Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/116

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96
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

as if I had earned a time to rest or enjoy leisure; and then had been convinced that all time was God's and to be used for Him.

Miss Sterling mentioned it to Mr. Maurice, and in consequence he asked me to go to his house this evening, to talk to him about it. He spoke very beautifully indeed about it, and of course very kindly to me. He thought that rest was as much a part of God's order as work was; that we have no right to put ourselves out of that order, as if we were above it. He told me that the division of things into duties and privileges was an arbitrary one; there is no such broad distinction, every privilege involves a duty; our highest privilege is to perform our duty; rest is as much a duty as work; it is very self-willed to try to do without it; it is really hopeless to try to exist, if one is for ever giving out, and never receiving; nor does he think that the doing of actions rightly, brings with it enough of this receiving. He also advised that I should go to church every Sunday morning[1] with Mama, as he believed it would be a great bond of union.

And, Mary, I could not help the tears coming into my eyes, and my voice being choked at feeling so cared for by one so noble, so infinitely strong, so perfectly calm; and a strange sense of perfect peace, such as I have not felt since I saw you, stole over me. And yet I was so hard, so unconvinced, and so strangely bitter; bitter, with myself in feeling how much of pride had made me think I could stand without help; and we sat quite silent for a few moments. At last Mr. Maurice spoke in a deep full voice, you felt what a depth of human sympathy was in it: " Will you think about it then, Miss Hill?"

  1. She went every afternoon to Lincoln's Inn.