But this anticipates the story; at the time, he found in Carpaccio the man who had touched the full chord of his feelings and his thoughts, just as, in his boyhood, Turner had led him, marvelling, through the fire and cloud to the mountain-altar; and as, in his youth, Tintoret had interpreted the storm and stress of a mind awakening to the terrible realities of the world. It was no caprice of a changeful taste, nor love of startling paradox, that brought him to “discover Carpaccio;” it was the logical sequence of his studies, and widening interests, and a view of art embracing far broader issues than the connoisseurship of “Modern Painters,” or the didacticism of “Seven Lamps,” or the historical research of “Stones of Venice.”
Soon after the “Queen of the Air” was published Carlyle wrote:
“Last week I got y’r ‘Queen of the Air,’ and read it. Euge, Ettge. No such Book have I met with for long years past. The one soul now in the world who seems to feel as I do on the highest matters, and speaks mir aus dem Herzen, exactly what I wanted to hear!-As to the natural history of those old myths I remained here and there a little uncert’n; but as to the meanings you put into them, never anywhere. All these things I not only ‘agree’ with, but w’d use Thor’s Hammer, if I had it, to enforce and put in action on this rotten world. Well done, well done!—and pluck up a heart, and continue ag’n and ag’n. And don’t say ’most g’t tho’ts are dressed in shrouds’: many, many are the Phoebus Apollo celestial arrows you still have to shoot into the foul Pythons, and poisonous abominable Megatheriums and Plesiosaurians that go staggering ab’t, large as cathedrals, in our sunk Epoch ag’n....”
VERONA AND OXFORD (1869-1870)
The main object of this journey was, however, not to study mythology, but to continue the revision of old estimates of architecture, and after seventeen years to look with a fresh eye at the subjects of “Stones of Venice.”
The churches and monuments of Verona had been less thoroughly studied than those of Venice, and now they were threatened with imminent restoration. On May 25th he wrote:—“It is very strange that I have just been in time—after 17 years’ delay—to get the remainder of what I wanted from the red tomb of which my old drawing hangs in the passage”—(the Castelbarco monument). “To-morrow they put up scaffolding to retouch, and I doubt not, spoil it for evermore.” He succeeded in getting a delay of ten days, to enable him to paint the tomb in its original state; but before he went home it “had its new white cap on and looked like a Venetian gentleman in a pantaloon’s mask.” He brought away one of the actual stones of the old roof.
On June 3 he wrote: