The Married Lover
He meets by heavenly chance express
The destined maid; some hidden hand
Unveils to him that loveliness
Which others cannot understand. . . .
-- The Angel in the House, Book I, Canto III.
HE was twenty-four when he first saw Miss Andrews. They met at the house of Laman Blanchard. She was twenty-three, the orphan daughter of the Reverend Edward Andrews, who had been a Congregationalist minister and had taught Ruskin Greek.
In Praeterita, Ruskin wrote:
The Doctor, it afterwards turned out, knew little more of Greek than the letters and the declension of nouns; but he wrote the letters prettily, and had an accurate and sensitive ear for rhythm.
She was a beautiful girl, with finely chiselled features, large brown eyes--'clear lakes of love'--and hectically flushed cheeks that, with their delicate transparency, foretold the threat of consumption. They immediately fell madly in love. Emily Andrews was the embodiment of all the young poet's dreams. She was as learned as she was beautiful. She read Latin, Greek and French, and she knew and admired his poems!
It was May. And now, as if by some miracle, he was in love. For years he had been obsessed with this absorbing theme. Even in one of his earliest sonnets he had written:
At nine years old I was Love's willing page: Poets love earlier than other men. . . .
A chance meeting in Blancbard's drawing-room, some con-