Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/155

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rich, learned and unlearned, old foe and new friend seem to help us; when I am good and humble and walk home watching the sunset or rooks' nests against the night sky, I often repeat the Magnificat and think thankfully of all people's kindness. Sometimes I look back thro' the strange long years and trace the growth of things and people. Then, dears, I think of you both.

Via della Scala,
April 5th, 1859.

Florence to Octavia.

You ask me if there is any danger for English at Florence. Everyone says that as long as the English minister is here, we are perfectly safe; but, if England takes any decided part in the war, if the minister goes, and it is not safe for the English to remain, they will be ordered to go, and a certain time allowed them; but people seem to think it very unlikely. … There is a great deal of excitement among the Italians, and a great deal of fine feeling. I heard an anecdote the other day which pleased me very much, particularly as it was about a Leghorn boatman, which I had always thought to be the most horrid class possible. There were two young men volunteers, who had to cross in a boat to go somewhere; on landing, they gave the boatman 5 pauls; he still held out his hand; they thought he was not contented, and gave him a Napoleon; he continued to hold out his hand, "What is it?" they said.—"Take your money back," he replied. "I never have taken any from volunteers, and hope never to do so; but if you would shake hands with me, I should like to shake hands with any one who is going to fight for Italy."