Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/124

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104
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

Ruskin, there was once a shepherd's dog, who was ordered by his master to watch a flock of sheep. His master forgot to call him away, and went home. Surprised at the dog's absence, he returned after two days, and found the poor fellow still watching his sheep. And the dog, who now addresses you, would be very glad to be thus patient and obedient, if she were sure that she was really doing the work her master most wanted done; but a great doubt has arisen in her mind as to it. She would not venture to set up her ideas of what is best or most necessary above her master's. If he does want her to go on with the work, well and good. If not, can he write? If he cannot, she has done all she could, and will remain obedient to his words." Was it not fun? He answered by return of post beginning, "My poor little doggie, I really will come to-morrow." We are going to Lincoln's Inn to-morrow, and then I am going to hear Spurgeon. Do you know who he is?


4, Russell Place, 
November 22nd, 1857.

Emily to Florence.

I told you that Ruskin had promised to come the evening before Ockey's birthday. She wanted to give him some present, so this is what we have thought of. Do you remember a little stand Ockey was going to paint for a chamois with the words[1]:—

"We see our skies thro' clouds of smoke.
 Theirs bends o'er wastes of sunlit snow.
 God leads us all in different ways,
 His hand to see, His will to know."

We have just thought that she might finish that for him. But we were at a loss how to get a Swiss

  1. Composed by Octavia.