Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/80

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October 19th, 1855.

To Miss Howitt.

Will you tell your Mama that I shall have great pleasure in writing to Maggie … How many days we have spent together! She remembers them, I find, with as much pleasure as I do. I do wonder whether we shall ever know each other better! Has she many friends of her own age? I have not very much time. Still there are some things (and this certainly one of them) which are well worth devoting time to.

I am very happy here. The country is very beautiful. The gold and red and purple leaves are very precious—partly because of their rarity. There are, as yet, no masses of colour,—no leaves of autumn foliage,—only single boughs, and sprays and leaves, standing out from among the green. The sunlight comes and goes, like one who knows the innermost soul of those around him, and loves to pierce into their mystery. The purple distance is, however, so far, so lovely, that it seems as if the sun even could not penetrate it;—like those sad, solitary beings whom one sometimes meets, who have no fellowship with those around;—still, in the darkness of night, there is union between them and the world that is nearer; and, as the sun is leaving the earth, and the twilight gathers in the East, the whole earth will be lighted by a wonderful mist of light—lighted and wrapped in it.

I must thank you again for the "Modern Painters." It has been a very great pleasure to me to have it. I grow to value it more and more every day.

As I daresay you would have heard from Charlton, we acted the "Bondmaid" yesterday. All the children came to see it. It was the only play that they had