The Exquisite Tragedy: An Intimate Life of John Ruskin

By Amabel Williams-Ellis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III

1819-1826: Birth to 7 years



BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD

1

AT 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, then, on the 8th of February, 1819, the Ruskins' only child was born. They named him John.

The house had a certain decorum, but there was not much more to be said for it. It was one of a row, built of yellow London brick, grave, monotonous, and inoffensive.

However, before little John was two, he had discovered its one great attraction.

Fortunately for me [he says] the windows of it commanded a view of a marvellous iron post, out of which the water-carts were filled through beautiful little trap-doors by pipes like boa constrictors; and I was never weary of contemplating that mystery and the delicious drippings consequent . . . besides, there were the still more admirable proceedings of the turncock who turned and turned until a fountain sprang up in the middle of the street.1

No doubt any child would have loved those water-carts and that fountain: how much more John, who (at two) was allowed no toys of any kind -- only a bunch of keys. John was whipped when he fell downstairs, and was once allowed to burn himself on the hot, bright urn to teach him how deceitful the world is.

Margaret Ruskin had, indeed, as she afterward told him, already devoted her little boy to God before he was born, in imitation of Hannah.

____________________
1
Præterita.

-14-

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The Exquisite Tragedy: An Intimate Life of John Ruskin
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • AUTHOR'S PREFACE vii
  • Contents xi
  • PART I 1
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 14
  • Chapter IV 21
  • Chapter V 24
  • Chapter VI 37
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 63
  • PART II 81
  • Chapter IX 81
  • Chapter X 89
  • Chapter XI 100
  • Chapter XII 106
  • Chapter XIII 115
  • Chapter XIV 124
  • Chapter XV 135
  • Chapter XVI 143
  • PART III 149
  • Chapter XVII 149
  • Chapter XVIII 159
  • Chapter XIX 169
  • Chapter XX 178
  • Chapter XXI 188
  • Chapter XXII 203
  • Chapter XXIII 214
  • Chapter XXIV 223
  • Chapter XXV 236
  • Chapter XXVI 248
  • Chapter XXVII 256
  • PART IV 265
  • Chapter XXVIII 265
  • Chapter XXIX 273
  • Chapter XXX 291
  • Chapter XXXI 299
  • Chapter XXXII 304
  • Chapter XXXIII 315
  • Chapter XXXIV 328
  • Chapter XXXV 336
  • CHRONOLOGY 343
  • Appendix A 359
  • APPENDIX B 361
  • APPENDIX C 363
  • Index 367
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