The life of John Ruskin

9780217557191: The life of John Ruskin
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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER VI. A LOVE-STORY. (1836-1839.) ' I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not returned. Yet out of that I have written these songs.'— Leaves of Grass. EARLY in 1836 the quiet of Herne Hill was fluttered by a long-promised, long-postponed visit. Mr. Domecq at last brought his four younger daughters to make the acquaintance of their friends. The eldest sister had lately been married to a Count Maison, heir to a peer of France; for Mr. Domecq, thanks in great measure to his partner's energy and talents, was prosperous and wealthy, and moved in the enchanted circles of Parisian society. To a romantic schoolboy in a London suburb the apparition was dazzling. Any of the sisters would have charmed him, but the eldest of the four, Adele Clotilde, bewitched him at once with her graceful figure and that oval face which was so admired in those times. She was fair, too—another recommendation. He was on the brink of seventeen, at the ripe moment, and he fell passionately in love with her. She was only fifteen, and did not understand this adoration, unspoken and unexpressed except by intensified shyness; for he was a very shy boy in the drawing-room, though brimming over with life and fun among his schoolfellows. His mother's ideals of education did not include French gallantry ; he felt at a loss before these Paris-bred, Paris-dressed young ladies, and encumbered by the very strength of his new-found passion. And yet he possessed advantages, if he had known how to use them. He was tall and active, light and lithe in gesture, not a clumsy hobbledehoy. He had the face that caught the eye, in Rome a few years later, of Keats' Severn, no mean judge, surely, of faces and poets' faces. He was undeniably clever; he knew all about minerals and mountains; he w...

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