Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/87

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II
67
VISIT TO RUSKIN

by Prout, who you know now paints architecture so beautifully. Crawley said, "Perhaps you can find enough to amuse (!!!) you for twenty minutes, until our other rooms are disengaged." Of course I was delighted; but, having once really looked at the Slave Ship, it was impossible to turn to anything else. I must not attempt to describe it, Ruskin having done so; … Crawley returned but too soon; told us about the other pictures, pointed out a figure of "our Saviour which Mr. Ruskin thinks a great deal of." Had he not done so, I should be standing before the Slave Ship now. Ruskin sent down a very kind message. I did not hear whether it was "his kind regards" as I was thinking; but the end of the message was "he would have been very glad to have come down to shew us the pictures himself, were it not that he was correcting his book, and had been much delayed by a severe cold." And then we went thro' three more rooms, and the hall full of pictures, which I had not time to see properly, but which remain in my memory like a bright vivid dream; quiet lakes with a glow of colour, cities in moonlight, and lighted with a wonderful glow of furnace light; emerging, wild, fantastically shaped grey clouds, blown by evening winds leaving the sky one glow of sunset light; fairs all bright; with an old cathedral quietly watching impetuous waves dancing against lonely rocks; solemn bays of massy rocks with a darkened line of evening sun against the sky; the sweep of the river beside rounded hills; but all done by an eye which sought for true beauty, not a line out of harmony, or that does not tell some precious tale. When I reached home W. said that Miss Sterling had called … "She said she was very glad you had taken a holiday." Well what do you suppose I did? I had dinner and set off