Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/72

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52
chap.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

of delight. I asked them to-day if they had any message to you, as I was going to write. They seemed oppressed by a sense of wanting to say something. One of them said she had plenty to say, if she was going to write herself. There was an eager discussion in one corner as to whether it would be proper to send their love; but they ended by asking me to thank you all for them, as they did not know how. I felt very much inclined to tell them how very little I knew how; except that I thought the very love, which they seemed to think it would be shocking to express, was the only thanks which you would care anything about.

I have had a very sad day to-day. A scene with the children, bringing up old quarrels, repeating unkind things which should have been forgotten long ago; a recommencement of a feud, which I had so rashly hoped was destroyed for ever. I spoke to them very earnestly; there was not a dry eye in all the room; but I fear that very little lasting good has been done. I do not see what to do about it.

I went yesterday to Epping Forest with both the Tailors' Associations. There were eighty of us at tea; and, as they sat in the long room, covered with beech boughs, some of us were called upon to sing "Now pray we for our Country!" and I could not help thinking how real the prayers of the workers are, because their lives are so much together. With no doubt that the prayer would be answered, I could sing "Who blesseth her is blessed," and think of all those dear children at home, who are trying, and will, I trust, try more to Bless England; and I could thank God for such as you, because I am sure that, if England has not devoted children, and faithful servants, she must perish;