Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/86

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66
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

Ladies' Guild, 
December 7th, 1855.

To Emily.

I have been trying to write to you every night, but have been too sleepy. It is now luncheon time, so I must not write much … I did indeed spend a glorious day on Monday. Emma Cons and I walked to Dulwich. Oh the delight of the frosty morning! the beautiful leaves as they peeped out from the banks! As we passed Ruskin's house, it seemed wrapped in mist; just as we came up, the sun broke out behind the house, which, however, quite shaded the garden, except that one ray darted thro' the glass doors of the hall, and pierced the darkest depths of the steady cedars; then on to Dulwich, where we met Miss Harris. I wrote a letter asking Ruskin to let us see his pictures. We drove to his house, sent the letter in; the answer was that the ladies were to be shown in. "Crawley" took us into the dining room and stirred the fire; the room was papered with red flock paper, and there were a number of almost purple leather chairs and a number of pictures. Crawley led us up to one saying, "This is the Slave Ship." Oh, you do not know how often I have read Ruskin's description of this picture, and have hoped that it was in his possession: I had not remembered it, however, since I had heard of this promised visit. It was such a surprise. I looked at it for some time; then I just looked at the other pictures in the room; one was the "Grand Canal at Venice" by Turner, which I hardly saw. There was a sketch by Tintoret of a doge at his prayers, very beautiful, with a picture of the second coming of Christ; the large picture, for which this was a study, is now in Venice. There were two or three William Hunts, two or three