Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/370

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
344
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

of the words which we then heard together. Ask Mama for a piece of her hair to put in the brooch; and, when you wear it, think of her love. It is a funny little old-fashioned brooch, but I thought it was very pretty; and I liked it, because it looked as if it had a history. I thought you might like it for this reason too. But I am afraid it will not begin to speak to you, like those delightful things in Andersen's stories. If only it could, what a quantity it might tell you! I wonder whom it belonged to; and whether it has been given, with words of loving hope, ever before, to any one; and whether the hope was realised or not. Does it not look as if its pearls might once have been tears, but had lost their passionateness, and had become quiet, like old people's tears, that are slow and still and deep, and much sadder, often, than young people's, though more beautiful in power of reflecting? What do the old people's tears reflect when they have lived good lives? Oh, Ollie dear, they reflect all the things which are round them, or have happened to them; and each looks lovelier than the other; some rose-coloured, some gold, some blue like the heaven, some white like snow. We may all be glad to have tears like these, set like jewels in a crown, to make our lives look royal.

This old-fashioned brooch, too, seemed to me like a good christening present, because those words that we heard have a history, like it;—those words, I mean, about your being signed with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter you should not be ashamed to be Christ's soldier and to fight under His banner against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Many a mother, Ollie, like yours, has heard them prayed over her little girl, and has wondered whether, when she grew to be a