Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/123

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III
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RUSKIN'S CRITICISMS

They are the only things I have to give you, dear one; but I like to think you know what I have been doing.—I had not seen Ruskin all the summer and autumn, but he just came, on Friday, in time to see my work; so that I could send it to you. He is busy in town every day, so that he could not see me at Denmark Hill; but he came here. You do not know how pleased he was with all I had done, or how happy I was that he was pleased. He said I had done an immense quantity of work, and that I was far more accurate than any of his men at the College, whom, you know, he teaches every week. He said of one of my drawings, "This is quite a marvellous piece of drawing, Octavia." And when I showed him one of my Albert Dürers he exclaimed, "Is that yours? I was going to say you had been cutting up my print."

"Ah," I said, "you won't find it so accurate when you look nearer." He then said that it was as accurate as it was possible to be without absolutely tracing it. He told me he saw with what spirit I had worked. He is going to take me to Marlboro' House on Friday, and give me a student's ticket; for he wants me to copy some Turners for him in outline. He says he must give me more teaching, which he can do when I am working at Marlboro' House, where he will come and superintend me, when he has time. I felt altogether so delighted. Ruskin is so kind and beautiful. You know he is coming to keep my birthday with us. … He has been very busy, so that his looking over my work has been delayed. He sent me the Albert Dürer four weeks ago, saying, "Copy this, bit by bit, till I see you." At last I had done it so long that I was sure he could not want me to go on longer. So I hit on this odd plan. I wrote to him something in this style: "My dear Mr.