Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/142
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL
excite the kind of admiration that you do, in many people; and that you have the power of exciting the noble and beautiful emotions which your words and writings do." Ruskin said that he would wish his word about art to be taken just in the same way that a physician's or lawyer's would be about medicine or law. O. said she was sure it was so, more than he thought; and that it was a growing thing. That a lady had said to her the other day, that a word from him would be enough to ruin her; and O. added, "At which I felt very proud." She said that she thought when people did right, the good they expected very often did not come, because they were not perfectly wise, as well as perfectly right; but that, tho' they had to suffer for want of judgment, in the end they were always blessed; but in different ways from those they had expected; that, as long as people calculated results, they could not do right; they must do right for right's sake.
Ruskin said, "Do you mean to say that a man, who had been very selfish, and thought he would make himself happy by going out and giving to all the beggars he met, would not succeed?" O. said, "No! he might at first, but he would find afterwards that he had gathered around him many people who only cared for his money. Whereas, if a man did the same thing from a sincere love for his fellow creatures, he would not have the pain of suspecting the motives of all around him, and he would have the sympathy of those engaged in the same good work." They were speaking of the blessing of having the sympathy of people, and R. said he had some people who understood him. O. said, with a very bright smile, "Oh have you?" R. said, "Yes. I think you do pretty well."Then Mama read Miranda's letter about her voyage