Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/269

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14, Nottingham Place,

October 4th, 1868.

To a Friend.

We three sisters have had a jolly meeting ; and we are anticipating the arrival of our dear pupils, Mama and Florence, to-morrow. Dear Alice Collingwood[1] has done wonders ; I never knew the business half so well managed when my sisters were away ; and she has been so happy in the work, and has learnt to know and care for the people so much.

Have you read Morris's "Jason"? I have been reading it for the second time. I am increasingly impressed by it. It is marvellous to me how any one can so throw himself into so noble a time without Christianity ; the hint of deeper meaning is so telling, and goes so home, because it is only suggested and kept subservient to the intense realism of the scenes and incidents. It is a book one believes from first to last. The accessories are described so beautifully ; it is true poetry.

I know it is very forlorn to depend for intellectual intercourse on books and absent people. But for you who have so many resources, I hope it is not quite so bad. At any rate, how you must be feeling yourself useful. Still I am sorry for you ; you seem somehow (all sensitive people do) to get so much more pain than pleasure out of your feeling. I wonder whether you are ill-balanced, and your bodies ought to be more vigorous to match your organisations ; or whether you are, as it were, martyrs, for us to love and look up to, and learn from and delight in ; but appointed, for some inscrutable reason, to bear a large share of the pain of

  1. A former pupil.