Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/73

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HOW TO FIND OUR WORK

and I could ask that such days as this may not be very rare, because the only meaning of our life, like the only meaning of her life, is union.

On Saturday the children were talking about their visit to you; and one of them said: "Ah! I should like to live there always." "So should I!" and "Oh that would be nice!" echoed round the room. They then said to me, "Should you not like to live there always?"

I was conscious of a very strong impulse urging me to answer "Yes." An idea of quiet (which has lately been occasionally my ideal of happiness) came over me, more especially a vision of your uncle's face, which always seemed to me to possess a divine expression of rest. I saw the danger; I yielded to the fear too much; I feared I was shrinking from work; and I said: "Do you want me to go? Do not you see there is work to be done here? I am of use." I saw the mistake in a moment; but something interrupted me, and I forgot the conversation. In about half an hour, I felt a little hand slide into mine, and hold it very tight. Harriet's large eyes fixed themselves on me, and she said in a trembling voice: "But, Miss Ockey, isn't there work to be done there, if one is willing to do it?"

I felt the rebuke very much. It spoke to a very strong tendency in me; and I told her that there was in all positions some work to be done, for which the world would be nobler; that we must all try to see the good which others were doing; but that I was sure we never could do any work well, until we were content to do our own well; that, until we had cultivated to the utmost the little garden in which our house stood, we must not cry for acres of distant land; that