Varied Types eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about Varied Types.

But neither in Mr. Collingwood’s book nor in Ruskin’s own delightful “Praeterita” shall we ever get to the heart of the matter.  The work of Ruskin and his peers remains incomprehensible by the very completeness of their victory.  Fallen forever is that vast brick temple of Utilitarianism, of which we may find the fragments but never renew the spell.  Liberal Unionists howl in its high places, and in its ruins Mr. Lecky builds his nest.  Its records read with something of the mysterious arrogance of Chinese:  hardly a generation away from us, we read of a race who believed in the present with the same sort of servile optimism with which the Oriental believes in the past.  It may be that banging his head against that roof for twenty years did not improve the temper of the prophet.  But he made what he praised in the old Italian pictures—­“an opening into eternity.”

FOOTNOTES: 

[2] “The Life of John Ruskin.”  By W.G.  Collingwood.  London:  Methuen.

QUEEN VICTORIA

Anyone who possesses spiritual or political courage has made up his mind to a prospect of immutable mutability; but even in a “transformation” there is something catastrophic in the removal of the back scene.  It is a truism to say of the wise and noble lady who is gone from us that we shall always remember her; but there is a subtler and higher compliment still in confessing that we often forgot her.  We forgot her as we forget the sunshine, as we forget the postulates of an argument, as we commonly forget our own existence.  Mr. Gladstone is the only figure whose loss prepared us for such earthquakes altering the landscape.  But Mr. Gladstone seemed a fixed and stationary object in our age for the same reason that one railway train looks stationary from another; because he and the age of progress were both travelling at the same impetuous rate of speed.  In the end, indeed, it was probably the age that dropped behind.  For a symbol of the Queen’s position we must rather recur to the image of a stretch of scenery, in which she was as a mountain so huge and familiar that its disappearance would make the landscape round our own door seem like a land of strangers.  She had an inspired genius for the familiarising virtues; her sympathy and sanity made us feel at home even in an age of revolutions.  That indestructible sense of security which for good and evil is so typical of our nation, that almost scornful optimism which, in the matter of ourselves, cannot take peril or even decadence seriously, reached by far its highest and healthiest form in the sense that we were watched over by one so thoroughly English in her silence and self-control, in her shrewd trustfulness and her brilliant inaction.  Over and above those sublime laws of labour and pity by which she ordered her life, there are a very large number of minor intellectual matters in which we might learn a lesson from the Queen. 

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Varied Types from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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