Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/89

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interested about other things; and they have been but little to me, except that I have treasured their affection much. I know now how much I have neglected them, and am at last thoroughly awakened from my dream. But I very much regret to say that a spirit has entered into the work-room which I do not think healthy. When I was with you, I think I must have spoken of the hardness of working when one is suspected, and not steadily cared for. Now I have a far different cause of complaint;—an exaggerated admiration, an immovable belief that all I do is perfect, a dislike of anyone who even tells me to do anything which they see I do not wish to do. But I trust soon to bring this also to reason. I care little for what is called a merry Christmas; but it made me very sad to hear all last week calculations about puddings, discussions as to whether they could not manage to come in for two Christmas dinners, mixed with laments that they should have to nurse a baby all day; no real pleasure to look forward to, with a very strong feeling that they had a right to some. I could bear it no longer. I proposed that we should have a snapdragon all together some evening. They were overjoyed. We found we could have a grand one by paying twopence each. Still I found that it was but little, as it would last so short a time. I then thought of a Christmas tree. I am going to Grandpapa's to-morrow, and shall endeavour to get a little fir or holly. All the children bought small things for it last Saturday, and will I daresay, do so next;—tapers, apples, oranges, nuts, &c. I then asked them to bring all their sisters, and all their brothers under twelve. Many did not wish for the trouble of taking care of the little ones; but I have insisted, and I believe prevailed. Of course we shall have grand