Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/159

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EXPERIENCES OF TRAVEL

and very like Weybridge in soil and trees and plants; only the poplars were exquisitely graceful. I never knew what avenues were till now. They are lovely, and seem to me to be particularly interesting in being so orderly; yet the order was only discerned, the beauty only felt, from one spot. …

We could hardly bear the suspense of climbing the hill, on which it[1] stood. We wanted to see the carving, and could hardly have borne the time, but that we saw its spires. At last we stood at its foot, and saw the great thing towering in the sunlighted blue vault. We could not tear ourselves away from the rich old porches at the north end; tho' we were sinking with hunger;—one exclaiming, "Oh this is St. Peter—his key! look!" Another discovering, with delight, that there was the Virgin, or there was the Righteous Judgment. At last we went and had dinner, and on returning, entered. I think you will be greatly amused to hear of our adventures, and all the people we have seen. I have to do all the talking to people, I'm getting quite ready to ask questions, and it increases the fun very much.[2] We have been in the most complete country and among quite rustic things; and I have laughed more since I came to France, than I have done for years, I think. I can't say that I think the people very nice; they are extremely polite, except the soldiers, but are wretched beggars. … I hope, dear people, that all goes on well with you, and that all is comfortable. Pray tell me if it is not.

  1. Chartres Cathedral.
  2. Octavia had only learned a little French from her mother, and had had no practice in speaking except a very little to the refugee Poles, who worked at the Ladies' Guild, eight years previously.