Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/341

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OCTAVIA'S FEELING TO RUSKIN

by the manner in which he finally made over to her the possession of his houses; and that, on the other hand, her old affection and admiration for him never wavered in spite of that passing cloud. I may bring the allusion to this episode to an end by quoting the words which she used in her Letter to her Fellow Workers in 1899 on Ruskin's death:

"The earth seems indeed sadder and poorer that such a man lives on it no more.

"That penetrating sympathy, that marvellous imagination, that wonderful power of expression, that high ideal of life have not only blessed his friends, but have left their mark on England.

"To me personally the loss is irreparable. I have cared to think of the master and friend of my youth, in his lovely home, and to feel that he was among us still.

"He has passed to the great beyond. All his noblest aspirations are opening before him, the incompletenesses passed away, the companionship of the mighty dead around him; the work accomplished, the love fulfilled, the peace complete, the blessings of thousands upon him."

But I have only introduced the subject in this place in order to emphasise the circumstances of the break-down in Octavia's health, and the interruption to her work, which, as will be seen in the next chapter, produced so remarkable a change in her life.

February 14th, 1875.

To Mary Harris.

 . . . . Hast thou seen that Mr. Cross has brought in his Bill? Thou mayest think how intensely eager we are over it. I dined at Mr. Kay Shuttleworth's on Wednesday to discuss its clauses with him and a few experienced people, that he might know what to press on the House; and on Friday Mr. K. S. called together another small company at the Ch. Org. Soc. to rediscuss matters. They think the bill may be made to