Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/187

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
iv
167
VISIT TO A PUPIL'S HOME

fastening its little shoes. I had never been there before ; and I was conducted up the dark staircase to the attics. Here I saw by the furniture that they had seen "better days." One tiny room was their sitting room, comfortably furnished ; a bright clean fire, tea set, and the children's grandmother sitting primly attired to receive me. All this I saw, and it made me understand something more of the people at once. It would have done anyone's heart good to see the self-forgetfulness of these people ; the five tiny little girls, the eldest only seven, each delighted to give place to one another; and as to Sarah, who is their half-sister, it was lovely to see how quietly she served everyone. They are earnest High-Church people ; the baby is called Amy Herbert, after Miss Sewell's heroine, and also because Mrs. —— is so fond of George Herbert's poems. The tiny children all sang some hymns, "O let us be joyful," and others.

Sarah comes to my drawing class, and we had much talk about her lessons. Her mother means to read aloud to her these winter evenings, while she draws ; and then she will read while her mother works. It is a brave faithful little home, and such as one loves to come upon ; and I was much touched by their hospitable cordial reception of me. I thought you would like to hear thus much.

103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,

November 27th, 1859.

To Miss Baumgartner.

Mrs. Browning has taught me so very much, or rather has been such a friend to me, saying precisely what I wanted to hear (first expressing my own feelings