out of my own family; or, at any rate, I never had a better, not to do injustice to one or two more. I hope to go with you one day to the College, as you say, and wish you could make one of our party to-day. A modelling class is immediately to be added to our drawing-classes, the masters of which will be my friends Woolner and Munro.
This letter is filled with wonderful references. Gabriel and Lizzie carving their initials in a romantic gesture, the “gipsy” girl Lizzie and Gabriel both sketched, and Lizzie’s experiences in Clevedon (the letter she wrote about her trip is here)
[14 Chatham Place].
Sunday night, July 1 st [1855.]
Ever since you left I have been intending to write to you, and I hope you have not fancied I forgot you, as I know you would not forget me. I have been busy at times, and at times very ill at ease, though indeed neither of these is really an excuse for so long a silence, which your affection will best make allowance for. I have been pleased to hear such good accounts of Christina, who I hope continues equally stronger and better. But I also hope you are better now, and was truly grieved to hear you had been so far from well. I often fancy you together at Hastings, taking some of the trips probably that I took last year, and certainly rambling about the hills, which grow rather monotonous, but I dare say you have longer patience with them. You know, no doubt, that spot on the East Hill where there is something which looks far off like a ruin, but proves, if I remember rightly, to be nothing but a blocked-up door of some kind. On its side Lizzy and I scratched our initials last year— along the corner of one side, I think. If you are that way, will you try and discover them? Is a very dark gipsy-looking little girl of about thirteen still in the habit of running about on the East Hill with a very fine baby sister? I made a sketch of them, and Lizzy had the girl home and drew her. I used always to think her the image of savage active health; but Lizzy afterwards discovered that, as soon as the cold weather came on every year, she was seized with ague and unable to stir out in the winter; owing no doubt to long disregard of weather and frequent privation of food.
Another place where L[izzy] and I scratched our initials was a stone at the Old Roar, a very pretty place indeed and not very far—I forget now in precisely what direction, but you would easily find out. But perhaps you have been. Our stone would lie to your right as you stood with your back to the fall, and a little way in front of you. By the bye, the
fall seems to have fallen most completely and successfully, for we couldn’t see it.
I fancy Barbara Smith must now be again at her brother’s farm near Robertsbridge, a railway trip from Hastings. If you would like it, I would find out whether this is the case, and if so write B[arbara] S[mith] word of your whereabouts, as she must often be at Hastings, and has long greatly wished for Christina’s acquaintance; so no doubt she would soon turn up if you have any fancy for a little society, and would invite you to spend a day sometimes at the farm, a very lovely place. Another acquaintance of mine—Mr. Smith, chemist of George Street—you might have an opportunity of patronizing if you liked. . . .
I dare say you will have heard something of Lizzy’s and my movements from Maggie. She is somewhat better from her trip to Clevedon, and will very soon be in the country again, I trust. She, Maggie, and I, are going to dine with Ruskin on Friday next. Ruskin has been to Tunbridge Wells and Dover; he was far from well, but has returned looking and being much better. He is very hard at work on the third volume of Modern Painters, who, I tell him, will be old masters before the work is ended. Have you seen his pamphlet on the R. A. Exhibition? If you would care to see it, I shall have the 3rd edition from him, I believe, in a day or two, and would send it you. Gift-books have rather poured in on me lately: Hannay’s new novel, Eustace Conyers, very first-rate in Hannay’s qualities, and a decided advance on Fontenoy; Allingham’s new collection of Poems, where there are some illustrations by Hughes, one by Millais, and one which used to be by me till it became the exclusive work of Dalziel, who cut it. I was resolved to cut it out, but Allingham would not, so I can only wish Dalziel had the credit as well as the authorship. I have also a very well-written pamphlet on the War by one Lushington, a new acquaintance of mine on the Council of the W[orking] M[en’s] Coll[ege], and a book on Proverbs (I think) by Trench, given me by another Working Men’s Councillor.
Any of these I could send you to read. I think you would like the pamphlet, and probably the last, which I haven’t read. I have also,