Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/145

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III
125
RUSKIN'S SKETCHES

to think his old lady friends were right when they cautioned him against it, as he had found all his girl protegées, with the exception of Ockey, "very sufficiently troublesome." She met him the same day at Dulwich, and he was very kind; and if she can have a little bright weather, so as to get on with her Dulwich work, she will be in good spirits again, I think.


4, Russell Place, 
December 19th, 1858.

To Miranda.

Now for Ruskin. Minnie has told you something about the evening; but nothing about the sketches. The first we saw was one of an old walled and fortified town in Switzerland, with little arched gateway guarded by towers and wall; the moat is dried up and filled up; long grass and buttercups grow there. Then he showed us a view of the cliffs which form the banks of Lake Lucerne; their tops are for the most part inaccessible, quite lonely, haunted only by the eagle. "Fancy, Octavia," Ruskin said, "walking up there, where one can get among chestnut glades, along winding paths, bringing you suddenly to the edge, and looking down on the blue water." He showed us two sketches of Morgarten. Then he showed us exquisite sketches of Bellinzona, where the three Forest Cantons had each a castle built on a high rock. He has done the whole thing in the loveliest way, making a kind of plan of the whole, and sketching large and carefully in colour each bit of it, even the little rows of leaves on a bank. But nothing can explain to you the sense of size and space and grandeur conveyed by the drawing of hundreds of pines, chestnuts and poplars, yet each seen as part