Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/184

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164
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

with springing step, and upright carriage, someone whom you would have felt inclined now to call girl now woman. Her cheerfulness, and the air of one who has long been the youngest of the house, and the darling of many brothers, as well as of father and mother, her slight figure, all seemed to give her the first name ; but when you looked at her, there were older lines about her face that made you say "30" ; and, as you knew the face better, you would trace, under all that glad manner, lines of deeply felt suffering ; and certain looks in the deep softness of her grey eyes,—a certain calmness, even in her enthusiasm, would have made you feel that the best of womanhood and of girlhood were combined in her. I suppose you have guessed long ago that I am describing Emma Baumgartner, my new and very dear friend. As I went down there a perfect stranger, having only seen her twice, and her mother once, knowing nothing about who they were, and we had no mutual friends, we had to be specially communicative ; and so, I suppose, our friendship sprang up more quickly than otherwise it could have done. Then, except at meals, we were quite alone, drawing, walking, rowing or resting. But the principal thing that drew us together was my delight in finding in her a great nobleness of judgment and of sympathy, right views about work, and all religious and social questions ; and I think she found a great pleasure in my companionship. We taught her night-school for men and boys together. We attended her men's reading-room. We taught in the Sunday school. We drew. We talked of Kuskin and Mr. Maurice, as well as of her brothers, my sisters, architecture, and all kinds of things. I have had a delightful visit ; and she says she does not know when she has enjoyed a week so much. She has no friends in London