Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/138

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118
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

say, "You came into the world to give to us. Prove to us that you are of some good."

Then Ruskin made a remark about the cream and said that the difficulty people had in getting cream in London was a proof that it was growing too large. Ockey said that so much milk and cream came from the country, and asked Mama if she remembered the cans they had seen the morning they came from Cambridge. This led to their speaking of the pleasure of their visit, and, among other things, Ockey spoke of the sunlight dying away from the stained glass windows in King's College chapel, when they were at the service there. Ruskin said there was hardly anything more solemnly impressive than the death of a stained glass window; and then he said how very little influence the beauty of the Universities had on the men. He says they are proud of them, but nothing more; that when he first went to College he thought it very grand and fine; but soon lost all the impression of solemnity, and looked on the gowns as so many black rags, and the service in the chapel as a daily punishment; and he found that it was the case with all the young men he met. Only perhaps Tennyson or other poets care for it. Ockey said, "Well! people don't feel it at the time, I think they do afterwards. I know many people who speak with such great pleasure of their University. I am sure it is quite beautiful to hear Mr. Maurice speak of it." Ruskin said, "Well! but Mr. Maurice is a poet." At which Mama and Ockey said they thought him anything but that. Mama said how very seldom he made any similes; Ruskin said, "But I do not look upon it that a poet's work is to make similes; but to make things." He said he did not know much about Mr. Maurice; he had not read much