together, so this year I must learn how much of the real spirit of home, unity, cheerfulness, may be brought out when many members of a family are scattered. … Many of the workers are coming to Lincoln's Inn. If I do not see Ruskin I shall think that it represents the past year. I have had intercourse with him on all subjects connected with art. If I do see him, I shall hope that it is emblematic of the coming year; … it is a strange thing that the sad, hard-working, selfish should cling to the bright, radiant, generous.
December 3rd, 1855.
To Miss Harris.
Miss Harrison tells me that she thinks I may write to you.—I need not tell you how much pleasure it gives me to do so, especially to-day, as it is my birthday.
All is quiet, everyone asleep, the room empty, the fire out; but I never knew a more cheerful scene. Everything seems bright and blessed, to-day, for me. I trust that it is so, and always will be, for you; that, after many dark shadows, fearful changes, hard work, (if you ever know such) there shall come calm joy like this. And not only after, but in the darkness. You have heard about those last strange changes that have taken place among us. In the very heart of them, I felt most deeply conscious how very mighty all good must be; how little our weakness would hinder God's work. This conviction gave me whatever strength, courage, power, I have had. In proportion as I lost light of it, I have been weak, timid, and wavering.