Harry and Lucy Concluded, Being the Last Part of Early Lessons, in Four Volumes

For volume 1 in MS I, volume 2 in MS III, and volume 3 in MS IIIA, Ruskin lettered the title pages in imitation of the printed title page of Harry and Lucy Concluded. Ruskinʼs respective title pages are as follows:
  • HARRY AND LUCY | CONCLUDED | BEING THE LAST | PART OF | EARLY LESSONS | [ornament] | in four volumes | vol I | with copper | [horizontal bar] | plates | [ornament] | PRINTED and composed by a little boy | and also drawn
  • MS II to come.
  • MS III to come.
  • MS IIIA to come.
Composite work. Genre: lesson. Volume 1 incorporates a travel account.
Volume 1 of the work forms the principal contents of MS I (title page + pp. 1–96), a Red Book. This manuscript also contains “Poetry” [MS I Poetry Anthology].
MS II to come.
MS III to come.
MS IIIA to come.
Volume 1, September or October 1826 through the end of the year, possibly extending into January 1827, although the opening portion of the work may have been composed, but not fair‐copied, during an earlier period.
Volume 2, to come.
Volume 3, to come.
Date of Composition
Volume 1
Margaret Ruskin dated MS I as having been “begun about Sept or Oct 1826” and as having been “finished about Jany 1827”. Since she inserted this notation within “Poetry” [MS I Poetry Anthology] toward the end of the manuscript, it seems likely that Ruskin had devoted the latter part of this period—perhaps, December through January—to fair‐copying and/or composing the poetry anthology, while he had spent the fall of 1826 on “Harry and Lucy” (see also “The Needless Alarm”: Date; “On Papaʼs Leaving Home”: Date; and MS I: Date). It is also possible that, as suggested by a change in narrative style midway in the text of “Harry and Lucy”, Ruskin may have drafted the opening portion at an earlier period (see Discussion: Sources).
According to the narrative of Volume 1, while Harry and Lucy are visiting the seaside resort of Hastings, Harry identifies the fourth day of their visit as “the longest day”, a remark that Helen Gill Viljoen interpreted as referring to the summer solstice (which fell on June 21 in 1826 and on June 22 in 1827). Viljoen infers that Ruskinʼs composition date for Volume 1 must therefore be extended well past the terminus a quo of January 1827 established by Margaretʼs gloss on MS I to some time after June 1827 (“Dating MSS. of Boyhood”, in Viljoen Papers, boxes D.V, E.IX).
Viljoen discounted the possibility that Harryʼs remark refers to a holiday that, in real life, had already occurred, in June 1826, before Ruskin started work on MS I according to Margaretʼs gloss. She rejected this interpretation presumably on the grounds that the family could not have holidayed at the seaside in Hastings during June 1826, if they had already departed for Perth, Scotland, shortly after John Jamesʼs birthday on May 10. It is now known, however, that the family must have delayed a vacation that year, since John James traveled for customer orders well past his birthday (see Tours of 1826–27). It is thus more plausible that, insofar as Ruskin drew on actual events that occurred at Hastings to help form his tale, he referred to a trip of June 1826, a few months prior to when Margaret notes that he began work on MS I. (W. G. Collingwood, for his part, did not notice the clue about a “longest day”, and assumed that the holiday must have preceded May 10, occurring in “the spring of 1826”, but a visit to the seaside so early in the year is unlikely [Collingwood, The Life and Work of John Ruskin [1893], 1:25; The Life of John Ruskin [1900], 21].).
Greater uncertainty surrounds an alleged association of Volume 1 with a family journey north to Scotland in the autumn of 1826, an event that W. G. Collingwood drew from his reading of “On Scotland” in MS I and of “Glen of Glenfarg” (“Glen of Glenfarg thy beauteous rill”)) in MS III (see Tours of 1826–27). While such a scenario can be dovetailed with Margaretʼs dating of MS I by imagining Ruskinʼs starting the first volume of “Harry and Lucy” in “about Sept or Oct 1826” during the journey itself or shortly following the familyʼs return to Camberwell, it seems odd that the volumeʼs sole purported witness to a Scottish journey is a single poem, while Volume 2 of “Harry and Lucy,” written the following year in MS III, contains an extensive account of a visit to Perth. It is possible, of course, that Ruskin merely saved that material for the second volume. It is also possible that, as proposed in Tours of 1826–27, the family journeyed to Scotland only in 1827, not in 1826, and that the only recent travel available to Ruskin to describe in Volume 1 was the seaside visit that lay in the opposite direction, southward to Hastings.
Volume 2
To come.
Volume 3
To come.
Composition and Publication
Volume 1 previously unpublished in entirety. For his autobiography Praeterita (chap. 10), Ruskin ordered to be reproduced the conclusion of “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol I”, along with a drawing, “Harryʼs New Road”. These were reproduced in facsimile using type and engraving, in Ruskin, Works, 35:52–55.
Other prose excerpts from “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol I” are quoted in Collingwood, The Life and Work of John Ruskin (1893), 1:24–25; Collingwood, The Life of John Ruskin (1900), 21; and Hunt, Wider Sea, 34. Selected drawings from “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol I” are reproduced in Emerson, Genesis of Invention, pl. 2; and Walton, Drawings of John Ruskin, 6.
Volume 1
No draft survives of volume 1 of “Harry and Lucy”, but the text in MS I shows indications that it is a fair copy based on a lost draft. Given Ruskinʼs attention to the physical appearance of his text, it is not credible that he could have composed and fair‐copied the text simultaneously in this Red Book, MS I. His attention to the material forms of his models was minute. For his title page, he not only imitated the layout of the printed title page of Maria Edgeworthʼs Harry and Lucy Concluded; he also copied the letterforms of the serif typefaces used in printing that text as well as Edgeworthʼs Frank: A Sequel, both of which were published by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. (For Ruskinʼs copies of these published texts, see Books Used by Ruskin in His Youth: Physical Descriptions.) He extended his use of these letterforms to pattern decorative capitals used throughout his text (see also The Ruskin Family Handwriting: Ruskinʼs Early Print Lettering in Pencil). Besides this exacting attention required for fair‐copying, further evidence of a probable lost draft is suggested by insertions in the fair‐copy text, which are most convincingly explained as correcting errors of transcription, rather than as second thoughts in original composition (for details, see the textual glosses appended to the MS I witness).
Composition may have entailed two distinct stages of draft. While the four or five months comprised by Margaret Ruskinʼs dating of MS I could account for fair‐copying and perhaps some simultaneous drafting of “Harry and Lucy Concluded . . . Vol 1” and “Poetry” [MS I Poetry Anthology] (see Date of Composition: Volume 1), internal evidence suggests that chapter 1 of the prose narrative may be based on a distinctly earlier stage of composition. At the start of chapter 2, the narrative exhibits an abrupt shift from direct dialogue to third‐person narration. For the first time in the text, a narrator addresses the reader, and the dialogue carries such tags as “said her mother” and “answered her father”. Moreover, the shift in narrative technique is accompanied by new characters appearing on the scene. In chapter 1, the dialogue is limited to Lucy and Mamma, whereas Papa is said to be away from home in the City. In chapter 2, Papa comes home, has a brief exchange with Lucy, and then, as the narrator informs us, “Lucy has gone to bed and we shall have time to attend to harry whose history we have hitherto forgot”.
Two stages of composition also are suggested by the sources behind the text. Following the change in narrative technique in chapter 2, the exchanges between characters—which tend to be three‐way between Papa, Harry, and Lucy, largely excluding Mamma—appear to be modeled predominantly on Edgeworthʼs Frank: A Sequel and Harry and Lucy Concluded. In chapter 1, the evidence of adaptation from these texts is less certain. A likelier inspiration for chapter 1 may be Anna Laetitia Barbauldʼs Evenings at Home. Like Ruskinʼs conversations between Lucy and Mamma in chapter 1, Barbauldʼs dialogues consist largely of direct discourse without intervention by a narrator. Barbauldʼs influence may also have contributed to the feminine gendering of the subjects in Ruskinʼs first chapter, along with allocation of a preceptorial role to Mamma, whereas the more masculine emphasis in chapter 2 and afterward—notable in the preceptorial role shifting to the father, and indeed in the near erasure of Mamma, though not of Lucy, from the dialogues—reflect Edgeworthʼs emphasis on the mentorship of Frank by his father, and of Harry and Lucy by their father along with avuncular figures like Sir Rupert Digby.
Volume 2
To come.
Volume 3
To come.
The genre that Ruskin imitates and adapts in his “Harry and Lucy” series is the lesson in dialogue form, as developed by Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743–1825) and her brother John Aikin (1747–1822); Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849) and her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1744–1817); Jeremiah Joyce (1763–1816); and others. Judging by textual traces in Ruskinʼs dialogues that can be specifically identified, the most prominent of these sources for “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol I” were the final volumes in the Edgeworthsʼ series (authored fully by Maria), Frank: A Sequel to Frank in Early Lessons, and Harry and Lucy Concluded, Being the Last Part of Early Lessons, along with Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues, which is frequently referenced likewise in Edgeworthʼs final volumes of “Early Lessons”. Ruskinʼs adaptation was therefore up to date. When he began Volume 1 of his own “Harry and Lucy Concluded” in 1826, Edgeworthʼs book of that title, the latest and last in the series of “Early Lessons”, had been published just the previous year, in 1825, while Frank: A Sequel, was also recent, first published in 1822. The Ruskins owned these books in first‐edition copies, which survive. The copy of Frank: A Sequel contains more marginalia from early boyhood than does the surviving copy of Harry and Lucy Concluded, which contains some possible markings from Ruskinʼs youth but mostly marginalia from his maturity (see Books Used by Ruskin in His Youth: Physical Descriptions).
There appears no definite textual evidence that Ruskinʼs sources included the preceding volumes in the Edgeworthsʼ “Early Lessons” series—Harry and Lucy, Rosamond, and Frank, which started publication in 1801, and which were designed for younger children. Ruskin may have been familiar at this time with the stories in Edgeworthʼs The Parentʼs Assistant, which was published in its first version in 1796, and which he listed among his books in 1873 as a six‐volume edition, which Dearden dates as 1822 (The Library of John Ruskin, 105 [no. 816]). The text more likely to have served as a prelude to the sophisticated dialogues in Frank: A Sequel and Harry and Lucy Concluded was Barbauld and Aikinʼs Evenings at Home (1792–96)—a book that Ruskin certainly possessed and used extensively (Dearden, The Library of John Ruskin, 8 [no. 34]; and see Books Used by Ruskin in His Youth: Physical Descriptions). This text was probably as significant as the Edgeworth books in Ruskinʼs development of the childʼs voice in his own dialogues (see Personae).
Finally, toward the end of volume 1 of his “Harry and Lucy Concluded” Ruskin copied extensively from Jeremiah Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues (first published in six volumes, 1800–1805; the edition used by Ruskin is apparently unknown). While Ruskinʼs treatment of the Scientific Dialogues remains to some extent implicitly embedded in Edgeworthʼs narrative, dependent on the frame of the story where the lessons are referenced, Ruskinʼs clustering of paraphrases of Joyceʼs experiments at the end of volume 1 suggests that he viewed them as Joyce intended—as a sequel to introductory natural history presented in Barbauld and Aikinʼs Evenings at Home, and as a realization of the rudimentary instruction in science as recommended by the Edgeworths in Practical Education (1798) (Joyce, Scientific Dialogues, 1:1, vii–x; and see Fyfe, “Young Readers and the Sciences”, 282; and see also Biographical Context).
As suggested in Composition, chapter 1 of volume 1 of Ruskinʼs “Harry and Lucy Concluded” may reflect an earlier stage of composition, one modeled on Barbauld and Aikinʼs dialogues and stories, which were recommended for children younger than the intended audience of Edgeworthʼs concluding volumes in the Early Lessons series. It would have been in keeping with these educatorsʼ plan for age‐specific reading for Ruskin to have patterned his chapter 1 on more elementary reading. Although none of the youthful marginalia and drawings in Ruskinʼs surviving boyhood books can be dated, the physical evidence suggests that he did at least read Frank: A Sequel prior to grappling with the advanced Harry and Lucy Concluded (see Books Used by Ruskin in His Youth: Physical Descriptions). The heavier use evident in his copy of Frank: A Sequel indicates that, at age seven, he was just inside the scope of ages seven to ten or eleven that Edgeworth intended for this book. At age seven going on eight, however, when he composed volume 1 of his “Harry and Lucy” (see Date of Composition), he was definitely a precocious student of Jeremiah Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues, which was aimed at children aged ten to eleven, and of Edgeworthʼs Harry and Lucy Concluded, which was meant for readers aged ten to fourteen (Edgeworth, Frank: A Sequel, 1:x; Scientific Dialogues, 1:viii; Edgeworth, Harry and Lucy Concluded, 1:vii).
Trying This at Home: Ruskin's Adaptation of the Educational Dialogue to the Herne Hill Setting
Aileen Fyfe has compared the dialogues in Aikin and Barbauldʼs Evenings at Home to those in Sarah Trimmerʼs ((1741–1810)) An Easy Introduction to the Knowledge of Nature, and Reading the Holy Scriptures, Adapted to the Capacities of Children (1780) in order to highlight the differences in pedagogical approach to science, as adopted respectively by Unitarian and by Church of England childrenʼs authors in the late eighteenth century. Seeking to understand particularly the effect of these approaches on readers, Fyfe suggests that Barbauld and Aikin inspired child readers to become active inquirers. In the dialogues in Evenings, the fictional children take the initiative in prompting dialogue with their adult interlocutors, and they freely make observations, hazard connections, and draw conclusions. Trimmerʼs fictional children, in contrast, are passively guided by their mother, whose voice dominates the text. She directs the childrenʼs attention to natural phenomena and tells the children what to think about them, using the terms of natural theology. The difference reflects a philosophical clash between a Rousseauist belief in enfranchising children to discover the world for themselves, and a conservative Christian commitment to guard children against sinful influences, from both within the self and without. Aikin and Barbauld encourage discovery and curiosity regarding a wide variety of subjects, which includes science for both boys and girls, albeit to distinct ends. Trimmer prioritizes religious teaching, embracing natural history only as a means to inspire awe in the revelation of Godʼs design for the world, while ruling out scientific learning that is unmediated by religion as dangerous and likely overly abstruse as well ( Fyfe, “Reading Childrenʼs Books”,[1999] 468-72, 456-64).
Admonitory religious voices like Mrs. Trimmerʼs persona are represented among Ruskinʼs surviving early books of tales and poems for children, but there is no evidence specifically of books of natural history that take Trimmerʼs approach (see Books Used by Ruskin in His Youth: Physical Descriptions). On the evidence of Ruskinʼs own “Harry and Lucy”, in which he adapts the genre of the educational dialogue to his own domestic setting, the tone suggests that he absorbed the stance of Barbauld and Aikinʼs uninhibited inquirer. In volume 1, chapter 1, which, as proposed in Composition, probably reflects the most direct influence of Evenings at Home, Lucy takes the initiative in directing the topic and development of discourse. She declares what she will do: outside the house, she will visit her rabbit; inside the house, she will draw a head. While Mamma imposes checks on willfulness (Lucy cannot go outside in the rain; inside, she should “do one thing at once” and finish her landscape before drawing the head), Lucy easily diverts Mamma from captious control. Mamma does wrest the lead in conversation by inquiring about the condition of Lucyʼs silkworms—a topic that leads to an opening to quiz Lucy on addition. But Lucy turns the tables and stumps her mother with abstruse questions about silkworms—the answers to which Mamma might have known had she read Edgeworthʼs Harry and Lucy Concluded as carefully as Ruskinʼs Lucy evidently has done. In short, this is a household of surprises, which can catch up both Lucy and Mamma: before Lucy can draw anything, she must find her pencils, which Mamma is amazed to discover in her workbox.
That Ruskin inhabited this freer and more inquisitive child persona, as compared with Mrs. Trimmerʼs silently compliant children, is not necessarily surprising for his decade. Fyfe remarks that, whereas in the 1790s the progressive Unitarian pedagogical methods in Evenings at Home raised alarms among Church of England book reviewers, including Mrs. Trimmer, by the 1820s Aikin and Barbauldʼs approach had been integrated into the home educations practiced by both Anglican and Dissenter families. By this time, readersʼ responses to Evenings at Home had shifted, as shown by testimony of Victorians who were born around 1820, and who, like Ruskin, treasured their childhood memories of Barbauld and Aikinʼs book. Fyfe takes this record of response as proof that the authorsʼ policy of avoiding direct religious commentary—an absence that Trimmer considered sufficiently damning in itself—succeeded in ultimately making the book acceptable to a wider audidence. Similarly, the Edgeworths avoided potentially devisive religious topics in their educational dialogues, fearing that controversy would undermine the universality of rational and practical thinking they sought to cultivate ( Fyfe, “Reading Childrenʼs Books”,[1999], 465-66, 462-63, 472).
On the question of Barbauldʼs reception by Ruskinʼs generation, see also Barbauld. William McCarthy takes a more sardonic view of what he regards as a project of rehabilitation by Barbauldʼs niece and others to disassociate the writer from radical positions like Wollstonecraftian feminism. The purge, he believes, was achieved by narrowing Barbauldʼs reputation to childrenʼs writing, reducing her to “a sort of national nanny”. McCarthy quotes a writer for the Edinburgh Review in 1829—the period when Ruskin was first reading Evenings at Home—who describes works like the “Hymns and Early Lessons of Mrs Barbauld” as exemplary of the “proper and natural business” of writing by women, which “is the practical regulation of private life, in all its bearings, affections, and concerns” (McCarthy, ,[1999]ref> 177-78).
Biographical Context and Real‐Life Lessons
Ruskin begins volume 1 with the fatherʼs absence, Lucy remarking “papa has gone out to town earlyer than usual”; and when Papa comes home at the start of chapter 2, his presence significantly eclipses Mammaʼs role as interlocutor in the text. Ruskin even neglects to make a place for Mamma in the seating arrangements of the traveling carriage that carries the family on the excursion to Hastings (see contextual glosses for volume 1). At the beach, Mamma is represented as a voice calling Harry to lessons, a voice he “did not hear” and “staid away a whole hour later than he should” (chap. 10). Ruskinʼs desire for his real father during John Jamesʼs lengthy business travels can therefore be taken as a powerful emotion animating his adaptation of the lesson in dialogue form, just as he makes that desire an explicit theme in the poems that fill the remaining space in his “Harry and Lucy” Red Books (MS I, MS II, MS III, and MS IIIA; and see, e.g., “On Papaʼs Leaving Home” and “The Monastery”). At the same time, Ruskinʼs adaptation of the dialogue form to represent domestic life at Herne Hill delivers at times convincing and lively exchanges between his female characters, Lucy and Mamma.
While Ruskinʼs narrative can be read biographically for an emotional truth, his “Harry and Lucy” is strikingly embedded in its textual origins, albeit creatively so. Aileen Fyfe comments that the appeal of eighteenth‐ and nineteenth‐century books of science for children lay in the practical applications that readers could undertake in real life (“Tracts, Classics and Brands”, 213). In Ruskinʼs “Harry and Lucy”, however, the dialogues often seem less a record of “early lessons” put in practice at Herne Hill than a fantasized praxis at one remove—Ruskinʼs Harry enacting imaginatively what Edgeworthʼs, Barbauldʼs, and Joyceʼs fictional children do. Certainly, some portions of Ruskinʼs narrative can be most convincingly explained in terms of direct experience (see “Records of the Ruskin Family Travel”). But a number of the scientific experiments lifted from Joyce and Edgeworth were obviously too exotic or dangerous to have been been permitted to disturb the peace of Herne Hill (e.g., Ruskinʼs Lucy tending to silkworms, or Harry setting off gunpowder); and specialized apparatus such as the air pump, though omnipresent in the world of Edgeworthʼs Harry and Lucy, seems unlikely to have been household objects in Camberwell. John Jamesʼs meticulous household accounts reveal largesse with books for the library but nothing for a laboratory.
Nonetheless, the bookish quality of Ruskinʼs appropriation of experiments may in itself shed light on a biographical connection. A surviving book from the Ruskin family library that is inscribed as an early possession of John James Ruskin rather than of John, is Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet (1769–1858), a popular writer on science and political economy. (See Dearden, Library of John Ruskin, 187 [no. 1433], where John Jamesʼs 1809 copy of Marcetʼs Conversations is misattributed to Jeremiah Joyce, and the book confused with the provenance of Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues in the Ruskin household. Joyce did author a similarly titled Dialogues in Chemistry, Intended for the Instruction and Entertainment of Young People [1807], but if Deardenʼs bibliographical details are correct, it is undoubtedly Marcetʼs book that John James owned.)
Marcet first published the Conversations in 1805, close on the heels of Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues (which she represents as having co‐opted rather than having influenced her own project). She wrote the book for the edification of women, particularly as a preliminary foundation for fashionable women who attended the public lectures designed to introduce the British public to abstruse scientific topics but which too often only bewildered their audiences with terminology and concepts over their heads (Marcet, Conversations on Chemistry, 1:v–x). The complaint is dramatized in an episode by Edgeworth in which a pompous lecturer on astronomy puts an audience of children to sleep “listening to a vast number of words . . . of which nearly half were nothing to the purpose”. Even an eager boy like Frank, “after all his reading in [Joyceʼs] Scientific Dialogues, had much difficulty sometimes in understanding . . . [and] ‘how much more difficult it would have been . . . unless I had read the description and explanation beforehand’” (Edgeworth, Frank: A Sequel, 2:249, 255–56). In his earlier days in London, John James often attended lectures; and it seems consistent with his habits of self‐culture that, as an aspiring wine merchant, he would have educated himself in a basic course of chemistry; and that he would have acquired Marcetʼs popular text, regardless of its specified female audience, to privide a foundation of concepts and glossary of technical terms. What this opening on John Jamesʼs scientific self‐culture may reveal is a scenario for father and sonʼs—and motherʼs—home schooling with these scientific dialogues as shared texts. See Reflections of Educational Approaches for how Ruskinʼs written dialogues may incorporate the pedagogical method recommended for such study sessions.
How the Ruskins may have employed these educational texts as a family is lost to us, but Ruskinʼs written dialogues mention some hands‐on projects, which are independently documented in the family letters. In May 1826, Margaret Ruskin reported to her husband that John had almost finished a “cave”. Whether this object was three‐ or two‐dimensional, it appears to have been inspired by Robinson Crusoeʼs refuge on his island; and play associated with it may have given rise to a fantastical episode in volume 1 of “Harry and Lucy”, in which Mamma is seated inside a cave to observe a motley parade of animals (Margaret to John James Ruskin, 25 May 1826, in Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 149; and see “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol I”, chaps. 4–5). Another project described in volume 3 of “Harry and Lucy” may also have been based on a material object, a puppet show. While the construction described by Harry suggests a homemade project, it may have been based on or incorporated a product commonly available in stationersʼ shops in the first half of the century. Printed sheets contained the sections of a proscenium, which could be cut out to form a toy theater, while other sheets held characters from popular plays to be cut out and mounted on sticks for acting out performances (see Sheriko, “Patchwork Play”).
Records of the Ruskin Family Travels
W. G. Collingwood was certain that the content of Ruskinʼs Harry and Lucy narratives could be easily sorted between categories of real and “ideal”, and that the travel accounts were self‐evidently biographical: “His “Harry and Lucy” is mainly a dramatised account of tours; himself being Harry, with an imaginary sister, studied from Jessie of Perth or Bridget of Croydon, for he had nobody then to act permanently in that capacity, as his cousin Mary did afterwards. The moralising mamma, and literary papa represent his parents to the life” (Collingwood, Life and Work of John Ruskin [1893], 1:24). Collingwoodʼs discernment of autobiographical “truth” from fiction was based, one suspects, on extending the charm of Ruskinʼs description of boyhood travels in Praeterita to the travel narratives from fifty years earlier. He ignored, or was not aware, that Ruskinʼs model, the original Harry and Lucy Concluded by Maria Edgeworth, likewise contains a lengthy account of a domestic tour—perhaps the first travel narrative that Ruskin read as a youth, apart from adventure tales such as Robinson Crusoe. Edgeworthʼs child characters accompany their parents for a lengthy sojourn at a seaside cottage, just as Ruskinʼs “Harry and Lucy” visit one of the seaside resorts that were attracting an increasingly middle-class tourism clientele in the early nineteenth century (see The Ruskinsʼ Visits to Seaside Resorts and Spas). Edgeworthʼs family travels from the northwest of England to the southwest coast near Bristol, stopping along the way at sites showcasing Britainʼs industrial achievements from the late eighteenth century. Ruskinʼs “Harry and Lucy” journey in the opposite direction, to the southeast coast at Hastings, taking in highlights of picturesque landscape. While differing in emphasis, Ruskinʼs travelogue derives structural elements from Edgeworthʼs book to frame the journey, and he also imports some entirely fictional details.
As explained in the contextual glosses to volume 1, Ruskin borrowed from Edgeworthʼs narrative to describe his Harry and Lucyʼs excited departure for the seacoast. An adaptation from Edgeworth is probably also responsible for an awkward segue where Ruskin drops his travel narrative because his Harry is “determined to go on with science”—a long section of the volume consisting of a rote rehearsal of experiments copied from Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues. While Edgeworth of course does not plagiarize from Joyce, the seacoast destination of her fictional family seems nearly incidental to the educational goal of the journey, which is to enhance the childrenʼs “practical education” with on‐site demonstrations of industry and science that they would otherwise have to gather from books. Along the road south to Bristol, they tour mills and factories in the Midlands to understand how the industries are powered and organized. When settled in their seaside cottage, the children are ascribed a single episode of sublime encounter with the sea; otherwise, their main attraction is access to the extensively equipped “workroom” and library at Digby Castle, the residence of their seaside landlord, Sir Rupert Digby. The castle offers fabulous opportunities for applied learning—a sort of nineteenth‐century Epcot Center set inside a Disney castle featuring Gothic Revival exhibits such as a great hall and a hermitage. Sir Rupert is an idealized master of ceremonies, an avuncular character who oversees a largesse of books and scientific equipment. Thus, when Ruskin determines that his Harry must “go on with science”, he is not just filling space, but imitating the focus of Edgeworthʼs children on experiments in Sir Rupertʼs wonderful workroom, where the “favourite book” of Edgeworthʼs Harry, Joyceʼs Scientific Dialogues, “assisted” him in his investigations (Edgeworth, Harry and Lucy Concluded, 3:319).
Yet, while Ruskin relies on Edgeworthʼs tale for ways to frame his travelogue (and borrows directly from Edgeworth for an exciting episode involving an exploding wagon, which occurs along the road to Hastings), his account of Harry and Lucy at Hastings fundamentally differs from his source in its relish for the seashore and the surrounding cliffs. Apart from the series of experiments copied from Joyce, Ruskinʼs account reflects little of Edgeworthʼs educational program. Instead, his narrative aligns convincingly with multiple travel guides to Hastings from the period, without copying directly from them. As detailed in the contextual glosses, Harryʼs walks with his Papa on the heights above the town follow the topography of the place; and his activities in a boat, on the shore, and in a hotel reflect the tourism industry in Hastings of the 1820s. Sowewhat less clearly recognizable, Ruskinʼs description of the road trip from London to the coast is at least reconcilable with the route through Tunbridge Wells that the Ruskin family probably followed. There survives no independent evidence to confirm the fact or the dates of this journey (see Tours of 1826–27). Nonetheless, Ruskinʼs account of the visit to Hastings proper, as opposed to how he frames the beginning and end of the visit, is not carried out in a laboratory but through activities associated with the picturesque—viewing, walking, collecting, drawing. While Collingwood too readily assumed that Ruskinʼs tale recorded experience “to the life” with just the names changed, his instinct was sound for the authenticity of Ruskinʼs engagement with the picturesque tour, which corresponds to the recommendations of Hastings guidebooks of the period but is not copied from those sources, so far as presently discovered.
Dovetailing the end of volume 1 of “Harry and Lucy“ with the beginnning of the next, Ruskin locates his characters at Hastings at the start of “Harry and Lucy . . . Vol. 2”. Although he did not begin composition until several months later, in fall or winter 1827, volume 2 carries his family from the seaside to Wales and Scotland. . .
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