Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/614
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL
and in speaking of this future for her work she said, “When I think of all this, it does not seem like death, but a new life.”
On the evening of August 12th, she gathered her household round her to say good-bye, and on the following night passed peacefully away.
She was laid by her sister, Miranda, in the quiet little churchyard at Crockham Hill; and, although no formal invitations to the funeral had been sent, friends and relations gathered from far and near, even one of her Dutch friends coming from Amsterdam for the occasion; and many representatives of public bodies with which she had been connected were present. Among the many lovely wreaths sent, was one from H.R.H. Princess Louise, bearing the following inscription:
“In deepest admiration and esteem for one who devoted
her whole life and energy to the advancement
and welfare of her fellow-countrymen.”
Sir Robert Hunter had been deputed to represent the Princess as he was Chairman of the “National Trust for preserving places of beauty,” of which H.R.H. was President.
Suggestions had been made that Octavia should be buried in Westminster Abbey, but her relations were obliged to decline this honour, as her express directions had been that she should be buried at Crockham Hill.
The desire for a more public recognition, however, was gratified by a memorial service which was held in Southwark Cathedral, in the centre of a district where so much of her later work had been done. This was largely attended, and a beautifully appreciative sermon was preached by Canon Rawnsley.Many tributes were paid to her memory in newspapers both English and foreign; but perhaps the best summary of her life’s work might be expressed in the words which she herself used in returning thanks for the portrait presented to her by her friends in 1898. “When I am gone, I hope my friends will not try to carry out any special system, or to follow blindly in the track which I have trodden. New circumstances require various efforts; and it is the spirit, not the dead form, that should be perpetuated. When the time comes that we slip