Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/158

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138
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

Tell Minnie this, it will amuse her. He was a man of immense curiosity; and, I must in justice allow, he gave me no cause whatever for my aversion to him unless it were that, though he was willing enough to discourse about France, Switzerland, etc., or open and shut windows when he had nothing else to do, he took good care to keep all his energies for himself at any time of bustle; and, after chattering nearly three hours to me, directly we reached Dieppe he never even looked round to see if I'd met my friends, or told or showed me anything, though he knew the regulations of the city well—which would have surprised me if I'd trusted his nasty eye, and would have made me feel desolate, if I hadn't been who I am, and in a state of happy and independent resolution (which, perhaps, I ought to give him credit for perceiving). I was really glad of his chatter at last, for I thought the voyage long.


April 24th, 1859.

To Emily.

It has seemed to me so wonderful really to see large spaces of almost uninhabited country; they give me a sense of loneliness and quiet, quite unequalled and delightful. We came to a large lonely chateau, surrounded with firs, just as the sun sank behind a low hill, towards which it looked. The hill, the firs, the birches opposite stood up dark against the sunset. Oh! it was so lovely! That night (Thursday) we slept at Houden in a room with great white-washed beams, looking out over the yard. We didn't sleep, we were so cold; and we got up only just in time for the diligence to Rambouillet. The country was flattish,