Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/492

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462
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

things Grace made and did. ... I try not to think too much of you all, and of all the things at home, but you will realise how much my heart turns to England. However, I mean to have a really good holiday. It is very restful here, at once very home-like, and yet with no duties. MacDonald’s bright faith and sweet sympathy are beautiful ; and I must say Mrs. MacDonald’s way of gathering people in is delightful to me.

Casa Coraggio,

December 16th, 1885.

To her Mother.

I have been longing to write to you. I have been away to Mentone and Nice. I had a delightful visit to Lady Ducie ; she was so sweet, looks much better, and seemed so very glad to see me. She has a little basket carriage and two little ponies, and she took me the most beautiful drive all along by those lovely bays of the blue, clear Mediterranean, with their olive and cypress set slopes of cliff and promontory, and beautiful waves breaking against the rocks. . . .

All is very peaceful and good here, and the spirit of the house quite beautiful. Last night MacDonald read aloud to us one of Hawthorne’s stories ; it was so very beautiful. I think it might do to read at Christmas. He has given me the book. But it would lose a good deal in losing his reading ; and perhaps some of you will have thought of something better. Oh ! to think of the delight of finding you at home, when I come back, and the blessed Christmas time. I shall be much happier about Minnie for having seen her, and I like to think of her here. ... I often think of Florence and how

she would rejoice in the beauty.