Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/144

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124
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

in another world, and the purpose of sorrow. I said that it was most comforting to me to look back, and see how things which had seemed so sad turned out as blessings. R. said, "It may be so with you good people; but if I look back it is to find blunders. To remember the past is like Purgatory." O. said that the past interpreted the present, and made her hopeful for the future. I think some of the things we said (especially what Mama said) may have made him happier. When he heard that his carriage had come, he said something about its being sad that evenings went so fast. Indeed he stayed long after his carriage had come, and when he was half down stairs, returned to look at O.'s pupils' drawings of his own accord, and said he was in no hurry if she had anything else to tell him. When we thanked him for coming, he said that he ought not to be thanked, as he had so much enjoyed himself.


December 19th, 1858.

Emily to Miranda.

Dear Ockey has had rather a disappointment lately about her work,—that is to say she has been awakened to the sense of its not being as accurate as she had hoped it was. She wrote to Ruskin to ask about his employing a young artist. He wrote back very kindly saying he could employ two or three girls, supposing they could copy accurately; but accuracy meant so much. "Even you are nothing near the mark yet, tho' the Claude foreground is a step in advance." Of course O. knew that the things she had done in water colour were very far from right; but she had thought that her pencil and pen work was very nearly so. In the same letter he said that he always had a chivalrous desire to help women, but he began