Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/225

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RUSKIN'S APPEAL TO OCTAVIA

depended on the way, and slight accents and actions impossible to describe. So to come to more important things ; Ruskin was so delighted with the trumpet Fra Angelico, that I am to leave Turners and all else and devote myself to Fra Angelico and Orcagna, wherever I can find them ; also a little water-colour drawing won the remark that now I had "delicacy" of touch for anything. Nevertheless Ruskin's heart is with social things ; and I was earnestly charged to leave any drawing, if I saw what of help I could give anywhere, believing (which is not difficult) that in doing any good, I was fulfilling Ruskin's wish and will as much as in drawing. "Never argue that it is not my work," he said ; "I believe you have power among people, which I ought not to monopolise. I'm going away myself too ; so just look upon it that I leave you charged to do anything you may see good to be done ; only mind, Octavia ! one way there is in which you may both grieve and vex me, namely by hurting yourself. Don't be proud and foolish ; remember your strength is worth keeping. Rest for months or years, if you ought, but don't lose it." Rather a strange, rather a proud, a very thankful and glorious position,—isn't it, Emma ? It doesn't make much practical change. The social work is best done by the way. He didn't mean "help people with money," for he didn't leave me any. I meant to rest a good deal ; but the confidence and the freedom, if it is wanted,—these make a difference.

14, Nottingham Place, W.,

February 4th, 1863.

To Florence.

.... I only began my physiology yesterday, but have done a great deal since, arid if Mrs. M. has the