Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/171

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dream of entering into a plan involving habitual absence from church ; tho' I didn't tell him how much I can sympathise with the spirit of some people who do. He goes with the men every Sunday ; they, some of them at least, remain at home to go to church each alternate Sunday ; but that is no part of his plan. His own faith is just as deep and living as ever ; but he has evidently been disappointed with the amount or kind of union the church gives. They go regularly and very happily all together ; he is ever ready to sympathise and enter into all kinds of happiness from the greatest to the least. He showed me where they walked, he told me when we were coming to the loveliest groups of trees, when to the creek where they bathe, how the park looked at moonlight, and how they all enjoyed it. He wants us to join them in an excursion to Leith Hill or Box Hill in September. I asked if it must be a Sunday, and he thought much about it, but says the men can't get holidays. He talked about Rossiter, told me he heard one of my sisters was down with Durrant. He amused me vastly by saying, "Hoets, whom you saw at Cambridge, wants people to go and see his wife and children, as he's thinking of going to Australia." As if one could go and call on Mrs. Hoets without introduction, on such a plea! Oh, Minnie, but it was so glorious! As we walked through the park at Richmond at night, we sang hymns, "No ! never part again," "There is a happy land," "Here we suffer grief and pain." In the chorus of the last, a number of working, or rather loitering, men in Richmond joined very earnestly. We saw the pictures at Hampton Court with which I was much pleased. The men were very nice ; they are so learned about flowers, etc., so respectful, so thoroughly happy. Several of our own pupils were there ; everyone behaved well.