Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/374

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348
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

now, small and large together at this moment. Then I had to see Sir James Hogg, the chairman of the Metrop. Bd. of Works, on Tuesday about the Holborn rebuilding under the Art. Dwell. Bill. I have obtained leave from Sir E. Colbroke to plant the Mile End Road with trees. I have all the negotiations with the vestry to make. The C.O.S. takes much of my time, tho' I have left all our local works to others. Then all the time I have 3,500 tenants and 30,000 or 40,000 worth of money under my continuous charge ; and, though I only see my people in one court face to face as of old, and the ordinary work goes on smoothly, yet even the extra- ordinary on so large a scale takes time. Questions of rebuilding, of construction, of changes of collectors, of introduction of workers to one another, I assure you the exceptional things I can hardly refuse to do (so large is the result from half an hour's work), use up my half hours nearly every one. I do read, 1 must, in holidays, when 1 go right away out of reach of frequent posts daily on those blessed Sundays, sometimes the last thing at night, that I may sleep better. I now and again catch (as if for breath) at a picture gallery ; but so rarely, and only suddenly, when I see I can


Venice, 
February 18th, 1877.

From Ruskin.

My dear Octavia,

I have your beautiful letter with account of donations in print, and am greatly delighted with it. You will find yourself, without working for it, taking a position in the literary, no less than in the philan-

thropic, world. It seems to me not improbable that