Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/85

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II
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MORAL GROWTH OF THE CHILDREN

December 4th, 1855.

Thank you for all kind messages about us, or to us. I wish I could tell you about my children, of the blessed spirit which they are beginning to show continually. I wish I could tell you of the kindness of all our friends; above all I hope that you do possess that strong confidence in a great spirit of love, that you do see the effects of its strength in those, whoever they may be, for whom and with whom you have worked, a confidence not based on fiction or fancy, but on experience, on a clear perception of motives. I have had that faith for some years; but I am sure we shall all look back to this crisis as to a time which has tried, proved, and strengthened it. No one need suspect us of blinding ourselves to the existence of selfishness; our life would not permit it; but oh the joy, after a life of many sorrows, many changes, in which either no friends did stand by us, or we had not the power to see that they did, to see at last the time arrived when numbers of arms are stretched out to save us,—this is glorious! But, above and beyond the delight of gratitude for sympathy, what a blessing it is to feel how much there is in men that is generous, affectionate, sympathetic; to know that, if you are no longer to encourage this spirit among those with whom you have lived so long, God can and will strengthen it. If you may no longer bow before those with whom you live, when you see their wonderful nobleness, struggling with adverse circumstances, no longer learn humility from them, God himself will teach you in other places, and by other means. You dare leave all your labour to Him, because He has given you whatever of a right spirit you have exercised in it.