Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/110

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chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

work felt, the form so rarely seen, both beautiful and life-like. Then I think the instance of the ennobling influence of having someone depending on one is most valuable. Then see how the truly great nature gathers good from all things thro' life. And imagine how I delight in the athletic games, and try to feel how I prize the book. I know you will feel all the objections to it quite strongly enough; and I won't try to say anything about them except; Don't hastily believe that the author advocates all he paints. There are few things in the world (are there any?) from which a great nature won't glean some good.


4, Russell Place,  
October 21st, 1856.

To Mary Harris.

Oh, Mary, money is very powerful. I have just came in from paying several people for some work done, for the execution of an order which we accepted to give them employment. Many of them are old Guild people, who arranged to wait till the things were paid for; the payment has been a little delayed, and so it was unexpected by them; and there they were, educated and uneducated, living in nice streets renting the whole house, or in little back attics in small streets,—all glad to see me; but still more so when I told my errand; and the relieved look that for a few moments lighted up their care-worn faces touched me very much. To think of the power of those small pieces of money, to think of the thankfulness they caused! But what struck me especially was that to one the shilling was of as much importance as the pound to another; and so it was; one set had learned by hard experience not to expect the little luxuries of eating. Butter, sugar, and even meat are rarely used by them; but, more than