Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/94

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74
CHAP.
LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

teach. I cling to the idea, as it affords a prospect of establishing a Guild gradually; the objection is the time which would probably intervene before I should acquire skill. I do not at all enter into D.'s plan of designing. I do not believe in it as remunerative; and it would separate me from that social work which I have learned to prize so highly. One other path is open. I have to write to Ruskin this week, and you will hear from me after I have done so. I ought to say that I told Mr. Neale my plans on Saturday; and he said he was very glad that I should get other work, the employment here being so uncertain. …

I speak (perhaps it may seem indifferently) of the utter failure of that for which we have all struggled so long and so hard. I do so, partly because I believe that what we have asked for has not failed; but I am not to speak of that now. I do so, because, although at present I am much bent upon securing a living for ourselves, I intend to accept no work however delightful, however remunerative (except as a temporary thing), which would deprive me of the power of working for others. I care but little for any system of division of profits, although it may bear witness for a great truth, and be the means of equalising remunerations, and avoiding disputes. That which I do care for is the intercourse, sympathy, self-sacrifice, and mutual help which are called out in fellow- workers; and this I believe to be worth striving for; this I mean to work for. I may seem to turn out of the path in this wearying wood; but it will only be a walk round a thicket, which hindered my progress; and free from debt, and with a clear conscience, I will work, even if I have (which, however, I do not believe) to work in another way for a short time.