LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL
November 22nd, 1857.
To Florence.I don't know whether you will receive this letter, or the box that was despatched yesterday, first. So I must tell you that in it you will find a very few drawings of mine. I will tell you a little about them. I have selected them from a great many that I have done, for I have been at work at that kind of drawing all the summer. I am speaking of the flowers. You will see we chose to send you the water forget-me-not, cranes-bill and lady's-finger, all of which were old favourites of yours. There is one page of virginian creeper and creeping jenny which I send, partly because they are of London growth; and when I had no fresh bright wild country things, day after day did I persevere in drawing the dirty little fellows from the black wall and dirty earth; so they seem to me rather characteristic of my work. The dear buglos is one of my friends; the bramble you know I always loved; and so I have sent you a little piece shaded. I am rather proud of the stalk of the highest leaf; indeed I like it all. Then those drawings on note-paper are copies from Albert Dürer. Is not that a beautiful little piece with the thistle and grass, and stones? How do you like my old donkey's head? It is nearly the first animal I have ever drawn. In the picture, which is one of Joseph and Mary taking Christ, when a little child, down into Egypt, the donkey is being led by Joseph, and he is just looking out of the corner of his eye in that odd way at the thistle, evidently thinking if his rein is long enough for him to snatch at it; but he is nearly past it, and clearly will have to go without the treat. Down below two little lizards are at play; on a log a little bird is perched. I hope you will receive the drawings on my birthday.