maid-servants, namely their caps. 
About this early habit of drawing we have his own words 
recorded by a friend, an artist, who, talking to him of 
David Copperfield and his neglefted childhood, remarked 
in passing that he himself never remembered feeling un- 
happy when he was left alone. " Ah,'* said Edward, " that 
was because you could draw. It was the same with me. I 
was always drawing. Unmothered, with a sad papa, with- 
out sister or brother, always alone, I was never unhappy, 
because I was always drawing. And when I think of what 
made the essence of a pifture to me in those days it's 
wonderful how little I have stirred. I couldn't draw people, 
of course, but I never failed to draw mountains at the back 
of everything just as I do now, though I'd never seen 
one." 

Miss Maria Choyce, who was some ten years older than 
himself, was as kind to him as a sister, and to her, a few 
years later, he revealed much of his inner life. 

Before this, however, came the building up of his 
physical health, and his careful father, not content with 
pure inland air, sent him also to the sea. Blackpool, on the 
Lancashire coast, was the place chosen, probably because 
the children next door, the little Neustadts and Barnets, 
were going to it, and the whole joyous troop lodged to- 
gether in one house during their stay. Edward used to 
declare that when they were all together Miss Sampson, 
out of complaisance to their friends, made him keep the 
Jewish Sabbath as well as the Christian one, and that he 
felt the ordinance to be extremely tedious ; but no doubt 
in their own way the children softened the dispensation. He 
also complained with much comical exaggeration that she 
was in the habit of adopting for his benefit, on the spur of 
the moment, various rules for the education of children 
which she might hear of or notice in praAice among her 
acquaintance. For instance, her admiration, he said, was 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 9 

aroused by the method of a lady, who, when fruit was on 
the table, thought it good to say to her children, *^ Now, 
you may take your choice, my dears, but you may only 
have one. You see, there are apples and pears and nuts and 
currants, so you may choose any one of these." But if under 
this new law Edward ever chose a currant, I am sure Miss 
Sampson gave him " one " several times over. 

His memory went back very far, both consecutively and 
in the way of detached piftures of scenes. Writing in 1 873 
to a friend, he says that he recolledted quite well the Queen's 
Coronation, which took place when he was four years old, 
and being carried to the Town Hall, ** to see where the 
poor folk were going to be feasted, and a general sound of 
happiness in the air, and the ringing of bells." Also, 
** being allowed to wave a banner in the air in front of the 
house, and that gave me more happiness, I think, than 
anjrthing that has happened to me ever since." 

To his daughter, when she was travelling in the Mid- 
land counties in 1884, he wrote, "Give my love to War- 
wick, where I once lived a while, and saw a lady paint 
bronze colour on a butterfly for an album. I was about four 
— it looked very beautiful I don't remember why I was at 
Warwick. In all those regions I went about as a * little * 
— to school when I was five, at Henley-in-Arden, so give 
it my love." 

The " living'" at Warwick is probably a mistake, as 
there is no record of his having been in that neighbour- 
hood except when at Wootton, from which place, how- 
ever, he might easily have been taken over for a visit to 
Warwick. But a child reckons not by days nor years in 
the world he makes for himself, and the Joy of seeing the 
lady paint the butterfly would wipe out time. 

The school at Henley-in-Arden that he mentions was 
one to which, when staying with his Aunt Choyce, he 
sometimes accompanied an elder cousin, and it was on the 
Henley Road, not at Henley itself, which was too far 
from Wootton for the boys to walk. 

The Chartist riots in 1839, during which his father was 



Digitized by 



Google 



lo MEMORIALS OF [1842 

sworn in as a special constable, made a great impression 
upon him, and he suflFered many things in imagination 
because a maid-servant, while putting him to bed, used to 
fan his terrors by grisly stories of what was happening, or 
might happen, in the streets. In his childhood he had 
many restless nights with bad dreams, and would often 
wake up with a cry, when he said he always found his 
father or Miss Sampson standing by his bed, looking at 
him with " large, anxious faces," that terrified him afresh; 
and he warned us not to stand looking closely at children 
in their sleep lest they should awake suddenly and be 
startled All through his life he was a dreamer of dreams 
by night as well as by day. 

As soon as he was old enough to walk out alone with 
his father, they used to go together on the day of his 
mother's death and visit her grave. He said that his father 
used to grip his hand very tightly and to cry, which fright- 
ened him. Sixty years after it happened, he writes, " Sun- 
day was Sep. 3rd. I always keep it with what piety I can. 
That was the day my mammy died — the sixth day after my 
birth." Some one who personally knew this mother is re- 
ported to have said that a distinguishing quality in her was 
good sense, ^^good praAical common sense more than 
ordinary,"' and a sister of hers writes that *^ she was very 
much beloved, recited poetry weU, and was pretty." Fair 
in complexion she must have been, for Edward's father and 
all his family were dark, but her child was extremely fair 
in hair and skin, with eyes of a light colour. There is a 
bad portrait of him as a child of seven, which when he 
grew older he would gladly have cut into ribbons, but for- 
bore because it would have grieved his father. In it he is 
represented with curling hair, which he never had. The 
reason of this, he told me, was that Miss Sampson, jealous of 
that charm in his little friends next door and determined 
he should not be outdone by them, curled it herself for 
that occasion if never agsun. The only thing of interest in 
the pifture is that he is represented holding a slate, upon 
which a church is drawn, so that drawing was evidently 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 9] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 11 

already considered his charadcristic occupation. He re- 
membered asking the artist to put in the church. A prettier 
pifture is produced in the mind by the words of an old 
friend: " My first recoUeftion of Edward is of a little boy 
in a red frock shelling peas." 

There is no record preserved of how and when he learned 
to read and write: possibly Miss Sampson taught him, but 
it is plain, from some fragments of letters to his father, that 
before he was nine years old he wrote with ease and was 
fond of reading. The handwriting, even of the first of these 
notes, is clear and careful, with a sense of pleasure in the 
use of the pen shewn by flourishes after the signature; 
whilst for further ornament he has added two elementary 
birds. It is dated Blackpool, June 20th, 1 842, and begins: 

"My dear Papa, I should be very happy to see you at 
Blackpool, if you could come. I like the town very much 
indeed, but I think it should not be called Blackpool as 
there is more white houses than red ones." 

Another scrap of the same time begins with the word 
**• Bridge," and then goes on, ^* you see what a deal I think 
of the Bridge by the ornaments at the bottom." But the 
drawing to which this refers is lost. There is also a sentence 
which must have been written or spoken by millions of 
children since time at seaside places began, nomine muiando. 
*' If I am a good boy Miss Sampson says we shall have a 
donkey ride to-morrow." And ** to-morrow " is recorded, 
when it had become yesterday, in the next letter. At the 
top of the page, above the date, is written, ^' This is more 
like a hermitage," which is explained as one reads further. 

*^ Blackpool, Junt X3rd. 

" My dear Papa, 

" I have just done the drawing my uncle wished 
me and hope he will be pleased with it. Yesterday I had 
a donkey ride and liked it very much, but coming back 
a little boy put a string round the donkey's leg which 
Miss Sampson was on and threw her off and caused a pain 
in her head and soon went away. You said in Miss Samp- 



Digitized by 



Google 



12 MEMORIALS OF [1843 

son's letter at the top Hermitage, but I don't think you live 
like a Hermit if you have such a many friends coming in 
as you say. I only wish you could send me ^sop's Fables^ 
but that I suppose you cannot. I have a great variety of 
very pretty stones and the shells are not very pretty. 

" June 24th. This morning I bathed for the 3 time and 
liked it so much that I had twice as much as before. I am 
in want of books very badly. I expedt a letter from you 
every day, please to send me a very long letter. We are 
all a great deal better, I might have said quite well and 
stout. Please to tell the children next door I am very sorry 
not to have wrote to them before, but I am so buisy run- 
ning about the sands and fields. 

** P.S. Please to give my kind love to Grandpapa and 
Mr. CaswclL** 

There is a postscript added by Miss Sampson for the 
comfort of the father: **You would be delighted to see 
Edward, he looks so well and I think gets stronger every 
day.'' The uncle of whom he speaks in this letter was a 
half-brother of his mother s, a Mr. Samuel Perry, who was 
always kind to him. 

What with country air, sea air, and the attention of Miss 
Sampson, the child's bodily health was now established at 
a fair level; and certainly also the foundations had been 
laid of that citadel of the soul in which through life he 
entrenched himself. Miss Sampson's ** I know you better 
than you know yourself, Edward," which he used to quote, 
was but a vain effort to reassure herself. 

In the year 1 843 the Choyces left Wootton, removing 
to a farm called Harris Bridge in Leicestershire, which had 
been tenanted before by another member of their family. 
Here Edward continued to visit them every year, and 
though he was considered rather delicate in the chest, he 
led the same outdoor life as other boys in summer, and is 
remembered as having been ^^full of fun and spirit." 
Whilst he was quite little, his chief playmate was a girl 
cousin rather younger than himself, because the boys' games 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. id] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



13 



were thought too rough for him, but later on he joined in 
their cricket and bathing. The name of the stream in 
which they bathed, the Sense, afforded many a jest to 
the elder girls, who used to urge them to drink whilst in 
its waters, and to drink deeply. There is a letter to his 
father from Harris Bridge, undated, but, to judge by the 
writing, some three or four years after the Blackpool ones, 
and in it he speaks of walking to Twycross and back (three 
miles) to ask for letters, and of ** sitting up till Sunday on 
Saturday night," so that his health evidently no longer 
needed any special care. 

These glimpses are mostly of life in the country and in 
holiday time, but I can find no account of his doing any 
lessons at home or of his going to any preparatory school 
in Birmingham before he entered the Free Grammar School. 







% 









HARRIS BRIDGE. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER n 

CHILDHOOD 
1 844- 1 848 

KING Edward's School, Birmingham, as it now 
stands, was rebuilt in 1 834 by Sir Charles Barry, 
in a style much like that afterwards employed by 
him for the Houses of Parliament. Through its wide, 
dark entrance the king's young namesake pas^ and took 
his place as a scholar on the 3rd of September, 1844. This 
day was the anniversary of his mother's death, and he was 
just eleven years old. 

The whole building probably looked brighter then than 
it does now after sixty years or weathering and smoke, but 
the gateway leading direftly into a dark vestibule, and then 
on to a dim hall and corridor, can never have seemed cheer- 
ful. From the street the appearance of the school is still 
unchanged, except that it is now somewhat crowded in and 
dwarfed by the height of the buildings right and left which 
have replaced its earlier and less pretentious neighbours. 
Sixty years ago it stood out handsomely, and its depth 
could be seen as well as its breadth of frontage. 

The school was divided, then as now, into Departments, 
Classical and English, or ** Commercial," as the latter was 
familiarly called. The faft of Mr. Jones' placing his son in 
this Department proves that his intention at the time was 
to give him merely such an education as would fit him for 
business. Boys on this side of the school usually left at 
about sixteen. Latin was taught in both schools, but Greek 
in the Classical only. No fees were paid by the scholars, the 
endowment being one of the richest in the kingdom, and, 
except for the cost of books, education was absolutely free. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. I a] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 15 

There were at this time some 450 scholars altogether, 
and it was essentially a day school, though the head and 
second masters each took about twenty boarders in their 
own houses. The Classical Department had a slight majority 
in numbers over the English. There were no separate 
class-rooms, the whole tuition being carried on in two large 
and lofty stone-floored rooms in the upper story of the 
building, and, on the English side at all events, the lower 
classes were so large that it was impossible for the masters 
to handle them properly. ** The Babel was awful," says an 
old pupil, *' but it taught us to shout and was probably 
good for the lungs. The din was increased by the outside 
street trafiic. We never sat down to say our lessons, and 
the younger boys would be half-dead with fatigue and 
quite incapable of attention before the hour was up. There 
was no break in the work from 8.30 to 12, and from 2 to 
5." Small wonder that it is added, "Only boys of ex- 
ceptional ambition or wits could make decent progress. A 
boy never dreamt of asking explanations of his difficulties: 
the free use of the cane alone could drive us forward until 
we reached the higher classes, which were less crowded/' 
That the art of teaching was not studied then as it is now^ 
Edward's own words bear witness : 

" At school we were plunged into Caesar without a word 
of explanation. The master never told the boys that the 
Commentaries were the Diary of the man we had learned 
of in history, written in the form of letters to the Senate 
of Rome, or any least thing about it. We b^an not even 
at the beginning, but right in the middle of all the tech- 
nicalities of bridge-building — as good as learning a trade 
in Latin, for the Romans were splendid bridge-builders. 
Of course before long I found my feet, but for a dullish 
boy it was hopeless." 

In spite of these defefts, however, King Edward's School 
won for itself a fame for scholarship second to none, as is 
proved by its supplying four Senior Classics to Cambridge 
within the four years of 1845 to 1848. 

The first Head Master appointed after the rebuilding of 



Digitized by 



Google 



i6 MEMORIALS OF [1844 

the school was Dr. Jeune, in later years Master of Pem- 
broke College, Oxford, and Bishop of Peterborough. His 
successor in 1838 was Prince Lee (afterwards Bishop of 
Manchester), and it was during the last years of his time 
that the fruit of their joint labours became visible. Though 
Edward literally entered the school during Prince Lee's 
time, the two seldom came into personal contadl, for the 
Head Master left Birmingham in 1847, a year before the 
boy passed into the Classical Department. Three distin- 
guished scholars also left and went up to Cambridge whilst 
Edward was still on the English side : Westcott, Lightfoot, 
and Benson. 

The house in Bennett's Hill being only a few hundred 
yards from the school, there was no exercise to be had in 
the daily walks to and fro, nor were there at that time any 
organized games arranged for the boys. A playing-field at 
some distance off was rented for the boarders, who occasion- 
ally invited other boys in the upper part of the school to 
join in their games. But Edward never did this, and as he 
cared little for walking for its own sake, his amusements in 
term time were found chiefly within doors. Open-air life 
at Harris Bridge was, however, enjoyed during the holidays, 
and intimacy continued with " the children next door." 

At home, although he could have no aftual assistance in 
his studies, the atmosphere of the house was helpful because 
his work was regarded seriously, and he had a room given 
to him for a study where he could make his own worlds 
without the irksome necessity of having to ^^ put his books 
away " at any moment. From his father, too, he never met 
with any of the rough handling or worldly maxims that 
some men think good for their boys. He says of this 
himself: 

" My father was a very poetical little fellow, tender- 
hearted and touching, quite unfit for the world into which 
he was pitched. We had very, very few books, but they 
were poets all of them, and I remember when I was about 
12 or so, he used to read me little poems he had made him- 
self, but as time went on he grew shy of reading them to me. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 12] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 17 

He used to read in a very touching voice, melodious and 
pathetic, believing everything he read. I have never heard 
such sympathetic reading. And he believed all good things 
that were ever said of anyone, and was altogether unworldly 
and pious. Like his countrymen he knew nothing at all of 
art, and couldn't understand what it was about or why it 
should be; but for nature he had a passion, and would sel- 
dom miss a sunrise if it could be seen, and would walk tired 
miles to see a cornfield." 

Another time, talking to a friend about his childhood, 
he said that his father did not wish him to read novels, and 
so he did not. One book, however, he possessed from the 
first, a treasure-house richer than anything withheld from 
him — Aesop's Fables — and, as we saw from one of his 
early letters, even the seaside and young companions and a 
donkey-ride did not make up to him for its absence when 
it had unfortunately been left at home. How he came to 
miss the Pilgrim's Progress I do not know, but so it was, 
until by the time he first saw it, the names in the story 
jarred upon him so much that he would not read it Such 
names as " Mr. Envy " and " Mr. Despondency " he said 
he could not tolerate. Nevertheless, in the mysterious way 
that works of genius exhale into the air, the poetry of this 
one reached him and made its due impression, for there is 
a design of his which represents the Shining Ones in the 
Land of Beulah. 

The first three or four years at school passed without his 
seeming to find any very special companions, but there was 
a boy amongst that lively community who gradually became 
his chosen chum, and finally a beloved friend. This was 
Cormell Price, afterwards Master of the Modern School at 
Haileybury, and for twenty years Head of the United Ser-. 
vices College, Westward Ho! For some time the two boys 
only knew each other by sight and name — and on one side, 
it may be added, by sound — for when Mr. Price was asked 
what was the first thing he could remember about Burne- 
Jones at school, he said at once, " His laugh — I knew him 
by that before I knew him any other way. I used to hear 

I. c 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 8 MEMORIALS OF [1847 

it and know that Jones was coining out of school, and there 
he would be, springing from the large front entrance, ready 
for any fun." As time went on they drew more closely 
together. The parents for their sake began an acquaintance 
which deepened into friendship, and CormelPs sisters re- 
ceived Edward amongst them as a brother. He never re- 
gretted having had no real brother. His little sister, dead 
before his bii^, was his regret. 

On his first entering school, in September, 1844, he was 
placed in the eighth class, the lowest but one. I am told 
that this was rather a low place for a boy of his age to take, 
and proves that his stock of school-learning must have 
been slender. By the end of the next half-year, however, 
he had had two removes, and the school lists afterwards tell 
a story of unchecked progress. By June, 1847, he was in 
the first class, where he remained for eighteen months, and 
during the last half-year was ^* Caput" of the English school. 

Abundant traces remain, in the shape of manuscripts of 
incredible carefulness, that durine this time he worked hard, 
not only by compulsion but of his own free will. His 
whole intelleftual powers converged upon the one outlet 
then provided for them: books, books, and always books 
were the gates of the new world into which he was enter- 
ing, and his imagination was largely engaged in realizing 
history and romance both in prose and verse. Many a 
fine holiday afternoon he and Cormell Price spent with 
favourite books in the old Birmingham cemetery in Ick- 
nield Street, which was the only public space within easy 
distance that was quiet and planted with trees. There 
was a part of it then, now levelled, which rose high above 
the rest of the ground, a steep slope of soft red sand- 
stone, with a winding path up it that led to a seat at 
the top; and there the two boys would read and talk and 
recite to each other by the hour. Macpherson's Ossian 
was brought by Price as a contribution to their common 
store of heroic literature. They used to repeat it aloud 
as they walked about, taking parts as far as possible. In 
a volume of ballads and translations which they had was 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 14] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 19 

Taylor's version of Burger's Lenore, and Edward^ when 
he first learned it^ was never weary of reciting the fine 
stanza: 

Tramp, tramp across the land they speed. 
Splashy splash across the sea; 
Hurra ! the dead can ride apace — 
Dost fear to ride with me? 

whilst Cormell would answer with another ballad begin- 
ning; 

Hark, the storm-fiend of the deep 
Wakes on old Heimdalla's steep. 
Yelling out his mountain glee 
Like a soul in agony ! 

which was his especial favourite. 

But also it was with Edward then, as it continued to be 
throughout his life, that between work and work he felt 
as actual a necessity for *^ fun *' as he did for food and air. 
I can find no other word to describe a charaderistic of his 
which will be recognized by every one who knew him. 
Gentle and lambent at times^ wild enough and noisy at 
others, whimsical in words, ominous in silence whilst some 
swiftly-conceived Puck-like scheme of mischief took shape, 
carrying all things before it, compelling the least likely 
to join in it, always ending in the laugh that we remember, 
the cloud-scattering laugh! And whilst I use the word 
" fim " instinftively, it pleases me to learn that it is thought 
to be of Celtic origin, akin to one that means ^^ delight, 
pleasure, desire, longing, a tune, a song,"" and so may take 
rank amongst the inunortal beguilers of care. Certainly 
the melancholy that he inherited from his Celtic fore- 
fathers would, without this good gift, have overweighted 
his nature. 

Praftical jokes too he loved, and boldly defended. The 
memory of some of those that he had played as a boy 
never palled upon him: he used to recall them and teU us 
about them till we almost felt we had been there. Here 
is one of them. Outside the windows of the top story of 
his father's house ran a parapet, with just space enough 



Digitized by 



Google 



20 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

behind it for him to entrench himself and look out, un- 
seen, upon the world below. The story of the officer 
whom he saw from the watch-tower was as if it had 
happened yesterday. It was a gallant officer who rode up 
up and drew rein at a house opposite, and lightly vaulting 
from his horse, left a beautiful new saddle exposed to the 
eyes of mischief. A cherished squirt hastily filled with 
water did the deed, and all its contents besprinkled the 
fair brown leather. This done, the officer appeared again 
and suffisred a sudden check on discovering it to be wet. 
He looked up to the sky and down on the pavement; he 
even held out his hand to feel if rain was still falling! 
No, the showers in Birmingham were very local, and he 
must make the best ot it and ride away. Another tale he 
never tired of telling was of a fatal day when, after some 
prank played in the street, a policeman's hand was sud- 
denly upon his shoulder and he felt that his last hour had 
come; how he slipped his shoulder from beneath that 
hand before it could close upon him and jfled for dear life 
with the policeman after him, and the chase so hot that 
he rushed breathless past his own father's door without 
daring to stop and enter it. 

There are letters written by him in the summers of 
1847 and 1848 from Harris Bridge, while on his usual 
visits there, but they are chiefly duty-letters with no indi- 
viduality. ** I do not know any news to tell you, my 
occupations are various, of which cricket and bathing are 
the favourites." Or, " You must please to excuse my very 
short lettersvas I am quite at a loss what to talk about.'* 
In July, 1848, however, he dates from " The land flowing 
with milk and cheese " (Harris Bridge was a cheese farm), 
and says, " Uncle has kindly promised to shew John and 
me how to survey a field when haymaking is over." There 
is mention of cricket again, too, of going to see a cricket 
match at Atherstone; but his interest in the game must 
have been chiefly refledted from that of others, for he had 
entirely lost it in a few years. 

In this letter are some slight drawings, noticeable only 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 15] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 21 

because one of them is of devils playing cricket, and he 
had a special reputation at school later on for drawing 
devils. These are little black silhouettes^ and I think no 
one could augur anything remarkable from them. An inner 
impulse made him try to represent things he thought of, 
but it was like a deaf man trying to talk : he had no standard 
by which to measure what he did. 




Whilst, however, thus stammering in a yet unlearnt lan- 
guage, he was rapidly developing in other direAions. It 
might seem incredible, but for the mysterious ways of the 
human soul, that the same boy should have written and 
illustrated the letter to which I refer, and have also at 
nearly the same time written two others that have been 
preserved. They were sent to his cousin, Maria Choyce, 
after his return to Birmingham, and are upon a subJeA 
which they had discussed while he was at Harris Bridge. 
Her account of their origin is, that a Nonconformist friend, 
a Calvinistic Methodist, who was " very fond of airing his 
own opinions,'* had been staying at the farm during Ed- 
ward's visit, and that the boy had been immensely interested 
in him. " We considered ourselves orthodox," she writes, 
**but found we were very ignorant He said he would 
look the subjed: up when he got home and write me full 
particulars." The way in which he kept this promise may 
be seen from two letters which are here given in full. They 
shew how early developed was his power of independent 
study and his instinA for finding out authorities and sources 
of information on a given subjeA, whilst the eagerness with 
which he turns to this first theological quest prepares us 
to understand how fervidly a few years later he entered 
into and shared all the throes of the English Church. The 
few mistakes in spelling are left, as having their own sig- 
nificance. 



Digitized by 



Google 



22 MEMORIALS OF [1848 



Letter I 

'* Urbs fumi. Nonae Septembres. 
" Anno Edwardi loni. 1 5. 

**DearY. 

"According to my promise I have written to you, 
but as it is now rather late, having only just finished my 
studies you will excuse my very short note. At some future 
time I hope to be able to give you a full description of 
what will now form my note. 

"I have not yet been able thoroughly to understand 
the tenets of the Calvanistic Methodists. I have made a 
few extrafts from some books on the different seAs of 
Christians. 

'^ First, the sedb who differ as to the obiefts of divine 
worship are:— Trinitarians, Athanasians, Sabellians, Arians 
and Socinians or Unitarians. 

'< Second, Those who differ as to the blessings derivable 
from the Gospel are :-^CalvanistS) Arminians and Anti- 
nomians. 

" ist. The Trinitarians profess the doftrine of Trinity 
in opposition to the Arians and Unitarians. 

" 2. The Athanasians are those Trinitarians who receive 
the creed called Athanasian. 

" 3. Sabellians taught that the Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost were one person with three names, that in the Old 
Testament the Deity delivered the law as Father, descended 
among men as Son, and descended upon the Apostles as 
Holy Ghost. 

**4. The Arians maintained that the Son (or Logos, 
sig. Word) is a creature of a nature inferior to the Father, 
created by him in the beginning out of nothing, and made 
his instrument in the creation of men and angels, and 
that [to] this person is delegated the administration of 
Providence. 

** 5. Unitarians or Socinians deny the divinity of Christ, 
whom they affirm to have been only man, who in con- 
formity with an ancient prophecy was chosen by God to 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 1 6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 23 

introduce a moral dodrine into the world and to reveal the 
doArine of a future state. 

** 6. The difference between the Socinians and Unitarians 
is this: The Unit* rejed the following articles in the 
Socinian creed: The Incarnation, the addressing of prayers 
and praises, to Christy the existence and agency of the 
Devil, the eternity of future punishment and some also 
rejed baptism. Thus these, viz. the Unit" and Trinitarians, 
can never be united. For if the Unit* are right, then the 
Trinitarians are gross idolaters, or if the Trinitarians are 
right the Unitarians are heretics. 

** II. Of those who differ as to the extent of the bless- 
ings of the Gospel. 

"Calvin was contemporary with Luther. His tenets 
were the same as those of Saint Austin and many others of 
the primitive church. Most of them were professed by 
Huss, Jerome of Prague, Bede, Wickliffe, &c. Calvinism 
was first introduced into Britain in the reign of Elizabeth 
by those divines who fled to the continent to avoid the 
persecutions of Mary. It was brought into disrepute by 
the political and fanatical conduft of the Puritans or rigid 
Calvinists, which ended in the overthrow of the Church 
and the death of Charles I. 

" The dodhine of Calvanism has been reduced to five 
points, viz. 

1. Particular Eledion. 

2. „ Redemption. 

3. Mord Inability. 

4. Irresistable Grace. 

5. Perseverance of the Saints. 

which will I hope occupy part of my next letter in about 
a fortnight or a month. 

" I have been searching a great deal for this scanty 
supply of information. I have no doubt that the greater 
part of this was previously known to you, but I have done 
my best. The subjeft before completed will occupy two 
or three letters more. 



Digitized by 



Google 



24 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

^^ With love to all in which Papa and Miss Sampson 
join^ 

" Believe me to be, 

** Your afFedionate friend, 

" E. C. B. Jones.'* 



Letter II 

« Bennett's Hill, 
** Oaober Sth, 

^Dear Maria, 

** I received your long letter this morning and 
have taken the first opportunity to answer it, and as my 
time is limited you will excuse my commencing the SubjeA 
without entering in the passing events. 

'^ I think I concluded my first with enumerating the five 
principal tenets of Calvin: — 

1. Particular Eleftion. 

2. „ Redemption. 

3. Moral Inability. 

4. Irresistable Grace. 

5. Perseverance of the Saints. 

They thus explain the first of these. That God thro* 
Christ has chosen a certain number to everlasting Glory 
before the foundation of the world, without any conditions 
whatever to be performed by the creature, and that the 
rest of mankind he was pleased to pass by, and to ordain 
to wrath and dishonour for their sin to satiate his rigid 
justice. 

'* A more blasphemous tenet one can hardly imagine — 
it seems to imply in the latter part that some are to be 
punished both for their own sins and for those eleded to 
glory. 

"And then as necessarily follows, they explain 'Parti- 
cular Redemption * as that our Lord died only for the 
Eleft. 

^* 3. By Moral Inability, that the guilt of Adam's sin is 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. i6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 25 

conveyed down to posterity, whereby we commit sin and are 
thence subjeft to death and to all temporal and eternal 
miseries. 

" I think there seems to be a contradiftion here, if all 
are subje<5l to eternal misery: in their ist Article it is said 
that the Eleft cannot go to Hell, whatever their sins may 
be, and therefore they cannot be subjeA to Eternal Wrath. 
And then returning to their old adage again, they go on 
to explain Irresistable Grace as ' All whom God has eleAed 
to glory he will at his appointed time call from a state of 
sin to a state of salvation.' 

** The Perseverance of the Saints means that the Saints 
or EleA (being called from a state of death and sin) can 
never fall into sin. 

^^ You must not take the little additions I have made at 
the end of each tenet in any other light than a passing re- 
mark of my own, but this grand feature in Galvanism 
seems totally repugnant to the alledged attributes of God. 

*' There are two seAs in Galvanism: those who maintain 
that God permitted but did not decree the fate of Adam, 
they are called Sublapsarians, and those who maintain that 
God decreed his fate, to display his mercy and justice. 
They are called Super-lapsarians. Galvanism is the estab- 
lished church of Scotland. In England it is taught in the 
Ghapels of Mr. Whitefield and Lady Huntingdon; those 
of the Independants, many of the Baptists and all Presby- 
terian chapels conneded with Scotland. 

" The difference between the Arminians and Galvanists 
is this. The Arminians maintain that God predetermined 
to bestow salvation on those only who he foresaw would 
persevere in the faith of Ghrist, and to injfliA punishment 
on those who he foresaw would continue in unbelief, so 
that according to Arminius, eleAion was conditional and 
reprobation the tfftA of foreseen wickedness. I like the 
idea of Arminius; it is decidedly superior I think to that 
of Calvin. So that his system maintains the dodrine of 
human depravity, salvation by Christ, justification by faith, 
and sanAification by the Holy Ghost. 



Digitized by 



Google 



26 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

^ I think I mentioned the Antinomians in my last. This 
was a heresy took rise from a perversion of some of Saint 
Paul's epistles — to the Romans, I think. They maintained 
that no part of the Old Testament was intended as a rule 
of faith or pradice; that good works do not promote 
salvation, or evil works hinder it. They were properly 
speaking the most rigid Calvinists. They also maintained 
that the Eleft could not possibly commit sin. One of their 
advocates. Crisp, thus writes: *An eled: person (mark 
every word) — an cleft person, in the height of iniquity, 
and in the excess of riot committing all sorts of abomina- 
tion that can be committed, God hath no more to lay to 
his charge than to the charge of a saint triumphant in his 
glory/ The cled of God are heirs of God and therefore 
cannot be dispossessed of their right of inheritance. 

** I think you asked me in your letter whether or no 
Trinitarians must be classed with Athanasians. Their tenets 
are the same — they are in fadl the same — but though all 
Athanasians are Trinitarians all Trinitarians are not Athan- 
asians, that is do not hold the creed of Athanasius. In all 
other idioms they are precisely the same. 

^' Having now finished my little series called a treatise 
on those who differ as to the subjeA of divine worship, I 
will commence my next with one entitled ' Distinftion as 
to Church Government.* 

'' I am now composing an Ancient History in my leisure 
hours, which are few, as I go to the School of Design 3 
evenings pr. wk. 

*^ Hoping you are all quite well, Papa and Miss Samp- 
son join me in love to you all, 

" Believe me to remain, 

" Your colleague in argument, 

" E. C. B. Jones. 

"10 o*clock Tuesday Evefi^ — got Milton to learn, must 
be up early, look over lessons, hurry over work, get to 
school, hard work, very ! " 

I shewed these letters to Canon Dixon, Edward's old 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. i6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 27 

school-fellow and friend, and with his permission will quote 
what he said after reading them: 

*^ I had no knowledge that he pursued such enquiries. 
They reveal a good deal to me. They shew the inherent seri- 
ousness of his nature. I also admire the distinAness of state- 
ment. For a boy of fifteen the range of information is great, 
especially as there were much fewer books of the sort that 
would give it direftly on such subjefts than there are now 
— and he was so busy with other things. The classification 
seems to me his own, and is deliciously original: certainly 
the passing remarks are; and they are keen in judgment, 
and very decided. The charm of the classification is that it 
is somewhat quaint. And the striking thing is that in his 
main divisions, * Objedts of Divine Worship ' and * Bless- 
ings derivable from the Gospel,* he should have touched 
the two first great successive tendencies of theology, the 
one being Christology (in the early Fathers), the other the 
nature of grace (in Augustine and after)." 

"I have been searching a great deal for this scanty 
supply of information," says Edward at the end of the first 
letter. This habit of " searching'* for information about 
anything that interested him was never abandoned. To the 
last he would steadily read the dullest books through in 
order to find in them the one faft he wanted, or to make 
sure that it was not there; he would buy a long series 
of a magazine for the sake of one special article in a few 
numbers, and nothing that bore even the name of the 
subjed he was studying was despised beforehand. He read 
slowly when a man : I do not know whether it was the 
same with him as a boy. 

The fragments that remain of the ** Ancient History" 
mentioned in the second letter are even more elaborate in 
research and classification than the ^' treatise" quoted above, 
besides being specimens of fine penmanship and illustrated 
with small coloured maps. By this time, the autumn of 
1848, he and Cormell Price had become inseparable com- 
panions, and the scheme was a joint one, intended as the 
beginning of a "Universal History for the use of students." 



Digitized by 



Google 



a8 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

The introduftion took them four or five months, and the 
composition of it was entirely Edward*s. After this had 
been completed, " We decided," Mr. Price says, " to pro- 
ceed separately in order to get through the work more 
speedily. Edward chose Egypt, and I was to try my hand 
on some third-rate kingdom. He took very few weeks to 
cover the interval from the Deluge to Cambyses, while I 
was struggling with a solitary page on Lydia or Bithynia." 
A sketch for the article on Egypt is extant, as well as 
the beginning of several elaborate Chronologies of History. 
In connexion with his "three evenings a week at the 
School of Design '* may be mentioned a neat little home- 
made note-book of this time, containing carefully copied 
out lessons and exercises upon the principles of light and 
shade, together with diagrams of primary, secondary and 
tertiary colours. " Notes &c. on Water Colouring ** it is 
called. This is another Instance of his voluntary work, 
and it is curious to compare with our knowledge of it the 
report of his drawing-master at school, who was also his 
master at the School of Design : 

** Drawing. AGght do better if he exhibited more in-^ 
dustry. ' Thomas Clark. Master/' 

He always had an ^' infinite capacity for taking pains,'* 
but experience taught him also the secret of rejedtion, and 
in some cases that of refusing to take any pains at all. 
There is no proof that his masters, generally speaking, 
noticed especial power in him; he himself, looking back 
on his boyhood, and speaking of it in the impersonal way 
which lapse of time makes possible, said once, " They never 
saw anything in me." Yet there is a pleasant record of a 
day when the Head Master came into the English School 
and held an examination in general knowledge, having the 
boys of three classes round him in a big circle in order to 
test them with unexpeAed questions ; and the answers to 
many of these no one could give except a boy in the lowest 
class who knew about the Fortunate Isles and the religions 
of the Lebanon, and the names of rivers and places which 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. i6] EDWARD BURN&JONES 29 

shewed that he realized where things had happened, until 
at last he was rewarded by words delightful for a boy to 
hear and never to be forgotten, *' How on earth did you 
come to know that? " 

It is certain that on his side he took most particular note 
of his masters, and from them all singled out one for last- 
ing gratitude. Often in talking of such matters he would 
say how much he owed to this gentleman, and in one of 
the letters of reminiscence with which in later years he 
sometimes gave the key of his past life to new friends he 
dwelt long on the feeling. 

" At Bideford," he writes, ^ died the only master I ever 
had who had any brains. When I was fourteen or fifteen 
he taught me to place my knowledge as it came, to have 
its proportion. He so kept me to the drawing of maps 
that the earth has ever since lain beneath me, as if I could 
see it all from a great height, and he so taught me history 
that I see it now as a panorama, from the first days. In 
his time I could draw the coasts of all the world in very 
fair proportion, without looking at a map, and I think I 
could do it now, though not so well as then perhaps; and 
always afterwards, if ever I heard or saw or read up a thing, 
I knew in what little pocket of the mind to put it Right 
up to the end of Oxford days no one could compare with 
him. His name was Abraham Thompson, a doAor of 
divinity he was; black hair grew on the back of his hands 
which I used to marvel at, he: was very handsome and dark. 
Funny little boys are — how they watch. He could be very 
angry and caned furiously ; at times I caught it. I think 
he grew poor in his last years and had the school at Bide- 
ford. I never heard about him at the end. I worshipped 
him when I was little, and we used to look at each other 
in class. I wonder what he thought when he looked; I 
used to think Abraham of Ur of the Chaldees was like 
him, and 1 am sure if he had bought a piece of land to 
bury his Sarah in, he would have been just as courteous as 
the first Abraham. I was always sorry that he was called 
Thompson, for I like lovely names, — should have liked 



Digitized by 



Google 



30 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

one myself and a handsome form — ^yes I should. So 
that was Thompson. I have thought how far more needful 
^th a lad is one year with a man of intelled than ten years 
of useless teaching. He taught us few fafts, but spent all 
the time drilling us that we might know what to do with 
them when they came. Abraham Kerr Thompson, that 
was his name, I wonder if any one remembers him. A 
strange thing he would do, unlike any other I ever heard 
of; he would call up the class, and open any book and 
make the head boy read out a chance sentence, and then 
he would set to work with every word — how it grew and 
came to mean this or that. With the flattest sentence in 
the world he would take us to ocean waters and the marshes 
of Babylon and hills of Caucasus and wilds of Tartary and 
the constellations and abysses of space. Yes, no one ever 
taught me anything but he only — ^I hope he made a good 
end. But how long ago it all was! It is forty-five years 
since I saw him." 

In this letter allowance must be made for the faA that 
the writer was focussing his memory upon one figure only; 
but though at another time he would have willingly re- 
called the names of other masters for whom he felt regard 
and respeA, I do not think he would ever have withdrawn 
a word of the afifeAionate tribute it contains. There were 
some masters, too, whom he held in deliberate contempt, 
both when a boy and in his mature age. Broadly speaking, 
I should say that he disliked school, and suffered a good 
deal during his time there, but probably not more than any 
sensitive boy might have done. There was no self-pity in 
his recolleAions of it so far as he shared them with us, but 
a kind of disgust at the little tyrannies exercised both by 
masters and boys of a low type, and some impatience with 
the masters as a rule. He used to mention one who would 
look over an exercise, mark a mistake in it, and then fall 
into a rage when he met it again a few lines further on, 
saying, " There is that mistake again ! Didn't I tell you? '* 
The School Lists of the names and positions of boys, 
which at first sight are scarcely more interesting than 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. i6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 31 

columns of figures, contain much history to any one who 
has a key to them, and in looking over the lists of these 
years I have found silent confirmation of a tale of injustice 
that I knew. One of the masters, under whom Exiward 
was for a short time, either really disliked him or the boy 
thought he did, and shewed great favour to another pupil, 
so that between the two he did not hold the balance even. 
After a certain examination, when marks were counted, the 
whole class was surprised to find that Edward came out 
below the favourite, and fifth instead of first, which they 
had expefted of him. Apparently some one else was sur- 
prised too, for an unprecedented thing happened, namely 
a visit from the Head Master himself, who held a specid 
examination amongst the same boys^ with the strange re- 
sult that though number five remained number five he took 
the two class prizes and another, and next term was pro- 
moted over the heads of the boys above him into a higher 
class. 

Chiefly by the advice of Mr. Thompson^ when the time 
came at which Edward would otherwise have left school, 
Mr. Jones decided that he should remain there. He was 
then fifteen years old and for six months had been head of 
the English Department. No doubt the master returned 
some of the sympathy with which his pupil regarded him, 
and the last good ofiice it was in his power to do for the 
boy was successfully rendered, as before he left Birming- 
ham at the end of 1848 it had been decided that Edward 
should pass on into the Classical School with a view to en- 
tering one of the Universities. 

It must have been in the summer of this same year, I 
think, that he first went to London, on the invitation of 
his aunt and godmother, who lived in Camberwell, but of 
whom, although she was his fiither's only sister, he had 
hitherto seen little. 

This lady had been twice re-married since she and her 
first husband, Mr. Burne, stood sponsors for Edward at his 
baptism, and her name now was Mrs. Catherwood. Within 
narrow bounds her story was an interesting one, and her 



Digitized by 



Google 



32 MEMORIALS OF [1848 

personality certainly appealed to Edward when he made her 
acquaintance afresh after her third marriage. 

She and her brother had been brought up separately, for 
when, after their father's early death, she was adopted by 
her great-uncle, Mr. Biven, she went to live with him in 
Lambeth, whilst the boy remained with his widowed mother. 
Somewhere in South London these two lived, I do not 
know where, and all I ever heard of Mrs. Mary Edith Jones 
was that she suffered much from rheumatic gout and that 
her son stayed with her till her death, which took place 
when he was twenty-six. Meanwhile little Keturah had 
a sombre time with her great-uncle, and at the age of 
thirteen found herself without even this semblance of a 
father. He left her a small fortune when she should come 
of age, but named no executor; so a friend and contem- 
porary of his, Mr. Burne, undertook the duty of administer- 
ing the estate combined with the guardianship of the child, 
** his dear little K. Jones/' as she was called by her uncle 
m his will. 

Mr. Burne was forty years older than his ward; he had 
lately lost a wife some fifteen years his own senior, and had 
no children. When Keturah was about nineteen, a suitor 
whose pretensions did not satisfy her guardian made love 
to her: she liked him, and this gave trouble; the time of 
her majority drew near; in short, the simplest plan seemed 
%o Mr. Burne that he should say "Marry me,'* and she 
obeyed him. She must have had a peculiar power of re- 
conciling herself to circumstances, tor she went through 
fifteen years of this marriage with perfed composure. She 
used to call him Papa, and sit by his knee on a footstool. 

But there were two young men, friends of Mr. Burne — 
Robert Young and James Catherwood by name — who both 
fell in love with her; yet so steadily, so tenderly and faith- 
fully that one loves the memory of them all. For tht old 
man trusted them both, and saw which of them she would 
have liked if she might, and was kind to him, and left her 
sole executrix of his will and free to do as she chose ; and 
when he had been dead a year she married Mr. Young. 



Digitized by 



Google 




1 1 



^.^ 



r 




"^ ^ 






Digitized by 



Google 



I 



Digitized by VjOOQIC 



JET. 1 6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 33 

Eleven years afterwards she was alone again in the world, 
and then Mr. Catherwood returned like the needle to the 
pole, and pleading his long devotion received the reward 
of fidelity in the shape of six years with his dear Keturah. 
These three marriages, in which no child had ever dis- 
puted her sovereignty, left her young for her age and 
with an innocent fascination still about her. The carvcr- 
and-gilder's shop had always a little troubled her, and she 
had allowed the bond between herself and her brother to 
slacken, though keeping up some correspondence with him 
and remembering the birthdays of her godson; but when 
she saw Edward as a youth of fifteen she felt the tie of re- 
lationship and claimed him as belonging to her, while he in 
return loved his little aunt with her dark, glancing eyes. 

Compared with Bennett's Hill the modest home in 
Camberwell was brilliant, and the new uncle that Edward 
found there soon became a friend. Mr. Catherwood was 
a clever man himself and a brother of Frederick Cather- 
wood, the traveller and explorer in Central America. 

Half a page of a letter written home during this visit 
still exists: 

*'. . . and Uncle have been very kind to me and 
taken me to St. Pavil's and a great many more places. To- 
day Uncle took me over the Bank of England and gave 
into my hands banknotes to the amount of one million 
pounds, which I threw . . ." and on the other side of the 
fragment "... Whitehall, opposite to which palace 
Charles I was beheaded, and the Economic Museum of 
Minerals, &c. Aunt will have some company on Tuesday, 
so I shall be her running footman." 

All truly charadteristic, the busy going about to see and 
learn what he could, and the vision of the little aunt 
claiming the services of her big schoolboy nephew, upon 
whom she could already count for willing attention and 
courtesy. 

Amongst the pleasures provided for him by his uncle 
should be named a first introduftion to a London theatre. 
It was the Lyceum, then under the management of Charles 

I. D 



Digitized by 



Google 



34 MEMORIALS OF BURNE- JONES [1848 

Matthews. Speaking of this in later life, Edward said: ^* I 
went to the pit, and stood up and saw a play called the 
Golden Branch. And there was a beautiful fairy came 
down the golden branch and held out something, and I 
thought it was too -beautiful ever to be, and I wondered, if I 
waited till I was grown up, whether she would be too old 
for me to marry her, which I should think would be 
more than probable, as she was very likely over forty and 
I wasn't above fourteen." 

With this year, however, I feel that his boyhood came 
to an end, and now we must enter with him upon the 
period of youth which leads on to manhood. 



Digitized by 



Google 



I 



CHAPTER III 

DOMUS SAPIENTIAE 
1849-1851 

CANON DIXON says: *'I first saw E. B.-J. when 
he came into the Classical from the Commercial 
School. He would then be about fifteen. He was 
a tall, strong boy, and I remember noticing his appearance 
as he sat proud and ereft at his desk among the somewhat 
younger boys of that class. I soon made him out and 
found him a great joker among them, with a peculiar catch 
of a laugh, which had in it disdain tempered with good 
nature and amusement. I noticed that at once: how often 
was I to hear it afterwards! " 

It was in consequence of his want of Greek that Edward 
was placed at first among his juniors, where the general 
work of the class was below his capacity. This, however, 
proved no disadvantage, as it gave him leisure during pre- 
paration time, which he devoted to reading history and to 
** the placing of his knowledge." The necessary Greek 
came easiily enough to a boy who had already acquired a 
fair amount of l^tin and knew the routine of learning a 
language, so that his steady passage up the school was not 
interrupted. 

With regard to the instruftion in drawing which he re- 
ceived at school, I am bound to say that he never counted 
it as of any use to him. The master was not incompetent^ 
but, according to the memory of old pupils, was so en* 
grossed with work of his own that he seemed to forget the 
boys, and seldom descended more than once an hour from 
his high dais to give any attention to what they had 
done. A natural consequence of this was that much reading 



Digitized by 



Google 



36 MEMORIALS OF [1849 

'^ under the desk" went on, and it became a regular custom 
to take a book downstairs to the room where the drawing- 
class was held. During his whole school-course, Edward 
took only one prize for drawing. 

It may have been the influence of Mr. Thompson, in 
some wide-circling lesson such as Edward describes, that 
first aroused his enthusiasm for Babylon, Nineveh, Persia 
and Egypt ; cert^ly he felt it long before he was touched 
by either Greece or Rome. Quite possibly in the hands 
of less gifted teachers Greece and Rome were spoiled for 
him at school, as they have been for many a boy; at all 
events it was not until some time afterwards that he exca- 
vated for himself that more modern world. 

A contemporary and fellow-townsman has a sad enough 
memory of the appearance of Birmingham streets at this 
time, when he writes that *' the whole town reeked with 
oil and smoke and sweat and drunkenness," but I fear it 
was true, little as the generation that knows the city now 
may be inclined to believe it. In the room at his father's 
house that was given up to him as a study, however, Edward 
and Cormell Price spent many happy hours in a world of 
their own creation. This room was at the top of the house 
and dull enough in itself, very cold also in winter, but 
boys adapt themselves Co circumstances, and they rarely 
descended into the sitting-room, or *' parlour," for greater 
warmth and light 

Mr. Price says: " I remember what seemed to me well- 
stocked book-shelves, and our pride in rising to take down 
particular volumes for reference. " Indeed, during his school 
life, Edward gathered together a considerable library; some 
of these books were girts, but more were bought with 
pocket-money scrupulously saved up for the purpose. 

The diflFerence of rather more than two years in the age 
of these boys, who spent their time together with so much 
satisfaftion, might make one think that at this stage of their 
lives intimate companionship would have been impossible; 
yet it was not so, and fifteen and thirteen found common 
ground both in work and amusement. But Cormell Price 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 1 6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 37 

was an unusual boy of thirteen, and Edward all through 
his life made little account of dates or ages: a friend was 
a friend, whether in the nursery or on crutches. The voice 
of the younger boy, however, may be distinftly recognized 
in the following account, given to a sister, of some of the 
simple treasures which formed a " Museum " that the two 
friends had made. 

" We have quite a Museum at his house, containing a 
choice coUe&ion of Fossils, Coins, Minerals, Shells, and 
other curiosities. We have 3 very valuable Fossils. Our 
shells also are good and Papa has promised those two large 
conchs of his, which you perhaps can remember. Our coins 
are fair — we have 2 copper ones of William and Mary, 3 
or four of Charles II &c &c &c. Amongst the curiosities 
and relics are a sheet of paper made from the fibres of 
wood, a stone which was worn round the neck of one of 
the sailors at the memorable battle of Trafalgar, and a 
piece of the stone which was erected on Bosworth Field 
on the spot where Richard the 3rd was slain. The minerals 
are very numerous. In fine it is a capital concern and is 
increasing every week, although we are the only two 
members." 

The friendships that Edward made in his new surround- 
ings must be recorded, but always with a note that the 
feeling between him and his first friend remained unaltered. 

Of Richard Watson Dixon we know. Then there was 
Wilfred Heeley, who was rather older than either Dixon 
or Edward, and who, though he went to Cambridge, always 
kept in touch with the men who became the *' Oxford Set." 
And there was William Fulford, senior to any of them, 
who during school days was chiefly Heeley's friend. A 
year and a half later came Macdonald, a contemporary of 
Price's: these two went up to Oxford last of all, in 1854 
Faulkner, an important member of the Set, was unknown 
to the others until they met him at the University. He 
was not a King Edward's School boy, but had been edu- 
cated at the Proprietary School, Birmingham. 

Beside those mentioned there were others whom Edward 



Digitized by 



Google 



38 MEMORIALS OF [1849 

remembered through life, for reasons that always influenced 
him in friendship. Of one, whom he had scarcely seen 
since the Birmingham days, he said, so lately as 1897, 
" He was a very dear schoolfellow. He was not clever. 
Yet in the midst of a great deal that was going on in the 
school, in the midst of all sorts of ability and ambition, 
he blotted out the memory of many a clever boy by his 
amiability and sweetness of disposition/' 

Edward was now always drawing in spare time at school, 
for his own amusement and the entertainment of those 
about him. *^ Figure after figure, group after group would 
cover a sheet of foolscap almost as quickly as one could 
have written," says a schoolfellow, " always without falter- 
ing or pausing, and with a look as if he saw them before 
him. I have seen him look straight before him into space, 
as if his copy were there. All the time he would be joyfully 
talking, and saying what he was doing or going to do." 

This habit continued as long as he lived; he must have 
covered reams of paper with drawings that came as easily 
to him as his breath. At every friend's house there are 
some of them. They filled up moments of waiting, moments 
of silence, or uncomfortable moments, bringing every one 
together again in wonder at the swiftness of their creation, 
and laughter at their endless fim. Many of his school 
scribbles were still of ^* Devils," which found great accept- 
ance among his companions. 

Though the Church came gradually to be considered 
both by himself and others as his natural destination, yet, 
since nothing escaped his sense of humour, some of his 
caricatures were of clergymen. Others of the clerical figures 
that he drew were serious, and one often repeated was of a 
young priest standing robed before an altar. A version of 
this was shewn to Dixon, with the comment: '^That is 
what I hope to be one day." 

It is impossible to decide what first drew him towards 
the High Church movement. Probably he was both 
drawn and driven, for the barren ugliness of the Evan- 
gelical churches and their services at that time cannot 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. i6] EDWARD BURNEJONES 39 

be denied. Mr. Jones used to have a pew in St. Mary's 
Church, where the incumbent, the Rev. J. Casebow Barrett, 
a leading clergyman of the Evangelical party in the town, 
made so great an impression upon Edward — not perhaps 
the one intended, but indelible — that all Edward's friends 
had to make his acquaintance. Mr. Barrett has been de- 
scribed by a member of his congregation as a man of some 
eloquence with a theatrical delivery, and gwtn to rhapso- 
dizing upon the pleasures of heaven and the pains of hell; 
but Edward dwelt especially upon the pomposity of his 
style. 

And while his growing thoughtfulness made these things 
repellent to him, he was also brought into contaft for the 
first time with an ancient church and its beautiful services. 
This was at Hereford, where the Cathedral was still un« 
spoilt by restoration. A brother of Mrs. Caswell's lived 
there, a Mr. Spozzi, who, together with his wife, shewed 
Edward great kindness and afFeftion. Until far on in the 
Oxford days he used to go and stay with them in vacations, 
and was probably happier in his surroundings there than 
anywhere else. 

The house where they lived was near the Cathedral in 
whose services he delighted; he loved his clever, warm- 
hearted and cheerful hosts, and amongst their friends found 
people to like and to admire. One of these was the Rev. 
John Goss, then Just ordained, afterwards Custos of the 
Vicars Choral and Minor Canon of Hereford. He had a 
fine tenor voice, and an attractive personality that made 
him socially very popular, though at that time he must 
have been almost alone in the High Church views which 
he held. These views, however, attrafted Edward, and 
Mr. Goss returned his regard. He was an Oxford man 
who had been there during the soul-searching time of 
Newman's secession from the Anglican Church, and it was 
to him, I believe, that Edward owed his introduftion to 
Newman's writings. 

To Mr. Goss, also, was due the choice of the college to 
which Edward afterwards went, for he was an Exeter man 



Digitized by 



Google 



40 MEMORIALS OF [1849 

himself, and advised the boy to put his name down on its 
books. 

Mr. Townsend Smith, another friend of the Spozzis^ 
was already well known as Cathedral organist and conduftor 
of the " Three Choirs/' into whose Triennial Festivals at 
Hereford he had put fresh life: Mr. and Mrs. Spozzi were 
musical themselves, she singing and he playing the violon- 
cello, and good music was often to be heard at their 
house. That they were wide-minded people is proved by 
their friendly circle including the parish priest of the Here- 
ford Catholic church, who was fond of singing, and often 
dined with them. Mr. Spozzi possessed some sketches by 
David Cox given to him by the artist, and rather prided 
himself upon what he used to say was a Ronmey— the 
subjeA ** Lear and Cordelia." 

The contrast of a return from the Cathedral city to the 
Birmingham of those days must have been great, and per- 
haps one result of this was that, when he was about sixteen^ 
Edward and his father left St. Mary's and the ministry of 
Mr. Barrett for St. Paul's Church, where the service and 
dodrine were " high." Incidentally, this uprooting of the 
** family pew" and its transference elsewhere shews how 
great his influence with his father must have been. 

The importance of ecclesiastical matters henceforth grew 
rapidly in his mind, and he began to make friends in 
Birmingham who held the same views as himself. Amongst 
them were a Mrs. Compton and her daughters, who at- 
tended St Paul's Church, and whose sympathy with him 
was helpful and pleasant Probably they strengthened his 
first inclination towards taking orders, as I have heard that 
Mrs. Compton was eager in her persuasions with Mr. 
Jones that he should send his son to the University. 

In spite of his adion with regard to the church that he 
regularly attended in Birmingham, Edward when in Lon- 
don always accompanied his aunt to the Evangelical services 
at Beresford Chapel, Walworth Road, where, strangely 
enough, his yet unknown hero, Ruskin, had been taken by 
his father and mother before Edward was bom. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 1 6] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 41 

When, in 1885, Edward saw this fad mentioned in the 
fourth number of Praeterita, he hastened to claim the 
ghostly relationship with his friend: 

" Do you know I wrote you a letter weeks ago fully 
illustrated with finely finished pidures, and when it was 

done it looked so 
— t^^^N- ugly that I ripped 
Jt^Jr_ it into bits — it was 
my remembrance 
of Beresford 
Chapel where I too 
made a semblance 
of worship. And 
I remembered the 
fat cushions into 
which the preacher 
pressed his face 
when he prayed, 
and wanted to 
make you laugh 
with my drawing, 
andlo! it came out 
so like that my 
spirits fell and 
such gloomy dark- 
ness set in that I 
couldn't send it. 

"There were 
two red fat 
cushions on a piece 
of upholstery 
called a Commu- 
nion table, and a big fat cushion for the preacher, and a 
less fat one for the curate, and a hard, dry, mean one for 
the clerk. 

" And I think there was an oil painting of the ten com- 
mandments. And when I read, in that most heavenly book 
callod Praeterita, that you had prayed in that dreary 




Digitized by 



Google 



42 MEMORIALS OF [1850 

Bethel, I liked the ways of Providence very much. Your 
parson had been translated by the time I went. And I sat 
under another who was highly connefted, but greatly 
needed translating." 

And Mr. Ruskin wrote in answer, "How ineffably 
wonderful that you and I both sate — ^and — behaved properly 
in Beresford Chapel! " 

It is certain that this year of 1 849 was one of ardent 
intelledual aiStivity and exaltation of feeling. Mr. Price 
recalls it as the time in which he saw most of his friend; 
for though they were separated in school by Edward's 
removal into the Classical Department, they met daily at 
Bennett's Hill and did all their work there together. 
Edward's class preparation being only Greek, his voluntary 
study outside the regular school routine went on steadily. 
His letters to Miss Choyce which have been quoted give 
evidence of wide and careful research in a direftion towards 
which even his intimate chum did not realize that his 
mind was turned so strongly. The ** Ancient History " was 
continued, and at the same time he was writing ^'An 
Epitome of Ancient Chronology, from the creation of the 
world to the birth of our Lord." On the first page of this 
manuscript is written, in a very small, fine hand, ^^ Diligentia 
vincit omnia. E. J." There remains also part of an elabor- 
ate " Table of the Kings of Israel and Judah " and of a 
" Glossary of the British Poets, explaining the antiquated 
and abbreviated expressions contained in them." By the 
end of the year Cormell, who had meanwhile stood at the 
head of the Commercial School, joined Edward in the 
Classical Department. 

The following note, written at the beginning of 1850, 
to one of the young friends next door, who was now married 
and living in London, shews through its fantastic signa- 
ture the continued bent of his thoughts. The objeA of 
the note was to announce the safe return to Birmingham 
of an aunt who had been visiting the bride in London, but 
who scrupled to write the message with her own hand be- 
cause it was after sunset on Friday and the Jewish Sabbath 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 17] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



43 



had begun. The illustration shews Edward, preceded by 
his faithful cat, " Tom," running in to join the family wel- 
come to Miss Lyon. 

** 1 1 Bennetts Hill, 

"Jany 25. 

*^ Dear Mrs. Beddington, 

'^ Being authorized by Miss Lyon I take the 
liberty of writing to you to inform you of her arrival, and 
cordial reception here. 




" Your Mama was here a few evenings since, and we 
thought her in much better spirits than usual — all I be- 
lieve are also enjoying good health. 

" Having only just returned ^and that late) from busi- 
ness, that is to say from the public and prominent situa- 
tion I hold in state affairs, you will excuse the shortness of 
my note, &c. 

** The love and respecfts of the household divided accord- 
ing to your own judgment. 

*' With all due respeft I presume to subscribe myself 
" Your most attached servant, 
" Edw. C B. Jones 
« Archp of Canterbury (eled)." 

The drawing in this letter is the first we have in which 
a sense of composition is visible. Hitherto his illustrations 



Digitized by 



Google 



44 MEMORIALS OF [1850 

had been merely figures brought together without any 
appearance of design in their relation, but here the design 
is ingenious and tells its tale. It must be remembered that 
he had as yet seen no beautiful drawing, and though the 
grotesque vigour of Cruikshank had evidently affeded 
him, that was not the language for which he was seeking. 

" Tom," the cat, an important member of the family at 
Bennett's Hill, should perhaps have been mentioned before 
now. He was a fine tabby, of a type that set the standard 
in his master's mind for all other cats, though sometimes 
shaken for a moment by the charms of Persians. At first 
he was a playfellow only, but when Edward went to school 
and began having lessons to do in the evenings, Tom passed 
into the higher grade of companionship, and gave up walls 
and housetops for the pleasure of lying quietly curled up 
near him and his books. He lived for many years, and in- 
deed was older than the bride the day his master married. 

Edward's words about Mrs. Beddington's mother — that 
she had seemed " in much better spirits than usual " — are 
charafteristic, for his anxiety about a friend's health always 
included mind as well as body, and his sensitiveness to 
tones of voice as an index to it was great. *^ That girl is 
in trouble," he once said of a bright young friend who to 
most others seemed just as usual; '' there is a little forlorn 
tone in her voice that IVe learned to recoenize in women 

when they arc unhappy, ever since she came back from . 

I am sure something has happened.'* 

Canon Dixon's recoUeftion confirms this where he says : 
^ One of his usual salutations to his friends at school was, 
* Arc you happy.? ' which was peculiar for a boy. He once 
varied it by adding, *or miserable.?'" 

In the summer of 18 50, he either went for the first time 
to the British Museum or else it was the first time that he 
realized its value. He was ag^n staying in Camberwell, 
with the Catherwoods, but now going about London with- 
out the necessity for a guide. He wrote to his father of 
what he saw, and the letter is dated ^* Camberwell, July 34, 
1850." There is also a note dated June 44: perhaps he 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 17] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 45 

had been begged to date his letters and so did it without 
stint. 

In any case^ this of July 34th says: 

" My dear Fathbr, 

** With very great pleasure we received your let- 
ters this morning. I was quite glad to find you writing 
in such good spirits — it gives me double pleasure. 

" To-day I went over the British Museum and spent a 
considerable time in the Nimroud or Assyrian room; they 
are preparing a splendid apartment for the reception of 
them. I was quite surprised at the clearness and beauty of 
the Sculpture. The bas-reliefs seem to be as perfed as 
when they emerged from the workman's shop, tho' not 
quite so clean. They seem to have had a very good idea 
of anatomy, in which they far outstrip the Egyptians; the 
feet and hands seem to have been their chief study and 
the muscles of the arms and legs are finely portrayed. A 
new light upon Ancient History will soon be elicited when 
the inscriptions with which all the monuments abound, can 
be read. One black granite monument contains a 10 
lines of cuneiform writing. In most of the bas-reliefs the 
king forms the most prominent objedb. He is in some 
hunting the wild bull, in others pursuing his enemies, to 
whom he bears the most gigantic proportions, always ac- 
companied by the 'feronher' or sacred bird, a kind of 
talisman. 

** The sieges arc very amusing. A large battering-ram 
holding two warriors, one of which is discharging arrows 
and another shielding both, is the most prominent objeft. 
Several persons are swimming upon inflated skins. The 
besieged are hurling down large stones. The women are 
tearing their hair, a priest on the walls is oflFering incense. 
As the sea or some large expanse of water is to be seen in 
the distance it seems probable that the sculpture com- 
memorates the conquest of some maritime city, most prob- 
ably on the coast of Phoenicia, perhaps Tyre or Sidon, 
which latter town if I remember rightly was captured by 



Digitized by 



Google 



46 



MEMORIALS OF 



[1850 



Assarhaddon, Sennacherib's third son and successor. As far 
as I can recolleA it was something like this 




** The Ethnographical rooms delighted me, the Central 
Saloon pleased me. The Zoological gallery gratified me, 
the Mammalia saloon delighted me, the Lycian, Nimroud, 
Phigalian, Elgin, Egyptian, Etruscan, and above all the 
Fossil rooms put me into ecstasies. I spent a considerable 

time in the Egyptian Rooms, 
which in point of Antiquity 
perhaps excel even the Assyrian. 
The Egyptians seem to have 
delighted in the colossal-enor- 
mous. Fists nearly 4 feet high 
must once have belonged to 
gigantic figures, whereas the Assyrian antiquities for the 
most part are diminutive, some scarce exceeding 4 feet 
altogether and the greatest only 7 or 8. The Egyptian 
antiquities again are chiefly sculpture either in granite or 
other hard marble, but the Assyrians excelled chiefly in 
bas-reliefs^ there having been but one piece of sculpture 




Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 17] EDWARD BURNE- JONES 47 

as yet discovered, viz., one from Kalah Sherquat, and this 
has lost its head and is much mutilated. The Elgin marbles 
taken or imitated from the Parthenon are very interesting. 
The Etruscan Room chiefly abounds in vases which are 
in extraordinary preservation. The Lycian room has just 
been added and is on a very gigantic scale. Price should 
have been with me to have seen the fossils — Marsilaceae, 
Equisetaceae, Lycopodaceae, Asphodeleae, Euphorbiacae, 
Ichthiosauri, Plesiosauri, &c. &c. &c. &c., would have 
afforded him immense gratification. But I am confining 
myself to one sight whereas I see a dozen per diem, but 
I know antiquities are more pleasing to you than the rela- 
tion of JuUien's music or the fireworks at the Surrey Zoo- 
logical Gardens. Oh! I've been to the Regent's Zoological 
Society and seen the Hipp-hip-hip-(hurrah) opotamus, — a 
great, fat, huge, unwieldy, ugly, grovelling pig, with eyes 
duller than lead, a huge mouth, enormous jaws, monstrous 
head, puny legs, preposterous proportions. The stuffed 
one in the British Museum is 5 times the size and no 
crushing to see it. 

" Oh dear, I've been everywhere. — Going to Gravesend 
on the water to-morrow, wish you were as jolly, never 
mind it's your turn next. Hope Essey will write — she shall 
have the next letter, but now I must conclude. You 
never can read this, but it must be finished. Give my 
love to everybody indiscriminately. I never know how to 
conclude, so excuse all that, and put loves and respeAs and 
compliments and regards in their right order, — and believe 
me 

" Your afFeA son 

Edw. C. B. Jones." 



C( 



For the rest of his life the British Museum was a place 
that he turned to with devotion. After his death, a note 
of instructions to his son was found, direfting that his most 
intimate book of designs should be given to the place where 
we may believe he first tasted the food for which his soul 
hungered. 



Digitized by 



Google 



48 MEMORIALS OF [1850 

It may seem strange that his enthusiasm had not been 
aroused by the pidures in the National Gallery, but the 
very name of painting meant dreariness to him in his boy- 
hood, associated as it was with the dark little pidbures which 
Mr. Caswell used to bring home from sales, or with those 
that might happen to be sent to his father for framing in a 
way that would make them worthy to form part of the fur- 
niture of somebody's dining-room. "I quite hated paint- 
ing when I was little," he once said; and again, "Until I 
saw Rossetti's work and Fra Angelico's, I never supposed 
that I liked painting. I hated the kind of stufF that was 
going on then." Words which might be used to explain 
die whole Pre-Raphaelite revolution, and that make it clear 
why, from the first moment he saw it, he understood the 
work of the Brotherhood. 

His own drawing, though it had always been a necessity 
to him as a means of expression, still remained conventional 
in style, and with no look of enjoyment in its execution. 
The maps that he drew and coloured were different; he 
had a reputation for them at school, and freedom and en- 
joyment were visible in every part of them. 

Again we have the help of Canon Dixon in recalling a 
time when he and Edward were constantly meeting. 

** When we came together in the Second Class,*' he says, 
** I began to know E. B.-J. more intimately. The Second 
Class and the First were the two that were immediately 
under the Head Master himself. Much of their work was 
in common — that is, there were certain books which both 
classes took together^ and on these occasions (perhaps three 
mornings out of the six) we used to hear the beautifully 
modulated voice of Dr. Gifibrd call * First and Second 
Classes ' : whereupon we all sprang up and crowded round 
the desk of Sapientia." This was a kind of canopied 
throne at one end of the room where the Head Master sat. 
It was of dark oak, and above it was the word Sapientia, 
carved in old English letters. In front of it a tall standing- 
desk, with upper and lower ledges for books and ink, 
formed three sides of a long square, every part of which 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 1 8] EDWARD BURNE.JONES 



49 



was fully exposed to the eye of the master, and round this 
desk both classes stood during a lesson, in two rows, the 
boys of the Second Class diving between the elbows of those 
of the First in order to dip their pens into the inkstands 
that were sunk in the lower ledge. How many distinguished 
men imagination brings again as boys to take their places 
at that awful desk, 
and wonders whether 
any sign of the future 
rested on their young 
heads. 

*'The First and 
Second Classes," 
Canon Dixon goes 
on, *^ were under Dr. 
Gifford himself: it 
was far easier to go 
through the whole 
school without stop 
or pause than to go 
from the Second 
Class into the First. 
One reason for this 
was that there was 
a great difference in 
scholarship between 
the Second and the 
First, though some 
of the work was the 
We 




same. 



were a 



long time together in the Second Class." 

The following is in answer to a question that I asked: 
*' He did not leave on me the impression that he was 
happy in his youth. At school he was high-spirited, bois- 
terous or humorous: but with melancholy beneath. His 
temper was hot and rather fierce. He would give place to 
none. But with his friends he was extremely gentle. He 
was a hard worker and won many prizes. I remember a 

I. E 



Digitized by 



Google 



50 MEMORIALS OF [1851 

story that he once^ in the Commercial School^ carried off 
an armful of prizes home, rolled them in the door-mat, and 
then fainted upon them," 

His capacity for exhaustion was great; every muscle 
would relax and his pulse would fail, but agsun he re- 
sponded so quickly to restoratives that we always likened 
his constitution to that of an infant, who is at death's door 
one day and in full adbivity the next. The intimate union 
of body and spirit was in him so marked, that pleasurable 
excitement when he was ill would produce the same efFeft 
upon him as stimulants and tonics. The '* hot and rather 
fierce temper'* of which Canon Dixon speaks was a sub- 
terranean fire, and as far removed from irritability as the 
North is from the South. It was not lightly roused either, 
and seldom at a first provocation. One outburst in the 
quiet of the school library is remembered which astonished 
those around and drove the objed of it to a distance in 
surprise and alarm: the ofFence given, however, was un- 
known to the bystanders. "But playing with E. B.-J., if 
I may say so," adds his friend, •* was rather like playing 
with edged tools. He could give terrible looks of anger." 
The note ends with these words: ** His afiedion was strong 
when he bestowed it. He was a very afFeftionate nature, 
loving and seeking love." 

Dixon knew something of Edward also in his own home^ 
where, he says, *^ I remember envying his position, as he 
was evidently lord, and did as he liked, asking whom he 
would to visit him: which was out of the question with 
me " (as one of a large family V " He always used to have 
money and nice things about him, to schoolboy extent." 

Speaking of tlie work done in the Second Class, Canon 
Dixon says further: **My incapacity for mathematics 
troubled me, and would have stood in my way against being 
admitted into the First Class, but for the leniency of Mr. 
Yates, the mathematical master. I think that E. B.-J. had 
the same incapacity, or something like (we could both do 
Euclid, but little besides) : at any rate, he had a distaste. 
Now we both fell into the pradlice (unknown to each at 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 1 8] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 51 

first) of absenting ourselves from school on Monday morn- 
ings. By this we avoided giving in a copy of verses and 
taking out another, two hours of Demosthenes along with 
the First Class, and two hours of mathematics at the 

* mathematical desk ' of Mr. Yates. In two or three weeks 
this became notorious, and we dropped it. But in a little 
time we made a compaft to be absent alternately on those 
mornings. This went on till it in turn became notorious: 
so notorious that one morning Mr. Yates said, sans lever la 
tiie^ *Is Dixon here?' *No, sir/ from a dozen voices. 

* Then, Jones, come up, and let me see your work.* 
Thenceforth we were as other boys.'* The wise *' leniency " 
of the mathematical master to the two boys was justified, 
as we know, and his pleasant relations with them, in spite 
of his knowledge that they would do him as their tutor but 
little credit, are proved by the tone of Canon Dixon's re- 
miniscence, and by the faft that Mr. Yates long preserved, 
and shewed to his friends, an elaborately drawn and painted 
map which Edward had made and given to him. 

It was in the second *'half " of 185 1 that Edward fol- 
lowed Dixon, who had been promoted earlier in the year, 
into the First Class. Heeley had just left with an exhibi- 
tion to Trinity College, Cambridge. At no time during their 
school life was there much personal intercourse between 
him and Edward, but quite enough sympathy and liking 
to prepare them for a friendly meeting in the future. Ful- 
ford, too, whom Edward scarcely knew at all, had gone up 
to Oxford with an exhibition a term earlier, and no one 
could have foreseen how closely these men would draw to- 
gether within the next few years. 

In both the two upper classes there was a difi^erent and 
a wider atmosphere than that which surrounded the lower 
ones: the boys were beginning to look out upon real life, 
religion and politics were openly discussed, and individu- 
ality came into play. Looking back upon this period of 
Edward's life, it seems as if the thing which had become of 
surpassing interest to him was religion as associated with 
the history of the Christian Church and with its aftual 



Digitized by 



Google 



52 MEMORIALS OF [1851 

position in modern times. His imagination had been re- 
pelled by almost every visible thing around him, his power 
of veneration was enormous, and in the Church of which 
he was a member a movement was going on, having for its 
objedt the restoration of beautiful ceremonial and dignity 
ofofHce. This movement naturally commanded his deepest 
sympathy, and the collision which it led to between ecclesi- 
astical and state authority excited him so much that he 
threw himself eagerly into the strife. 

Amongst the upper boys of the school great interest was 
felt in following the struggle as typified by the well-known 
** Gorham Controversy," which incidentally aroused a fury 
of debate through the whole country. Many of the elder 
boys felt seriously about the question, and ranging them- 
selves on one side or the other — by far the greater number 
being with the Evangelicals — argued the subjeft with con- 
viftion and vehemence. Edward's strengthening religious 
fervour, joined perhaps to his inborn love for what seemed 
a losing cause, brought him forward as the leader of the 
minority. At the time of which we are speaking. Canon 
Dixon must have been on the opposite side, as he was then 
a Methodist. Hecley and Macdonald were also of Meth- 
odist families and attended the chapels of the sedl. But 
Dixon and Edward both used to go together to Dr. GifFord*s 
Sunday afternoon Greek Testament classes, where attend- 
ance was voluntary, and often, when the class was over, they 
prolonged the time together by walking up and down New 
Street, talking and arguing as they went. Edward seems 
to have been particularly anxious to win over his friend to 
his own point of view, as some of those who thought with 
him were boys with whom he had no other link, and whom 
he was reluftantly obliged to consider, as he said, " rather 
foolish." 

There is a story of his asking Dixon to go with him to 
the theatre one evening, unconscious or thoughtless of the 
fadt that Methodists did not go there. The engagement 
was made, and Dixon's mother, who was a woman of char- 
after and determination, and, I believe, considerable learn- 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 1 8] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 53 

ing, regarded it as an evil thing. She was unhappy about 
it, and carried her anxiety for her son so far as to urge that 
if he went she should go also. ** My dear mother wished 
to go with me, but did not persist," Canon Dixon gently 
writes. From another source I learnt that she walked with 
her boy to the place of meeting, in order to see what the 
tempter was like, and after looking at him left the two 
together. 

The regular yearly stay at Harris Bridge ceased when 
his Aunt and Uncle Catherwood began to claim Edward in 
London for the summer holidays. But before this change 
came about he had one day, while staying at the farm, gone 
over to sec the Cistercian Monastery in Chamwood Forest, 
some eight miles away, and nothing can exaggerate the 
impression that the visit made upon his mind. Though it 
is doubtful whether he ever saw the place again with his 
bodily eyes, the thought of it accompanied him through 
his whole life. Friends, wife, and children all knew tibe 
under-current of longing in his soul for the rest and peace 
which he thought he had seen there that day; he did not 
disguise it from them, and in his later years often spoke of 
the dream which had walked step by step with him ever 
since, of some day leaving every one and everything and 
entering its doors and closing them behind him. 

On the subjedb of religious " experience " or of his re- 
ligious faith, he was silent, and even shocked by what he 
thought to be any opinion too rigidly or confidently ex- 
pressed by others. Once I heard him quote with approval 
the saying of a Samoan chief to a missionary who was 
pressing him hard as to his conceptions of a Deity: '* We 
know that at night Some One goes by amongst the trees, 
but we never speak of it." This, however, was in his 
maturity ; as a young man we have proof that he was ready 
to submit to the formulae of the wisdom of the Church 
which he venerated, and at one time almost to lay both 
flesh and spirit in the hands of its priests. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER IV 

PREPARATION 
1851-1852 

IN the autumn of 1850, at the Annual Conference of 
the Wesleyan Methodists, one of their ministers named 
George Browne Macdonald was appointed to a ** Cir- 
cuit" in Birmingham. He had been for the last three years 
at Huddersfield, and by the constitution of the Society no 
minister may stay longer than that time with the same con- 
gregation. This rule weighs heavily upon the families of 
ministers, if not upon themselves, and the list of appoint- 
ments made by the Conference Stationing Committee is 
waited for with excitement in the households which, ac- 
cording to its decision, must go North, South, East, or 
West, whether they like it or not. In this instance the 
verdift of " Birmingham " gave satisfadion, because in the 
chances of the itinerancy the Macdonalds had once lived 
there before, and even though after nine years they might 
not return to the same circuit, still they would find old 
fi*iends in the town. During their first stay in Birmingham 
they had lived not far from Bennett's Hill — for part of the 
time in a street so near as to be a continuation of it — but 
nothing ever brought the church-going family and the 
Methodist one together, and the girl-baby whom they 
carried away with them when they left was not more ig- 
norant of any meeting to come in the future than the wisest 
of them all. This time their house was in quite another 
part of Birmingham, and, so far as one can see, the two 
families would never have known anything of each other, 
but that my father removed his eldest son from Wesley 
College, Sheffield, and brought him home in order to attend 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 1 8] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES SS 

King Edward's School. Harry was admitted there at once, 
and took his place in the same class with Cormell Price. 
This change of plan, which seemed at first sight to concern 
our brother only, proved to be of great importance to his 
sisters. 

The name of Wilfred Heeley has already been men- 
tioned as one of Edward's new acquaintance in the Classical 
School. His parents were amongst the old friends in Birm- 
ingham whom our father and mother had most looked 
forward to seeing again, and the children of both families 
felt an inherited liking for each other. Wilfred was often 
at our house, soon becoming a special friend of my brother 
Harry, taking also much notice of us younger children. 
He was a tall youth of about eighteen, and according to 
the fashion of the time, still in jackets : his talk was always 
witty and always kind, but a certain shyness and big-boy 
clumsiness made him occasionally the vidim of the little 
girls to whom he was so indulgent. He could at all times 
express himself best in writing, and, as he found we enjoyed 
it, used to amuse himself and please us with writing notes 
at school and sending them by our brother as postman to 
one or other of the sisters. These notes have never been 
destroyed, and are still fresh and charming as when the 
ink was wet upon them. What he said and wrote lit up a 
new world for us who, as girls, in those days had small 
chances of education. It is true we were sent to the usual 
" Young Ladies' School," or a daily governess came to us, 
but few fresh ideas reached us in that way, whilst Wilfred's 
talk was different from anything we had known before, 
and our intelligence was stimulated by his taking it for 
granted that we should understand him. Our father, a 
Dorn lover and student of books, and an efficient help to 
the studies of his sons, had not time also to direft those 
of his daughters, for preaching engagements carried him 
from home most of the week, and Sundays were occupied 
by services in his own chapel. His library of more than 
a thousand volumes travelled about with us, each book 
packed every three years by our mother's careful hands; 



Digitized by 



Google 



56 MEMORIALS OF [1851 

but the bulk of it, works on Divinity, was not for us. 
Upon early numbers of the Arminian and Methodist 
Magazines and of the Edinburgh Review we browsed 
freely; Shakespeare was forbidden; Quarles' Emblems 
and the Pilgrim's Progress were put into our hands; 
the Robin Hood Ballads we ferretted out from a bottom 
shelf; and a copy of Grimm's Household Stories, sent 
to us from outside, made us free of fairyland: but of 
systematic reading we knew nothing. The Bible was read 
aloud every day at morning prayers and we heard our 
father preach from the pulpit; religious instruftion at home 
he left to our mother. Nevertheless he made us feel that 
he loved us, and by example deeply impressed on us the 
love of truth and the duty of charitable speech and judg- 
ment about others. When our sharp young tongues erred 
in this resped he would be uneasy, and sometimes make 
us aware of his disapproval by interrupting the conversa- 
tion with a sudden question asked across it, such as, ** What 
is the price of potatoes.^ " which we understood clearly 
enough. His unworldliness was great. Our mother, though 
always delicate in health, ruled her large family firmly and 
gently in his frequent absence, which left her almost as 
lonely as a widow in the struggles of daily life; but her 
difficulties were not mentioned to us, and it never occurred 
to me as a child to think whether we were rich or poor. 

Three months after my brother entered King Edward's 
School, Fulford left it for Oxford. I have said that he was 
Heeley's friend, but as yet we had heard nothing about 
him, nor do I think that at this time Harry knew anything 
of Edward. The next year, however, found them within 
two places of each other in the same class. 

During Edward's last years at school, and whilst he was 
feeling his way so eagerly in every diredbion, he made a 
new acquaintance (I think through his friends the Comp- 
tons) whose influence upon him was for a time very marked. 
This was Mr. J. W. Caldicott, an old Birmingham School 
boy, who had matriculated in 1846 at Pembroke College, 
Oxford. Later on he was many years Head Master of Bristol 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 1 8] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 57 

Grammar School. At the time he and Edward first met 
he was an ardent Tradarian, a pleasant and able man,clear- 
headed^ and gifted with remarkable keenness and subtlety 
in argument Edward liked him very much, and for a time 
was quite fascinated by his skill as a disputant. It was under 
Mr. Caldicott's influence that even before leaving school 
he devoted himself heart and soul to the study of logic, 
whilst during the time between his matriculation and his 
going into residence at Oxford, Mr. Price says that he had 
'* a perfedl rage for logic and metaphysics." Philosophy 
and religious polemics were largely read at the same time, 
indeed, I have often heard him say that he did all the 
reading on these subjeds necessary for Oxford before he 
went there. 

Canon Dixon says that at school **his books seemed 
neater than others, and superior altogether. He had a way 
of filling them with finely written notes. He used to bring 
up to class a copy of the Corpus Poetarum Latinorum, 
and another of the Poetae Scenici Graeci, which often 
made me envious, for it shewed his comprehensive spirit. 
He had, I know, the notion of reading them all through. 
I had the same notion myself — that of reading all that 
there was to read. He had a book of English Ballads '' — of 
which we have heard before — " with engravings which fas- 
cinated me. I rather think he made a design for one himself, 
the terrible demon ride, * Tramp, tramp, across the land 
they speed,' etc. I asked him once if he believed in witches. 
He answered, ' I should like very much to do so.' That 
seems a charaAeristic saying. He once read aloud a comic 
or burlesque ballad called Sir Eppo (I think) in a way 
that I shall never forget." 

The school library, says Mr. Price, was a blessed in- 
stitution to the upper boys, who could not only take out 
volumes for home reading, but were tacitly allowed to 
prepare their work there too to some extent. " We used 
to pass into it through a door to the right of the Head 
Master as he sat He never checked our withdrawal dur- 
ing preparation time, and I have no doubt he winked or 



Digitized by 



Google 



58 MEMORIALS OF [1851 

connived at the liberty wc took, for wc found quietude 
there (and genial warmth in winter) and books of refer- 
ence. We often abused his concession by indulging in the 
lighter literature of the shelves as soon as we fancied we 
could pass muster in the lesson in hand." Canon Dixon 
also writes: ''We spent many blissful hours there, the 
lessons not the only occupation/' It was from this seclusion 
that Wilfred Heeley wrote to us children. 

Amongst the books in a catalogue of the library for 
185 1 are many that Edward always liked. Layard's 
Nineveh, Catlin's Indians, Curzon's Monasteries of the 
Levant, and Lockhart's Scott are of the number. It is 
certain that he read much English poetry, and Shake- 
speare, Coleridge, Byron and Scott he knew early; it was 
from Dixon that he first heard of Keats, possibly in one 
of the "blissful hours." Tennyson's Poems and his In 
Memoriam are catalogued, and were probably read in the 
school copy, as I do not think Edward had them him- 
self until Morris gave them to him at Oxford. Lane's 
Arabian Nights, which he did not possess, much as he 
loved it, till many years afterwards, is entered, and could 
not have been missed by him. His passion was at all times 
for a tale that was told rather than for the drama in any 
form, and in middle life I have heard him say that it was 
almost an impossibility for him to read a play. 

Amongst novelists Scott and Dickens were his first 
heroes. Thackeray came later, but for stories generally 
Mr. Price says he was " omnivorous." Humboldt's Cos- 
mos and Views of Nature he read, and followed with imag- 
inative interest the vast schemes with which they deal. 
Astronomy had a great fascination for him — almost a ter- 
rible one. It was not at school that he met with New- 
man's Sermons, but, as we have seen, very probably at 
Hereford, where, after his own way, he had quietly ab- 
sorbed them — eating and passing on in the strength of the 
food. How deeply they aflFeded him may be seen from 
the following words written to an intimate friend at least 
thirty years afterwards. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 1 8] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 59 

** When I was fifteen or sixteen he [Newman] taught 
mc so much I do mind — ^things that will never be out of 
me. In an age of sofas and cushions he taught me to be 
indifferent to comfort, and in an age of materialism he 
taught me to venture all on the unseen, and this so early 
that it was well in me when life began, and I was equipped 
before I went to Oxford with a real good panoply and it 
has never failed me. So if this world cannot tempt me 
with money or luxury — and it can't — or anything it has 
in its trumpery treasure-house, it is most of all because he 
said it in a way that touched me, not scolding nor for- 
bidding, nor much leading — walking with me a step in 
front. So he stands to me as a great image or symbol of 
a man who never stooped, and who put all this world's life 
in one splendid venture, which he knew as well as you or 
I might fail, but with a glorious scorn of every thing that 
was not his dream/' 

The summer visits to London continued regularly, and 
with ever increasing aflfedion between Edward and his 
aunt.^ Towards her he stood more nearly in the position 
of a son than any one else did in her life. 

Once when staying with her he met her brother-in-law, 
Mr. Frederick Catherwood, who chanced to be in England 
at the time. Antiquary, geographer and draughtsman, he 
touched Edward closely on three sides at once. He had 
roamed much in his youth, had visited Karnak and Baal- 
bec, and risked his life when at Jerusalem by entering the 
Mosque of Omar in disguise. His explorations also, in 
Central America, with the drawings he had made there of 
the ruined remains of a dead civilization,interested Edward 
deeply. A Itrtter from the traveller to his sister-in-law, 
Mrs. James Catherwood, dated San Francisco, April, 1 853, 
says : " Give my regards to Edward when you write to him. 
I felt very much obliged to him for his attention in coming 
to meet me at the railway station at Birmingham. I have 
no doubt he will distinguish himself at Oxford if he can 
but keep in health. If he were here he would have abund- 
ance of employment for pencil and pen with our motley 



Digitized by 



Google 



6o . MEMORIALS OF [1850 

population^ representing, I believe, every nation under the 
sun/' But this promising friendship was ended on a day 
next year when the American steamship *' Arftic " went 
down ofF Newfoundland in collision with the French 
•^ Vesta," and more than three hundred lives were lost. 

Mr. Catherwood left three children, and his eldest 
daughter, whom Edward always regarded as a cousin, has 
told me of the unusual impression made upon herself and 
her sister by the nephew of her new aunt, Mrs. James 
Catherwood. *^ We saw very little of him," she says, " as 
he only came to town in the summer and we never stayed 
in the house together, but we were always wonderfully 
interested in him. We were shewn all his letters, so unlike 
any others we had ever seen; and how Lizzie and I looked 
forward to reading them every six months when we came 
to spend a rather awe-inspiring week in that childless 
home. Auntie revelled in our undisguised admiration. 
In one thing she was perfeft, and that was her love for 
him." Miss Catherwood has also given me a letter that 
Edward wrote to her during his visit to London in 1850, 
addressed to the boarding school atHornsey where she lived 
when her father was abroad. She had been staying with 
Mrs. Catherwood at North Addington Place just before 
he came up, and had left behind her ** foure articles of 
luxurie " — after the fashion of visitors. In January of that 
year, he had signed a note ^* Archbishop of Canterbury 
eled ** ; now he has become " Cardinal." The letter is 
addressed **To her most Celestial Highness, ye Ladye 
Annie Catherwood," and rattles away gaily with — 

*• May it please your ladyshippe, having been deputed 
by ye Ladye Catherwood, Countesse of Addingtoune, to 
advise you concerning sundrie articles of wearinge ap- 
parelle, appertaining to Hornsie Universitie, your humble 
servante hath presumed to address this epistle, beinge 
dulie impressed with the responsibilitie of the tasque, the 
michtie honor done thereby to your humble servant, and 
his own insufficiencie, whereof I do most humblic crave 
your ladyshippe's favor and mercie, inasmuch as your scr- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 17] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 61 

vante hath hitherto confined himself to less honorable per- 
suits than that of beinge a ladye's scribe. 

*' The following epistle is by the commande of our ladye 
addressed to you. 

"Keturah, To oure loyalle and liege subjeft^ Annie^ 
greetynge. 

" Forasmuch as after diligent search made throughout 
our domains, and all thereunto appertaininge, onlie two of 
the foure articles of luxurie (whereof we were by you ad- 
vised) have been discovered, it hath seemed good to our 
royalle person, at the instance of our secretarie Edouard, 
Cardinal de Byrmynghame, to send you timelie warnynge 
thereof to the ende that summarie measures be forthwith 
taken by you for the reclaiming of them. Given under our 
hand, at our palace of Addington this 8th day of June. 
A. S. H. 1850." 

Then follows a postscript by the Cardinal himself: 
** Your highnesse seeth by this letter that no oppor- 
tunitie hath beene lost by your devoted servants at this 
Castle in obeyinge your behests, and that our labours have 
but partiallie beene rewarded. The two articles of luxurie 
afore alluded to are 

^'ist. a curiouslie wrought piece of mechanism, the 
worke of some craftie sorcerer or other artist — the use 
whereof is to us unknowe. Some indeed have idlie saide 
it to be a trinket, brooch or other article of weary nge 

apparel, but it seemyth rather 
to be Camel-hair pencil or other 
implement wherewith painters do 
exercise theire mysteriouse arte. 
Its form is somewhat thus 

" 2ndlie a still more ingenious 
craftworke, if indeed it be the 

and teeth of ye Sea-Serpent or 
other monstre — but concernynge this we knowe noth- 
ynge. 




Digitized by 



Google 



62 MEMORIALS OF [1852 

** These articles shall without fail be forwarded in what- 
ever manner shall seem most expediente by oure Ladye, 
perchance our trustie and right beloved friend G>unt 
Frederick [her brother] may transport them. Praying 
pardon for my audacitie in addressynge you^ 

" Your faithful, right-trustie and liege servante 
" Edouard Cardinal de Byrmyngham." 

The extreme ease with which he wrote is evident from 
this long spinning of much out of little, but he himself 
would never allow that he had any turn for writing. In 
later life he disliked the mechanical aft. <4 naturally draw/' 
he said, " when Fve a pen in my hand," but at first it must 
have been diflferent, for during the Oxford time Fulford 
mentions a letter of his said to have been eighteen sheets 
long. 

There is little record left of his home life in these years. 
He always spoke of it with the tenderness that comes after 
a time is over, but not as if he would have recalled a day. 
Both he and his father must have been infinitely lonely at 
heart in spite of the love that was between them, and as 
he grew up, though Miss Sampson's devotion never flagged, 
she was puzzled by him, and jealous of his new friendships. 
If he brought any one home she was delighted, but if he 
went out to see any one she was miserable. The very 
simple way in which they lived prevented the possibility of 
set entertainments, but so far as it could go the hospitality 
of the house was perfeft. His health remained always just 
short of strength, and fatigue followed every exertion: I 
have heard him say that he hardly knew what it was not 
to be tired. In spite of this, however, his spirits were often 
high, and his endless sense of humour blessed both him 
and his companions. His temper was heaven's gift of daily 
sweetness, though, as Canon Dixon says, he was evidently 
lord of the home domain. 

Somewhere about the end of 1851 Mr. Jones took a 
house in the Bristol Road, a wide thoroughfare leading 
quickly into the country, and went to live there for the 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 19] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 63 

sake of better air and daily exercise in walking to and from 
business. The upper part of the Bennett's Hill house was 
now let for offices, whilst he retained only his own work- 
shop and showroom on the ground floor. No. i, Poplar 
Place^ Bristol Road, was a small house with a good-sized 
garden, and this was a great pleasure to Miss Sampson^ 
who was by birth a country woman. But it was not really 
country life, only suburban, and even in order for them to 
have that, a portion of the little house had to be let to a 
" Single Gentleman," and there was no study left for Ed- 
ward. He still continued to sleep in a narrow bed in his 
father's room. Christmas Day they always spent together, 
not necessarily alone, or in their own house, but together, 
wherever it was. A custom grew up of their Joining the 
Prices, or being joined by them, and on Edward s birthday, 
also, when it was possible, the two families met 

After Christmas of this year he went to spend part of 
the holidays at Hereford, and a letter to Mr. Price with 
the date of January 24th, 1852, shews how happy he found 
himself there: 

** Land of Caradoc, 

•* Banks of the Wye. 

*' Dear old Crom, 

•• You scamp not to write before; here I've been ex- 
pedting a long, brilliant effusion of your scribbling powers, 
with a fine poetic description of your peregrinations, and 
you favour me with the ' skinny ' affair lying before me 
— and now Til be revenged. If you have enjoyed your- 
^'^ TV,vf(5,Tim5 P^^^ ^ much as I have you have been in 
Elysium. 

** The morning sun is just up as I emerge from the 
blankets, the hills of Wales mantled in snow lie beyond, 
and the meandering Wye flows between us. So soon as 
bound in cloth I wander by the banks of the lovely river, 
or round the Castle Green, get into a romantic fit, think 
how happy we should be together learning Welch, then 
bolt indoors and bolt my breakfast. This is about the 
third hour of the day; the next two hours are spent in 



Digitized by 



Google 



64 MEMORIALS OF [1852 

sweet converse or reading (not Thucydides) and by this 
time it is Cathedral time, and for an hour I am in Paradise. 
Oh that you could be with me then! From 12 — 3, I 
wander about the country, in the most romantic holes you 
can imagine, from 3 — 4 Cathedral, 4 — 8 occupied, I am 
sorry to say, in eating and talking, dinner and tea. Then 
my reading hours commence, and I never think of going 
to bed before i — 2 or 3, or even later. Parties are hor- 
rible things, but I have endured two — Bacchus preserve, 
me from them: girls are such — hm — hang 'em, they do 
quiz so, and I make such a capital subjeft. 

**By the bye, how have you got on with the Fasti? I 
haven't done a line yet, and am not going home at present. 

"Perhaps on Tuesday I shall leave; passing through 
Malvern I shall get to Worcester by one o'clock. I have 
some idea of seeing the Cathedral. I would have sent you 
a long interesting letter if you had behaved like a gentle- 
man to me — but as it is, goodbye. 

** Yours + Cantuar.' 



j> 



The name he gives to the place from which he writes, 
" Land of Caradoc," shows how alive the world was to 
him with legend. He may already have been touched by a 
foreshadowing of the San Graal story in that of the saint 
who, shortly before his death, saw two men in glittering 
stoles enter the church bearing a golden altar between 
them, on which was written, " Follow us, we have meat to 
eat thou knowest not of." 

There is another letter from Hereford, but undated, 
which gives the same impression of contentment. 

During the first *' half" of 1 8 52 some prizes were offered 
by old pupils upon the occasion of the tercentenary of the 
foundation of the school. One of these was for essays on 
the State of Literature in England in the time of Edward 
the Sixth, and for it Edward and Dixon, together with 
others, competed. The first prize was taken by Dixon, 
and for the second Edward was equal with a boy named 
Valentine. Canon Dixon's reverent mind recalls the time 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 19] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 65 

with undimmed interest after many years, in these words: 
"That Tercentenary was a great day with us all: a great 
day for Birmingham/' Dixon himself took this year, not 
for the first time, the annual prize for English verse. Be- 
tween Edward and Valentine there was another "tie," 
where an exhibition was in question, and the decision was 
so long delayed — the examiners referring it to Oxford, and 
Oxford sending it back again to Birmingham — that when 
it was finally given in Valentine's favour, Edward had 
already matriculated, his father having determined to send 
him to Oxford at his own expense. 

It was in the early part of this same year that Edward 
first came to our house, aptly situated in "Nursery" 
Terrace, Handsworth. The visit was to my brother, and, 
naturally enough, Cormell Price came also. The exaft 
day on which this happened is forgotten, but not the visit. 
Edward was then in his nineteenth year, and of his full 
height ; to me he looked a grown man because he wore a 
coat, but I believe there was in fad an early maturity 
about him. His aspeft made the deepest impression upon 
me. Rather tall and very thin, though not especially slender, 
straightly built and with wide shoulders. Extremely pale 
he was, with the paleness that belongs to fair-haired people, 
and looked delicate, but not ill. His hair was perfeftly 
straight, and of a colourless kind. His eyes were light 
grey (if their colour could be defined in words), and the 
space that their setting took up under his brow was extra- 
ordinary: the nose quite right in proportion, but very 
individual in outline, and a mouth large and well moulded, 
the lips meeting with absolute sweetness and repose. The 
shape of his head was domed, and noticeable for its even 
balance; his forehead, wide and rather high, was smooth 
and calm, and the line of the brow over the eyes was a 
fine one. From the eyes themselves power simply radiated, 
and as he talked and listened, if anything moved him, not 
only his eyes but his whole face seemed lit up from within. 
I learned afterwards that he had an immoveable convidion 
that he was hopelessly plain. His ordinary manner was 

I. F 



Digitized by 



Google 



(,^ MEMORIALS OF [1852 

shy, but not self-conscious, for it gave the impression that 
he noticed everything. At that time he sat as many men 
do who are not very strong, sunk down rather low in his 
chair with an appearance of the whole spine seeking for 
rest. 

At once his power of words struck me and his vehem- 
ence. He was easily stirred, and then his speech was as 
swift and clear as possible, yet well ordered and going 
straight to the mark. He had a beautiful voice. He seldom 
came to our house, and I can only clearly remember his 
doing so three times. The first time I have mentioned, 
and I think it was then that he astonished me by his de- 
meanour to my youngest sister, a child about three years 
old, whom he took between his knees and looked at in- 
tently, pulling strange faces to amuse her. Evidently he 
was unaccustomed to children and did not know how to 
deal with them, for when she was frightened he was sur- 
prised. 

The second time I remember his coming, my brother 
was not at home, nor any of the elders, and I, a child in 
a pinafore, received the message that he left. The last 
time was when he came to say good-bye to us when our 
three years in Birmingham were over, and we were going 
to London. Again I noticed his eloquence when excited. 
Epithets he always used wonderfully. It was at this last 
visit, I think, that some one mentioned the name of a cer- 
tain girl and said of her that she was a " flirt." At the 
word his face lit up suddenly, and without raising his voice 
at all he said with the utmost distindness and volubility: 
** A flirt 's a beast, a bad beast, a vile beast, a wicked beast, 
a repulsive beast^ an owl, a ghoul, a bat, a vampire.*' And 
as we sat amazed at the rush of words the usual placid 
expression returned to his mouth. To him my brother 
once applied in my hearing the dreadful-sounding name 
*' Misogynist," which, when translated, filled me with ad- 
miration and awe. The '* chatter " of women had evidently 
struck him very much, for he denounced it in one of the 
visits mentioned, muttering to himself under his breath: 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 19] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 67 

Hear the ladies when they talk ; tittle tattle, tittle tattle, 
Like their pattens when they walk ; pittle pattle, pittle pattle. 

By this time we had come, through Wilfred Heeley, 
to know Fulford. We little girls liked and admired him 
very much, and he was very kind to us. He was the first 
person we. had ever heard read poetry aloud, and admirably 
he did it, with his fine voice and fervent love of what he 
read. He had an endless interest in expounding the poets^ 
and naturally found his readiest disciples amongst the girls 
whom he knew. Towards us he shewed a judgment for 
which I can never be thankful enough, for he fed us with 
Longfellow first of all, as the food suitable for our years, 
and so brought us gradually into a condition more or less 
fit for the revelation before introducing us to the works of 
his prime hero Tennyson. It seemed quite natural to us 
that he should write poetry himself. He loved music, also, 
and taught us the names and some of the works of Beet- 
hoven and Mendelssohn. He was a small man, well and 
strongly made, and very careful about his dress ; not hand- 
some, but when he was happy delightful expressions would 
pass over his face ; his laugh was very taking when it came. 
There was, for a time, an engagement between him and 
one of my sisters, and we all especially appreciated the faA 
that it did not make him negleft the rest of us, but that 
he still fetched the little ones for walks, or to take tea with 
him in a comforting way. 

He had a personal hero of his own who was not one of 
the Set, a man named Whitehouse, whom we had never 
seen. He went up to Pembroke as Senior Exhibitioner 
from King Edward's School the year before Fulford him- 
self, who expefted great things from him. His enthusiasm 
for this friend was distilled through his mind into ours, 
and I remember feeling sad that nothing came to justify it 
before the world. 

There was a tradition in King Edward's School, which 
had distinguished itself so brilliantly at Cambridge, that the 
few men who chose Oxford for their University should go 
to Pembroke, because of its Master, Dr. Jeune, having 



Digitized by 



Google 



68 MEMORIALS OF [1852 

been head of the Birmingham School ; but Edward's name 
was already doW'n for Exeter, and on June ist, 1852, he 
presented himself there for matriculation. His friend, Mr. 
Caldicott, welcomed him to Oxford, and that took away 
some of the strangeness of the place. 

At the end of the first day's examination Edward wrote 
a note to his father — the image of the lonely, anxious little 
figure at home could not be laid without it — but the hand- 
writing is scarcely recognizable and excitement is visible in 
every word. It is dated from Mr. Caldicott's rooms. 

•* Jesus Col: Tuesday evn. 
" Dr father, 

** I have not time to say much now — I have passed, 
but [undecipherable words] were plucked. Mr. Caldicott 
has been excessive[ly] kind to me. We have just been on 
the Isis — it is so jolly. But I hardly think I can come 
down to-morrow — think it must be Thursday firsts be- 
cause to-morrow I have to matriculate. This morning I 
was in the Schools from 9 — 4 and shall have to return to- 
morrow but don't know what time. 

^^ Oxford is glorious 111 And the weather has been mag- 
nificent. You must excuse me writing more now as I am 
keeping a party from whist. 

** Your afifeft: son 

" Edward Jones. 
« Love to Sam/' 

It is all clear — the kind elder host, the fulfilled dream of 
the place, the summer evening and the whist table, the 
outsider's name, too, of ** Isis "' for the upper Thames, 
marking the novice as clearly as his eager face and manner 
must have done. A second day in the schools and all was 
well over: the certificate of his matriculation, dated June 
2nd, 1852, lies before me. 

He had hoped to go into residence in Odober, but the 
College was so full that he was obliged to wait for the 
Hilary term of 1853. Thus the time between the end 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 19] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 69 

of his school life and the following January became his 
own. 

We have seen what Mr. Price says of his course of read- 
ing in these months — ^logic, metaphysics, philosophy, and 
religious polemics — but durum et durum non facit murum^ 
and books of poetry , romance, and devotion were the mortar 
between the bricks in the rising walls of the house of his 
life. 

Other things also occupied him, the friendships and the 
mirth of youth, and anxiety about ways and means. ^And 
there was a serious illness, the most acute one he ever had^ 
which lasted some weeks. 

A pleasant arrangement for the two friends was made 
that year, when Cormell Price, whose parents had removed 
to West Bromwich, came to live within a few minutes' walk 
of Poplar Place. He also was to enter the Church, but in 
order that he should be able to compete for an exhibition 
which would send him to college, he was obliged to remain 
in Birmingham, so a small house was taken for him in 
Upper Sun Street, and two of his sisters came there to make 
him a home. The evenings at their house soon became a 
centre of simple enjoyment. Mrs. Grove, one of the sisters, 
has told me about them. Fulford, Dixon, Macdonald and 
others used to meet there. Edward, she says, was the 
brightest of companions, full of fun, a wonderful imitator, 
and his laughter always ready. Sometimes he would laugh 
till he slid down from his chair to the floor and rolled there> 
holding himself together. He used to preach sermons 
exaftly like various clergymen they knew (Mr. Casebow 
Barrett amongst the number) and destroy them with amuse- 
ment. Or he and Cormell would do Grisi and Mario^ 
Cormell being Mario, and playing the accompaniment, 
while Edward was Grisi, and the two would work each 
other up into wild fun. 

Long years afterwards the same spirit came upon him 
occasionally as he sat painting in his studio, when he would 
burst into sudden recitative, and address most common- 
place remarks to his daughter in a florid Italian bravura 



Digitized by 



Google _ 



70 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1852 

style, which she, as a matter of course, would answer in an 
impassioned flight of song with equally dull words — and 
so they would go on together till both broke down with 
laughter. The earlier operas of Gilbert and Sullivan were 
naturally delightful to him when they came out^ being 
exadly on these lines. 

He recovered completely from his illness, and regained 
his usual health, the state of which always depended greatly 
upon that of his spirits. His expeAations about Oxford 
were high, and he breathed freely in the atmosphere of en- 
thusiasm. When the New Year came he was ready, and 
by the middle of January, 1853, he found himself in the 
city of his hopes. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER V 

1853 

As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man. 

IN Oxford Edward found much that he had never ex- 
peded, but not the thing for which he looked. He 
had believed that help and strength for the life he 
had chosen must await him in the University which had 
so lately been the centre of a great religious movement. 
Newman's simple and lofty exhortations had sunk into his 
hearty and created there such belief in the writer as to make 
even the secession to Rome seem an ad upon which it was 
impossible to pass judgment, and which time alone could 
shew whether he himself might not feel bound to foHow, 
He had thought to find the place still warm from the 
fervour of the learned and pious men who had shaken the 
whole land by their cry of danger within and without the 
Church. To him it was like a room from which some one 
he loved kad just gone out, and where at every turn he 
would find traces of his friend. But when he got there the 
whole life seemed to him languid and indifferent, with 
scarcely anything left to shew the fiery time so lately past. 
In his disappointment he turned around, seeking his way 
in unlooked for loneliness of spirit, and there, shoulder to 
shoulder, stood his life's companion. 

They had met the year before, when they were both up 
for matriculation, and even sat side by side in the hall of 
Exeter, but had not spoken to each other. Edward re- 
cognized him now, because at that time he had been struck 
by the appearance of his neighbour, and had noticed also 
that he finished a Horace paper early in the morning, 



Digitized by 



Google 



72 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

and folded it and wrote upon it the name of '^William 
Morris/* 

Then they drifted apart again until the College should 
have room to receive them. It was still overfull, however, 
when they were called, so that for the first two terms they 
had to lodge out by day, and could only sleep in College 
by using the third room of men upon whom they were 
quartered. 

There was no one at Exeter to begin with whom Edward 
knew, even by sight, except Morris, so that a large field 
for possible friendships lay before him; but in some notes 
made by him after his friend's death, Edward says : ** One 
by one, for one cause or another, I dropped apart from my 
contemporaries there, and by a fortnight's end it seemed 
settled that Morris and I only would be companions. We 
went almost daily walks together, but gloomy and angry dis- 
appointment and disillusion were settling down upon me in 
this first term's experience of Oxford. It was clear we had 
lighted on a distasteful land in our choice of College. So 
at Exeter we were very isolated, and before many weeks 
were past there were but three or four men in the whole 
College whom we visited or spoke to." 

There is a short paragraph before the notes from which 
I quote, in which Edward explains that some dates given 
in them may need to be correfted, for they were made 
without any written help to memory, and that as almost all 
letters had been destroyed and no kind of diary ever kept, 
the first years of Oxford life flowed together in his mind. 
Some of his own letters, however, have been preserved, 
which mark fads or states of feeling during that time, and 
these I shall use in addition to the notes, in their proper 
order so far as possible. The first letter I find this year is 
one written on the 29th January, just before going in for 
*« Smalls." 

To face the worse of two possibilities was always his 
instinft, as is here seen at the end of a letter of which the 
greater part was evidently meant only to cheer and amuse 
his father. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ALT. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 73 

" I am compelled," he begins, " to write sooner and more 
briefly than I intended, for I find that I must have left the 
testamur of my matriculation at home, and on Tuesday 
Mor^ it will be required. The key of my writing desk is 
enclosed; if anywhere you will find it in the top division, 
a very small insignificant piece of paper, but of the greatest 
importance. If you hear but a very short account of me 
for a fortnight you must not notice it — I am in the schools, 
and it will be a case of Oxford or Van Dieman's Land. 
Tell me all you know of home affairs, about Sam, and 
everyone: don't give me any advice above all things: and 
send me a paper now and then. In return for all these I 
may graciously inform you of my health and estate, the 
former is increasing rapidly, the latter decreasing alarmingly, 
for Oxford is beginning to imfold his charms, and I to 
appreciate them, so you must not be surprised at some 
heavy calls upon your bank presently: such as the following. 

£. Jones, Esq. £ s. d. 

Horse too hours a day for six days ...340 
Tandem an pair to Woodstock an back with 

leader's kney broke and trappins likeways 510 6 
Dogcart to Abbingdon with sharves all broke 

reglarly to shatters 2 19 o 

II 13 6 
Discount allowed for ready money 2 



II 13 4 



E. C. Jones, Esqr. 

12 doz. Madeira £^ 2 per doz ^5 4 

3 doz. Claret ^3 per doz 9 

2 doz. Champagne ^^3 10 7 

{sic) 31 4 

Tailors' bills and boating I've not put down, they would 
take up too much room. 



Digitized by 



Google 



74 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

** Oxford is a glorious place; godlike! at night I have 
walked round the colleges under the full moon, and thought 
it would be heaven to live and die here. The Dons are so 
terribly majestic^ and the men are men, in spirit as well as 
name — they seem overflowing with generosity and good- 
nature; and their pride seldom ascends to haughtiness, or 
descends to vanity. I wonder how the examiners ever have 
the heart to pluck such men. Nevertheless I should like to 
see home and all there, and before this term is over, I shall 
long to see them. My purgatory will last three weeks or a 
month, if I am plucked you will see me diredly, prepara- 
tory to leaving England. I assure you this is no joking, 
the chances are at most but equal, and if the catastrophe 
comes I couldn't honourably pursue my course here." 

The purgatory did not last quite three weeks, as his 
certificate is dated February 17th. 

Cormell wrote to congratulate him upon this, and re- 
ceived a letter in reply that must have astonished him. It 
is written with a half-comic assumption of age and ex- 
perience, and almost all that Cormell had said is com- 
mented upon point by point, as if the writer were glad to 
treat of any subjeft rather than his own feelings; but 
towards the end a forecast upon which his friend had 
ventured, that Sewell and Gresley would ottt day be made 
bishops, produces a few stinging words that shew some- 
thing of what was at work in his mind. 

"Sewell and Gresley will never be made bishops,"' he 
says; " you entirely mistake the nature of an English bishop 
if you think that good or clever or progress men stand the 
least chance before the state ideal of episcopacy. I get 
touchy on these points since I have seen a little more of 
the world — a very little more, you will say, but enough to 
disenchant a good deal of my quondam notions. Ask 
Fulford, we talk of nothing else night and day. He slangs 
and I growl, and Faulkner demonstrates, and Dixon trans- 
lates himself into the seventh heaven of poetry — but stay, 
these are University secrets. 

" I shall see you in a fortnight and shall be better able 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET, 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 75 

to tell you what I think of matters than by letter. I am 
not reading a scrap, being almost always at Pembroke, for 
my mind is made up to go in for a pass and leave the first 
hour I can. How beautifully these lines scan — Moore's 
metre. Ah, well, I'm wretched, Crom, miserable: stop 
down if you can till i860. 

" Remember me very kindly to your sisters, and old 
chums at school. Don't say a word to any one about 
my growling here — the morals of the place must be re- 
spected." 

Being ** almost always at Pembroke " is important. 
Edward speaks in his notes of a little Birmingham colony 
already formed at that College when he went up, which 
Morris and he used to join when they sought for more 
company than their own. The nucleus of the colony con- 
sisted of Fulford, Dixon, and Faulkner, the last hitherto 
unknown to Edward. His rooms on the ground floor, in 
a corner of the old quadrangle of Pembroke, stood in- 
vitingly ready for men to turn into, and there, about nine 
o'clock most evenings of the week, the friends met. In 
the daytime Edward and Morris generally walked together 
into the country or about the city. 

**It was a different Oxford in those days," he says, 
" from anything that a visitor would now dream of. On 
all sides, except where it touched the railway, the city 
ended abruptly, as if a wall had been about it, and you 
came suddenly upon the meadows. There was little brick 
in the city, it was either grey with stone or yellow with 
the wash of the pebble-dash in the poorer streets. It was 
an endless delight to us to wander about the streets, where 
were still many old houses with wood carving and a little 
sculpture here and there. The Chapel of Merton College 
had been lately renovated by Butterfield, and Pollen, a 
former Fellow of Merton, had painted the roof of it. 
Many an afternoon we spent in that chapel. Indeed I think 
the buildings of Merton and the Cloisters of New College 
were our chief shrines in Oxford." 

Dixon, who had been up a term already, says that he 



Digitized by 



Google 



76 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

remembers being taken by Morris *^ to look at the Tower 
of Mcrton." 

And not only did their love for art bind Morris and 
Edward to each other especially, but in religious feeling 
also they lived a separate life, for the Pembroke set had 
little interest in the Church polemics which at that time so 
engrossed the two friends. In this matter they met with 
greater sympathy from a few men of their own College, 
with whom, having discovered a common ground, they 
eagerly conversed upon doArinal points. 

Faulkner, Edward's new friend, was a powerful man, 
physically, mentally, and morally. Unlike any of the others, 
his gift was for mathematics and physical science, while 
his remoteness from things theological was complete. There 
was about him a special manliness, singleness of mind, and 
fearless honesty. He had great natund skill of hand and 
sympathy with the executive side of art, but no power of 
design so far as I know. 

In all the happiness of his first intercourse with Morris^ 
Edward remembered the absent Cormell, and tried, so hr 
as letters would do it, to keep him abreast with the new 
life in which he found himself. On May ist he writes; ^*I 
am well pleased that our taste in poetics is concurrent. If 
Tennyson affords you as many hours of unmitigated happi- 
ness — I speak without affedation here — ^as he has to me, 
you will look with gratitude to any who helped you to 
appreciate him. When I take up the works of any other 
poet, save Shakespeare only, I seem to have fallen from 
the only guide worth following far into dreamland. There 
are some passages here and there so strangely accordant to 
that unutterable feeling which comes on one like a seizure 
at certain times, and which Schlegel writes of under the 
term * Sighing after the Infinite," that it is sometimes an 
inexpressible relief to know and be able to utter them 
aloud) as if the poet had, in an inspiration, hit upon some 
Runic words to give voice and form to what were other- 
wise painfully ineffable. Of these I think one song in the 
Princess is remarkable. * Tears, idle tears, I know not 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 77 

what they mean/ is of this kind. In some hot dreamy 
afternoons I have thought upon it for hours, until I have 
been exquisitely miserable. Our old favourite, the ' Bugle 
Song/ is another, and incidental passages over all the 
poems are of the same strange nature. 

" In answer to your question I understand * (dreary) 
gleams ' to be a substantive in apposition to * curlews/ I 
know nothing of the flight of curlews, but you may take 
Tennyson's word for it, they * gleam/ 

** If you can get hold of a book called * Poems by Alex- 
ander Smith,* read them by all means. He is a very pro- 
mising poet indeed, and his objedlive writing is almost 
incomparable, although his aim is evidently more subjeAive 
and metaphysical. There, however, are depths only reached 
by one — our great Dramatist. Smith is a very young man, 
and strange to say his work has met with most flattering 
reviews in all the leading dodges — cf. Westminster espe- 
cially. I bought it the other day, and so enraptured Ful- 
ford that he dashed off and got one direAly. By the bye, 
he is in the Schools on Thursday next — pray for his success. 

** Yesterday my uncle Catherwood came up to see me; 
so I am in for a few days lionizing. 

" 10 o'clock, evening. I have just been amusing myself 
by pouring basons of water on the crowd below from 
Dixon's garret, such fun, by Jove. 

^'Macdonald one of the lapsed!! * Good Evans!' as 
says, can it be? Poor fellow, I pity him from the in- 
nermost recesses of my heart. Don't let him influence you, 
Crom. Remember, I have set my heart on our founding a 
Brotherhood. Learn Sir Galahad by heart. He is to be 
the patron of our Order. I have enlisted one in the projeft 
up here, heart and soul. You shall have a copy of the 
canons some day. 

' (Signed) General of the Order of Sir Galahad." 



€Ci 



This outburst of enthusiasm about Tennyson was not 
spasmodic, but represents, broadly speaking, what Edward 
felt first and last; for if at any time the poet ever wrote 



Digitized by 



Google 



78 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

what he valued less, the glorious gifts before received were 
still returned to with fresh gratitude. Some words written 
after the death of Tennyson in 1892 may fitly go with 
these of so many years before. The undertaker element 
of the funeral in Westminster Abbey had jarred him to 
the quick, and he breaks out: ''O but yesterday was so 
flat and flattening. I'll never forgive the Queen for not 
coming up to it, and I wish Gladstone had. And there 
should have been street music, some soldiers and some 
trumpets, and bells muffled all over London, and rumbling 
drums. I did hate it so heartily, but as he sleeps by 
Chaucer I daresay they woke and had nice talks in the 
night, and I have spent much of the early dark morning 
making up talks for them; I suppose he'll be hurrying 
off to Virgil soon. I wish I hadn't gone." 

The mention of a ^^ Brotherhood " sounds as if the idea 
of it had been cherished for some time, but Mr. Price does 
not remember its being named before the Oxford days. 
There is no doubt that in the beginning Edward hoped to 
form amongst his friends a small conventual society of 
cleric and lay members working in the heart of London, 
such as that suggested in Hurrell Froude's Projed; for 
the Revival of Religion in Great Towns, and in this re- 
strifted scheme the Pembroke set never took any part. 
The ** one " enlisted in the projeft was of course Morris. 

This visit of Mr. Catherwood's was the last time he and 
Edward met. Before the end of the month that kind uncle 
and friend was dead. 

Another letter to Mr. Price continues the subjed; of the 
curlew-verse in Locksley Hall which had been a puzzle 
to Cormell, but of which Edward's sense of light and shade 
at once made a clear pifture. 

'* Mine is the last edition but one and reads: 

'Tis the place and all around it, as of old the curlews call. 
Dreary gleams about the moorland, flying over Locksley Hall. 

I repeat my explanations — ^ dreary gleams ' is in apposi- 
tion to ' curlews.' 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 79 

as of old the curlews call. 

Dreary gleams (are they) about the moorland, etc. 

Dreary, because prognosticating the coming storm — 
gleams, because their night, thrown in reh'ef by the dark 
background of the sky, is best expressed by that word — 
sometimes lost in the blackness of a cloud, and suddenly 
becoming visible as they strike an angle of light. On such 
matters cf. Ruskin, Modern Painters, vol. i., 'Clouds' 
— he is the most profound investigator of the objeftive 
that I know of: the whole work is evidence of a painfully 
careful study of nature, universally and particularly ; in 
aesthetics he is authority. Above all things I recommend 
you to read him, he will do you more good in twenty 
chapters than all the mathematics ever written." 

Further on, he answers at great length a charge brought 
against Tennyson, of not being always corred in his 
metres. 

" In my opinion that unfettered element in his metre is 
one of the very greatest charms and charafteristics in his 
style — it is that whereby he most of all shews his power 
in making words themselves a vehicle not of his descrip- 
tions only but of that very nature he describes, a kind of 
onomatopoeia not in isolated words but in the whole run 
of the poem. In external nature you never see that cloy- 
ing, satiating evenness whereby you would trammel her 
best interpreters; * ever- varying * is of all epithets the most 
common to her. What should you think of a mountain 
range, with every mountain of the same height, the same 
conical shape, or of a country with roads interseAing at 
right angles? Of course you would be very much dis- 
gusted. We find nature harmonious only in fragments, 
and as we find her we must take her. I beg of you to 
read again the * Dying Swan.' In the first few lines of it 
you have the charafter of the country as clearly before 
you as if you had read volumes of Lincolnshire topo- 
graphy, as to the third part, I never saw its equal — 
one might write commentary after commentary and never 
have finished dilating upon its inexpressible truthfulness. 



Digitized by 



Google 



8o MEMORIALS OF [1853 

Read too the ' Vision of Sin * and hosts of others up and 
down the book, and acknowledge that to express nature 
faithfully we must follow her own rules of language, now 
in even cadences, and now in rugged outbursts. I cannot 
see the least objeftion to your example from the ' Oriana ' 
— ^the whole poem is ejaculatory, wild, passionate, despair- 
ing, gasped out at intervals; it would be unnatural to in- 
sist on the right iAus everywhere. The misery is fresh 
upon him and he is frenzied for the time. In Locksley 
Hall the hero has no reproach for himself, he can look 
calmly at his own past, he can resolve for the future, and 
where is more perfeft metre than in that? Metre and 
rhyme are only accessories, faithfulness and truth and beauty 
are necessaries — if they are not compatible everywhere, the 
former must be sacrificed, never the latter — and so Tenny- 
son always writes. 

" If you want correftness take Pope and Dryden (and a 
dried 'un he was) but you must take their chilliness too: 
read Moore, but you must swallow also his namby-pamby 
drawing-room young-ladyism. 

" Yes, we'll read Keats and Shelley and Coleridge like 
one o'clock when I get back." 

A Balliol man with whom Edward was acquainted did 
him the lasting service of introducing him to Mr. Mac- 
Laren's fencing rooms and gymnasium in Oriel Lane. In 
a letter to his father dated April 27th he says: " I continue 
my fencing lessons &c. and feel almost unutterable benefit 
from them; my strength grows perceptibly and MacLaren 
promises to send me form a very different objeft to what 
I was when I entered." 

This was not all that he found there, however, for in 
Mr. MacLaren he gained one of the truest friends he ever 
had, and one whose eyes discerned his pupil's genius from 
the first. Mr. Price speaks of him as having been " fascin- 
ated " by Edward and Morris. He was about a dozen years 
their senior, a cultivated man of the highest charafter and 
with warmth and tenderness underlying reserve of manner. 
His home at Sununertown, then a small village separated 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 81 

by a stretch of country road from Oxford, was a sanftuary 
seldom opened to the outer world A low white house with 
its rose-covered veranda and a garden like a small Paradise 
shut in with white walls contained all that was dearest to 
him, being shared by a gifted young wife, then scarcely 
more than a girl. The notes say: "MacLaren interested 
us greatly, and we him, I suppose, for he did an almost 
unheard-of thing, inviting us to his home at Summertown, 
where we went three or four times in the term to dine with 
him, and his talk was admirable and his tastes inclining 
greatly to poetry. I think our enthusiasm was always a 
pleasure to him, and he aided and abetted us in all the 
inclinations of our hearts." It was when Edward began, 
as he soon did, to make studies of landscape and foliage 
in the country round Oxford, that MacLaren recognized 
his power, and the unfailing belief and encouragement that 
he gave in these early days were never forgotten. 

The following letter to Mr. Price, written, in the char- 
after of "Cardinal de Birmingham," during the Long 
Vacation, shews, however, that Edward himself was not 
yet awake to the knowledge of his own special gift: 
Ecclesiasticism still comes first, though the way in which 
he unburdens himself to his friend of disappointment and 
disturbance of mind, owing to the lack of Christian unity 
with which he had met, shews how swiftly he was coming 
to conclusions for himself, and that no particular division 
of the Church was likely to hold him long. 

" Edouard 
" Cardinal de Birmingham 
unto our trusty and beloved brother, Cormel, of the Order 
of St. Philip Neri eleft. Health and Peace. 

" In our most hearty wise we commend us unto you, 
dear brother, and for this same your loving epistle, how- 
beit it came tardily, we do thank you much. Indeed we 
had well nigh despaired of your courtesy in this matter, 
making therewithad many excuses for you of our charity. 

** But now with the burden of many things upon us, we 

I. G 



Digitized by 



Google 



82 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

do hold ourselves bound unto you for a season, and the 
more readily for because we see our brother in grievous 
need of our ghostly counsel and advice; the which more- 
over we would give in all modesty and gentleness, even as 
communing with ourself. 

" And that our epistle come not unto you as it were a 
Homily fill! of harsh conceits of our Philosophy, we will 
advertise you somewhat of the estate of matters in our Pro- 
vince, Spiritual and Temporal, and, as far as our poor erudi- 
tion in such matters, of the advancement of Literature. 

" First of things Spiritual and Temporal in our jurisdic- 
tion; and briefly, for herein is such deep cause for sorrowing 
that we would not willingly pain you by baring it; for we be 
all so crammed with foul heresy, and discord, and prejudice, 
and bigotry, and all uncharitableness, that our very air, 
wherein we breathe, reeks thereof. And with all this bitter- 
ness so little of knowledge, or sympathy, or liberty, wherein 
this strange land doth so boast itself, that the contemplation 
is most pitiful. Nor this on one side only, or of one party 
only, but all conspire together, as it were of purpose, to 
choke up the only passage unto Truth in these days, even 
the suspense of judgment, afore all things necessary unto 
the att^nment of to ixin^U. 

" Now we beseech you look one moment at our racked 
diocese. The Oratorians, like Ishmael, with their hands 
ag^nst every man, and every man's hand against them; 
yet be they of all men by nature most peaceful, by educa- 
tion most contemplative, by discipline most philanthropic. 
Our dear brother of Sackville [the Rev. J. M. Neale, 
Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead] will carry 
out his threat against the redor of St. Martin's, [the Rev. 
J. C. Miller] and though his cause be urgent, and the 
ofi^ence most palpable, yet shall he do us little good and 
greater harm. Our dear Latimer [the incumbent of St. 
Paul's, Birmingham] is away, and meantime the pulpit 
wherein he preached positive doftrine, most firmly and 
withal most gently, hath become a rostrum for negative 
declamation against all others; Ecleftics, Syncretics, Ra- 



Digitized by 



Google 



AT. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 83 

tionalists. Pantheists, Atheists, and all names that are named 
in this age of ' isms.' These men not discernmg that, be- 
cause the time is urgent and dangers thicken, our people 
most chiefly desire to know what they must believe, and 
afterwards, when they shall be well-advised of that, also 
what they must avoid — not but that under an expert man 
the two teachings, positive and negative, may go hand in 
hand, but where, as is oftenest found, they be mediocre 
men, then the former first and by no means the latter. 
Therefore comes it that our preaching is unprofitable^ nay 
absolutely ruinous to unity, and tending to Infidelity. For 
what shall it profit the unlearned to know arguments against 
ecleAicism or rationalism or the rest? Granting, what is 
relatively impossible, that he will remember and use those 
same arguments aright, if he be at any time assailed by 
their supporters, yet will he not thereby, trusting in himself, 
and failing to seek counsel of his spiritual adviser, break one 
only remaining link between them and divorce what God 
did join together? And by the unlearned I mean not the 
poor, but the mass of men. On the other hand what shall 
this declamation profit the learned man? Will dogmatical 
condemnation of other creeds disprove them? Because one 
saith of Romanism that it is anti-Christ and corrupt, is it 
therefore so? or of Rationalism that it is senseless, is it 
therefore so? Nay, but they who advance both these most 
opposite opinions are not men to be so dealt with. There- 
fore they are unprofitable to the man who asks the ' why ' 
and * wherefore of these things, who philosophically asks 
the iUr^ and takes not the mathematical on, the ipse dixit 
of everyone. 

'' But of this enough. Of Temporalities we will premise 
some few things, and then to more lofty converse. 

** Our eccentric and most excellent friend Fulford hath 
been with us somewhat of late. Of a truth he is a most 
wild genius — here now, and ^ off in a moment, culling 
the sweetness of every flower around him. Full of wisdom, 
yet lacking knowledge ; of the finest sense of imagination 
and good taste in what he lists; the only man we know 



Digitized by 



Google 



84 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

who lives to live. And the contemplation of him is an ex- 
cellent study ; for his carelessness of cares makes him a 
merry companion, a sympathetic friend, and the most 
charitable of all censors. 

" And in truth we begin more and more to see the final 
futility of the cramming system of education in this day. 
The age is utilitarian indeed, and every public speaker feels 
bound to remind his hearers of it in every oration, but truly 
it is at the sacrifice of their hearts' blood and their children's 
too that men are purchasing this possession. More and 
more is the age losing sight of the end and aim of man's 
existence, and of the legitimate means thereto. It will not 
learn that it is wisdom and not knowledge that is to be 
attained, the mind and not the body that is to be con- 
sidered; that that only is an education, wherein the man 
is cultivated, not as an instrument towards some ulterior 
end, but as an end unto himself alone, aVxe^c, absolutely as 
a man, not t*v/, relatively as a professional man. 

" But of this when we meet xar' o/tx/txa, for we must en- 
list you, dear brother, in this crusade and Holy Warfare 
against the age, ' the heartless coldness of the times.' 

" Macdonald and Heeley did us the honour of a visit 
yesterday. We talked much of all subjefts — ^Transcend- 
entalism and all the host of German systems — we discussed 
together calmly on dangerous ground; ourself ventured on 
a relative defence of the Jesuits and met with no opposition 
whatever, to our great surprise. In the evening your sisters 
favoured us with a fleeting call, and the Lady Abbess of the 
Convent also. Our topic was celibacy, wherein ourself was 
exposed to all but personal violence. 

^ In literature we have dealt but little since your de- 
parture; nay, we crave pardon for this our presuming on 
the subjedl, because we might be better schooled of you ; 
howbeit some few things we must say. 

*' Our brother, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, 
has re-published his essays from the Dublin Review. They 
are chiefly on Taste, some few on polemics— learned and 
spirited. There is a remarkable one on Sacrilege and its 



Digitized by 



Google 



AT. 20] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 85 

curse; proving statistically that Monastery and Abbey lands 
have never continued, in any one case of all through the 
length and breadth of this land^ in any family for the three 
generations of father, son and grandson with the link un- 
broken. We remember Neale has a preface to one of his 
books to the same intent; the fadt is more than curious, it 
is startling. 

'^ Ruskin has published the second vol. of his ' Stones of 
Venice,' entitled * Sea Stories.' His style is more wonder- 
ful than ever; the most persuasive oratory we ever read. 
His acme is to come. There never was such mind and soul 
so fused through language yet. It has the brilliancy of 
Jeffrey, the elegance of Macaulay, the diftion of Shake- 
speare had he written in prose, and the fire of — Ruskin — 
we can find no other, 

" We are less pleased with Hallam this second reading. 
One thing must not be forgotten, he did some little justice 
to the schoolmen and Middle Ages when an ignorant 
Literature and a profoundly ignorant people joined in one 
stolid senseless cry against them. 

" Now dear Brother we must say farewell. On Monday, 
nomine + Jesu, we depart for the metropolis, whence you 
shall hear from us. 

"+ Edouard 
^^ Cardinal de Birmingham 
«O.J. 

" Given under our hand 
" at our palace. 

"Ides August, MDCccLiii." 

" Touching the matter whereof you ask our counsel and 
advice, hear. 

'* We shall give no fiivolous account or explanation what- 
ever, or enter into any disquisition as to the nature, tests, 
or evidence of any symptoms whatever, metaphysical, psy- 
chological, ethical or physical. 

** You have as yet taken no vows, therefore you are as 
yet perfedlly at liberty to decide your own fate. 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC — 



86 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

" If your decision involve the happiness of another you 
know your course, follow nature, and remember the soul 
is above the mind, and the heart greater than the brain; for 
it is mind that makes man, but soul that makes man angel. 
Man as the seat of mind is isolated in the universe, for 
Angels that are above him and beasts that are below him 
are mindless, but it is soul that links him with higher 
beings and distinguishes him from the lower also. There- 
fore develope it to the full, and if you have one who may 
serve for a personification of all humanity, expend your 
love there, and it will orb from its centre wider and wider, 
like circles in water when a stone is thrown therein. 

^^ But self-denial and self-disappointment, though I do 
not urge it, is even better discipline to the soul than that. 

^' If we lose you from the cause of celibacy^ you are no 
traitor; only do not be hasty. 

" Pax vobiscum in aeternum. 

** Edouard." 

The serious postscript to this letter throws a light upon 
half-jestinjr references to celibacy and misogyny made else- 
where. Lfnderneath them was deep feeling, and the inner 
circle knew this, but to the outer world a veil of exaggera- 
tion was presented which bore the handling of those who 
only laughed or wondered. 

About these first Oxford days there is a note of Canon 
Dixon's, which I will give here as a memory too intimate 
for comment. " I believe," he says, ** that early in Oxford 
Edward experienced a great inward change. He said to 
me and Morris that he knew the time when he felt his heart 
burst into a blossom of love to his friends and all the men 
around him. I have often thought of the earnest and ex- 
cited manner in which he said this. As well as I can remem- 
ber that was the expression he used. Certainly at the time 
he began to shewa more decided and stronger charader than 
at school; though still full of vivacity and amusement." 

During his visit to " the Metropolis," alluded to by the 
Cardinal de Birmingham, Edward went to Walthamstow 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 21] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 87 

to see Morris. It had never occurred to them to mention 
to each other what their homes were like, so he had no idea 
whether his friend lived in a large house or a small one, 
and when he saw it, in comparison with his own, it seemed 
to him magnificent. Morris's father had been dead some 
years, but his mother welcomed Edward kindly, and seeing 
hts affeAion for her son would willingly have told many 
stories of his childhood ; but at this Morris chafed so much 
that the anecdotes had to be deferred. Three happy days 
they spent together, talking as they wandered about the 
flower and high-walled kitchen gardens, or reading in the 
deep window seats of a landing on the big central stair- 
case, where many books were kept 

About this time, my father's term in Birmingham came 
to an end, and he was appointed to go to London, at which 
we children were greatly excited. I have said that Edward 
came to bid us good-bye before we left, and how well I re- 
member the visit. It was only through our brother that we 
knew him — ^therewere no friends in connnon at whose houses 
we might have met, and we did not see him except at long 
intervals — ^yet the profound impression made by those rare 
meetings was never lessened by his absence, and as the train 
passed slowly through the tunnel of the Great Western 
Railway at the beginning of our journey to London, I 
grieved in the darkness because I was leaving the place 
where he lived. 

On returning to Oxford in Oftober, Edward and Morris 
found to their great satisfaftion that they could both get 
rooms in College. I do not know where Edward's were, but 
he spoke of those that Morris had as being ^ pleasant ones 
overlooking Exeter Garden and the Schools, in a little quad- 
rangle that was called Hell Quad. You passed under an 
archway called Purgatory from the great quadrangle to 
reach it" 

The evenings at Pembroke began again, and also the cor- 
respondence with Mr. Price. EsLtly in the term Edward 
writes of the joy he has in receiving news of his friends in 
Birmingham: *^ the delight one experiences here on return- 



Digitized by 



Google 



88 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

ing from Chapel and finding a letter from home is unequalled 
in the whole range of correspondence." He wrote constantly 
to his father and Miss Sampson, with a tender anxiety ex- 
pressed that they should be "happy." He could not know 
that his absence had taken away the light of the house. 

** My readings as yet have been very limited," he says, a 
little later, " not fit to talk about in faft. One thing I am 
almost ashamed to mention — viz. the spell that man Poe 
throws round me. His book of horrors is by me now. I 
know how contrary to all rules of taste are such writings, 
but there is something full of delicate refinement in all that 
hideousness. The charm is only temporary — in a day or 
two he will lie neglefted, as such ephemeral works always 
are, but at present he is lord of the ascendant. 

" If you meet with the volume just published with all his 
tales in, read particularly that in which he exemplifies his 
notion of analysis of and identification with another's think- 
ing : they are, * The Murders in the Rue Morgue,' and * The 
Purloined Letter' more especially. *The Gold Beetle' 
you know — it is a beautiful story. * The Descent into the 
Maelstrom/ * The Pit and the Pendulum ' (especially this), 
and several others are marvellously startling. ' The Fall of 
the House of Usher ' is very grand, almost my favourite. 
Some I think very objeftionable, such as ' Mesmeric EfFeds,' 
* The Black Cat' and one or two others." 

In spite of this forecast of indiflference, Edward's estimate 
of Poe's work always remained high, and a harsh and in- 
accurate memoir published after Poe's death gave him acute 
distress. Talking of it not many years ago he said that the 
day when he read it was one of the most miserable of his 
life. ** It happened to be a wet day, and I felt unfit for any 
mortal thing after reading it. I went into the kitchen to try 
and get some comfort out of baking and the ruddy glow of 
the fire, but it wouldn't do — ^what did anything matter if 
one who wrote such beautiful things could behave so? " I 
remember his joy in 1 8 74 on the appearance of Mr. Ingram's 
edition of Poe's works with a " Life " which refuted these 
accusations, and how he hastened to get the book. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 2i] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 89 

" To pass to extremes," the letter goes on, ** have you 
seen Archdeacon Wilberforce's last work on the Holy 
Eucharist ? I am now engaged in reading it at meal times. 
It has been spoken of, and I readily assent, as the most con- 
troversial and truly theological work that has come out for 
ages. It makes up his series now, viz. The Incarnation, 
Holy Baptism, and this. It will be a book for you in 
after time." 

The influence of Wilberforce upon both Edward and 
Morris was very great, and when, at the time of his secession 
to Rome in 1854, he published his Enquiry into the Prin- 
ciples of Church Authority, he all but carried them with 
him. From Wilberforce the letter turns again to answer 
something that Cormell must have said: 

"Don't be afraid, Crom, of being independent in thought 
It is a prerogative of man. This is the time for us to think 
highly of our species, to dream of development and the 
Divinity of mind ; we shall soon wash away such fancies in 
the Lethe of getting our bread. Your own feelings will 
utter the /xux/t la-ixd^^ and you can fall back upon Faith. 
Oh! it is a glorious thought, that in our nature's ruin we 
yet possess our identity and stand isolated in revealed 
Creation as the Beings with Mind. It is grand to be in such 
peril as we are — ^I speak not lightly — to be born to free 
will; more independent than Angels, for they cannot err 
by reason, having all things by intuition; higher than brutes, 
for they are impelled by the laws of instincft, to our observ- 
ance inevitable; partaking of the nature of both, and with 
mind for our proper own, we ought not to shame our natures 
as we do. What a grind, you say — nay, I mean it all." 

There arc two more letters written in this Michaelmas 
term, and both bear the same date, November 8th. One is 
to Cormell Price and the other to Harry Macdonald, who 
had remained in Birmingham in order to continue his school 
life there. They had started a manuscript School Maga- 
zine, a scheme which had Edward's sympathy. Butthe Head 
Master judged, perhaps rightly, that it was likely to inter- 
fere with their school work, and suppressed it after one or 



Digitized by 



Google 



90 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

two numbers. The reasons he gave for this step were con- 
sidered by the boys as unsatisfaiftory as the ad itself, and 
when at the same time he warned them vaguely of some 
influence proceeding from Oxford which he mistrusted, 
they were very indignant. 

The letter to Price comes first, and enters on the sub- 
jeft at once : 

^' First, let me communicate with you on the suppression 
of the Press. It is an assault upon your liberties, which 
at another time might be a signal for arms. It is an ad of 
high treason against the Great Republic of Literature, a 
most unwarrantable exertion of despotism, which cannot 
be reprehended in language half strong enough. It is incon- 
sistent, because inquisitorial in a land that acknowledges 
no Inquisition — it is self-destrudive, like all tyranny, be- 
cause it dreads investigation, and yet invites it — it is im- 
potent because unjust and unreasonable. But you must 
submit, comforting yourselves with the assurance that 

The tyrant's cruel glee 
Forces on the freer hour." 

The letter ends with, " I heard Pusey on Sunday — a 
magnificent sermon, profound and exhaustive, on Justifica- 
tion. He came out now and then gloriously — ^full of liber- 
ality. It lasted close upon two hours." 

To Macdonald he begins : 

** A letter from Crom has wrought an impulse, which I 
do not attempt to strive against, bringing with old memories 
a yearning to communicate with you, and so with poor 
materials and no capacity for invention this morning, I 
purpose opening a correspondence which with your good 
pleasure shall not cease. 

** I have written also to Crom, and expressed my sym- 
pathy with him on the suppression of the Hebdomadal, — 
sympathy which I would ofi«r you too as co-editor. What- 
ever heresy the article in question may have inculcated, it 
was unfair and undignified to take such proceedings — un- 
feir because it involved in that suppression much that 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 2i] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 91 

might have become beneficial, and undignified because it 
hinted at a fear that ^ absurdity and conceit ' would subvert 
obedience: the argument is either very lame, or the discip- 
line of the school at a very low ebb. 

^ The statement that ' men who have shewn a turn of 
mind for general knowledge have never come to any good 
in the world ' remains after all but a statement, not worth 
refutation — no one would certainly number its author in 
the obnoxious category — but we will hope it was simply 
meant for a rhetorical climax. 

'^ We know indeed, and may deplore that individual 
progress now is not what it was in former times, that the 
cultivation of the individual is drowned and overwhelmed 
in the progress of the species; we know that every tyro 
now is acquainted with more truths than ever Aristotle 
mapped the way for, or Plato dreamed of; but the difi^r- 
ence between them and us shews that ^ the march of intel- 
left ' is no inseparable concomitant . with the * march of 
science,' that there is, in fine, no proportion between the 
possession of fads and the development of mind, for the 
latter is the fruit of profound concentration of all the soul's 
energies, while the former is but flower-culling. It is abso- 
lutely true, I suppose, that the gaining general knowledge 
in youth is not incompatible with concentration; but rela- 
tively it is not true, because not prafticable. Society com- 
pels us, if we are to take any stand therein, to keep up 
with the time, and we are not here to grumble with the 
age, but adapt ourselves to it : the earth is brimming too 
full of humanity to allow room for asceticism and seclusion, 
which are necessary conditions of individual advancement. 
In old times men had it at command, but we have not; 
the times and the seasons require more of us than pedantry; 
and therefore I think the late aA and the reasoning which 
led to it, to be a vast mistake. How far Oxford men de- 
serve this suspicion of tampering with the established 
teaching I shall not say — none that I wot of would take 
the trouble, to begin with. 

" The suspicious charafters intended by Oxford men sug- 



Digitized by 



Google — 



92 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

gest Fulford, of whom, as more especially a middle term 
between us, I shall speak now — and, to begin with a rhap- 
sody, what a glorious little fellow he is ! Our subjeAs of 
private communication and thought this term have been 
those branches of psychology treating of the afFedions — 
a subjed which we have elaborated very satisfaftorily, in 
spite of constant interruptions on the part of un-sentiment- 
alists such as Morris and Faulkner. The name of Fulford 
again suggests * table-turning/ and this, mesmerism in 
general. Have you seen the article thereon in the Quarterly 
this time? it is well worth reading, and would interest 
you. The Quarterly reminds me of reviews in common, 
with all of w^ I am intensely disgusted, and never pur- 
pose reading a review on any man's work, if possible, before 
the work itself. The vulgar criticisms poured on Ruskin's 
last work from aU the presses are abominable. No one half 
understands him yet, he leaves them all behind in his star- 
flights, grovelling on the earth — and then they complain 
when he is past the cloud regions that they cannot see him 
or that he is obscure. By his eloquence, the vehicle wherein 
he travels, they are all spell-bound, as who would not be, 
for surely man never wrote like him yet — but though they 
appreciate the form more or less, they cannot reach the 
matter. 

" In this last work he transcends himself in diftion, more 
Saxon pure and simple than ever — in prose what Tenny- 
son is in poetry, and what the Pre-Raphaelites are in 
painting, full of devotion, and love for the subjed. Insu- 
lar and Northern in all their affeftions, giving us the very 
ideal of Teutonic beauty. 

** You have heard of course of the resignation of Mau- 
rice at King's Coll: London and the writings w^ led to it. 
It is a hard question to decide upon, but I am very sorry — 
for the Christian Socialists, if Maurice and Kingsley are 
fair examples, must be glorious fellows." 

There had been a letter about this time in the Guar- 
dian from the Rev. F. D. Maurice, on the subjedl of the 
charges brought against him by the Principal of King's 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 21] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 93 

College. The chief of these charges was his denial of the 
usual meaning of Eternal Punishment, and a few days 
later the Council of the College declared the two chairs he 
held to be vacant. 

Fulford also was in correspondence with my brother at 
this time, and through his letters there are occasional 
glimpses of the Birmingham set. 

"We have fallen at once into our old habits: we as- 
semble nightly in Faulkner's room and drink tea as regu- 
larly as ever, but the Tales from Household Words or 
scenes from Shakespeare or imitations of the Dons have 

given place to the more exciting amusement of chaffing , 

who during his absence of two terms from Alma Mater has 
nursed up his gullibility to a degree that would do honour 
to half a dozen freshmen, all sons of clergymen, educated 
privately by their fathers. He has been moving tables, 
books, papers (whatever he can lay his hands on) in a sur- 
prising manner since Monday, when we initiated him into 
the mystery, and made the table (in obedience to not-in- 
voluntary muscular motion) pronounce the most glorious 
things concerning him, of which the roof and crown was 
that he was a musical and poetical genius. No wonder he 
moved all sorts of things by himself after that." In the 
same letter Fulford tells of having been to see Heeley at 
Cambridge, and of the impression that Cambridge men 
made upon him. They appeared to be harder readers than 
the men he knew at Oxford. They all talked " shop," he 
adds, ** to a fearful extent, and perfedly surprised me by 
their knowledge of University matters, accustomed as I 
am at Oxford to such utter indifference to them even in 
such a know-everything as Jones." 

But this indifference on Edward's part arose from deep 
disappointment, and it was long before he could accustom 
himself to the reality of Oxford. Th6 daily work for the 
schools, he says, speaking of himself and Morris, was un- 
interesting to them, and made absolutely desolate by the 
manner of teaching — " but little by little we fed ourselves 
with the food that fitted us." 



Digitized by 



Google 



94 MEMORIALS OF [1853 

The mention of table-turning reminds me that whilst we 
lived in Birmingham, Fulford had seen something of it at 
our house, for we children had heard of it and tried it, with 
what are still to me astonishing results. The power, what- 
ever it might be, was discovered whilst our parents were 
from home, and duly reported to them on their return as 
treasure-trove. Our father said something like, **Well, 
well, my children, if it ever does it again, call me *' ; so one 
day, when he was safely within the double doors of his 
study, we set to work. We had no theory about it, and 
were only curious each time to see what would happen. 
The table, a large round one, did not fail us now, but 
seemed to awaken just as usual, turning at first with slow 
heaviness and then gradually quickening its pace till it spun 

Juite easily and set us running to keep up with it. '* Call 
^apa ! " was the word, and a scout flew to the study. He 
was with us at once, not even waiting to lay down his long 
Broseley pipe. Incredulity gave place to excitement at the 
first glance, but, to convince us of our ^f-deception, he 
cried out, ^' Don't stop, children," and leapt lightly be- 
tween us, pipe in hand, upon the middle of the table, think- 
ing to stop it in a second. His weight, however, made no 
difference — ^the table turned as swiftly and easily as before, 
and we ran round and round with it, laughing at our 
amazed father. 

And not only tables did we turn, but other objedb also, 
especially a very communicative tea-urn with which we 
established a code of rapping. Our removal to London 
put an end to these seances^ but none of us ever understood 
the things we saw at them. 

The next trace I find of Edward is an account sent to 
his &ther of a day during the Christmas vacation, when he 
was with his aunt in London, and they went together to 
see her friend, Mr. Lewis, the well-known chess-player ; 
but I have no clue to the gentleman whom he met there. 
It is curious to feel the power of Oxford over him in spite 
of his quarrel with the place, and the esfrii de corps that 
rises when speaking of it. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 21] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 95 

**At Norwood I spent a delightful day. Mr. Lewis 
himself is a profoundly talented man — the greatest chess- 
player in Europe, they say — and I met, and argued with, 
an old friend of Bumey, Lamb, Hazlitt, Coleridge, &c. 
&c. : a most glorious fellow — with eyes that have haunted 
me ever since, who took to me desperately, and pressed me 
to come and argue with himself and his son — a student at 
Heidelberg — in metaphysics, aesthetics, educational or 
theological questions. Of course I thanked him profusely, 
but though he was polite enough to compliment me and 
call himself vanquished, I should have little disposition to 
sully the glory of Oxford in appearing as her champion 
before two such knights." 

This incident confirms Mr. Price's account of Edward's 
strong natural bent towards logic and metaphysics; and the 
cordiality of his antagonist, who professed himself van- 
quished, makes one believe that he was, as I have heard, 
never captious in argument and quite free from pedantry 
of terms, so that those who did not know at what cost of 
study and training he had strengthened his natural ability 
were astonished by his skill in disputation. 

But now his great pleasure was in the society of one with 
whom no hour was wasted in dispute. The particular kind 
of help that he needed at that particular time came to him 
through the sympathy of Morris, and they literally talked 
together day and night of the things that lay near to their 
hearts. Their intercourse, however, was too vital to lead 
them hand in hand round a circle, and by the time their 
first year at Oxford was over, they had begun to deal with 
much that had previously been unquestioned. 

When they met again in the New Year this is how Ed- 
ward, with just confidence in the generosity of his first 
friend, writes to him of the second who had become so dear. 

" Morris has a deal of my time. He is one of the clever- 
est fellows I know, and to me far more congenial in his 
thoughts and likings than anyone it has been my good 
fortune to meet with — his taste and criticism in Art and 
Aesthetics generally I should any day infinitely prefer to 



Digitized by 



Google 



96 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1854 

Fulford's, who you know was my old ideal in such subjedts. 
He is full of enthusiasm for things holy and beautiful and 
true, and, what is rarest, of the most exquisite perception 
and judgment in them. For myself, he has tinged my 
whole inner being with the beauty of his own, and I know 
not a single gift for which I owe such gratitude to Heaven 
as his friendship. If it were not for his boisterous mad 
outbursts and freaks, which break the romance he sheds 
around him — at least to me — he would be a perfed hero. 
" How I am grinding you, poor fellow 1 well, briefly, 
come and see him and hear him, not in the smoke room 
or in disputations (the smoke room of intelleds) but by the 
riverside and on the highways, as I alone have seen and 
heard him." 



Digitized by 



Google 




• i.'.ii4«»- ,-; t-'.-i'>x/-«U/ .-'< 



^WuUum. o IL 



art 23. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VI 

1854 

When shall I arise and the night be gone ? 

THE year 1854 was a marked one in Edward's lifej 
for the passing away of old things and the coming 
of new moved him profoundly. 

As a rule, ordinary matters only were treated of in the 
letters home, which were written with fair regularity once 
a week; but there is a letter at the end of January in which 
the barriers of difference in age and of close relationship 
give way before a passion of enthusiasm, and like a child 
throwing himself into his father's arms, he breaks out with 
this midwinter ecstasy: 

" I have just come in from my terminal pilgrimage to 
Godstowe ruins and the burial place of Fair Rosamond. 
The day has gone down magnificently; all by the river's 
side I came back in a delirium of joy, the land was so en- 
chanted with bright colours, blue and purple in the sky, 
shot over with a dust of golden shower, and in the water, 
a mirror'd counterpart, ruffled by a light west wind — and 
in my mind piftures of the old days, the abbey, and long 
processions of the faithful, banners of the cross, copes and 
crosiers, gay knights and ladies by the river bank, hawk- 
ing-parties and all the pageantry of the golden age — it made 
me reel so wild and mad I had to throw stones into the 
water to break the dream. I never remember having such 
an unutterable ecstasy, it was quite painful with intensity, 
as if my forehead would burst. I get frightened of indulg- 
ing now in dreams, so vivid that they seem recoUeftions 
rather than imaginations, but they seldom last more than 

I. H 



Digitized by 



Google 



98 MEMORIALS OF [1854 

half-an-hour ; and the sound of earthly bells in the distance, 
and presently the wreathing of steam upon the trees where 
the railway runs, called me back to the years I cannot con- 
vince myself of living in." 

A different side of his nature appears in a letter written 
shortly after this, where some questions from Cormell about 
University matters are answered in detail with the same 
pradical judgment that helped many another friend in later 
life. 

^^ As to scholarships generally, I should think there are 
little grounds for argument anyway, either for chance or 
probability or anything. They depend entirely upon the 
men who present themselves for candidates, subjedt to a 
certain standard only^ and of course fluftuate continually. 
The idea of the stiffness of University scholarships has very 
likely deterred many from trying, and so the competition 
has been less; otherwise I have not heard that the last two 
or three have been shady. The scholarships at Queen's are 
good, but this College is now the Brasenose of old times, 
very fast indeed. And * Demyship ' is a name peculiar to 
Magdalen, leading finally I believe to a fellowship; most 
counties in England have one or two there. 

** The chief points will be the Latin writing and accuracy 
of translation. In both, the first aim must be to render the 
meaning of a passage as plainly and perspicuously as possible: 
then ornament of diAion, periods, antitheses, &c. may come 
in, but above all let the first attention be given to the matter, 
not the form of either. 

*' Terseness is the charafteristic of Latin, and terseness 
therefore is desirable for Oxford Latin. Tacitus is better 
than Cicero if it were possible to follow him. In translation 
from Greek look well to the particles; they are here sup- 
posed to be connefting links between sentences &c. not 
meaningless nonsense for filling up, to be translated at ran- 
dom by * forsooth,' * but,' ^ indeed ' &c. I should imagine 
these two are the chief things to be observed." 

Later on he writes that it has been a rambling term with 
him altogether, but certainly the happiest he has yet spent. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 21] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 99 

that every hour has been full of some employment or 
another^ and that he has ^' fallen back upon drawing and 
intends to cultivate it to some extent." Macdonald, who 
went up to matriculate in March, found him busy making 
designs from the Lady of Shalott. 

The custom, which lasted all their lives, of Morris read- 
ing aloud to Edward, had already begun, and the Notes tell 
how in this way they both came to know Ruskin's Edin- 
burgh Ledhires soon after they were printed. 

" I was working in my room when Morris ran in one 
morning bringing the newly published book with him : so 
everything was put aside until he read it all through to me. 
And there we first saw about the Pre-Raphaehtes, and 
there I first saw the name of Rossetti. So for many a day 
after that we talked of little else but paintings which we 
had never seen, and saddened the lives of our Pembroke 
friends." 

Presently, however, to their joy, Millais's ** Return of the 
Dove to the Ark " came down to Oxford and was to be 
seen at Mr. Wyatt's shop in the High Street, " and then," 
Edward said, "we knew." But still they knew nothingabout 
Van Eyck or Giotto and the Italian painters, and nothing 
also of the art of painting. A little longer and all this would 
come to them, for now days counted for weeks and weeks 
for months. 

Early in the year, he had spoken of being happy — he was 
•* beginning to forgive Oxford, and the fidgets of rebellion 
were over"; but deep refledion followed, and the ground 
on which he had hitherto stood so firmly began to fail. Mr. 
Price speaks of the religious perplexity that Edward went 
through this year as being nothing less than agony. At one 
time in his distress he was all but ready to silence question- 
ing and accept the tenets of the elder Church en bloc; at 
another he went for counsel to Newman's old friend and 
disciple, Charles Marriott, the learned and saintly Vicar of 
St. Mary's. This interview gave some relief, but the whole- 
hearted, enthusiastic and unenquiring days were gone. 

During part of the Long Vacation, as if to give Edward 



Digitized by 



Google 



loo MEMORIALS OF [1854 

breathing space for communion with his own soul, Morris 
was abroad and Cormell away from Birmingham, so that 
after he had paid his usual visit to his aunt in London, he 
found himself alone in the quiet of his father's house. 

A letter written thence shews that he had already begun 
a scheme of work which was the first step in his artistic 
life: it was a series of pen-and-ink designs made at the 
suggestion of his friend Mr. MacLaren. 

These drawings were intended for illustrations to a volume 
of Ballads upon the Fairy Mythology of Europe, which 
MacLaren had written with the intention of publishing 
immediately ; and no greater proof of confidence could have 
been given than his determination to put off the appear- 
ance of his book until it could be illustrated throughout 
by the experiments of an unknown man. He had evidently 
asked Edward to come and visit him at Summertown, and 
the answer is: '* Thank you a thousand times for your 
kind invitation. I almost fear it would unsettle me to leave 
home again, and I am quiet now: already I have refused 
three similar invitations, one to Cambridge, one to Leices- 
ter, and one to Hereford ; but if I had accepted any it 
would have been yours, from priority of engagement^ and 
sympathy in our common work." Unfortunately the last 
sheet only of this letter can be found. In it he gives an 
account of a visit to the Royal Academy Exhibition, which 
was made memorable that year bv Holman Hunt's piftures 
of " The Awakened Conscience " and ** The Light of the 
World." The fragment that remains begins thus: 

" Landseer has drivelled his time away on another group 
of the royal family in Highland costume — will he ever 
learn that the subjeft is not remarkable for conception, or 
capable of a counterbalancing beauty of execution, that it 
should be repeated every year ? Maclise has managed to 
cover an acre of canvas with mangled bodies, and a host of 
meaningless faces in steel helmets, — and all to illustrate 
a faft in history about which the less said the better. [The 
Marriage of Strongbow and Eva.] There is a pleasing 
pifture of Bertrand de Born the warrior- troubadour of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 2i] EDWARD BURNE-JONES loi 

XIII century singing to his harp by moonlight — he 
was a demon in real life, why should he be canonized by 
the painter? Altogether, what with silly unmeaning sub- 
jeds, and those of more questionable charafter, devoted to 
the hero-worship of traitors and robbers, or the prettiness 
and romance of a heartless religion, I saw that the Pre- 
Raphaelites had indeed come at a time when there was 
need for them, and resolved after my little ability to defend 
and claim a patient hearing for them. 

*^I had only time to visit Sydenham once. From the 
fuss and nonsense I had heard in conversation about it, as 
if the world had been ripening and developing to one end, 
to wit, the Crystal Palace of 1854, I was prepared to be 
thoroughly disgusted, but no, — many things pleased me, 
and I could pardon others, but as an entirety we must 
boast little of it, or future generations will say, * Was this 
their great palace they talked so much about, poor fools ! ' 
When they have built themselves an architedure in the 
enduring stone worthy of their time, and covered it with 
carving and bright colour, they will indeed have cause to 
laugh at the large hot-houses of our day we poetically call 
Crystal Palaces. As I looked at it in its gigantic weari- 
someness, in its length of cheerless monotony, iron and glass, 
glass and iron, I grew more and more convinced of the 
powerlessness of such material to efFed an Architedure. Its 
only claim to our admiration consists in its size, not in those 
elements in which lies the true principle of appreciation, 
form and colour: its form is necessarily rigid and mechani- 
cal, its colour simple transparency and a painfully dazzling 
refledion: it is a fit apartment for fragrant shrubs, trick- 
ling fountains, muslin-de-Iaines, eau-de-Cologne, Grecian 
statues, strawberry ices and brass bands — but give me 'The 
Light of the World * and the apse of Westminster." 

This mention of Grecian statues together with eau-de- 
Cologne recalls to me the fad that it was not till many 
years after the date of this letter that he turned seriously 
to the study of Greek art. 

Then follow a few simple words to his friend explaining 



Digitized by 



Google 



ro2 MEMORIALS OF [1854 

why he had not written before **One thing that prevented 
me writing was the heart-aches and love-troubles I have 
been getting into. It will not do to write about them, but 
I could tell you anything: this ought to have been stated as 
my real excuse, for no rheumatisms in the head would really 
have prevented me writing. You will know how to make 
excuses for this, you will remember how life and the things 
of life dwindle and fade away at the time, but I am quite 
awake now, anxiously expefting your next letter with advice 
about the great design. I shall have made some progress 
before you write which shall be duly notified in reply." 

In OAober also, just before they were to meet at Ox- 
ford, there is a letter to Cormell acknowledging one from 
him, and saying, ** You wrote at a time when I was suffer- 
ing greater mental troubles than I ever remember. I am 
bound to say this much, that you may know it was not 
from inattention or carelessness that you have not heard 
from me before, but only from having no heart to write a 
merry letter and too much friendship to pour my sorrows 
into your ear." 

The unknown troubler of his heart moves across this 
mirror of the past and disappears; nor was the destruAion 
of the celibate ideal involved in the experience, for in the 
letter just quoted he continues: " The Monastery, Crom, 
stands a fairer chance than ever of being founded — I know 
that it will be some day." 

Never at any time in his life did his ordinary manner 
betray to others the sadness to which, in common with all 
sensitive natures, he was subjeft. This was, I believe, owing 
artly to a principle which I find formulated in one of his 
ate letters: '* I hold it a point of honour with every gen- 
tleman to conceal himself, and make a fair show before 
people, to ease life for everyone," — ^and partly to the cheer- 
ing tSkA that companionship always had upon him. Thu% 
in the same letter which hints at his trouble, he writes 
thie following bright account of his relations with Cormell's 
family. 

^' I think it was this day week that Miss Sampson, Ful- 



la 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 103 

ford and I spent an evening at Spon Lane, very pleasantly 
indeed, as the little man observed. By the bye, Crom, 
you'd better mind and ask his intentions. Monk as I am 
and unlettered in the world's etiquette, it seemed very im- 
proper of him presenting a rose to F. There is a language 
of flowers, I hear, and you had better make it out and see 
what he means — but this is digressing. So very pleasantly 
passed the time that my father was quite enchanted with 
the bare relation of the visit. So on Sunday I again stormed 
Spon Lane with him, whereupon another very pleasant 
evening followed, to the entire oblivion of our visit's ob- 
jeft, so the next day I had to go over again." 

Yet I know that it is an allegorical portrait of himself 
which exists in an early drawing that I will try to describe. 
It shews the figure of a man seated in mournful dejeAion 
before a desk where lies an unfinished drawing of an angel. 
A small broken statue of an angel also lies at his ^et 
The man's eyes are closed, and his head rests wearily upon 
one hand, while in the other he holds an hour-glass from 
which but few of the sands have run. The background is 
of heavy rain falling into a dark sea, and underneath it is 
written, " When shall I arise and the night be gone? " 

Before the Long Vacation was over, the quiet of home 
had done its oflice, and he was eager to be gone again. 
The postponement of term for a week made him angry, 
and he wrote to Cormell saying how ardently he longed to 
be back ^* with Morris and his glorious little company of 
martyrs." 

Morris had written on his return from France, full of 
enthusiasm about the churches he had seen — Beauvais, 
Amiens and Chartres; he had a new world to tell of. 

By good fortune at the beginning of the Odober term 
the friends were able to get fresh rooms in College next 
door to each other. " All day long I have been hurrying 
about," Edward writes to Miss Sampson, ** seeing after the 
removal of my property, so that I might not lose half of 
it. My new rooms are a great improvement upon the old 
ones — ^you must contrive this term to come up and see 



Digitized by 



Google 



I04 MEMORIALS OF [1854 

them/* They were in the part of Exeter known as the 
*' Old Buildings," long since taken down. " Tumbly old 
buildings, gable-roofed and pebble-dashed, little dark pass- 
ages led from the staircase to the sitting rooms, a couple 
of steps to go down, a pace or two, and then three steps to 
go up — your face was banged by the door, and then, inside 
the rooms, a couple of steps up to a seat in the window, 
and a couple of steps down into the bedroom — the which 
was bliss," say the Notes. 

Here, when they were alone together in the evenings, 
the friends read Chaucer, and in the daytime they went 
often to look at the painted books in the Bodleian. Old 
chronicles too they devoured, and anything of any kind 
written about the Middle Ages, yet somehow missed for a 
little longer the two great books that afterwards filled so 
much of their lives — the Morte d* Arthur and the Tale of 
the Niblungs. 

There was another atmosphere about the evenings in 
Faulkner's rooms at Pembroke. All the men there met, as 
Canon Dixon says, '* on the common ground of poetry and 
indefinite artistic and literary aspiration,*' and they all had 
the idea of doing something for the world in their genera- 
tion, but it was " with larger, other eyes " than t]bc rest 
that the two Exeter men regarded the beauty of the visible 
world. 

It would have been unnatural and impossible for half- 
a-dozen friends who saw each other daily to keep their in- 
tercourse for ever at high-water mark, and no studied 
seriousness was added to that which each felt in his own 
way as he looked forward to life. They had their jokes, 
their bear-fights, and their arguments, they chaffed and 
talked slang, and many an evening passed in laughter. 

With the appearance of Cormell Price at Brasenose in 
OAober (Harry Macdonald had gone up six months before 
with a Corpus scholarship), the Birmingham set, to which 
Morris now definitely belonged, was complete. 

The welcome given to Cormell by Morris delighted 
Edward: *' Morris loved him from the first," he says, "and 



Digitized by 



Google 




(DortnrM. z/ri< 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 105 

was always fond of him and tender about him, as we all 
were." They carried him to the gymnasium and intro- 
duced him to MacLaren, but Edward's own attendance 
there was not very regular at this time, owing to the great 
fatigue that he began to feel after exercising. His power 
of walking also railed, and he complained of headache, 
brought on, as he supposed, " by over excitement." Writing 
home, he exclaims that Morris still continues the most 
clever, glorious fellow in or out of Oxford, and says that 
they are more together this term than ever. 

But how can a woman hope to describe the life of men 
at college, since she can never have seen it as it really is? 
The thing is impossible. Nevertheless that life has always 
been a centre for many thoughts and imaginings of women, 
who make for themselves pictures of it according to the 
degree of their respeft or admiration for the men they know. 
Those of whom I write were eagerly followed by the hearts 
of mothers and sisters and friends, and it is from the point 
of view of some of these that I must speak, if I am to make 
the time alive to any one. 

In the first place I will notice that though each member 
of the '* set "was as different from another as possible, 
they all made upon us the impression of being gifted, in- 
teresting, and amusing beyond words. That we thought 
them good, goes without saying. Some of us chose Fulford, 
some Edward, some Cormell Price for lode-star. I did 
not know Dixon and Faulkner sufficiently well at that time 
to sec their refledion in the eyes that followed thenu My 
brother had several very dear women and girl friends be- 
sides his mother and sisters, nor do I doubt that each one 
of the Brotherhood was blessed in the thoughts of some 
heart, known or unknown to himself. 

They had no conquering airs with women, but were 
either frank and pleased in their society or shy and humble. 
I am confident that the mystery which shrouds men and 
women from each other in youth was sacred to each one 
of them. 

To me that group will never grow old; still I see them 



Digitized by 



Googl^^ 



io6 MEMORIALS OF [1854 

in my mind as I did then, the thought of one bringing 
up that of the others, all ardent, all filled with enthusiasm 
about something or some one. 

Fulford alone seemed occasionally to stand outside, look- 
ing at himself and the others, and would talk or write of 
it, never so happy as when analyzing his own or a friend's 
character. In early Oxford days he used to write long letters 
to my brother, who was still at school, giving him descrip- 
tions of University life in a rather prepensely blase style, 
though sometimes enlivened by humour and an interest 
that he could not disguise. Once he took the pains to send 
Harry a long dramatic account of an evening at Pembroke, 
in which some ** chopping-block " from the outside, whose 
name (X.) I do not recognize, is made to draw out the 
peculiarities of different members of the set by a string of 
questions so wide of any mark and yet so fishing for second- 
hand information about books he was supposed to be read- 
ing up for himself, that Fulford rises to an ecstasy of delight 
in his own story. Dixon, Edward, Fulford, Faulkner, and 
the unknown one are represented cosily drinking tea by 
firelight when the scene opens, and the buzzing talk of 
X. rouses the others one by one from their quiet comfort. 
At first Edward and Dixon play into each other's hands 
by seriously answering all his questions in the most abstruse 
and technical terms, while Fulford seems to hop round the 
three, egging them on, and Faulkner keeps a long-suffering 
silence, but when X. — bewildered by a solemn explanation 
which he has brought upon himself from Dixon of the 
term "IntelleAual Transcendentalism" — says, "Would you 
mind saying it over again? I didn't quite catch it," Faulkner 
springs up with a bitter cry of "No! No! Don't You 
shan't ! ", and engages in a bear-fight with Edward. The 
bore triumphs, however, by going on with the conversation 
when the bear-fight is over, and finally leaves with an 
apology for deserting them so soon. 

To this may be added Edward's own recolledion of 
evenings at a later date. '^ We chatted about lifi^ such as 
we knew it^ and about ghosts^ which Dixon believed in 



Digitized by 



Google 




(7^2/^ 7 ^T^udAru 



arl 2A. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 107 

religiously but Faulkner despised, and many an evening we 
wound up with a bear- fight, and so at 11, home to Exeter 
and bed." **Exit he to Exet^" was remembered as his 
form of tarewell one night. 

Intercourse with Heeley was kept up by letters to and 
from one or other of the Oxford set, and by the exchange 
of flying visits. It was a great disappointment to him that 
none of his most intimate friends at King Edward's School 
joined him at Cambridge, and when Macdonald got a 
scholarship at Oxford he expressed himself warmly about 
it to Price: " I would have given almost anything to have 
had Macdonald up here. No fellow has ever had more in- 
fluence on me : at least on certain parts of the ^ Me/ and 
no fellow's influence has been more advantageous." In this 
same letter he speaks to Cormell of his ''ill success in start- 
ing a correspondence with Jones, whose loved idea (cf. 
Abelard & Heloisa) lies mixt with yours in my mind," 
and desires that when next Cormell sees Edward^ he will 
touch him up on the subjed ^' as with the touch of a gnat." 

Between Fulford and Heeley, who both really enjoyed 
writing, there was a voluminous correspondence, and in one 
of his easy-going letters to my brother, Wilfred scribbles 
away, *' When we are all great men, I think of publishing 
a volume or two of letters between yourself, Fulford, Dixon, 
Valentine and myself. Fancy. Ewly records and corre- 
spondence of Mr. Justice Macdonald, Mr. Valentine, 
Editor of the Metcorosophist, R. W. Dixon, Esq. Poet 
Laureate, Sir William Fulford, Bart., M.A., M.P., and 
the Rev. W. L. Heeley, Domestic Chaplain to Baron 
Skinflint." But he was wrong in every case. 

To the families of the dififerent men news of the set was 
distilled by letter, by anecdote, by rumour, and in vacation 
by glimpses of themselves, always memorable to the home- 
dwdlers. The following extract from a diary of 1 8 54, kept 
by a young sister of Cormell's^ is too innocent in its extra- 
vagance to be laughed at^and is worth something as shew- 
ing Edward's early certainty of a great future for Morris^ 
as well as the hero-worship for himself that had grown up 



Digitized by 



Google 



io8 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1854 

in a household where there was no glamour of strangeness 
about him, and he was a kind of adopted brother. 

** Sep : 1 8th. Jones came to tea. He is the most clever 
and the nicest fellow I ever knew. He says he thinks Ful- 
ford will be a * star ' and he is sure Morris will be, and I 
am sure Jones wiU be, in drawing — he draws splendidly 
and is inexpressibly splendid." Morris was as yet only a 
name to her. 

The tension of mind and feeling in which this year passed 
is not visible in any of Edward's home letters, which arrive 
as often as usual, and seem eager for news in return. 

In one of them there is a tender message to an invalid 
sister of Cormell's : " Remember me very kindly to her," 
he writes, '^ and say that I often talk with her brother about 
home, and that with all our excitement among things new 
and old up here we find many a quiet hour to think of 
those who think often of us." His widowed aunt, too, in 
her lonely London house was often in his mind. " What- 
ever time I may have beyond my home duties," he says to 
his father, " must be devoted to her. She must at times be 
very lonely — reduced to amuse herself by reading my old 
letters over and over again." 

The anxiety and self-searching that underlay this smooth 
surface of afFeftion and sympathy for others were too deep 
to be spoken of even with Morris. " Slowly, and almost 
insensibly," he says, " without ever talking about it, I think 
we were both settling in our minds that the clerical life 
was not for us, and art was growing more and more domin- 
ant daily." No wonder if at times during such a crisis all 
things seemed dark to him and physical health failed; but 
this slow, wide-eyed discovery of where his place and duty 
in the world lay was the beginning of dawn. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VII 

1855 

Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 

'' XT'ESTERDAY I went such a beautiful walk with 
I Morris and Smith — he is another who is to join 
"*" our brotherhood," wrote Edward in November, 
1854; but in May, 1855, Mr. Price says: " Our Monas- 
tery will come to nought I'm afraid; Smith has changed 
his views to extreme latitudinarianism, Morris has become 
questionable in doArinal points, and Ted is too Catholic to 
be ordained. He and Morris diverge more and more in 
views though not in friendship." 

The words "too Catholic to be ordained" we may pre- 
sume to mean that Edward was no longer loyal to the 
Church of England, but they do not suggest what was the 
faft, namely, that another inmost religion was gradually 
taking the place of every form that had gone before it. 

"Divergence in views but not in friendship" exadly 
expresses what happened and was bound to happen from 
time to time between two such men as Morris and Edward ; 
but divergence of aim, never. With the abandonment 
of the clerical ideal went also the first proposed scheme of 
a brotherhood, but from the ashes of the old the new was 
born. Before this, however, there was a time when in the 
deep unrest of his spirit Edward would gladly have cut his 
way out of the impasse in which he found himself at Ox- 
ford by accepting one of the commissions offered by Gov- 
emment to the University during the Crimean War. " I 
wanted to go and get killed," he said, but he was rejeAed 



Digitized by 



Google 



no MEMORIALS OF [1855 

on the score of healthy and deliverance was accomplished 
otherwise. 

At the end of May Edward ran up to London to see the 
Royal Academy Exhibition, carrying Mr. Price with him 
to his aunt's house. For the lonely little lady this was great 
happiness, and thenceforth Cormell became one of her chief 
favourites. When they left her she writes to him, *' My 
dear Edward seems very desirous that I should make a ^ pet ' 
of you, and to tell you the truth I do not think I should 
find much difficulty in so doing. You have no idea how 
much I miss you both; after you were gone I went into 
your room and it looked so desolate that I could almost 
have shed tears! " And Morris came up to town also, for 
the Notes say: *' When I was in London visiting my aunt, 
Morris and I went across to Tottenham to the house of a 
Mr. Windus, who was said to have some piAures of the Pre- 
Raphaelites, where we spent a happy morning. It was there 
that we first saw a pifture by Madox Brown, called * The 
Last of England,* and a beautiful little piAure of a lady 
in black by Millais which I have never seen since, and some 
drawings by Millais; and we came away strengthened and 
confirmed. It must have been at the end of the summer 
term of this year that we got permission to look at the Pre- 
Raphaelite piAures in the house of Mr. Combe, the head 
of the Clarendon Press at Oxford, and there we saw two 
piftures by Holman Hunt, *The Christian Missionary 
wounded in the Fisherman's Hut ' and a portrait of some 
surpliced friend of the Combes in Oxford, with part ot the 
Cloisters of New College for a background. But our great- ^ 
est wonder and delight was reserved for a water-colour of 
Rossetti's, of Dante drawing the head of Beatrice and dis- 
turbed by people of importance. We had already fallen in 
with a copy of the Germ, containing Rossetti's poem of 
the Blessed Damozel, and at once he seemed to us the 
chief figure in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood." 

For the Long Vacation they made a happy plan of going 
to North France to see the churches of which Morris had 
brought word the year before; but first, as soon as term 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 1 1 1 

was over, they agreed to accept an invitation from Heeley 
and go to see him and Cambridge. 

** There was nothing much in this journey," Edward 
says; " but for some reason I remember every moment of 
it, from my hunting long in the shops in the Strand and 
elsewhere to find some portrait or other of Tennyson, whom 
I had never seen and whose aspeA was unknown to me, 
and getting a bad little print which had to content me. 
And then I met Morris at the Railway. Our talk was of 
old French Chronicles, and I remember everything on the 
journey. That first evening in Cambridge we went before 
any other place to see the little round Church [St. Sepul- 
chre's]; and there Heeley showed us the first edition of 
Tennyson's poems with the Hesperides in it, and the earlier 
Mariana in the South, to oiu- great delight and content. 
Three or four very happy days we passed.'* 

Soon after this Cambridge visit my own recolleAion of 
Morris begins. At the Royal Academy, where Wilfred 
Heeley had taken me, we saw him standing before Millais's 
pifture of** The Rescue," examining it closely : as he turned 
to go away, Heeley said " That 's Morris," and introduced 
us to each other; but he looked as if he scarcely saw me. 
He was very handsome, of an unusual type — the statues 
of mediaeval kings often remind me of him — and at that 
time he wore no moustache, so that the drawing of his 
mouth, which was his most expressive feature, could be 
clearly seen. His eyes always seemed to me to take in rather 
than to give out. His hair waved and curled triumphantly. 

By this time his reputation as a poet had been established 
amongst his friends at Oxford by some verses, the first he 
had ever written, of new and singular beauty. The way 
in which he answered the enthusiasm with which they were 
hailed tells more about him than any description could. 
** Well, if this is poetry," he said, ** it is very easy to 
write." And though for some time he continued to pro- 
duce a fresh p)oem almost every day, he did not give up 
any other work that he was about, but simply added poetry 
as the blossom of it all. 



Digitized by 



Google 



112 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

" Topsy is writing such a beautiful story/' says Edward 
in a letter home, ** so glorious you cannot think; when it 
is finished you shall see it." The name of " Topsy " was 
given to Morris by Edward, and finding favour in the 
intimate circle, it soon became much more closely identi- 
fied with him than his own proper one of William, which 
no one at Oxford ever used. Edward, on the other hand, 
was a man whom friends readily called by his familiar 
Christian name, Ted, or, in later years, Ned. 

The tour in France was intended to be a walking one, 
for the sake of economy necessary for Edward, and Ful- 
ford and Price were both asked to join it, but finally Cor- 
mell was unable to come. 

On July 1 8 th, the day before they started, Edward 
called at our house in Chelsea, when I was out. Return- 
ing home I missed him so narrowly that I distinAly saw 
him walking away down the street as I reached my own 
door. "Jones and Morris and Fulford were going to 
France to-morrow," I was told; "Jones had just been to 
call." I knew it. 

Faulkner and Heeley and Macdonald spent the evening 
with Edward and Fulford, who were to meet Morris at 
the train next morning, and then the two travellers went 
for the night to a small hotel near the railway station. 
Fulford had brought a volume of Keats with him and read 
some of it aloud before they slept. 

They crossed by Folkestone and Boulogne, going straight 
on to Abbeville, where they arrived late in the evening; 
but after a short night Morris called the others early to 
wander about the town till breakfast. In the afternoon 
they left again, having seen streets, houses and churches 
all beautiful in fresh and foreign ways, and, from the 
tower of St. Wolfram's, such a panorama of the high- 
pitched roofs and irregular streets of the town and the low 
hills and bright fields of the country round as made them 
loth to come away. Short as their time was, however, 
Edward managed to make a drawing in one of the streets. 

Amiens was reached and an hour spent in the Cathedral 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 1 1 3 

before dinner, the pilgrims returning to it afterwards. 
*' Morris surveyed it with calm joy," writes Fulford, ** and 
Jones was speechless with admiration. It did not awe me 
until it got quite dark, for we stayed till after nine, but it 
was so solemn, so human and divine in its beauty, that love 
cast out fear." 

Fulford's attitude of vigilance to mark his own sensa- 
tions, and his interest in the enthusiasm of the other two, 
are preserved in letters which he wrote during the tour. 
Morris wrote to Cormell, and in his Notes £dward has 
completed a pifture of the time. 

The walking part of the tour soon came to an end, for 
Morris was uncomfortably shod and fell lame at Amiens, 
^* filling the streets with imprecations on all bootmakers." 
He bought a pair of gay carpet slippers to try if those 
would be easier, and in them gallantly continued the journey 
for ten miles, but at Beauvais, as he was quite footsore, 
they gave up all further idea of walking. 

On Sunday morning the 22nd July they attended High 
Mass in Beauvais Cathedral, and the impression made upon 
Edward by the service may be seen from the following 
passage in a letter written more than a generation after- 
wards: 

^^ Do you know Beauvais, which is the most beautiful 
church in the world? I must see it again some day — one day 
I must. It is thirty-seven years since I saw it and I re- 
member it all — and the processions — and the trombones — 
and the ancient singing — ^more beautiful than anything I 
had ever heard and I think I have never heard the like since. 
And the great organ that made the air tremble — and the 
greater organ that pealed out suddenly, and I thought the 
Day of Judgment had come — and the roof, and the long 
lights that are the most graceful things man has ever 
made. 

*' What a day it was, and how alive I was, and young — 
and a blue dragon-fly stood still in the air so long that I 
could have painted him. Oh me, what fun it was to be 
young. Yes, if I took account of my life and the days in 



Digitized by 



Google 



114 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

it that most went to make me, the Sunday at Beauvais would 
be the first day of creation." 

Morris in his wonderful way knew everything about 
every place they went to, and the thought of the mischief 
that was being done in Paris to Notre-Dame^and how miser- 
able it would be to see, made him urge his companions to 
go straight from Beauvais to Chartres, missing Paris en- 
tirely. *' But I wanted to see the pidures in the Louvre," 
says Edward, ** and Fulford wanted to see Paris, and after 
all there was the Hotel Cluny with which to pacify Morris " ; 
so, after attending Vespers at Beauvais, to Paris they went^ 
and the next day Fulford says that they worked hard at 
sight-seeing for sixteen hours. At the Beaux Arts they 
found to their delight no less than seven Pre-Raphaelite 
pictures, and stayed looking at little beside them for half 
the day. 

In the evening, by Edward's particular desire, they went 
to the Opera, for he had never seen one, and heard Alboni 
in Le Prophete. "Jones was perfcftly enraptured, but 
Morris seemed a good deal bored," reports Fulford. 

They found the sculptures of Notre-Dame, as Morris 
had foretold, half taken down and lying in careless wreck 
under the porches, and " for the first time saw some of the 
secrets of restoration." 

In the Louvre Morris made Edward shut his eyes and 
so led him up to Angelico's pifture of" The Coronation of 
the Virgin " before he allowed him to look, and then he 
was transported with delight. But " Morris was fidgetty " 
all the time they were in Paris, so after three days they 
hurried away and went straight to Chartres. 

** There we were for two days, spending all our time in 
the Church, and thence made northwards for Rouen, tra- 
velling gently and stopping at every Church we could find. 
Rouen was still a beautiful mediaeval city, and we stayed 
awhile and had our hearts filled. From there we walked 
to Caudebec, then by diligence to Havre, on our way to 
the churches of the Calvados : and it was while walking on 
the quay at Havre at night that we resolved definitely that 



Digitized by 



Google 



AT. 22] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 1 1 5 

we would begin a life of art, and put off our decision no 
longer — he should be an architeft and I a painter. It was 
a resolve only needing final conclusion ; we were bent on 
that road for the whole past year, and after that night's talk 
we never hesitated more. That was the most memorable 
night of my life.*' 

What need for us to follow the journey further, now they 
have reached its goal? 

Soon after their return to England Morris went down to 
stay with Edward in Birmingham, and the little house in the 
Bristol Road shone with joy at their presence. Most of the 
Oxford set, together with Wilfred Heeley, were then living 
within a few miles of each other, and the men met every 
day. 

A diary of the time, kept by Mr. Price, fortunately re- 
mains, through which one can see them all in the far dis- 
tance, beginning with Sunday, August 26th, when Cormell 
went up to the Bristol Road to see Edward and found 
Morris there, " wild and jolly as ever," and they had " much 
talk about Maud." They seem to have held one long con- 
versation, only interrupted by the night's sleep. 

The Prices were now living altogether at Spon Lane, 
West Bromwich, but distance did not prevent the friends 
from making their house a frequent trysting-place where 
the eager interest and gay spirit of the girls kept everything 
at its brightest A great deal of reading aloud was done 
there, chiefly by Fulford. The Palace of Art, Vision of 
Sin, and Oenone are all mentioned as being read by him in 
one evening. The young people used to gather round a 
small oak table to listen, and there was a world of conversa- 
tion afterwards about what they had heard. 

But when the men were alone, much of their talk was of 
a scheme that for some time past had been taking the place 
of the first proposed brotherhood and whose details they 
now threshed out and sifted. It was an idea, suggested by 
Dixon, of their all joining together to start a magazine, 
which would be at once a medium for the expression of 
their principles and enthusiasms and also an assured place 



Digitized by 



Google 



ii6 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

for the publication of original work. The whole set wel- 
comed the plan, and Heeley promised help from Cambridge, 
but innumerable spoken words had to precede the written 
ones. 

What preparation of the heart of man could have been 
better than this, recorded by Mr. Price after one of their 
conversations: '* It is unanimously agreed that there shall 
be no shewing off, no quips, no sneers, no lampooning in 
our Magazine "? Politics, they resolved, were to be almost 
eschewed, and the contents of the magazine were to be 
•^mainly Tales, Poetry, friendly critiques and social articles.*' 

They went long walks, talking as they went One glori- 
ously fine day it was to the Lickey Hills; " Art the chief 
subjed going out, Keats coming back,'* says the diary. 
Then, for a change, next day, Edward and Morris carrioi 
Mr. Jones and Miss Sampson to Spon Lane, and the evening 
passed merrily, " talking of trifles." A meeting at Heeley's 
house is mentioned, where conversation fell chiefly upon 
Carlyle and Tennyson, — Past and Present and the French 
Revolution were in their hands that Autiunn — ^and again, 
before Morris* visit came to an end, we see them at Spon 
Lane, where with prophetic interest Morris and Cormell 
talked long together of "the organization of labour." 
Then there were quiet times when Edward and Morris 
were alone and communed with each other in their own 
world of imagination. About this world which never failed 
him Edward once said, ^' Of course imagining doesn't end 
with my work: I go on always in that strange land that is 
more true than real." He had lately found a treasure be- 
longing to that land over which he and his friend now re- 
joiced together. 

It was Southey's reprint of Malory's Morte d* Arthur: 
and sometimes I think that the book never can have been 
loved as it was by those two men. With Edward it became 
literally a part of himself. Its strength and beauty, its 
mystical religion and noble chivalry of adion, the world 
of lost history and romance in the names of people and 
places — it was his own birthright upon which he entered. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 117 

^ I remember I could not buy the precious book," he 
writes thirty-five years afterwards. '* I used to read it in a 
bookseller's shop day after day, and bought cheap books 
to pacify the owner, but Morris got it at once and we 
feasted on it long." After nearly three weeks together in 
Birmingham Morris went on to Worcester, and Edward 
started for a long-delayed visit to Harris Bridge, but " the 
precious book " seems to have been left with him, for when 
he was back again at home Mr. Price's journal says, ** over 
to Birmingham, round and round the garden with Ted, 
reading the Morte d' Arthur, the chapters about the death 
of Percival's sister and the Shalott lady." Then the talks 
began again, though Morris was not there, except by letters, 
which he sent often. In one of these letters he evidently 
spoke about leaving Oxford before taking his degree, for 
on September 28th Cormell puts succinftly in his diary, 
** Wrote to Morris two sheets abusing him roundly for 
thinking of leaving Oxford " — to which Morris answers in 
his own direA way, ** Thank you very much for taking so 
much interest in me, but make your mind easy about my 
coming back next term, I am certainly coming back, though 
I should not have done so if it had not been for my 
Mother." Dixon too was writing frequently, so that ab- 
sence was bridged over and the little constellation moved 
steadily along in its appointed course. Occasionally the 
evenings were varied by going to the theatre, but gener- 
ally their own company sufficed them. 

One night they are at Fulford's home, talking about 
dreams and ghosts, and Fulford reads them a story he has 
written for the yet unnamed magazine. Then the talk 
swings round to *^ health in mediaeval times compared with 
modern." 

On Oftober 6th the same post brings letters from both 
Morris and Dixon, ** both sick of aimless, theoretical lives," 
and by the 1 3th the whole set, more truly a Brotherhood 
than ever before, meet in Oxford for what proved to be 
their last term together. Fulford, who was hesitating about 
taking orders, had tried the experiment of being a master 



Digitized by 



Google 



ii8 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

in a boys' school at Wimbledon, but came back to *^ coach" 
Morris for his degree, and Heeley, who had left Cambridge 
and passed the East India Civil Service examination with 
distindion^ was a great deal with them. 

Dixon was living out of College at this time and his 
rooms were now the usual place of meeting. Dr. Birkbeck 
Hill, then in his second term at Pembroke, has written 
sympathetically of evenings that he remembers there; re- 
calling '^ a little front parlour in a small lodging house in 
Pembroke Street " as the background of a group of eager 
young men who were discussing the forthcoming first 
number of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. ^^ It was 
a new world into which I was brought," he says. " The 
subjefb I had always heard discussed were never discussed 
here, while matters on which I had never heard anyone 
speak formed here the staple of the talk." 

I cannot help lingering over these days, so afledting in 
the mingled light of the past and present Let us take up 
the story at the first day of term. 

** Topsy met me at the station," says Mr. Price : ^* drove 
to Dixon's, where were Fulford, Ted, Mac, Hatch, and 
James Price. Talked about the grind and all topics." 

The following day was Sunday^ and after Morning 
Service the men adjourned to Morris' rooms, where 
^^ John Oakley came in." This was a man well known and 
loved through his life for his powerful and genial nature, 
and remembered by a world larger than the circle of his 
personal friends as President of the Union at Oxford, 
hardworking clergyman in the East End of London, and 
afterwards Dean of Carlisle and of Manchester. 

In the evening they met again at Dixon's, where they 
" talked on a myriad subjeAs and Ted read some * Yeast' " 
Alton Locke, Hypatia, and Westward Ho! had all been 
welcomed gladly by the set. Hood too was well known 
and valued. One night, after Fulford had read Miss 
Kilmansegg aloud, they all agreed that Hood was under- 
rated. ** More humour than wit this night : the fun be- 
came rampagious " suggests pradical jokes with Edward 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 23] ' EDWARD BURNE-JONES 119 

in the foreground. " Most of the set in a very stupid 
humour " is another frank verdid. " Ted thinks of leaving 
Oxford and beginning painting at once," is an entry before 
the term was a week old, and some words from a home 
letter of Edward's about the same time may be taken with 
it: " All the fellows here are quite well; I meet them every 
day in the evening and sometimes oftener. Altogether the 
evenings pass pleasantly^ but many of us are sadly tired of 
Oxford I think." 

After the night at Havre, Edward and Morris had been 
of one mind in wishing to leave Oxford direAly and go, 
the one into an archited's office and the other to his 
painting ; but clear as their knowledge was of the way 
they meant to take, they could not follow it so ruthlessly. 
Their parents had to be reckoned with — not as mere ob- 
strudions, for they loved them — and we have seen the 
conclusion to which Morris came. There is no account of 
how Mr. Jones received the news that his son was to be 
an artist instead of a clergyman, but it is certain he would 
not long oppose anything which that son desired. Edward 
carried his difficulty to his firm friend outside the set at 
Oxford. " I dine at MacLaren's to-day," he writes, ** to 
talk over future prospeds and my profession. I want to 
get the matter ^ttled if possible soon, for it is so wearing 
not to have a clear objed before one.** By the end of the 
term his final declared intention is, '^I shall take my degree 
next June, and commence at once to get a living." 

To Edward I believe the most important thing that hap- 
pened this term was his meeting with Rossetti's illustration 
to The Maids of Elfenmere, just published in AUingham's 
Day and Night Songs. For him it cleared up the question 
of what a modern drawing could be made to express and 
with how much beauty, and at»the sight his own imagination 
burned within him and he became bold to use it. From 
what he said at the time about this design he never 
swerved: "It is I think the most beautiful drawing for 
an illustration that I have ever seen; the weirdness of the 
Maids of Elfenmere, the musical timed movement of their 



Digitized by 



Google 



I20 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

arms together as they sing, the face of the man, above all, 
are such as only a great artist could conceive." 

I hesitate to speak about the technicalities of art or about 
pictures which are their own expounders, but the spirit of 
Edward's work was a part of himself and my knowledge 
of him helped me to understand it, so that I feel it is pos- 
sible to lay one's finger on his earliest work and say : " This 
was done before and this after he had seen The Maids of 
Elfenmere." 

The designs which were made for Mr. MacLaren's book 
remain in the possession of his family and are of the most 
curious interest. The scheme included a frontispiece, title- 
page, illustrations and ornamental letters. They were be- 
gun early in 1854 and carried on for about two years and 
a half, and in the series may be traced his development 
from the time that he first went into the Wytham woods 
to draw leaves and branches until the day when he dis- 
covered that the human form was the alphabet of the 
language he was henceforth to use. 

Mr. MacLaren's daughter has repeated to me a story 
about Edward while he was engaged on this work, which 
she often heard her father telL One early morning he was 
awakened by gravel being thrown at his bedroom window, 
and looking out saw Edward standing in the garden 
below with a haggard face. ** What 's the matter? what 
do you want? " *' Mac, you must come down — Fve been 
up all night over it, and this drawing won't come right — 
you must come down and look at it and see if you can say 
where it 's wrong." MacLaren went down, and with eyes 
freshly brought to bear upon the drawing saw something 
that he was able to suggest before his friend turned again 
to walk back to Oxford. 

The visit to Harris Bridge in September had been a 
pleasant one to Edward, especially in renewing friendship 
with his cousin Maria Choyce. After his return he writes 
to her: 

" It was a very happy week I spent with you, and I often 
recall it, day by day, as it went by so tranquilly, so diflTer- 



Digitized by 



Google 



Xl'"^ 



KBEX^ smrlmcj Ires 




^dluAirtUlon ^ tke ^Tfury l^^ivmdif l^t/ . ArcAllHiid^ 4'Uu:JMre4i . 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



i 

Google 




/;</>J.v ;. ''\v!^^ 



. J Ud^Airation to tA^ . /niry y /nniila {*u ^H/xAil'-aU ^ ^lac^an'n . 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 121 

ently from the ordinary course of my life: and among many 
plans and hopes for future months, not the least in pleasur- 
able forethought is the purpose of again seeing you at 
Harris Bridge, and carrying on our old conversations that 
were so soon broken, with better store of knowledge and 
deeper sympathies." 

He intended to begin a regular correspondence with her 
again, but writing dwindled before painting, and the in- 
tention came to nothing. In one of the letters he did ac- 
complish he speaks of his present position and changed 
views for the future. " And I am to be. Heaven knows 
what, a painter I hope, if that is possible — if not, why 
anything so it be not a parson. Save me from that, for I 
have looked behind the veil.'* These words recall others 
occasionally heard from him in later life, about the " ma- 
terial" of which clergymen were made as he saw it in Oxford. 
The kind of artist he looked forward to being was ** prob- 
ably a poor and nameless one — very probably indeed.* An 
account he gives to her of the Magazine fortunately carries 
on its history from the point already reached. 

'^ Shall I tell you about our Magazine, as you are so good 
as to take an interest in it? In the enclosed envelope I have 
sent you a prospeftus. It appeared in nearly ail the maga- 
zines of the month, and will be in the Quarterly reviews 
of January and in the Times. We have thoroughly set 
ourselves to the work now, banded ourselves into an ex- 
clusive Brotherhood of seven. Mr. Morris is proprietor. 
The expenses will fall very heavily upon him, I fear, for it 
cannot be published under ^^500 per annum, exclusive of 
engravings which we shall sometimes give: he hopes not to 
lose more than ^^300, but even that is a great deal. Not 
one Magazine in a hundred pays, but we are full of hope. 
We have such a deal to tell people, such a deal of scolding 
to administer, so many fights to wage and opposition to 
encounter that our spirits are quite rising with the emer- 
gency. We shall restrid ourselves to our present con- 
tributors, and not receive any indiscriminate contributions, 
for we wish to keep before us one aim and end throughout 



Digitized by 



Google 



122 



MEMORIALS OF 



l^^SS 



the Magazine, and I question if we should find many to 
join us in all the undertaking, and answer for all our 
opinions. 

** Two of the most able young writers of Cambridge have 
joined us, and for three of our Oxford contributors I should 
look long up and down the world before I could name their 
peers. Our first number will contain : 

Sir Philip Sidney — to be continued 

through six months 
Alfred Tennyson & his Poems — ^through 

3 numbers 
The Cousins, a Tale . 
Story of the Unknown Church 
The Rivals, a Tale 
Notice of the Song of Hiawatha 
Essay on The Newcomes . 
Notice of Kingsley's Sermons 
Winter Weather, a Poem . 



by Mr. Heeley. 

by Fulford. 
by me. 
by Morris, 
by Dixon. 
by Macdonald. 
by me. 
by Heeley. 
by Morris. 



*^I have not gone on with the tale I began at Harris 
Bridge : that must be in reserve for a long time. In the 
next number we shall have : 



Continuation of Sir Philip Sidney. 

„ ,, Tennyson. 

A Northern Tale 
Essay on French Churches . 
The War. 

Review of Macaulay . 
Essay on Carlyle 



. by me. 
. by Morris. 
. by Dixon. 
. by Heeley. 
. by Vernon 

Lushington. 

and something else undecided — and I hope an engraving. 
Of course I am established as permanent artist to the 
Brotherhood. As the months go on we hope to treat about 
everything, to have articles on all the great men living or 
dead. In the March number I shall introduce Ruskin and 
in the April Fouque. We have bound ourselves to continue 
it for one year, and then if it does not turn out such a very 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 123 

great failure we have no limits to its continuance. It will 
go on till we are all dead, I hope, and perhaps afterwards. 
I will, send you the first number and then you shall please 
yourself about taking it in. You will find a deal of it very 
dry sometimes, but you will not mind that. For my part 
I have not much esteem for things done without labour. 

** Watch carefully all that Morris writes. You will find 
one of the very purest and most beautiful minds on earth 
breathing through all he touches. Sometimes I even regret 
that he is my fnend, for I am open to the charge of parti- 
ality by praising him so, and if he were a stranger I know 
I should deteft him in a heap of others* writings, and watch 
for something very great from him, as I do now. Fulford 
also — in all he writes you may place every belief, he is a 
hard and deep thinker with a perfedly magnetic influence 
over truth, drawing it to him, and selefting it where others 
would constantly miss it He does not write so poetically 
nor beautifully, or rather pidx)rially, as Morris, but in 
argument he is triumphant, you will soon deteft him. 

^^ Dixon is another fine fellow, a most interesting man, as 
ladies would say — dark-haired and pale-faced, with a beauti- 
ful brow and a deep, melancholy voice. He is a poet also. 
I should be sorry to dash the romance of his charafter, but 
truth compels me to say he is an inveterate smoker. 

** Heeley is an awful fellow — knows everything, so as to 
have taken the place of the proverb * The deuce knows/ 
and invested it with his own personality, * Heeley knows.' 
Huge moustachios, not handsome, very awkward, covered 
with honours at Cambridge. 

** Macdonald is at present only a complement. When we 
have filled our staflF to completion he will retire, and two 

S'ants come in his place, Faulkner, on whose youthful 
ows hang the heaviest laurels Oxford has given tor years, 
and a great Cambridge man named Lushington, to whom 
I have not yet been introduced. He is already an author 
and I hear a very very fine fellow. 

" Such is our little Brotherhood. We may do a world of 
good, for we start from new principles and those of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



124 MEMORIALS OF [1855 

strongest kind, and are as full of enthusiasm as the first 
crusaders, and we may perish in a year as others have done 
before. Well, if we are wanted I suppose we shall remain, 
and if not, what have we to want ? Nothing, I know, for 
I can safely afiirm for all that no mean and contemptible 
desire for a little contemporary fame, no mere purpose of 
writing for writing's sake has prompted one amongst us, 
but a sole and only wish to teach others principles and 
truths which they may not know and which have made us 
happy." 

At Rouen Edward and Morris had found the Tauchnitz 
edition of Thackeray's latest book, The Newcomcs, and 
the enthusiasm with which they read it resulted in the essay 
which Edward marks in this letter as one of his own con- 
tributions to the first number of the Magazine. 

In after years he was very sensitive about these early 
writings, and if it had been possible would have wiped out 
every word, but the literary power which he disclaimed was 
proved at Oxford by the frequent "posting" of his name 
on the gate of his G>llege for English Essays and was shewn 
always in private correspondence. After he became a 
painter he seemed to feel a kind of jealousy at the employ- 
ment of any other means of expression than painting, and 
deliberately curbed the use of words in public, so that 
nothing would have induced him to make a speech or write 
an article. 

His Essay on The Newcomes need not be discussed here, 
but some words in it so clearly put this point of the lan- 
guage of art that I will quote them. ** When shall we learn 
to read a piAure as we do a poem, to find some story from 
it, some little atom of human interest that may feed our 
hearts withal, lest the outer influences of the day crush them 
from good thoughts? When will men look for these things 
and the artist satisfy them? " And in another place, speak- 
ing especially of illustrations to books, he writes: "An 
artist should be no faint echo of other men's thoughts, 
but a voice concurrent or prophetical, full of meaning." 

As to the story of The Cousins, Canon Dixon's me- 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 125 

mory brings back the scene of its being first read before 
the Set, and shews us for a moment the whole group. He 
says: " The first notion I had of E. B.-J.'s literary power 
was at the time of the starting of the first number of the 
Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. I had written my tale 
of * The Rivals/ and read it one evening to the assembled 
Brotherhood in my room in Pembroke Street, and it had 
been received in a manner of which I need here say nothing. 
Morris had written his * Story of an Unknown Church': 
and it had been read, and received in a way of which I 
remember nothing but my own admiration: but when it 
was read I cannot recall. A few days afterwards I met 
Fulford, who said, * He has written such a gorgeous tale, 
that man.' He meant E. B.-J. In the evening of the same 
day (I think) we met in Fulford's room and E. B,-J. read 
*The Cousins.* We were all as if dumb at the end of it. 
I felt the commanding beauty and delicate phrasing, and 
also the goodness of heart that the writing shewed. I had 
no notion before that E. B.-J. was gifted so highly for 
literature. His reading of it was very fine. As soon as he 
could, he rushed out and left us. 

"He afterwards wrote for the Magazine a northern 
story. I think it was called * A Story of the North.' My 
opinion of this was not quite so favourable. It seemed to 
me too fierce (in style) for the matter; and more laboured 
than * The Cousins.' " 

There is a frank entry about this time in Mr. Price's 
diary: " It is observable that less sentiment is uttered than 
aforetime by us — reserved, I suppose, for paper." Faulk- 
ner's double first in Greats, just taken, explains the *^ laurels" 
mentioned in Edward's description of him. 

The Vernon Lushington spoken of, since well known 
as Judge Lushington, is so pleasantly drawn in the follow- 
ing description of him by Heeley when they were under- 
graduates together, that one sees why the Oxford Set must 
have welcomed him gladly as a contributor. 

"One of the jolliest men I know in Trinity is Lushing- 
ton, son of Dr. Lushington (a great man in the Ecclesiastical 



Digitized by 



Google 



126 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1855 

Courts). The young Lushington has been a middy for 
three years, cruising about the Indian Ocean, having ren- 
contres with Arabs &c., then he comes to Cambridge and 
takes up arms against a sea of troubles, classical and mathe- 
matical. He is thoroughly frank, open and sailorlike, 
earnest and enthusiastic, extremely Radical, but not wildly, 
taking a great deal of interest in all questions of political 
economy and moral philosophy, an ardent admirer of Plato, 
Wordsworth, and especially Ruskin." 

But in spite of such companionship at Trinity, Heeley 
kept a longing eye on the life of his old schoolfellows at 
Oxford. " I wish," he wrote to one of them, " I had fallen 
into a set as you have, but I know many men and few 
well. I wish more than ever that I had something in com- 
mon with other men beyond common fondness for literature 
and such things." 

Morris took a pass degree, and after that began at once 
to make arrangements for entering the office of Mr. Street 
the architeft, who was then living in Oxford. This was all 
settled by the beginning of December, to Cormell Price's 
great comfort, for Edward did not intend to keep residence 
next term, and life at Oxford without both his chief friends 
was not to be calmly contemplated. 

So far as I can gather, Edward's plan was to go up to 
London at the beginning of the new year for a visit to his 
aunt, and then to return to Birmingham and pass the next 
two or three months quietly at home, reading for honours. 
It was unknown to him when he came down to spend 
Christmas with his father that he had in reality left Oxford. 



Digitized by 



Google 



'J5 

for 
nr- 

Dd 

le- 

h 
il 




( rr/ion ^ u.muioi.o 



art. 2 6. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VIII 

ANNUS MIRABILIS 
1856 

ONE wet morning in January, 1856, Edward found 
his way to Walpole Street, Chelsea, where the 
Macdonalds then lived. Whether he intended the 
call for my brother or whether it had occurred to him that 
he would see how we all were, I do not know, but that 
which had been ordained was accomplished and we met 
again. He was then staying with Mrs. Catherwood, and it 
is curious to think of all that happened to him during this 
visit to London having for background her sober little 
Camberwell house. To its door the post brought the first 
letter Edward ever received from Ruskin — in answer, I 
believe, to one that had gone to him with the January 
number of the Magazine — and the excitement of this event 
is preserved in some words written to Cormell Price. 

" I'm not Ted any longer, Fm not E. C. B. Jones now 
— Fve dropped my personality — Fm a correspondent with 
RusKiN, and my future title is 'the man who wrote to 
Ruskin and got an answer by return/ I can better draw 
my feelings than describe them, and better symbolise them 
than either." Beneath is a drawing of himself prostrate 
on the ground before an aureoled and nimbused presence 
intended for Ruskin. 

Oft January 9th Miss Price's diary says very simply and 
truly : " Morris does not like being Editor of the O. and C. 
Magazine, so gives Fulford /loo a year to be Editor.'* 
This arrangement brought Fulford to live in London, where 
he and Heeley took a lodging together at 20, Montpelier 
Square, Brompton, that at once became a meeting-place 



Digitized by 



Google 



128 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

for any of the Set who might be in town; it is referred to 
when, soon after his arrival in London, Edward writes to 
Cormell; " On Tuesday I dined at Brompton; Topsy and 
Macdonald were there, five of us altogether, like old times/* 
About an article that Cormell was writing for the Magazine 
he goes on to say: " It is safe to be jolly, for you have 
worked well at it, and are in love with the subjeft, which 
is half the battle." 

The same feeling that had impelled him to hunt for 
a portrait of Tennyson now made him e^r to know 
what the man looked like who had drawn the Maids of 
Elfenmere and written the Blessed Damozel, and he 
cast about to find how he might be able to see the face of 
Rossetti. He has himself described so fully the way in 
which this was accomplished, that though the story has 
appeared elsewhere it must be repeated here. The quest 
also brought him and Vernon Lushington together for the 
first time. " I had no dream," he says, *' of ever knowing 
Rossetti, but I wanted to look at him, and as I had heard 
that he taught in the Working Men's College in Great 
Ormond Street, a little University set up by Denison 
Maurice, where men skilled in science or history gave lec- 
tures and their services of evenings, I went to the College 
one day to find out how it would be possible that I should 
set eyes upon him. I was told that there was to be a monthly 
meeting that very evening in a room conneAed with the 
College, and that, for a modest payment, anyone could get 
admittance, including tea, and hear the addresses on the 
condition of the College and the advancement of studies 
which were delivered by the different professors — so with- 
out fail I was there, and sat at a table and had thick bread 
and butter, but knowing no one. But good fellowship was 
the rule there, that was clear, and a man sitting opposite to 
me spoke at once to me, introducing himself by the name 
of Furnivall, and I gave my name and college and my reason 
for coming. He reached across the table to a kindly-look- 
ing man whom he introduced to me as Vernon Lushington, 
to whom I repeated my reason for coming, and begged him 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 129 

to tell me when Rossetti entered the room. It seemed that 
it was doubtful if he would appear at all, that he was con- 
stant in his work of teaching drawing at the College, but had 
no great taste for the nights of addresses and speeches, and 
as I must have looked downcast at this, Lushington^ with a 
kindness never to be forgotten by me, invited me to go to his 
rooms in Dodors Commons a few nights afterwards, where 
Rossetti had promised to come. So I waited a good hour, 
or more, listening to speeches about the progress of the 
College, and Maurice, who was president, spoke of Macau- 
lay's new volume, just out, blaming much the attack on 
George Fox in a true Carlylese spirit, which was very pleas- 
ing — and then Lushington whispered to me that Rossetti 
had come in, and so I saw him for the first time, his face 
satisfying all my worship^ and I listened to addresses no 
more, but had my fill of looking, only I would not be in- 
troduced to him. You may be sure I sent a long letter 
about all this to Morris at Walthamstow, and on the night 
appointed, about ten o'clock^ I went to Lushington's rooms 
where was a company of men, some of whom have been 
friends ever since. I remember Safii was there, and Ros- 
setti's brother William, and by and bye Rossetti came, and 
I was taken up to him and had my first fearful talk with 
him. Browning's * Men and Women ' had just been pub- 
lished a few £iys before, and someone speaking disre- 
speftfully of that book was rent in pieces at once for his 

riins, and was dumb for the rest of the evening — so that 
saw my hero could be a tyrant and I thought it sat finely 
upon him. Also another unwary man professed an interest 
in metaphysics; he also was dealt with firmly. 

** Before I left that night Rossetti bade me come to his 
studio the next day. It was in the last house by Blackfriars 
Bridge at the North West comer of the bridge, long ago 
pulled down to make way for the Embankment ; and I found 
him painting at a water colour of a monk copying a mouse 
in an illumination. The pifture was called * Fra Pace ' 
afterwards. 

**He received me very courteously, and asked much 

I. K 



Digitized by 



Google 



I30 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

about Morris, one or two of whose poems he knew already, 
and I think that was our principal subjedt of talk, for he 
seemed much interested about him. He shewed me many 
designs for pidures: they tossed about everywhere in the 
room; the floor at one end was covered with them, and 
with books. No books were on the shelves, and I remember 
long afterwards he once said that books were no use to a 
painter except to prop up models in difficult positions, and 
that then they might be very useful. No one seemed to be 
in attendance upon him. I stayed long and watched him 
at work, not knowing till many a day afterwards that this 
was a thing he greatly hated — and when for shame I could 
stay no longer, I went away, having carefully concealed 
from him the desire I had to be a punter." 

The passage in Edward's Essay on The Newcomes 
about the Maids of Elfenmere, the Blessed Damozel, and 
the Story of Chiaro was already known to Rossetti. In a 
letter to Allingham written shortly after this visit, he says: 
*^ That notice in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine was 
the most gratifying thing by far that ever happened to me — 
being unmistakeably genuine. I thought it must be by your 
old acquaintance Fryer, of Cambridge, he having called on 
me once about those same things. But it turns out to be 
by a certain youthful Jones, who was in London the other 
day, and whom (being known to some of the Working 
Men's Coll: Council) I have now met. One of the nicest 
young fellows in — Dreamland. For there most of the writers 
in that miraculous piece of literature seem to be. Surely 
this Cometh in some wise of the Germ, with which it might 
bind up." How the writers' hearts would have burned 
within them had they heard these words. 

Edward remained in London till the second week in 
February, and then on his way home could do nothing less 
than stop for four or five days with his friends at Oxford. 
Mr. Price's diary says that on the evening he arrived, the 
whole set gathered at Morris' rooms in St. Giles's and there 
was a ** delightful Babel." The next morning, Sunday, they 
all walked together to Summertown, and Edward and Morris 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 131 

called on MacLareii : a *' glorious evening " at Dixon's, then 
a breakfast ** gay, not to say noisy/' and one night " Oakley 
and an Oriel man entranced us by music." Indeed they 
scarcely separated until, after missing one train, Edward was 
finally seen off for Birmingham by Cormell between ten and 
eleven in the evening of St. Valentine's Day. In the midst of 
all this it is not wonderful that poor little Mrs. Catherwood 
went short of her accustomed letter^ and the national revenue 
was swelled by one more note of needless woman's anxiety 
which she posted to Cormell, enquiring whether Edward 
was ill. 

The Easter term found him in Oxford again as he had 
intended, but the place had done all that it could for him, 
and he was now so restless that within the first week he 
gave up the idea of going in for honours and soon after- 
wards came to the conclusion that it was no use to think of 
taking even a pass degree until the Odober term. This 
decision arrived at^ what was there to keep him away from 
London ? His aunt's house was always open to him, and 
by the 6th of May he was there again. The Royal Academy 
that year had a wonderful show of piftures: five by Millais, 
Holman Hunt's "Scapegoat," Wallis* « Chatterton," 
Arthur Hughes' ''April Love," and « Burd Helen," by 
Windus of Liverpool. Cormell was sent for to come up 
and see it as soon as possible, and was met by Edward at 
Paddington Station and rapt away to meet Morris at the 
Academy before going on to Camberwell. This was the 
last time that Edward and Cormell stayed there together; 
for though their affe&ion for the mistress of the house was 
sincere, it was not possible for them any longer to breathe 
freely in its atmosphere of small restridions, where to 
write a letter on Sunday was a marked thing, to sit on one 
chair rather than another was to arouse the anxiety of its 
owner, and Beresford Chapel was always in the background. 
So in the gentlest manner possible Edward slipped his neck 
out of the yoke and was very soon settled in rooms of his 
own. 

Morris had been greatly delighted by the pifture of 



Digitized by 



Google 



132 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

" April Love " and after brooding upon the subjeft for a 
few days made up his mind to possess it if possible, but as 
by that time he had gone back to his work at Oxford, he 
wrote up to Edward, asking him to see about its purchase. 
His note is dated Oxford, May 17th: "Will you do me 
a great favour, viz. go and nobble that pifture caJled ' April 
Love,* as soon as possible lest anybody else should buy it/' 
This reached Edward on a Saturday evening, and by half 
past nine on Monday morning he was ofF to the Academy, 
fortunately in time to ^ nobble " the pidure, and make 
Morris happy with the news. 

A letter from Edward to his father gives his new London 
address, 13, Sloane Terrace, Sloane Street, Chelsea, with 
great clearness, but for the date. May 1 8th, we are indebted 
to historical research. After the address the letter runs on : 
" That's where I live my dear little Pa! and where you'll 
please to write to me at least once a week. After Crom left 
I had to go every day to Chelsea to look after lodgings. 
We wandered, Fulford and I, over Brompton and Chelsea, 
calling at more houses than I should like to number, through 
countless, endless streets, and it was not till yesterday about 
two o'clock that we finally settled to come here. Our re- 
quirements were partly against us: first we wanted, and 
must have, two sitting-rooms, and should prefer two bed- 
rooms — now, out of the 2845 houses we called at, 2374 
had only one sitting-room, and of the remainder, 240 only 
one bedroom; and of the remaining 136 which had two 
bedrooms and two sitting-rooms, 130 had such dreadful 
landladies that we positively dared not go — such viragos 
some of them were, I didn't think womankind really was so 
appalling. Our present lodgings will do I fancy very well, 
they are not expensive and not beautiful, but my stay alto- 
gether in London will be such a torture as far as care for 
beautiful objefts is concerned, that I am not very particular. 
Fulford does not join me just at present — he is away from 
London until to-morrow, and then I expedt he leaves for 
Oxford for about 3 weeks: so I shall be all alone." 

The figures, so readily given about the rooms looked at, 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 133 

remind me that an audacious computation of numbers reck- 
lessly random and so fluently written or spoken as at first 
almost to deceive the eleft, grew into a joke well known to 
Edward's intimate friends, but sometimes startling to others. 
This was brought home to us the only time I remember 
Mr. Gladstone coming to the Grange, when Edward told 
him, as they walked in the garden, that in the branches of 
a fine old hawthorn growing there, 801,926 birds nightly 
roosted, and was checked by the interest this statement 
aroused in his hearer, who courteously enquired, ** How 
many birds did you say? " 

To one so accustomed to live in constant exchange of 
friendly sympathy, solitude was irksome, and in Fulford's 
absence Edward complained of loneliness: ''This is Sunday, 
and I have not yet seen a face I know, but a little desolation 
will be the making of one after being accustomed to the 
contrary for so long." Our door was within half a mile of 
him, but he never came to see us on Sundays, nor did we as 
a rule go anywhere on that day except to chapel: I remem- 
ber thinking it a very bold measure when my brother in 
vacation time took a walk in the afternoon. This Sunday, 
May 1 8th, was probably the only one, however, that Edward 
spent by himself, for Morris began a pleasant custom of 
running up from Oxford on Saturdays, bringing with him 
whatever poems he had made during the week. Often on 
these Saturday evenings both the friends would go to some 
play or other with Rossetti, under whose guidance Edward 
had definitely placed himself and whom he now saw con- 
stantly. " But," Edward says, " this embarrassment some- 
times happened ; that Rossetti would grow sick of the play 
if it was a silly one, and propose that we should leave at 
once, which through worship of him we always assented to 
obediently, though much wanting to know how the story 
ended. And sometimes we roamed the streets, and some- 
times went back to Blackfriars to Gabriel's rooms, and sat 
till three or four in the morning, reading and talking. Our 
Sundays were very peaceful days in Sloane Terrace, often 
spent by Morris in reading aloud the Morte d'Arthur 



Digitized by 



Google 



134 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

while I worked, and often Rossetti would join us in the 
afternoon, and it became clear that he cared to be with us. 
Then by the first train to Oxford on the Monday morning 
Morris would go back, so as to reach the office by 10, and 
I would walk with him through the Park to Paddington/' 

The house in Sloane Terrace where Edward lodged was 
almost exadly opposite the chapel of which my father was 
a minister, and sometimes after service, as the congrega- 
tion filed out, the eyes of a girl amongst the slowly moving 
crowd were lifted and saw for a moment his face watching 
at a window. 

One day early in June my mother called me into her 
room and told me that Edward had been to see my father 
and herself; and then she went on with what seemed to 
me to have been written from the beginning of the world, 
and ended by saying that they left the answer they should 
give him entirely to my decision. There was no difiiculty 
in her seeing what that was, and we knelt down together 
to ask for the blessing of God upon it. I was not quite 
sixteen then. Looking back I feel the deepest resped for 
my parents because they never discussed with me the 
" prospedts " of my marriage; my father asked Edward no 
questions about his "position," but, so far as my judg- 
ment goes, afted as a minister of the Christian religion 
should do, seeking nothing but charadter and leaving the 
question of fortune altogether on one side. Neither he nor 
my mother had at this time any idea of Edward's genius, 
but they liked him very much and trusted him completely; 
by the young people of the house he was recognized more 
clearly, and the advent of" Mr. Edward," as the children 
called him, was of infinite importance to more than one of 
them. His sweetness of temper endeared him to them at 
once, and as they came to know him better his endless fun, 
and the treasures of knowledge that he was ready to share 
with them in ways proportioned to their understanding, 
made them adore him. One of the children, a girl of ten 
when he first entered the family, was very specially beloved 
by him in return, and to her he talked and wrote in a way 



Digitized by 



Google 







Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 135 

that the difFerence in their age would have seemed to make 
impossible. 

Morris came up from Oxford to see Edward at this 
crisis, and in his usual generous way of accepting what a 
friend had done, called to see me. He brought Turner's 
Rivers of France in his hand, and I thanked him and he 
wrote my name in it, but we were not much the nearer 
for this meeting. The poet who wrote the poem of 
Guendolen seemed one person and the man I saw be- 
fore me another — my eyes were holden that I could not 
yet see. 

Mr. MacLaren also, who had waited vainly all through 
this year of surprises for the completion of the illustrations 
to his book, gave a fresh proof of friendship for Edward, 
by coming to our house with kindest messages from his wife 
and an opal ring for me as a sign that I was to be adopted 
into the friendship. Seldom, however, has the ring been 
worn, for superstition, which touched Edward here and 
there, made him think opals unlucky. 

The drawings for the Fairy Family were never fin- 
ished, but MacLaren's forbearance and generosity about 
the whole matter never gave way. For a long time Edward 
persuaded himself and promised his friend that he could 
go on with the designs, and then he would find it im- 
possible, and disappoint both himself and MacLaren, while 
in another way the delay was harassing a business firm who 
were not particularly anxious to publish the illustrations at 
all, till at last a crisis came in which with dignified regret 
not untinged by rebuke MacLaren wrote to Edward say- 
ing that he had broken off the pending negotiations with 
Mr. Longman, and felt " simply grateml at being released 
from a transadion that was becoming altogether intoler- 
able. The MS. is to be revised and returned,** he adds, 
** as much of it was written with a view to pidorial designs 
accompanying the text, and the drawings I have colleded 
in a portfolio and hold them at your disposal." A glance 
at these drawings explains everything, for they are the 
work of two separate people and nothing could have made 



Digitized by 



Google 



136 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

them homogeneous. No harm, however, came to friend- 
ship from this failure of cherished plans, for MacLaren's 
frankness proved the truth of 

I was angry with my friend, 

I told my wrath, my wrath did end. 

To the shrine of Rossetti at Blackfriars I was led for a 
short awestruck visit, of which I remember little except 
that he went on painting while we were there, and that I 
noticed the sensitive look of his hand as well as the beautiful 
olive colour of his skin, so different from that of a dark 
Englishman. 

There was no more talk of Edward's going back to Oxford 
for his degree : Rossetti's encouragement and advice had 
decided him to give his whole life to Art. He was now 
close upon twenty-three years of age, a time when painters 
should have mastered the mechanical part of their craft, 
and he was only at its beginning: but Rossetti knew with 
whom he had to deal when he urged him against the Hill 
Difficulty, and Edward faced it with as few words as pos- 
sible. His working materials henceforth seemed to become 
a part of himself, and my instindtive remembrance of him 
at this time is always with a drawing portfolio under his 
arm. 

Meanwhile Rossetti set about finding some employment 
for him by which he might be able to live. The first idea 
that suggested itself was to get for him a commission to 
draw the wood block for an engraving that was to be made 
from Windus* pidurc of " Burd Helen," but before the 
plan was settled Morris one day shewed Gabriel some of 
Edward's own original designs, and he then refused to let 
him copy "Burd Helen." The drawings were probably 
some of those done for Mr. MacLaren, and were shewn 
without Edward's knowledge and in his absence, so that 
when he re-entered the room he was overwhelmed by 
Gabriel coming up to him and saying as he put his arm 
round his shoulder, " There are not three men in England, 
Ned, that could have done these things." Talking about 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 23] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 137 

Rossetti, many a long year after this time, Edward said, 
" Towards other men's ideas he was decidedly the most 
generous man I ever knew. No one so threw himself into 
what other men did — it was part of his enormous imagina- 
tion. The praises he at first lavished on me, if I had not 
had a few grains of inborn modesty, would have been 
enough to turn my head altogether." 

Shortly after our engagement he went home to see his 
father instead of writing to tell him about it, and on a 
summer evening, at the side of his mother's grave, he 
opened his own heart and comforted that of the lonely man 
before bringing him up to see us all. I feel now the in- 
justice which made me regard Mr. Jones at the age of fifty- 
four as an old man, but that was the impression I received. 
He was very diflferent in appearance from his son. Edward 
was, as I have already mentioned, of ample size both in 
height and breadth, his head large and powerful, his com- 
plexion very fair, and his eyes light in colour. His father 
was short and slight, with a head small even in proportion 
to his figure, a dark skin, and hair and eyes both black. 
Still, between the two a subtle likeness in feature and ex- 
pression occasionally showed itself, and in Edward Richard 
Jones there were hints of certain qualities which took larger 
form in his son. There was a romance in his nature which 
set him quite apart from most of his contemporaries, and 
an uncommonness that struck all who knew him, and made 
some dislike him because they saw nothing to excuse it; 
a kind of innocence, too, which kept him incapable of be- 
lieving in the mass of the world's wickedness, together with 
hot prejudices for and against particular things and people. 
He was one whom no years could ever make really old, and 
the very last material for a successful tradesman. His dis- 
position was afiFedionate, but his temper, I have heard, could 
be quick and fiery — ^to me he was always gentle. There 
was much of the old world in his extreme courtesy to 
women as a rule, but his horror of them if they were over- 
fat or at all masculine was almost ludicrous. As Edward 
reached maturity his father seemed to abdicate his own 



Digitized by 



Google 



138 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

position and to look up to his son in all things; which one 
of his grandchildren instantly fathomed when she saw a 
meeting between the two, saying afterwards, "I didn't 
know which was which, for papa said, * Well, little chap, 
how are you?' and grandpapa said, *Well, old boy!'" 
Imagination was strong in the father without any artistic 
power to use it, and both he and his sister, Mrs. Cather- 
wood, were of the highly nervous physical organization 
which Edward inherited to the full. It must have been 
from his mother that he received a suavity of nature which 
laid to rest the irritability generally accompanying this 
temperament. 

I was taken to make Mrs. Catherwood's acquaintance at 
a kind of half-way house between hers and ours, in the shape 
of a confedlioner's somewhere near Trafalgar Square, where 
people went to lunch after seeing the Royal Academy — 
Farrance, I think, was the name — but the part of the meet- 
ing I liked best was the walk there through Eaton Square 
and St James' Park with Edward, for though she was 
kind to me such times are always well over. At her own 
house afterwards I learnt to love her. In August of this 
year our term at Chelsea ended, but our father's new 
station was at no greater distance than Marylebone, whither 
we removed in time for him to be in the pulpit of Hinde 
Street Chapel on the first Sunday in September. The house 
prepared for us was No. 17, Beaumont Street, and dark 
and ugly it was, within and without: yet, as I remember 
it, I take hope in looking at such dwellings from the 
thought that they may perhaps shelter young hearts as 
ardent as ours were then. In August also Mr. Street came 
up to live in London, accompanied by Morris as his pupil, 
and his senior clerk, afterwards the architedt Philip Webb, 
with whom Morris had already formed a close friendship. 
Of course Edward and Morris arranged to live together, 
and by the time we came to Marylebone they had found 
rooms at No. i, Upper Gordon Street, and we all settled 
down more or less contentedly in our dingy surroundings. 
A ray of light fell on 17, Beaumont Street, when we found 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 139 

it was nearly dos d dos with a house in Devonshire Place 
where the Brownings stayed when in London. There Ed- 
ward was taken by Rossetti one evening to see them, and 
met also Mr. Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard University, 
whose friendship was to mean so much for us in future 
years. A very small flagged backyard was the only play- 
ground belonging to our house, and there the youngest 
children pulled up one of the flags, and with the help of a 
little earth bought from a florist laboured the black soil 
until an occasional seed would germinate. The *^ Beast 
Gardens " in Regent's Park were within a mile or so from 
us, but we could not often go to them, and they chiefly 
remained a centre of imagined marvel, surrounded by the 
outer ring within whose palings was our country walk. 

Edward now went to a Life Class (Lee's in Newman 
Street) on the evenings that he did not come to us, but he 
still continued to see a great deal of Rossetti at any hour 
of the day or night, and everything he saw increased his 
admiration. ^' I was sensitive enough," he once said, speak- 
ing of this time, ** to have suflfered a shock to my worship 
if any jar had come, but I heard and saw none, and felt 
him perfeft." 

A letter to his father describes his first seeing Holman 
Hunt. " A glorious day it has been — a glorious day," he 
exclaims, *^ one to be remembered by the side of the most 
notable ones in my life: for whilst I was painting and 
Topsy was making drawings in Rossetti's studio, there en- 
tered the greatest genius that is on earth alive, William 
Holman Hunt — such a grand-looking fellow, such a splen- 
dour of a man, with a great wiry golden beard, and faith- 
ful violet eyes— oh, such a man. And Rossetti sat by him 
and played with his golden beard passing his paint-brush 
through the hair of it. And all evening through Rossetti 
talked most gloriously, such talk as I do not believe any 
man could talk beside him." 

And now Edward began the series of designs and pic- 
tures which never ceased as long as he lived. I shall not 
criticize what he did — I am not the right person to do 



Digitized by 



Google 



I40 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

that — but it is and always was impossible to think of him 
separately from the work, which was part of him. 

The first design that I remember is the pen-and-ink 
drawing of ** The Waxen Image," which he used to work 
at on the evenings that he came to our house. It was fol- 
lowed by " The Wise and Foolish Virgins/' " Sir Gala- 
had," *' Kings' Daughters," " The Marriage of Buondel- 
monte," " Going to the Battle," and others. These are not 
named in order of time, but as I see them rise up in memory. 
He used to spin them out of his mind with unfailing cer- 
tainty and swiftness, and with such apparent ease that at 
first I did not know how astonishing it was. Sometimes 
he would ask one of us to sit or stand to him for a few - 
minutes, and if it was my sister Agnes, there were sure 
to be passages of fun between them. For a joke had grown 
up that she, whose features were certainly the most sym- 
metrical in the family, was the plain, homely daughter who 
needed a little encouragement from time to time to keep 
her from being quite overwhelmed by a sense ot her own 
deficiencies; and the task of reconciling this view with a 
request that she would just let him draw her profile, or 
please take such and such an aAion for a minute, was only 
to be achieved by the use of many words. It was a happy 
moment for us all when he begged her one evening to be 
good enough to sit for the Witch who tolls the bell in the 
second scene of " The Waxen Image," and her willingness 
to do it completed the jest. In those early years he worked 
constantly thus, in public, and looking back I cannot under- 
stand how it was possible, except by the power which I 
have noticed before as being so marked in him, that of 
withdrawing into the fastnesses of his own mind and there 
carrying on a second life. He never had a studio to him- 
self until 1859, and even then he was still interrupted con- 
tinually by friends whom it was impossible for him to do 
anything but welcome; indeed it was very long before the 
absolute necessity of being alone with his work forced itself 
upon him. In later years we used to know he was often 
really absent from us whilst pleasantly smiling and answer- 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 141 

ing our questions, and when occasionally this was proved 
beyond all doubt by his gently uttering quite wrong words, 
we would tax him with it and laugh together as he con- 
fessed. He had told us of the word " Camels " ; with us a 
passing jest furnished a convention of ** The Tower of 
Babel " for the same purpose. An intelligent and favourite 
studio servant once brought home to his master a con- 
sciousness of this inattention to visible things by saying 
sympathetically, ** Mind elsewhere, sir " — as indeed it often 
needed to be. 

Every book by Ruskin that Edward possessed was brought 
round to me before breakfast the morning after we were 
engaged — a royal gift. That morning was the loth June, 
1856, so that the day which had meant so much to us had 
been the 9th — Dante's own day — and when we remem- 
bered this we said we would keep it for our own too, and 
however long it might be before we were married, our 
wedding-day should be the 9th of June — which came to 
pass. 

On the eleventh birthday of the little sister of whom I 
have spoken, Edward took her, as a treat she could quite 
understand, to see Rossetti, who was very kind to her — 
talking with her and giving her a proof of Holman Hunt's 
beautiful etching for the first number of The Germ, with 
the date of her birth and his name and hers together written 
underneath it. Morris, too, came to love the child very 
much, and she used to spend whole days with him and 
Edward in their studio, furnished by them with pencils 
and paints, working after her own fashion and eagerly 
drinking in all they said to her and to each other. Edward 
in his encouraging way helped her to make two pen-and- 
ink drawings which he insisted on calling hers ; one was of 
Christ receiving little children and one of the Prince waking 
the Sleeping Beauty: the figure of the Sleeping Princess is 
the same type that he used in 1890. 

The first book that Edward gave me, even before our 
engagement, was Fouque's Minstrel Love, and the next 
a translation of Rio's Poetry of Christian Art. There is 



Digitized by 



Google 



142 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

a pencil list in his own handwriting, made since the deaths 
of Morris, where he has put down the names of a few 
amongst the books and stories that the Set especially liked 
when they were together — and it is this: " Heir of Red- 
clyfFe, Sintram, all Fouque's books, Dickens, Ruskin, 
Kingsley (Alton Locke and Hypatia), Carlyle towards the 
last, and two stories in * Household Words,* Alice and the 
Angel and Colonel Quagg's Conversion." 

To Morris, soon after we knew him, we owed the price- 
less treasure of Lane's Arabian Nights, for he gave the 
one-volume edition of it to my sister Agnes, putting on 
the fly-leaf: " I write your name in pencil, in case you think 
it loathly." On the contrary, it entranced her and all of 
us, so that even the youngest sister would sit by the fire- 
side on her little stool, reading it as long as ever she was 
allowed, whilst the outer world passed away and her sisters 
were looked at with dim eyes and addressed as ^* O daughters 
of my father." Ruskin's Ledhires had reached us from 
Oxford through my brother Harry. The Seven Lamps 
was the next wonderful experience, and then on to The 
Stones of Venice and Modern Painters — much I fear that 
the common round and daily task were negleded by me 
in those days through the indulgence of my mother and 
elder sister. 

While we lived in Chelsea I was sent to learn drawing 
at the Government School of Design, then carried on at 
Gore House, Kensington, for I had a certain deftness of 
hand, but I did not learn anything vital. Often on the 
way back Edward met me with flowers and we walked 
home together. I had no precise idea of what the profes- 
sion of an artist meant, but felt that it was well to be 
amongst those who painted piftures and wrote poetry. 

Edward went home for his birthday as usual this year, 
and whilst there found time to write to my little sister a 
letter of which this is part 

"Ah, Louie, my little pupil, best and dearest, I was 
so very glad you wrote to me, it would not have been 
quite my birthday without some memorial of you: even 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 143 

upon other ^ays I can't get along so very well without 
you, and yesterday I should have been less happy certainly. 
By the bye, Louie, I am only twenty-three — a shocking 
old fellow I grant you, but not so hopelessly grey-haired 
as you thought me — no, I hope to be a very different kind of 
fellow when I am twenty-four, better and cleverer, and in 
every thing advanced beyond this present : up till now I 
seem not to have done anybody any good, but when I 
work hard and paint visions and dreams and symbols for 
the understanding of people^ I shall hold my head up 
better. 

^' It is so strange, dear, that this time last year I did not 
know you. I spent the day with Topsy and Fulford, and 
I remember we laughed and enjoyed ourselves as well 
as possible, making all manner of fun out of everything 
and nothing, as occasion served : and all the time I never 
dreamed that the circling of another year would alter all my 
destinies so much: now I love you all more than life. 

^ I think it very kind of you to have begun Dante, you 
will not understand him fully yet — at least I cannot — but 
by and bye we will all learn Italian together, and follow 
him into the strange lands he visited as well as we may : 
he is the central poet of Art : for the most part I hate all 
translations, but I make one exception for Dante — no 
man dreams so fearfully and beautifully, or loves more in- 
tensely. I do so look forward, dear, to the years after- 
wards, when we shall learn things together (you and Georgie 
and I) — so much about Art there is to learn and live for. 
I want to teach you so many things at once — so much 
history, that your sympathy may grow continually wider, 
and you may be able to feel and realize past generations 
of men just as you do the present, sorrowing for them 
when they failed, and triumphing with them when they 
prevailed; for I find this one conviftion never changing 
with me but always increasing, that one cannot live a life 
manfully or truthfully without a very wide world of sym- 
pathy and love to exercise it in. So long, I know, as I had 
no heroes, but all times and generations of the past and 



Digitized by 



Google 



144 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

present years were as one dead level of interest or indiffer- 
ence, I then knew nothing truly, nor enjoyed deeply, nor 
loved strongly, but now that I have set aside my heroes 
for peculiar reverence — all such as have been highly blessed 
with Imagination, and have laboured nobly, and fought 
valiantly, hundreds of them up and down the great cen- 
turies — since then I have seen things more truly than ever 
before." 

This same happy year Faulkner gained another distinc- 
tion at Oxford, and the note that took the news to his 
widowed mother is so true a portrait of himself in its 
simplicity and modesty that it will tell more of our friend 
than anything I could hope to say. June 10, 1856, is its 
date.' 

" Contrary quite to my expeAation, I have obtained a 
Fellowship at University College. I do not know anything 
about its value and so on yet; nor can I tell whether I 
shall be able to come home to-morrow now. Thank God 
I have succeeded at last. I cannot stay to write any more 
and methinks these few words are almost enough for a 
letter/' 

In Oftober, when he entered his new College, he reviews 
the time when the Set used to be all together, and com- 
ments on it to his mother with affeftionate regret: " The 
number of my old friends begins sadly to diminish up here, 
each succeeding term, and it does not seem as if I should 
meet with others of like charafter. They were men quite 
unlike the usual kind of University men. I shall never, I 
hope, lose their friendship." 

At the end of the Long Vacation Heeley was married 
and went out to India. His wife lived in Birmingham and 
the wedding was made a rallying point for as many of his 
friends as possible; Edward, Morris, Fulford, Faulkner 
and Vernon Lushington all met there. Cormell was away, 
but a letter to him rrom his own home gives us a moment's 
glimpse of Morris, Edward and Fulford together again at 
Spon Lane, as they had been the year before. 

** We spent a very happy day on Thursday," says Miss 



Digitized by 



Google 



I - 




tl'.%<»^^f. .-':.,Yt«^/: ■: 



^a'iif.,^ 9r/./r,, 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 145 

Margaret Price, " but we always do when your friends are 
here. I had not seen Morris before ; for I was out when 
he came down last year — I think he is the most splendid 
fellow ! I don't at all wonder at your all loving him so, 
and his face is really beautiful. Fan thinks he has improved 
in looks very much lately. I never saw anything like his 
hair, it is much greater than ever it was before, in faft a 
mass of curls and waves that will soon sweep his shoulders. 
Edward doesn't look at all well, he is so thin and pale. Ful- 
ford was in the most noisy, quizzical humour imaginable, 
no one could get a word in edgeways for him, and when- 
ever Topsy wanted to say anything he sprang into the 
middle of the room and flourished his fists till Fulford was 
silenced. Fulford talked for quite three hours without stop- 
ping excepting for Morris' flourishes." 

A vision comes back to me now of the last time we saw 
Wilfred as quite a young man; a cab stopping at the door 
in Beaumont Street, with him and his bride in it and a 
mountain of luggage on the top, and all of us who were 
at home, including Edward, running out into the street to 
bid them good-bye and Godspeed. Then they drove straight 
to London Bridge, and so went on to India, and the 
Mutiny, and a life of happy marriage which lasted six 
years and then ended in a day with her death from cholera. 

The close union of mind between Edward and Morris 
made 'Rossetti at this time equally a hero to them both, 
and their devotion, which was worth having, gave him 
pleasure. ** Morris and Jones have now been some time 
settled in London," he writes to Allingham, **and are both, 
I find, wonders after their kind." Edward, at all events, 
was with him constantly ; Morris had to spend part of each 
day in Mr. Street's office, but before long Gabriel per- 
suaded him to give up architefture and take to painting, 
saying that if any man had poetry in him he should paint 
it, that the course of poetry bad almost been run, but 
painting was still an unknown art in England, and that the 
next Keats ought to be a painter. 

He knew that, in comparison with himself and Edward, 

I. L 



Digitized by 



Google 



146 MEMORIALS OF [1856 

Morris was a rich man, and so had no scruples in ui^ing 
him to take to what might be for some years an unprofit- 
able profession; but for Edward, whose health was delicate 
and whose means were small, he felt responsibility, and 
with the true common sense of genius advised him to give 
up living in furnished rooms, an expensive form of bachelor 
life, and to seek for unfurnished ones as soon as possible. 

He said that he thought some rooms at 17, Red Lion 
Square, in which he had lived with Walter Deverell in 
early P. R. B. times, were to be had; so next day they all 
went to look at them, and before evening they were taken. 
Gabriel wrote to Allingham that he had been to look at 
his old quarters and found them all dusty and unused, with 
an address that either he or Deverell had written on the 
wall of a bedroom still there after five years, the only sign 
of life left in the place, ** so pale and watery had been all 
subsequent inmates, not a trace of whom remained."' Red 
Lion Square was dark and dirty, but much more interesting 
than Upper Gordon Street, where the houses were so exaftly 
like each other that Edward once entered the wrong door 
without noticing it, and had shouted for dinner and got 
halfway upstairs before finding his mistake. Morris and 
Edward had the first floor, on which there were three 
rooms ; a lai^e one in front with the middle window cut 
up to the ceiling for a painting light, a medium-size room 
behind this, which Edward had, and a further and smaller 
one, which was Morris*. Some French people named 
Fauconnier, who were feather-dressers, were the tenants 
of the house, and carried on their business below. Here 
Gabriel often came, and his influence with the two friends 
constantly increased. A trace of the removal to Red Lion 
Square at the end of November is found in a letter to a 
lady whom Edward had met at Heeley*s wedding — Miss 
Charlotte Salt, of Birmingham. Her friendship, extended 
to me also, has been without shadow of turning from that 
time to this. He writes: ** You see we have removed from 
Gordon Street — such a hideous nuisance this has been, for 
my notions of all domestic arrangements are of the most 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 147 

limited description. I think to see me in the midst of a 
removal is to behold the most abjedly pitiable sight in 
nature ; books, boxes, boots, bedding, baskets, coats, pic- 
tures, armour, hats, easels — tumble and rumble and jumble. 
After all one must confess there is an unideal side to a 
painter's life — a remark which has received weight in the 
raft that the exceedingly respeftable housekeeper we got 
has just turned in upon us in the most unequivocal state 
of intoxication." And the next day the story goes on in a 
letter to Miss Sampson: "We arc quite settled here now. 
The rooms arc so comfortable, not very furnished at present 
but they will be soon; when I have time I will make a 
rough drawing of the place and send it down. Topsy has 
had some furniture (chairs and table) made after his own 
design ; they are as beautiful as mediaeval work, and when 
we have painted designs of knights and ladies upon them 
they will be pcrfeft marvels." 

In this same letter he says, ** To-day we are to go and 
see Ruskin," and after their return," Just come back from 
being with our hero for four hours — so happy we Vc been : 
he is so kind to us, calls us his dear boys and makes us 
feel like such old old friends. To-night he comes down to 
our rooms to carry off my drawing and shew it to lots of 
people; to-morrow night he comes again, and every Thurs- 
day night the same — isn't that like a dream? think of know- 
ing Ruskin like an equal and being called his dear boys. 
On ! he is so good and kind — better than his books, which 
are the best books in the world.'* 

This strong personal feeling for Ruskin always lasted : 
I remember Edward's joy when some one said there was a 
likeness between them: and surely there must have been at 
that time, for when first Ruskin called at Red Lion Square 
he was shewn straight into the room where Edward was 
with no more introduftion than " Your father, sir." 

His promise to make a rough drawing of the place was 
fulfilled, and the half-sheet of notepaper on which it was 
done has survived the chances of destruftion for these forty- 
eight years. It is a fsuthful record of the general aspeft of 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 24] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 149 

the room, with Edward himself, in caricature likeness, look- 
ing with devouring interest at a pidure with which Rossetti 
had glorified one of the chairs that Morris designed. And 
not only chairs did Gabriel glorify for them, but everything 
else; for they first knew him when his splendid power was 
undimmed, so that he raised a lasting standard for them. 
As long as Edward lived he said that he never did anything 
without wondering what Gabriel would have thought of it, 
" whether he would approve it and be pleased with it, or 
whether he*d say it was rubbish." 

All the adual study of painting that Edward did with 
Rossetti was a few mornings* work in his studio, but what 
he learnt from him was rar more than painting. " He 
taught me to have no fear or shame of my own ideas, to 
design perpetually, to seek no popularity, to be altogether 
myself — ^and this not in any words I can remember, but in 
the tenor of his conversation always and in the spirit of 
everything he said. I remember that he discouraged mc 
from study of the antique — the classical antique — giving 
as his reason that such study came too early in a man's life 
and was apt to crush out his individuality; adding that 
when a man had once found his own style and was much 
older and could front the fear of being crushed, a year 
or so given to such study would be an excellent thing. 
So what I chiefly gained from him was not to be afraid 
of myself, but to do the thing I liked most: but in those 
first years I never wanted to think but as he thought, 
and all he did and said fitted me through and through. 
He never harangued or persuaded, but had a gift of saying 
things authoritatively and not as the Scribes, such as I 
have never heard in any man. And mingled with this a 
humour that lightened his words of all heaviness so that 
I went from him cheerful and solemn. As I walked with 
him in the streets I wondered what the crowd were so busy 
about that it could not stop to look at him. In the miser- 
able ending years I never forgot this image of him in his 
prime, and upbraided any fate that could change him." 
At another time Edward said : *^ I never knew anything 



Digitized by 



Google 



ISO MEMORIALS OF [1856 

that could encourage the superstition that some people have, 
that the gods are jealous of the possible achievements of 
great men, as much as in Rossetti's case. Everything was 
ready for the making of a glorious creature — the perfeft 
hunger for romance that was spread abroad in the world at 
the time when he came into it, the mingling of blood in him, 
his own admiration and discrimination for all that was 
splendid; his surroundings and the things he was brought 
up among; the people of all sorts of cultivation that he 
must have known from his earliest days — never was any- 
one so started, so ready for a great career." 

From this society, however, Edward and Morris used to 
tear themselves away sometimes on a Saturday afternoon, 
and run down to Oxford to spend a few hours with their 
friends, " carrying with them the banner of Art and Re- 
volt" They found the diminiclied Brotherhood hard at 
work reading for the Schools, but did not scruple to dis- 
turb them by urging them all to become painters, and for 
a short time Dixon, especially after he had seen Rossetti, 
declared that he was going to be one. 

Mr. Price's diary of Saturday, Oftober 25th, mentions 
one of these visits. " Ted and Topsy up. To Maclaren*s; 
singlestick with Top. With them before and after hall 
at Dixon's — then on to Adams' who gave us music What 
a difFerence their coming makes ! " 

At an early date in his friendship with them Gabriel took 
Morris and Edward to see Madox Brown, who then lived 
at 13, Fortess Terrace, Kentish Town, and they were much 
impressed by him ; he, on his side, received them kindly, 
and his friendship was a great addition to their lives in 
those first years. 

Morris took to wood-carving at intervals, and I can still 
see in my mind's eye the long, folded white evening tie 
which he nailed in loops against his bedroom wall in order 
to hold his tools. He and Edward were well settled in 
their new home by Christmas, but Edward went down to 
Birmingham then, according to faithful custom, and dined 
with his father at Spon Lane on Christmas Day. This is 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 151 

Miss Price's verdift about his appearance: "Edward is 
much altered. He wears his hair so long and is not so 
neat as he used to be. He looks an artist." 

The domestic troubles of Red Lion Square, mentioned 
to Miss Salt, disappeared together with the exceedingly re- 
speAable housekeeper who caused them. She was replaced 
by one who was known always amongst us as ^^ Red Lion 
Mary." 

The year of 1856 that looks so fair in memory seemed 
equally beautiful to us in reality. Recalling it long after 
youth was past, Edward deliberately wrote: " There was a 
year in which I think it never rained nor clouded, but was 
blue summer from Christmas to Christmas, and London 
streets glittered, and it was always mornings and the air 
sweet and full of bells/' 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER IX 

NEW LOVE, NEW LIFE 
1857-1858 

THE prelude year was over, but still Edward began 
the next one under his father's roof. Whilst there 
he wrote to my younger sisters a letter which has 
in it some of the lambent fun that brightened everyday 
life for all who had to do with him. 

*' I am sure you will both of you be very shocked and 
grieved to hear that the state of my health will compel me 
to leave home for a change of air almost immediately: I am 
recommended to try London, and accordingly on Tuesday 
I leave the bosom of my family. If I find London agree 
with me it is very probable that I shall stay some time there, 
in which case I shall most certainly do myself the pleasure 
of calling upon you, at least once during my stay. 1 under- 
stand the neighbourhood of Mary>le-bone is suitable to in- 
valids in my condition; so on Wednesday morning you may 
expeA me in a very emaciated state. 

" Thank you for those two dear little letters you wrote 
me. One of them certainly wasn't sent, but then it was pur- 
posed, and we mustn't be hard upon each other, must we? 
I'm sure Heaven is paved in mosaics of good aAions and 
good intentions together like serpentine and porphyry, and 
that the other place — unnameable in our company — has 
nothing whatever in the world to do with it. So, Agnes 
dear, I feel very thankful that you even intended to write 
to me." 

In March Edward received his first commission, and a 
letter to Miss Salt soon afterwards says that it is for two 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 24] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 153 

pidhires and gives a description of what he intended them 
to be. 

"I have chosen The Blessed Damozel for my year's work. 
In the first pifture I shall make a man walking in the street 
of a great city^ full of all kinds of happy life; children, 
such as he will never have, and lovers walking, and ladies 
leaning from windows all down great lengths of street lead- 
ing to the city walls; and there the gates are wide open, 
letting in a space of green field and cornfield in harvest; 
and all round his head a great rain of swirling Autumn 
^ leaves blowing fi-om a little walled graveyard. 

" And in the other pidure I shall make lovely Heaven, 
where the lady stands at the edge of the garden and leans 
over, trying to count a thick flight of little souls in bright 
flames, and the garden of Heaven full of all flowers on 
every side of her and of lovers who have met again. Oh 
dear, I daresay it will turn out something awful.'' 

He describes Browning's poetry to her also. " You won't 
at first like him much perhaps, he is too different from 
anyone else to be liked at first sight by most, but he is the 
deepest and intensest of all poets — writes lower down in the 
dark heart of things — arises up to the seemingly clear surface 
less often. Oh, how ten lines of him help one. ' Paracelsus ' 
and ' The Soul's Tragedy,' and * King Viftor ' and the ' Un- 
known Painter,' and the fifty men and women that follow, 
all sung out as if old Browning sat continually at the roots 
of human life and saw all things." 

In this same letter there is a remarkable expression of 
self-confidence, where, after mentioning Ruskin with en- 
thusiasm and saying ^^ his noble words used to make me 
shake and tremble," he suddenly adds: *' One seems to want 
no guide now, but to flow down with the course of great 
spirits new and old and understand them without an inter- 
preter." 

Of the two designs from the Blessed Damozel I know 
nothing further than that Edward was studying apple- 
blossom for one of them in the spring of this year and the 
next. Mr. Plint, a Leeds manufadurer, was the gentleman 



Digitized by 



Google 



154 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

who had commissioned them, and he was kind and patient, 
always ready to agree that an artist should choose his own 
subjed and carry it out in his own way, and, as far as pos- 
sible, at his own time. " Please let me hear if you have any 
subjedls in your mind and heart," he writes, ** and what 
would be your ideas as to terms, and I will meet your views 
if possible. I have a fancy for a Scripture Subjed, but you 
must have one you can delight in yourself. Let me have 
your best work and thoughts and the subjeft I leave to you." 
He was a business man, but had an unexpedted habit of 
wishing to pay for pidures before they were begun, and 
sometimes used to send his payments in a way that hope- 
lessly bewildered Edward — ^who had no banking account — 
namely by handing on to him numbers of small cheques for 
odd sums that he himself had received from various people, 
and in one instance I find that Edward returned them in 
despair : for his only idea of money was coin of the realm, 
and his notion of keeping it safely was to ^' put it into a 
box and sit upon it.** 

Rossetti had introduced Edward to Mr. Flint, who was 
one of his own not too numerous patrons. Madox Brown 
records an adion of the same kind done to himself by Gabriel 
in the previous year: " Never," he says, ** did fellow, I think, 
so bestir himself for a rival before." Besides pidures Ed- 
ward now began piaking cartoons for stained glass, and has 
himself written down the names of five that he coloured 
and finished in 1 857. Many designs too he made that were 
not carried out, and some pidures were begun that he never 
completed, but the habit of constant designing was formed 
and the quantity of work produced, finished and unfinished, 
was large. 

A day of April in this year is fixed in memory by his 
taking me to Millais' studio in Langham Place to see the 
pifture of" Sir Isumbras," and by an unexpefted vision we 
had there of the painter himself. He was not supposed to 
be at home, but for some reason or other looked into the 
room— perhaps in search of a friend — ^and for a moment we 
saw his head at the door. His glance did not seem to re- 



Digitized by 



Google 



XT. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 155 

cognize any one, but while it passed quickly over the people 
who were there I noticed the gleam of his clear eyes beneath 
a white forehead, his crest of curling hair, and the noble 
cast of his features. 

DireAly after this came two happy months when Edward 
went with my elder sister and me to Birmingham, where 
we stayed chiefly with our friends the Salts and he spent as 
much of the time as he could at his father's house^ working 
on various designs. 

The apple-blossom for the background of his pifture of 
*' The Blessed Damozel " he sought for in Warwickshire 
and Worcestershire orchards, but when found, the bitter 
wind of an English May blew it all to the ground before it 
could be painted. 

He took us to his own home, where I made the acquaint- 
ance of Miss Sampson, and dimly perceived what became 
clearer to me afterwards, that an angel from heaven would 
have been unworthy in her eyes to occupy the position I 
then did. Her devotion to Edward, however, and the spirit 
of hospitality that reigned in the little house, controlled the 
flames of jealousy. In those days he used to make a little 
ceremony of al'.7ays getting up from table to pour out the 
water that I drank, pretending that it must be done from 
a height so as to sparkle in the glass and be drunk with the 
foam on it This was almost more than Miss Sampson could 
bear, and one day I heard ** My patience 1 " ejaculated 
under her breath, as if the end of all things was at hand 
should such folly continue. 

I recoiled how destitute the house was of any visible 
thing that could appeal to imagination; chairs, carpets, 
tables and table furniture each duller and more common- 
place than the other. The only objeds I saw within those 
walls that had a touch of humanity in them were some 
framed pieces of needlework that looked like windows into 
another world, because it seemed as if some one had been 
interested and amused in their making. Amongst them were 
two animals — one a lion with a face like a man, with a hand- 
some aquiline nose — the other, I believe, a tiger: also a 



Digitized b*y Google 



156 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

smaller and finer piece, of a girl mourning at a tomb, with 
a pendant which I forget. Over the mantelpiece and above 
a hard-featured square clock was a pidlure of the church 
and churchyard of Snaith in Yorkshire which bristled with 
gravestones as if it had been a city cemetery. Miss Samp- 
son told us that these were the tombs of her relatives, re- 
presented there as all together in order that the drawing 
might be kept within reasonable dimensions. Some pieces 
of old blue china, and the remnants of a Worcester dinner 
service copied from an Oriental pattern, together with a 
Sheffield-plated teapot and cream-jug of elegant design^ 
were the only articles of household use that I remember as 
not aftually ugly. Mr. Jones himself seemed to care no- 
thing for outside things unless they were conneded in some 
way with his " dear girl," as he named the wife who never 
grew old. 

At breakfast, the first morning we were there, the door 
opened and Tom the cat came in; but, alas, his prime was 
over, for though he opened his mouth wide with the inten- 
tion of mewing a salutation, there came no sound at all 
until it had 'almost closed again, and then merely a croak. 
Still, he lived on for some years more, and it was a sad day 
when news came to us that a strange dog had leapt over 
the fence and killed poor Tom when quietly walking in his 
own kitchen-garden. 

I was taken to see the Caswells, but have only a dim 
recoUedtion of a small house with a large garden and a kind 
little old lady's welcome; of Mr. Caswell nothing lingers 
in my mind. I learnt afterwards that he was deeply dis- 
appointed with Edward's view of art, had looked for him 
to be *^ a great historical painter," considered the influence 
of Ruskin fatal, and gave up all hope when he saw " The 
Merciful Knight." 

It was arranged that on our way back from Birmingham 
to London we should stop at Oxford and pay a short visit 
to the MacLarens. We fixed our first anniversary of the 
9th of June as the day on which we would go, and Edward 
should take us first to see "The Light of the World" at 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T.24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 157 

Mr. Combe's house. Miss Charlotte Salt and her sister 
were persuaded to accompany us for the day, and Edward 
insisted at the last moment on kidnapping his father, who 
had met us at the railway station to say good-bye, so that 
the band of pilgrims counted six when they stood before 
the piifture. 

We found Morris pamting a tree in MacLaren's beauti- 
ful garden with such energy that it was long before the 
grass grew again on the spot where his chair had stood. 
Most of the Set were in Oxford, but in spite of good com- 
pany and summer weather on the river and fields Edward 
returned to his work in town, and our brother brought us 
up to London at the end of term. 

This was the year of the beautiful little exhibition of 
Pre-Raphaelite pidures in Russell Place, Fitzroy Square, 
during the month of June, and to it Edward took me as 
soon as possible. The illustrated Tennyson was an excite- 
ment, but a very mixed pleasure, for he hated some of the 
piiftures in it as much as he loved others, and the whole 
appearance of the book was far removed from his desire. 
One day in 1896, when talking of wood-engraving with 
reference to the Kelmscott Chaucer, he took out our old 
copy of the Tennyson and turned it about and mused over 
it. " As a book," he said, " it 's nothing. There was no 
command over the type and printing such as Mr. Morris 
has, and there were so many hands engaged on the pidlures 
as to make it impossible as a book." When he came to 
Millais* " St. Agnes " he stopped, all his old admiration 
unchanged. " Look at her little breath," he said, " the 
snow and everything — that's Millais at his best." 

He told us what Rossetti suffered over the cutting of 
his designs, and the rage he fell into when a block about a 
sixteenth of an inch too short was sent him for his drawing 
of " St. Cecilia," in the Palace of Art, and how when 
some one who was by asked, could such a little space as that 
matter, he cried out, "Good God! what do you mean by 
that? I could get a whole city in there! " 

Edward was now deep in his Paradise pidhire: *' I have 



Digitized by 



Google 



158 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

been so busy all the week/' he writes, ** starting at half- 
past eight every morning, going ten miles, and painting till 
evening, when I get back so awfully knocked up." It was 
a cherry-tree in Mrs. Morris' garden at Leyton that he 
was painting. 

Lilies for his pidure he found much nearer home, 
namely, in the garden of Red lion Square, wonderful as 
that sounds. These lilies are mentioned in a letter tc 
Rossetti written at the end of June, where he also refers 
to an intended visit of Rossetti to Oxford, a visit that 
altered the disposition of Edward's time for months to 
come and that of Morris' whole life. 

" I'm awfully sorry not to be able to go with you to- 
morrow to Oxford — on Sunday last I felt quite sure I 
should be able to leave town, but I could not now for two 
or three reasons. 1^ Topsy comes from there to-morrow 
and I want to see him. 2^ I have a friend staying with me, 
just arrived, and I can't well leave him. 3® I'm panting 
some lilies which are going, and keep me from doing the 
same, so I feel sure I ought not to go this week. I am 
very sorry, for it would have been most jolly — ^I could 
manage it well in a fortnight if that is not too late for you." 

It was not Edward, however, but Morris who was at 
Oxford with Gabriel on the eventful visit when he con- 
ceived the idea of painting the walls of the Union. The 
Notes say: " When Rossetti and Morris came back they 
were full of a scheme, and I was to put everything aside 
and help it. Woodward had just built a new debating 
room for the University, and there were large bays above 
the gallery that ran round the room, hungry to be fiUed 
with pi<5hires — Gabriel equally hungry to fill them, and the 
pidhires were to be from the Morte d' Arthur, so willed 
our master." 

This meant for Edward the putting aside of his pi<5hire 
of " The Blessed Damozel " and the giving up of an in- 
tended visit to the Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester. 

In the course of the Long Vacation, Rossetti enlisted 
also Arthur Hughes, Hungerford Pollen, Spencer Stan- 



Digitized by 



Google 



iBT. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 159 

hope,ValentinePrinsep,and Alexander Munro the sculptor, 
to join in the scheme, and the time they all spent together 
was one never to be forgotten. 

Mr. Prinsep clearly recalls the day that Gabriel came 
out to Little Holland House, and by the power of his per- 
sonality made him promise to ''join him and some other 
fellows in decorating the Union at Oxford." The young 
artist of course felt flattered by the invitation, but he says: 
" I had not studied with Watts without being well aware 
of my own deficiencies in drawing — ^so I told Rossetti that 
I did not feel strong enough to undertake such work. 
' Nonsense,' answered Rossetti confidently, * there 's a man 
I know who has never painted anything — ^his name is 
Morris — he has undertaken one of the panels and he will 
do something very good you may depend — so you had 
better come ! ' Rossetti was so friendly and confident that 
I consented and joined the band at Oxford.'" 

In a letter written home one Sunday in July, Edward 
says how much he should have liked to be with his father 
at Spon Lane that day, '' but instead of that I am going 
with Rossetti to be introduced to a lot of swells who'll 
frighten me to death and make me keep close to his side 
all the time." Long afterwards, in one of his moods of 
reminiscence, he wrote about this, his first visit to Little 
Holland House, and how Rossetti prepared him for it and 
for the sight of Watts, who then lived with the Prinseps. 

** One day Gabriel took me out in a cab— it was a day 
he was rich and so we went in a hansom, and we drove 
and drove until I thought we should arrive at the setting 
sun — and he said, ^You must know these people, Ned; / 
they are remarkable people : you will see a painter there, / 
he paints a queer sort of piftures about God and Creation.' 
So it was he took me to Little Holland House." 

Mr. Prinsep also remembers their visit and says: " This 
time Rossetti was accompanied by a younger man, who 
he declared was the greatest genius of the age — a shy, fair 
young man, with mUd grey-blue eyes and straight light 
hair which was apt to straggle over his well-developed 



Digitized by 



Google 



i6o MEMORIALS OF [1857 

forehead — ^who spoke in an earnest impressive manner 
when he did speak, which was not often. On this, his first 
visit to my father's house^ he did not impress me much; 
but then, as I said, he was almost painfully shy and my 
mind was filled with Rossetti. It was Burne-Jones, or as 
Rossetti and all of us called him, * Ned Jones.' " 

Edward never forgot the reception of Mrs. Prinsep, 
who, perceiving that he was in a strange world, both 
sheltered and took notice of him. Before he had seen her 
many times she was " Aunt Sara " to him, Mr. Prinsep, 
senior, was " Uncle Thoby," and he fell under the spell of 
the house as many another did. 

By the middle of August the work at the Union was 
well begun, and the painters then hoped that it would be 
finished in about six weeks — that is, by the end of the 
Long Vacation — ^but it lasted dll the spring of the follow- 
ing year. The difficulties they found were great, for the 
preparation of the surface to be decorated had not been 
considered, and each bay also was pierced by two windows 
which dazzled the sight and made anything painted on the 
wall-space between them almost invisible. The building 
is described in the Notes as being so new that the mortar 
was hardly dry, and the rough brickwork was only white- 
washed over. " The walls were not quite flat and had a 
ridge in them over which we had to train a face, if a face 
happened to come there ; but we began with enthusiasm, 
and repented, if we repented, afterwards. At any rate we 
had no misgivings, and when Gabriel willed a thing it had 
to be done." 

At first Rossetti, Edward and Morris were alone, and 
they lodged together at 87, High Street, a pleasant old 
house opposite Queen's College, but later on, when the 
GAober term began, they moved to another house in 
George Street 

All the artists had promised to give their work, but the 
members of the Union were to pay the cost of their lodg- 
ing and the materials used, both sides to this bargain being 
quite ignorant what this cost was likely to be; ^' and I am 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 24] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 161 

afraid/' says Edward^ *' that as the task lasted so long, our 
gift did not turn out to be such a generous one as we 
meant: indeed natural complainings were made, and our 
gift underwent public criticism in the debating room, but 
Bowen was then Treasurer, and stood up for us and saved 
us from all inconvenience. He was much beloved by us — 
a courteous and delightful fellow and always regarded in 
the University as a man of exceptional promise — ^whom 
Rossetti loved at once. 

^' Morris began his pifture first and finished it first, and 
then, his hands being free, he set to work upon the roof, 
making in a day a design for it which was a wonder to us 
for its originality and fitness, for he had never before de- 
signed anything of the kind, nor, I suppose, seen any ancient 
work to guide him. Indeed, all his life, he hated the copy- 
ing of ancient work as unfair to the old and stupid for the 
present, only good for inspiration and hope. All the autumn 
through he worked upon the roof high above our heads, 
and Faulkner, in afternoons, when his work was over at 
University, would come to help, having always clever hands 
for drawing." 

On Mr. Prinsep's first arrival at Oxford, there is a legend 
that he said to his cabman, ** Drive me to the Union,'' and 
found himself quickly at the doors of the workhouse. His 
account of dining with Rossetti that first evening is very 
vivid. 

"I was, of course, proud to accept the invitation," he 
says, ^^ so at the hour mentioned I was pundhially at the 
house. There I found Rossetti in a plum-coloured frock- 
coat, and a short square man with spedacles and a vast 
mop of dark hair. I was cordially received. ' Top,' cried 
Rossetti, * let me introduce Val Prinsep.' 

*< * Glad, I'm sure,' answered the man in spedacles, nod- 
ding his head, and then he resumed his reading of a large 
quarto. This was William Morris. Soon after, the door 
opened, and before it was half opened in glided Burne- 
Jones. * Ned,' said Rossetti, who had been absently hum- 
ming to himself, * I think you know Prinsep.' The shy 

I. M 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 62 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

figure darted forward, the shy face lit up, and I was re- 
ceived with the kindly effusion which was natural to him. 
'* When dinner was over, Rossetti, humming to himself 
as was his wont, rose from the table and proceeded to curl 
himself up on the sofa. * Top,' he said, * read us one of 
your grinds/ * No, Gabriel,' answered Morris, * you have 
heard them all.' * Never mind,' said Rossetti, * here's Prin- 
sep who has never heard them, and besides, they are devilish 
good.' ' Very well, old chap,' growled Morris, and having 
got his book he began to read in a sing-song chant some 
of the poems afterwards published in his first volume. All 
the time, he was jiggling about nervously with his watch 
chain. I was then a very young man and my experience 
of life was therefore limited, but the efiFed produced on 
my mind was so strong that to this day, forty years after, 
I can still recall the scene: Rossetti on the sofa with large 
melancholy eyes fixed on Morris, the poet at the table 
reading and ever fidgetting with his watch ch^n, and Bume- 
Jones working at a pen-and-ink drawing. 

Gold on her head, and gold on her feet, 
And gold where the hems of her kirtle meet, 
And a golden girdle round my sweet ; 
Ah! qu^elle est belle La Marguerite. 

Still seems to haunt me, and this other stanza: 

Swerve to the left, son Roger, he said, 

When you catch his eyes through the helmet slit, 

Swerve to the left, then out at his head. 
And the Lord God give you joy of itl 

I confess I returned to the Mitre with my brain in a 
whiri." 

Mr. Prinsep says that the windows in the spaces they 
were painting were whitened in order to tone the light, 
and that the whitened glass was covered all over with 
sketches, chiefly of wombats. " Do you know the wombat 
at the Zoo?" asked Rossetti; "a delightful creature — the 
most comical little beast" He was drawn by Edward in 
endless different positions and situations, and Rossetti's 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T, 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



163 



admiration led him years afterwards to buy a live one and 
try to make it happy at Cheyne Walk. 




** What fun we had in that Union ! What jokes! What 
roars of laughter! " writes Mr. Prinsep. His own splendid 
health and spirits contributed to this. Here is a portrait 
of him by a man who first saw him at that time: **Six 
foot one, 15 stone, not fat, well built — hair like finest wire, 
short, soft, fluflFy, curly and seamless — age only 19." His 
strength was wonderful ; Edward always liked to remember 
being picked up by him and quickly carried under one 
arm up a ladder to the gallery where they painted. 

Round the artists who lived in the George Street house 
gathered what remained of the old set of 1855, as well as 
other men who had since joined it. Birkbeck Hill was 
one of these, and " Swinburne of Balliol," as Mr. Price's 
Diary calls him, having been introduced by Mr. Hatch, 
soon became such a devoted friend, and so worshipping a 
disciple of Rossetti's, that Edward says, ** Now we were 
four in company and not three." 

Gabriel's pifture was ** Launcelot's Dream of the San 
Graal," Edward's was ** Nimue luring Merlin," and Morris 
chose ** Sir Palomides watching Tristram and Iseult." **If 
we needed models we sat to each other," say the Notes, 
" and Morris had a head always fit for Lancelot or Tris- 
tram." Gabriel drew the figure of the sleeping Launcelot 
from Edward. The pifture was never completed, but the 
part that he did finish Edward always thought represented 



Digitized by 



Google 



i64 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

the highest charaftcr of Rossetti's work. Who else in the 
world could have designed the Guenevere who stands in the 
branches of the Tree of Temptation with the apple in her 
hand, hiding the vision of the Graal from her lover? 

Rossetti had often to go back to London for a few days 
at a time because of the pressure of other work, and was 
also much distraded in mind owing to the illness of Miss 
Siddal, to whom he had long been engaged, so that his 
pifture could not move quickly, but whilst he remained in 
Oxford he was the leader and inspirer of all his company. 
" Rossetti was the planet round which we revolved," says 
Mr. Prinsep; **we copied his very way of speaking. 
All beautiful women were * stunners ' with us. Wombats 
were the most delightful of God's creatures. Mediaevalism 
was our beau idial and we sank our own individuality in 
the strong personality of our adored Gabriel." There is a 
letter of Edward's written at this time which distincftly re- 
flefts Gabriers handwriting, but no one could reproduce 
the peculiar charm of his voice with its sonorous roll and 
beautiful cadences. 

Mr. Spencer Stanhope, whose frienJship with Edward 
says dates from these days, writes: ^^ As time went on I found 
myself more and more attraded to Ned; the spaces we 
were decorating were next to each other, and this brought 
me closely into contad with him. In spite of his high 
spirits and fun he devoted himself n-ore thoroughly to his 
work than any of the others with the exception of Morris; 
he appeared unable to leave his pifture as long as he 
thought he could improve it, and as I was behindhand 
with mine we had the place all to ourselves for some weeks 
after the rest had gone. Another thing I noted about him 
was that, in spite of his love of fun and frolic, he seemed 
absolutely indifferent to everything in the way of athletic 
games or exercises." 

A bear-fight was the nearest approach Edward ever 
made to these, and it was surprising how much muscular 
strength he shewed when it came to a steady, pushing, 
silent wrestle with a brother bear : pradical jokes too never 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 2^] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 165 

lo8t their charm for him, and they and their swift retribu- 
tion made much of the day's fun. " Rossetti and Ned were 
for ever drawing caricatures of Morris, who most good- 
naturedly joined in the laugh," says Mr. Prinsep, and some 
of these caricatures found their way to us girls in London. 

*' The little tracings I have enclosed," Edward writes to 
my sister Agnes, '^are accurately copied from designs which 
have created the greatest sensation in our limited circle. 
Others exist of the same subjeA variously treated, but of 
too colossal a size to trace comfortably and send you, but 
these I think you will enjoy (you will see them better if 
you lay them on white paper). The Topsy Cartoons. 
No. I. Portrait of Topsy in usual attitude and expression. 
He is in the aA of requesting Davis to put more size in 
the colour — his dearest friends alone can tell how truly 
this represents the forcible and energetic manner which 
charaAerises that unnaturally and unnecessarily curly being. 
The subjeft is broadly handled, especially at)out the chief 
figure — there is a world of satire about the sunflowers at 
the back. Davis is exad. 

** No. 2. Topsy at the age of 24, in the aft of suddenly 
noticing of his own accord what has long been patent to 
surrounding humanity, that he is growing fat — stout — cor- 
pulent. This design is called * The Discovery ' after the 
sentiment it expresses — your attention is drawn to the 
hands. 

" No. 3 is the triumphant reply of the Great Master to 
the fallacious assertion on the part of Topsy that the 
sole resemblance of these and similar cartoons to himself 
lay in the hair — and that he would go to-morrow and get 
it cut. No. 3 is the answer. It represents Topsy in his 
usual aftion with watch-chain, and closely shorn. The 
other night Rossetti made a magnificent group — Ruskin, 
himself. Top and me, oh so ex^ — 1 screamed with de- 
light." 

In the same letter there is also the following description 
of a scene which makes one feel how young they all were 
together. 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 66 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

*^ I have from now till breakfast to write to you in, and 
I have no idea what now is, for after the most elaborate 
diredions for being called early, which were striftly attended 
to, I turned over and dozed away like a pig, and now I 
cxpeft every moment my usual morning tormentors, Ros- 
setti and Pollen, who come at about 8 o'clock to insult me 
— ^laugh at me, my dear — ^point the finger of scorn at me, 
address me by opprobrious names and finally tear blankets 
and counterpanes and mattresses and all the other things 
that cover me, from my enfeebled grasp, and so leave me, 
to do the same to Topsy. Fve done them this time ; when 
they come in presently with no knocking at the door, they 
will see Virtue asserted in the form of a bold and upright 
figure at the dressing-table, who will slowly turn upon them 
a look of calm but significant defiance with one eye, while 
with the other he expresses similar feelings by a contumelious 
wink." 

An occasional drawback to the happiness of the painters 
in this improvised Bohemia was the recognition of their 
presence in Oxford by various polite invitations to dinner, 
for after their day's work at the Union the men wanted 
nothing so much as to meet again at George Street in the 
evening, where they could smoke, talk altogether or not 
at all, read aloud or play whist, just as they chose. 

Mr. Prinsep tells a story of an evening when they were 
honoured by an invitation to dine at Christ Church, which 
Edward, " being shy," declined, but Rossetti, Morris and 
Prinsep accepted. "The preparation for the dinner created 
some bustle. Morris found he had no dress clothes with 
him, at which Rossetti was indignant * You should always 
have dress clothes with you,' he said, *Top, it's disgraceful 
of you/ However, Hughes had some, and although he was 
taller than Morris and rather thin, it was agreed that the 
clothes must do. But Morris was so long dressing that 
Rossetti having attired himself and having waited some 
time in his top coat declared he would wait no longer, and 
off we started. Before we reached Christ Church we heard 
the sound of Morris' footsteps and he overtook us. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 167 

"'What do you mean turning up like that?' cried Ros- 
setti furiously, 'look at your hair!' There sure enough, on 
Morris' dark mop was a dab of blue painty the relic of his 
day's work. * Well, Gabriel,' answered Morris meekly, 'I'll 
go to Charley Faulkner's and get it off.' And so he did. 

" When we arrived at Christ Church and took off our 
overcoats, I was amused to find that Gabriel, though he 
had been so particular about evening dress, had finished 
his own attire by absently putting on the old plum-coloured 
frock-coat he wore daily, which was itself not free from 
paint. I, however, discreetly said nothing, nor do I think 
he ever found out his mistake or I fancy we should have 
heard of it/' 

Edward's recoUeAion of these disturbed evenings was 
not less vivid than Mr. Prinsep's : 

" When we were happily together at meals a message 
would often come, and one of us was summoned, as if the 
lot of Death had fallen upon him, and he had to wash and 
dress and go to that house of Fate. If we had warning 
that such a thing was to be, we were all suddenly ill. Some- 
times we had no warning, and we went — one or other of 
us — full of silent lamentation. One autumn evening Gabriel 
and I were alone, and our dinner was coming in and we 
were chatting together — ^and he to me was as Pope and 
Emperor — it was so nice, for when he loved man or woman 
they knew it and it was happy; and it was Just then that a 

note came from to say that he would come in a few 

minutes to fetch us to dine to meet this and that 

" We never met this and that; we never dined at all that 
nieht; for an idea had come to Gabriel, and he rang the 
bell and asked the man when the next train started for 
London, and a cab was got and we were in the train for 

Euston when came. It was ten o'clock when we got 

to Euston Hotel, and we had tea or something and went 
to bed, and were oalled again at six, and were back in 
Oxford by nine and at work again — and it was all his idea, 
and I thought, 'this man could lead armies and destroy 
empires if he liked; how good it is to be with him.' " 



Digitized by 



Google 



i68 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

Other interruptions the workers had of a more welcome 
kind, when Ruskin or Madox Brown came down from 
London to look at what they were doing. There is a reflec- 
tion of Ruskin's visit in a letter of mine written to Miss 
Charlotte Salt at the beginning of November, where it says, 
** Edward is still at Oxford, painting away busily," and 
adds that Ruskin had been down there the week before and 
pronounced Rossetti's pifture to be ''the finest piece of 
colour in the world." Then — under seal of secrecy — ^I 
whisper that *'he chooses Edward's next to Rossetti's/' 
About ten days later another letter breathes in awe-stricken 
distress the faA that Miss Siddal is '' ill again." The news 
had reached me through Edward, who had never even seen 
her, but so lived in Gabriers life at that time as not only 
to share any trouble that Gabriel had, but also to impress 
real sadness for it upon another. 

In Mr. Price's diary of November 14th, there is the 
following entry: '^Rossetti unhappily called away through 
Miss Siddal's illness at Matlock "; and that was the end of 
the Oxford companionship, for he did not return. 

By this date Morris had completed his work on the roof 
of the Union as well as his pifture on the wall ; '* having," 
as the Notes say, " from first to last the faculty of carrying 
on his work and pushing it through, working his best and 
trying for no better than he could do at the time, leaving 
advance for the next work." 

It was in the last days of the Long Vacation that Morris 
first saw Miss Jane Burden, who afterwards became his wife. 
She had been born and brought up in Oxford, and her 
beauty was of so rare and distinguished a type that one would 
have thought it impossible for Morris to have missed seeing 
her face during the time he was at College: but fate re- 
served the meeting until now, when, as it is said, "by 
chance" being at the theatre with Gabriel, Edward, and 
Hughes one evening, he saw her in a box above them, and 
so the story began. A pen-and-ink drawing of her by 
Rossetti (the one now in the Dublin National Gallery) was 
brought by Edward to Beaumont Street for us to marvel 



Digitized by 



Google 




C ituhi lane </lurr/en. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



I 



JET. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 169 



at, and future acquaintance with the original proved to us 
\ that it was a faithful portrait as well as a beautiful work of 

^ art. Morris' portrait of her also in his poem of Beata 

Mea Domina was equally true. 

I wish it were possible to explain the impression made 
upon me as a young girl whose experience so far had been 
quite remote from art, by sudden and close intercourse with 
those to whom it was the breath of life. The only approach 
I can make to describing it is by saying that I felt in the 
presence of a new religion. Their love of beauty did not 
seem to me unbalanced, but as if it included the whole world 
and raised the point from which they regarded everything. 
Human beauty especially was in a way sacred to them, I 
thought; and of this I received confirmation quite lately 
from a lady whom I had not seen for many years, and who 
had been in her youth an objeA of wild enthusiasm and ad- 
miration to Rossetti, Morris and Edward. She and I sat 
and talked for an hour about them and the days when we 
were all young, and I found that she kept the same feeling 
that I do about that time — that the men were as good as 
they were gifted, and unHke any others that we knew. She 
had lost sight of them long ago and lived abroad and seen 
many people since then, but her regard for the young artists 
' she remembered was still fresh and she loved to dwell on 

i their memory. ** I never saw such men," she said; " it was 

being in a new world to be with them. I sat to them and 
was there with them, and they were different to everyone 
I else I ever saw. And I was a holy thing to them — I was 

a holy thing to them." 

The life in Red Lion Square was a very happy one in 

its freedom. Red Lion Mary's originality all but equalled 

that of the young men, and she understood them and their 

ways thoroughly. Their rough and ready hospitality was 

seconded by her with unfailing good temper; she cheerfully 

j spread mattresses on the floor for friends who stayed there, 

/ and when the mattresses came to an end it was said that 

I she built up beds with boots and portmanteaus. Cleanliness, 

* beyond the limits of the tub, was impossible in Red Lion 



Digitized by 



Google 



I70 MEMORIALS OF [1857 

Square, and hers was not a nature to dash itself against im- 
possibilities, so the subjeft was pretty much ignored, but 
she was ready to fulfil any mission or do anything for them 
at a moment's notice, which was much more important. 
Never did she dishonour their bills. " Mary! " cried Ed- 
ward one evening when ordering breakfast overnight for 
Rossetti, who was staying with them, ** let us have quarts 
of hot coffee, pyramids of toast, and multitudinous quantities 
of milk " ; which to her meant all he intended. " Dear 
Mary/' wrote Rossetti, ** please go and smash a brute in 
Red Lion Passage to-morrow. He had to send a big book^ 
a scrapbook, to Master Crabb, 34, Westbourne Place, 
Eaton Square, and he hasn't done it I don't know his 
name but his shop is dirty and full of account books. This 
book was ordered ten days ago, and was to have been sent 
home the next day and was paid for — so sit on him hard 
to-morrow and dig a fork into his eye, as I can't come that 
way to murder him myself." From these hints she knew 
exadly what to say. 

Her memory was excellent and sense of humour keen, so 
that some of the commissions on which she was sent gave 
her great enjoyment — as one day when Edward told her 
to take a cab and go to Mr. Watts at Little Holland House, 
and ask him for the loan of ** whatever draperies and any 
other old things he could spare," and Mr. Watts, amused 
at the form of the request, sent her back with a parcel of 
draperies and an old pair of brown trousers, bidding her 
tell Mr. Jones those were the only " old things " he could 
spare. This delighted Edward, and he detained Mary while 
he took down his Vasari and read to her of the old Italian 
painter who had his breeches made of leather because they 
wore out so quickly ; and then he professed to be grateful 
for Mr. Watts' gift, and said he would have the brown 
trousers made to fit him. 

Mary wrote a good hand and spelled well, and would sit 
down and write with gravity such a note as the following 
diftated to her by Edward. ** Mr. Bogie Jones compts: to 
Mr. Price and begs to inform him he expefts to be down for 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 171 

Commemoration and that he hopes to meet him, clean, well 
shaved, and with a contrite heart." Morris' quick temper 
annoyed her, but she once prettily said, " though he was so 
short-tempered, I seemed so necessary to him at all times, 
and felt myself his man Friday," There was a never-for- 
gotten trick that she played him one day when relations 
were strained between them, which vastly amused Rossetti, 
Edward and Madox Brown, all present at the time. 
Morris was going to Oxford and had asked her before he 
did so to wind up his watch and set it right, on which the 
wily Mary put it forward nearly an hour, and he "re- 
membered to mention it to her " on his return. 

She could be trusted also like a good woman to shew 
kindness to another woman whose goodness was in abeyance, 
and could understand the honest kindness of a young man 
to such a one, and help him to feed and clothe her and get 
her back to her own people. 

She was an excellent needlewoman and made models' 
draperies very cleverly — nay, would also have stood as 
model in them, had she been tall enough — for one day 
when Edward said to her, " Why were you made so short? 
I could do all I require while you are fetching Miss JoliiFe, 
if you were only taller ; " she, with pathetic goodwill, asked 
whether she " would be of any use if she stcxKl on a stool? " 
When Gabriel heard of this he was so touched by it that 
he said *^ Mary shall go into a pifture," and so she did, as 
one of the ladies accompanying Beatrice in the " Meeting 
of Dante and Beatrice in Florence." He also made a care- 
ful pencil drawing of her head and gave it to her upon her 
marriage. 

Morris taught her to embroider his designs for hangings, 
and being in a fever to see how they looked, often made 
her bring her embroidery frame into the studio so that she 
might work under his diredtion — and many a funny con- 
versation took place as she plied her needle and they 
painted. One day she being in the room, perfedtly quiet, 
neither moving nor speaking, Morris, whose work presum- 
ably was going awry, said to her fiercely, " Mary, be quiet 



Digitized by 



Google 



172 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

—don't make that insufFerable noise," and she answered^ 
** No, sir; I won't, sir." Another day Gabriel, who was for 
ever humming a tune or crooning over lines of poetry, was 
haunted by a verse which had greatly amused him in a 
translation made by Mr, Thoby Prinsep from some Oriental 
legend, and as he painted he kept on chanting to himself 
in every intonation he could think of. 

Shall the hide of a fierce lion 
Be stretched on frame of wood 
For a daughter's foot to lie on. 
Stained with her father's blood? 

Mary's coming into the room for something did not dis- 
turb him, but in his rich voice he trolled forth the words 
again, this time as a question addressed to her personally. 

Mary! — Shall the hide of a fierce lion 
Be stretched on frame of wood 
For a daughter's foot to lie on. 
Stained with her father's blood? 

and she sdd briskly, "It shall if you like, sir." ** That's 
a most remarkable girl, Ned," said Rossetti afterwards: 
** not one woman in ten would have given an intelligent 
answer like that to a question." Gabriel's humour was quite 
inimitable — pervading all he said, touched with the melan- 
choly of his nature, and haughtily careless as to whether 
it was taken seriously or not. 

Another office that Mary held was that of reader to 
Edward on Sunday mornings when he was alone, for then 
he generally worked till lunch time and enjoyed listen- 
ing the while to her extrafts from Reynolds' Newspaper. 
Also she took care of the key of a small Swiss musical 
box that he had, which played two tunes (one of them I 
remember was called on the label " the Stelly night ") and 
wound it up and put it under his pillow. Some of the street 
organs too he liked very much. They were different in 
those days from the present ones — ^more mellow in tone, and 
with long-sustained notes, too, instead of staccato brilliance; 
their tunes varied of course, just as they do now, some of 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 173 

them being vulgar and some pathetic, but Edward never 
at any time joined in the cry against them. Only a few 
years ago, when one came and played outside the Garden 
Studio where he was working, he listened to it silently 
for some time and then said, " Pretty tunes those are ; 
they quite melt my heart"; and turning to his friend Mr. 
Rooke, who was with him, ** don't they melt your heart, 
little Rookie, and take the obduracy out of it? They soften 
my heart and make it less stubborn. Don't they soften 
yours?'* 

Edward's work at the Union lasted until the end of 
February, 1858, because he had to leave it occasionally, 
going home for Christmas and afterwards to London. 
'* Rossetti is in London," he writes to his father on one of 
the first days of the New Year, ** and it is so jolly looking 
at him again. My piAure at Oxford is not quite finished 
yet, but very nearly — ^I shall not go on with it just at 
present, but work here." And then he proceeds to cheer 
up his father's spirits about the life he had chosen. ** Did 

{ou see the notice in the Times the other day [of the 
Jnion paintine]'? There was one in the Times, one in the 
Saturday Review, one in the Morning Chronicle, one in 
the French Government paper the Moniteur, one in the 
Builder, and several more — ^I'm a famous man now! " 

To Miss Sampson he writes about the same time: ^^ To- 
day I have finished the Cartoon of Peter I began at home 
and have very greatly improved it. Hunt I have seen, 
who complimented me tremendously on my pifture at 
Oxford — so I am getting on slowly, and a million times 
better than could ever have been cxpedked: perhaps I shall 
be almost rich some day; that is, rich for me." 

Edward took the opportunity of being away from Lon- 
don to let his beard and moustache grow, which altered 
his appearance considerably. Of course whilst his beard 
was growing he went through the usual misery of the pro- 
cess, and used to send caricatures in his letters of its appear- 
ance from the earliest stage, which he described in words 
as being " like the outside of the inside of a musical box." 



Digitized by 



Google 



174 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

By various unlucky accidents all the photographs of him 
taken before this change have been lost. 

On the 2nd of January he had received a very welcome 
letter from Mr. Flint enclosing the balance of payment for 
the two " Blessed Damozel " piftures, and saying that he 
wished to have another of a more important size. Edward 
writes: " I am afraid he will stare at the price Rossetti 
says I must ask — I'm quite frightened to ask it, but I will, 
for I work hard enough. Isn't he a brick when I haven't 
done the first commission, indeed scarcely begun it?" 

Mr. Flint's pradtice of paying beforehand for work was 
in one way very convenient and helpful, but in others not 
so good, for it was a cause of great anxiety unless both 
patron and painter lived and prospered. If Edward was 
well he had no doubt of being able to complete such com- 
missions, but he felt burdened and depressed by the debt 
when his health broke down, as it did this year. Enthu- 
siasm gave him strength until the end of his work at Ox- 
ford, and made him report himself during that time as ^ tre- 
mendously well," but it was clear to others that this was 
not the case. His lifelong tendency was to exhaustion from 
over-fatigue, followed by chills varying in their course from 
ordinary colds to serious illness, a constitution which made 
him peculiarly susceptible to every kind of malarial influ- 
ence. 

After his return to London the fiftitious strength that 
had supported him through two years of mental and bodily 
strain suddenly failed, and, scarcely knowing how it had 
happened, he became so weak that for a few days he was 
unable to raise his hand to his head. A note written to 
Mr. Frice just before he fell ill shews the dejedtion he felt 
at the end of the merry days and happy work at Oxford. 
** It is very dull. Oh, horribly dull — such a jolly time 
seems to have gone away so completely. I wake up mis- 
erably every morning." Then, a little later, " I've been 
very seedy and am only just up for a few minutes — to- 
morrow I am going to Camberwell to stay with our little 
Aunt till I get straight. Is Topsy in Oxford? love to him 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 175 

and everyone — tell him not to come up yet till IVe done 
more to the wardrobe/* Morris was staying on at Oxford 
almost permanently now, working at a pidure of Tristram 
and Iseult for which Mr. Flint had given him a com- 
mission; so that, although the friends often met at the 
week's end, Edward was living a good deal alone in Red 
Lion Square. The wardrobe he speaks of was one painted 
with the story of Chaucer's Prioress' Tale, and the design 
was praftically the same that, with another background, 
he used for the highly finished piAure which was his 
last exhibited water-colour in the New Gallery forty years 
later. 

Before March was over Edward proclaimed himself quite 
well, but we who had seen him laid so low were careful in 
receiving the assertion. However, he was out and about 
again on the 21st of the month, for he took me then to see 
Ruskin for the first time. We paid our visit to him in the 
basement of the National Gallery, where he was working 
at the classification and preservation of the Turner bequest 
of drawings. He received us very kindly, setting us to 
amuse ourselves as we liked with the drawings that lay 
about while he worked and then talked, or pointed out 
any special thing. He shewed us, too, some old pidlures 
lately brought back from Italy by Sir Charles Eastlake, 
but not yet hung, and he praised Edward's work to me in 
the most unqualified terms — it was a golden hour. One 
more attempt was made to paint apple-blossom this spring 
when Edward carried his pifture down to Maidstone, where 
Arthur Hughes was staying, but again the cold winds pre- 
vented it. A couple of letters to Madox Brown written 
at this time shew Edward's aflFeftionate relations with him, 
and have reference also to a nebulous plan which pleased 
some of the friends — ^an idea of taking a large house where 
all the families should live together. ** De-e-ear old Brown," 
he says, " have a card to see a house — 20 rooms — 2 acres 
ground — rent Gs: 100! ! ! Situation Kensington, close by 
Kensington Square — what do you think ? Could you go 
and see it? Hughes would be ready to join any time." A 



Digitized by 



Google 



176 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

postscript adds: ^^ Little Huse sends his love, t'aint worth 
having, but as he is looking over me I must send it." 

The place described here was, I believe. Cedar Villa, 
over whose fine old garden blocks of flats are now built. 
In the other letter he says: ** By the bye, I must tell Gabriel 
about our plan, for he has been very pressing for me to 
join him at Blackfriars, and I cannot refuse except for the 
aAual reason — ^all this when I return. I shall rush up to 
see you the moment I get back." 

Madox Brown's kindness to me in these early days is 
one of the delightful recoUedtions belonging to them which 
nothing can dim, and it is in allusion to his actually having 
allowed me to come and try whether I could handle a padnt 
brush in his studio that Edward's letter goes on with a 
sudden outburst of gratitude : ^^ God bless you, old fellow, 
how good you are to my Stunner — she does little else but 
talk about it There never was any one in all this blessed 
world half so unselfish as you.'' 

It makes one smile in the midst of the ghosts of this time 
to realize the standard of age by which we then measured 
each other, for in a letter that I wrote to my friend Char- 
lotte Salt are these words, referring to the painters that I 
knew : " Have I ever mentioned Brown to you? He is the 
father of them all, a married man of, I should think, nearly 
forty." In reality he was just thirty-seven. " Rossetti," I 
tell her, ^' is still out of town, I saw him last at Christmas 
—did I tell you of it? — where I saw Hughes also, one of 
the most beautiful men in the world." 

Where I saw them was at a party given by Morris 
and Edward in Red Lion Square, an invitation to which 
festivity, lightly scribbled to his " dear Bruno " by Edward, 
has found its way into my hands after all these years. 

'^ Come to-night and see the chair, there 's a dear old 
fellow — ^such a chair! I ! 1 ! ! Gabriel and Top hook it to- 
morrow, so do come. Hughes will come, and a Stunner 
or two to make melody. Come soon, there 's a nice old 
chap — viftuals and squalor at all hours, but come at 6." 

One part of the " melody " of the evening I remember 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 177 

to have been some old French songs from Wckerlin's 
beautiful colleftion, Echos du Temps Passiy sung to a 
piano, itself a guest of the evening, which must have 
gone away next day with strange thoughts about ''the 
chair" if, as I believe, it was the large one with a box 
overhead in which Gabriel suggested owls might be kept 
with advantage* 



N 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER X 

AD FONTES AQUARUM 
1858-1859 

WITHIN a short time after his return from Maid- 
stone Edward was again alarming us by his con- 
dition of health. The early summer was intensely 
hot, and Red Lion Square was no fitting place for him when 
the thermometer stood at 90 in the shade, so one day 
Mrs. Prinscp in the kindness of her heart drove down there 
and took possession of him bodily, carrying him off with 
her to Little Holland House and putting him under the 
care of a fresh doftor. A letter of my mother's to my 
brother Harry at Oxford says: " We have had consider- 
able anxiety lately about Edward, who is in a very delicate 
state of health. He is forbidden for the present to touch or 
smell oil paint, he is living quite by rule, and is as weak as 
you can imagine a man to be who is not confined to his 
room. Dr. Bright told Mrs. Prinsep that if he had gone 
on much longer working and paying no attention to him- 
self, it would have been too late to do anything for him." 
Besides ill-health and the anxiety he felt at the delay it 
caused in his work, Edward was troubled this year about 
his father's affairs. " Haven't heard from home for long," 
he writes to Mr. Price. '' My father in business trouble a 
good deal — going to give up Poplar Place. Beastly being 
poor, isn't it, Crommie? I want to see you so badly — I 
would have come down to Oxford any Sunday if I could 
afford it, but till Sunday last I hadn't known £2 in my 
pockets together for months." 

It was a bad time for several of the little circle. Miss 
Siddal continued wretchedly out of health, and a long ill- 



Digitized by 



Google 




ni^J OJulflat. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 25] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 179 

ness of Mrs. Madox Brown's was weighing heavily on her 
husband. Edward writes to him: ** I am so grieved to hear 
that your wife is so ill still — ^write me better news as soon 
as you can, I am very anxious for you. I don't go out yet 
— but I won't bother you about my little trouble when you 
are so unhappy. Wouldn't it be better to give up that 
little Academy for the present — it must jar on you." 
These last words refer to Madox Brown's incredible kind- 
ness in allowing me and Miss Seddon, sister to his dead 
friend Thomas Seddon the artist, to come and try to paint 
from a model in his studio. I remember how proud and 
pleased I was at the confidence Madox Brown placed in me 
when, during his wife's illness, he gave me leave to take 
his little three-year-old boy, ** Nolly," back to my father's 
house with me for a few days. 

Nolly was an enchanting child, and in his own home so 
bold and manly as he roved about in a rough pinafore, that 
I was unprepared for the infantine vision in white embroi- 
dered cambric which he presented when dressed for our 
journey: his manliness had been doffed with his holland 
overall, and as I lifted him in and out of the omnibus by 
which we travelled I felt an alarming sense of responsibility. 

I shall linger a while with the memory of this child, 
whose death in earliest manhood frustrated the hope and 
expectation of his friends; for the things that he did and 
said whilst he was with us left a lasting image of him in 
our hearts. 

The embroidered outdoor coat once got rid of, he be- 
came again the Nolly of Fortess Terrace, and justified all 
that I had said of him to my family. I remember that on 
one of his small fingers we found a negleded cut, which> 
though reckoned by himself as unworthy of notice, he 
courteously allowed us for our own satisfaction to have 
dressed and bound up at the chemist's, where his courage 
during the operation moved the chemist to fill a virgin 
pilUbox with acid drops and present it to him afterwards. 
The acid drops were all given to dogs on his way home. 

He was quite happy in the gloomy back-yard of our 



Digitized by 



Google 



i8o MEMORIALS OF [1858 

house, where my little sisters kept a bad-tempered guinea- 
pig. Nolly feared neither tooth nor daw of any animal yet 
known to him, and had put his hand into the cage and been 
sharply bitten before there was time to say Don't. "O 
Nolly, has it hurt you? " some one cried. *' No, dear," he 
answered gently, and a moment afterwards, with a bene- 
volence that set all parties at their ease, he added thought- 
fully, *' It 's a very nice little pig." 

Once, while he was with us, his father came to see him, 
and the interview astonished us all; for he did not kiss or 
caress the little fellow, but only perched him solemnly upon 
his knee and conversed with him for a minute or two be- 
fore bidding him good-bye again. It was not possible to be 
angry with Nolly. He might plant his boot in the middle 
of a pie that was set in the window to cool, yet the cook 
bore him no grudge — or jump over the footboard into the 
middle of a new-made feather bed, and running up it sit 
grinning from the height of its downy pillows, but no one 
could do more than laugh. He tried to strike matches on 
the granulated tip of a dog's nose, and the dog itself did 
not mind, and he filled the eyes of a water-colour portrait 
of himself with drops of water, because ** they were his own 
eyes, so he might do what he liked with them," without 
his father being seriously angry: the days of his childhood 
were happy ones. A flaxen>polled sister next above him in 
age was his home companion, with whom he played or 
fought as occasion prompted. Their antics seemed to per- 
turb their father without his quite knowing what was the 
matter, and one used to see remonstrance slowly waking 
up in him long before it came to the utterance Their 
mother was too amiable and indulgent to be any sort of 
terror to them, and Madox Brown's forehead would pucker 
helplessly at them all while he went on talking in his 
measured, serious way with friend or visitor. I have seen 
him carry on conversation for some time whilst one of the 
children wriggled backwards and forwards underneath the 
bars of the chair on which he sat. And now, farewell to 
the child Nolly — of whom we too soon lost sight. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. is] EDWARD BURNE-JONES i8i 

By the middle of June Edward was well enough to take 
my sister and me to Summertown, where we had been in- 
vited for Commemoration by Mr. and Mrs. MacLaren, and 
he remained a week at Oxford before returning to Little 
Holland House. Even there, however, he soon flagged 
again, and presently rejoined us. We stayed together at 
Summertown until the pure air and country lire helped 
him to gain strength^ so that he was in good spirits and 
protested that he was perfedtly well ; but as one day he was 
found quietly fainting on the sofa in a room where he had 
been left alone, we judged him by that rather than by his 
protestations. An evening comes back to my mind when 
after a very hot day we had a terrific storm, and it was 
revealed to us for the first time that our host was afraid of 
thunder and lightning. He went upstairs, and taking his 
little Mabel out of her bed wrapped her in a blanket, and 
brought her down to the drawing-room, where, as he sat 
with her in his arms, his anxious face put an end to all talk. 
Our young spirits, awestruck though we were by the vio- 
lence of the storm, objedfced to this ceremony of alarm, and 
Mr. Price good-naturedly took upon himself the task of 
reviving conversation. He always had a turn for statistics, 
and this time thought to cheer the company by announcing 
in a pleasant voice that it was a well-established faft that 
one ill-kept pig-sty did more harm than twenty thunder 
storms; but, as a cannonade of thunder saluted the state- 
ment, MacLaren angrily exclaimed: ** Price, you should 
be ashamed of yourself to speak so! " and the well-meant 
effort failed. Most of our stay was in beautiful weather, 
however. Edward read aloud to us a great deal from the 
Morte d'Arthur, and we had singing of old French and 
English songs, and we ate innumerable cherries, and told 
each other tales, and laughed a great deal with ** Peggy " 
Talboys, a sister of Mrs. MacLaren's, whom we all loved. 
Edward, of course, had brought work with him, and the 
design he was then busy upon was the pen-and-ink draw- 
ing of" Sir Galahad." ** I can't look at Galahad yet to finish 
it," he wrote afterwards; ** every stroke in it reminds one of 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 82 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

some dear little word or incident that happened as the pen 
was marking/' He often spoke of these involuntary piftures 
within a pifture which existed for him in all that he did. 

Kind Mrs. Prinsep claimed him again on his return to 
London, and he had the pleasure of finding that Tennyson 
was then staying at Little Holland House. A reminiscence 
of Edward's about this meeting has been preserved. " It 
was there I got to know Tennyson first. It was in the days 
when he was fiercely attacked and reviled by people: 
afterwards when he wrote the Idylls of the King and 
gave them what they wanted, they were pleased and praised 
him — but in the days of the Poems and of Maud he was 
much abused by the English. Unfortunately he minded 
being abused and was very sensitive about it, and one 
evening at dinner he was in real distress about an anony- 
mous letter he had received — which began "Abhorred 
Sir," and ended '* Yours in aversion " — and one by one he 
took the guests apart and said " What would you do if 
you got a letter like this? " Lord Tennyson's Memoir of 
his rather refers to this visit, and says, " here my father 
began *The Fair Maid of Astolat.' " 

Vivien had been written two years before, but was then 
called by its author Nimue — the name of the Damsel of 
the Lake with whom, as she is represented in Malory's 
Morte d' Arthur, Edward's imagination had been dealing 
so closely in his Oxford pidture — and Mr. Prinsep recalls 
his pained face and eager expostulation when he found 
that the poet in his Idyll had modernized and altered 
the charafter while preserving the ancient name. ** Tenny- 
son," says Mr. Prinsep, *' good-naturedly changed it to 
* Vivien.' " Ruskin also was to be seen at Little Holland 
House, and Lord Tennyson and Mr. Prinsep both relate a 
story which pleased and amused us so much at the time — 
of his being heard one day to exclaim, after looking at a 
design of Edward's, ** Jones, you are gigantic 1 " This allit- 
eration delighted the ear of Tennyson and was not allowed 
to drop, so that " Gigantic Jones " became a nickname 
until his friends tired of it. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Mr. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 183 

Both Morris and Rossetti looked with some suspicion 
upon Edward's long stay at Little Holland House. 
Gabriel thought its situation too low^ and was anxious as 
to its efFed: on one already so delicate, and Morris had^ 
generally speaking, a defiant tone towards the fashionable 
life which existed there side by side with the literary and 
artistic. Edward, conscious of all this, certain of himself, 
yet eagerly breathing the new atmosphere, found in it as 
much excitement as rest; but rest was never the only thing 
he needed. I could not realize then as I do now what this 
visit to Little Holland House must have been to him. 
There, for the first time, he found himself surrounded 
without any effort of his own by beauty in ordinary life, 
and no day passed without awakening some admiration or 
enthusiasm. He had never gone short of love and loving 
care, but for visible beauty he had literally starved through 
all his early years. The lovely garden that surrounded the 
house was an enchanted circle separating it from other 
places: there in the summertime, and especially on Sundays, 
came most people of note in the different circles that made 
up the ** world " of England — old and young, rich and 
poor, each welcome for some reason recognized by the 
hostess. Part of the great lawn was given up to croquet— 
the chief outdoor game of the time — and another to bowls, 
whilst elsewhere encampments could be seen of those who 
did not play; and all seemed happy. The very strawberries 
that stood in little crimson hills upon the tables were larger 
and riper than others. This was rather before the days in 
which Mrs. Prinsep's elder sister Mrs. Cameron was there 
with her photography, which became the mingled terror 
and delight of her friends. Her incalculable ways, brilliant 
words and kind aftions had their fascination for everybody, 
but her lens, when levelled at them, was merciless. One 
story there was of Browning, the fiery and restless, brought 
to bay by her in the garden, and beguiled into sitting as 
she would have him, draped in strange wise, and left by 
her helpless in the folds of the drapery, forgotten for the 
time as she flew on some other quest. 



Digitized by 



Google 



1 84 MEMORIALS OF [i8 . 

Val Prinscp, who was living at home in his father's hou u 
during Edward's visit, was like a younger brother to him^ 
and used his great strength tenderly tor his help, some- 
times carrying him upstairs in his arms when he saw him 
overwhelmed with fatigue, or if he were sleepless and light- 
headed through sheer weakness, as occasionally happened, 
bringing a companion mattress and spreading it on the 
floor by his friend's side, **to drive away the bogies." 
Sometimes there was pain as well as exhaustion, and Edward 
must have mentioned this to Rossetti, from whom I find 
an undated fragment of a letter that says he is ^' miserable" 
to hear it. ** To think of you suflfering so much and in 
such an unaccountable way! Of course I shall come to- 
morrow as early as I can — ^would come to-night also if 
possible but fear I cannot manage that. I know how much 
better cared-for you are at Kensington than elsewhere, but 
still cannot help#^fearing that the air may have to do with 
your illness as I know it is far from agreeing with every- 
one. You really must try something else immediately if 
you are not better in a few days — much as you will lose 
by sacrificing Mrs. Prinsep's care. There is nothing in the 
world I care for more than for your health, dear old 
fellow — ^hardly anything nearly so much. I know I must 
be fonder of you than you can possibly be of me — at any 
rate there is no man I love so well by half or who loves 
me so well. However, this letter begins to read rather 
flabby." 

In the midst of the brilliance of Little Holland House 
Edward continued anxious about his father's aflPairs, and 
was looking forward to the time when he could go down 
to Birmingham. He writes to Miss Sampson: '^ I suppose 
you have been very busy removing and getting things 
straight. I want to know everything about you — ^how you 
are and my father, write and tell me, for he never tells me 
how he is. Do you like the new house better than the old 
one — does pussy like it better — is puss well? Are the 
Spozzis in town yet — write and tell me everything." And 
a little later, looking forward to his birthday: *' We shall 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET.25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 185 

very soon meet now^ in about 10 or 12 days I shall be 
down with you both, and stay a happy little fortnight I 
shall bring my work down with me and be very snug and 
happy, shan't I?" 

Poor Miss Sampson seems to have sent one letter to 
Edward this year which moved him to an unusually serious 
answer, for generally he wrote to her with a light pen and 
tried to make her smile. 

** Cheer up," he begins, " don't be down-hearted — ^we 
shall have jollier days yet than we have had. Never mind, 
while I've got any tin you shall have some — and when I 
get on fast, as I shall soon, you shall be happy. Look 
upon it all as only a temporary thing, it won't last long, 
either my father will make heaid quickly against his diffi- 
culties or I shall be successful; don't talk about anything 
being difficult for your time of life, you are not old yet so 
don't fancy it — only be cheerful and don't repine as if you 
alone suffered. I see lots of misery in our station of life 
— ^lots of struggling to keep above water, privation, self- 
sacrifice, humiliation. If we had only known it we have 
been very happy these many years, only we weren't grate- 
ful; for nearly 25 years we have been together, and never 
wanted for much — ^we were a great deal happier than we 
knew at the time, and if we are good it will come back 
again. Don't let any person persuade you that you have 
been a fool for not looking after your own interest — God 
doesn't call such people fools — ^it 's right to do it, but not 
wrong not to do it. I have worked very hard at art for 
two years and find it difficult to live — and I am thought a 
most successful beginner, and am spoken of in London a 
great deal — but there are so many things to be grateful for 
that it is not right to name anything as unfortunate." 

It was natural that Mrs. Prinsep should wish to know 
something about the girl to whom the young friend in 
whom she had such an afFedfcionate interest was engaged. 
One day she and her sister Lady Somers came by appoint- 
ment to Beaumont Street to call upon my mother. The 
two tall, handsome women brought with them a breath 



Digitized by 



Google 



i86 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

from a world that was strange to us, but its brilliance and 
kindness were familiar to our imagination, and love for 
Edward was our common meeting-ground. Nevertheless 
the visit was felt to be one of inspedion as well as courtesy, 
and in spite of the gracefulness of the callers was some- 
thing of an ordeal to pass through. An invitation sent 
afterwards to my elder sister and me took us one evening 
to dine at Little Holland House, and to this day the im- 
pression remains of its low, dimly lighted, richly coloured 
rooms, dark passages opening into lofty studios filled with 
the noble work of Watts, a vision of one beautiful human 
being after another, and the table spread with a sense of 
boundless welcome. The splendid growth of both the men 
and women of the family was more noticeable at that time 
than it would be now, and added an element of wonder to 
the place. I never saw Tennyson there, but heard from 
Edward of the added excitement that his presence always 
caused. Certainly in point of height and physical beauty 
he must have taken his place finely in that remarkable 
household. 

It may have been in consequence of the weak sight of 
Mr. Prinsep that the custom began of having the living 
rooms of Little Holland House so dimly lit as they were; 
but it brought with it no feeling of depression and produced 
no silence. From the specially dark corner in which 
" Uncle Thoby's " couch was placed used to proceed much 
laughter, and visitors waited their turn for the pleasure of 
sitting by his side, while life never flagged in the circle 
where " Aunt Sara " lived and moved. One felt her guiding 
will through everything, and under all the ease and treedom 
of the house was a sense of her vigilance. When I learned 
that she was of mixed Irish and French descent, that 
seemed a clue to her wonderful vivacity. 

Mrs. Prinsep's youngest sister, Mrs. (now Lady^ Dalrym- 
ple, was a graceful and touching presence in tne house, 
and memory of her always brings back the sound of soft, 
silken rustlings and the tinkling of silver bangles as she 
came and went. The exclamation of a child when he saw 



Digitized by 



Google 




o 



^HiA^ ^yCerv^rt. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 25] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 187 

her for the first time pleased Edward, who often quoted 
it: " O what big eyes! O what wide hair! " 

The beautiful Miss Herbert, then afting at the St 
James's Theatre, used to come sometimes to sit to Watts, 
and the younger men, if they were there, would gather 
round her and make studies also. Echoes of their admira- 
tion reached us young people, to whom theatres were things 
unknown, and once we were shewn a small water-colour 
made by Gabriel of her, radiant in golden hair, — -just the 
head and throat on an emerald-green background — and 
deeply did we feel the tribute rendered to her beauty when 
we read the names which he had written around the four 
sides of the little pifture: "Beatrice helen guenevere 
Herbert/* I first saw this lady one evening in the early 
days of our marriage, at the house of her friends and ours, 
Mr. and Mrs. Street, and then after many years we met 
again in Rottingdean, when Miss Herbert drove out from 
Brighton and she and my husband shook hands across the 
gulf of time. Her grace and dignity of bearing remained 
very striking, and I do not think there could have been a 
shock on either side, for both still visibly carried the marks 
of their distinguishing gifts — of power and of beauty. 

Red Lion Square was not very brilliant in 1858, as from 
one cause or another Morris and Edward were seldom 
there at the same time: a sense of change was in the air, 
and so early as Easter they began to consider whether it 
was worth while to keep the rooms on. Never from the 
time of their first meeting did the friends see so little of 
each other in any year as in this. 

Mr. Price, who was reading for his degree, kept house 
at Red Lion Square most of the Long Vacation, and part 
of the time Rossetti was there with him, driven from his 
own studio at Blackfriars by the smell of the river below 
its windows. Mary looked after them both with a good 
will, for they were among her chief favourites. At the 
beginning of the summer Morris told Edward of his engage- 
ment to Miss Burden, and they both realized that the old 
ways were now at an end and that a new order of things had 



Digitized by 



Google 



i88 MEMORIALS OF [1858 

begun. I am surprised on employing the ruthless measure 
of weeks and months to find how short a time the brilliant 
days of Red Lion Square really lasted, for on looking back 
it seems so much longer. But I believe that it made the 
same impression upon many of us and that every minute 
then contained the life of an hour. 

The fortnight that Edward promised to spend in Birm- 
ingham when he went down for his birthday grew into 
three weeks, but the only trace I have of it is in a note 
written whilst there to congratulate Madox Brown on his 
again receiving, as he had done the year before, the ^50 
prize from the Liverpool Academy. " Gabriel tells me 
youVe got the prize at Liverpool : Vm jolly glad, and 
only wished it were 50 prizes instead, for you ought to 
have them all." 

In mid September Morris, who had just come back 
from three weeks' boating on the Seine with Philip Webb 
and Charles Faulkner, was full of a scheme for building a 
house for himself, and the Red Lion Square days were 
praftically over. Edward's health was now restored to its 
average state, thanks to the loving care of Mrs. Prinsep. 
** She was the nearest thing to a mother that I ever knew," 
he once said: and the whole time at Little Holland House 
had been refreshing, for he had enjoyed the new life revealed 
to him, yet had not been carried away by it from the old. 
He was more than eager for work, but first came the 
weary search for fresh rooms. " 1 have had such a week 
of fatigue as I never had before," he writes during the re- 
moval, " and am pretty well knocked up — the rooms are 
dear but very good, well-lighted, large and clean." They 
were on the first floor of a house at the corner of Russell 
Place and Howland Street : Russell Place is now numbered 
as part of Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square. In those days 
the existence of artists was scarcely recognized, and to find 
a window cut up to the ceiling in order to give a room some 
claim to the name of studio was good luck which Edward 
neither expeftcd nor met with in this case. 

When he was established in these new rooms he found 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 26] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 189 

himself for the first time in his life quite alone, but friends 
followed him there, and to his great pleasure Val Prinsep 
became his near neighbour by taking the first floor of the 
house at the opposite comer of Howland Street. Mr. 
Price took his degree in Oftober, but stayed on at Oxford 
reading medicine, for he in his turn had given up all 
thought of entering the Church and was now intending to 
become a doftor. 

Mr. Spencer Stanhope tells me a story that belongs to 
Russell Place, of how one morning when he was going 
there he saw a small crowd coming along the street with 
Edward at the head of it, closely followed by a wretched, 
draggled-looking girl whom he had found, not quite sober, 
and the centre of a gang of boys and roughs who were 
jeering at and bullying her, so he had told her to come 
with him whilst he looked out for a policeman to protedt 
her. 

The Red Lion Square rooms were transferred to Mr. 
Swan, whose acquaintance Morris and Edward had made 
while painting the Union, and whose outward appearance 
may be gathered from Mary's exclamation when he first 
called on them, **Oh, sir, here 's a gentleman out of Byron 
come to see you!*' The likeness did not alarm her, how- 
ever, for she stayed on as housekeeper to him and working 
at embroidery for Morris until her marriage. 

The latter months of this year are clouded over in my 
mind, and I only see things in it as if the sky opened for 
a moment to give light and then closed again. I remember 
that Fulford, whose engagement to my sister had been 
over for some time, but whom we always liked, became 
quite estranged from us and temporarily broke even with 
the Oxford Set, no one could tell why. I recall also one 
scene, of several of us young people at Euston Square 
Railway Station, on a miserable November evening, saying 
good-bye to my brother Harry as he started for America. 
He had passed the Indian Civil Service examination suc- 
cessfully, and we were preparing our minds to part with 
him in that way, when, with the sudden impetuosity which 



Digitized by 



Google 



I90 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

a reserved and seemingly self-controlled nature occasionally 
shews, he changed his whole plans in a few days and the » 
rest of his life was passed in New York. 

The first Hogarth Club — which dates from this year — 
ought to be mentioned here, for if in the end it proved 
something of a disappointment to its founders, still the 
discussions about it beforehand were a source of great 
pleasure to the inner circle of friends, and the club itself 
while it lasted was a gain to them as one more place of 
meeting. 

In later years Edward referred to it as his " first ex- 
perience in public life," and described his dismay on 
gradually finding that it involved rules and official meet- 
ings and the passing of resolutions, all of which was so 
opposite to what he had meant. ^^ Stanhope and I thought 
it would be nice to have a club where we could chatter. 
But what a mistake I made. And then, to do him honour, 
we elefted Carlyle — ^and after that we sent him all the 
rules and reports and notices of meetings and adjournments 
of meetings and changes of meetings — ^till one day, talking 
to a friend of his who knew us, he said the communica- 
tions of the Hogarth Club had become an afiliftive pheno- 
menon. So his friend let us know of this, and we had 
another meeting about it. Full of uproarious laughter the 
meeting was — but though we saw the humour of it we 
had to propose and pass resolutions that Carlyle should be 
exempted from the afiSiftion for the future. Then some one 
proposed that a copy of the resolution should be sent to 
him, and though others said that this was the very kind 
of thing that bothered him it had to be done." 

The club died a natural death. 

All through this unproductive year Mr. Flint, instead 
of shewing any anxiety as to the sums he had already paid 
for piftures yet unpainted, continued to send more cheques 
on account and accompanied them with the kindest expres- 
sions of sympathy about Edward's health. The impression 
of himself and his afiTairs which these notes give is that of 
simple goodness. He underlines his letters like any school- 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 26] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 191 

girl, and is not afraid to write^ ^^ It is happiness to look on 
apidure!" 

It grieves me even now to think that he died before the 
work he so much looked for came into his possession, and 
my only comfort is a note dated ** Xmas Day i860" (he 
died six months afterwards), in which he says, " Thanks, 
my dear Sir, for the case and all the beautiful things of 
yours and Solomon's in it;*' so that he had something 
— I do not remember what — to please him that last 
Christmas. 

In February, 1859, ^ward writes: ^ I am as busy as can 
be, and ought never to have any interruptions and never 
any idle hours, but I can't manage it so — I wish I could. 
People will call and must be attended to, and I often feel 
tired when I ought to be at work. My eyes have been very 
weak lately — I suppose from cold — to-day they are much 
better." The wonder is that his eyes and eyesight re- 
mained so strong as they did under the perpetual strain of 
work in the evening as well as the daytime, for now that 
the merry fellowship of Oxford and Red Lion Sauare even- 
ings was at an end, he used the time it left him tor the one 
purpose of work. Often he went first to Lee's life-school 
and then on to the Working Men's G>llege, where he helped 
Madox Brown with a class for some time before he took 
one of his own. A pencil note scribbled to Mr. Brown 
brings these days before us. ** Excuse foul paper — hands 
all over charcoal — don't like to wash them twice in the 
same day. As it is the first night of a new model won't 
you go to the W[orking] M[en]? I don't want to shirk 
work at all, but I should much sooner that you should have 
the entire rule of everything there — also as it is the first 
night of a new model at Lee's I should like to secure a 
good place for the next fortnight — so I would come on to 
W[orking] M[en] at 9 o'clock or 8^ rather." 

Mr. J. P. Emslie, who was then a student and part of 
the time a pupil teacher in the drawing-class at the Working 
Men's College, has told me of things he remembers while 
there which clearly recall the individuality of Ruskin^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



192 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

Rossetti and Edward. He says that Ruskin used to keep 
his pupils a long time drawing in black and white before he 
would allow them to begin colour, as he considered one 
great fault of modem art was that men began colour before 
diey properly understood light and shade. However, to 
accustom his pupils to the use of the brush, he allowed them 
to make studies in Prussian blue. Rossetti, who was for 
having everybody learn to colour fully from the first, was 
filled with indignation when, walking round Mr. Ruskin's 
class-room one evening, he saw the system that was practised 
there. " How *s this? " he said; ** nothing but blue studies 
—can't any of you see any colour but blue? *' " It was by 
Mr. Ruskin's diredion," one of the students answered. 
"Well, where do you get all this Prussian blue from?*' 
asked Gabriel, going straight to the root of the matter ; and 
being direded to a cupboard in the room he opened it and 
refreshed his indignation by the sight of the store which he 
saw there. "Well,I declare," he exclaimed, "here's a packet 
with several dozen cakes of this fearful colour. Oh, I can't 
allow it ; Mr. Ruskin will spoil everybody's eye for colour — 
I shall confiscate the whole lot : I must do it, in the interests 
of his and my pupils. You must tell him that I've taken 
them all away." When a few evenings later Mr. Ruskin 
found that his dear Prussian blues were all gone he inquired 
the cause, and, being told, " burst into one of those bois- 
terous laughs in which he indulged whenever anything very 
much amused him." 

Edward's name is on the prospeftuses of the College 
from January, 1 859, to March, 1 86 1, and that means more 
than meets the eye, for he had an inmost dislike to teaching 
anything formally. Mr. Emslie says that he left with his 
pupils a feeling that he was their fellow-worker as well as 
their master, and was always trying to get them to think 
and see for themselves and gain self-reliance in their work; 
and another impression they received was a strong sense of 
his own delight in good works of art at every time of the 
world. He encouraged them to draw from the sculptures 
in the British Museum, and described to them with enthu- 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 26] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 193 

siasm things that he had seen and they had not, but never 
spoke to them slightingly of the work of any brother artist. 
** The utmost I ever heard him say against any art- work,** 
writes Mr. Emslie, was ** Well, it doesn't interest me.*' 

How often have I noticed this in him myself. ** No one 
knows how difficult it is to paint even a bad pifture," he 
used to say. This does not mean that he was not ready 
upon occasion to declare opinion plainly, but that it was 
never his habit lightly to condemn or disparage any one's 
work. 

"February's half gone already," says a letter to Miss 
Sampson, " and I don't seem to have begun work yet, and 
yet every day I have been at work. I wish I could settle 
subjefts for my piftures and then I should be all right; but 
at present I am full of anxiety and care, and feel quite 
worried about things. In six months the Macdonalds leave 
London, and then I shall be very dull — never mind, it is 
six months and I won't anticipate anything." 

In as unaccountable a manner as he had estranged him- 
self from the Set Fulford this year returned to it, and 
through a letter of his written in March to Miss Fanny 
Price we have almost the last glimpse of any number of 
them together at Oxford. He tells her that he had just 
spent a week there, "and of course I saw Crom and 
Faulkner. Crom seems to be taking to medicine famously^ 
and I should think gets through a good deal of reading in 
it. He and Faulkner and another man were reading a 
French play. Of course old Charley is just the same as 
ever, glorious fellow, he never changes — in temper and 
disposition he couldn't well change for the better. 

" Topsy turned up while I was there and the manner of 
his turnmg-up was highly charafteristic — ^very, very Top- 
sian. On Saturday all the Birmingham — or rather all the 
Set were invited by letter to dine with him on the Sun- 
day at 5 or 5.30. Between 4 and 5 on Sunday he appeared 
at his lodgings and told them he wanted dinner. They 
were a little troubled at this, considering the day, but they 
were aghast when he said he wanted it for half a dozen 

I. o 



Digitized by 



Google 



194 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

people. However dinner did at length appear^ at about 
7 o'clock, and a very good dinner it was.** 

Fulford also mentions having seen Dixon and Edward in 
London, and his habit of criticism and comparison obliges 
him to measure the two men against each other. Both 
Fulford and Dixon had been ordamed by this time. 

^ One hoped that Dixon would make a poet/* he says. 
^^ I at one time felt quite confident of it, and I must say I 
regard any success in pradical life (though the life and 
duties of a clergyman) as a poor substitute for this, per- 
haps the highest work allowed to human nature. I may be 
unfair in applying this to Dixon, for he not only reads but 
also writes poetry, and that I fancy in considerable quantity, 
but still I should like to see him living a definitely and 
manifestly poetical life, such as Edward's, whom one feels 
to be in the right path, pursuing the course which nature 
marked out for him.'* 

In his correspondence with Miss Price, Fulford was ac- 
customed to write at great length on literary subjedts, and 
I remember his telling against himself with much amuse^ 
ment a story of how once on meeting her a few days after 
he had sent her a very long letter she told him frankly 
that it was in her pocket, but she " had not yet had time 
to read it.** 

In April, when Morris and Miss Jane Burden were 
married at Oxford, Edward and as many of the Set as 
possible were present. Dixon of course came down from 
London to marry them, and, to the satisfaftion of his friends 
who had warned him against it until he could do nothing 
else, ended by pronouncing the young couple to be man and 
wife together under the names of " William and Mary.** 

It was a solitary time for Edward whilst Morris was 
away on his wedding journey; Val Prinsep was in Paris, 
and Cormell Price had not yet come to London. There 
was no Red Lion Mary now to bring her embroidery frame 
and sit behind him while he painted or cull the gems from 
" Reynolds " on a Sunday morning, and there is a breath 
of unusual depression about himself in a note that his little 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 26] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 195 

friend Louie Macdonald had from him while she was 
staying with Mrs. and Miss Talboys at Oxford this spring. 
**• I am so worried and teased about things," he says, " be- 
cause I am a big booby and can't paint or draw at all, that 
I behave shamefully to everybody, and never answer letters 
or reply to questions or do anything that a Christian man 
ought to do : that dear Mrs. Talboys wrote such a kind 
letter a whole month ago that makes me ashamed of myself 
for never answering. I want to see you, dear, so much 
and look at your work [wood-engraving] and calculate how 
long it is to come before we bring out a pifture book to- 
gether with little L.Ms and EJs in the corners and make 
people say that Albert Durer has come back again." Then 
he tells her that he is coming to Oxford **to meet the 
Dean of Christ Church " — ^an appointment that had to do 
with the commission for his Frideswide window in the 
Cathedral — but turns again to his first complaint : '* I have 
been so busy and coming so many howlers and getting 
so unhappy that life is dear at 2d." The letter ends with 
" only three more months of you and then I lose my little 
three year pet. Shall you be very sorry to see me so 
seldom?" The time ran by all too quickly, and an evil 
fate caused me to be away for some weeks out of the few 
that remained, for a family council decided that I must 
accept an invitation to go with my mother to the seaside. 
May the shade of our kind host forgive me if I say how 
much my young self-consciousness suffered when, on the 
occasion of my birthday, he kindly invited Edward to join 
us, and addressed him in an after-dinner speech as •' one of 
those happy men who would have a fortune in a wife in- 
stead of with her." But the next day made amends, for 
my mother and I accompanied Edward on his way home 
as far as to Canterbury, and he shewed us the Cathedral. 
Meanwhile the Morrises returned from abroad and settled 
for a time in furnished rooms at 41, Great Ormond Street 
There Edward took me one evening to see Mrs. Morris 
for the first tinie, and never shall I forget it — ^literally I 
dreamed of her again in the night. 



Digitized by 



Google 



196 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

Morris had already begun to occupy himself with carry- 
ing out his cherished scheme of building a house after his 
own heart with the help of his friend Philip Webb. Needs 
must it be in the country to please them both^ and in the 
midst of apple-trees; and such a place was found at Upton, 
near Bexley Heath, Kent, a roadside orchard surrounded 
by meadows and with space where they could build in the 
orchard with scarcely any disturbance of the trees. It was 
not to be a large house, but so designed that additions could 
be made without difficulty, and to this idea it owed part of 
its form; indeed architeft and client had but one mind 
about the whole work, and the result was happy. The plans 
of the house were complete before Morris' marriage, and 
there was nothing to do but to carry them out. Rossetti 
of course exulted when he learnt that a hollow close to the 
site Morris had bought was known in the neighbourhood 
as *' Hog's Hole,*' and lost no opportunity of alluding to 
the house by this name, but his serious thought of it after 
its completion was expressed, in a letter to a friend, in these 
words : *^ I wish you could see the house that Morris has 
built for himself in Kent It is a most noble work in every 
way, and more a poem than a house such as anything else 
could lead you to conceive, but an admirable place to live 
in too." 

The time of separation anticipated in Edward's letters 
now drew near, and my father was appointed by Conference 
to go to a circuit in Manchester, whither, much against 
the will of the younger members of the family, we went in 
the first days of September. For Edward, however, the 
loss that this meant was fortunately lightened by its hap- 
pening at the very time when it proved possible for him 
to join in a plan of going with Faulkner and Val Prinsep 
for a few weeks' travel in North Italy. He had worked 
extremely hard all the year in spite of dejedion; his design 
for the large St. Frideswide window at Christ Church, 
Oxford, was finished, and nothing could have been more 
timely. Just as, when he needed it, the meetings with 
Morris and Rossetti had been brought about at the right 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 27] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 197 

day and hour for his help, so now the Ruler of his life 
led him on this journey; and the cities that he saw during 
it, and the pifturcs in them, were such a fulfilment of his 
desire and such a revelation of what man could achieve 
that he ceased to be afraid of failure for himself. Many a 
time I have heard him say that nothing disheartened or 
took the life out of him so much as looking at bad work, 
but that the best was always inspiriting and life-giving. 
He drew and made notes wherever he went, and through 
every sense absorbed what he found remaining unspoiled 
of the beauty of earth and the works of man. Before start- 
ing on his journey he went down to Birmingham to spend 
his birthday with his father and then joined his friends. 

He was always a bad traveller, by land as well as by 
sea; change of hours and diet upset him at once, and the 
confinement of a railway carriage, with everything else 
that belonged to railway travelling, he particularly hated. 
Mr. Prinsep says of him that on this journey he was never 
completely happy except when visiting churches and seeing 
piftures, but that his energy in that way was wonderful. 
They went straight from Paris to Marseilles, and on by 
sea to Genoa and Leghorn, arriving at Pisa in time to 
hear Romagna's rejeftion of the Pope's temporal power 
proclaimed. 

Thence, after two or three days, they went on to Florence, 
where they had hoped to meet the Brownings, for whom 
they had an introduftion from Rossetti. In this, however, 
they were disappointed, as Mr. and Mrs. Browning had 
left for Siena, and it was here, when visiting the Cathedral 
later on, that the travellers found them, together with Mr. 
Walter Savage Landor. From Florence Edward wrote : "I 
have been quite well all the time through, and worked tre- 
mendously at the pidures, and shall go back quite an edu- 
cated man. We have the most glorious weather here; in 
the country they are haymaking for the second time, all the 
vines are in full fruit, and roses are out everywhere ; the 
climate too is just moderate with a quiet wind blowing 
always. All day long we work at the pidures and bathe 



Digitized by 



Google 



198 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

about sunset — ^which gives us more rest than anything else 
— and then dine, and after that we are good for nothing 
but to lie down and go to bed about nine o'clock. I shall 
have got lots of good from this journey, and learnt very 
much, but I shall be glad when it is all over and I am 
back to work/' 

From Venice also there is a letter home which gives 
another surface view of how it was with him: ** We are in 
the jolliest place in all the wide world at last — the queerest 
and jolliest a great way, and a million times the most 
beautiful — ^so you must say good-bye, for we mean to stay 
here always and never leave it again for a day. There never 
was such a city — all built in the sea you know, with the 
houses and palaces in the water and gondolas for Hansom 
cabs to take us everywhere: one comes every morning to 
take us from our hotel to breakfast in the great Square by 
the ducal palace and wonderful church — there every one 
breakfasts in the open air, and girls bring flowers to lay 
on your plates, and music plays and everything is so bright 
and stunning. All the day long we glide about the water 
streets in our boat, visiting palaces and churches — there 
are 100 islands all covered with churches and palaces, and 
all full of piftures, and bell-towers with big bells that ring 
all day long, and all the evening we sit out in the great 
square again and listen to music and see the sunset on the 
sea and the night come up over the Adriatic." 

Wherever these three men went history was made, and 
I wish I could remember the tales we were told on their 
return. One there was about a spider, not to say a tarantula^ 
of gigantic size, that was found in a bedroom and held it 
against them until it was caught in a wash-hand basin, 
where it terrified them by leaping high into the air whenever 
they tried to deal with it, and how after a council of war 
they hurled it out of the window and then sufllered many 
things through imagining its fall upon a passer-by; and 
another story they had of a scene at the Douane when 
passports had to be examined, and Edward's and Faulkner's 
names were duly called out and responded to, but **Valen- 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 27] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 199 

tine Cameron Prinsep" was passed over until the last, when 
the officer, looking about in bewilderment, read ^^ Valentine 
Comtesse Principessa/' and the youth of six foot one 
answered to it amid a general roar of laughter. 

At Venice they had to separate, as Faulkner was 
obliged to be at Oxford for the beginning of the Oftober 
term, but Edward and Mr. Prinsep stayed on for a fortnight 
or so longer, taking Milan on their way back. Here Mr. 
Prinsep says that Edward was seized with such a longing 
to get home that nothing would content him but they must 
start at once. They had come very nearly to an end of the 
money they had with them, but Edward would not hear of 
waiting for any remittance, and Mr. Prinsep, who arranged 
all the business of the journey, calculated that with care 
they could manage to go straight through to England — 
so they started. Nothing was allowed for accidents though, 
and when at St. Jean de Maurienne they found the Mont 
Cenis pass blocked by an avalanche which delayed them for 
three days it made a serious difference to their expenses. 
The time was beguiled by the company of fellow-travellers, 
two most agreeable Frenchmen, with whom Mr. Prinsep 
had much conversation — Edward hardly spoke French at 
all — and these gentlemen proposed in their friendliness 
that when they joined the railway again at Cuioz they should 
all four take a coupe together to Paris, a plan to which, 
without refledling that it would mean extra charge, Mr. 
Prinsep readily agreed. Then the Frenchmen began saying 
how delightful it would be when they reached Dijon, the 
best buffet in France, after all their hardships, and what a 
meal they would have! An almost empty purse prevented 
the Englishmen from joining in this enthusiasm, and, pride 
coming to his aid, Mr. Prinsep suddenly made the startling 
assertion that he and his friend for their part never ate a 
meal when travelling by rail — could take nothing heavier 
than a cup of coffee and a roll. At Culoz they found a 
coupe: " Charming," said the Frenchmen; **so much more 
comfortable in this way — ^and only eighteen francs extra!" 
Then pride of another sort made the young English- 



Digitized by 



Google 



200 MEMORIALS OF [1859 

man confess that he and his friend had not the amount 
between them. ** What does that matter?" cried the friendly 
strangers; " we will lend you what you need/' and instandy 
produced ^5, so that the trouble was at an end. But a 
fresh difficulty arose when they reached Dijon, hungry as 
hunters, and with means to command a dinner such as 
they had nor seen for many a day, but with their new- 
found rule of abstinence ** when travelling by rail" barring 
the buffet. They took counsel together and decided that 
for their own honour and that of their country they must 
stick to their word, and so while their companions turned 
the flying minutes to account by eating a wonderful dinner, 
they faithfully restrided themselves to ** a cup of coffee 
and a roll." 

On the night of the 25th-a6th OAober they crossed 
from Dieppe to Newhaven in such a storm that they tossed 
for seven hours outside the bar, and Edward was so ill 
that the recoUeAion of it remained always a black spot in 
his memory. The next day they knew that the wind which 
had beaten them back for so long from the shore they 
were seeking had been kinder to them than to the home- 
ward bound "Royal Charter," which with fearful loss of 
life had been dashed to pieces that same night upon the 
Welsh coast. 

Only Edward himself, supposing he had ever sat down 
to reckon it, could have rendered full account of what was 
done for him by his first journey to Italy. Rossetti had 
taught him " not to be afraid of himself," that is to say, 
of the imagination that was in him, and now he had seen 
the way in which the great painters of a great time had 
painted what was in them, and had come away knowing 
that he was their own son. This I never heard him say, 
but I have felt sure that his strength under early opposition 
and discouragement lay in his certainty that he belonged 
to a race which had always handed down a tradition that 
had never finally missed acknowledgement; and by the 
devoutest labour he set about to establish this lineage. 

Our marriage seemed no nearer at the end of three years 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 27] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 201 

and a half than it had ever done, for his income had not 
yet allowed him more than a hand-to-mouth existence, and 
now that I lived in Manchester our chances of meeting were 
few: but he came down to see us in December, leaving for 
Birmingham before Christmas. The following sentence 
from a note written whilst he was with us, in answer to a 
suggestion of Madox Brown's that if I would like it his 
wife would invite me to pay them a visit in the following 
spring, is given here because our marriage was the direft 
result of that visit. ** I am sure," Edward says, " Georgie 
would be glad beyond words to go and stay with you any 
time you ask her — it 's immensely kind of you and Mrs. 
Brown — an invitation would be grabbed at by her I know." 
He and, his father spent Christmas Day with the Prices 
at Spon Lane, but Margaret Price, who had long been in 
failing healtli^ was now dead, and the diary that records 
the meeting says : ^^ It was not like a feast day, with all 
our attempts to make it one — dearest Madge had left us, 
and who could be gay?" A return visit from Spon Lane 
to Bristol Road went more brightly, however : "We enjoyed 
ourselves very much. Edward shewed us a pidure he had 
nearly finished — *Buon del Monte's Wedding' — ^such a 
beautiful pidure in ink." AfFeftionate praise for a "pifture 
in ink " was ready for him, but he had passed the pleasant 
wayside places where the labourer rests with his friends 
after a day's work, and had begun the world-long day of 
those who seek no rest or reward but that of contenting 
the rigour of the Judge Invisible. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XI 

THREE HOUSEHOLDS 
i860 

MRS. MADOX BROWN did not fail in due time 
to send the invitation, which it will be believed was 
eagerly ''grabbed at," and in April, i860, 1 went 
up to London for a happy month in Fortess Terrace, seeing 
Edward constantly and making and renewing pleasant ac- 
quaintances. The unselfishness of Mr. and Mrs. Madox 
Brown in this matter is clearer to me now than it was at 
the time, for I realize on refleftion that, besides their risk- 
ing the proverbial irksomeness of the society of betrothed 
people, it must have needed the best will in the world to 
accommodate in their house even one person beyond their 
own family; but a small house and slender means were made 
spacious and sufficient by their generous hearts, and my re- 
colleftion is of one continuous stream of hospitality. Who 
that was present at it could ever forget one of their dinners^ 
with Madox Brown and his wife seated at either end of a 
long table, and every guest a welcome friend who had come 
to talk and to laugh and to listen ? for listening was the 
attitude into which people naturally fell when in his com- 
pany. He had so much to say and was so happy in saying 
it that sometimes he would pause, carving-knife in hand, 
to go on with his story, until Mrs. Brown's soft voice could 
be heard breathing his name from her distant place and 
reminding him of his duties. At their table the standard 
of the common English willow-pattern plate was boldly 
raised, in spite of Gabriel's enquiries for it at a china shop 
having been met with insult by the proprietress : it was 
before the days of real Chinese ware for any of us, but 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 27] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 203 

Rossetti's fine colledion in later days may be traced back 
to his first quest after these despised *^ kitchen plates." 

It would be hard to say when Madox Brown found time 
for painting the pictures that we know, for he was the very 
sport of distradtion, letting people come up to chat in his 
studio, which was not large enough for himself, and being 
lured downstairs, palette on thumb, by the sound of the piano 
if it played a tune that he liked, to the oblivion of every- 
thing else. His manner of talking was charafteristic — very 
slow and distinft. Though he recoUefted fafts well and held 
the attention of his hearers by endless tales of his own ex- 
perience or original refleftions upon life, he had an inca- 
pacity for remembering names which, while endearing him 
to us all, made havoc of some of his remarks. At other 
times, if the word itself was not wrong, he would vary its 
accent, but in either case it would be uttered with such 
deliberation that there was no doubt as to the change which 
had been wrought. " Have you heard," he asked in mea- 
sured tones one evening, " of a novel called The Mill on 
the Floss, by Miss Atkinson? " " Miss Atkinson, my dear 
fellow — ^it's Miss Evans!" rose from the listening circle. 
His brow clouded, and more slowly than before he an- 
swered, " Well, Atkinson or Evans, it *s the same thing ! " 
And we agreed that it was, and that if Michael himself 
were to weigh the names in a balance the poise would be 
found equal. Another time, talk falling upon Mary Queen 
of Scots, his listeners could hardly trust their delighted 
ears when Madox Brown, after reviewing the charaAer of 
the lovers of the luckless lady that are known to history, 
summed up the matter by saying deliberately, * There 's 
no doubt that she had a real feeling for Boswell." 

Before my visit came to an end Madox Brown had de- 
cided that Edward had better be married without further 
delay, and since his charaAer as counsellor stood high and 
we had no arguments to oppose to the suggestion, it was 
suddenly settled. I wrote to my mother to the eflfcft that 
so much of me had already left her kind hands that I 
prayed her now to set the rest free, and she and my father 



Digitized by 



Google 



204 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

consented, asking Edward no questions, but committing 
us both to the care of God. 

Since the time that Rossetti was called away from Ox- 
ford, in OAober, 1857, by the illness of Miss Siddal, he 
and Edward had been less together, but there had been no 
decrease of afFeftion between them, and so it was of the 
most vital interest to us when we learnt that Gabriel was 
to be married about the same time as ourselves. He and 
Edward at once built up a plan for our all four meeting in 
Paris as soon as possible afterwards; I went home to Man- 
chester to make my preparations, and it was decided that 
the fourth anniversary of our engagement, the 9(h of June, 
should be our wedding-day. The conditions on which we 
started life were, praftically no debts, except of work to 
Mr. Flint, and the possession of about ^30 in ready money ; 
and I brought with me a small deal table with a drawer in 
it that held my wood-engraving tools. Three days before 
our marriage, however, came a note from the unfailing Mr. 
Flint : " The two pen-and-ink drawings are to hand to-day. 
I enclose order for ^25 which you may need just now." 
So here was riches. 

The 9th of June fell on a Saturday, and we decided to 
go no further that day than to Chester, where we should 
see its curious streets and attend service at the Cathedral 
on Sunday; Gabriel and his wife were by this time in Faris, 
and we hoped to join them a few days later. But this was 
not in store for us, for unhappily Edward had been caught 
in a rain-storm a day or two before and already had a slight 
sore-throat, which now so quickly grew worse that by noon 
on Sunday he was almost speechless from it and in the 
hands of a strange dodor. This illness was a sharp check, 
and we found ourselves shut up for some days in a dreary 
hotel in an unknown place ; but a gleam of satisfaction 
reached us when the do<ftor spoke of me to Edward as 
*^your good lady," and gave me direftions about what was 
to be done for the patient, with no apparent suspicion that 
I had not often nursed him before. Trusting in this and 
in some half-used reels of sewing cotton ostentatiously left 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 27] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 205 

about, as well as a display of boots which had already been 
worn, we felt great confidence that no one would guess 
how ignominiously newly-married we were. 

It was quite clear that we must give up Paris and get to 
our own home as soon as the doAor gave Edward leave to 
travel; so ruefully enough I wrote to Gabriel and told him 
how things were ; and his answer was a comfort to us, for 
he reported that they were both tired of" dragging about," 
and looked forward with pleasure to sitting down again 
with their friends in London as soon as possible. " Lizzie 
and I are likely to come back with two dogs," he con- 
tinues, "a. big one and a little one. We have called the 
latter Punch in memory partly of a passage in Pepys's 
Diary, * But in the street. Lord, how I did laugh to hear 
poor common persons call their fat child Punch, which 
name I do perceive to be good for all that is short and 
thick/ We have got the book with us from Mudie's, and 
meant to have yelled over it in company if you had come 
to Paris. We are now reading Boswell's Johnson, which is 
almost as rich in some parts." This reading of Boswell 
resulted in the water-colour drawing of ** Dr. Johnson at 
the Mitre " which Rossetti brought back with him from 
Paris. 

Our own home-coming was informal, for Russell Place 
had not expeded us so soon and was unprepared to receive 
us; there were no chairs in our dining-room, nor any other 
furniture that had been ordered except a table. But what 
did that matter? if there were no chairs there was the 
table, a good, firm one of oak, sitting upon which the bride 
received her first visitors, and as the studio was in its usual 
condition there was a home at once. The boys at the Boys* 
Home in Euston Road had made the table from the design 
of Philip Webb, and were busy with chairs and a sofa, 
which presently arrived. The chairs were high-backed black 
ones with rush seats, and the companion sofa was of pan- 
elled wood painted black. The chairs have disappeared, 
for they were smaller articles, vigorously used and much 
moved about, but the table and sofa have always shared 



Digitized by 



Google 



2o6 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

the fortunes of their owners and were never superseded: 
we ate our last meal together at that table and our grand- 
children laugh round it now. How modest the scale of our 
housekeeping was it would be hard to say^ and also how 
rich we felt : " we live in great happiness and thankfulness" 
was the clue given my friend Charlotte as to our estate. 

William Allingham came over from Ireland this summer^ 
and was, I believe, the first friend I made in my new life. 
How well I remember his visit, even to where he stood in 
the room and the way the light fell upon him. He was a 
distinguished-looking man, though not tall; dark, with a 
fine cast of face and most Irish eyes — light in the darkness; 
his thick black hair was brushed close to his head and 
parted in the middle, but rippled in smooth, close lines that 
no brush oould straighten. He was disposed to convince 
me that I was a sister of George MacDonald the novelist, 
for the dramatis personae of his life were of importance to 
him and this arrangement fitted in well with his conception 
of their order. His conversation was extremely interesting; 
serious in manner, with an attraftive reserve which yet 
gave the impression that he cared for sympathy, and an 
evident minute interest in all that passed before him; a 
good companion, ready to talk and easily amused. He did 
not stay long in London, having to return to Ballyshannon, 
his native place, where at that time he had an appointment 
in the Customs, but the threefold friendship then begun 
never ceased. 

In the unsettled week before his marriage Edward had 
amused himself by painting some figures upon a plain deal 
sideboard which he possessed, and this in its new state was 
a delightful surprise to find. ^' Ladies and animals " he 
called the subje<5te illustrated, and there were seven piftures, 
three on the cupboard doors in front and two at each end, 
which shewed them in various relations to each other. 
Three kind and attentive ladies were feeding pigs, parrots 
and fishes; two cruel ones were tormenting an owl by forc- 
ing him to look at himself in a round mirror, and gold fish 
by draining them dry in a net; while two more were ex- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 27] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 207 

plating such sins in terror at a hideous newt upon the garden 
path and the assault of a swarm of angry bees. Mrs. Cath- 
erwood gave us a piano, made by Priestly of Berners Street, 
who had patented a small one of inoffensive shape that we 
had seen and admired at Madox Brown's house; we had 
ours made of unpolished American walnut, a perfedly plain 
wood of pleasing colour, so that Edward could paint upon 
it The little instrument when opened shows inside the lid 
a very early design for the " Chant d' Amour," and on the 
panel beneath the keyboard there is a gilded and lacquered 
piAure of Death, veiled and crowned, standing outside the 
gate of a garden where a number of girls, unconscious of 
his approach, are resting and listening to music. The lac- 
quering of this panel was an exciting process, for its colour 
had to be be deepened by heat while still liquid, and Edward 
used a red-hot poker for the work. 

Rossetti and his wife, after their return from Paris, took 
a lodging at Hampstead, but she was so ill at first that we 
never saw her till near the end of July, when to our great 
delight a day was fixed for the deferred meeting, and 
Gabriel suggested that it should take place at the Zoolo- 
gical Gardens. " The Wombat's Lair " was the assignation 
that he gave to the Madox Browns and to us. A mention 
of this meeting in a letter that I wrote next day gives the 
impression of the aAual time : ^^ She was well enough to 
see us, and I find her as beautiful as imagination, poor 
thing." 

I wish I could recall more details of that day— of the 
wombat's reception of us, and of the other beasts we visited 
— ^but can only remember a passing call on the owls, be- 
tween one of whom and Gabriel there was a feud. The 
moment their eyes met they seemed to rush at each other, 
Gabriel rattling his stick between the cage bars furiously 
and the owl almost barking with rage. Lizzie's slender, 
elegant figure — tall for those days, but I never knew her 
aftual height — comes back to me, in a graceful and simple 
dress, the incarnate opposite of the " tailor-made " young 
lady. We went home with them to their rooms at Hamp- 



Digitized by 



Google 



2o8 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

stead, and I know that I then received an impression which 
never wore away, of romance and tragedy between her and 
her husband. I see her in the little upstairs bedroom with 
its lattice window, to which she carried me when we arrived, 
and the mass of her beautiful deep-red hair as she took off 
her bonnet : she wore her hair very loosely fastened up, so 
that it fell in soft, heavy wings. Her complexion looked 
as if a rose tint lay beneath the white skin, producing a 
most soft and delicate pink for the darkest flesh-tone. Her 
eyes were of a kind of golden brown — agate-colour is the 
only word I can think of to describe them — and wonderfully 
luminous: in all Gabriel's drawings of her and in the type 
she created in his mind this is to be seen. The eyelids were 
deep, but without any languor or drowsiness, and had the 
peculiarity of seeming scarcely to veil the light in her eyes 
when she was looking down. 

Whilst we were in her room she shewed me a design 
she had just made^ called •* The Woeful Viftory " — then 
the vision passes. 

A little later and we were with the Morrises in their new 
house at Upton, and the time we spent together there was 
one to swear by, if human happiness were doubted. 

First was the arrival at Abbey Wood Station, a country 
place in those days, where a thin fresh air full of sweet 
smells met us as we walked down the platform, and outside 
was the wagonette sent from Red House to meet us; then 
a pull up the hill and a swinging drive of three miles of 
winding road on the higher land until, passing '^ Hog's 
Hole" on the left, we stopped at our friends' gate. I think 
Morris must have brought us down from town himself^ 
for I can see the tall figure of a girl standing alone in the 
porch to receive us. 

It was not a large house, as I have said, but purpose and 
proportion had been so skilfully observed in its design as 
to arrange for all reasonable demands and leave an impres- 
sion of ample space everywhere. It stood facing a little 
west of north, but the longest line of the building had a 
sunny frontage of west by south, and beneath its windows 



Digitized by 



Google 




, //:'(5^'a»tr //aUi^/ //^e.j^a/^ . 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 209 

stretched a green bowling alley where the men used to play 
when work was over. For it was by no means on a holiday 
that Edward had come down, nor only to enjoy the com- 
pany of his friend again, but that they might consult to- 
gether about the decoration of the house, of which much is 
said in the Notes from which I have so often quoted. 

**The house was strongly built of red brick, and red 
tiled : the porches were deep and the plan of the house was 
two sides of a quadrangle. In the angle was a covered well. 
As we talked of decorating it plans grew apace. We fixed 
upon a romance for the drawing-room, a great favourite of 
ours called Sir Degrevaunt. I designed seven pidures from 
that poem, of which I painted three that simimer and 
autumn in tempera. We schemed also subjeds from Troy 
for the hall, and a great ship carrying Greek heroes for a 
larger space in the hall, but these remained only as schemes, 
none were designed except the ship. The great settle from 
Red lion Square, with the three painted shutters above the 
seat, was put up at the end of the drawing-room, and there 
was a ladder to its top and a parapet round it, and a little 
door above, in the wall behind it, that led into the roof. 
There at Christmas time it was intended that minstrels 
should play and sing. I began a pidure from the Niebe- 
lungen Lied on the inside of one of the shutters of this 
settle, and Morris painted in tempera a hanging below the 
Degrevaunt piftures, of bushy trees and parrots and labels 
on which he wrote the motto he adopted for his life, ' If I 
can/ He worked hard at this and the room began to look 
very beautiful.*' 

On one of his visits to Red House Rossetti found many 
of these labels still blank, waiting for the words ** If I can," 
and in his reckless way instantly filled them with another 
motto, ** As I can't." When Morris saw this pleasantry, 
Edward said, '^ it would have puzzled the discriminator of 
words to know which of those two was most eloquent in 
violent Elnglish." 

Charles Faulkner came down a couple of days after we 
did, and helped to paint patterns on walls and ceilings, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



2IO MEMORIALS OF [i860 

played bowls in the alley, and in intervals between work 
joined in triangular bear-fights in the drawing-room. Once, 
in the middle of a scrimmage that had surged up the steps 
into the " Minstrels* Gallery " he suddenly leapt clear over 
the parapet into the middle of the floor with an astounding 
noise ; another time he stored windfallen apples in the gallery 
and defended himself with them against all comers until a 
too well-delivered apple gave Morris a black eye; and then, 
remembering that Morris had promised to give away one 
of his sisters at her marriage a day or two afterwards, 
Edward and Faulkner left him no peace from their antici- 
pations of the discredit his appearance would bring upon 
the ceremony. 

A few days before this we had been telling each other 
riddles, and one of us asked, "Who killed his brother 
Cain?" Morris instantly fell into the trap and shouted, 
*' Abel, of course! " amidst a peal of laughter from us alK 
Afterwards he thought it very funny himself, so on his 
return from the wedding we were not surprised to learn 
that he had amused the company at breakfast by trying 
the trick on some one else. "I asked the parson'* — he 
told us triumphantly — " I asked him * Who killed his brother 
Abel ? ' and when of course he said ' Cain,* I said ^ Hah! I 
knew you'd say that — every one says it' " And we laughed 
again, more than before. 

Oh, how happy we were, Janey and I, busy in the 
morning with needlework or wood-engraving, and in the 
afternoon driving to explore the country round by the help 
of a map of Kent; we went to the Crays one day and to 
Chislehurst Common another, finding some fresh pleasure 
everywhere and bringing back tales of our adventures to 
amuse the men we had left working at home. Sometimes, 
but not often, they would go with us, for Edward always 
hated ** expeditions," and was only supported in them by 

?;ood fellowship; nor did he at any time seek the country 
or its own sake. At this I have often wondered, for the 
backgrounds of his piAures shew how deeply it touched his 
imagination and feeling: and I came to the conclusion that 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 2 8] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 2 1 1 

one reason why he found so little peace and rest in it might 
be that he did not, and perhaps could not, submit himself 
passively to its influence, but was for ever dealing with it 
as an instrument. In a note written to his father during 
this very visit to Red House he says, " I hate the country 
— apples only keep me in good spirits — Topsy's garden is 
perfcAly laden with them.' I remember his dread of any- 
thing that appealed to the sadness which he shared with all 
imaginative natures, who ** don't need to be made to feel,*' 
he said, and I believe that this ^ hatred " was partly an 
instinft of self-preservation from the melancholy of autumn 
in the country. 

The Niebelungen Lied design of which Edward speaks 
was never finished, and if it was begun upon the back of 
cither of the beautiful " Salutations of Beatrice " which 
Rossetti painted on the outside of the doors of the big settle, 
it may perhaps still remain there. 

It will be taken for granted that the two men visitors 
had endless jokes together at the expense of their beloved 
host. The dinner hour, at middle day, was a great time 
for them because Mrs. Morris and I were there, either as 
eager onlookers at the fun or to take sides for and against 
The dining-room was not yet finished, and the drawing- 
room upstairs, whose beautiful ceiling had been painted by 
Mr. and Mrs. Morris, was being decorated in difiTerent 
ways, so Morris' studio, which was on the same floor, was 
used for living in, and a most cheerful place it was, with 
windows looking three ways and a little horizontal slip of 
a window over the door, giving upon the red-tiled roof of 
the house where we could see birds hopping about all un- 
conscious of our gaze. 

Perhaps the joke which made two out of the three men 
happiest at dinner-time was that of sending Morris to 
Coventry for some slight cause and refusing to exchange 
a word with him at his own table: it was carried on with 
an unflinching audacity that I cannot hope to describe, and 
occasionally reached the height of their asking Mrs. Morris 
if she would be good enough to communicate with her hus- 



Digitized by 



Google 



212 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

band for them and tell him anything they wished to say — 
but a stranger coming in upon our merriment would never 
have guessed from the faces of the company who were the 
tea^rs and who the teased. 

After work, when it was dark^ sometimes there was a 
game of hide-and-seek all over the house. A fragment of 
one of these games remains in my memory, and I see that 
Edward, leaving the door open behind him, has slipped into 
an unlighted room and disappeared into its black depths for 
so long that Mrs. Morris, who is the seeker, grows almost 
terrified. I see her tall figure and her beautiful face as she 
creeps slowly nearer and nearer to the room where she feels 
sure he must be, and at last I hear her startled cry and his 
peal of laughter as he bursts from his hiding-place. There 
was a piano in the sitting-room, and in the evenings we 
had music of a simple kind— chiefly the old English songs 
published by Chappell and the inexhaustible Ecbos du 
Temps Passi. 

Many flowering creepers had been planted against the 
walls of the house. from the earliest possible time, so that 
there was no look of raw newness about it; and the gar- 
den, beautified beforehand by the apple-trees, quickly took 
shape. In front of the house it was spaced formally into 
four little square gardens making a bis square together; 
each of the smaller squares had a watded fence round it 
with an opening by which one entered, and all over the 
fence roses grew thickly. The stable, with stalls for two 
horses, stood in one comer of the gaurden, end on to the 
road, and had a kind of younger-brother look with regard 
to the house. The deep porches that Edward mentions 
were at the front and the back of the house; the one at 
the back was pradtically a small garden-room. There was 
a solid table in it, painted red, and fixed to the wall was 
a bench where we sat and talked or looked out into the 
well-court, of which two sides were formed by the house 
and the other two by a tall rose-trellis. This little court 
with its beautiful high-roofed brick well in the centre 
summed up the feeling of the whole place. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 213 

One morning as Janey and I sat sewing (she was an ex- 

2uisite needlewoman) I saw in her basket a strange garment, 
ne, small, and shapeless — a little shirt for him or her — 
and looking at my friend's face I knew that she had been 
happy when she made it; but it was a sign of change, and 
the thought of any change made me sigh. We paid other 
visits to the Morrises atter this, but none quite like it — 
how could they be? 

Speaking of Red House in the Notes Edward says: '^It 
was from the necessity of furnishing this house that the 
firm, Morris, Marsh^ Faulkner and Co., took its rise. 
There were the painted chairs and the great settle of which 
mention has been made already, but these went only a little 
way. The walls were bare and the floors; nor could Morris 
have endured any chair, table, sofa or bed, nor any hang- 
ings such as were then in existence. I think about this time 
Morris' income that was derived from copper mines began 
to diminish fast, and the idea came to him of beginning a 
manufactory of all things necessary for the decoration of a 
house. Webb had already designed some beautiful table- 
glass, made by Powell of Whitefriars, metal candlesticks, 
and tables for Red House, and I had already designed 
several windows for churches, so the idea grew of putting 
our experiences together for the service of the public. For 
the fireplaces at Red House I designed painted tiles, but 
the floors were covered with Eastern carpets, for it was some 
years afterwards when Morris added that industry to his 
many others. For the walls of other rooms than the drawing- 
room at Red House Morris designed flower-patterns, which 
his wife worked in wool on a dark ground, and it was a 
beautiful house.*' 

Before we left in Oftober Edward had finished his three 
pictures, but unfortunately the walls were new and not 

?roperly prepared for painting, and, as in the case of the 
Tnion, the colour soon faded in patches. For him, whose 
work was so interwoven with his life, what memories must 
have risen up when thirty -seven years later he made for 
the Kelmscott Press another design from this same Romance 



Digitized by 



Google 



214 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

of Sir Degrevaunt. He was often a little hard upon his 
own early piftures, and did not wish to see them again, but 
I never remember hearing him quarrel with their subjei5ts 
— ^also he said, " The first stammerings I knew had all the 
imagination that is in me to feel, only I can say it better as 
time goes on." 

In the winter of 1892-3, when the New Gallery exhibited 
as complete a colledion of his work as was possible, he was 
for a time really disturbed, and a letter that he wrote about 
it recalls so clearly the spirit of the years with which we 
are now dealing, and ends with so beautiful a vision of the 
friendship between himself and Morris in later life, that it 
may well be given here. 

** Why did I dread Wednesday? Only because I had to 
go to the New Gallery to look at ancient work of mine — 
and I dreaded it and came back deeply disheartened about 
myself and feeling to the chilled marrow of me that it had 
been a poor futile life. Perhaps it will cheer one or two 
young fellows to see how poor and faint my beginnings 
were — a little twitter at dawn — ^but I am far away from 
noontide yet; I wonder if I shall live to do the thing that 
I want — ^there isn't much time left. I think I had no equip- 
ment but longing — ^that I had, but nothing else. I want to 
forget it. Is all this a phase of vanity? I don't think that 
I want a perfeft thing and can't forgive imperfedion at all, 
and my faults and sins, which are many, scream at me, and 
drown the praise. Can't help it, made like that. And I 
won't think of this show or look at it, or talk of it — if a 
young thing or two, some such fantastical creature as I was 
at twenty, goes and gets help, that is enough. And now no 
more of it. This morning Morris brought fresh life to me 
— for all the week my head had been low in the dust — and 
he talked of the high things till I forgot my abasement." 

" I am home again now for the next two months," Edward 
writes to his father in Oftober, i860. "I want to work 
and not stir out if possible at all. How soon can I have 
those frames? I am waiting for two of them now to sell the 
drawings they belong to— it makes such a difference having 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 215 

them in frames, that I don't care to shew them without." I 
think the drawings referred to were the little water-colours 
of " Sidonia " and '' Clara Von Bork " which he had made 
before we went to Upton, and the father was very happy 
in framing his son's piftures, but, alas, any original design 
which must be exaAly carried out bafBed the skill of his small 
workshop, and Edward had gently and by degrees to let the 
arrangement drop through. A mirror still exists, made by 
Mr. Jones with his own hands, and intended to be a ring 
of small round mirrors placed at equal distances from each 
other, and encircling a larger one. The measurement of the 
spaces, however, was faulty, and destroyed the efFed of the 
design. It is painted in the little water-colour of '* Rosa- 
mond's Bower," with the fierce face of Queen Eleanor re- 
fleAed in each separate disc. 

Swinburne was the next remarkable personality I re- 
member in these days; he had rooms very near us and we 
saw a great deal of him; sometimes twice or three times 
in a day he would come in, bringing his poems hot from 
his heart and certain of welcome and a hearing at any hour. 
His appearance was very unusual and in some ways beau- 
tiful, for his hair was glorious in abundance and colour 
and his eyes indescribably fine. When repeating poetry he 
had a perfe(5Uy natural way of lifting them in a rapt, un- 
conscious gaze, and their clear green colour softened by 
thick brown eyelashes was unforgettable: *^ Looks com- 
mercing with die skies " expresses it without exaggeration. 
He was restless beyond words, scarcely standing still at all 
and almost dancing as he walked, while even in sitting he 
moved continually, seeming to keep time, by a swift move- 
ment of the hands at the wrists, and sometimes of the feet 
also, with some inner rhythm of excitement. He was courte- 
ous and afiFeftionate and unsuspicious, and faithful beyond 
most people to those he really loved. The biting wit which 
filled his talk so as at times to leave his hearers dumb with 
amazement always spared one thing, and that was an ab- 
sent friend. 

There was one subjed which in these days he raised our 



Digitized by 



Google 



2i6 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

hopes that he might deal with; but the time passed, and 
now we shall never see his proposed Diary of Mrs. Samuel 
Pepys, kept concurrently with that of her husband. 

Dear Lizzie Rossetti laughed to find that she and Swin- 
burne had such shocks of the same coloured hair, and one 
night when we went in our thousands to see ^* Colleen 
Bawn,*' she declared that as she sat at one end of the row 
we filled and he at the other, a boy who was selling books 
of the play looked at Swinburne and took fright, and then, 
when he came round to where she was, started again with 
terror, muttering to himself " There 's another of *em!" 
Gabriel commemorated one view of her appearance in his 
rhyme beginning ** There is a poor creature named Lizzie, 
Whose asped is meagre and frizzy," and there, so far as I 
remember, his muse halted ; but he completed another verse 
on her to her great satisfadion, thus: 

There is a poor creature named Lizzie, 

Whose pi^hires are dear at a tizzj; 

And of this the great proof 

Is that all stand aloof 

From paying that sum unto Lizzie. 

He almost blamed me personally for the difficulty he 
had in finding any rhyme for my name except the classical 
" Porgie," and never rested until one day he called for 
sympathy, and received it, on rolling forth in his majestic 
voice, " There is a poor creature named Georgie, Whose 
life is one profligate orgy," after which his course was clear. 
Mr. Price came to London this summer and took a lodg- 
ing opposite to us, which allowed of our meeting continu- 
ally, and we hoped to keep near each other all through his 
hospital course; but not long after our return from Upton 
we found to our dismay that this fair prosped was changed, 
for he had resolved to give up the profession he had chosen 
and to accept a private tutorship in Russia, which would 
give him an immediate income. The engagement, if satis- 
fadory, was to last for seven years, and we had hardly 
realized the thought before our friend was gone. I do not 
think Cormell personally regretted his change of profession 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 217 

very much, for the experience of the dissefting-room was a 
terrible one to his nature, but the difference between daily 
intercourse and an occasional letter written and received on 
cither side was a sad one both to him and to us. Of his 
brief apprenticeship to medicine a trace remains in one of 
Gabriel's verses, which ran (in allusion to a legend cherished, 
if not created, by his friends) : 

There is a young J)o£kot named Crom, 

Whom you get very little good from* 

If his pockets you jog. 

The inside of a dog 

Is certain to trickle from Crom* 

Rossetti's descriptions of his friends, usually uttered in 
their presence, would be a colleftion of vivid interest and 
give, in the reading, no f:unt portrait of himself Artistic 
vanity was a subjeA quite open to his piercing insight, and 
one day it occurred to him to (Ustribute his friends into 
various classes of it, beginning with himself and Swinburne 
and Edward in the first class; Morris, he said, should go 
into one all by himself Then Edward wanted to know why 
he, who was always in trouble about his piftures, should 
be put in the forefront of the list, and Gabriel said, ** Oh, 
Ned thinks even his piAures aren't good enough for him 
to have painted.'* He also said that Edward was the laziest 
man he knew, and, when called upon to explain this in the 
face of fafts, answered unabashed, ^' Well, when once you 
sit down to work you are too lazy even to get up again." 

A five or six months' experience of housekeeping in Rus- 
sell Place did not teach me much, though a couple of 
small drawings by Edward on the back of my first account- 
book shew his impression that I practised housewifery as 
well as music. Light-hearted indifference, however, to 
many things generally regarded as essential lent boldness to 
domestic arrangements, and I remember thinking it quite 
natural that in the middle of the morning I should ask our 
only maid — a pretty one — to stand for me that I might 
try to draw her; to which she, being good-tempered as 
well as pretty, cheerfully consented. This poor little draw- 



Digitized by 



Google 



2l8 



MEMORIALS OF 



[i860 




ing was to have been one of several illustrations that Mrs. 

Rossetti and I were to make for Fairy Tales written by 

ourselves. I made one, and 
Lizzie began another, I be- 
lieve, but nothing came of it 
It is pathetic to think how we 
women longed to keep pace 
with the men, and how gladly 
they kept us by them until their 
pace quickened and we had to 
fall behind. It was the same a 
few years later with the Du 
Mauriers, I remember : he 
brought his hzndsomt ^ancee^ 

Miss Wightwick, to see us, and she and I took counsel 

together about pradlising wood-engraving in order to re- 
produce the drawings of the men we loved. I had begun 

it already, but she, though eagerly interested, had scarcely 

seen the tools required for the art, and I do not know how 

far she went in it. I 

can recall Du Mau- 

rier's distress though, 

when she drove a 

sharp graver into her 

hand one day. I 

stopped, as so many 

women do, well on 

this side of tolerable 

skill, daunted by the 

path which has to be 

followed absolutely 

alone if the end is to 

be reached. Morris 

was a pleased man 

when he found that 

his wife could embroider any design that he made, and did 

not allow her talent to remain idle. With Mrs. Rossetti it 

was a different matter, for I think she had original power. 




Digitized by 



Google 



>ET. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 219 

but with her, too, art was a plant that grew in the garden 
of love, and strong personal feeling was at the root of it; 
one sees in her black-and-white designs and beautiful little 
water-colours Gabriel always looking over her shoulder, 
and sometimes taking pencil or brush from her hand to 
complete the thing she had begun. 

The question of her long years of ill-health has often 
puzzled me; as to how it was possible for her to suffer so 
much without ever developing a specific disease; and after 
putting together what I knew of her and what I have learnt 
in passing through life, it seems to me that Dr. Acland's 
diagnosis of her condition in 1855 must have been shrewd, 
sympathetic, and true. He is reported by Gabriel as saying, 
after careful examination and many professional visits, that 
her lungs, if at all afFefted, were only slightly so, and that 
he thought the leading cause of her illness lay in ^^ mental 
power long pent up and lately overtaxed"; which words 
seem to me a clue to the whole matter. This delicately 
organized creature, who had spent the first sixteen years 
of her life in circumstances that practically forbade the 
unfolding of her powers, had been suddenly brought into 
the warmth and light of Gabriel's genius and love, under 
which her whole inner nature had quickened and expanded 
until her bodily strength gave way; but Rossetti himself 
did not realize this so as to spare her the forcing influence, 
or restrict his demands upon her imagination and sympathy. 
It is a tragic enough thought, but one is driven to believe 
that if such a simple remedy as what is now called a ^^ rest- 
cure " had been known of and sought for her then, her life 
might have been preserved. However, let us follow what 
we know. 

Gabriel dreaded bringing her to live in London, where 
she was so often ill, but after vainly seeking for a house 
that would suit them at Hampstead or Highgate they re- 
solved, as she seemed to have gained a little strength since 
her marriage, to try the experiment of wintering at Black- 
friars. The landlord of Chatham Place offered them the 
second floor of the next house in addition to the one that 



Digitized by 



Google 



4 



220 MEMORIALS OF [i860 

Rossetti already had, and by making a communication be- 
tween the two houses they gained an excellent set of roomsL 
All seemed to promise well, and for a brief time I think 
it was so. We received a note from Gabriel telling us they 
had '* hung up their Japanese brooms/* — a kind of yard- 
long whisk of peacock's feathers — ^and made a home for 
themselves. He was happy and proud in putting his wife's 
drawings round one of the rooms, and in a letter to Al- 
lingham says: ^^ Her last designs would I am sure surprise 
and delight you, and I hope she is going to do better now 
— if she can only add a little more of the precision in 
carrying out which it so much needs health and strength 
to attain, she will, I am sure, paint such piftures as no 
woman has painted yet/' 

We used to go and see them occasionally in the even- 
ings, when the two men would spend much of the time in 
Gabriel's studio, and Lizzie and I began to make friends. 
She did not talk happily when we were alone, but was ex- 
cited and melancholy, though with much humour and 
tenderness as well; and Gabriel's presence seemed needed 
to set her jarring nerves straight, for her whole manner 
changed when he came into the room. 1 see them now as 
he took his place by her on the sofa and her excitement 
sank back into peace. 

One evening our errand to Chatham Place was to bor- 
row a lay-figure, and wc gaily carried it off without any 
wrapper in a four-wheeled cab, whose driver soon drew up 
at a brilliantly lighted public-house, saying that he could 
go no further, and under the glare of the gas lamps we had 
to decant our strange companion into a fresh cab. 

I never had but one note from Lizzie, and I kept it for 
love of her even then. Let it stand here in its whole short 
length as a memento of one of the Blackfriars evenings, 
and in the hope that some one beside myself may feel the 
pathos of its tender playfulness. 

" My dear little Georgib, 

" I hope you intend coming over with Ned to- 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 221 

morrow evening like a sweetmeat, it seems so long since 
I saw you dear. Janey will be here I hope to meet you. 

^^ With a willow-pattern dish full or love to you and 
Ned, 

^* Lizzie.'' 

Both Edward and I had promised to return to our re- 
speftive families for Christmas, so when the time came we 
bade each other an eternal adieu, and whilst I was at Man- 
chester he went to Birmingham. He was at Spon Lane 
with his father both on Christmas Day and the day follow- 
ing, when it is recorded in the journal of the young girl 
there who watched her friends so closely and sympathetic- 
ally, ^^ Edward seems to have got very quiet since his new 
responsibilities.'' On the last day of the year I rejoined 
him at his father's house. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XII 

HOSTAGES TO FORTUNE 
1861-1862 

THIS was a year of wonders quite difFerent from those 
of 1856, for all its marvels were visible to others 
beside ourselves. Let who will smile, but to most 
people the sight 6f a first child is one of the miracles of 
life, and it is noteworthy that Morris, Rossetti, and Edward 
now went through this experience within a few months of 
each other. First came the owner of the little garment that 
was being fashioned for her when we were at Red House 
the summer before, and then, just as we were taking it 
for granted that all would go as well in one household as 
another, there was illness and anxiety and suspense at 
Chatham Place, and poor Lizzie was only given back to us 
with empty arms. This was not a light thing to Gabriel, 
and though he wrote about it, "She herself is so far the 
most important that I can feel nothing but thankfidness," 
the dead child certainly lived in its father's heart. "I ought 
to have had a little girl older than she is," he once said 
wistfully as he looked at a friend's young daughter of seven 
years. 

When we went to see Lizzie for the first time after her 
recovery, we found her sitting in a low chair with the child- 
less cradle on the floor beside her, and she looked like 
Gabriel's "Ophelia" when she cried with a kind of soft 
wildness as we came in, "Hush, Ned, you'll waken it!" 
How often has it seemed to us that if that little baby had 
lived she, too, might have done so, and Gabriel's terrible 
melancholy would never have mastered him. 

Lizzie's nvu-se was a delightful old country woman, whose 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET. 28] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 223 

words and ways we quoted for years afterwards; her native 
wit and simple wisdom endeared her to both Gabriel and 
Lizzie, and were the best possible medicine for their over- 
strained feelings. Naturally, after meeting her at Blackfriars, 
we invited her to come to us. 

On the day little Jane Alice Morris was christened many 
friends went down to Red House for the christening feast, 
and beds were made up for their accommodation at night 
in the true Red Lion Square spirit of hospitality, the draw- 
ing-room being turned into a big dormitory for the men. 
At dinner I sat next to Rossetti,and noticed that even amidst 
such merry company he fell silent occasionally and seemed 
absent in mind. He drank water only, and, after he had 
helped himself, I asked him if he would give me some, 
which he did with an instant return to the scene before 
him, saying at the same time with grave humour in his 
sonorous voice, " I beg your pardon, Georgie : I had for- 
gotten that you, like myself, are a temperate person." 

At this time Faulkner was thinking seriously about 
leaving Oxford, for he longed to share the struggle which 
he saw his old companions beginning in a wider world : 
they, of course, encouraged this desire, and Edward, for one, 
says distindly, "I'm doing all I can to persuade him to 
leave Oxford and settle in London at some profession." 
This happened a few months later, when Faiilkner came 
up to town and entered the office of a civil engineer, where 
he patiently sat and drew rivets by the thousand in plans 
for iron bridges — or at least that was the impression we 
had of his occupation. Out of office hours he kept the books 
of the firm or Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., now 
legally registered partners in business. 

The list of work done by Edward this year is a long 
one, but I shall only refer to those things which, as I think 
of them, especially recall his personality. To begin with, 
there were two large triptychs that he painted in oil, each 
with an Adoration in the centre, and the Angel and Virgin 
of the Annunciation on the wings. These side figures were 
the same in both cases, but the treatment of the middle sub- 



Digitized by 



Google 



224 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

jeft was difterent. The origin of these pictures was a com- 
mission for an altarpiece in St Paul's Church, Brighton, 
but when Edward had painted his first design he found 
that the composition of the centre panel was too elaborate 
to tell its story dekrly from a distance. Just about this time 
Mr. Flint's death occurred, and finding that it was important 
for his estate to be realized as soon as possible, Edward took 
counsel with his friends and decided to offer the executors 
this, by far the most important work he had done, and to 
make another and simpler design for the church. He pro- 
posed that in it the kings should be standing instead of 
kneeling, with their figures more detached from each other, 
and, for clearness' sake, that the whole should be painted 
upon a gold background. The arrangement was agreed to 
by every one concerned, and the second triptych has remained 
in St. Paul's Church ever since. In both piAures there are 
portraits of Morris as one of the kings, and of Swinburne 
and Edward amongst the shepherds. The commission came 
through our friena Mr. G. F. Bodley, who unselfishly sug- 
gested that the church should have a painted altarpiece in- 
stead of a reredos, which he himselr had been asked to 
design, and that Edward should be the artist employed. It 
was by a curious chance that, some ten years afterwards, 
Mr. Bodley, hearing of an " old Venetian piAure " some- 
where in London, went to see it, and under that name 
recognized and bought the first of the two triptychs. It had 
been sold at Mr. Flint's sale and then disappeared. Mr. 
Bodley says that the man from whom he bought it had no 
idea but that it was an old Italian pidure, and adds, ^^ It 
was, for me, a curious and happy thing that I should see it." 
Edward painted also in this year a water-colour of "Clerk 
Saunders," which embodies his passionate sympathy with 
the Border Ballads. Mr. Marshall, a big, handsome Scotch- 
man, the least prominent member of the Firm, made us 
very happy with the traditional tune of the poem, and we 
started a manuscript niusic-book to preserve it and a few 
other treasures. "The Three Ravens^' was a song for 
which Rossetti used to ask. 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 225 

There was a small water-colour "Laus Veneris" too, 
which contained the germ of one of Edward's most elaborate 
piAures, and I remember that in it was the only cat ever 
allowed a place in his serious work. It was not reproduced 
in the large " Laus Veneris." Perhaps it was a silent tribute 
to the memory of his own friend and companion " Tom," 
who had lately met with a sudden death: chance words 
now and then taught me that such a thing was possible. 

There were special flowers — the lily, the sunflower, and 
the rose, for instance — ^which at various times Edward 
studied profoundly and finally knew by heart. We have 
seen him painting lilies in Red Lion Square garden, and 
nearly ten years afterwards he finished his apprenticeship 
by the masterly pencil drawing, familiar to many, of a group 
in his own garden at Kensington Square. Roses he was still 
looking at with uncritical love — the time for grappling with 
them had not arrived — ^but that he was already far on in 
his knowledge of sunflowers is shown by a pen-and-ink 
design begun this vear of " Childe Roland," in which they 
fill up the whole background: he knew them from their 
roots to the tips of their petals before he had done, and 
never lost interest in them. 

" Did you ever draw a sunflower ?" he writes : " it is a 
whole school of drawing and an education in itself." And 
again: "Do you know what faces they have — ^how they 
peep and peer, and look arch and winning, or bold and a 
little insolent sometimes? Have vou ever noticed their 
back-hair, how beautifully curled it is?" The sunflower 
afFedation, which was a fashion at one time amongst 
hangers-on of Art, filled him with disgust. " As to those 
sunflower-worshippers," he says, " I do renounce them — I 
will not stand godfather to that feeble folly without crying 
out. What have I done ever to deserve such a fate ? I do 
renounce and denounce, and will have none of them. Was 
I not at work happily and peacefully years before their 
rubbish began — and shall I not survive them happily and 
peacefully? Away with them, the feeblings." 

Poppies also had their fascination for him: Mr. Bodley 



Digitized by 



Google 



226 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

remembers him, at Red House, coming in to breakfast one 
day with a beautiful drawing of a poppy that he had done 
in the early morning. 

We continued the excellent habit of going to Red House 
very often fi-om Saturday afternoon to Monday morning, 
when we would return to town with Morris, who came up 
every day .to the works at 8, Red Lion Square. This place 
become a fresh centre for fi-iendly as well as business meet- 
ings of the members of the firm, and here they laid plans 
for the future, discussed work going on at the moment, 
and in the intervals told anecdotes and played each other 
tricks which prolonged the youth that seemed as if it 
would never rail. 

On one of these evenings Madox Brown surpassed him- 
self in a display of his peculiarity of forgetting names. He 
wanted something brought upstairs, but, in order to make 
sure of calling the right person, first turned round and 
carefully asked: "What is the name of your housekeeper, 
Morris?" "Button," answered Morris. Whereupon it 
took no longer than his stepping to the head of the stairs 
before Madox Brown was heard shouting in his slow, clear 

voice, " Mrs. Penny, will you " but applause drowned 

the rest. Another time Morris being called away during a 
meeting, the devil suggested to Faulkner that it were well 
in his absence to make an elaborate "booby-trap " to await 
his return; so the London DireAory and two large copper 
candlesticks were swiftly balanced by his clever fingers 
upon the top of the half-open door, and of course at 
Morris's entrance fell like " Goddes grame " " right a- 
middlewards of his crown." Bumping and rebounding 
they rolled to the ground, while Morris yelled with the 
enraged surprise of starded nerves, and was very near to 
serious anger, when Faulkner changed everything by hold- 
ing him up to opprobrium and exclaiming loudly in an in- 
jured voice, " What a bad-tempered fellow you are ! " The 
" bad-tempered " one stopped his torrent of rage — looked 
at Faulkner for a second^ and then burst into a fit of 
laughter, which disposed of the matter. 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 28] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 227 

" The Q). gets on/' Edward wrote to Cormell Price in 
Russia; " have you heard of the Co.? It *s made of Topsy, 
Marshall, Faulkner, Brown, Webb, Rossetti and me — ^we 
are partners and have a manufadory and make stained 
glass, furniture, jewellery, decoration and piAures; we have 
many commissions, and shall probably roll in yellow carri- 
ages by the time you come back." 

Under the general pressure of the time Edward had 
joined the Artists* Corps of Volunteers when it was first 
formed, but his attendance was not regular, and of this 
episode in his life I remember litde except a very tired 
man in a grey uniform. 

Another unlikely recruit was Rossetti, who I believe 
presented himself on the drill-ground, although his name 
does not appear in the Muster Roll Book of the Corps: 
but Major Horsley suggests that, as Volunteer economy 
was doubdess imperfedt at the beginning of the movement, 
It is quite possible that he may have tried the work, found 
it distastenil, and never really joined. At any rate we 
clung to the legend of Gabriel's unmistakeable voice having 
been heard to ask quite politely "Why?" in response to 
the sergeant's fiercely shouted "Right about face": and 
Madox Brown is quoted by his grandson, Mr. Ford Huef- 
fer, as relating that Gabriel's first shot was a wonderful 
one, hitting the centre of the bull's-eye. 

Morris figured far better as a defender of his country, 
for he attended drill regularly, and I distincSUy remember 
that he was camping out at Wimbledon on the night of 
the great Tooley Street fire. This was on a Saturday, and 
Edward and I were going down to Red House as usual, 
though Morris woxJd not be back till next day. As we 
got near London Bridge Station we saw something was the 
matter, for crowds were running in one diredion, and 
presently we knew that it was a big fire, and were so much 
excited that when on reaching the station we found it was 
close to us, we decided to go to Upton by a later train and 
stopped where we were to see how things might turn out. 
The sight was appalling, and the heat so great that we had 



Digitized by 



Google 



228 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

to turn away from time to time to cool our faces. We did 
not hear of any danger to life, though there was evidently 
great destruAion of property, but in spite of this, as it was 
burning, we felt a kind of fearful satisiaAion in being there 
to see. This form of excitement gave way to another 
before long, for as we were watching the fire, a woman 
near us suddenly covered her face and then we heard a 
shout and saw a wall of the burning building totter and 
fall with a splash of fire, while a groan went through the 
crowd and every one knew that life had been lost. We 
turned away, but could learn no details, and it was not 
until we saw the newspapers on Monday morning that we 
knew it had been the death of James Braidwood, the head 
of the Fire Brigade, and two of his devoted men. When 
we got to Woolwich the sky was so red there that people 
were running out from their cottages to see what the fire 
was, and Morris saw it also from his tent at Wimbledon. 
On Monday morning when we returned to London the 
flames were not yet got under, nor were they for many 
days. 

Before the birth of oiu- first child we removed from 
Russell Place into a larger set of rooms Just left by Mr. 
Henry Wallis, at No. 62, Great Russell Street. Here 
Edward's studio was again only the front room on the first 
floor, but as the house was opposite to the British Museum 
the large open space before it gave a better painting light 
than usual. Behind the studio and communicating with it 
by a door was our sitting-room, and beyond that a very 
small third one. The outlook of the sitting-room was 
upon a little back-yard entirely built over and covered 
with a skylight; beyond this was the high blank wall of 
the back of a house. This had once been coloured and was 
now blotched in a leprous way. Our own walls inside were 
beautified with some old tapestry left there by Mr. Wallis 
while he was traveUing abroad. 

To these early days in Great Russell Street belongs a 
note I received from Gabriel, one part of which I can 
never read unmoved: "By the bye, Lizzie has been talk- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 229 

ing to me of parting with a certain small wardrobe to you. 
But don't let her, please. It looks such a bad omen for 
us." Seldom did I come so near the real Gabriel as this. 
More often he seemed to wear a surcoat of jesting; as 
when he wrote, "Lizzie to-day enters on the adventure of 
Hog's Hole," by which I understood her to be gone to 
Red House — or sent the message, " My qualified love to 
the Pang of your Life," a form of remembrance to Ed- 
ward suggested by one of the many nonsense verses he 
had made: 

There is a poor painter named Jones, 

For whose condudl no genius atones. 

The course of his life 

Is a pang to the wife. 

And a plague to the neighbours of Jones. 

The rhyme he found for his own name was most skilful: 

There was a poor chap called Rossetti ; 
As a painter with many kicks met he. 

And that on Gambart, the piAvu-e-dealer, must surely have 
won the admiration even of its subjeA had he ever been 
privileged to hear it: 

There is an old he-wolf named Gambart, 

Beware of him if thou a lamb art. 

Else thy tail and thy toes 

And thine innocent nose 

Will be ground by the grinders of Gambart. 

Writing to G>rmell Price in Russia towards the end of 
September, Edward tells him that he thinks in about a 
month " either a little Ned or a little Georme will appear," 
and just adding " don't teU, I keep it quiet for fear it should 
be a monster," passes to other subjeds. But the reflex of 
the idea of having a child of his own appears on the next 
page, where he writes of his father: " I want my dad to come 
and live near me: business doesn't answer and he grows 
old [he was fifty-nine] and a little cottage 12 miles out of 
London seems a good idea. Next year I hope it can be 



Digitized by 



Google 



230 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

managed — by then I shall be out of debt and getting on a 
bit Dads ought to have their whack sometimes; it 's very 
dull to be a dad and have a son cutting about and enjoying 
himself and still be working on drearily — I shall hate it 
when Fm a dad." I cannot remember when it was that Mr. 
Jones decided to give up the struggle of business, in order 
to avoid the possibility of failure, but I know that when he 
did so, with his usual ill-luck, he sold the house in Bennett's 
Hill just before property in that neighbourhood increased 
so much in value that its rental would have made him com- 
fortable for the rest of his days. 

The arrival of our child, though not a "monster," brought 
us face to face with strange experiences. No one had told 
us any details conneAed with it essential for our guidance, 
the do6tor and the wise woman were to arrange everything 
— but as neither of them happened to be at hand when 
wanted I doubt whether Edward or I had the more per- 
turbed day. By his own energy, however, he guided the 
disjointed time and set it straight, for with him intelled: 
was a manageable force applicable to everything, but good 
dame Wheeler, who soon arrived to supersede the strange 
nurse of the moment, saw at once how great a demand had 
been made upon his physical power, and was almost as 
anxious about him*as about either of her recognized charges. 
I can remember, in the reaftion that followed, a day on 
which the small stranger within our gates was the most 
valiant member of the family. ThoSe who have gone 
through such times as these know them to be amongst the 
testing times of humanity. 

I do not think that Edward was a man with whom 
parental feeling was very great in the abstraA, but from 
the moment he had a child of his own, strong natural love 
for it awoke in his heart. This new love was accompanied, 
however, by a fearful capacity for anxiety which was a fresh 
drain upon his strength. "A painter ought not to be 
married," he once said; "children and pi6tures are too 
important to be produced by one man." 

I must not forget to mention the transporting satisfaction 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 231 

of Miss Sampson, who happened to be staying for a few 
days with us and had the unexpeAed bliss of receiving 
Edward's son in her arms and then going back to Birming- 
ham with the story. To this time belongs a dear recollec- 
tion of the appearance of Janey and Lizzie as they sat side 
by side one day when in a good hour it had occurred to 
them to come together to see the mother and child. They 
were as unlike as possible and quite perfeA as a contrast to 
each other; also, at the moment neither of them was under 
the cloud of ill-health, so that, as an Oriental might say, 
the purpose of the Creator was manifest in them. The dif- 
ference between the two women may be typified broadly as 
that between sculpture and painting, Mrs. Morris being 
the statue and Mrs. Rossetti the pifture: the grave nobility 
and colourless perfection of feature in the one was made 
human by kindness that looked from " her great eyes stand- 
ing far apart," while a wistfulness that often accompanied 
the brilliant loveliness and grace of the other gave an un- 
earthly character to her beauty. " Was there ever two such 
beautiful ladies I " said dame Wheeler, with a distindt sense 
of ownership in one of them, as soon as they were gone. 

A few weeks after this, whilst I was in Manchester, show- 
ing their first nephew to my sisters and younger brother, 
Edward wrote to me of having been with Rossetti to Chelsea, 
to see Alexander Gilchrist, in whose forthcoming life of 
Blake they were both keenly interested. They were told 
that one of the children of the house had scarlet fever, but 
that the case had taken a favourable turn, and people in 
those days did not dread infedion as they have learned to 
do now, so the two friends stayed on, spending the even- 
ing in conversation with Mr. Gilchrist, and the news of his 
death from the fever within a fortnight afterwards was a 
great shock to them. Edward joinea me in Manchester 
and we took our child to be baptized at the Cathedral, 
Ruskin and Rossetti being his godfathers by proxy. After 
stopping at Birmingham to present the little one to his 
grandfather there, we returned to London and were settled 
again in our own home early in December. 



Digitized by 



Google 



232 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

Our friendship with Mr. Ruskin was one of the happiest 
things of these early days, for we loved him profoundly and 
he drew us very near to himself. When he was in England 
we often saw him, and when abroad he wrote to us, at first 
as " My dear Edward and Georgie " and afterwards as " My 
dearest Children," which name was never quite dropped. 
It was his custom to write freely if he wrote at all ; his 
notes and letters must lie thick as leaves in autumn in many 
a desk and drawer, and we received our share of this golden 
shower. A letter of his from Boulogne in July mentions a 
death that all England was lamenting: ^^ There's Mrs. 
Browning gone, who 'was a friend, and such a one, but 
one must not think about oneself in talking of her — ^it is 
all the Earth's loss. I get horribly sad whenever I give 
myself time to think: and can only keep up by help of 
those things [fishing boats] which you think so sad when 
you see them going out. I was on the deck of one all 
Wednesday night, it blowing hard; and the sea ablaze with 
phosphoric foam, one perpetual torrent of white fire rush- 
ing over the lower side of the deck, for we were going fast 
— and when the moon went down at one the night was 
nearly black, all but the fire of the waves. We b^an 
mackerel fishing oflT Hastings at five in the morning. No 
— there 's no real sadness, though much solemnity in the 
life." And speaking of the fishermen, he says : " They were 
as merry when they began fishing as if they had been in an 
alehouse — nay, what say I — ^immeasurably more; they came 
out of their oily, tarry, salt, black hole, in perfeA peace of 
mind, to meet the face of Dawn, and do their daily work: 
would they have come in the same peace of mind out of the 
alehouse ? And then their sense I One of the pilots I've 
been sailing with — I was out with him all day on Monday 
when it was calm enough for talking — is precisely of my 
way of thinking on all points of Theology, morality, politics, 
and economy. He kept saying, in good French, just the 
very thing I meant to have tried to say in bad. There 's 
wisdom for you ! " 

There came a most charafteristic answer to somediing 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 233 

we told him of a scheme for my engraving Edward*s de- 
signs: " Fm delighted to hear or the woodcutting. It will 
not I believe interfere with any motherly care or duty, and 
is far more useful and noble work than any other of which 
feminine fingers are capable without too much disturbance 
of feminine thought and nature. I can't imagine anything 
prettier or more wifely than cutting one's husband's draw- 
ings on the woodblock: there is just the proper quantity 
of^ho in it, and you nuy put the spirit and affeAion and 
fidelity into it which no other person could. Only never 
work hard at it. Keep your rooms tidy, and baby happy 
— and then after that as much woodwork as you've time 
and liking for." 

Alas, time and liking never came together and the pretty 
scheme dropped through, finding a place, let us hope, 
among the pieces of porphyry or serpentine with which 
Edward claimed that good intentions pave the floor of 
Heaven. 

As December went on, Edward's health failed. A sore 
throat, a cough, and general weakness were always with 
him the symptoms of exhaustion, and this time he was very 
much exhausted. On Christmas Eve he went to bed early, 
quite worn out, and as he lay there, coughing frequently, 
he put his handkerchief to his mouth and took it away 
marked with a large stain of blood. We looked at each 
other and the same thought passed through both our minds 
— ^that this was his death-warrant. We took and gave what 
comfort we could, trying to persuade ourselves in a flash 
of time that it was a thing or the commonest occurrence, 
that it happened to most people at some time in their lives, 
but — ^we had better see the doAor. Our dear physician- 
friend. Dr. Charles Bland RadcliflTe, lived then in Henrietta 
Street, Cavendish Square, a place easily reached, and soon 
I was on the way there. Who does not know that thread- 
ing of the streets in a hastily-summoned jolting cab, with 
the one haunting fear for companion? In this case when 
the cab stopped at the door after an endless-short journey 
it was evident at a glance that the doftor's house was given 



Digitized by 



Google ^^ 



234 MEMORIALS OF [1861 

up to festivity, and that a Christmas Eve party was going 
on* His consulting-room was filled with hats and coats, and 
for a moment the master of the house was hoping to be 
free from the haunting calls of his profession, but I knew 
that Edward's name would bring him to me and waited till 
he came. He looked very grave when in my distress I 
silently laid before him the terrible crimson sign that told 
more than I could do, but hope revived widi the kind 
light that came into his eyes as he said quietly, ^^ Vll see 
him to-nighL*' Then the cab jolted back again, and we 
waited together until he came with his never-tailing steadi- 
ness and help. After examination he was able to assure us 
that the hemorrhage was from the throat, not the lungs, 
and it never returned, but for a few years after this there 
was a delicacy of the chest which needed care. 

Somewhere about this time — ^whether before or after the 
New Year I cannot say — ^belongs the story of the happy 
discovery of FitzGerald*s Omar KhayyAm, which Swin- 
burne brought one day to Edward in triumph, having just 
purchased it for the sum of twopence, and marvelling who 
the anonymous translator could be. From Swinbxirne I 
have an account of how he first heard through Rossetti that 
this treasure had been discovered on a bookstall near 
Leicester Square — I believe outside Quaritch's shop in 
Castle Street. It had been published by Quaritch in 1859, 
but, proving a dead failure, the greater part of the edition 
was turned out of doors and anybody might have it for a 
penny a copy. ** Thither we repaired," says Mr. Swin- 
burne, " and expended a few pence on a few copies. Next 
day, when we were returned for more, the price was raised 
to the iniquitous and exorbitant sum of twopence. You 
should have heard, but you can imagine, the eloquent and 
impressive severity of Gabriel's humorous expostulations 
with the stall-keeper on behalf of a defrauded if limited 
public. But we were extravagant enough to invest in a few 
more copies even at that scandalous price. I think it was 
within the month that Quaritch was selling copies at a 
guinea— so at least we heard and read." 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 235 

It is curious to think that in January of 1 858 the manu- 
script of this now famous work had been sent to Fraser's 
Magazine, whose editor expressed some faint wish to have 
it, but that in November of the same year FitzGerald had 
heard nothing from him about it, and wrote to a friend, " I 
suppose they don't want it, I really think I shall take it 
back; add some Stanzas which I kept out for fear of being 
too strong; print fifty copies and give away." And now, 
though poets such as Rossetti, Swinburne and Morris were 
eager to know who had done the marvellous thing, they 
had no clue to its author, nor could even learn his name 
for many a year. 

The copy of flie first edition that Swinburne gave to 
Edward has always been one of our precious possessions, 
and before the book was reprinted became worn with fre- 
quent reading and transcribing. 

Edward's convalescence was slow, but fortunately for him 
his work was of a kind that could be carried on indoors, 
and he did a great deal in spite of cold and dark days; for 
nothing short of acute illness ever prevented his painting. 
Our wants were few in these days, and it came quite 
naturally to us both to be what is called " poor " — indeed 
I never remember our having any hopes that depended upon 
the possession of money or feeling that it would make us 
much happier. One day we had a delightful treasure-trove 
in the shape of an envelope containing smaU cheques to the 
value of between twenty and thirty pounds, which Edward 
had put by in his dressing-case because they were crossed 
and had then forgotten. I think they were Mr. Flint's, and 
I know that, to our great satisfa<5tion, they got cashed some- 
how. Another time a half-sovereign lurking in the pocket 
of a waistcoat was found and brought forth in triumph — 
but that was the last windfall of this description, and the 
mere faA that such things could happen shows how many 
meanings there are to the word " poor." 

The diflPerence in our life made by the presence of a child 
was very great, for I had been used to be much with Ed- 
ward — ^reading aloud to him while he worked, and in many 



Digitized by 



Google 



236 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

ways sharing the life of the studio — and I remember the 
feeling of exile with which I now heard through its closed 
door the well-known voices of friends together with Ed- 
ward's familiar laugh, while I sat with my little son on my 
knee and dropped selfish tears upon him as " the separator 
of companions and the terminator of delights." 

The first time the child ailed anjrthing was an anxious 
experience for two people who shared the almost universal 
ignorance of men and women about the young of their 
own species. The infant being unable to describe his suf- 
ferings, of whom should we ask help ? Swiftly it occmred 
to us that kind Mrs. Rossetti, Gabriel's mother, loved and 
revered by us all, must be a mine of wisdom as to the 
management of children. Had she not brought up the 
most precious of all boys to maturity ? If only she could 
come and say to us that she had often seen Gabriel like 
that, we should take comfort. A messenger was despatched, 
begging her to come to us : nor did her kindness fail, for 
she came at once, and we shewed her the tiny invalid whose 
cries still pierced our hearts, while we hung upon her lips 
for advice. Judge then of our dismay when, after looking 
on him gravely for a few seconds, her only words were — 
slowly and distincftly uttered — " It is certain that the child 
is suffering great agony " ; nor had she the least cheer to 
give or anytihing to suggest. 

On the other hand whilst Edward himself was still un- 
well a lady came to see us one day for the first time, and 
looking at him took the situation in at a glance. Husband 
gifted and attradive, young and probably incapable wife — 
a case for prescription and advice if ever there were one. 
Had we heard of the wonderfully strengthening remedy 
now given in cases where there was weakness of the chest ? 
No; would she tell us ? Yes, indeed, gladly. And it was so 
simple, so easily procured ; the only thing was to prepare 
it rightly, and she herself fortunately knew exadly how it 
should be done. " Iceland Moss, my dear. You take two 
pounds of it and put it to soak in water. A most life-giving 
gelatinous liquid is the result — but the healing qualities are 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 237 

much increased by the addition of a little brandy, if liked 
by the patient." Two pounds of Iceland Moss were forth- 
with got, and put to soak in water. It swelled and it swelled 
till no jug or basin would hold it; a libation of brandy little 
short of a bottleful was poured upon it, but it only became 
a slippery and unmanageable mass which had finally to be 
thrown away, leaving a sense of guilt upon my mind for a 
long time. 

Mr. Ruskin's return to England at the end of the year 
was a great comfort to us, and as Edward slowly gathered 
strength we began to let our hearts dwell on the thought 
of carrying out a hope long cherished of going with him 
to Italy. But first deep waters had to be passed through. 
One morning in February — a dark and cold one — Edward 
had settled as usual to such work as the light permitted, 
when there came a tap at the door, and to our surprise 
Red Lion Mary entered. How she told her tale I do not 
know, but first we heard the words " Mrs. Rossetti," and 
then we found that she had come to bring us the dreadful 
news that our poor, lovely Lizzie was dead, from an over- 
dose of laudanum. There was nothing we could do — ^all 
was over — so, begging Edward not to risk going out on 
such a day, I hastened to Blackfriars to bring him any 
word I could learn about the unhappy Gabriel. 

The story can never lose its sadness. To try to tell it 
afresh now, with a knowledge of its disastrous effeA upon 
one of the greatest of men, woidd be for me impossible. 
I will simply transcribe something I wrote about it the next 
day to one of my sisters: "I am sure you will feel for 
Gabriel and all of us when I tell you poor Lizzie died 
yesterday morning. I scarcely believe the words as I write 
them, but yesterday I saw her dead. The evening before 
she was in good health (for her) and very good spirits — 
she dined with her husband and Swinburne and made very 
merry with them — Gabriel took her home, saw her prepare 
for bed, went out to the Working Men's College, and on 
his return found her insensible from the efFefts of an over- 
dose of laudanum which she was used to take medicinally. 



Digitized by 



Google 



238 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

She never knew him or anyone else for a second — ^four 
physicians and a surgeon did everything human skill could 
devise, but in spite of them all she died, poor darling, 
soon after seven in the morning. The shock was so great 
and sudden that we are only beginning to believe it to- 
day — I wonder at myself for writing about it so cooUy. I 
went down diredUy I heard it and saw her poor body laid 
in the very bed where I have seen her lie and laugh in the 
midst of illness, but even though I did this I keep think- 
ing it is all a dreadful dream. Brown was with Gabriel and 
is exadly the nun to see to all the sad business arrange- 
ments, ror of course under such circumstances an inquest 
has to be held. Of course I did not see Gabriel. Edward 
is greatly troubled as you will believe, and all the men. I 
leave you to imagine the awful feeling there is upon us all. 
Pray God to comfort Gabriel." 

The Chatham Place days were ended now, and Rossetti 
in his sorrow turned to his mother, whose grave tender- 
ness must have been a refuge for his wounded heart, and 
went for a time to live in Albany Street with her and his 
sisters and brother. Poor Lizzie's bullfinch went there too, 
and sang as sweetly and looked as sleek and chec ful as 
ever. 

It must have been in April of this year that we j. aid a 
Saturday to Monday visit to. the Marshalls at Tottenham. 
A cheery, reckless household it was, with big Peter Paul 
(" Poll *' was the sound his little wife gave to the name she 
called him) at the head of it :. I remember a small cup of 
gunpowder being given to the boys to keep them quiet 'n 
the morning. Marshall sang the Scotch songs for which wc 
always asked, and besides " Clerk Saunders *' we got from 
him the beautiful tunes of " Sir Patrick Spens " and "Busk 
ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny bride ! " 

Our hapless child, however, occupied the time of our 
visit in taking, aU unknown to us, a severe cold, which soon 
after our return developed into congestion of the lungs that 
brought him quickly todeath's door. Then again our friend 
Dr. Radcliffe came to the rescue, and one afternoon there 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 239 

was a fight between him and death, when the invisible 
enemy aS but revealed himself to our eyes, so sharp was 
the struggle and so clearly delivered both blow and counter- 
blow over the child's senseless body. A recovery without 
check followed, however, and then we addressed ourselves 
to preparations for the Italian journey, which seemed almost 
too happy an idea ever to come true. 

Just before the baby's illness my two younger sisters, 
Agnes and Louisa, had come up to stay with us according 
to an old promise, and so began a series of visits from 
them which provided many a happy memory. These two 
young girls were very dear to Edward, and to them he was 
a brother whose care and affeftion fostered their native gifts 
and stimulated them, mind and soul. Devoted to each 
other, next in age and always nuking a life of their own 
together in the midst of our large family, when they came 
to us they were no drain on our powers of entertainment, 
but gave us joy whilst eagerly emoying themselves. They 
were good to look at also ; our friends loved and admired 
them, and their whole lives were aflfeAed by the times they 
spent with us. 

After the recovery of our child the sisters shared in our 
thanksgiving and then helped us to get ready for our 
journey as quickly as possible. It was arranged that the 
baby should be left with his grandmother and aunts in Man- 
chester, and after the anxieties and trouble of winter and 
early spring it was sweet to us to become children again, 
and to rest upon one so much older and stronger than 
ourselves as Mr. Ruskin. He did everything en princcy 
and had invited us as his gudbts for the whole time, but 
again in his courtesy agreed to ease our mind by promising 
to accept the studies that Edward should make while in 
Italy, and all was arranged and done by him as kindly and 
thoughtfully as if we had indeed been really his "children," 
as he called us. 

Before we went Edward made and presented a thank- 
offering to Dr. Radcliffe, who had, humanly speaking, saved 
the life of his little son. It was a pencil drawing of the sick 



Digitized by 



Google 



240 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1862 

child in a bed, on the foot of which sits the Virgin Mother, 
who has broiight her Child of Healing and holds him 
standing on her lap, with his little arms spread out in the 
form ofa Cross ; while upon the floor, seated upon a corner 
of her robe, is the healed child, happily playing. 



Digitized by 



Google 




^^le <jy/loiher<>'f^eal4na. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XIII 

FRUITFUL REST 
1862 

ON the morning of May 1 5th we started with Mr. 
Ruskin for Italy, crossing the Channel by Folke- 
stone and Boulogne. We had no anxiety in leaving 
our little son in the house of his grandparents, but never- 
theless felt parting with the unconscious creature extremely, 
and solaced ourselves with photographs of him and a drawing 
that Edward had made. A photograph was opened in the 
railway carriage before we reached Folkestone and shewn to 
Ruskin, who greeted it with wholesome chaff. At Boulogne 
we stayed the night, at the H6tel des Bains, and in the 
afternoon he took us a walk down to the shore, where the 
tide was far out and only a great stretch of wet sand lay 
before us. Here a mood of melancholy came over him and 
he left us, striding away by himself towards the sea; his 
solitary figure looked the very emblem of loneliness as he 
went, and we never forgot it. Later in time this loneliness 
and melancholy become still more impressive, when it was 
realized that a few days before starting he had signed his 
preface to the first edition of Unto this Last. In this 
book he had reprinted the essays which had been despised 
and rejected as they appeared separately in the Cornhill 
Magazine. The thoughts expressed in these prophetic 
pages had not found acceptance even in the heart of his own 
father — no wonder that to us he was silent. 

In Paris we went to Meurice's Hotel, and there we stayed 
two days, from Saturday till Monday, during which time 
of course we visited the Louvre. In the evening we were 
at a theatre and saw I know not what upon the stage, but 

I. R 



Digitized by 



Google 



242 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

something of the talk in the box comes back to me — about 
the Dor6 illustrations to Balzac's Contes Drolatiques, and 
the passionate horror with which Ruskin spoke of them, 
saying that on first seeing them he had literally been made 
physically ill with disgust. The next day, Sunday, finding 
that I had a friend who lived in Paris, he insisted on sending 
me in the afternoon to see her. She was an English girl, 
the wife of a French Methodist preacher, whose Christian 
name was Jean Wesley ^ and I found her at a little square 
chapel that was own brother to such fanes in England. 
Mr. Ruskin dined out that evening, and on his return told 
us where he had been. It was to the house of " Adile," 
his first love, long since married in France. He had met 
there, perhaps a sister of hers, at all events some two or 
three people who had known him as a bajr, and he seemed 
in a dream of the past as he threw himself down on a couch 
and talked to us. " They called me John," he said ; and 
we felt how few people could ever do that, and how sweet 
it must have been to him. Then he went on to tell us how 
good a wife Adfele was, and the image of the lady was 
stamped on the minds of his hearers as he told them that 
in her country-home she used to amuse her husband, who 
was a sportsman, by translating Punch to him. 

From Paris we went on to Dijon and then to Bftle, where 
I remember the balcony of the " Three Kings " over the 
rushing river, and truite au bleu for dinner (always served 
in a private room), and next morning a walk with Mr. 
Ruskin, to look at piftures somewhere, before we started 
again for Lucerne. We stopped there for a few days, and saw 
the green water of the lake through the floor of the painted 
bridges, and looked around us and[felt ourselves/;! montibus 
sanSis. One afternoon we rowed out on the lake, and the 
two men talked all the time of scientific discoveries about 
the formation of the earth and the gradual development 
upon it of animal life ; Edward contributing a description, 
I remember, of an era when " huge white cockroaches " 
reigned supreme, j 

We left by the steamer that took us up the Lake to 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 243 

Fluelen, where oxir thoughtfiil friend and guide had ar- 
ranged that we should spend the night, so as to be ready 
in the morning to be^n at once the glorious drive over the 
pass of St. Gothard. I have a vision of us all three sitting 
together that evening, in a room with an exquisitely clean 
bare-boarded floor, and Mr. Ruskin readingKeats to us. 

In the morning we went on up the pass. Towards even- 
ing we came sudaenly, as if through a gateway, upon the 
wonderful uplifted plain of the Valley of Hdpital, with its 
swift, wide river rushing through it and the mountain tops 
around doing duty as mere hills. Next morning we started 
again in unfailing sunshine and went over to the Italian side; 
our road at first cut through the eternal snows, but those were 
left behind, and then began the descent into the promised 
land. The beautiftiUy-engineered road waved before us, our 
leader was unfastened and went to the rear, and the two other 
horses flew along with the carriage ; sometimes the zigzag 
of the road was so sharp that the horse who followed would 
look down upon us from the turn above as if he needed 
but a sign to jump into our laps. By the eurly evening we 
had reached Bellinzona with thankful hearts. And, next 
day, still driving, by Lugano and Como, past gardens whose 
roses were bubbling over the tops or their high walls, 
seeing as we went many beautiful women whom Edward 
callea" spoiled studies for Janey," and on till it grew dark 
and the fire-flies came out before we reached Milan. DHow 
frightened we were there next morning, when the spirit of 
the mountaineer shewed itself in our beloved companion 
and made him skip about on steep slopes of the Githedral 
roof until each moment we thought to see him fall into the 
piazza below, where the omnibuses crawled no bigger than 
flies.^ And to San Ambrogio he took us, and had treasures 
unlocked and brought out from behind its altar — ^and two 
of the litde company knew and felt and understood all they 
saw, but the third looked chiefly at them. 

From Milan we went to Farma for two days, and 
Correggio's name is associated with the daytime and the 
opera of Rigoletto with both evenings. We all three went. 



Digitized by 



Google 



244 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

through moonlit streets, to hear it the first night, and Mr. 
Ruskin took me again the second time, at his own sugges- 
tion — ^but Edward would not go — and the only difference 
in the entertainment this time was that we saw it from a 
difllerent side of the house. 

The scheme of our journey made us part company on re- 
turning to Milan, where we two left Mr. Ruskin, and went 
by ourselves to Verona, Padua, and Venice. The sense of 
our fHend's great loneliness of spirit came over us again at 
parting, when he said, without leaving us room to doubt 
his afreftion, that he never minded the going away of any 
one. But this spiritual loneliness did not relax the visible tie 
between him and his parents, to whom he either wrote or 
telegraphed every day. 

At Verona the church of San Zeno and the Adige with 
its bridge and the Amphitheatre and the Market-place all 
rise up in memory — also a sign of the Austrian occupation 
in the presence of Austrian officers at dejeHner in the hotel 
— ^but I do not think we stayed there more than a day, for 
we were pushing on to Venice. First, however, came a Sun- 
day at Padua, when we spent the morning alone in the 
Arena chapel, standing in a kind of rough grassy orchard, 
its beauty unutterably touching even to the ignorant; and 
there Edward made drawings from the Virtues and Vices in 
the lower belt of piftures. 

At Venice our very first evening in a gondola revealed 
Edward's susceptibility to malarial influences, for he was 
feverish and ill in the night ; so that afterwards we went 
about almost entirely on foot. He had a strong sense oi 
topography, and soon found his way everywhere as if he 
had been born in the place, and thus, perhaps, we saw more 
of the city than if we had gone by the canals. To row out 
to the Lido, however, or to Torcello and Murano, was an- 
other matter, and our expeditions there were very happy. 
A sunset that we saw one evening from the Piazzetta was 
of awe-striking beauty, when the fagade of the Ducal 
Palace was flooded with pink golden light reflefted again 
from the upturned faces of the silent crowd. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 245 

" We are already enjoying ourselves intensely," Edward 
wrote to Mr. Ruskin soon after we were settled; "the 
weather is glorious, by no means too hot, and we happen 
to be in the best of health these two days. I am at work on 
a little head of Paolo in the Ducal Palace. How little I shall 
be able to do for you — even a slight pencil-sketch takes so 
long — but I know now so well how entirely you wish us to 
enjoy ourselves and me to get strong, that I shall not be 
anxious about the quantity I do (nor about the quality, for 
it is bad, it is, it is), and you must let me give you all kinds 
of drawings for years to come when they happen to be 
pretty, and so I shall feel comforted. We have arranged to 
stay at the hotel for three weeks. 

" Georgie is growing an eye for a pidure, she darts at a 
little indistincft thing hung away somewhere, and says tim- 
idly * Isn't that a very nice picfture ?' and it generally ends 
in being a Bellini or Bonifacio, whom she calls Bonnieface — 
and O what pidures of his there are here ! We get on very 
well by our little selves, but what may be termed the do- 
mestic pleasure of the trip is gone now we have left you. 
We are alone in this big hotel, at dinner there is a table for 
forty or more, and we alone sit there ; that is a dull time 
I own, for the rest we are very happy, and take great care 
not to see too many pictures in a day at first. The look of 
the pidures has done me good : I feel that I could paint so 
much better already. I never knew quite what a memorial 
of old St. Mark's that pifture of Gentile Bellini's is. We 
followed it carefully bit by bit to-day, and it is as exad 
down to the least item as it can be ; it will be absolutely 
invaluable presently, for it is quite as exaft as a photograph, 
with colour besides. We know the front of St. Mark's so 
well that we could have detefted a slip I really believe. And 
do you know, they are hard at work restoring St. Mark's ; 
all the north side is covered up and peeled oflF; it is so 
miserable. I hung quite aflFedionately about that Bellini, 
and thought how soon it might be the only record of that 
seventh heaven.'* 

It was not long though before he was restless to be back 



Digitized by 



Google 



246 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

in his own studio, for the ancient piftures set him on fire, 
and yet so long as he was amongst them he could do no 
original work. " I should never paint another pidure if I 
lived in Italy," he said. So he wrote to Ruskin: " Georgie 
begins to grbw pining for her kid and I long to be at work, 
for I don't work here, and I have cheated and defrauded 
you into bringing me out to do nothing, and if I thought 
of it much I should be miserable — only I set my teeth and 
swear inwardly that you shall have drawing after drawing 
when I get home from time to time, original drawings, not 
copies — ^ha! don't scold me and call me unfriend^ and 
mean for bothering about the tin, I should be a pig if I 
had no feeling about business, you must confess. At the 
most I can only bring you back four rotten little sketches; 
one of a head in the Veronese Triumph at the Ducal 
Palace, one of the Bacchus head of Tintoret (as nearly 
original size as I could guess), one of St. Catherine, and 
one of the Harem or Maniage of Cana. They really are so 
far more faithful than those I did under your eye, for 
you frightened me, you did. A sketch is a slight name, 
but how long it takes^— one could do a dozen designs 
for one little worthless copy, but O it does one good. 
Direcftly my eyes close a canvas appears and I scrawl away 
with brown and white — ^yes, dark figures on a white ground, 
that's the secret: you have done me so much good by 
giving me this chance of seeing the old miracles. Then 
follows a complaint about the irregularity of the post, which 
shows that it was not one person only who was homesick. 
" The post here is horrible, we get no letters from home, 
and are in utter darkness about our families — ^shall you be 
ready to return then when we said? If you could return 
and we might go straight back through the quick way of 
Cenis it would comfort our fretful homesick hearts." A 
day at Torcello he also writes about. ** We went early to 
Torcello and confided much poetic sentiment to each other 
on the occasion — it was lovely beyond words. To-day we 
went out to the Lido, and dabbled at the edge of the sea. 
The sea was glorious and it was pleasant to look out towards 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 247 

Ithaca, and think that only sea divided us from it. Alto- 
gether we are bubbling over with poetry here and dread- 
fully need you to put in a judicious No." 

We celebrated the day when Edward finished his first 
sketch in the Ducal Palace by going to Murano. The 
place looked very sad and the church was shut up; when 
we got in at last we found it filled to the roof with ladders 
and scafiFolding poles. There was no need to ask what was 
going on; but the pavement and the great solemn figure 
of the Virgin in the apse were untouched, and so we wor- 
shipped and came away. On Corpus Christi Day, from one 
of the galleries of St. Mark's, we watched a great procession 
form in the church below and afterwards go round the 
piazza ; and on the last morning of our stay, when we 
went to bid the hallowed place good-bye, we found there 
the only funeral we saw whilst we were in Venice, and 
followed it with its many candles out of the darkness of 
the church into the sunlight and down to the water's edge, 
until the red-covered coffin was put upon a gondola and 
swiftly rowed away to the island of the dead. 

Mr. Ruskin's reply to Edward's letter shewed that our 
homesick cry raised no echo in his heart. He wrote: " Harry 
the 8 th 's a good king [this was a name he had given the 
child] but the notion of his interfering with the Venetian 
Senate in this way is too bad. If Ned 's well, (and of course 
I assume Harry the 8th to be well too — if he *s ill, I've 
nothing to say) and bettering in health and painting, you 
ought not to leave so soon. And don't make such mighty 
grand sketches. I want a very slight one of the Sebastian 
in St. Rocco (Scuola) and a rough sketch, in colour, of the 
High Priest in the Circumcision — ^in Scuola, by the stair 
foot. And I want you a week here [Milan]. I will have 
ever so many cwts. of candles lighted in the Monasterio, 
and you must sketch the two [LuintJChrists for me please. 
This is more important than anything in Venice to me. I 
don't care about the Salute Cana one, but finish it as is best 
for your own work." 

To which Edward answered: " We have heard at last of 



Digitized by 



Google 



248 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

Harry VIII., who stands fair for 6 wives at least, so all is 
well there: I have done the sketch of St. Sebastian with 
some diflficulty for it is so dark. The water-colour of High 
Priest turns out very badly for I worked much in the dark 
at it, and the pifture is itself very black and covered with 
chill in the deep shadows; to-day I make a sketch of the 
St. Catherine. Perhaps I shaU do better at the Luinis — 
yet why should I? " 

Where was the "Monasterio" to which we went in 
Milan, with Mr. Ruskin, to see Luini's piftures? Probably 
this question would be easily answered by reference to any 
guide-book, but I shall speak only of what remains in 
memory. It was a large church that had been used as a 
military hospital during the Franco-Sardinian War with 
Austria, and still bore marks of rough usage: the pidures 
were in an extremely dark place, where it was almost im- 
possible to light them up sufficiently for Edward to work. 
In a letter to my sisters there is his own account of this. 

**I am drawing from a fresco," he begins boldly, " that has 
never been seen since the day it was painted, in jet darkness, 
in a chapel where candlesticks, paper flowers and wooden 
dolls abound freely. Ruskin, by treacherous smiles and 
winning courtesies and delicate tips, has wheedled the very 
candlesticks oflF the altar for my use, and the saint's table 
and his everything that was his, and I draw every day now 
by the light of eight altar candles; also a fat man stands at 
the door and says the church is shut if anybody comes, 
and when the priest himself put his head in, the fat man 
said * hush-sh-sh-sh! ' and frightened poor priest away! " 

Then follows a fresh expression of anxiety for home news. 
" We left Heaven, which is Venice, last Saturday — on which 
day a letter — ^but no letter at all waiting for us here!! And 
now it appears too plain no letter at afi, so please cause a 
long and sufficient one to be waiting for us at 62, so that 
on leaping from the cab we may as it were be in possession 
of its contents — so very ready as that, please. How we long 
to see you, but these are days never to be repeated and I 
cannot break through them. As for that same Ruskin, what 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 29] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 249 

a dear he is; of his sweetness, his talk, his look, how de- 
bonnaire to everyone, of the nimbus round his head and the 
wings to match, consult some future occasions of talk. Now 
good night, you pretties." 

As soon as the week in Milan was over we bade farewell 
to the friend who had done so much for us, and hastened 
back to England, while Mr. Ruskin remained to finish a 
full-size copy of a beautiful St. Catherine in the dark Luini 
chapel. We had been ten weeks abroad. 

On our return we found Rossetti well in health and 
settled at work in Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he had taken 
chambers whilst arrangements were being made for his re- 
moval to a beautiful old house at Chelsea: he had never 
gone back to live in Chatham Place after his wife's death. 
The firm was in great activity; had received two medals for 
what it shewed at the International Exhibition, and many 
commissions from it were waiting for Edward; amongst 
them one for coloured tiles which proved a welcome oudet 
for his abounding humour, and in this form the stories of 
Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella took at his hands as 

2uaint a shape as they wear in the pages of the Brothers 
rrimm of blessed memory. Some " lay " stained glass 
also was demanded, for which he designed a scene in the 
story of King Mark and La Belle Iseult. His regular 
habit now and for years afterwards was to design and draw 
such things in the evening — the presence of friends making 
no difference — and men returned to the habit of dropping 
in after dinner almost as freely as before his marriage. Of 
Charles Faulkner we saw a great deal, as he and his family 
had left Birmingham and were settled in Queen Square, 
Bloomsbury, near and welcome neighbours. He was the 
eldest surviving son of a widowed mother; two sisters and 
a young brother completed the household. Both sisters 
shared Faulkner's own skill of hand, and one of them, as 
it proved, was but waiting time and opportunity to develop 
a power of beautiful ornamental design: friendship with 
them was a foregone conclusion, and between Kate Faulkner 
and me there grew up a lifelong intimacy: both Morris and 



Digitized by 



Google 



2 so MEMORIALS OF [1862 

Edward loved her also. Gabriel came to us at rare intervals 
— once it was to see his godson, to whom his manner was 
very tender — and another evening he wrote down for us a 
song which he said was the first he had written for an age. 
It was now that we learned of his having by a passionate 
impulse put into the coffin of his poor Lizzie the manu- 
script volume which contained almost all the poems he had 
written, and we feared they were lost for ever; so those 
who loved him began to compare notes and write out what 
they could remember. Swinburne of course was chief at 
this, and didbtted some to us out of his marvellous memory; 
amongst others Sister Helen, of which we sent out a 
copy to Mr. Ruskin, who had asked for any that we could 
lay hands on. From him we heard in due course of the 
completion of his copy of Luini*s " St. Catherine," which, 
when it had been put together and framed in England, he 
asked us to go out and see at Denmark Hill; and who so 
willing as we? It was a happy day, for, beside the unusual 
pleasure of going out together in the daytime, it was beauti- 
fully fine, and it was also my first visit to Mr. Ruskin's 
home. That faft alone, that it was his home, gilded it with- 
in and without; otherwise it had no charm, but was a house 
of the dullest and most commonplace type; a huge cedar 
in front of it was the only thing that redeemed the approach 
from bald ugliness. 

I do not know whether his parents were in town, for we 
saw nothing of them, but in the vestibule of his mother's 
drawing-room we found the Luini facsimile, looking so 
beautiml as to make one forget its incongruous surround- 
ings. We were taken afterwards into another room, where 
Edward shewed me the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Ruskin 
senior, but I had no idea, until he told me, that a fair-haired 
little child with a landscape background through which he 
was represented as running, in white dress, blue shoes and 
fluttering sash, was the author of The Stones of Venice. 

The arrival of Allingham in London this autiunn was a 
great addition to our circle, for he liked and was liked by so 
many different people. And he brought with him a breath of 



Digitized by 



Google 







i662 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



AT. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 251 

the wild Irish loughs and mountains when he told us that 
he had been wandering amongst them quite lately, with a 
barelegged little goat-herdess of fourteen or fifteen years 
for his guide, who was very intelligent and chatty in two lan- 
gu^es, English and Irish, but had never heard of London. 

Edward, rejoicing in the companionship of friends, and 
knowing Mr. Ruskin to be alone and sad, wrote out to 
urge him to come back to us all. " Wouldn't cheery com- 
pany do you a little good.? How I wish you were here in 
London. I fed so certain that you would be better for a 
little sympathetic circle of men to see you sometimes. 
Gabriel sends much love to you; I know how glad he would 
be if you were amongst us; a little 3 or 4 of us this winter 
might be so quiet and happy if you would but come." 

In Odober Rossetti removed to 1 6, Cheyne Walk, Chel- 
sea, and whilst furnishing and arranging it found amuse- 
ment and distraftion for some time. His old rooms at 
Blackfriars had been taken by his friend Mr. G. P. Boyce, 
the water-colour painter, whose love for collefting " blue 
pots " equalled Rossetti*s own, and many a story was told 
of their rivalry in the search. One I remember was about 
a struggle of will on the subjeft of a " pot " that Mr. Boyce 
had aftually bought and Gabriel openly and loudly coveted; 
but neither money nor fair words had the slightest efFecft 
upon its gentle, determined owner; argument also availed 
nothing and exchange was scouted. One evening Gabriel 
went to Blackfriars and tried again to get it, but after vainly 
using every kind of persuasion the subjeft was dropped, 
and finally Mr. Boyce walked back with him to Chelsea, 
talking of other things. On reaching Cheyne Walk they 
went into the house together, and then Gabriel, throwing 
back his Inverness cape, drew the dish carefully from be- 
neath his arm where it had been all the time, and^ placed it 
upon the table in the fond hope that its owner's heart would 
be melted when he saw it actually there: but Mr. Boyce 
quietly took back his property, and after a friendly good- 
night returned home with it under his arm. 

The happiness may be imagined with which, after Mr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



252 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

Ruskin's return to England, we accepted an invitation to 
dine at Denmark Hill, and the respecft with which we looked 
upon those " without whose life he had not been." The 
appearance of old Mr. Ruskin was striking; his dijgnityand 
simplicity, together with a latent tenderness of manner, 
made our hearts expand with confidence. He was of fair 
height and size altogether, neither so tall nor so thin as his 
son, and a dark plum-coloured evening coat which he wore 
impressed us by its individuality and as being a link with 
the past. The little old lady who ruled the house from her 
low seat by the fireside was less easy to understand. She 
had had an accident not long before we saw her — z fall, in 
which what she always called her ** limb " was broken — and 
though it had been properly set it had stiffened in some 
way, so that she could not walk without help. It was her 
nature, I suppose, which made her choose for support the 
back of a chair rather than the arm of either husband or 
son: at all events, bidding us aU precede her, she walked 
from the drawing-room to the dining-room, leaning upon 
a chair which moved easily on castors as she pushed it before 
her, and evidently carrying out an established custom. Ed- 
ward was repelled by the old lady's sharp, decisive manner, 
and could not like her thoroughly. At dinner, if anything 
her son said, though not addressed to herself, did not reach 
her ear, she demanded to have it repeated, and from her 
end of the table came a clear thread of voice, " John, John 
Ruskin, what was that you said? " When the sharply ques- 
tioning sound at last penetrated to him he never failed with 
the utmost respecft to repeat his words for her. 

I cannot be sure whether it was on this occasion or after- 
wards that I first saw Robert Browning, but I know that it 
was at Denmark Hill. I remember too that some talk went 
on about the rate at which the pulse of diflFerent people beat, 
and that he suddenly leaned towards me saying, " Do me the 
honour to feel my pulse," — ^but I could find none to feel. 
That was what he meant us to know, for he told us after- 
wards that it was never perceptible to touch, which seemed 
strange in so powerful an organization as his. Whether his 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 253 

bloodless complexion was a symptom conneded with this 
peculiarity, I do not know. 

At first after he came back from Italy Edward was 
very hard upon all that he had done till then, and felt dis- 
posed to rail at himself unreasonably; saying that he took 
food subjefts only to spoil them, and there was nothing so 
ase and mean as for a man to take a good subjeft and spoil 
it. His knowledge of what he aimed at was far too clear 
for him to be deceived into complacency about failure, and 
I began to know something of the difficulties with which 
he wrestled when I saw the misery that he passed through 
at one stage or other of almost every fresh pi<fture. UsuaUy 
the worst time was when it was half finished; then some- 
thing seemed to go wrong, and he would work on without 
light or hope, but only because he would not give up what 
was begun; when suddenly, even he could not say how, the 
change came, the cloud lifted and he knew where he was 
and what to do. This I noticed at intervals all through his 
life, and the following description in his own hand of such 
a time, during the painting of " King Cophetua," shows 
how dark the cloud could be while it lasted. 

"I work daily at Cophetua and his Maid. I torment 
myself every day — I never learn a bit how to paint. No 
former work ever helps me— every new pifture is a new 
puzzle and I lose myself and am bewildered — and it 's all 
as it was at the beginning years ago. But I will kill myself 
or else Cophetua shall look like a King and the beggar like 
a Queen, such as Kings and Queens ought to be. ' 

Later still he said in his own vehement way, "It takes an 
artist fifty years to learn to do anything, and fifty years to 
learn what not to do— and fifty years to sift and find what 
he simply desires to do— and three hundred years to do it, 
and when it is done neither heaven nor earth much needs 
it nor heeds it. Well, I'll peg away; I can do nothing else, 
and wouldn't if I could." 

And as to finishing piftures, he says, " When is a pidure 
finished.? Never, I think — and is a symbol of life itself in 
that way: so when I say it is finished I mean it is cut ofiT, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



254 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

must go away." He used to say that it was only the van 
coming to take it away that finished a pifture for him. 

There was no exaggeration when he wrote from Venice 
that he could have done a dozen fresh designs whilst he was 
making one sketch from an old pi Aure, and already even in 
these early days he was looking eagerly round for some 
channel besides painting into which he might pour the 
stream of his ceaseless imagination. Wood-engraving in 
England was at its last gasp, but the designs of Ludwig 
Richter and Alfred Rethel in Germany had given him fresh 
hope of what might yet be done. 

" I am determined to labour in every direftion to get good 
engraving again," he wrote to my sister, " and I shall need 
you beyond words — so work, my little darling, like any- 
thing. 

"I see that for the engraving I want, the most perfect 
design and beautiful drawing is needed, more than in pic- 
tures even, for in them so many other qualities come in 
and have their say, and a pifture may be great if it has only 
one quality pre-eminently grand. But in engraving every 
faculty is needed — simplicity, the hardest of all things to 
learn — ^restraint in leaving out every idea that is not wanted 
(and perhaps fifty come where five are wanted) — perfed out- 
line, as correft as can be without eflFort, and, still more essen- 
tially, neat — ^and a due amount of quaintness. I really do not 
think anyone in England could have engraved the Rethels. 
Rossetti, in despair, gave a very careful block to Faulkner 
the other day, and that ingenious man's first attempt is 
a regular triumph — it is an illustration to Miss Rossetti's 
poems, coming out in February, so you will see it. 

" By absolutely perfed wood-engraving, I mean such work 
as all the sixteenth-century engravings and such as those 
quite perfeft examples in Rethel's Dance of Death and the 
Friend and Avenger. I don't believe that any attempt to 
express more than they do could possibly be successful. 

" As to scribbly work, it enrages one beyond endurance. 
Nearly all book and periodical illustration is full of it — 
drawings, you know the kind, that have wild work in all 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 255 

the corners, stupid, senseless rot that takes an artist half a 
minute to sketch and an engraver half a week to engrave, 
for scribble is fearful labour to render. My dear, look at 
most things in * Once a Week * — the wasted time of poor 
engravers in rendering all that scrawl, if rightly used, might 
fill England with beautiful work." 

In the same letter he says he is positive that the only 
way to engrave on wood is " very simply, with little or no 
cross-hatching, and no useless cleverness, and no attempt 
whatever to do anything that copper or steel would do 
a thousand times better." His own desire is to publish 
** icx),ocx) wood-cuts as big as Death the Friend or bigger," 
and he ends with a postscript containing advice which he 
himself never ceased pradising. 

" Keep up drawing the whole time through, say at the 
least half the day, and let it be from nature — faces, best of 
aU, because hardest. Praftise at anything that will reveal 
its mistakes most glaringly; not at foliage, because a hun- 
dred errors may be concealed in the general confusion, nor 
even drapery, but bare arms, necks, noses, tops of heads, 
&c. wherein one faltering step turns everything to ridicule." 

To continue his comparison between painted piAures and 
designs in black and white, may be quoted here what he 
said in later life, when speaking of an artist who had ceased 
painting and did nothing but illustrations for books: "It 
is a pity to give up painting altogether — ^when any one does 
nothing but designing he unravels himself too quickly." I 
know that in his own case he valued the breathing-time 
given by the mechanical work of a pifture. 

The designs of Ludwig Richter that excited his admira- 
tion are described with unchanged enthusiasm twenty years 
later to a friend who had heard of them and wanted to know 
what they were like. 

" The Richter you ask about is a veritable angel. There 
are many books of his, he made heavenly little pidures 
always, drawing everything that makes happy and never 
anvthing vile. He drew pictures to Bechstein — a sort of 
collecftion like Grimm, of Household Tales^ — and he made 



Digitized by 



Google 



256 MEMORIALS OF [1862 

piftures to everything that could be that was soft and nice 
and had cosy little family life in it and peasant life in the 
mountains; children, babies, puppies, birds, cats, cabbages, 
village taverns, smithies, every mortal pleasant thing that 
happens in the mountains — and nobody ever lived who 
imagined more sweetly. And there are thousands of de- 
signs — and now he is eighty and quite blind these three 
years past — and it is just twenty years since I made up my 
mind to send him a message to say how much I cared about 
him. I vowed a vow that another day should not end before 
I sent my message, and still it is unsent. There have been 
I know published at Williams & Norgate's, Covent Garden, 
two volumes called Richter Albimi, with selections from 
his vast world of invention. You would love him. It is 
good to be called Richter." 

With his own world of invention ever urging him to 
give it shape, he could not be long unhappy about his work, 
nor was he, and in my letters to Mr. Ruskin there is con- 
stant mention of his finishing old pidures and banning 
new ones. 

" He has begun a water-colour, which he does not mean 
to make more than a sketch, of Bluebeard's wife putting 
the key in the closet door. It is a tall, narrow piAure, only 
containing Mrs. Bluebeard with a long passage behind her 
down which she has come — and the aoor, otcourse. Ed- 
ward is sitting by, and has just looked up to charge me not 
to tell you about Bluebeard's wife, because you will think 
that the skeletons are the principal features. I reply that 
his warning comes too late, for I have told you, but that 
you will think nothing of the kind, and know as well as I 
do that it is only the picfture of Fatima." 

Again, " Bluebeard's wife has grown apace since I gave 
notice of her beginning, and is almost all that her friends 
could wish her — at least they are polite enough to say so, 
and now Ned has begun a smaller water-colour of Love 
flmgmg open a lady's window in the early morning on St. 
Valentme's Day and greeting her. Love bears her a little 
letter m his hand." 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 257 

And next, "Ned has begun another water-colour, a figure 
of Love quite blind, crowned with flowers, groping his way 
through the street of a city in the early morning, seeking 
the house he shall enter." This design Edward always meant 
to carry out on a larger scale in oils; indeed he began it, 
and the wreath of roses is painted on Love's head. 

To an introduction of Mr. Ruskin's we owed our friend- 
ship with Mr. Simon, afterwards Sir John Simon, K.C.B., 
and his wife. At first we saw little of them, but liking never 
fell back in absence and we came to know each other very 
closely. Lady Simon's warm Irish nature was concealed from 
strangers by a singularly impassive manner, but, that once 
penetrated, her fine qualities revealed themselves: amongst 
them were constancy in friendship and a rare courage and 
magnanimity in times of trial. Sir John's more brilliant pre- 
sence belonged perhaps to his French descent; at any rate 
he was a fascinating man of science, to whom Edward had 
no hesitation in oflTering his own imaginative version of 
newly acquired knowleoge, while Sir John enjoyed seeing 
the hard-won jewel of truth shine in its new setting, and 
they laughed together like boys. I remember one of Ed- 
ward's freshly assimilated scientific fads being dispensed to 
me, after a Sunday morning's visit from Sir John when con- 
versation had fallen upon the subjeft of molecular formation: 
"Georgie, Mr. Simon has been here, and he has told me 
that we are made of millions of little bits, and it 's only of my 
shoulder's own mercy that it doesn't march oflF to Hamp- 
stead Heath this afternoon." 

One evening towards the end of this year Mr. Ruskin 
came after dinner and carried us oflF by appointment to 
Chelsea, to see the Carlyles, for he wished that his old friend 
and his young friend should meet. It was no use though; 
instinft told Edward that Carlyle could not care for the work 
he was busy about, and he would have protested against 
Mr. Ruskin's taking with him the water-colour of "Theseus 
and Ariadne," but that it would have made too much of 
the matter and of his own feeling. The evening passed off 
safely on its human merits — for it was the living voice of 

I. s 



Digitized by 



Google 



258 MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES [1862 

Carlyle that we heard saying " the newspapers were shrill** 
about something, and with the hand that wrote The French 
Revolution we saw him carefully reach the kettle from the 
fire for his wife when she made tea. As for her, she was 
very kind, taking me into her own room to remove my 
wraps and helping me to put them on again afterwards with 
motherly tenderness. There were two other people there. 
Sir Walter and Lady Trevelyan, and all was friendly. A 
faint impression remains of Gu'lyle coming down to the 
door with pleasant words of parting, and then we went home 
to the Carlyle of the bookshelves whom we knew so much 
better than this one. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XIV 

JOY AND SORROW TO SHARE 
1 863-1 864 

THE time that passed between our return to England 
and the autumn of 1864 seems in my memory like 
one long year, full of brightness and vitality, but 
so much of the same charader that it would be difficult to 
preserve the exact sequence of its minor scenes and fads ; 
the important ones are more easily placed. 

Edward had never become reconciled to the absence of 
his friend Cormell Price, and was troubled also by an im- 
pression that, though he sent us no details, the circum- 
stances of his life in Russia were difficult. The letter given 
below refers to this. 

" G)me back to us, Crom, I am sure you are not happy 
over there — throw it up and come back. You shall live 
with me tiU you find something — do come. All the best 
years of your poor little life are going over there and we 
are wanting you so much all the time. Come and stay with 
us — ^we are beautifxJly situated opposite the Museum, with 
a clear view of the trees in Russell Square out of the top 
windows, and an easy walk from Tottenham Court Road 
and Holborn. My studio is the jolliest room except for 
dirt ; how I should love to see you smoking a pipe this 
night, what toddy I would make for you, what coffee 
Georgie would make for you." 

But in spite of these entreaties Cormell struggled on for 
another year. 

Younger men now began to frequent the studio, some 
of them students of the Royal Academy, whose interest and 
curiosity had been aroused by Edward's work at the Ex- 



Digitized by 



Google 



26o MEMORIALS OF [1863 

hibition of the Hogarth Club : they were brought in the 
first instance, I believe, by Simeon Solomon, for whose gifts 
Edward had a sincere admiration. I remember his telling 
me before we were married about a book filled with Solo- 
mon's designs, which he said were as imaginative as any- 
thing he had ever seen — ^here was the rising genius — to 
which I listened with a jealous pang ! This artist afterwards 
became a friend of mine as well as Edward's, and the tragedy 
of his broken career is one before which I am dxunb ; but 
all the more do I cling to recoUeftions of hope and promise 
surely not false, though unfulfilled in this world. 

Our friendship with William De Morgan, son of Pro- 
fessor Augustus De Morgan, began in Great Russell Street, 
when his rare wit attracted us before we knew his other love- 
able qualities. He remembers asking Edward one day about 
a fresh canvas he saw in the studio — ^was it for a new pifture ? 
"Yes," said Edward, quoting the stereotyped newspaper 
criticism of Pre-Raphaelite work; "I am going to cover that 
canvas with flagrant violations of perspeftive and drawing 
and crude inharmonious colour " ; but later in the evening 
he said to De Morgan, " You know that was all gammon 
I was talking about perspective and drawing — I only do 
things badly because I don't know how to do them well ; 
I do want to do them well." And another time : ** Why 
should people attack piftures as they do ? Artists mean no 
harm — ^at least I don t ; I only want to make a beautiful 
thing, that will remain beautiful after I'm a bogey, and give 
people pleasure when they look at it." 

Whilst Mr. Ruskin was abroad early in 1863, his father 
bought the water-colour of " Fair Rosamond " on which 
Edward was at work. The transadion was a pretty one, 
for his son knew nothing of it, but writing to us shortly 
afterwards the old gentleman says, " I keep nothing long 
from John. He was glad I had got the pidure because he 
liked it very much himself"; and when Mr. Ruskin heard 
what had happened he wrote, " I'm pleased more than you 
are that my father likes Rosamond." 

I have always treasured the few notes and letters received 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 261 

from Mr. John James Ruskin, and find amongst them one 
that came after this pidure was finished and sent to Den- 
mark Hill. 

" The pidure came home last evening. I was charmed — 
excited — exalted by it, and I doubly thank Mr. Jones for 
getting me a frame in such fine taste. Would he kindly 
tell the frame-maker to bring his account to No. 7, Billiter 
Street, City, for payment. 

" I have Rosamond now before me. I spent part of the 
morning at Mr. Bicknell's, whose pidures you will see on 
25th and 29th April will bring many Thousands, and after 
my eye had dwelt on the canvases and paper of the first 
names of the Century I am happy to say my evening Con- 
templation of Rosamond yields me the greater satisfedion. 
I rejoice that I can truly sav this because I believe my son 
would have it so, if he could." 

All that we saw of the relations between this father and 
son interested us deeply, and helped us afterwards to ap- 
preciate the genius for truth which marks that wonderml 
piece of autobiography, Praeterita, where the very forms of 
the Ruskin family walk alive. 

About the " Rosamond " time Mrs. Ruskin asked to see 
her son's godchild, and was evidently distressed when on 
inquiry she found that no visible sign of the spiritual re- 
lationship between him and his godrather existed. In vain 
I urged that we had stipulated tor no christening present ; 
she was determined to remedy what she considered neg- 
le<5t, and presently we received from her a kind parcel con- 
taining the orthodox knife, fo-k and spoon. 

During a visit to our friend Spencer Stanhope at his 
house near Cobham, where our host's cheery companion- 
ship indoors did him as much good as the fresh country air 
outside, Edward painted on the water-colour " Annuncia- 
tion " in which the Virgin kneels by her bed while the Angel 
appears amongst blossoming apple-trees. He also made 
studies in the woods for the bacl^ound of" The Merciful 
Knight," but the town-garden ofRussell Square furnished 
the marigolds that fill the space in the foreground beneath 



Digitized by 



Google 



262 MEMORIALS OF [1863 

the wayside shrine. This piAure of "The Mercifiil Knight" 
seems to me to sum up and seal the ten years that had 
passed since Edward first went to Oxford. 

The world of models is closely conneAed with artistic 
life, and those who sat to Edward were, like any other class 
of people, some interesting and some not. I remember a 
splendid Italian one, Ciamelli by name, whose head with its 
bush of blue-black hair may be seen in the triptych "Adora- 
tion " as one of the Kings. He ground an organ in the streets 
and sang to it very finely out of his southern heart when 
he was not sitting, and sometimes brought it with him when 
he came to sit. His name is always associated in my mind 
with a ludicrous scene that happened one day when he was 
left to wait in the studio and it occurred to him to beguile 
the time with music. Edward was in the next room hasten- 
ing over breakfast, but even through a wall the noise of 
the organ became so intolerable that he jumped up to stop 
it, as he thought, with a word : a harsh braying gust of tune, 
however, simply buffeted his ears as he opened the door and 
drove the words back into his throat, while Ciamelli, seated 
on the floor with his back against the wall and wrapped in 
a whirlwind of sound through which nothing could pene- 
trate, ground on, unconscious of offence. 

There was a very handsome German woman, too, from 
whom Edward sometimes drew, and who was known to us 
by the name of Norma. I think, looking back, that she 
must have been entangled in a kind of lire that she hated 
and wished to get out of, and the door which it occurred 
to us in our simplicity to open that she might do so was 
that of our nursery. It touches me now to remember how 
much she seemed to like the idea of coming to take care 
of our baby. At first the arrangement appeared quite easy 
to make, but afterwards difHculties arose, and I clo believe 
that Norma withdrew from it for our sakes and not because 
she did not wish to come. 

Knowing the mischievous effed on work of letting his 
models get dull or cross, Edward always took pains to amuse 
them and often was amused in return: some, of course, he 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 30] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 263 

reckoned as friends. Italian ones he said were the best 
sitters and the most conscientious in keeping engagements ; 
amongst the English there was no tradition of art, and 
the women with few exceptions seemed unable to under- 
stand that an artist's work was serious or that it could 
matter if they failed him at the last moment. 

In tiie beginning of August, 1 863, we paid a visit to Miss 
Bell and her school at Winnington Hdl, Cheshire. This 
was the school referred to by Mr. Ruskin in his preface to 
the Ethics of the Dust, and his visits to it were a source 
of the greatest delight to everybody there and of much 
pleasure to himself. He had brought Miss Bell to Great 
Russell Street one day in the summer, when she warmly 
invited us to accompany him on his next visit to Winning- 
ton, and as we would have gone anywhere with him if he 
had urged it — ^and he did urge it in this case — Edward put 
everything on one side and went. We travelled down with 
him, and f remember how the train drew up to wait outside 
Crewe Station exaftly in time for us to prevent some children 
near the line from eating berries of deadly nightshade which 
they were busily gathering. 

Miss Bell was an extremely clever woman of a powerful 
and masterful turn of mind, evidently understanding that 
Ruskin was the greatest man she had ever seen,^and that 
she must make the utmost use of the intimacy he accorded 
her and the interest he took in her school. At dinner the 
first evening she talked as much as if it were her last oppor- 
tunity of speech, and as one listened to her it seemea that 
no subjeft could be too high and no difficulty too great for 
her to deal with. She accepted Edward at first as from 
Ruskin's hand and afterwards for his own sake. I do not 
think he had known any one of her type before, and he 
thoroughly enjoyed her brilliance. Then, this stimulating 
hour over, we were introduced to a large room where the 
school was assembled to welcome Mr. Ruskin. There was 
no doubt that his personality was felt through the whole 
house. The pupils looked a delightful set of girls, and 
Miss Bell brought some few chosen ones of them after- 



Digitized by 



Google _ 



264 MEMORIALS OF [1863 

wards into the drawing-room, where we saw them more 
closely and found them still more pleasing. Her staff of 
teachers, too, was an unusual one, formed of most different 
materials, and yet at that time united as if it had but one 
mind and heart. Absolute submission to their Principal 
was expefted and given, and in return life was made so 
vigorous and so many interests were presented to them that 
it was long before the bond of obedience felt irksome. This 
must have been jone of the first schools — I do not know if 
it was literally tFie first — ^where girls were taught to play 
cricket. To dancing also Miss BeU gave an important pkce, 
and a pretty sight it was to see the long schoolroom or the 
gallery filled with white-frocked, light-hearted girls dancing 
together. Mr. Ruskin paid his tribute of admiration both 
in words and by taking his place occasionally in a quadrille 
or country dance. He looked very thin, scarcely more than 
a black line, as he moved about amongst the white girls in 
his evening dress.J 

A case of infeAious illness, which developed at our own 
house direftly we had left it, recalled us suddenly to Lon- 
don, but after due quarantine we accepted Miss Bell's in- 
vitation to return to Winnington, and as Mr. Ruskin, who 
had been paying visits in the North, came back also, we 
t still had a happy week there together.^ He dismayed us, 
however, by speaking of a plan that had taken shape in his 
mind for building a house near Bonneville and going to 
live there — ^he had even begun negotiations for a piece of 
land on the mountain-side, and we saw before us a grievous 
prospeft of separation. From a letter of Mr. J. J. Ruskin's, 
dated September 4th, it is evident I had written off hot-pen 
to tell him our trouble, and the sweet dignity and wisdom 
of the old gentleman's answer remains unchanged by time. 

**I am happy," he begins, "to think of my Son possessing 
so much of your and Mr. Jones* regard and to hear of so 
many excellent people desiring to keep him at home: my 
own earnest wishes are, and since his visits to Winnington, 
to Thirsk, and to Wallington my hopes are, that my Son 
may ultimately settle in England; but these hopes would 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 265 

not be strengthened by his too suddenly changing his 
mind, throwing up his Engagements, breaking his Appoint- 
ments or at all afting on the whim of the moment. He has 
so far proceeded towards a settlement in Savoy as to have 
begun treating with a G)mmune about a purchase of Land. 
His duty is therefore to go to Savoy and honourably with- 
draw from the Affair by paying for all Trouble occasioned, 
and I fully exped the Savoyards will afford him some 
grounds for declining a purchase by the exorbitant price 
they wiU ask for their Land. As for the ground he has 
bought at Chamouni, it will be a pleasure to him to keep 
it though he saw it not once in seven years. It is the 
Building Plan near Bonneville that I should rejoice to see 
resigned — but not suddenly abandoned for[a momentary < 
Indulgence among the Delights of Winnington^but de- 
liberately and after some goings and comings and Com- 
>arisons between Weeks spent abroad and Weeks spent at 
lome. He has made a short engagement to go to Switzer- 
and with Jthe Rev. Osborne Gordon which I hope he will 
keep, andlJ shall endeavour to hope that his Engagements "" 
abroad may in future be confined to a Tour with a friend 
and that Home Influences may in the end prevail.7Tell 
Mr. Jones I think I know enough of him not to be jealous 
of any Influence he may have with my Son — I cannot be 
jealous of the Influence of Anyone on this Subjed because 
I do not attempt to exercise any — I want my Son to find 
out for himselr where he is likely to be most happy and am 
ready to acquiesce in any plan Swiss or English that shall 
most thoroughly secure this end. 

" My Son's fellow Traveller now is the best he could pos- 
sibly go with. — Being rather cynical in his views generally 
and not over enthusiastic upon Alps, he is not likely to 
much approve of the middle heights of the Brezon for a 
Building Site." 

It was natural that the son should spare his father any 
expression of the melancholy that drove him about seeking 
rest and finding none, but from those whom it would pain 
less it was not concealed. The following letter was in answer 



Digitized by 



Google 



266 MEMORIALS OF [1863 

to one from Edward suggesting a scheme by which, instead 
of seeking solitude abroad, Mr. Ruskin might find it at 
some place in England where he could either be quite alone 
or easily rejoin the world when he wished. For this imagined 
house a centre was to be made in the shape of a room, for 
which Edward intended to design a set of hangings covered 
with figures from Chaucer's L^end of Good Women, 
all to be embroidered by Winnington girls, with me as the 
captain of their industiy. He had already begun a series 
or small figures from the Morte d' Arthur, of which I had 
finished Merlin and Morgan le Fay and begun Arthur and 
Lancelot, so that it seemed easy with so many willing hands 
to carry out a bigger scheme. Mr. Ruskin's reply was 
written from Denmark Hill on the morning of the day he 
went abroad: we were still at Winnington, whence a kind 
of round-robin on the subjedt had been sent to him. 
c " I am very deeply moved and comforted by all your 
letters — as who would not be, unless he were himself rock 
— instead of merely wishing to live among rocks. 3 You 
would make me entirely happy with your loves if I felt 
strong and as if I should have life and time to stay with 
you — ^but I have a great feeling of its being too late. But 
do with me and for me as you will — that will be best for 
me. All that I mean to do, at the worst, is to buy this 
bit of rock land as I would a pifture; you may like, some 
day some of you, to climb to it, with children's feet among 
Alpine Roses. And I've another notion of a thing the great 
cliff above may be useful for, some day— or night: but, 
for this time, have your own way. I daresay love is very 
nice when it doesn't always mean leaving people, as it 
always does with me, somehow: and if you can find this 
dream of yours with its walled garden, I don't think I should 
want to leave it, when I got in. And for the tapestry, please 
begin that direftly — that at least I can live with — ^and let 
it be as you say, Chaucer's Legend. I should like that 
better than any — any — anything ; and it is very beautiful 
and kind and lovely of the 12 damosels to work it for me; 
and I would not have had any others if I had chosen. 



Digitized by 



Google 



AT. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 267 

And it will be very wonderful and helpful and holy 
to me. 

" I hope it will make you very happy to be there [at Win- 
nington] as far as any outward thing can make you and 
Georgie happier than you always are, but I like so much 
to think or you there, and I can't bear to think of you in 
London. It is the only quite pleasant thing I have to think 
of in all the world. So stay as long as you can, that I may 
have it to think of." 

Edward's answer to this was found after Mr. Ruskin's 
death put away by itself in a cabinet. 

** I have not written to you since that sad letter you sent 
just before starting. I want to comment on every line of it 
at great length, but how can I now ? for I write in the 
midst of damozels. It is such a comfort to begin the tapes- 
try — already I have schemed it all out, assigned the figures 
and orderea the embroidery fiames (i.e. Miss Bell ordered 
them) and the holland for working upon and the wools for 
working with, and now Winnington is full of excitement 
about it, and you are to have the sweetest and costliest 
room in all the world. But, dear, please never again say 
that about the little mountain spot you may want some 
day or night. 

" Oh, don't despair about health, or ever think it is too 
late; you must and shall grow strong, and do lots of work, 
and when you are very old you shall sleep somewhere 
where we can kiss every stone or blade of grass that covers 
you. I sometimes think of that sad time when my light 
will go out when you are withdrawn, but when that comes 
I must spend my love about the place, and paint the place 
and make it pretty, and that shall be years to come when 
I am old myself, and worthy of doing it. So never any 
more mention that mountain top please, dear. 

" And now about health and life — yesterday afternoon 
your cheery letter came and made us happy. 

" We have found in very scientific maps that between 
Ross and Hereford on the Wye there are nearly fifty fine 
days in the year more than in London, sixty more than in 



Digitized by 



Google 



268 MEMORIALS OF [1863 

Manchester, and seventy more than in some other place, 
and the tourist books speak of abrupt precipices and jagged 
somethings and steep something elses — and the country is 
full of orchards and has mountains and mountains (some 
smaller peaks whereof Georgie says might be whitewashed 
to remind you of perpetual snow). We had a long hunt 
for a moral map to find out what kind of people live there, 
but the map wouldn't be found — only you see, if they are 
good so much the better, and if they are bad so much the 
Better, you can set them right. I know all that country, 
and it is very lovely, and as warm as Devonshire. Also I 
believe Old Red Sandstone prevails there, which I am told 
is full of fascination for you: and a thousand advantages 
which you are to hear at full length. Are you so fixed to 

try There, now for the twentieth time I have left oflF 

writing to listen, and don't know what I was going to write. 

" May we begin to advertise now for a suitable house, 

to be ready by next Lady Day? and if so will you let us 

know how many rooms you would want and any other re- 

Suirements you might have — then we will do everything 
Ise, advertising, examining the place, building up the 
tapestry room, and so on. As far as I can calculate it will 
take nearly a year to get all the figures ready. They are 
about fourteen or fifteen in number, but are only half the 
work, for scrolls, roses, daisies and birds will more than 
double it. The design I think you will like. 

" I have had to give much explanation about the subjeft, 
fordamozels such as these at Winnington can't see how Cleo- 
patra and Medea can be good women — ^but now they are 
persuaded. We are all so happy about it; all pictures seem 
small matters till I can get the designs finished: we will 
fill the room with everything you delight in, and make it 
a Joyous Card for you, if it is possible for us. How sweet 
it is of you to promise to give way to us — ^but it is worth 
trying. 

" I think you may have as much quiet as possible there, 
in Ross or some place near, and only see those you want, 
and only them when you want; we only bargain to be 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 269 

asked to tea one night in the tapestried room. Let me de- 
scribe that tapestry. 

"The ground thereof will be green cloth or serge, and a 
fence of roses will run all along behind the figures, about 
half way up them, these roses to be cabbage and dog, red 
and white. All the ground will be powdered with daisies 
— only where Dido, Hypsipyle, and Medea and Ariadne 
come there will be sea instead of grass, and shells instead 
of daisies. First will come Chaucer, looking very frightened 
according to the poem, and inditing the poem with a thrush 
upon his shoulder — then comes Love, a little angry, 
bringing Alcestis: Chaucer in black. Love in red and 
white, and Alcestis in green. Then a tree, and a vision of 
ladies begins, all to have scrolls with their name and life 
and death written, above their heads. The ladies are to be 
in uniforms of blue and white, and red and white, altern- 
ately, and at the end of all — to come by your fireplace — 
will be Edward the Third and Philippa sitting and looking 
on. So on one side of your fireplace will be Chaucer be- 
ginning the subjed, and on the other side of it the king 
and queen. 

" Shall you like it, dear, and will it ever make a little 
amends for sorrow.^ I know it won't, only you will pretend 
it will. I suppose nothing can ever make amends for your 
troubles — I think and think about it — it is so detestable for 
me to be happy and you not — I can't bear that sometimes. 

** By this time I almost fit into Winnington like a brick 
that was meant for it — after much chipping and smoothing. 
I can look six in the face at one time, I can plav at cricket, 
and read aloud, and even paint with three or tour looking 
on, and I am deeply in love with several at a time, and 
don't want to leave a bit: and am altogether feeling well 
and peaceful and happy. I tell you this because I know 
you wanted it to be so. I am not as much good to them 
as they are to me at present — but that will come; mean- 
time I am establishing enduring friendships with my six 
sisters to whom I am vowed henceforth to be loyal and 
obedient and to think of them a great deal." 



Digitized by 



Google 



270 MEMORIALS OF [1863 

As far as I know, the mention in this letter of our 
friend's sorrow had no reference to special trouble, but only 
to an excess of general sadness which we felt to be beyond 
anything personal. 

Another letter from Mr. Ruskin, senior, reports: "My 
Son left us on Tuesday at 12 o'clock and this afternoon I 
have a telegram from Geneva, he and Mr. Gordon having 
arrived there quite well. His Letter received this morning 
is only from Boulogne but written in a fine Spirit. That 
short visit to the North was wonderftilly efiedKve: He 
never came home looking so well and he never left home 
with apparently so much of a feeling that he would be glad 
to come back again. I am pleased that he goes again to 
Savoy. He may waste a little money but he will gain some 
experience. He may perhaps buy the Ground and not 
build at all. I have, since I last saw him, a Rowing belief 
that my Son will be more at home for the niture than he 
has been for these thirty years, for he was a young Travel- 
ler and we have all been abroad a great part of every year. 
His old guide Joseph CoutAt dissuades him from Bonne- 
ville but only to get him to his own Valley, and if he must 
be abroad he gives many reasons for choosing the Spot 
seleAed. 1^1 am somewhat appalled by the drawbacks of the 
Bonneville quarter. The Desolation that breaks in upon 
the beauty — the turbid and unruly River that knows no 
bounds and the sight of those crawling tottering Cretins 
looking so yellow, dropsical and idiotic, spoils the whole 
Scene, but higher up where John means to be are a fine 
peasantry and clear Streams, and some sheltered Nooks^ 
We would have preferred the vicinity of Chamouni, but 
there is too much Glacier temperature and too much Snow 
for the Eyes: [but why mind what there is — ^He comes 
back to us please God in Novr: for the Winter, and I find 
that every time he goes abroad his stay is shorter, and with- 
out thwarting him or making him uncomfortable^I trust 
we may have him more and more at homeland perhaps we 
should rather be pleased that he chuses a spot when build- 
ing abroad that is not habitable half the year." 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 271 

An impression of almost passionate tenderness for his 
son, breaking through the measured wisdom of these words, 
was deepened in our minds by old Mr. Ruskin's manner 
one evening when, after our return to London, we dined 
alone with him and his wife at Denmark Hill. Of course 
we talked chiefly about the absent one, and just before we 
left " John's *' father fetched a copy ot Poems by J. R. 
and gave them to us, charging us, however, not to tell his 
son, who did not like to have them mentioned. The old 
gentleman seemed to be far away in the past as he stood 
turning over the leaves of the book which contained so 
many references to a lost love, and tears coursed down his 
face while he told us how he should never forget the day 
when he and his son took " Adfcle " to the ship that was to 
carry her from England, or the agony that the separation 
caused the youth. The old lady also sat brooding over by- 
gone years, but she was dry-eyed, and only said thought- 
fully, " Yes, any trouble that has happened to him smce 
then was nothing compared to that." Apart from its own 
weight this scene is stamped on my memory because it was 
the last time we ever saw Mr. John James Ruskin. 

It was during our stay at Winnington, I believe, that 
Edward shewed his copy of Omar Khayyim to Mr. Rus- 
kin; certainly I remember that he was so delighted with it 
that before going abroad he wrote a letter of thanks ad- 
dressed simply " To the Translator of Omar Khayjrim " 
and gave it into our care, charging us to deliver it to the 
author if ever we learned his name. 

After his return fi-om Switzerland Mr. Ruskin wrote 
eagerly to Edward of a scheme in which he needed his 
help : " I want you to do me a set of simple line illustra- 
tions of mythology and figurative creatures, to be engraved 
and to make a lovely book of my four Political Economy 
papers in Fraser, with a bit I'm just adding. I want to print 
it beautifully and make it a book everybody must have. 
And I want a Ceres for it, and a Proserpine, and a Plutus, 
and a Pluto, and a Circe, and an Helen, and a Tisiphone, 
and an 'Ay«yxD, and a Prudentia, and a Sapientia, and a 



Digitized by 



Google 



272 



MEMORIALS OF 



[1864 



Temperantia, and a Fortitudo, and a justitia, and a 
CHARiTAS, and a fides, and a Charybdis and a Scylla and 
a Leucothea and a Portia, and a Miranda, and an 'Apurif, 
and an Ophelia, and a Lady Poverty, and ever so many 
people more, and I'll have them all engraved so beautifully, 
you can't think — and then I'll cut up my text into little 
pits and put it all about them, so that people must swallow 
all at once, and it will do them so much good. Please think 
ofitdireftly." 





I do not know exaftly where to place a class of drawings 
for which Edward was famous in our closest circle. We 
called them " Bogey drawings," and they dealt fearlessly 
with the fearful suWeft. We shuddered and laughed as we 
saw the old fears or our childhood embodied in the march 
of a Bogey up the floor of a bedroom towards two children 
who have leapt out of bed and cling together yelling into 
each others' races with fright — ^whilst terrors which it was 
not yet too late to learn were suggested to us by a ghost 



Digitized by 



Google 



.ET, 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 273 

who pushes open with his thin arm the door of an old clock- 
case on a dark landing, and leans forward to startle a girl 
who comes slowly and unconsciously upstairs, candle in 
hand, A third subjeft dealt with the new and terrible idea 
of " a Bogey come home from the wash," who lies neatly 
folded up in a drawer which another girl, alone in her 
chamber at night, has just drawn out, and turns from with 
a shriek that one all but hears. The imperturbable Charles 
Faulkner had a colleftion of these. 

In February and March, 1864, we were at Winnington 
again, by ourselves this time, Edward hard at work on the 
cartoons for Chaucer's Good Women, one of which 
(Hypsipyle) was aftually begun whilst we were there. 
Morris had not yet thought of weaving tapestry, but he 
had studied the kind of needlework that goes by the name, 
and had taught his wife and me what stitches to use and 
how to place them : my own experience was that his in- 
struftions could not be improved upon and that disaster 
followed their negleft. After the girls should have been 
fairly started at their work we had a half-formed plan of 
going with Mir. Ruskin to Florence this spring. He had 
proposed it long ago, and no one need be told how great 
was the temptation, but Edward dreaded breaking away 
again from his work, and only personal affedion made him 
discuss the idea. A second visit to Florence, which he 
had already seen in 1859, was a luxury that he felt he had 
not yet earned. The thing was settled for us, however, 
very suddenly, by the death of Mr. Ruskin's father a week 
after we reached Winnington. The last words we received 
from him were of congratulation upon Edward's eleftion 
as an associate of the Old Water Colour Society on Feb- 
ruary 8th. 

*^ John did care," he wrote, " and we all cared very much, 
and I was myself really anxious about the Eleftion, and I 
rejoice at Mr. Jones' success, for latterly there appears to 
be very great difficulty in obtaining admission into this 
Society. It has done nothing for years more likely to 
strengthen its hold on the public to whose enjoyment and 

I. T 



Digitized by 



Google 



274 MEMORIALS OF [1864 

admiration it has always contributed more largely than 
larger exhibitions, and it it has a weakness it is just where 
Mr. Jones will prove a host of power and strength to iL** 
Then the kind voice was silenced. 

Edward received the following letter from Mr. Ruskin 
two days after his father's death: 

" I am at this moment more anxious about the effed 
upon you of this thing, than about anything else. My mother 
has behaved so wisely, as well as bravely, that my chief 
anxiety for her is passed. She slept a little last night, and 
this morning, when a woman who felt less would have in- 
sisted on staying beside the body, she let me take her away 
in five minutes : and has since been sitting quietly beside 
me, telling me direftions of letters and talking just a little 
now and then, and I hope the deadliest of the shock is 
passed. 

" But Fm very anxious about you and your fretting for 
me — not to speak of the disappointment about Florence. 

" I must have you and Georgie go as amfortably as if I 
were with you : that 's the only thing you can do for me 
(that, and not drawing melancholy subjefts, nor ill-made 
hands), so I mean to get you a courier who will insist on 
your doing things correftly. 

" Fm used to live in pain, and this pain does not kill by 
withering as other sorts of pain do ; I have no feeling of 
weakness nor of fever, and slept without dreaming last 
night — though the last forty hours were enough to make 
one dream, one should have thought. The quite wonderful 
thing to me is the way that it changes one's notion of the 
past character. I had often measured my feelings to my 
father, as I thought, but I never had any conception of 
the way I should have to mourn — not over what I lose, 
now, but over what I have lost, until now. FU tell you 
more of this afterwards." 

And Edward answered: 

** What can I possibly write to you I I want to do every- 
thing you wish, and stay or go when you wish — ^but now I 
want to be in London even if I could only see you once or 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 275 

twice this Spring. It is so hard not to do anything for one 
I love as I do you. I am so, so grieved, for we loved your 
father and admired him, and shsQl never forget him in the 
least, or have anything but the sweetest remembrance of 
him. 

" There is no disappointment about Florence, for Flor- 
ence meant you, and everything is swallowed up now in such 
a grief that the journey becomes a trifle. Be kind and say no 
more about it, I should hate every day of the time, and 
every step of the journey : it may happen some better year. 
We will begin the design for the Political Economy all the 
sooner, and have colossal schemes for work. I think we 
are both happier when we get through a great deal of work. 
May we come back presently ? Georgie would love to be 
hours and hours with your mother, and would never tire 
of reading to her ; it would be kind to call us back for any 
use like that. And as the Spring goes on Winnington 
would be so nice and good for her, if you could bring her." 

I do not know with whom the idea of bringing Mrs. 
Ruskin to Winnington originated, but it never came to 
anything — though in her zeal for the plan Miss Bell ar- 
ranged which set of rooms on the ground floor should be 
devoted to the use of the possible visitor, and sent at once 
for a carpenter to cut and rehang the heavy mahogany doors 
of the passages leading to them, so that thty should swing 
backwards and forwards noiselessly. 

In another of Mr. Ruskin's letters at this time are words 
whose truth few people who have known the two sorrows 
will dispute : ^^ I find a curious thing, that natural sorrow 
does not destroy strength, but gives it — ^while an irregular, 
out of the way, avoidable sorrow kills — ^according to its 
weight." And again, about the funeral: "No, there's no 
day worse than the first. You don't suppose that the 
dramatic performances of upholsterers trouble me, worse 
than a nightmare — and I'm the only person they can 
trouble." Then he turns to the needlework scheme : "The 
tapestry is just as much to me as it ever was, and far more 
likely to come into direft use now, than it was before — 



Digitized by 



Google 



276 MEMORIALS OF [1864 

not that I either have — or can form — any plans yet ; my 
mother would live wherever I asked her to live, but I am 
not at all sure that I shall wish her to live elsewhere than 
here. Her old friends are useful to her — and I find that 
beautiful things don't make one happy (except only eyes 
and hair, and Turner drawings — ^but there are more of 
those in England than elsewhere) but only one's own 
quiet order and work and progress." 

We stayed on at Winnington until Edward had finished 
many cartoons of " Good Women," but the joint embroidery 
scheme proved impra<5licable, and the drawings alone re- 
mained as a symbol of loving intentions. 

On St. Patrick's Day the girls had a dance in the evening, 
and a very charming Irish girl made Edward dance with her 
and then declare himself an Irishman — a fa6l that he never 
forgot ; and often has he called me to witness that he was 
indeed a sworn ** Paddy." 

" The Merciful Knight " was exhibited this year at the 
Old Water Colour Society, where it was r^arded with 
great disfavour by some of the members. Of this the new 
associate, who was not personally known to them, was made 
clearly aware when he entered the gallery on "touching-up 
day." His friendship, however, with Sir Frederick (then 
Mr.) Burton was strengthened by this connexion with the 
Society. 

Garibaldi's brief visit to England in April is fixed in my 
memory by his coming one day to see his friend Panizzi 
at the British Museum, when from our windows we saw 
him arrive, followed and surrounded by a great cheering 
crowd that surged through the gates and up to the house. 
There he stopped before entering, and as he turned on the 
top step and stood bareheaded for a moment, his red- 
shirted figure shewed clear above the dark mass of people 
below. 

According to the book kept between Edward and the 
Firm their weekly meetings in Red Lion Square were quite 
r^ular until the end of the March quarter of 1864, when 
Faulkner went back to Oxford and resumed his place as 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 31] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 277 

resident Fellow and Tutor of his own coU^e. The post of 
book-keeper and business manager to the firm was not one 
to be held permanently by him, and he would gladly have 
found more congenial work in London, but could not. 

After three yeiars of daily travelling between Upton and 
London it was no wonder Morris began to fed the journey 
a waste of time and strength. There was land to be had 
near Red House where workshops might be built, and if 
only Edward came to live there also, how much more could 
be got through together than separately. The idea was 
timely so far as we were concerned, for our rooms in Great 
Russell Street were now too small for our needs and we 
had thought of removing elsewhere; Edward says in the 
Notes: " A lovely plan was made, too happy ever to come 
about. It was that Morris should add to his house, making 
it a full quadrangle, and Webb made a design for it so 
beautiful that life seemed to have no more in it to desire 
— but when the estimates came out it was clear that enthu- 
siasm had outrun our wisdom and modifications had sadly 
to be made." 

The two sets of plans lie before me now, dean and un- 
used, and it is curious to think how differently all our lives 
would have gone if this scheme had been carried out. We 
were not to have aAually shared the house with the Mor- 
rises; there were separate entrances and rooms for the two 
families; but all was to have been under one roof with the 
garden in common. We looked forward to building in the 
spring of 1865, and meanwhile, in order to lose no chance 
of being together, it was arranged that the Morrises, the 
Faulkners and we should all meet for our autumn holiday 
at Litdehampton, on the Sussex coast. 

One day in August Mrs. Ruskin asked me to bring my 
child out to Denmark Hill, and the effort of kindness this 
involved was betrayed by her nervous anxiety for his safety 
as he ran about her sitting-room. She was no long^er the 
same woman who had said, some five and forty years before, 
when her own child stretched out his little hand to the hot, 
shining tea-urn, " Let him touch it, nurse," as the shortest 



Digitized by 



Google 



278 MEMORIALS OF [1864 

lesson not to touch. It was the first time I had seen her 
since the death of her husband and I noticed that she wore 
no widow*s cap. Afterwards I learned that this was from love 
of her son, for, knowing how much he disliked that con- 
ventional sign of mourning, she never put one on, but had 
instead a soft, closely-fitting cap of another shape, with 
delicate net quillings round 3ie face and narrow white satin 
strings. These were pinned with a fine diamond and emer- 
ald brooch, and later on she told me with tender remorse 
why she always wore this bright fastening upon her mourn- 
ing dress. She said it had been given to her by her hus- 
band not very long before he died, and that she had received 
it with the remark that it was a pity he had chosen a 
coloured stone for the centre, as, if it had been all diamonds, 
she could have worn it when she was in moiu-ning. So now 
she pinned her cap-strings with the green and white jewel 
for his sake. She talked to me once also about her youth; 
how she had gone as an orphan to live with her aunt, who 
was her husband's mother, and how her love for him had 
grown. The vain effort at self-reproach that she made, when 
she told of a night of passionate grief and tears spent upon 
the floor of her bedroom after he had first left home and 
gone away to business in London, was a clue to her natiu-e 
that I never let go. 

Sitting opposite to Mrs. Ruskin in her yellow drawing- 
room at Denmark Hill on the day in August that I have 
mentioned was a young girl, Joanna Ruskin Agnew, whose 
fresh, sweet presence made itself felt at once through a film 
of Scotch reserve and youthful modesty, but no one could 
have dreamed then of the strength that was to come forth 
from that sweetness. Her name will be known as long as 
Praeterita is read. 

The Littlehampton plan was carried out, and three most 
happy September weeks we spent there. The presence of 
Famkner s mother and sisters was an addition to oiu* pleas- 
ure, and Kate's gentle nature, sympathetic understanding 
and keen sense of humour were especially attradUve to 
Edward. Time passed lightly for Janey and me, with all 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 279 

responsibility of housekeeping taken from us by kind Mrs. 
Faulkner, and the evenings were always merrv with Red 
House jokes revived and amplified: laughs with so little 
cause, and yet the cause remembered stifil For instance; 
the broken spedacles hurled from the window one night 
by Morris, in momentary rage at their failure and in firm 
belief that he had another pair to replace them — then his 
discovery that spedacles number two were not at hand, his 
wretchedness at having cast away number one, and his search 
for them before breafiast next morning, bareheaded, pain- 
fully examining every step of the road in front of the house 
on the chance of finding and humbly taking them to be 
mended. This sight was made the subjeft of some words 
for his good which neither Faulkner nor Edward ever 
grudged him, especially when they had a satisfaftory audi- 
ence in the background. Details of the scene have faded, 
but if it passed through the usual stages it is likely that 
Morris first answered with heat and then burst into laughter, 
while the sermon upon hasty temper was continuea in a 
monotonous voice by the two other men. 

One day when Morris had to go up to London on 
business they devised an elaborate trick in his absence, and 
Faulkner spent hours in its preparation. The three friends 
used sometimes to play whist with a dummy, which Morris 
took, and into the heads of the two others entered the idea 
of a game so arranged that it should seem at first sight that 
diunmy had a splendid hand and must win gloriously; but 
not so really, for the enemy always held higher caras, and 
destruction must gradually close round Morris. Janey and 
I went to bed early, and the game began as soon as the men 
were alone. Morris sniflFed with joy when he had looked 
over his own hand and cast an eye on dummy's — and 
Edward and Faulkner bore up like those who saw that fate 
was against them. But presently it was impossible for 
Morris not to see that, however beautiful the balance 
between himself and diunmy, the confederate partners were 
always lucky enough to be able to trump it. First came 
irritation and astonishment, then, as the well-laid scheme 



Digitized by 



Google 



28o MEMORIALS OF [1864 

revealed itself, shouting;s and fury — and finally laughter 
such as few could equal; while we smiled in our beds at 
the sound of the distant explosion. 

Occasionally also Edward would take some trifle as text 
and preach us a sermon in exaft imitation of the style of 
different preachers; convulsing us one evening, I remember, 
as he turned with solemn pomposity to the two girls, Lucy 
and Kate Faulkner, saying, ^'And now I address myself 
more particularly to the younger female portion of my 
congregation." 

But the thought of his father alone in Birmingham with 
the sad anniversaries of this month underlay all merriment, 
and Edward was not content until he had persuaded him 
to come and join us. The old gentleman and his little 
grandson were very happy together on the acres of brown- 
sugar sands which then spread up to meet the edge of a 
green common as yet unruled by an esplanade; and Edward 
would go down to them and build sandbanks and throw 
stones into the sea, and was as near idle as I ever saw him. 

The old church at Climping had not yet been restored, 
and when we found it in one of our walks it was n^ledred 
enough to give the excuse for which the restorer was wait- 
ing; worm-eaten pews were hung with spiders* webs and 
the floor was green with damp. Amongst its many smooth- 
worn gravestones there was a tiny sandwich of one to the 
memory of a child who had died a hundred and twen^ 
years before, and with no sense of foreboding we read and 
sighed over its inscription: 

This little lamb that was so small 

Did taste of death when Christ did call. 

Edward made one unsuccessful attempt to work out of 
doors, but he said that first of all flies came and setded on 
his drawing, and then rain came and glued them on, so not 
much resmted. Indeed, after painting " Green Summer " 
in the studio of Red House as he had done this year, there 
seemed litde reason for him to torment himself by a struggle 
with the outer world, and as a rule he painted his back- 



Digitized by 



Google 



^T. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 281 

grounds from notes of nature made here, there, and every- 
where, and then dealt with by memory and imagination. 

We wrote to Mr, Ruskin at Denmark Hill telling him, 
amongst other things, about Climping, and how while we 
were there a passing flock of sheep had played follow-my- 
leader into the churchyard and been fetched out again by 
the sheep-dog in a masterly way. Our tale evidendy fitted 
in with some train of his own thoughts, for he answered at 
once, " I wish with all my heart that all churches were damp 
and full of spiders, and that churchyards were full of no- 
thing but sheep. The canine St. Peter coming round the 
corner must have been delightful." 

The holiday went by very quickly, and little did any of 
us think that this would be our last time of careless happi- 
ness all together or that illness and death were to be ^e 
next experience of the happy party. The report we sent of 
ourselves on the day we left Lituehampton was " We are 
all looking robust, especially Phil," but the next thing that 
happened after we were settled at home was that the child 
had scarlet fever, which was the beginning of much trouble. 
Considering the way in which we treated this most in- 
fedious disease, the wonder is that we failed to spread it 
right and left; for as it was a mild case we took no serious 
precautions. Our friend Miss Githerwood — "ye Ladye 
Annie " of Addington Place — used to come constantly to 
sit with and amuse the small patient, and with incredible 
rashness we sent for dame Wheeler, whose presence we 
had expefted in December, to come and nurse him; whilst, 
as soon as he was well enough to be left, Edward and I 
aftually" went down, by the invitation of our friends, to 
Red House, where there were now two little children. 

When Gabriel heard that Mrs. Wheeler was in Great 
Russell Street, he wrote asking me to tell her that she would 
soon receive from him a photograph of his wife which he had 
long intended her to have. Naturally I enquired at once what 
photograph he meant, for I did not know there were any 
and was eager to have one; but he answered, " The photo- 
graphs of Lizzie are only from two of my sketches. On 



Digitized by 



Google 



282 MEMORIALS OF [1864 

several occasions when attempts were made to photograph 
her from life, they were all so bad that none have been re- 
tained/' He said also that he would send them both for 
me to see and choose whichever I preferred. The one I 
kept was from a drawing made shortly after their marriage, 
when Lizzie was ill, but it is extremely like her and gives 
the peculiar lustre of her downcast eyes. 

Immediately after our return from Red House, where, 
thank God, we left no mischief behind us, I developed the 
fever. Together with it came the premature birth of a 
second son, who struggled against the disease through all 
the time that I was delirious and unable to notice him, 
but died just as we were hoping he weuld be spared for 
us to cherish. And because he had borne so heavy a weight 
as he crossed through the troubled waters of his short life, 
his father named him Christopher. In all this evil time 
Edward was surrounded by the love and sympathy of 
friends, though some were absent in the body, for Morris 
himself had fallen ill of rheumatic fever, Cormeli Price was 
now a master at Haileybury, and Gabriel was in Paris, 
Those who might come without risk for others were con- 
stantly at the house, and I remember gratefully the sym- 
Bithetic kindness of Mr. Poynter, Mr. Burton, and Mr. 
e Morgan, who sat up with Edward through the long hours 
of one intolerable night. Ruskin watched over us with the 
most thoughtful and praftical kindness: it was he who had 
the street kid as deep as a riding-school with tan that kept 
the horses* feet from my brain; and Swinburne, prevented 
by the fears of a delicate mother and sisters from entering 
the house, wrote, " I would rather have undertaken to keep 
out of their way, if I could have hoped to be much with 
you or of any use or help to you." His unfeigned love 
for children also made him realize the death of^our little 
Christopher in a way that few did. " You know how sorry 
I am," he wrote, " and how much more than I can say. 
The news has struck half my pleasure in anything away for 
the present — I had been quite counting on the life of your 
poor little child and wondering when I might see it" 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 283 

Rossetti wrote to Edward from Paris, at a time when he 
believed things were better with us than they really were 
— and after some sympathetic and hopeful words, his letter 
turns to speak in a weary tone of himself: " I have done 
no work at all here for three weeks, and am sorely wanting 
to get home, but I stick in the mud everywhere and day 
after day I fail to get away," However, if he had done no 
work himself he been looking at that of others, " Really," 
he says, " Gerome is not a painter, though a stunner of a 
sort. There is a man named Millet who is the best going 
by far. Old Ingres is done for. Delacroix is worth the 
journey with all his faults, and I have looked a great deal 
at his coUefted works which are to close at the end of this 
month." A postscript adds, "To-day I went to the Zool: 
Gardens and scratched a wombat, who liked it." 

If only on this visit to Paris Grabriel had met the " man 
named Millet," it would have been happy for them both. 
Millet was bound for Paris just then, we learn from his 
biographer Mrs. Ady, to see the Delacroix exhibition for 
the second time, but illness prevented the journey— -other- 
wise one feels as if he and Rossetti must have recognized 
each other somewhere, in gallery or street, and taken and 
given fresh courage. A letter of Millet's to M. Sensier, 
written on the same day as Rossetti's to Edward, asks about 
some reproduftions of Giotto*s work which he heard were 
" superb and touching." " Where are the originals ? " he 
asks. " How many subjefts are there, and by whom are 
they published?" How Gabriel would have told him all! 

Meanwhile anxiety about health was over at our house, 
and as soon as we could travel we went down to Hastings, 
but first Edward had to write to Morris and tell him that 
he feared our scheme for building and living together at 
Upton was at an end, as he could undertake no fresh 
expense of any kind. This letter has not been preserved, 
but the answer to it shows that it must have been sad and 
dispirited enough. Morris dates from " Bed, Red House," 
and the handwriting is feeble, but he was already recover- 
ing, and as he lay there with time to think over everything. 



Digitized by 



Google 



284 MEMORIALS OF [1864 

both his friend's and his own trouble seemed to him no 
more than a temporary obstru<5lion to their settled plans. 

" As to our palace of Art," he writes, " I confess your 
letter was a blow to me at first, though hardly an unex- 
pe<5led one — in short I cried; but I have got over it now. 
As to our being a miserable lot, old chap, speaking for 
myself I don't know, I refuse to make myself really un- 
happy for anything short of the loss of friends one can't do 
without. Suppose in all these troubles you had given us 
the slip what the devil should I have done? I am sure I 
couldn t have had the heart to have gone on with the firm: 
all oiu- jolly subjefts would have gone to pot — it frightens 
me to tfiink of, Ned. But now I am only 30 years old, I 
shan't always have the rheumatism, and we shall have a lot 
of jolly years of invention and lustre plates together I 
hope. I need hardly tell you how I suffered for you in the 
worst of your troubles; on the Saturday I had begun a 
letter to you but it read so dismal (as indeed I felt little 
hope) that I biu-nt it. 

^^ I have been resting and thinking of what you are to do: 
I really think you must take some sort of house in London 
— unless indeed you might think of living a little way out 
and having a studio in town: Stanhope and I might join 
you in this you know. I don't see how you can do with 
chambers, and it would be too like the old way of living — 
but all this you have probably thought of yourself. There 
is only one other thing I can think of, which is when you 
come back from Hastings come and stay with me for a 
month or two, there is plenty of room for everybody and 
everything: you can do your work quietly and uninter- 
ruptedly; I shall have a good horse by then and Georgie 
and J. will be able to drive about with the kids joUily, 
meantime you need not be hurried in taking your new crib. 
Janey is exceedingly anxious that you should come and it 
is in her opinion the best thing you could do. I would give 
;^5 to see you, old chap ; wouldn't it be safe for you to 
come down here one day before you go ? " 

This was not possible, however, nor could the kind sug- 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 285 

gestion of a longer visit be thought of; for, worn as he was 
with fatigue and care, the only thing Edward saw before 
him was to find some place where he could settle and begin 
work again direftly. " For these two months," he wrote to 
Allingham, " I have done no work, but lived most anxiously 
from day to day. The whole period has been so horrible 
and dismal that I try to forget it and will write no more 
about it" 

My own memory of those sad days is fragmentary, and 
distorted by the delirium which made even the room where 
I had lain ill such an incarnate terror that Edward never 
let me enter it again, but, after Hastings, sent me home 
to my parents for Christmas, and with incredible quickness 
removed during my absence into a fresh house. His friend 
G^rmell came to him and they managed it together. 

A story from Hastings comes through De Morgan, who 
was there with his family and remembers walking by the 
sea with Edward and his little boy one day when a man 
was shooting gulls, and that Edward, turningto the child, 
said deliberately, " That man is a fool." Then, after a 
pause, " Now what *s that man ? " And the answer coming 
correftly, he went on, " Now mind you never forget when 
you see a man with a thing like that, that he 's a fool." 
Which sounds to me quite typically true, for I know what 
Edward thought about wanton destruftion of life. " Teach 
children to draw animals," he said, ^^ and they won't wish 
to kill them." 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XV 

1865-1867 

Alas, that spring should vanish with the rose. 
That youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close. 

THE house where we began life afresh was in Kens- 
ington Sauare, and we thought, when we took pos- 
session or it and closed the door behind us, that we 
should go on from where we left ofF in Great Russell Street. 
" Home is very nice again," wrote Edward; "last night I 
had the old songs over again," But when we turned to look 
around us something was gone, something had been left 
behind — and it was our first youth. 

I have heard Edward say that his memory of the time 
spent in this house was dim, especially as to his intercourse 
with Morris, although he knew that they used to meet every 
week. But it was a self-absorbed time and one of restless- 
ness and transition for all the friends: Edward setting him- 
self hard to make up for lack of earlier training; Morris, 
beside his work as head of the firm, brooding over the 
gigantic scheme of The Earthly Paradise; Madox Brown 
engrossed by the exhibition of his coUeded work and all 
that came or it; and Swinburne awaking suddenly to fame 
on the appearance of his Atalanta. The apostolical suc- 
cession of our friends was broken; new ones were made 
and new views of life were opening. So much for the inner 
history of our two years and ten months in Kensington 
Square. 

The place itself was not strange to us, for once, when 
seeking rooms, we had gone as far as Kensingtoa and xen 
its old square lying bade undisturbed hj the worlds with 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 32] MEMORIALS OF BURNE-JONES 287 

nothing except gardens between it and the narrow High 
Street The turnpike through which Edward took me to 
Little Holland House the first time we went there together 
had been removed, but the parish church was not yet re- 
built and the whole neighbourhood was quiet and self- 
contained in comparison with that of Holborn. Oiu- house, 
No. 41, was on the north side of the square, a great draw- 
back, because the south light was bad for painting and the 
only rooms with a north asped were very small; Edward, 
however, was so eager to begin work that he put up with 
these difficulties. His friends did not find the distance too 
far to follow him, and he was soon surrounded by them 
again. At the end of January he writes to Allingham: 

" We are settling fast, even looking a bit comfortable — 
Topsy has given us a Persian prayer-carpet which amply 
furnishes one room. I have a little crib which I call a library 
because there I keep my tobacco and my borrowed books — 
this room shall be yours for quiet when you come. We 
have a garden, ever so long — how shall oiu* garden grow? 
I am the veriest cockney and know no times or seasons of 
planting, but I want a quiet summer at the back here to 
pay me for all my bothers — ^there I will pitch a little pavilion 
on warm days and lie in the shade or it — I must have a 
pavilion. And this luck has happened to me, of all lucks 
the best that could have happened, Ruskin has given me 
the four great engravings of Albert Durer — ^the Knight, 
Melancholy, St. Hubert, and Adam and Eve — ^all perfeft 
impressions; also many woodcuts of the same and the great 
designs of the Apocalypse, glorious to behold." 

Gabriel was well, the letter adds, and seriously thinking 
of buying a lion which he learned could be got quite a bar- 
gain somewhere in RatclifFe Highway. The reason current 
among Gabriel's friends for his not finally buying the lion 
was, f remember, that he found he would have had to heat 
the garden with hot-water pipes for him in the winter. There 
was another story about Rossetti's wishing to have a young 
elephant, and the answer he gave to Browning, who, with 
momentary dearth of imagination enquired: "What on earth 



Digitized by 



Google 



288 MEMORIALS OF [1865 

do you mean to do with him when you have him?" " I 
mean him," said Gabriel, " to clean the windows; and then, 
when some one passes by the house, they will see the 
elephant cleaning the windows, and will say, ^ Who lives in 
that house?' And people will tell them, * Oh, that 's a painter 
called Rossetti.' And they will say, * I think I shovdd like 
to buy one of that man's pictures ' — and so they will ring, 
and come in and buy my piftures." 

Our Bohemian days were over now, and De Morgan 
sighed for the old Great Russell Street evenings, when our 
little Yorkshire maid came in and asked, " 'As any of you 
gentlemen seen the key of the beer-barrel?" The oak dining- 
table and painted sideboard soon made themselves at home 
in the new house, and the sideboard was varnished so that 
its colour showed up finely, while the firm supplied any 
fresh furniture that we needed. Some letters written home 
by my sister Agnes, who was with us this spring, form a 
diary that supplements and confirms my own memory. She 
speaks of sitting with Edward while he worked, and talking, 
^^ after their old custom in the studio, about all things in 
the world," and most people who came to the house are 
named day by day. Morris, now perfeftly recovered from 
his illness, is described as seeming to her '^ so nice and kind, 
pleasanter than ever he was," and on the first evening he 
came, she says, " Mr. Poynter and Mr. Burton were here 
also, so we were a goodly company." This mention of Mr. 
Burton reminds me that in those days we thought he much 
resembled Garibaldi in appearance. Gabriel, too, dropped 
in one night, bringing with him " a Frenchman of great 
celebrity named Legros," and another time Morris arrived 
with " a glorious haul of pifture-books — ^black letter and 
old engravings — a History of the Cross, a Biblia Paupervim, 
and a Looking Glass of Human Salvation." 

Indeed it was so unusual a thing for no one to come in 
the evening that when that happened it was described as 
an event. **We had an evening entirely to ourselves 
yesterday, which was jolly. Ned was drawing, Georgie 
making a new and brilliant watch-pocket, while I read aloud 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 289 

a most delightful Arabian Night story, the Story of Joodar.** 
The brilliant watch-pocket here mentioned belonged to a 
still more brilliant watch, entirely covered with chrysolites, 
which Edward had bought for me in Wardour Street a couple 
of years before, with almost the last eight pounds we pos- 
sessed, but with such a certainty of its unusual beauty that 
he never hesitated. In the same way I remember his giving 
nearly all that he had for a set of photographs of Meiming's 
" St. Ursula and her eleven thousand Virgins " which made 
the glory of our sitting-room in Great Russell Street. 

This old home of ours was now occupied by our friend 
E. J. Poynter, and one evening whilst my sister was in town 
we went with her to revisit the familiar place. In spite of 
all the changes made, none of us could quite realize at first 
what had happened, and the freedom with which Poynter 
comported himself in " our rooms " was a subjed of open 
comment on the part of his guests. The last joke was that 
after saying good night, Edward ostentatiously proceeded 
upstairsy with the tramp of a tired man in his own house. 

Our Kensington garden was just large enough for a game 
of bowls, and many a game was played there. It was a pretty 
spot in springtime, when together with its neighbour-gar- 
dens it made a mass of fruit-blossom surrounded by red 
roofs. Edward Poynter began a water-colour drawing of it, 
which was never finished, but remains a faithful document 
so far as it goes. " American bowls " too was a game that 
Edward, Morris, Webb and Faulkner often played in town; 
dining together at some " pot-house " afterwards and never 
tired of each other's company. 

My father was now living in Wolverhampton, and this 
year would have brought with it yet another removal for 
him, but his health and strength had been foiling for some 
time, and we had the grief of seeing him sink into the con- 
dition of a perpetual invalid, instead of continuing the aftive 
round of his life. Some irritation of the spine was supposed 
to be the cause of his illness, but the diagnosis was not very 
clear, and in those days many people were still content to 
say " the dodors do not know what it is," and to seek more 

1. u 



Digitized by 



Google 



290 



MEMORIALS OF 



[1865 



earnestly for patience under sufFering than for its removaL 
It was understood, however, that all unnecessary excitement 
was bad for him, and so in March the marriage of my sister 
Alice with Mr. John Lockwood Kipling before he went out 
to I ndia took place very ouiedy from our house. The death 
of Wilfred Heeley's wife in India had 
been a shock to us all, and our parents 
trembled at sending a daughter into the 
same risk, but the appointment was to 
Bombay, with itssea-breezes, was termin- 
able at pleasure after three years, and 
seemed so exaftly suited to John Kip- 
ling's talents and taste, that they reftised 
to take the responsibility of urging him 
to remain in England. Cold was the 
March morning when we stood by our 
bride and bridegroom at the altar of 
St. Mary Abbott's Church, but no one 
doubted the good choice they had made 
of each other, and we were cheerful, 
if not merry. Our brother Frederick, 
through whom they had first known each 
other, had been ordained as a Wesleyan 
Methodist minister some little time 
now, and he came to give away his sister 
to his friend. Madox Brown, to our 
great joy, when speaking of the marriage, 
alluded to the bridegroom as "John 
Gilpin." 

With the early days of Kensington 
Sauare is associated the memory of 
Warrington Taylor. We had known him first in Great 
Russell Street, but I cannot remember how he came 
amongst us: a tall, thin man with a very large Roman 
nose and an excitable and enthusiastic way of^ speaking. 
He had been at Eton, in the same division with Swinburne, 
and afterwards had become a Catholic, and entered the 
army, was married ahH had one child, but had not yet found 




Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



291 



his place in life. He knew and cared a great deal about 
the arts. At the time we first made his acquaintance his 
fortunes were low and his aftual position was that of check- 
taker at Her Majesty*s Theatre — then an Opera House. 
His strong individuality was not affefted by circumstances, 
however, and was so well understood by Morris and others 
that as the work of the firm increased they began to con- 
sider the question of making him its business-manager. It 

was no easy thing to find any one 
capable of filling the place, but this 
strange, wild-looking Warrington 
Taylor proved to have the qualities 
wanted. Within a few weeks of 
his appointment the rumour spread 
amongst us that he was keeping the 
accounts of the firm like a dragon, 
attending to the orders of custom- 
ers, and aftually getting Morris to 
work at one thing at a time. He 
must have been happier in some 
ways during the five years of life 
that remained to him than he had 
ever been, for he loved the men he 
was associated with and the work 
he had to do. 

Two small parchment- bound 
volumes of accounts between Ed- 
ward and the firm, covering the 
years i86i-i898,are excellent reading: on his side torrents 
of fun and on the other bald statements and figures. There 
are drawings also, in the form of sketches for stained-glass 
windows, in one of which Morris is represented plump and 
prosperous against a background of the vine, holding a 
brimming beaker in his outstretched hand, while opposite 
to him stands Edward, a thin and starving prisoner. 

The exad date of a party given by Rossetti in April is 
fixed as the 12th by its being the day that the Lockwood 
Kiplings, who were to have been amongst the guests, left 




Digitized by 



Google 



292 MEMORIALS OF [1865 

England: it had been put ofF because Gabriel could not get 
the workmen out of the house who were doing something 
to his dining-room. Originally the invitations had been to 
dinner, but, with the frankness that reigned amongst us, as 
time went on Gabriel announced that he had asked too many 
people for that — he could not afford it — and it must be an 
evening party instead. No Thames Embankment had 
reached Chelsea then, and only a narrow road lay between 
the tall iron gates of the forecourt of 1 6, Cheyne Walk, and 
the wide river which was lit up that evening by a full moon. 
Gabriel had hung Lizzie's beautiful pen-and-ink and water- 
colour designs in the long drawing-room with its seven 
windows looking south, where if ever a ghost returned to 
earth hers must have come to seek him: but we did not sit 
in that room, the studio was the centre of the house. For 
the sake of those vanishing days let me name some of the 
people present that evening. William Rossetti and William 
Bell Scott were there; and Swinburne, who I think was then 
sharing the house with Gabriel; Morris and his wife had 
dined with us first, and we all came on together. Of course 
there were the Madox Browns, and with them were their two 
daughters — nothing further from expeAation at the moment 
than a marriage that took place nine years later between the 
elder of these and William Rossetti. Munro the sculptor 
and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hughes, and the War- 
rington Taylors came, as well as Legros with his pale, hand- 
some English wife: Christina Rossetti and Mrs. Bell Scott 
would have been there, we were told, but that it was Passion 
Week. I remember noticing that night a sign that we were 
mortal in the faft of Madox Brown's beautifully-thick thatch 
of hair having turned very grey, at which his wife when the 
men were not in the room expressed great vexation. He 
was not changed otherwise though, and made us happy with 
a long, charaAeristic description of the way by which he had 
brought his wife and daughters from Kentish Town in order 
to save cab-fare. First of all they had taken train for Kew, 
because he thought it must be near Chelsea. At Kew they 
were advised to wait half an hour and then go on to Clapham 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 293 

Junftion, where they would catch a train for Chelsea: this 
they exaftly missed, and found there was no other for three- 
quarters of an hour. Finally, on reaching Chelsea Station, 
it proved to be so far from Cheyne Wdk that they then 
took a cab, and arrived smiling and unruffled at Gabriel's 
door after two hours and a half by road and rail. I wish I 
could recall more details of the evening, which is still pre- 
sent to me as a scene, but nothing else of interest detaches 
itself from the background of house and studio. 

Before the chronide closes, however, one more delightful 
evening must be named; it is the last that I remember at 
the Madox Browns' house in Kentish Town. Many of the 
same people were there, but I think it may have been 
Legros' first formal visit to the Browns, for our host placed 
him next to himself at supper and, oblivious of everything 
else, spent the time in giving him an outline of the story 
of Sidonia in French. A slender vision of Swinburne in 
evening dress is presented to my mind, but I cannot be sure 
whether the custom of dressing was only his own or if the 
cloven foot of conformity to fashion had at this time shewn 
itself amongst us. And Whistler was there, looking ten 
times more like a Frenchman than Legros did, his face work- 
ing with vivacity, his thick black hair curling down to his 
eyebrows, with an angry eye-glass fixed beneath it. But his 
rather alarming appearance was balanced by rumours of his 
tenderness to a widowed mother; how he took her to church 
on weekday mornings and otherwise comforted her. Gabriel 
was there in a magnificent mood — no other word describes 
it when he passed through a room bringing pleasure to great 
and small by his beautinil urbanity, a prince amongst men. 
With Morris and his wife came Miss Burden, Janey's sister, 
then and for some years afterwards living with them; War- 
rington Taylor also I remember, and Christina Rossetti, 
gently caustic of tongue. The little ten-year-old Nolly sat 
up all evening and clung most of the time to kind Charles 
Faulkner, demanding amusing stories from him, and yet 
finding time to ask Rossetti "what he thought Pompeii must 
have looked like." He had not quite lost his baby face, but 



Digitized by 



Google 



294 MEMORIALS OF [1865 

it had grown thinner and longer. And on this day of the 
union and reunion of friends there was one who had come 
amongst us in friend's dothing, but inwardly he was a 
stranger to all that our life meant. This was Mr. Howell. 

One of the happiest chapters of our life was closed this 
year by the sale of Red House. But it had to go, for 
Morris, having decided in his unflinching way that he must 
come up and live at his business in London, could not bear 
to pky landlord to the house he loved so well — it must be 
sold outright and he would never see it again. Nor did he; 
but some of us saw it in our dreams for years afterwards as 
one does a house known in childhood. 

The last visit we paid to Upton was in September, 1865, 
when on a lovely afternoon Morris and Janey, and Edward 
and I, took a farewell drive through some of the beautifril 
little out-of-the-way places that were still to be found in the 
neighbourhood. Indoors the talk of the men was much 
about The Earthly Paradise, which was to be illustrated 
by two or three hundred woodcuts, many of them already 
designed and some even drawn on the block. 

About this plan my sister Louie was of course eager, 
for she was to help in the engraving, on which she dreamed 
of spending quiet, busy years. But she was mistaken in her 
reckoning, for love and marriage claimed her instead, and 
as her sister-friend had led the way upon this new path 
by becoming engaged to Mr. Poynter in the early summer, 
we had to look forward to the loss of both our playmates. 
The news of her engagement to Mr. Alfred Baldwin drew 
the following note from Edward to the younger of the two 
" wenches," as he called them amongst a score of other 
pet names: 

" I am unchangeable in my love for you, don't doubt it: 
nothing will ever divide us — no chance nor circumstance 
will bnng that about — but a little gloomy sulkiness is ex- 
cusable in me. I only had two wenches, and they are both 
gone, and I am very much past thirty and growing selfish 
as Georgie will tell you. Tell the other wench she *s another's 
and doesn't care for me." 



Digitized by 



Google 




oi(r/((kUujm f/raiu 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 295 

In the figures of the two girls at a frozen fountain in 
the foreground of " Theophilus and the Angel " there is a 
reminiscence of these sisters. 

But if this year threatened the loss of some of his com- 
panions, it also brought back to Edward a very welcome 
one in the shape of his friend Spencer Stanhope. A capri- 
cious asthma, on account of which he had first gone to live 
in the country, had now driven him away again, and he was 
trying whether it would be appeased if he wintered abroad 
and lived on Campden Hill when in England. He arrived 
fresh from his first winter in Florence in the highest spirits, 
though houseless at the time — but most things at which 
other people grumbled made him laugh. The pifture he 
had painted during the winter, " Beauty and the Beast," 
was on view for a couple of days at Edward's studio before 
" sending in," and amongst those who came there to see it 
was Milkis, very friendly and kind in manner. 

The exhibition of his own pidures at the gallery of the 
Old Water Colour Society this summer gained Edward new 
believers. Two men especially, Mr. WiUiam Graham, M.P. 
for Glasgow, and Mr. F. R. Leyland of Liverpool, seemed 
to make up their minds firmly about his work: to them for 
some years went the most important things Edward did, 
and each of these shrewd business men became his real 
friend. He also received a commission from Mr. Birket 
Foster, to paint the story of St. George and the Dragon 
in seven piAures for the decoration of his house in Surrey. 
It was not the first time that Edward's pidures had been 
wanted by brother artists, and that they cared to possess 
them gave him the purest pleasure. Both Watts and Leigh- 
ton, besides Mr. Boyce and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wells, 
already had some of his earlier work. 

When first Mr. Graham came to the studio he was a man 
of about forty-eight and Edward was some fifteen years 
younger. Their friendship lasted for nearly twenty years 
without a cloud, and then was only ended by Graham's 
death. Keen man of business though he was, simplicity and 
devotion of soul were as evident in him as in a cloistered 



Digitized by 



Google 



296 MEMORIALS OF [1865 

monk. His face was that of a saint, and at times like one 
transfigured. He had an inborn perception about paintings 
and an instind for old piAures that was marvellous. His 
eye was so keen that Edward said he knew good work even 
when it was upside down. Once this faculty helped him to 
see at a glance from the top of an omnibus that in the front 
room of a little house he was passing there was a pidhire 
worth looking at; so he got down at once, knocked at the 
door, found the pifture good enough to buy and carried it 
home. His library at Grosvenor Place was filled with trea- 
sures he had gathered for himself. He liked to come and 
look on while Edward painted, appearing and disappearing 
very swiftly, but bringing no sense of disturbance with him. 
I believe Edward cared For his sympathy about his piftures 
next to that of Gabriel and missed it almost as much when 
it was gone. Morris's sympathy was another matter; that 
was a part of himself. 

In a letter after Graham's death Edward says: "I am 
making my Sleeping Queen; I want her to be finished by 
Christmas and to look exceedingly splendid. But he who 
would most have liked it wouldn't stoop to see such a poor 
thing now — and my loss is perpetual." It was Graham who 
did a thing that surely no other man ever did, for Edward 
said that once when he shewed him a pifture, ^^ it had a 
part of it painted so much to his mind that he went up to 
it and kissed the panel." 

When Mr. Birket Foster many years afterwards left the 
house for which the " St. George " series was painted, the 
pictures were sent to Christie's, and on going there to see 
them again before the sale I was surprised by their dramatic 
charader, especially in the scenes where the King looks at 
the blood-stained clothes of the girls who have been devoured 
by the Dragon, and where the poor mothers crowd into the 
Temple while the Princess draws the lot. I spoke of this 
to Edward afterwards, asking him whether he had not pur- 
posely suppressed the dramatic element in his later work, 
and he said yes, that was so— for no one can get every 
quality into a pifture, and there were others that he desired 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 32] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 297 

more than the dramatic. It was seldom that his own family 
asked him any questions about his work as he did it, for 
we saw how little he liked to talk of a thing before it was 
done, and realized what would be the irksomeness to him 
of anything like a running commentary on it. 

When it was finished, too, he wanted every one to see in 
it what they could for themselves. He was often amused 
by the anxiety people had to be told what they ought to 
think about his piftures as well as by their determination to 
find a deep meaning in every line he drew. A rumour once 
reached him that there was a mystic intention in the number 
of beads that are threaded on a string held by bambini in 
the background of " Fides *': and many were the letters he 
received from different parts of the world, asking for an 
"explanation" of "The Golden Stairs." It was to this that 
he refers in a letter written in one of his wearied hours. 
" If you had to paint piftures now, what would you do? 
Shovdd you feel as bewildered as I do, who sit and stare at 
them and wonder why I began them and what I meant? I 
feel inclined to write to Mr. Burne-Jones and apologize for 
troubling him, but should be so grateful if he would tell 
me the hidden meaning of these piftures." Morris, on the 
other hand, always talked freely beforehand of plans and 
purposes of work, besides bringing every poem of The 
Earthly Paradise to read to us as soon as it was written. 
I remember, with shame, often falling asleep to the steady 
rhythm of the reading voice, or biting my fingers and statn 
bing myself with pins in order to keep awake. But no one 
ever reproached me. 

Seventy designs for " Cupid and Psyche " were made this 
year; and we had the joy of giving them to Mr. Ruskin 
in fulfilment of the wish that Edward had expressed in 
one of his letters from Venice three years before. It was a 
busy household altogether now, and some of the duties 
that fell to my share were illustrated by Edward in various 
little family sketches that still exist. The sewing-machine 
in one of the drawings was a gift from Mr. Watts, whose 
kind imagination realized how many stitches had to be set, 



Digitized by 



Google 



298 



MEMORIALS OF 



[1865 



and was described by Edward as "a most clever litde 
thing that makes dresses and buys the stuff and aknost pays 
for it." This same year he very narrowly escaped losing 
his life in Spencer Stanhope's garden, by the fall of a great 
elm-tree which was blown down suddenly across his path. 




In November the Morrises made their removal to Lon- 
don. A house in Queen Square, Bloomsbury, had been 
found, large enough for them to live in the upper part, while 
the ground floor and outbuildings were used as showroom 
and workshops. In this particular spot the dinginess of the 
neighbourhood was conquered, and it had been made to 



Digitized by 



Google 



JET. 33] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 299 

shine with whitewash and white paint, a background that 
shewed better than any other the beautiful fabrics with 
which the house was furnished. Yet nothing ever made it 
a home like the one they had left, nor did they really take 
root anywhere else, until six years later they found Kelms- 
cott Manor on the upper Thames. 

A pleasant custom soon began of our dining in Queen 
Square once a week to meet other members of the Firm, 
and in these evenings the merriment of our youth was re- 
vived for a time, but Janey was now so much out of health 
that I fear her share of the entertainments was more fatigue 
than pleasure, and gradually they came to an end. The 
men never ceased to meet regularly, though, at one house 
or the other. 

News came to us from Bombay at the beginning of 1 866 
that the Lockwood Kiplings had a son, and the youngest 
of the " wenches " was asked to be his godmother. She 
chose for him the name of Rudyard, the place where his 
parents had first seen each other. 

We now saw a good deal of Mr. Ruskin again, and one 
April afternoon I remember his carrying us off to a per- 
formance of the Christy Minstrels, where he was received 
as an honoured patron, and something (I forget what) was 
added to the programme at his request. At this time he 
wished Edward to paint his portrait^ and there were draw- 
ings made for it, but as these were not preserved I suppose 
they were unsatisfaftory and the plan was never carried out. 
Truth to tell, portrait-painting was distasteful to Edward, 
who always said so on occasion, but special reasons over- 
came the feeling from time to time. He once wrote : " I 
do not easily get portraiture, and the perpetual hunt to find 
in a face what I like, and leave out what mislikes me, is 
a bad school for it." In one of Mr. Ruskin's notes of 
appointment for sittings there is a portrait in words (under 
the name Proserpine) of the fair-haired girl to whom as she 
grew up he gave his heart, with the tragic result that she 
could love no one else but him, yet not him completely. 
" rU come on Monday and then be steady I hope to every 



Digitized by 



Google 



300 MEMORIALS OF [1866 

other day — Proserpine permitting. Did you see the gleam 
of sunshine yesterday afternoon ? If you had only seen her 
in it, bareheaded, between my laurels and my primrose 
bank!" 

He used still to fetch or send for us to Denmark Hill 
to dine with him and his mother, whose demands upon his 
patience he met with indescribable gendeness. Her instinft 
for contradiction was revealed to me soon after we first 
knew her. I was sitting with her alone very happily, when 
she suddenly said, " Do you love God } " Overwhelmed 
with shyness at such a question, but feeling it would be a 
lie to say " No," I tried to appease the inquisition by the 
simplest form of what I meant, and humbly answered 
" Yes." On this reply she pounced, with the unlooked-for 
exclamation " I don't 1 " and, while I shrank within myself, 
discoursed to me upon the arrogance of any creature daring 
to say such a thing about the Creator, so great and so far 
above us all. But I believe it was sheer love of contradic- 
tion that led her on. I remember, too, an evening spent 
with her and her son, when Edward read aloud, from Lane's 
Arabian Nights, the Story of the Barber, in which there 
is scarce a a paragraph without some mention of God, the 
High, the Great, and at its conclusion Ruskin expressed 
great admiration for it. ** God forgive you, my child," said 
a pitying voice from the fireside ; and as we waited in silent 
astonishment for some explanation, she continued, "for 
taking His name in vain." Her son listened with perfeft 
patience and dignity, and then, almost as if thinking aloud, 
answered with a solemn and simple refutation of the charge 
and a noble definition of what taking the name of God in 
vain really was. Would that I could remember his words I 
His mother seemed quite unmoved. 

Old Anne, nurse for two generations in the house, was 
alive in those days ; a white-haired, light-eyed, spare little 
figure, harsh and unattractive to our southern feeling. She 
had come as a bare-foot child into the service of the ramily, 
and was passionately devoted to her master and his son ; 
but between her and her mistress relations were evidently 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 33] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 



301 



strained, for I once heard Mrs. Ruskin address the aged 
dame in a tone such as one might use to a tiresome child, 
whilst Anne retorted with a want of deference that was 
certainly not the growth of the moment. But the best image 
to keep of the old nurse is that of her, having thrust all 
others aside, being first to mount the ladder reared in alarm 
against her old master's window and to enter the locked 
robm where he lay seized with mortal illness. Of her, in 
Fors Clavigera, her second nursling, when he had be- 
come a man of fifty-four, wrote that she was the one being 
whom, next to father and mother, he " praftically and truly 
missed the most." 




A letter from Edward in June tells his ** dearest little 
wenches ** of the birth of a daughter, whom he describes as 
" a maid some nine hours old," and adds : " So Phil's con- 
jefture that it would be either a boy or a girl was not un- 
founded." But the arrival of this little girl prevented our 
carrying out a plan we had looked forward to, of going some 
time in the summer to North France with the Morrises, 
Philip Webb and Warrington Taylor, who now went with- 
out us. An expressive drawing at the end of a note of fare- 
well to the travellers shews Edward standing desolate upon 
the English coast, with a long-clothed infant in his arms 
and a tall chimney smoking in the background, whilst the 
others, in an open boat, speed to the opposite shore where 
the sun shines brightly. 



Digitized by 



Google 



302 MEMORIALS OF [1866 

All this time the number of our general acquaintance was 
enlarging, while among our friends were some whose im- 
portance to us increased and that of others lessened. De 
Morgan used to come over to us from Haverstock Hill at 
least once a week ; Henry Holiday and his wife were al- 
ready much more than names to us, and there was Edward 
Clifford, one of a new group of Royal Academy students 
who had discovered and were enthusiastic about some pencil 
heads that Edward sent to a Winter Exhibition of the Old 
Water G>lour Society. He came to ask from whom they 
were drawn, " for," says Mr. Clifford, " we did not fully 
realize that the drawings depended more on him than on 
the model." But he went away taking with him the address 
of Miss Augusta Jones, a noble-looking girl, who sat for 
" Astrologia ' amongst many other things, and for whom 
Edward had much regard and respeft. 

The name of Mr. Henry Ellis Wooldridge, now Slade 
Professor at Oxford, is also conneAed with these days, but 
with him our chief bond was music. He introduced us to 
a new world of beauty in Italian songs of the seventeenth 
century — ^then almost entirely unknown — and his singing 
of Carissimi and Stradella gave us the keenest pleasure: 
Edward used to ask him ror the same things over and 
over again. Most of these treasures Mr. Wooldridge had 
discovered for himself among manuscripts in the British 
Museum, and others he brought afterwards from the 
Bodleian and Christ Church Libraries and from Rome. I 
think the one that moved us all most deeply was a recita- 
tive and trio by Carissimi, which Mr. Hullah had cited 
in his course of^ leftures upon musical history. It was the 
cry of the lost souls who " walk ever in the darkness,'* 
saying, HeUy heu^ nos miseros — ^with Pereat nox repeated 
like a passing bell, and at the last a whisper of de^>air 
breathed through the words in qua concepti fmmuSy which 
seemed to drop into fathomless depths <^ silence as the lips 
of the singers closed. 

The Madox Browns had now left Kentish Town and 
were settled in Fitzroy Square, which was nearer to us 



Digitized by 



Google 



iET. 33] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 303 

materially, but in the new house we never felt the same joy 
as in the old, and slowly — ^with no word to mark the change 
— as time went on we felt that our old friends had drifted 
apart from us. In later life we stretched out hands to each 
other again which touched but did not clasp, and it is by 
its early years that our friendship is reckoned in my mind. 

I cannot remember when Mr. and Mrs. George Howard 
(now Lord and Lady Carlisle) first came to our house, but 
the image of them there, young, fresh, and eager about 
everything, is clear. Mr. Howard's gift as a painter of ro- 
mantic landscape made him welcome in the studio at once, 
while the two wives drew more slowly, but quite steadily, 
together, and a friendship between our daughters per- 
petuates the one then begun. To Mr. Howard we owed a 
first knowledge of Mazzmi's writings. 

Another and very noticeable introduAion of these days 
was to a part of what may be called the Greek colony in 
London. Before this we had had the pleasure of meeting 
the beautiftil Miss Spartali and her sister, daughters of the 
Greek consul, but now, I forget in what way, we became 
acquainted with one or two other families of her nation. 

Instead of going to Troyes with the Morrises in June, 
we went in August to Lymington, so as to be near AJling- 
ham, who had an appointment in the Customs there. One 
day the two men crossed over to the Isle of Wight and 
called on Tennyson, to whom Ruskin sent a message of 
thanks by Edward for the " noble sermon " contained in 
his poem of Aylmer's Field. We made an expedition also 
to Winchester, when Morris came down from London to 
meet us, and as we waited for him at the door of our hotel 
I remember his swinging towards us along the High Street 
with a look as if he had easily walked aU the way. Then 
we went on together over the water meadows to St. Cross, 
and mourned over the " restoration " it was suffering. The 
whole time at Lyming[ton increased our afFeAion for Ailing- 
ham, and made us wish that we lived nearer to each other. 
To bridge over the distance from his friends, he used often 
to run up to London at the week's end, and many were 



Digitized by 



Google 



304 MEMORIALS OF [1867 

glad to welcome him. When he came to us, he and Edward 
generally took a walk on the Sunday afternoon if it was fit 
weather, and sometimes I was with them. On one of these 
walks we saw for the first time the house to which we were 
next to remove and where the rest of our life together was 
to be spent : I am glad to remember that it attrafted our 
notice and indeed made a strong impression upon us as it 
stood there empty and waiting. 

Meanwhile, whatever else happened, work never stopped. 
Illustrations for The Earthly Paradise went on steadily, 
and twenty subjeAs fi-om the Hill of Venus were designed 
this year. Also, with help, the last four pidhires of " St. 
George and the Dragon " were finished : the other three 
were already in place. This was the first time that Edward 
called in aid to carry out his designs, and in his assistant 
he was fortunate beyond expedlation. Mr. Charles Fairfax 
Murray was then a mere youth, but one whose intelle6hial 
and artistic power was visible at first sight. He soon became 
a trusted friend, in whose work Edward took great interest. 

June, 1867, found us still in Kensington Square, but 
the house had been sold during our tenancy, and as the 
new owner refused to extend our term, we were compelled 
for the third time in seven years to seek another home. 
Before this fresh upheaval we had one more holiday, which 
was our last with the Morrises ; and the place and time 
chosen for it was Oxford in the Long Vacation. We, with 
our children, took some undergraduates* rooms in St. 
Giles*, while the Morris family lodged in Beaumont Street: 
Faulkner was in college, but we met every evening, and 
then Morris read what he had written or the men played 
whist — ^without praftical jokes now. I remember noticing 
how beautifully Faulkner shufiled the cards with his skil- 
ful fingers. 

A small pocket-book of this time contains a note made 
by Edward from a canal-bridge in a poor quarter of the 
city, which nearly thirty years afterwards he developed 
into the background of his " Aurora." The main outlines 
of building and canal are preserved in the pidture, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



Mr. 34] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 305 

Aurora with her cymbals comes lightly stepping along a 
waterside path from which in the original sketch a woman 
stoops to bathe her baby, but the canal has changed into an 
arm of a river and the houses have been welded into the 
long, low storage-places of a wharf, crowned by a great 
church lifted up against the sky. He enjoyed making up 
stories to himself about his backgrounds, as he painted 
them; and one day as he was working at " Aurora " he did 
a very unusual thing, for the humour seized him to think 
aloud, and he spun out a whole history of the place. " You 
see the city gets poorer as it gets towards the church," he 
said, " which makes it more interesting — the rich people 
have gone to live further off. It has had many epochs: 
first the Roman — ^you may see remains of that in the foun- 
dations: then was an oligarchic government, following on 
a time of anarchy and disaster, that put up many fine build- 
ii^s, and some of them still remain. Then came an epoch 
oftrade, capricious and varying in locality, that produced 
the strangest results on its architefture, one part of the 
town cutting out another by setting up nearer the sea 
further down the river, then being driven back again for 
reasons that can*t be found out now — traces of prosperity 
and decay succeeding each other." 

We kept Edward*s birthday on the 28th of August, by 
all going down the river as far as Wallingford, and stayed 
on at Oxford till after St. Giles' Fair — a fine treat for the 
little ones, but Edward was restless to be back in his studio. 
** Tell me how your work prospers — ^mention Mantegna to 
me: I am doing nothing — can't in lodgings with the noise 
of children," he wrote to Mr. Murray. Indeed it always 
surprised me that a man of his nervous temperament was 
able to work as he did amongst the inevitable noises of a 
household; but they seldom seemed to fidget him, and any 
distraftion they caused was less than he would have felt in 
going through the streets to a separate studio. Morning 
was the time when he arranged all his work, and he liked 
to rise quietly from the breakfast table, carrying his second 
cup of coffee with him straight to the painting-room. 

I. X 



Digitized by 



Google 



3o6 MEMORIALS OF [1867 

It was our friend Robert Martineau, the artist, who first 
told us of the Grange, North End Lane, Fulham, being to 
let, and on going to see the house we found it to be the 
very one we had noticed in our walk with Allingham the 
year before. We were again strongly impressed by the 
place, and b^an to consider whether there would be any 
possibility of our taking it. The rent was a third more 
than we had yet paid, rates were high in Fulham, and the 
house was bigger than we needed, but there was a large 
room on the first floor with an east light, and that was 
temptation. We thought if some one shared it with us for 
a while we might perhaps venture, and then it occurred to 
us that Wilfred Heeley was in England for a year and seek- 
ing a home in London for himself and his second wife: our 
old friendship was unchanged, and as at first mention of 
the idea Wilfred wrote to say how well it would suit them 
to join us, the matter was settled. 

On looking closely at the Grange we had found that 
what at first seemed like one house was in reality two, be- 
tween which we could take our choice, as both were empty. 
Though belonging to different owners, they had been 
thrown together for the last tenant, and doors of communi- 
cation were still open between them on different landings of 
the staircase. The whole building was some hundred and 
fifty years old, but the front of the northern part had been 
stuccoed in the beginning of the century and its many nar- 
row windows replaced by two square ones, while a modern 
staircase had been introduced: the southern house still kept 
its original charafter. We went carefully over both, weigh- 
ing their different advantages and finally deciding for the 
north because of its studio possibilities. But there was a 
room on the ground floor that perplexed Edward, for some 
one had covered its walls with piftures. They were appar- 
ently copies of various originals, and we never learned who 
did them, though rumour said they were recent creations. 
Their workmanship had no distinftion and the scheme no 
connefting idea, varying in subjeft from a large Italian 
landscape to a study of the Farnese Hercules bdanced by 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 35] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 307 

a chubby Cupid of equal size, while the shutter-boxes 
were painted in patches of separate raw colours. Still it had 
cost some fellow-creature both time and trouble, and 
Edward did not find in his heart to cover it up until the 
incongruity of the thing became so irksome that a veil of 
Morris paper and green paint was finally drawn over the 
whole. 

The Grange had a beautiful garden ot about three-quar- 
ters of an acre, with a fine old mulberry on its lawn, peaches 
against the walls, and apple-trees enough to justify us in 
calling part of it an orchard. The full charm of all this was 
not visible when first we took possession in November, but 
still we found late-blooming monthly roses and a hedge of 
lavender, whose sweet scent and soft pink and grey colour 
are inseparably connefted in memory with the place and 
time. 

A few days before leaving Kensington Square, Edward 
opened an account with a bank. Naturally he chose that 
of Morris, and was introduced by him to Messrs. Praeds 
of Fleet Street. I see that he placed with them on Novem- 
ber nth the sum of ;^I27 los. and in return they gave 
him a cheque-book which he did not know how to use, for 
I distinftly remember seeing Mr. Leyland shew him how 
to fill up the first cheque he drew — not without a protest 
from Edward at its being called " drawing." A legacy from 
Mr. Samuel Perry, his mother's half-brother, was of great 
help to us in the course of this winter, and enabled us for 
the first time to lay something by. I know now that 
Edward had more anxiety about money in those early days 
than I then realized; for it was not a subjeft he talked 
much about, and it never occurred to me that we should 
not have our wants supplied. Yet if his responsibilities 
weighed heavily upon him at times, it was not a very 
grievous burden that he bore, for his children were a joy 
to him from the first and grew dearer every year. 

It might be said on reckoning the whole number of the 
years of his life that by this time Edward had passed 
through half of it, but the halves were not of the same 



Digitized by 



Google 



3o8 MEMORIALS OF [1867 

kind. In the first must be reckoned forgotten infancy and 
sheltered childhood; it was now but twelve years since 
he had begun his special work, and much or this time 
had been passed lightly in the enjoyment of friendship and 
love and the exercise of new-found power. After this came 
the burden and heat of the day, in which as often as pos- 
sible I shall let his own voice be heard or his work shall 
speak, for during it he passed, as does every man, through 
lonely places of which nothing can be known to his fellows 
except by a sign from himself. 

Large schemes of work were always in his mind, ** huge 
cloudy symbols of a high romance" that never failed him, 
though life failed before he could make a tithe of 'A visible 
to o Aers. He had already begun a big pifture of the Fates. 
They were seated aloft on a throne and below them were 
a man and a woman standing together, the woman's hand 
lightly resting on a sundial. For these figures he made 
numberless drawings, recognizable amongst his life-studies 
by their solemn and typical air. In 1872 he wrote down 
the names of four other subjefts, saying: "These I desire 
to paint above all others." Nor was this an aspiration only, 
for at the time he wrote they were all begun in one form 
or other. They were: 

" The Chariot of Love, to be painted life-size. 

" The Vision of Britomart, also life-size. 

** The Sirens, small life-size. 

** And a pifture of the beginning of the world, with Pan 
and Echo and sylvan gods, and a forest full of centaurs, 
and a wild background of woods, mountains, and rivers." 

Before these he was at work upon a great triptych with 
predella piftures that was to tell the whole story of Troy; 
fragments of this scheme are known as " The Wheel of 
Fortune " and " The Feast of Peleus." A large " Fountain 
of Youth" was designed in 1873, and the great "Arthur 
in Avalon" in 188 1. A still vaster scheme than any of 
these is suggested by some pencil notes made long after- 
wards, shewing a plan for a series of piftures which deal 
with the whole history of the world, for they were to repre- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MT. 35] EDWARD BURNE-JONES 309 

sent its Four Ages. About the Golden Age his words, 
" Sin comes down to talk with men," are fearful in their 
simplicity of vision: I do not know if any drawing of it 
was made. His note for the Iron Age says: "Crime has 
the upper hand," and ends with " Scoundrel on a throne — 
soldiers — ^violence — injustice — folly — ^war." 

Henceforth the number of people who surround the 
image of Edward in my mind is very great, and cannot be 
dealt with separately. I believe one thing that drew both 
men and women to him was that he never suspefted them 
beforehand: to him each fresh acquaintance was new-born. 
Never in any sense did he become a man of the world, and 
up to a certain point it was always easy to take advantage 
of him: press that advantage too far, however, and he was 
gone like a bird from the snare. Two things had tremendous 
power over him — ^beauty and misfortune — ^and far would 
he go to serve either; indeed his impulse to comfort those 
in trouble was so strong that while the trouble lasted the 
sufferer took precedence of every one else. Beauty, so much 
rarer than misfortune, he was quick to recognize in spiritual 
form as well as physical. Some of the last words he uttered 
were about a plain woman who had done excellent work in 
the world. " What a beautiful soul that woman has," he 
exclaimed; " but," he added, with gentle humour, "I think 
I'd better not see her." 

Our life at the Grange lasted thirty years, which were 
in themselves a second life, for there we finally put away 
childish things and had our share of sorrow; but I remem- 
ber no more premonition when we entered the house than 
a wandering on the staircase and looking around with the 
thought, " What will happen to as here? " 



END OF VOLUME I 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 




i^\ '***'*.'{' ,€ 





.*t:V 


■^i'*.*. 


.■'*» 


wtlL-i 


-4y> - 


vv* 


Sm*".v 


l^a^/^ 










^ • ■■■> •~ijitiu*>*.-. \*. 




RED HOUSE, UPTON, KENT 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



This book should be returned to 
the Library on or before the last date 
stamped below. 

A fine is incurred by retaining it 
beyond the specified time. 
^ ijPlease return promptly. 



m}im 






Digitized by 



Google