Monday, 28 April 2008
Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts
Which of us feels, or knows, that he wants peace? There are two ways of getting it...Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. Those are nests on the sea indeed, but safe beyond all others; only they need much art in the building. None of us yet knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thoughts -- proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful savings, precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb nor pain make gloomy -- houses built without hands, for our souls to live in. John Ruskin
I was reading this Ruskin quote and thinking how my blog is my nest of pleasant thoughts, my proof against adversity. I can always come in here and say what I think, read the witty and insightful comments of the community here, and leave this site refreshed and cheered.
But before you get too high an opinion of John Ruskin, though, I was reading in Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages by Phyllis Rose what an ogre of a husband he was to his wife Effie. He wouldn't even sleep with her, telling her that her body disgusted him. And she dearly wanted children too.
He wrote this about Effie:
"Had she treated me as a kind and devoted wife would have done, I should soon have longed to possess her, body and heart...Perhaps the principal cause of it -- next to her resolute effort to detach me from my parents -- was her always thinking that I ought to attend to her, instead of herself attending me."
No wonder Effie ended up running away with the pre-Raphaelite painter John Millais! (That's his painting up there of Ophelia drowning in a stream.)