Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/613

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FINAL ARRANGEMENTS

by the money sent to secure the purchase of Mariners’ Hill, and she watched eagerly for letters or news of donations.

Miss Rosamond Davenport Hill had bequeathed £500 to her sister, Miss Florence Davenport Hill, on the understanding that the latter should leave it to Octavia. When, however, Miss F. D. Hill heard how very ill Octavia was, she generously sent a cheque, which came the very day before Octavia died. This £500 was more than enough to secure the purchase of Mariners’ Hill, and Octavia’s delight and thankfulness were great. It was a specially precious gift, as coming from such an old and dear friend. Octavia was anxious that her illness should not attract public attention; but, as it became known, flowers and loving messages came pouring in, which touched her deeply. She longed to see her relations and friends, and was delighted to welcome all, as far as her failing strength would allow. One of her nieces, after visiting her, wrote, “It was like Heaven, to be with her”; and others felt the same. She seemed to glow with faith and unselfish love, and she had a sweet smile for anyone who rendered the least service.

All through her illness she was surrounded by love. Miss Sim, who for many years had formed part of her household, was unfailing in her watchful care. Her sisters were constantly with her, and Miss Yorke was devoted to her day and night. She was most tenderly and carefully advised by Dr. Turnbull, who had previously attended her sister, Miranda.

When Octavia realised that she could not recover she said, speaking of her work, “I might have given it a few more touches, but I think it is nearly all planned now, very well.” It was a great comfort to her to know that Miss Yorke, who had lived and worked with her for thirty years, would stay on in the dear home in Marylebone Road, and form a centre for fellow-workers, and old friends; and, above all, that she would take the responsibility of such a large amount of the work.

Octavia was also very happy at the arrangements made for the other house property; for she knew that each group of ladies would gather others round them. She felt that she was handing on the torch to those who were animated by the right spirit,