Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/58

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38
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

remarked what a world of beauty he was surrounded with; and he answered that, if I could change places with him, I should be no happier than I am now. I said I knew that very well; but I affirmed there was a positive pleasure in a beautiful thing. He said he was very covetous, always wanting more; and that he desired happiness, but from the success of what he was doing; that he would part with all he possessed, if he could thereby insure that some real illuminators would arise. We then, though quite consistent, appeared to change sides in the argument. I said that there was as much pleasure to be found in London as in the country; that the beauties were more valued when seen, and the scraps of beauty more loved. He said that man was not meant to be in a constant state of enthusiasm (of which by the way we stand in no danger); that the blessing of the country was more negative; that brick walls were a positive pain. I said that I was very glad to say that, although sometimes feeling crushed by the ugliness, I could forget it. He ended by saying that, as I was fond of the country, he hoped after May, when the weather was warm, I should often go down there; and then, altering the reason of the invitation, he said that, if I wanted to refresh my memory and come to see his MSS., I could come any day and chance finding him at home; or, if I would send a line the day before, he would try and be at home. This is not half of this conversation, and we had several others, to say nothing of illustrations and propositions.

And now, M., do you, or do you not wish to hear what I think of it; that that which is asked for is given; that, well-used, this friendship (?), so happily begun, may be a long and growing one; that I have