Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/692

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

The Venice letter was capital." Then he retired to his studio. Shortly after a tapping sound, often made by him as a summons, was heard. One of his daughters running upstairs found her father lying on the hearth-rug in a fit of apoplexy. His open Bible, in which he had been reading one of the Psalms, lay on the table. He was carried to bed, but never spoke again. He died in the sixty-ninth year of his age. "There will never be any more Prout drawings," said Ruskin sorrowfully.

In the north aisle of St. Andrew's Church, Plymouth, is a marble tablet to his memory.

"There is one point," says Ruskin, "in which Turner, Bewick, Hunt, and Prout, all four agree—that they can draw the poor, but not the rich. They acknowledge with affection, whether for principal or accessory subjects of their art, the British farmer, the British sailor, the British market-woman, and the British workman. They agree unanimously in ignoring the British gentleman. Let the British gentleman lay it to heart, and ask himself why.

"The general answer is long and manifold. But, with respect to the separate work of Prout, there is a very precious piece of instruction in it respecting national prosperity and policy, which may be gathered in a few glances.

"You see how all his best pictures depend on figures either crowded in market-places or pausing (lounging, it may be) in quiet streets. You will not find, in the entire series of subjects from his hand, a single figure in a hurry. He ignores not only the British gentleman, but every necessary condition, nowadays, of British business.

"Look again and see if you can find a single figure exerting all its strength. A couple of men rolling a