Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/342

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320
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

work. They say the omissions are from ignorance, and will be willingly corrected when pointed out, as everyone wants to work it. I dare hardly hope; it seems so very near the realisation of much one has wanted so long. Stansfeld was there, and was so kind, and Mr. Shaw Lefevre. I am a great deal in B. Court just now, and right down among the people there, which is very nice. I am sensible how much I lack swiftly turning perception, and unfailing gentleness, and a certain cautious reservation of speech. My only chance among the people is trying to be all right, so that it mayn't matter their seeing right thro' me. I have no powers of diplomacy; these I don't regret, but the power of non-expression might be an advantage. However, I don't get into great messes somehow; and I suppose one was made like this, to do some particular work in the world. The people are delightful down there, so responsive, so trustful. … Dost thou know if ever I write again I shall make a point of dwelling on Ruskin's beginning the work? I fancy he feels sadly his schemes have not succeeded; and they only want the admixture of humdrum elements to make them into bodies; the soul is all there. His share is the soul, and this ought to come prominently out.

I enclose the report of Stanley's sermon, and of Mr. Kay Shuttleworth's speech. …

I daresay I may feel more courageous after to-morrow, when the public-house trial comes on. We quite expect to be defeated here, but hope to win on the appeal. It will be very horrid to-morrow; there is such strong personal feeling. …

Miss Martin, the lady from Leeds who is staying here, is so very nice. She has great power, and will do the work admirably. She has great perception of character,