Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/227

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MIRANDA'S ILLNESS

didn't think I should care. I care very much for her sake, and very much for yours." He asked a great deal about it, and when they spoke of how we nursed you, the tears came into his eyes.

July, 1863.

To Miss Baumgartner.

Miranda's life has been in imminent danger ; in fact, for some days the doctors gave us no hope. . . . You may imagine what the watching and nursing were. I can never tell ; so awfully is every incident of those long days and nights burnt into my memory. But there is one thing you can't know. The infinite, the wonderful, the universal sympathy and desire to help ; it was something triumphantly beautiful ; one felt it even at the worst, only it felt so very far away, so helpless. Mr. Maurice was here daily, often twice or thrice. He used to come, like a great tender angel of strength, so infinitely pitiful, saying and reading to us things never to be forgotten, answering Miranda's questions unconsciously asked, so that they answered those deep down in us, thinking no service too small for him to render, none too arduous, startling me to a sense of my own existence by some tender bit of thought for me. And Miss Sterling, I don't know what we should have done without her. When danger was gone but anxiety remained, I sank down to a state of miserable weakness and low spirits ; and she would come and take me out for drives. I couldn't stand or walk, so terribly fatiguing had the nursing been ; why, the simple feeding was enough. Miranda was fed every half hour, and Mama and I did very nearly everything. Ruskin sent most kindly. And then the little children, who stole about the house and spoke in