Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/11

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vii
PREFACE

This statement represents the view of her work which was always most distasteful to Octavia. She disliked extremely the phrase "rent collector" as summing up the essential character of that work. She maintained, as strongly as did Carlyle, that "cash payment was not the sole nexus between man and man," not, as another critic supposed, because she held that "the poor were there for the rich to do good to" ; but because she realised that each had to learn from the other by common sympathy with each other's needs, and not by a hard enforcement of claims, or a careless belief in the power of money giving. It is this wider and more human aspect of her life, which I hope these letters will bring home to their readers. Perhaps the point of view, on which I am insisting, can be best summed up in Canon Barnett's words, "She brought the force of religion into the cause of wisdom, and gave emotion to justice."

I need only add my most hearty thanks to the friends who have helped me, either by sending Miss Hill's letters, or by hints derived from their own recollections, or by enabling us to use the pictures which appear in this volume.

C. E. MAURICE.

1913.