Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/354

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330
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

About June 12th, 1875.

Octavia to Mr. Ludlow.

I have not seen anything of you for many years, nor heard anything of you lately; but, when I was thinking over the names of people resident at Wimbledon, who might possibly care to help with a party of four hundred of my tenants whom I am going to bring down there on Wednesday, yours naturally suggested itself, as I have some impression that you are still living there. I do not know that I should have ventured to write, having no special claim for these my people on you; but, your name having once occurred to me in relation to the question, I could not help feeling a wish to ask you just to walk over and see us, if you could without trouble, some time in the afternoon or evening at or near Cæsar's Camp, where we expect to be. I have vivid memories of tailors' "bean-feasts" long ago, with which those with whom you were working were associated; perhaps there I then first learned both the great good which grew out of such association with the people in their joys, and also how much was needed to make such gatherings more refined in tone, and gentler and quieter. If, as a child, I learned all this from what I saw, it was years before it became possible to me to realise what I saw to be needed. Though the thought of these my present excursions and winter parties was untraced by me to its germ so long ago, though now my people are quite unconnected with the Associations and founders of Associations, it yet remains true that it was the early connection with that body of "Christian Socialists," to which much of my present work must owe its spirit. It had to find its own form, according to the needs and possibilities of