Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/373

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PRESSURE OF WORK

circumstances warranting an exception. It is strange, but the strain of responsible schemes under my con- tinuous charge, the thought necessary for dealing with all the new large plans before me, and starting them wisely and well, the ever-flowing stream of persons with whom I have to make appointments on business, and the incessant buzz around me of my assistants and immediate fellow- workers, leave me in a state of utter exhaustion on a Saturday night, which makes perfect stillness the only possibility for Sundays. Even the walks are often taken up by the companionship of persons who want to talk over with me this plan or that ; or to submit to me some difficulty. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to see anything even of Mama and Miranda, and as to Gertrude and Minnie I rarely see them, even if they come here. It is well for me that in the course of work I do naturally see many of my friends ; and that I do love and care very deeply for many of my fellow workers. Else I don't quite know what would have happened to me by now. I know you will begin to tell me I ought to give something up. And I could only answer my whole life is giving up of work. I part with bit after bit often of that I care for most, and that week after week ; but it is the nearest of all duties, added to the large new questions, in which a little of my time goes a very long way, which thus engross me. Such, for instance, as those I have now in hand the purchase for Lord Pembroke of 6,000 worth of houses for the poor. He gives money, pays worker ; one of my fellow workers trains her. Mr. Barnett sends me names of courts ; but the seeing the spot, its capabilities, value, the best scheme to improve it, getting surveyors' and lawyers'

reports, I must do. I have six such schemes in hand