Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/55

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35
INFLUENCE OF RUSKIN

Ladies' Guild, 
March 14th, 1855.

To Emily.

I find on reflection that it will be a rather more difficult undertaking than I imagined to write to you every two days. However I will do my best.

You will have seen, by this time, what a wonderful event is about to take place in my life, and will, no doubt, have realized what it will be to me. But, however wonderfully you may all enter into my feelings, or even discover them, I do not think any of you can really understand what this is to me, unless you could have looked into my heart continually for three years, and seen how at first he was only a friend of Mr. Furnivall's[1]; then how his books were everything and he nothing; then how his name suggested a vision of vague beauty and distant and indefinite glory. … Still he was distant, almost unreal. He might be in Italy, or Palestine, or he might be passing me at that moment. … Perhaps in a year or two hence I may tell you what my thoughts were, and are at this period;—but, all this time I was learning to admire him more and more, and now leave the rest till after Friday.

I send you a prospectus of the College, which I beg you will return. Walter Cooper was with us last night; but I don't think we heard any news.

Anna Mary (Howitt) has fulfilled her promise to lend me "Modern Painters." She sent them yesterday; I leave you to put in all the marks of admiration and the "oh how delightfuls!" according to your own fancies; working people have no time for anything but facts,

  1. Three years earlier Dr. Furnivall lent Mrs. Hill Ruskin's "Modern Painters," and Octavia read it then for the first time.