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JOHN RUSKIN is the son of a London merchant, and was born in the year 1819. He thus writes of himself: "Who am I, that I should challenge you," the squires of England," do you ask? My mother was a sailor's daughter, and, please you, one of my aunts was a baker's wife, the other a tanner's; and I don't know much more about my family, except that there used to be a greengrocer of the name in a small shop near the Crystal Palace. Something of my early and vulgar life, if it interests you, I will tell in next 'Fors'; in this one it is indeed my business, poor gipsy herald as I am, to bring you such a challenge, though you should hunt and hang me for it."

Mr. Ruskin's father came over the Border in search of fortune. "He came up to London,

was a clerk in a merchant's office for nine years without a holiday, then began business on his own account, paid his father's debts, and married his exemplary Croydon cousin."





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"My father began business as a wine merchant, with no capital, and a considerable amount of debts bequeathed him by my grandfather. accepted the bequest, and paid them all before he began to lay by anything for himself, for which his best friends called him a fool; and I, without expressing any opinion as to his wisdom, which I knew in such matters to be at least equal to mine, have written on the granite slab over his grave that he was an entirely honest merchant.' As days went on he was able to take a house in Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, No. 54 (the windows of it, fortunately for me, commanded a view of a marvellous iron post, out of which the water-carts were filled through beautiful little trap-doors, by pipes like boa-constrictors, and I was never weary of contemplating that mystery, and the delicious dripping consequent); and as years went on he could command a post-chaise and pair for two months in the summer, by help of which, with my mother and me, he went the round of his country customers (who liked to see the principal of the house his own traveller); so that at a jog-trot pace, and through the panoramic opening of the four

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