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sentiment. His taste was as exact in art as in sherries, and he 'never allowed me to look for an instant' (says his son) 'at a bad picture.' He had been a pupil in the landscape class of Alexander Is'asmyth [q. v.] at Edinburgh, was fond of sketching, and delighted in reading poetry aloud, in buying drawings of architecture and landscape, and in entertaining artists at dinner. In later years Turner, George Richmond, and Samuel Prout formed the constant dinner-party invited by the father to celebrate his son's birthday. The atmosphere in which young Ruskin lived and moved was thus at once puritanical and artistic.
An important part of his education was a summer tour with his parents. His father was in the habit of travelling once a year for orders, and on these journeys he combined pleasure with business. He travelled to sell his wines, but also to see pictures ; and in any country seat where there was a Reynolds, or a Velasquez, or a Vandyck, or a Rembrandt, ' he would pay the surliest housekeeper into patience until we had examined it to our hearts' content.' Also he travelled leisurely in a private carriage hired or lent for the expedition and he made a point of including in each summer's journey a visit to some region of romantic scenery, such as Scotland (in 1824, 1826, 1827) ; the English lakes (1824, 1826, 1830) ; and Wales (1831). From the earliest days the young Ruskin had accompanied his parents on their journeys, perched on the top of a box in the ' dickey ' of a post-chaise. By the time he was ten he had thus seen all the high roads and most of the cross-roads of England and Wales, and the greater part of lowland Scotland. Half a century later Ruskin occasionally revived, for the pleasure of himself and his friends and the amusement of the districts through which they passed the practice of posting tours, and had a posting carriage of the old fashion built for him. 'In all mountain ground and scenery,' he says, 'I had a pleasure as early as I can remember, and continuing till I was eighteen or twenty, infinitely greater than any which has been since possible to me in anything ; comparable for intensity only to the joy of a lover in being near a noble and kind mistress, but no more explicable or definable than that feeling of love itself.' He was encouraged by his parents to write diaries and versify his impressions. At home a little table was always kept apart for his work, and there the child would sit drawing or writing while his mother knitted and his father read aloud. His parents paid him a shilling a page for his literary labours, and bound up his juvenilia, which are still preserved at Brantwood. He spent his pocket-money in minerals,which were his earliest and constant hobby. At the age of four he had begun to read and write ; at seven he was hard at work in printing volumes of stories; at eight he began to write verses. His father burst into tears of joy when the son's first article appeared in print. His mother had designed him for the church, hoping he would become 'a glorified Dean Milman ;' and both his parents were 'exquisitely miserable at the first praises of a clear-dawning Tennyson.' His early poems, which were to him the Latin exercises of other schoolboys, deal with 'dropping waters,' 'airy fortresses,' 'taper-pointed leaves,' and 'glittering diamonds from the skies.' Some verses written at the age of fourteen have a note of genuine feeling:
There is a thrill of strange delight
That passes quivering o'er me,
When blue hills rise upon the sight
Like summer clouds before me.