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Title: Life of Octavia Hill as Told in Her Letters
Author: Hill, Octavia
Language: English
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                           LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL


                        MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                        LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA

                          THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                       NEW YORK . BOSTON . CHICAGO
                          DALLAS . SAN FRANCISCO

                    THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.


  _Octavia Hill._

  _From a photograph enlarged by an American artist._

                                LIFE OF
                              OCTAVIA HILL
                         AS TOLD IN HER LETTERS

                                EDITED BY
                            C. EDMUND MAURICE

                “_The Holy Supper is kept indeed
                In what so we share with another’s need.
                Not what we give, but what we share;
                For the gift without the giver is bare._”

                                    VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL.

                        MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                       ST. MARTIN’S STREET, LONDON




  It was but a short time before the death of Miss Octavia Hill that one
  of her sisters succeeded, with much difficulty, in convincing her that
  some account of her life would be necessary to satisfy the public

  On realising this fact, she expressed a strong wish that the family
  should keep the details of such a memoir in their own hands; and she
  afterwards made a special request that the final decision as to what
  should be published, and what suppressed, should rest with me.

  It will, therefore, be understood that I am rather the editor than the
  author of this book. The most important part of this Memoir will be
  found in the letters; and it is by my express wish that they are
  printed in larger type than the explanations which link them together.

  But even those explanations are only in a limited sense my own work.
  All I have done is to weave together statements made by my wife and
  her sisters, a paper left by their Mother, and, in the very early
  part, the recollections of Octavia’s early playmate, Miss Margaret

  Only in those chapters which cover the period from 1866 to 1877 have I
  trusted, to any considerable extent, to my own memory; for it was in
  those years that I was most closely associated with some parts of
  Octavia’s work.

  With regard to the letters, there are two points to note. First, I
  have endeavoured, as far as possible, to arrange them chronologically;
  not separating the special subjects, in which Octavia was interested,
  from each other, but rather suggesting the variety of interests which
  were occupying her mind at the same time. Secondly, I have endeavoured
  to emphasise the human and family sympathy, and not merely her
  business capacity.

  There was an outcry in the papers a little time ago, with regard to
  Florence Nightingale, which took a rather peculiar form. These writers
  said that there had been too much sentimental talk about the “lady of
  the lamp” bending over the sick bed; and that this picture had
  obscured Miss Nightingale’s real power of organisation and practical
  reform. Perhaps twentieth century hardness may be as blinding as
  nineteenth century sentiment. At any rate, the danger with regard to
  Octavia Hill is precisely of the opposite kind to that which was
  supposed to threaten the fame of Florence Nightingale.

  Octavia’s power of organisation, and her principles of discipline,
  have been allowed by many critics to thrust into the background her
  human sympathies. The figure of the landlady sternly exacting her
  rents seems to stand rather on the opposite side to the “lady of the

  “Miss Hill,” said a critic in the early days of her fame, “I was
  puzzled to make out how you succeeded in your work, till I realised
  that the broker was always in the background.”

  This statement represents the view of her work which was always most
  distasteful to Octavia. She disliked extremely the phrase “rent
  collector” as summing up the essential character of that work. She
  maintained, as strongly as did Carlyle, that “cash payment was not the
  sole nexus between man and man,” not, as another critic supposed,
  because she held that “the poor were there for the rich to do good
  to”; but because she realised that each had to learn from the other by
  common sympathy with each other’s needs, and not by a hard enforcement
  of claims, or a careless belief in the power of money giving. It is
  this wider and more human aspect of her life, which I hope these
  letters will bring home to their readers. Perhaps the point of view,
  on which I am insisting, can be best summed up in Canon Barnett’s
  words, “She brought the force of religion into the cause of wisdom,
  and gave emotion to justice.”

  I need only add my most hearty thanks to the friends who have helped
  me, either by sending Miss Hill’s letters, or by hints derived from
  their own recollections, or by enabling us to use the pictures which
  appear in this volume.

                                                          C. E. MAURICE.



                                CHAPTER I

 PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD                                               1

                               CHAPTER II

 EARLY WORK IN LONDON. 1851—APRIL, 1856                               13

                               CHAPTER III

 WORKING WOMEN’S CLASSES AND ART TRAINING. 1856–1858                  80

                               CHAPTER IV


                                CHAPTER V


                               CHAPTER VI

 1870–1875. GROWING PUBLICITY OF OCTAVIA’S WORK                      256

                               CHAPTER VII

 1875–1878. THE OPEN SPACE MOVEMENT                                  315

                              CHAPTER VIII


                               CHAPTER IX


                                CHAPTER X


                               CHAPTER XI

 LAST YEARS OF LIFE. 1902–1912                                       548

 CONCLUSION                                                          580

 INDEX                                                               585

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                             FACING PAGE

 OCTAVIA HILL. From a Photograph, enlarged by an American
   artist                                                 _Frontispiece_

 WISBEACH IN 1840. House on right side of bridge where
   Octavia was born, December 3rd, 1838                                3

 JAMES HILL. Father of Octavia Hill                                    9

 OCTAVIA HILL AS A CHILD. From an Oil Painting by
   Margaret Gillies                                                   13

 DR. SOUTHWOOD SMITH. Grandfather of Octavia Hill. From a
   Chalk Drawing by Margaret Gillies                                 172

 CAROLINE SOUTHWOOD HILL. Octavia’s Mother. From a
   Photograph by Andrew Whelpdale                                    326

 MIRANDA HILL. From a Photograph by Maull and Fox                    340

 OCTAVIA HILL. From a Drawing by Edward Clifford, 1877               357

 SOUTHWARK. Red Cross Cottages and Garden. Opened June,
   1887                                                              454

 OCTAVIA HILL. From an Oil Painting by Sargent. Presented
   to her in 1898                                                    506

                           LIFE OF OCTAVIA HILL

                               CHAPTER I
                        PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD

  Early in the nineteenth century Mr. James Hill was carrying on in
  Peterborough a business as corn merchant which his father had made
  very successful, and to which was added a banking business. Later on
  he removed to Wisbeach with his brother Thomas. James Hill showed much
  of his father’s business capacity, though sometimes carried away by an
  oversanguine temperament. Both his ability and his hopefulness were to
  be put to a severe test, when in 1825 England suffered from a general
  banking panic, and Mr. Hill failed in company with other bankers of
  greater note. But he roused himself to meet the emergency, and to a
  great extent retrieved his fortunes, for a time.

  His troubles, however, were increased in 1832 by the loss of his
  second wife; and, as a widower with six children, he found himself in
  an anxious and difficult position. He had always been a very
  affectionate husband and father; and he was most desirous to find some
  one who would help him in the care of his children. While thinking
  over this problem, his attention was attracted by some articles on
  education, which had lately appeared in _The Monthly Repository_; with
  these articles he was so much impressed that he obtained from the
  Editor the name and address of the writer. She proved to be Miss
  Caroline Southwood Smith, the daughter of Dr. Southwood Smith, the
  celebrated Sanitary Reformer.

  Mr. Hill called on the writer at Wimbledon, and found that she was
  already engaged in teaching in a private family. When that engagement
  had ended, Mr. Hill persuaded Miss Smith to undertake the teaching of
  his children. How heartily they responded to her care will be shown by
  two letters given later on: and when, in 1835, she became the wife of
  Mr. Hill, she received a welcome from her step-children such as few
  step-mothers can have experienced. The marriage took place at St.
  Botolph’s, Bishopsgate.

  She assisted her husband in every way, and entered most
  sympathetically into his patriotic efforts to reform public abuses. He
  had been most successful in reforming the corruption in the Wisbeach
  municipal government, and had succeeded in excluding any claim for
  church rates from his parish. The extraordinary physical energy which
  he threw into all his work is well illustrated by his riding fifty
  miles to secure the pardon of the last man who was condemned to death
  for sheep stealing. This excessive energy was facilitated by a life of
  great self-restraint and devotion to study. He read much and
  accumulated a very fine library. Nor even in this matter did he limit
  his aims to mere self-improvement. He wished to extend to others, as
  far as possible, his own advantages, and he founded in Wisbeach an
  Infant School, which should introduce sounder methods of education. It
  was one of the first Infant Schools built. With a characteristic
  audacity he chose for the motto of this school the words in which
  Wordsworth embodied the advice which he sarcastically suggests that
  Rob Roy would have given to Napoleon, had they been contemporaries:

                  “Of old things all are over-old,
                    Of good things none are good enough;
                  We’ll try if we can help to mould
                    A world of better stuff.”[1]

  He also started a penny paper to advocate various reforms, and at one
  time he bought the local theatre and invited celebrated actors to
  perform there. Later on he co-operated most earnestly with the
  advocates of Free Trade.



  House on right side of bridge where Octavia was born December 3rd,


  Into this energetic life at Wisbeach three daughters were born:

  Miranda, January 1st, 1836,

  Gertrude, July 28th, 1837,

  Octavia, December 3rd, 1838.

  The name given to the third child marks the close connection always
  recognised between Mr. Hill’s different families. Octavia was his
  eighth daughter, and the half-sisters welcomed the new-comers as
  heartily as they had done their mother. Octavia’s elder sisters were
  Julia and Louisa, the children of Mr. Hill’s first wife, Margaret,
  Ida, and Kate, daughters by the second wife. There was only one son,
  Arthur, who proved himself a most affectionate and generous brother.
  Later on he built up a business for himself in Reading, where, as
  Mayor, he did much for the improvement of the town, showing the same
  public spirit which animated his father. And when he became a rich
  man, he welcomed to his beautiful grounds on many occasions the poor
  people in whom Octavia was interested.

  But in 1840 a great change fell on the outward life of the family.
  There came another bank panic; and, though Mr. Hill tried to struggle
  against his difficulties, they proved too much for him. The house at
  Wisbeach was given up and the children of the earlier marriage were
  taken by their maternal grandmother; and Gertrude was adopted by her
  grandfather, Dr. Southwood Smith. Mrs. Hill was complimented by the
  Bankruptcy Commissioners on the economical way in which she had
  managed the household expenses, which had facilitated a settlement of
  her husband’s affairs; and Mr. Hill tried for some years to fulfil all
  his obligations to his creditors.

  In the year of the bankruptcy, another daughter, Emily Southwood, was
  born in her grandfather’s cottage in Epping Forest, and in 1843
  Florence the youngest child was born at Leeds.

  For some years the family moved about from place to place. At one time
  they were in lodgings in Pond Street, Hampstead, where the house was
  discovered by an artist friend who was convinced that the children
  dancing round a rose-bush must be the daughters of Mrs. Hill.

  At last the strain of anxiety became too much for Mr. Hill. He broke
  down physically and mentally, and became incapable of supporting his
  family. Under these circumstances, Dr. Southwood Smith became
  responsible for the care of his daughter and her children, and placed
  them in a little cottage at Finchley. Mrs. Hill maintained that it had
  been a great advantage to her daughters and herself that poverty had
  deprived her of the help of servants, and compelled her to do
  everything for the children herself; and they heartily responded to
  her care. Her daughter Miranda in later years wrote as follows. “It is
  difficult to express to those who never knew Mrs. Hill what her
  influence was on those who came in contact with her. On her children
  it left an indelible impression as deep as life itself, and as
  lasting. From her book ‘Notes on Education’ it will be seen how
  entirely she felt the _spirit_ to be everything in education. She
  seldom gave a distinct order or made a rule; but her children felt
  that she lived continually in the presence of God, and that in her
  there was an atmosphere of goodness, and that moral beauty was a
  delight to her in the same way that outward beauty is to so many
  people. She was ardent and yet so serene that to come into her room
  was like entering a haven of peace where evil and bitterness could not
  live. Her children also learned from early infancy, from her attitude
  of mind, that if a thing was right it must be done; there ceased to be
  any question about it, and how great a help that feeling is to timid
  natures or weak wills only those know who have experienced it.”

  The children spent nearly all their time out of doors in the meadows,
  and on the common, and were described by one of the villagers as “the
  young ladies who are always up in the hedges.”

  Octavia early developed presence of mind and resourcefulness. One day
  she and Emily were sailing walnut-shell boats in a large water butt,
  when Emily fell in head foremost. Octavia instantly ran back to the
  other end of the garden to give impulse to her jump, and then, leaping
  on to the butt, pulled it over, so that she was able to drag her
  sister out. At an even earlier age, she saved another sister, who had
  fallen into a deep stream in Epping Forest. The nurse-maid ran away
  screaming, but Octavia stepped down the bank and held out a stick to
  her sister and so pulled her out. She was always overflowing with
  energy which showed itself in various ways. When about eight years old
  she was climbing on a high fence and fell on the back of her head; so
  that for some time she was forbidden to do any lessons; but her mother
  found that she was playing at keeping a school, and was learning long
  pieces of poetry, French grammar, and doing sums for the pretence
  children, so that she was working her brain more than she would have
  done in the school room.

  Her love of learning and writing poetry was great; and it was about
  this time that she wrote the following elegy on a young pigeon:

                  “Little one thou liest deep,
                  Buried in eternal sleep,
                  And we oft for thee repine,
                  While thy grave with flowers we twine.
                  Thou didst not live to see the sun,
                  For thy short life was but begun,
                  When silent death took all away,
                  Thou lovely little flower of May.”[2]

  As some of the letters given in this book will show, Octavia was
  somewhat inclined to exaggerate the practical as opposed to the
  imaginative part of her nature. As a fact the imaginative and even
  fanciful side of her was apparent at an early age; for on one occasion
  she was found to have left a party at her grandfather’s and to have
  seated herself on the steps in the garden. When asked what she was
  doing, she answered, “I am looking for the fairies!” “Have you seen
  any?” asked her friend, “No,” replied Octavia, and added with the
  cheery confidence which distinguished her, “but I am _sure_ I _shall_
  see them.”

  This imaginative side of her must have been greatly stimulated by the
  only young companions with whom she and her sisters were brought into
  contact. These were the younger son and daughter of William and Mary
  Howitt, the well-known writers. Miss Margaret Howitt writes, “The kind
  wish of my elder sister Anna Mary to afford pleasure to her small
  brother and sister led to a children’s party being given to celebrate
  her twenty-second birthday on January 15th, 1846. The five little
  grandchildren of Dr. Southwood Smith were amongst the guests,
  henceforward to become our cherished friends for life. It was simply
  owing to suitability of age that Octavia became immediately the chosen
  playmate of my brother Charlton and myself; she was his junior by
  eleven months, my senior by eight. Although she was a very ardent,
  eager child, with a quick sense of the ludicrous that was partially
  hidden under a precise determined manner, she never forgot a smile of
  sympathy or a word of kindness bestowed upon her.... On her two
  playmates, though quite unconsciously to herself, Octavia enforced an
  exacting discipline of high aims and self-improvement, against which,
  I, being of a more ordinary mould than Charlton, often chafed; and
  more especially because her lofty standard was coupled with a quite
  startling humility.

  “I had secretly parcelled out the house to spirits both good and bad;
  and I think now it must have been to humour me that Octavia joined in
  my daily rites of propitiation to those invisibles. I can see her now
  in the dim light of the cellar, the domain of hob-goblins, following
  Charlton who led the way, whilst I brought up the rear, with an
  awe-inspiring countenance either induced by some preoccupation, or by
  the thoroughness with which she would join in any pastime.

  “When Octavia visited us later on, her sense of humour was as keen as
  ever, but life seemed already to have for her a set purpose.... At the
  beginning of the ’fifties, awakening one night, I saw by the light of
  a lamp in the road a young statuesque figure seated with folded hands
  in the sister bed.

  “‘What are you about, Ockey?’ I said.

  “‘Praying for Poland,’ was the reply.”

  This last story was, in one way, less characteristic of Octavia than
  it would have been of Miranda, but the wave of feeling about such
  subjects, which passed over her friends and relations, was often
  reflected in Octavia both then and in later times.

  At this time, however, her chief contact with those problems of public
  life which were afterwards most to interest her was confined to her
  visits to her grandfather, where she occasionally assisted Gertrude in
  copying Dr. Smith’s papers on Sanitary Reform.[3] It was in connection
  with this work that she gave a remarkable proof of that power of
  concentrating her mind on, and utilising effectively any important
  fact affecting the matter with which she was concerned, which
  afterwards stood her in good stead. Among the papers which she copied
  was an Order in Council, freeing tenement houses from a certain tax
  which had hitherto been exacted from them. Years after, when she was
  beginning the work of superintending the houses, she remembered this
  Order in Council. She made inquiries and found that it was still in
  force, but that it was entirely unknown to many owners of tenement
  houses. She was therefore able to free the tenants under her care from
  an undue burden.

  Her visits to her grandfather also brought her into touch,
  unconsciously sometimes, with several distinguished men, one of whom
  remembered the meeting at a later period. Long after the time of which
  I am writing, on meeting the poet Browning at dinner, he informed her
  that he had seen her as a child at Highgate. She remarked that it was
  probably her sister Gertrude. “I remember her too,” said Browning. “I
  was calling on R. H. Horne, the author of _Orion_, who was on a visit
  there; and, when you and your sister had left the room, he said,
  ‘Those are wonderful children; you can talk to them about anything.’”

  The training which Mrs. Hill gave her children produced a certain
  independence and originality which was noticed at a later time of
  life, when a friend, commenting on a special little device, produced
  in an emergency, remarked, “I knew it must be done by a Hill; all you
  do is so original.”

  But this bright and free country life was soon to be exchanged for new
  experiences, the account of which needs another chapter.

                     Letter from LOUISA HILL to her STEPMOTHER.
                                               Norwich, July 19th, 1840.


I am so delighted to know that you will soon be well and strong again,
and able to lend the strength and assistance which you always have in
trying circumstances.

How happy you will be, when the little ones are older, when you get
beyond the merely physical part of their education. I am sure your
children will all be beautiful, good and wise, for they come into the
world finely organized and are watched and trained under your gentle and
elevating influence.

I heartily rejoice that the baby is a girl; you will give her strength
to endure and struggle with the evils which are the birthright of her
sex. She will add to the number of well educated women, who, I am afraid
form but a very small portion of humanity. But I forget the difference
in age. This little baby belongs almost to the third generation. She
will be in her bloom, when we shall be old women, if not dead. Great
changes may take place before she attains womanhood.

                                    Very affectionately yours,
                                                            LOUISA HILL.

 MRS. HILL to her little daughter GERTRUDE.

                                            81, St. Mark’s Place, Leeds.
                                                    September 1st, 1843.

Ockey can now read quite well, and spends a great deal of time every day
in reading to herself. Do you know she can scarcely walk, she goes
leaping as if she were a little kangaroo—that is because she is such a
merry little girl.



  Father of Octavia Hill.

                                               (Undated, probably 1843).

Ockey speaks to everything that is said to her and corrects or makes fun
of any mistake. She is always ready for a joke. To-day her Papa said,
“Take care or you will have a downfall.” “That I should not mind,” said
Ockey, “if the down was there when I fell,” and then she laughed.

                                                            Leeds, 1843.

Ockey learns to read very nicely. She is a very funny little girl; this
is the way she talks. “Mama, I am as hot as if I were on the fire.”
“Mama, I shall never button this shoe if I were to try till the world is
knocked down.” She says things are as ugly as coal. The other day she
told Minnie that she should “like to have a field so large that she
could run about in it for ever.”

                                      From OCTAVIA (at the age of four).

  This letter shows her early love of colour, especially red.

We have a box full of silks. I gave Miranda a beautiful piece, it was
velvet and the colours were black, purple, yellow and white and green.
Miranda gave me a beautiful piece of crimson plush. Miranda has a book
called The Peacock at Home and it has three stories in it.


                                                         November, 1845.

On Monday it is Ockey’s birthday. She will be seven years old. She
intends to give me a patchwork bag on that day—and she sits on a play
box placed on a window-board, and looks so pretty, sewing earnestly
away, never thinking that I am watching her. Every now and then she
looks out at the passers by: they know every boy and girl, cat, dog, and
donkey in the village by sight, and a good many of them by name, and for
those whose name they do not know they invent one.


                                                         February, 1846.

I am quite anxious to hear something about Maggie. I hope she has been
as good a child, and may have left half as sweet a memory as dear Ockey.



Ockey goes on beautifully. We are all charmed with her; and know not how
we shall part with her again.

  In another letter about February, 1846.

I brought Miranda home with Maggie yesterday. We are all greatly pleased
with her. She is a dear sweet creature; different from Ockey, but, in
her way, quite as lovable. We find Maggie much improved by Mrs. Hill’s
kind care of her, and by her intercourse with those dear little

  In March, 1846, Mrs. Howitt writes again:

Miranda and Maggie go on charmingly. Miranda is very sweet and much more
cheerful than I expected to find her. She is full of life and fun, and
has the same kind of ringing joyous laugh as Ockey. The same in spirit,
though not in degree. Ockey’s laugh is the happiest, sweetest I ever

 About 1849.


                                               June 10th, no year
                                           (evidently a very early one).

We had a delicious sail yesterday. We were out for two hours, and it was
so lovely; the sun shone warm and clear upon the calm blue waters; and
the waves, and the bells were very pretty and made sweet music.

It is so delicious bathing; we stay in so long, and try to float and
splash and dash and prance and dance.

I am so happy; you don’t know how happy. They are all so sweet and kind
to me, and it is so beautiful here.

Give my love to the little ones, and tell them (be sure to tell them)
that I did mean to bid them good-bye. It was not out of anger; but I
forgot in my hurry; and though that was bad enough it was not as bad as
they thought it was.

Ponney wants you and we all want you to try to get Mrs. Bugden to allow
Miranda to come to the carting of the hay at Hillside, which will be
about Thursday week.


                                                     February 2nd, 1850.

I shall have great pleasure in working for the Peace Society; but I want
you to tell me when the Bazaar is to be held, because if soon, I must
not make anything too large to be sent in a letter. I hope it will not
be before my holidays for I like best to do coarse work. Will you tell
me, too, what are the doctrines of the Peace Society? I know very little
about it though still enough to engage my sympathies.

Will you give the enclosed collar to dear Mamma with my love, and ask
whether I shall make some like it for the bazaar?

But Mamma is to be sure and keep this one for herself because I have
made it for her, and I like my work to be round her neck, as my arms
cannot be there.



  _From an Oil Painting by Margaret Gillies._

                               CHAPTER II
                          EARLY WORK IN LONDON
                            1851—APRIL, 1856

  Through all the bright and free life at Finchley, Mrs. Hill had never
  forgotten that her daughters would have to earn their living. Miranda,
  indeed, at the age of thirteen, had begun to earn as a pupil teacher
  in the private school of a friend; and her sister Margaret mentions in
  a letter the characteristic fact that Miranda had wished to give some
  of her first earnings to her half-sisters, who were starting a school.
  When, then, these sisters realised that Mrs. Hill was considering
  Octavia’s future work, they, in their turn, offered to give her a free
  education, as a start in life. On the other hand, Octavia’s artistic
  talent had already attracted the attention of Mrs. Hill’s friend, Miss
  Margaret Gillies; and she offered to train Octavia in her studio. Both
  these offers attracted Octavia herself; but Mrs. Hill did not wish to
  part with her. Whilst she was still hesitating, her attention was
  drawn to the notice of an Exhibition, to be held at 4 Russell Place,
  Fitzroy Square, of special preparations of painted glass, consolidated
  so as to make it suitable for tables and other purposes. She found
  that Miss Wallace, the patentee, was promoting the Exhibition, partly
  to secure work for some Polish exiles, in whom she was interested,
  partly with the more general aim of finding regular suitable paying
  employment for ladies.

  Mrs. Hill mentions that her first thought was that Miranda, whose
  overflowing fancy seemed to her dangerously unpractical, might be
  roused to more steady work by such an occupation as this. But it was
  natural that it soon occurred to her that Octavia’s admitted artistic
  talent might also be utilised in this way. So she applied for
  admission for both her daughters to this work. But, as Miss Wallace
  was unable to carry on the business, Mr. Vansittart Neale most
  generously came forward with the capital, in order to carry it on on a
  co-operative basis. He asked Mrs. Hill to become the manager, which
  she very gladly consented to do, as she was much interested in
  co-operation and in the employment of women.

  Such was Octavia’s first introduction to London. The change from the
  healthy open-air life at Finchley, and from the beauty of the country,
  to the ugliness of her new surroundings told heavily on her spirits;
  and this depression was increased by the sudden sense of the evil and
  misery in the world. Among the workers at the Guild was a Miss Joanna
  Graham, who rapidly became a warm friend of Miranda’s. She introduced
  both sisters to the “London Labour and the London Poor,” then just
  brought out by Mayhew; also to the pamphlets and other essays written
  by the Christian Socialist leaders of the movement with which Mr.
  Neale had already brought them into contact. The pictures given by
  Mayhew of the life of the London poor, and the desire awakened by the
  Christian Socialists to struggle against evils, which seemed to her
  irresistible, produced in Octavia such a state of mind that she began
  to think that all laughter or amusement was wicked. Miranda, always
  able to see the humorous side of a question, tried to laugh her out of
  this extreme depression; and, when Octavia persisted, the elder sister
  composed an imaginary epitaph on herself, supposed to be written by

      “Her foibles were many, her virtues were few;
      And the more that she laughed, the more stern the world grew.”

  This produced a most startling letter of stern remonstrance from
  Octavia; so stern that one is relieved to find it closed by a loving
  message and followed by a P.S. “Love to all. Thank you for the

  Of course, this extreme gloom, unnatural in any young girl, was
  especially out of keeping with anyone of Octavia’s buoyant
  temperament, and the happy busy life at the Ladies’ Guild soon had its


  The following account given by Mrs. Hill in April, 1856, shows
  somewhat of the social life. “The ladies used to go to lectures
  together. In this case, the subject of the lecture became, next day,
  that of the conversation in the workroom. The conversation in general
  fell on interesting subjects, the favourite subjects being politics,
  religion, art, news, the country and its scenery, poverty and wages,
  etc. A very favourite subject was the derivation and definition of
  words; then the ladies would join their voices in chorus, taking
  different parts. Indeed a merrier company, ‘within the limits of
  becoming mirth,’ the writer never chanced to see. There was generally
  some joke in hand. In the winter, they often assembled in the evening
  at the Guild. Sometimes they drank tea together, and afterwards sang
  and danced joyously.”

  The artistic work at the Guild brought Octavia into contact with the
  Rogers family. Mr. G. Rogers was wood carver to the Queen, and
  produced some very interesting work. All his family had artistic
  leanings; but it was his daughter, who is best known by her writings
  on Palestine, who specially attracted Octavia, and for whom she formed
  one of those enthusiastic friendships which exercised so marked an
  influence on her life. A younger friend, whose name was afterwards to
  be so closely associated with Octavia’s, was Miss Emma Cons. She, like
  Octavia, was much interested in art; and, on the other hand, her high
  girlish spirits called out in Octavia again the old love of exercise
  and fun that had shown itself so strongly in the Finchley days. Indeed
  Miss Cons was so much given to romps that Octavia’s fellow workers
  (including her sisters) were rather startled at the attraction which
  her new friend had for her. But it is clear from the letters, produced
  here, that Octavia saw the real power concealed for the time under
  these hoydenish ways; and she marked her as one on whom she could
  rely, and from whom she expected much.

  But it must not be forgotten that among the most important of these
  influences, then at work on Octavia, were the characters and teaching
  of the Christian Socialist leaders. Soon after joining the Guild she
  had begun to attend the lectures at the Hall of Association; and her
  attendance at Lincoln’s Inn Chapel brought her in 1852 under the
  influence of my father, Rev. F. D. Maurice. She and Emily attended the
  daily morning service; and, after a time, my father used often to let
  them walk back with him, and he would answer many of Octavia’s
  difficulties about religious and social questions. On one occasion she
  asked him if it would not be very nice if one could get rid of all
  responsibility. He laughed and said it would indeed be very
  comfortable. But that she did not shirk responsibility is shown by the
  following incident. It was in the early days of the Guild, when
  Octavia was only about fourteen, that she was alone in the house with
  the exception of Mrs. Horne,[5] who was at the top of the house. It
  was Sunday; and everyone else had gone to Church. On coming out of a
  second-floor room she saw a man standing near the door of a large
  cupboard, in which she supposed he must have hidden. “How did you come
  up here?” she asked. “I came up the stairs,” replied the man. “Then
  you will please to walk down again,” said Octavia in a quiet tone. He
  obeyed her, and she walked behind him down three long flights of
  stairs, and saw him out at the front door. Her sense of responsibility
  was the greater because some money, belonging to the Guild, had been
  paid late on Saturday and was in the office.

  After the Guild had been carried on for some time, Mr. Neale was asked
  to take over a new kind of work, which a lady had started in order to
  employ some Ragged School children. This was the making of a special
  kind of toy which she had invented; and Mr. Neale appointed Octavia
  head of the workroom. The following account is given by my wife and
  her sister Miranda. The management of the toy-making helped to
  “develop Octavia’s business faculties. She had to pass the children’s
  work, which was paid by the piece, to assign the various processes to
  each child, to choose the shapes and colours of the toy furniture, to
  price it, and to see that, when the suites were finished, they were
  neatly packed in boxes and sent over to the show room, where the
  ladies’ glass work was also exhibited. From time to time she had to
  take stock, and to see if the sales justified the expenditure.

[Sidenote: TOY-WORKERS]

  “Her daily intercourse with the girls taught her to know intimately
  the life of the poor. Most of the children came from very poor homes,
  and had, though so young, experienced great hardships. There was
  Louisa, an emotional, affectionate girl who had lost both parents, and
  helped to support herself and the aunt with whom she lived. She had
  worked at artificial flower-making, and told us how, when trade was
  busy, she had been kept late into the night, and had had to run
  frightened through the streets in the small hours of the morning, and
  tap at the window to wake her aunt. There was poor Denis whose face
  and neck were terribly disfigured with burns; but who had such a sweet
  pathetic voice that, when she sang, one forgot her ugliness. There was
  Clara, a tall, over-grown girl from a dirty home, who was half-starved
  and cruelly treated. She wore a low dress and short sleeves, and one
  could see her bones almost coming through her skin. On one occasion
  when her work was too slovenly to be passed, she burst into tears, and
  said that her mother would beat her if she did not take back the money
  expected of her. There was little Elizabeth, a stunted child of about
  nine, with so fierce a look that Octavia, in loving raillery, called
  her her little wild beast. She had never come with us on the
  Saturday-afternoon walks to Hampstead, but used to look wistfully
  after us. Once we pressed her very much to come, and then she
  exclaimed ‘I cannot, I have to nurse the baby.’

  “Another child was R. who was lost sight of, and later on was found in
  a dark cellar into which one descended by a ladder, where she sat all
  day to sell pennyworths of coal. She was half-starved and unkindly
  treated, but she seemed to take that as a matter of course; what she
  _did_ resent was that her cat was starved. Later on Octavia sent her
  to an Industrial School; and after some years she emigrated, and wrote
  to tell of her happy married life.

  “Harriet and her sister were of a higher class, and had a clean,
  respectable home. They were earnest Methodists. We lost sight of
  Harriet for forty years, and then found her very happily married. She
  had remembered Octavia with the deepest affection, and had preserved
  all her letters.

  “The girls were in the habit of bringing their dinners to eat in the
  workroom, and what they brought was very poor fare. Octavia suggested
  that they should club together to buy their food, and that each girl
  in turn should cook it. The long table was cleared, and a white cloth
  laid, and the food served nicely. Octavia brought over her own
  luncheon to eat with the girls, and, after the Grace had been sung, it
  was a pretty sight to see the sad, careworn faces of the children
  light up, as they sat round the table while she talked to them. Among
  other things, she learnt to scrub the floor, in order to teach the
  children to keep the workroom clean.

  “A good many of the girls were older than Octavia and inclined to be
  insubordinate, but she very soon established order, and that without
  recourse to punishment. The girls had been accustomed to be fined for
  offences, and they were quite amazed when they found this was no
  longer the case. On one occasion they refused to scrub the
  work-tables, which was part of their daily duty. Immediately Octavia
  and her two younger sisters set to work to do the scrubbing, and soon
  the girls gave in. They had been fined for swearing, but the swearing
  soon ceased, and they sang hymns or nice songs. Octavia was their
  leader and companion in all that they did, and this sharing in their
  work, and yet leading the way, won them all to obey as well as to love
  her. Sometimes, on a Saturday afternoon, she would take her little
  group of workers for a walk to Hampstead Heath or Bishop’s Wood. Her
  sister Gertrude remembers walking in Highgate Lane on a spring
  afternoon with Professor Owen, who was quietly explaining something
  about the mosses on Lord Mansfield’s fence—all being very still—when,
  to her surprise, the hedge was broken open, and, with a burst of joy,
  who should leap down from the bank with a staff in her hand and a
  straw hat torn by the thicket but Octavia, followed by a troop of
  ragged toy-workers, happy and flushed, each with a lap full of
  blue-bells. Octavia stayed for a minute to speak to her sister and the
  Professor; then off they all went back into the wood and away towards

  “Schools were not what they are now, and Octavia was amazed at the
  ignorance of these girls. They quite believed that wolves and bears
  might be lurking in the woods; and they did not know the names of any
  of the flowers. It was afterwards arranged that Miranda should give
  the girls lessons for an hour or so each afternoon.”[6]

  In 1854 Dr. Southwood Smith left Hillside and moved to Weybridge,
  where his grandchildren were always welcomed in the same loving way
  that they had been at Highgate.

  But, before he could move, he was seized with a severe illness which
  necessitated an operation. A few weeks later his granddaughter Emily
  was attacked by scarlet fever, and her life was despaired of by two
  doctors. Then her grandfather, in spite of his weak state, came back
  to London, and saved her life; and when she could be removed, took her
  to Weybridge to watch over her convalescence. This of course withdrew
  her from the toy work, and threw more of the burden on Octavia. A year
  later her youngest sister Florence was also withdrawn from the work by
  ill-health, and taken to Italy by her aunt, Miss Emily Smith, who gave
  her loving care for six years. It was in the summer of 1855 that an
  expedition of the toy-workers into the country led to the formation of
  some important friendships. Mrs. Harrison, to whose house at Romford
  they were invited, was the sister of Mrs. Howitt, and she and her
  family became warm friends of Octavia’s. Some of the letters given
  further on were written to Mary, the eldest daughter, who was very


  But even more important was the friendship then formed with Miss Mary
  Harris, a member of the Society of Friends, who was a great deal older
  than Octavia, and whose calm, loving nature was a great rest to her.
  From the time they first met till 1893, when Miss Harris died, Octavia
  poured out more of her secret thoughts to her than to anyone else, and
  when they were away from each other wrote to her constantly.

  On the occasion of this visit to Romford another guest was Mr. Ellis
  Yarnall, the American, whose letters to Lord Coleridge have lately
  been published. He recorded in his diary the following description of
  Miranda and Octavia.

  “Some young ladies were expected, and with them about twenty children,
  girls to whom they are teaching some decorative arts. The children
  played in the grounds; the young ladies (Miranda and Octavia) were
  with us at luncheon; and we had a great deal of talk about Mr. Ruskin,
  who is a friend of theirs. They described his eloquence as a speaker,
  his earnestness of manner, his changing countenance, even when he was
  silent, as though thoughts grave and gay were passing through his
  mind. It was plain to me that his strong intellect and bright fancy
  were having their true influence on these young persons, themselves
  highly gifted and altogether like-minded, eighteen and sixteen or
  thereabouts—sisters. I was astonished at the strength of intellect
  which they displayed. The talk of the elder one especially was, I
  think, more striking than that of any person of her age I ever knew.
  She reminded me of Corinne and other women of renown. What a pleasure
  it was to look at her fine face with the glow of enthusiasm upon it,
  and to wonder whether gifts like hers would not one day produce fruits
  which the world would value. Her description of the effect which the
  hearing of Beethoven’s music on some late occasion had had upon her
  was an utterance of passionate feeling showing true poetic

  “They are the granddaughters of Dr. Southwood Smith.”

  Towards the end of 1855 an important event took place, which led to
  Mrs. Hill’s withdrawal from the Ladies’ Guild. My father had been
  interested in Octavia’s work for the Toy-workers, and offered to take
  a Bible Class for them. The Theological Essays controversy was just
  then at burning point; and the ladies who had handed over the business
  part of the toy work, still considered that they had a right to
  interfere about the religious instruction of the children. These
  ladies were very Evangelical (as Evangelicalism went in those days)
  and they threatened to withdraw all pecuniary help and the support of
  the Ragged School Union, if my father was allowed to teach the girls.
  The managers of the business were so much alarmed at this threat that
  they asked my father to withdraw his offer. Mrs. Hill and her
  daughters were naturally very indignant at this; and Mrs. Hill’s
  protests led to her losing the post of Manager at the Guild. She and
  Emily went to Weybridge. Miranda and Octavia continued to work for a
  time; but when it seemed likely that the Guild would fail, Miranda
  obtained daily teaching and Octavia applied to Ruskin to learn from
  him if there would be any chance of her supporting herself by
  painting. He replied most kindly, and asked her to let him have a
  table-top designed and painted by herself. This design[7] was a spray
  of bramble leaves in all their brilliant autumn colours, encircling
  the centre space which formed a background that was dark at one part
  and gradually grew lighter, and finally changed into soft blue,
  suggesting storm clouds passing away, and leaving a bright sky. Round
  the edge, among the leaves, were the words of the Psalm, “He brought
  them out of darkness and out of the shadow of death, and brake their
  bonds in sunder.”

  This led to Ruskin’s undertaking to train Octavia and give her work.
  Soon after this came the final crisis at the Guild; and Octavia
  obtained the appointment mentioned in the last letter of this chapter.


                                                        June 14th, 1852.


Thank you many many times for your sweet letter. It was such a comfort
to me.

I am very well indeed now. I do not know when I have been better, except
that I am rather weak. I am at Finchley with Minnie. I long dreadfully
to go to town; but I think I can wait patiently till Wednesday.

I have been very unfortunate in being away from the Guild just at this
time. Do you know Mr. Walter Cooper has been there? and Mr. Lewis and
the trustees (Mr. Furnivall) go there so often; and all the bustle, and
trying to feel Christian-like to Mr. and Miss ——. O, would it not have
been delightful!

I have Miss Graham’s books here; they are so interesting. I am so very
happy when I am reading them. My interest gets deeper and stronger every
day. I wish, oh! I so long, to do something, and I cannot. Andy! do you
think I ever shall be able to do anything really useful?

I do not at all like Mr. ——, or rather I entirely despise and dislike
his opinions. I will tell you all about it when I see you. I will only
tell you now that he likes “the subordination of the employed to the
employer”; and he thinks “there is no tribunal so proper as the
discretion of the employer to decide those delicate questions of the
personal conduct of the employed.” Did you ever hear of such a thing? Is
it not horrible?

Mr. Furnivall I admire more and more the more I know and read of him;
and, as to Mr. Ludlow, certainly there is not (excepting Mr. Furnivall)
such a person in the whole world. He has the largest, clearest,
best-balanced mind joined to the truest most earnest wish to help the
working classes I ever met with (of course excepting Mr. Furnivall’s).

I have read to-day his “Christian Socialism and its Opponents.” All I
can say of it, and all he writes is that it is grand, and that I never
can forget it, or cease to be grateful for it. His lectures have sunk
deeper into my heart than anything else; one reason is, I dare say, that
they were the first; but they were most noble and grand; his own great
soul seemed to breathe itself into his works. But I forget—I shall get
no sympathy from you. I must tell Miss Graham. Andy, do you think Mr.
Furnivall will bring him to the Guild? Do you think he meant it; or, if
not, do you think we ever shall know him?

The Festival will be on Monday. I am looking forward to it with such
pleasure. I do so long to see you; it seems ages since I did; I want to
know what you think about the ‘Guild’; I do so want your advice, too,
upon a thousand subjects. I have a good deal to read to you, which I
have written since you were away. Give my dearest love to Miss Graham.
Tell her I never can thank her enough for all the noble and beautiful
books she has lent me; that, as to the Christian Socialist, I never
never before read anything which inspired such earnest longing to do
_something_ for the cause of association; and it interested me so very
much that the hours I have spent in reading _that_ are never to be
forgotten; they were unequalled in pleasure to any that I have ever
spent in reading; and that, if I live years and years, I shall never
forget, or cease to remember with gratitude that it was to her that I
owe the great happiness of first reading a Socialist book, which I
consider one of the greatest happinesses any one can have. Thank her,
also, for the other books; tell her the “Cheap Clothes and Nasty” and
“Labour and the Poor” are some of the most dreadful things I ever read.
They have made a deep impression on me. How delightful the History of
the Working Tailors’ Association is!

Do you know I have a post at the Guild? I have to give out the stores
and am responsible for them. The ladies have all sent me a book as a
testimony of their gratitude to me for reading to them. How very kind it
is of them! Dear Laura has written me such a sweet letter. I love to
think of you among those lovely scenes by the beautiful sea, with dear
Miss Graham....

 Your own loving little sister, OCKEY.

I am sadly afraid the Journal[8] will stop at Midsummer. What is to
become of me???

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                        July 27th, 1852.


We all declare that we have never spent a more glorious evening. I think
I never saw such a face as Mr. Kingsley’s. That face was the chief
pleasure of all, though there was a most splendid collection of people
there. We went a party of six, Ockey, Mama, Mary, I, Mr. Rogers, and
Miss Cons. We met Walter Cooper at the door, and he was very kind and
seemed glad to see us. The Hall was very crowded but he got seats for
us. Mama and I were together. We looked round and got glimpses of the
Promoters.[9] Mary fixed on Mr. Neale at once and was delighted with
him. She noticed his head among all the rest and admired it almost more
than any.... Suddenly, amongst a great crowd of faces, Mary pointed out
one to me and asked if that was Mr. Kingsley, and it was. Mary thought
it noble. Mr. Neale introduced Kingsley to Mama, and he talked to her
for some time ... and Mr. Neale introduced Mr. Ludlow to Mama, much to
Ockey’s delight.... I think Mr. Kingsley’s face extremely suffering and
full of the deepest feeling. But there is such a sublime spirituality;
he looks so far above this earth, as if he were rapt up in grand
reveries; one feels such _intense_ humility and awe of him. I hardly
dared look at him; and the more I looked, the more I felt what a grand
thing the human soul is when developed as it is in him. Professor
Maurice was called to the chair, and he made a nice speech. He seemed as
if he felt a great deal more than he could express, and therefore left
feelings rather than ideas in one’s mind. He said a great deal about
self-sacrifice; though he said he felt almost ashamed to speak of
self-sacrifice to working men, while he himself was in possession of all
the comforts of life. He had to leave after he had made his speech; and,
just as he was about to leave the platform, Mr. Cooper said that the
Manager of the Builders’ Association, Mr. Pickard, would read an address
to Professor Maurice as an embodiment of the sentiments of the
Associations, and that the Manager of the Printers would present him
with a testimonial, the exclusive gift of the working men. The address
of thanks was very nicely expressed; and then the testimonial, a silver
inkstand, was presented. It was so touching to think of all those poor
working men, who had worked so hard to earn the money to make the
testimonial, and the beautiful spirit of gratitude. I could not restrain
my tears. Professor Maurice answered the address and thanked them in the
most heartfelt manner. After he left, Mr. Hansard was put in the chair,
and Lloyd Jones spoke on Co-operative Stores. Mr. Newton spoke on
Mechanics’ Institutes, and said they were not at all satisfactory as far
as they professed to educate the working men. Someone in the Hall got up
and said that he knew of one gentleman on the Committee of these
Institutes, who, in opposition to the majority of the Committee,
threatened to resign if “Alton Locke” was allowed in the Library. I
could not see Mr. Kingsley’s face.... The next subject was the
Industrial and Provident Societies Bill which had just been passed. Mr.
Kingsley then made a short speech; one knew at once that it was a poet
who was speaking.... Gerald Massey’s is a very fine face. He has dreamy
eyes and wild looking hair; but, after the others, he’s not to be
thought of.

                                                       Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     October 22nd, 1852.


Oh Gertrude! I am so happy, so very very happy. I wish you were with me.
You would so love all my beautiful things. I will tell you about them
when you come. I have a little room, all to myself. When anything is
wrong or unjust down stairs, I have only to come up into my own little
room, and it is so still. It is full of such happy recollections. I have
my _nice_ books; all my great soul-inspiring books are here. Then I have
all my writing things. I write a great deal now. I have such a beautiful
book of extracts that I have made. I have usually some flowers; for the
ladies are very kind in bringing me them. I have a few poor little
plants that I am fond of. Then I have eleven dear little snails. They
are such darlings. And then, Gertrude, I have my drawing things. I do
not let anyone see my drawings. I do not do much. It is sad to think,
after I have done anything, “And, after all your visions of grandeur and
beauty, is this all you can produce?” I believe I am very wrong about my
drawing; I never draw things for the sake of learning. I try things
above me. I have such dreams, both day and night, of what I would do,
and when I try what do I see? A little miserable scrap that is not worth
looking at. Once I tried a figure. Of course it was frightful.... We
have returned Ruskin. I do so miss it. It was so very beautiful. This
evening I have found such an extract from “Modern Painters” that I shall
copy it for you.

Do you go on with your drawing? I hope you do. Oh Gertrude! is it not a
glorious thing to think that a divine thought should descend for ages
and ages? Think of Raphael and Michael Angelo! (though I know but little
of them).—To think that every grand feeling they had they could preserve
for centuries! Oh what an influence they must have! Think of the
thousands of great thoughts they must have created in people’s minds;
the millions of sorrow that one great picture (one truly great picture)
would calm and comfort. Will that never be painted again? Do you think
there will? And when? I am going to see the Dulwich Gallery soon. Is it
not glorious? I wish you could see a bit of hawthorn I have here, such
colours! I am writing a curious letter; just what comes foremost in my
mind.... When I have finished work and go up to tea, if any one is out
of spirits, it makes me so; and I feel (do you know what I mean?) a tear
in my throat.

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                         July 13th, /53.


I write to you because I wish to give you a happier impression of me
than you can have from Tuesday. I am all alone; it is so still; and I am
very happy; now I will try and account for the strange state I was in
last night.

When I got into the country I felt that, if I stayed looking at sky and
trees and flowers,[10] my friends would think me dull and become dull
themselves and spoil all enjoyment. So all the day my whole energies
were “stretched” to be merry and lively. I felt that if I waited one
moment to look at anything, I should never tear myself away, and I got
into a wild state. I did enjoy very much the mere exercise, and the
mirth, and happiness of every one. I hardly thought all this; I only
felt it. Then, at the singing class, the strain being over, and having
nothing to sustain me, I sank into low spirits. As we were singing “Oh
come ye into the summer woods,” a longing came over me to be there; a
dim recollection of tops of the trees with the evening sun upon them, a
panting desire to sit there, and cry myself quiet....

But it is all too beautiful now; I could almost fancy myself at home....
As to my drawing, whether I will or no I must go on with that; and,
though I do not hope, I trust....

                                                    September 18th, /53.


I fully intended to come over to you to-day, but I have a sore foot, and
can only limp to the classes. _Private_. On Wednesday evening I went to
see Miss Cooper, and spent the whole evening there. Just as I was going
William Cooper came in and told me (don’t tell _anyone_) that they have
discovered heresy in Professor Maurice’s last book, and he will probably
be expelled from the Church. I had not time to ask any questions, as
Miss Cooper returned, and she is not to know. Professor Maurice came to
town on Monday night, went to Walter Cooper on Tuesday before Miss
Cooper was out of bed, and returned to the country in the evening.... On
Thursday there was a Council. Walter Cooper looks very grave and rather
ill and anxious. What all this betokens, I cannot guess; but I fear
something sad.

I have been reading “The Message of the Church to the Labouring Men”; it
is so beautiful; also “The Duty of the Age.” I did not think Lord
Goderich[11] was so nice; it would just suit Andy.

Mr. Edwards will give us a large order for a skirting board of marble if
we can do it for 8d. a foot; also an order for a painted glass

If any of you love me, see if you can’t send me a piece of Indian ink
and a paint brush, and “The Land we live in,” and look out for some
toys, or books that you don’t want—the latter two for the little child
at the needlewoman’s.

                                                    November 27th, 1853.


About Ruskin, it matters very little to me what _The Times_, or anything
else, says of him. I see much, very very much, to admire in him, and
several things which I could wish different. If, as I suppose, _The
Times_ accuses him of affectation of style and want of humility, I
entirely deny the first charge; as I think there is never a single word
he writes, which could have been left out without loss, or changed
without spoiling the idea; and, if it means that each sentence of his
has a beauty of sound as well as of meaning, I say that it is to me all
the more right for that; and that to be able to reproduce that sound is
a gift not to be neglected.... As to the second objection I say, if
Ruskin sees a truth which is generally denied, he is right to proclaim
it with his whole strength. He says _not_ “I see it is so because I am a
higher creature than you,” _but_ “I see it, because I have gone to God,
and His works for it. You may all see it, if you will look, using the
powers He has given you; only look in sincerity and humility. It is only
because I am humble, because I am content to give up my own ideas and
notions, to take the truth because it is God’s, to believe that it is
good and right. It is only so I can discover harmony in this universe,
and I am sent (he says) with a loud voice to proclaim this to you.”

                                                       Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     December 5th, 1853.


Ruskin has been here. All went as well as I could possibly wish. He was
most delighted with the things, as showing the wonderful power we
possess of introducing and preserving colour. He gave us some most
interesting and useful hints about colour, and ordered five slabs to be
painted for him; adapting two of the designs he wanted from some we had,
which Mr. Terry was to go to his house to do on Monday. He offered to
lend us some things to copy. If you had seen the kind, gentle way in
which he spoke, the interest he showed, the noble way in which he
treated every subject, the pretty way in which he gave the order, and
lastly, if you had seen him as he said on going away, his eyes full of
tears, “I wish you all success with all my heart,” you would have said
with me that it was utterly wonderful to think that that was the man who
was accused of being mad, presumptuous, conceited and prejudiced. If it
be prejudice to love right and beauty, if it be conceited to declare
that God had revealed them to you, to endeavour to make your voice heard
in their defence, if it be mad to believe in their triumph, and that we
must work to make them triumph, then he is all four, and may God make us
all so!... All my sisters, Kitty and Mama, have given me Mr. Maurice’s
“Ancient Philosophy” and have written in it “From her sisters in
affection and work.” This sentence makes me very happy. I know it is
true. I know our work has bound us together.... Another thing happened
on Sunday which pleased me very much. Mr. Neale heard Miranda talking
about my birthday; and he said he was going to give me Mr. Maurice’s
“Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament.” He came on Sunday on purpose
to bring it. It seems such a glory that he does look upon us as related
to him, not merely as receivers of wages, that he considers us workers
with him. All that I have struggled to accomplish, so long and so
wearily, seems just now to be succeeding, all fruitless as the work has
seemed; the seeds buried, dead as I thought them, have sprung above the

                                                       Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     January 10th, 1854.


Mr. Cooper gave me last night a copy of the Address of the congregation
at Lincoln’s Inn to Mr. Maurice. He had asked Mr. Ludlow for it on
purpose for me, and Mr. Ludlow had written my name on it.

I got “Yeast” for Miranda. Have you ever read it, and do you remember
that Barnakill forbids Launcelot to be an artist? It has made a great
impression on me.

                                                    February 10th, 1854.


You have not heard yet that there is great thought of enrolling the
Guild as an Industrial Society, under the new Act. Would it not be very
nice? Mr. Neale had drawn out a set of rules; and he sent them to Mama
for her to approve or make her remarks upon. There are however some
difficulties in the way.

I have not yet been able to write a recollection of that very beautiful
class at Mr. Maurice’s; but I hope to do it.

                                                          Ladies’ Guild,
                                                        June 11th, 1854.

   (Speaking of Hillside.)

        I hope that I may never, as long as I live, forget the sunny,
bright happy hours I have passed there. There remains in my mind a
recollection, a vision of beauty connected with it, which can never be

Mr. Maurice has been speaking to-day of sacrifice as the link between
man and man, and man and God. It was such a sermon! One feels as if all
peace and quiet holiness were around one; everything appears to have a
beauty and calm in it, to which we can turn back in times of storm and
wild noisy rivalries, as to the memory of sunny days, and to shed a
light on all dark and difficult things, on sorrow and loneliness....

It is so still! A garnet coloured glass is on the table full of bright
golden buttercups, and grass; now the door is open they tremble in the
wind, carrying one back to slopes of long grass full of buttercups and
sorrel, as the evening wind sweeps over it.


                                                   September 17th, 1854.

   (In the Lake Country.)

        I have spent three happy evenings with Miss Rogers. I have had a
very interesting conversation on religion with Charlie Bennett, Harry
and Mr. Rogers.... You cannot think what pleasure your notes have been,
telling us, as they do, of a life of rest and beauty. One doesn’t seem
to know much about that sort of thing, and yet they seem to speak of
home to you, as not many things do. One thing will be that you will be
able to understand Ruskin infinitely better than you would have done. I
imagine that some of the descriptions, that appear to us bright images
of things almost vague at times (they are so far off), will remind you
of actual beauties that you have really seen, memories connected with
life. Ruskin has done something to rescue many things from vagueness. He
has embodied them in words which will convey these impressions they gave
you, as nobody else ever has, I believe....

I have been to Westminster Abbey with Miss Cons, have I ever spoken
about her to you? It seems to me that she is capable of a very great
deal. She said something the other day about Mr. Maurice and Walter
Cooper that made me very angry. I told her I would never tell her
anything again; however, instead of that, I told her a great deal more
than I ever did before. I told her that it was he who had led me to the
Church, who had shown me a life in the creeds, the services and the
Bible; who had interpreted for me much that was dark and puzzling in
life; how the belief in a Father, a Son and a Holy Ghost might be the
most real faith, not a dead notion; that I might believe, not only that
God was manifesting himself to each man in the inward consciousness of
light and beauty in himself and all around; that those had led to
infinite perplexities and doubts, but that a real person had come
amongst us, who had known the Father, whose will had been brought into
harmony with His; that He was stronger than doubts and sorrow and had
overcome them; that He had declared that we might have life, that life
was knowledge of God. From this conversation came a determination that
Miss Cons and I should read the Theological Essays together.

... Oh if you could but see my ferns and all my things here. I have so
many things I want to do in this room, but they all want money,
sometimes as little as threepence, sometimes several pounds. It is
perfect, because everything is progressing. The ivy will some day creep
around the windows. I shall some day know my books better, and perhaps
at last the room will be all grey stone, the window Gothic, and there
may be pictures of my own painting; and the stony walls may be covered
with wild masses of leaves standing out boldly in the sunlight, with
their shadows sharp and dark on the grey background.

I began this letter to-day, as the first sunbeam fell on my flowers.
Nobody could have been happier. Now I have run up from work to finish
it, feeling very cross. Kitty has complained to Mama that Miss Cons and
I make a great deal of noise. We never do anything but talk. Never mind!
she’ll find me silent enough.


                                                   Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       March 14th, 1855.


I find on reflection that it will be a rather more difficult undertaking
than I imagined to write to you every two days. However I will do my

You will have seen, by this time, what a wonderful event is about to
take place in my life, and will, no doubt, have realized what it will be
to me. But, however wonderfully you may all enter into my feelings, or
even discover them, I do not think any of you can really understand what
this is to me, unless you could have looked into my heart continually
for three years, and seen how at first he was only a friend of Mr.
Furnivall’s[12]; then how his books were everything and he nothing; then
how his name suggested a vision of vague beauty and distant and
indefinite glory.... Still he was distant, almost unreal. He might be in
Italy, or Palestine, or he might be passing me at that moment....
Perhaps in a year or two hence I may tell you what my thoughts were, and
are at this period;—but, all this time I was learning to admire him more
and more, and now leave the rest till after Friday.

I send you a prospectus of the College, which I beg you will return.
Walter Cooper was with us last night; but I don’t think we heard any

Anna Mary (Howitt) has fulfilled her promise to lend me “Modern
Painters.” She sent them yesterday; I leave you to put in all the marks
of admiration and the “oh how delightfuls!” according to your own
fancies; working people have no time for anything but facts, (not that
the delight of reading “Modern Painters” is less a fact than that the
book is in this house), but——

I am very bright to-night, as you may perceive, and am writing this in
the most comfortable way, in bed. Tell F. that I expect she is quite a
woman, and is quite independent of my letters, and, as I promised to
write to you, she must not expect letters from me; but she must accept
my kindness to Pussie, and my care of her plants, as the affectionate
proof of my remembrance and friendship. Will you, dear children, think
of me very earnestly on Friday at two; and try to see poor
Mansfield’s[13] grave? I suppose there is not a single fern. You know
how much I want them.

I’m getting a toothache with sitting up in the cold; so I must lie down
and read. I’ve written to accept Ruskin’s invitation.

                                                   Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       March 16th, 1855.


There is only one thing to speak about just now, Ruskin. I have
been,—fancy! We could not get an omnibus which would pass the door,
without waiting till it would be too late. We took one which brought us
to Camberwell Gate; we tore along, thinking we were late, and too much
engrossed by that idea, to see or think of anything else. At last we
arrived at a green gate with a lodge. We asked for Mr. Ruskin, and were
sent on to the house. Imagine a handsome mansion or large villa, a broad
sweep of gravel road leading to it, bordered by a lawn, on which stood
an immense cedar of Lebanon, on the other a bank covered with golden
celandines in full flower, and shaded by immense elms. Ascending a
flight of steps leading to a glass door, we looked into a handsome hall;
a footman came and showed us upstairs; we entered Mr. Ruskin’s study,
and he was there. He received us very warmly, asked us about our journey
there, and about the weather, which I then for the first time perceived.
The room was lofty, the furniture dark, the table covered with papers,
the walls rich with pictures, a cabinet full of shells, with a dead fern
or two; and looking out of the window over a garden (I never looked at
it) on to a field which sloped very gently, more like a bit of park,
large trees on it, with their shadows strongly marked by the bright sun,
and very still; beyond, slopes of meadow and woodland, over which the
shadows of large white clouds kept passing. Mr. Ruskin was very kind,
and showed us numbers of manuscripts, which I admired more than I had
any idea of, and sketches. He evidently thought my design well done,
admired the fir and bramble, blamed my not knowing exactly what colours
I should put everywhere, and illustrated these things—that in a fine
design each thing is of importance, that the effect of the whole would
be spoilt by the alteration of any part; that simplicity of form is
needful to show colour; that no colour is precious till it is gradated;
that grass is more yellow than we think; that holly is not green (made
only with blue and yellow) (_sic_) but with crimson and white in it;
that it is impossible to have colour on paper so light and so living as
in nature; that, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, work becomes
coarser, more floral, less grotesque than in the thirteenth. We had a
delightful conversation about one thing. I remarked what a world of
beauty he was surrounded with; and he answered that, if I could change
places with him, I should be no happier than I am now. I said I knew
that very well; but I affirmed there was a positive pleasure in a
beautiful thing. He said he was very covetous, always wanting more; and
that he desired happiness, but from the success of what he was doing;
that he would part with all he possessed, if he could thereby insure
that some real illuminators would arise. We then, though quite
consistent, appeared to change sides in the argument. I said that there
was as much pleasure to be found in London as in the country; that the
beauties were more valued when seen, and the scraps of beauty more
loved. He said that man was not meant to be in a constant state of
enthusiasm (of which by the way we stand in no danger); that the
blessing of the country was more negative; that brick walls were a
positive pain. I said that I was very glad to say that, although
sometimes feeling crushed by the ugliness, I could forget it. He ended
by saying that, as I was fond of the country, he hoped after May, when
the weather was warm, I should often go down there; and then, altering
the reason of the invitation, he said that, if I wanted to refresh my
memory and come to see his MSS., I could come any day and chance finding
him at home; or, if I would send a line the day before, he would try and
be at home. This is not half of this conversation, and we had several
others, to say nothing of illustrations and propositions.

And now, M., do you, or do you not wish to hear what I think of it; that
_that_ which is asked for is given; that, well-used, this friendship
(?), so happily begun, may be a long and growing one; that I have seen a
world of beauty; and that this might be the opening to a more glorious
path; and that I would give years, if I could bring to Ruskin “the peace
which passeth all understanding”?


                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       March 19th, 1855.


I ought to have written yesterday; but, as I cannot write on Saturdays,
I thought it was well to get to the right days again. You must not think
it unkind, if I do not write to you again, as Mr. Ruskin has lately sent
us some work to do. Of course I wish to do it; so, as there is other
work wanted, I shall have to do it in the evening. Mr. Maurice also will
be home on Wednesday; and I am not sure that we shall not be admitted to
two meetings there are to be.... Tell F. her kettle mourns day and night
at its loneliness, and muses over its utter uselessness; and the
book-case looks sadly dejected, but it has not told me the reason.

Don’t expect a merry letter to-night. I am rather dejected.... I often
wish now I were quite free and could work at what I liked.... It
requires a strong heart to go on working, without anyone caring whether
you are longing to do anything else. I am going to work all the Fast[14]
day at Ruskin’s things; and God give me a brave heart, for I am sure
nothing else can.

Dear child, I hope you are happy and enjoying the country very much. I
long to see Mr. Maurice again. When I do, I shall have more to tell you,
if I have time to write. I am very wretched. I am not to begin Ruskin’s
work to-morrow.... I am trying very hard not to complain. If I have
attained so far thro’ all obstacles of three long years, surely I shall
be helped to go farther; and surely there is a reward, there is a use in
all the long hours I have worked, all the energy I have given; surely
there is a brighter day coming. He who works for man must look to man
for his reward; but we have worked for God, and He will reward us.

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       March 21st, 1855.


Thank you very much for your letter. I am very much interested by your
account of that clergyman. I should think from what you say, that his
influence must be very good. The mere fact of the congregation being so
poor and degraded would seem to shew it. It is very difficult to tell
what the doctrines of a man are from one sermon; and very likely you
heard the worst side of them.

I have been to Lincoln’s Inn to-day, and have heard Mr. Maurice, and
have seen Mr. Hughes, Mr. Kingsley and Mr. Ludlow. Mr. Cooper advises me
to go and see whether we shall be admitted at the meeting. Mr. Kingsley
will preach at Bethnal Green on Sunday evening. I am in the very heart
of painting Ruskin’s designs, really enjoying it.


I have a copy of the form of prayer for to-day, which you will like to
read when you return. Mr. Maurice preached such a beautiful sermon about
it.[15] The text was the 1st to 8th verses of 1st Chapter of S. Luke. He
said that, three weeks ago all England was startled by the news that the
man[16] whom she had looked upon as her most deadly enemy was dead; that
whatever hopes statesmen or merchants might entertain of the result, had
proved wrong; that many people said there must be a purpose in this
event; that however sinful it might be to rejoice over it, they could
not but believe that it was working towards some good end. To such
people, he continued, I would answer, “assuredly not an emperor falls
(because not a sparrow falls) without our Father in Heaven; and to Him
who wills it every event will bring a blessing.” And what should we
learn from this? In the first place, we have all of us fancied that we
were fighting against a man; whereas the fact is we are fighting against
a principle, which is represented, perhaps in a nobler form than usual,
in this man. People objecting to this say, “no, we are fighting against
flesh and blood; we leave all abstractions to philosophers.” I agree
with them thus far. We _are_ engaged with realities; if a principle be a
mere theory, to be disputed about in books, it is nothing to living men;
but, if it be that which gives energy and motive to action, then it has
everything to do with them. We are fighting against that arbitrary
power, which treats men as mere machines or tools, and is utterly
indifferent to national life. There is great danger connected with the
belief that our enemies are men, not principles. We are likely, we are
almost sure, not to see the same enemy at home. We are all too much
inclined to think that we live only to carry on our separate trades and
professions. We happen, indeed, to carry them on together in a certain
geographical position, which has been for some years called the island
of Great Britain. We have, it is true, a common language. It is very
convenient it should be so, just as it is very convenient to have a
medium of exchange. It would hinder our buying and selling very much, if
it were not so. It is also very important to have laws to punish those
who injure their neighbours. These laws must be general, lest one class
should gain the ascendency. We must also have a doctrine preached about
future rewards and punishments. Of course about such an uncertain
subject there can be little agreement; and therefore, if all compete in
preaching, it will suit all tastes. We do not want a sense of national
life. It is this indifference to it which we have been striving against
thro’ all generations. This common enemy unites us to all past ages; if
we have lost sight of it, we lose the meaning of history. And this is
the meaning of a Fast day. It speaks to us all as members of a nation;
it tells us of a stronger bond than that of possessing a common enemy;
that we possess a common Father; this gives prayer a meaning, and
national life a reality. And this speaks to us individually. So long as
we look upon the Emperor of Russia as our enemy we cannot expect to have
to conquer him; (_sic_), and we cannot ask for help to do so.... Thank
you for the promise of ferns. Bring several. Numbers here will be glad
of them. We are having the garden dug, and shall be glad of all
contributions. Can you bring a stone _and_ a root from Mr. Mansfield’s
grave?... It is _very_ late, past twelve (long).

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       March 27th, 1855.


Thank you for your two dear letters. They interested me very much
indeed. Have you read “Brave Words”?[17] I think G. and you might like
to read it together. Mr. Maurice preached at Lincoln’s Inn on Sunday
morning. I did not know of it. Since I have known him[18] I have missed
hearing him four times, Stepney, Whitechapel, lecture on Newspapers, and
last Sunday. It was a funeral sermon for Mr. Mansfield; and all his
friends met together afterwards. They are going to have it every year.
Mama went with me in the afternoon. The text was the 27th verse of the
fourteenth of St. John. Mr. Maurice began by saying that these words
were not understood at the time they were spoken. The events which
followed them seemed the most awful contradiction of them; for even He
who had spoken them appeared to have lost then the gift which He
promised. The question was, What peace was it which He gave? It could
not be peace in the world; the wars, the contentions showed that _that_
had not been given. The Gospel which they brought to the world seemed to
bring divisions not unity, strife not peace. It could not be peace in
the Church; for a few weeks it seemed as if this might be the gift which
Christ had left. They had all things in common; and then arose
contentions, people pretending to have sold their possessions, and given
the whole value of them to the Church, when they had retained half. Paul
rebuking Peter; discussions about circumcision. Was it outward peace for
themselves? Never had any set of men experienced so little as the
Apostles. Was it inward peace, a cessation of all fierce war with evil,
of all conflict? Surely not. For that which Christ promised He must have
realised Himself. They had heard the cry on the Cross, and seen the
agony in the garden; surely there never was a more awful fight with evil
than that which He had carried on. Above all, they had forsaken Him
themselves. If anything would add to their sense that they had no peace,
it would be that when they thought they were ready to die for Him, they
had left Him; the cross and death did not divide Him from them so much
as their unfaithfulness. But all this showed that the peace which He
promised could be no outward peace; that it could not be felt till they
were ready to give up that. The sense of a friend, a deliverer, the
revelation of a Father, would give them really a peace which the world
did not give, and could not take away. I forget how it came in, but Mr.
Maurice mentioned Christ’s look to Peter which made him weep, and
contrasted that with Judas’s remorse. I would give you a better account
of this sermon, but I ought to have written it before. It is now
confused in my mind with Kingsley’s, the one I heard on Wednesday, and
with several things I have been reading.

We are not to execute our own designs for Ruskin, at any rate yet. I
have been doing his letters in the work hours.... About what you and G.
have been saying, I should answer, that I think you are quite right in
maintaining that, if the war is right, we must be right in praying to
God to help us in it; but I think there is a certain cowardice, a
shrinking from looking facts in the face, when people say that they are
not asking God to help them to kill men. That is not the end, but it is
the means. What I think we want to see is that all things are as nothing
in comparison with right; that we have no business to calculate results;
that we are to give up comfort, homes, those who are dearest to us,
life, everything, to defend right. I wish very much to have time to
think what a nationality is, that it should be worth so much. I feel
that it is worth everything. I suppose every nation has a separate work
to do, which would be left undone were it extinct. I think a nation can
never perish till it has so far neglected its mission that its existence
has no more meaning. If it has fulfilled its work it will be given more
to do; so with the Jews; they had borne witness to a living Ruler, a
King of the people; they had had glimpses that the King would be more
fully revealed; they believed that it was He who had brought them out of
captivity, had strengthened them in battle. They had forgotten Him, and
asked for a visible king like the other nations, when their glory was to
be different from them, those other nations. The king was given; the
prophet saw that there was a divine meaning in the cry for one; but Saul
was the representative of the people, he was a mere general. He was
wrecked; and yet there _was_ a meaning in the offer. The earthly king
might set himself up, might tyrannize over the people; but he was the
continual witness of a power, which he might recognize and bow before;
life was as nothing to the Israelites, nationality everything. And they
did not fall because they thought so little of life; they thought too
much of it, if you look upon life as merely the breath. But if life is
the light of men, we have no evidence, we can have none, that it is in
the power of man to take it away. They did not give it, and they cannot
destroy it. If in Him was the life, in Him it is, and ever will be; we
may surely trust to Him those whom He has made. The light which shined
in the darkness was surely that which has been in our soldiers, in the
long-suffering they have had; their breath, their bodies man can
destroy; but that which has given them strength is still theirs, when
their last struggle on earth has ended, and they go perhaps to a more
awful fight; but with a peace which cannot leave them. The Jews fell;
they thought they were different from all the world, when they were most
like it. They were boasting of their privileges, trusting in themselves;
they evidently thought the highest sign of godliness was utter
selfishness. They would have thought it a triumph for Christ, if He had
saved Himself. He died that death might have no more darkness for us, no
more loneliness; for He was light and life, that He might bear witness
that breath is not the most precious thing; that there is One Who is
always trying to destroy that higher life, but that it is His gift and
He will preserve it....

Mr. Maurice preaches next Sunday at Mile End.

It is very late, so good night.... Mr. Maurice asked very kindly how you
were. He does not appreciate the noble patience with which you are
waiting at Weybridge; but, if he does not understand it, we do

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       April 19th, 1855.



I have such a great deal to tell you that I don’t know what to put
first. You must know that Ruskin appointed to see Mr. Pickard[19] at 2
o’clock at his house; and he was to take the letters that they have done
as specimens at about half past twelve. Ockey came running into the
workroom, half crying, half laughing, and came and whispered something
to Miranda who left the room with her. Presently Miranda came back
laughing, and saying that she had succeeded.... It came out that this
was the case.... Ockey had wanted very much to go with Mr. Pickard; but
he was going in his cart; and Ockey could not go in an omnibus and meet
him there, because it would offend him; so Miranda persuaded Mama to let
Ockey go in the cart. She says that she enjoyed it so much; Mr. Pickard
was so kind and thoughtful. He did not drive up to the door in the cart,
but left it at some distance. Ruskin received them very kindly and was
very much pleased with the letters, and has given an order for two more
to be done. When they left Ruskin, Mr. Pickard seemed determined that
they should enjoy themselves. He wanted to explore a pretty road that
there was; and soon he set his heart on going to the Crystal Palace; so
he took Ockey there, and showed her all over the gardens which she had
never seen before, and led her about from room to room.... At last Ockey
began to fear that he would never leave, and that she should be late for
the meeting at the Agency. However, she got back in time.

                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                         July 6th, 1855.


We shall be very happy to see your friends and your uncle, who I think I
have had the pleasure of meeting at Mrs. Howitt’s.

It gives us very great pleasure to see anyone who is really interested
in our work. Sympathy is very precious, and the knowledge that we are
not working utterly alone; it is a wonderfully interesting work, at
times a difficult one; thrown so much together as we all are, we have to
ask ourselves what it is that unites us, now that we have at last broken
thro’ the wall of ice that has surrounded these children’s hearts,
threatening to shape them into machines, not to educate them as human
beings, having individuality, powers of perception and reflection; tho’,
thank God! it never could have achieved its work entirely because they
would always have had power of loving, however blunted it might have
been.... I do not think the influence that the rich and poor might have
upon one another has been at all understood by either. I think we have
all taken it too much for granted—a great deal more than we should have
done—that the giving is all on one side, the receiving on the other....
I have had a great success to-day, in destroying, I trust for ever, a
six years’ quarrel between two of the children. But a long work lies
before us; and to-day’s victory is but a small emblem of what must be.
There must be many a cloud, and many a storm, and many an earthquake;
and yet we must rise victorious, to lead these children to love truth,
to realize it as more eternal, more real than any material substances;
to teach them that in the principle of a sacrifice lies all strength; to
open their hearts and eyes to all beauty; to bring out the principle of
obedience and sacrifice, as opposed to selfishness and lawlessness. This
is not a small work, and they must learn to do that which lies before
them, to look upon the fulfilment of the duties which God has given
them, in whatever position they may be, as that which will open to them
the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a work which we must ask to be able to
undertake in all humility, all energy, all earnestness, all faith;
feeling that our _only_ strength, our _sufficient_ strength is that God
is working with us.

I do not know whether I ought to apologise for writing such a long
letter; but I hardly remembered what I was doing.


                                              Ladies’ Guild,
                                                  4, Russell Place,
                                                      Fitzroy Square,
                                                        July 16th, 1855.


It has given me much pleasure to receive your very kind letter. I thank
you in my own name and in that of the children for your welcome
invitation. It will give us very great pleasure to accept it.... Your
letters have given me much pleasure because they are assurances that we
are not working utterly alone; because we want this assurance; because
the evil which is so great, and so near, is almost crushing, without a
consciousness of having fellow labourers. It is such a very small number
that can come within our reach; our influence is so limited even on
those with whom we have most to do; there is so much in ourselves that
hinders us from understanding and loving these children as we should do;
so much in them that hinders them from caring for our love. Fancy
appealing to a child’s sense of duty to do something which will delay
her work, prevent her earning so much as she would otherwise have done,
perhaps deprive her of a meal, very often of a new pair of shoes! How
strong her sense of duty must be, how real right must seem to her (if
she is to prevail), to counterbalance the reality of the dinner and
clothes! How dare I hope, I very often ask myself, to awaken this sense?
And yet I do go on acting as if it were existing; appealing to it, and
receiving proofs of its existence continually. I dare not hope that I
shall have the power of creating it. I dare not disbelieve that I ought
to be the agent in awakening it. It is a very wonderful work in which we
are engaged. It is a very awful work, when you feel how easily you can
reach their hearts, how hard it is to reach their consciences; they will
do anything _for you_, they will do hardly anything because it is right.
And tho’ this is dangerous, because so false a ground to stand upon, yet
this inclination testifies of a precious truth. It might teach us, if we
would only learn, how much all human beings must crave for personality;
how cold, how dead, how distant are all abstractions. A soul diffused
thro’ nature, an ideal, an essence, a principle, may seem to satisfy a
comfortably situated philosopher. It is sufficient to dream and
speculate about; it is not enough to live upon. Even in his most easy
moments, there will be strange questionings in him as to what connection
this God of his bears to life; and there will come a time when the
ground beneath him shall be shaken; when he shall ask what he is
standing upon; when evil shall rise before him as something very real,
very near; then he will have to ask whether there is nothing nearer,
nothing more real; yes! in his old creeds (if they deserve the name)
there is an essence pervading all things. An essence, when this is a
real battle, when evil is gathered up in some person, is felt to be most
terribly personal. If evil is all vague, all mysterious, and yet most
real, is there no Person stronger than it, mysterious through His
divinity? Yes! then all history, all life will testify there is such a
one. Man has been trying to bow down even to himself; he has longed to
worship, but it must be something definite, something eternal; such a
one has been shown. Every man is to act as if it were so. You are all to
speak to those around you, as if they had that in them which would
recognise and reverence this Conqueror, this Knight; and yet as if they
knew that He could only be God’s warrior, because He came not to crush
but to raise; and yet that, just because of this, He was bound to fight
with evil, bound to destroy; and I do hope we may be able to awaken in
the hearts of these children a knowledge that they are called soldiers
of Christ, in whatever place they may find themselves; that it is their
duty not to speak or act or think as if there were no evil; that it is
no proof of trust in God to shut their eyes. They _do_ see evil, they do
feel it in themselves, they are bound to testify that God is stronger
than the devil, light than darkness, life than death. There is all
danger of our disbelieving this. I feel it in myself. I am frequently
inclined to act as if I believed that another than a righteous God was
ruling, especially in the hearts of others; as if there was nothing so
strong as selfishness, nothing so mighty as self interest; and yet I
_am_ bound to claim for these children, to claim for all of us, the name
of Christians, children of God, inheritors of His Kingdom.

                                                        Ladies’ Guild,
                                                        July 24th, 1855.


... And now I must thank you all very very much for your kindness, which
I am sure we shall never any of us forget. I am sure you will be glad to
hear how much we all enjoyed the whole day. I am sure that it was to
many of us a revelation not only of beauty and comfort, but of
gentleness and generosity, which we have cause to be very grateful for.
The children have never ceased talking about it; the boat, the water,
the garden, the flowers are continual sources of delight. I asked them
to-day if they had any message to you, as I was going to write. They
seemed oppressed by a sense of wanting to say something. One of them
said she had plenty to say, if she was going to write herself. There was
an eager discussion in one corner as to whether it would be proper to
send their love; but they ended by asking me to thank you all for them,
as they did not know how. I felt very much inclined to tell them how
very little I knew how; except that I thought the very love, which they
seemed to think it would be shocking to express, was the only thanks
which you would care anything about.

I have had a very sad day to-day. A scene with the children, bringing up
old quarrels, repeating unkind things which should have been forgotten
long ago; a recommencement of a feud, which I had so rashly hoped was
destroyed for ever. I spoke to them very earnestly; there was not a dry
eye in all the room; but I fear that very little lasting good has been
done. I do not see what to do about it.


I went yesterday to Epping Forest with both the Tailors’ Associations.
There were eighty of us at tea; and, as they sat in the long room,
covered with beech boughs, some of us were called upon to sing “Now pray
we for our Country!” and I could not help thinking how real the prayers
of the workers are, because their lives are so much together. With no
doubt that the prayer would be answered, I could sing “Who blesseth her
is blessed,” and think of all those dear children at home, who are
trying, and will, I trust, try more to Bless England; and I could thank
God for such as you, because I am sure that, if England has not devoted
children, and faithful servants, she must perish; 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 no change of circumstances,
before death or after it, could ever make us conscientious or zealous,
or gentle; and that I was quite sure that, if any one of them could have
done more good in any other position, they would have been there.

Mama has asked me to be sure to say that Mr. Vansittart Neale is very
much interested in your uncle’s plan, and that he is here on Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and Fridays.... I am very sorry that I cannot send the plan
of the Ladies’ College in this letter; I will do so on the first
opportunity. I send you two addresses which I wish you would read, as I
should like you to know something of Mr. Maurice. If you could know, as
I know, the unwearied energy, the untiring devotion with which he works;
how he has established the Associations, the Working Men’s College, and
now the College for Working Women, you could not fail to respect him.
But, if to this was added the consciousness that he had been the agent
of showing you the ground on which you were standing, the sun by whose
light alone you could work! It has been my very earnest prayer that I
may be able to prevent some from living on speculations, even as long as
I lived on them. When first I met your uncle, I had just begun to know
Mr. Maurice, apart from the band with whom he was working,—just begun to
long for the certainty of which he spoke;—to be utterly weary of
conjecturing; and I think I owe a great deal to the impression of your
uncle’s face and voice. They seemed so calm, so fixed; but nothing
except real work, real intercourse with people who needed comfort, could
ever have given me strength. Again, after three years, we have met; and
I am still crying for more earnest faith, but only for others now. I do
thank him. I do thank you and every one who has helped me to make their
lives more blessed and happy. I hope they may learn to work for one
another in fellowship.


                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                       August 1st, 1855.


Thank you very much for your long, kind letter. It did my heart good to
receive it.

You may indeed call me “Miss Ockie” if it pleases you; but I shall be
glad if you will leave out the “Miss” altogether, if you like.

“Ockie” is a very familiar name associated in my mind with most of my
sisters, and with the times when I ran wild in the country; a name which
binds the past and the present together, which bears a continual protest
against my tendency to forget my childhood.

“Loke” is my name with which is associated all my strength; it is
Florence’s own invention; whenever my sisters call me their brother,
then I am “Loke.” “Octavia” is Mama’s name for me, whenever I am working
with her. Whenever I am steady, I have a right to it. “Miss Hill” is
bound up with very precious recollections, very happy associations. Mr.
Maurice, Mr. Ruskin, and one or two others use it principally.

But I now think I see in the children’s name for me the union of all,
the gathering up of the essence of each,—the casting away of its evil.
It must bear witness, as the first does, that, however changed, I was
once passionate, lonely. It must remind me of scenes long past; it must
comprehend the strength of the second, the energy and perseverance of
the third; it can do so because it is a working name; because there is
no motive of strength or energy, without affection; it must be connected
with the last name, because there is no sure ground for it, except in
the words “This is My commandment that ye love one another.”

This name is indeed dear to me now. I never can forget (I do not think
the recollection will ever grow fainter) the way they received me on
Saturday. I had been ill, but insisted upon working. One of them
suggested that they should be quiet; and I never had such complete
silence, although I did not once tell them to be quiet, because I
thought it hard to cramp them simply because I chose to work; and the
next morning when I returned from my early walk, they were all over the
house, to catch the first sight of me. Four of them had been here since
before seven, nine being their usual time. Those who lived near together
arranged that whoever woke early should go to call all the others. Every
one had something for me—flowers, books, fruit; they brought me the
footstool; they anticipated every want that I had. I never saw such
bountiful unconscious love and attention.... I should never have done
telling you how kind they are.... I began reading out to them to-day; it
succeeded admirably. I only wish I knew more people to do it. I can only
give them three hours in a week, and _that_ only during the autumn.

                                                             August 5th.

I do not know what you will say to me, dear Miss Harrison, for not
sending this letter, but I have been very busy and much excited.

I have been, since I wrote it, to Mr. Ruskin’s for the third time. But
still it is a very wonderful event for me; and, I think, always will be;
for not only is everything which he says precious—all opening new fields
of thought and lighting them,—but also his house is full of the most
wonderful pictures that I ever dreamed of. Not fifty Royal Academies
could be worth one rough sketch in that house; and he is so
inexpressibly kind, so earnest to help everyone, and so generous that
one comes home inclined to say to everything, “Hush while I think about
it”; and then to continue, “Whirl on! for I have a quietness, which has
another Source than you, and which is given to influence you.”


I go to-day to see the Sunday School, which most of my children attend;
they press me very much to teach in it. Would to God that I could show
them the deeper, mightier foundation than that they are standing on! I
believe I am doing so in a way. I believe that, when I first came to
them, I took the right ground. I was bound to assume, and I have
assumed, that justice, truth, and self-sacrifice, are the principles
that hold Society together; that its existence testifies to their
strength; that what is true of Society at large is true of our Society;
that it does not and cannot stand, except in proportion to their
strength. I believe that this is the great Christian principle—that
there is no might nor greatness in Christ’s life, no saving power in His
death, no triumph in His resurrection, unless it is the eternal witness
that obedience and self-sacrifice give to victory over lawlessness and

I believe that, in so far as I am acting as if this were true, I am
teaching them to be followers of Christ. What I wish I could teach them
is to have a more personal religion. This I believe to be the great work
that Sunday schools have done; they have little scope for teaching the
other truths, even if they recognise them. Daily life must teach that.
We are teaching it to one another here. They are making it a much more
living faith for me than it has ever been before. May the God of England
strengthen us all, to trust that He is King and that He is righteous.

Thank your sisters very much for the prospect of the leaves; they will
indeed be treasures to all of us.

                                               Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     4, Russell Place,
                                                   September 21st, 1855.


I hope you are enjoying yourself.... We had such a beautiful lesson
to-day about the world. I miss you very. I wish you would come back
again. It is now twenty-five minutes to eight; it was very dark, and I
and Harriet put a farthing together, and sent L. and S. out for a
halfpenny candle.... Oh! our gardens are getting on so badly! We had an
Irish stew for dinner to-day. Do come back as soon as you can; and I
daresay you see numbers of snakes and snails, and glow-worms, and
beautiful caterpillars and all sorts of insects. I daresay the leaves
are falling fast. I daresay you are very happy together. When you went
away, Louisa, Sarah, and Dennis did sob and cry so. I daresay when you
are alone by yourself you are thinking of home, and it makes you very
sad; but never mind; cheer up. S. earned two shillings and a farthing,
and L. two shillings and two pence; and I earned two and twopence
yesterday. Were we not good girls? and Miss Ockey was very pleased with
us. We have finished that splendid, oh beautiful! book, “Steadfast
Gabriel”; and I never saw such a beautiful book in my life. Sarah is
always thinking of you, and I too. The account this week comes to £19
all but fourpence. We have most splendid boxes of toys in the show room,
beautiful, elegant.

I am writing the poetry that you like very much in my copy book. Good
night. I must depart from the workshop.


                                                     Marshals, Romford,
                                                       October 16, 1855.


Tell Miss Cons that I often wish she were here; she would appreciate so
much the beauty of everything. She would rejoice to look at the gigantic
trees holding themselves so still, with, here and there, a branch all
gold or copper coloured, and the brilliant berries; to trace the light
wreaths of briony not yet transformed into streams of gold, but just
changed enough from their summer green to tell you their own individual
story, how they grew deep down in the hedge, and then climbed up
clinging for strength even to thorny branches, even to leafless ones;
they tell how they trust themselves, and tangle and knot themselves
closer and closer; one wreath only impatient for light and _sunlight_,
running up some spray of rose or bramble; and then, as if content to be
made more and more like that sun, rests on its thorny pillar and
stretches down its golden arms to its friends below, every leaf telling
the same story as the whole plant; beginning in darkness, ending in
light; beginning in life, ending in glorified death; beginning in green,
ending in gold; beginning in massive strength, ending in spiritual
power. But it is of you and A. I think, when, gathered round the fire in
an evening, we talk of the Guild, of Ruskin, of the poor, of education,
of politics and history.

                                                     October 19th, 1855.


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

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 ever seen. I have not seen them since, and am very anxious to
hear what they thought of it. It must have been a wonderful event in
their lives. They are (as indeed I think we all are) a great deal too
much wrapped up in our own affairs; and it must be very much because we
know ourselves so much better than others. Therefore I do not fear to
give way to what I know is a preference that the children feel for
story-books. They have even expressed it; and I reserve to myself the
choice of books.


I would rather that they had a strong sympathy with men than with birds;
therefore I would prefer them to read about men, particularly if they
will learn to study the characters more than the events. Yet I value all
natural history, all science, as bringing them to realities, saving them
from dreams and visions. But I would have them to look upon all strong
feeling, love, hate, gentleness, reverence, as being as real as stones
and trees and stars. They are very suspicious. Now in books there can be
no suspicion. All is declared to be good or evil. Deceit may be shown
indeed, but devotion is shown also. I would not have them to believe all
around them to be what it appears; for it is not so; but I must get them
to believe that, in the deep souls of those even who appear the worst,
there is a spark of nobleness, which it is in their power to reach, with
which they are to claim fellowship, which they are to look upon as the
only eternal part of men. It is for this reason that I do not fear, day
after day, to read stories to those who are in the midst of hard work,
poverty, sickness, hundreds of people, trials, hopes and deaths.
Therefore I have asked you for those books, which are among the very few
which I would let these dear children read.

                                                       Ladies’ Guild,
                                                   December 2nd (1855?).


I am writing with my consolidated[20] table before me. I do hope you
will be able to see it before it goes to Ruskin’s. Mama will I daresay
tell you how I intend to spend my birthday. Do think of me at half past
one, if you know in time.

Mr. Maurice asks how you are continually, and is very kind. He is gone
to Cambridge, and will not be at Lincoln’s Inn to-morrow. Is it not a
pity? All goes on very well here; the children are very dear. I wish you
could be with us to-morrow. I want you to see Ruskin. I trust it will be
a fine day.... I have undertaken to teach the two C.’s writing and
arithmetic. It is so nice. I am very happy, everyone is so kind. I am
delighting in the thought of to-morrow. I do not know whether any other
day would be the same, if one thought about it; but it does seem to me
as if one’s birthday held the same relation to other days that Mr.
Maurice says a ruler does to his people,—as if it gathered up all the
meaning of those other days, embodied the meaning of all of them; and
so, if things happen, as it seems probable they will, I shall feel that,
as, last year, I had to learn the value of the Church service read by
Mr. Maurice, so this year I have to learn how precious it is when read
by anyone, now that he is away; as last year I was to feel what a
blessed thing a home was, where all members of it were 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.


                                                       Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     December 3rd, 1855.


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. They may chain our tongues and hands to
a great degree, forbid us to read the Bible together, &c., but no human
power can check the influence which continual sacrifice has; no one can
hinder the conviction that these children are gaining,—all Love can
overcome Evil. This is a Gospel which will prepare them for that more
personal one, which these people will teach!

You ask what Miranda and I intend to do. Andy is teaching in the
morning, and teaching my children in the afternoon. I am working here,
where I will continue, as long as ever I have any strength, or as long
as I am permitted to do so. My whole life is bound in with this Society.
Every energy I possess belongs to it. If I leave here, I intend to
continue to support myself if possible, if I can keep body and soul
together. I have just completed some work for Ruskin. When I take it
home, I intend to learn whether he thinks it of any use for me to go on
drawing; whether there is any hope of employment; if so, I shall devote
all spare time to it. If _not_, I intend to begin to study with all
energy, to qualify myself as a governess; resting sure that whatever
work offers itself may be done well, may become a blessed, noble,

I wish I could convey to you any impression of the picture[21] I have
seen to-day. Yes, if I could impart to anyone my own perception of the
picture, could only let them have an opportunity of looking at it for as
long as I did, I should have done something worth living for. That union
of the truth with the ideal is perfect, solemn, glorious, awful and
mighty. It will I trust never fade from my memory.


                                                     December 4th, 1855.

Thank you for all kind messages about us, or to us. I wish I could tell
you about my children, of the blessed spirit which they are beginning to
show continually. I wish I could tell you of the kindness of all our
friends; above all I hope that you do possess that strong confidence in
a great spirit of love, that you do see the effects of its strength in
those, whoever they may be, for whom and with whom you have worked, a
confidence not based on fiction or fancy, but on experience, on a clear
perception of motives. I have had that faith for some years; but I am
sure we shall all look back to this crisis as to a time which has tried,
proved, and strengthened it. No one need suspect us of blinding
ourselves to the existence of selfishness; our life would not permit it;
but oh the joy, after a life of many sorrows, many changes, in which
either no friends did stand by us, or we had not the power to see that
they did, to see at last the time arrived when numbers of arms are
stretched out to save us,—this is glorious! But, above and beyond the
delight of gratitude for sympathy, what a blessing it is to feel how
much there is in men that is generous, affectionate, sympathetic; to
know that, if you are no longer to encourage this spirit among those
with whom you have lived so long, God can and will strengthen it. If you
may no longer bow before those with whom you live, when you see their
wonderful nobleness, struggling with adverse circumstances, no longer
learn humility from them, God himself will teach you in other places,
and by other means. You dare leave all your labour to Him, because He
has given you whatever of a right spirit you have exercised in it.


                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     December 7th, 1855.


I have been trying to write to you every night, but have been too
sleepy. It is now luncheon time, so I must not write much.... I did
indeed spend a glorious day on Monday. Emma Cons and I walked to
Dulwich. Oh the delight of the frosty morning! the beautiful leaves as
they peeped out from the banks! As we passed Ruskin’s house, it seemed
wrapped in mist; just as we came up, the sun broke out behind the house,
which, however, quite shaded the garden, except that one ray darted
thro’ the glass doors of the hall, and pierced the darkest depths of the
steady cedars; then on to Dulwich, where we met Miss Harris. I wrote a
letter asking Ruskin to let us see his pictures. We drove to his house,
sent the letter in; the answer was that the ladies were to be shown in.
“Crawley” took us into the dining-room and stirred the fire; the room
was papered with red flock paper, and there were a number of _almost_
purple leather chairs and a number of pictures. Crawley led us up to one
saying, “This is the Slave Ship.” Oh, you do not know how often I have
read Ruskin’s description of this picture, and have hoped that it was in
his possession: I had not remembered it, however, since I had heard of
this promised visit. It was such a surprise. I looked at it for some
time; then I just looked at the other pictures in the room; one was the
“Grand Canal at Venice” by Turner, which I hardly saw. There was a
sketch by Tintoret of a doge at his prayers, _very beautiful_, with a
picture of the second coming of Christ; the large picture, for which
this was a study, is now in Venice. There were two or three William
Hunts, two or three by Prout, who you know now paints architecture so
beautifully. Crawley said, “Perhaps you can find enough to amuse (!!!)
you for twenty minutes, until our other rooms are disengaged.” Of course
I was delighted; but, having once really looked at the Slave Ship, it
was impossible to turn to anything else. I must not attempt to describe
it, Ruskin having done so;... Crawley returned but too soon; told us
about the other pictures, pointed out a figure of “our Saviour which Mr.
Ruskin thinks a great deal of.” Had he not done so, I should be standing
before the Slave Ship now. Ruskin sent down a very kind message. I did
not hear whether it was “his kind regards” as I was thinking; but the
end of the message was “he would have been very glad to have come down
to shew us the pictures himself, were it not that he was correcting his
book, and had been much delayed by a severe cold.” And then we went
thro’ three more rooms, and the hall full of pictures, which I had not
time to see properly, but which remain in my memory like a bright vivid
dream; quiet lakes with a glow of colour, cities in moonlight, and
lighted with a wonderful glow of furnace light; emerging, wild,
fantastically shaped grey clouds, blown by evening winds leaving the sky
one glow of sunset light; fairs all bright; with an old cathedral
quietly watching impetuous waves dancing against lonely rocks; solemn
bays of massy rocks with a darkened line of evening sun against the sky;
the sweep of the river beside rounded hills; but all done by an eye
which sought for true beauty, not a line out of harmony, or that does
not tell some precious tale. When I reached home W. said that Miss
Sterling had called.... “She said she was very glad you had taken a
holiday.” Well what do you suppose I did? I had dinner and set off to
Queen’s Square, where I was most kindly received. Mr. Maurice had just
returned from Cambridge and had four gentlemen with him; so I did not
see him or Mrs. Maurice. Kate[22] was busy making ornaments for a
Christmas-tree “for the boys.” I was there a long time, and it was a
complete success. Miss Sterling grows every day kinder.

  (Then follows a list of the little presents given to her on her
  birthday by the toy-workers)....

                                                        Ladies’ Guild,
                                                    December 19th, 1855.


I have received your letter and will attend to the business.... About
coming to Weybridge.... Mr. Maurice tells me that he will preach at
Lincoln’s Inn on Tuesday morning. Of course I _cannot_ miss _that_; but
I will, if necessary, as a great sacrifice, give up the morning service,
on one condition, that it is not made a precedent for expecting it
again.... I very much wish to spend some part of Christmas with you, and
to see you again; but I very much wish you would all be contented, if I
spent Christmas Eve with you, as I would much value to do so. See how
people feel about it, and let me know.


                                                  Ladies’ Guild,
                                                      4, Russell Place,
                                                    December 24th, 1855.


I know very well that you will like to hear of my little darlings. For
some time past I have written but little about them, because I have been
much 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
workroom 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
games, sea’s rough, hunt the slipper, old coach, frog in the middle,
blind man’s buff, &c. The children must all have tea before they come.
Fortunately there is no ice to break. We all know one another. Andy is
going to write a little play for them to act; and I shall teach them it
during work. This is a great delight to them. Another thing which I
anticipate great pleasure from is dancing. They will enjoy it much.
Really the spirit shown has been beautiful. One of the girls has asked
her mother to make a cake and send it. One great distress is that some
of them have nothing but heavy boots, and so will not be able to dance.
Poor little things! I wish I could do for them all which I have it in my
heart to do. It will be a strange party; there will be no hostess; or
rather, we shall all be hostesses. Each will have contributed what she
could. Another thing which I mean to do, if I find it possible without
bringing ourselves into bondage, is to ask for contributions from the
richer members of the Guild. I am sure it will do both them and us good.
But I trust to show to others and to myself, how much of what is
precious in a party is entirely independent of any expenditure, and
eating; how possible it is to have much fellowship and gaiety without
large outlay of money. I have renounced parties myself. There is no
longer any pleasure to be found in them, which may not be found better
elsewhere. This love of immense gatherings is unmeaning. The love of
show is detestable. There is no time for conversation, no place for
affection, no purpose in them, or none which I can understand. And yet I
do feel that this party will be a very nice one. I do believe it will
succeed. I have renounced parties, above all I have renounced Christmas
parties. It is now certainly a time for rejoicing. I believe it; but, as
one grows and lives, above all as year follows year, and there is
removed from one’s side one whose blessed smile has lighted our
Christmas hearth, as the vacant chair becomes a witness of the lost one,
as one is conscious of the “one mute presence watching all,” when one
has said in one’s heart, “Why should we keep Christmas at all; witness
as it is of change?” and one has answered, “Would the sense of change
forsake you if you had no such time? Do you wish that it should leave
you? Or has it taught you to put all trust in One who is unchanging, Who
gives to all their work, Who binds all in one?” When one has felt all
this, the mirth of Christmas is gone but not its value; witness, as it
is, of that inward union of which we vainly strive to hold the outward
symbol. We may spend it in the truest sense _with_ those who have been
called to other lands.


But these, my children, to whom care and anxiety are so familiar, and to
whom all the beauty and poetry of life are so strange, so new,—I must
bring home to them some of the gladness which they see around them;
their only Christmas trees must not be those in confectioners’ windows,
at which they gaze with longing eyes. There is time enough for Christmas
to become solemn, when it has become joyful and dear.

I thought that I loved these children when I was with you. I did not
know how much it was possible to love them. I am very much pleased about
another person, with whom I have been so long,—Miss Cons. She has now
thoroughly established herself, and has begun to study, walk, think,
draw, be entirely independent of me. More than this, when she came here,
she had not a single person in the world to love or be loved by except
her own family.... Our Miss Cons, however, has got to know friends; and
whoever cares to break through her shell will be well rewarded. I am
most pleased to find that there are several who have done so, and that
she is gaining warm friends. I find in her a strength and energy which
is quite refreshing, and consign to her much which I should otherwise
undertake myself. I feel, in Miss Cons, whose growth I have watched
eagerly, an amazing perseverance, a calmness, a power, and a glorious
humility before which I bow, and which I feel may be destined to carry
out great works more nobly. I am particularly glad that she has friends,
as I find that now instead of giving her my society, I can only give her
my friendship and sympathy.

Now dear Miss Harris good night. I do most fervently hope that you may
have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

                                                     January 11th, 1856.


It is on loving, infinitely more than on being loved, that happiness
depends. I feel how little the reception of one’s services or love has
to do with their power of giving joy. However, yesterday the children
were particularly kind, dear little things! To-morrow the College begins
again. Oh I am so glad the holidays are over! I have not heard from
Ruskin. Perhaps I shall find a letter to-day. Shall I, I wonder, go to
him to-morrow?

I am reading aloud to the children a very beautiful book by Miss
Gillies; and it was so strange to meet with real things that had done
and said and heard said, long, long ago, when I used to stay there.

The Men’s College is to be moved to Great Ormond Street; but whether our
classes are going too I do not know. I hear that at one meeting it was
proposed that women should be admitted to the General Meeting. The idea
was laughed at. Someone then proposed that the women’s classes should be
held in the evening; and the question was referred to the Council.


                                                         Ladies’ Guild,
                                                     January 27th, 1856.


Ockey is so accurate and so certain in her statements that she has been
able to refute all aspersions; and her excellent management of the toy
work is so evident; all the details are so perfect, which is what Mr.
Neale thinks so much of, that it is clear he is entirely on Ockey’s side
in the matter; though she has a good deal of pain, and has still some
anxiety about it. As for her influence over the children, it strengthens
day by day; those who have been constantly with us are so much

                                                        Ladies’ Guild,
                                                    February 18th, 1856.


... My own plans are very uncertain; my own wish is to find such work as
can be done in the workroom, so that I may superintend the children
without receiving remuneration, but which may at the same time be
sufficiently remunerative to allow me to earn more, and yet continue my
studies. I shall speak to D. to-morrow to find out whether colouring
photographs would meet these conditions, and whether I can get work at
it. Another plan is to learn watch engraving. Bennett promises work to
us, but cannot teach. I cling to the idea, as it affords a prospect of
establishing a Guild gradually; the objection is the time which would
probably intervene before I should acquire skill. I do not at all enter
into D.’s plan of designing. I do not believe in it as remunerative; and
it would separate me from that social work which I have learned to prize
so highly. One other path is open. I have to write to Ruskin this week,
and you will hear from me after I have done so. I ought to say that I
told Mr. Neale my plans on Saturday; and he said he was very glad that I
should get other work, the employment here being so uncertain....

I speak (perhaps it may seem indifferently) of the utter failure of that
for which we have all struggled so long and so hard. I do so, partly
because I believe that what we have asked for has not failed; but I am
not to speak of that now. I do so, because, although at present I am
much bent upon securing a living for ourselves, I intend to accept no
work however delightful, however remunerative (except as a temporary
thing), which would deprive me of the power of working for others. I
care but little for any system of division of profits, although it may
bear witness for a great truth, and be the means of equalising
remunerations, and avoiding disputes. That which I _do_ care for is the
intercourse, sympathy, self-sacrifice, and mutual help which are called
out in fellow-workers; and this I believe to be worth striving for; this
I mean to work for. I may seem to turn out of the path in this wearying
wood; but it will only be a walk round a thicket, which hindered my
progress; and free from debt, and with a clear conscience, I will work,
even if I have (which, however, I do not believe) to work in another way
for a short time.


                                                        Ladies’ Guild,
                                                    February 27th, 1856.


There are many events going on here; but I do not wish to speak of them
till they are certain. It is indeed delightful that Mama has found some
one to take her articles. I long to read them.

Thank you for the present for the Scripture prints. I have refrained
from at all touching on the subject of religion with the children, since
Miss C.’s affair; because I thought Mr. Neale would not wish it
introduced as a lesson. Miss C. did not approve of my reading the Bible
with the children. They have often begged me to do so since; but I felt
I had no right to do it in lesson time without Mr. Neale’s permission;
but I shall ask him now whether he objects.... Ruskin is delighted with
Ockey’s table, and means to give her employment in illumination, if she
will learn it, and if she has the powers he believes she has; and she
means to give an hour or two to the Toy superintendence, and the rest to
illumination. Is not this _very very_ good news? Ruskin has been so
exceedingly kind to Ockey about it. She received to-day a present of a
beautiful paint-box and all other materials she can want. I think she
must be very happy. She has just completed some work. I mean the moral
training of the Industrial children; so she can now leave the chief
superintendence to another person, in the full confidence that all will
go well, and she is just beginning another work that is delightful to
her. And she has so many friends. The Sterlings, Mr. Maurice, Miss
Rogers, Ruskin and nice Miss Harrison all seem so fond of her. She is
very successful and deserves to be so, for she does everything so well.

                                                         Ladies’ Guild.
                                                       March 18th, 1856.


We shall indeed be glad to see you. Come as early as ever you can on
Thursday. I have succeeded in avoiding going to Pentonville. At present
the arrangement is that Mr. P. has no connection with us, except that
Kitty or any of us can cut and inlay for him in a workroom at our own
house; that our house is to be entirely separate from the children’s
workroom; the former being cheaper if situated nearer Camden Town, and
it being essential that the latter should be easy of access for Mr.
Neale and others. We shall probably get it somewhere near Red Lion
Square, Queen’s Square and Lincoln’s Inn. Hurrah! This morning all was
doubtful, to-night all is going right....

Dear Minnie, think well before you decide to come, whether you will
choose to do so now, while all is bustle, change, confusion, and
contention, or after we are settled. We long very much to see you; and
you would be of _great_ use, and it would be a great comfort to have you
with me to “baffle” everyone. Could you manage to stay till Tuesday, and
go with me to Ruskin’s? We would stay afterwards and see his pictures;
and I could leave you at the Waterloo Station as we passed, coming home?
You will hear Mr. Maurice too. I never can find time to-night to tell
you all or one half of that which has happened only to-day. How much
less then, that which has happened during the last week! Already I have
more to do this week, than I could possibly do, if it were not
absolutely necessary that it should be done. Mr. Neale has found a
house, which he thinks would suit us; it must, however, be taken on
lease; of course we can be neither legally nor morally bound to remain
there. Our work may call us in other directions. I go to look for a
toy-room to-morrow. Do come, darling.


Tell my own Mamma that we feel with her how terribly painful this scene
would be to her; but we hope she will soon come to us. Ask her not to
think me unkind or thoughtless for not writing oftener. I really cannot.
I work almost without intermission, giving up Lincoln’s Inn[23] even,
continually. Also when one has some great purpose to carry out, some
great struggle to go through, or some things troubling one, one cannot
write to any to whom it would seem strange—not to mention that which is
going on within one. If she could see what we go through, at every
crisis of such a change as this, how one is one day triumphant, another
uncertain, a third uneasy; and if there is momentary rest, the reaction
is so strong that one is bound down by it, she would not wonder. Give my
dear love to her.

Harry Rogers has been here to-night, to tell me about gold, outlines,
brushes, pens, burnishing, etc.

I trust soon to send Mamma my first balance sheet! Do come, come early,
but be prepared, if you come, to work.

If I find that I have time on Saturday or Monday to go to Ruskin,
without an appointment, we will perhaps run the risk of not seeing him,
as we can probably see the pictures.

Give my dear love to Mamma; tell her I hope not to fail, and ask her to
believe me to be for ever her fellow-worker and disciple.

                                                       March 29th, 1856.


I have seen your cousin to-day, as perhaps you may have heard, and am
very much pleased with him and all that he says. I am very, very sorry
now that we did not keep to the subject, in which I suppose his
principal interest lies, the employment of women. But somehow one so
naturally speaks of that which one is doing; and so the conversation
naturally turned to the employment and education of children; though I
think you may have seen how conscious I have been lately of the intimate
connection between the two subjects; principally because, unless you can
develop the minds of your workers, they never can become intelligent, or
qualify themselves to fill better situations.

Have you (and has Mrs. Simpson) seen Mrs. Jameson’s “Sisters of Mercy”?
It is a book in which I feel a great interest; and which I value,
particularly as showing how women and men ought to work together.


I am out of spirits to-day; because we had already succeeded in making a
profit of twelve shillings a week—instead of a loss of two pounds—when
Mr. —— came to-day and gave orders for really unnecessary fittings which
will cost a good deal. It is more than any mortal (or at least, more
than I) can bear; it is really no use working. Yes it _is_ though.

                                                    13, Francis Street,
                                                        April 6th, 1856.



I write to tell you what I am sure you will consider very good news. Mr.
Maurice has given Ockey the Secretaryship at the Women’s College at a
salary of £26 a year. She has to be there two hours only every
afternoon; and, as the children[24] cannot be left, you are to come and
take her place in her absence. It is all settled; but you must come on
Monday, that you may go on Tuesday to Ruskin with Ockey....

_Now_ are you not a happy child?...

Mr. Neale is so glad you are coming.

                              CHAPTER III
                       APRIL, 1856—DECEMBER, 1858

  The appointment mentioned in the last letter of the previous chapter
  must have been surprising to some of those interested in the classes.
  It was certainly a most responsible position for a girl not much over
  seventeen. Not only had Octavia to superintend the business
  arrangements of the classes, but also to advise the women attending as
  to the subjects that would be most useful to them. And she was even
  expected to step into the place of any teacher who happened to be
  absent from her class. This was a sufficiently trying demand, even
  when the class dealt with subjects with which she was tolerably well
  acquainted; but on one occasion, at any rate, she found herself
  required to teach botany; and, as she explained to her sister
  Gertrude, “I knew nothing of botany, but a great deal about flowers;
  and as there happened to be a bunch of flowers in the room, I talked
  to the women about them, and I do not think the time was wasted.” When
  the Ladies’ Guild was broken up the toy work was continued by Mr.
  Neale for a time, in a room at Devonshire Street, which, being near
  the working women’s classes, was convenient for Octavia. She and her
  mother and sisters were in lodgings at Francis Street, and then moved
  back to 4, Russell Place, which was let out in furnished apartments,
  after the Guild left.

  In 1857 a scholarship at Queen’s College, Harley Street, was founded
  in honour of Mr. Maurice, who was given the choice of the first
  scholar, in recognition of the time and money that he had devoted to
  the College. He knew that Emily was very anxious to become a teacher;
  and he offered the scholarship to her, partly out of sympathy with
  this wish, and partly out of regard to Octavia. Thus when, later on,
  the school was started, Emily was able to help Octavia in a way she
  could not possibly have done otherwise.

  In 1868, Miranda’s health began to fail. She had begun work very
  early, and had found the strain of so many hours’ teaching, added to
  the long walk, and exposure to weather, more than she could bear. It
  was therefore arranged that she should join her aunt and Florence in
  Italy, and obtain teaching there, while Mrs. Hill took over her
  English pupils.


                                                          May 1st, 1856.

                      FROM ONE OF THE TOY-WORKERS.


I hope you arrived at Plaistow quite safely on Monday. Dear Miss Ockey I
hope you are quite well and very happy; but I suppose that you are very
happy with your dear friends.

Dear Miss Ockey we do miss you so dreadfully. I do so long to see you
and hear your voice again. The place is so dull without you, and to me
seems like a prison. I have been agoing to say so often—“Miss Ockey
repeat some poetry (_sic_) or talk about birds, or do something.”

Dear Miss Ockey, will you, if you please if it will not be too much
trouble, get me a furn (_sic_); only gather it yourself, or else it will
not do. Dear Miss Ockey I have thought so often of what you said on
Saturday that two people could hardly work for one year without owing
each other something; and I am ashamed and very very sorry to be obliged
to come to the conclusion that all you owe me is the recollection of
many unhappy days, and the great trouble and anxiety that I have been to
you; for you said yourself that, when you were in bed of a night you
used to think what could you do to me to alter me; while on my part I
owe you that no one on earth can ever repay you. Dear Miss Ockey your
Mama as been reading to us out of Howitt’s “Boys’ Country Book,” and
teaching us poetry. I hope you are not working, for I am sure Mr. Ruskin
would not wish you.

How is dear little Emma?[25] I hope you have some fun with her, and you
will be able to tell us of the fun which you had with her. How does the
beautiful celandine and violets and primroses look? On Tuesday I saw Mr.
Morris running so quickly. Dear Miss Ockey do you know that I knew a
person who was afraid to speak to there (_sic_) friends, what do you
think of them? Do please come home on Saturday, and if you write to
anyone will you tell them at what time you will be there dear Miss
Ockey. I do not mean this for a hint, but if you take it for one I shall
be very glad indeed. Will you give my love to the flowers?

                           I am yours ever truly and affectionately,

                                                         No date (1856).


Well! if I had power, I certainly would write or draw something very
bitter, _sad_, and severe about people; but it ought to go hand in hand
with something deep, pathetic, and reverent about them. I wish I could
draw or write; for I believe that I feel people’s characters to my very
fingers. I long to draw them as I see them, both when my spirit mourns
over them, and when it bows before them. I say I feel their characters;
and so I do, just as one _feels_ the beauty or harshness of a colour or


                               39, Devonshire Street, Queen’s Square,
                                                         July 5th, 1856.



I regret to have to tell Harriet not to return to work till Thursday
next, as I have said that those children who do not earn five shillings
in a week should lose three days’ work. I am very sorry to be obliged to
say this, but I hope it, or a sense of the necessity of being
industrious, will soon render any such law unnecessary. I shall be as
pleased as proud when the day arrives, when I see all the children
steady, earnest, and eager to do all they can to help those near and
dear to them. I am sure their idleness results more from want of thought
than anything else; but they must try to overcome this; and if they fail
to do this because it is right to do so, they must be taught to do so by
other means.

However, I ought to say that Harriet has improved very much indeed
lately; she has been so much more gentle and steady, and more earnest
about her lessons. It is therefore with much pleasure that I give her
Mr. Neale’s invitation to spend a day at his house, and hope that she
may grow more and more good, gentle, generous, and earnest, working for
you, herself and all whom she can benefit, not only willingly but
unceasingly; and I am sure she will find in quiet earnest work a
happiness and peace which are far more joyous than giddiness. I ought to
tell you how much I love her, and how much life and pleasure she gives
to all here. I am pleased to see her take a deeper interest in things,
because I am sure we all care too little, and not too much for things;
and rightly directed, her love for all she cares for may be a constant
source of joy to herself and others. I wish she would draw more. I am
sure she would do it well.

With many thanks to you for all the pleasure she has given us, believe
me, dear Mrs. J., yours very truly,

                                                           OCTAVIA HILL.

                                                          The Cedars,
                                                        July 24th, 1856.

             “Let earnest work for ever show
               Our willing service to our God;
             Let peace and grace like flowers grow,
               Beside the path that we have trod.

             Let them be watered by that rain
               Which from strong trees is wont to fall;
             Which they themselves receive again
               From Heaven which bendeth over all.

             For not so much a flower depends
               Upon the rain on which it lives,
             As men do on the love of friends,—
               The trust, the hope, which that love gives.

             Yet if the rain is like man’s love,
               Like God’s love is the blessed earth;
             The one refreshing from above,
               The other giving beings birth.

             That which on God’s love does not stand
               No might of human love can plant.
             God grant us rain! oh let us stand!
               A root in Thee to all men grant!”

For dear little Harriet from her friend Octavia Hill, with earnest hope
that neither summer drought nor winter frost may ever deprive her of the
rain, and that her trust, like the roots of the flowers she loves, may
ever take more firm hold of God, as their little fibres do of the strong
nourishing dear old earth.


                                                  31, Red Lion Square,
                                                      August 19th, 1856.


Do you remember a long time ago when you were at Marshals, taking a
great interest in all that I told you of a little girl, called
Elizabeth. I had not been able to find her house, and so had not seen or
heard anything of her for many months—last night, however, as we were
sitting expecting Mr. Simpson, some one came up and said, “Miss Ockey a
little girl of the name of Elizabeth wants you.” I ran down and led up
the little girl. She is not much grown, has still a pale but pretty
face; and her dark hair and eyelashes make her look quite southern; she
speaks in a raised voice, and like a child; she is very small, but is, I
believe, thirteen years old. She was so glad to see us. I asked her how
she found us out. She had been first to the Guild, and was told, as she
said, “That no such name lived there.” She then determined to go to the
other children’s houses, to which she had been once last summer. She
went to Clara’s. She had moved; she went to Margaret’s, she was out; but
her mother directed her to Harriet’s, and she is one of the girls who
now works for us, so she told Elizabeth we now worked in Devonshire
Street. “I told her she had better tell me your residence; for that
Devonshire Street was such a long way. I thought so because of its name,
but I must have come by the end of it, if it leads into Theobald’s Road.
I said the number of the house all the way for fear I forgot it.” She
said she has “been at service in a large _gentleman’s_ family at King’s
Cross where I did all the washing; I kep’ it (meaning the situation) six
months but I was forced to give it up, it was too hard, for I had all
the work to do, they didn’t keep no other servant.” “Have you seen
anything of the country lately?” I asked. “Oh no Miss, I haven’t seen it
since you took me; oh, don’t I remember Romford!” I had seen her large
bright eyes looking earnestly at a bunch of glorious purple flowers I
had brought with me, and I could not help giving her one piece to carry
back to the miserable home she had left. Her father has lost his work
through drinking, her mother has but little washing to do, and has two
children younger than Elizabeth, and a baby. The eldest boy has work at
4/6 a week but he has to walk an immense way to it. They lived in
Clerkenwell, over a rag-shop, where this little girl used to sleep in a
back-parlour, but could not go to bed till after eleven or later,
because the girl she slept with always kept the key; “for there was lots
of rags there.” And this is a child who seems meant to live wherever
beauty may be found, comparatively without affection, utterly
indifferent to home. She is hardly touched by kindness; but at the sight
of flowers her face lights up, her eyebrows rise, her whole being seems
expanded. I never, never shall forget her in the fields at Hampstead.
She is high-spirited; and I trust she may not be crushed by sorrow.
Energetic and persevering to the extreme, I think she will make herself
master of events by submitting to their laws. She, alone of all my
children, worked beautifully when I doomed her to do anything. “It is no
use, it must be done,” said in an unsympathetic tone, acted like magic.
Indeed, she was altogether indifferent to sympathy. When I had to go and
help and teach and encourage others, Elizabeth struggled on alone. She
is gloriously proud, can stand alone, and say candidly to us what she
thinks. There is not one-half the feeling about equality in classes in
any of the others, notwithstanding all their talk, that there is in her,
with her free, independent spirit. Twice, and twice only, have I seen it
broken, and then but for a short time; once because she came late and I
ordered her to leave work. Her mother it seems would not let her come
without breakfast; her father had been out all night drinking, and had
not returned with the money. And again when she heard she was to leave,
she cried as though her little strong heart would break;—still, unlike
the others, not complaining, but passionately. When the last day of work
came, and the others were all miserable, she was laughing, calling it
the day of judgment, and hopping about like a little spirit of evil.
And, when the last moment came, she only made a bow, and said good-bye
like a little cockatoo, and left us. Left us; and went where no mother’s
love was strong enough to call forth love which ought to direct that
strong will, and mighty energy,—to Clerkenwell, where no gleam of beauty
should gladden, and so soften, her little heart; where the angel face,
that I have seen smile forth from below wreaths of flowers instinctively
arranged, and most beautifully so, should cease to be beautiful because
children’s faces are often like deep water, reflecting only the images
of what they see. The strength of her nature will not leave her; but to
what will it be applied? who will direct the strong will? who will
cultivate the latent powers? who will call forth the spirit of love?

I have written more than I intended, I only meant to let you know we had
seen Elizabeth as you seemed to take an interest in her. She is coming
to me on Thursday at Devonshire Street.

                                                   September 10th, 1856.


It was such a pretty little cottage where I went. It has a thatched roof
with pretty green creepers all over it, and the birds come and build
their nests there, and bees and wasps make nests there. At the back of
this house there are some beautiful fields, and into these I went, and
all round was the garlands of bright nightshade. The field looked one
glow of scarlet berries, and of course I gathered some for my dear Miss
Ockey, and I put some nightshade and some of Miss Ockey’s own thistles
and some buttercups together. The buttercups always remind me of dear
Miss Florence. I never see one without thinking of the day I first went
with her in the fields, how she jumped up those banks! I think she
sprang up them like the silvery-footed Antelope does about the rocks.
Miss Ockey was at Miss Harris’s on Sunday and Monday and she did some
photographs of leaves, and Miss Harris is agoing to do us each one of
our favourite leaves. Mr. Furnivall came on Saturday to see the drawing
class given, was not that a gloriously beautiful thing?... Mr. Evans the
toy dealer has gave us an order of a pound’s worth of things, and when
they were taken in, he gave another order for another nine shillings’
worth of things. Is not that good news? I think we all go on better with
our work. Last week I earned ten shillings at ring stands, which I think
was wonderful, because I never did any before.... Please come back soon.
You have got four weeks longer to stay now. It seems as if you had been
away two years.


                                                          October, 1856.


Oh, about Tom Brown! No it is not by Arthur Hughes, the artist, but by
Thos. Hughes, the barrister, the friend of Mr. Maurice, teacher of
gymnastics at the College, co-worker with Mr. Furnivall in establishing
social meetings, etc.; one of the brightest, best men in the world. _I_
think the book one of the noblest works I have read, possessing the
first element one looks for in a great book, namely progress—a book,
too, opposed to the evil of the age, as I think, sadness. I know you may
say, “Oh! that is the fault of the bit of the world you see as a worker,
one who sees the poor, and who knows earnest people.” There is a sorrow
which I honour; and I believe Mr. Hughes would too; but I speak of that
sorrow which eats into their warmest heart, and fights ever against
their energy, urging them to hopelessness and despair, the selfish
sadness that asks itself continually, “What have I of joy?” I speak of
the sadness pervading all classes, which rushes with sickening force on
the young lady who has danced most gaily at the ball, when she begins to
unfasten her sash in her own room; which weighs heavily on the
comfortable old lady as she sits in her drawing-room, to receive guests;
which makes the worker gaze in gloomy despondency on the long long
wearying days of toil, and makes the poor man say, “Nothing but care and
trouble, and hard work, and the workhouse at last,”—each and all saying,
“What is the end and purpose of all this?”—I feel the book is a healthy
blow at all this way of looking at things; and, as such, I hold it to
possess the second element of a great book, namely fitness, for the age
in which it is written. Then I feel that shadow of Dr. Arnold thro’out
the book, the presence and work felt, the form so rarely seen, both
beautiful and life-like. Then I think the instance of the ennobling
influence of having someone depending on one is most valuable. Then see
how the truly great nature gathers good from all things thro’ life. And
imagine how I delight in the athletic games, and try to feel how I prize
the book. I know you will feel all the objections to it quite strongly
enough; and I won’t try to say anything about them except; Don’t hastily
believe that the author advocates all he paints. There are few things in
the world (are there any?) from which a great nature won’t glean some

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     October 21st, 1856.


Oh, Mary, money _is_ very powerful. I have just came in from paying
several people for some work done, for the execution of an order which
we accepted to give them employment. Many of them are old Guild people,
who arranged to wait till the things were paid for; the payment has been
a little delayed, and so it was unexpected by them; and there they were,
educated and uneducated, living in nice streets renting the whole house,
or in little back attics in small streets,—all glad to see me; but still
more so when I told my errand; and the relieved look that for a few
moments lighted up their careworn faces touched me very much. To think
of the power of those small pieces of money, to think of the
thankfulness they caused! But what struck me especially was that to one
the shilling was of as much importance as the pound to another; and so
it was; one set had learned by hard experience not to expect the little
luxuries of eating. Butter, sugar, and even meat are rarely used by
them; but, more than that, they have less of an appearance to keep up.
Are they better for it? Does that effort to appear something not help to
keep up self-respect? I rather think it does. But in all classes there
is the same care; all thought bent upon that which must be paid for,
whether to-morrow’s dinner, or neat gloves in which to go to church next
Sunday. But God be thanked for English home life! say I, whenever I come
in from visiting anywhere. See how, if one is ill, all the calculations
are gone and forgotten in a moment; and the full ardour of love is given
with a depth of tenderness that withers in a moment all worldly
considerations.—I saw Louisa to-night set out to walk about four miles
home, after coming from Notting Hill this morning,—walking twice from
here to Devonshire Street, and I do not know how many miles yesterday. I
stood and watched her among the hurrying crowd. She was walking slowly,
for her feet were terribly sore, and as she was lost to view, I noticed
how the gas-light flared in the foggy night on the worn faces near me.


                                                     October 27th, 1856.


I am so much disappointed not to finish the illumination. But what a day
I have had! One continual whirl of doing and remembering, taking
addresses, examining pupils, covering books, sorting copy-books, but
(most tiring of all) trying to attend to fifty people at once, with the
knowledge that at least five of them will be offended if they think
themselves the least in the world slighted, and that they think I have
no right to be indifferent to what they think. I am so glad to-morrow
night I shall see Mr. Maurice. Oh! Mary, think of that!

I don’t know what there is in the word “lady” which will connect itself
with all kinds of things I despise and hate; first and most universally
it suggests a want of perseverance, and bending before small obstacles,
a continual “I would if——”

                                                     October 29th, 1856.


I can scarcely see because of the terrible fog, but I must tell you what
I know you will be very glad to hear;—all my immediate fear about the
toys is over, as I have this morning received an order from the same
wholesale house to which we had furnished specimens of the toys some
time ago. This will not, I think, necessitate my taking an additional
worker, as the Bazaar gets on so very badly just now; but only fancy how
delightful it would be to have the business steadily increase. These
wholesale dealers, too, are so delightful to do business with, as they
always pay ready money, order things in large quantities, and never
change their minds when things are half done.

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     November 4th, 1856.


I have left off learning my Latin as I walk to Devonshire Street, and
get a little time to think. I wish the children were better. They have
not at all gone back, but I should like to be able to try them by a
higher standard. I think they grow mentally and morally lazy. They care
about history, natural history, geography and many other things, if once
I begin to talk till they are thoroughly interested, and go on without
giving them trouble; and I—yes the fault always finds its way home—I get
lazy and would rather dream and think, rather be silent than sing or
talk; and so we very often stagnate, except as far as our hands are
concerned. I must study something for them—but when?... Andy says she is
quite as ignorant about dress as you can possibly be. She thanks you
very much for the lace, which she thinks beautiful. I say _she_ because
_I_ know nothing about it, but do thank you very heartily, as far as I
am capable of thinking on the subject.


                                                     November 9th, 1856.


If you knew or could imagine what effect the presence of a noble soul
can have on those usually surrounded by a hurrying struggling crowd;
what it is to be taught to look at spiritual beauty; what to a much worn
care-pressed being it is to know at last that, shut out tho’ she has
seemed from all the best and most honourable around her, borne downwards
as she has been by the weight of many sorrows, much anguish and inward
evil, there is yet left, even on this earth, one who will take her as
she is, and love her because she has that in her which is God given.
This last she will learn afterwards, and I know that, deep in those
hearts hardened by crime and degraded, there yet is human feeling to be
called out by nothing so much as trust and love.

                                                  39, Devonshire Street,
                                                    November 9th, 1856.


I thank God for work, and for so blessing our work. I believe I might
often say with Ruskin the first clause of the sentence, certainly always
the last, “I am happy while I work; when I play I am miserable.”

Is it not strange that tho’ I have an unusually clear idea of the
sermon, the only impression last Sunday afternoon is one of complete
quiet? It was no effort to understand, nor was I, as usual, dreadfully
tired in church; but I had the consciousness, not of peace nor of rest,
but of quiet, such as when one sits out of doors in the country, not
thinking, only seeing.

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     January 17th, 1857.



On Wednesday evening we went to hear Ruskin give a lecture on the
occasion of the presentation of some money offered by him as a prize;
but, owing to the imperfection of the work, the money was divided
between the competitors, as some compensation for their loss of time.
Their failure, he explained, was mainly owing to his having set them to
work which was not possible for them to do well;—the carving of a panel,
the subject to be taken from some historical event of the year.
Apparently both parties took it for granted that it was to be about the
Crimean War; for Ruskin said that he had overlooked the fact that no one
could represent that which he had never seen; and, when the old builders
lived, happily for art, but unhappily for the nations, wars were
continually fought within sight, their scenes were present with the
workman; they haunted him; he dreamed of them by night, and could not
help carving them. Ruskin had expected better things of the workmen,
because he saw with what spirit cheap periodicals were illustrated;
really we see quite wonderful things in them. He had expected, too, that
there would have been many competitors, and there were only two. He felt
sorry for the failure; but not so sorry as he would have been, had he
not noticed that things which begin too swimmingly do not always succeed
so well as those which fail at first. The workmen would not be
altogether pleased that instead of a prize, he gave them a lecture.
“Last year,” he said, “while travelling in the North of Scotland I was
very painfully impressed by the absence of any art—amongst grand natural
scenery; the inhabitants seem to be utterly without any art-expression
of their perception of it; no buildings rise, no pictures are painted;
truly the huts of grey stone are roofed with the peat, set picturesquely
in oblique lines, which seem to have been marked by the stroke of some
gigantic claymore. The only evidence of any power of design among them
is the arrangement of the lines of colour in the tartan. And in
Inverness, a city built on the shore of the most beautiful estuary in
the world, at the foot of the Grampians, set as it were like a jewel to
clasp the folds of the mountains to the blue zone of the sea—the only
building which has evidence of any recognition of art is the modern
decorated prison.”

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     March 19th, 1857.


Some time ago Miss Sterling had a very long conversation with me on the
way I am ruining my health, but especially about Sunday work; and I told
her just what I have felt about it—that to leave off working was a
privilege, to continue a duty—that I _dared_ not claim any time as my
own; that I had sometimes felt as if I had earned a time to rest or
enjoy leisure; and then had been convinced that all time was God’s and
to be used for Him.

Miss Sterling mentioned it to Mr. Maurice, and in consequence he asked
me to go to his house this evening, to talk to him about it. He spoke
very beautifully indeed about it, and of course very kindly to me. He
thought that rest was as much a part of God’s order as work was; that we
have no right to put ourselves out of that order, as if we were above
it. He told me that the division of things into duties and privileges
was an arbitrary one; there is no such broad distinction, every
privilege involves a duty; our highest privilege is to perform our duty;
rest is as much a duty as work; it is very self-willed to try to do
without it; it is really hopeless to try to exist, if one is for ever
giving out, and never receiving; nor does he think that the doing of
actions rightly, brings with it enough of this receiving. He also
advised that I should go to church every Sunday morning[26] with Mama,
as he believed it would be a great bond of union.

And, Mary, I could not help the tears coming into my eyes, and my voice
being choked at feeling so cared for by one so noble, so infinitely
strong, so perfectly calm; and a strange sense of perfect peace, such as
I have not felt since I saw you, stole over me. And yet I was so hard,
so unconvinced, and so strangely bitter; bitter with myself in feeling
how much of pride had made me think I could stand without help; and we
sat quite silent for a few moments. At last Mr. Maurice spoke in a deep
full voice, you felt what a depth of human sympathy was in it: “Will you
think about it then, Miss Hill?”

I felt how I trusted him; and told him that I did not see clearly about
it, but would do what he advised, and then perhaps all would be plainer
to me. “I am quite sure it will,” he said; and wishing him good-bye I
came away.

                                                   45, Great Ormond St.,
                                                       July 1st, 1857.



I did not go to Mr. Neale’s and the children made a horrid mess of it.
Miss C. forgot the name of the station; and they went to _Beddington_
and had to walk eight miles, and other absurdities.

I saw Rossetti last night, and learned that Ruskin is not going abroad,
but to Manchester, Oxford, etc., to lecture. He starts to-day. He was at
Russell Place, to see the pictures; but did not see any of us. Rossetti
was so friendly, I could not hate him, with his bright bright eyes, and
recalling, as he did, dear people; and he was so kind too.... Miss R.
has heard of our being confirmed.[27] ... Mr. Maurice has been lecturing
on Milton before the Royal Society.

                                                   45, Great Ormond St.,
                                               July 8th, 1857.


... What fine efforts you are making about the toys! They quite put me
to shame. How nice it is tho’, that we can work together, tho’ we are so
far apart, is it not?... I hope you will get to know Mrs. Browning some
day. How glorious that thunderstorm must have been! Do you know I am to
teach all the classes this autumn, except singing,—(_all_ is not
many—reading, writing and arithmetic). The ladies are all going out of
town.... Do you know I so enjoyed my visit to Weybridge last April. I
have never enjoyed a visit there so much. I enjoyed the riding so, and
how beautiful the country is!... (Of a visit to Buckinghamshire she
writes): You know there are acres and acres and acres of beech woods,
valleys and hills clothed and covered with them, and there are rounded
hills with most beautiful slopes; and from little cleared spaces in the
woods one catches a glimpse of far-off purple hills, and nearer hills
covered with wood, and farm-houses with their great barns golden-roofed,
with lichen lying in a sheltered hollow; and the great bare head of some
uncovered hill, cut with clear outline against the sky; and then perhaps
we plunged into the depths of the woods again, where the sunlight fell
between the fan-like branches of the beeches and thro’ their leaves like
a green mist, on to the silver stems, and on to the ground russet with
last year’s fallen leaves, perhaps upon the crest of some tall fern, or
upon a sheet of blue speed-wells, or on some little wood sorrel plant,
or a grey tree stump, touched with golden lichen, or gold-green moss.
And then the larks, cuckoos, and nightingales seemed hardly to stop by
night or day, but kept up a glad sweet chorus.—The classes will be over
in a minute, and then I must go. Forgive this short letter. I will try
to write more next time. I often think of you, dear dear little Flo, and
love to see “Loke” at the beginning of a letter. It is your own name,
and no one else uses it, so it always reminds me of you.

                                    4, Russell Place, Fitzroy Square,
                                                        July 17th, 1857.


If you could bring me anything at any time to draw I should be so glad.
I am so tired of privet, and dusty hornbeam,—especially when I have
drawn one piece several times, and don’t the least know when I shall get
a fresh one; and if, moreover, the things you brought told me a little
about far, fair places, where they grew, they would help me.

  The following letter refers to the building of a school at All
  Saints’, Suffolk.

                                  4, Russell Place, Fitzroy Square, W.,
                                                      August 14th, 1857.



I return the tracings. I decidedly prefer No. 3 to any which you can
choose. I mean I approve of your choice entirely, under the
circumstances. At the same time, I enclose a small extract from Ruskin,
bearing on the subject. Now I should not propose altering any but the
_entirely_ square windows. But, if that were possible, they would be
much more beautiful. I am afraid they would have to be a little lower
down, to make room for the shield, as they call it (namely, you
understand, the solid block of stone), which need not, I think,
necessarily be carved at all, though it would be more beautiful, of
course. One or two words, or even letters, that were appropriate, might
perhaps be found and placed on the shields. At any rate the Committee
could hardly object, could they? The opening, you understand, would be
square as ever. I suppose each window would require three little
shields. I think you will quite understand about them from the drawing I
send you. It is the window Ruskin refers to (thirteenth century, Oakham
Castle). I could not resist doing a little towards beginning to shade
it; but, in spite of that, I think you’ll understand it. I leave it
entirely to you to apply the suggestion, if practicable. Tell Mr.
Durrant I admire the arrangement of large square panes very much. I
_think_ I even prefer it to the _quarries_. I am very glad indeed to
have influenced, in the least degree, his wish to have Gothic windows.
I’ll make a finished drawing, or clear tracing of this window, if you
want it; but yours will be so simple that this will not be of any use, I
think, except to explain the plan, which my rough sketch will do.

I have seen Ruskin’s manager to-day, and had a long talk about Ruskin,
which I enjoyed much....

P.S.—There is not the smallest necessity for the _aperture_ of the
window being of a pointed shape. Make the uppermost arch pointed only,
and make the top of the window square, filling the interval with a stone
shield, and you may have a perfect school of architecture, not only
consistent with, but eminently conducive to every comfort of your daily
life. The window in Oakham Castle is an example of such a form actually
employed in the thirteenth century.

                                                   4, Russell Place, W.,
                                                 September 22nd, 1857.



Amelia[28] has taken the toys, and in a rather different spirit from Mr.
P. She said to Miranda, “Well, Miss Miranda, I shall expect of course to
be paid for my time bye and bye; but more than that I don’t want for
myself. If I fail, I shall think others have failed before me; and I may
perhaps have done a little good.” This being her tone, I am proud of
her, and look upon her as a fellow-worker in the cause, who has come in
by God’s providence to relieve Ockey of a burden, and so setting her
free to work her higher influence all the more. I am to go and teach as
usual; and Ockey will keep the accounts for Amelia. Amelia said to M.,
“You know, Miss M., I shall want your Mamma to come and give the
spirit.” The debt on the toys is £25, which Amelia is to repay, as she
can—half to us and half to Mr. Neale. He did not wish to take any, and
entered with zeal into the new plan. Ockey seemed quite touched.... He
seemed most anxious that the teaching should go on. The children are
quite in love with his Geography lessons, and won’t hear a word against
him. On the morning of the day it was all settled, Ockey received the
sweetest letter from Miss Harris, asking what sum it would require to
carry on the toys for another year; but dear O. very properly, I
believe, was firm to carry out the change. We must give all our
influence now to the new phase of things, since the spirit is the
same.... Ockey begins to-morrow to work at home. I mean to read some
nice book to her, and do all I can to make her happy. She is my own
brave, beautiful, good tender Ockey; and it’s a hard trial to lose one’s
post in a Cause; but the Cause itself (that being God’s) can never be

                                                    November 22nd, 1857.


I don’t know whether you will receive this letter, or the box that was
despatched yesterday, first. So I must tell you that in it you will find
a very few drawings of mine. I will tell you a little about them. I have
selected them from a great many that I have done, for I have been at
work at that kind of drawing all the summer. I am speaking of the
flowers. You will see we chose to send you the water forget-me-not,
cranesbill and lady’s finger, all of which were old favourites of yours.
There is one page of virginian creeper and creeping jenny which I send,
partly because they are of London growth; and when I had no fresh bright
wild country things, day after day did I persevere in drawing the dirty
little fellows from the black wall and dirty earth; so they seem to me
rather characteristic of my work. The dear buglos is one of my friends;
the bramble you know I always loved; and so I have sent you a little
piece shaded. I am rather proud of the stalk of the highest leaf; indeed
I like it all. Then those drawings on note-paper are copies from Albert
Dürer. Is not that a beautiful little piece with the thistle and grass,
and stones? How do you like my old donkey’s head? It is nearly the first
animal I have ever drawn. In the picture, which is one of Joseph and
Mary taking Christ, when a little child, down into Egypt, the donkey is
being led by Joseph, and he is just looking out of the corner of his eye
in that odd way at the thistle, evidently thinking if his rein is long
enough for him to snatch at it; but he is nearly past it, and clearly
will have to go without the treat. Down below two little lizards are at
play; on a log a little bird is perched. I hope you will receive the
drawings on my birthday. They are the only things I have to give you,
dear one; but I like to think you know what I have been doing.—I had not
seen Ruskin all the summer and autumn, but he just came, on Friday, in
time to see my work; so that I could send it to you. He is busy in town
every day, so that he could not see me at Denmark Hill; but he came
here. You do not know how pleased he was with all I had done, or how
happy I was that he was pleased. He said I had done an immense quantity
of work, and that I was far more accurate than any of his men at the
College, whom, you know, he teaches every week. He said of one of my
drawings, “This is quite a marvellous piece of drawing, Octavia.” And
when I showed him one of my Albert Dürers he exclaimed, “Is that yours?
I was going to say you had been cutting up my print.”


“Ah,” I said, “you won’t find it so accurate when you look nearer.” He
then said that it was as accurate as it was possible to be without
absolutely tracing it. He told me he saw with what spirit I had worked.
He is going to take me to Marlboro’ House on Friday, and give me a
student’s ticket; for he wants me to copy some Turners for him in
outline. He says he must give me more teaching, which he can do when I
am working at Marlboro’ House, where he will come and superintend me,
when he has time. I felt altogether so delighted. Ruskin is so kind and
beautiful. You know he is coming to keep my birthday with us.... He has
been very busy, so that his looking over my work has been delayed. He
sent me the Albert Dürer four weeks ago, saying, “Copy this, bit by bit,
till I see you.” At last I had done it so long that I was sure he could
not want me to go on longer. So I hit on this odd plan. I wrote to him
something in this style: “My dear Mr. Ruskin, there was once a
shepherd’s dog, who was ordered by his master to watch a flock of sheep.
His master forgot to call him away, and went home. Surprised at the
dog’s absence, he returned after two days, and found the poor fellow
still watching his sheep. And the dog, who now addresses you, would be
very glad to be thus patient and obedient, if she were sure that she was
really doing the work her master most wanted done; but a great doubt has
arisen in her mind as to it. She would not venture to set up her ideas
of what is best or most necessary above her master’s. If he does want
her to go on with the work, well and good. If not, can he write? If he
cannot, she has done all she could, and will remain obedient to his
words.” Was it not fun? He answered by return of post beginning, “My
poor little doggie, I really will come to-morrow.” We are going to
Lincoln’s Inn to-morrow, and then I am going to hear Spurgeon. Do you
know who he is?

                                                      4, Russell Place,
                                                    November 22nd, 1857.


I told you that Ruskin had promised to come the evening before Ockey’s
birthday. She wanted to give him some present, so this is what we have
thought of. Do you remember a little stand Ockey was going to paint for
a chamois with the words[29]:—

               “We see our skies thro’ clouds of smoke.
                 Theirs bends o’er wastes of sunlit snow.
               God leads us all in different ways,
                 His hand to see, His will to know.”

We have just thought that she might finish that for him. But we were at
a loss how to get a Swiss chamois. Well! you remember you had one given
to you by Joanna, and they appealed to me as to whether I thought you
would like to give it to Ruskin; and, as it is only ten days before the
time, we could not hear from you; so I have ventured to take the
responsibility of Ockey’s giving it, feeling sure what you would say if
you were here. I hope I have done right, but I cannot bear that you
should not join us in doing nice things of the kind, because you are at
a distance. I know that your heart is in them. If she has an
opportunity, Ockey means to say that it is your chamois. Ruskin will be
pleased at its coming from you too. He always asks so kindly and
sympathetically about you. When he was here on Friday he asked about
you, before he looked at any of Ockey’s work.... Our reading in the
evenings goes on delightfully. We have finished that beautiful book of
Myers, “Lives of Great Men,” and are reading Mr. Maurice’s “Philosophy.”

                                                      4, Russell Place,
                                                    November 27th, 1857.


I have been to Marlboro’ House to-day with Ruskin, and of course greatly
enjoyed it. He showed me the work he wants done; but he wishes me to
copy, this week, an etching of Turner’s, that he may see if I can do the
work. It is not what you would call high art, I think. I do not yet at
all know if he still means me for an illuminator or not. He does not
say; but wishes me to copy these sketches in pen and ink, because they
will be of use to him too. He wants me, after that, to copy some pencil
drawings of Turner’s, but says it may possibly be six months before I
can do them. I don’t _think_ he still does mean me for an illuminator;
but I feel, as Dawie[30] says, it is altogether his doing, and I have no
responsibility. He was so kind to-day. We are looking forward to his
visit with great delight. He has lent me 3rd and 4th vols. of “Modern
Painters” to read aloud in the evenings, at my request.

                                                    December 10th, 1857.


Ruskin came a little before his time. Mama, Ockey and I were in the room
ready to receive him. He came in, looking kind and bright; and the first
thing he asked, before he sat down, was, how you were. Mama read him
Aunt Emily’s letter about you, and one of your letters. Andy soon came
in, and we had a great deal of most interesting conversation—on the
respective influences of town and country—on French, English, and
Americans—on animals, of which Ruskin is very fond—on Reserve and
Cordelia. When Ruskin said something about reserve, Andy and Ockey
exclaimed, laughing, “Oh you should ask Minnie,” which made me feel very
hot and blush. Ruskin took my part and was very kind. He agrees with me
in thinking it so much more easy to write than to speak about anything
one feels. Andy and Ockey disagreed about it. He agreed very much with
all Mama’s remarks. After tea we sang to Ruskin, which he liked, I
think; and it was very interesting to hear his remarks on the different
songs. He always chose out some point which he liked and which he could
praise, which was very pretty of him.


After that we spoke about poetry. He does not think anyone but a great
poet, who gives up his life to it, should attempt to write any. He says
there is always a good deal of vanity in it; and it spoils one’s ear for
good poetry to compose bad. Mama had been speaking of our poetry; Ruskin
asked Andy to repeat some, saying it would be very pretty of her to do
so, after all he had been saying against it. She did so, and I think he
was pleased with it, and the more so when he heard it had taken a long
time to write. He said that he could not judge of it by hearing it in
that way, and he should like a copy.

Ockey is drawing at Marlboro’ House, and Ruskin is at work in another
room; so he comes up once or twice to look at her work.

                                                      January 5th, 1858.



I am very glad you and your sisters and friend enjoyed the pictures, and
that you see how beautiful they are. They are quite infinite. I cannot
understand how any human work can possess so much of the
inexhaustibleness of nature.

Do not be sorry that you cannot see beautiful places at present. The
first sensation is a thing to look forward to with hope. It cannot be
had twice—it does not not much matter whether it comes sooner or later.

My lecture is at Kensington on the 13th of this month. If you find
difficulties in getting admission, write to me, and I will get you a
ticket or two.

I send you a new etching, and the print finished.

I only want the etching copied, but thought you would like to see how
Turner prepares in it for his light and shade.

                                              Yours always most truly,
                                                              J. RUSKIN.

Kind regards to Mama, Miranda, and Minnie.

That story about the Fisherman always puzzled me sadly to know who the
Fish was. How could _he_ do so many things for the Fisherman?

                                                      January 9th, 1858.


I have spent an evening with Mrs. Browning. I will tell you all about
it; but first I must say how delighted I am with her. I felt from the
first minute how _simpatica_ she was to me, a woman one could love
dearly and admire. Last Tuesday B.[31] met Browning (who is always very
friendly), and he said “Will you come and take tea with us to-morrow
night?” Of course she accepted, and I was most delighted. Accordingly
the next evening we went. As we went in, I felt so excited; it is so
long that I have wanted to see her, and I said to myself that I should
be disappointed. Mr. Browning came forward cordially to welcome us; and
then came Mrs. Browning. She is very short indeed; but one does not
observe the shortness. She has long black curls, and large eyes; one can
hardly say what colour; in some lights they look a beautiful brown; in
others a dark grey; as for the other features they are not pretty; in
fact I suppose she would not be considered at all pretty; but to me she
is a great deal more. She shook hands very kindly and made me sit on the
sofa by her. There was also Mrs. Jameson. She is quite an old lady with
mild blue eyes. There was also Mr. Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson’s brother.
There was a good deal of small talk, and there was a discussion about
places. Mrs. Jameson asked a good deal about Viareggio. At last the
conversation turned towards England. It is evident neither Mrs. Browning
nor her husband like England much.


She began abusing it, saying she always felt so downcast when there,
that the sky felt as if it was falling down, and the rooms were so
small; she finished by saying, “I do not sympathise with those who have
yearnings after England.” Then she turned to me and said, “Perhaps you
can tell me something about yearnings after England. Do you yearn after
it?” “Oh yes,” I said, “very much indeed; I love England, and would not
live out of it for long for anything.” “Why not?” said Mrs. Jameson in
her quiet yet energetic way. So I said, “Firstly Mama and all my sisters
are there,” and I was going to say more, when other visitors were
announced and there was a general stir. Mrs. Browning said to me, with a
very sweet smile, “I am sure it is a very good reason.” ... There was a
great deal of very interesting conversation about women, with regard to
their right to property when married. Mrs. Jameson was very energetic
about it, though I did not think her reasoning was good; also Mrs.
Browning talked very nicely about it; but I could not hear all that she
said, because I had changed places, and was not near her; and she has
such a small voice, that it is difficult to hear what she says. They
wanted to get Mr. Browning to sign a petition to Parliament, showing the
injustice done to women, according to the present law, about their
property. I liked what he said very much. He has very liberal ideas
about it, and was quite willing to sign; only he did not know how the
law could be altered without entailing other greater injustices.
However, at the end, he said he would sign. I think he does everything
that his wife wishes. It is so nice to see them together; they are so
exceedingly fond of one another, and he is so attentive to her. There
was a great deal of merry conversation. When we were leaving Mrs.
Browning said, “This is the first time you have spent the evening here;
but I hope it won’t be the last.”

                                                       April 21st, 1858.



How glorious this weather is! To-day I saw, in a little back street near
Soho, two little golden-haired children, leaning out of a window in the
early sunlight, gazing intently into a bird’s cage, hanging on the
wall;—the poor little prisoner singing as if his little heart would
break. Just so, I thought, the children here may want _us_; but we must
break our hearts in longing for the distant glories of hill and wood. In
a moment, one felt that it ought rather to teach that even here Spring
brought joys—that we have visions and witnesses of brighter lands and
fairer lives than we can see around us.

                                                       Derwent Bank,
                                                         July 4th, 1858.


To me the whole world is so full of things crying out to be done, each
one of which would be sufficient for a lifetime’s heart and thought, I
think. In fact each work seems to be interesting in almost exact
proportion to the amount I can devote to it, capable of infinite
expansion in breadth or depth. For my part I would always rather choose
the latter, would rather take up wholly a few individuals or pictures or
books, and love and know and study them deeply, than have any more
superficial (though wider) sympathies; and my trial is, and has always
been, that I have to tear myself away from this intense grasp and
absorbing interest, to love and know and help in fresh and fresh
directions. I have often felt like a perpetually uprooted plant. Only
somehow in looking back, I find continuity and deep inner relation
between the various works and times of my life, and always find the past
a possession because in memory I have it still....


I am so glad you will not turn the ignorant ones out of the class, at
any rate yet. I know well one weakens one’s hands by not keeping one
distinct aim before one; but then one never likes not to meet any
effort, however small, on the part of people under one’s charge. I have
not always the courage to give myself pain of that kind, I believe.

How very beautiful the lines on the Supper are!

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     August 1st, 1858.


Take dearest Mama under your special care, for she will not take care of
herself under her own. Send her back stronger, I charge you. Also think
of your old sister here, and how she loves you both, and thinks of you.
You won’t think her unkind not to come, knowing what prevents her, and
she hopes her previous consent proves to you that work and whims
wouldn’t have detained her. Be merry, be happy, be free; send for
anything conveyable that you want, and trust to Aladdin’s lamp. See what
grand things it has done already, and have faith.

                                                       August 8th, 1858.


If we were all less self-occupied, what a depth of beauty and order we
should see in the influence of persons and things on people, traced in
the momentary lighting up of an eye, or the slight quiver of a lip,
which we lose perhaps in a fit of self-contemplation; and _that_
revelation of God’s purpose and way of work passes unnoticed, a cause of
praise and power lost to us. And then I would wish most lovingly to
grasp the whole purpose of each life, and influence of details on it, to
see all the strong impulses leading to selfishness or pride, or any form
of evil; to watch, not unaiding, the struggle with them; to contemplate
with intense sympathy and reverence every purifying affection,
stimulating hope, earnest purpose, self-control, and every form of good;
to look at all, not as one standing aloof or above; but as
fellow-worker, fellow-sufferer; to trace the same tendency to evil and
good in myself; to find the point or points, as one always does, in
which everyone is so much greater than oneself, that one bows before it
in joy and cries, “Thank God for it.”

                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     August 15th, 1858.


R.[32] went on Wednesday. Her mother was much nicer at the last. I hear
from Brighton that the child is very happy. It would have done you good
to see her delight at her new clothes, and the care with which she went
to a clean crossing, tho’ the roads were not very muddy. Her
indifference about leaving home was, of course, very sad. But just as we
were going away, one of those immense Irish women one sometimes sees,
who was selling apples in the Old Bailey, called her back, and giving
her a kiss said, “God bless you, child. Be a good girl.”


I have wished Mary good-bye.... We spoke about my going back with her,
which is a relief. I don’t like a thing which both people know the other
is thinking of not spoken of and explained, and so I was very glad she
mentioned it.... _Private._ Would you ferret out for me whether A. is
looking forward to her half holiday for going to see people? and if she
is, say nothing; but, if she isn’t, ask her not to make any engagements
to go away, at first, out of charity or acquiescence, as I shall like
very much to have her at home. _Public again._ I have some more flowers
which are a great pleasure. Everyone is _very_ kind, that is to say
everyone I hear of or see; there are not many.

It seems so strange to feel the piano had not been opened for so long.
This morning I sang all our sacred music,—some that I am fond of and did
not know, I _spelt_ out on the piano. It reminded me, by contrast more
than by likeness, of the Sunday music we sometimes used to have. I have
invitations from Margaret and Gertrude which I shall accept, if I can,
after I know that Mary is gone; but next week my College opens. However,
considering that I have Wednesday free, I hope to get away. I do not
seem of any use to anyone, but I hope I shall do all the better when
work begins.... Thank you for all your long, most welcome, letters....
In constant thought of you, Yours Octavia.

                                                      August 19th, 1858.


(Tho’ this is for all of you.) It is but right and nice that, having
known of my long waiting, you should know now that I am quite satisfied.
Dear Mary has been here; and really, I don’t know how to be thankful
enough for having seen her so long and so delightfully. I waited all the
morning, getting more distracted and disappointed every quarter of an
hour; for I knew she must be back at Elmhurst at 6.30, and leave Camden
Road at 4.30; and 1, 2, 3 o’clock came. Before 3, however, I had quite
made up my mind to it. I did this the more easily, because I was sure
that, when she did come, if I had been repining and longing before, I
should be selfish and covetous then. Well, at 3.10 she arrived with such
a headache she could hardly stand.... In a very few minutes her head
grew better, and she resolved to go by the 5.50 train. And oh! we had
such an afternoon! It is worth more than many weeks with her in
society.... She asked to hear Andy’s song “Wilt Thou not visit me?”...
She promises that if she comes to London next year she will come to stay
here, if we still want her! At last we parted, not at all sadly. She is
so sweet and good.... Her heart was open as usual to hear all about
everyone,—Ruskin, Mr. Maurice and the children, in fact every person and
thing we care for.

                                                      August 17th, 1858.


Tell Minnie I have just finished Maurice’s “Ecclesiastical History.” I
am so very much interested in it, and think she would be even more so,
knowing so much about all the people. I should very much like to have a
talk with her about them, especially Polycarp, Clemens of Alexandria,
Irenaeus and Ignatius. I should like to know if she has been taught to
like Tertullian or not.... Ruskin’s work seems to take nearly all day.
My own needlework has hardly been touched since Mama left. Certainly I
have despatched R. I think singing and reading have flourished most. I
can’t consider Ruskin’s work has got on, because I was not at Marlboro’
House last week, tho’ in other respects it’s all right. I think, most of
my time _seems_ spent in putting the room neat.


                                                       4, Russell Place,
                                                     August 26th, 1858.


Margaret[33] has been kindness itself.... She urges that Andy should
take a resident situation on account of her health. But Andy’s heart is
so clinging, and wound so fast round her home, her health even would
suffer.... Her influence on the children is the fruit of three years’
work.... Andy is the sunshine of her home.

                                                     4, Russell Place,
                                                     December 3rd, 1858.


Mr. Maurice talked to Ockey a good deal about the Bible Class at the
College. He wanted to know who some of the pupils were; and Ockey said
it was so interesting to hear his descriptions of the people, and see
the kinds of things he had noticed. One woman he said he met very often;
he fancied she was a milliner; and then he was so distressed lest this
little theory of his should have misled Ockey in any way; and he said he
was sure he did not know why he thought so.

                                                45, Great Ormond Street,
                                                  December 8th, 1858.


I am doing some work for “Modern Painters.” Ruskin is coming on Friday
to spend the evening with us. Dearest thing, I wish you knew how much I
feel your sweetness. Now I must tell you some news. Ruskin is most kind.
He called the Prouts “quite admirable,” the tones so even and pure;
“some of them,” he continued, “I like better than the originals. But I
think you might make your work more accurate!” Is not the last an odd
remark? He was so delighted with the progress of my Portman Hall pupils,
quite astonished. He writes: “I wish I had seen Miranda before she went.
But I can’t do a tenth of the things I want to do.”

                                                      4, Russell Place,
                                                    December 12th, 1858.


When Ockey saw Ruskin, he said that he should be sure to come, unless
his father should propose for them to go to the play that night, in
which case, he must put off almost any engagement.

On Friday we got all the room beautifully neat, and decorated with
sprays and leaves that dear Gertrude had sent us from Weybridge. Ockey
and I were in white with black ribbons, and dear Mama looked very nice
in her black dress with white collar and sleeves. There was a splendid
fire, and tea very prettily set out, and all looked cheerful and nice.
When we were all ready and seven o’clock came, Ockey and I began to get
very anxious lest he should not come; listening most intently to all the
carriages, and sitting with the door open, and candle ready to light him
upstairs. A quarter past seven came, and Ockey said, “Well at half past
I shall give up all hope and begin to cry. The only thing that makes me
think he is coming is, that the lamp burns so remarkably well.” A
carriage stopped; a knock at the door came. Ockey, much to my surprise,
would run down to meet him. Mama and I sat demurely on the sofa, and
waited till he came in. He had brought a number of sketches to show
us—all his summer’s work. Was it not kind? When we were all seated, he
asked directly about Andy. How she had got on, on her journey, and how
she had found you. When Mama began talking about you both, he said so
sweetly and sympathetically, “I hope it does not pain you to talk about
these things.”


He explained to Ockey, one of the first things, that he had not brought
her any birthday present; that it must be a Christmas present, as he had
wanted to know what books she had. Ockey said something about “Oh no! he
did so much”; and Mama said that when we were children, she had
introduced the practice of our _giving_ presents on our birthdays,
rather than receiving them, because she had wished to impress on us that
we were born to give, rather than to receive. Ruskin said that he
thought it was very ungracious that friends should come to a person, and
expect them to give them presents, because it was their birthday, as
much as to say, “You came into the world to give to us. Prove to us that
you are of some good.”

Then Ruskin made a remark about the cream and said that the difficulty
people had in getting cream in London was a proof that it was growing
too large. Ockey said that so much milk and cream came from the country,
and asked Mama if she remembered the cans they had seen the morning they
came from Cambridge. This led to their speaking of the pleasure of their
visit, and, among other things, Ockey spoke of the sunlight dying away
from the stained glass windows in King’s College chapel, when they were
at the service there. Ruskin said there was hardly anything more
solemnly impressive than the death of a stained glass window; and then
he said how very little influence the beauty of the Universities had on
the men. He says they are proud of them, but nothing more; that when he
first went to College he thought it very grand and fine; but soon lost
all the impression of solemnity, and looked on the gowns as so many
black rags, and the service in the chapel as a daily punishment; and he
found that it was the case with all the young men he met. Only perhaps
Tennyson or other poets care for it. Ockey said, “Well! people don’t
feel it at the time, I think they do afterwards. I know many people who
speak with such great pleasure of their University. I am sure it is
quite beautiful to hear Mr. Maurice speak of it.” Ruskin said, “Well!
but Mr. Maurice is a poet.” At which Mama and Ockey said they thought
him anything but that. Mama said how very seldom he made any similes;
Ruskin said, “But I do not look upon it that a poet’s work is to make
similes; but to make things.” He said he did not know much about Mr.
Maurice; he had not read much of his, he found it such hard work. He
could not follow him. He seemed like a man who did not see clearly, and
was always stretching out, moving on in the right direction, but in a


Ockey said, “No! I don’t believe it is so at all. Mr. Maurice quite
understands what he means himself; and the difficulty which people find
in understanding him, arises partly from his style, and partly that
people require to understand his way of putting things.” Ruskin said,
“I’m very glad to hear you say that you think Mr. Maurice knows what he
means himself; but I had always thought that the very greatest men were
essentially simple. The only great man I know who is not, Dante, throws
out a word or two quite knowing what he means, and says, ‘Think out
that,’ and people do not know which end of the thing they have got, and
so quarrel over what he does mean. But when he says anything directly,
it is very clear and simple. And so with _all really_ great men.”


I said that Mr. Maurice had a wonderful power of understanding his
pupils’ answers, of finding out what they meant by confused answers, of
getting at the truth they wished to bring out, and of putting it so
clearly to them. Ruskin replied that _that_ was a very great thing.
Ockey said yes it was very beautiful; and that she could not understand
how it was he had such a knowledge of human nature, when he had no
knowledge of individuals. I said, “Perhaps he has more than you think.”
Ockey said, “Of course _you_ would solve the matter in that way.” Ruskin
asked why, and O. said, “Because Minnie has such an admiration for Mr.
Maurice.”—Ruskin said, “Well, Minnie, as you admire Mr. Maurice so much,
can you explain why it is that he is so pained at being misunderstood?”
Ockey answered for me, to my relief and said, “Oh, you refer to the
Preface of the ‘Doctrine of Sacrifice.’ I think it is because he longs
so much for Union.” Ruskin said that was a very good answer. He repeated
again that he was glad we thought Mr. Maurice knew what he meant. O.
said, “O yes, and I would engage to make anyone who took the trouble to
read a small piece of his writing carefully, master the style and
understand him, in three-quarters of an hour.” Ruskin said he would take
her at her word; for he wished to understand Mr. Maurice, and that he
would make out clearly, as his tutor used to say, what he did and what
he did not understand, and ask her about any difficulty he had. So O.
said, would he read the sermon on Mr. Mansfield’s death? And he said he
did not want to read anything about death; it made him so very sad. O.
said she did not think it would make him sad to read what Mr. Maurice
said about death, and explained who Mr. Mansfield was. When Ruskin
remembered, he was interested, and took the sermon. They were talking
about the want of music in Mr. Maurice’s writings; and O. asked Ruskin
what he thought of Kingsley’s poems. Ruskin had not read them; but he
did not like hexameters, he could not read them, even for the sake of a
fine thought; for perhaps the thought would make him remember the
hexameter, which would be too great a punishment. O. said she thought
the ballads very beautiful,—R. said he only knew the poems in “Alton
Locke,” and he liked those very much. Mama asked if he knew the “Three
Fishers,” and asked us to sing it, which we did, without the music of
course. Ruskin was pleased both with words and music. But he said that
in general he thought Kingsley too sad, and that he injured the purpose
for which he wrote by being exaggerated and not correct in his facts. We
were talking about happiness, and Kingsley’s suffering so much when he
came to town. Ruskin said for his part he was never happy except when he
was selfish, when he shut himself up, and read only the books he liked,
or enjoyed the sunshine and nature. He did not know how it was that,
whenever he did what he believed to be right, he suffered for it; that
it seemed like his unlucky star. O. said, “Don’t talk about stars. What
do you mean by it?” R. said, “Well, I will give you a small crumb of an
instance. When I was travelling a great many years ago, at a time my
father was ill, I met with a picture of Turner’s, one of the finest he
ever did. I did not quite know the value of it myself; and I knew that
it would vex my father if I bought it without his leave; so I wrote back
to him. Meanwhile the picture was bought by some one, who utterly
destroyed it. Now if I had bought it, it might have made my father lose
his appetite for a day, but nothing more. And this is only one small
instance. It is always the way when I do right. Miss Edgeworth would
have made the picture go to a round of people, converting them to
Turner, and come back to me crowned with laurel. I was brought up on
Miss Edgeworth’s principles; but I have not found them at all true in my
case.” Mama said there was a truth in them, but that in some respects
they were very false; that she believed that every one had to suffer
very much in doing right; that she had felt it so particularly about
Ruskin himself; that the brave and true things he said were often
misunderstood; but that she always felt her heart warm towards him, and
she thought to herself,—if only people would receive them as they were
meant. “But,” she said, “I think you may be very happy that you do
excite the kind of admiration that you do, in many people; and that you
have the power of exciting the noble and beautiful emotions which your
words and writings do.” Ruskin said that he would wish his word about
art to be taken just in the same way that a physician’s or lawyer’s
would be about medicine or law. O. said she was sure it was so, more
than he thought; and that it was a growing thing. That a lady had said
to her the other day, that a word from him would be enough to ruin her;
and O. added, “At which I felt very proud.” She said that she thought
when people did right, the good they expected very often did _not_ come,
because they were not perfectly wise, as well as perfectly right; but
that, tho’ they had to suffer for want of judgment, in the end they were
always blessed; but in different ways from those they had expected;
that, as long as people calculated results, they could not do right;
they must do right for right’s sake.

Ruskin said, “Do you mean to say that a man, who had been very selfish,
and thought he would make himself happy by going out and giving to all
the beggars he met, would not succeed?” O. said, “No! he might at first,
but he would find afterwards that he had gathered around him many people
who only cared for his money. Whereas, if a man did the same thing from
a sincere love for his fellow creatures, he would not have the pain of
suspecting the motives of all around him, and he would have the sympathy
of those engaged in the same good work.” They were speaking of the
blessing of having the sympathy of people, and R. said he had some
people who understood him. O. said, with a very bright smile, “Oh have
you?” R. said, “Yes. I think you do pretty well.”

Then Mama read Miranda’s letter about her voyage from Marseilles, with
which R. was much pleased, and said it recalled all the scenery to him;
and when she came to the part about the red sail, he told O. to remind
him to show her a small Turner in the National Gallery which showed the
wonderful beauty of a red sail. He asked if there were part of another
letter he might hear, and anything about Florence. I brought Andy’s to
me, and while it was being read I turned my face away for fear of its
telling too much, as I could hardly bear it; but when the thought of you
both changed into joy, I lifted my face and met such a look of
tenderness and sympathy. When the letter was finished, R. said to Mama,
“How happy you must be in them all!” “Thank you. It is very beautiful.”


Then he showed us the sketches. I don’t think I shall ever forget them.
I see them constantly at night when I shut my eyes. They have given me
most beautiful visions of lovely scenery. One of the things which gave
me the most pleasure was to hear R. talk about them with such perfect
humility, condemning or praising them, just as if they had been another
person’s work, no false shame in admiring them, and entering with such
hearty sympathy into our pleasure in them. Then came a quiet talk, which
I think R. quite enjoyed. I felt as if we had come nearer to him than
ever; as if he were opening something of his heart, and asking for help.
He said once, “I do not say any of these things to make you sad, but
because I think you may say something to make me happier.” He was
regretting that the colours of a sunset faded; and I said I thought the
changefulness of nature was one of its greatest beauties. At first he
agreed; and then he said, “No, it reminded him how all things must pass
away.” Then we had a very solemn talk about good being continued in
another world, and the purpose of sorrow. I said that it was most
comforting to me to look back, and see how things which had seemed so
sad turned out as blessings. R. said, “It may be so with you good
people; but if I look back it is to find blunders. To remember the past
is like Purgatory.” O. said that the past interpreted the present, and
made her hopeful for the future. I think some of the things we said
(especially what Mama said) may have made him happier. When he heard
that his carriage had come, he said something about its being sad that
evenings went so fast. Indeed he stayed long after his carriage had
come, and when he was half down stairs, returned to look at O.’s pupils’
drawings of his own accord, and said he was in no hurry if she had
anything else to tell him. When we thanked him for coming, he said that
he ought not to be thanked, as he had so much enjoyed himself.

                                                    December 19th, 1858.


Dear Ockey has had rather a disappointment lately about her work,—that
is to say she has been awakened to the sense of its not being as
accurate as she had hoped it was. She wrote to Ruskin to ask about his
employing a young artist. He wrote back very kindly saying he could
employ two or three girls, supposing they could copy accurately; but
accuracy meant so much. “Even you are nothing near the mark yet, tho’
the Claude foreground is a step in advance.” Of course O. knew that the
things she had done in water colour were very far from right; but she
had thought that her pencil and pen work was very nearly so. In the same
letter he said that he always had a chivalrous desire to help women, but
he began to think his old lady friends were right when they cautioned
him against it, as he had found all his girl protegés, with the
exception of Ockey, “very sufficiently troublesome.” She met him the
same day at Dulwich, and he was very kind; and if she can have a little
bright weather, so as to get on with her Dulwich work, she will be in
good spirits again, I think.


                                                      4, Russell Place,
                                                    December 19th, 1858.


Now for Ruskin. Minnie has told you something about the evening; but
nothing about the sketches. The first we saw was one of an old walled
and fortified town in Switzerland, with little arched gateway guarded by
towers and wall; the moat is dried up and filled up; long grass and
buttercups grow there. Then he showed us a view of the cliffs which form
the banks of Lake Lucerne; their tops are for the most part
inaccessible, quite lonely, haunted only by the eagle. “Fancy, Octavia,”
Ruskin said, “walking up there, where one can get among chestnut glades,
along winding paths, bringing you suddenly to the edge, and looking down
on the blue water.” He showed us two sketches of Morgarten. Then he
showed us exquisite sketches of Bellinzona, where the three Forest
Cantons had each a castle built on a high rock. He has done the whole
thing in the loveliest way, making a kind of plan of the whole, and
sketching large and carefully in colour each bit of it, even the little
rows of leaves on a bank. But nothing can explain to you the sense of
size and space and grandeur conveyed by the drawing of hundreds of
pines, chestnuts and poplars, yet each seen as part of an enormous
whole. The sketch of Bellinzona Ruskin had drawn from the priest’s
garden, a lovely spot on a rock near the chapel and house, on the side
of a steep craggy cliff, the little posts carefully bricked up to
support a patch of mould here and there, on one of which was planted
corn. Among it grew white lilies seen against a further piece of
brightest green grass; beyond lay the ravine of the Ticino, and beyond
again the mountains.... Miss B. has been offered the Secretaryship of
the Children’s Hospital; but her father and mother say that no daughter
ought to leave home except to be married, or to earn her own living,
witness Florence Nightingale, who has returned a mere wreck. Why if ever
there was an example fitted to stir up heroism it might be hers! I
wonder if her mother were asked whether she was prouder and fonder of
her before her work or after? or whether she grudged the health which
she herself has sacrificed so willingly? I am going daily to Dulwich. It
is a long walk even if I take omnibus between Charing Cross and
Camberwell Gate.

                               CHAPTER IV
                      MILTON STREET, DORSET SQUARE
                      DECEMBER, 1858—APRIL, 1861.

  When Miranda went to Italy, in 1858, Octavia suggested to her
  grandfather that it would be more economical, as well as more
  comfortable, if she and her mother and Emily could move into
  _un_furnished rooms. Octavia said that, if he would lend the money for
  furniture, she would be able to repay him out of what would be saved
  on rent. He kindly undertook to lend the required amount; and, after
  the rooms had been secured, Octavia made out a list of necessary
  furniture, with approximate prices. Then after her day’s work, she
  visited various shops, and with Gertrude’s and Emily’s help chose what
  was required. If she spent more on one thing, she took the amount off
  something else; and she determined that she would keep to the fixed
  sum. This was achieved. Then she planned and cut the carpet, and each
  evening she and Emily sat on the floor sewing it. One night they
  worked till 12 o’clock. All this time Octavia was going each morning
  to Dulwich, where she stood drawing for about four hours, then she
  went to Great Ormond Street to the Women’s Classes, and walked from
  there to Milton Street, Dorset Square. Yet she was as merry as
  possible, and sang and repeated poetry while she and Emily were at
  work. And in due time she repaid the money that she had borrowed.

                                          103, Milton St., Dorset Sq.,
                                                      January 4th, 1859.


I only came to this house to-day. It is so very pretty; you and Florence
would be enchanted with it. Dear Ockey and Minnie must have worked so
hard; they would not let me have any trouble, but arranged it all, and
beautiful indeed it looks: the crimson table cover and chair cover and
green carpet and white muslin curtains and white walls with roses, make
such a lovely combination, and I enjoy the nice square high rooms. Miss
Sterling, who called yesterday, exclaimed, “What a dainty room you
have.” It certainly does give one a most pleasant sense of simplicity,
cleanliness, and beautiful colour.

                                                     January 25th, 1859.


... I think you will like our dear new home; the prettiness of it is a
continual delight to me, and I am most thankful for its order and
cleanliness.... I am so fond of it.... I was amazed to find how much you
had all thought of Ruskin’s statement about my accuracy. Of course I was
disappointed, because I thought the battle was won; but you see it
referred to pencil and colour sketches, in which I had not tried mainly
for accuracy, believing that I need not try, that the amount of
measurement I gave it secured it; and I had other things to aim at. It
was not colour or pencil sketches that he ever praised for accuracy. (Oh
yes, the first coloured one; but then it had so little colour). I never
thought for a moment my eye was accurate about anything, unless it were
matching colours. I only thought that, by some miracle, the things I had
done were as accurate as human work need be; and that all would continue
so, if I worked in the same way. Now that I know where I am, I don’t
doubt I can win the battle in time by steady work; and I have not been
the least cast down about it, since the first hour I knew it. I am very
impatient to get home and see how Minnie is. I didn’t like leaving the
darling all alone.



... Don’t let anyone frighten you about my health; I think they none of
them are frightened now; but, whether or no, I am resolved to take the
most immense care; for I think it probable this will be required for a
little time, and that it is very important that I should preserve both
health and strength.... I enjoy Dulwich[34] extremely; you know it is so
nice to see a little country. I only go three days in the week now,
because of fatigue and expense.... I have such lovely walks home past
trees with rooks’ nests, you remember them. Our home is in such
exquisite order; for dear M. has the housekeeping and everything is as
orderly and noiseless and comfortable as can be. I hope she won’t find
it too much for her ... the rooms are very pretty and comfortable. For
my part I greatly fear I’m growing idle, I never seem hard worked now,
and I never seem to do needlework or anything. I take it however very
quietly, and don’t mean to exert myself just now unless I need....
Ruskin was so kind when he heard I had been ill. He wrote to tell me to
write and let him know whether I ought not to stop working for some

February 7th.—We went to a Pre-Raph. Exhib., and saw the loveliest wood
in Spring, full of harebells, a thorn tree casting a shadow over some of
the flowers.

                                                    February 27th, 1859.


... Ockey has just received another Veronese to copy for her work at
home. She has begun doing it so beautifully. She is distressed at only
working three hours on Dulwich days; so she has begun working in her
spare time at the College, and by that she will manage six hours _every_

We are very regular with our reading three evenings a week from nine to
ten. Mama reads and Ockey and I work.... I think Ockey is becoming
converted to Shakespeare. Dear Mama reads it so beautifully.

                                                         February, 1859.


I thank you for your letter. “What has been the matter?” you ask.
Physically, only this, I have severe pains in walking distances that I
used to manage easily. But you would quite laugh if you saw me, to hear
me speak of want of strength.

But the truth is that, if enough is as good as a feast, too little must
be as bad as a famine; and I feared that I had just too little for my
work. But everyone agrees that it isn’t fatigue that has made me ill,
but responsibility and worry and want of change. It’s my own fault. I
ought to take things more quietly and not think that so very much
depends on my deciding wisely, and not nearly break my heart if things
go wrong for a time.

I think you’re mistaken about the teaching, which is hopeful and
refreshing. As to sentiment there are few people who have not stronger
feelings than I have. I assure you, I am considered _the_ person in the
family, who is without imagination, poetry, feeling, affection. Good
only to do a sum, carry a weight, go a long walk in the rain, or decide
any difficult question about tangible things. You happen to know the
other side of me. All _that’s_ kept in, that I may do my work; and you
don’t know what a life of calculation and routine and steadiness mine
is. I’m told that the best developed organ that I have is that of


However, thank you, I hope I haven’t “come to a smash.” I’m gloriously
well to-day, and I’ve done my full work; perhaps I may manage five days
at Dulwich after all. I think I wrote too seriously, and I beg your
pardon. You can imagine the horror of being ill, to a person whose whole
heart is in what they do, and who has never been obliged to calculate
strength, but only time.

Never mind, I’m in glorious spirits now. The Salvator is going on well.
I’m not the least afraid of anything. I will conscientiously take care
of my health; and, if I lose it then, I can’t help it. I should like to
leave them all comfortable, and learn to love them, and to live to do
some drawing worth doing and to see the Alps; and then I’d leave the
world in God’s hands who made it. In the meantime I’ll order the
dinners, and try to be quiet and sensible, if you will go on having
patience with me. You’ll see me rational and quiet some day. You mustn’t
expect a great deal of wisdom, in spite of my having begun with hard
experiences so young. You know I’m only a little more than twenty; and
it takes a long time and a great deal to teach me anything. I assure you
I try to be calm and sensible about all things, and if I say foolish
things, I don’t often do them, as our condition here shows. I never, but
for two days in my life, felt so strongly about anything as to prevent
my working and both times I think you would admit that I had sufficient
cause. So neither feelings nor excitement do anyone very much harm.

Most sincere thanks for your letter. You won’t forget the out of the way
ways that I can help you. I will be sure not to overwork myself; and it
would be a great pleasure to me to help you more.

                                               I am,
                                                   Yours affectionately,
                                                           OCTAVIA HILL.

                                      103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,
                                                      March 6th, 1859.


... Ruskin has written me such a kind letter telling me to take as long
a holiday as I like.... I am to do “such a difficult thing from Turner”
at South Kensington soon. I was much puzzled, knowing _that_ would
prevent my beginning work till ten o’clock any day; so after much
thought I meant to give up the College. I mentioned it to Miss Sterling,
who seemed quite dismayed, said I must know they could not possibly
supply my place; it was impossible; the whole flourishing or decay of
the classes depended on whom they had in my place; my value could not be
calculated in £. s. d., or in any number of mechanical performances. So
after calculating that I could get at the worst thirty or thirty-three
hours’ work weekly, I resolved to remain. I had no idea Miss Sterling
cared so much about it.... To-morrow we have a grand tea-meeting at the
Young Women’s; Lord Shaftesbury will be there.... I draw at the College
daily now. I have such nice expeditions to Dulwich, I go over the
fields, and now the leaves are coming out it is most lovely.

Minnie and I never sing here now at all, we haven’t time.


                                                       March 27th, 1859.


I really could not write last Sunday. I am now writing in the lovely
early morning, before setting off to go to the eight o’clock Communion
service at Lincoln’s Inn. We shall think of you both.... I have nearly
finished the cloud I have been copying at Dulwich, and am anxiously
expecting Ruskin’s criticism on it. You know I am going to Normandy on
or about the 16th; fortunately I do not yet realise it, except as a
point before which certain works must be done and preparations made; but
when I am fairly off I suppose I shall believe it; and not until then. I
think you would be very much interested in some of my drawing pupils.
One little boy, James, is my great favourite. He is ten years old, and
tells me he has lived in Worcestershire until last September; but he is
not like a country child, he is so intelligent. He has bright beautiful
eyes, and I like to see his queer little figure in his pretty white
blouse waiting for me at the door. He is so earnest and interested in
his drawing, and works so very hard at it, it is quite delightful to
teach him. Then there is a little girl, Annie, who is now so good and
attentive. I like to see her dear pretty little head, bent down over her
drawing. She has a beautifully fair skin, and when I find fault with
her, all her face colours; and she has large blue eyes with long lashes
and soft fair hair. She hasn’t special talent for drawing like James,
but I like her personally so much. My women are progressing surely and
steadily. They’re getting the right spirit and aims. I take them leaves
and sprays to show them their beauties and teach them their names.... I
am reading the first volume of “Modern Painters.” I thought you would
like to look at these pictures in the light of his words.... I am so
very much wrapped up in my drawing I seem to think of little else; and
yet I do manage somehow to remember and dwell on a great deal besides. I
often think of you both.

                                                103, Milton Street,
                                                        April 3rd, 1859.


I have been suffering with severe pains in my back, but else I am quite
well and I hope Normandy will set me up in health. It will seem very
strange to you, but I dread it. I have been working so long, I don’t
feel as if I knew how to stop. I am afraid I shall be in everyone’s way,
and do everything awkwardly and ill. Mary[35] will forgive me however.
Dear Mary! Mrs. Harrison writes that she is looking forward to my visit
most eagerly; and she thinks it will do her a great deal of good.

You will know how thankful I am that we shall stay in this dear little
home. I need not tell you how kind everyone is, you know they always
were, but it seems to me as if people even increased in kindness
wherever I go, from the old man who takes care of the pictures at
Dulwich, and brings me his first wallflowers and spray of sweet-briar,
to Mr. Maurice’s ready advice; poor and rich, learned and unlearned, old
foe and new friend seem to help us; when I am good and humble and walk
home watching the sunset or rooks’ nests against the night sky, I often
repeat the Magnificat and think thankfully of all people’s kindness.
Sometimes I look back thro’ the strange long years and trace the growth
of things and people. Then, dears, I think of you both.


                                                  Via della Scala,
                                                        April 5th, 1859.


You ask me if there is any danger for English at Florence. Everyone says
that as long as the English minister is here, we are perfectly safe;
but, if England takes any decided part in the war, if the minister goes,
and it is not safe for the English to remain, they will be ordered to
go, and a certain time allowed them; but people seem to think it very
unlikely.... There is a great deal of excitement among the Italians, and
a great deal of fine feeling. I heard an anecdote the other day which
pleased me very much, particularly as it was about a Leghorn boatman,
which I had always thought to be the most horrid class possible. There
were two young men volunteers, who had to cross in a boat to go
somewhere; on landing, they gave the boatman 5 pauls; he still held out
his hand; they thought he was not contented, and gave him a Napoleon; he
continued to hold out his hand, “What is it?” they said.—“Take your
money back,” he replied. “I never have taken any from volunteers, and
hope never to do so; but if you would shake hands with me, I _should_
like to shake hands with any one who is going to fight for Italy.”

                                                    45, Great Ormond St.
                                                      April 16th, 1859.


You will be glad to hear that Ockey has really gone to Dieppe ... It
seemed a great pity to shorten her holiday by two days, because of her
college work this afternoon, which I was fortunately able to take....
She saw Ruskin yesterday. She went to Dulwich and took her work from
there to Denmark Hill. Ruskin had said in his letter that he had only a
quarter of an hour to spare; so of course she was careful to go away
after a quarter of an hour; but altho’ her visit was so very short, it
seems to have been very nice. Ruskin was very pleased with all her work.
The cloud is to be left till his return in the autumn; and O. is to draw
other things at Dulwich, which Ruskin wants for the “Modern Painters.”
She is also to copy Turners at South Kensington, directly the pictures
go there from Marlborough House; so this summer she will have three days
at Dulwich and three at Kensington.

In speaking of the cloud, O. said that it was all wrong; why did Ruskin
praise it? And he said he knew it was wrong, but that it was very
difficult indeed. Salvator had a great deal of power, and what he blamed
him for was for misdirecting it.

The Veronese which O. had been doing at home, Ruskin was delighted with.
He said he wanted to keep it, to show some people what girls could do.
You may think what a state of excitement dear Ockey was in yesterday
with seeing Ruskin and with the thought of her journey.... Her costume
looked so pretty and suitable. Gertrude made her a present of such a
beautiful black silk dress, so nicely made that it has disclosed to me,
what I did not know before, that Ockey has an extremely pretty figure.


                                       27, Faubourg de la Barre, Dieppe.
                                               April 18th, 1859.


I am quietly, splendidly happy; everyone is kindness itself. I had a
very rough passage indeed, but the wind was favourable and never shall I
forget the vanishing of the cliffs of England in a deep intense blue
mist of cloud, as the storms came on. I stayed on deck all the six hours
we were on board, standing on a bench looking over the changing space of
waters; the fresh free wind blowing delightfully. The old look of all
things is enchanting; high flint walls are built up the hills, out of
which grow hundreds of wallflowers. The large old church, with its
time-eaten stones and boldly carved gargoyles, delights me more than
anything; its pinnacles rise up in the sunny air; and its lovely flying
buttresses against the blue sky, all crested and crowned with
wallflowers and ferns; and all the grey stone mellowed and toned by
thousands of gold and silver lichens.

I hope you are all comfortable and have all that you want. Tell Minnie
that, though I gave her directions about what she was to do, she is not
to think that I mean to bind her to do these things if circumstances
alter. She will use her own judgment.

I took a vehement determination to have nothing to do with a short stout
repulsive foreigner, who sat in the railway carriage opposite to me, and
who, to my consternation, was most polite and attentive.

Tell Minnie this, it will amuse her. He was a man of immense curiosity;
and, I must in justice allow, he gave me no cause whatever for my
aversion to him unless it were that, though he was willing enough to
discourse about France, Switzerland, etc., or open and shut windows when
he had nothing else to do, he took good care to keep all his energies
for himself at any time of bustle; and, after chattering nearly three
hours to me, directly we reached Dieppe he never even looked round to
see if I’d met my friends, or told or showed me anything, though he knew
the regulations of the city well—which would have surprised me if I’d
trusted his nasty eye, and would have made me feel desolate, if I hadn’t
been who I am, and in a state of happy and independent resolution
(which, perhaps, I ought to give him credit for perceiving). I was
really glad of his chatter at last, for I thought the voyage long.

                                                       April 24th, 1859.


It has seemed to me so wonderful really to see large spaces of almost
uninhabited country; they give me a sense of loneliness and quiet, quite
unequalled and delightful. We came to a large lonely château, surrounded
with firs, just as the sun sank behind a low hill, towards which it
looked. The hill, the firs, the birches opposite stood up dark against
the sunset. Oh! it was so lovely! That night (Thursday) we slept at
Houden in a room with great whitewashed beams, looking out over the
yard. We didn’t sleep, we were so cold; and we got up only just in time
for the diligence to Rambouillet. The country was flattish, and very
like Weybridge in soil and trees and plants; only the poplars were
exquisitely graceful. I never knew what avenues were till now. They are
lovely, and seem to me to be particularly interesting in being so
orderly; yet the order was only discerned, the beauty only felt, from
one spot....

We could hardly bear the suspense of climbing the hill, on which it[36]
stood. We wanted to see the carving, and could hardly have borne the
time, but that we saw its spires. At last we stood at its foot, and saw
the great thing towering in the sunlighted blue vault. We could not tear
ourselves away from the rich old porches at the north end; tho’ we were
sinking with hunger;—one exclaiming, “Oh this is St. Peter—his key!
look!” Another discovering, with delight, that there was the Virgin, or
there was the Righteous Judgment. At last we went and had dinner, and on
returning, entered.

I think you will be greatly amused to hear of our adventures, and all
the people we have seen. I have to do all the talking to people, I’m
getting quite ready to ask questions, and it increases the fun very
much.[37] We have been in the most complete country and among quite
rustic things; and I have laughed more since I came to France, than I
have done for years, I think. I can’t say that I think the people very
nice; they are extremely polite, except the soldiers, but are wretched
beggars.... I hope, dear people, that all goes on well with you, and
that all is comfortable. Pray tell me if it is not.

                                                    Via della Scala,
                                              Tuesday, April 24th, 1859.


There is great excitement in the town; a great many people about, and a
great many gens d’armes. It seems the troops here want to go off to the
war; and the Grand Duke does not know what to do; the soldiers are in
great excitement, and it was said if he did not let them go there would
be a revolution, or something or other to-day.

The poor old Hyena does not know what to do, he has too many keepers. _I
believe_ the end will be he will abdicate, and leave the management of
affairs to his sons. Many people are going: and still more are talking
about it, because of the war and the unsettled state of affairs. I
cannot say I feel at all afraid, I feel so perfectly safe. I am in the
hands of One who knows what is best. In case of a revolution, everyone
seems to think there would be no danger for private individuals. The
Italians, especially the Florentines, are a good people, passionate, but
not bloodthirsty and savage like the French. It would certainly be very
shocking to be among scenes of violence; and I do hope the _French_ will
not come here, on any excuse. Of course there is no knowing.

                                            Wednesday, April 25th, 1859.

Well here we are without a government! Old Hyena has decamped, and all
the family. The accounts at present are rather confused; but it seems
the troops said they _would_ go to the war, and it would be the worse
for the Grand Duke if he did not let them; so he was obliged to consent:
but then the people wanted a constitution, and he was to tell them his
decision at the Pitti Palace this afternoon; I do not know if he
appeared; but at six he was gone. To-morrow General something or other
from the King of Sardinia comes. You have no idea of the happy wild
excitement the town has been in all day; everywhere the Italian colours,
troops of men, with bright coloured flags, going about the streets,
crying “Viva l’Italia!” “Viva il re Vittorio Emanuele!” “Viva
l’independenza Italiana!”; at the cafés and hotels great flags up, and
hardly a man without a bow or feather or something of Italian colours.
It is very impressive and exciting; there is something so beautiful in
_unity_, in men forgetting for a time their petty cares and dislikes,
enmities, passions, interests, uniting in the great common feeling.
_Coachmen_ seem especially patriotic. I have not seen _one_ without the
Italian colours; perhaps it may be that, being mezza festa, and many
people wanting carriages, in the present state of feeling a coachman who
had the colours would be preferred. M. would call it very wrong of me to
be suspicious, and attribute bad motives to people.


I cannot help pitying poor old Hyena; I hope he is pretty comfortable.
No doubt he has been sending his things off for a long time. He would
not have been bad, if he had been a private gentleman, poor fellow; he
was out of his place, like a poor old dog having to draw a great cart.
There were great placards up saying that the Grand Duke had gone, and
that General —— from Piedmont would come, and in the meanwhile begging
of the people to behave properly, and not to make any disturbance. But
they were as peaceable as possible; seemed as if they would like to
shake hands with everyone. I never saw such a happy expression on the
Florentine faces; it was quite pleasant; even the little dust-heap boys
had the colours on their ragged hats. I wonder how it will all end. What
a terrible thing war is. A thing for the ninth and not the nineteenth

B.[38] told me to say we have had a most peaceable revolution; and there
is no danger. It seems the Grand Duke first refused _everything_ that
was demanded; but afterwards said he would do _anything_; but the people
would not accept then.

                                                          Milton Street,
                                                        May 12th, 1859.


I’ve enjoyed all. It is right to let people hear of joy in this world.
We were so delighted with Mortain, where there are immense grey granite
rocks, and soft green dells of richest grass, bright with millions of
flowers.... I saw showers of rain in the distance changed to bright
mist, as they were between me and the sun, and the mist swept over the
waves of blue hills, and from higher still among wastes of moor desolate
with wind, tho’ bright with furze and cranberry, to which I climbed with
hands and feet. I saw the sea, nine miles away, one golden blaze, on
which the motionless grey rock of Mt. St. Michel stood faint and clear
and firm. I delighted in the diligences. We always took the coupé, and
there we were almost always alone.... The view from the top of the
castle of Mt. St. Michel was magnificent, rising suddenly 300 feet out
of the flat sand. This granite rock is very impressive; it had a
wonderful tendency to become deep purple and has a look of solemn
solitude which is rather increased than diminished by its one neighbour
Tombe-lame.... Light and shadow passed quickly over the immense space
now turning the grey sand to dazzling yellow white, now lighting a
silver thread of some far-off, before unnoticed, stream; now leaving
some space of water the brightest green, or purest blue; while far in
the distance a long white line tells of the approach of the tide of
dashing waves and rushing waters, and of the deep unfathomed ocean.




My own impression about the Library is that all books may be read
rightly or idly; that, if the pupils are inclined to choose the latter
course, they will not read “instructive books” and will get no good from
wise ones. I should choose books by great authors, whether fiction,
poetry or science; because they will repay earnest and careful reading;
and any which seem to me likely to be delightful, because they treat
truthfully anything that ought to interest people. I would suggest a few
books; but they will probably be those which have taught me much, and
which other people have been interested in, more because they knew them
better than other books than because they were naturally suited to them.
Longfellow, Wordsworth, Scott, George Herbert (too difficult?),
Tennyson, Mrs. Gaskell’s “Moorland Cottage,” “Lizzie Leigh and other
Tales” (cutting out “Lizzie Leigh”) and “Mary Barton” (perhaps). For the
girls “Moral Courage” and “Steadfast Gabriel,” published by Chambers.
The “Ocean Child,” “Birds and Flowers,” and some of Miss Martineau’s
books are full of right and interesting thoughts. Miss Bremer’s “Strife
and Peace” and “The Home” always seemed to me very beautiful books. If
we might add one copy of the “Lectures on Great Men” to the Library and
one of the “Feats on the Fiord” I think it would be well; the former
would be a most valuable addition, and the more often it was read the
better. I don’t know the price of Kingsley’s “Good News” nor whether it
be much read, or if not whether or no it would be worth while to get it
for Mary Moore’s benefit. I know very well the harm that would be done
by any one reading these books only; and I would give you a far more
serious list if I were able, provided always that they were great books
of their kind. None of the books that I have read of a more studious
kind seem to me the least suited to them; and of course you will
remember that, where study is voluntary, it is begun because something
has become living and interesting to us, as poets and writers of fiction
often can make things, and people who love actual fact, like Ruskin and
Carlyle, so seldom do. I don’t mean to exclude the two last from amongst
the poets; but there is a great deal of simple fact and logic, untouched
by feeling, in both. It often seems to me that, if we all had more of
the poet nature, we should get people much more interested in all things
near and far; and then, if we loved truth more, they would go thro’ much
otherwise dry hard work to know facts. And one thing more, we mustn’t
forget that reading forms but a small portion of a working woman’s life.

                                            103, Milton St., Dorset Sq.,
                                                    May 29th, 1859.


I have Ruskin’s notes ready to send you by the next opportunity; and
they will tell you far more about the exhibition than I can. I saw him
on Monday week; and he told me that he saw from all I had done that I
had the power to become all he wanted of me, namely a thoroughly good
copyist. He wants me to learn to copy in water-colours the great
Venetian masters. He asked me if I could be quite happy to do this, and
told me he could be quite happy to spend his life thus, if he were in
circumstances to do it. He then said to me that he had thought of
setting me this summer to copy things for Mod. Paint.; but that, as that
would not teach me much, it would be better for him, if I could be happy
not to do any work which was to be used by him at once; to get a greater
power. “In the one case,” he said, “at the end of six or eight months I
should have several useful drawings, but _you_ would be of little more
use than now; whereas, in the other, you would have attained
considerable power.” ...


I believe it will be a real comfort to Ruskin, to feel that I am going
to copy the pictures that he feels to be so precious, and that are being
so destroyed. You see no one is taught to be humble enough to give up
setting down their own fancies, that they may set down facts; and they
deify these fancies and notions and imaginations of their own hearts,
till they really think it a mean thing to represent nature, or other
men’s works simply and faithfully: people hate copying because they do
not copy simply, I believe. One tells me that when she copies, she is
striving to appropriate the excellence of the picture; another that she
is not wanting to copy the picture, but to sketch nature; she therefore
will go so far off that she cannot see it clearly.... One lady assures
me she should despise a person who paints exactly from nature, as she
should a person who copies pictures: that Art has a higher function than
either to delight or to teach; it has to remind us of our glory before
the fall. Mr. D. informs me that in the time I take to copy a
foreground, he would get the essence of every picture in the Dulwich
collection. It sets me wondering what the essence of a picture is, that
it can be got at so rapidly; and whether, if it is worth much, it may
not also be worth much labour to gain it, and require much of the much
talked of thought and spirit of man; whether faithful and earnest work
may not be the only fit preparation for perception of truth in picture
or in life; whether before we can understand, much less embody, noble
truth, it may not be necessary firmly to believe day after day, when it
is inconvenient, and when it is agreeable, that there really is a truth
and a God of Truth, distinct from the imaginations of men’s hearts;
whether simplicity is not much more necessary than excitement, even in
art. So that I think one has reason to be very thankful to have been
taught to look at real lines and colours and sizes, which one may not
misrepresent; which don’t change when we change, nor depend for their
power or beauty on our thoughts about them.

                                                          Milton Street,
                                                        June 26th, 1859.



... I quite trust Ruskin about his plans for me; only I wonder why he
should speak _so_ despisingly of all copies, and yet set me to do them;
but some day I shall understand it. I haven’t any doubt that Mrs.
Browning feels passionately and intensely; but probably her passion is
both controlled and concealed. I think her turning away, when you spoke
of England, simply showed she saw you were feeling a great deal, and she
meant to help you to conceal it. Ruskin says of her that she is the only
entirely perfect example of womanhood he knows. You will see her again?
I wish it were possible, or would be of any use, to thank her thro’ you
for all she has taught me. You know sometimes as I walk to Dulwich in
the scorching sun and am doubtful, or as tiredly I return up the New
Road, the sunset or moonlight speaking less to me than haunting
uncertain fears about those I love, I begin repeating “Isabel’s Child”
to myself. The wonderful power of contrast of wild storm without, and
dream within, the glory of the child’s vision, the almost awful infinity
of thought in every verse, the perfect reality of the whole, are fresh
delights to me, and yet I forget them all in the perfect rest of the
last verse.

                                        “Oh you
                  Earth’s tender and impassioned few!
                  Take courage to entrust your love
                  To Him so named, Who guards above
                  Its ends, and shall fulfil,
                  Breaking the narrow prayers that may
                  Befit your narrow hearts, away
                  In His broad loving will.”

And numbers of other lines and verses and poems teach me day by day.
Well! you ask what I mean about not singing. Simply that I sing out of
tune and haven’t time to learn not to do so, having a bad ear; and so I
think I’d better make up my mind to the fact.

Thanks, dearest, for all your sympathy; but don’t be unhappy about me
for any reason. I am so happy; and more so day by day. Miss Rogers
returns this week. Mrs. Yarnall[39] has a little daughter.

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                       July 24th, 1859.


I want to ensure giving you some account of a speech of Kingsley’s. An
Association of ladies has been formed to help sanitary reform; they have
published tracts, etc. Their first public meeting was held on Thursday
at Willis’s Rooms. Lord Shaftesbury made a speech as chairman, and urged
ladies to attend to all the details of the question, as men could not.
The legislative and theoretical was to be done only by them; the minute
and much of the practical by ladies. Mr. Kingsley said: “After the
excellent _résumé_ of your intentions which we have just heard in your
report, there seems nothing left for me to say, except to ask you to
consider what will be the result, if you succeed in accomplishing your
aims. Now just consider! very great aims, very important aims—very
dangerous aims some people would tell you that they are; nothing less
than saving alive of some four out of every five (?) children that die
annually. If you believe the teaching of many great political
economists, who think that England is in great danger of being
over-populated, and who advocate preventive checks on the increase of
population, you had better pause and think whether it wouldn’t be better
on the whole, just to let the children die; whether we mayn’t have
difficulty in finding work and food for them. But if you hold, as I
confess I do, that a human being is precisely the most precious thing
the earth can have; if you think that the English race is the very
noblest race the world contains; that it has, moreover, a greater power
of adapting itself to every kind of climate and mode of life than any
other, except the old Roman, ever had; that, besides all this, it is, on
the whole, a young race, showing no signs of decay; you will see that it
is worth while for political economists to look on the map, and see that
at least four-fifths of the world is uninhabited, and not cultivated
even in the most ordinary way.”


I ought to tell you that, before this he had shown us how he expected
women principally to be of use, by saying that he looked upon this
Association most thankfully because, for reasons which he wasn’t going
to explain here, he looked upon the legislative part of sanitary reform
with something more like despair than ever. They were not reasons
connected with this Government, or with any possible Government, but
resulted from his consideration of the character of the individuals,
into whose possession small houses were passing more and more. He was
not going into the question here; it would have to be attended to, but
it seemed a great way off. Therefore he hoped women would go, not only
to the occupiers, but to the possessors of the house, and influence
people of “our own class.” “And it’s so easy,” he said; “there isn’t a
woman in this room who couldn’t save the lives of four or five children
within the next six months; and this, without giving up one of your
daily duties, one of your pleasures, one even of your frivolities, if
you choose.

“You ask me what is more terrible than a field of battle, and I tell you
outraged nature. Nature issues no protocols, nor warning notes to bid
you be on your guard. Silently, and without stepping out of her way, by
the same laws by which she makes the grass grow, she will kill and kill
and kill and kill. And more than this, we have our courtesies of war and
our chivalries of war; a soldier will not kill an unarmed man, a woman
or a child; but nature has no pity. By an awful law, but for some
blessed purpose, she is allowed to have none; and she will strike alike
the child in its cradle, the strong man or woman. I wish to God someone
had pictorial power to set before the mothers of England what that
means—100,000 (?) preventable deaths! Oh be in earnest. Remember that,
as a live dog is better than a dead lion, so one of those little
children in the kennel out there is worth saving. Try to remember that
it is not the will of our Father that one of these little ones should

                                            103, Milton St., Dorset Sq.,
                                                August 14th, 1859.


I hope you haven’t thought me unkind, which indeed I haven’t meant to
be, but only very busy, as assuredly I do mean to be all my life long,
if I can contrive it. Thanks for your sweet and welcome letters. You
will have received the French lines, without accents. I will neither
vouch for spelling nor grammar, but you must treat them as if they were
exercises in Chapsall.


The event of my life since I last saw you has been, as you know, an
expedition last Sunday of which I would wish to speak reasonably and
calmly if I can succeed. Indeed it was glorious! I never saw a better
friendship than that between the men and him (Mr. Furnivall). I’m a
little weary of thinking over the Sunday question, and yet—lest you cast
me off utterly, and Mr. Durrant ceases to send me kind messages, and
Mary be shocked indeed—I must tell you a little how we stand here about
it. Of course I told Mr. F. that I should never dream of entering into a
plan involving habitual absence from church; tho’ I didn’t tell him how
much I can sympathise with the spirit of some people who do. He goes
with the men every Sunday; they, some of them at least, remain at home
to go to church each alternate Sunday; but that is no part of his plan.
His own faith is just as deep and living as ever; but he has evidently
been disappointed with the amount or kind of union the church gives.
They go regularly and very happily all together; he is ever ready to
sympathise and enter into all kinds of happiness from the greatest to
the least. He showed me where they walked, he told me when we were
coming to the loveliest groups of trees, when to the creek where they
bathe, how the park looked at moonlight, and how they all enjoyed it. He
wants us to join them in an excursion to Leith Hill or Box Hill in
September. I asked if it must be a Sunday, and he thought much about it,
but says the men can’t get holidays. He talked about Rossiter, told me
he heard one of my sisters was down with Durrant. He amused me vastly by
saying, “Hoets, whom you saw at Cambridge, wants people to go and see
his wife and children, as he’s thinking of going to Australia.” As if
one could go and call on Mrs. Hoets without introduction, on such a
plea! Oh, Minnie, but it was so glorious! As we walked through the park
at Richmond at night, we sang hymns, “No! never part again,” “There is a
happy land,” “Here we suffer grief and pain.” In the chorus of the last,
a number of working, or rather loitering, men in Richmond joined very
earnestly. We saw the pictures at Hampton Court with which I was much
pleased. The men were very nice; they are so learned about flowers,
etc., so respectful, so thoroughly happy. Several of our own pupils were
there; everyone behaved well.

                                      103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,
                                              August 20th, 1859.


I hope that you will, in your great kindness, forgive my troubling you
by asking whether you can give me a few words of advice on questions
that are troubling me practically very much indeed.

1st. I have been very much impressed by the good and joy Mr. Furnivall’s
Sunday excursions seem to be giving to the men and to their wives,
sisters, and friends, who from time to time accompany them. I have
rarely seen a more respectful, intelligent, and happy party than they.
Of course I shouldn’t approve of members of the Church missing service
habitually; but that doesn’t seem to me to be at all necessary to the
plan. I know some people, to whom such a refreshment after their week’s
work would be an inestimable good. It would give me a great delight to
accept invitations for them; and have this opportunity of seeing them,
and helping them; nor can I see any rule which can make it right for me
to go and see my friends on Sunday, or go into the country, and yet
makes it wrong for _them_ to go all together. Ought I to give up my only
day for seeing relations and friends? I shouldn’t have hesitated about
it, but that I imagine, perhaps incorrectly, that you disapprove of
those excursions. May I ask if it is so? I have been trying to enter
into the full purpose of Sunday, as you told me, quite giving up work,
and, as you told me, everything that was an effort (except writing to my
sisters, which ought to be none), and I do at last understand Sunday as
a duty as well as privilege; but is not refreshment by seeing friends
and change of scene right?


I wanted to ask two still more difficult questions but really ought not
to trouble you more. Oh that you were in London that I might ask you!
No! I am glad you are resting. And truly too, I don’t depend on your
advice, but I know our Father has thousands of ways to teach me, if only
my stubborn will and foolish fancies don’t blind me.

God bless you all. I hope Mrs. Maurice is better. Please don’t answer if
you are busy or tired. Is it really difficult to tell what is right? Or
is it only that one will not see the truth? Or does one not pray
trustfully enough?

The classes are going on steadily and well. I am very well too; and dear
Mama and Minnie are having happy holidays. I am all alone.


I cannot attempt to express the thankfulness I feel for your kindness in
answering my letter, perhaps most of all for the first words, “You
should never apologise for asking my opinion,” because it seems as if it
might be understood to have reference to our baptism; and although I
quite feel the help you would give to everyone to be the most precious,
and don’t want any special right to more than you would give to others,
yet I often feel as if I very much wanted to be sure that I was not
wrong in asking you questions about our own life, which I do not feel
wise enough, or old enough, to decide myself, and which I cannot trust,
though I sometimes do leave, to the decision of others. It is not about
questions referring to faith that I feel this most. I know always about
this to Whom I can go, and thank God! for some years (until this
question of Sunday) have felt His help all sufficient; and it has been,
except for my own sin and weakness, but one long blessed revelation of
His love, of the meaning of prayer and sacraments. It was not about them
that I feel as if I wanted any more help than I have; seldom now (tho’
most deeply when I feel it at all) about home life; for we have learnt a
good deal now about where we have been wrong about it; it is principally
about the application of principles to other social questions; it is all
very well for people to tell me not to trouble myself about them, but
they are involved in every action of daily life. Earnest thought, life
itself, and some words of your own and others, for whom I have a great
respect, have led me to convictions which, as I say, would lead me to
actions differing widely from yours, and, I suppose, proceeding from
some difference in principle. Sometimes I act for a little while on my
own convictions, and am very happy, till the recollection of how wrong I
was, and how sure I was about other things which you have taught me,
principally by advising my giving up a course of action and adopting
another, or some partial failure, make me think I am arrogant and
self-willed; and yet when I take the other course I am oppressed with a
sense of neglected duties, fear of my own honesty, and confusion about
how far I ought to trust people, and you specially. This produces
inconsistency in action; tho’, on the whole, I adopt the latter course
for the questions relating principally to work at the College; I feel my
position there implies very complete obedience. When I can see you (but
that is so seldom now), I so try (indeed I try always) to understand the
grounds on which you act; and I own myself fairly puzzled. It was to
this I referred.

Your letter has shown me a much deeper meaning in Sunday than I had ever
perceived in it; and I see the difficulty about the excursions very
clearly, as not speaking to people as spiritual beings, called to full
rest in trust in God: I am not sure that I do not think that, after the
Church service has done this, the rest of the day would not be better
passed among God’s works in the country, and in friendly intercourse;
but I am less sure of having entered into the teaching of the Bible on
the subject, than of setting a sufficient value on mere cessation from
toil and recreation; and so I shall decidedly give up these excursions,
till I have thought more about them. And even then I hope I am not wrong
in feeling that I do not think, especially as College people are
concerned, I could feel it right to go to them, when you feel as you do
about it.

I am afraid this letter will give you the impression that I am trusting
far too much to you, far too little in God; tho’ I have stated very
frankly (it reads to me almost unkindly), how fears that you may be
wrong about some things mingle with my sure knowledge how wonderfully
you have been proved right about others. I accept both reproaches. I am
often tempted to trust too much to you; not, I think, to believe your
wisdom, and gentleness, and patience, and faith to be greater than they
are, but to think too much that I was to trust to them in you, instead
of in God, because I have not felt Him to be an ever-present guide, not
only into the mysteries of His own Love, not only into the meaning of
past wants, but into the grounds of all right and all wise action. This
and this only has confused me; all has been ordered to teach me, all to
strengthen me; and I alone am wrong. Only with these thoughts others
mingle; I must not, in order to recover faith in a Director, give up the
direction He places in my way; I must not mistake self-will for
conscience, nor impatience for honesty. No one on earth can distinguish
them for me; but He will. It so often seems to me as if two different
courses of action were right or might be right; and this is what puzzles
me, even tho’ it is a blessing as binding me to people of widely
different opinions. Thank you once more, dear Sir, for all teaching,
given now and before.

                                       (Undated, probably August, 1859.)


Thanks for your sweet letter received yesterday. What have I been
thinking and feeling about? Dear me, that is a question. Well, dear, of
extra things, first and foremost of a delightful dance Mr. Furnivall
gave to his friends among the men and their friends, and to which he
invited me. I went with Louisa[40] and Henrietta;[41] and a glorious
evening we had! Before that, I had been one of their Sunday excursions
with them.... I received, however, a letter from Mr. Maurice in answer
to my enquiries (oh such a beautiful letter!), which makes me feel I
have much to learn about Sunday, and at any rate I could not go with
College people, his feeling being so strong on the subject, I think.
This has been, as you may imagine, a great effort to me; for really my
day refreshed me so entirely; and I was so happy. Do you know perhaps
I’m going down to Godmanchester (where Cromwell was born) to visit a new
friend, Miss Baumgartner, during my next holidays.

[Sidenote: MORE ART WORK]

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                   September 11th, 1859.


... I have just begun the most wonderful piece of drapery, black and
gold, copied from a Rubens at Dulwich. Neither Jupiter, nor any of my
other Dulwich work, is finished; they are waiting for Ruskin.... Last
night I had the glorious delight of looking over a sketch book of his,
which Mr. Ward brought to Margy’s. It was called “Notes by the Wayside,
1845–46.” The things were exquisite; some of Florence specially
interested me of course. The original coloured sketches of the two
engravings of sunset clouds behind mountains, and St. George of the
Seaweed at Venice, which are published in the “Modern Painters,” were
there too. Oh so lovely!—Miss Sterling is now in Ireland. I begin to
long dreadfully for their return.... While Gertrude is in Scotland, I
have the use of her Library subscription. I have been revelling in
Oliver Cromwell, and Ludlow’s “India,” and look forward to several
delightful books, if only I can get a little time.... My drawing class
for the Portman Hall children is going on so very well. I have had it
all alone since July. Oh! and they begin to draw so well! T. is I think
very pleased. I am teaching Mrs. W. and a new lady, illumination; that
is to say they come and draw here, while I am at work, two hours weekly.
I’ve been writing an article for the College Magazine, at Mr.
Litchfield’s request.

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                   September 25th, 1859.


Decidedly take lessons from Kraus.... As to sending money home, dearest,
don’t think of it; we have ample, as my balance sheet next week will
show you; spend it in any way that will be most useful to you in
promoting health, rest, and knowledge; we are getting, one way, or
another, an immense amount of change and rest here, and I earnestly hope
you will do the same to the best of your power.... I do indeed
sympathise with you about church; it is a quite inexpressible blessing,
and must be specially so to you.... I have read Tennyson’s “Idylls of
the King.” I consider the whole book glorified by Arthur’s last speech
to Guenevere. Tennyson takes the view that, if she had been pure and
worked with Arthur, his noble efforts and reforms would have lived and
triumphed. He goes away to fight his best knight, all his hopes and
successes blighted. I always did like Launcelot, in spite of everything;
and I do still. There is a lovely character too, called Enid. But the
whole book is painfully impressed on my mind, as written by a man, so
vividly and perpetually conscious of sensuality, tho’ of so much that is
noble; but I should love to possess the book. Oh it is so real! I am
reading, too, Carlyle’s “Cromwell” with intensest interest. Mama[42] is
so very very happy in her life, it is quite delightful. I have answered
your question briefly, because I’m so sure of the answer.... We want to
see that we and our work are not essential to the world; that, if we do
our work imperfectly, so that we love Him, that is what He asks. He can
save and teach people without us.... My own dearest, God will lead us
all, will He not? We know how our blunders of judgment, and want of
power can never hinder His work; that He asks us, not for great works,
but self-forgetting peaceful hearts; that our wisdom at best can fathom
little of His purposes; but that He reigns and sends His spirit to us. I
fancy, if we saw God working and resting, instead of our own working,
our faces would shine like that of Moses; and we should care very little
that we could not speak, but would trust Him to fill us with such love
that it would breathe in all we did.


                                                     October 10th, 1859.


I have a good deal to tell you to-day. On Saturday I saw Ruskin. I think
he was very well satisfied with my work, tho’ it was none of it
finished, and none of it right; still it was very satisfactory to me to
find that it had none of the faults my work had last year, i.e., not
being dark enough, nor massed enough. I returned, in spite of all this,
in a horrid state of wretchedness; but this I have got over now, as I
will tell you....

I believe what made me so wretched was the sudden vivid thought of how
very little pleasure I could ever give Ruskin, even by the most
conscientious work; that one stanza of Tennyson’s was better to him,
would teach more that he wanted to teach, than all my life’s work. I had
thought that, by earnestness and humility, and sacrifice of other works
and thoughts, I might really help him considerably. I have no doubt that
an immense deal of thought of self is mixed with this notion; but it has
its root deeper than that; and now I come to think over all Ruskin said,
I see no reason to alter my conviction that I can do this work. The fact
is, if one sits down to make a plan, it is often foolish and
impracticable; but the plans life reveals to us, which are unfolded to
us, and which we are hardly conscious of,—these, I think, are usually
God’s plans, and He helps us to carry them out. If this is not what He
means me to do, may He, for He alone can, help me to give it up; but if,
as now I think, He has been preparing me by multitudes of things,
childhood in the country, girlhood in town, hard work, most precious and
direct teaching of drawing, sympathy with people round, affection for
and gratitude to Ruskin, and an ever deepening admiration for him, and
knowledge of his plans,—if, I say, God has been preparing me by this,
and much more, first to love Nature and Art, second, to care that all
should love Nature and Art, and third to see how to help them to do so;
will He not too give me humility to take the place He ordains for me in
this great work, tho’ it be the lowest of all,—faith to believe I can
help, and oh such energy and earnestness? I am very happy indeed now....
Ruskin was particularly pleased with the bull’s head.... I believe one
of the things that made me so unhappy on Saturday was that I had been
reading the “Political Economy of Art”; and I could not help thinking of
the passage about the great man, beginning, “He can be kind to you, but
you can never more be kind to him.” And then too I had wanted to take
home a very good account to dearest Mama and Minnie; and he did not
criticise it altogether; and in spite of all the praise he gave it, I
felt how miserably incomplete it was. But I am sure I have progressed;
and perhaps the dissatisfaction is also a gain. But this they could not
feel, and all the way home, and even now, I can’t help crying at the
thought of it; and the less they show they’re disappointed, the more I
feel it; and sometimes Mama seems to think Ruskin capricious; and I am
certain he is not. Well it is all over now.


                                                    Chivery, near Tring,
                                                    October 10th, 1859.


I had been thinking a good deal of our conversation about teaching.... I
will just tell you a very little what I think of it,—I believe most
people render their position a blessing, or otherwise, themselves good
or wretched; and that the post becomes one of interest and usefulness,
according to the estimate of it held by her who occupies it; in fact
that all work done as routine without love, whether it be a queen’s or a
chimney-sweep’s, is quite despicable, and _all_ done with love most
honourable. I know some works have greater responsibilities, and call
for higher, or rather more, powers; some works (writing poems for
instance) are in themselves greater; but I believe the noblest faculties
of every human being are called for in her work. Conscientiousness—for
instance—is wanted everywhere. Much intellect is not. But that which
equalises the dignity of various works is, that all, or all that I can
think of, are exercised either with people or for people. And people,
being God’s children, may be taught and influenced, unconsciously often
to themselves, by every part of those round them. I believe this
teaching to be the _most_ precious part of all our lives. Those of us
who are called to be teachers may, I believe, thank God that it is so
with them so clearly, so definitely; but I often think that the
influence over us by those who are not definitely set to teach us is the
most powerful. Love and mercy and gentleness and humility and
thoughtfulness each of us needs equally in her work. And, as I said at
first, people give us the work they find we can do. A nurse may wash and
dress children for many years in love and faithfulness; but she can do
more besides, sometimes. She can tell them stories and teach them, and
in a thousand ways call out their powers. No one expects this in a
nurse, because they cannot get it; but once give it them, and you raise
your position, probably in their eyes, at any rate in our Father’s. We
are not half ambitious enough; we struggle for little honours, seldom
for the far more difficult and far nobler ones....

With most affectionate wishes for your future, dear, and love to Sarah
and yourself, and in remembrance of old days, I am

                                           Ever your loving friend,
                                                           OCTAVIA HILL.

I don’t know when I felt so proudly pleased as when I gathered that you
were trying to be cheerful and useful in your present work.

                                                     October 15th, 1859.


Here I am, all safe and well. This is the loveliest, dearest old house.
I never was in such a one before. Miss Baumgartner met me at the
station, and we walked here. The house stands in a long old street,
almost opposite the church. It is (the house is) old red brick, not very
pretty, but quite old. The dining-room is like a grand old hall; the
staircase, which is in the centre of the house, faces it, and is
separated from it by three Gothic doors; low steps, broad banisters, and
a kind of gallery landing make it feel quite ancient; the hall is hung
with old pictures. The garden is not large, it consists of a glorious
lawn of smooth bright green grass, a few brilliant flower borders, and a
long bright old brick wall, a small cedar on the lawn; but it is bounded
at the bottom by the Ouse, a deep clear stream, across which is a pretty
bridge leading to an embowered island, belonging to this house; a water
mill is above; below the view of Hinchinbrook where Cromwell’s uncle
lived. The boathouse contains several boats; one Miss B. pointed out to
me as hers. She will teach me to row. She is very kind and interesting;
her mother, a nice old lady of whom I am rather afraid and rather fond.
Her father very old. Her brother very fond of flowers, very nice, I
think. They have lived here for years. It is very nice.


                                      103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,
                                              October 23rd, 1859.


Your letter of delight about the music lessons gives me great pleasure.
I received it one morning in a large wood-panelled dining-room, looking
out to a smooth field set with large elms. I had just entered the room
thro’ one of three Gothic doors, after descending a low-stepped
staircase with massive oaken banisters, into a large wood-panelled hall
hung with old pictures. Just as I had finished your note, an old lady
entered by another door, whom you would not at all have known, if you
had been watching in a magic mirror; a tall stately old lady dressed all
in black, with a quick step and very kind face, holding in one hand a
basket of keys, and in the other some scented-leaved verbena and
heliotrope, some of which she gave to me; and some was laid on the
bright breakfast table for someone who had not yet arrived. The door
opened, and there came in with springing step, and upright carriage,
someone whom you would have felt inclined now to call girl—now woman.
Her cheerfulness, and the air of one who has long been the youngest of
the house, and the darling of many brothers, as well as of father and
mother,—her slight figure,—all seemed to give her the first name; but
when you looked at her, there were older lines about her face that made
you say “30”; and, as you knew the face better, you would trace, under
all that glad manner, lines of deeply felt suffering; and certain looks
in the deep softness of her grey eyes,—a certain calmness, even in her
enthusiasm, would have made you feel that the best of womanhood and of
girlhood were combined in her. I suppose you have guessed long ago that
I am describing Emma Baumgartner, my new and very dear friend. As I went
down there a perfect stranger, having only seen her twice, and her
mother once, knowing nothing about who they were, and we had no mutual
friends, we had to be specially communicative; and so, I suppose, our
friendship sprang up more quickly than otherwise it could have done.
Then, except at meals, we were quite alone, drawing, walking, rowing or
resting. But the principal thing that drew us together was my delight in
finding in her a great nobleness of judgment and of sympathy, right
views about work, and all religious and social questions; and I think
she found a great pleasure in my companionship. We taught her
night-school for men and boys together. We attended her men’s
reading-room. We taught in the Sunday school. We drew. We talked of
Ruskin and Mr. Maurice, as well as of her brothers, my sisters,
architecture, and all kinds of things. I have had a delightful visit;
and she says she does not know when she has enjoyed a week so much. She
has no friends in London now, and greatly longs to come up in the
spring, to see the exhibitions, or earlier in order to see Ruskin.

When you can, will you look carefully at the tracery of the head window
of the Campanile of Giotto at Florence, if you have an opportunity. I
have the most splendid engraving by me in the “Seven Lamps.” Also an
arch from the façade of the Church of San Michele at Lucca. How you
would delight in the book! I have not yet read it. He says the Gothic of
Verona is far nobler than that of Venice, and that of Florence nobler
than that of Verona. He says, that, in Italian traceries the whole
proportion and power of the design is made to depend upon the dark


                                                    November 20th, 1859.


Thanks for your sweet sympathetic letter. I think Ruskin is right.
First, about work in general, I think he wishes us to perceive the wide
difference between that which shows moral rightness in the worker, and
that which shows peculiar intellectual and other greatness. Then as to
_my_ work, Ruskin has set me to one which he believes to be the right
training for an artist; and he would be glad that at present I did not
look beyond it; first, because one must be contented to do a work before
one can do it, and secondly, because he would then be sure I loved art,
not only my own ambitious notions; in addition to which he really longs
to have things well copied. This is what I think on the subject; but
your letter was very delightful, dearest....

Dearest Andy, how heartily I wish you all success in your work. It is
just a year to-day since that terrible parting at London Bridge—a year
not lost to any of us. I think we can feel something at least has been
done, since then. We feel a little stronger, surer, better, fuller of
hope, more able to bear patiently any shock or storm that may come....

My love to little Florence, for whose dear sake I am kind to every dog
and cat I see, and even love them a little. I protected a little cat
from some teasing children on Tuesday, by nursing her for an hour!

                                                    November 21st, 1859.


You must not (in charity please, you must not) contrast your letters
with mine. Depend on it, those whose minds are most healthily toned
write, more often, true and sympathetic accounts of facts than about
faiths, principles and theories. It is so invigorating to be brought in
contact rather with God’s facts than with men’s fancies; and, though the
question “What do all these things mean?” “What should they teach us?”
is indeed a deeper one than “What are they?” yet one is too apt, if one
asks the question too often, to lose sight of the facts in their simple
existence; to see only their relation to men, at last only to oneself.


I spent an hour last Tuesday evening at the house of one of my pupils
(W.M. College pupils). Her mother had begged that I would go. They live
at the very top of a house near one of the London markets, rather a
wretched neighbourhood. Sarah, my pupil, a quiet girl of fourteen,
walked with me. Her mother, prettily dressed, opened the door, carrying
in her arms the baby, dressed in its little white frock, and coral
fastening its little shoes. I had never been there before; and I was
conducted up the dark staircase to the attics. Here I saw by the
furniture that they had seen “better days.” One tiny room was their
sitting-room, comfortably furnished; a bright clean fire, tea set, and
the children’s grandmother sitting primly attired to receive me. All
this I saw, and it made me understand something more of the people at
once. It would have done anyone’s heart good to see the
self-forgetfulness of these people; the five tiny little girls, the
eldest only seven, each delighted to give place to one another; and as
to Sarah, who is their half-sister, it was lovely to see how quietly she
served everyone. They are earnest High-Church people; the baby is called
Amy Herbert, after Miss Sewell’s heroine, and also because Mrs. —— is so
fond of George Herbert’s poems. The tiny children all sang some hymns,
“O let us be joyful,” and others.

Sarah comes to my drawing class, and we had much talk about her lessons.
Her mother means to read aloud to her these winter evenings, while she
draws; and then she will read while her mother works. It is a brave
faithful little home, and such as one loves to come upon; and I was much
touched by their hospitable cordial reception of me. I thought you would
like to hear thus much.

                                      103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,
                                          November 27th, 1859.


Mrs. Browning has taught me so very much, or rather has been such a
friend to me, saying precisely what I wanted to hear (first expressing
my own feelings so completely, and then carrying me on to the only hopes
and thoughts that can satisfy one at such times), that it seems to me as
if I knew her, and that she really had suffered and thought with me....

Why is entering into other people’s feelings, even sad, so restful? Is
it not because we are meant to bear one another’s burdens? So I’ve been
reading authors who don’t echo my own feelings so much, and trying more
than ever to understand all kinds of people....

I always feel so solemnly about my own birthday; ... Your way of
spending yours makes me ashamed, for ... in the evening we shall have
friends, who are far from being among the sad and poor.... I never have
seen any but specially nice people on my birthday.

On the 5th, I shall take my drawing class to South Kensington which I
shall consider also a kind of celebration of my birthday. About Arthur,
I believe that the duty of a wife, even of a friend, is, with regard to
a man’s work, so terribly misunderstood. Mr. Ludlow says, “He sacrificed
his wife to his Round Table,” not seeing that, as he loved her, had she
been anything worthy of the name of wife, her highest joy and duty
should have been to work for it with him; and that it was his great
glory that he expected this of her.... And this is true, in part, of all
relations and friends, the glory of each is not in demanding attention,
but in love, sympathetic fellow-work, ready sympathy....

Tried by the precious test of facts near home, I say my theory is right;
and I think you, of all people, believe it.

                                                     December 5th, 1859.


Dear Miranda is deeply interested in her little Italian pupils, and
longs much for nice English stories for them. She just wrote to beg us
to send her all that remained of our childhood’s stock. I never read
them now; they would be of real use there; and I conquered my
selfishness at last; but I couldn’t help a great pain in packing the
dear books which Mrs. Howitt had given me so long ago. I remember well
the night she gave me “Fireside Verses,” and the many many happy hours
it gave us as children. And now the books are gone, to do a little more
blessed work; but I have instructed Miranda to bring them carefully back
with her.

[Sidenote: BIRTHDAYS]

                                                       Milton Street,
                                                     December 5th, 1859.


I am glad you have redeemed your birthday from melancholy, and
consecrated it to charity, which, after all, is one of the most surely
joyous things. I must read the St. Andrew’s Day carefully; but now I
must give you an account of _my_ birthday. It was a cold, bright day. I
woke late; it was post time as I left my room, no letters; time went on,
no letters. I was fairly disappointed; but, half an hour too late, owing
to frost, your letter and one from Miss Harris arrived. I was leaving
the house for Dulwich, and so read them in the omnibus with thankful
delight. I enjoyed my walk much; the snow lay white on the long
finger-like boughs of Ruskin’s cedar, as I passed, and prayed God’s
blessing might rest on the house. I worked well, and then went to the
College and did the same, thinking of many things. Dear Miss Sterling
was most kind, and allowed me to leave early. When I reached home thro’
long damp-aired gas-lighted windy streets, all looked bright and warm.
Gertrude had arrived bringing presents,—one a pair of quaint,
delightful, old silver bracelets from an old lady, a friend of
grandpapa’s, whom I had never seen, but who has heard of me. When I
entered the room I was amazed. It was brightly lighted, and decorated
with ivy a friend had sent; another dear old lady had herself gathered
me the last roses and lauristinus, myrtle leaves and chrysanthemums from
her garden. One long table was set for tea, but the other was covered
with presents. Mary Harris had sent me the “Idylls” and the “Two Paths.”
One dear lady, whom I have never seen but often written to (Mrs.
Robins), had sent eleven volumes of poems—Scott (who will be very
valuable to me) and Crabbe whom I don’t yet know. I tell you of the
books, because they are such very precious things to possess.... Miss
Rogers read us the loveliest Arab story. Gertrude, Minnie, and I sang;
and all my best available friends were here, and were delighted to make
one another’s acquaintance. I was proudly delighted with them all, and
most humbly delighted by all their kindness which I felt I had so very
little deserved. It was almost too much to bear. Once or twice I dwelt
thankfully on the thought that, except Mr. Maurice, who was ill, I had
seen or heard from everyone I cared for specially, except Ruskin. When
nearly everyone had left, Gertrude rushed upstairs, handed me a parcel
saying, “Someone thinks it’s from Mr. Ruskin.” “No,” I said quietly,
looking at the unformed handwriting. “Then what made the servant say
so?” I sat down on the stairs and tore it open. It was! I enclose his
letter, which specially pleased me, for its sympathy with my work among
people. The books are by Souvestre, an author whom I love already, from
the little I know of him. It was very sweetly thoughtful of Ruskin to
remember me.... Do you know the old Spanish proverb, “To him that
watches, everything is revealed.” It certainly is true; and how glorious
it is to gaze backward upon the past, which, be it ever so dark, is fact
and therefore God-permitted. And as one gazes one sees gradually the
unbroken way in which our Father leads us towards Him, unbroken save by
our own rebellious wills and by many sharp rocks which seemed
hindrances; but now we see that they bridged for us many a dark gulf.

[Sidenote: BIBLE WOMEN]

I have been reading the most beautiful book called “The Missing Link.”
It is an account of the Bible women of whom you may have heard. They are
quite poor women, sent by ladies to sell Bibles, to teach and help and
cheer the very poorest people. It is wonderful what they have done, and
what lovely things they have seen. They have reached the very lowest
class, seen and helped them in their homes. They give nothing away, but
get people to buy beds and clothes, for which they pay gradually. They
encourage women to take a pride in keeping their children and homes
neat; and, living among them, can do so much. Mr. and Mrs. Maurice are
so deeply interested in the plan, that they have lent me the book, to
see if we cannot help at all.

                                                    December 10th, 1859.


You cannot think how affectionately everyone at the Shaws[43] took leave
of Mama, and how sorry Emily and Willy were to lose their lessons.
Willie said, “Well, Baby, what _shall_ we do without lessings? It’s

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                   December 18th, 1859.


... Last night we had the second practice of our men’s and women’s
advanced singing class at the College. It was very delightful; the mere
singing was _that_; and then it was nearly the first united thing we
have had, and so full of promise. When I contrasted the nervous
shamefaced way our ladies behaved, seeming to think it would kill them
if they happened to open the door of a room where there were only men,
etc., etc., with the natural, free noble way in which you work among
them, I was proud of you, and thankful too....

We go down to Grandpapa’s at Weybridge. But many other things are
Christmas celebrations too. On the 28th, I am to be at a “Musical
Evening” at the Boys’ Home, where are about 50 destitute boys. The
singing will delight them, I’ve no doubt. Then on the 5th we shall have
a social party at the College; Mr. Maurice and Mr. Hughes will be there
and many other good and great people. Have you ever read Crabbe’s life?
I think nothing can be nobler than Burke’s behaviour; and how fine
Crabbe’s letter to him is!

                                                  The Pines, Weybridge,
                                                    Christmas Day, 1859.


... I am particularly happy about my work. Ruskin is _so_ pleased with
it all. My four Dulwich drawings are now right and ready for use; in
fact he wants them at once that they may be put into the hands of the
engraver. I am to do four more, small, but, Ruskin says, difficult
examples of inferior work—and one bit from Turner.... I had a quite
delicious hour and a quarter at Ruskin’s on Friday. We talked on many
interesting subjects....



  Grandfather of Octavia Hill.

  _From a Chalk Drawing by Margaret Gillies._

Snowball fell down yesterday when I was riding him. Mama and Minnie were
being driven by Gertrude just behind. If anyone else had been driving, I
must have been run over; but G., with her grand calmness and power,
stopped Ariel at once, turning her to one side. I am only shaken, not
hurt at all. I was not thrown, but fell with Snowball.


                                                        Christmas, 1859.


On Friday I was shown into Ruskin’s study. One window had the shutters
shut; the table was covered with books and papers; the fire burned
brightly; at one window Ruskin sat drawing from a Turner, all squared
over that it might be reduced. With his own exquisite elegance and ease,
which enables him to do the oddest things in a way that one can’t feel
rude, instead of rising, he threw himself back in his chair and shook
hands with me, as I stood behind; then he rose and giving me his chair
walked to the fire—and then, Emma, he produced the loveliest drawings of
boughs of oak to show me, one beautifully foreshortened, and explained
the growth of it to me; how every leaf sends down a little rib that
thickens the stems—how the leaves grow in spirals of five. He got a bit,
and showed me the section. They were lovely. Then he told me that he
wanted me to do an example of _good_ work for “Modern Painters,” one he
had meant to do himself but for which he will not now have time—a bit of
the fir boughs in Turner’s “Crossing the Brook,” now at South

I told him about you, about my visit, about your work among the men—how
lovely I thought it, and how fresh. He was very much pleased, and told
me about the daughter of a friend of his, who does much the same—to whom
it seems he has sent several of my drawings for her men to use.

We got at last upon the subject of the education of working women; and
he asked much about it, seemed greatly interested. I told him many
anecdotes, and something of what I said in my article on the subject. He
was much interested about the question of fiction. He hopes to publish
the fifth volume in the spring. I was with him an hour and a quarter.
When I came away he said, “We’d quite a nice chat”; he “wasn’t so
horridly busy as usual.”

                                                      January 8th, 1860.


In a description of a gathering at the Working Men’s College she says:
“I was much interested in an earnest young countryman of the name of
Cooke, who had presented a collection of butterflies and moths, etc., to
the College. As every scrap of natural history is eagerly learnt by me,
to be repeated wherever I go, and lovingly remembered, I got him to tell
me some of their names and habits....

“I was delighted to hear Mr. Dickinson (whose portrait of Mr. Maurice
you may remember) praising Mr. Ward’s drawings.... It was very nice to
see old faces back again and to feel as if I never should have done
shaking hands ... its joy consisted so much in the momentary grasp of a
hand, in the sudden sight of a face which owed all its preciousness to
the thought of natures I had learnt to know in sad moments or
hard-working days.... Does it not seem to you one of the main things we
long for in heaven that every strong affection for visible things will
have some answer?... I often feel so sure that the love of places,
employments, books, as well as people, is not to perish, but to be


                                                     January 29th, 1860.


Yesterday I saw Ruskin. “Do you come by appointment?” the servant asked
me, “because Mr. Ruskin said he would see no one.” “Mr. Ruskin fixed the
day, I named the hour; but if he is busy——.” The servant, however,
seemed sure that I was to be admitted, and I was shown into the study,
where Ruskin greeted me with the words, “I’m very glad to see you.” I
saw he was ill, and found he had been suffering from toothache, and
awake all night. I begged him, therefore, not to attend to my work.
However he would do it. I shall not readily forget the afternoon. He was
not busy, and showed me the loveliest things, exquisite copies of
illuminations, wonderful sketches by Mr. Bunney (one of his College
pupils), sketches which Ruskin said he had seen nothing like them except
Turner.... And then Ruskin showed me two of Turner’s loveliest small
drawings, one of Solomon’s pools, and beyond their square basins, and
the battlements, amidst which the light gleamed, the sun was setting;
and clouds gathered about him, because, Ruskin said, the clouds gathered
about Solomon’s wisdom. Oh that sky palpitating with colour, changing on
every thousandth inch!

Ruskin asked me if I’d been reading anything lately; and we talked about
Tennyson. I said he was so very sad. He said, “You see far more to make
you sad than I do; but I don’t think Tennyson a bit too sad. I haven’t
found that he sees far enough.” “He knows, however,” Ruskin said, “how
far he does see, and that is more than other people do.” I told him how
years ago Tennyson’s words had distressed me, because I believed that
good was then and always, and that we it is who mar it all; I forgot
that what had distressed me most of all was Tennyson’s apparent
uncertainty about the fact at all. “So runs my dream,” etc.

Ruskin said, “Do you think that good is coming now to bad people?”
“Yes,” I replied, “and that their greatest sin is in refusing it.” “But
how much more _that_ is than most people see,” he went on. “Oh, yes, I
see _that_ now,” I agreed, smiling; “I am amused now that I did not know
that then.”

We spoke about the wickedness of rich and poor people. Ruskin spoke of
the little children like angels he saw running about the dirty streets,
and thought how they were to be made wicked. I spoke about the frightful
want of feeling in all classes; but added that I thought rich people
were now waking up to a sense of their duties. “Yes,” he said, “I’m glad
that you and I have probably a good deal of life still to come. I think
we may live to see some great changes in society.” “I hope at least,” I
said, “to see some great changes in individuals before I die.” “Oh, no,”
he said, “that’s quite hopeless; people are always the same. You can’t
alter natures.”

We talked a good deal about it; but not quite decisively. I see we quite
agree that you can only call out and make living that which is in a
nature. Ruskin meant a great truth when he said, “I can never alter
myself. I think I had better make the best of myself as I am.” When I
said, “I am very much altered during the last few years,” he laughed
very kindly, saying, “Oh, no, you’re not; you’re just the same as ever;
only you know more.”

But it does make all the difference in the world whether we are fully
developing all that we are meant to be, conquering all bad passions, or

[Sidenote: MISS JEX BLAKE]

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                   February 5th, 1860.


I am afraid that it is long since I wrote to you; but of course I am
always thinking of you both, dears, and longing to have you home again,
that you may really know all our doings and lives. Mine lately you would
assuredly consider rather of the dissipated kind. I’ve been giving some
book-keeping lessons to Miss J. B. She is a bright, spirited, brave,
generous young lady living alone in true bachelor style. It took me
three nights to teach her, and she begged me to come to dinner each
time.... She has a friend, who is killing herself by hard work to
support her younger sisters.... I gather she would gladly give her
friend help, for she speaks most sadly of the “modern fallacy” “that the
money must be earned.” She thinks it might be given when people are dear
friends; she says they’ve given the most precious thing; and what
difference can a little money make? I am so very happy about my work,
now that I’ve finished nine drawings altogether for the “Modern
Painters.” Oh, you old Mirry, what a person you are for a joke! I’ve
found you out! How came you to write that I’d received 6d. from Lord
Palmerston, and spent 6d. in seven birds’ nests! Impertinent old thing!
I came upon the entries in looking thro’ my cash book; and I think Mama
will never forget it.

                                                    February 26th, 1860.


Gertrude, Octavia and Minnie went to a party at Mrs. Shaw’s. Gertrude
and Minnie say Octavia looked “perfectly lovely.” She had a high white
dress, a grand scarlet sash and scarlet net.... Ockey, tho’ looking so
ill, is unusually nice, genial and merry. She has met with some amusing
people lately, and it is as good as a play to hear her relate her
dealings with them. She attracts an unusual share of confidence. Even
strangers go to her for advice. Ladies at S. Kensington[44] read their
letters to her—tell her their history. She could not help laughing one
day; she said a lady, a perfect stranger, told her all about herself,
even to the time she went to bed.

                                                        April 1st, 1860.



As to those old days—I owe more to those visits than I can ever express.
I remember now that strange imagination of yours that peopled the world
for us with wonderful and beautiful beings, and I am sure we always went
on happily together.

(She also speaks of the impression of Mrs. Howitt’s loving, cheerful


                                                       April 15th, 1860.


Yesterday we took Miss Baumgartner to see Ruskin’s Turners.... Ruskin
says he does not mean to write any more for ten years, but to teach
more.... He said he did not want to write any letters to people. He
wanted Ockey’s advice, as to what excuse he should make. She said he
should think what was the truth, and try if he could not say that. Then
he began talking about truth, saying it was difficult to speak the
truth; but to convey a truthful impression was almost impossible. That
those who speak the truth are often the most misunderstood. O. asked him
if he had read Mrs. Browning’s new poems. He called them beautiful but
absurd. O. said, “Why absurd? Because she trusts Louis Napoleon?” “No,”
he said; “I hold it is right to trust a man till he does something which
proves him wrong. But mind, you’re not to say I’m wrong if he turns out
treacherous.” Ruskin said that the taking of Savoy did not implicate
Napoleon’s character, because it was no pecuniary advantage to him, “not
much larger than my garden and very poor.” Do you think an ambitious man
would spend thousands of men and money for that? He takes it just to
pacify the French, who want some substantial proof that they were
conquerors. To me personally it was a great blow, because it was so nice
and dirty and tumble-down, and those wretched French will go and put it
all to rights. It will be much better for the people, but I shall get no
more sketching.

                                                     103, Milton Street,
                                                       April 29th, 1860.


At last I’ve returned to my old proper habit of writing once a fortnight
to you, I hope. I’ve been gadding about in the idlest way possible, and
yet with my time quite full. You ask me about Good Friday. My dear
sister, I’m far more afraid of your plaguing and torturing your
conscience than of your doing wrong.

Mr. Maurice and Mr. Davies seem to me decidedly to think it a mistake to
treat going to church as always a duty; of course you must do whatever
you think right. I shouldn’t hesitate to give up going to church on one
day, or even fifty, for one of you. You dear old thing, I wish I had you
here to give you a thorough good rest, and rousing, and refreshing. How
I should enjoy it! I’m as merry as a grig. I greatly enjoyed Miss
Baumgartner’s visit. Miss J. B. and I are great companions. I’m always
doing things with her. You know she’s teaching me Euclid. We went to see
Holman Hunt’s picture. It is very wonderful, in some respects extremely
beautiful, exquisitely beautiful as to colour. But I don’t feel as if
the picture had thrown much light on the subject for me. I have taken a
class in the night-school for girls here for three weeks, during the
absence of Miss C. S. I am so glad at last to get into parish work. Miss
Sterling and Miss J. B. give me almost unlimited money help for poor
people; the only question is how to use it wisely....

We have been twice to Spitalfields and seen much poverty there among the
weavers, besides making the acquaintance of a most nice Ragged School
master there. He went round with us to the people’s houses quite gladly,
after his hard day’s work; and it was so very nice to see the welcome
all the people gave him, but especially the children. He told us such an
interesting story about a pupil of his, a very desperate bad character,
about 16, who gambled in school, and only came with the avowed intention
of having “a lark,” _i.e._, pouring out the ink, and upsetting the
forms. At last this schoolmaster spoke to him, told him he had no
children of his own, and that he should be one to him, if he would. The
boy was deeply touched. He always sat by the master and studied hard. To
quote Mr. S., “I assure you, and I’m not ashamed to own it, he distanced
me out and out. He was a first-rate mathematician; he solved some of the
greatest problems of the age (?). ‘There, old ’un,’ he used to say,
showing me his slate in triumph, ‘do you know anything about that?’”


“And what became of him at last?” we asked. “He died at twenty-one,” Mr.
S. answered, his eyes filling with tears as he went on. “He died a
peaceful and triumphant Christian. My wife and I never left his bed for
three days and nights. That’s his portrait; he’d long promised it to me,
and on the Thursday (he died on Tuesday) he said, ‘Old fellow, if you
don’t have it now, you’ll never have it.’ I never could break him of his
rough way of speaking. He’d come in here to the last and say, ‘Well, old
’un, have you got anything to eat?’ He wanted to come over from his
father’s house, and die in my easy chair; and the little wife and I
would have given him his wish. But the doctor forbade it. Yes, I do miss

Maggie Yarnall is now on her voyage to England, which gives me the
faintest most precious hope that Mary Harris may possibly come to

                                      103, Milton Street, Dorset Square,
                                              August 16th, 1860.



Your sweet and kind letter gave me a great deal of pleasure. I have
written to Florence, as you will probably see. I am glad that you asked
me to do so. I have a great deal to tell you. I do not know how you
think or feel about Portman Hall school. You know that I do not think
the omission of all religious teaching a sufficient reason, for
disapproval to counterbalance the immense good which I consider they are
doing there, especially as the teacher and three of the monitors are
earnest believers in our Lord; and I do believe more is taught
indirectly than directly. I teach my drawing class there, and heartily
wish the school success; tho’ I confess I look to a day when we shall
have as liberal views about education carried out by members of the
Church. I would not give my whole or main strength to the school unless
I were obliged; but I would and do very willingly help. You will wonder
why I write all this. It is because they are trying to find a lady to
help there; and I have mentioned you to them. They could not meet with
what they wanted, and had just made arrangements for extra lessons
instead until spring, when my note proposing your taking the work next
spring arrived. I mentioned Mrs. Malleson as able to say what she
thought of your fitness for the post; and, since communicating with her,
Mme. Bodichon is very anxious to arrange it in the spring when she again
returns from Algiers. They first wanted a person’s entire time for £100;
but now they have resolved to divide their fund, and would probably like
to have you for about two or three hours daily except Saturday. I do
think that a permanent work of this sort, and among that class of
children, would be deeply interesting; that it would make a nice change
from private pupils; that you would find Mme. Bodichon and Mrs. Malleson
delightful people to work under; you would have such power to carry out
what you thought best;—and, dearest Andy, it is not the least part of
the pleasure of the thought to me that it does seem to me it would make
it so safe for you both to return, so certain that you would, if you had
the prospect of this daily work. I must tell you that Miss Sterling
appears, from the short talk we have had, to think that it is not a good
thing to do, only a nice thing to have a certainty; but she herself
confesses, and I am sure it is true, she does not know about it. Nothing
has to be, or can be, settled yet, but I should like to know how you
feel about it. I mean to learn what Mr. Maurice thinks. Oh, darling, you
must come home in spring somehow. We are on Mr. Davies’ side of the
street, two doors nearer to the New Road. I am doing such a glorious
illumination round a photograph of Raphael’s Madonna della Seggiola,
with the words, “For unto us a child is born, etc.” It reminds me of the
glorious chorus.

                                                        Milton Street,
                                                      August 19th, 1860.


Yes, I am really back again, and so hard at work that our glorious
tour[45] only comes to me at moments as a precious bright possession
that nothing can take away, and interpreting splendidly one passage
after another in this glorious volume of Ruskin (which I have at last
obtained to read)....

If you had any notion of my state of mind just now! Everything I want to
do seems delayed. One girl, a darling _protegée_ of mine, says her
mistress starves her, will not try another place, insists upon going
home. Oh such a home! irreligious, dirty, cruel, impoverished; and the
girl has just had two years’ training. Well! she must just try her home,
and God bring her safe out of it.... We hope to have my dearest sisters
home next spring. I have been offered some delicious teaching for Andy,
in a school near here, just the kind of work, and among the class of
children that she would enjoy; and the supporters of the school are
earnest generous people. There is, however, no religious teaching given
in the school; wherefore, say many wise people to me, you as a Christian
should not accept it at all. So I have _not_ thought; but I suppose I
hardly feel sure enough about whether I ought to give my sister advice,
however strong my conviction may be, when wise good people think
differently.... I never have stopped, I hope I never shall stop, to
consider what set or sect of people are at work, if I thoroughly and
entirely approve of the work. I may think the work incomplete; but, if
it comes in my way, and I think it good, as far as it goes, I do help it
with the little power I have. Above all I would not, in this age, refuse
help to a society because it did not state that it was working in
Christ’s cause. I do believe we want all generous and good work
recognised as Christ’s, whether conscious or unconscious. I think the
tendency is very much for doubters to think the best work is done by
benevolent unbelievers; to think our faith cramps our labours and
narrows our hearts. I would like, so far as in me lies, to show them we
care for men as men, we care for good as good. I never would deny faith.
I care very little to express it anywhere but in life.... How much these
people lose by their omission I believe they will one day know. I think
the time will come when all this round world will seem to them mainly
precious, because it was made by a Father and redeemed by His Son.


                                                     October 30th, 1860.


In these days, when so many conscientious people seem to be seeking over
the whole world for some new good work, and cannot see the holiness of
that which lies near them, it is very delicious to find people owning
their home work as first and most blessed. At the same time, I cannot
feel that I should join your Society further than I have joined it
already. It feels to me that all people who are obeying the best part of
the nature that has been given them, do, more or less, belong to
it;—that those, who know from Whom the light proceeds “that lighteth
every man that cometh into the world,” know themselves to be bound into
a society by that gift, by being children of God and heirs of Christ.

Do, dear Maggie, believe that I feel it the greatest honour to have been
asked to join your Society, and have great sympathy with you about it.


How the real bond of family re-asserts itself, dominant over fancy,
attraction, yes even perhaps, in a measure, over friendship itself! as
tho’ it would teach us how tremendous is the bond of duty. Certainly we
have duties to our friends too; but they seem to have more relation to
what we feel instinctive longing to do, innate capacity for doing,—to
stand more by virtue of relations we have chosen for ourselves, than
solely, wholly on the command of God. I suppose it must be because He is
our Father.

                                                    November 15th, 1860.


I have spoken to Mr. Maurice about Portman Hall; and he decidedly thinks
you ought _not_ to undertake it. He says, what one sees at once, that
you could not bind yourself not to speak to the children in any way that
seemed best to you. He said that he believes those who are acting up to
all they know will learn more; but those who habitually ignore what they
know, lose it. He was so good, and took a great interest in all our

                                                         November, 1860.


I begin not to wonder that men of business look forward to leaving off
work, when they get old. I think it would be very delicious to have done
with the bustle, and be able to see people one loves, and think a little
in peace. However, I daresay it’s all right; and it certainly is a
glorious life; but lists of things one has to do, and machinery to keep
things going, never can be as interesting as writing to my darling

                                                    December 17th, 1860.


  Account of the taking of the lease of 14, Nottingham Place.


All has been arranged about the house at last. I am very thankful indeed
about it; and we are all thoroughly pleased with the house.... Ruskin
was very kind indeed about it.


We had a delicious talk afterwards about my life and life in general,
and cultivated affection, its duties, practicability; whether or not the
cultivation of it deteriorated natures and how.

Ruskin spoke of his own father and mother. He quite willingly wrote what
he imagined would satisfy Mr. Harlowe,[46] and so did Mr. Maurice; but
in the meantime Miss Wodehouse had most kindly offered a guarantee. She
was perfectly convinced of the success of the plan, and was anxious that
Miss Jex Blake should have her rooms.

I had such a glorious talk with Ruskin, stayed till 2.20; had to take a
cab, and to drive furiously to College, where I was ten minutes late,
and recovered from shame and remorse for it, by finding everyone in a
state of alarm about me; only so thankful I was safe, my unpunctuality
being unprecedented. I was a little proud, and vastly amused.

                               CHAPTER V

  The removal to 14, Nottingham Place was one of the great crises in
  Octavia’s life. The housing work, with which her name is specially
  connected, was organised in this new home; and here began the regular
  co-operation of the sisters in the educational work, which they felt
  to be so important in itself, and which, as will be seen from the
  letters, linked itself on so happily to the work among the poor
  tenants of the Marylebone courts.

  On the other hand, this period was marked by special troubles; which,
  however, led to the formation of new friendships, and the
  strengthening of old. Thus the value of her friendship with Mr.
  William Shaen, which had been realised many years earlier, was yet
  more fully appreciated, in consequence of the difficulties connected
  with the purchase of Ruskin’s houses; and the help, then begun,
  continued throughout his life. Her friendship with Mrs. Nassau Senior,
  the sister of Mr. Thomas Hughes, was increased by the ability which
  she brought to bear in the arrangement of the accounts for the
  houses.[47] A time of great despondency and pain, during Octavia’s
  first visit to Italy, led her to appreciate the sympathy of her
  friend, Miss Mayo; and the rather dreary, commonplace life in the
  hydropathic establishment at Ben Rhydding, brought her in contact with
  Mr. Cockerell, who became one of her most helpful fellow-workers;
  while the need of assistance, caused by the turbulence of the children
  in the playground, made specially valuable the staunch fellow-work of
  Miss Harriet Harrison and her sister Emily.


  Another friend, who came forward to help, when Octavia was obliged to
  go to Italy and Ben Rhydding on account of her health, was Mrs.
  Godwin, the sister-in-law of George MacDonald. The management of the
  houses had devolved on Emily, who found in Mrs. Godwin’s firm and
  gentle influence the greatest assistance in those early difficult days
  in Freshwater Place. With regard to the housing problem, my wife gives
  the following account of the incident which first fixed Octavia’s mind
  on the subject:

  “When we went to Nottingham Place, Octavia arranged to have a weekly
  gathering in our kitchen, of the poor women whom we knew, to teach
  them to cut out and make clothes. One night, one of the women fainted;
  and we found out that she had been up all the previous night washing,
  while she rocked her baby’s cradle with her foot. Next day, Octavia
  went to the woman’s home, and found her living in a damp, unhealthy
  kitchen. Octavia was most anxious to help her to move into more
  healthy quarters, and spent a long time hunting for rooms; but could
  find none where the children would be taken. Then all she had heard as
  a child about the experiences of her grandfather, Dr. Southwood Smith,
  in East London, and all she had known of the toy-workers’ homes,
  rushed back on her mind; and she realised that even at her very doors
  there was the same great evil. With this in her mind, she went to take
  her drawings to Ruskin, not long after the death of his father. He was
  burdened by the responsibility of the fortune that he had just
  inherited, and told Octavia how puzzled he was as to the best use to
  make of it. She at once suggested the provision of better houses for
  the poor. He replied that he had not time to see to such things; but
  asked whether, if he supplied the capital for buying a tenement house,
  she could undertake the management. He should like to receive five per
  cent. on his capital; not that he cared for the money; but that, if
  the scheme were placed on a business footing, others might follow the
  example. Upon which, Octavia exclaimed, ‘Who will ever hear of what
  _I_ do?’ Nevertheless, she admitted the justice of his criticism, and
  promised to use her best efforts to make the scheme a paying one; and
  so actually began the work which was to spread so far.

  “When Octavia was searching for a suitable house to turn into
  tenements for the poor,—she was most anxious to find one with a
  garden. We spent many days looking at empty houses, and seeing
  landlords and agents; but, whenever the purpose for which the house
  was required was understood, difficulties were at once raised. At
  last, after one of these refusals, Octavia exclaimed, ‘Where _are_ the
  poor to live?’ Upon which the agent replied coldly. ‘_I_ don’t know;
  but they must keep off the St. John’s Wood Estate.’”

  With regard to the school, which was to supply so many zealous and
  sympathetic helpers for Octavia’s work, it will be noted that all of
  the four sisters had shown an early interest in education; and while
  Octavia and Emily carried on the teaching at Nottingham Place, in
  which Florence afterwards shared, Miranda was managing a day school
  for the children of small tradesmen and artizans. The Nottingham Place
  school was originally intended only for a few children of intimate
  friends. But the growth of the numbers, and Octavia’s additional work
  in the management of the houses, induced Miranda, in 1866, to give up
  her separate teaching, and to become the head of the Nottingham Place


  As will be seen from one or more of the letters, Octavia was disposed
  to emphasise the difference between her stern ideas of discipline, and
  Miranda’s gentle persuasiveness; and, though this difference may have
  been exaggerated in Octavia’s mind, something of the same feeling
  seems to be reflected in the accounts given by early pupils. On the
  other hand, that Octavia’s readiness of resource and helpfulness in
  emergencies was specially impressed on the memories of the scholars,
  seems proved by an amusing story, which I remember hearing from one of
  the pupils.

  One night, some of the girls suddenly awoke to the impression that
  some intruder had come into the room. Whether the newcomer was a ghost
  or a burglar, they were, of course, uncertain. (I forget whether a
  chest of drawers or a towel-horse was the real offender.) But after
  trying all sorts of remedies, one girl cried out triumphantly, “I’ll
  tell Miss Octavia”; and this form of defiance seemed to restore the
  courage of the most timid.

  But one would rather mention as the distinctive part in the management
  of the Nottingham Place school, not so much the differences of quality
  between any of the sisters as the way in which they all worked into
  each other’s hands. Another old pupil, writing since Octavia’s death,
  says, “I feel what a privilege I had in being one amongst you all—the
  little I do was first put into me in Nottingham Place days. I so
  admired you _all_, and the separate work you did.”

  Nor was Octavia’s power over the young limited to those who were
  officially recognised as her pupils. Dr. Greville MacDonald, who has
  since made his mark in such different ways, writes:—“Miss Octavia Hill
  had an extraordinary influence upon me in my boyhood, though she could
  have known nothing of it. She was the first person who taught me how
  to learn, and how to love learning. In my youth, when I began to know
  a little of her social power and her personal sacrifice, she had more
  to do, I think, than even my father, in giving me a steadfast faith;
  which, thanks to her heart and life, became established amidst the
  ruins of conflicting questions, and has ever grown in steadfastness.”

  But, besides the assistance which the school supplied in the
  development of Octavia’s work among the poor, the home at Nottingham
  Place was connected in a more material way with the inhabitants of the
  Marylebone courts. The stables at the back of the house were turned
  into a room for the tenants’ parties; the rooms above were let to a
  blind man and his family in whom Octavia was much interested; and, in
  order to prepare the place for habitation, Octavia and Miss Cons
  whitewashed and painted the rooms, and even glazed the windows. This
  practical knowledge of such work was a great help to her in carrying
  out the repairs of the houses, and training unskilled men, whom she
  wished to employ.

  The rest of the development of this period may be gathered from the
  letters. There is one to Mrs. Shaen, dwelling on her difficulties with
  the playground; and at first they were very great. When the ground was
  being enclosed, the wall was twice pulled down. And, when Octavia and
  Emily went into the court, they were pelted. At the time of the
  opening, to which I and my father went, we were warned by a policeman
  that the court was too bad for us to go down. How great a change was
  wrought the following letters will show.

                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                  December 13th, 1860.


We came here on Saturday; and very delighted we are with our new
quarters. Poor Ockey had such difficulty about getting the house,
because of being a lady without property, and so young; they thought it
mere speculation. Mr. Maurice and Ruskin, who were her references, were
so kind about it. Ruskin saw the landlord at the College about it; and
Ockey received a letter to the effect that Mr. Ruskin had borne
testimony to her “energy and every estimable quality,” and, if he and
Mr. Maurice would, without giving a formal guarantee, say as much in
writing as that they believed Ockey capable of managing the affair, it
would be sufficient. These letters were written; but, before they were
both received, Miss Wodehouse had given a formal guarantee; and O., to
her delight, found that Mr. Shaen had arranged the matter. Was it not
nice of Miss Wodehouse? She heard from Miss J. B. of the difficulty, and
said that she had perfect confidence in O. and perfect confidence in the
plan; and she would give the guarantee in a minute.... We did not know
till nine o’clock that morning that we were to move; so you may think
what a bustle we were in.... Ockey is immensely busy, and quite in her
element, buying things, and reading over schedules of fixtures, and
examining the plans, and carpentering. We have not yet fixed what rooms
we are to keep; it must depend on the lodgers.... We are close to the
park; so the air is very good; and we are about ten minutes’ walk from
Queen’s College. The back of the house is delightfully quiet, because it
looks out on Marylebone church and schools. The rooks in your favourite
tree are so near that we often hear them cawing.

                                                    The Pines,
                                                    Christmas Day, 1860.


... Ockey came from Brighton yesterday. On Monday evening she proposes
to start for Cumberland. She has to go up to town to-morrow, for Ruskin
is going to attend to her work. She is much better than last week; and I
never knew her sweeter. I can hardly bear her to leave the room, I have
seen so little of her for so long, and I feel she is so soon going away.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     January 20th, 1861.

You need not be anxious about the house, everyone calculates to lose the
first quarter. Ockey has all the money put aside for her first quarter’s
rent, in case we should not let....

Is it not delightful that Ockey is so happy with Miss Harris? She seems
not able to express half her joy; her letters are full of such
expressions as “Oh, I am so happy!” “Oh, it is so delicious!”—and she
thinks she shall go back there again and again.

                                                      January 1st, 1861.


... I am just going to Cumberland for three weeks. Think of the glory of
that! To-morrow I am to see Ruskin about my work. We had a very
delightful evening on my birthday; you know he sent me “The Angel in the
House” and “Faithful for Ever.” Ruskin and I had a delightful long talk
on the 5th about all sorts of things.... This bright, beautiful
Christmas, with all its glorious thoughts, makes one hope that next year
we shall all be together. Dearest Andy, you know I would not urge you
lightly to leave a work you had undertaken; but I do feel that we ought
to be all together again. Life is too short and precious for us to spend
much of it separate; and we do want all our strength for work here....
It’s a miserable fact that I never write to you except about business;
but I should have liked to tell you about our new home, with its wide
stone stairs, and large, light, quiet rooms. I am looking forward to
your return with great longing.... It’s striking twelve, so I must not
write more; but, dearest Andy, I do wish you all good birthday wishes,
and that this year may be brighter than any before it. Give darling Flo
a kiss for me; how delicious it will be to see her again!

                                                         May 18th, 1861.



... I wish, dear Mir., that you were having a holiday; it seems really
hard for you alone to be working. I wonder when you will get some change
and refreshment.... I am grieved that Mama refused to go to Cromer; I am
really anxious about her getting away somehow this summer; she seems to
me to be living too monotonous a life; so if you see anything she would
like to do, pray encourage it, regardless of expense, and write and tell
me about it at once. I don’t consider it an open question whether, if it
is in our power, we should send her anywhere she fancies going. And will
you remember that often the only way to do this is to enter heart and
soul into some pleasure with her?

Written from Derwent Bank (undated, 1861).


.... How well I remember coming suddenly in upon you that last dreadful
night, and finding you hard at work on my skirt (which, by the way, has
met with unqualified admiration, darling), and how good you were in
never opposing my coming. Well, I’ve had such a summer as I never shall
forget. The unbroken peace of it, like one long unclouded day! The merry
home life, and exquisite redundance of the perpetual beauty. If I raise
my eyes I see the mountains, perhaps crowned and veiled in lighted
cloud; if I walk round the garden, the long sprays of rose, or delicate
green ferns, delight me; if, in the night, or rather early dawn, I come
into this room which adjoins mine, I see the moonlight lying over the
river, field and hills, or the long cold level lake of mist lying in the
valley, breaking under the first ray of the sun, and rising in wreathed
pillars, covering the lowest end of the village of Broughton, as it
rises, but never, I understand, rising as high as this house. Then we’ve
read so; the ignorant old thing is getting some glimmerings about
history. I’ve left off walking again; after the first fortnight I got
more and more tired with it, but I persevered till the fever came, and
have never resumed it; but the terrace here is my continual haunt.

                                                        June 10th, 1861.


I want to tell you something of all I have seen and felt, because ... I
fear you have had a sad house. I have been to Keswick. We spent several
delicious days there, sitting up on lovely hills overlooking Derwent
Water, with all its wooded islands, and the blue valleys that part ridge
beyond ridge of mountains; and rowing in the evening on the smooth water
watching the sun set, and mists gathering on the mountains, gathering in
intensity of colour, minute by minute; or driving far over the mountain
passes to Buttermere, and Crummock, and learning about ferns and
flowers. Then we drove to a lovely little village called Eamont Bridge;
it is rich in historic memories.... We saw a large Druid circle called
Mayborough (of which Turner has made a lovely picture). Then we went to
Lord Brougham’s place, Brougham Hall. It is an old building which
belonged to his ancestors generations back. It is kept in the best
possible taste; there are fine old Norman rooms, with a well under one
bed for supplying the castle in times of siege. There are beautiful
pictures by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Holbein,—a most interesting
collection of portraits. Then we saw a grand old ruined castle. Then the
village where the rebels were taken in the rebellion against George, in
favour of Charles Edward. Mary’s aunt, a dear old lady who lived at
Eamont Bridge, was the child of a man whose father has written a most
interesting letter giving an account of their capture. The Duke of
Cumberland came to his house; and Mrs. Mason’s father, then a youth, was
sent out to him to give him notice of an ambush. His mother hid in a
wardrobe for fear.

We drove to the foot of Ullswater, and then rowed up it—nine miles; but
it poured, which we thought fun.


                                                       Flimby, Maryport,
                                                         July 15, 1861.


I wrote a few words to you to All Saints, as I didn’t like your birthday
to pass without one word from me; but now I write in answer to your dear
little letter....

We are so happy here, sitting out on the beach. Bathing, reading, and
going to church are, I believe, our only employments, for I am often
very very weary. The children[49] are running wild, as they always do
here, it seems; so Mary and I sit in the sunlight in great peace. The
children heard it was your birthday to-morrow; and, dear little things,
they have come running in with their little treasures of seaweed and
flowers begging me to send them; several offers have been made of
various things which it was impossible to send by post; so I enclose
lavender and heartsease, and some seaweed from them all, and my best
love to you, darling. Shall I send the balance sheets to you in future,
or will it be useless? Does A. understand them? I speak of returning in
September, because A. cannot do my work and hers too; also because I
thought I’d like to see you quietly before Sophy’s return; but I don’t
want the report spread; besides, it’s quite uncertain whether I shall be
well enough to return. Do tell me whether it could be anyhow easily
arranged about the double work without me till October.

                                                          Derwent Bank,
                                                        August 15, 1861.


I went all over a coal pit yesterday. It was very impressive. Of course
the depth and darkness and lowness one expected; but I had not realised
the entire absence of all _native_ life; no rats or mice, or even
insects. Of course there was no place for them to be; but, were the pit
forsaken, there would be none at all. At present there are a few weak
flies seen; and the rats are terrifically fierce, having so little food.
When caught in a trap they are usually found with great pieces eaten out
of them by their fellows. They are brought down sometimes in the bags
brought with food for the horses, who live in darkness, but in such an
equable temperature, and free from exposure to weather that they look
quite thriving. Wood down there soon rots, and is soon covered with
white lichen like wool, but exquisitely feathered. The large furnace,
kept continually burning near the second shaft, to cause a perpetual
draught, looked so living and bright, after the damp low dimly lighted
passages. The height of these depends on the depth of the coal strata.
They call the earth above it the roof. The safety of a mine, and the
ease with which it is worked, much depends on the material of the roof.
Here it is stone, which is nice and firm. The main roads are first cut
out, from which five yards apart are the cuttings. When these are
sufficiently worked, the spaces left between (called pillars) are taken
out, and the roof supported with props, which soon give way, and the
passages gradually are closed.


                                                       April 27th, 1862.


Ruskin is coming to us on Wednesday.... There is something almost solemn
in the intense joy ... I can remember when he came to us when we were so
very very poor, and home was like a little raft in a dark storm; where
the wonder every day was whether we could live thro’ it; and now the sea
looks calm, even if there are waves; and we have leisure to look at the
little boat in which we sail, and wonder if it will ever be painted with
bright colours.... I remember too how once Ruskin’s coming was like some
strange joy; any little accident might have removed him for ever from
all connection with us. Now the silent work of years has bound us
together in a sort of friendship, which, whether it leads to outward
communication or not, years, and separation, and silences will not
touch; and this visit comes like the expression of a friendship
naturally, and like a bit of a whole.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     August 31st, 1862.


I am in town now to take care of the young friends, who are to live with
us. The work is extremely interesting to me; all the girls have some
special interest to me. Annie and Edith Harris from their relationship
to my best friend; I. from her position; M. from her position, and for
the sake of her family. Minnie’s pupils, who are coming daily to be
taught with the others, are the children of a widow who is working hard
to educate them well to support themselves. They are dear, earnest,
thoughtful, gentle, well-trained girls; so that the work will be very
nice, and supplies an object now that the home is rather broken up.



As to needlework, it is one of my great desires to teach it to those
children thoroughly, as well as all habits of neatness, punctuality,
self-reliance, and such practical power and forethought as will make
them helpful in their homes. I think they may be taught to delight in
them. When lessons are over, I hope to read to them, while they work; or
we will sing or talk together. If the children have time for study,
work, walking, and play, I so much hope some of the elder ones will
manage to spare some time for teaching quiet little children, either on
Sunday or some other day. I think it would deepen their interest in
their own studies so much; but I do mean to be so very careful not to
overwork them. I may find that one cannot set them to teach without
overstraining them.

                                              14, Nottingham Place,
                                        (undated). Probably August 1862.


I believe that I really have not written to you since you left us, which
certainly is very shameful behaviour on my part.... A. is certainly
infinitely better than she was, in mind and spirits, but just as foolish
about overwork. It seems impossible to influence her about it. Annie and
Edith are _very_ fond of her; and this is good, I think. She will often
sing to them in the evening, and read aloud to us all. I hope gradually,
by these sort of things, to get her interested in finishing work early,
and undertaking no more; but it is slow and difficult work. Her school
is increasing, and her hope and delight in it too. You will easily
imagine what a busy and merry household we are, with these young things
laughing and playing like kittens....


I take Annie and Edith to the Swimming Bath every week.... They are to
join a gymnasium too, and always walk in the park. I hope we shall
manage to keep, or rather make them well. I don’t think they have strong

I am _very_ glad that you are seeing so much that is beautiful and
grand. It must be a great delight.... Now that teaching has fallen to my
share, I regret very much my great ignorance. I want to work very hard
at Latin. Minnie and I are thinking of trying whether Miss S., or some
other good Christian, will read it with us. At present I work at it a
little alone.... The Sintram is packed to go now. We miss it very much;
but I have had the St. Michael framed, and think of putting it there. I
often reproach myself so much, dear Mama, now that you are gone, with
the way I never entered into your plans for joy. I tried latterly to do
it, even then feeling my mistakes, which I suppose will all come more
clearly before me as years go on; and perhaps it is no good dwelling too
much on what is past recall. I wish this letter, or anything else I
could do, would make you feel how entirely I rejoice with you in all you
are seeing; but perhaps you do know it partly. I am trying now to make
the household bright and sociable for all the children; and I feel more
every day that every right healthy joy is a little bit of true
riches—the end for which really all work is done.... Tell dear Flo. I
will write next time, and assure her I remember all her directions about
half hours after dinner very seriously and very tenderly, because they
remind me of her. I hope she’ll find my education improved on her
return. Give her a kiss for me.

                                                     January 18th, 1863.



We are all reassembled for work after Xmas dispersion; and my little
troop occupy much of my time. We are all well, and busy. I am succeeding
capitally. Ruskin, you know, perhaps, has gone, giving me the grandest
drawing lesson, an hour and a half quite alone,—thorough teaching; and
then it is so nice; I do feel we are such thorough friends. He talks so
quietly, so trustfully, so (I had almost written) reverently; and then
the thought made me laugh. But I think you’ll know what I mean. He saw
me again the next day at Burne-Jones’s, introducing me to him and his
wife; and after a little time, asking to speak with me on business. We
went into a quiet little room; and, after business was over, had the
most delicious talk. He asked me to write to him in Switzerland, saying
that I was “the one” (and then with his accustomed accuracy correcting
the statement to), “one of the few” people from whom he wished to hear;
and then once more he qualified it by saying, “You tell me just the
things I wish to hear.” All this, however, this quiet acknowledged
friendship can hardly be described even in words, to me so precious,
which expressed it, because it depended on the way, and slight accents
and actions impossible to describe. So to come to more important things;
Ruskin was so delighted with the trumpet Fra Angelico, that I am to
leave Turners and all else and devote myself to Fra Angelico and
Orcagna, wherever I can find them; also a little water-colour drawing
won the remark that now I had “delicacy” of touch for _anything_.
Nevertheless Ruskin’s heart is with social things; and I was earnestly
charged to leave any drawing, if I saw what of help I could give
anywhere, believing (which is not difficult) that in doing any good, I
was fulfilling Ruskin’s wish and will as much as in drawing. “Never
argue that it is not my work,” he said; “I believe you have power among
people, which I ought not to monopolise. I’m going away myself too; so
just look upon it that I leave you charged to do anything you may see
good to be done; only mind, Octavia! one way there is in which you may
both grieve and vex me, namely by hurting yourself. Don’t be proud and
foolish; remember your strength is worth keeping. Rest for months or
years, if you ought, but don’t lose it.” Rather a strange, rather a
proud, a very thankful and glorious position,—isn’t it, Emma? It doesn’t
make much practical change. The social work is best done by the way. He
didn’t mean “help people with money,” for he didn’t leave me any. I
meant to rest a good deal; but the confidence and the freedom, if it is
wanted,—_these_ make a difference.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   February 4th, 1863.


... I only began my physiology yesterday, but have done a great deal
since, and if Mrs. M. has the sense not to object to the children’s
learning it, I shall go on with it steadily, preparing a lesson for them
each week, and so shall learn much myself.—I think you would think all
our little flock very much improved, if you could see them....

... You will have heard, I suppose, of our magnificent concert for the
blind. It was one of the most splendid evenings of my life.... M.E. is
so delightful a child to me. I can’t tell you how I enjoy her. I often
long for you, dear, with all your sympathy with people in general, and
power of making children happy. You know I’ve a damping cool sort of way
that just stabs all their enjoyment. I don’t think I’ve any child nature
left in me. However, it will injure them less, that what they all want
is to grow up. I mean S. and I. and M.E. want qualities, that will fit
them for early usefulness, developed.

                                                        July 25th, 1863.


... I think neither M. nor O. can have found time to tell you about
their visit to Ruskin. He entertained them grandly at luncheon. They
stayed two hours talking on all kinds of high subjects. It seems M. said
some very pithy things, which delighted him extremely, and which he
afterwards quoted. He spoke of O.’s painting powers _very_ highly—he was
all kindness. M. says he seems so impressed with O.’s greatness, and he
told someone she was the best person he knew.... He said to O., “I don’t
like to blame people for what they do, when they are mad with grief or
terror; but I must say it was _cruel_ of you to tell me about A.’s
illness; I was very ill at the time; and it threw me back.” She
answered, “I didn’t think——” “You didn’t think I should care. I care
very much for her sake, and very much for yours.” He asked a great deal
about it, and when they spoke of how we nursed you, the tears came into
his eyes.


                                                             July, 1863.


Miranda’s life has been in imminent danger; in fact, for some days the
doctors gave us no hope.... You may imagine what the watching and
nursing were. I can never tell; so awfully is every incident of those
long days and nights burnt into my memory. But there is one thing you
can’t know. The infinite, the wonderful, the universal sympathy and
desire to help; it was something triumphantly beautiful; one felt it
even at the worst, only it felt so very far away, so helpless. Mr.
Maurice was here daily, often twice or thrice. He used to come, like a
great tender angel of strength, so infinitely pitiful, saying and
reading to us things never to be forgotten, answering Miranda’s
questions unconsciously asked, so that they answered those deep down in
us, thinking no service too small for him to render, none too arduous,
startling me to a sense of my own existence by some tender bit of
thought for me. And Miss Sterling, I don’t know what we should have done
without her. When danger was gone but anxiety remained, I sank down to a
state of miserable weakness and low spirits; and she would come and take
me out for drives. I couldn’t stand or walk, so terribly fatiguing had
the nursing been; why, the simple feeding was enough. Miranda was fed
every half hour, and Mama and I did _very_ nearly everything. Ruskin
sent most kindly. And then the little children, who stole about the
house and spoke in whispers; and my children, who did their work quite
self-reliantly, and waited with gentlest service on us; and poor old
women who sent daily to ask, and teachers who offered all service to set
us free, and friends who drove in to bring flowers and grapes, and
servants who were like rocks of strength: there wasn’t one person, who
didn’t show love and helpfulness far above what one could have dreamed
or hoped.

                                                        July 25th, 1863.


Minnie and I had been at Ruskin’s, talking for two hours about faith. It
has left upon us both an impression of the deepest solemnity. Minnie
says joy. Well yes, I say joy too....

I am sitting in the hush of an examination; the children each at a
separate table are deep in sums; so strangely do the little things of
this world blend themselves with the great, all these strange duties
leading one on to the great thoughts and facts that lie below.

                                                  14, Nottingham Place,
                                                    September 1st, 1863.


Dear Octa has just arrived. She has been so happy at Leicester. She says
she never had such a fight to get away from any place. They were so
happy together, those girls. Octa spirited them up to all kinds of
things, made designs for L.’s carvings, inspired one of them to come up
to town and go in for a Latin certificate at Queen’s; gave A. hints
about village schools, etc.

[Sidenote: RICH AND POOR]

                                                    November 29th, 1863.


We have all felt some time or other how much we owe to those who have
consented to be served by us; and I sometimes dream about the time that
shall come when we shall try “to keep up the spirit of our poor,” not by
shutting up their hearts in cold dignified independence, but by giving
them others to help, and thus rousing the deepest of all motives for
self help, that which is the only foundation on which to build our
services to others. How strangely then, when all confess mutual
dependence, and glory in mutual service, will all our strange words
sound about admiration for those who starve in silence; as if that
silent starvation were not the most awful protest against all who might
have been near friends, who might have been noble Christian
ministers.... I have been thinking very much of the past, because of the
sad news from Australia of my dear old playfellow Charlton Howitt. They
sent me a copy of the _Govt. Provincial Engineer_, saying it should be
sent to me as “one of dear Charlton’s old old friends”; and they all
seem to bear it as calmly and faithfully as they were sure to do.

                                           Offley Cottage, Luton, Beds.,
                                             December 22nd, 1863.

                                           TO MISS BAUMGARTNER.

It happens that Andy’s school has moved to the very room which, in the
first old days of London work, Mama took as a workroom, now twelve years

I had not been to the room till the day of this party, and Andy had not
remembered it.

And there I stood again after twelve years, with a deep sense of mighty
love on all sides, to help me to do whatever I willed; friends and
sisters, pupils and servants watched and waited for sign and look that
they might know what I wanted done; and there was not one among the
little pale faces lit up with unwonted joy, that I might not have
committed to some strong friend to be cherished, if my own strength

On the Sunday following I had eight young servants from different
places, whom I have long known and watched, to go with me to receive the
Communion, as we hope to do together each year.

As I came out, Mr. Hughes was waiting for me, asking, almost entreating,
that one of us would teach his children. Finding that we really
couldn’t, he asked me to come to breakfast next day, and see Mrs.
Hughes, to advise her about a governess.

They were extremely cordial and earnest,—said that for years they had
been longing to get us, but that Miss Sterling had always told them that
we were too busy, which indeed is true. I was much touched by Mr.
Hughes’ grief about the children’s hatred of lessons; and finding that
they wanted someone to take the children into the country for a month,
till they could find a governess, I thought that I might take the work,
and perhaps might get the little things thro’ some difficulties, and so
might make lessons pleasanter hereafter.

I gave my own pupils[50] three days’ lessons. Minnie took the last
three, after which they went in to the Cambridge Local Examinations.

I came down here at three days’ notice, and have succeeded beyond my
brightest hopes.


                                                  Offley Cottage, Luton,
                                                      Christmas, 1863.


Last night Mr. Hughes read some splendid Christmas thoughts about “Vie
de Jésus” of Mr. Maurice’s from “Macmillan.” It was glorious. Mr. Hughes
is cordiality and politeness itself, and does so like to talk about
Co-operation. He speaks of Mr. Neale, but has not seen him lately.

                                                    December 31st, 1863.

I am _very_ happy here, getting on capitally, especially with Mrs.
Hughes, whom I like extremely. Mr. Hughes and I have very nice talks;
and he is so entirely kind and considerate. The children are most
delighted with the history poems.[51] Will you tell Mama I kept the
“Education” because Mrs. Hughes was so interested in it; and I have read
a bit to her each night after dinner, before Mr. Hughes joined us.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   February 18th, 1864.


 _Re_ a petition to ask for the extension of University Exams. to girls.

I am really ashamed to have troubled you to write twice about the
signatures, which we are heartily glad to forward.

I meant to write and ask whether signatures of private governesses in
private families were needed. I gather from your last note that they
are. I will obtain any that I can on the other paper, and forward them
to you, if I am not suddenly called from London. We are very anxious to
learn the girls’ fate; though we feel sure none of our pupils have
passed. I suppose, in that case, we shall receive no notice. If there is
any chance of a formal or informal examination next term, we should like
to know; and every pupil _shall_ pass. We shall know the standard, and
have time to prepare, and shall send in those girls only who are just of
the right age.

P.S.—I see you ask how I think the examinations told. I was _extremely_
pleased with the effect on our pupils. I thought they were much
invigorated by the examination; it interested them much; the intercourse
with other students gave them a feeling of working with a large body of
learners all over England, which was very good; and I think the
examination tended to raise their standard somewhat—which, I regret to
say, I think is not high.

These like all other examinations require careful and noble use; people
must look beyond them, or they cannot look at them rightly. There are
better things to be learnt than ever can come out in an examination. And
to work for one is dangerous; learning, for the sake of learning and
knowing, is the only legitimate course; but a standard, that will test
our knowledge at last, is almost invaluable.


I hope to find these examinations quite consistent with real education
of body, soul, and spirit. I would not give up an hour’s rowing weekly,
nor a single bit of reading to a blind old woman, nor any deeper study
than would be tested in the examination, for the privilege of attending
and passing; but I believe the intellectual stimulus will be most
valuable, and need interfere with nothing; and I quite expect to send up
our pupils regularly, if you are able to obtain the privilege for us.
But there is a still greater value in these examinations. Some such plan
_must_ be adopted before the education of our girls will improve. It is
next to impossible for ladies to know what their governesses know; there
is no recognised system of examining pupils. I am sure the want is a
very great one, and very generally felt. I have had very much to do with
finding governesses for people; and I feel the difficulty myself keenly,
so keenly that I would not myself undertake pupils here, until I had
organised a plan by which their parents might see something of their
progress. I provided each girl with a book, in which her answers to the
examination questions, each half-year, might be written; and then her
parents can see her progress. But of course this plan is clumsy. The
questions are given by the teachers, who must necessarily know where the
pupils are likely to fail, and who examine, in fact, on their own course
of instruction; and we want just such a standard as this offers. I write
in haste, but hope you will be able to understand, though I have
expressed myself so badly.

                                                       April 17th, 1864.


As to myself, I can only say that every year adds more and more to the
number of blessings I have to be thankful for,—friends, and knowledge,
or rather sight, and power, and hope, all increasing steadily; rich and
poor, young and old, teachers and taught, forming so bright a band of
friends round us here. I don’t think anyone can be richer, and all our
work opens before us calling for fresh energy and hope, while as I look
back over the past years of those I love, as well as of mine, I see ever
fresh proofs of a guiding love and wisdom. I am so happy!

                                                       March 11th, 1864.


Florence is coming back to us after the Easter holidays. Will you be
interested to know that I have got to know Holman Hunt very well,
through the Hughes’s, to whom I often go now? Two of their children come
to us to learn drawing, arithmetic, and Latin. I like Mr. Hughes more
and more.

We heard Kingsley the other day, such a splendid sermon.

Mary Eliza passed the Cambridge Local Examination, though two years
under the age, and with six weeks’ preparation. I have my certificate
(_i.e._ from Queen’s College) signed, amongst others, by Stanley.

                                                 14, Nottingham Place,
                                               Sunday, April 19th, 1864.


I have long been wanting to gather near us my friends among the poor, in
some house arranged for their health and convenience, in fact a small
private model lodging-house, where I may know everyone, and do something
towards making their lives healthier and happier; and to my intense joy
Ruskin has promised to help me to work the plan. You see he feels his
father’s property implies an additional duty to help to alleviate the
misery around him; and he seems to trust us about this work. He writes,
“Believe me, you will give me one of the greatest pleasures yet possible
to me, by enabling me to be of use in this particular manner, and to
these ends.” So we are to collect materials, and form our plans more
definitely; and tho’ we shall begin very quietly, and I never wish the
house to be very large, yet I see no end to what may grow out of it. Our
present singing and work will, of course, be open to any of our tenants
who like to come. We shall take the children out, and teach the girls;
and many bright friendships, I hope, will grow up amongst us. The
servants and children here are trained for the work and longing to
co-operate. I saw Ruskin on Monday, and felt that the suggestion might
be a blessing to him; so I wrote on Wednesday, and received the grand
promise of help by return of post, showing how entirely it met his own
wishes. So now we are deep in studying details of model lodging-houses,
and are so very happy.


                                                         May 19th, 1864.



Yes, it will delight me to help you in this; but I should like to begin
very quietly and temperately, and to go on gradually. My father’s
executors are old friends, and I don’t want to discomfort them by
lashing out suddenly into a number of plans,—in about three months from
this time I shall know more precisely what I am about: meantime, get
your ideas clear—and, believe me, you will give me one of the greatest
pleasures yet possible to me, by enabling me to be of use in this
particular manner, and to these ends.

                                              Affectionately yours,
                                                              J. Ruskin.

Thank you for notes upon different people. I’ve got the plates for Miss

                                                Received May 24th, 1864.


I write expecting your warm sympathy in a much beloved plan that now
Ruskin promises to help me to carry out. We are to have a house near
here (with a little ground to make a playground and drying ground), and
this house is to be put to rights, for letting to my poor friends among
the working-class women. We are to begin very quietly, and go on
gradually; but I see such bright things that may (that almost must) grow
out of it. I hope much from the power the association of several
families will give us of teaching and help. The large circle of helpful
friends around us will be invaluable. I am so happy that I can hardly
walk on the ground.

                                                   Egerton House,
                                             Beckenham, July 11th, 1864.


I think you will be interested to hear that we went to West Wickham
church yesterday. It is the loveliest village church I ever saw, I
think, standing near an old castle-like house, and far from the village.
Evidently, at some time the chaplain of the lord of the manor has been
the clergyman; and the chapel has been an appendage to the great
house.... We had not long sat down, when I saw Mr. Neale very near. His
wife and two daughters were with him. He does not look one bit changed
to me.... The service was very beautiful and set me thinking much about
him, and his life, and its apparent failures and real successes. There
was something very touching in the sight and thought of him. I had such
a sense of his being looked upon by many people, if not as foolish, at
least as having utterly failed. As if that unbounded, because entirely
unselfish, generosity could fail to leave its impression on the world!
His own retreat from all the people who would have reverenced his spirit
seems, too, as if he himself had a sense of utter failure. I would give
a great deal, if I could know what may, indirectly, or rather untraced,
grow out of such work as his.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   December 11th, 1864.


The purchase of the house has been delayed by legal difficulties; but,
at last, Ruskin has placed the whole affair in my hands; and when I am
satisfied about the house, he will at once send me a cheque for the
whole amount required. This enables me to employ our own lawyer,[53] who
is, heart and soul, in the plan; but, since I saw Ruskin, I could not
attend to the matter at all; for every moment of light time has been
occupied by a drawing for the Society of Antiquaries; and the dark has
been little enough for teaching, accounts, and all my various extra
work. This drawing I should like you to see; it is a copy of the
earliest dated portrait of an Englishman,—1446. It is of an ancestor of
Lord Verulam; one of the Grimstones; such a quiet, stedfast face,
looking out from under a perfectly black hat, with quiet thoughtful
eyes, like a person who went slowly and steadily on his way, without
either hurry or doubt. I should never have done, were I to tell you of
all the importance attached to his shield and chain and necklace, and
all the accessories of the picture; how the antiquaries glory in each
detail, and understand from them each, who and what he was. To me his
quiet face comments in its silence on our hurry and uncertainty; and, as
I sit drawing him, I hope to gather reproach enough from his still eyes
to teach me to live quietly. It is rather a grand piece of work; and is
to be kept in the gallery of the Society, after being sent to Germany,
to be chromo-lithographed for publication in their “Archæologia.” The
Secretary of the National Gallery had noticed my work, and recommended
me to the Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery, to do the work. It
is expected by them, and by the Director of Antiquaries, to lead to much
more, and would really make me rich, in spite of myself; but there is
small chance of time to do it in. I have also two portraits waiting to
be done, miniatures; but happily I do them at home at odd half-hours.

I am also much interested in my large drawing class at the Working
women’s College. Eighteen hard-working, intelligent women attend
regularly. Our daily pupils have increased to six, which, with six
residents, are as much as we can manage well, and we have refused any
more, daily or resident. When we once get the tone up, the new pupils
will fall into it naturally; but, after increasing our number and
parting from some, we have had hard work this term to battle with the
schoolgirl element, which was strong in new-comers, and gained strength
from numbers. Our old pupils have come out finely; but the experience
has made it a difficult term.

And now for another side of our lives. We are every moment expecting Mr.
Maurice. He comes in now we are such near neighbours, and sits and talks
so very delightfully. We hope he will spend an evening here, while Mrs.
Maurice is at Bath, and we should not be robbing her of him. MacDonald
is so kind and nice. I am going there on Tuesday, when he gives a
lecture on Sacred Poetry. Mr. Maurice is to be there. I have twice
lately heard MacDonald read Chaucer and lecture on it.

Ruskin, whose lecture at Manchester you will probably hear, is coming to
us on his return. He wrote such a delightful little note about it, and I
had such a grand talk with him, quietly, just before he went.


                                                        April 2nd, 1865.


Our great event of the term has been the actual purchase for fifty-six
years of three houses in a court close to us, which Ruskin has really
achieved for us. We buy them full of tenants; but there is in each house
at present a landlord, who comes between us and the weekly lodgers, and
of whom we cannot get rid till Midsummer. All we can do, therefore, is
to throw our classes open to the tenants, and to do much small personal
work among them, so that we may get to know them. But all repairing, and
preventing of over-crowding, and authority to exclude thoroughly
disreputable lodgers, must wait till Midsummer. At that time we are to
begin the alteration of our stables into one large room, which will
enable us to get the tenants together for all sorts of purposes, much
more easily than at present. I am taking my holidays now, that I may do
with short ones after this additional work begins.... I feel that the
work will be invaluable to my own girls here. They have each chosen one
little child to work for. We are hoping to improve all the children’s
health by taking them to row, when we go into the park, and we are to
try to get a playground for them. The plan promises to pay; but of this
I say very little; so very much depends on management, and the
possibility of avoiding bad debts. Did I tell you of the purchase of a
chest of tea for selling to the women? They save much, and get very good
tea. My hope is, however, not in this, nor any other outward
arrangement; but in these as a means of knowing and training the people
to work and to trust. It is with me entirely a question of education. My
whole hope is in that. I do care immensely, however, for just sufficient
material power to be able to meet any efforts of theirs to manage
better; and for the children to secure their health in some degree; but
_this_, so much having been given, I confidently expect to receive, if
there be a real need. My conscience smites me for calling the possession
of these houses the event of the term for us. I ought to have spoken of
Gertrude’s marriage.[54] They are now in Florence, very bright and
happy. We were all at the wedding; and very solemn and beautiful and
bright it was.

                                                         Denmark Hill,
                                                       April 14th, 1866.


I am much obliged by, and interested in, your letter. That Friar’s Crag!
I was thankful to hear it is still there with its roots. Did I ever tell
you my first memory of all life is looking down into the water there,
holding my nurse’s hand?

All that about the quiet children liking old things is delightful to me.

Is any part of the lakes likely to be left in any human quiet? and do
you think there might be any possible chance of finding a purchaseable
fragment of earth and ripple of stream anywhere? Sometimes I feel horror
at calling _this_, or any place like it among these accursed suburbs,
“home”—for ever.


My mother was saying—just before your letter came, “I wish you would ask
Miss Hill if she has time to come out and sit with me for an hour—and
talk to me.”

So I said I thought you would when you came back. It will be nice—for
I’m not well and I’m going away for a few weeks, to try if I can get
just one more glance at Venice and Verona—before I am utterly old; but I
haven’t yet left my mother for any time since my father’s death, and I
shall be grateful to you if you can come to see her sometimes.

That is very lovely about your friend; it rejoices me to hear of your
being so happy and having this utter peace, after your utter toil. But
it is too soon over.

                                          Ever affectionately yours,
                                                              J. Ruskin.

                                          The Crag, Maenporth, Falmouth,
                                                  April 15th, 1865.


The money part is very regular and simple, just so much paid into
Ruskin’s bank each quarter; but to me the work is of engrossing
interest. We have three houses, each with six rooms; and we have managed
gradually to get the people to take two rooms, in many cases.... When it
was well started, we looked round for some opportunity to complete the
original plan, by getting a playground, which we had failed to do with
any available houses. I was so very happy at finding a bit of freehold
ground, covered with old stables, to be sold with five cottages, in a
very populous district near us, and a large house and pretty garden
besides. Ruskin has bought it, and it is this which just now is taking
every thought and power that is available, to plan and bring into order.
I dare not tell anyone the difficulty of this. When it is over, I may
venture to speak of it; _now_ I should lose hope and courage if I dwelt
on it much.... We have made eighteen additional rooms available for the
poor, and have given orders for four cottages, which are Ruskin’s, but
still in the hands of the middlemen, to be thoroughly repaired.... The
children seen to have so few joys, and to spring to meet any suggestion
of employment with such eagerness, instead of fighting and sitting in
the gutter, with dirty faces and listless vacant expression. I found an
eager little crowd threading beads, last time I was in the playground.
We hope to get some tiny gardens there; and Ruskin has promised some
seats. I hope to teach them to draw a little; singing we have already
introduced. On the whole, I am so thankful, so glad, so hopeful in it
all; and, when I remember the old days when I seemed so powerless, I am
almost awed.

Everything is so lovely here. Dear Miss Sterling! is it not like her to
give us all the opportunity for such a rest?

                                                             About 1865.


This place may be considered as fairly started on a remunerative plan. I
daresay you will be as pleased as I that this is so.

I told the tenants how difficult I found it to pay for all the use of
the money,—an expense that they never realise; and explained how the
less they broke the more they would have. I told them what sum I set
apart for repairs; and that they were freely welcome to the whole, and
might have safes and washing-stools and copper-lids, if the money would
buy them—since which time not one thing has been broken in any house.


                                                         May 19th, 1866.


My work grows daily more interesting. Ruskin has bought six more houses,
and in a densely populated neighbourhood. Some houses in the court were
reported unfit for human habitation, and have been converted into
warehouses; the rest are inhabited by a desperate and forlorn set of
people, wild, dirty, violent, ignorant as ever I have seen. Here,
pulling down a few stables, we have cleared a bit of ground, fenced it
and gravelled it; and on Tuesday last, opened it as a playground for
quite poor girls. I worked on quite alone about it, preferring power and
responsibility and work, to committees and their slow, dull movements;
and when nearly ready I mentioned the undertaking, and was quite amazed
at the interest and sympathy that it met with. Mr. Maurice and Mr. L.
Davies came to the meeting; and numbers of ladies and gentlemen; and the
whole plan seems to meet with such approval that subscriptions are
offered, and I hope to make the place really very efficient. My girls
are of course very helpful....

My dear old houses contribute the aristocracy to all our entertainments.
We took twenty of the children from them, to make a leaven among the
wilder ones on Tuesday; and I hope much from them hereafter....

Often it grieves me to find how much they preserve peace because they
know I feel their disputes so sadly; but I try to console myself, and to
hope that beginning from this, they may at last learn how bitterly all
their sin pains God who loves them better than I do, and works for them
so much more wisely. I never speak to them of Him. I think too much, not
too little, is said about Him, to the poor especially; but sometimes I
do break through my rule, when I am urging them to _do_ better, to live
a little more nearly in accordance with the teaching of their hearts....

Ruskin has lent me a Rossetti and two William Butts and a John Lewis for
some weeks; the colour of the first is a perpetual joy.

                                                           August, 1866.

My work promises to lead to some drawing again now. I have commissions
to make four large pictures from the old Masters to be fixed on the
walls of a room like frescoes; and Lady Ducie, to whose daughter I gave
a few lessons, wants me to go down there some weeks in the autumn, to
teach her again. As I should be living in their house, I should give all
my time to drawing.

Perhaps Harriet will have told you that Andy is coming back to help us
instead of teaching her own school; and we are to take additional
pupils. Until they come, Andy’s return gives me time to draw.

I hope that, for the children, Andy’s return may be an unmitigated gain;
for I hope much from her gentleness and tenderness, and her great power
of interesting them in study; and all the strong stern rule may be in my
hands still; and, whatever else I feel I can do best for them, I shall
continue to do. I should like to write to you of each of them, for the
thought of them all haunts me continually; they seem such a bright,
strong, dear band of young things, better knit to me just now, on the
whole, than ever they were before.


                                                     December 9th, 1865.


Last week we gave a concert to upwards of a hundred poor people, eighty
of whom were blind. It was a very pathetic sight; but their great
delight in the music, and the beautiful expressions of many of their
faces, redeemed it. Some of the faces were continually turned upwards,
and seemed as if they were drinking in every sound. One of the blind
people, in speaking of music, said: “Why you know it is like meat and
drink to us blind.” Some of them had never had such an evening; and did
not even know what the word concert meant. We admitted a great number of
guides this time, which we had not done before. The blind people seemed
to care so much about having them, that we thought it better to let them
come, even tho’ it excluded more of the blind. One man spoke so nicely
about it; and said, “You see we feel so grateful to our guides; they are
like eyes to us, and we don’t half enjoy it if they are shut out.”

One of the blind men we know is teaching a poor crippled boy
chair-mending; and, when we asked how the boy was getting on, the man
answered “Why he ought to learn to do it by feeling; for it stands to
reason his sight don’t help him much. I don’t think much of sight.” The
boy enjoys his work so much, and he says he dreams of it; and if he had
a chair at home he would practise all day.

                                                    The Crag, Maenporth,
                                                      July 29th, 1866.


There are great signs of cholera coming to London. I have been
administering Battey right and left with great efficiency. I was _very_
sorry to leave at such a time, for one really was of use. I compiled a
beautiful thing for Ruth, with Gertrude, from the cholera reports, and
sent her the lecture on epidemics. What a good thing it is that they
have the house to house visitation!... Mama, A. and O. all seem to me
gloomy; they declare they are not. Ockey is rather like a _man_ taking a
holiday; she thinks it her duty to be idle, and does not quite know what
to do with herself; but I am going to worry her down to the rocks to
hunt for zoophites; and she has promised to read “Modern Painters.”

                                                           The Crag.[55]
                                                       August 2nd, 1866.


... We are all very happy here. A. and Octa bathe every day, and read
Virgil together after breakfast.... After early dinner we all sit out of
doors, and the others work while I read Spenser.... Octa paints the
sunset every night from the field above the house.... at 9.30 we sing a
hymn and read prayers and then separate, some to bed. F. and I perhaps
walk by starlight;—some read in their own room till bedtime. They all go
out at low tide to find things which have “suffered a sea change into
something rich and strange” on the rocks; and have been very successful,
to F.’s great delight.... We are very merry. O. thinks she has laughed
more this week than in a year at home; but I don’t think she knows what
a frequent occurrence that is.... A. has written such a beautiful essay
on contentment for the Essay Meeting, and Octa a very good one on
tact.... Did you know Hugh[56] had fought at Waterloo and in four
battles in the Peninsular War. He has medals for them.... Mr. Maurice
took away twenty-four photographs of him, so I suppose he liked him—but
Kattern[57] is _my_ favourite. Hugh told us “there was a very pretty
chapter—Titus—it gave advice to old men and young people—and was very
solemn at the end.” He groans at prayers—but poor fellow, I suppose he
feels, and does not know how to express that feeling.


                                               Sarsden, Chipping Norton,
                                                 November 11th, 1866.


To-morrow I return home, after a most happy visit.

I go to take possession of the four very worst houses of any I have ever
had to deal with.

My dear pupils become more and more to me. I cannot even express what
their love and helpfulness is to me.

                                                      January 4th, 1867.


I return home on the 12th, to a very interesting meeting at Mr.
Maurice’s, about forming an Industrial School.[58]

                                                     January 14th, 1867.


Gardening is to me a great joy. I hate the trouble of going out, but
when I _am_ once there, I am as happy as it is possible to be. What a
quantity one learns when one tries to do nothing.

                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                  February 17th, 1867.


I am very sorry indeed to hear such a bad account of Mr. Hill. I hope,
if this bright warm weather continues, it may do him good. It is sad for
the Clifton time to have been spent in nursing instead of nice society.

About the reader, or about anything else, you need never think that I
should ever suspect you or your sister of shrinking from effort, or of
being anything but brave and generous; but one has to be brave in
refusing as well as in accepting; and considerate towards those whose
whole lives God has bound up with our own most nearly; as well as to the
many pathetically forlorn of the great world family who cross our path.
Each case can but be decided on its own merits. I quite see how in this
one there may be many difficulties. If I did not, as I say, I should
feel quite sure you had decided it as rightly as you could, and quite
unselfishly. Do you not often feel (I do) as if people were often
selfish in yielding to feeling instead of ruling it?

This brings me to the most interesting question about gifts, to which
you allude. It is to me a puzzling one, not so much as regards the poor
(there I can see my way some distance, I think, and have written a few
words on the subject, which I hope some day to print). I think that when
gifts are given and received by the same person, they are ennobling. It
is the greediness of the recipient that is the awful result at present;
and the helpless indolence of expectant selfishness. Call the man out of
himself by letting him know the joy of receiving and giving, and you may
pour your gifts upon him, even lavishly, and not corrupt him. Besides
this, let us give better things; sympathy, friendship, intercourse; let
us be friends, and then we can give with comparative impunity. For the
hearts of people always feel the spiritual gift to be the greater if it
be genuine at all. Where a material gift comes as a witness of real
love, it is the love that is the all-absorbing thought, not the gift, be
it ever so much needed. All presents, too, should depend to some degree
on character; we do not to one another select those calculated to deepen
any tendency we disapprove, rather to awake fresh admiration of what is


I cry out to myself in the courts every day, “What a frightful confusion
of chances we have here as to how or whether there is to be food or
not!” A man accepts underpaid work; a little is scraped up by one child,
a little begged by another; a gigantic machinery of complicated
charities relieves a man of half his responsibilities, not once and for
all clearly and definitely, but—probably or possibly—he gets help here
or there. There is no certainty, no quiet, no order in his way of
subsisting. And he has an innate sense that his most natural wants ought
to be supplied if he works; so he takes our gifts thanklessly; and then
we blame him or despise him for his alternate servility and ingratitude;
and we dare not use his large desires to urge him to effort; and, if he
will make none, let him suffer; but please God one day we shall arrange
to be ready with work for every man, and give him nothing if he will not
work; we cannot do the latter without the former, I believe.

Then, at last, will come the day when we shall be able to give at least
to our friends among them as we give to one another, and not confuse
still more hopelessly the complication of chances about the means of
support,—nor have any doubt the giver is more than the gift, and be sure
that he who gladly receives to-day will to-morrow give more gladly.

It is not often that I turn away from the very engrossing detail of work
here, to think much about general questions; and I am afraid I have
expressed myself very badly, and that you will hardly make out what I
mean. It is with me here almost as with the poor themselves, a kind of
fight for mere existence;—references, notices, rents, repairs, the dry
necessary matters of business, take up almost all time and thought; only
as, after all, we are human beings, and not machines, the people round,
and all we see and hear, leave a kind of mark on us, an impression of
awe, or pity and wonder, or sometimes love; and when we do pause, the
manifold impressions start into life, and teach us so much, and all the
business has to be arranged in reference to these various people; and
how hard it is to do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly.

                                                        March 8th, 1867.


They’ve just announced that there is space for half a sheet in this
letter, but that it must be written now or never; and indeed I am not
fit to write to a Christian. Here I am, head and ears deep in notices
about dustmen, requests for lawyers to send accounts, etc., etc.; and
yet I am so glad to say a few words to you, even if they’re not of the
brightest; and _that_ they can’t be, for I’ve just come in from a round
of visits to the nine houses; and somehow it’s been a day of small
worries about all sorts of repairs, and things of that kind. I was
thinking when I came in that really it would be a small cost in real
_value_ to pay any sum, however tremendous, to get rid of this annoying
small perpetual care, if the work could be done as well; but then it
couldn’t: it is only when the detail is really managed on as great
principles as the whole plan, that a work becomes really good. And so, I
suppose, being really the school of training the tenants most
effectually, I must still keep it, and hope that it will not finally
make one either mean, or small or bitter.... I think the playground is
going very well now. Did I tell you we have opened it during school
hours as a drying ground? Oh, Florence, the court is so improved! I
think you would be so pleased. We have broken out windows on all the
staircases, and cleaned all the rooms, and put in a large clean cistern;
and oh! it is so fresh and neat compared with what it was. Do you hear
about our Girls’ Home? I hope it will soon be started. God bless you,
dear child!


                                      Derwent Bank, Broughton, Carlisle.
                                              June 14th, 1867.


... I have asked Miranda to send you a copy of “All the Year Round” in
which there is a short article on the Playground. It seems Ruskin read
an extract from it at the lecture, of which I am not a little proud. It
is however sadly cut up by the editor, which I am the more sorry for as
there were parts with which I had taken the greatest pains, in order to
express as clearly and concisely as possible my principles and
experience about gifts. I cannot readily do the thing again; and they
have only printed a sentence here and there! That they have made the
construction most awkward does not really matter.... I enjoy reading
very much, and tho’ I would rather read on the old subjects, and the
dear old authors over again, I try to choose those newer ones, and get a
little general information, to know a little about matters in which my
whole heart is not bound up.

                                                Sunday, June 16th, 1867.


On Florence’s birthday we are going to have a concert and reading for
the tenants, and I thought that it would be so nice if you would write a
letter to them which we could read aloud. I think it so important that
they should feel your sympathy and influence near them as much as

The little Martins are going to school to-morrow. We have been very busy
making their clothes. Isabel and Eliza (two of the Nottingham Place
pupils) have been most helpful about it; I sent for Mrs. Martin to speak
to her about it; and Mrs. Simeon said she set off to come and then
turned back, saying that she could not go; it seemed so much was being
done for her that she felt like a regular cadger. She is a woman with a
strong love of independence.

  Then follows Octavia’s letter to the tenants mentioned in the
  preceding letter.


                                                        June 23rd, 1867.


As you will be all together I take the opportunity of writing a few
words to tell you how much I am thinking of you. I remember the many
times we have met on such occasions before, and I long to be amongst
you. I should so like to have a little chat with each of you, to hear
how all the little ones are, and how you have been getting on all this
long time. My sisters write and tell me how you are, more than once a
week; but you know this is never quite the same as talking to you. Those
are, however, my happiest days when I hear good news of you; and the
best news I could hear is that you are trying to do what is right. You
and I, my friends, each know how difficult this is; we have each our
different temptations, but we will strive to do better than we have
done. You will all know how I look for good news of you, how I have
wished to see you make your homes better and happier, how I have felt
that the places I possessed were given me to make them better; how I
have loved my work, and now that I have only left it in the full hope of
going back to it far better able to do it than I was. So you will
understand that I hope we have a great deal to do together, in the glad
time to come, when I shall be among you again.

I am in such a beautiful place, among such very kind people; and it is
all so quiet and restful; how often I wish each of you could have a long
complete rest.

And now I can only once more wish you God speed! thanking you for all
the many kind things you did for me while I was with you, and asking you
to help all those who are so very kindly doing my work for me, and to
make their work easy, as you so often did mine.

There is little or nothing I can do for you now; the old days of work
are over for the present; but I have a home for which I worked long ago,
almost as hard as some of you have worked for yours, and which I love
more than I could ever tell anyone; and now I cannot help my sisters any
more. Will you try, for my sake, to make their work happy and easy? This
you can do; and you know, as well as I do, how happy helping people is.

I do not desire for myself, or you, or my sisters, pupils, servants, or
any of the dear circle I have left, any better blessing than to have the
joy of helping others. Oh! my dear people, pray and hope for me that I
may have it again soon amongst you all.

                                              I am,
                                                Always faithfully yours,
                                                          OCTAVIA HILL.

                                                        June 27th, 1867.


Octavia is starting on a three days’ tour among the lakes with Miss
Harris. On Monday evening we had a concert and reading for the tenants;
and a letter from Octavia was read to them, which they all responded to
most beautifully; one of the men made a most touching little speech in
reply. Many of them said they had never enjoyed an evening so much in
their lives; and I have been so much touched and delighted at several
little acts of kindness and consideration towards me; their silent
answer to Octavia’s appeal that they would try to make the work easier
for those who are carrying it on for her.


                                        Heatherside, Wellington College,
                                            September 28th, 1867.


Thank you so much for the accounts; how beautifully you have managed

It is dreadfully tempting to be so near you all. I long to be amongst
you, if it were only just to feel myself with you for an hour or two.
You seem to me such a blessed company gathered round that dear old home
of ours. But the time will not now seem long before I really see you,
and am once more at work. Remember me to all the tenants. Tell Mrs.
Moirey she must remember I don’t mean to lose sight of her and hers....

My love to Mrs. Hughes and the children. It is such a comfort to think
of your being back to help them at home, and I like to think of your
cheering them by your uniform brightness as you used to cheer me.

                                                      October 6th, 1867.


We had a very nice work class. Andy reads while I attend to the people.
They were anxious to hear about you, and were touched at your sending
the little presents to the children.... I think I have got a much better
set of tenants. M. is very anxious to pay; still I feel it so uncertain
with his health in that state. You know he was a year without work; and
when he got it, he was too weak and gave himself an internal strain....

It was so nice to see how the pupils had thought of the poor children,
and had brought little presents. Mary had brought an ivy root and fern
roots, and clothes for the work class. Louisa had cut out and made
entirely a lovely dress and jacket for Alice P., and had dressed some
very pretty dolls, and brought some splendid flowers. Harriet had
gathered blackberries and made them into jam. It is so nice that they
remembered and cared for these things in their holidays.

                                         20, Via dei Serragli, Florence,
                                             October 10th, 1867.



Here I am safe and sound at last, and very cheery and bright. Dear Aunt
Emily is so kind; and there is something genial and homelike about being
here. The journey from Chambery was very interesting, the Mt. Cenis was
so impressive; it was too dark for me really to see it, and perhaps I a
good deal misunderstood the things I did see; but it was very quiet and
awful and solemn, sitting up in the banquette, so wholly alone as I
felt, in the near presence of the great peaks and gulfs and winds and
snow; sometimes foaming streams glittered for a few minutes far below;
sometimes a great cloud of mist came slowly down and wrapped us round;
the horses were many of them grey, and looked very ghostly and unreal
under the lamp-light; but their shadows looked like real black horses
tearing along. Altogether, it was weird and wild, and I liked it. I had
a very stupid companion; but happily he relapsed into perfect silence
during the whole time. He was such a forlorn and stupid young Irishman
whom I had picked up. He had been travelling with two companions, had
got out of the train, and it had gone on without him. He could not speak
one word of either French or Italian, and was going to Rome; they had
his luggage and his passport. He was very tall, and very miserable, and
I had to take pity on him, and do everything for him; but he certainly
was very cowardly. At Turin I was weary, and did not want to have any
breakfast; and I asked an energetic Prussian lady, who spoke English and
Italian, to take him, and see to him, but he wouldn’t go for a long
time; and then, just as all the time was over, he returned and said he
thought he’d better stay by me; so, to my no small disgust, I had to
rouse myself and take him to his breakfast at Alessandria. However, the
best of him was he didn’t speak at all, but only clung piteously to my
heels. By the way, writing of travelling companions, Aunt Emily just
suggests you would be amused to hear that at Turin I fell in with such a
polite and attentive Italian officer, who travelled with me all the way.
He surprised me so much by his penetration about everything. You know it
is rather troublesome to have an expressive kind of face; and yet it is,
I suppose, helpful too. He was extremely kind about the window, tho’ he
was very cold; and I didn’t say a word, for I knew it was unreasonable
to have it open; but he saw in a moment what I wished, and wouldn’t let
me even half shut it. Then we had a great deal of talk about cities and
countries; and I asked him if he knew London. Long afterwards he said to
me, “You asked me if I knew London; and it was with an accent which told
me you love it much, tho’ you do call it an ugly and dirty city.” I told
him that the worse it was, the more one was bound to help it; and the
more one tried to help it, the more one loved it. He said, “We soldiers
have to leave our country to serve it.” And I said, “Yes, it did not
matter how, but we must all do it.” I kept catching glimpses of the
mountains in the distance, and presently he said, “There is something
out there which pleases you from time to time.” So I told him what it
was; and after that he was so kind in warning me to look here or there,
for the mountains would be in sight.... He behaved extremely well, and I
think he thought I was the queerest creature he ever saw.... He was
rather sneering at the Prussian lady for being _une savante_ and for
travelling alone. I was, looking out of the window and thinking. He
said, “You smile continually; one sees that you think of what is dear to
you. Are you thinking of your country?” So I just told him I was
thinking one could travel alone or do this or that or anything when one
was really sure that God was with one; and that one often knew it best
when one was alone. Then I said all things, all people, help one. “But,”
he persisted, “those who really are brave because they know this, they
do all things with a different manner, such a manner that all who meet
them feel too that they are in His presence and under His protection.”

Well, I was very thankful for the dear home letters.... I have seen
literally nothing of the city as yet. I am to do the picture for Lady
Abercrombie. Was it not fortunate I did not go on Saturday from
Chambery? A portion of the Mt. Cenis fell and blocked up the road; the
diligences had all to be unloaded, and people and luggage carried across
a torrent and past the blocked portion of the road to other vehicles


                                                     October 18th, 1867.


The houses in Freshwater Place seem getting into much better order now
that Minnie is in town again. The P.’s are _so_ energetic about the
playground, so anxious to make it succeed. P. has been painting the
swings (for which he would only take a trifle). He says a ground like
that is a Godsend to the neighbourhood; and he proposes putting up a
little direction board outside the court that people may find the
way.... Minnie wants to know if she may admit P.’s children on Sunday.
He longs so much for quiet to read his newspaper. I suppose the
playground would be like a garden to the cottage.

                                                     November 2nd, 1867.


The galleries were closed yesterday, as it was All Saints’ Day; so I
wanted to have a long bright day at Fiesole, or somewhere in the
country, which is my great joy. But it was not to be; we did not get off
till about three, and went to Certosa. Ask F. to tell you what a lovely
place it is; and it looked so lovely in the autumn afternoon and evening
light. A convent on a hill, the approach almost like that to a castle,
so straight and steep, and bounded by such high walls. But the loveliest
view was when we ascended a steep road to the south of it, and looked
beyond it to the setting sun, the great couchant hills purple and grey
beyond its own battlemented wall,—campanile, and cypresses all dark
against the sky; but Florence and the mountains beyond Florence were
bathed in rose mist. Gradually as the light left the valley it became
pale misty blue, the shadow creeping up till it veiled even the
snow-covered peaks themselves. Tell dear A. I am not, and never have
been, disappointed with anything, except a little perhaps with having to
work, after all; but this is very unreasonable. I have no anxiety, and
possibly I am after all better for a little compulsory action; or I
might go to sleep altogether, or take to thinking too much. As to the
country, it might grow upon me; but it hardly seems to me as if it
could, it is so supremely perfectly beautiful. I have not even missed my
beloved grass; for first it would not fit in with the rest; and second
there seems to me to be a kind of uncultivation or perhaps rather of
mountain character given to the landscape by its absence which has a
peculiar charm. I daresay this is an unreasonable fancy, based on my
northern associations of grass with richness of soil; but it is
involuntary and to me specially delightful, partly as being different,
and _so not_ touching me too much, partly as giving a sense of freedom
and air for which I pant. Then it is quite delicious to an eye that
glories so in colour, to see the great masses of earth, ready to turn to
gold or purple or red, or all these in infinite combinations with brown,
and over all the silver network of the weird olive trees. I fancy I
should rather miss the grass increasingly than decreasingly....

Remember me affectionately to Mrs. P.[59]; dear, good, bright little
George! to think I shall not see him again, and that he is to do no more
service here below;—all young lives that go out so, hint so distinctly
of the life that is to be—I do think of you all so. Has anyone thanked
dear Mrs. Nassau Senior for her letter? and told her of the pleasure it
gave and brought me?... I take the opportunity of writing when B. is
out. I like to be ready to chat and walk with her when she is here....




I joined the Cherubini Choral Society here; we are singing some lovely
things of Bach’s and one of Mozart’s. I believe we are to give our first
concert on the 18th.... The anemones are quite wonderful. I gathered on
Sunday every imaginable shade of purple, from blue to crimson; such a
bunch they made, so soft and deep in their gradations.

I hardly dare, even now, to write of home. I think of it as little as I
can; the abiding sense of it in all its preciousness, and the
heart-hunger for it never leaves me for a moment, but I try to pretend
to myself that the things here are very engrossing and sufficient; and
in a way they are. I have put aside the question of possible wants of
one and another which I might satisfy, sure that I shall some day have a
richer store of help to pour out for them, if I am (as I now believe I
am) gathering strength. Every word mentioning the dear English people is
precious. I glance down the letters for proper names very eagerly; you
are all too good about writing, but there are necessarily so many you
never mention ... and oh so many of the tenants and playground
children ... and I always want more and more about the people you
mention. Do you not mean to send me Ruskin’s letters to you? I should
like to see them. I fancied perhaps you did not send them, because you
thought they would make me gloomy; if they are gloomy—or might somehow
pain me;—but they would not. I know him too well for that, and I should
like to see them.

I have been reading Browning’s “Rabbi Ben Ezra.” I think it one of the
truest things he, or anyone else, has ever written.

Miranda’s letters are so delightful. Her fun always touches me somehow,
and never too much.... So my pride is to be broken every way, and even
those proudly triumphant P. P. accounts are to get into a mess.

I am much honoured by dear Mr. Maurice’s interest about my return; I see
S. Ursula[60] never got back; but I think I must give up all claim to
the name, if it depended on the 11,000 virgins; tho’ the number swells
now even here.

                                                       Via de Serragli,
                                                     January 24th, 1868.



I seize the time when I am bright and hopeful to write to you dear ones
at home; and for once will tell you facts not feelings. I have just
returned from my visit to the S.’s. It has been very delightful.... M.
is full of will and temper, and, not understanding any English, would be
wholly unmanageable by me; and I keep a good deal away from her. But the
others, strangely enough, have attached themselves warmly to me; and
there seems no end to the amusements I can think of for them; and I have
so enjoyed it. They are not the least tiring children, partly because
they are quiet; partly, I fancy, because I have not to try to do other
things too, but give my whole thought to them. It is so soothing to feel
the dear little hands in mine, and see the sweet upturned faces.
Besides, it is nice to get on with children. I don’t like the things I
can’t do. We three wandered out into the quiet _poderes_ which are all
round. We turned even away from the view of Florence over to the quiet
distances. I set the children gathering daisies to make chains to
decorate the dolls’ house for a doll’s birthday which I proposed; and
suddenly we came upon a large purple wild anemone. The view was English
in colouring, for it has been grey and rainy, but all so wholly
different on earth that no sameness of sky or light made it speak to one
even in the same language, of which I am always glad. The children were
full of delight with their walk. It was so nice going with me, they

                                           Now good-bye, dearest sister.

                                                        March 1st, 1868.


It is wonderful how smoothly things go on, and I am able to do the most
important part of the work. The thing I have most to neglect is going to
see the people; but I spent nearly two hours with them; and they all
welcomed me. Poor Alice[61] had scalded her hand and was very suffering;
but, after I had talked to her a little she said, with tears in her
eyes, “Somehow before you came in I was so down-hearted, but telling you
my troubles eases my heart, it does indeed.”

                                                    20, Via de Serragli,
                                                      March 1st, 1868.


... As to me I am thriving in the most unaccountable way.... This week I
really _have_ had dissipation, and it has done me all the good in the

There was some masquerading at Mrs. Taylor’s, and we were asked to come
in costume. I was gloomy and unwilling; but, seeing “B” “in for a
spree,” entered into it. I wrote to Mrs. Ross for an Eastern dress; she
sent such a magnificent one. It was the admiration of the whole company;
in fact, I am never to hear the last of it, I think. It was pronounced
very becoming.... Then we went to the Corso. It has been very grand this
year; for there is a Society which has offered large prizes, and done a
great deal to promote the matter. It was very silly, you know; but I
tried to forget _that_, and managed pretty well. The Turkish Ambassador
sent Mrs. Ross his carriage. She did not know he was going to send it,
and it came too late for her to send to ask me to go with her; so I went
with Mrs. Taylor; but we saw Mrs. Ross looking so lovely and queenly,
and child-like, with little Alick by her. I am to dine with her some day
soon, and go to the French play afterwards. On Friday I fancy we (Miss
Mayo and I) start for Pisa; next week I shall probably spend at Bello
Sguardo with the Starks. They have kept asking me to go; but I have
deferred it till the Orcagna is finished.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     April 5th, 1868.


After mentioning a failure to see Ruskin, and George Macdonald (the
latter failure partly due to her painting and partly to her ill-health),
she adds, “But you will know that I am prouder and more thankful for the
special place amongst (and love of) the many who have few to love them
and few to help them, than even for the friendship of the greatly good;
and of these among all classes I have found so many. Monday, I collected
rents, and had such happy talks with the people.... When people are kind
now, it is a great pleasure, but when, my power of physical effort being
all gone, they seem to feel as if I might yet help them by presence and
care, it makes me thankful to God who has left me some small work to do
for Him; it is almost too much. This I had half hoped to feel in
returning. I have far more than realised the hope that I had.” ...


(Speaking warmly of Mr. Watson of the Society of Antiquaries and his
wife she says) They are very High Church, but not foolishly so. I fancy
it is the refinement and beauty which attract them.

My sisters have asked me so earnestly to leave the main work for the
pupils in their hands that I have done so. All is going on so
beautifully that I have little temptation to meddle either. It seems a
little strange, most so in the mornings, when I no longer read; but the
sense of perfect harmony with them all takes away any kind of regret
from the change.

... (Speaking of the houses she says), “I have now drifted past the
triumphant meeting into full work there, and all its tiresome details;
but with the refreshment of seeing people I love, and the stimulus of
other minds occupied with other thoughts, I meet these details with less
intensity of thought than of old. My sisters are such a rest and joy to
me; I could never tell anyone what they are.” ...

... “I have drifted into the old state of intense interest and joy in
all the little world I love and work in; it seems like native air to me;
and it seems to me, in what Matthew Arnold would call my provincialism,
much more interesting (if not important) to see whether a few words will
obtain a holiday for the over-worked teacher whom I love, and who is
wearing herself out for her family, than to know what Louis Napoleon is

                                                     Probably May, 1868.


Altho’ I was not there I have volunteered (like many other reporters) to
describe yesterday’s gala. It was a complete success; the prettiest fête
that has yet been given; and your sisters were delighted with the
improvement in the children compared with last year. On Monday evening
Minnie and most of the pupils went up to 207[62] to make wreaths. They
found Mr. Ruskin’s and Mrs. Gillum’s flowers there—both most beautiful
in their way. Eliza said the gardener had asked to deposit them himself
in the kitchen, and had laid them down so carefully, and as if he were
so fond of them—worthy servant of his master! Andy spent the whole day
there, and the pupils went up, as they finished work, to help. The
result was splendid; numbers of lovely wreaths, and a throne made of a
chair shape with three steps. The blind fiddler _non est inventus_; so
they got an organ man, which did quite as well. Your sisters were
delighted with Mr. and Mrs. Howard ... their sympathy was so
genuine—they left with tears in their eyes. Well, the ceremony began by
drawing lots for the queen, and it fell on Nelly Kinaly. The child took
out the wreaths from the basket; and Florence called the child whom she
thought they would suit, and one of our girls in turn crowned them. Andy
says the children looked so pretty—their untidiness only went for
picturesqueness. They had cakes, biscuits and oranges; but except one or
two boys, the flowers interested them more than the cake. Florence
played at trap with the boys and Mr. Smale.


                                                          Derwent Bank,
                                                        July 22nd, 1868.


The time of my leaving here draws sadly near and I have done so
little—mostly weeding I think, and that is so interesting, it keeps me
out of doors, not standing or walking and yet gives me something to do.
It is quiet and nice and I like the smell of the earth and the soothing
monotony of the movement and thought. We have not been reading anything
of any depth or weight; usually we do here, but somehow this time we
have read scraps of things, and what I should call decidedly light
reading. “Scenes in Clerical Life,” part of Chaucer, the “Story of Doom”
(I am _delighted_ with Laurence), a good deal of Browning, and a little
of Thackeray.

                                                    Ben Rhydding, Leeds,
                                                      August 3rd, 1868.


I want Dr. Macleod to let me leave, as I am so without definite illness
now; and it hardly seems right to stay here merely to gain strength; but
they won’t even let me speak on the subject yet; and nothing is so
provoking as to leave things half done; so I must let the matter be
finally decided by them.

(Very warm expressions of admiration and gratitude for Dr. Macleod.)

                                           2, Ashfield House, Harrogate,
                                               September 20th, 1868.

I came here on Wednesday to see Miss Harris, who has been seriously ill
but is now rapidly gaining strength....

I should like to have seen you while I am still in overflowing health
and so merry; it seems too bad to go to one’s best friends always when
one is broken.

(Description of Turner’s Norham and Melrose.)

We are reading the Spanish Gipsy aloud. I wonder what you think of it.
To me it seems full of wonderful passages expressive of fresh fact, and
so exquisitely expressed that one longs to remember the exact words; but
the whole thing is disjointed; the story improbable. I always find it
impossible to believe people would have acted as she makes them. I
suppose I am mistaken; but I can never feel the things the least
natural; and yet I should find it hard to say on what ground I
disbelieved them. To me the power of looking all round questions, and
seeing how all view them, is not specially delightful, unless at the end
there comes some deliberate or distinctive sense of reverence or
sympathy with the most right. The perpetual suspense is painful to me. I
feel as if I would say, “See as much, judge as mercifully, as you can;
but show just so much enthusiasm on one side or another, as would lead
to action in real life.” The other temperament seems always either weak
and irresolute, or likely to lead to wrong action.

Now Browning, with all his dramatic power, and turning it upon such
various (and often such low) people, has yet distinct love or scorn, has
definite grasp of some positive good.

[Sidenote: MORRIS’S “JASON”]

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     October 4th, 1868.


We three sisters have had a jolly meeting; and we are anticipating the
arrival of our dear pupils, Mama and Florence, to-morrow.

Dear Alice Collingwood[63] has done wonders; I never knew the business
half so well managed when my sisters were away; and she has been so
happy in the work, and has learnt to know and care for the people so

Have you read Morris’s “Jason”? I have been reading it for the second
time. I am increasingly impressed by it. It is marvellous to me how any
one can so throw himself into so noble a time without Christianity; the
hint of deeper meaning is so telling, and goes so home, because it is
only suggested and kept subservient to the intense realism of the scenes
and incidents. It is a book one believes from first to last. The
accessories are described so beautifully; it is true poetry.

I know it is very forlorn to depend for intellectual intercourse on
books and absent people. But for you who have so many resources, I hope
it is not quite so bad. At any rate, how you must be feeling yourself
useful. Still I am sorry for you; you seem somehow (all sensitive people
do) to get so much more pain than pleasure out of your feeling. I wonder
whether you are ill-balanced, and your bodies ought to be more vigorous
to match your organisations; or whether you are, as it were, martyrs,
for us to love and look up to, and learn from and delight in; but
appointed, for some inscrutable reason, to bear a large share of the
pain of the world—to be purified to a higher point than we, until the
last sorrow shall be put under your feet.

Any way and every way, God bless and keep you.

                                                  14, Nottingham Place,
                                                    November 29th, 1868.


We are all assembled again, and very happy.

We have a _very_ large number of pupils, as many as we could take in;
but these are mainly under my sisters’ care, who enjoy the work, and
thrive in it. I only teach the girls a few things, and rejoice in their
bright young life. I give a few drawing lessons, and am managing my dear
houses, which are getting into such excellent order as to be a great
joy, and but little painful care. I am drawing again at last, too, to my
great delight, and am able to see a good deal of my friends, and to bind
up all the links of knowledge of the details of their lives, broken by
my illness and absence. So it is a quiet, beautiful, thankful, busy, but
not oppressed, life.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     March 7th, 1869.



I have had a most delightful week. The crowning day was last Sunday,
when I dined at Ruskin’s. It was exceedingly interesting. I had been
determined to ask him a little about Greek mythology, literature and
art; and how, without knowledge of Greek, one might enter into some
comprehension of all these; for I have lived long enough to remember the
passionate revolt of our then young thinkers against the dead formal
worship of all that had its origin in Greece; and now I am interested to
notice the men, leading from weight of earnestness, tho’ educated in all
the Gothic and Teuton sympathies, turning back to Greek thought, and
even imagery, as if it contained nobler symbols of abiding truth than
our northern legends. Yes, even to feel the influence of the Grecian
wave myself. So we got into interesting talk. He told me that there was
little translation of Greek which he knew or cared for; that he had done
a little himself, which will be published with next Tuesday’s lecture;
that Homer, even translated by Pope, taught one a good deal; that some
tales by Cox (do you know them?) were intensely good; but (as I was
pleased to know that I had instinctively felt), Morris’s Jason was the
most helpful almost of all. He sketched for me most beautifully, a kind
of plan of Greek mythology, saying that the deities who governed the
elements were the primary ones; the earth the sustainer of man; the
water governing the ebb and flow of his fortunes, the two fiery deities
earthly and heavenly; and the goddess of the air the inspirer. He quoted
curious parallel thoughts from the Bible; “the wind bloweth where it
listeth.” He told me some strange things, too, about Minerva giving men
strength from winged beings, and once, when enduing Menelaus with
courage to fight Paris, giving it from a mosquito; whereas most gods
give them strength from quadrupeds that are strong. Round these central
deities are grouped many minor ones; Mercury, the cloud-compeller, often
represented as a shepherd, guides the footsteps of men in life and


I asked him how far Virgil was too Roman to be trusted. He seemed very
much pleased to find that I could read Virgil, and was fond of him; it
seems that he is very fond. He said moreover that Latin was
untranslateable—being so magnificent a language; whereas Greek, mainly
depending for its interest on thought, could be perfectly well
translated. I found that he and I agreed in liking the 2nd and 7th books
best, he rather inclining to the Infernal Regions and the Fall of Troy.
He told me that the exquisite tenderness between fathers and sons
delighted him above all things in Virgil, and led one to the root of the
main source of Roman greatness in its noblest time.

You will be sorry to hear that Miss Cons can only, at present, give one
day and a half weekly to the work; and that Miss Sterling is so much
interested in what she calls “linking my little affairs to whatever has
life,” that she will not work except near us—nor of course could Miss
Cons do more than this in so short a time.

On Wednesday we are to have our play.[64] We are actually to have an
audience of 200 poor people. Everyone is very kind about it; we have a
splendid room, and all promises well.

Oh, Mary! life and its many interests is a great and blessed possession.
I love it so much.... And yet it seems such a simple, quiet thing to
slip out of it presently; and for other and better people to take up
their work, and carry it on for their day too.

                                                          May 9th, 1869.


... The trees are of course very small; but the creepers helped us, and
the playground never looked so pretty. Our new swings were put up; and
three people were entirely occupied with superintending them the whole
time. Each child had a definite time allowed; and all others were kept
out of the way; no easy matter with children so eager and so
unaccustomed to control. The little band acquitted itself admirably,
considering how young it is yet; it is an acquisition. We had numbers of
games of course. The see-saw was crowded all the time. Two people took
charge of it; and it seemed about as much as they could manage. It was
very touching to see the children, when they first saw me open the gate.
Our tenants were to come in first; and I had to pick them out from the
dense mass of eager faces. Such impatience! as if a few minutes were
hours! Such a break of light came over the face as I caught the eye of a
tenant; the “Mary, you may come,” or “Dickey, you next,” was entirely
unnecessary to the child addressed, but was the signal for others to
make way; and thro’ such tiny avenues, or from under bigger girls’
skirts, the tiny creatures emerged to the wonderful place of flowers and
the many welcoming friends. I was rather proud to see that I was usually
guided by a neater dress or cleaner face to a tenant. Then followed the
admission of a few children coming to classes, or members of the band or
drill classes, but not tenants. And then the mass of children from the
neighbourhood. Oh such a troop! The grown up people crowded on any place
from which they could see. I wished our wall had been moved, and the
rails up, both for the extra space, and that more people might have
seen. All children had flowers, cake, and an orange on leaving. My
conclusion is, the place is really getting into order.

I had the report from a surveyor on the houses for which we are in
treaty. He says very naïvely, “It seems to me the houses are much out of
repair, tho’ considered by the landlord in excellent condition for the
class of inmates.” He says, too, the property in the neighbourhood is in
excellent condition, and will let well.... Will you send me a copy of
papers respecting boarding out? I should much like to send them to Mrs.
N. Senior. I believe the chances are better in the country, and the plan
more likely to be tried there.

I am glad you think it is best to wait and see the June list for
Macmillan. It will be very odd if the thing ever is published. I am
looking forward so eagerly to throwing the burden of the playground
expenses, at least partially, on our new buildings; they are such a
perpetual worry to me, and for so small a sum it seems a pity to be
annoyed. If the surplus profit of the rooms will, as I hope, pay for the
superintendence, it will make a great difference to me. We hope to
finish the building this week. I feel so ungrateful when I complain of
anything, when all has prospered in this wonderful way. Perhaps I am a
little tired to-night.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     April 13th, 1869.


I cannot tell you what my people are to me. We are such thorough
friends. Sometimes small actions of theirs go straight to one’s heart,
making me feel how nice our relation to one another is. The other day I
went down the court, once so savage and desolate. I saw two or three of
the worst boys in the neighbourhood looking very happy and smiling.
“Have you seen Mrs. Mayne?” they clamoured eagerly. Mrs. Mayne is our
superintendent there. “She’s got something taking care of for you.” I
found that the boys had walked twelve miles, doubtless delighted with
the expedition, but specially to bring me back a great quantity of
“palm.” And, as I came out carrying it, “Will you have some more?” “Wait
a bit and have some more,” they cried. When I remembered that these same
boys had been our greatest trouble, defying authority, climbing walls,
breaking windows, throwing stones, with their hands against us in all
things, I could not but feel that we had got on a little, however the
houses may fall short in external perfection of what one longs for them
to be. I have hardly any of the teaching at home; dear Andy and Minnie
having thrown their strength fully into it; so Flo and I only take
special classes; but the bright young life round one is very refreshing;
and I grow much attached to some of the girls;—not the old sense of
being any longer their head; this, you will understand, I am not sorry
to resign, however precious the position was. Meantime, I have my little
sanctum here and go out among my ever-increasing circle of real friends.
My work now is mainly teaching drawing, which I enjoy much.


                                                         June 7th, 1869.


... We are having a large meeting in the parish this week to try to
organise the relief given; very opposite creeds will be
represented—Archbishop Manning, Mr. Davies, Mr. Fremantle,
Eardley-Wilmot, and others. I must go myself. I shall try to get Rose to
go too....

Lady Ducie writes that she is perfectly engrossed in your book, and
tells me she must get it. She is quite appalled at the state of things
in the workhouse; it seems quite to be weighing on her mind.

                                                         June 9th, 1869.


... I daresay one is apt to overrate one’s own work; but one is the more
anxious to have it fairly weighed, and receive all advice from other
people; and I do want to have it fairly considered, and get the
authorities to recognise it. Mr. F., the rector of our district, and the
main mover in the matter, is to call on me to-day. May some power
inspire me with intellect and speech! I have hardly a hope that they
will place me on the Committee. I shall try boldly; but I think no
ladies will be admitted. Mr. F. is happily a friend of Lady Ducie’s.

P.S.—Mr. F. has just been, and will propose my name at the Committee.

                                                       Ben Rhydding,
                                                   September 10th, 1869.


... Life here has been a great success every way. It is odd, in a place
like this, to get on so well; but energy and enjoyment are such a
delight to people, they forgive much, where they can secure them and
have these. A large picnic party went to Fountains yesterday. They
begged me to go. I could not, and said, “I will ask all the people, and,
when you are started, you really won’t want me.” “Oh,” said a young,
buoyant Quaker youth, “but we do want you to talk.” ... In pity also
give me some more teaching; it is the only anchor I have, and I shall be
destroyed by dissipation if you don’t preserve me. Oh dear, I have been
writing three hours; and I did so want to do my miniature; for you don’t
know how much I want to finish it.


                                                      6, Clifton Villas,
                                                  September 17th, 1869.


To-night there is to be a dinner party here. Dr. Bridges and several
influential people are asked to meet me;—I do feel such a take-in of a
person. I wish someone would explode me; it is so difficult to un-humbug
oneself. It is all taken for extreme modesty (fancy mine!) and laid to
one’s account as so much excellence. A Mr. and Mrs. R. K., who are
looked upon as great guns, are giving a dinner party in my honour.
Really it’s very ridiculous; what I _am_ glad of is that I am going to
see Saltaire, a model village near here which has grown up round a
manufactory, belonging to a Mr. Titus (now Sir Titus) Salt; no beer
shops there, only model cottages, schools, etc.... I’m very happy, and
as bright as can be; but save me from this again! I’m going to settle
down to a steady, quiet old age, if ever the happy time arrives when I
reach home.

                               CHAPTER VI

  The period from 1870–1875, if it contains less of what may be called
  new departures in Octavia’s life than the period which preceded it, or
  that which followed it, yet can show phases of struggle, constructive
  work, and the discipline of trial and opposition, as remarkable as at
  any time of her life; and it also includes an important change in her
  circumstances, which much affected all her subsequent career.

  It may be said, perhaps, that the distinctive characteristic of this
  period was that it brought her greater publicity than her previous
  efforts had produced, and so answered her question to Ruskin, “Who
  will ever hear of what I do?”

  First of all: the time was one in which a variety of circumstances had
  been compelling many, who had not hitherto shown much interest in the
  poor, to turn their attention in that direction; while many others,
  who had been anxious to do their duty to the poor, had begun to
  realise that the hap-hazard methods of relief hitherto in vogue had
  broken down.

  The failure of large Mansion House Funds, which had been, raised in
  the ’sixties to meet special distress, had brought home to many
  workers among the poor the need of substituting closer co-operation
  for their isolated efforts. Some of those, who had realised this need,
  also perceived that it was necessary to make enquiry into the
  conditions of the applicants for relief, before they could discover
  the best means of assisting them.

  The great variety of characters and ideals and experiences which
  marked the people, who were thus temporarily drawn together, naturally
  tended to produce considerable collisions; and, in order to understand
  Octavia’s attitude to the Charity Organisation Society, one must
  remember the different difficulties with which she had to deal. There
  were, of course, those who had rushed into the movement, as they would
  have taken up any other new fashion in dress or mode of life or
  locomotion, and who wished to do nothing that would unduly offend
  fashionable feeling. These were backed in many cases by people of a
  higher stamp,—tender-hearted men and women, who were impressed by the
  misery of the poor, and who merely looked to the Society as a newer,
  and more efficient, relief agency. At the other extreme were those who
  thought that organisation and rules could do everything. Then again
  the attempts at organisation of charity had led to the discovery that
  many so-called charitable societies were utterly corrupt in their
  objects, and that many more were unwise and careless in their methods
  of relief. This raised a furious desire for radical reform, which at
  one time threatened to substitute destruction for organisation. Along
  with this iconoclastic zeal was a violent anti-clerical feeling,
  founded on the belief that the clergy were the authors and chief
  abettors of the old irregular system of relief. Into this vortex of
  controversy Octavia was unavoidably dragged.

[Sidenote: EARLY DAYS OF THE C.O.S.]

  It will have been seen (and it will have to be reiterated in various
  forms) that she believed in personal and sympathetic intercourse with
  the poor, as far more important than any organisation; and that, where
  co-operation and organisation were necessary, she preferred small
  local efforts to great centralised schemes. At the same time, she felt
  that the giving of money, when dissociated, as it too often is, from
  real sympathy, does infinite harm, and should be checked by reformers
  of charity.

  Both points were emphasised by Octavia in the paper which she read
  before the Social Science Association in 1869 on the “Importance of
  aiding the poor without alms-giving.”

  “Alleviation of distress,” she says, “may be systematically arranged
  by a society; but I am satisfied that, without strong personal
  influence, no radical cure of those who have fallen low can be
  effected. Gifts may be pretty fairly distributed by a Committee,
  though they lose half their graciousness; but, if we are to place our
  people in permanently self-supporting positions, it will depend on the
  various courses of action suitable to various people and
  circumstances, the ground of which can be perceived only by sweet
  subtle human sympathy, and power of human love.”

  And again:—

  “By knowledge of character more is meant than whether a man is a
  drunkard or a woman is dishonest; it means knowledge of the passions,
  hopes, and history of people; where the temptation will touch them,
  what is the little scheme they have made of their own lives, or would
  make, if they had encouragement; what training long past phases of
  their lives may have afforded; how to move, touch, teach them. Our
  memories and our hopes are more truly factors of our lives than we
  often remember.”

  With regard to her relations to the clergy, I may mention that, while
  the Charity Organisation Society was still in its infancy, she began
  an experiment in a Marylebone district which was entirely under the
  guidance of Rev. W. Fremantle, the Vicar of the parish, now Dean of
  Ripon. So much was Mr. Fremantle impressed by the usefulness of this
  work, that he persuaded Octavia to send in an account of it to the
  Local Government Board.

  It was also through this work that she became acquainted with Rev.
  Samuel Barnett, then curate to Mr. Fremantle, and since so widely
  known as the promoter of various good works, and especially as the
  Founder of Toynbee Hall. It was in connection with this Committee that
  Octavia insisted most on the desirability of substituting employment
  for relief whenever possible; and out of this plan also arose the
  scheme of Charity Organisation pensions, which has since formed so
  important a part of the work of the Society.

  It may seem strange that, with her preference for individual effort,
  and for small local organisations, she should have consented to become
  a member of the Central Council of the Charity Organisation Society.
  But there was much in that position which chimed in with her
  aspirations. The Society was, after all, a federation of local
  Committees, acting in sympathy with each other, but quite independent
  of each other in many of their arrangements. Then, in theory at least,
  the Committees acted on the principle that every case was to be dealt
  with on its own merits; a principle which, if fully carried out, would
  have been a great protection against mere officialism. The Central
  Council too was a debating Society, for the exchange of ideas on
  specially pressing difficulties, rather than a regular governing body.
  And, in spite of what I have said of the mixed elements in the
  Council, it must be remembered that the membership of that body
  brought Octavia into touch with many eminent workers in the reform of
  charity, amongst whom I would specially mention the courteous and
  tactful Secretary, Mr. C. P. B. Bosanquet, whose services in the
  stormy birth time of the Society are too often forgotten.

[Sidenote: DEFECTS IN THE C.O.S.]

  Nevertheless there were some reforms in the spirit and methods of the
  Society to which Octavia found it necessary to give attention; and, as
  I often went with her to the Council meetings, I may claim to know the
  points which interested her. Thus she soon began to be alarmed at that
  iconoclastic zeal of which I have spoken; particularly as in some who
  then influenced the Society’s action this zeal had produced a positive
  delight in attacking for attack’s sake. A long struggle, in which
  Octavia took part, ended in changes which at least modified this
  unfortunate state of mind.

  Another and marked defect in the organisation of the Council led
  Octavia to abandon, for a time, one of her special beliefs in order to
  enforce another, which seemed to her of more importance. The
  Committees of the Society, through which direct relief work has always
  been carried on, were divided according to the chief London districts;
  and thus some Committees of the richer parishes were much more able to
  raise funds in their own neighbourhood than could the Eastern and
  Southern Committees. The consequence was that the Central Society was
  obliged to supply funds to supplement the needs of the poorer
  districts; and, in return, claimed to exercise a control over the
  distribution of those funds, which could not be claimed over the
  richer Committees.

  Thus the poorer Committees were deprived of the independence secured
  by the richer ones.

  In order to equalise these arrangements, it was proposed to centralise
  all the funds of the Society in Buckingham Street. Octavia advocated
  the change; but the majority of the Council felt that such a change
  would destroy that local interest in the work, on which the strength
  of the Society depended; and subsequent modifications in the
  arrangements of the Committees, aided, perhaps, by a considerable
  change in the _personnel_ of the Council, did, to some extent, reform
  the defect which I have referred to. It may be said generally that, as
  the aims of the Society became more coherent and definite, and the
  chief workers grew more alike in their fundamental principles,
  Octavia’s sympathies with the Society increased; and when Mr. Loch
  succeeded Mr. Bosanquet as secretary of the Council, her friendship
  for the new secretary still further strengthened her approval of the
  action of the Society.

  Her sympathies with the enquiry traditions of the Society, and with
  the restrictions on reckless relief, often startled and repelled some
  of the more impulsive philanthropists; but one of the most earnest of
  them wrote, “I remember taking to her a typical case for advice, and
  she gave me what I thought stern advice, and I demurred. But she was
  right; and I often thought of it afterwards.”

  During this very period, her attention was painfully drawn to the
  difficulties of her local and more individual work, and to the dangers
  of that purely official view of charitable movements, against which
  she was always on her guard.

  She had published in a magazine an account of the courts which had
  been placed under her care; and of course, in explaining the object of
  her undertaking, she was obliged to describe the condition of the
  houses when first she undertook the management of them. Unfortunately,
  some fussy person took the article to the medical officer, with the
  question, “If these things were so, what were you doing?” The medical
  officer was at once seized with a panic, and ordered the destruction
  of all the houses in that court. Octavia thereupon went to remonstrate
  with him; and, after hearing her explanations, he withdrew the order.
  But he had to report to the Vestry, so the matter could not end with
  that withdrawal. The majority of the Vestry took the side of their
  officer; and one zealous vestryman exclaimed that he hoped they would
  hear no more of Miss Hill and her houses. The bitterness was so keen
  that Octavia feared that the tenants of the court would be affected by
  the local opinion. Mr. Bond, however, who took an active interest in
  the workmen’s club, which had been formed in the court, explained the
  circumstances to the men; and the general feeling of the tenants was
  drawn to Octavia’s side. Mr. Ernest Hart undertook to discuss the
  matter with the medical officer; and gradually the official feeling
  changed, or at least was greatly modified. But three incidents bearing
  on the affair should be mentioned.


  During the controversy, Octavia’s attention was called to the dangers
  which would come to the court from a public house built close to it.
  Her first idea was to secure some kind of disinterested management
  which should prevent the evils of the ordinary public house; but,
  finding that, for the time, this was impracticable, she addressed
  herself to the work of defeating the licence. This she succeeded in
  doing, but one of the J.P.’s, who had specially championed the
  publican, was so furious that he addressed insulting remarks to her in
  reference to her management of the houses.

  On the other hand she was much cheered by a letter from Ruskin,
  received during this crisis. Not long after the first houses were
  bought he had begun a little to cool towards the work, partly from not
  understanding Octavia’s attitude towards alms-giving; and partly from
  that horror of London ugliness which led him to think that any London
  scheme must fail. But his personal regard for Octavia remained
  untouched; and, visiting Carlyle during the crisis, he spoke of
  Octavia’s work, and received such a warm expression of admiration from
  the “Sage of Chelsea,” that he noted down the words and promptly sent
  them to Octavia, greatly to her delight.

  The third incident refers to the attitude of her friends on the
  Charity Organisation Council. Some of them thought that her management
  of the courts should be considered as affecting their movement, and
  that a friendly enquiry into her methods would strengthen their hands.
  She disliked the thought of greater publicity, but reluctantly
  consented to submit her books and papers to the Special Committee
  appointed for this enquiry. Though they were friendly in tone, Octavia
  greatly disliked the visits of these gentlemen; and, when they wished
  to examine the tenants of the courts to find out the moral effects
  produced on them by the changes, Octavia put her foot down, and
  declined to allow this interference between herself and her “friends.”

  I have given what some may think an undue prominence to this attack on
  her by the Marylebone officials; but I have two grounds for that
  course. One is that it was the first important exhibition of that
  officialism which increased in Octavia her strong dislike of State or
  Municipal management. The other is that the intensity of her feeling
  on the matter brings out a point in her character of which many were
  unaware. I remember well that when Mrs. Nassau Senior was smarting
  under the attacks on her report on Workhouse Reform, two men remarked
  that “Miss Octavia Hill would not have felt such attacks, as Mrs.
  Senior did.” Both were intelligent men, and both had some personal
  acquaintance with Octavia. But both were mistaken.

  It was in the middle of these difficulties and struggles that her
  attention was partly diverted from her own work by her interest in the
  affairs of a friend; and, for what I believe to have been the only
  time in her life, she took an active share in an attempt to return a
  Member to Parliament. This was in 1874 when Mr. Thomas Hughes came
  forward as a candidate for Marylebone. Her personal admiration for
  him, dating from the old Christian Socialist days, and strengthened by
  her experiences as teacher to his children, decided her to abandon her
  general indifference to Parliamentary work; and she declared with her
  usual vehemence that they _would_ return him. Canvassers went out from
  14 Nottingham Place with electioneering circulars; and all friends
  whom Octavia could influence were pressed into the service.
  Unfortunately, for reasons which do not concern this biography, the
  effort failed; and, by a curious combination of circumstances, several
  people were led to attribute Octavia’s zeal to an interest in the
  cause of Female Suffrage.


  This mistaken idea seems to make this a proper place for a short word
  of explanation of her attitude on this question. The fact is that
  Octavia never felt the keen interest in the public questions of the
  day which animated Miranda; and, since she had discovered that she
  could do a definite piece of work for the good of the poor, she had
  begun to feel a positive dislike for Parliamentary life, and party
  politics, as tending to draw people away from “cultivating their own
  garden,” into taking part in wider, but less immediately useful, work.
  This opinion she felt it specially necessary to emphasise in reference
  to women.

  First; it was with women that she specially co-operated in her work
  among the poor; and her discovery of a new outlet for their energies,
  and her warm appreciation of their possible capacity, led her to look
  on the Female Suffrage movement as a sort of red herring drawn across
  the path of her fellow workers, which hindered them from taking an
  adequate interest in those subjects with which she considered them
  specially fitted to deal. Secondly, even in that pacific phase of the
  Female Suffrage movement, there were champions of this cause who
  thought it more important to call attention to what women could
  accomplish than to undertake regular work. Thus they seemed to promote
  that intense love of advertising which Octavia abhorred. Lastly, there
  were always people who assumed that one, who had done so much
  efficient work, must be in favour of a change, which would enable so
  many other women less well provided with powers of work to accomplish
  more than they could now succeed in doing. And this mistake was
  strengthened by the constant confusion between Octavia and her friend
  Miss Davenport Hill.

  Although she acknowledged in a letter (written from Tortworth and
  published in this book) that this indifference to these larger issues
  deprived her of some valuable information, and put her at a
  disadvantage, she always continued, to the end of her life, to act in
  these matters rather (as in the Marylebone election) from motives of
  personal sympathy with some special adviser than from those carefully
  considered reasons which guided her in the work identified with her

  Of course in the biography of any original thinker or actor one must
  record apparent contradictions; and it is rather curious that this
  same period, which contains her one interference in a Parliamentary
  election, is marked also by her one active attempt to assist in the
  framing of an Act of Parliament, the Artizans’ Dwellings Bill, which
  brought her into some opposition to more extreme individualists than
  herself. The main part of her action in this matter will be best
  brought out by the letters which follow; but there is one point which
  may be overlooked, and on which I should specially like to insist. In
  the very period when she was enduring such harsh treatment from the
  medical officer and the Vestry, she helped in promoting a measure
  which increased the power both of medical officers and of local
  councils, in dealing with houses like those under her charge. Thus she
  made it clear that she could see the general advantage of machinery,
  which had been, and might be, turned against herself.

  It must be remembered that all this trying work was carried on while
  she was still engaged in teaching the pupils at the Nottingham Place
  School; and many of her friends had felt, for some time, that the
  effort, needed for the two kinds of work, was too great a strain on
  her strength. An offer of pecuniary assistance by a friend a few years
  before this time had been gently, but firmly, refused; but, under Mr.
  William Shaen’s guidance, a number of wealthy friends succeeded,
  without her knowledge, in organising a fund which should make her free
  for the further development of the housing-reform schemes. As this
  plan had been brought into a definite form before Octavia was aware of
  it, and as she remembered that one break down in her health had
  recently occurred, she felt bound to accept the offer, under the
  limitations mentioned in the letter to Mr. Shaen given in this
  chapter. And thus she was placed for the rest of her life in a
  position which raised her out of the struggles, which had hampered her
  early years.

  In 1875 Miss Louisa Schuyler, President of the State Charity Aid
  Association, collected five of Octavia’s Magazine articles, and
  brought them out in America under the title of “Homes of the London
  Poor.” This book was afterwards published in England, and later on
  translated into German by H.R.H. Princess Alice.


                                                             About 1870.


I am sending to the East my new assistant, Miss G. By her quiet, gentle
manner and familiarity with the poor and their ways, and from being
firm, kindly and chatty, she has been more help to me than any assistant
has been for many a long day. She has all the powers I have not, and has
filled in my deficiencies in B. Court in a way that had made me look
forward to working with her very much. Difficulties vanished at her
touch; she had always time to chat with the people, knew all the little
news which throws so much light on character, noticed small excellence
or neglect about the workman’s doings, and kept much of the detail
right, leaving me free for the deeper personal intercourse with the
people that I happen to get to know best, and to meet the greater
difficulties of some of their lives. I shall miss her sorely there;
while I am there, I could have worked well with her; she would have done
all the essential work I do, if not all, at great cost. I am glad to
give her to the East; she lives there, the need there is far greater,
and it is all right she should go, we must train the new workers here.
It is right she goes, and that is enough.

                                                             About 1870.


I am just back from an evening with the men. I can’t help writing to
tell you of their talk. They were all of one mind in approving of your
system. “It is charity, and it is not charity,” said one man. “It is
charity because it is human kindness; and it is not charity because it
does not make people cringing.” Another said, “We had heard that none
but your supporters spoke; for every complaint brought out more clearly
what you had done.” A third thought that they ought to get up a
testimonial to you.

                                                    November 23rd, 1870.


I send a list of my appointments as they stand at present; of course I
can’t bind myself to them all; but they show the probabilities.

_Thursday._—9 till dark, at Hampstead, drawing.

  7 o’clock Tenants’ children’s party (I could leave them for an hour or

_Friday._—9–1 at home drawing.

  1–1½ at Walmer St. receiving applicants.

  ¼ to 2 to ¼ to 3 drawing class at home.

  ¼ to 3 to 4 Walmer St. (if possible) visiting.

  4 to 6 ladies come to see me about work at home.

  Evening—Half-year’s accounts for Drury Lane.

  Invited to dine out—don’t expect to go.

_Saturday._—9½ to 11 Latin class at home.

  11 to 1 Committee at 151, Marylebone Rd.

  Afternoon Walmer St. and week’s accounts.

  7 to 10½ Collecting savings at —— Court.

Saturday evening, December 3rd, is our party for our old tenants here.
Oh! do come, if you possibly can; I shall so specially want you. I
cannot tell you how I want to talk to you.


                                                      January 3rd, 1871.


Your humble servant, the writer, is in good health and spirits, but is
growing so deeply devoted to the delights of her own sweet society, that
she is somewhat alarmed, and fears that on your return she may be found
to have lost the power of speech.

To such tremendous reactions does Nature at times lead us!!! The circle
of interest grows also narrower daily, (barring Walmer Street). She
cares for nothing and nobody beyond her reach, while she sits in her
beloved arm-chair.[65]

Entre nous, however, I think there is still somewhere some little
tenderness in her heart for her respected and absent relatives.

I don’t know how to sign myself, my persons being hopelessly now in a
jumble; so beg you with your ordinary penetration to discover

                                                             THE WRITER.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   April 24th, 1871.


I was so much touched and delighted with your letter. Words, such as
those from such as you, do so much to help on our way those of us who
are struggling, somewhat alone, to meet and master the difficulties that
beset us. What I am trying to do is simply in my eyes a bit of adult
education or reformatory work, among a few people corrupted by gifts. It
seems to me that, if we will give them a little sympathy and counsel, we
do something for them; but that, if, in addition, we let the grand old
laws of the world have their natural fulfilment, we do still more. For
along time the feeling of the people was very awful in its bitterness;
but now we are such friends; in fact all the time of difficulty seems
quite past in every way. The hissing is all over; and smiles and kind
greetings come to me, as in my own houses; and the people come to me for
sympathy and advice.

  Speaking of a scheme of the Church Council of St. Mary’s, Marylebone,
  as an extension of her scheme, she says:

I rather fear their going too fast and far, and letting the practice of
supplying work take the place of training and test by means of it.

You will be glad to hear that all the houses are prospering. Our new
ones are just built;—the new tenants are to enter them next week. The
rooms have been eagerly sought for, as they are in the midst of a
densely populated part of Marylebone.

B—— Court, the last purchased property, is still in a dreadful state;
oh! so dirty and dilapidated; but the people are so charming; we have
such a wonderful hold over them, and can therefore do so much with and
for them.

I brought up from the country ninety bunches of flowers. There was one
for each family, in three sets of houses. I had such a work distributing
them; those in B—— Court had to be given at night, when we went to
collect savings. I got such a delightful greeting as I went from room to
room. I could not help thinking of the old days, and how changed all


                                                    September 5th, 1871.


I am very glad to think that you are going to Ben Rhydding. As we have
just come back, it may be a little amusement to you to have sort of an
introduction to some of the people among whom you are about to spend the
next three weeks. First and foremost of all the guests at Ben Rhydding,
in my opinion, comes Miss Octavia Hill; an unobtrusive, plainly dressed
little lady, everlastingly knitting an extraordinarily fine piece of
work, whose face attracts you at first, and charms you, as you become
acquainted with the power of mind and sweetness of character, to which
it gives expression; a lady of great force and energy, with a wide, open
and well-stored brain, but, withal, as gently and womanly as a woman can
be; and possessed of a wonderful tact, which makes her the most
instructive and the pleasantest companion in the establishment. Miss
Hill has done great things among the poor, in her own district of
Marylebone; and has written on the subject of homes for the poor in the
“Fortnightly” and “Macmillan.”



I hear continual news of all my tenants. To-day they are to have a tea
at our house. It always gives me satisfaction to think of any amusements
provided for them. I wish we could get them more into the country. Does
it not always seem to you that the quiet influence of nature is more
restful to Londoners than anything else? But picnic parties got up among
the London poor, even tho’ they are attended only by the better class,
carry London noise and vulgarity out into the woods and fields, and give
no sense of hush or rest. What I should like better than being able to
organise large parties (those might be most valuable, and a great deal
could be done to give a sense of order and peace to them) would be to be
able to take eight or ten people, either children or grown up people, or
two families, into some quiet place. If one could afford to give
Saturday afternoons to it, for a few months in the year, one might do a
great deal. I am sure that the power of enjoying things that are lovely
and quiet is one of which the poor stand in need, that it wants
cultivation, which means in this case sympathy with the germs of it
which are innate, and a little food to nourish it, and occasional quiet
to let it assert itself.

                                              Church Hill House, Barnet,
                                                September 26th, 1871.


It is no joke to get £3,000, to ascertain precisely the value of the
property, and to negotiate with all the people concerned, in exactly the
right order and way. I have not had a spare five minutes I think till
now; and I have thought of you so much, and so very lovingly.

There is something ludicrous in attempting to foresee events. On the
_principles_ we may build, for they do not change; but the outward
things and their teachings we cannot foresee.

Somehow personal poverty is a help to me. It keeps me more simple and
energetic, and somehow low and humble and hardy, in the midst of a
somewhat intoxicating power. It pleases me, too, to have considerable
difficulty and effort in my own life, when what I do seems hard to the
people—even though they never know it. I could not tell you all the many
ways it helps me. All the same, I know very well that, if in any way
that I call natural and right, I found myself set above the necessity
for effort and denial for myself, I should bless God, and feel it a
relief and help. Only, I should like it to come _only_ if it came


I suppose I told you of dear Minnie’s engagement to Mr. Edmund Maurice.

I am thinking of writing on the subject of women’s work from their own
homes. You know how strongly I believe in its practicability and power.
How I should like a talk with you on the question. I am under a promise
to write some paper; and I am sure that this would be the most useful,
though another about the houses would be most popular. Of course, if I
write, it would be with the view of bringing the definite scheme for
making volunteers’ work more efficient and available before people. My
only doubt is how far it is wise to write now, or to wait till we have
worked at the question this winter, and can speak of the plan as in more
vigorous action. I daresay the question of my having time or not time to
write will decide the matter.

                                           12, Victoria Square, Clifton,
                                               December 30th, 1871.


How I have thought of you, not for your sake, but for my own! I wonder
whether it will always be so with you, that people want you always for
themselves. No one ever comes to you without being sure of your sympathy
and tenderness. But I’m past even your teasing now. Still I am very
happy. Ruskin was right in saying I was sure to be.


I dined at the Barnetts’ last night, met Dr. Bridges, Dr. Abbott, Mr.
and Mrs. Courtney, etc. Mr. Barnett is trying to get four acres of land,
which is full of lodging-houses.... I see he does not think it would be
well for me to join the County Council.

The donations come streaming in with such _beautiful_ letters.

I am to speak at Fulham Palace on Friday for the Charity Organisation.

                                           12, Victoria Square, Clifton,
                                               January 1st, 1872.


Everyone is very kind, and you know that I have a knack of being happy
nearly everywhere; but I grant it is harder to one in holidays than at
any other time.

As to public work, Oh Mary! how it is growing and prospering. This is
the first day of the year; and looking back on the past one, and forward
to the promises of this year, how infinitely much I have to be thankful
for! I do not know whether you know that Walmer Street and Walmer Place
are actually bought by Miss Sterling; and that we have been able to
purify them in a wonderful degree.

Have you heard of the death of old Mrs. Ruskin? It has been strange how,
lately, Ruskin has turned back to me. I have had such letters from him,
asking for my opinions on the triumph of good, and the life after death.
I do not think that words, still less letters, are of very much use;
still one is glad to say what little one can.

... I wonder if you have read either of Browning’s last
books;—Balaustion is beautiful. I have the greatest delight in Hercules;
and the growth in Admetus is very wonderful; especially the
approximation of his nature to that of Alcestis,—as gradually the
impression of what she is, and has done, sinks into him. He was
beginning to be like his wife. I think that the contrast is marvellously
drawn between the extreme joy of a being like Hercules, utterly ready to
die at any moment,—prepared therefore for all things,—and the selfish
cowardice of Admetus. The dawning in Alcestis of the perception of his
defects is very terrible, but very true to nature. The conclusion is
beautiful; but I think that I cannot fully have understood it. Browning
would never have made such a mistake as to represent people, meaning to
do right, and yet being allowed by God to have the fulfilment of their
prayer, if it was not really the best for them, and for the
world—especially as they never seem to see it; so it has taught them
nothing. They realise the holy and happy individual life of love; but
miss for ever the power of blessing their country. So I read it. Tell me
if I am wrong when you have read it.

[Sidenote: BALAUSTION]

Oh, we are getting on so beautifully at St. Mary’s! I cannot tell you of
half our successes, or the vistas of hope that open out before me. May I
only have a long life and many fellow workers!

                                   Crockham Hill Farm, Edenbridge, Kent,
                                                   January 3rd, 1872.



Stansfeld wrote to tell me that he had written to you. Oh! I do long to
hear the result. If you cannot do it, no one can; and it wants doing, so
I hope you will try.

I am so thankful and so touched about your help about the Public-house.
You are the only person except myself who has as yet found a soul to
help. I can’t tell you what a sharing of burdens it feels. I am nearly
sick of writing about it, or rather of the thought that by any post now
the matter may have to be decided; and I may not know of enough money to
say, “Let the arrangement be made.” I dare not promise a farthing more
than I have been promised. I never trust to the future for help; it
would seem to me wrong, as I have not of my own what would enable me to
meet the engagement; and, tho’ one must get something more, one never
knows how much....

I do not know when I have felt such joy as on receipt of Stansfeld’s
letter; oh! Janey, do try the work if you have a chance.

                                           I am your ever loving friend,
                                                 OCTAVIA HILL.

                                   Crockham Hill Farm, Edenbridge, Kent,
                                                   January 5th, 1872.


Thank you most heartily; your offer of help did me more good than
anything; somehow such a spirit puts new heart into one. I had a very
nice letter from Stansfeld, telling me result of interview; he appears
to have been highly satisfied. God bless and help you in the work. I am
a little sorry in one way that it does not take you more away from home.
I hoped that you might have had a few hours to rebound from the weight,
and might have been stronger for home work for the daily absence. But,
in some ways, it will make the work easier; and I suppose the sense of
progress and of public work do one good any way, and carry one thro’ a
great many small and some most heavy trials with a sustaining sense that
there are larger and deeper interests than are contained in our own
circle, which is so small, tho’ so dear. So the work may help you thus
after all, as I’m sure you will help it.


You don’t fancy for a moment that I would be so mean as to take your
money. No, Janey dear, I could not. Spend it nobly and well as you are
sure to do, but don’t think of giving it to me. We will try yet, in
trust that there are richer people enough forthcoming to do the thing. I
shall tell Mr. Hughes this, if he writes. But you can hardly tell how
much your offer cheered me. One gets a little impatient and bitter,
quite wrongly I am sure, waiting for the slow rich people to make up
their leisurely minds, when one’s keenly cherished plans hang upon their
decision. We, who have gathered our impressions down among the people in
long past years, on whom the swift sight of the possibility of good to
be done bursts like a clear ray into darkness, who hold our few
possessions in money somewhat lightly, ready to risk them, and counting
them a small gift to offer for any chance of good, we who are to hold
the reins of power, and know just how far we may hope to win, must use a
little imaginative patience with those whose training has been so

It makes one feel a little lonely sometimes, but in the beginning of
things one must be _that_.

                                                       April 28th, 1872.


We had our playground festival yesterday, with all its wonderful
memories, and the blessed sense of progress.... Out of the utter
loneliness of those first days of work, on that little beloved spot,
what a wealth of love and help has gathered, even for me personally. And
oh, Mary! what a progress in the people, and the dear old place! The
cottages looked so neat and clean, the whole place so fresh and
substantially good. I looked at my lamp that stood as a guard throwing
light, before which dark deeds quail, night after night where darkness
had reigned before,—a type of much of the character of the way we have
to work. Neither punishment, nor rewards, nor rule is what we hope most
from, but _supervision_, a glance, a look, a bringing things to light. I
looked at my cottage with its heightened rooms,—a definite bit of
tangible good, strange type too of our work—taking off the weight from
above that presses down, in order that the human being may have room to
breathe, to expand, to rise. Then how the children have improved! What a
number of games they know! And as to my singing class it was quite
delightful. They sang with all their hearts, and seemed never weary,
song after song. I had a troup of them round and about marching and
singing “Trelawney.” So many of them knew the same songs and games. It
was capital! Such days are worth living for.

                                                      Tortworth Court,
                                                    September 3rd, 1872.


Pray tell Mr. Shaen I should lose some very great advantages if he made
any alteration as to the “disputing.” I hope he never will. It is only
that I was amused at Miss Shaen’s confirming my impression. I don’t at
all wish for any change; it certainly is never unfriendly disputing, and
always interesting.

The marriage was very bright and quiet; all was solemn and glad. The
tenants gave the Bible, as Minnie and Edmund stepped out of the vestry;
and one of their children gave the loveliest bouquet. I like to think
that the blessing of the poor rested on them.


                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 November 18th, 1872.


I had written to Stansfeld[66] before your letter arrived, but have only
just received his reply. I want you to meet him before we enter upon the
question of your fitness in any detail. I have therefore told him
nothing but that I think I know someone who will do. He is coming to the
party on the 28th, as he has long wanted to come to one; and I shall
introduce you to one another there, if all be well. I am sure that you
are the very person; and if he has any sense, he will feel this. We
shall see....

Thank you all the same for the offer to take the responsibility. I have
really very little to do at this set of parties: my only duty is to
bring the entertainers and keep them happy and harmonious. It is not as
when my own dear poor are the guests. If you are there, and keeping all
going, I shall just rest happily in seeing all go well.

I had a triumphant interview with Longley[67] and the guardians this
morning, obtained all, more than all I had hoped.

I somehow believe, dear, that we shall get this appointment under
Stansfeld managed. It seems so entirely the right thing. I am sure it
would be the greatest interest to you to have such a work, and it might
even tell as a rest. I am sure that you would do it splendidly.

                                                   Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   November 19th, 1872.


Octavia’s mumps at present are nothing but a subject of joy to her; for
she stays at home and gets thro’ quantities of work with the most
gladsome spirit. She gave me a delightful impression of her visit to
you; but of course her fatigue, which had been rapidly accumulating for
a week reached its climax in that 7 mile walk in the cold and dark. She
said the petting she received made up for everything.

                                                    November 28th, 1872.


It seems the tenants have so completely taken it for granted they are to
come here on O.’s birthday on December 3rd, that Miss Cons thinks they
would arrive on that evening even without invitation. Octa clings very
much to you and Edmund being here....



Octa is so interested in the Sanitary Committee of the C.O.S.... All the
men who have worked from the beginning are there and many others
besides. It is not wonderful that Octa should be among them, and able
continually to say a word in season. Dear child, the mantle has fallen
on her.[68]


                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 December 15th, 1872.


As to the points on which you and I equally differ from so many
clergymen and churchmen, if we think Maurice’s interpretation of the
creeds the true and simple one, is it not doubly incumbent upon us to
uphold it _in_ the Church? Leaving it would be like saying we could not
honestly stay in it. Then does not all the best, most thorough, most
convincing, most peaceful reform of any body come from within? in
family, in business, in nation, in Church? Does not all growth and
reform come from those who remain with the company in which they find
themselves? Is there not almost always a right at the root of the
relationship, which may be asserted and vindicated, and on the
recognition of which reform depends? _That_ body must be corrupt indeed,
which must be left by earnest members of it. Surely there are abundant
signs of growing healthy life and reform in the Church; all the vigorous
and new things nearly are signs of good. Why should you set up the
decidedly old-fashioned interpretation of doctrine, and that held by a
certainly decreasing number in the Church, and feel hardly honest in
differing from it and remaining in the Church?

Don’t think I am special-pleading. Except for the sake of the Church, I
don’t care where you are. While you are what you are, you are safe
everywhere; for you will find grace and goodness in all things; and
God’s Church certainly comprehends those not in the Church of England.
If you are sure that the services do not speak to and with you in words
that help; if there is a lurking sense of want of courage or candour in
remaining, which is real, not fancied; if you have a sense of antagonism
and alienation, not support and fellowship, why not leave the Church?
Those who love and know you would never feel you further from them; and,
if you found support and peace greater from other teaching and other
services, why not go where you would have it? To me, of course, the old
services, which first opened to me the sight of how things are, and how
they should be, come home to me with a gathered force almost weekly. To
me there open continually new visions of how our Church will expand and
adapt itself to the large comprehensiveness and new needs of the time. I
believe the men who are now in her will cling on, with passionate
affection, to the creeds and services; but that they will link
themselves more with the outer world, and see with clearer eyes; and
that the Church will insensibly grow with and by their growth.

I see in such movements as Mr. Fremantle’s Church Council, open to
people of all creeds by election, a sign of much deeper and wider faith
than churchmen have hitherto recognised as possible in the Church. I see
in it, also, much ground of hope in the added responsibility and
interest possessed by laymen. The new permission to use churches for
lectures on secular subjects seems to me another sign of the breaking
down of formal distinctions, and recognition of life as holy.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 January 22nd, 1873.


You slipped out so that I did not see when you went; and I do not seem
one-half to have thanked you for all your help; it was of a kind I never
can forget. Neither do I seem to have told you how very happy the news
of the arrangement with Stansfeld made me.

I hope you were not damped by the hitch about the “Public.” I am so
accustomed to this kind of thing, and to its coming all right, that I
seem to see beyond the difficulty. Will you, when you are seeing or
writing to your friends, tell them of the delay in the immediate
starting of the plan? It _shall_ be done soon somehow, and might come to
an issue any day; but I feel a little anxious lest any contributor
should begin to think we did not intend to try the plan, if they hear
nothing for some little time. You will know best to whom this temporary
pause had better be explained.


                                                     February 8th, 1873.


Did I tell you that Mr. Barnett, the curate who has worked with Octavia
so admirably in St. Mary’s, has just married Miss Henrietta Rowland, one
of Octavia’s best workers; and now they are going to live and work in
the East End? Octavia thinks it such a splendid thing to have such a man
at work down there—she thinks it quite a nucleus of fresh life; and Mrs.
Barnett, of whom Octavia is very fond, is admirably fitted for the work
too. The wedding was very touching—the church was crowded with poor
people; even the galleries were filled with them. He was so much
beloved—one of those men with strong individual sympathies and an
intimate personal knowledge of the people in their homes—a strong
Radical too, with a horror of class distinctions, and practical
disregard of them, which you don’t find in all Radicals.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     March 6th, 1873.


No rumours nor published statements, or chattering remarks would ever
confuse me, or weigh for a moment against the quiet assurance of anyone
whom I trusted. The _facts_ which really concern one about one’s friends
are not those of their business or circumstances, but of themselves; and
I think one knows a little when and how one may trust. When one does
feel confidence, much more confusing circumstances than these have ever
been do not touch one’s trust. I think one often has to hold two truths
apparently utterly inconsistent, side by side in one’s mind, knowing
that, both being proved true, there must be some possibility of
reconciling them by some unknown third truth, which time may reveal. And
I am sure that trust in anyone, known to be good, could not be shaken by
merely outward appearances. One likes to know how things are. One
objects to be puzzled, and to have no word of explanation about how
things are; but trust in human beings is no more to be determined by
want of sight, than the trust in God Himself is by the impossibility of
seeing why He leads us by certain ways we cannot understand for the
moment. For the human trust is based on that which is part of His
nature, and as such is quite firmly planted.... We read half a
controversy, and largely resolve that the truth lies somewhere between
the two correspondents. We do not long for judgment, but “hush matters
up,” or let them “blow over”; and do not bring them out to the light,
and choose between them.


                                                        March 9th, 1873.


I am in a frantic state of excitement (which I fear will be dashed very
completely) as to the public-house. Mr. Fremantle handed me a slip of
paper at a meeting yesterday to say that the licence of the “Walmer
Castle” had been refused, and asking if he should see Sir J. Hamilton
(who is chairman, I think he said, of the Bench), about granting one to
us.... Since which, tho’ I have written and sent messengers, I cannot
get any answer.... To-morrow I purpose going myself and waiting till I
can see him....

I wonder why you enjoy Jason “immensely.” It is marvellously real, and
so old-world as to be a refreshment to those mixed up with
nineteenth-century things. The images are lovely, and the music of the
verse soft; but the sustained melancholy of the whole poem is very
terrible, I have always thought, a certain measure being put on all joy
by the belief that it has no outcome, no fulfilment anywhere beyond
itself. You have not, I daresay, finished the book to see how, with all
his fortitude, just because he misses the highest joy of all, he chooses
so low a one as to reject all that had made the majesty of life, the
companion at once of pain and of his greatness too. I have always longed
to see how Morris would treat a distinctly Christian story, and was full
of regret that he withdrew—or never wrote—his promised “St. Dorothea.”

                                                       March 16th, 1873.


How strangely people do come to me, Mary! I cannot make it out. There is
something in the work which strongly attracts them. Mr. —— seemed
perfectly engrossed, and could hardly tear himself away. What it is, I
cannot tell; but either pity, or some other feeling, is gathering round
me a company of allies so kind and so zealous that I ought to achieve a
great deal. It is well for me that I am served so willingly, for I would
rather do anything at any cost than have it done for me unreadily.

                                                       March 23rd, 1873.


We have heard to-day a sermon of Kingsley’s for the Girls’ Home. It was
almost wholly about Mr. Maurice, and gave him fully the place one
believes he has. It was a sermon full of Kingsley’s own peculiar power;
and there was not a word in it that was not true and beautiful. It was
to us a sight of deepest solemnity. The church,—_that_ where we were
baptised, and confirmed and where Minnie was married—was crammed with
people, and one knew every second face. It was filled with the old
Lincoln’s Inn and Vere St. people, and with their spiritual inheritors
of all that teaching. Mr. Davies, grave and intense, was the moving
spirit there....

We had a very good meeting on Wednesday at Willis’s Rooms. I was the
only lady on the platform, and in the ante-room had such interesting
talk with all the people. Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Westminster and Lord
Lichfield and Mr. Hughes, Mr. Andrew Johnston, Mr. Longley, and hosts of
people were there. Mr. Hughes stayed by me all the time and was so kind.
Did I tell thee about dining at the Cowper Temples and meeting Kingsley
and Lord and Lady Ducie? It is all very interesting; but thou knows how
often the loveliest and best things one meets are not among the
celebrities at all, but by piercing below the surface of those who are
supposed to be commonplace. I cannot tell thee how often this happens to


                                                    Brantwood, Coniston,
                                                      April 27th, 1873.


I have stores of lovely memories, to last for many a day.... We drove to
the foot of a steep ascent, and then climbed the steep slope,—such a
road. It was by smooth slopes set with fir and larch and sycamore, by
mountain walls covered with ivy, till at length we got to where the lake
lay far beneath us. Then we left the road and went on to a central
point, where the peaks stood round us like a great company of spirits;
and one ridge beyond another showed their great blue flanks; past a
mountain tarn, and wild stream, which flowed to the valley, by cascades
and dark deep brown pools, and banks set with primrose, anemone, and
wood sorrel.... It ended very brightly and sweetly after all, quite to
my heart’s content.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   May 11th, 1873.


The cupboard[69] is come and is fairly established in my room. You
cannot tell what a rest and delight it is to me. For, first, it looks
quite at home and gives a solemn old-world feeling to the room which is
in itself a rest. But, secondly, the carved frieze on which are date and
initials, is thrown forward and its projection throws a great quiet
space of shade which the eye cannot penetrate. It is like some of those
old Byzantine palaces, or the shadow below the Palazzo Vecchio at
Florence. The recess panels, old knobs, even the keyholes, give sharp
shadows much smaller, but full of beauty. I did not the least anticipate
the beauty of this while the cupboard stood in the hall. The double
light was very unbecoming, while the height of this window and the
nearness of the cupboard to it makes the shadows beautifully steep. The
shade it throws on the door is very nice. As to the Doge, he looks
quieter than ever up above the dark oak. The room looks perfectly
beautiful to my mind. I need hardly say the cupboard stands behind the
door, the sofa with its end towards door. I sit in my green chair and
gaze at the cupboard with greatest delight.

                                                         May 18th, 1873.


I have bought a house in ——, certainly the worst Court left untouched by
us on this side of the parish.

Mr. Longley writes to me from the Local Government Board, to say they
are really thinking of appointing Mr. Barnett a Guardian. I am just
going to St. Jude’s (Whitechapel) to spend the evening.

We are deeply interested about the rebuilding in B. Court. I wish we
could pause a very little, and reinforce ourselves in our old positions,
before extending further. I almost tremble when I see how little power
of growth any of our schemes have, where I withdraw myself. However, I
say to myself, “Courage! it will the more bring out the character and
power of your fellow-workers.” I often and often pray heart and soul as
I go in and out, that someone with wisdom and zeal would arise, and take
my place or part of it. The Store is doing very badly, and I wish you
would send me a prospectus of the Manchester Store. Dearest Lady Ducie
is more and more in —— Court. It is a great blessing.


                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   May 25, 1873.


I shall be delighted to see Dr. Mouat as well as the others, on
Wednesday. I only ought to point out to you that in going through the
courts, especially if we go into any rooms, we must divide. Five of us
could not well invade a small room unexpectedly; also that in areas,
yards, and courts, one can’t talk so well to a large party, to point out
what has been done, or tell what was. It might be well managed in this
way. You might all come here; and we might sit and have a nice talk
before we start. We might appoint that Miss Cons should meet us in the
Court; and two might go with her, and three with me, to see what is to
be seen. She can and does tell and show as well or better than I.
Wednesday is by no means a hard day, thank you, for me; especially as
they have determined that the Dwellings Committee at the Council should
not sit this week. I shall enjoy dining with you very much; it would do
me all the good in the world; as to meeting Mr. Bosanquet, it would be a
great pleasure. He is a man who lives up to his Christianity, moment by
moment, and in silence teaches it more powerfully than almost anyone I
know. He is just a touch conventional, and alarms me in proportion; but
I like him thoroughly. I wonder how you are. You say nothing of that. It
will be so nice to see you again.

                                                        June 15th, 1873.

I have had a great delight this week. Browning has been reading his last
volume at Lady D——’s. The intense fervour of the man dominated the
company into a hush of awe.

The MacDonalds are home and so kind. Mr. James Cropper of Kendal has
asked me to go and stay with him.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   June 22nd, 1873.


I never realised till this moment that I had not written to tell you how
very glad we shall all be to have Miss C. here. I think it may help us
all to get on better together. I wish I were gentler, and better able to
let people see what I feel. In one way I can conceal nothing. Everyone
knows what I think, right or wrong, which passes; but few know how much
I care for them. Sometimes people almost make me wonder whether I love
in some other, poorer way than most people after all; one cannot measure
one’s own love by that of others; but I feel as if I loved very deeply,
rejoiced in natures, would serve people thankfully, never forsake them;
but it seems to be very difficult for any but a few to know this. I
daresay little thoughtfulnesses and gentle gracious acts are worth a
great deal more; and these I miss doing very disgracefully. Well, I do
try to amend; and where I fail, people must forgive me, and take what
they can get from me, hoping to find what they need most from others.

It will be very delightful to see you to-morrow night. There is a kind
of piano at the Club; we shall want plenty of songs. Probably you know
the kind; simple ones, that will do them real good, and especially
“Angels ever bright and fair.” The room is tiny, and very close; but we
will do our best to air it; you said you perferred meeting us there. The
hour is 8 o’clock.


                                                 Cullen,[70] Banffshire,
                                               September 6th, 1873.


As to me I am as well as it is possible to be, and very happy. We had
magnificent weather for our journey; and here the weather is very nice,
tho’ we have hardly a day without some rain. We don’t pay any attention
to it, but manage to be out seven or eight hours daily. The sea is so
grand just now; there have been storms out at sea; and the swell sends
the waves rolling in, and breaking in masses of foam about the rocks.
There was a revival here among the fishermen twelve years ago; the
effects of it seem really to have lasted; and everyone dates all the
reforms from _that_. The fishermen are a splendid race here; vigorous
and simple. Mr. MacDonald seems so at home with them; and we often get
into nice talks with them on the beach. The sea-town, as they call it,
and another tiny village called Port Nochie contain nothing but
fishermen; they hardly intermarry at all with the land population; but
are a distinct race, tho’ within a few yards of us here. They have only
about six surnames in the place; every man is known by a nick-name. We
spent the day on Wednesday at an old castle on a promontory of rock,
washed on three sides by the sea itself. The position and plan remind me
forcibly of Tintagel. It is called Finlater Castle, and is now nothing
but a ruin. The family is merged in that of the present Lord Seafield,
who is the head of the clan Grant; and bears for his motto, “Stand fast
Craig Ellachie!” Do you remember Ruskin’s allusion to it in “The Two
Paths”? Lord Seafield’s house is close to here. They are away; but have
lent Mr. MacDonald keys to the garden and house.... I am delighted that
you got the girl that situation.... How very nice about the Work Class
tea. I do so much like to hear of things like that when I am away.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 September 28th, 1873.


.... The number of people whom I saw who were interested in the work was
very great. Among others, Mr. F. Myers, the poet, offered me £500 for
houses. Mr. Crowder did the same. Did I tell thee that his father is
dead? He comes into a large fortune, and is full of schemes of his
future work. He has two friends, clergymen, with them he hopes to work;
but they seem to me set on the country, and he on London work. If he
comes alone to London he says that it would be to me; but I should try
to transfer him to Mr. Barnett.

They all got up at five o’clock, drove some miles, and came by train to
Rugby to talk over matters with me. They are such a splendid trio.


                                                               1873 (?).


Can you interest anyone in the plan described in the enclosed? And will
Mr. Fitch give his name to the North Marylebone Committee?

I shall never forget Mr. Haweis’s action in this matter, and shall
respect him all my life. He saw the magnitude of the undertaking, but
never paused, for fear he should be leading a forlorn hope; he
resolutely and earnestly took the matter up. He has got us a worker as
Honorary Secretary, at once, and thinks we are certain “to succeed if we
do the thing well,” as we only want money.

Hope is the one article which is deficient; but, though I have always
the smallest imaginable supply of it myself, I feel as if, for the sake
of securing air and light and beauty for the hundreds I see up in those
fields, when I take my own people there, I had resolution enough to
nerve every one else in London for the effort. We have nearly £4,000
promised, and have only been at work a few days; but the provoking thing
is that so many people say they will help, if the scheme is carried out,
instead of seeing that it depends on them, and such as they, to say what
they will give, before we can tell whether it will be carried out.

Perhaps I am impatient; but I wish small people would build like the
ants, and believe the heap will grow bigger, if they persevere; and that
big people would take pattern from Mr. Haweis, and be a little more
courageous, even if it should turn out that they lead a forlorn hope;
and that they would not hang back, till they see if others of their kind
come in a flock.

These fields are within the four miles radius,—are within a stone’s
throw of a station of the Metropolitan; their view can’t be built out
because they are on a hill; the houses are rapidly creeping round their
fourth side; they are within an easy walk of Lisson Grove and its
crowded courts, to say nothing of our people here. Of course they are
not central, yet no one can make a park, when a place has become
central. Let them try in St. Giles or Clerkenwell; we must a little
precede the builders, if we are to have central places. I have one idea
at this moment,—“the fields.” Laugh at me as much as ever you feel
inclined; but get Mr. Fitch to help us.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     October 5th, 1873.

  A special extra letter to fellow-workers about a proposed inscription
  on Freshwater Place.

                  *       *       *       *       *

I should have liked to have written to each, because I should like to
have recalled the special thanks, which makes me anxious you should each
consent to help me in a piece of work that I have in hand. Some of you
have worked side by side with me in the court which it will benefit;
some of you have helped me with money and with sympathy never to be
forgotten, in difficult undertakings, before the world smiled on them,
or success crowned them; some of you stood by me when my work was
unpopular, and seemed to many cruel; some of you have knelt with us in
daily prayer, lived among us, learnt things from us, cheered us with
your glad young lives, and are now gone back to other homes. Perhaps you
were interested in our work, when you were among us; perhaps you
understood and cared little for it then; but it may look more important
and useful as you look back to it. Some of you have never lived or
worked with us at all, but have entered into the deeper fellowship of
sympathy, have hoped for the same bright things, prayed for them, and
feel (though separated by space) “one of us,” in a deeper sense than
_that_ in which some of you have used the phrase.


I cannot write to each of you; but, if, on any of these grounds, you
would care to help in a plan that I have much at heart, I earnestly wish
you would.

You all know Freshwater Place, our first freehold, Mr. Ruskin’s court,
where we have our playground,—which is mixed up with May festival
memories for many of you.

You know something of how hard I worked for it long ago; my difficulties
in building the wall, and in contending with the dirt of the people; how
gradually we reduced it to comparative order, have paved it, lighted it,
supplied water cisterns, raised the height of rooms, built a staircase,
balcony, and additional storey; how Mr. Ruskin had five trees planted
for us, and creepers, and by his beautiful presents of flowers, helped
to teach our people to love flowers. You know, or can imagine, how dear
the place is to me.

For some six years now, I have thought that, if ever I could afford it,
I should like to put up along the whole length of the four houses which
face the playground on the east side, some words, which have been very
present to me many a time, when my plans for improving the place for the
tenants were either very unsuccessful for the moment, or very promising
or very triumphant, or very bright, but far away in the future.

The words are these:—“Every house is builded by some man; but He that
built all things is God.” They have been present to me when I have been
at work in putting to rights visible, tangible things there; they have
been no less present to me, when I have been trying to build up anything
good in the people. They have reproached any presumption in me; but they
have revealed to me the sure ground for the very brightest hope that I
have ever cherished for the worst of them; for it is indeed but a very
limited sense in which we build anything; we only work as His ministers;
but all that is built, or shall be built and established, He doeth it

How much of all this meaning the passers by may see one does not know,
nor very much care. The words would assuredly be a blessing to some
people when they come suddenly upon them, in a city full of places, that
almost make one think that God did not build them,—has forgotten
them,—and does not mean to rebuild them in the years to come, when we
listen to His voice more.

Now will you help me to place the words there? I am not likely ever to
be able to afford to do it myself; but I was talking one day lately to a
friend about my six years’ wish to do it; and he suggested that many
people might like to help. There are fifty-six letters; if each letter
is a foot square, the inscription will occupy the full length of the
four houses; each letter will cost nearly 8/–. If any of you will give a
letter, you may like to feel that you have helped to write a sentence
that will speak when you are far away, and after you are dead.

I want to make the sentence very lovely in colour, that the mere
brightness of it may be a joy to every one that sees it. It will be done
in tiles, so that every shower of rain may keep them clean and bright. I
want them to be done in blues, purples and greens, and very bright; for,
though the loveliest effect comes from a subdued glow with sparks of
brilliant colour gleaming out, our inscription, costly as it will be,
and though it will run the length of four houses, will be a little space
compared with the dingy spaces of wall in the court, and but a spot
compared to the still dingier spaces of all London; so we must treat it
as the spark, and let it glow with bright colours.


She ends by two long quotations from Ruskin, of which she says:—“They,
no doubt, taught me to care for permanent decoration, which should
endear houses to men, for external decoration which should be a common

                                                     October 26th, 1873.


Thank you very much for the nice rent book. It is such a pleasure to me
to see things nice; and I am sure it has a good influence on everyone
concerned. Just because I do so little to put them right myself, it
gives me quite a thrill of gratitude and pleasure when anyone else
does.... Miss —— is sure to consider it quite thrown away labour. Why is
this in her, I often wonder? She would do a thing of the kind any day to
spoil me, but she would think me quite mad to care, all the time. I went
to Mr. De Morgan’s studio. _I_ think the things lovely; and I think I
mean to decide the matter according to my desire, partly because I care
very much, partly because the thing will last; and I think the world is
coming round towards such colour and design almost every year; so I
shall feel only a little in advance of it, not out of harmony. But I am
quite sure that the dim subdued solemn colour, and blurred uncertain
suggestive outline, will not seem to people in general half so pretty,
or so _good_, as the clearly defined edge and crude but gay colour of
some other tiles. There is an artistic loveliness about the one, which
one must watch to care for; while the vulgar completeness of the other
commends itself to modern taste. So far, I know you personally will
agree with me; and we must prepare other people to be disappointed. But,
in my next decision, I don’t know that I shall carry even you with me.
The more I thought out the question, and the more I saw of the tiles,
the more I felt as if blue, and blue only, would look best. I can’t see
how we can get a look of unity in the inscription, if we introduce other
colour. I dislike a distinction between capitals and other letters in
colour, when one has no difference in height. I dislike the idea of a
line round the inscription; besides, it would decrease the size. I
therefore strongly urged blue only, but gradated blue, such as I saw
there. I know in his heart Mr. De Morgan agreed with me. He has,
however, a lovely copper lustre, which gleams like a fish’s back, and
tells now as light, now as dark, like gold, according to how the rays
fall on it; and he sorely wants to see this; also he has a deep crimsony
red which he is fond of. I never wavered, however, in my adherence to
the blue, except in sight of one plate,—green blue and purple shot like
a peacock’s tail, but in a lighter key. I really decided nothing; first,
because I had not the money, but I might have decided provisionally, and
let a postcard finish the business with the one word “now,” when all the
tiles are promised; but Mr. De Morgan, like a true artist, pressed so
hard for leave to try different colours and designs, on his own
responsibility, and for his own pleasure, that I agreed at last that he
should do a few letters in the next kiln. Of course it is all gain to
us; and I was most decided that none of the money subscribed should go
in experiments.


  E  Miss Harrison              }
  V  Mr. Smale                  } Old fellow
  E  Mrs. Godwin                } workers
  R  Miss Smith                 } specially
  Y  Mr. Downs (Ruskin’s        } connected
       Gardener),               } with the
       who planted the          } court itself.
       trees in the playground. }

                       { Very great
                       { personal
  H  Mary Harris       { friends of
  O  Mr. Young         { old standing,
  U  Lady Ducie        { except Mr.
  S  Mr. Shaen         { Young, who
  E  Mrs. Shaen        { has been a very
                       { true helper.

  I  Mr. & Mrs. Hughes  } a word a
  S  Mrs. N. Senior     } family.

  B  Mrs. Hill          }
  U  Margaret           }
  I  Miranda            }
  L  Mr. & Mrs. Lewes   } a word a
  D  Myself             } family.
  E  Mr. & Mrs. Maurice }
  D  Florence           }

  B  Mr. Barnett  } word for family,
  Y  Mrs. Barnett } initial letters
                  } too.

  S  Mr. Harrison   } a word a
  O  Mrs. Harrison  } family now
  M  Mr. Macdonell  } solemnised
  E  Mrs. Macdonell } by death.

  B  Mrs. Johnston     }
  U  Miss Trevelyan    } a word a
  T  Miss J. Trevelyan } family.

  H  Ruskin.
  E  Mr. & Mrs. MacDonald.

  T  Mr. Mayo     }
  H  Miss Mayo    } a word a
  A  Miss A. Mayo } family.
  T  Miss C. Mayo }

                      { Somewhat
  B  Miss Baumgartner { miscellaneous,
  U  Mr. S. Beaumont  { but
  I  Miss Dittrich    { a beautiful
  L  Mr. Matheson     { word, and
  T  Mr. Barrington   { all worthy
                      { of it.

  A  } Our pupils, including
  L  } Miss S. Burgess.
  L  }

  T  Mrs. Whately.
  H  Emma Clover.
  I  Mr. Boyle.
  N  Col. Gardiner.
  G  Stansfeld.
  S  Miss Sterling.

  I  Alice Meredith { a word for
  S  Miss Humphreys { two great
                    { friends.

  G  Ruskin.
  O  Mr. Watson.
  D   〃    〃

          _Blank Tiles._

     Mr. Bond.
     Mr. Kincaid.
     Miss Ridley.
     Miss J. Trevelyan.
     Miss Bain and her friend.

                                                    November 11th, 1873.


Mr. Shaen’s repeated help, again and again, has alone carried us through
difficult crises in the work. It is not only his power and thoroughness
nor only the amount of heart with which he has entered into its objects,
but the blessed sense of quiet and assurance it gives to feel how
completely one can trust him, that makes me know that we owe more to him
than to almost anyone else who has helped us. I shall never forget his
help at times of difficulty, and uniform kindness always.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     October 12th, 1873.


I have not felt at all like a friend in not answering you before, as I
often do when people do or write loving things, and I never utter a
word. But I did not feel so—for I knew that you knew quite well much
that it was in my heart to say. Only now I do delightedly seize the time
for writing.

I do see very distinctly indeed how ladies might be enrolled in the
service of the Poor Law, just as we do it here. I think that the plan
has immense advantages, so long as we have out-door relief; and that it
might help to break down the system very much. If I were doing the
thing, I would enrol not ladies, but volunteer men and women. They must
have a definite head and centre. That centre might be either paid or
unpaid. I think our relieving officers and guardians would report well
of the scheme, even as it works now; though, after it has been longer on
foot, of course we could prove more results. We could be used to any
extent for an extension of the scheme, if it were decided on, and if the
time had arrived for extending it. It is very different from the larger
questions which Stansfeld asked you to grapple with, and comes down to
the individual work, and would fit on therefore with ours here. I will
delightedly see you about it, at any time or place that you arrange.
This, of course, touches nothing but the question of out-door relief. I
don’t think that I have anything practical to suggest about the in-door
poor, among whom, no doubt, women’s work is much needed. One sees a
great many principles, which ought to be brought to bear in the
workhouse, if only one went there in power; but I have neither
experience nor time to help in this direction.


I see certain definite lines of work, in which I shall be particularly
glad of help; but of course it would never do to break in upon a
definite course of reading.

Miss Peters,[71] my new assistant, has not come yet unfortunately. I
almost pray that she may stay, as she seems so exactly all that I have
so long wanted.

Mr. Barrington is so good that I grow much interested in him, and am
very grateful to him.

  The following letter refers to a testimonial presented to Mr.
  Cockerell by the members of a Workmen’s Club.

                                                    December 21st, 1873.


Surely the recognition of and approval of good work depends on the
degree of the perfection of the perceiving and measuring power of
onlookers. There is much glittering meretricious work which everyone
sees and applauds; there is much of the noblest work which few, if any,
see; but surely, while we have spirits and hearts, we must sometimes
catch a glimpse of the good things done among us, and of their value.
You must indeed have a low opinion of your poor club friends, if you
think that, because they see it, and respect it, and delight in your
work, it must be bad. There was no oppressive sense of obligation among
them; there was no flattery, expectant of returned compliments; there
was no thought of your expecting word or token of thanks; but so far as
I could see, a happy over-brimming sense of help, joyfully given and
joyfully received. Nothing delighted me more than the earnest, intense
way in which when the speaker poured out his epithets of “liberal,”
“gracious,” “generous,” the noun that had to come was (rather, I
thought, to his own surprise) “advice.” It seemed to me quite beautiful
that, with the wide class gulf between you, the relation was so manly,
so happy, so independent; and that the adjectives were so evidently
hearty and sincere and the gift so pure from all taint. When you read
the end of Brook Lambert’s letter, or Lowell’s Sir Launfal, you will
know why the relationship between you seemed to me so real, even tho’
their sense that the only thing they could give you was not a _thing_ at
all, but a few words to tell you what they felt. Did you feel so “dumb”?
Well! it did not strike me so. I believe I anticipated _that_; I do not
think people can do otherwise than as their nature prompts them,
especially when suddenly tried. But do not be uneasy; your life has not
been “dumb” to them, and will not be; perhaps will speak none the less
deeply for that very dumbness....

Yes! I suppose you too would have shut yourself out from the
inscription, if I had been foolish enough to mean, and you had known me
so little as to think I meant, that you should measure the amount and
form of your faith, before helping us. I never meant it. It is good to
be wholly honest, and to say the difficult and unpopular thing, when one
has to answer a question, and to be cautious not to confuse a feeling
with an opinion, nor a hope with a logically proved conviction. But I
should be the last person to ask the question, especially in that way,
or to desire to shut out anyone in the cold, who had not clearly thought
out their belief, or to whom gigantic problems loomed terrible between
themselves and the desired belief....


I didn’t want the gift made unwillingly, nor, certainly, insincerely;
but the latter I never suspected. To me the real man is the man when his
hope is brightest, and the vision of what _may be_ almost trembles into
certainty, that that best thing _is_. This is the man I see and know,
see as I myself believe that he will be when the veils are rent asunder,
and he sees, after having learnt what it is to be alone and blind. To me
too there is much the same kind of distinction between a man’s
distinctly grasped and well defined opinions, and his gleams of what may
be beyond them, as Browning shows, between his achieved work and visions
of better things, when he says:—

  Then she quotes the three verses beginning “Not on the vulgar mass,”
  from Rabbi Ben Ezra.

                                          Hastings (George MacDonald’s).
                                              December 27th, 1873.


I am not a little amused that the idea that the best man is the real man
should seem to you in any way new. I am sure you must always have felt
it and acted on it, with children, with wrong-doers, when they, whom you
have watched and cared for, have wandered from what is right; whenever
you have tried to reconcile a quarrel, whenever you have tried to
forgive anyone who has done you a wrong. It can only be the definite way
of putting the thought into words that can be new. I think all the sense
of peace one is able to have in this world comes from this conviction;
certainly all who have tried to reform themselves owe their strength to
this faith. It seems to me the only ground for preaching freedom, and
the only right foundation for hope for any of us.... Miss Cons came out
with such a great proffer of help that it made me feel how real her
friendship was, whatever little clouds or freaks might obscure it; how
it was something that might be depended on in need, and was real and
true all the time. It did me such good. I came down here quite

                                                        Tortworth Court,
                                                      January 3rd, 1874.


I wonder what you would think of life here. I often feel how much most
people would learn and gather from men actually engaged in the political
world’s work; and how much I lose it all, for need of knowledge enough
to learn. I come in, like some queer new being, from another region; but
I think it enlarges one even to see and listen to those whose interests
are so different. Lady Ducie I know you would like heartily and deeply.
I feel it a great privilege to see her so thoroughly. What a strange
thing it is to glide so wholly into a sense of ease and perfect harmony
with such a variety of people as I know, and to meet them on such simple
human grounds of sympathy!

                                                       March 26th, 1874.


Octavia had her party of 300 costermongers from Drury Lane last night.
She did not sit down once from 3 o’clock till past eleven, nor did she
eat in the interval. It was a grand success. The people thoroughly
enjoyed themselves. Of course they did ample justice to the tea, and
liked the music so much,—poor people. Miss Antoinette Sterling sang
beautiful, rather solemn, music, in her rich alto voice. When she and
her friend came in in opera cloaks, the people cheered; “it was all the
opera cloaks,” she said to Octa.... The clergyman was enthusiastically
delighted, and told O. she should have a great hall in his parish
whenever she wanted it....


                                          Undated. Probably April, 1874.


... Mr. Barnett’s illness _is_ sad.... Octa went there on Sunday
evening, and had a very interesting talk with him. She asked him what
would be the end of the East End. Would it disperse, or what? He said he
thought it would change; that there is a great deal of building going on
countrywards—houses that implied an income of £500 a year or so;—these
were taken by people who had got their money in the East End, and who
would continue their connection with it, and help to raise it. He thinks
it more airy than the West End. His house is better built than Mr.
Hart’s in Queen Anne Street. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes sent Octa a pressing
invitation for Sunday evening;—but the Barnetts won.... O. is going to
dine this evening at the Seeleys’. She keeps wonderfully well, and is as
busy as a bee—in and out—in and out—very _like_ a bee—and like it too in
her happy murmurings whilst at work, and evident pleasure in the

                                                Derwent Bank, Broughton,
                                                    April 12th, 1874.


Thank you very much indeed for the letter of introduction to Professor
Caird.... I hope I may have time to see him; but I shall only be there
two nights, and have my time pretty well promised.... M. will tell you
that the C.O.S., St. Mary’s, the Council, and a private lesson prevent
us from taking any other day for the excursions, except Wednesday.

                                                        June 16th, 1874.


I did not manage to say to you to-day what I was wanting much to say,
which was that, in spite of the extreme kindness and beautiful feeling
shown by whoever has given all this help, I must request you not to
receive for me one farthing more. The thing is done, beautifully,
efficiently, abundantly; there really it must rest. I have more than
enough for holidays and everything I can possibly want, as much as ever
I wish to have. And it is one thing to accept once for all a great gift
like this; and quite another to take help for special objects in this
way. I do assure you I would rather not; in fact I simply can’t do it. I
don’t know that I could logically defend my position, but I feel the
distinction very deeply; and I do assure you I mean what I say. richer
than I ever did, and able to do things I never dreamed of doing. But
once more and most emphatically I decline more. I have enough.




It is very nice being again right down among the tenants; and, oh! dear
me! how things do get on when one does them oneself! It has all caused a
great change in my life; for I have now _four_ nights weekly engaged
among the people,—often _five_; so I have to refuse nearly every
invitation that comes, and, except for my near fellow-workers, I see
little of anyone, except the poor. However, the fellow-workers are now
very numerous, and care to take trouble to see one.

Andy and the girls are entering most heartily into one or two plans for
the poor. Agnes Yarnall’s[72] great interest is such a help among the
girls. The girls are to issue invitations, devise entertainments, and
order things for the tenants’ children’s party. And Miranda and they are
to practise sacred music for one of the St. Jude’s Soirées (_i.e._ for
Mr. Barnett’s church in Whitechapel). I am so glad, for the old interest
appeared to have cooled so of late years; but now they are full of it. I
went a long walk with the Barnetts at Wimbledon; it was so lovely, and I
brought back fresh green moss, and a few gorse flowers.

                                                        June 18th, 1874.


... Octavia’s affairs _do_ grow. This morning she received offers of
four other properties. I don’t know that she will accept them. Miss Cons
and Octa have gone to dine at Mrs. Backhouse’s.... O. was tempted by the
attraction of meeting her dear Mr. Cropper; else it was a struggle to
her to give up the Charity Organisation Committee.... O. proposes to
take me to Normandy for a fortnight.

                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                      July 19th, 1874.


... I think all went very well; and the deep purpose of Octavia’s
statesmanship—for which the party was given, that of uniting St. Mary’s
people somewhat—seemed to have succeeded. I feel frightened, when I
discover what deep reasons of state Octavia has for her actions. I am
afraid of spoiling some political combination (parochial rather than
political) by some awkwardness of mine, from being wholly incapable of
telling what it all means. I feel as if Octavia were a kind of Cecil in
her sphere....

We were much amused, because we heard there was to be a children’s
service, after which a collection was to be made for some benevolent
institution for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses. I thought the
children would not be willing to give. Octavia thought they might, if
they looked on it as a propitiatory sacrifice; or if they hoped to
pension off the teachers quickly, as infirm and unable to teach. Then
Miss S. told us that Lord Shaftesbury had once asked a boy why the
Eunuch “went on his way rejoicing,” and the boy replied, “Because Philip
had done the teaching of him, Sir.”


                                                 The Mill, Limpsfield.
                                                   September 20th, 1874.


... I was longing for news of you when the rumour reaches me that your
Report is really out. What that will really mean to you of suspense,
anxiety, of doubt of what it will be right under given circumstances to
do or not to do, I can only imagine. But this I know, and should care
for you to know,—that one, at least (one who is probably the sample of
many), will be thinking of you with love and perfect trust. Whatever the
newspaper critics, the interested officials, the angry partisans, may
say, there are those who know that your work has been done with
conscience, patience, singleness of eye and heart. There are those, too,
who know that out of such work God will in His own time bring results
valuable to the world; that it is like good seed sown in good ground;
and, though it may seem to die for a time, it will bear fruit. No
momentary ebullition of feeling, no apparent failure, can ever confuse
us as to this, we shall not be puzzled by having to wait for
results;—nor will any minor points draw our attention from the fact that
the work is thoroughly sound and good, governed by a right spirit; and
it will vindicate itself as such, in the best of all possible ways, by
achieving success, in the deepest sense of that much abused word

You and I know that it matters little if we have to be the out-of-sight
piers driven deep into the marsh, on which the visible ones are carried,
that support the bridge. We do not mind if, hereafter, people forget
that there are any low down at all; if some have to be used up in trying
experiments, before the best way of building the bridge is discovered.
We are quite willing to be among these. The bridge is what we care for,
and not our place in it; and we believe that, to the end, it may be kept
in remembrance that this is alone to be our object. But as we are human
piers, conscious of our own flaws, we are apt to fear that, so far from
forming strong supports, we may, through our own defects, be weak
foundations for the bridge. We must remember always that God has been
always pleased to build His best bridges with human piers, not angels,
nor working by miracles; but that He has always let us help Him, if we
will, never letting our faults impede His purposes, when we struggled
that they should not....

... I shall be home on the 28th, when I shall hear of any important
article. I fancy your part is done; and that you will now have the
easier duty of passive silence, leaving whatever has to be said to
others.... Edmund wants much to have a copy of your Report, and would
like, too, to write an article for the “Contemporary,”[73] if you know
of no one doing it. Charles (Lewes) is sure to know how to get the
information that he needs.

This rest has been such a blessed thing for me. I got such a break from
responsibilities of work as I never remember since I was a child.

                                                   Limpsfield, Red Hill,
                                                 September 20th, 1874.


My great fear was Miss P.’s leaving, as she is independent of salary.
Her greatest friend tells me that at first she thought it all almost
overpoweringly sad. I remember that she wanted to help people more, and
do repairs faster, than I thought wise. I told her to do exactly what
she thought right as to helping them with money. But I told her strongly
what I believed, and urged her to watch the result closely. I told her
the amount to be spent for repairs, and that she must _not_ exceed that;
but that she might spend it exactly as she chose in the house under her
care. It has ended in her feeling great loving confidence in my greater
experience, appealing to it most willingly, and yet exercising and
enjoying power, which has made her very much attached to the tenants and
the house that I gave her to manage. I look for great help from her in
the future, and I am very fond of her indeed.


                                                     October 18th, 1874.


I think the division of the work is going really very well. It makes a
great difference certainly to my work; it is quite curious how it
simplifies matters; of course it remains to be seen whether the things
are well done; but if not, we must improve or change our workers. At
least now we and they know their duties; and they have a chance of
proving if they are, or can grow to be, up to them. If we succeed at
all, we shall succeed much better than ever. Dear Miss Cons is more good
and sweet than words can express; but the pain to her is still very
great, and thro’ her is costing me a great deal. I, however, have the
consolation of clearly seeing the better end. The other workers are most
happy in their freedom and distinct responsibility, and in coming nearer
to me; and I shall know better what is in them.

                                                     November 1st, 1874.


We had a teetotal meeting at B. Crt. on Thursday. Mr. Smale is going to
take the lead there in the teetotal cause. It was very touching and very
beautiful to see him take the pledge. He looked so young and so good,
and took it wholly for the sake of the people. The speeches of the men
from an old established teetotal club, “The Dauntless,” were very
beautiful. I never heard anything straighter from the heart, nor saw
more living fire burning in men’s eyes. We have begun a series of _paid_
entertainments in B. Crt. on successive Saturdays. Last night the season
opened with a capital play by the MacDonalds. The room was crowded to
overflowing. The next performance is to be an operetta by Mrs. Baylis
and her friends.... Mary! I do so often tremble lest I should spoil all
by growing despotic or narrow-minded, or overbearing, or selfish; such
power as I have is a quite terrible responsibility; and so few people
tell me where I am wrong.

  This letter refers to the attacks of the medical officer on the B——

                                                    November 17th, 1874.


I enclose copy of attack, and will send one of my answer as soon as I
can. I am afraid the meeting _may_ be much more troublesome in
consequence; but I am glad that it is fixed independently of all this.
My fear is that the meeting may appear to them extorted by fear; but we
can but do our best. Of course it _must_ deal with the same questions.
Much will depend on the result of Thursday’s Vestry, on which occasion I
have asked to have my letter read, when Dr. ——’s report comes up.

Everyone has been kinder than I can well say; but the sort of thing is
troublesome and tiring very.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   November 23rd, 1874.


... Mr. Bosanquet says the Vestry _cannot_ condemn the houses. Octavia
has called a meeting of B. Court tenants to consult as to how _they_ can
keep things in better order, keep front doors shut, &c.... She is very
sorry it should happen now; but she had fixed the meeting before this
Vestry row occurred. She fears the tenants will be in a very bad state,
because of this affair; and I fear she will come back very dispirited.
It almost feels like that old Walmer Street meeting. She wants to get
co-operation; and the people think she is only to hear complaints.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   November 27th, 1874.


The result seems satisfactory on the whole. The Vestry _did_ adopt Dr.
W.’s report; but the question of the measures to be taken was referred
to Dr. W. and Octavia together. She was asked if she would be satisfied
with _that_, and said she would. She said this on the strength of Mr. E.
Hart’s co-operation,—who had seen Dr. W. the evening before the Vestry
meeting, and had shown him how utterly untenable his position was. Mr.
Hart looked into the matter thoroughly with O., and said he thought she
had a _very_ good case; and that, if Dr. W. persisted, he would only get
into difficulties. So, Dr. W. was most anxious to retreat, and agreed to
have a meeting with O. and Mr. Hart to settle measures of reform after
the Vestry meeting.... Several strangers in the Vestry were very nice
about O., and the feeling very much in her favour at last.

                                                     December 8th, 1874.


I don’t like the idea of simply repaying the balance after repairs are
paid for. These repairs are so vaguely enormous that we should never
know where we are. Besides, I fancy all successful management of finance
depends on walking open-eyed forward, having weighed possibilities and

I have just returned to-day from Leeds, after such a happy visit, in
which I do hope I have been really successful. The conference was most
interesting, and composed of very influential people. They collected
£3,000 at once, which is ample to buy and improve the court they want to
begin on; and they will wisely begin on a small scale. Evidently more
help would be forthcoming directly if wanted. I don’t think the
Corporation will move yet. Everyone was kind, tho’ they were all
strangers. Somehow it was all very bright and seemed to contrast
strangely with Dr. ——’s memories.

  The following letter requires a word of explanation. Ruskin had
  written to Octavia quoting the words which Carlyle used about her:—“Of
  a most faithful disposition, with clear sagacity to guide it. You
  can’t get faithful people; they’re quite exceptional. I never heard of
  another like this one.” (A pause) “The clear mind and perfect
  attention, meaning nothing but good to the people, and taking infinite
  care to tell them no lies.”


                                                    December 20th, 1874.


I am more touched than I can well tell you, at your thinking of sending
me Carlyle’s words in the midst of all your trouble. It was very kind
and showed me,—what I cared for most about it—that you had not given a
bad account of me to Carlyle; for, as he does not know me, he must have
judged me from your account, I like to presume. But, besides the comfort
of finding an old friend speaking kindly of me, I must say the words,
coming from Carlyle, came to me like the blessing of a prophet;
something as if they partly bound me to live up to them, partly crowned
me with honour for having suggested them, and partly soothed me for
present troubles, and helped me to see how ephemeral they were....

I am avoiding all newspapers, meetings and committees, and just going on
my own way, with silence and sound work and patience. How my friends
have come round me no words will describe; and I do believe, and must
believe that I shall win in the deep sense of the word “win,” in the
long run. But somehow Carlyle’s words came, as I say, like a fresh
message, teaching me to see all he has taught so magnificently, that the
true thing is the strong thing, and that the perfect act will prevail
against the wordy clamour.

The words shall be a standard for me to live up to.

                                                    December 26th, 1874.


I have been prevented from telling you in answer to your lovely letter,
that what Carlyle said was absolutely his own gathering and conclusion
from what he had seen and read of you, or heard, in various general
channels, and had no reference whatever to any report or praise of mine.
I am very glad I had it to send you just when you are beginning to feel
the Adversary at last rousing himself; and that you respect Carlyle so
much as to be rejoiced by his thoughts of you.

  The next letter refers to the housing scheme at Leeds.


On the practical side, Miss Octavia Hill had extraordinary mastery of
detail. She was kind enough, when I was living in Leeds, to accept an
invitation to come and describe her methods to a company, chiefly of
business men. We arranged a meeting in the theatre of the Philosophical
Hall, and some of the leading citizens were there. I well remember the
surprise of some of them at the clearness—not only of her opening
exposition—but of her spontaneous replies to questions concerning all
sorts of matters affecting the treatment of house property, sanitation,
repairs, bad debts.

                              CHAPTER VII
                        THE OPEN SPACE MOVEMENT

  The period recorded in the following letters marks the inauguration of
  a movement, which Octavia considered almost as important as that
  housing work with which her name is especially connected—the movement
  for the preservation of open spaces. It will be remembered that, in
  her first efforts to deal with tenement houses, she had been
  particularly anxious to secure a house with a garden; and, failing
  _that_, she had devoted a large part of her energies to laying out a
  playground, and brightening it by May Festivals, in which efforts she
  had the hearty co-operation of Mr. Ruskin, who sent his own gardener
  to plant the trees.

  It was natural, therefore, that she should desire to keep open all
  outlets for her poor friends in Marylebone, which would enable them to
  enjoy the fresh air and open country.

  Hence she became considerably alarmed, when she heard, in 1873, that
  some difficulties, which had hindered the destruction of the fields
  near the Swiss Cottage, had been removed; and that building plans were
  in preparation. The fields were dear to her, not only as the nearest
  country outlet for the Marylebone poor; but also as recalling her
  childhood, when they formed part of a wide stretch of open country
  where she and her sisters had played. She at once threw herself into
  the promotion of a scheme for saving these fields from the builder,
  and securing them as a recreation ground for the public. She enlisted
  the sympathy of Dean Stanley, Mr. Haweis and other well-known
  Londoners in the movement; while Mr. Edward Bond and Mr. C. L. Lewes
  and other Hampstead residents tried to stave off the encroachments of
  the builders from Hampstead. But the agent, who had the building
  scheme in hand, when he found that the purchase money was likely to be
  raised, succeeded in throwing such difficulties in the way, that the
  scheme was defeated; and Fitzjohn’s Avenue rose upon the ruins of the
  memories and hopes, which I have described.

  About the same time Octavia’s attention was called to the attempt of
  some members of the Society of Friends to build over the Bunhill
  Fields burial ground; an attempt obviously dangerous to health, and
  shocking to the feelings of many whose friends and relations were
  buried in the ground. Again, after a struggle, Octavia was defeated in
  her attempt to save the whole of the ground.

  These defeats convinced her of the desirability of rousing public
  opinion to the need of open space and fresh air for the poor; and it
  was while she was considering this matter that her sister Miranda
  read, to the pupils at Nottingham Place, a paper on the need of
  bringing beauty home to the people. This was a scheme, first, for
  decorating clubs and hospitals and other institutions used by the
  poor; secondly, for bringing first-class music within their reach;
  and, lastly, for preserving disused burial grounds and other open
  spaces. Octavia was so much impressed with her sister’s suggestions
  that she persuaded Miranda to read her paper again before a meeting of
  the National Health Society. How much the movement was in advance of
  the public opinion of that time was shown by more than one incident.

  Even on the very occasion when Miranda read her paper to the National
  Health Society a pause followed the reading; and then a lady started
  up, and tried to turn away discussion from the subject of the paper by
  introducing a reference to some new invention, which she considered
  much more important to health than the securing of open spaces could
  be. Octavia at once rose, and recalled the audience to the subject of
  the paper; and some sympathy was roused in the audience.

  But, outside that circle, a chorus of scorn came from comic and
  Society papers; and, if mockery could have stifled a movement, this
  one would have been nipped in the bud. But cold water sometimes makes
  such things grow. Several notable and helpful people came to its
  support; and I well remember that one gentleman was stirred, by the
  attacks of _Punch_, to send a subscription to the new Society.


  The name of the Man of Ross was chosen as the most fitting, badge of
  the new movement, and Her Royal Highness Princess Louise consented to
  become the President. Thus the Society which began with a small knot
  of friends, meeting at Nottingham Place, became widely useful, and
  Kyrle Societies were formed in other parts of the country, while the
  London Decorative branch was assisted by such artists as Leighton and
  William Morris, and the Musical branch was helped for many years by
  Malcolm Lawson.

  When a sub-committee was formed for dealing with open spaces, a very
  zealous and energetic lady was chosen as Honorary Secretary. She was
  full of the wrongs suffered by the poor, in the destruction of their
  rights over commons. Octavia was no less impressed with these
  grievances; and she took an active share in the work of the Commons
  Preservation Society; but she felt that the Kyrle Society had a
  different function from that of the larger and more combative body;
  and that to secure open spaces, and lay out disused burial grounds,
  was a work which could not be joined on to the struggles for legal
  rights undertaken by the Commons Preservation Society. As the Honorary
  Secretary of the Open Spaces Committee was unable to recognise the
  desirability of the separation between these two kinds of work, she
  resigned, and I took her place for a time. Like all good work, this
  movement led to unexpected consequences; and while much of the
  preservation of Metropolitan Open Spaces was afterwards undertaken by
  the Metropolitan Boulevards Association, Octavia, as will be shown
  later on, took an active part in still wider developments of this and
  similar undertakings.

  Thus it will be seen that the Open Spaces movement had a great many
  branches ... and its growth was well summarised by Octavia in a remark
  to her sister Miranda.

  When I first began the work, people would say, “I will give money for
  necessaries for the poor; but I do not see what they want with
  recreation.” Then after a few years, they said, “I can understand poor
  people needing amusement; but what good will open spaces do them? And
  now everybody recognises the importance of open spaces.”

  This change of public opinion was, no doubt, produced by the joint
  action of many people; and amongst Octavia’s fellow-workers in this
  matter none was more sympathetic and efficient than Mr. (now Sir
  Robert) Hunter. He had taken an active part in the formation of the
  Open Spaces Committee of the Kyrle Society; as Solicitor of the
  Commons Preservation Society, he had been able to further, by timely
  advice, many of the movements for securing the legal rights of the
  public over various commons and greens; and, while residing in
  Lincoln’s Inn Fields, he had been the soul of an attempt (then indeed
  a failure, but the prelude to a more successful effort) to persuade
  the municipal authorities to throw open the garden of Lincoln’s Inn
  Fields to the general public. Indeed, with the possible exception of
  Lord Eversley, the open spaces movement owes more to him than to any
  other man.

  But it will be easily understood that this important movement, even if
  it had been always successful, must have added a considerable strain
  to that sense of growing responsibility which was produced by the
  supervision of the tenants; and when accompanied with the kind of
  failures which I have mentioned, it often brought much vexation. And
  this period was also marked by the deaths of two of Octavia’s most
  valued fellow-workers, Mrs. Nassau Senior (that most lovable and
  charming sister of Mr. Hughes) and Mr. Cockerell, a most able and
  sympathetic member of the Committee of the Workmen’s Club, in which
  Octavia took so deep an interest.

  While these and other troubles were already breaking down her
  strength, there came the additional trial of that misunderstanding
  with Ruskin, to which so much attention has unfortunately been called.
  As the correspondence has been published, I do not propose to refer at
  length to that painful incident. But I feel bound a little to
  anticipate events by saying that we have ample evidence that Ruskin
  regretted his hasty words; that he showed his renewed confidence in
  Octavia by the manner in which he finally made over to her the
  possession of his houses; and that, on the other hand, her old
  affection and admiration for him never wavered in spite of that
  passing cloud. I may bring the allusion to this episode to an end by
  quoting the words which she used in her Letter to her Fellow Workers
  in 1899 on Ruskin’s death:


  “The earth seems indeed sadder and poorer that such a man lives on it
  no more.

  “That penetrating sympathy, that marvellous imagination, that
  wonderful power of expression, that high ideal of life have not only
  blessed his friends, but have left their mark on England.

  “To me personally the loss is irreparable. I have cared to think of
  the master and friend of my youth, in his lovely home, and to feel
  that he was among us still.

  “He has passed to the great beyond. All his noblest aspirations are
  opening before him, the incompletenesses passed away, the
  companionship of the mighty dead around him; the work accomplished,
  the love fulfilled, the peace complete, the blessings of thousands
  upon him.”

  But I have only introduced the subject in this place in order to
  emphasise the circumstances of the breakdown in Octavia’s health, and
  the interruption to her work, which, as will be seen in the next
  chapter, produced so remarkable a change in her life.

                                                    February 14th, 1875.


... Hast thou seen that Mr. Cross has brought in his Bill? Thou mayest
think how intensely eager we are over it. I dined at Mr. Kay
Shuttleworth’s on Wednesday to discuss its clauses with him and a few
experienced people, that he might know what to press on the House; and
on Friday Mr. K. S. called together another small company at the Ch.
Org. Soc. to rediscuss matters. They think the bill may be made to work.
They say the omissions are from ignorance, and will be willingly
corrected when pointed out, as everyone wants to work it. I dare hardly
hope; it seems so very near the realisation of much one has wanted so
long. Stansfeld was there, and was so kind, and Mr. Shaw-Lefevre. I am a
great deal in B. Court just now, and right down among the people there,
which is very nice. I am sensible how much I lack swiftly turning
perception, and unfailing gentleness, and a certain cautious reservation
of speech. My only chance among the people is trying to be all right, so
that it mayn’t matter their seeing right thro’ me. I have no powers of
diplomacy; these I don’t regret, but the power of non-expression might
be an advantage. However, I don’t get into great messes somehow; and I
suppose one was made like _this_, to do some particular work in the
world. The people are delightful down there, so responsive, so
trustful.... Dost thou know if ever I write again I shall make a point
of dwelling on Ruskin’s beginning the work? I fancy he feels sadly his
schemes have not succeeded; and they only want the admixture of humdrum
elements to make them into bodies; the soul is all there. His share is
the soul, and this ought to come prominently out.

I enclose the report of Stanley’s sermon, and of Mr. Kay Shuttleworth’s

I daresay I may feel more courageous after to-morrow, when the
public-house trial comes on. We quite expect to be defeated here, but
hope to win on the appeal. It will be very horrid to-morrow; there is
such strong personal feeling....

Miss Martin, the lady from Leeds who is staying here, is so very nice.
She has great power, and will do the work admirably. She has great
perception of character, and is so much interested in all our people,
poor and rich. It is a real pleasure to see her with the people....


Mr. Cross has accepted nearly all we submitted to him. So far all is
very satisfactory; but on the other hand there is likely to be
considerable delay; also Mr. Fawcett, representing extreme political
economy, and a Mr. Cawley representing vestrydom, are hatching a great
opposition. We are much afraid of clogging amendments being carried; and
no one knows what the Lords will do. I have secured an able and earnest
young supporter for the Bill, in the person of Lord Monteagle, who will
really master the details, and may secure more powerful allies in the
world’s opinion; though I believe in the careful whole-hearted work of
young men really in earnest, much more than in the chance of a few words
from a man of influence. Dost not thou?

I have been much engrossed about Mr. Cross’s Bill this week. I was in
the House on Monday when it was read a second time. Mr. Kay Shuttleworth
and Mr. Lefevre came up and had a long talk with me, and it was very
interesting. I did not learn very much; and tho’ they and Mr. Stansfeld
and Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Rathbone are talking over amendments with me, I
feel as if, now that the matter was well before the House, they and
others were far better judges of what amendments would work, what there
was a hope of carrying, than I am. It was very solemn, tho’; and a thing
I never shall forget. I was sitting quite alone in the gallery belonging
to the Speaker’s wife; it was very late, and she and her friends had all
gone home. The gallery is high up above the House, but one sees and
hears beautifully. I had been listening intently, but, when Mr. Kay
Shuttleworth began to speak, I thought I knew all that he was going to
say, and was leaning back thinking, when suddenly my own name caught my
ear. Mr. S. was speaking of the Macmillan article; and, instead of
quoting dry facts and figures, he read aloud from it the description of
the wonderful delight it gave me to see the courts laid open to the
light and air. And then he read the bit about the Chairman of the Trust
going over the old plans and photographs, and remarking on the changes,
and the longing that arose that someone, someday, in London might be
able to note similar purification. The words recalled vividly the
intensity of the longing, and the wonderfully swift realisation of the
prayer; and a great gush of joy rushed over me. But, besides _that_,
somehow it seemed a blessed thing to have half suggested, and wholly
anticipated the feeling on the part of that bright, promising young man,
and thro’ him to the whole House. One felt so small, so alone and
out-of-sight; and there were thoughts bearing fruit in ways of which one
had never dreamed. I can’t tell how tiny it made me feel. Mr. Kay
Shuttleworth happened to have told me that he had been spending Sunday
in the country, and could not get the subject out of his head, and that
he had re-read the article. I did not hear Mr. Rathbone’s mention of my
work, as I had gone to get some tea; my head was so very bad.

A Miss Martin, a friend of Mr. Estlin Carpenter’s, is coming to stay
with us till Easter, to learn our work, that she may help in the houses
that they are purchasing in Leeds.

I am heartily enjoying my work in B. Court.



 On the Artisans’ Dwellings Act of 1875.

I was closely associated with Miss Octavia Hill in 1873, during the
inquiry by a committee of the C.O.S. into the whole question of the
dwellings of the working classes in London. It was a remarkable
committee, over which the late Lord Napier and Ettrick presided, and to
which nearly everyone then prominent in the work of improved dwellings
belonged, including such men as Lord Shaftesbury, Sir Sidney Waterlow,
Mr. Hughes (Tom Brown), etc., etc. Mr. Bosanquet was then Secretary of
the C.O.S., and took an active part.

In 1874, with encouragement from Miss Octavia Hill and others, I brought
the subject before the House of Commons, basing my speech a good deal on
the excellent and very practical report of the C.O.S. Committee. In the
debate on my motion, Mr. (now Lord) Cross, who was then Home Secretary,
promised a Bill, which he introduced and passed on the part of Mr.
Disraeli’s Government in 1875—the Artisans’ Dwellings Act. In the
consideration of that Bill Miss Octavia Hill again gave valuable advice;
and when, a few years afterwards (about the year 1880), a committee of
the C.O.S. was appointed to consider the working of the Act, and how far
it should be amended, she and I again worked together upon that
committee, and I remember gratefully the signal help which she then

Miss Octavia Hill was pre-eminently fitted for contributing an
exceptional amount of practical knowledge, experience, and wisdom at the
meetings of such committees and conferences on a subject which she had
made her own. She would quietly listen to a discussion of some point,
and at last say a few weighty words in her calm, impressive, tactful
way, which would carry with her the general assent of all, or nearly
all, who heard her, and would thus promptly bring the debate to a sound

I think it was in the ’eighties that, in a certain London parish, a
progressive clergyman and his Church Council rather impulsively took up
a housing improvement scheme. Before launching it, they were persuaded
by one of their members to ask Miss Hill’s advice. I was present at the
meeting of the Council which she kindly consented to attend. According
to what, I think, was her habit, she sat quite silent for perhaps an
hour or more, while various members propounded their ideas and sketched
out the scheme. When they had quite finished, she very quietly and
gently, but convincingly, said a few words of common sense which showed
that the scheme, though admirably intended, was unpractical; and from
that moment it ceased to exist. This was an instance of the weight which
she carried, by her tact and wisdom and experience, even in a meeting of
people who, with one or two exceptions, were, I believe, complete

                                       Derwent Bank, Boughton, Carlisle,
                                               March 28th, 1875.


The boarding out here is really heart-cheering to see.

What do you think that the Barnetts’ great news was? That they had had a
legacy, and wanted to spend it in rebuilding their worst court
irrespective of making it pay, or waiting for the Bill. Of course I said
by all means; and now, if they can but purchase, I think that it will
give new life to their future there, to see some tangible and radical
reform actually achieved.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     April 19th, 1875.


On Tuesday a batch of orders was issued by Dr. —— which (or rather all
that grow out of that fact) gives me a good deal of trouble,—more I
believe, a great deal, than it ought. I believe that, if I could make up
my mind that I see the right thing pretty distinctly, and can do it and
leave the result, it would be far better; but I am apt to go over and
over the subject, hoping to think out better measures, brooding over it.
I know that the way to succeed is to think perpetually of things, till
one suddenly sees the straight way through the difficulties; but it
becomes, sometimes, very wearing; and it is useless, whenever the only
straight way is that of waiting till the right has time to win the day
by its own innate force. I fancy _that_ is the case here; our action has
to be next to nothing; time, extreme silence, and great patience will
secure the final accomplishment of whatever may be best with regard to
the poor houses. I need not mind if little plans of mine fail wholly;
still less need I tremble if dangers threaten them. There may be fifty
reasons why it may be best for them all to sink to nothing. But it is
not they and their outward forms that I have lived for, but all they are
meant to help to achieve; and this, well thou knows, must succeed if I
and they are annihilated.

Mary, I think the thing I most failed to convey to thee of all I had
wanted thee to know, was the intense blessing that Mama is to us all. I
think I understand her so very much more than I have done all my life;
her sympathy is so delightful; and, now that I am sharing her room, I
have time to tell her the events of the day. I think the sense of life
is a joy to her; while often she puts before me principles bearing on
questions under consideration quite beautifully.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                     April 25th, 1875.


The public-house trial is over; and we won triumphantly and
conclusively, and are very thankful for it. But the spirit of the people
was very dreadful; and it doesn’t augur well for the future work. Fifty
vestrymen and 150 ratepayers signed in favour of the license. Several
vestrymen attended and gave evidence.

Mr. Fremantle was very brave and true-hearted. Sir J. H. was in a
towering rage, and tried to annoy me with things that didn’t touch me.
But it all points to future difficulty. However, I cannot say I am
discouraged. As long as there was hope of peace from explanation and
care, I was full of anxiety; but _now_ we must go straight on; and, if
storm comes, the law is over us all, and what it decrees, we will all
readily do.

Miss Cons, as always when need is great, is very good just now.



  Octavia’s Mother.

  _From a Photograph by Andrew Whelpdale._

                                                       April 28th, 1875.


I see by Saturday’s _Mercury_ the doctor promises another report on B.
Court soon. But I,—well I read Cromwell, and listen to Mr. Bond’s advice
about taking things coolly, and go on steadily with my work, and don’t
trouble much about things. I got a bit of encouragement yesterday, which
_ought_ to keep me up for many a long day. I am paying periodical visits
to all the courts; and I came upon one yesterday, beginning to go quite
after my own heart, like Mrs. Fitch’s in other hands than mine, and not
a very brilliant success yet; but sure to grow; for the volunteer there
was on the most perfect terms of quiet gentle power, and happy
intercourse with the people, noticing, and managing cleaning, repairs,
rents, everything. I am so thankful.


                                                          May 6th, 1875.


I wonder whether the news has reached you of Mitchell’s death. We can
hardly realise the thought. He died the next day. The loss to us all
will be heavy, and the pain great. If one had dared to single out the
life which seemed of most value to the corporate life of the court, it
would have been his. We must try to make his death draw us all together;
and we must try to take care of his widow and children in the way which
will be lasting gain to them. I don’t see how yet. Everyone’s heart is
brimming over with sympathy, and they will have enough, and more than
enough perhaps done for them just now. At any rate now money help would
be of little value; and we must leave place too for the friends near him
to do their part, and make the little sacrifices (often so much greater
than ours); and we will come in with strong, quiet, lasting aid to help
her to earn, or something of that kind.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                     May 16th, 1875.


I do not know that I have much that is beautiful or helpful to tell you,
except the natures of people; those are the loveliest things that I see;
and they _are_ lovely—some of them. Janey’s, for instance. I saw her for
a short time yesterday, as I had to be in Battersea to meet Mr. Erskine
Clarke’s district visitors. She is looking better, and spoke with
grateful joy of your letter about the boarding out.

I was much delighted with G. Place, which I went over on Tuesday. Miss
Cons _has_ got it well in hand. I mean I was pleased with her dealing
with the place.

                                                             About 1875.



I have no suggestions for the Com. or Admin. Com.[74] which would be
capable of being embodied in a report. My engrossing and continuous
thought about them is the hope that they will manage to secure the right
men. But there is no receipt for the selection; and probably the Com.
has not to nominate for election, but will have to recommend methods of
election, numbers, division of work, about all which I am not a
specially good judge. The one thing I should have been saying, had it
pleased you to leave me at my old post, would have been that the
important point was to get the right men, and that they would be found
among those who have worked among the poor, and who have power of
grasping facts. I should have been urging them earnestly to consider
quite solemnly the importance of the duty they have to discharge, and to
put _no_ one on out of politeness, or because they “must,” or because
they have this or that influence, or have given time, or will “feel”; to
let no minor considerations come in; but to concentrate their full force
on the thought “how is this organising of charity, this great work of
caring for our poor to be achieved?” And I should have been adding that,
in my opinion, experience among, or care for, the poor was a _more_
essential qualification for a seat on the Admin. than the other one
power to grasp principles; and for this reason that the knowledge of the
poor will _not_ be gained afterwards at Buckingham St.; but the
principles may be learnt by the mere fact of dealing with large numbers
of bare facts, probably will be learnt there by any men who have it in
them ever to learn them at all. This and a few words about the actual
men to be selected would have been my contribution to the work, had I
been there. But now I feel it is all out of my power to touch, and I
rejoice more than words would say to see how triumphantly it and much
else goes without me. A few words would influence so many things if I
wrote them; but I may not; and so instead I have the privilege of
looking, as if I were dead, to see how they go when I do not speak a
word, and learning first how magnificently they go in the main in the
way I have hoped for so long; and secondly how little it matters that
much goes otherwise than it would, if I wrote ever so small a sentence.

                                                  About June 12th, 1875.


I have not seen anything of you for many years, nor heard anything of
you lately; but, when I was thinking over the names of people resident
at Wimbledon, who might possibly care to help with a party of four
hundred of my tenants whom I am going to bring down there on Wednesday,
yours naturally suggested itself, as I have some impression that you are
still living there. I do not know that I should have ventured to write,
having no special claim for these my people on you; but, your name
having once occurred to me in relation to the question, I could not help
feeling a wish to ask you just to walk over and see us, if you could
without trouble, some time in the afternoon or evening at or near
Cæsar’s Camp, where we expect to be. I have vivid memories of tailors’
“bean-feasts” long ago, with which those with whom you were working were
associated; perhaps there I then first learned both the great good which
grew out of such association with the people in their joys, and also how
much was needed to make such gatherings more refined in tone, and
gentler and quieter. If, as a child, I learned all this from what I saw,
it was years before it became possible to me to realise what I saw to be
needed. Though the thought of these my present excursions and winter
parties was untraced by me to its germ so long ago, though now my people
are quite unconnected with the Associations and founders of
Associations, it yet remains true that it was the early connection with
that body of “Christian Socialists,” to which much of my present work
must owe its spirit. It had to find its own form, according to the needs
and possibilities of circumstances; but its spirit must have been
influenced deeply by the deeds and words of all that group of men, among
whom it pleased God to lead me, when life was just first presenting its
puzzles to me. The form of much of your work has changed, died down, and
withered, as forms often must; but the principles you were all teaching
do not change; and now that many of them are understood by the younger
generations, now that they who belong to those younger generations are
coming forward so earnestly to work, grateful as I am for their help,
and glad of their sympathy, there always remains to my mind a peculiar
silent, more solemn, link with all who are associated with the earlier
more difficult and lonely efforts of the past. It has pleased God to
alter much since then. The voices that taught us are silent; but His
voice still speaks; and, if He has made of the child who learned so much
of the people (just from being one among them) now the leader of 3,000
tenants, He doesn’t forbid that she should still be a child again, in
thinking over the old days, and better still, in listening to His


                                              _re_ Swiss Cottage Fields?
                                                  July 19th, 1875.


Thank you very much for your letter about the city. I saw Mr. Bond
yesterday, and again had a long talk with him about the best way of
proceeding; and we decided that, for the moment, we would let the
big-monied people alone, till we are better worth their notice, and work
among those who cannot give more at the utmost than £25 and £50. I
believe (thank God!) more in nobodies than in “somebodies.”

                                 Tortworth Court, Tatfield, R.S.O.,
                                                 August 3rd, 1875.


I feel as if you ought to know what we are doing and deeply thinking of;
yet I have been afraid to write to you for fear you should tire yourself
by helping us. Now, however, that “Macmillan” is out, I fancy you are
sure to hear of our work; and also I have increasing longing for the
sense of your sympathy. Do you not know how one turns with longing for
such sympathy, when vistas of effortful work look interminable, and when
so many people “begin to make excuse.” I send you then the papers with
my love; and I hope you will see “Macmillan”; but do not help, except
with loving sympathy, this time, please.

I came down here last night. It is infinitely peaceful, and Lady Ducie
is very sweet and loving; and all is so very quiet. But I feel leaving
my fields so that I could almost cry.[75]

We have got on very well, better than anyone could have expected. We
have collected £9,500 in little more than three weeks; but the vacation
has come upon us with its inevitable pause; and it becomes a question
whether the owners will give us time to try, after it.

How strange it seems to me (does it not to you?) that the momentary
difficulty is to persuade the owners that there is a chance of anyone
(any body of people in London or England), being in the least likely to
be inclined to give the money for a place which must be a blessing to
hundreds now, and hundreds yet to come—a great free gift to their city,
and the chief city of their country. Fields reminding men and women long
lost in the whirl of London, of child days and places near where they
were born; fields where little children can see the wild flowers grow,
as they are beginning to do once more on Hampstead Heath, but nearer
their homes. Let other people look, if they know where, for the
millionaire to do it all at once. Happy for him, if he be honoured to do
such a thing! say I; he will find his buttercups more abidingly powerful
and blessed than his sovereigns; but, as to me, I believe in the hearts
of our poorer people, professional men, ladies with limited incomes, who
know what homes, and families, and the poor are; and who will make for
once an effort and sacrifice, to give £25 or £50 to save a bit of green
hilly ground near a city, where fresh winds may blow, and where wild
flowers still are found, and where happy people can still walk within
reach of their homes. These have come forward, are coming forward; but I
begin to realise how many of them it takes to contribute £1,000.


Please God, when October comes, if time is given us, we will begin in
full force. Meantime I must write many letters.

                                                        Tortworth Court,
                                                      August 9th, 1875.


Many and most loving thanks for your letter, and all your sweet help.

I think of little else but my Fields[76] day and night. We have now
£8,150. The collection goes on slowly, but quite steadily, day by day;
very well I think for the time of year; but we are in great fear that
the owners will not wait.

I wonder owners are not a little awed by possession of so important a
treasure, and do not pause a little, before they use it wholly without
reference to the people.

                                              25, Church Row, Hampstead,
                                                    August 19th, 1875.


You will have heard from Charles of the sudden collapse of all our
schemes for the purchase of the fields. The owners withdrew their offer
after five days’ notice. We were led to hope that this notice might be
reconsidered, when the owner returned; but he confirms it, tells us we
must consider the offer absolutely withdrawn, and refused even to
receive a guarantee within a week for the full amount. I think the loss
very great. The spirit of many of the people who helped us was so
beautiful. I shall never forget _that_.

                                              25, Church Row, Hampstead.
                                                    August 21st, 1875.



We could almost have cried over your letter, dear, dear, Janey; how
delightful is your joy in doing what is blessed and helpful. I will
think over the generous offer; but I believe now we had better pause,
for sufficient time to learn really which are now the best places
available, and which those most needing space. These fields, which we
knew, being gone, there is no such immediate hurry; and I thought of
seeing a member of the Commons Preservation Society, with whom I have
been in communication, learning what they are doing, and what they see
before them of definite work. Also whether they would care to enlarge
their work, so far as to appoint some one to examine into the provisions
for every part of London, district by district,—the possible central
small open spaces, the nearest available larger ones. If they won’t do
it, I will, or will get it done, and then bend my energies to whatever
direction help is most needed. Isn’t this best? Then, please God, we
shall get that silly clause repealed, which prohibits the proceeds of
the grain dues set aside for open spaces from being applied in the
district of the Metropolitan Board of Works. And, if that is done, we
shall have a fund yearly coming in, and may buy and buy as opportunity
serves. Last year it came to £10,000, and was spent in a Park at
Stratford; but, on most sides, except the east, the Metrop. Bd. of Works
has jurisdiction for fifteen miles round London. Fancy debarring the
City money for open spaces being spent in that area! In short, Janey
dearest, I will assuredly go and see your farm. But I must, I think,
review the whole area, and see where and how space will tell most. And I
ought now at once to go and finish my holiday in Ireland. I go with a
tenfold lighter heart for the love and generosity and sympathy of your
letter; and you need not fear that nothing will be done, because we
don’t act at once. For the moment I am a little broken by the loss; and
it would be difficult to begin just at once to work again; but, please
God, if I live, I will see something efficient done, if power of mine,
first or second hand, will do it; I promise you that.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   September 22nd, 1875.


Thanks for the _Hampstead Express_. I think it very important you should
know what to say about the Traitors’ Hill[77] question for me if anyone
asks you. I do not purpose pledging myself to any one spot, until I have
carefully prepared a general map, to see where space is most needed. My
impression is that I shall care most (now that the Swiss Cottage Fields
are gone) for small central spaces; but this may not prove to be the
case. I shall work first to secure that £10,000, and the grave-yards,
and shall obtain co-operation from the Com. Pres. Society, or else some
new body appointed _ad hoc_, before I do anything for any one place, as,
in all probability, I shall not, myself, work in so much detail for any.
Those which remain to be secured are, so far as I know them, so much
more on a level in importance, that I can work for them gradually,
quietly and less personally. But I can pledge myself to nothing of any
sort or kind till I have met Mr. Hunter, Mr. Redford, and a few others,
and have explored the subject in its general bearings.

                                                      October 3rd, 1875.


What have we to tell thee of brightest and best? First I was most
delighted with what I learnt of the B——’s Court Women’s and Girls’
Institute at a little Committee at Mrs. Hart’s on Tuesday. I knew the
influence was strong and beautiful there; but I had not realised how
very much corporate life there was among the women themselves; _how_
much they felt the Institute their own; how they cared for and worked
for it. I am to help the singing class there myself, this year, to try
to introduce better songs and thoughts in the court. I hope for much
help from musical people; but we want all so very simple. I shall keep
the conduct of all myself.


Did I tell thee that Miss Peters is engaged to be married? I am very
glad; and yet I am, perhaps, selfish enough not to be able quite to
forget my own loss. However, she stays with us for a year, and is very

It is very nice being so much in B——’s Court now. I do like the people
there. B., who was so utterly drunken—has been steady now for many
months; he has such a nice house, and is a leader among the teetotalers.
Quite a large group of girls were gathered round the notice board
announcing the re-opening of the Institute. We used to say that no
notice was of any use; but they were eagerly reading, and asked me to
read to them the new teachers’ names and explain other points;—and this
though there was a counter attraction in the shape of a quarrel.

Good progress is being made in Leeds. They have bought two more blocks
of buildings; Miss Martin and Miss Bakewell are to manage them.

                                                      October 3rd, 1875.


You will be glad to hear that Dr. —— has reported to the Board of Works
as to districts requiring to be dealt with under the Art. Dwell. Bill,
and has not included B——’s Court. I think he has chosen the right spots,
and am glad, tho’ I was prepared for the other course being adopted. How
glad one is if anyone one has suspected does better than one has hoped!

  The next letter refers to the Bunhill Fields burial ground.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   November 21st, 1875.


Thanks for the letter to Mr. Harrison. I hope to make way in the matter;
but it is a little difficult to know how to begin. However Mr. Bond and
I are to see the ground on Wednesday; and, on Saturday, Mr. Lefevre, now
Chairman of the Commons Preservation Society, the Secretary and the
Solicitor are to meet Mr. Bond and me; and then I presume we shall make
a formal application to the “Six Weeks’” Meeting. I long to get the
ground; but though the Local Board will surrender immediately their
seventeen years’ lease, so far as I at present see, there is no chance
of the Quakers doing anything, except selling at full value. We may
manage the cost; but it points to securing churchyards if possible,
which would only entail the cost, very heavy I imagine, of making them
beautiful, not the purchase also. However we shall see: at any rate, it
is a definite bit of ground in a popular poor neighbourhood to be sold;
and the thing is to learn the price, to see whether we can raise it; and
if so, whether it is the best expenditure for the money. Perhaps, if the
Six Weeks’ Meeting can do nothing in the way of generosity, the
application may interest individual members to give. At any rate we must
see. I am full of thought about it all. I wonder if you see the Charity
Organisation Reporter, and noticed the appointment of Mr. Loch as
secretary. Did I tell you that he is engaged to Miss Peters, and so
good? I daresay Miranda has told you of Miss Potter,[78] who has been
staying here. She wants to stay on for, possibly, two or three years.
She is very bright and happy here; extremely capable, and has been
through a good deal in her life, though she is young. She seems to fit
in among us very well.

By the way, dost thou know I have found a motto in George Herbert which
I intend to appropriate, as expressive of the way that I get on now, by
means of my friends? “A dwarf, on a giant’s shoulder, sees further of
the two.”

We have chosen a pretty one for the Girls’ Institute in B. Court—“God
hath oft a great share in a little house.”


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   December 12th, 1875.


... I do love life and all it brings very deeply, and should like to
live long too, to see the progress of so many things that I care for; I
think a past is as great a help to a life as to an institution. It seems
as if one were bound to live up to it. What I always fear about my own
life is the tendency to excuse myself from small daily duties; yet I am
certain they are the real test of life. I don’t mean that great claims
ought to be sacrificed to small ones, nor that the duties remain the
same for a woman as for a girl. Many small manual duties pass wholly
away; but it is by the small graciousnesses, by the thoroughness of the
out-of-sight detail, that God will judge our spirit and our work. My
difficulty is always to secure this exquisite thoroughness, which alone
seems to make the work _true_, and yet to delegate it. However, I learn
gradually how to overlook and test it better and better; and I gather
round me an ever larger, more capable, and more sweetly attached body of

As to the gracious thoughtfulness for others, and silent self-control
and sweet temper, I never had much gift for them; and I do fear that,
deeply as I honour them, and hard as I strive to live up to my ideal, I
still fail very decidedly,—which is wrong. I used to think that time
would soften passionate engrossment, and leave me leisure to perceive
the little wants of others; but I think I pant with almost increasing
passionate longing for the great things that I see before me.

We are getting on about the open spaces gradually, and, I think, surely;
but there is no need to trouble anyone yet, till those we have in view
are more definitely arranged about. It is a great joy to me that
something will be done. Will you be interested I wonder, in the enclosed
letter? My sister[79] wrote it for our pupils, past and present; but I
was so delighted with it, that I took possession of it, and printed it
for private circulation. Though it is only a week old, it is meeting
with the warmest response, so that I fancy we shall have to let it
become something larger and more public. I want our Clubs, Institutes,
school-rooms, when we have our parties there, and the outsides of our
churches and houses, to be brighter.

                                                         May 22nd, 1876.


What time, I wonder, will it take, before we fairly encounter the
opposite tide, wave to wave—you with your steady gain—the Enemy with his
steadier and swifter ruin? When is the limit to be put to the
destruction of fields?[80]



  _From a Photograph by Maull and Fox._


                                                       _June 8th, 1876._


My question, a very vital one, is, whether it really never enters your
mind at all that all measures of amelioration in great cities, such as
your sister’s paper pleads for, and as you rejoice in having effected,
may in reality be only encouragements to the great Evil Doers in their
daily accumulating Sin?

                                             Venice, shortest day, 1876.


I have received to-day your letter, with its beautifully felt and
written statement. It comes to me on my birthday to the Nuova Vita; this
day last year being the one on which I got signs sufficient for me that
there was hope of that life; and I am very thankful to know that I have
been thus of use to you, and that you feel that I have; a much mistaken
sense of a separation between us in essential principles having been for
two or three years growing upon me, to my great puzzlement and pain; so
that this paper is a very moving and precious revelation to me.

                                                        June 24th, 1876.


I was greatly delighted by your long kind letter; _and_ it is much more
than a delight to me, _and_ it is a most weighty assistance in my
purposes, that you can take this house[81] and put it to use....

I wanted to say something more about your and Miranda’s work.[82] I
cannot say more, however, than that, whether in the best direction or
not, it cannot but be exemplary and fruitful.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                       May 28th, 1876.


Miss Cons has taken supervision of the Drury Lane district from her own
house, Mr. Westroper being wholly, and her sister partly, told off to
her, and several volunteers; if it works well, it will be grand. The
Bishop’s meeting doesn’t bear fruit in the distinct way that I had
hoped; the visitors won’t organise before they come, but come singly,
which means that much more indirect work will have to be done before we
get our organisation. However all the result is good, as far as it goes.

Miranda’s paper[83] was so very beautiful. I do wish it had been heard
by a larger audience. The room was quite full, however; and the hearers
were just those in whom the thoughts would be likely to bear abundant

                                                         June 2nd, 1876.


I am writing to ask you whether you will do me a service, which will
really be a considerable one. It is to take the chair for me at a
meeting of the Liberal Social Union on the 29th of this month, when I am
going to read a paper on the subject of Charity. The people are all
strangers to me; and I gather that their spirit is not one with which I
shall feel very heartily in tune. It is a large gathering, and may be
difficult to keep to the consideration of what we _can_ do, instead of
what we _can not_ do. I am extremely anxious about this latter point. It
is so easy to denounce what has been done, so difficult patiently to
consider what can be done; and I don’t want the opportunity to be lost
of doing this. It will depend more on the tone of the meeting than
anything. Personally, too, it would be a comfort to feel in sympathy
with the chairman, and full confidence in him, which I certainly should
do very completely if you would kindly fill the office. The chairmen
suggested by no means seemed to me satisfactory; and I was delighted
that the letters, which named them, contained also the proposal that I
should select one. I looked all down the list of members; and there is
not a single one whom I know, except yourself, whom I should like for
the post. I feel the moment an important one. Unless we get volunteers
in greater abundance, and _that_ very rapidly, the Charity Organisation
Society must suffer very considerably from the necessarily hard routine
of official work compared to spontaneous work; and I am trying to do
what in me lies to secure the help of as many people as possible. Among
the members of the L.S.U. I believe we should find the wisdom, and
freedom from parochial work; and, if we could but stir up their living
sympathy with the poor, we might do much.


                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   July 17th, 1876.


I sent you a little brooch, which I want you to wear in remembrance of
the day you were baptised, and of the words which we then heard
together. Ask Mama for a piece of her hair to put in the brooch; and,
when you wear it, think of her love. It is a funny little old-fashioned
brooch, but I thought it was very pretty; and I liked it, because it
looked as if it had a history. I thought you might like it for this
reason too. But I am afraid it will not begin to speak to you, like
those delightful things in Andersen’s stories. If only it could, what a
quantity it might tell you! I wonder whom it belonged to; and whether it
has been given, with words of loving hope, ever before, to any one; and
whether the hope was realised or not. Does it not look as if its pearls
might once have been tears, but had lost their passionateness, and had
become quiet, like old people’s tears, that are slow and still and deep,
and much sadder, often, than young people’s, though more beautiful in
power of reflecting? What do the old people’s tears reflect when they
have lived good lives? Oh, Ollie dear, they reflect all the things which
are round them, or have happened to them; and each looks lovelier than
the other; some rose-coloured, some gold, some blue like the heaven,
some white like snow. We may all be glad to have tears like these, set
like jewels in a crown, to make our lives look royal.

This old-fashioned brooch, too, seemed to me like a good christening
present, because those words that we heard have a history, like
it;—those words, I mean, about your being signed with the sign of the
Cross, in token that hereafter you should not be ashamed to be Christ’s
soldier and to fight under His banner against the world, the flesh, and
the devil. Many a mother, Ollie, like yours, has heard them prayed over
her little girl, and has wondered whether, when she grew to be a woman,
she would remember them. Many a father has listened to them, asking for
strength to bring up his child, so that she shall live as she ought.
Many loving friends have stood by and prayed for the child, for her own
sake, for the sake of the parents who love her, and for the sake of the
great God who loves her even more. And the little girl has grown up, and
lived her life, and had her history. And the same beautiful old words
have been prayed for others; and, whether they have remembered them, and
lived as if they were true, or whether they have fallen away, still the
memory of the words has always borne witness to those who loved the
children, that they really did belong to God, and that they had no
business to be mean or cowardly or untruthful or anything bad. If the
children forgot all this, and did wrong, still there was hope that they
would return and be good some day; for that they were under God’s own
care, and that He wanted to gather them under His wings.


We, who were all together that day, asked for you, my child, that you
might have courage to do right. We know God means _that_ courage for
you, that He will give it to you. Remember this all your life long; and
remember too, the love which gathered round you as a child.

I send you a few words, more precious than any pearls; for they contain
the wish of a great and good man for his little girl. They are very much
like what we might have said to you; only that they are set in a sweet,
solemn, and lovely way, which will make you remember them better.

Take them, dear, as the expression of what all who love you would say;
and let them ring in your ears in the coming years. I, your loving
godmother, Octavia Hill, write them on the next page for you.

  The lines appended are Kingsley’s poem beginning:—

             “My fairest child, I have no song to give you.”

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                       July 23rd, 1876.


Our failure this year has been on the open space question. Dora will
tell thee about the Friends. Not that they stand alone; the matter is
one on which much preliminary work has to be done. People don’t know
about the importance yet. It is so sad; for the places are going for
ever so rapidly. I have written, by Mr. Lefevre’s request, to _The

                                                     January 28th, 1877.


Bunhill Fields contract for sale has fallen through, and the Quakers are
again considering the matter. I hear hopeful news about Lincoln’s

B——’s Court is going so beautifully; every room and shop let; the people
so happy and good; the clubs full of life; the finances so satisfactory.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     February 7th, 1877.


... The fact is my time is so utterly engrossed that it is absolutely
true that I have not time to see even old friends quietly, unless under
special circumstances warranting an exception. It is strange, but the
strain of responsible schemes under my continuous charge, the thought
necessary for dealing with all the new large plans before me, and
starting them wisely and well, the ever-flowing stream of persons with
whom I have to make appointments on business, and the incessant buzz
around me of my assistants and immediate fellow-workers, leave me in a
state of utter exhaustion on a Saturday night, which makes perfect
stillness the only possibility for Sundays. Even the walks are often
taken up by the companionship of persons who want to talk over with me
this plan or that; or to submit to me some difficulty. I cannot tell you
how difficult it is to see anything even of Mama and Miranda, and as to
Gertrude and Minnie I rarely see them, even if they come here. It is
well for me that in the course of work I do naturally see many of my
friends; and that I do love and care very deeply for many of my fellow
workers. Else I don’t quite know what would have happened to me by now.


I know you will begin to tell me I ought to give something up. And I
could only answer my whole life is giving up of work. I part with bit
after bit often of that I care for most, and _that_ week after week; but
it is the nearest of all duties, added to the large new questions, in
which a little of my time goes a very long way, which thus engross me.
Such, for instance, as those I have now in hand—the purchase for Lord
Pembroke of £6,000 worth of houses for the poor. He gives money, pays
worker; one of my fellow workers trains her. Mr. Barnett sends me names
of courts; but the seeing the spot, its capabilities, value, the best
scheme to improve it, getting surveyors’ and lawyers’ reports, I must
do. I have six such schemes in hand now, small and large together at
this moment. Then I had to see Sir James Hogg, the chairman of the
Metrop. Bd. of Works, on Tuesday about the Holborn rebuilding under the
Art. Dwell. Bill. I have obtained leave from Sir E. Colbroke to plant
the Mile End Road with trees. I have all the negotiations with the
vestry to make. The C.O.S. takes much of my time, tho’ I have left all
our local works to others. Then all the time I have 3,500 tenants and
£30,000 or £40,000 worth of money under my continuous charge; and,
though I only see my people in one court face to face as of old, and the
ordinary work goes on smoothly, yet even the _extraordinary_ on so large
a scale takes time. Questions of rebuilding, of construction, of changes
of collectors, of introduction of workers to one another,—I assure you
the exceptional things I can hardly refuse to do (so large is the result
from half an hour’s work), use up my half hours nearly every one. I do
read, I must, in holidays, when I go right away out of reach of frequent
posts daily on those blessed Sundays, sometimes the last thing at night,
that I may sleep better. I now and again catch (as if for breath) at a
picture gallery; but so rarely, and only suddenly, when I see I can.

                                                    February 18th, 1877.



I have your beautiful letter with account of donations in print, and am
greatly delighted with it. You will find yourself, without working for
it, taking a position in the literary, no less than in the
philanthropic, world. It seems to me not improbable that the great
powers and interests you are now exciting in so many minds, will indeed
go on from the remedial to the radical cure of social evils: and that
you have been taking the right method of attack all along....

                               Ever affectionately and gratefully yours,
                                               J. RUSKIN.


                                Derwent Bank, Great Broughton, Carlisle,
                                          March 21st, 1877.


Did you know Mrs. Nassau Senior?... I sit waiting for the telegram that
shall tell me that she is gone from among us. I feel stunned; for I had
large hope from her vigorous constitution; and now this relapse is
strange. She was, among my many friends, one of the noblest,
purest-hearted, bravest to accept, for herself and all she loved, pain,
if pain meant choice of highest good; with an ardent longing to serve, a
burning generosity, which put us all to shame. Moreover she loved me, as
few do; and I her; and, when I think that I can go to her no more, I
dare not think of what the loss will be. But neither dare I grieve; she
seems too high, too near, too great, to grieve for or about; the silence
will be terrible, but if one keeps one’s spirit true and quiet, and in
tune with the noblest part of the absent loved ones, strange voices come
across the silence, convictions of how they feel, and what they would
say, if they could, to our listening hearts; only I know this and all
things come straight to us from One Who cares for us; that His truth,
somehow, the fact He has allowed to be, is best; and it is a help so to
have loved Truth thro’ all one’s life, that, when she veils herself in
darkest guise, we dare not turn from her....

I am busy about Quaker’s Burial Ground, and Archbishop’s meeting and
other things.

                                                         Derwent Bank,
                                                       March 27th, 1877.


I have replied to Mr. L. and Fawcett pretty much in full ... and
reiterate my own strong conviction that the railway is not needed, that
it will spoil the Heath’s beauty and need not increase accessibility;
compare the erection of a station to any which might be erected in
Kensington Gardens on the same plea; state my own opinions strongly, and
“let it work.” You will judge whether to do more. I am doing my little
best—which means many fruitless letters about Bunhill Fields, the
Archbishop’s meeting, ... and my poor Lambeth. It is unfruitful work so
far; but all things must have a season of sowing, and the reaping must
come some day. Numbers of people, too, are doing their best to help,
which is beautiful.... I have, you see, so very much of many kinds in my

  A letter on the opening of B. Court Club on Sunday.

                                                       April 13th, 1877.


I think, as I live so very near, and as my life is so much in my own
hands to plan, so that I can (and I _will_) rest on other days, that I
will, if I am better and return, take up some small bit of work on a
Sunday, afternoon, down there, or perhaps get the girls to come to me in
the evening. My life seems meant for this, if for anything; only the
worst is that I seem not to have that glad bright sympathy with young
things, which makes some of my friends able to make such classes a real
joy to the girls. However, I will try—or try to try.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                       July 7th, 1877.


... I rather thought of “St. Christopher’s Buildings” if the name must
be changed. I’m very fond of St. Christopher. His early history, less
known than the later parts, is to me very beautiful; and, associated in
my mind with B. Crt., the way he learnt that the good thing was the
strong thing, seems to me very grand. And he learnt it by service and
bearing too. The world would fancy it was named after some old church;
and I should hear the grand old legend in the name. Is it too fantastic
a name? Do you know the early part of St. Christopher’s life, I wonder?
I think in B. Crt. we want all to be reminded that the devil is himself
afraid when he really sees the good thing. Also I like St. Christopher’s
respect for his own physical strength.... Everyone is so kind. I think I
have a magnificent set of friends. As to Mrs. Shaen and Lady Ducie they
really are like angels. I hardly knew Mrs. Shaen’s height of nature till
now, and her expressiveness makes her a great delight; while Lady
Ducie’s magnificent silent sympathy, and that exquisite depth of
tenderness of hers, are so very beautiful. The servants too, and the
children, and the people who come in and out to help, and are not very
near,—their silent little acts of thoughtful kindness touch me often
very much. I ought to be so very full of thankfulness and joy.

                                                 No date. Probably 1877.


I cannot tell you what important work we have in hand. We are restoring
and re-establishing a provident dispensary here. It implies an immense
deal of thought, judgment, money. Mr. Crowder is quite the leader in it
all. I am quite proud of him.... Then we were laying deep foundations
for Mr. Hughes’ future success.[85] This week we have our blind concert
at which 660 tenants also will be present.

I went over the new buildings in B. Court on Wednesday. They really are
beautiful. It does one’s heart good to see them. I think Lord Ducie must
be delighted.

                                                            August 22nd.


Everyone falls in with my plan for the little orphans,[86] and I am
trying to place them in the village where Miss Harris lives. Boarding
out is most successfully carried on there. Dear Janey came and stayed
there and saw the houses. My former pupils would watch the children for
me, and, if I go there, I should see them myself.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                                                              Not dated.


Octa arrived safely yesterday in perfect enthusiasm about her visit and
certainly better for it. She dined in the evening at Lord Monteagle’s,
and found Fawcett quite opposed to the Bill. She talked with him at
dinner and afterwards, and I believe quite altered his views. In wishing
her good-bye he said he owed to her a most interesting and delightful
evening, and he was glad to have met her. He apologised to Lady
Monteagle for having engrossed the conversation, and kept it on this
topic; he hoped to meet her again, and not be so absorbed.


                                                        Saturday (1877).


A change has come o’er the spirit of our dream. Octa has seen Dr.
Hughlings Jackson three times; and Lady Ducie has seen him once; and he
insists, in a way we cannot gainsay, that Octa shall _at once_ cease
work. She is going abroad, but we don’t yet know where—and is organising
work in the houses to go on without her;—all the other work must of
course take its chance in other hands,—those in which it now is.

Dr. H. Jackson thinks she will ultimately quite recover, and says she
must have immense strength to have gone on all these months.

                                                     December 7th, 1877.


Believe me the work you have done for me in B. Court during the past
year has been the greatest consolation to me. It often sits heavily on
my heart to think how much real deep personal work goes undone in the
courts, while I am called away, or which I am not fitted to do; and,
when I see that you and such as you are taking it up, I feel so
thankful. I know that _that_ is the work which is of deep and true

                              CHAPTER VIII

  I mentioned, in an earlier chapter, the way in which Octavia’s
  difficulties had, on more than one occasion, called out the help and
  sympathy of new friends. This good fortune was remarkably exemplified
  when she broke down in 1877. Miss Yorke, who now came forward to give
  her sympathy and help, became one of the most important figures in the
  remaining years of Octavia’s life; and, by her persistent devotion to
  her comfort and active help in her work, did much to encourage her to
  new efforts. But, for the moment, her help took the form of
  accompanying her in a foreign tour, which turned Octavia’s attention
  away from the troubles which were weighing on her mind, and gave her
  new sources of interest.

  In the letters chosen to illustrate the tour, I have, as a rule,
  preferred those which show her sympathy with the people and modes of
  life with which she came in contact, rather than those descriptions of
  scenery, which often strike readers as familiar. But her strong
  artistic sense gave her so great a power of realizing and describing
  natural beauty, that I have occasionally made exceptions to this rule.

  As the final decision to go abroad was only accepted after
  considerable hesitation and delay, Octavia had to make all her
  provision for her time of absence in the course of a week. Under these
  circumstances, her sister, Mrs. Lewes, consented to undertake the
  guidance of the fellow workers in this emergency. As, however, Mrs.
  Lewes could not assume all the responsibility which had fallen on her
  sister, a certain amount of decentralisation was effected, and greater
  power entrusted to the fellow workers.


  The capacity and disposition possessed by each thus became more
  manifest; and, while some showed administrative power, but with little
  real sympathy, others, who had felt more of Octavia’s personal
  influence, threw themselves, with hearty delight, into the life of the
  poor people. I have chosen letters from two of these sympathetic
  workers, as best illustrating Octavia’s purpose. One was a lady whose
  name I do not venture to quote, because I have not been able to find
  out where she is now, or obtain her consent to the use of her name;
  but I am sure that she cannot be offended that her cheery, and rather
  unique influence should be remembered. The other is Miss Emily
  Harrison, to whom I have already alluded in an earlier chapter; whose
  little painting room near the playground was the scene of much
  friendly intercourse, and much more useful guidance than a more
  conventional teacher could give. At the same time Octavia’s personal
  influence on the tenants was shown by such experiences as Mrs. Lewes
  relates. One tenant said to her, “We shall be all right now you’ve
  come. We do understand Miss Hill and Miss Cons.” And again Mrs. Lewes
  writes, “At the D.’s I began with a locked door, a barking dog, and a
  notice to quit, and ended with a gentle interview, a promise to pay up
  largely, as soon as ever he is in work, and a withdrawn notice.”

  It will be seen that one victory, though of a temporary kind, marked
  this period. The public-house, which had been so bitter a bone of
  contention at an earlier stage of its existence, was turned into a
  coffee-house; and, under Miss Cons’ energetic guidance, succeeded in
  holding its own for some time.

  Still more cheering news came to Octavia during her absence. Her
  example had been producing effect in other towns; movements for
  housing reform had begun in Liverpool, Manchester, and Dublin; and a
  very efficient worker, who had come to Octavia for advice and
  training, was carrying on a satisfactory scheme in Leeds.

                                                     January 10th, 1878.


As to Octavia’s work, she means to get Gertrude to be the centre, as far
as she can, but each of the volunteers to be put in direct communication
with the owners, and to be answerable immediately to them; and she will
ask the owners to understand that she expects them to look into the
balance sheets, each quarter, and to see how things are going for
themselves; not to hold her responsible any more just now. Meanwhile she
leaves all the work _in train_; and Gertrude will advise and help the
volunteers, and direct the assistants as far as she can, but will not
take Octavia’s responsibility to the owners. Of course she _could_ not,
as the work cannot be her first duty; and she might have to break off
any time. O. thinks the plan will make the volunteers splendidly
independent, and will answer very well wherever there is a good worker;
also that the worst can do little else than not make any great
improvements in their properties. The management of the Donation Fund
she leaves with Minnie, whose judgment she trusts very much.

                                                Hôtel D’Holland, Cannes,
                                                  January 24th, 1878.


We reached here last night. Miss Yorke is kinder, brighter, and with
subtler sympathy than I had imagined. She is an excellent manager, and
prevents one’s feeling forlorn in travelling. It is an immense comfort
that all my work is so well started, and that I am anxious about
nothing.... I hope dear Gertrude found all as easy as could be; but one
feels how puzzling things might be, from there being omissions of form,
when once the living voice was gone.



  _From a Drawing by Edward Clifford. 1877._

                               Villa Cattaneo, Nervi Riviera de Levante,
                                         February 4th, 1878.

The MacDonalds are very kind, but I rest much more on Miss Yorke’s
quiet, strong, wise help. There is something so sterling in her. She
says little, and does so much. I am deeply interested about the war, and
long for news. We get no newspapers here! And, for the first time in my
life, I do miss them sadly.


                                                     52, Wigmore Street,
                                                     January 24th, 1878.



I write just a little greeting to you, as one of the many friends who
are thinking pretty often of you, and longing for the time when you may
come back, revived, to all the folks who need you here.

I wished so much for you to go, that I can’t be sorry, for a moment,
that you are gone. What I hope now is, that you may have a delicious sky
above you, and hills and green plains on each side, and a few unexpected
roses, and the promise of anemones and violets before long; and that you
are already feeling, as it were, in a new planet, and as if everything
had happened about forty years ago. Distance and time are more like each
other than might be supposed.

Don’t, of course, think of answering any note of mine. I shall hear of
you, I hope, from Miss Miranda.

                                                   Yours sincerely,

                                                        EDWARD CLIFFORD.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     January 27th, 1878.



I feel it a great blessing that you have no anxiety about your work. I
am glad, both for its sake, and for yours; for I am sure you could not
recover, as we wish you to do, if you felt things were likely to go ill.
I hope this change will prove an improvement in its organisation, and
the beginning of an easier life for you. You have climbed the hill far
enough to look back, and survey the road passed over; and reflection
will suggest to you by what future paths the goal you set before
yourself is most likely to be reached. Accept this interval, as a
precious time lent you for retrospect and prospect, and for renewing the
bodily health that you have expended so unsparingly.

                                                     Your loving MOTHER.

                                             c/o George MacDonald, Esq.,
                                                   Villa Cattaneo,
                                                 February 9th, 1878.


I should greatly prefer, if you have time, that you should train a lady
on each Committee[88] to wise relief with the fund,[89] rather than
spend it on entertainments. You see I want to distribute power, not to
accumulate it, and to bring it _near_ the workers, who are face to face
with the poor.

We know _no_ news except what we learn in private letters; not a
creature here sees a paper. I don’t know, if the six million is voted,
nor whether the Pope is dead.


                                                  Villa Cattaneo, Nervi,
                                                  February 12th, 1878.


... We found Vaccari, a young shopman in a jeweller’s shop, in a little
back street in Genoa. He was greatly delighted, and told us it was the
first donation they had had from England, he thought. He was so sorry
not to show us the house himself, (he could not leave his master’s shop
on a week day) so that we fixed to go in to Genoa, on purpose, on
Sunday, and to see the house and the tomb.

We drove first to the cemetery. On a little plateau there were four
tombs. One of Mazzini’s mother, buried in 1852. It seems he chose the
spot himself. He came unknown to Genoa, made his way into the cemetery,
mingled with the crowd, wandered over the place, and chose this spot for
her burial. He then returned to Geneva, and wrote to a friend of his in
Genoa, asking him to arrange the burial. He planned the stone himself.
There is a profile bas-relief of her; and the stone simply records that
it is that of Maria Mazzini, the mother of the exile, Joseph Mazzini
(escile is, I suppose, exile). Six very beautiful cypresses stand round
the tomb, three on each side. The feeling is one of space, air, freedom,
simplicity, and tenderness. Next to her tomb is that of Savi, much less
simple, but beautiful. The third grave is that of a stranger. Behind the
three is a kind of cavern, in the side of the steep rocky slope which
rises high above. This cavern has a very simple massive Egyptian-looking
entrance over which alone stand the words “Giuseppe Mazzini.” Within is
the tomb. The whole was designed by a young workman not twenty years
old, but a disciple of Mazzini’s.

We went then to the house. High but very humble; a dark staircase leads
to a dark back room looking out upon one of the narrow viciola with
which Genoa is traversed; here an old man, looking very poor, but (V.
told us) who had known M. well, was carving little wooden frames by the
faint light which came in just by the window. V. led us very solemnly
into a small room leading out of this, where he told us Mazzini was
born. This contained a book-case with their club-library—not in all more
than double the size of mine—and several more portraits and relics of
their heroes. It was evident the club used this as a little reading or
committee room. There were besides numerous casts, engravings,
photographs, and little busts of Mazzini, Mamelli, M.’s mother, and
others; a little glass case with the quill pen with which M. wrote one
of his books, the cockade he wore at Rome, two pairs of his spectacles,
a tiny little letter from him, and a lock of his hair; another autograph
framed, nearly undecipherable, had been written the day before his

The whole morning was to me very interesting and instructive; of course
I judge from very slight data, but it appeared to me that we had come
upon a man of deep and strong conviction, of much education, much
thought, one of a company of poor men, bound together in closest
fellowship by a common reverence, a common hope, and memory of a time of
real danger and adversity. Their efforts were very touching. We asked
what hope there was of collecting the remainder of the money. V.
answered that they meant to do it. “Mais, madame, pour les ouvriers ça
demande du temps.” We asked about the chance of securing the books.
“Some of us,” he replied, “have the works of Signor Mazzini; it is our
intention to present them to the library. We have ourselves read them,
and made notes, that we may be able to spare them the better.” Something
like a library _that_, written first indelibly in men’s minds. Their
small contributions, too, for purchasing the house were touching.


I could not help thinking it strange that a man of such thought,
dwelling on the far future with quiet hope, speaking of education as
_the_ thing to desire, and having come face to face with great men, at
great epochs, should tell us, with such impressiveness, that one man in
Genoa had Mazzini’s purse, his sword and other things. No body of
workmen in England would speak so of any dead man’s possessions. Has the
worship of saints’ relics thus coloured the forms of reverence? Was it
that the times in England have needed and produced no such heroism, as
that of the man who held his life in his hands for years, and chose
exile for his fellow citizens? Was it that definite creeds of
Catholicism had been cast aside by these men? no other profession of
faith except reverence for country and heroes adopted? Is it southern
adoration? Or what made the difference? I ask myself and know too little
to reply. But of one thing I am sure; it is _not_ that the _spirit_ is
less important than the accident of form. Except in that question of the
autograph, I was struck again and again at the way in which Vaccari went
right thro’ the non-essential to the essential.

All thro’ the interview I felt painfully that I knew too little to learn
a tenth part from him of what I might. He gave me credit again and again
for knowledge, and was disappointed by my ignorance. I stopped him to
tell me about an inscription on a house I had noticed. It was to Mamelli
saying that he gave his blood to his country, and his poems to
posterity, and that in that house he had his cradle and his dwelling. He
thought I knew that Mamelli had died young, wounded at the siege of Rome
in 1849; and his face lighted with joy and he broke from French into his
native Italian as he said it was he who sent Mazzini the message, “Rome
is a republic! Come!” He told me that the mother of Mamelli still lived
in a garret there, and his sister. I admired the stone and inscription,
and he said with pleased smile, “It is we” (that was I think his circolo
or club) “which drew out and planned it there.”

I suppose it will live rent free, if these three little rooms, of to
them holy memory, are purchased.

I wish Edmund would write to him, if ever occasion offers. He seemed so
delighted with sympathy, and must have felt me very stupid—of course I
am ignorant, and the difficulty of language was great. I could
understand, but not talk. I could have done nothing but for Miss Yorke,
who was so kind; she knew less than I did, much! But she took such
pains, and asked everything I asked her. They look upon England as very
rich, and cared for sympathy. He did not want us to think they were not
really in earnest because the matter took time here, said it was so
different in England; and, when Miss Yorke said there were rich men in
Genoa, he said, “Oh, yes, but not so many, and it is not they who
listened to Mazzini.”


                                                       March 14th, 1878.


I write to-day, to be sure to send a letter in time for your birthday;
time and strength are so uncertain now, one has to be beforehand with
things. I think of you so, and shall think of you on the day. My
thoughts of you all make me realise how you are all doing, and have done
so much, and how little I am doing to combat the difficulties that every
day brings. I do hope you all know that I am better; _that_ will make
one anxiety less. How I think of you all, of dear Andy bearing the
burden of all management; of dear Florence keeping to work with her
frail health; of dear Gertrude so marvellously carrying on my work; and
of dear Minnie doing all so perfectly, and thinking of everyone. Among
them all, however, you seem to me to have the heaviest weight, who have
to care for us all and think for and of us, and be our centre and head.


                                                   Hotel Vittoria, Rome,
                                                     April 3rd, 1878.


I have been thinking that it would be a very good thing if, at the end
of May, you were to come out to me for a month. By that time I shall be
in Switzerland. I am not a very bright companion, and we should not be
able to travel about; still, I think you might enjoy the beauty and the
quiet; and, if you were to bring a few books, we might sit out of doors
and read together.... We went to Albano and La Riccia, which Ruskin
knew; and I began to look a little more; the flowers were lovely, and I
liked seeing the site of Long Alba, and Monte Cavo, sacred to Jupiter
Latiaris. I drew a great tomb there. Yesterday we went to Ostia. I drew
the castle, and also drew, in a great fir wood near the sea at Castel
Fusano. We have been sixteen long drives to places since we came
here—many of them full of beauty and interest. Ruskin and Virgil made me
feel more at home at Albano and Ostia. I fancy, too, I am really better
the last two days.

                                                   Hotel Vittoria, Rome,
                                                     April 4th (1878).


... We drive to-day to Tivoli, to-morrow to Subiaco (St. Bernard’s
Monastery); on Saturday to Olevano; on Sunday we drive thro’ Palestrina
to Frascati. On Monday we shall see Tusculum, and then drive to Albano,
where we shall probably stay some days. Miss Y. has gone to tell the
carriage not to come before post time, because I want news of you all
before starting.... We drove yesterday to Veci; it was a lovely drive. I
am certainly better. I am much stronger, but I must not try yet even a
little walking: it hurts my head. How interested you would have been
with all these beautiful places and historical associations! It is a
splendid way of seeing them to drive out, as we have been doing for the
last three weeks. Of course one loses much by not being able to walk,
even a little, when one gets there; especially in a country where the
existence of a road to a place seems an exception to be noted.

                                                       April 14th, 1878.


You would have been interested in Assisi. It is quite unspoiled. There
is not a new or unsightly building there. It is marvellous to see how
one man has stamped his mark upon it for 550 years. Where he has marked
it, and where he could not make his mark, is equally notable. It was
interesting too to see the place now, when the institutions he founded,
and which necessarily have preserved many outward rules of his, are on
the eve of passing away: and to pause and wonder what effect their
disappearance will have on the influence he exercises. The little town
stands on the sunny side of a very bare hill. It is full of towers, and
balconies and loggie, and old arches; it seems well-to-do, but
old-world, living only by its memory—St. Francis a kind of living soul
preserving and pervading its body.


Inside the town stands the tiny little church of San Damiano, the one he
wanted to rebuild at first, and for which he took the money. Sta. Chiara
and her nuns were first there. All has been preserved as it was then.
The tiny church, the rough choir seats, the simple nameless burial
place, the vaulted refectory with its rugged seats, the small rude
infirmary, Sta. Chiara’s little room, are all there, and have received,
as herself did, his own stamp of humility, simplicity, and poverty, more
truly, more abidingly than any others. They say she kept the Saracen
from touching them by looking from a window; but, when she died, the
nuns were frightened; and the citizens built for them a church and
nunnery in the town. This, a large church, has now no marks of either
simplicity or special beauty that I cared for, except four frescoes by
Giotto, on the vaults of so high a roof that I could see little except
the exquisite glow of resplendent colour, and enough of angel form to
fall in with the general impression Assisi gives, that these glad and
bright visitants were by the holy and humble men of heart, who dwelt and
painted there, felt to be all around them, whether they kneel on earth
during a crucifixion, or support the head of a dying saint, or guide a
mortal on his dark path, or in bright companies fill the visible heaven,
or, with stately splendour, stand in myriads before the rapt eyes of the
man who conquers temptation. One feels no surprise; the sight of their
high holy and cloudless faces seems quite familiar; it is as if earth
and heaven must be filled with them; one feels one might hear the rush
of their great wings any moment, or hear their swift strong tread
either; and they are companionable too, not far from men, “not too
bright and good for human nature’s daily food”; or, at least, the
barrier is so slight a one, that it gives us no surprise when they step
down among men, or when a weary man is lifted suddenly by and among

The monk who showed us over the church gave us a very graphic account of
the discovery and opening of St. F.’s coffin fifty years ago. It
reminded one of “Past and Present.” No one knew exactly where the coffin
would be; they only knew the church had been built for the body to be
brought there, just after his death. The Pope declared the coffin would
be certainly under the altar. They would not disturb this, and so
tunnelled sideways. They worked at night only, not to disturb the minds
of the townspeople. They worked fifty-two nights; then they found the
coffin. The head lay pillowed on a stone, the arms crossed; the figure
was perfect for a moment, but crumbled as the air reached it. Medals
proved its authenticity. It was sent to Rome to be certified by the
Pope; then carried in procession through the town which was “full!
full!” the monk said, “for everyone came, for he was not only a saint,
but he did much good to all people; so everyone came to it.” Then they
replaced the coffin on the solid rock, where for 500 years it had been,
hollowed a chapel round it, and there it is. And he so humble a man, who
wanted to be out of sight! Strangely sweet did the tiny little church of
Portiuncula seem; and the little hut by it where he died, which now are
enclosed by the great dome of St. Maria degli Angeli in the plain just
below Assisi. They seemed to bring back the simple, child-like heart of
the man; they and the home of Sta. Chiara seemed to me almost more to
recall him than even the solemn glory of the frescoes on the twilight
richness of San Francesco. And now the order he established will pass


                                                    May 11th, 1878 or 9?


Miss Cons has spent Mr. Crewdson’s £10 on the Walmer Castle library,
which has now 300 volumes and sixty members, many of them lads from
sixteen to twenty. Miss Cons goes to the Walmer Castle herself from
three to eleven every alternate Sunday afternoon; to set the managers
free to go out. She said half-apologetically, “I don’t serve unless
there is a great press; but I see that things go right.”

                                                        July 21st, 1878.


When I was in B. Court I took round some of the notices about the Club,
as Mr. Brock had spoken so warmly of its efforts to right itself; and I
had a very nice talk with Hobbs. He promised to go and talk to Mr. Brock
that evening, and spoke with pleasure of the old days, when those who
were teetotalers and those who were not worked side by side, and its own
funds made it self-supporting. Bristow, too, spoke to Miss Garton most
heartily. He brought out a chair that they might talk more comfortably;
and he said he would sacrifice “I don’t know what time and money” rather
than see the Club broken up. This week, too, Miss Kennedy sends good
news from Dublin. She says she has been afloat three weeks with her
father’s property in Dublin, which was neglected. She has adopted all
your plans and books, and writes up for printed forms; and she seemed so
interested. But just as keen as ever about B. Court. She says, “I had a
delightful interview with Mrs. Fitch, just before leaving London, and we
talked out all or most of our new ideas and wishes. So I hope the
‘alliance’ will be most satisfactory. I will do all I know to make it

                                                   Hôtel Bellevue, Thun,
                                                     August 5th, 1878.


We go on so freely just from place to place as each day seems best,
quite out of the beat of tourists, and off the regular tracks, really
near the lives and heart of the people. We see them in their chalets and
gardens, and in the upland fields bringing back their harvests. To-day
we have crossed sunny plains and uplands, and come along the ravines
beside lovely rivers, and stopped to lunch at queer old-fashioned inns.
I don’t expect to like it so much when we get to the grander scenery. I
expect the roads are fewer, and the tracks more beaten; we shall meet
more tourists and tourists’ inns. But still, as we take carriages and
stop where we like, we can avoid the worst places. We have all our
luggage with us; and, when the horses are fed, we take out our books and
cloaks, and sit in fields and woods. At the inns and hotels Miss Y. is
perfectly at her ease, and makes every place at once like home. She is,
too, up to all emergencies, like Mr. Barnett or Miss Cons; so, if we
have an adventure on the way, she knows what to do and all that is safe
and right. She knows at a glance which carriages are large enough, what
hotels are suitable, which drags are strong enough, at which places we
may leave luggage unwatched, what men would fulfil engagements without
supervision, etc., etc.


How you would rejoice to see the simple happy homes of the people, and
all the wild woods, streams, and rocks, and pretty fields!

                                                       Bernina Hospice,
                                                   September 14th, 1878.


We are here at the queerest, nicest, out of the way place. It is a
capital hotel, the people kindly, simple, and capable. We are the only
people staying here, tho’ travellers call continually. To our great
delight last night heavy snow began to fall, and has continued all day.
The sky is evidently full of snow, and we cannot see far, but, between
the swiftly falling flakes, we dimly see the great slopes of the near
mountains, and a white ghost-like lake fed by the glacier opposite.
Beyond it we see a narrow little barrier of rocks (which was black when
we arrived, but now is quite white) which separates us from another
little lake called Lago Nero, fed not by glaciers but by springs, and
which therefore is dark and clear, not thick and white like Lago Bianco.
The narrow little barrier marks the watershed, from which streams
descend on one side to the Black Sea, and on the other to the Adriatic.

                                                      October 1st, 1878.


The drive to-day was magnificent, the weather beautiful (this was our
fifteenth pass, this is the only one we have been over twice). It is
much more beautiful, now the snow is so much more abundant. The larches
are the brightest pale gold. The cloud shadows were lovely to-day. We
get the warmest welcome from all the people we have seen before. Miss Y.
sees, recognises, and remembers all about them all. It is quite funny
when we drive thro’ a town or village; she sees the driver who took us
to one place, or the girl from whom we bought something; it is
marvellous how she remembers them after such slight acquaintance, or
under such different appearances. It makes all the people so pleased. It
is very strange; the season is over, and the hotels are closed, or not
expecting visitors; and the masters of some of them are hard at work, in
rough clothes, doing field labour—some of course have other hotels at
Cannes or Nice—but others, who looked so spick and span in the summer,
you meet now with a long whip in the lanes, following an ox-cart with

We had such a pathetic, interesting driver to-day, a brown,
weather-beaten, much-enduring man. He drove us in the summer, and won
Miss Y.’s heart by taking so much care of his horse, and so little of
himself. He looked worn and shabby then, when everyone looked spruce.
His little flaxen-haired girl of three years old ran out to see him, and
he took her up on the box for a few yards. To-day we engaged him again,
and he was so pleased; he’s so hard-working looking. I think he is
rarely employed as a driver. The 40 francs seemed a _very_ large sum to
him; and he put on such a gigantic, very clean collar in honour of the
day. He walked a large part of the forty miles to save his horse; and
Miss Y. noticed what a small dinner he ordered, and that he never
lighted a cigar all day (so different from most of the drivers) till
just as we were coming here, when, with a solemn and pleased air, as if
it were the right thing, he lighted one to drive up smoking. He doesn’t
look wretched, only long-suffering, as to weather and work, and very
careful. We have engaged him to take us on thirty-eight miles to-morrow;
and I daresay he will carry home his 80 francs and spend or save it very

                                                      October 4th, 1878.


Will Minnie look into the question of the Commons Preservation appeal,
with a view to considering whether or not to give £20 of the Ruskin
donation money? On the one hand they must be very careful about
litigation; on the other, their hands ought to be strengthened to carry
on that which is wise.


                                                     October 13th, 1878.


I think you would be much interested by the old-world life here, and the
customs handed down for generations. Maggie is very kind in explaining
the things we see. Yesterday troops of cattle were returning from the
mountain pastures to their winter homes near the farms. Each troop had
its best cow decorated with a cow-crown, a high and bright erection of
which the creature was very proud. She wore also a bright, broad,
embroidered collar, and a gigantic sweet-toned bell, _much_ larger than
I ever saw in Switzerland. Cows, goats, oxen, sheep, and men all came
together, most of them more or less adorned with flowers, ribbons,
bells, and embroidery. But the principal cow, quite conscious of her
honour, walked in a stately way in front. The people came out in force,
in every village, to see them pass; and the greatest excitement
prevailed to see in what condition they returned. To-day, after mass,
they are all turned into the largest field on each farm, and the
neighbours go round to pay visits to see how each herd has prospered.
The senner or dairyman, who has been in charge, brings down in triumph
all his butter and cheeses; and they go quite far out of their way, to
pass in triumphal procession with the flocks through Bruneck itself. I
suppose as a kind of type of the plenty he brings, it is the custom for
him to store his pockets with cakes which he gives to the villagers on
his way down. Maggie told us last year their queen cow broke her horn
just before they should return; and she had to be deposed, and was very
depressed; another cow had to be trained to wear a crown; they practised
with a milking stool, and had to teach her to walk first. I thought
Blanche would like to hear all this. We drove yesterday to Tauffers, a
village twelve miles from here. It lies at the head of a valley, and six
weeks ago was a lovely village full of gardens and surrounded by
meadows. But, one Saturday, the river ceased to flow; and they were
alarmed. It seemed a mass from an avalanche had fallen into it and
blocked it; and, after the body of water had accumulated behind it, it
suddenly broke thro’ the dam and tore in headlong force along, carrying
great rocky sand and trees in its course. For six hours it tore along;
and then the men could get out to see to the cattle. Every bridge
between them and Bruneck and the outer world was torn away. There were
some Austrian tourists there; and two of them volunteered to scramble
over the waste of ruin, and climb along the edge of the mountain down to
Bruneck with some of the villagers; and they came to the burgomaster
here, and bore witness to the desolation. The burgomaster sent a great
drum thro’ the town announcing the catastrophe; and all the peasants
round brought food and carts and horses, and worked with a will.


                                                         The Tyrol,
                                                     October 27th, 1878.


Did I tell you how here the elder brother has all and the younger has
nothing but the right to support, and labourers’ wages in return for
labourers’ work, on the ancestral estate? Some go away to make a place
for themselves elsewhere; but many don’t. They can never marry, and they
grow old in a life of humble service on their brother’s land.

Mr. Howitt has been much touched by the life and character of the
brother of the old man who owns this farm, and wrote these lines which
he would like you to see. He told us of the old man’s silent life,
strict attention to the cattle, reverent raising of his hat, and letting
his grey hair be caught by the wind, as he prayed in the field when the
vesper bell rang in the distant town, and of his unnoticed place among
the other labourers; and how when his nephew was married, he thought he
must make him a present; so he asked leave to go into the bedroom let to
the Howitts, where the chest of drawers containing his own earthly
possessions stood; how he took out a green little old jug made in the
form of an animal, of no value, but all that he could find to give. Take
care of the lines, for I like them.

                                                     November 2nd, 1878.


I should be frantic if you didn’t so beautifully report all you send, so
that I know what there ought to be.

I was so delighted with Miss Martineau’s letters; it seems to me to show
how much things have taken root, and how much heart there is in things,
and how people are helping one another. I wonder if Mrs. Wilson is sure
to be fully occupied. It is delightful when the volunteers themselves do
so much; but I hope they will use the assistants in other fields.

It is no use frittering time and strength in many places.

                                        St. Michael, November 9th, 1878.



I really ought to tell you of our travels, they are so full of
interesting things. At Heiligenblut, on Wednesday, we hadn’t very fine
weather; the sky was dark as when snow is coming; but we went a scramble
up to a high point (where there was a ruined chapel with a fine view of
the Gross Glockner) and all the snowy valley and peaks, and all up, by
an icy stream, which reminded me very much of Lowell’s Sir Launfal. On
Thursday the weather was really magnificent, clear, bright, and so
sunny. We saw the Gross Glockner to perfection, and then drove three
hours to Winklern. We had a dreadful char-a-banc with such gaps in the
boards of the floor; it was very draughty for our feet, but we had such
views! At Winklern we changed carriages, and started for another four
hour drive to Ober Vellach; but the fates seemed against us; first the
axle of the carriage broke and quietly deposited us on the ground to our
infinite amusement. The driver went off with the horse to try to borrow
another; and I sat in the sun trying to draw a chalet, with such Indian
corn outside it, and above, the golden larches, and beyond them the
slope of snow; but I hadn’t time to do anything. The man returned with a
kind of cart, but very comfortable. We drove some way in it, when the
man looked and saw the cord, which had tied our luggage, loose, and all
the luggage gone. We made him drive back some miles; and there quite
quietly in the middle of the road stood the luggage, neither walker nor
driver having passed. It began to get late; the sun set, in wonderful
splendour; and then the moon rose. We were driving thro’ a long defile
in which a torrent joins the Möll. It is a wildly destructive one, and
has strewn the whole valley with stupendous stones, and dug channels
among them, and tossed them here and there over all the waste. The road
threads its way, now down into channels of half frozen water, now up
great banks of stones; here and there the Möll expands into small lakes,
in which the opposite slopes of snow-covered fir trees and the moon and
snow peaks were exquisitely reflected; and for miles we went without
seeing a house. It was very lovely. On Friday we drove only 20 miles to
Spital; the weather was quite lovely, every blade of grass sparkled in
the sunlight, and the frosty air made everything bright. We had two fine
grey horses, which greatly delighted Miss Y. They trotted along the
frozen snow at a fine pace. To-day we have driven 29 miles, from Spital,
by Gmund and Rennwig, here. It was not clear when we started; a snow
cloud seemed to darken the sky. We climbed a long steep bleak hill, and
then saw the folds of the hills north, south, east, and west, and the
river, by which we were to travel so long, deep in its channel, far
below us; still the light was not beautiful. Gmund is a funny old-world
place, with an arched gateway to enter by, and another under a château
to go out by, and a fine old statue on a bridge,—nothing pretty in it,
only it looks so asleep. The road led on for nine miles more by the
river, till we came to Rennwig. There we were to change our carriage for
one with two horses, as the Katschburg over which we had to pass is
steep. We went into the inn to have some coffee. There were the maids
spinning and the mistress working, and our driver came in for his food;
all in the same large warm sitting-room where we were. To our intense
delight, when we came out, we found we were to have a sledge and two
large horses, strong as cart-horses, to draw it. It was very
comfortable; we had no end of wraps; and Miss Y. bought us each some
great warm over-boots this morning. There we sat, as warm as could be,
with our luggage packed round us. We saw at once that the day, the
middle of which had cleared and been splendid, had changed its mind, and
more snow was coming, as a heavy cloud hung over the mountain in front.
Slowly, lightly, thickly it began to fall; the great fir-covered slopes
were seen through the mist of it; the landscape was little changed by
it, for there was much before; the road was thick with it, the drifts
white and deep; the mountains loomed large and white; then the moon
rose, and the snow ceased. Such a silence, such a scene I never saw; for
nine miles we drove without passing a house or a person. [Sidenote: A
TYROLESE INN] Our driver had a great horn, which he blew before a bend
in the road, to warn any sledge that might be coming; and the unfamiliar
sound seemed to make the silence more marked. We are on a post road, and
employing postal vehicles, and all is safe and familiar, and easy to the
people evidently, but very impressive to us. We are, as you say, seeing
the country as it is, and not in gala dress for tourists. We like the
people much. We seem a great marvel to them; they see few tourists here,
and few English anywhere. We are in a very comfortable inn, but
surrounded by deep snow. We are much amused with the people in the room
where we had supper. A perfectly sober, orderly, well-behaved set of men
and women came in to supper. One great dish was placed in the middle of
the table; they all helped themselves to it with spoons, which they took
out of their pockets. When they had finished, they sucked their spoons
and pocketed them. The master and mistress of the hotel, their servants
and children, came next. They had a plate each allowed them, but only
one glass amongst them. They give us many things which they think the
right thing; but they evidently regard them as great luxuries, and to be
taken _great_ care of. The little bits of carpet beside our beds they
carefully fold up every morning and put away all day, and get them out
for us each night. Their little charges are somewhat touching. They ask
us how much bread we have eaten, and charge accordingly. We go on to
Radstadt to-morrow. Don’t be anxious about us, we are very cautious; and
I never saw anything like Miss Y.’s knowledge and observation. She knows
the strength and power and time and chances of all things.

                                                   St. Johann in Pongau,
                                                       November 11th.

We had such a day yesterday! We came sleighing fifty miles. We came by
Unter Tauern down to Radstadt, and then it being only 3.30 o’clock, and
as we had only driven forty miles, we thought, after dining and asking
for a chance post card, we would go nine and a half miles to Wagram, as
we wanted to see the winter sunset over the snow, and it would give us
more time at Gastein. We drove off, still all in sledges; and a splendid
sunset it was. It was quite dark when we drove into Wagram, which
appears in large letters on the map; but, as Baedeker mentions no inn,
we had enquired at Radstadt which was the best. It was a rough place
indeed, but the woman took us upstairs, promising a room, when suddenly,
whether it was that in the light she saw we were quite unlike the
country people, or what, I can’t say, but she turned resolutely
downstairs, took us into a kind of top room to parley; and nothing could
induce her to give us a room. Moreover, she declared that there was no
horse in the village which would take us on. The master, our coachman,
and all the men in the room supported her. Miss Y. really believed them,
she is so very disinclined to suspicion; they seemed to send and see,
but became more positive. “Oh,” I said, “get a room; they’ll send us on
to-morrow.” “There was no room,” they said. I thought they looked simple
people frightened at us, so I said, “Ask her what she advises us to do.”
Go back to Radstadt, two hours’ drive in the utter dark. However, there
was nothing for it, and laughing we agreed. We still stood talking.
“Tell her we’re English,” I suggested, “and have many railways in
England, and no sledges”; for I saw one of the great causes of suspicion
was that we hadn’t gone round by railway. [Sidenote: MISS YORKE’S
DIPLOMACY] Miss Y. told them; and they became interested. She was very
gentle, and, I think, touched them; for suddenly the men made a sign to
her to accompany them. I followed their flaring tallow candle thro’
great barns, out into the stable yard, where in solemn circle they
showed her a sledge, such as peasants use, just a platform of boards on
runners. “Would that do?” “Certainly, perfectly.” So persistently
truthful was she that she thought they meant a man would drag it, and
said pleasantly, “Oh, it didn’t matter about a horse at all.” Horse!
they’d a beautiful horse, she must really see it; so she was conducted
thro’ great barns to the stable. She admired duly the great animals, but
still clinging to her belief in their truth, said, “But they can’t go in
the snow.” “Oh, beautifully!” they exclaimed. So all was settled. The
good woman, touched by her gentleness, couldn’t do enough for her, and
fetched her own great slippers lest her feet should be wet, and they all
took us under their wings. They would make us go into the hot tap-room,
and there kept us for two hours, while they prepared our room. We were
made to draw up to the common table, and saw the moderate drink and
food, the strong young women walkers who came in for their dry bread and
beer, laid down their bundles, and set off again to walk all night. We
saw the men drinking, and they looked with much interest at our maps.
Meantime we saw them wash our sheets and bring them in to dry; and we
felt the preparations the women were making above, while the men did the
honours below. We hinted our fatigue; but it was all of no use. At last
we got the man to take us up to our room. The woman was giving it a
final sweeping, and wasn’t very pleased; but we admired the room and won
her heart. A long low room with beams showing fine tiny latticed
windows, a great massive wooden door with such a carved pediment, a long
shelf running all round the room under the ceiling, set all round with
shining pewter plates, two feet in diameter, against which hung numerous
glass tankards. The beds were very small, but quite comfortable. The man
asked the woman if she had given us water, “Oh yes, sehr viel”—very
much—she replied. We found it a decanter full, and we had one towel
between us; but evidently her very best, all embroidered at the end.
They did their utmost for us. They seemed a little relieved, and very
much pleased when Miss Y. paid them this morning. The man showed it to
the woman, as much as to say, “I told you they would pay all right”; and
she nodded a self-controlled, satisfied little nod. We all shook hands;
and we drove off, sitting back to back on the sledge, our feet down at
each side; they could be put into a ring like a stirrup when we chose;
our luggage tied on near us, and we came merrily on here thro’ the snow.
Now we are going on to Lind.

                                                    November 26th, 1878.


I hope you will receive safely a letter I posted from Innsbruck to tell
you that I am coming home for a very short time, and that I expect to
arrive on Saturday evening, November 30th, but may be as late as Monday
2nd (evening).

We drove here from Imst to-day, forty-one miles thro’ the Ober-Inn-Thal,
and passed all along the defile of the Finstermunster. It has been the
worst day we have had for seeing the scenery; still I thought it very
grand, and was glad to see what threatening snow looks like. The great
swirls of wild white cloud, breaking and clinging against the mountain
sides, and lying level in narrow ravines, were very grand. The
Finstermunster is very impressive, the Inn threads its way 500 feet
below the road; and the craggy cliffs above the road were stupendous. We
hope the snow may fall heavily to-night, and leave it clear for the
Engadine to-morrow. Yesterday, when we drove thirty-seven miles from
Innsbruck to Imst, it was quite fine nearly all day. Here we are in our
old quarters at Nauders, at the old-fashioned inn we liked; but we have
had to come to the other side of the house to secure a room with a
stove, very necessary with snow deep round everywhere.

I shall turn up in a very forlorn condition, as to dress fit for
London.... I try not to think of coming back; I daren’t.


                                                    November 17th, 1878.


I was so pleased by your sending me the little bunch of roses in Mama’s
letter. I was glad to hear of your moving to Elm Cottage. I fancy it is
very pretty. I hope you and Maud like being there.

I suppose you very often go to see Aunt Margaret. You would be
interested to see the way we travel here. There is thick snow on the
ground; and we go on sledges,—that is carriages that have no wheels, but
go easily in the snow. They go very fast.

The other day we started before it was light. The moon was shining
brightly; there was a little light in the sky where the sun would rise.
Miss Yorke and I sat in a sledge, which is so low that one feels almost
on the ground.

The driver had on a great fur coat, a fur cap, and great fur gloves. He
looked like a picture of a Laplander; but we had a horse, not a
reindeer, to draw us. There was another sledge behind us with our
luggage. I couldn’t think why the white horse that was drawing it kept
coming and rubbing his nose against my shoulder; and I thought, too,
that it was a little frisky sometimes. When it got excited, it seemed to
prance about a good deal; and I wondered why the driver let it.

But soon we saw that the good little creature was being trusted to
follow without any driver at all.

He followed for twelve miles, till we changed horses, over the mountain
and over the wide tracts of snow, where the road was only marked by
posts which stood up from the snow; and through the quiet little
mountain villages, where the people were just waking and coming out to
cut a way through the snow to their cow-houses or wood-sheds.

Every now and then the driver of our sledge turned back and called,
“Cieco, Cieco” to the horse; and he trotted up, and rubbed his nose
against my shoulder. We met the peasants walking. It was hard work in
the snow; even where our horse had been, it was over their knees. One
boy had a little dog with him; he wanted to keep it out of the snow, and
had buttoned it into his coat in front; its little head looked so funny,
wagging in front of his chest. We went up over the mountains where there
were no more houses, and hardly any peasants to be seen, only just
snow-covered mountains, and fir trees loaded with snow, and all the
streams were covered or edged with icicles, some of them as tall as a

There used to be wolves there; but I suppose there are none now. It was
strangely solitary; so much so that we saw two pretty chamois going over
the snow together into a fir wood. They left pretty footprints in the
snow. There wasn’t another road going in the same direction for a
hundred miles; so, though it was so high and cold and snowy, the people
have to go over it all the winter. It was very beautiful to see the sun
rise, and the snow on them looked quite rose-coloured in the light. We
drove fifty miles in sledges that day. The people here all have a little
ground, and they plant what they want to eat and to wear too: and they
hardly ever buy anything in shops. Their cows and goats and fowls give
them milk and eggs and cheese and milk; and their sheep provide them
with wool; and they have flax and hemp, and the women spin and weave it;
and they make it in the winter; and they make even the leather for their
shoes at home from the skins of animals. Very little corn ripens here;
it is not warm enough; but they make great racks, like gigantic towel
rails, with numbers of rails twice as high as the houses; and there the
little corn that they have and their hay are placed, that they may get
sun and wind and ripen and dry.

They are very fond of their country, and have fought for it several

I mustn’t write you more of a letter to-day. With love and kisses to
Maud and baby and Papa and Mama.

                                                             About 1878.


Thank you very much for your letter.

Please don’t think about me. If in anything you ever did or thought
there is anything you would wish otherwise, forget it, as if it had
never been. Never mind telling me, or even telling yourself, whether
there was anything, or nothing, or if anything how much, or what it was;
just, if it occurs to you, put it from you like an unreal thing; never
let it trouble you. You know this is what I wish always.

Be sure not to trouble, so far as I am concerned, about any painful
thoughts of me, which remain to you, if such there be. They are either
true and will abide, or false and will vanish—it can but be for a little

                                                 Bagnieres de Bigorre,
                                                     February 5th, 1879.


There’s a thing I am anxious about; and that is I fear I’ve led you into
what may be troublesome, as it turns out, and that is the Kyrle Open
Spaces Committee.... You never said or felt or implied that you’d time
for a great new work, which this kindling would be; and I write to say
to you that I quite realise this, and shall not be surprised or
disappointed that the K. S. C. becomes a very different thing from what
we three talked of that morning, or even what I wrote of from Paris. I
daresay you and E. will manage to make it a most useful opening up of
the Open Space Kyrle work in London; and this will indirectly help the
wilder commons slowly; in fact there need be no difference in programme;
but I think you ought at once to know that I see a wide difference in
expectation. It is clear there is no large or zealous body to gather
together; you can’t even get an Hon. Sec., but the effort will be good
as far as it goes.... It is the want of general interest, without a fire
in the midst, that is telling. But never mind; only don’t think I expect
much, nor strain yourself to do anything you don’t see your way to. Take
it very quietly; go on till it grows into more life, if it may be,
before all the commons are gone....


                             Hôtel de France, Bagnieres de Luchon,
                                                         Haute Garonne,
                                                     February 8th, 1879.


I hear you were interested by my other letter. Now I am in quite another
country. I am in France, and very near Spain. We meant to have ridden
to-day a little way up the mountain and looked down into Spain; but
there is still a little too much snow. They have no sledges here, as
they had in Tyrol. The snow soon melts here. All the carts are drawn by
great oxen. They draw them with their heads, not with collars as horses
do. They have their heads harnessed, because their necks are so very
strong. They have great sheepskins fastened on their horns, partly to
look pretty, and partly, I think, to prevent the harness rubbing them.
On Wednesday, we were driving in a carriage with two fine horses. We
began to go up a hill, and we passed a cart with a heavy block of
granite, and twelve strong oxen to draw it. We went on a very little
way, and then our naughty horses didn’t like going up-hill; and, instead
of going on, they went back; and they wouldn’t press against the collar;
and, the more the coachman tried to drive them on, the more they went
back. This is called “jibbing”; and it is very dangerous, because they
can’t see where they are pushing the carriage; and they might send it
off the road, down a precipice. Miss Yorke and I got out, as well as we
could. The coachman, who had been very proud of his horses, and who had
driven past the twelve oxen very dashingly (the oxen go very slowly),
now said very meekly, “I must get two cows.” So he called the driver of
the oxen to lend him two; and they fastened these in front of the
horses. It looked so funny to see how the patient things pulled slowly
and steadily up the hill; and the naughty horses couldn’t help coming,
though once, when the rope broke which fastened the oxen, the horses
again tried to go backwards. The man talked to the oxen all the way;
they seemed to know all he meant them to do when he shouted. We couldn’t
tell what he said, for the people here don’t talk French among
themselves, but an old language that their neighbours can understand.
They wear bright handkerchiefs tied round their heads, instead of hats
or bonnets, and their boots are not made of leather, but all of wood;
they are turned up at the toes, and oh! they make such a noise on the
floor! Besides the oxen they use a great many mules; and they carry the
milk to market in bottles slung on each side of the mules. It is much
warmer here than in England, and many flowers are out already. The
snowdrops grow wild in the woods.

                                                            March, 1879.


Miranda gave your message to Mrs. Hollyer[90] whilst she was doing my
grate. When she had left Mrs. Hollyer said, “Paradise Place is so quiet
now; there are such nice respectable people. We are all so comfortable
there”; then she looked up in my face with such a nice expression, and
added, “Will you tell Miss Octavia so?” I did think it such a delicate
way of returning your sympathy in her illness.


                                                       March 27th, 1879.


Did you see dear Mr. Howitt’s death? We found him dying, when we came
here. He was one of my oldest friends. I remember their house as one of
the happiest and best I knew as a child. He used to take me for walks,
when I was six years old. Mrs. Howitt looks so clearly thro’ to the
meeting in the future, and has none but holy and happy recollections and
the human grief is so natural, and yet the peace of trust so great. It
is beautiful and helpful to me. I was almost a daughter to her, and her
son who died in Australia one of my earliest companions; so she lets me
slip in there, and there seems more life in the house of death than in
all the sunlighted hills, for God seems so near her, and she feels
_that_ so.

                                                          May 9th, 1879.


I am very sorry you are having so much trouble about the name; perhaps
now that the real work is so abundant, and must be so engrossing, this
question may die down. I _do_ feel that the name, be it what it may,
ought to mark the much larger work you propose to yourselves than the
C.P.S. does; else you may hereafter have difficulty in getting all the
work recognised as yours; and also people will be puzzled continuously
and practically by your not being a branch of the C.P.S. Remind Mr.
Haweis that you have to encourage gift and purchase and beautifying as
well as “preservation”; that you have to do with _private_ land as well
as _commons_, and that you have to do with Metropolitan as well as rural
open spaces. A name never includes all objects; but a narrower one
belonging to a somewhat analogous society would be very confusing. So I
feel.... Mr. Barnett you have probably seen.[91] His letter strikes me
as depressed, and I am sorry. I realise what he says about throwing
stones, but such practices often die down, after a little; and tar
paving is such uninteresting London stuff; you can’t plant, or even have
a may-pole in it; nor feel as if it were the earth. I hope they won’t
put it, and certainly wouldn’t give a farthing to help; but I’m so sorry
the burden of that and the Pensions is on him.... How splendid all the
life of the movement you describe is. I have no fear if the people now
interested can only be kept working with _some_ result, enough to keep
up their hope; if so, the things must grow.

                                                       Freshwater Place,
                                                           1879 or ’80.


I got two nice little letters from children, when I was away. I heard
they took my answers, and read them to the other children in the
Playground. Wasn’t it nice of them? I send you my little neighbour’s
artistic efforts; he is only a little chap. They had trained my scarlet
runners, and left everything just as it was in my room, and welcomed me
back so tenderly, saying the place had felt _empty_ and dull without me.
A girl, who has a lot of sisters to mother, came to tell me she had
found the motto she liked best, “Love is the greatest force,” evidently
learnt from experience; for they are all so fond of her. She and four
sisters, and other little and big neighbours, came yesterday to work for
an industrial exhibition we are going to have; and whilst they did
needlework and pasting, etc., we read the “Fairy Spinner.”[92] I think
M. H. was really the only one who could listen to it, as she has been
ill and didn’t feel the excitement of the novelty so much as the others.
Some of the dear little tots kept running past crying to the swallows
and butterflies painted on the wall, “I’ll catch you bird,” “I’ll catch
you butterfly,” almost as happy, dear, as if they were real ones, I
think.... We came home to that dear Haven named Miranda, looking so
sweet and rested and full of delightful sayings and doings of other
people. Can’t you see her upturned face telling them, and a twinkle in
her eyes at something funny?


                                               No date. (Probably 1879.)



Oh if one could but have a penny botanical garden in the Marylebone Road
for the hot little children and weakly old people!

“Now I hope you’ll enjoy yourself,” with a hearty grasp of the hand, as
much as to say, “You _must_ now,” was the last word I heard at
Freshwater Place.

I didn’t at all like leaving it. The children enjoyed their _field_ day
very much, I think, and kept asking, “Wasn’t it nice on Saturday?” with
such a little hug of your hand! I was so pleased with one child, who, I
_knew_, in the midst of amusing herself, simply to give me pleasure,
came away to me with, “Won’t Miss like to have a game of six acres of
land?” and the girl with the dreadful face behaved splendidly, and
carried poor little Shannon all the way home to Swiss Cottage; for we
nearly killed the poor little fellow. The cab-door burst open, and he
was shot out, and I expected him to be killed on the spot. But on Sunday
he was on his legs again—quite a hero; and instead of pitching into me,
his parents were so kind; only too anxious to reassure me, and show how
well he could walk. In fact, Johnny has come into notice ever since. I
had a nice talk with grave Mrs. Wilson, who is going to lend books, and
to honour me by getting me a cup of tea there; and I went to say, “How
d’ye do?” and “Good-bye!” to B. Court Club, and found Mrs. Lewes there.

She was so pleased to get her rents all right; but also disappointed at
many things. It seems that it is when everything looks like failure that
courage comes from some bright spot, or something to start you afresh.


The cobbling class that I have superintended since the 2nd of December
has kept up, as well as I could expect, in some respects, and very much
better in others; for, though it has not increased in numbers, some boys
have never missed coming. They have really learnt to mend well, and have
improved so wonderfully in their manners to each other and to me, that,
in three or four cases, we have got really fond of each other, and that
is my hope for the future. Good, I like to think, may result. Nine boys
attended the last evening, and seemed very sorry that it was the last,
asking if, next winter, the class would be again; and, as they have once
or twice hinted their hope of my taking them for something else in an
evening, I am going to try; and we shall read English History to begin
with, and talk, and so on; for we are really so comfortable with each
other that just to be together is a pleasure to us now. They are only
young. But I found that they and older boys did not do well together....
The boy beyond all the others whom I care for is James ——; and as I fear
you may have heard anything but good of him—for I am the only one of
your ladies who has any liking for him, except, I think, Miss
Leighton,—perhaps it may be a mistake to like James as much as I do, and
to hope that he will do so well. But I am quite sure that if you, dear
Miss Hill, had the same cause as I have to admire all his ways and work
that I can see, you would also care little for what is said about his
mother and father. The first evening that he came he did nothing but
watch me, and stand, rather rudely, with his cap on all the time. Also
he had brought no halfpenny; and I told him that just for that evening
he might stay, but that another time he could not without paying.

[Sidenote: THE BOYS OF B. COURT]

His large head and the powerful expression of his face made me think how
bad, or how good, he might be, according to the way he turns. I heard
that evening that he was one of the worst (English “troublesome”) boys
in the Court. To my surprise he came the next time with his halfpenny;
and, when I said that Lush the cobbler was late, he offered very civilly
to go for him. I thanked him, and _made much_ of him. During the evening
he worked more steadily than any of them; and ever since he has been my
best boy, both as regards working, and coming even when he has nothing
to mend, just because he seems so happy to be there and to do any little
thing that he possibly can for me. Mrs. Jales says that he is now much
better in the Court too. To say I like him says little, for I do a great
deal more than that. A woman would be strangely made who did not get to
feel him as somewhat her own property, and, even if he goes wrong
afterwards, not to lose her affection for him easily.

                                                   September 16th, 1879.


In an age when doubt assails so many young spirits with its light
destruction of belief in the eternal and intangible, will not the
possession of such a brother be perhaps to the elder ones something no
other possession could be? Those who have never loved and lost may think
of the dead as buried and done with; those whose lost ones had nothing
noble or specially characteristic which was good about them, may think
of them as _having_ lived; but whoever has seen and loved a being with
peculiar beauty and nobleness, will have moments, and those the best and
deepest in life, when the certainty that _that_ being still lives, will
be quite quietly triumphant over all clever talk or brilliant flippancy.
I think to you all Frank will be always a blessing—in spite of pain.


  On the attempt to save the site of Horsemonger Lane Gaol as an Open

                                                   September 24th, 1879.


I think we could get the Archbishop to hold a meeting. In fact _I have
no fear about getting money_, if dear E. can only get it into a working
shape where that only is needed. After all, even if Government _did_
give it, that only means all being taxed; and surely, so long as riches
exist, there is need to call upon those who have them to give of their
abundance freely and heartily to such places as Southwark; even without
_asking_ them, to make it possible for those of them who _want_ to give
to give helpfully, and, so long as there are even quite poor people with
any surplus, it is a pity they should not have the joy of giving freely.
Is it to be all compulsory taxes, and no free-will offering?

                                                 B. Court Club,
                                         October 18th, 1878 or 1879 (?).


Mr. Blyth asked to come to see me on purpose to know what I thought
about things. He is very hopeful, much pleased at the quiet dignified
way in which the (Temperance) Lodges men behaved. They asked the _old
men_ (who are chiefly boys) what they meant to do about the debt, and
their reply was that, if they could not meet it otherwise, they must
sell the furniture, billiard tables, etc.! So, finally, the teetotalers
have formally taken the debts (now said to be £5) upon themselves, and
have also taken the tables, etc., as part of the club belongings.

There were, last week, forty-five new teetotal members, and there are
twenty-four non-total abstainers—sixty-nine in all. Seventeen and
threepence was paid in entrance fees, the whole room cleaned and put in
order; and Grimmins’s first act was to fasten up with his own hands, in
the renewed room, the tablet to Mr. Cockerell’s memory. They want it to
be just as it all was at first, and to have a penny subscription and no
ballot at election.

                                                    Eland House,
                                              November 3rd, 1879 or ’80.


We went to the opening of Walmer Castle, which was a great success.
There were large crowds both of rich and poor. Among others Mr. Hughes,
Mr. Hart, Mr. Davies, Mr. Diggle, General Gardiner, Charles and
Gertrude. After the “public” had been admitted to the tap-room, and
before they began making their purchases, speeches were made by one or
two people. Mr. Hughes made a very nice speech, and so did Mr. Diggle,
who was much applauded. He came up and asked very warmly after you, and
said you would be glad to hear that all the work in St. Mary’s was going
on well, and some of it was being carried on with more vigour than ever.
Miss Cons looked very happy, and was busy talking to everybody. The
whole place looked very clean and comfortable, and all the food very
nice; there were decorations of flowers, and bright flags flying
outside. We went over the house, and saw the beautiful dining-room
upstairs and the smoking-room, and some very comfortable furnished
little bedrooms for respectable men. General Gardiner turned to a friend
and said, “We should some of us have been very glad of as good a bedroom
as this at the University.” My fear about the bedrooms is that they are
too dear. A shilling a night is not much to pay for so nice a little
_furnished_ room; but, if a working man has to pay seven shillings a
week for his room, I fear he will think it too much. Downstairs there is
a nice large room to be used for the Boys’ Club. It is to be decorated
by the Kyrle Society.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     October 17th, 1879.


I don’t know whether Minnie will write and give you any account of the
Kyrle Committee Meeting yesterday; but, in case she does not, I think
you will be glad to know that all went, I think, very satisfactorily.
Your letter was received with pleasure, and your offer of transferring
the St. Christopher work to the Kyrle was received with warm thanks.
Somebody is to be found to undertake the drawing.... Can you tell me
where your large St. Christopher is? I was asked to show it yesterday,
that the Committee might see how much needed completing.

The money was voted for the choir without any difficulty. We have two
applications to decorate rooms for working girls.

Minnie asked, on behalf of the O.S. Committee, whether they were at
liberty to appeal to the public for funds without consulting the General
Committee on the subject. It was decided that they could not. Mr. N.
said that he thought they never ought to take any public action without
consulting the General Committee. We explained how impossible it would
be to work at all, if _no_ public action could be taken without
reference to the General Committee; for all the work is dealing with
public bodies, vestries, etc., and, when Minnie pointed out that in any
doubtful case like Burnham Beeches, the O.S. Committee always had, and
always would, consult the General Committee, Mr. N. was satisfied.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 December 15th, 1879.


In order to bind the work in the Court (not the collecting, to which
this letter does not refer at all) and to make the arrangements simpler
and more organised, it is proposed to unite the teachers of the evening
classes into a little Committee.

I hope you will be able to join this Committee. I do not think that it
will involve you in any labour which will not be very easy, even to so
busy a person as you; while it would, in many ways, save you trouble in
making arrangements a little more organised and easy to deal with. I
think you would all enjoy the little reason for meeting from time to

Unless any unforeseen business presents itself, I should think two
meetings in the year would be ample; one to settle summer and one winter
arrangements, for it is proposed to leave everyone utterly free to do on
their evening precisely what seems good to them, so that the only
questions that the Committee would have to deal with would be those
which might clash with or influence other workers, or in which they
would wish to have a voice. My sister, Mrs. Edmund Maurice, will be
Secretary of the little Committee. There would be five members,
including yourself; but if large questions of general interest were
coming before the Committee, it would be well to invite the other
workers in the Court to attend and vote, as the landlord is anxious for
the room to be as generally useful as possible, especially as Lady Ducie
has given up hers to the general use of the Court so entirely by giving
the use of it to the Club. I am not without hope that I may have the
great pleasure of seeing the Committee meet just once here, after Xmas,
before I go. I hope rather great things from it, do you know? I feel how
much the life of the Court has developed since I left. All of you seem
to me stronger and quite knowing your own strength, which is an immense
help. The work is more individual, more living, more firmly rooted; but
I don’t like to think that you should lose anything by my absence; and I
sometimes dare to hope that this little Committee might, while leaving
to each of you full, free scope, give you each the _little_ connecting
link you seem as if you might lose in losing me. I mean the power of all
meeting for common work, of gathering strength each from the other, of
adding power and life each to the other’s work, of knowing and meeting
one another, of understanding each what the other means, of pausing for
a moment to see if there is anything to learn, to accept, to use in the
other’s work, the sense of a common cause and of being one body to
interpret that common cause in the noblest way in which it can be
conceived, and to sink all little narrow views in the broadest and
deepest ones.


                                                    February 18th, 1880.


What an interesting account you give of Mr. Clifford’s discussions! I
believe few people _will_ grasp what he meant the main point of the
discussion to be; but I do believe they will be _very_ useful, if they
show people who are doing tangible good, or good less spiritual, that
distinct teaching about God Himself may be needed. I think the reaction
from doing _that_ only has been too great, and that I and many people
need to be reminded of that deepest way of work; tho’ I think we always
take it up when we have the power, but we hardly look out for, or
abundantly use, the people who have the power, nor cultivate it in
ourselves. I think it is the next thing we have to aim at. In fear of
undue pressure, we hardly appeal bravely enough to the indwelling power
of response there must be in every one.

                                                    February 20th, 1880.


... I am glad you like the Diary of an Old Soul. I think MacDonald
singularly excels in that quaint, simple, deeply religious poetry.
Somehow he has naturally the habit of making those queer comparisons,
and sudden leaps from great to small things which one finds in the old
poets; and, in the same way, his deep faith atones for the strangeness.
There is even something captivating in it. I think the book very
beautiful. I went to see Mrs. Grey in Rome. She was so _very_ kind and
nice, and so interesting too. We talked of old times, and of the Public
Day Schools, and the Kindergarten work. We also saw the Marshes....
Yesterday we came from Beneventum here. The day was wild, and there was
even rain; but it was very interesting, first to cross the watershed
between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, then to traverse the great
plain lying round Foggia, where four and a half million sheep used to
graze, returning in winter by three great roads called the Strade dei
Pecore. The merino sheep used to be there, _now_ the plain is gradually
being cultivated; but there are still half a million sheep, and one sees
herds of great grey cattle, and droves of 40 or 60 horses, looking
almost wild, grazing among the glades of oak trees, or on the open


                                                    February 21st, 1880.


One of the lady workers was talking of giving food to one of the B. Crt.
men, who has been ill; but I found he had just got into work, so I
suggested he could get on for himself now. I then explained to her that
your plan was to let St. Thomas’s Relief Committee do any absolute
relief, and then to strengthen them with gifts, if you can make any. She
was so much interested, and very glad to know it. She said that she had
no idea you worked with the Church authorities to that extent. She knew
you were a member of the Church, but had no idea you co-operated with
the clergy to that extent. So many people thought you chose to be
independent. I explained how anxious you were that the clergy should be
willing to be co-operated with, and told her that your desire was to
work with them and so was that of the C.O.S. if they would but be worked
with.... Mr. E. writes: “Will Mr. M. contribute to the Thirlmere Defence
Fund? He may be induced to do so when he remembers Miss Octavia Hill’s
words” (evidently some words you spoke some time ago).

                                               Hotel St. George, Corfu,
                                           Tuesday, February 24th, 1880.


We reached here on Saturday. We found no post left here for England till
to-day; I hope you will not have thought it very long before you heard.
We had a splendid passage here.... I lay on the deck nearly all day, and
saw the wild, blue, beautiful Albanian shore, such a land of bare wild
mountain-land. The name of the people means “Highlander.” Then we
floated past the islands and into the narrow sea between Corfu and
Albania, where the Venetians and Turks had their last sea fight, and the
Turks tried no more to advance into Europe. It was a glorious light as
we floated into Corfu about half past. When we had passed thro’ 13 miles
of this forest country with the mountains in view, and here and there,
but _very_ far between, a village or two, we came out on a cliff over
the sea, along which we drove three miles. The road had been made by the
English soldiers, but it is now all going gradually to pieces; the
arches which support the bridges over the little streams (which, by the
way, are now _quite_ dry) are all cracking, their keystones protruding;
the well-built walls supporting the road on the slope of the hills are
crumbling gradually down, taking the road with them. Great hollows are
appearing in the road, and large stones in thousands rolling down upon
it. The driver said, “Il governo non fa niente per la strada.” And there
it is crumbling to decay. It does seem a pity.

We are going on board the Greek boat to-day en route for Athens. We hear
the “roughness” only consists in the want of good food; that the _boat_
and arrangements are good. There is at any rate much less open sea, and
the scenery is finer. An English lady who sat by me last night said she
had been both ways and much preferred ours, but the gentlemen here make
a great talking about the food. I daresay it will do for us. I am doing
very little drawing and no good with it; but it is possible I may later,
and this sea could not be attempted without emerald green.


                                                    February 28th, 1880.


Patras, their new commercial city, is nearly as pathetic and nearly as
interesting as modern Athens; and one feels that from there actual
_safety_, as well as education, and even the possibility of seeing the
beauty, must spread gradually. The difficulties of travel are quite
extraordinary, quite independently of the question of safety. There are
no hotels, no lodgings, no beds, hardly any food, no relays of horses,
no posts, no accurate guide-books, no trustworthy people to give
information. And somehow one feels it will all come gradually from this
little town, springing up, as it were, yesterday, with its little throb
of life, which must permeate the whole before it can be healthy or
alive. Even from a tourist’s point of view, mountains and woods and
defiles and rivers are no use because you can’t get at them; and what of
the life of the people, their education, their power of using the good
things that the earth brings forth?

                                            Hôtel des Étrangers, Athens,
                                                  March 3rd, 1880.


Mrs. Coupland’s introductions have been most useful.... Dr. Milschaefer
came himself to give us a lesson in modern Greek, and brought such an
interesting young Greek to teach us the pronunciation. It is very
interesting to see how the young national life is flowing instinctively
in the old grooves. The great thing they have progressed in, since their
independence, has been education. Their University is evidently becoming
remarkable, and people are coming from Asia Minor and Turkey to study.
Their girls’ schools and boys’ schools are evidently what they feel they
are succeeding in. They regret, however, that everyone tries to be a
lawyer or something of that kind; and that agriculture and manufacture
are neglected. Evidently agriculture has a great future here. The
country is much less fertile than in olden times, partly from the bad
systems of cultivation, partly, I should guess, from the neglect of
trees. They excuse themselves by saying that the ancient Greeks had
slaves; but one feels free men ought to work as well as slaves! and one
can see they know they ought to do better. One great want is population.
They can and do live by the rudest systems of culture. I daresay the
utter insecurity of country life, which for years (I suppose ages) has
prevailed, will have prevented anyone seeing to, or caring for, farming.
The Greeks look as if they had _much_ more stamina than the Italians. I
fancy their sea life has kept it up; and perhaps their mountain
fastnesses, and the fiercer oppression have really been better for them
than the enervated life of Italian cities under Austrian, or despotic,
cultivated home rule, where the richer and nobler classes must have had
the ease of civilisation without the responsibility or duty of
self-government. But this is all theory to account for the greater
energy one sees. Certainly the Greeks seem to me to have dealt really
well with brigandage, in contrast with the Italians. After that dreadful
affair in 1870,[93] the House of Deputies enacted a law for four years,
punishing the relations of those who were with the brigands, and the
villages near which it occurred, which law the English minister here
tells us, really extirpated it in a few months, so that the English
consuls were able officially to report that, except on the borders and
in Thessaly, it no longer existed. Brigandage broke out some time ago in
Acarnania, and they instantly re-enacted the law, and it disappeared. It
seems to me wise and right in cases where, as here, the crime could only
exist by reason of the collusion of the surrounding people. And it must
be much kinder than dallying on, as the Italians keep doing in Sicily,
first sending and then withdrawing troops. Mr. Corbett was so kind. Gen.
Gardiner got me a letter of introduction thro’ Mr. Eric Barrington, who
is Secretary to Lord Salisbury; the letter was evidently a very kind
one. Mr. Corbett called at once, and gave us full and kind assurances
and directions as to our movements. The border land is evidently, as
_every_ one has said thro’out, quite unsafe; but everywhere else
confidence has been quite restored for some years. We have the very
_best_ advice, and shall strictly follow it, so you need not have _any_
fear. By the way, do you know those four poor gentlemen were given a
large escort, and they insisted on galloping on, and leaving them two
miles behind!! So Mr. Corbett told us. It really makes a _great_
difference as to the blame attached to the Greek authorities.


We went up Mt. Pentelicus on Monday. The day was not fine, it was wet
and cold, and we had no view from the top; but I did enjoy it so very
much. The colours of all the wild landscape near were so exquisite ... I
never saw such lights, even in Italy. (Here follows an account of
flowers found, and the difficulty of identifying them without botany
books.) I never shall forget the sunset light coming back last night, as
we saw it on Pentelicus, Parnes and Hymettus, and on the Acropolis of
Athens. There was the grey-green foreground of stone and dead thyme; the
red ground here and there ploughed up, the grey-green olive, or full
dark pine, set far and far between; then there were the blue shadowed
sides and bases of the mountains and their snow-covered tops, now in
blue shadow, now in rose-coloured light, and then all the sun-lighted
sides of the mountains were rose and gold; and the blue-green sea,
turned in places into one silver sheet of ripple, broke on the shores
with sweet musical voice. It was like a dream of perfect beauty.... Mrs.
Corbett turns out to be a cousin of Lady Ducie’s, and writes most warmly
about seeing me.

  About difficulties in the school.

                                                            March, 1880.


Something has set the girls out of tune. I know how trying it is, and
how the sense of it shuts one up, and makes it impossible to be oneself,
or to trust to them. But I believe, if one could remember at such times
what depths of better things there are in every human heart, and how
they only need to be believed in and appealed to (especially in these
young things), to spring up and grow and thrive, one would more quickly
get past these trying times. There is usually either some stupid
misconception, or false standard of what is desirable, confusing the
young mind, some phantom, which seems good to it, and is not good; or
else some real evil, which the child herself knows to be evil, and
against which she—the better self—will side with you the teacher, if you
can but assume that she is ready to do so. One may beat about the bush
for any length of time, by dealing with manifestations of wrong; but if
one can get _near_ people, and get their spirits into harmony with God’s
will and purpose, and make them feel that one only wants _that_ done,
one strikes at the root of the evil, and loses at once the sense of jar,
because it is lost in the sense of harmony with the good in people.


                                            Hôtel des Étrangers, Athens,
                                                March 10th, 1880


... I suppose this will reach you a little before your birthday (tho’
that seems hardly credible); let it bring you my loving wishes for all
that is brightest and best. We went on Saturday to Tatoë, which is a
little place on Mt. Parnes, where the king has built a little place for
summer. It is close to the old pass of Dekelea, which the Spartans
fortified, and held during the Peloponnesian War. It was a glorious day,
and we thoroughly enjoyed it; Mt. Pentelicus looked quite beautiful.
There is a great quantity of fir wood near the king’s place. They have
cleared away trees here and there; I fancy, to let one see the giants of
the native forest, which stand magnificently, throwing their arms up in
the sunshine, a foreground to the blue mountains. The ground was covered
with wild golden crocuses, blue anemones; and, here and there, if a
little bit of land was sown with corn, there were great crimson anemones
growing among it. The utter solitude of the country is so strange here.
One drives for miles, and hardly sees a creature. We drove on Monday to
the Bay of Phalerum, and spent the afternoon at the Acropolis, and saw
the sunset from there. Yesterday a wild, tearing wind arose. We were to
to have gone to Phyle, and the mules had been sent on; but the storm of
wind raged, so we did not attempt it; in fact we could hardly stand on
the hill of Areopagus, or beat our way back along the streets, when we
returned from seeing the theatre of Dionysius, and the Stadium. We spent
Sunday evening at Mrs. Corbett’s, and last evening at Mrs. Finlay’s, and
met Mr. and Mrs. F. Noel. They go to Eubœa soon, and we shall follow
soon.... As I sit, I see the snow heavily falling between me and the
cypress trees. It does look so out of place.... Every one agrees in one
united testimony as to the extinction of brigandage.... Here it is
pretty to watch the restored confidence, and the life that is able to
grow up under it. They seem to be very cautious still, and send mounted
gendarmes out over all these solitary roads; but it is nice to hear the
pride with which the gendarme tells you you can go anywhere.... People
are beginning to build little houses in the country, and there are other
marks of confidence. How interesting it is to hear, on all sides, of the
love of education! It seems quite innate; the children clamour to be
taught, and especially do they delight in politics. They had _no_ toys
till lately. Old Mrs. Hill, who first established schools here for
girls, forty years ago, says she never sees the toy-shops without
remembering how she brought the first dolls to Athens, and tried to
teach the children to play. She says they all sit down to read; boys and
girls stand at the corners to discuss politics. Children used to walk
from Eleusis and back to attend school here.


                                                       March 18th, 1880.


We saw, some few hundred yards from the hamlet, an old, broken marble
pillar placed there to mark from the surrounding hilly open common a
tiny space separated by a rough ridge of earth from the common; but even
the ridges had gaps in them, one of which led to a stony path. We
followed it, and found ourselves in the churchyard. A few graves, marked
with little crosses, and planted with sweet rosemary, gathered round one
which alone had a stone, a little railing, and a young date-tree planted
at each corner. To our astonishment, we found the inscription in French.
It was: “Oh you who pass by, pause and know that here lies an angel who
waits for thee beyond there, Beatrice B.... who died in her 15th year,
1877.” It was so simple, and, having no surname, seemed to mark this
more. We wondered whether French people were the cultivators, and what
was the history. The people were all Greeks at the house doors in the
hamlet, and we don’t know enough Greek to ask who has begun the
cultivation. Still, we are getting on fast with our Greek. We often wish
we knew more. There is an exciting ministerial crisis here—M. Tricoupis,
the Liberal candidate, trying to overthrow, on financial questions, M.
Koumondouros, the Conservative. People say M. Tricoupis is the man of
most principle, but that he has not a strong party. Some of the deputies
stay at this hotel, and every night at dinner they have a hot argument;
but we cannot even follow the main drift—we only catch a few words here
and there. If we knew more, we should learn much more. We have had a
Greek master every night, and have been learning the grammar, when Miss
Y. would let me; but it is slow work till one gets to the point of

                                            Hôtel des Étrangers, Athens,
                                                  March 20th, 1880.


... There seems so much to tell you of what we see here. I feel always
as if I ought to dash into a sort of swift summary of journal, instead
of writing, as I should like, about all the things you tell me. I am
sure you know how my heart and thoughts follow you all in them, and I
think you will like to know many things I am seeing.


The weather has been so wild and wintry that we are glad to be settled
here, and shall not move till it is assured spring time. Meanwhile, we
are seeing things within a drive, learning Greek, and trying to gather
what we can about modern Greek life. Yesterday we went to see Mrs.
Hill’s day school for girls. Dr. and Mrs. Hill came here nearly fifty
years ago; their work has been supported by the Americans. This school
was the first house built in Athens among the hovels. They used some
foundations of an ancient market, and say the steps of the school, which
were found when they were digging the foundations, may be those up which
St. Paul stepped. Dr. and Mrs. Hill built their own house at the same
time; and it stands in quite the poor part of Athens, the palace and all
the better houses being later, and forming a new quarter. Dr. Hill is
now quite blind, and Mrs. Hill too old to teach; but a vigorous and most
sympathetic Scotch lady, Miss Muir, lives with them, and carries on
their work. I was delighted with her; she and they seem to have been
animated with the true spirit of trust in the people, love for them, and
desire, not to proselytise, but to work with all that is good and pure
in what the people themselves believe—to strengthen that, instead of
dwelling on differences. Hence they have never found any difficulty in
working with the Greek priests. The lady who was with us kept pressing
difficulties upon Miss Muir, and asking her if she was not hampered by
this or that; and it was very beautiful to hear her answers. “Have you
not great difficulties in not being allowed to read the Bible?” “No,”
said Miss Muir; “we read it from end to end if we wish.” “But how about
the Greek doctrine and the procession of the Holy Ghost?” “O, the
Filioque! we haven’t to touch upon it any way! Do you know there is a
little school at the foot of Mount Parnes, from which the priest wrote,
asking if we could spare any old spelling books, or maps, or school
things, and we gathered together what we could; since which, we have
always been interested in the school. And some time ago the priest said
they would like some copies of the Bible. I wrote to America, and they
sent out twelve copies of the New Testament. Twelve of the elder lads
and the priest walked all the way to Athens one day, in pouring rain, to
receive these. Some months after they wrote to say that, in reading the
New Testament, so many questions came up for which they wanted to refer
to the Old Testament. ‘Might they have the Pentateuch?’ So I wrote to
America again. When the books came, I drove to Parnes to take them. The
priest was absent for a few hours; on his return he rang the great
village bell, and all the peasants assembled, and the great boys came
forward to receive their books, and I wrote their names in them. ‘Tell
me,’ I said, ‘is it true that you read these? So many people say you
don’t.’ ‘Every day,’ he answered, ‘we have our food of necessities, and
something to give it a relish; so daily we have our lessons, and
something to give them a relish.’ Many missionaries tell the people they
should not cross themselves. To me,” she said, “it is beautiful to see
them do it, when I remember what centuries they have lived under the
Turks, as a despised and oppressed nation, and think what it must have
cost them to make that cross publicly, as they do when they pass a
church. It is the assertion of their Christianity. I sometimes ask
myself how many of us would have power to make that cross?”

“But aren’t you obliged to have a priest come in and teach?” “No,” said
Miss M.; “many come in as friends, and we always invite those we know to
the examinations and gatherings; and we have a large number of priests’
children as scholars, but in this school we never had a priest to teach.
In Mrs. Hill’s other school she often had a young deacon as pupil
teacher. She used to prepare her Bible lessons with him. They are very
ignorant, and were delighted to learn and then teach.”

All the human sympathy was so quick and so deep. She showed a tiny
orphan boy of 4, left by his mother, at her death, whom they placed in
school, to live with the teacher. We asked for a Greek teacher, and she
recommended one of two orphan pupil teachers, to whom they had given
rooms in the building. All the education in Greece, of rich and poor,
was initiated by Dr. and Mrs. Hill. They have still this school of 700
boys and girls, and train their own teachers; but the larger work they
helped the Government to start, and then gave it up to them.... I wonder
what will be done about the unveiling of St. Christopher. They are not
Lady Ducie’s houses, you see. I should like a little ceremony; but it is
difficult to imagine a simple natural one, and there seems no place for


                                                       March 25th, 1880.


I wonder how you are. It seems so strange not to know. We went to see
Dr. and Mrs. Hill the other day. Such quiet interesting beautiful old
people. They remind me of Quakers. They are beloved and respected by
every one, Greek and English, poor and sick, and seem to be the only
missionaries who have won the people’s hearts, by trying to get them to
do better in the way their consciences told them. They are full of
stories of all they have seen. They came after the battle of Navarino.
The Turks were still here for two years after they came; but the
protocols were signed, and the Greeks were preparing to return. They
told us lovely loving little stories of the people they had known; of
their first teacher, a Greek girl from Crete, who came to them as a
child, and became like a daughter to them, and of many of their
protegés; but all in the same honouring, affectionate way people speak,
who have the power of drawing out what is good in those they meet. There
has been the wildest excitement here about the change of ministry. M.
Tricoupis has just succeeded M. Koumondouros. Mr. T. seems to be
universally respected. The English say he is _the_ Greek they trust. The
Greeks say he is before the age, too good for the time, &c. He is the
son of a much respected Greek who was for years envoy in London; and he
and his sister are supposed to owe much of their enlightenment to
English influence; they are much attached to England. His main object is
to abolish the payment of a tenth part of the agricultural produce to
the Government, which is supposed to press heavily on the people. We
hear that it was one _great_ cause of the War of Independence; but it
has never yet been altered. He is also understood to be most anxious to
alter the practice now in force here, according to which every
Government employé, from post office clerks upwards, changes with the
ministry. It seems there are £2,000,000 of uncollected taxes in Greece
now, the arrears being largely due to the tax-collectors being unable to
employ any compulsion, the debtors simply threatening not to vote for
the party which enforces payment. There are 500 doctors and 500 lawyers
trained here in the University every year; the doctors, they say, do
very well, for they go off into the villages in Asia Minor and Turkey.
They are trying to improve the education of the priests, and train many;
but only five out of every one hundred remain priests. But it all sounds
to me like the swift cultivation of a large number of educated men, who
must help. It is clear that party feeling runs high, and it is difficult
to be sure with what bias statements are made; but, various as are the
views, the statement of facts is curiously unanimous; and one listens to
the quiet people who sympathise and talk quietly, as well as to the
bursts of indignation and scorn; and we seem to learn a good deal. As I
say, the facts that all tell us are much the same. We were fortunate
yesterday, in being taken to Mlle. Tricoupis. She was very kind; her
brother, of course, was too busy to be seen, and she was very tired—she
had been receiving till two o’clock the night before, all the Greeks
calling to offer congratulations to the new Prime Minister; but she was
very kind and talked some little time, tho’ not about any of these
burning questions. We are to go again....


                                                       March 26th, 1880.


I shall be so glad if anything is managed in the way of a little
ceremony in Bts. Crt. for St. Christopher. I see many difficulties, but
I _should_ like it. I am specially glad if it leads to telling the
people the story. Will the unveiler read one to the people, I wonder?
And where? It seems a pity there is no space in the court where the
people can gather. I had been wondering what could be devised in the way
of a ceremony, and had thought of little medals with date and motto to
be given to eldest and youngest child in each family resident there a
given time, and their marching in procession thro’ St. Christopher’s
room to receive them, with music and flowers and flags; but I think it
would mean a great deal of labour. I think these common memories good
for tenants and workers. I don’t much fear stone throwing; but one never
quite knows how people will see things; one may throw a stone where
_fifty_ look with interest. I hope and believe they will like the thing;
but if anything does happen I am always ready for failure in preparing
the hearts of people for any new thing; some one must pay the cost in
disappointment. I am quite willing to do so.

                                                        April 1st, 1880.


... We went up Pentelicus and had a lovely day. It is a splendid view
from the top. One sees Eubœa with its long range of snow mountains and
its narrow strait, and Helena and Andros and the mountain ranges of
Parnes, Cithæron and Parnassus; and Hymettus, and Athens and its plain;
below lies Marathon with its red soil and blue bay—indeed blue bays of
the sea seem to be around one almost everywhere. Last evening we spent
at the Hills’. Mrs. H. was saying that letters, when first they came
here, were 7 months coming from America; that they could negotiate no
bill of exchange here; when they wanted money Dr. H. used to have to go
and fetch it from Smyrna, to which, of course, moreover, there were none
but sailing ships. She said they never knew how long it would take,
especially because of the quarantine. Plague raged at Constantinople and
Jerusalem, so that vessels were often and often kept six weeks with
passengers in quarantine. She says the last plague was in 1843.... We
went to the House of Deputies to hear a debate, in the box of the
Diplomatic Corps, and could see well, and could have heard had we known
more Greek. It was very curiously interesting to see the House. The
gallery is open to the public, and was quite densely packed with a crowd
of the very poorest people, with earnest, eager eyes, watching and
listening, with an intentness beyond what I ever saw at the play. Crowds
outside, too, were standing, talking and waiting; and this goes on day
after day. Mr. Darcy, the clergyman here, took us; and he knew all the
members, and pointed them out to us and told us about them. I have been
reading some very interesting statistics about Greece, published seven
or eight years ago. Do you know that since the independence her
population has doubled, and her revenue has increased 500 per cent.?—the
children in school were between 6,000 and 7,000 and are now 81,000. I
forget the increase of acres cultivated, but it is very large.


                                                        April 8th, 1880.


We went yesterday to Phyle, and saw the actual fortified place held by
Thrasybulus against the 30 tyrants. The gigantic walls still stand. We
went with Miss Muir, who is so friendly and delightful with all the
people, it is beautiful to see. It reminds me of going about with Miss
Cons. She always finds out all about the people and finds helpful things
to do for them; and it makes one see all the gentle, helpful, friendly,
hospitable side. It is so different from going about with guides. We had
such a glorious day. We drove for 10 miles over a very bad road to a
village called Chassia, quite up in a ravine of Parnes. There the road
stopped, and I had a mule, and we went for 2½ hours into the folds of
the mountain ravines, till we came to the great promontory-like rock.
The utter solitude, the exquisite blue of the shadows on the gigantic
cliff-like rocks, the clear sun-filled air, the fresh breeze, the far
away look of plain or hill or bay alive with noble memories filled me
with a strange awed joy. I am much touched with the nation. I am afraid
I shall never tell you all that makes me feel towards them as I do. I am
getting such a vivid impression of the people, its hopes and
admirations, and capacities. It is _clearly_ growing. I have been
reading a great many official statistics, which show the wonderful
growth. I cannot but believe it has a great future. I sometimes think of
Matthew Arnold’s ideas about Hellenism, and wonder whether in very deed
the people may be destined to bring out that side of human nature he
speaks of as so wanting in the “Hebrew”;—the sort of intellectual grasp
and reverence for thought and intangible things. Yet the nation has hard
work just now with its tangible things, and is working to get them into
order. Also it has, in its suffering under the Turks, clung with
tenacity to its Christian faith, which is more than life to it; and this
feeling is intensified by the faith being connected with the _nation_,
the early martyrs for national freedom being many of them bishops. We
were present in the metropolitan church at the anniversary of Greek
independence. The king and the children were there. It was strange to
see the tremendous crowd, the solitary Lutheran king, the tiny children
standing between him and the people crossing themselves, and the
gorgeously dressed priests who seem so human and so near the people
compared with the Catholic clergy. With respect to the national worship
for an idea—THE families who are considered great here are those who
have lost their all at Missolonghi, or in supplying ships from Hydra!

                                                        April 8th, 1880.


... How delighted you will be about the elections! Is it not really
marvellous; I never expected it! It is strange sometimes how silent
England is, and yet how her heart rings true! I am filled with
prayerful, almost tremulous, hope that the new Government _will_ live up
to a high standard. Oh! do you think it will? It is pathetic to see how
happy the Greeks are about it, and how much they hope from England now.
Sometimes I fear the Liberals will not have courage to tax to meet past
expenditure quickly, as they ought; or to deal generously with the
little struggling nationalities. Those _I_ shall feel the test questions
for them, as to their consciences. I believe they will deal with the
question of land, which will be good. The Barnetts are here, and Mr. B.
very much interested about the elections in England.... Mr. B.’s whole
heart is at home, and in talking of it....


                                               Sunday, April 11th, 1880.


We started on our travels again yesterday, and seem to have seen a great
deal. We drove from Athens to Megara yesterday—we being Miss Yorke, Miss
Muir, a very nice Swiss lady, and myself. We were received and
entertained by a hand-loom weaver, who knew Miss Muir. They were so
kind; they gave up to us a large room, their best, and all slept in
their second room, which led thro’ ours. Our beds were spotlessly clean,
but laid on the earthen floor, after we had all had supper together,
father, mother, married son and his wife, and half the village looking
on. I never saw more affectionate welcome, or more native courtesy than
they all showed. The son and his young wife spent the afternoon taking
us to call on their friends and relations. It was so touching and
beautiful; the very poorest people receiving us with such a dignified
bearing; and everywhere we had to take something. One old woman, the
mother of 12 children, and quite poor, was quite distressed she had
nothing but some figs and nuts to give us. She remembered the time of
the Turks and the dreadful hardships. Our host had come out of Thessaly
to be in “free Greece,” after it was known that Thessaly was not to
belong to Greece. “Oh”! he said, “they brought the children away in
boxes, or anything, to get them safe into Greece.”

Megara is a populous village, almost entirely composed of houses of one
room only. The people wear the most lovely costume, and carry themselves
magnificently, so that every group forms a picture. There was nothing
pretty in the old houses, so I am glad to hear they were beginning to
build themselves better ones. We saw more of their life than we _could_
have seen anyhow else, and heard more of their sayings. I shall just jot
down a few, anyhow, to be sure to tell you. They never speak harm of
anything, especially in the evening. They call the worst bit of a road
Kali Scali, Kali meaning good; and in the evening they respectfully call
vinegar “the little sweet thing.” Many of their expressions are formed
from agricultural work. When Miss Muir’s glove was lost they were much
distressed, and said someone must have “reaped” it. The bride and
bridegroom are married in crowns which are framed and hung up; and when
they die they are buried in them. The sons have to marry in regular
order of age, and must not do so till their sisters are married off. The
boys and girls—mere children—never stand together; the most eager crowds
of lookers-on yesterday sorted themselves, the boys being on one side,
and the girls on the other. They speak very freely to those above them
in rank, our host kept addressing Miss Muir: “Oh, sister, what sayest
thou?” tho’ the you is well distinguished from “thou.” There is no water
in the village, but a large washing place outside it—great stone troughs
by the spring; every girl, when she marries, has to receive one as part
of her dowry. The unmarried girls wear a complete skull-cap made of half
drachmas, about sixpence each; they never wear the cap after marriage,
and never unthread it for use, unless in dire need. These people gave us
food, lodging, and all their time, and turned out of their room, and
would not hear of receiving anything. As we came along to-day, we met a
flock of sheep with lambs; and Miss M. heard the muleteers tell the
shepherd to wait till they came back, as they must take the Paschal lamb
back for our host’s family. So we united to send the lamb back as a
present. The people are all rigidly fasting; their Lent is not over. Not
a man will touch any meat we offer him. At Easter every family buys a
lamb, fattens and kills it. We had a sort of royal reception; the
priest, the demarch, the schoolmaster, and all the people coming down.
Here we four, utter strangers, rode up dusty and tired, sent in to the
banker here a letter of introduction for Mr. Dufour, and all four were
instantly received, lodged, and fed as a matter of course.


                                                       April 12th, 1880.

We came on by the Greek steamer here yesterday. Mr. Barnett brought me
from Athens your delightful letter and dear Miranda’s, and some
newspapers.... We have seen the Consul and his wife—delightful people.
They have recommended us a former servant of their own, who was with
them for years, to drive us to Olympia. The same man lately took Mr.
Newton, the chief man at the British Museum. It is a four days’ drive
there and back, and Miss Muir and Mr. Dufour left us at Corinth, so we
are thoroughly glad to have a trustworthy man. We are in high spirits,
the weather glorious; and we are looking forward to going very much.
Part of to-day’s drive is thro’ four hours of oak forest! I do not know
if we told you about Olympia. The Germans are excavating there, and have
found all the temples buried under sand brought down by the Alpheus, and
some grand statues, one of Hermes, as fine as any of the world-famous
statues. It is very fine of the German Government to take all the
expense. They spent 10,000 francs annually on it till this year, when
they are too poor; and the Emperor himself has given 5,000 that the work
may not cease. Yet they are to have nothing for it except the right of
taking casts. Everything they find is to belong to the Greek Government;
only they stipulated that the Greeks should make them a road. Scientific
Germans are there directing, with 500 Greek workmen. They say they are
such splendid workmen, better than Germans—so the director says. We take
all our food with us to-day, and sleep at a khan. At Olympia the
director’s cook will take us in. It is all very funny. Here there is a
very nice hotel. We find our Greek _most_ useful. I am so delighted
about the English news of elections.

                                                       April 14th, 1880.



I seem to have such a number of things to tell you, I hardly know how to
begin. We left Patras at 6 o’clock on Monday morning, and drove on and
on for miles, along the bright sea-shore, just on the beach; then we
turned inland, along the roughest roads; no boundary road in a remote
district in England could be worse. We had to go at a foot’s pace; but
it was all lovely, great masses of asphodel in full bloom, bushes of
broom one sheet of gold, crimson carpets of great cranesbill; olive,
oak, and terebinth; and between, and over them, we saw the bright sea
and the blue mountains. We drove thro’ countless streams, large and
small, now fording rivers, now plunging down steep banks. Then we came
to the oak forest thro’ which we drove, incessantly, over the smooth
turf, or gravelly soil, for four hours. The oaks stand, not close
together, but as in an English park, here and there, thicker or more
scattered, on slopes, or spaces of turf. Many of the trees were old and
knotted; some had suffered by fire; here and there were parts full of
rich underwood; and then we came to smooth sheets of delicate blue with
the tiny iris; the mountains were always in sight. There was hardly a
trace of cultivation; hardly a house the whole day to be seen; and we
drove incessantly till 6 at night. We stayed the night at a khan, they
say one of the best in Greece; and the wall and beds were clean; but it
is a strange kind of savage accommodation. The dogs barked so, and the
wind howled over the great plain we had reached; I could not sleep much.
Next day—yesterday—we started at 5 in the morning, having cooked and
eaten our breakfast. The clouds, which had gathered over night, broke
away before the sun; and we had a magnificent day. We drove on and on,
thro’ uncultivated wastes rather like our heaths, thro’ water courses,
and usually _off_ the road, it was so bad; but with the most splendid
light, and a view of the sea, and Zante in the distance. At mid-day we
dined here; and then drove on to Olympia in a sunlight I never shall
forget. The road from here to Olympia is very good. It has been made by
the Greek Government, that being the one condition the Germans made on
undertaking the excavations. We excited the greatest amazement, as no
ladies do anything alone here; it is very amusing. The country is much
more cultivated near here; and, going to Olympia, we saw several
villages; but still it was very strange to drive for 3½ hours up, as it
were, into the heart of an untraversed country, and find the road
stopping in the heart of a remote valley, where a handful of Germans had
undertaken this curious great work. Five hundred Greek workmen were
digging and carting and shovelling. Our coachman led us to a sort of
foreman, who asked us if we spoke German or Greek. He spoke no English,
but some Italian. We asked for a lodging, and he sent one of his men to
take us to the cottage of the director’s cook, who has 3 spare rooms. We
climbed a steep hill overlooking the excavations, on which stood one
new, well-built house. We were led to such a cottage that I felt as if
we hardly could sleep there. However the bed was clean, and the view
something splendid. We ate our dinner laid on a board on the top of a
stool; and we sat on the bed. We had not an atom of blind, nor a
chair!—After that we got a man with a lantern; and, armed with one of
Mrs. Coupland’s introductions, a visiting card, and the name of a Dr.
and Mrs. Irvi, mentioned to us by the Consul at Patras, we went off to
what the peasants call the “German house.”—I had hardly sent in my card
with message of enquiry before Mrs. Irvi came out with kindest words and
hurried us in to a room where sat, after their dinner, the little
company of Germans, who are directing the work. She introduced us to
Herr Kurtzius, who speaks English. Such a man! but I must tell you of
him later. Mrs. I. was _so_ kind, would make us have coffee and stay,
and _would_ go back with us to see where we were lodged. She laughed,
saying, “Oh yes! its our _very_ best hotel here, you could not do
better.” Three gentlemen friends of theirs were sleeping there too. The
German house is quite full.—We breakfasted with the Irvis at 7 o’clock,
and then Herr K. came with his plan, and for three hours shewed us over
the excavations. He is such a man! [Sidenote: GERMAN EXCAVATIONS AT
OLYMPIA] It has evidently been the dream of his life to do this thing;
and now it is nearly done. You can see by the far away look of his great
blue eyes, and the way he stumbles over the wood and stones in his path,
that his thoughts are of the past and the future, or, at any rate, not
of the earth, earthy. It was he who imagined doing this thing, mentioned
it to the Crown Prince, who got the German Parliament to pay; and now
they have excavated, at a depth of often 20 feet of gravel, the whole
space on which the temples and their surrounding buildings stood. The
space occupied is that bounded on the south by the Alpheus, just where a
smaller river joins it. This triangular space lies at the foot of a
small sand hill. But such a valley as it is! And between the mountains
that bound it you can see the opening to the defiles leading south to
Messina, north to Corinth, east to Sparta; and all round the wooded
hills look down upon the sunny plain, and you can almost see the old
Greeks trooping in from every quarter. The foundations of all the
buildings are found, the bases of walls and pillars in their places, the
steps, the entrances, the pedestals of the statues all in their places.
Twenty-one statues (or the principal part of them) from the pediments
have been found, besides the Hermes and Bacchus of Praxiteles, and
numbers of Roman statues, and a lovely Greek figure of the Winged
Victory descending. The Hermes is splendid. He carries the infant
Bacchus on his arm, such a sweet child; the head was only found last
week. The early statues from the pediment are very powerful, massive and
expressive, but not so delicate nor so exquisitely true in artistic
power. I almost think the whole scene impressed me most. The great
temple of Zeus stands in the centre of the ground, its mighty pillars
shattered by earthquake. One sees the pedestal of the gold figure of
Zeus sixty feet high, which was taken from Byzantium; one sees all round
the other temples. The one to Hera is one of the oldest. Pelops has a
temple too; but, being a hero who died, not a god who lives always, its
entrance is to the setting sun, not on the East like those of the rest.
Then there is the Gymnasium, where the youths practised with the rough
stones, that they might not slip in wrestling, and the smooth ones for
their masters still lying in their places. Beyond are the eleven
treasure houses, built by eleven of the Greek towns, each for their own
votive offerings to the gods, which on great feast days were opened and
their glories displayed. Then I was interested to see the one that
belonged to Megara. There is a great arched passage, leading from the
space where the altars were, thro’ which, after sacrificing to the gods,
the judges and competitors in solemn procession walked, not being
visible to the people assembled to see the games, till they came out of
the passage. Two statues, one of Fortune and one of Nemesis, were found,
which watched over this way—the one supposed to remind competitors how
Fortune might favour or injure them, the other to warn the judges and
competitors alike of the punishment which certainly overtakes any breach
of fairness. We saw the stone from which the runners started; and,
exactly 600 feet beyond, where they knew it ought to be, these Germans
dug down twenty-one feet thro’ the gravel, and found the goal or
opposite starting place. We saw the men washing tiny little bronze
figures of animals about one and a half inches long, which they had just
found, which are supposed to be votive offerings from the very poor to
the god. They are green with age now.


These Germans leave in a month or two; and the 500 men cease working.
They will be dreadfully missed; for they have brought work and money,
and civilisation and visitors, right up into the heart of the country.
The place will be left—the Greek Pompeii—to the Greeks to take care of.
They have to build a museum and arrange the treasures. Herr Kurtzius
carries away all he has learned. He has sent to Berlin the casts and
plans and maps; and there they are making models of the thing as he
found it, and as he thinks it was of old. He takes, one may say—nothing;
but one sees that to him to have done what enables him to _know_ is all.
He doesn’t look as if he worked for fame, or for others, but to know and
to see. As he showed us the things, now and then he flashed up, as if it
were all before him, and spoke of the life that had been as if he _saw_,
sometimes gently stroked the faces of the statues, pointing out how
perfect they were; now and again his eyes looked out as to some further
thought he did not tell.

We post this at Patras, where we arrived safely to-night (April 16th);
to-morrow we go by steamer to Athens, where I hope to find news of you

                                                     Achmetaga, Eubœa,
                                                       April 24th, 1880.


... I must try to tell you something of all we have been seeing. We left
Athens on Tuesday at five o’clock in the morning, having engaged a
carriage to take us to Thebes. It was an exquisite morning, and we drove
by Eleusis thro’ a pass of Cithæron, supposed to be that of Eleuthera.
We saw the ruins of the fortress of the ancient Greeks guarding the
Attic end of the pass. As we came down on the Bœotian side, a
magnificent view of Parnassus opened on our left; the site of Platæa was
in sight; but nothing remains to mark it, as seen from a distance; far
away to the East we saw the grand snow-covered range of mountains in
Eubœa, and the beautiful peak of Delphi (Delphi in Eubœa) rising highest
in the chain. When we got to Thebes, which stands very picturesquely on
a hill, we drove thro’ its main street, thro’ the savage barking of
fierce dogs, and rather wild-looking people. Mr. Petousi, the deputy to
whose care Mr. Noel had recommended us, was away; so we drove on to the
house of Mrs. Theagenes, to whom Dr. Hill had given us an introduction.
We were quite unexpected, but were at once received most kindly, and
arrangements were made for us to stay all night. Mrs. Theagenes is the
widow of the Colonel who tried to help about the freedom of those young
Englishmen near Marathon, and who went to see the brigands about them.
He felt the matter so deeply, that it is said to have caused his
death.... He seems to have been a man of culture, and thought and
principle, and a friend of General Church and the early Greek patriots.
His books and pictures remain; and his widow and son and daughter were
_most_ kind.... They took us out to see the town, which was dirty, and
looked neglected. We did not come upon traces of any progress or life.
Of course we may be wrong; and we were most touched by their kindness;
but the town did not inspire one with hope. Next day we had a splendid
drive across to Chalcis; the road, an excellent one, leads down in sight
of the Euripus and Eubœan mountains. The fortifications at Chalcis are
_very_ picturesque. [Sidenote: MR. NOEL’S HOUSE IN EUBŒA] We slept at
Chalcis at the house of a Mr. Boudouris, whose sister was carried off by
brigands many years ago from there, but very kindly treated, till
ransomed.... From Chalcis we started next morning at daybreak, on mules,
under the charge of a sort of head man of Mr. Noel’s, not the steward
but another, and a second servant. It was a very impressive journey, and
gave one an idea of remoteness. For eight hours we went steadily on over
hills and along ravines, beyond all roads, with nothing but rough bridle
paths. The forests were beautiful, the mountains grand, the sea fair and
smooth as a lake in the distance, but _not_ a house, nor a trace of man
did we pass for hours. We came along beside a lovely half stream, half
river, in a deep ravine, set with fir and plane, and oak trees, and with
great bushes of white heath. At last we came upon a sort of clearance in
the forest, like an English village, only without any road to it, and in
sight, and quite near, of mountains on three sides, one covered with
snow. Here and there among the wooded hills there were cleared fields of
corn, maize, and vine, well-built stone houses, very small, but with
tiled roofs clustered at the foot of one wooded hill, on the slope of
which, above the cottages but below the trees which crown it, stood the
house we are now in, with its wide vine-covered trellised verandah, its
walled garden and great well. We rode up and alighted in the great yard,
round which the long stone houses for grain, the stables, and houses for
oxen, and the wood-sheds are built. We were led into the drawing-room,
and then into our bedroom, which looked like that in an English country
house. We looked out on the park-like scenery and the busy village
below, and felt what a work had been done. Here, forty-six years ago,
came three young foreigners quite alone. Mr. Noel was but twenty. The
place was all forest. The few people in straw huts had gone to the other
side of the estate, fifty miles off, to be away from the road—this
little bridle path—to get away from the Turks. They had built their
doors low that the Turks mightn’t lead their horses in. Hardly could the
peasants be persuaded to come back, so frightened were they. Fever
seized first the brother-in-law, then Mr. Noel, who was lifted on to his
horse by Mr. Müller, and taken to Chalcis. The brother-in-law died. Dr.
Hill, then in Athens, heard there were two young men ill at Chalcis,
took a boat, as there were no steamers, and came and fetched them, took
them to his own house, and nursed Mr. Noel for a year. “No doubt he
saved Noel’s life,” says Mr. Müller quietly, quite unconscious of the
spiritedness of their own action. They returned, built, planted,
encouraged, watched, and have made of this a little sort of oasis in the
desert, in its life, like that gathered round an English landlord. And
yet, oh how different! The life here reminds me very much of that led by
Flora MacIvor and her brother. The same loyalty to Mr. Frank Noel
appears to prevail among the people; the same distance from law makes
him the judge among them; the same wild habits seem to prevail; the same
virtues, and those only.... There is no road to this place; and when
Mrs. F. Noel was married she wanted a piano. “How did you get it here?”
I asked. “We had it brought in a small boat to the sea-shore, about
three hours from here; and some fête day, when the men were not working,
Mr. Noel went out among them and said that I wanted my piano, and which
of them would go and carry it? Thirty-six of them sprang up to go, and
they carried it for three hours over the open country in relays of
twelve. [Sidenote: INFLUENCE OF THE NOELS] Mr. Noel and I, of course,
went too. In the evening they came in, and we had a good supper, and I
played to them. They would have been much hurt if we had offered to
pay.” Another time Mr. Noel came in from seeing some of the tenants, and
said, “—— has been to me to ask me to lend him one of my field guards to
help him to carry off by force the girl he was engaged to, who has
broken off the affair with her parents’ (consent). I told him it
wouldn’t do, but that they must return the presents.” “And double them,”
added Mr. Müller. “Certainly,” said Mr. Noel. “A girl has been waiting
here all day to see you,” said Mr. Noel, “she has brought a large bottle
for you to give her some medicine; the gendarmes came to take her
husband; and her blood is quite cold ever since.” And this sort of thing
goes on incessantly. One hears too of one man, who lost his presence of
mind when one of the great forest fires surrounded the seventy
villagers, and Mr. Noel, who had been three days and three nights trying
to stop it. He lay on the ground, and would not stir; Mr. Noel raised
him and dragged him on and on, and, as the man says, saved his life. It
is beautiful to see young Mrs. Noel among them all, so gentle and brave
and stately. It was such a picture last night, as she stood near the
house door in the great yard. The great oxen were feeding or lying
about; about twenty men and women, in the beautiful costume of the
country, stood about listening to her, and watching her one little
child, a girl of nearly two years old, who was carried about and petted,
first by one and then another. It was near sunset; and the long sloping
rays fell on the group. Mr. Noel was away for some days; and she and the
tiny child were the only representatives of the race that rules here by
education and gentleness. The rest just look, love, and obey.

                                                         May 6th, 1880.


I don’t know if it is my fault, or the strong preconceived impression,
or the absence of sun; but this place feels to me like a cursed or
doomed one, a city of corruption and decay. It doesn’t strike me as the
least beautiful.

We went on Sunday, which was the Greek Easter Eve, to the midnight
service here. We got capital places in the part railed off for the
priests, where no ladies are allowed, nor the congregation. At midnight
the old tradition says that fire comes down from heaven.

There seems to be no distinct belief in _that_, as a miracle, here; but
it was a beautiful service. The priest came out at midnight with the
light; and rapidly every single soul there lighted the taper he held,
the light spreading from the priests with wonderful rapidity. The church
was crowded with earnest, rather rugged looking men. They read the
Gospel on Easter Sunday in eight languages. They go out at night to look
for Christ, and come back saying, “He is risen.” There was a good deal
of dress and ceremony, but a good deal of fervour.


We have seen a great deal since I wrote to you,—the large silent mosques
with their space and simplicity, the triple walls which surround the
town, with ancient Greek inscriptions built into them. The Golden Gate
in _them_, thro’ which the emperors made triumphal entry; the walled-up
gate, so dealt with because the Turks believe the Christians will
re-enter by that gate; wonderful old Christian churches now converted
into mosques, with the crosses and Christian symbols mutilated—one,
however, very beautiful, where the mosaics were preserved. Then we have
seen the large vault underground, supported by 1001 columns in old
times, built to supply Byzantium with water; the strange cemeteries of
the Turks, the dismallest of places; the stones high and narrow are
tumbling about in every direction like ninepins; the graves are in quite
untold numbers by the road sides, on banks, in ditches, anywhere and
everywhere, without fence, without protection, without reverence; even
the cypress trees among them look forlorn, and the stones much more
forlorn because of the vermilion and emerald green and cobalt and gold,
which once made them gay. It was such a contrast to cross to Skutari,
where the British dead, who fell in the Crimea, lie. The ground is
enclosed with a well-built wall; it is quite bright with flowering trees
and shrubs, and lies on the sunniest slope overlooking the blue sea.
Comparatively few graves have any stone, or name, or record; but the
greenest, brightest, sunniest, best cared-for turf covers them. The
inscriptions suggest such stories; here the record of two brothers about
20, surviving one another 4 days; several erected by brother officers,
one to a private by his companions, one by a young sister to her
brother, who, she says, “cheerfully surrendered his life to his
country”; nineteen, twenty, even eighteen once or twice, are frequent
ages for the dead. The hospital, where Miss Nightingale worked, stands
just above and looks so good, and solid, and in order. We went a ride
yesterday round by the Sweet Waters of Europe, all round the Golden
Horn. We came back thro’ the Greek quarter. It was such a comfort to see
the windows clean and bright, and without the dismal wooden lattice
work, which shuts in the Turkish houses, and the women with bright,
uncovered faces sitting at the windows sewing.

I think so constantly of you all, tho’ I write nothing about it.

                                        On the Danube, off Turn Severin,
                                                May 13th, 1880.



I am sitting on board one of the Danube steamers in the twilight writing
to you. We are lying at Turn Severin for the night, because they want
daylight to go thro’ the Iron Gates. We had a good passage from
Constantinople to Varna; the Bosphorus was very beautiful as we sailed
up. Just beyond Therapia the population on its shores seems almost
suddenly to cease. It makes one feel how it is only the overflow from
Constantinople. Beyond Therapia one sees little but Genoese castles, a
light-house or two, and a _very_ few tiny villages, cliffs, bare heights
and points. It is strange to see the fortified narrowest part, kept by
such different nations, and a point where Byzantine and Turk of old
looked at one another across the narrow water from their respective
fortresses, and measured their respective strength. Varna has no good
port; they say it is as far from the steamer as Jaffa, and the passage
horrid in rough weather, because no mole is built; but happily it was
calm, when we went on shore in a large boat with four rowers. I was
interested to land in Bulgaria. One wonders what these young nations are
going to be, somewhat as one does about children. The country looked
strange and very uninhabited; but it was much more beautiful than I
expected. We went by railway thro’ it to Rustchuk. First we went thro’
the flat bottom of a valley, bounded by low wooded hills. A river flowed
thro’ it, which often spread into what looked like lakes, they might be
floods. Further on, we seemed to mount and pass over hills—I suppose low
spurs of the Balkans. There we saw miles and miles of the most exquisite
spring-green woods, spreading over waves and waves of hill away to the
far distance. We came to downs too, great stretches of swelling hills
and hollows of green grass that had never been cultivated; on them here
and there we saw herds of buffaloes and horses feeding. At Rustchuk we
came upon this boat. We sailed between Roumania and Bulgaria first; then
we came to Servia on the right bank of the river, and soon we shall come
to Austria on the left. It has been exquisitely beautiful to watch the
great stretches of river, with the sky reflected in them, to walk up and
down the deck and watch the sun rise and set, to pass the willowy
islands, and note the great tracts of uninhabited land, decreasing, I
suppose, as we get higher up the river. Yesterday we passed numbers of
wild-looking Servians. I never saw any people look so like savages. They
were in funny boats just made of a trunk of a tree hollowed out, and cut
short off at either end. They looked heavy and clumsy and very
primitive; the men had little clumsy wooden paddles, and were dressed so
strangely, and looked so poor and crushed down with labour. They were
mostly fishing; those on the shore were dressed in something exactly the
colour of the sandy banks. I wondered such people could exist on the
shores of a great water highway like this. A gentleman on board told me
they were “all robbers and murderers,” which made me very angry, for I
don’t think he knew anything about them. I was glad to remember Miss
Irby, and to be able to say a quiet word about knowing a lady who had
worked among them for years; and that I did not believe she had found
them such dreadful hardened people as he seemed to think. “Oh,” he said,
“she probably lives in one of the towns, and has a dragoman to intervene
between her and the people.” “No,” I replied, “I believe not; I think
she has travelled all over the country, she is working about schools
there, and, I fancy, knows the people.”

We pass by little villages with minarets, and red roofs, and then for
miles not a house again, only the great river going on and on; sometimes
we pass a funny raft, sometimes a Greek steamer or tug; always every
change in sky or shore reflects itself in this great river.

                                                      Approaching Pesth,
                                                          May 16th.


The morning after I wrote this, I was up at 3 o’clock, because the
steamer was said to start before the dawn, and I wanted to see the Iron
Gates. I came up on deck, and all was very still; the stars reflected in
the water. The shore of each bank was still quite flat; but, in front,
one saw the hills. Just as the sun rose with its round globe out of the
water, the boat started. In what seemed but a few minutes after we had
been in the flat plain, the gates of the hills appeared just in front of
us. The morning sun lighted the great cliffs on one side of the
water-paved ravine, and left the other walls of rock in deep blue
shadow, while just in the place where the rocks on either side looked as
if they met and closed the passage, a wreath of rose-coloured morning
mist lay, which, gently rising with the sun’s heat, spread itself in
faint, thin, lovely streaks along the wooded hills, rising gradually and
losing themselves in the blue sky. Everything was reflected in the sheet
of smooth water. The river is almost at its fullest, I believe. This
same large steamer can come from Rustchuk to Pesth. I believe the ice is
melted, and had not yet reached the sea, as it were; so we saw less of
the rapids than if it had been later in the year; but, here and there,
the river was all churned into foam; and, in places, a great line of
white breakers showed where a great ridge of rock ran right across the
channel. Nothing could exceed the beauty of that sunrise scene; but the
scenery is even grander further up, in what is called the Defile of
Kasan. It was very interesting to see distinctly the remains of Trajan’s
road. What a work to make a road thro’ such a defile, without gunpowder!
One sees the strong hand of the Roman, as one watches the road cut on
the buttresses of the great cliffs above the deep, wild water, and
traces still the clear-cut holes in which wooden supports were placed;
and there is the Latin inscription still on the rocks. After we had
passed thro’ the wonderful defile we came where the Danube spreads out
almost like a lake; and, since then, we have come on and on, up and up
it, watching sunrise and sunset, and moonlight and thunderstorm; seeing
the fortresses that guard it, the very few villages and towns on its
banks, that is to say very few in comparison with the miles of
uninhabited shore, lovely woods, of island after island covered with
thick woods, of great plains over which the cloud shadows float. It has
been a most interesting and most delightful life. Miss Y. took a private
cabin, where we have all our things as comfortably about us as if we
were at home, and can make our tea or lie down within view of the river;
but mainly we use the higher deck as our sitting-room; there we have two
easy chairs, and our work, our books, our writing by us. Or we pace the
deck till the stars come out. We shall be quite sorry when it comes to
an end. The tourists go by train now, the great bulk of them at least; a
few come on board just to see the Iron Gates, but they leave at Orsova,
and don’t even see the Defile of Kasan; nor can they realise anything of
the great history of the river, how it lives till it reaches the Gates;
of its course thro’ this great Hungarian plain, past the high sandy
cliffs which protect its tiny villages on the one shore from the great
floods which must break at times violently over its low left bank. They
do not see its free towns, still exempt from military service, except in
time of war; nor note the mouths of the Drave and the Theiss, and the
thousands of streams that feed and swell the Danube. They do not see the
floods out, and the people in their flat-bottomed boats sailing about
over the meadows, nor the herds of grey cattle, nor the vineyards on the
slopes, nor the reedy banks, nor the lonely stacks of wood in the
forests, nor mount the paddle-box and see the country people on the fore
part of the ship, Servians, and Hungarians and Bulgarians, the strange
costumes, the funny German life; nor see the local fête, the fireworks
from the boats on the flooded meadows, the corn-grinding mills in the
middle of the river; they cannot watch these, with the free cool air
blowing all round them, and the sun shining, and every mist and wreath
and change of cloud visible all round in the whole space of sky. I wish
we did not get to Pesth to-day. But we shall have some more of the
Danube between Vienna and Linz. I do not the least know what we shall do
beyond Dresden. I must write when we have fixed, with fresh directions
about letters. I think of you so often, dear Mama, and wish you were
here. I fancy you would enjoy the kind of thing so much.

We shall post this at Pesth. I suppose some day they will prevent the
floods here. It is beautiful to see how much of the earth has still to
be filled with happy home life; and, near lovely things, this is _not_
the impression one gets in England.


                                                         May 24th, 1880.


We saw the Rathhaus where the Imperial Diet met till 1806.... The town
looks very comfortable and flourishing, as if the old things had been
taken into use and would stay;—not like Italy and Constantinople, as if
every breath of purer or more living thought would sweep away some of
the beauty, and substitute hideous Paris or London models. Trees grow
among the houses; and children play round them, and clean industrious
women knit at their doors; and comfortable little shops are opened in
them; and you see “Bürger Schule” put up over their doors; and yet they
aren’t all torn down and replaced with rows of houses, like Camden Town,
and shops like Oxford St.; and still these gardens for the people
everywhere look reproach on me, when I think of England, and every tree
and creeper and space of green grass in the town reminds me of our
unconsumed smoke, and how it poisons our plants, and dims the colour of
all things for us....

We hope to make a few useful outlines here for windows, &c., in possible
future houses in London.

                                                      August 25th, 1880.


I have been very much delighted lately with some correspondence with
some of my fellow-workers about the Artizans’ Dwellings Acts. We had a
great blow about the work itself just as I left town,—one likely to
create dissension and call up bad feeling; and somehow the
correspondence about it has, instead, shown how nobly men respond, when
they manage to find the right way to look at things. I often wonder how
men manage to get into such messes, when human hearts ring so true if
struck rightly. It has been really quite beautiful to see how men will
put temptation and bad feeling (even when almost justified) under their
feet, when reminded of the cause for which they should work. I don’t
even know that it is a question of reminding. The good men see nobly and
act accordingly. I am obliged to keep very much out of all (even thought
of) work. The home claims are very strong just now, and my own strength
not very great. It is very strange to have to put the old things so
wholly second. I do not know, however, how to be entirely sad about it.
I often think that now people want more to see how noble private life
should be, and can be, than to take up public work,—at any rate

                                                    September 4th, 1880.


If you were to spend all your time from now till Christmas in guessing
what Octavia was doing last Friday afternoon you would never guess
aright, so I will tell you. She was acting to a Harrogate audience the
part of Piety in the MacDonald’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” On Thursday we
had spent the day at Harewood, and on our return found Lily and Bob here
waiting to ask if she would act for poor Grace, then lying seriously ill
of hæmorrhage, at Ilkley. The rooms for the performance were engaged,
and it seemed impossible to postpone it. Octavia agreed and learned her
part (eight pages) that night. I cannot tell you how beautiful she
looked, and how lovely her voice sounded. It was _most_ pathetic to see
the MacDonalds so brave and energetic; but all so pale and feeling-full.
Poor Mr. Jamieson acted Mr. Brisk. MacDonald was so chivalrous and
beautiful to his poor wife and to us,—forgot no tenderness to her, or
politeness to Miss Yorke and to me.


                                                   September 20th, 1880.


I was grieved to hear of so much wrong in the court, and to think of you
in the lovely autumn, trying to stem it. But, in one sense, one is never
lonely in one’s efforts to stem wrong. So mighty is the Power that
fights with us.

Do you ever think that the want you feel in the people is due less to
the amount than to the kind of help. Part of it is due to their own
selves, there is no denying it; but is it not also due, in part, to many
of the present workers acting rather from a supposed height, than face
to face, and heart to heart, from real human sympathy and friendship? I
think so. The outward gift never wins gratitude, or calls up the
gracious sense of affection. The human sympathy always does. Do you
know, by the way, Lowell’s “Sir Launfal”?

                               CHAPTER IX

  This period of return to work was marked by many very welcome
  successes. The consent of Ruskin to the legal transfer of his houses
  in Paradise Place to Octavia, and the purchase by Mr. Shaen of
  Freshwater Place were proofs of the stability of her plans.

  From 1883 to 1889 lasted the great movement for rescuing Parliament
  Hill and the neighbouring land from the builder, and adding it to
  Hampstead Heath; and many other victories in the open space struggle
  were also achieved at this time.

  But perhaps the most remarkable change in Octavia’s position, as a
  worker, was her appointment by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to
  manage a great part of their property in Southwark. She was asked to
  attend a meeting of that body. They wished to learn if she would buy
  some old courts belonging to them. This, she said, was impossible.
  Then they asked if she would take a lease of these same houses; and,
  when she declined to do so, they asked if she would undertake the
  management. This she consented to do; and the Commissioners were so
  much impressed with the capable business-like character of her
  remarks, and with her subsequent management, that they afterwards
  extended the territory under her care.

  It should be noted, in this connection, that this position gave her
  the first opportunity of planning cottages, while Red Cross Hall and
  Garden gave further occasion for her development of entertainments and
  outdoor-life for the poor. It is in this period also that her links
  with foreign workers were extended. Some housing work had begun in
  Paris, at an earlier time; and the translation by H.R.H. Princess
  Alice of “The Homes of the London Poor” into German had led to the
  formation of the “Octavia Hill Verein” in Berlin. Swedish and Russian
  ladies also came to ask advice, and Miss Le’Maire has given an account
  in an Italian magazine of the impression left upon her by her visit to


  It was during this time that Octavia took over the management of some
  houses in Deptford, the care of which seemed to weigh heavily on her
  mind. If, indeed, one compares her descriptions of these South London
  courts with the early letters about some of the Marylebone tenants,
  there can be no reason to suppose that the prospects of improvement
  were more hopeless in the later effort than in the earlier; but
  Octavia had now begun to realise that management from a distance was
  an almost insuperable difficulty; and that to delegate or transfer
  distant work would become a necessary duty. Although, therefore,
  marked improvement was made in the relations between her and her
  Deptford tenants, as will be seen from the letter written in 1885
  during the Trafalgar Square riots, she felt it better in the end to
  hand the care of these houses over completely to a very efficient
  fellow-worker, who succeeded in managing the courts in a satisfactory

  A curious incident connected the Deptford work with another successful
  effort to save an open space. When visiting one of the tenants in
  Queen Street, Deptford, Octavia noticed a glass filled with flowers,
  and on enquiry found that they had been picked in a place known as
  “Hilly Fields.” Octavia was struck with the name, followed up the
  clue, and eventually succeeded in securing the Fields as a public open
  space. This story rests on the authority of the American lady, Miss
  Ellen Chase, who worked with Octavia in Deptford, and who, on
  returning to Massachusetts, carried out the same principles in the
  management of houses in her own country.

                                                  Park Farm, Limpsfield,
                                                    April 16th, 1881.


Now I come to my crowning news. I have had a most grateful and
affectionate note from Mrs. Severn, with messages from Ruskin. He gladly
accepts my offer for Paradise Place, and will be _very_ glad if I can
find a purchaser for Freshwater Place. I think, the receipts and
expenditure shewing so very good a balance, I should have _no_ fear of
our buying it too ourselves; but there are several things to think of,
one being the question of ready money. I must try and take up the
things, one after another; they take so much thinking.

  This refers to questions of preservation of a common near Sheffield.

                                                 Abinger Hatch, Dorking,
                                                     April 21st, 1881.


I must say in spite of what Mr. H. says I cannot help thinking it
_would_ be better to help them, always supposing one could get a
barrister, who really cared, and was in earnest.

You see one great reason Mr. Hunter seems to hesitate is, that he says
so rich a place as Sheffield ought to do it itself, and that the people
of the place have not done much for themselves. But first, it seems to
me hard to punish the poor of Sheffield for the omissions of the rich;
second, I think the subject still so new that a town may wake up too
late, and bitterly regret what it has lost; third, these commons seem to
me national treasures, and less and less to concern only the towns or
villages nearest to which they happen to be (I am sure we are feeling
this just now in this little driving tour); and there is no reason to
punish England for supineness on the part of Sheffield; and fourthly, I
am not at all sure that Sheffield _has_ been supine. Clearly from Mr.
B.’s letter a section of the public there are keenly interested, and
have been at work.


All Mr. H. says might tell with a society heavily weighted with past
efforts, as I daresay the C.P.S. is, or bound to keep power to take
initiatory action where local strength may be forthcoming after a time,
but not necessarily governing my decision about the money that I really
_have_ in hand, available for precisely the only opportunity open at
this moment, by which I can help forward the preservation of commons.
Every year that we can keep them, people care more and do more; every
acre kept is a certain possession for ever. The more serious point of
Mr. Hunter’s letter seems to me that in which he calls Mr. A.’s “not a
strong case.” By which I gather that he means not sure to win. But then
he goes on to say that it is an important suit, as keeping the common
till some plan for regulation can be arranged.

On the whole, therefore, I am strongly inclined to give the money.... If
it be lost, in the sense of not winning the suit, and yet if the suit is
essential to keeping the question open, it is worth while for someone to
be the loser. I expect that causes are like stakes which are driven into
a marsh and are buried, but carry the roadway; and who could lose the
money better than I, to whom the hope and future are so clear, and to
whom people have trusted money, just that I may be able at critical
moments to _dare_ something for a great and possible good?

                                                       April 25th, 1881.


I am indeed delighted to hear that there is a chance of your buying
Freshwater Place.

So strongly do I feel about the playground and a garden, so sure am I of
the great pressure that would be put upon owners to sell or let, for
building a church or a chapel, or a school, or an institution, if not
houses, that, quite independently of my old affection and memories of
the place and the tenants, I feel as if it must not go into strange
hands. I’ve been thinking it all over, and whether I ought to buy it
myself; but, if I were ill, or away, or dead, its management might be a
trouble to my sisters. Now would you be afraid to share it with me? I
couldn’t throw myself into the personal work down there; I couldn’t
stand it; but, while I keep at all well, I would look into its affairs,
choose and watch its workers, remove or guide them, and have its
accounts regularly audited. There would then be an almost certainty of
its paying 5 per cent.; and, at the worst, if anything prevents my
watching it, you would only have risked half the money.

                                                 Abinger Hatch, Dorking,
                                                     May 3rd, 1881.


Oh, dear! I am so thankful about Freshwater Place. I wonder what you
will all think of it, and do with it. I hope you do not expect much. It
is only when one feels what the _narrow_ courts are, and how the people
get maddened with the heat of them in summer, and how the children have
_no_ where to play, and how their noise hurts their mothers’ nerves,
that one feels what these few square yards of ugly space are.—But,
things being as they are in London, _that_ air, _that_ space are quite
riches to the poor.

I quite feel what Mr. Shaen says about joint ownership; one never gets
the same love for a place, because never the same sense of

                                                          May 5th, 1881.


I have had great pleasure in hearing, thro’ Mrs. Severn, of the
arrangements of Marylebone, etc., and am entirely glad the thing should
pass into your hands, and that you are still able to take interest in
it, and encourage and advise your helpers. I trust, however, you will
not be led back into any anxious or deliberative thought. I find it a
very strict law of my present moral being—or being anyway—to be anxious
about nothing and to determine on nothing!

  Letter to a Mr. Green, who had served on the Battersea C.O.C., but who
  had afterwards broken down in health, and who had sent some flowers
  for the children of the tenants:—


                                                         May 18th, 1881.


I do want some common daisy roots, not the double daisy, but the
ordinary white daisy. They bloom on and on in London so vigorously, and
quite startle one with pleasure, when one comes on these little white
flowers, against the dark background of some London court. I think their
very simplicity reminds the people of their childhood. As for me, I have
quite a longing for them, and have only two here; so I should venture to
keep some, if you are good enough to send some. They are things we have
never had sent to us; and I do not often get an opportunity of bringing
any. But I hope that you will take no real trouble; only we should be
glad if it were easy to send them.

                                                         June 3rd, 1881.


We had such a _very_ interesting afternoon at Morris’s. He took us all
over the garden and into his study, and such an interesting carpet
factory, which reminded me of Megara in its simplicity, silence, beauty
and quiet. It was just in his own garden. The tapestry he had been
making himself in his study was beautiful!!

                                                    February 27th, 1882.


All the visitors have now departed except Mrs. S. and myself. I had not
been very fortunate in seeing much of Lowell till this morning, when we
had a long and very interesting talk over poets and poems, specially
Browning and Mrs. Browning. I like Lord Aberdare very much, and had a
good deal of interesting talk with him. Of Mr. Hughes I have seen much,
and had much talk of old times and people; one felt very heartily and
deeply in sympathy with him.... Lord Ducie has been asking me to look
over some Greek charts, and tell him about what we saw and did; so I
must do it before afternoon tea, to be sure to be ready. Mrs. Lowell is
much of an invalid still, having had a terrible fever in Spain, from
which she has not recovered. I had a long and interesting talk with her

                                                       San Gemignano,
                                                       April 18th, 1883.


The people here look very flourishing. I can’t help thinking education
is beginning to tell. The young people look so well-behaved and
intelligent and clean. They still spin as they walk in the fields, and
weave in their dark hollows of houses; but I hear their voices singing
among the olives as they lay out their linen to bleach; and the
contadini, who come up with the sleek, well-fed, strong oxen, look
comfortable and well-to-do.... I think I shall join some Latin class
when I return, tho’ I shall have no advanced pupils. It gives a great
freshness to one’s teaching, and there are many little things one might
hear that would be useful. I have never heard Latin taught. I wish I
could hear of a good teacher. I should care more for that than for an
advanced class.... I would rather join a class than have separate
lessons. I want to hear other people taught. Individual teachers, if
they find you advanced in certain ways, assume that you know the


                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   July 19th, 1883.



I must snatch a few minutes to tell you what a great success yesterday
was. Everything was so beautifully arranged. Gertrude had thought of
everything for the people. To see little Blanche, flitting about in an
utterly unconscious state of sweet serviceableness, was quite beautiful.
The others too were very good and happy, but nothing to dear little
Blanche. We walked across the fields some seventy strong, but they
seemed nothing in those wide, free meadows.... The boys went with Mr.
Morley, who brought his dog and sent him into the water. The children
ran and sang and made merry; the women enjoyed the bright air and quiet.
We all relieved them of their babies as much as we could, and we rested
often. Near the lane we found little Blanche, blushing with joy and
shyness. She led us back; Gertrude and the others came out to receive
us, and we turned into the field, which was looking lovely. The children
ran to the swings, and began games. Gertrude had had trusses of straw
put in a sort of tier of benches up by the summer house, dry and warm,
and soft and comfortable. The children had tea there.... The elders had
tea at the same time in the garden on the lawn.... We were very strong
in entertainers.... The people were delighted with the garden, the
field, the house. The boys played cricket with the gentlemen; everyone
was amused, and happy, and good. The arrangements were perfection. Two
waggonettes took _all_ the women and babies and toddling children back
to the station.... Dear little Blanche had her wish about the
strawberries. She had an exquisite bunch of flowers, which she gave with
her own hands to each grown person before they started....

I have been this morning to see a stately, dear old clergyman, a certain
Prebendary Mackenzie, who wrote to me about some ground that the
Haberdashers’ Company own. He is a member of the Company, and was to-day
to bring before them a plan for using the ground as a garden. It is near
Old Street Road. I found such a fine old man, with stately,
old-fashioned ways. He was sitting with his wife in a parlour in Woburn
Square. I send you some more letters from donors; sums keep coming in. I
feel, like Florence, that I like these small sums much.

I have been to-day to see Spitalfields churchyard. It is _the_ one I
should like to see laid out.... Mr. Mason had his flower show in the
little garden; 400 people came in each night, paying 3_d._ or 6_d._ He
says this is the first garden fête in Bethnal Green.


                                                19, Avenue Hoche, Paris,
                                                    23rd April, 1884.


I take the liberty of enclosing an article on the Homes of the London
Poor, which appeared in the _Journal de St. Petersbourg_, in which I
have expressed very faintly the admiration I feel for your book, and the
deeds of which the book gives us a glimpse.

I have scarce the courage of taking any of the time, on which there are
so many calls; and yet I would be very grateful if you would glance
through my poor attempt, and take it as a proof of my sympathy and

For people who pass their life in wishing they might be useful, there is
something saddening, and yet inspiriting, to find that all the time some
have been up and doing. That is the mixed feeling with which I read your
delightful volume; but what predominated was the pleasure and pride of
seeing what a woman can do.

I shall be in London before long, and, if it is not asking too much, may
I hope to see you and tell you what I have vainly tried to write?

                  *       *       *       *       *

I am afraid, after all, that I have gone too far, and that when, if
ever, I have the pleasure of standing before you, all my courage will
evaporate, and I will be utterly unable to express the feelings with
which I look up to you, much as a raw recruit on the general who has led
victory in many a good fight.

So accept my unexpressed sympathy, and excuse me again for troubling

                                                Queen’s Hotel, Penzance,
                                                    April 25th, 1884.


As to the opening of Wakefield Street,[94] the date must depend on the
grass. I fear it will have to be late in June.... The more difficult
thing, to my mind, is to think of the sort of ceremony that would be
interesting, possible, and more than a form. I think the absence of any
square space a difficulty. There is no space for speaking, or gathering
people together. If we could have had anything like our May festival,
and had the poor in, I should have liked it; but I see no space for
anything but a procession, which would hardly do. Perhaps some brilliant
idea will be suggested....

What a _very_ nice account of the donation fund results! It is just
possible Deptford and Southwark may open up new needs to us. If not, you
and I will have still further to lay our heads together to spend the
money well. It takes a great deal of work to spend _well_ so _large_ a
sum. I don’t know if it would suit you for me to come on Saturday; but
don’t let a creature know I’m coming, if I do come.

... I have quite a tremendous day on Monday, as I have to take over the
Eccles Com. work, _and_ to see to Deptford. Besides the necessary work
at home, ... Sir C. Dilke asks me if I can give evidence before the
Royal Commission on Tuesday....

What a shame not to tell you of the beauty and the quiet! but it is
quite late, and I have written such a number of letters.


                                                     14, Nott. Place,
                                               Sunday, August 3rd, 1884.


... I have read a good deal of Mr. Maurice’s life. How very beautiful it
is, specially, I think, the letter written in 1871, on “Subscription no
Bondage”! I have also been poring over “Thomas à Kempis,” of which I
never tire. To-day at Hillside I read Ruskin’s “Story of Ida.” It
reminds me, in its perfect simplicity of narrative, with quiet
undercurrent of unobtrusive feeling, of the very early painters’ work.
It goes right to one’s heart; and one utterly forgets everything and
everyone but the subject. I have read, too, a little of Bret Harte, and
liked him better. There was one poem of his about a lost child, found
after prayer, and the speaker’s conviction that the angels had taken
care of the child, which ends with a quaint, but very natural statement
that they were better so employed than “loafing about the throne.” It
makes one feel how much more one real memory of an actual deliverance
goes home to a man than fanciful descriptions....

                                                     October 21st, 1884.


I was much interested by your letter. Thank you for it. I have always
made the houses under my charge pay 5 per cent.; but it would be a great
responsibility to accept for their purchase the entire capital of
anyone, and specially of a young lady probably unaccustomed to business.
Such undertakings are necessarily subject to the possible variations in
value, hitherto certainly advancing, but not necessarily always so, of
house property let to working people.

But thank you all the same for thinking of it. The spirit in which you
do so makes me think that possibly there might be some other way in
which you could help us. I wonder whether you would care to come any day
and talk this over with me, so that I could realise the facts; but I
assure you the responsibility of even considering your generous project,
seeing it relates to your whole capital, is one I could not take.



I have, since I last wrote to you, been successful in establishing my
work in South London, according to the long-cherished wish of my heart.
In March of 1884, I was put in charge, by the owner, of forty-eight
houses in Deptford. In May of the same year, I undertook the care of
several of the courts in Southwark for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
In November of the same year, the Commissioners handed over to me an
additional group of courts. In January of 1885 I accepted the management
of seventy-eight more houses in Deptford. A friend is just arranging to
take forty-one houses in Southwark on lease from the Commissioners. But
I hope to retain trained workers and a portion of the tenants in a
considerate and responsible way, which is quite independent of me or my
advice. I ought, however, to repeat here once more that there is much
which is technical, and which must be thoroughly learnt; and that unless
intending workers set aside a time to learn their business thoroughly
with us or others who have experience, they will do more harm than good
by undertaking to manage houses.

One distinct advance, that is noticeable since I last wrote, is the
readiness shown by men of business and companies to place their houses
under our care. A deeper sense of responsibility as to the conduct of
them, a perception of how much in their management is better done by
women, and I hope, a confidence that we try faithfully, and succeed
tolerably, in the effort to make them prosperous, have led to this
result. This method of extending the area over which we have control has
been a great help. It has occurred at a time when, owing to the altered
condition of letting in London, I could no longer, with confidence, have
recommended to those who are unacquainted with business, and who depend
on receiving a fair return for their capital, to undertake now the
responsibility of purchasing houses.


When we began in Southwark, we secured an almost entirely new group of
volunteers, who learnt there under one or two leaders, and who now form
a valued nucleus from which to expand further.

In Deptford, I was obliged at first to take with me helpers from some
distance, as we had none near there; but gradually, I am delighted to
say, we have found many living at Blackheath and its neighbourhood who
are co-operating with us; and we hope they, as the years roll on, will
be quite independent of us.

Of the success of our work? Well! I am thankful and hopeful. Of course
it has varied with the nature and constancy of our workers, and with the
response our tenants give us. The new places always tax our strength,
and we have had our difficulties in them, but we seem to make steady
progress; I feel all must go well in proportion as we love our people
and aim at securing their real good, and base our action on wise and
far-sighted principles. There is not a court where I do not mark
distinct advance; but none know better than I how much more might have
been done in each of them, and how much lies before us still to do.


It was, when handed over to me, a waste, desolate place. There had been
a paper factory on one half of it, which had been burnt down. Four or
five feet of unburnt paper lay in irregular heaps, blackened by fire,
saturated with rain, and smelling most unpleasantly. It had lain there
for five years, and much rubbish had been thrown in. A warehouse some
stories high fronted the street on the other half of the ground, with no
forecourt or area to remove its dull height further from the rooms in
the model dwellings which faced it. Our first work was to set bon-fires
alight gradually to burn the mass of paper. This took about six weeks to
do, tho’ the fires were kept alight day and night. The ashes were good
for the soil in the garden, and we were saved the whole cost of carting
the paper away. Our next task was to pull down the warehouse, and let a
little sun in on our garden, and additional light, air and sight of sky
to numerous tenants in the blocks in Red Cross Street.

The next work was to have a low wall and substantial iron railings
placed on the side bounded by the street, so that the garden could be
seen and the light and air be unimpeded.

Then came the erection of a covered playground for the children; it runs
the whole length of a huge warehouse which bounds the garden on one
side. It is roofed with timber from the warehouse we pulled down, and
the roof is supported by massive pillars. The space is paved with red
bricks set diagonally, so as to make a pretty pattern. At one end of
this arcade is a drinking fountain.

The roof of this covered playground is flat, and forms a long terrace,
which is approached by a flight of stairs.



  Red Cross Cottages and Garden. Opened June, 1887.


                                                 Hotel Bellevue, Wäggis,
                                                     May 24th, 1885.


I am much interested in the _Spectator_ cutting, tho’ I believe myself
that the strain of living _in_ the worst places would be too trying
_yet_ to educated people; it would diminish their strength, and so their
usefulness; The reform must be, I believe, more gradual. The newspapers
go in for such extremes, from utter separation to _living_ in a court! I
should urge the spending of _many_ hours weekly there, as achieving
_most_ just now, because it is less suicidal than the other course, and
more natural.

                                        Hotel Lukmanner, Ilanz, Grisons,
                                                June 7th, 1885.


Dissentis seems to me a very old-world place. A dear old lady keeps the
inn, which is _very_ comfortable; but one seems nearer the life of the
people here than where modern hotels have invaded.... How striking to me
is the character of every separate house in these valleys. Something, of
course, is due to the varieties of the ground, but much, too, I cannot
help seeing, to the fact that the houses belong to the inhabitants. I
wonder if we shall live to see a larger number of English owners? I
doubt it. It seems to me that the impediments come by no means mainly
from the landlords. Of course they would cling, especially in towns, to
possession where value is rising, but I doubt the tenants caring to buy
_much_ for occupation. They, like the landlords, like to buy houses
rising in value, with an idea of letting or selling; but few, I fancy,
desire to bind themselves to one spot and way of life. They like the
freedom and the change of hiring. Even young married people, who, as a
class, settle in with most sense of attachment to place and things,
expect to move to another neighbourhood if work changes, or to a larger
house if it prospers. Perhaps it is partly the great cost of living, and
the fact that rent has to be paid. But one rarely sees in English towns
a house lived in by a family for generations, the large families filling
from cellar to attic, and the small ones using the best rooms mainly.
One fancies a small family should like a small house. Whereas clearly
houses in the country in old times must have been handed down to very
various occupants. Some little sense of individuality would be quickly
stamped, even on London houses, if they were owned by occupiers. But the
attachment to things seems giving place to a desire for their
perfection, and we seem inclined rather to hire furniture or appliances
for special occasions than to accept, even our houses, as in any way
permanent. If they don’t suit us, for the moment, we change them. Well
there is a noble independence of things as well as a noble attachment to
them; and “the old order changeth, giving place to new, And God fulfils
Himself in many ways.” There will have to come back, however, in one
form or another, that element of rest in which alone certain human
virtues can live; but it may come in ways we do not know.

                                                        September, 1885?


All is very bright and well with us here, except poor Queen Street,
which is a constant anxiety. My great fear is that Mr. T. will sell it,
and take the management out of my hands. I am sure we should get on in
time. However, all that is out of my hands. I don’t know that I could
have done differently at any juncture; and so I must just abide the
result, and accept it as purposed, and look to see what next opens out;
meantime, till it is decided, I am clinging on to the hope of it rather
passionately. The MacDonalds came to town yesterday. I am to dine there
on Tuesday.... I’ve been preparing my corn for a green refreshment to us
a little later, and putting in my hyacinths. It is a great delight to me
to come back to such things from Deptford.


                                                     October 15th, 1885.


We hear that the Metropolitan Board received the subject of Parliament
Hill favourably.... There came in a petition from representative working
men.... There were trade societies, co-operative societies, benefit
societies represented. Mr. B. said the co-operative signatures
represented 2,000 working men. The petition from East End Clergy had
fifty names of clergy and dissenting ministers, and the list was headed
by the Bishop of Bedford....

Octavia goes down to Lady Ducie for three days. I shall be glad of the
change of thought for her. She is so worn with Deptford. Things are
still _very_ discouraging there; they seem unable to get respectable
tenants, the new ones they hoped were good, turning out unsatisfactory.
Still helpers are rallying round her.... It is nice to find old pupils
coming to the front.

                                                    November 11th, 1885.

Octavia will have told you the result of the meeting of the Hampstead
Heath Committee _re_ Parliament Hill extension. Everyone seems to say
“Go on agitating thro’ the Press, and get the matter well before the
public, there is yet hope.” But I think Octavia has little hope.

Did I tell you about the old woman at Deptford who said to Octavia in a
voice of reassurance and yet wonder, “You _have_ feelings! When you
first came you did not know us, and we did not know you; but you _have_
feelings!” As if O. would be as surprised as _she_ was at the discovery!

                                                              1884 or 5.


King (a Deptford tenant) had torn his garden all to pieces and broken
pale of fence and windows here and there, and did not show himself at
all. We were non-plussed. First I hoped to slip notice under door, but
the weather-board was too close; that is a reason against putting them
on. Then we debated how legal a service pinning to the back door would
be, but Mr. P. thought it would be awkward if I was summoned for
breaking into his premises; and to post it we thought would not be
customary; so we were balked and Mrs. Lynch smiled sweetly all the time
at her door. Mrs. T. had the cheek to offer nothing, so I took her a
notice. I gave out several jobs of cleaning to even off the £7. Mrs.
Sandal’s cistern was leaking worst sort. Matthews and Arter both said
floor too old to pay for removal. My unlets have come down 10_s._


                                                         14 Not. Place,
                                                     November 7th, 1885.


I am so much interested to hear of all you have been seeing; but I think
I’d better write of things here. I’ve just come back from a Hampstead
Heath Committee,—a large, strong, determined one. They decided to bring
a Bill into Parliament. Mr. S. Lefevre and Mr. Hunter went off to see
Lord Mansfield’s agent....

1 think Deptford is in a very thriving state in many ways; we are
getting in such a quantity of local strength.

Miranda seems to me _very_ happy, and, I hope, tolerably well. Her
sweetness with everyone is beyond description, and also her merry fun
over all that takes place. She is quite delightful as a coadjutor,
bringing all the people so sweetly together, and never making
difficulties in anything; and all her spirits and power come out....

The Bishop of Manchester’s death is greatly felt. They say Jews,
Catholics, the Greek Patriarch and people of all kinds went to the
memorial service, and that they call him the “Bishop of all

                                               Sarsden, Chipping Norton,
                                                   October 17th, 1885.


... It is very delightful to escape to sunlight and colour here from
Deptford and London. All, however, is, I think, going towards good with
us in the work. Mr. T. is prepared to spend a good deal on the houses,
with a view of raising the property; and I hope it may be a help to us
in raising the people. I hope and believe too that I and my workers are
all better for a certain amount of difficulty, and unpopularity; and
that it tests them, and draws them together. In these days when
benevolence is popular, I think we may be thankful to have difficulty to
surmount. All my workers have stood to their guns splendidly, and have
been so helpful too.

                                                        14 Not. Pl., W.,
                                                    November 23rd, 1885.


We have been having much busy and interesting work of various kinds. No.
8 B. Ct. has been handed over to us in an awful state of dirt and
dilapidation, and we are busy with estimates and workmen. Miss J.’s new
houses in Southwark will be ready at Xmas; and the company which owns
the new blocks there have made repeated application to us to manage for
them. Miss J. seems inclined to get a group of workers round her, and do

The Hampstead Heath meeting was in some respects satisfactory.... Still
the money needed is so large, and only the Met. Bd. can do it, and there
isn’t a sign they will; so I have next to no hope, or rather expect
something to turn up, if success _is_ to come.... I have been more
successful than I at one time feared about the dilapidation money at Pn.
Street; but it is still bad enough.... I am just back from Deptford. I
really do think it is getting on.... The houses are filling slowly. We
are getting much more local co-operation....

            Interrupted. (Undated) probably November, 1885.

I dined at Lord Hobhouse’s on Friday. Mr. Ghose, an Indian gentleman,
and his wife were there, Mr. Ghose’s brother is standing for Deptford.
Lord H. says he would not have a chance with a middle-class or rich
constituency; but that there is a strong feeling among the working men
that he ought to get in.... We have a group of co-operators, who have
taken Miss Y.’s hall for a monthly gathering. The tenants’ plays, one
for grown up people and two for children, are in full swing.


                                              Casa Coraggio, Bordighera,
                                                December 10th, 1885.


Thank you for your sweet birthday letter.... To-night we are having some
charades in honour of Mr. MacDonald’s birthday. The house is large and
full and happy, and I think very good for Edmund. To-day we have rain.

It is strange they prophesied rain yesterday, in consequence of a
practice, or rather sham fight, of the French men-of-war. We heard a
violent noise at dinner yesterday; and, going up to the loggia to
discover the cause, we saw seven large men-of-war. They said they were 5
miles off, and that they often went out from some bay near Cannes, where
they spend the winter, to practise firing. We could see them all
confused in the smoke, and the great heaving mass of water somehow
caused by the firing,

The MacDonalds are getting up all manner of Christmas things, among
others a series of sacred tableaux; they say the peasants come from far
and near to see them.

The little Octavia is a sweet child. It is very touching to see Mrs.
MacDonald with her, and also to see young Mr. Jamieson’s widowed house,
with all the things Grace made and did.... I try not to think too much
of you all, and of all the things at home, but you will realise how much
my heart turns to England. However, I mean to have a really good
holiday. It is very restful here, at once very homelike, and yet with no
duties. MacDonald’s bright faith and sweet sympathy are beautiful; and I
must say Mrs. MacDonald’s way of gathering people in is delightful to

                                                        Casa Coraggio,
                                                    December 16th, 1885.


I have been longing to write to you. I have been away to Mentone and
Nice. I had a delightful visit to Lady Ducie; she was so sweet, looks
much better, and seemed so very glad to see me. She has a little basket
carriage and two little ponies, and she took me the most beautiful drive
all along by those lovely bays of the blue, clear Mediterranean, with
their olive and cypress set slopes of cliff and promontory, and
beautiful waves breaking against the rocks....

All is very peaceful and good here, and the spirit of the house quite
beautiful. Last night MacDonald read aloud to us one of Hawthorne’s
stories; it was so very beautiful. I think it might do to read at
Christmas. He has given me the book. But it would lose a good deal in
losing his reading; and perhaps some of you will have thought of
something better. Oh! to think of the delight of finding you at home,
when I come back, and the blessed Christmas time. I shall be _much_
happier about Minnie for having seen her, and I like to think of her
here.... I often think of Florence and how she would rejoice in the


                                                    14, Nott. Place, W.,
                                                  December 27th, 1885.


I have been thinking over your plans.... The city (Siena) is quite the
loveliest and most interesting I ever saw. As to Assisi, it is just a
vision of angels; it is like having looked thro’ the gates of heaven for
a season. If there’s any chance of your going to Assisi, be sure you
read, before you go, the little popular Italian book called “Fiorettini
di San Francesco” used by the peasants. You can buy it for a few
centesimi, Flo says. I should be glad if you’d buy it, and bring it back
to me. I’m so fond of it, and it would be good Italian reading for you,
it’s so easy. Don’t be cavilling, but read it and love it as I do....

My love to the MacDonalds;[95] tell them how entirely happy and
refreshed I was by my visit to them, and how glad I am to have seen them
in their new home....

I got thro’ the bulk of the accounts on Thursday. I had a fine staff,
and they are getting capable. Mr. Shaen hasn’t finished the deeds, and
we can’t take over Zoar Street to-morrow!... I have an offer of £2,000
for houses. As a gift or investment, I think I shall risk it, and the
Bishop of Rochester’s £1,000 to buy houses in Southwark to keep our
workers together. I had a comfortable journey, changed carriages at
Marseilles, couldn’t lie down till Dijon; but had a reassuring crowded
company of 6 ladies!

                                                          January, 1886.


I knew you would hear some report of the riots, and would be anxious for
news.... You need not be anxious about Deptford. Of course, after such a
breakdown of police administration, one feels as if one _might_ meet
violence _any_ where; but I think of all places I should feel, if it
came, safest in Deptford. That this is so marks progress that I had
hardly realised till your postcard recalled the old state of things. The
people are gentle, responsive, and tractable there, if sometimes a
little ill-tempered—that is the worst. At least I know they would stand
by us. _No_ one thinks the outbreak came from workmen; _no_ one thinks
it was excited by Socialists. It was just thieves and vagabonds; and the
amount of excitement from the Socialists is also clear. I was interested
to hear from Sir U. Shuttleworth that it has been the custom of late
years to enter into communication with the promoters of working men’s
gatherings; and, if they themselves considered they could keep order, to
leave it to them; and you would notice the workmen mentioned having told
off 500 marshals, as if they felt themselves in charge; and from the
very first they warned Hyndman and Co. off the ground. Of course Sir U.
is retained for the Government; and I hear from others that a force of
police _is_ always ready, or I conclude ought to be; but it is nice to
feel in what way the working men themselves are trusted. I wonder what
Edmund would say as to prosecuting Hyndman. My impulse would be for
doing so. All seems very quiet now, and people say it is as safe as it
is after a railway accident. It has seemed a very strange week in
London. We had a very successful Berthon St. party. Ld. and Lady Wolmer
came, and he was such a help at the door. I rarely saw such courtesy,
firmness, tact, sympathy, and care shown among strangers.... We had a
C.O.S. meeting at the Davenport Hills’ yesterday. Mr. Pell was in the
chair, and I spoke; it seemed so strange, being there without Edmund and
you. One felt as if it were unnatural and almost wrong. Dear Mrs. Godwin
was there.... The meeting was very full.... You will have seen about the
huge relief fund formed at the Mansion House; it has reached £20,000. No
one seems to me really to believe in the exceptional distress. It is a
dreadful calamity, this fund being formed....


I dined at the John Hollands’ on Wednesday, and met Sir U. Shuttleworth,
Bryce, and Mr. O’Connor Power. The former told me the impression was
that Gladstone would prepare his scheme, bring it in, be beaten, and
then go to the country.


Octavia has left her letter unfinished for me to add something.... She
read such a very beautiful paper on Saturday.... I think people felt her
paper very much. She spoke with such feeling.

                                                    14 Nottingham Place,
                                                    January 17th, 1886.


My affairs are going really well. We had a beautiful Hereford party;
Mrs. Macdonell’s children have got up a Christmas tree for poor
children, and they have let me send six children with Mrs. Read. I am so
glad. Miranda’s play of “Beauty and the Beast” is to be acted at St.
Christopher’s. Col. Maurice’s lecture at Southwark is on Friday, and our
dance at Bts. Court. There was a meeting at the Mansion House yesterday
about Home Arts and industries, and the use of the Board Schools for
classes for them, for singing and recreation ... many working men have
offered their help as teachers. To-morrow is the C.O.S. annual meeting.
I mean to go; there may be unpopularity and difficulty and one ought to
be there, tho’ it is a Monday.[96] Deptford is slow, and silence is
perhaps best; I can’t help thinking the sound work we are putting into
it must be telling. The snow was a _great_ difficulty last week, it
melted and then froze, leaving three inches of ice in the gutters, which
blocked them; the houses were partly flooded, and much of our
expenditure on internal repairs will have to be done again. The tenants
were very hopeless and listless; but, strange to say, _not_ angry or
ill-tempered. I do get very fond of them, when I am among them. Bts.
Court is _most_ flourishing.... There has been a trial about Cross
Bones,[97] and it is decided that they may NOT build. I had a funny
interesting visit from Mr. T. who represents the lady who offers the
£1,000 for houses; it is absolutely at my disposal; now I have to find
houses to replace those the Commissioners will pull down. I met the
Bishop of London, the other day, at an exhibition of the people’s own
work. Mr. Tanner[98] is brimful of energy, and the assistant secretary
very capable.


                                                 14 Nottingham Place, W.
                                                   February 7th, 1886.


We had a most triumphantly successful party at Southwark. It was a huge
number, tho’ it was only half our tenants. Mrs. J. Marshall came and her
band, and they did play so beautifully, and we had musical chairs, and
Sir Roger. The hall had been decorated by the Kyrle and looked very
pretty. Miss Johnson and Miss Tait brought the loveliest flowers in
pots, tulips, red, white and yellow, cyclamen, etc. Miss Barter had sent
a hamper of oranges.... Lord S. came looking _very_ clean and prim. I
set him soon to bring some very dusty chairs and so broke the formality;
and he was soon waltzing away with one of the tenants to the merry tune
the band was playing. He said most decidedly, in going away, that no one
had enjoyed it more than he, and that he hoped I should ask him to the
second. The Bishop wrote very warmly, but couldn’t come. He is thinking
of selling London House, and going to live in Clerkenwell to be near the
poor. Miss J. and Miss I. were delightful among their people, and W. was
helping heartily. I invited the Ashmores, our new superintendents at
Berthon Street.... On Wednesday we have a party at Berthon Street, and I
want Ashmore to take the lead. Miss H. is a great success. A. and I
decide that no one was ever so happy here. She seems to pick up like a
flower you put in water. She can do everything, and is strong on the
human, artistic, and gardening sides....

                                                    14 Nottingham Place,
                                                    February 21st, 1886.


... Even if there is distress, this miserable huge fund, which can be
used for nothing radical, won’t help.... We had a very successful dance
at St. Christopher’s. Dr. Longstaff came and was the life and soul of
the party. We had a very poor man, named Pearce, who lives in our houses
in Bell Street, and belongs to Mrs. J. Marshall’s band. He plays the
violin and reads beautifully, and is very glad to earn a small sum by
playing, and we feel the violin a great help. Mrs. Martin,[99] from
Burley, is living at 3 Adspar Street.... She sent me a most affectionate
message. Miranda is succeeding delightfully in Horace Street, her
gentleness is winning all hearts....

                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                  February 28th, 1886.



The Mansion House Fund, its terrible mistakes and failures, have
occupied us a great deal. Mr. Alford has taken up the matter strongly,
and, tho’ _deeply_ deploring the fund, has undertaken to administer it
in his parish and St. Mark’s. He has a very good Committee. Miranda and
I attended the first meeting. I hear that the working men on the
Committees, especially those who represent the Oddfellows and Foresters,
are the greatest help in the only four parishes where any order is
attempted. As a rule, the most utter confusion prevails; and the crowd
of regular roughs awes some into giving soup tickets! So low have we got
with a fund, the only excuse for which is that the distress has reached
a higher class than ever would apply! Men in work are getting the relief
unknown. Vestrymen and publicans initial papers, which are treated like
cheques which must be honoured. People who ought to have £5 have 3_s._
tickets, and tickets are sold for drink. Five Committees meet in one
room to decide cases, the only data being statements written by clerks
from applicant’s dictation. The City Missionary at Deptford says that,
if the money had been thrown into the sea, it would have been better.
Perhaps you saw Shipton’s magnificent answer refusing to co-operate, and
that of the Engineers’ Trade Society. The Mansion House refused £2,000
to the Beaumont Trustees for laying out gardens, etc.; and the £1,000
they did give was not enough, and has had to be returned. Lord
Brabazon’s money seems the only portion of the fund which is doing good.
Everyone is praying for the fund to be exhausted. I am _therefore_, and
therefore only, thinking of getting the Kyrle to accept money for labour
for Sayes Court and St. George’s, if they can be now put in hand.
Miranda is delightful among the poor people. She remembers all their
wants and knows their characters. It is quite delightful having her as a
link with Paradise Place and Horace Street.... Miss Hogg is charming,
and so valuable among the people. One gets quite human links with the
tenants now in her part. We are all much occupied with a family named
C——, man in full work at £1 a week, rent 5_s._ 6_d._, seven children,
the eldest still at school, and the wife able to do nothing but see to
them.... I hope you will have some real Italian spring before you come

                                                       August 8th, 1886.


Mrs. P. had been out in the yard with her baby just before, well and
cheerful, and she suddenly burst out crying that it was dead; and,
indeed, its eyes were glazing over, and it looked half dead. I said a
warm bath at once; but someone cried, “The doctor,” on which she tore
down the street with it in her arms, quite mad. I sent Sam Moore after
her, the only person I could find; and was left alone with two almost
babies and the house. I filled and put on kettles, borrowed tub and
extemporised sponge and blanket. When they came back they said the
doctor had ordered a warm bath. Mrs. C. and Mrs. R. helped nicely, and
we left little Albert happily asleep and better.

                                                         Loch Maree,
                                                   September 18th, 1886.


I received Miranda’s telegram with grand news of the passing of the
Heath Bill. I do really think that makes it nearly sure that we shall
have 50 acres saved, and every acre saved makes the saving of others
more likely. Did you hear of Charles’s[100] enormous energy when he saw
the Bill was coming on? He _ran_ from Crockham Hill to Westerham in
twenty-seven minutes to catch the train. I wonder if a letter I wrote
was sent to _The Times_.

                                                    February 12th, 1887.


I went with Octavia yesterday to see the piece of ground that the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners have given for the garden. It is a larger
piece than I had expected, and is in the midst of poor people’s houses.
It will be a boon. At present it is in a deplorable state—covered with
rubbish, and with an empty warehouse on it, and high back walls on each
side. Lord Ducie told his wife he thought it “the most unpromising piece
of ground that he had ever seen.” But all the more delightful will it be
to get trees, grass, and water there. Thou knows that Lady Ducie has
promised all the money for the laying out, and O. is now busy planning a
large hall near the garden, to be available for parties, classes, etc.
She thinks that she can arrange it so as to keep several cottages still
standing (always her great wish in this time of huge blocks), if the
Commissioners will let her lease the site that she wishes for. She has
thoroughly interested their surveyor in her plan.

[Sidenote: DEATH OF MR. SHAEN]

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     March 4th, 1887.


I gather that you have not seen the terribly sad news which reached me
yesterday about dear Mr. Shaen. He is gone from us, and in a moment. I
think of the girls and Mrs. Shaen, but I cannot help feeling, too, how
irreparable is such a loss of a friend of nearly thirty years’ standing,
who never failed in noble and wise counsel, and to whose judgment nearly
all the work I ever did has owed so much. And one was so sure, not only
of his wisdom and generosity, but of his kindness. It is a heavy blow.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   March 15th, 1887.



Looking back on Mr. Shaen’s life as I remember it, and his character, as
I saw it, nothing is to me so wonderful as the tenderness and the
silence of it. The pity and the chivalry were quite infinite; and the
expression of them was absolutely in deeds only. Then, I should think,
there never was a more entire truth of nature than his; no shadow of lie
or equivocation could sully it. Hence, I think, the purity of his
nature. Amid the noisy and shallow philanthropy we see around us, how
the silent service of a life stands out! The memory of it is a
possession for ever; and there is a rebuke to our faithlessness in the
memory of his faith that the only thing was the right thing. How poor
all these words seem! but, believe me, they come with a love that will
last on, and on which you may count.—I am

                                           Your affte. old friend,
                                                           OCTAVIA HILL.

  The laying out as a garden of the Quaker Burial Ground.

                                                       14, Not. Pl., W.
                                                     Sunday, March 15th.


Miss Y. and I went down to Quaker St. yesterday. The ground seems nicely
finished.... Mrs. W. was very full of joy about it—said she thought it
would save the children from accidents; the streets were so crowded with
drays, and children could play in the garden till parents or elders
fetched them. She said it had been crowded with children when the man
was painting there. Mr. W. came in while we were there. He said he had
hoped for some little opening (ceremony), but added, “it is a small
thing,” in a voice that showed it was anything but that to them. He said
quite cheerfully he should just have their teachers, and march the
children in, and have a little chat about not throwing stones.


                                                        April 2nd, 1887.


I think your own instincts will guide you better than any words of mine,
when you come face to face with Ruskin, as to what to talk of with him.
It will be an event in your life, and I hope you may talk only of what
is bright as well as good. If you felt as if any mention of me, or the
work you help me in, comes under this head, I should be greatly
delighted; but, if it does not, then I am quite ready to leave all in
silence, till the time when the understanding of all we have all meant
here shall be perfect. Don’t risk clouds in your visit, _whatever you

                                                     January 18th, 1888.

I beg you in all advice and in all speech to think _only_ of what is
best for Mr. Ruskin; that is _really_ all that matters now.

                                                         June 8th, 1887.


It is the greatest joy to me to think that you and Olive will be able to
be such a comfort to Mr. Ruskin, and that you will have the marvellous
joy of the intercourse with him. You will gather memories which life
will never take away.... It is a high honour and great blessing which
has come to you both. I believe you will walk worthily of it in the time
to come, with, as it were, your shoes put off your feet; for indeed the
spirit which will be near you will make the place holy ground.

                                                       April 24th, 1888.

It is very nice to have some news now and again from out of the
death-like silence into which the friendship of nearly a lifetime has
fallen. As you know, I believe the silence is the best for Mr. Ruskin;
and so, if you take my advice, you will not break it on that side.

                                                       (July 2nd?) 1887.


... I suppose Miranda will have told you of the offer of the ticket for
the Abbey[101] to me. I do not know whether it is the news coming here,
so far away; but it has impressed me rather. I cannot think why I, who
have done so simply, and at no great cost, just what lay before me,
should be singled out in this kind of way. I always feel as if I ought
to do, or be, something more, in order to deserve it. What a wonderful
state London seems to have been in about the Jubilee! What recollections
the Queen must have had crowding on her at the service!

                                                            March, 1887.


     DEAR SIR,

You were interested about the plan of my taking charge of the houses
occupied by the poor on the Southwark Estate of the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners; and I am anxious you should know how matters stand, as I
feel as if the future of the people might be influenced by it. May I
therefore tell you the state of affairs?


I was ready to have taken over all the weekly property in Southwark in
the hands of the Commissioners. I was very willing to accept the
decision that I should begin with a third or so of it, which I took over
on May 5th. I was _most_ anxious to have leased to me the portion of the
ground allotted to the permanent housing of the poor, which was then
unlet to builders. It would have rendered the personal work that we are
doing among the tenants tenfold more useful, because we could have
continued our work among them, and kept them together, with some sense
of a corporate body, when the time came for the destruction of the
present houses, instead of their being either scattered or handed over
to the government of an ordinary builder.

The portion of the property handed over to our charge appears to be that
most directly doomed to destruction, either by rebuilding by others, or
by railways, or owing to its condition or situation. A large part of it,
we are told, may be wanted this month. The whole of the land for
rebuilding for the poor is now let.

The past cannot be helped. But I wonder if there is anything that you
can do, to render our work more permanent, or to let it lead up to
anything. I have written to Lord Stanhope and to Mr. Clutton to ask, in
another form, the same question. They are both most kind; but I am
anxious that you too should know the facts. Their past action makes me a
little fear that either they hardly grasp the importance of the point,
in their interest and pleasure in the new buildings, or, for some other
reason, they may not decide to hand over more to our care....

It is always difficult to take away paid work from those who have done
it in the old way well, in order to introduce another plan. Whether it
is right to do so, must depend on the excellence of the new plan, which
must be a matter of opinion.

In my estimation, of course, such personal work as my friends and I can
give is the only way to raise these people. We are quite willing to go
on, and do what little we can, till our tenants must leave us; but what
we do can never have the effect that it would have, if, in any way, we
could retain them longer near us.

What is still feasible is, first, to give over to our care some of the
weekly tenements which are in a more solid state of repair, and which
may therefore stand longer as cottages; and to give us these in addition
to what we have. So you would extend our work. So you would give us the
interest of more permanent work. So you would enable us, perhaps, to
keep near us some of the tenants to whom we feel it most important, when
our present houses are pulled down. Second, you might give me, or some
of my friends, a lease of some of your houses. As you (as Commissioners)
do not see your way to keep them under your own direct control, you
might lease them to us, though leases are hateful things.

I fancy the latter plan is the one to which Mr. Clutton sees his way;
but I hope that it will not be all that you will do. Several courts,
substantial in themselves, and not, as I understand, doomed to come
down, unless they interfere with larger schemes, remain in your hands.

If there is no valid reason, unknown to me, I hope these may be confided
to us.


                                                           July ?, 1887.


Our life is a very busy one, as usual. Octavia’s Sunday afternoons in
Red Cross Hall have been a wonderful success; the people have come in
increasing numbers, and seem to enjoy the music and the books and
illustrated papers greatly.... We are now very busy and interested about
another Open Space—a garden for Vauxhall. Fawcett’s house stands there;
and the large grounds of that and the adjoining house are offered for
sale for a public park.... Out of £44,000, all has been promised except
£7,000, and Octavia is working with all her might to get this together.
There is to be a meeting at Lambeth Palace at which Mrs. Fawcett and
Octavia are to speak. It is to us so strange that there is such
readiness to give large sums to technical schools, which could be built
at any time, and such backwardness about giving to Open Spaces, which,
if lost now, can never be recovered. Individuals are generous about it,
and certainly public interest in the question has grown; but corporate
bodies, with money to give at their discretion, seem slow to see the
advantages as yet.

                                                        July 17th, 1887.


Octavia and I were at such an interesting open-air meeting at South
Lambeth yesterday, to consider the advisability of buying The Lawn
(Fawcett’s old house and grounds), and the adjoining grounds, which are
large and beautifully wooded, to form a park for Lambeth. The speakers
were in waggons, the audience chiefly working men. The appreciation of
the Open Spaces was very striking. Octavia said how public opinion on
the subject has grown. The working men’s comments that we—being in the
crowd—heard, were very interesting. I must say I thought their spirit
very good. The only thing was they would not listen to any speakers on
the other side, tho’ asked to do so by their chairman—evidently a
popular man; and tho’ several of the nicest of the audience said, “Give
the man a hearing,” “Let’s hear the other side.” But the desire to gain
the park, even at the increase of rates, was _very_ strong, quite
unmistakable; also the warm way in which they responded to a speaker who
described the temptation to drink, of people who had been sleeping and
working in impure air, and who said that drink really took more strength
out than it put in. “What is the best tonic after labour?” asked he—and
many voices shouted “Fresh air, fresh air.” In fact I thought the
Temperance view of the question excited more enthusiasm than any other,
except the good the park would do to the children. “If we can’t enjoy it
often, the little uns will,” I heard one man say to another aside.

We are so delighted that the Hampstead Vestry has at last voted £20,000
for the purchase of Parliament Hill, by forty-five votes to ten. There
was a majority of twenty-one against it on the last occasion.

                               The Countess of Ducie’s, Tortworth Court,
                                         August 21st, 1887.


I hope that you and Miss Terry reached home safely.... You would find
some troublesome little scraps of paper about roofs. They were all I
could manage before I left. I write now to say that I must ask you to
use your own discretion on arriving at Queen Street. My own strong
impression is that the downpour probably arose from causes which
operated in all sorts of houses, poor and rich; that is, that the
arrangements were not calculated to meet such a storm as Wednesday’s. I
know the gutters, which run from back to front of houses in Queen
Street, are narrow. They are formed of flat pieces of zinc which are
turned up at the edges under the tiles—thus.



If the bit which runs up is not wide, the water gets over the edge, if
the gutter becomes too full, and enters the house under the tile. For
this there is no remedy but a wider gutter. This I do not think it worth
while to put for exceptional storms. If this seems to you likely, or if
you can elicit from Moore that this is the cause, just say nothing;
order the plaster of ceilings, or other urgent internal work to be
reinstated. We can take our time as to further radical improvement. If,
however, the gutter is itself defective, or Moore distinctly asserts
that it is, and that he can patch it up for a few shillings, let him do
that; and the sooner the better.... If the E.’s are gone, get on swiftly
with repairs required for letting there. Tell French polisher at 33 that
we shall have a house when it is done up; but try not to show it, till
it looks pretty nice....

                                                    November 14th, 1887.


You will remember well Mr. Cooper’s great gift to us, and will have seen
his death in Saturday’s paper.

I propose to put up to him a slab in the wall at Southwark, with these

“To the Honble. Henry Frederick Cooper, whom we never saw, whom we hoped
to see; but God took him to Himself before we could rejoice him by our
joy here, or thank him with audible words. November, 1887.”

If you think that any of the members of the club, poor or rich, would
_like_ to join in the memorial by giving a few pence, will you, when
occasion offers, ask them? The money I shall myself provide gladly; so
no one need help who doesn’t wish to. I write to you because you know
all about the gift, and how it helped us. Don’t say a word if you think
it better not; I leave it entirely to you.

I send you a copy of our Parliament Hill papers, ... but we have a huge
sum still to raise, upwards of £20,000; it comes in daily, and we mean
to carry it through; but we shall have to strain every nerve.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                   March 2nd, 1888.


After an elaborate discussion of a difference between the members of the
club and the trustees, and suggestions for removing that difference, she
says they (the club members) are much the best judges of their own
business, and if they don’t think it does we must see if we can think of
a plan that they approve.

I am sorry that they didn’t approve of the scheme of our appointing a
representative. I didn’t mean it for want of confidence in them; but a
club is a changing body; who is to say which of its members will be
there and powerful for the whole time of the lease?


                                                         May 17th, 1888.


We are very much interested just now in the defence of foot-paths in
Lake District. Some land-owners are shutting up old rights of way, and
preventing people from ascending the mountains. A very brave
clergyman,[102] a friend of Octavia’s, who has a parish at Keswick, has
taken up the defence of these rights, and is threatened with a very
expensive law-suit. He and the other “defenders” are appealing to the
public of the large towns to help with a guarantee fund. A meeting was
organised at Hampstead which turned out very successfully.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     July 14th, 1888.


I hope you have had a very happy time away. What a wonderful thing it
seems your meeting Mr. Ruskin! and what an added interest it must have
been to all things, translating them into vivid and permanent life! A
memory that will be a possession for ever.

You will be interested to see the great Latrigg[103] success! I fancy
you may like to have a copy of the speech that I made at the perilous
juncture, now happily no more needed for distribution.

                                                    September 2nd, 1888.


I think of you, dearest Mama, a great deal, and long for the time when
you will be nearer us; meantime I never feel far away at all, I am so
sure of your sympathy about all I am thinking of and working for. I do
not think you know MacDonald’s “Diary of an Old Soul,” do you? There is
a very beautiful part of the August portion of it, about forgetfulness
of God, and His memory of us, and the nearness to Him, which I think you
would like. The last verse always naturally makes me think of you; but I
think there never could have been any mother, of whom it was so true
that she desired no personal nearness, so that she was entirely one with
what her children did. Your love seems entirely free from a touch of
self in it; and I always feel as near you away as when I am by you.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                 September 23rd, 1888.


We had the first evening performance at Red Cross Hall yesterday of “The
Pilgrim’s Progress.” The hall looked beautiful, lighted up. It was a
moonlight night, and the cottages and gardens looked lovely. I found the
Committeemen very busy and happy and important. Everything was ready,
and the curtain up and looking very pretty. The hall was full. Many of
the workers were there and very happy. One of the Committeemen said to
me, “Considering the neighbourhood, you couldn’t have a more respectable
audience!” The MacDonalds seemed happy and busy. When the play began it
was most beautiful. It is wonderful they can act it as they do, with the
blanks in their company death has made; but it only seems to have made
it to them truer and more solemn. Some of the scenes—notably that in the
Valley of Humiliation—seem to me more beautiful than ever; so is the
grouping. Also, in the dark valley, when the little boy asks Great Heart
to draw his sword against the shadow, and he tells him that no weapon
avails there but All Prayer, and they fall into a short procession,
Great Heart first, alone, then the two couples of little boys in their
red and black little dresses, then Christiana and Mercy, the one in a
lovely old black dress, and the other in the fairest blue and white, and
they troop off chanting, all their hands raised. It is _most_ beautiful.
The working men, I hear, felt the play most. I fancy they followed the
sense best.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                     October 8th, 1888.


As you say, the teachings of history show us the reason of our hope.
There is no subject so curious to me as this of the influence of
circumstances. In some cases their power, in others their powerlessness.
But that we must _all_ try to make them better with might and main,
there is no doubt. Then we may leave all trustfully in God’s hands....

I see no chance of even a day at my beloved thistles[104] as yet—am very

                                                    December 16th, 1888.


The Lawn Meeting went off very well yesterday at Lambeth Palace. The
speeches were capital, the Dean of Windsor’s (Miss Tait’s
brother-in-law), and Mrs. Fawcett’s, Mr. Edwards’s (the clergyman of the
district, who gave an interesting sketch of the movement) and finally
Mr. Lester’s. He is a working man, such an enthusiast for the garden,
and his was a delightful speech. He told us he was an engine-driver, and
was at work from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. often. He said, I earn my bread by the
sweat of my brow and am quite agreeable to do so; but, when I come down
from that beastly stokehole, I do wish to breathe some of that pure air
that the Almighty has made for all men. I think his speech interested
people more than anybody else’s. Miss Octavia’s, of course, was
beautiful, and was valued, I think. Such a beautiful letter from
Florence Nightingale was read to the meeting. Miss O. says that of all
the people who have spoken or written on Open Spaces, F. Nightingale has
got most to the heart of the matter.

                                                      January 7th, 1889.


I thought you ought to know before the world that the meeting went
beautifully to-day. The men’s spirit was really beautiful, so
child-like, trustful and dignified. The Prince’s face is refined and
intellectual and full of power. His speech was beautiful, very simple
and very human, very fluently graceful. Mrs. Benson came, and she and
the Prince and the Archbishop were charmed with the men’s spirit, and
the naturalness of the whole little ceremony. They said they wished all
meetings were like that.... The great certainty as to the thoroughness
of the work they had themselves done, mingled with their interest in the
Royal visit, was delightful. They were most keen to have a card framed
in record of the day, and apologised for not thinking my scrubby little
thing quite good enough! I brought them up to the Archbishop telling
them he, not I, should sign it, whereupon they explained it was for
their “offspring,” that if, L. added “I should live, and he should live
to be King, I might tell them I’ve shaken hands with the Crown.” Also
they were very emphatic about the hearty good shake of the hand the
Prince had given each. “None of your shaking with one little finger. We
working men know a right good shake of the hand. We haven’t all been
dragged up,” said one man.


                                                     January 13th, 1889.


I cannot but feel how hard the sacrifice is to you just now; but do you
know I really believe that the partnership will be the best. I remember
so well somewhat similar trial in my own early life, and how I seemed to
have to turn away from my ideal; and, by unexpected ways, I found, years
afterwards, that just the sacrifice I had to make brought me, by ways
that I did not know, to that ideal. Anyway, I think that the steady
work, combined with the love of all high things, will be so good.
Anyway, I pray that all may be ordered for you in your Father’s own way
for the very best.

                                                         South Lodge,
                                                     January 21st, 1889.


Octavia told us a great deal about Charles’s election,[105] all very
pleasant. He seems to have won golden opinions by his directness, and
has been much touched by the extreme kindness he has received. The
election has been conducted on most honourable and courteous terms.
Charles says he never should have won but for Gertrude. Her wonderful
organising power told on the day. Octa. spoke at the evening meeting
(she seems no longer to dread speaking). Charles’s working men were
enthusiastic, waited till two o’clock in the morning to hear the result.

                                                    February 24th, 1889.


The other week Octavia made such a beautiful speech for the C.O.S. at
Fulham Palace (the Bishop of London’s). I went with her and Miss Yorke
to the meeting there. The old palace is so fine, stands in a park with a
moat, and looks as if it were far in the country—not near town at all.
There is an old hall, built in Henry VII.’s time (though altered in the
last century), with carved wooden screen and ancient full-length
portraits.... In _that_ hall the meeting was.... The Bishop—Temple
(former headmaster of Rugby), and his wife were very friendly. He gave a
most amusing account in his speech of how Miss O. had convinced him and
the other Ecclesiastical Commissioners that they were wrong, and she was
right, about certain points. He said: “When she had talked to us for
half an hour we were quite refuted. I never had such a beating in my
life! Consequently I feel great respect for her. So fully did she
convince us, that we not only did what she asked us on that estate, but
proceeded to carry out similar plans on other estates.” Miss O. supposes
he refers to the gift of land for Open Spaces, and is very pleased, not
having known before that those gifts were the result of her
representations to the Coms. about Red X Garden.

                                                  14, Nottingham Place,
                                                    February 18th, 1886.


I left Mama at South Lodge this morning. She read me yesterday some of
Miss Wedgwood’s book,[106] XI.—the chapter about the Romans and Law. It
reminded me a little of things that Mr. Maurice has said, but was very
different, too. I was much interested by what she says about the
influence of women, as shown in Homer and Virgil, and on to the Middle


                                                            March, 1889.

This letter requires a few words of explanation. The long negotiation
for securing the addition of Parliament Hill and the adjoining lands to
Hampstead Heath, begun in 1884, had just been concluded. They had
involved negotiations with the old Metropolitan Board of Works (which
expired just at the close of our negotiations), and with two ground
landlords, besides appeals to three vestries and to a large number of
private persons. The meeting, referred to in the following letter, was
held at Grosvenor House to decide on the question of the application of
the surplus of the funds raised by the Committee. Octavia and the
majority of the Committee were in favour of using the money for the
general movement for preserving open spaces; the proposal of the
amendment was to apply it to securing access from Kentish Town to the
Parliament Hill Fields.


The meeting was a great success, and very animated. It was very full.
There were fourteen reporters. The Duke of Westminster came up on
purpose to take the chair, but was ill, and could not.

Rogers Field moved his amendment _re_ the balance. Mr. Ewan Christian
seconded. There was great excitement, and I thought great sympathy with
the amendment. Mr. Baines replied, and then Edmund made a speech. We won
by 22 votes. Miss Yorke was very keen, and asked me with great eagerness
if she might vote, and did it _con amore_.

Sir Thos. Farrer[107] made a beautiful speech, referring to his memories
of Coleridge and Crabbe at Hampstead. Lord Hobhouse made a fine speech,
noble in tone, dwelling on London as a whole, and what it might be, if
municipal feeling drew together the great Londoners.

Mr. Saml. Hoare referred to the struggle that he remembered his father
had had, _nearly alone_, to save the Heath itself, and the growth of
public interest in the subject. He also spoke of Mr. Shaw-Lefevre’s help
in those early difficult days.

Maud[108] was there, and much interested in seeing Mr. Shaw-Lefevre,
whose face she much liked.

                                                       March 30th, 1889.


I had a pleasant Red Cross Committee, very. The gymnasium was in full
swing; such a number of great hulking youths, so energetic and happy.

Mr. B. was very much delighted, and said that it did so much good to
their physique. He says our sergeant is very good. The appeal for the
corps reads so well. Was it you who helped me with it? They propose a
meeting, with some military man in the chair, some afternoon at four
o’clock; and the local magnates invited by a card, to be sent out with a
printed appeal. The men were delighted with the idea, and seemed so full
of sympathy and go.

I thought you would like to see Miss Sewell’s nice letter. (Miss Sewell
was head of Southwark settlement.) I have, as you will know, replied
that we should not dream of any move till winter next year, and must be
guided by what we see best then.

I cannot tell whether dear old Marylebone or Southwark will seem the
most natural working centre, nor how far such a body as the Settlement
would leave you and me enough sense of home.

[Sidenote: RED CROSS CLUB]

                                                       April 26th, 1889.


Lady Nicholson has brought the loveliest panels, painted for Red Cross
Men’s Club. A large set of water lilies and other water plants, with
bulrushes and kingfishers for the centre over the mantelpiece. A panel
with swallows and wild roses, one with titmice, one with a wren, and one
with a robin. She has given me £2 for fixing and mounting. Will it not
be nice to have all that colour down in Southwark? Miranda and I were
there to-day, and found everything looking very nice. M. was much
pleased with Gable Cottages.... Miss Cons seems to be doing beautiful
work at the L. C. Council, inspiring everyone, and keeping herself in
the shade. She amused us much with her account of getting the Lawn
resolution passed.

M. and I went to-day to see Mr. Hoole[109] about some more cottages. He
was so nice. He is just going to Wells, where you know he is building
some cottages for the Bishop. I am so glad to have given him the
introduction. He seems to have been delighted with both Bishop and
beauty of town.

We have just received a basket of camellias from Hillside. I wish you
could see their lovely red and white. _That_ is what I am always wishing
about all things. However, the next best thing is the telling you about

                                                          May 5th, 1889.


I went to Waterloo and met Col. Maurice, and we proceeded to Blackheath.
A pleasant little victoria met us, and drove us to the Ranger’s Lodge, a
house which stands facing Blackheath, with a magnificent view of blue
distance; and on the London side such a space of blue quite studded with
steeples and towers. The Ranger’s Lodge is an old mansion, with great
panelled rooms all painted white, and hung with old portraits. The house
belongs to the Queen, and has been given to Lord Wolseley for his
lifetime. It belonged to Lord Chesterfield and to Lady Mayo. In what is
now the kitchen garden stood the house where Queen Caroline lived; and
her mother (the Duchess of Brunswick?) lived in the Ranger’s Lodge.
There are twenty acres of lovely old garden, with smooth lawns and great
cedar trees; and all round the grounds stretch the glades of Greenwich
Park; one magnificent avenue of chestnuts, in full young green,
specially delighted me. Lady W. is so delighted with the place.... I was
charmed with her, and with her simple, tall, pretty daughter; also I
liked Lord W. very much; and it was very interesting to hear him talk.
He has a very simple, reverent sort of interest in all sorts of
subjects, not his own.... They were all very kind and helpful to me....

Mindful of your words, I was out at 5½ this morning gardening in the
cool. The cuckoo and lark kept me glad company.


                                                         May 19th, 1889.


I am specially interested about article by Col. Maurice, because I have
been thinking a great deal about the matter lately. Of course I realise
all you say about war; but I do not feel any doubts about the Volunteer
Cadet Corps; for at least three reasons. First, I do feel defensive war
right, if by sad necessity it should ever be called for, which I greatly
doubt. Secondly, because the volunteer movement seems to me a helpful
form for preparation to take, contrasting strongly with all standing
armies. And a peculiarly safe form for military preparation, because
(_sic_) men who have homes and professions and very varied sympathies
and thoughts do not seem to me the least likely to hurry us on to any
war. Thirdly, because I do so clearly see that exercise, discipline,
obedience, _esprit-de-corps_, camping out, manly companionship with the
gentlemen who will be their officers, will be to our Southwark lads the
very best possible education. I see very forcibly all Mr. Brooke says
about how it fills a great gap in their education; also I have watched
the marvellous growth in the few Queen Street young men who have joined
the militia. It has been the saving of them. I dare say a great deal
will be said about the movement, on its military side, that I shall in
no way agree with; but I a little stand aside, and let the good and true
men, who are helping, and whose scheme it really is, carry on, a little
by my strength, their own thoughtfully planned scheme; just as I might
lend a hall to Salvationists or others, who on the whole were teaching
what was right, tho’ I could not myself teach or agree with all they
say. Only in this case I am more heartily with my fellow workers. I do
feel that neither Mr. Barnett nor Mr. Brooke, who believe this movement
reaches a sort of boy that nothing else does, and reforms him, are
either of them men to desire to strengthen a love of war. In fact I see,
what they, who know the lads better than I, say most emphatically, that
all the temptations to war are entirely absent from these boys; they are
cowardly and wanting in power of endurance, wanting in power of standing
together, worshippers of money. All which the volunteer movement will
teach them will, I believe, be helpful. So at least they say, and so I
believe, and to a great degree have seen....

                                                 14 Nottingham Place, W.
                                                     May 29th, 1889.


I am delighted to think of the day being fixed for seeing you. Miss
Yorke is not here to-night, but she would, I know, be _delighted_ for
you to come to Crockham. It is the very thing she has been building on,
and caring to try to plan for. I long to have you there in the silent,
cheerful little house, which catches every ray of sunlight there is, and
where, even tho’ we have no real garden, the buttercups, the broom, the
forget-me-nots, and the daisies are set like gems among the grass and
bright sorrel. Miss Yorke wants you to occupy the room that has access
to the balcony, so that we shall have a little out-door sitting-room
when we want to be absolutely quiet, and there are writing places and
things so that we can sit up there, indoors too, whenever we like. I
shall bring down needle work; and I am looking forward to reading and
work together; and it seems to me as if it would be so peaceful and so
bright. Miss Yorke has specially planned this little separate place,
because she knows how much you care for solitude, and how much I am
looking forward to a quiet time with you.... I could bring you any or
every meal you like. I hope to get the little carriage for some drives;
and I am counting the hours till you come. Still I know what a hermit
you sometimes like to be.


... No dear Mama, I did not accept the post on the Commission.[110] Even
if I could have done the work (and I had no special qualifications),
there are others who can and will be pretty sure to do it; and I could
not have done it without losing some of the near intercourse with
tenants and workers, and even with you all, which makes work go so very
differently. I have so often in my life thought, in deciding about
taking work, of Marion Earle’s[111] words, when she leaves the work the
fashionable people are asking for, and goes to nurse the bed-ridden
comrade who is poor and out of sight,

                          “Let others miss me
                          Never miss me, God.”

I wrote a very careful letter, not a formal one, in reply, and have had
the enclosed very nice answer.

                                                         June 9th, 1889.


It is strange how that word “Society” is always used for that which is
superficial and selfish, if not worse. I have not read Garibaldi’s life,
but one gets a vivid idea of it from Mrs. King’s “Disciples.”

Andy will tell you how busy I have been with references for Ossington.
It is refreshing to come in contact with such happy-looking neat little
homes.... I think a lark has built in our long grass; it returns so
often to the same spot; and two wood pigeons frequent the place and
perch on the small trees so prettily. The thistles are vigorous; every
time I cut them I expect next time they will be weaker, but they are
not; however, there are much more various things growing among them,
each of which delights me.

                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                    June 17th, 1889.


I put some heartsease in my dress, a thing I hardly ever do; but there
came into my mind that bit from the Pilgrim’s Progress when the shepherd
hands it to the pilgrims, and says it grows so well in the Valley of
Humility, and comes fresh from the king’s hand every day, and that it
increases by sharing. So, feeling a little low at having left you, I put
some in my dress and Margy’s brooch on, and sat down to write, a
formidable pile of letters being before me.... I am glad to have heard
the latter part of the beautiful life of Garibaldi.


                                                        June 23rd, 1889.


Oh it is so lovely here! And it is so delightful to watch what nature
has done, now that she has taken possession of the ground, what lovely
and various things she has set in it. I have been thinking how you would
rejoice in it all. There are wild roses in the hedges, and many more
foxgloves than last year; then there are great beds of white clover, and
patches of golden lady’s finger, and spaces of buttercup and potentilla,
and tall large heads of crimson clover; the pink mallow is in bud; so is
the sweet brier; but all these and many more are set in great spaces of
the loveliest tall grass and sorrel, every colour from emerald green
thro’ gold and silver and grey and orange, to deep crimson and russet
brown, gradating one into another, and glowing as the wind bends the
tufts of grass.... I keep thinking how you would enjoy the wealth of
wild beauty all round; one just steps out of this window and finds
oneself on a sort of fraternal nearness with tall grass and stately and
lovely flower. Every one that passes away this year I have wished you
could see.

                                                         July 6th, 1889.


You have chosen work which is not after your own heart, rightly, I
think; and I believe a great blessing will be on it. I think it will
give continuity and reality to a life that might else have gone like so
many artists’ lives into freaks and fancies, instead of into
practicable, serviceable work, glorified by imaginative thought, high
ideals, and artistic joy; but having chosen it, and the days in the main
being not what call out your full power, I hope you may have many
opportunities of real enjoyment; and for this you will need all spare
power, seeing that you will, I know, always be helping those nearest you
very abundantly....

I quite feel what you say as to the duty of seeing first to whatever
grows naturally out of your own work. It is certainly a first duty, and
I should be very wrong if, for the sake of retaining your help, I said a
word on the other side. You must discount anything I say with the
thought that I may be unconsciously biassed. In fact I hesitate to give
advice. For I think you will probably feel your way to what is right for
you to do, with a true instinct. But as you ask me, I will tell you one
or two things that strike me about it. I understand your letter to mean
that there are two kinds of work which might lead you to give up
Southwark. One is required for the conduct and development of the
business. On this clearly I can give no opinion at all. So far as the
Southwark work interferes with due performance of this, clearly it must
be given up; and all one would want you to remember is the importance of
rightly estimating the “due”; for, first, it must be generously and
liberally estimated; secondly it must be estimated with full care of
health; and thirdly there is a something, small it may be when one is
young, but still a something, which in every life may and should be
given to the help of the desolate people and districts out of one’s beat
or outside one’s work, which, rightly estimated, and deliberately
restricted, may be continued for years, and tell by its continuity, and
by the fact that the donor has gained weight and power in other fields.

Then, secondly, I read your letter to mean that you think such gift
should be to your own employés, and those nearer you. There I am
heartily with you; manifestly that is every man’s first duty, and all
the more so, because the coming in contact with them in business also
tests the wisdom and truth of the work and its spirit. So that I should
naturally have looked forward to that sphere, when the time comes....

I purposely say nothing of how _very_ much I should miss you. I do not
like to think of it.


                                                   14, Nottingham Place.
                                                       July 20th, 1889.


Miranda and I were delighted with the “Ballad-Monger,” and very much
interested to think of your pleasure in it. I think Gringoire very
wonderful. That artist’s nature, _alive_ from head to heels; that
exquisite appreciation of life full of joy, with the utter readiness to
lay it down, which comes from holding things, as it were, loosely,
because so much by the heart. It gave me a little the same feeling as
St. Francis, against whom everything was powerless, because he was above
pain, or loss, or death, or exile, or fear, and yet to whom every bird
was a brother. The utter unselfishness and dignity of Gringoire was

The King and Loyse were each beautiful in their way; the stillness of
Loyse when she is, as it were, drawn to him, was very beautiful. We both
have to thank you for a great pleasure.

                                                        July 21st, 1889.


I am probably going to Oxford on the 31st, to read a paper at the
opening meeting of the University Extension.... There will be 1,000
people; but I understand them to break up into sections. I do not know
what audience I shall have.... (Then follows an account of the
“Ballad-Monger”) ... I went to Red X Hall yesterday, as the police band
were to play.... It was very nice to talk to the men, and see their
great delight in watching the growth of the trees and creepers and
plants. Last night I dined at Lambeth; the Archbishop telegraphed to ask
me. He is to speak on the clause about children being employed in
theatres, in the House of Lords on Monday, and wanted to talk it over. I
had time to arm myself with a capital letter from Miss Davenport Hill;
and we had a very interesting, and I hope not useless, talk.

                                                        July 28th, 1889.


The great event of the week was the party at Arthur’s,[112] which was
beautiful. The grounds and gardens are lovely.... You will have heard of
the torrents of rain as we went to the station, but has anyone told you
that the sunlight was quite exquisite all the afternoon?—also that two
waggons and two carriages took, I should think, quite 100 people? No one
is one bit worse for the rain; they only seem to remember the kindness
and the beauty.... We have been making progress towards securing the
“Laundry” long desired by Miss Yorke.... Two ladies interested in the
neighbourhood have sent £200 to help the scheme forward.

                                                      August 11th, 1889.


I was _so_ delighted to receive your sweet letter to-day; and quite like
a child in my delight at the bags. They are pretty, and the letters
exactly what I wanted. We pinned some paper ones on on Tuesday; and they
all came off, to the great confusion of the money. Also these nice
letters give a kind of individuality which I do like in a bag, or a cup,
or anything I use.

                                                      August 15th, 1889.


I have never thought the world’s regard, or money-success, or worldly
surroundings worth anything; and, when they fall away from us, I think
that it is often that they may leave us freer to enter into realities.


                                                     December 7th, 1889.


I return the valuable letter with many thanks to Olive and to you for
letting me see it. I had not done so before. I think he is right about
the forgiveness; and I think it _is_ hard that any of you should expect
a man, who had the place in the world that he had when he knew me as a
girl of not fifteen years, should ask forgiveness. Not for a moment do I
myself wish it, unless in any way it took away from him the sadness of
the memory of what he did. I tell you, most distinctly, I do not think
there is very much in the whole affair; that is, when the imperfections
of earth and speech are taken away, I do not think that there will be
very much to clear up between Mr. Ruskin and me. Till that time, touched
as I am by your chivalrous kindness about it, I do seriously assure you
I think a merciful silence is at once the best and the most dignified
course, for him and me. What has the world to do with it, if we both
feel silence all that is needed? There are things that nothing will ever
put right in this world; and yet they don’t really touch what is right
for all worlds.

I say this for your sake, that you may feel at peace about it all; else
nothing would make me say anything. Be at peace about it. I am. I hope
Mr. Ruskin is. He may be. The thing is past, let us bury it; that which
the earth will not cover, which is not of it, lives in the Eternal
Kingdom; and in the thought of it earthly imperfection or mistakes seem
very small things.

                                                  14, Nottingham Place,
                                                    December 29th, 1889.


Thank you so very much for your loving letter. I was so very glad to
have news of you. I can imagine what an interest the Home is with all
its human work, now that books are more cut off from you than they were;
and I like to think, too, that you will have many round you who love you
and look to you.

I wonder what you thought of “Asolando.” I have hardly read it all yet.
I fear it does not strike me, that it contains any poems on a level with
his finest.

When I heard of Browning’s death, in the thought of his rejoining her, I
could not help remembering every word of the Epilogue to Fifine, which
is very beautiful.

I wish you could hear Mr. Alford’s sermons. No one, since Mr. Maurice,
seems to me so abundantly well worth hearing.

I have taken charge of nine new blocks of buildings, within a stone’s
throw of this house. We are buying some of the worst houses that remain
in Blank Court. I am preparing to build in Southwark, besides all the
old work. I have a grand band of workers; but one has much to do for and
with them.


                                                14, Nottingham Place, W.
                                                    April 28th, 1889.


Miranda and I concocted a letter to the owners of some dreadful
buildings in Southwark, which Miss J. is ready to undertake, asking to
have them put under her care. So we have sent that off; and it _may_
bear fruit now or later. Then we finished the accounts of Gable
Cottages, and despatched report of same. They are now complete! Then I
settled about the painting of Hereford Buildings. We had an evening’s
work over Income Tax returns.... To-morrow I collect in Deptford; Miss
Hogg is still away; also Mr. T. is sending his manager to talk over
matters with me. Then I have to go right up near Paddington to a Com. of
the Women’s University Settlement for Southwark. I hope much from the
link with them, and the members interest me much. They are all very
refined, highly cultivated (all, I fancy, have been at one of the
Universities), and _very_ young. I feel quite a veteran among them; and
they are so sweet and humble and keen to learn about the things out of
their old line of experience. I much delight in thinking one may link
their young life with the houses, and hall, and garden in Southwark.

It feels like home now Miranda is back again; and it is wonderful to see
the atmosphere of love and peace and duty she spreads round her....

My horse-chestnut and one oak grow quite tall; and all my ferns are in
little rolls waiting for a little more warmth and rain and time to
uncurl; the children’s voices (but soft and as if far away) are singing
hymns in the school; the birds are chirping, and a quiet sense of Sunday
calm is over things.

                                                     December 4th, 1889.


We are busy as usual, and all goes with wonderful success—a sort of
thorough, quiet, steady progress and life that often amazes me. The
great stir of strikes and free dinners and huge gifts, the excitement of
those who feel as if action now alone were beginning, and as if all had
to be rearranged, replanted, as it were, before it would grow, touches
us little; and in the steady friendship of old days, and slow but
definite improvement of tangible things in a few places, work goes
quietly forward as the years roll on. We are helped, no doubt, by the
wave of right hearty sympathy and sincere sense of duty now pervading
the educated classes, and largely helped; and from my heart I thank God
for it. But for the crude theories, I can only hope that many of them
will be exploded before they do real harm.

                                                     October 25th, 1889.


The _Nineteenth Century_ article brought Octavia several offers of
personal help—one which will be very valuable, I think. Professor
Tyndall sent her such a nice letter, full of sympathy with her article,
sending her £10, and saying if he were younger he would have offered
personal help himself.

Octavia has had so many interviews and so much to decide—a letter from
Chief Commissioner about police, interview with Ecclesiastical
Commissioners’ man of business about land for more cottages near Red
Cross, which she _much_ hopes to get; interview with Lord Rowton about
some housing scheme; besides the Red Cross entertainments beginning next
week, which all want arranging for. I am glad to say that she has handed
over to me a good deal of the correspondence.


                                                    November 12th, 1889.


I thought you would be glad to know that I had a _most_ satisfactory
interview with Mr. De Bock Porter, who represents the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners. Times are indeed changed! I saw him about what I call
White Cross Cottages; and I think they will meet me most kindly about
it. It will be very delightful if I can get six cottages there. It will
widen the passage, preserve light and sight of sky in the garden, make
the approach to the hall by night much better, besides providing six
more pleasant homes for people near the garden. I am so very happy about
it! I also had a very useful talk about the whole estate.

                                                   September 15th, 1889.


I am very much interested about my Southwark building, which is
progressing well; think of having twenty more such cottages as Red Cross
ones! Our working men are so happy about the arrangements for the
“Pilgrim’s Progress.”[113] Each of them will have fifty tickets to give
away. They are also very busy and important with the various things with
which they can help. It is very pretty and cheering to see them.

                                               14, Nottingham Place, W.,
                                                     June 29th, 1889.


... It is time for closing the books for the half-year; and I have been,
therefore, specially busy this week, but I hope now we are through the
worst of it. On Monday I went to poor Deptford. Lady Maud is doing
beautifully; and it is pleasant to follow Miss Hogg’s good work; but
poor Miss —— seems to have done badly indeed. I hardly knew to what a
miserable extent she depended on me. It is very unfortunate. On Tuesday
we had our first Ossington collection. In the afternoon I went to the
University Settlement meeting. They had borrowed Red Cross Hall. It was
a sad meeting ... but I hope now _that_ difficulty is over. Mr. Loch
came and spoke beautifully, striking the right note, and pointing out
the practical question before the meeting. They _all_ responded except
Miss ——. It was a splendid body of women, young, thoughtful, refined,
and earnest, and looking so pretty. The head of Lady Margaret’s Hall,
Miss Wordsworth, was there; and Mrs. H. Sidgwick and FitzJames Stephen’s
daughter spoke so well.... The Lochs had never seen the Hall, Garden and
Cottages before, and were so delighted. After the meeting we had tea and
talk. Miss Gladstone was there and very friendly. It all kept me so late
there that I saw the garden in its evening fullness; all the people
seemed enjoying it.

                               CHAPTER X

  This period, while including great developments in the movements in
  which Octavia was specially interested, was also marked by public
  discussions, which greatly affected her work. She was much interested
  in the controversy between General Booth and the Charity Organisation
  Society, about the General’s huge scheme of centralised, and
  despotically managed, relief; and in this, as in so many other
  matters, she warmly approved of the efforts of Mr. Loch, Secretary of
  the C.O.S., to produce wiser views of administration of charity.[114]
  The same friend also assisted her in discussions with the poorer
  municipal voters, on the best method of distributing the payment of
  rates between landlord and tenant, and the most economical method of
  providing houses for the poor.

  This time was also marked by another of the many proofs of Octavia’s
  desire to connect her interest in art with her efforts for moral and
  physical progress. The fine hall in Red Cross Garden, was used by the
  neighbourhood for entertainments; and, on Sundays, very good music was
  performed there by numerous friends, to large gatherings of the
  people. Among other friends, who helped, was Mrs. Julian Marshall, who
  trained a band of Southwark boys to play in the Hall. It was now
  proposed that the walls of the Hall should be decorated with
  representations of peaceful heroism; and Mrs. Russell Barrington
  enlisted Walter Crane’s help in the matter, who most generously
  designed the pictures. The first of these was that of Alice Ayres the
  servant girl, represented in the act of rescuing children from a fire
  in Southwark. Her connection with the neighbourhood greatly interested
  the tenants.

  In 1898, Octavia was much encouraged by the growth of appreciation
  felt for her work, which was shown by the presentation to her of her
  portrait painted by Sargent.[115] A large number of friends had
  subscribed for this; and, at the presentation, Mr. Loch was the
  spokesman. Some of her words in answer will be quoted at the
  conclusion of this book. She was much touched by this proof of
  affection; and the large gathering of friends included those who had
  known and worked with her for years, and the descendants of others.

  But, important as were the developments in her work in the houses,
  perhaps the most notable of all the events of this period was
  connected with the Open Space movement. By the efforts of Sir Robert
  Hunter and other friends, “The National Trust for Preserving Places of
  Natural Beauty and of Historic Interest,” was founded, which undertook
  to buy or accept from donors places described by the above title, and
  to care for and manage them for the people. And Canon Rawnsley became
  Hon. Secretary.

  A special outcome of this movement, in which Octavia was much
  interested, ought to be particularly noticed; the acquisition of
  places in the Lake district, secured partly on account of their
  beauty, and partly to provide access to the lakes, for the general

  A different kind of open space, in a very different neighbourhood, was
  the “Postman’s Park”—a recreation ground secured near the General Post
  Office, where deeds of heroism are recorded by Watts, though without
  the addition of such pictures of the heroes as were painted in Red
  Cross Hall. This time saw the band of foreign imitators of Octavia’s
  work notably increased, by the visit to England of Dutch ladies, who
  formed warm friendships with Octavia, and who have shown in Holland
  such excellent results of the training which they received.



  _From an Oil Painting by Sargent. Presented to her in 1898._


                                              190, Marylebone Road,[116]


... All goes well with us here. My room has been our last household
pleasure. It has turned out so pretty; and I am so astonished because it
was the room where all the leavings naturally gravitated. But you know
it has a pretty bow like the back drawing-room; and my one extravagance
has been a very nice brass curtain rod. On this, with large curtain
rings which draw easily, we have hung the curtains which Minnie
gave,—crimson—and they look so bright in the western sun, and so snug
when drawn at night. Then I have my writing-table in the bow, and my
pretty dark book-case, and the old drawing-room carpet from Nottingham
Place, which looks quite handsome, as good things do. My photographs
group themselves prettily on the walls; and altogether it is very

                                                     January 19th, 1890.


One feels that the more intercourse with honest, truthful people
they[117] can have the better; and that our work, when least it shows
outward progress, has this of value—that there are, in and out among
them, those who are trying to fulfil at least the ordinary daily duties
of life, as in God’s sight. I am myself a little cheered about the place
just now; and, of course, looking to Miss Chase’s return to them with
hope. She has so very much human sympathy, and feels, thro’ all their
faults, so instinctively down to all that is human and good; never
palliates their wrong, but loves them in spite of it, and clings to the
good in them.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   February 27th, 1890.

I hope I shall manage to take care of myself, and not give you all
trouble again by any stupidity. It is much more easy to be obedient than

                                                       March 18th, 1890.


Deptford went quite wonderfully yesterday. I do think it begins to
improve. Miss Chase’s joy in it is refreshing, and also contagious; and
she always tells one nice things about the people. Ossington too went
well to-day. I had a large group of workers.... Each took a staircase,
and came back to report to me. I had time to see and help each.

                                                       March 23rd, 1890.


I am extremely sorry if any words of mine have tended to intensify any
dissatisfaction you may feel with your work in life.... When work is
good in its object, as merchant’s work must be, is it not pretty sure
that a good man, whose path has led him straight into the thick of it,
seeing its abuses and temptations, has a distinct calling? The
difficulties are the foundation of the triumph. The world is all full of
them. We grope about, and seem hardly to see our way; but if honestly,
moment by moment, we do as much as we see, somehow the place is better
for our presence; and in the long years, looking back, we find we have
been led on by paths we did not see, towards ends we hardly dreamed of
reaching. Some men sit down in their studies, and imagine a world all
different, or speculate as to whether, if they turned it all upside
down, selfishness would not vanish because comfort had come. We don’t
know what this world would be if it were altered; but we do know how God
has given it to us; whom He has put near us; where He has called us;
what power He has given us.... I do not believe in this God’s earth
there can be a place where right is impossible. If it is difficult, the
more glory is there in very humbly, very steadily, leading a forlorn
hope.... Remember there is a Truth of _things_, as well as of _words_.
Our words are indeed feeble exponents of Truth; but, whatever fact we
meet in life, _that_ is God’s own permitted Fact or Truth, possibly not
eternal, but meant for us to accept or to resist; but always to deal
with, for which effort He gives strength.


                                                         June 4th, 1890.


Thank you for reminding me about the Brier Rose. Six of us have been to
see it at different times, all thanks to you. The colour is, indeed,
wonderful, and the vision complete; and, if there is wanting a certain
strenuous life about it, it is unfair, perhaps, to look for that in a
fairy tale. As allegory, I seem to miss the energy of life and thought;
but, then, the beauty of colour!

                                                        June 27th, 1890.


I enclose tickets for the opening of the lawn. I send those for Fawcett
House for Mrs. Cockerell and Olive. They would there see the general
view of things, and the Royal party would pass quite close.... I most
earnestly hope that you will be able to help us as steward; we shall
sorely need reliable ones. I am much distressed that, in spite of almost
superhuman efforts, I seem unable to escape being taken up by the
necessity of “receiving,” and so shall not be free to rush where need
may be to see how all goes, and so shall need much to have _really
trustworthy_ fellow-workers, who will stay where they are asked, and can
be trusted really to give signals to those who have to perform any part
of the little ceremony.

                                                        June 20th, 1890.


             _Re_ the opening of the lawn.

I am to see Sir F. Knowles, who represents the Prince, for final
settlement of programme on Monday at 2.30 o’clock; and, after that, we
have a committee, and I hope much will get definitely settled and
communicable; and _that_ I may send to the printers. Next week I have a
series of interviews on the ground with the builders, vestry, workmen,
police, volunteers, band, and guard, etc. Thursday, a committee to
settle distribution of tickets, and after that we shall despatch them.
The week following we must get to more detailed decisions as to
individuals and their duties, and see the execution of what the
corporate bodies plan....


                                                         July 9th, 1890.


Princess Louise and the Prince and Princess of Wales were _delighted_
and thoroughly at one with the people. The Prince of Wales was about to
enter his carriage, when he bethought him of returning and making his
way through the crowd and seeking out Lester to shake hands with him....
Octavia was delighted with the workmen. She says it was entirely due to
them that the order was so good. Miss Chase was most sprightly and full
of delight with the fun. Miranda in the house ... was a most happy and
useful hostess. Mr. K. and A. were most complimentary to Octavia as to
the arrangements. She says they have taken three weeks’ “hard work;” and
_her_ “hard work” means something.... I do rejoice that our Royal family
use their great position as they do.

                                                      August 14th, 1890.


We went to see the Poors’ Land at Bethnal Green on Tuesday. You know it
was left to trustees 200 years ago with an emphatic clause prohibiting
all building. It has been let to a lunatic asylum built on adjoining
land, which has used it for a huge garden, six-and-a-half acres. The
authorities there are _strong_ against the proposed building.... We went
to Oxford House the same day to meet some members of the Poors’ Land
Committee. They showed us a workmen’s club there, numbering 600 members,
to which is attached a co-operative store, doing £10,000 a year
business. It is all under the wing of Mr. and Mrs. B., who used to go
backwards and forwards from Hampstead to work, but now have taken a
large old house adjoining the club, and live there entirely.... They
have a sacred-looking little chapel, where they have family prayers,
which opens from their house and from the club, so that any who like can
join. They say few do; “but they know there is prayer going up for them
in all their troubles, and in what strength and hope we work.” ... At
night we went to Bethnal Green to be present at a meeting of the local
committee. They met in the first floor room over a cheesemonger’s shop,
the cheesemonger being himself one of the trustees. The committee was
all composed of tradesmen of the neighbourhood, except that there was
one _very_ young but very capable lawyer from Oxford House. Then there
was a negro, who, they say, has been most helpful. He has a wonderful
gift of oratory, and has addressed numbers of open-air meetings. It was
a strange and interesting sight, but oh! so difficult to get any
business done, tho’ they were all very zealous and touchingly eager to
do all which would enable us to take up the matter. Then yesterday, by
way of contrast, we drove over to a farm ... to see Mr. S., who, we
heard, would give us information we wanted to record by way of
protection for (a) common. He is said to have fought in old days for
common rights.... He was a very fine, upright, noble-looking man, and
spoke out in a quiet, independent way. The table cloth was laid, and I
saw neatly marked in red marking cotton on it E ... S ... 1822; and one
felt the care bestowed, and the dignity, by the continuity, of the life.


                                                    September 1st, 1890.


... Everyone has been so very loving and helpful that indeed I have had
a sense of blessing about the time.... Nor was I much concerned about
the Queen St. matter,[118] except that I could not take it on my own
shoulders from dear Miss Chase. I know how little such things mean, and
how real a blessing the quiet people feel in our rule; they dare not but
pretend sympathy at the moment, but in their hearts they are thankful.
We had a _perfectly_ calm day to-day; everyone specially bright and
friendly to Miss Chase. Mrs. W.[119] got tea ready for her, she says, on
Thursday, but dare not offer it in the street; she meant to send it to
the station, but thought Charlotte would be tracked. Miss Chase was as
bright as a sunbeam; and all seems as past as if it were a century
ago.... I hear two of the White Cross cottages are let, tho’ they are
not finished. I am so glad. I was a little nervous, because Miss I. says
the street is such a difficulty.

                                                   September 10th, 1890.


I cannot defer writing to tell you how entirely and heartily I hope that
a very happy and full and noble life may be opening out for you both. I
have not the pleasure of knowing Miss Wallick, but I trust she is all
you deserve; and, if she be, she must be good indeed. As to sacrifice, I
don’t know; perhaps there is no great good possible without it; but what
one feels is the immensely deeper meaning and joy which comes, when, as
Ruskin says, one gets the equality “not of likeness,” but of giving and
receiving; the souls that are unlike, and the nations that are unlike,
and the natures that are unlike, each receiving something from, and of,
the other’s gifts and the other’s glory. And of such interchange all
noble love has much.

That a great new gift has come to you, all your friends will greatly
rejoice. You, who have done so abundantly much for the poor, you who
have thought so little of self, best of all seem to deserve such
graciousness of blessing as a wife will be. I am so very, very glad, and
earnestly hope all good things for you both.... Whatever change it makes
in the work, in which you have been the main stay, indeed which you
alone have made possible, I trust you know that I shall feel it all
right. Such changes ought to come; you have worked long and hard; and,
wherever you are, you will work; but, besides this, all we are working
for is to make individual life noble, homes happy, and family life good;
and so all foundation of noble married life is a gain to what we are
working for, tho’ our small schemes of philanthropy may crumble away....

The deep affections which gather round places, and the immense power for
good among men which their knowledge and love of us give, make me often
feel that the continuity of work in one place _is_ a great blessing and

                                                    November 12th, 1890.


You are right in thinking that we want to settle quite near our present
house on account of work and nearness to Hampstead too. We have found a
house that we very much like in the Marylebone Road. It is smaller than
this, and with much smaller rooms; but it is quiet, light, and cheerful
(having its chief rooms with a south aspect), and cheap. It is also not
a great risk, as we shall take it by the year—at any rate till we know
how we like it. It has a garden in front—and a yard behind—to our great
delight; a little light space and _quiet_ being our chief requirements.
The Marylebone Road used to be noisy; but now it has a wooden pavement,
a great boon. There will be room for Octavia and me with Miss Yorke and
two of the friends now living with us, Miss Pearson and Miss Sim. It
would be a great sorrow to part with them; so we are thankful to get a
house large enough for us all.


Octavia’s work is so wide and many-sided, and she is so large-hearted
and wise in giving all her fellow workers leave to work in their own
way, that she often hands a little domain over to me to work in my own
way. So there is no sense of not carrying out my own ideas.

                                                   14, Nottingham Place,
                                                   November 22nd, 1890.


I have never really thanked you for sending me Booth’s book. They are
all reading it with interest. I believe I shall do so, some day, if we
may keep it so long; but I prefer “Old’s News,” like a true disciple of
Ruskin’s, and would rather read it when the fuss is a little over. I
know in my heart of hearts, what I think; and _that_ is that it all
depends on the spiritual and personal power; and _that_ we must measure,
if at all, in the courts, rather than in the book. But the book would
interpret at least the aim. So, thank you much.

                                                    December 30th, 1890.


Thank you so very much for sending me “The Dream of John Ball.” I began
reading it yesterday, but have not had time to get very far in it. Still
I hope to do so soon, and send you many heartiest thanks for your
kindness in thus sending it to me.

I have to thank you for such thoughtful and powerful help in the past
year, I hardly know how to begin. I only hope that the conduct of our
business which now falls on you, and so much of the help at the Hall, is
not weighing too heavily on you, or curtailing too much your time for
refreshing change. You must be sure to tell me if it does. I shall try
hard to supplement; and I think, with all our work in Southwark
developing as it is, we ought to reinforce there; but, in any way, it is
the greatest blessing to have such strong, careful help.

                                                     February 1st, 1891.


I should certainly think that it would be right to retain statement that
the Churn articles appeared in C.O.S. Review. It is only courteous and
truthful. There is a tendency to accept the help of C.O.S., and then to
avoid identifying ourselves with it, which I, most of all, should be
careful to avoid.

When they give us a lift, we must be most careful to help an heroic and
unpopular body, by, at least, having the grace to state the facts.

                                                    February 17th, 1891.


Miranda was much better on Friday, and ventured to the play. We both
enjoyed it greatly. It is very pretty. Helen’s character beautifully
imagined, and Maud very natural and cheerful. We thought of you with


                            Larksfield, Crockham Hill, Edenbridge, Kent,
                                          August 21st, 1891.


Thank you for Morris’s pamphlet. I read it all with interest. There are
some parts in it that I should like to talk over with you. I felt the
_practical_ part _very_ poor. I also think the miseries of the middle
ages slurred over in a marvellous manner! That doesn’t much matter
practically; but it gives the sense of a crooked way of looking at
things. On the other hand I felt heartily one with the author in his
longing to better things, and tried hard to see if he threw any fresh
light. In fact I thought the _aim_ of the book helpful, but nothing

                                              Larksfield, Crockham Hill,
                                                  Edenbridge, Kent,
                                                    April 20th, 1891.


Miss Sewell, the future head of the (Southwark) Settlement proposes to
arrange four lectures on Civic Duty, Socialism, etc., by Mr. Bernard
Bosanquet (whose name I daresay you know), in Southwark, to which the
Settlement might invite their various associates, workers, and friends.
They would have tea and coffee, and a little informal talk afterwards. I
think it an excellent plan, and that it would greatly tend to bring the
whole body of members and friends together and to work. They asked about
the Hall; and it seemed to me that for such an object (which is
practically starting good work in Southwark), especially as it is in the
afternoon, we ought to lend it freely.

                                                       April 26th, 1891.


The only duty I have is to remind all who can judge that our object is
to train good, useful, and healthy men, capable of becoming volunteers;
but that we are pledged, by our own lives and convictions, and by the
trust reposed in us by others, not to weigh for a moment military
training against good, natural, healthy influences. Having said this,
and I say it here in this letter, I have said all I know; and I am quite
happy to leave the decision to the Committees.

                                                        June 21st, 1891.


I am really grieved at what you say. I can imagine the “push” may be
very distasteful; but the decision I should have thought would have been
there, and _all_ good; and one hoped such clear power of business as you
have, combined with other gifts, would have done instead of “push” even
in this age.

I remember a great actress, acting Shakespeare to an untrained audience,
being asked how it was they were so silently attentive; and she said,
“When they shout ‘louder’ from the gallery, I lower my voice.” I always
remembered that story. I can’t help clinging on to the hope of the
possible success of useful business, with all its manifold training,
bringing one into touch with things, and the high ideals. But we shall


                                                              July 19th.

Far be it from me to say one word against any decision to stick to
business. You know how much I honour it, and feel it worth sacrifices;
and, somehow, its regular duties seem to give ballast to characters....
We shall miss you at Erleigh.

                                                   190, Marylebone Road,
                                                   December 29th, 1891.


We have just parted from our Christmas party of dear ones. Mama, Minnie,
Edmund, and Florence left yesterday, and Margy[120] on Sunday. Miranda
and I are settling in to our usual _most_ interesting daily work again,
in this new home, which is becoming very dear.

                  “As catching up to-day and yesterday
                  In a perfect chord of love.”

I wish thou had’st ever seen it. Perhaps, when spring time comes again,
thou may’st come. Larksfield, too, would interest thee; and thou
would’st find it grown, I think.

                                                       March 31st, 1892.


I am more and more delighted with the exquisite book. It is indeed
lovely. My sister Florence and many others have been rejoicing in its
beauty. I have been rejoicing in its beauty. I have only read the
preface straight through once. I do not think it strikes me as
necessarily very revolutionary, tho’ I can believe some people might
think the aim that Morris sets before us can only be obtained by
revolution. I do not think this, and did not notice that he says so.
What struck me was not that it was revolutionary, but that I did not
feel that it was very true. There are people to whom Art is a _very_
great joy, and to whom pleasure in making lovely things is great; and
one could believe the number might and should increase, and the joy
increase. But I think there are, and may rightly be thousands, the main
work of whose days may be some little or even great effort, and their
work be joyful rather in its result than in its doing; and that this
effort is a natural and right discipline. The joy of many, by far the
greatest, is the home joy which glorifies and gladdens the daily work.
And this I may say without forgetting the blessing of all natural and
created beauty; without wishing to explain away the undue sadness, and
unhealthy conditions of much modern work. Only I think Morris
over-estimates the sorrow for most men.

  Perhaps few but Cambridge men will remember the joke referred to in
  the following letter. Doctor Thompson, of Trinity, said of a young
  Fellow whose action on a certain occasion he had resented, that “the
  time which he could spare from the adornment of his person he devoted
  to a conscientious neglect of his duties.”

                                              Larksfield, Crockham Hill,
                                                  April 11th, 1892.


I fear you must think me very neglectful, but I really seem to have my
time very full. You see, there is all “the time I spend in the neglect
of my duties,” to say nothing of the rest. You will not suspect me of
devoting much to “the adornment of my person;” but I _have_ ordered a
new hat and dress.


Mr. Mocatta came in on Friday, and so did Miss Astley and a friend. Mr.
Mocatta gave a very interesting account of the Jews’ expulsion, and what
they are doing.... He says that they are mainly descendants of the Jews,
who were spoiled by the Crusaders; and that they found themselves
obliged to migrate from the whole line of march of the Crusaders, and
settled in Poland.... There they lived in peace till the partition of
Poland. Then the Russians restricted them to the “pale,” which was
large, all towns, no villages or country. Certain people, university
graduates, retired soldiers, etc., might “live out of the pale,” and
gradually others did so also, by bribing police or escaping notice....
Then lately the old laws were enforced, and people, who for forty or
fifty years have lived elsewhere, were all ordered back to the pale. He
says they all want to get to America, and used to come to England hoping
to be helped further.

He spoke, with great approbation, of Baron Hirsch’s scheme. He has a
vast tract in the Argentine Republic—lovely climate and fertile soil;
but it must take a year to get ready.

                                                       April 15th, 1892.

                          (_Re_ HILLY FIELDS?)


You ask about the House of Commons, My evidence went all right. I think
I scored; but I felt from the first it was no use, and they considered
that they could not go into the question on what I call its important
grounds. Having passed the second reading, they could not alter the
matter so much in principle. They only really heard me as to access to
the Park for the poor, and a few other things. It was rather interesting
to see the crowded Committee room, and the row of wigged lawyers, and
the small Committee, and to hear the evidence and cross-examination.

                                                            April, 1892.


We went to a wonderfully beautiful exhibition of pictures at Guildhall.
There is a very beautiful Burne-Jones, “The Wheel of Fortune.” Of course
Fortune is blind, but it is really grand. Also “Love among the Ruins”;
very lovely—the woman’s face really so, and the colour exquisite.

I hope we may get the Bell St. freehold. It would be a great relief.

                                                      August 12th, 1892.


We had a delightful day yesterday at Lady Pollock’s with a party from
Southwark. We had refreshing drives in waggonettes, dinner and tea out
of doors, uninterrupted sunshine, and the greatest kindness. At the
station Hallam Tennyson came up and reintroduced himself; he was so kind
and friendly, and invited me to luncheon there, saying that his father
would be so very glad if I would go. I am to write to him to fix a day.

                                                    September 4th, 1892.


... I went to Tennyson’s on Monday. Mrs. Hunter sent me over. It was an
exquisite drive over the spur of Blackdown, among the heather, and with
the loveliest views on each side towards promontory of hill beyond hill
descending to the plain. Then, through a long quiet lane arched with
trees, reminding me somewhat of lanes in the Isle of Wight; then out
again on to the open heath, and then into Tennyson’s grounds. The
house ... is not interesting; it stands among terraces set with great
evergreens standing rather like cypress at the Pitti; between them the
blue distance of valley and hill. Lady Tennyson was very kind, and
looked as spiritual and full of heart as ever. Lord Tennyson and I had
some talk before luncheon, but nothing of any real interest; at lunch
some Americans arrived, and the lady was next to him, and I on Hallam’s
right, so I got no talk, and after luncheon he was tired. So far as he
was concerned, it was disappointing. But they were all most kind, begged
me to go again; and I felt as if I had got a real glimpse of the home.
Young Mrs. Tennyson was charming, and I had a quite delightful afternoon
with her. She showed me a set of large beautiful photographs of the
characters in the “Foresters,” which has been acted in America. She has
a large room, with a balcony, and a lovely view at the top of the house
near her children.... Lady Sophia Palmer has asked me to go to them next
Sunday to meet the Bishop of London and Mrs. Temple, and Jowett, but I
am not going. The Hooles are coming here.


Dear Miranda is so sweet; we read Dante all three together, which is
very interesting....

I am going to try to avoid going up to town next week. I seem to long
for a little time of quiet; and ten days here would be so restful. We
shall see.

                                                     December 7th, 1892.



Thy beautiful letter arrived duly, and was the greatest joy to me.
Thanks and blessings on thee for it! I don’t ever feel it easy, of late
years, to say anything except about practical things, but thou knowest
how incessantly my thoughts fly back to thee, not only now, but as thou
ever wert to me in the old, old days.

I have just finished rough draft of _very_ dull article for _Nineteenth
Century_, also marking map of footpath for Quarter Sessions.

I am sending off Alessandri’s lovely Venetian work to the Arundel, after
which I hope to send it to Mary Harrison, and I hope thou wilt see it. I
am sure thou wilt delight in the beautiful Doge. He lies before me now,
so still and grand.



I came down to breakfast one morning and found on my table a letter from
Mrs. Russell Gurney, whom I had not seen for many years, saying she had
left to me in her will a block of model dwellings,[121] which she and
her husband had built years before, but that she would like me to take
it now. The gift went right to my heart, and I was delighted. But I
asked her to make it a trust, and she kindly consented to let it be
added to the trust.


                                                        July 22nd, 1893.


We have had a very busy time. Our Southwark Flower Show, the first held
at Red Cross Garden, was a great success. We found the plants grown by
the poor people much healthier than we had dared to hope in such an
atmosphere. Great interest was felt by the poor people; and they seem to
feel encouraged; and many more intend to exhibit next year. The scene
was very pretty, the garden decorated with flags, and little tables with
tea under the balcony where people sat, as in a foreign town. There were
two bands, one of them the Southwark Cadets; and the scene was enlivened
by their bright coats. The plants were under cover in the hall. Out of
doors the people danced Sir Roger de Coverley to the music of the band.
Octavia is busy with plans for new cottages. We are so glad that the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners are interesting themselves to build such.
They have consulted her about plans.

                                                         May 17th, 1893.



If I don’t see you before you start, be sure my love and blessings go
with you out into the strange, new world.[122] I hope you will be very
happy, and that the lifting of the horizon, which is such a joy to the
young, and to those who, as they grow older, still keep the child heart,
may be a great refreshment. You leave behind you so much love, and a
year so soon slips over, that I hope the sense in parting will be almost
all of gain and hope.

                                           I am, dearest Olive,
                                               Your loving Godmother,
                                                           OCTAVIA HILL.

                                                        June 18th, 1893.


Lord Aberdare is Chairman of the Royal Commission on Pensions for the
Aged Poor, before which Octavia gave evidence last week. He had been
abroad, and so was not present when she gave evidence; but he said
playfully he hoped they had treated her properly in his absence, and
said that Chamberlain had “acknowledged himself vanquished.” Octavia had
to answer some rather catchy questions from him; but her clear, cool
head enabled her to come out with triumph. One of the Commissioners
afterwards laughed and said to her privately, “How well you tackled
Joe!” and “You _did_ stand up to Joe!” with great wonder and glee.
Octavia said to Lord Aberdare that the Commissioners had made long
statements of _their_ views, and had asked her whether she agreed with
these, and that it was rather difficult to follow and to reply.

                                                    November 22nd, 1893.


I am returning, with many thanks, “Ruskin’s Life.” It is, even to me,
wonderful reading, when one gets a sort of living impression of the
whole, by reading it thro’. One or two of the apparent failures brought
tears to my eyes, and the memory of the words,—

[Sidenote: LIFE OF RUSKIN]

             “If he strained too wide,
             It was not to take honour, but give help;
             The gesture was heroic. If his hand
             Accomplishing nothing ... (well it is proved)
             That empty hand thrown impotently out
             Were sooner caught, I think, by One in heaven,
             Than may a hand that reaped a harvest in,
             And kept the scythe’s glow on it.”

Then, when one thinks of what the world was in his early days, and what
it is now, and what his share in its attainment of higher ideals and
simpler life, one realises something of what he has achieved.

The picture of the Brantwood life was, to me, specially charming. Some
of the book was, as you will know, exquisitely painful. But I cling on
to greater confidence in silence than in words. The chasms and ruins of
tempest and earthquake are healed best by the quiet growth of all that
is lovely and gentle; but Time is needed. Time, and to be let alone.

                                                    November 22nd, 1893.


... Queen Street goes wonderfully. Miss Gee does wonders there. I have
been collecting on your side, and greatly do I enjoy it. I have with me,
usually, there a charming young lady, Miss Ter Meulen from Amsterdam,
who is spending a few months in England, to prepare for taking up houses
in her own country. She is full of power, brightness, and sweet human
sympathy. Mrs. C. is clear, never missed a 6_d._, as she promised you,
_very_ righteous and grand now; the home looks very happy and
comfortable. Mrs. L. is taking pattern by her, is paying 3_d._, without
fail, but still has £2 7_s._ 0_d._ to clear. Poor Mrs. M. met with bad
accident, a barrel from a dray fell on her, and she has been in bed for
weeks; but M. says with a real loving smile, “I shall have her about
again by Xmas.” C. is out of work! Maria C. is as responsible and
satisfactory as ever. Her influence tells at home; the place is a
pattern of neatness. Bridget C. is married; at first I thought the
others were going to the dogs without her, and her husband wouldn’t let
her live in the street; but we had one row with old C., conquered him,
and began on sound footing....

Thank you _very_ much for report of Public Reservations. It is _most_
useful. Mr. Rawnsley has taken up the idea of a similar trust; we are
getting it up, and had a first meeting this month. Forty-one acres of
Hilly Fields are really bought; the four acres of Glebe still hang fire.
I am invited to unveiling of Lowell’s Memorial at the Abbey on Tuesday;
I should like to go, but it is just in the heart of Southwark work. Can
I go?

                                                     December 7th, 1893.


How very, very long it is since we met! but how the memory of all the
love of years abides and grows!... It was a very holy and quiet
birthday; just at Mr. Alford’s church, with Mama and the beloved
Hampstead circle. Miranda and Mama wrote me lovely poems with their
presents, and flowers poured in; but they were just from the near
circle, or very old friends.... I had arranged not to go to Red Cross in
order to go to Mama....

Hast thou seen Lowell’s letters? They are full of fun, but with a great
vein of tenderest pathos too.


                                                190 Marylebone Road,
                                                    December 10th, 1893.


Octavia gave evidence the other day before a Committee on the subject of
the Unemployed. She is strongly against exceptional measures. She was
examined for an hour and a quarter, and her friends on the Committee
note that her evidence did good. It took us nearly six hours to correct
the proofs of her evidence.

                                              190 Marylebone Road, N.W.,
                                                February 10th, 1894.


What you say about work with me makes me very longing. But, dearest
Maggie, I would be the last to say a word to urge you to strain to do
what would risk your health. It is such a blessing that you are back
among your friends. Only don’t forget me, and let less scrupulous
friends press you in, and make me lose you, if even you can do more, and
might have come to me. What I have always thought that I should like
best of all—what would have seemed to me to have opened up the maximum
of help with the minimum of exertion,—what would have brought us
together, and would have given us the benefit of your judgment and
sympathy in most useful manner, would have been to let us elect you on
the Women’s University Settlement Committee. It meets only once a month.
Miss Sewell brings up the work in a quite perfect way; and, thro’ her,
one comes into touch with that second stage of life—the one of helping
others—which opens out to so many Girton, Newnham, and other girls in
this age of service. Your presence among us would be the greatest help.

But, as I say, my most earnest desire is to stand aside, and not by
word, look, or deed press you, till you feel able. Indeed, one knows how
little one can plan for another. Ways we know little of open for our
friends, and lead to better things than our most loving and longing
thoughts can imagine.

                                                        April 6th, 1894.


Here we are, in the quaintest city. It is called the Nuremberg of Italy,
and is full of marvellous doorways, fountains, outside staircases, and
towers. It is entirely surrounded by walls. The foundations are
Etruscan. The people come riding in from the country on mules, with
trousers of goat or sheepskin with the hair on, and leather at the back
where the saddle would wear it. They have hugely long sticks for whips,
and look wild and good-bye.... Florence would delight in the great
cavern-like looking shops, with the people at work in them, and in the
streets; and everything goes on out of doors, and the workman makes and
sells his own goods at home. We see several hand-looms in the streets.
We have been to the Cathedral, and the Council Chamber adjoining, the
roof of which fell on its proud builder and killed him, and which has
stood roofless for some two or three hundred years. A monk was awakened
from a vision in which he saw a black man, who was the devil, striking
the wall. First he called the people to help the pope, who had built the
chamber; but then he cried out that it was too late—the pope was dead.
We go on to-morrow to Narni, and on Monday to Terni. We have here a
large vaulted bedroom, about three times the size of the drawing-room at
Nottingham Place, with three great doors draped with curtains, a marble
floor, and large window looking into the Piazza de Rocca. A great
fountain plays therein, and across it pass the soldiers, the monks in
procession, the country people coming in by the Fiorentino Gate of the
city. It is somewhat like a huge cave at night with two candles; but
most Italian by day.

                                            Your affectionate daughter,


                                                    Hotel Europa, Terni,
                                                      April 10th, 1894.


... We have just come down from Amelia. It is one of the oldest cities
in Italy, much older than Rome. There is, however, nothing left of the
very old times, except the huge stones of its walls. One can well see
how strong it must have been. The river folds round its base almost in a
circle; and the deep ravine goes all round, and is set with colossal
crags. It is a picturesque place; and, living as we did opposite its
gate, we saw all the life which assembled there. Viterbo was much
fuller, of course, of artistic and historic treasures; but it was sad to
hear of the country being so rough. M. Shaen’s friend, a Mr. Fisher, who
has travelled about much, and collected such lovely things, was kind
enough to make enquiries for us of various people. They say the
brigandage is extinct, but the country quite unsafe. One proprietor
there pays blackmail to two wild sorts of outlaws, and they keep off
others! The professor, who superintends the Etruscan discoveries, has
had to give up going; they all agreed English people were much safer;
but all also told us it would be risky to be about the country. So, as
we cared little for the towns, and wanted too to drive, we came over at
once to this side, which is quite different. We had the funniest
arrangement at Viterbo—a palatial bedroom, large, vaulted, and grand,
but no food to be had except from a little café. At Amelia it was a
small country inn, quite in the country, and with lovely views, but all
the arrangements very queer. Here we are back in a regular good hotel
with all the comforts of civilised life.

                                                   190 Marylebone Road,
                                                     October 16th, 1894.


Mary Harris _did_ enjoy the time! She was delighted to see Octavia; said
she felt her “so life giving,” and compared her to Herakles in
Balaustion. She was struck with the combination of the poetical with the
practical, and said, “I _am_ glad to have seen that side too!” She
enjoyed Octavia’s reading of poetry.

                                                   190 Marylebone Road,
                                                     October 30th, 1894.


I am very sorry not to get up to see you.... I write this in the train
en route for Southwark. I have been paddling about all the morning in
the courts, with Sir Talbot and Lady Baker, Miss Marriott, Lady B.’s
sister, Miss Sim, the surveyor to the estate, a builder and a
leaseholder. Such a funny and large company. We were discussing the
future of the various cottages and blocks. It was very satisfactory to
meet so large-hearted and liberal an owner, and to feel so trusted as to
one’s opinion. We planned several nice things. I had been dreading an
interview, as there were many difficulties, but all went splendidly. We
are getting _most_ responsive and happy replies about the Browning
lectures that we are getting up for the pleasure of our friends.... We
have nearly finished the alteration in one of the three Settlement
houses, and come into full possession of the second on Nov. 14; so we
are very busy with plans and estimates. I am also busy with plans for
two sets of new cottages near Lisson Grove, besides taking over 19 from
the Comrs. in Pimlico.


We are in full swing with the Hall, and all is going well there. We had
such exquisite flowers last Sunday, sent from Blackmore, and such
beautiful singing. The Hall was full.

I wonder how Florence’s Dante reading went to-day. It would be a very
discouraging day for any but the strong to venture out. I fear, my
darling Minnie, it isn’t very propitious for your swift recovery....

Mr. Chubb has actually got the deed conveying the Cliff at

                                                 Erleigh Court, Reading,
                                                   February 9th, 1895.


       On Lady Ducie’s death.

I can hardly yet realise what the void in my life will be from the loss
of the friend of some thirty years, and of such a friend. She was quite
unique, the majesty of intellect being only equalled by the depths of
her affection, and the greatness of her spirit. The intercourse has been
unclouded for all these years; and there will be a void that nothing can
fill. Still all this is a great possession, and one to be thankful for;
and I feel very near her now, and will try to live better for the sight
of what such a spirit can be.

Letter about a book called “Neighbours of Ours,” a series of East End

                                              190 Marylebone Road, N.W.,
                                                  March 7th, 1895.


I have received your most kind letter and the book. I am very much
pleased to possess it, but feel rather ashamed at your having the
trouble to send it to me. Thank you for it very much.

It is quite true that I have been deeply interested in it. It seems to
me an absolutely true picture of people in a stratum of society never
before described in literature. It is a picture drawn with real human
sympathy, and shows, in a beautiful way, how human affection survives,
as the divine spark, in the midst of much degradation. The dramatic
power of the book seems to me remarkable; the only time that the author
reveals himself is in the tenderness of the chosen title, which should
go home to us as a rebuke, but to the people as a pledge of deep human

I fear the book will be little understood. I can think of but few who
will pierce below the low state of civilisation to what is good; and the
absence of the sentimental pictures of virtues our Londoners have not,
which prevail in current writing, will deceive many. But, for the few
who know or who can see how much mess and confusion co-exist in men with
sparks of created nobleness, the book will be a record and a treasure.
Thank you for it very much.

The fun is most refreshing.

[Sidenote: OLD MEMORIES]

                                              190 Marylebone Road, N.W.,
                                                  March 20th, 1895.


Thank you for the key of the bureau, I shall care much to have the
bureau; having been Lady Ducie’s, it will come like a message.

I don’t think you want me to thank you. You feel, and want me to feel,
that the gift comes from her; but you know that I do feel your kindness
about it all.[124]

                                                         May 27th, 1895.


I write just a few words to congratulate you on the thorough success of
the day. I thought it went _beautifully_. Tho’ I saw so little of you, I
was conscious thro’out of your being there, and of how much all owed to
your being owner and head; but most I was thinking that, for you, as for
me, the place was alive with memories. There were to us both Presences
plain in the place; and, as Browning says, there were both kinds, those
who are to be, and to inherit the world we are trying to make fitter for
them, as well as the

                    “Wonderful dead who have passed
                    Thro’ the body and gone.”

They all seemed so really among us that sometimes I could hardly think
of anything tangible to be done. Truly did I think of Ruskin’s passage
about Association, and how places become enriched by the life that has
been passed in them. You will know the passage well.

                                                           The Warren,
                                                         June 5th, 1895.


... You will be sorry to hear that Miss Plunkett has resigned her Hon.
Sec. ship for the Hall. She gives it up after the Flower Show. It will
be a _great_ loss; in fact it will alter what it is possible to do
there. I never find anyone take another’s place. Work becomes different
with a new worker. I always find help when it is really needed; but I do
wonder where this is coming from. However there is time. I had a
delightful visit from Miss Tait. She is going to build three cottages on
a small bit of freehold ground near Lambeth Palace. She brought me the
plans and such a lovely sketch of the outside. The Eccles. Commrs. lent
her the plans, etc., of ours, and she said to me, “You _have_ fired them
with interest about building cottages!” Miss Tait has a lease of the
court at the back, so she will have quite a little colony there, and
Miss Neilson is helping her. Also Miss Gee has been put in charge of
some dreadfully managed blocks close to Mrs. Blyth’s which were a great
annoyance to them. This is nice in every way.... I have done all my work
in advance, or farmed it out; I was so frightened of its falling on
Miranda; and I have engaged a bright new worker to come three days
weekly, Miss Covington now having been transferred to the new cottages
at Westminster, and to help on the South side of river.

                                   2 Montacute Gardens, Tunbridge Wells,
                                             June 28th, 1895.


It is very important that you should have a good holiday some time, and
I know well how difficult it is to arrange holidays.

... I am far too deeply impressed with what we owe to volunteers, far
too anxious not to spoil the joy they have in going, even to lay any
claim to their time. What they give I want them to give with full and
willing hearts; and it is only they therefore who can decide what it
shall be.... It is for each who knows the facts to decide whether she
wishes to stay and share the work during the time when the strain is

I am extremely glad your courts have been going well.


                                                        June 10th, 1896.


My mother has handed on to me your interesting letter of May 29th, that
I may answer the part relating to the Munich schemes. I am delighted to
hear of the prospect of extension of such work. Those only who know
Munich, its working people, customs, and laws, would know how far our
plans would suit; and how far, and in what way, they ought to be
modified. But I quite feel with you that some knowledge of them might be
most useful to anyone in starting similar work, if only to show a way of
proceeding, which would suggest alterations to suit Munich. If anyone
came to London with the idea of such preparation, I would gladly show
and tell them all I could, but it would have to be some definite time,
when I saw my way to give them an opening for real work; and I am afraid
that I should have to ask that whoever came should devote a minimum of
three months to steady work. _Nothing_ could be learnt under that time,
and it is a great upsetting of work to arrange it for less.

My little book, “Homes of the London Poor,” was translated by the late
Princess Alice, but I am not sure where it was published. The “Octavia
Hill” Verein of Berlin might know.

                                                     October 26th, 1896.


I suppose you do not happen to know any gentleman likely to do for, and
accept, our National Trust secretaryship? I fear we want a great deal,
and give next to nothing. Of course, it might grow, but then it might
not. The work would be delightful to one who cared for it: all the good
results of the Commons and Footpaths work, with little or no fighting.
On the contrary, calling on the generous and good people. But then we
want interest in the cause, and accurate habits of business.... Our want
comes about in this way: Our Com. Pres. Sec. has resigned, and we have
been able to promote to his post our young secretary,[125] who has done
such splendid work for our Kent and Surrey Footpath Committee and the
National Trust, giving half his time to each. _Now_ he will give all his
time to commons, and gather under him our vigorous young committees with
a real friendly relation and good grasp.... I wonder if you saw my
letter about Tintagel in the papers. Last week we needed £84 to save
that headland; to-day we need only £23, so I almost see it ours. Is it
not delightful? I must set to work now about Alfreston,[126] a _much_
more difficult problem, and hampered by mistakes and delays before we
touched the matter. Still, into a safe state it must be got.


                                                     November 2nd, 1896.


                 (About helping to train a Dutch lady.)

I am most anxious to do all I can to help Miss Maas in learning what she
can of work. She has made great sacrifices in coming to England to
learn, and I fear it is not easy for her to do so. She is thoroughly in
earnest, and it is just in order to help real learners like her, who
steadily settle down to some months’ training, that I feel it is
important not to take round those who can only devote a day or two to
the thing.

                                                        July 28th, 1897.


Octavia’s work grows and grows, and according to its wont flourishes.
Her heart is chiefly interested just now in saving _beautiful_ spots in
England, securing them in their beauty for future generations. But more
and more and more houses come into her care. For the next six weeks
every Wednesday will be devoted to taking tenants into the country. One
of the excursions is by steamer to Southend, and will number 500

                                                  Stella d’Ore, Cortina,
                                                      October, 1897.


We crossed the plain of the Piave, and then entered the series of wild
gorges which took us up and up by the river, till we reached Pieve di
Cadore, Titian’s birthplace. There we slept in a large old Italian inn.
We visited the little cottage where he was born. It made one feel what
great things come from the outwardly small. Such a tiny kitchen, with
wood fire made on a great stone in the centre, over which a great canopy
came down to receive and conduct the smoke. Such quaint old stairs, and
such a tiny bedroom, with garret over it. A great bronze statue of him
dominates the tiny piazza, and faces the small but beautiful municipio.

                                                     October 25th, 1897.


Sir R. Hunter is very anxious to procure the latest reports of the Open
Spaces movement in the U.S.A. Both that of Boston Met. Park Commission
and also the Trustees of State Reservations. Could you be so very kind
as to get them and send them either to him or to me? I should be so
grateful, and I know they would be well used.

                                                    190 Marylebone Road,
                                                      March 13th, 1898.


I am just starting for the Hall, where Sir J. Causton’s singers will
perform. It is just the sort of dreary day on which I think the fire,
and light, and flowers will be appreciated by Southwark people. We are
greatly enjoying Bryce’s book, and grateful to you for telling us of

I have just come back from the Hall. We had those nice working people
from Sir J. Causton’s; such a sweet earnest little girl of nine played
the violin! Her father, one of the overseers, is so very proud of her.
The dear little thing looked delicate.


                                                      August 14th, 1898.


... I am going over to-morrow to Toys Hill, to talk over many things
with Miss Sewell. I want to get a general idea of what to aim at about
the various pieces of land, which cottages to keep, which to replace,
which part to open to the public. Some of the cottages are greatly
overcrowded, and with that I must deal. I have also now definitely to
settle about the well,[127] and order it. So far as I see, it will be
best to throw open the little terrace adjoining the road which commands
the farthest view, and which has some oak trees on it. Here, too, will
be our well, and, I hope, a seat. The slope from it is so steep that we
shall need a little cris-cross wooden fence as a slight protection. It
will then be rather like the places one sees abroad—projecting terraces
to see a view. Then, also, I think the whole steep bank might be well
left open, and the earth that is excavated may be put at the roots of
the trees. Two of the cottages I hope may be made both better and
prettier. There is some flat ground below, where, perhaps, we may build
two. At this moment cottages are so much needed, and the hill is still
open; I think using this land might be best. On my own land I want, this
autumn at least, to plant.

                                                    FEBRUARY 21ST, 1899.


Octavia’s visit to Alnwick was a remarkably pleasant one. She was much
interested in the family, in the castle, in the scenery to which, and
through which they drove—and in the object of her visit—the improvement
of the sanitary state of the town. It was the first town which adopted
the measures recommended by the General Board of Health when my father
was on the Board; so we have memories there. He stayed in Alnwick in
1855 to superintend the sanitary improvements.

                                                       March 10th, 1899.


... Miss E. took us yesterday to the museum where the various statues,
inscriptions, and urns have been placed; and it was wonderfully living
and interesting to hear, in so living a way, what all the things were.
It is marvellous to realise how the books explain the sculptures, and
the sculptures illustrate the books.... We drove to Hadrian’s villa. It
was lovely sunlight, I never saw such cypresses; they and the olive
trees looked most beautiful among the stately ruins. Miss E. described
Hadrian’s life and surroundings in the most living way.... We drove to
an old convent purchased by a Mr. S. It stands on the edge of the gorge
of the Arno, and just opposite the waterfall, and his grounds go down to
the river. One enters a long old corridor, and the cells, from the
bedrooms; the prior’s rooms are the principal rooms; one looks out on
one side to the gorge and fall, on the other to the convent garden,
great lemon trees covered with fruit, doves, trellis for vines, a cell
where a hermit has lived since the 4th century. Nothing spoiled, only
lived in by a noble sweet and sympathetic English family. On a floor
below the entrance is the refectory which is their dining-room; the
monks’ seats all round were set with lemons in tubs. Below this, but all
opening out on level terraces on the steep declivity, Mr. S. has
excavated a grand room with a Roman pavement.


                                                      August 22nd, 1900.



I am in receipt of the circular letter about the proposed memorial to
Mr. Ruskin in Westminster Abbey. I am sorry not to see my way to unite
with his friends in a scheme which is meant to do honour to one to whom
England owes so much, and from whom I myself received teaching and help,
which have greatly influenced my life and work. But Ruskin needs no
memorial. His influence is deeply impressed on thousands; his memorial
consists in his books, his life, his work.

What it seems to me that we, who knew him, should do, in memory of him,
is to carry out more earnestly what he taught us that was good. If, in
memory of him, a building were to be preserved in its ancient beauty, or
a mountain top, or lake, or river side were to be kept in its loveliness
for all to enjoy, I should gladly hail the scheme and care to see the
place saved, not so much as a memorial to him—he needs none—as a
fulfilment of a hope of his.

The erection in the Abbey appears to me to be at least a questionable
good. It is one which he himself might have felt as jarring with the
surroundings. He cared so much for untouched buildings handed down to
us. I could not join in a scheme for touching them.

                                                   September 16th, 1900.


I like to picture what a meeting it may be of those two in the great
beyond, where we dare to hope for so much, and to look to meet those we
love; we, as they, purified and grown, and strengthened. Such thoughts,
dear, and not of the grave and death, be yours and Una’s, tho’ one knows
how deep the pain is, and must be.

                                                     October 20th, 1908.

Do you not believe your Father and Mother see and know? I do, only we
can’t hear them speak.

                                             6 Montacute Gardens,
                                                 Tunbridge Wells,
                                                     December 4th, 1900.


... You have so much good work of your own on hand that we must be
careful not to plan anything which would be a burden, or overtax your
strength. To work with full power, to work where one is well known, and
where one’s character tells, is important.

                                              Larksfield, Crockham Hill,
                                                  May 19th, 1901.


I did wish I had known how beautiful all would be at Red Cross
yesterday, and had suggested your coming. It was really exquisite in
spirit and in form. Dear Miss Ironside was there, the inspiring spirit
of such a group of helpers, and trembling with anxious desire for me to
see all, and to thank the helpers. There were thirty children from each
of twelve schools, and one group besides, who this year performed the
ribbon dance, led the singing, etc. Teachers both men and women from all
the schools were there leading and caring for the children....


The Kyrle flags made a great effect. The garden itself looked lovely;
trees and creepers are growing, and the Good Shepherd gleamed out among
them, as if watching over the glad crowd of happy children, who marched
and danced and played in bright young unconsciousness. They had almost
unlimited pipes for blowing soap bubbles, and a long line of children
along the balcony sent bubbles innumerable floating into the sun-lighted
air. The cottages have lately been painted and looked so pretty. Every
window in them, as well as in the blocks of Mowbray and Stanhope, was
crowded with onlookers, as was the line of railing separating the garden
from Red Cross Street. On the platform in the Hall, tea was served for
the teachers and helpers, who went in in detachments. Of course the band
made a great feature. At the end it was really most impressive to stand
on the balcony and see the great group of children fall into line and
march singing to the accompaniment of the band, three times round the
garden, making lovely curves over the bridge and by the band stand, the
sunlight streaming on them, till they filed into the Hall, where each
received a bunch of flowers and a bun, and so home.



But by far the largest increase of our work has been in consequence of
the Ecclesiastical Commissioners asking us to take charge of some of
their property, of which the leases fell in, in Southwark and Lambeth.

In Southwark the area had been leased long ago on the old-fashioned
tenure of “lives.” That is, it was held, not for a specified term of
years, but subject to the life of certain persons. The lease fell in
therefore quite suddenly, and fifty of the houses, which were occupied
by working people, were placed under my care. I had only four days’
notice before I had to begin collecting. It was well for us that my
fellow-workers rose to the occasion, and at once undertook the added
duties; well, too, that we were just then pretty strong in workers. It
was a curious Monday’s work. The houses having been let and sublet I
could be furnished with few particulars. I had a map, and the numbers of
the houses, which were scattered in various streets over the five acres
which had reverted to the Commissioners; but I had no tenant’s name, nor
the rental of any tenement, nor did the tenants know or recognise the
written authority, having long paid to other landlords. I subdivided the
area geographically between my two principal South London workers, and I
went to every house accompanied by one or other of them. I learnt the
name of the tenant, explained the circumstances, saw their books and
learnt their rental, and finally succeeded in obtaining every rent. Many
of the houses required much attention, and since then we have been
busily employed in supervising necessary repairs. The late lessees were
liable for dilapidations, and I felt once more how valuable to us it was
to represent owners like the Commissioners, for all this legal and
surveying work was done ably by responsible and qualified men of
business, while we were free to go in and out among the tenants, watch
details, report grievous defects, decide what repairs essential to
health should be done instantly. We have not half done all this, but we
are steadily progressing.


The very same day the Commissioners sent to me about this sudden
accession of work in Southwark, they asked me whether I could also take
over 160 houses in Lambeth. I had known that this lease was falling in
to them, and I knew that they proposed rebuilding for working people on
some seven acres there, and would consult me about this. But I had no
idea that they meant to ask me to take charge of the old cottages
pending the rebuilding. However, we were able to undertake this, and it
will be a very great advantage to us to get to know the tenants, the
locality, the workers in the neighbourhood, before the great decisions
about rebuilding are made. In this case I had the advantage of going
round with the late lessee, who gave me names, rentals and particulars,
and whose relations with his late tenants struck me as very satisfactory
and human. On this area our main duties have been to induce tenants to
pay who knew that their houses were coming down; (in this we have
succeeded), to decide those difficult questions of what to repair in
houses soon to be destroyed, to empty one portion of the area where
cottages are first to be built, providing accommodation as far as
possible for tenants, and to arrange the somewhat complicated minute
details as to rates and taxes payable for cottages partly empty, or
temporarily empty, on assessments which had all to be ascertained, and
where certain rates in certain houses for certain times only were
payable by the owners, whom we represent.

                               CHAPTER XI
                           LAST YEARS OF LIFE

  Successful as was the period of work mentioned in the last chapter, it
  was soon followed by an event which produced a deep influence on the
  remaining years of Octavia’s life. Her mother had throughout her life
  been her most helpful guide and inspirer, and her death at the end of
  1902 produced a blank which could not be filled. Yet, in spite of this
  blow, the last period of Octavia’s life was marked by much vigorous
  work, as will be seen by the quotations from her “Letters to her
  Fellow Workers.” The Ecclesiastical Commissioners had steadily
  increased her sphere of operations, and at the time of her death she
  and her fellow workers were managing property for the Commissioners in
  Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster, and Walworth.

  But far more trying were the anxieties connected with the latest
  acquisition of house property in the West end, since the houses in
  this district had been used for evil purposes; and others near them
  were still misused in the same way. This made it doubly difficult to
  raise the standard of living among the people, and to protect the
  respectable tenants from annoyance.

  Yet even here the vigour and sympathy of her fellow workers gave her
  much encouragement, especially such utterances as that of the
  policeman mentioned in the letter dated November 28th, 1911.


  In the Open Space movement she was much cheered by the acquisition of
  land at Gowbarrow overlooking Ullswater Lake; and she threw herself
  energetically into the plan for purchasing additional land on
  Mariners’ Hill, which had become peculiarly precious to her since the
  erection of the seat in memory of her mother.

  But all this progress, in what she considered the proper work of her
  life, was interrupted, in 1907, by a duty which she was, at the time,
  rather disposed to look upon as likely to be barren of results. This
  was her appointment on the Royal Commission for enquiring into the
  working of the Poor Law. Nevertheless it will be seen from her letters
  that she heartily devoted herself to the rather exhausting labour of
  the visits to Institutions in various parts of the country, as well as
  the attendance at the sittings of the Commissioners. It should be
  mentioned also that the burden of her labours had been much increased
  by a recent carriage accident. The letter from Lord George Hamilton,
  the chairman of the Commission, shows that some, at least, of her
  colleagues found more value in her services than she was disposed to
  attach to them; and from other quarters, also, we have heard similar
  appreciation, from those who had opportunity of observing her work.

  As so many words have been wasted on theories about her attitude
  towards the decisions of the Commissioners, I wish to call special
  attention to her letter to the Chairman, as showing the exact extent
  of her difference from, and agreement with, the conclusions of her

  Her steady dislike to undue Government interference with movements for
  assisting the poor showed itself also in 1909, in that part of her
  Letter to her Fellow Workers which refers to the attempts of the War
  Office to exploit the Cadet Corps.

  In the same year she was greatly encouraged by the progress of the
  housing reform, carried on in Amsterdam and other towns by her Dutch
  friends, a progress which gave her special satisfaction.

  But all these hopes and efforts were marred in 1910 by the loss of her
  sister Miranda, who from her earliest days had brought so bright and
  helpful an element into Octavia’s life, and who since 1866 had been
  her right hand in work, and her great support and comfort in times of

  Though Octavia’s health was gradually giving way under various
  strains, her Letter to her Fellow Workers in 1911 was one of the most
  hopeful she had ever written; and there was no sign of decay in her
  interest in the work. She mentions a scheme which was very near her
  heart, for preserving land on the banks of the Wandle, as follows—“I
  have long been anxious to impress on people the importance of
  connecting larger existing Open Spaces by pleasant walking ways, away
  from dust and noise: these walks need not necessarily be very broad,
  but should be set with trees, have near them grass and flowers, if
  only at the edges, and should be provided with plenty of seats. To
  women and young children, who cannot get to far-off parks, these
  pathways would be of inestimable value; and they would save strong
  walkers, too, from having to tramp through ugly streets, or go by
  train or tram before reaching the open common or park. Doubly useful
  would these walking ways be if they could be along the banks of a

  “I thanked last year those of my sister Miranda’s friends and pupils
  who had given in memory of her seven acres of Grange Fell in the
  Cumberland she loved so well. This year I record with deepest thanks
  that a part of this Wandle land has been given by a large group of her
  former pupils. They have sent offerings from far and near.”

  I may mention here how much she would have appreciated the generous
  gift, since made by Mr. Richardson Evans, of land which forms part of
  the banks which she desired to save.

  The same note of cheerfulness which marked her last “Letter to her
  Fellow Workers” appears in the letter written to her youngest sister
  at the opening of 1912 given at the end of this chapter.

                                                        Re Saint Didier,
                                                        June 10th, 1902.


... Then we came to the lonely Hospice in its waste of snow. It was not
nearly so impressive as the Great St. Bernard, when you and I went, and
of which I have so vivid a memory. I saw no monks, little of religious
life; one priest, whom they called the Rector, seemed the only sign of
the religious foundation. And yet in some ways it was most impressive to
realise that, for nearly a thousand years, travellers, poor and rich,
had been received there by men dedicating themselves to a lonely and
trying life. The peasants told us how many went over in winter, and how
many died from exposure. There was also in the Hospice a letter from a
man, who was lost in the snow in March, 1901. He described how a wind
came and swept away all traces of the way; how he plunged twice up to
his neck in snow, and struggled against despair, and tried to go, in
what proved the wrong direction, when a great black finger, but shining,
twice appeared to him, and pointed in another direction. He followed,
and came upon a refuge. The shelter saved his life; and the next day six
men from the Hospice found him and took him there. Later, on the edge of
the pass, we saw the Roman column to Jupiter, on which a little figure
of St. Bernard stands. It is quite black, and looked so small in the
waste of snow; but it stands grandly, and, with outstretched hand and
finger, points emphatically to the Hospice, a sort of type of the things
which out of weakness are made strong; and one wondered whether some
memory of the guiding hand had returned to the lost man in the snow.


The old Rector told us he had been there forty years. He was very
apologetic about his dress; he told us the snow in winter came up to the
roof; but they always get light and air at one end, which faced the
south, and from which the wind always swept the snow. The guide told us
the Rector had been made Canon at Aosta, and, being over seventy, had
been urged to go down there to live; but he had refused, saying he knew
the pass, and would remain there. The only living things we saw were
snow buntings. A few yards from the Hospice we came in sight of Mont
Blanc, its highest peaks set with its magnificent “aiguilles,” standing
up in a vault of blue air. Mountain after mountain stood round it in
company, in a magnificent circle; and, seen over slopes of glittering
snow, looking back over the upland valley filled with snow, we saw the
little Hospice standing alone, standing out against the blue lower
slopes of the white crested chain of Savoy, the little figure of St.
Bernard, the only dark thing in the waste of white, throwing its
triumphant small arm out towards the Hospice, which he founded and must
have inspired for so many centuries. Down we came into the world of
rushing water, of green and of colour.

                                                   190 Marylebone Road,
                                                   September 15th, 1902.


You will, of course, have been in correspondence with Captain Bennett
and others about the irreparable loss which the Cadets have sustained in
the death of Colonel Salmond. We had all been looking and hoping for his

I feel sure that the movement has much real value, as distinct from
Church Lads’ Brigades, etc.; that it needs a real head with power. It
ought to have grown much during the past years; but, as far as I can
see, it has kept its head above water only, while the less thorough
works, like the Boys’ Brigades, have advertised themselves. Both works,
no doubt, are good; but ours appeals at once to a lower level, and a
more manly kind of lad; and, as a preparation for soldiers and sailors,
it is unrivalled.


                                                       Derwent Island,
                                                     October 16th, 1902.


The scene[128] was really most beautiful and very funnily primitive. The
great tent was blown to atoms; and the little red daïs was out under the
free sky, with the great lake and splendid mountains, and golden bracken
slopes around us; and the nice north country people quite near, and so
happy and orderly. The Princess was most kind, and really deeply
interested in the National Trust work. I reminded her of the opening of
Wakefield Street, and our early days. My heart is very full of the
thought of all who helped to get this land. I wished you could have been
with us. It really was a wonderful thing to think it was done.

                                       Hilston, Headington Road, Oxford,
                                               November 26th, 1902.


... We had a very wonderful visit to Edinburgh after I wrote to you. We
met, I should think, the most interesting Edinburgh people. Dr. and Mrs.
Kerr had about twelve guests each of the three nights we were there, and
were most kind in telling us, before dinner, who were coming. On Friday
morning we had a large meeting of workers, with representatives from
Perth, Dundee, and Glasgow, all working in houses, and we discussed
practical questions. At four o’clock we went to Mr. Haldane’s to tea,
and met a crowd of people, Provost, town councillors, owners, workmen,
donors. Then came the public meeting, when I read my paper. It was
crowded and most responsive, and the paper answered the purpose
admirably. The chairman, a clergyman, who they say is doing a great work
in Edinburgh, spoke of Maurice, Kingsley, and Ruskin as “the giants from
whom we have learnt, and drawn inspiration,” and referred to my having
known them, and the privilege of having heard of them from me, and
welcomed me for their sake as well as my own.

That night came a Presbyterian clergyman, who has 1,000 working men at
his Sunday services, and 800 women on Wednesdays. He hardly ever goes
out, but came to meet me. Such a fine fellow! Everyone was most kind,
and we had a wonderful departure next day. Thirty or forty of the
workers came to see us off, brought the most magnificent bouquet, and
large bunches of violets with such words of thanks. It was like a royal

                                                     January 25th, 1903.


Your most kind letter telling me of your sympathy, and quoting my
mother’s own words about Death, and beyond Death, is among the first
which I answer. I have wanted to write and thank you so much for it.

And yet how very much we have to be thankful for! Such memories of a
noble and honoured life, prolonged among us in fulness of sympathy for
so many blessed years,[129] and now to pass before us into the new life,
full of faith and surrounded by all who loved her.


The loss to us is very great, but it is so because of the greatness of
the blessing we have had. We must try to live not unworthy of our
traditions, and to bear well the sorrow sent us to bear. The great
kindness of friends is at once a summons and a strength.

                                                    February 22nd, 1903.


I know you would feel Mr. Litchfield’s[130] death. Those who are
associated with those we love, and who have gone before us, always catch
some of their light; and Mr. Litchfield’s true sympathy with all that
was good, and his faithful and conscientious help, always made him feel
“one of us,” as our tenants say, tho’ of late years I saw little of him.

My dear mother kept her full sympathy in all things to the last; her
marvellous vitality never flagged; we were all with her. She just lived
to see her eldest grandchild, Blanche, engaged. Life was full, bright,
and crowned with love and hope to the end. Now Elinor, too, our youngest
niece, is engaged; and it seems like a trumpet call to come back to
life, and even to their joy; and one feels one must not lose heart or
hope, tho’ all life seems so changed.

                                                       April 29th, 1903.


Thank you for the words about dear Elinor. The wedding was very
beautiful, and I believe there is every hope of her having a very happy

To us the memories of my dear mother were very present. I felt as if she
must know, and be among us; a sympathy so deep as hers, a love so great,
cannot be bound by earthly death; only the silence is a pain while it

                                                         May 17th, 1903.


We had a most interesting afternoon yesterday with Mr. Chubb, going both
to Mariners and Ide Hill. We all agreed in favour of the former; partly
because of the magnificent view, partly because it is now or never for
it. The Ide Hill bit, you remember, faces Toys Hill, and isn’t so pretty
as to view; it is more important as to access, and a small bit would
give _that_; also, a year or two hence, the land _may_ not be dearer.
Anyway, at this moment we can ask for precisely the parts we care for at
“Mariners,” just as we did at “Ide” long ago. It is all vacant; a little
later there might be impediments or curtailment. Mr. Chubb and Mr.
Fleming paced it, and I was cheered to see how much three acres would
take. Mr. Chubb is now to measure it precisely on map, submit it to us,
and then see owners with offer, and see how good an access or accesses
we can get.

                                              Larksfield, Crockham Hill,
                                                  August 23rd, 1903.


Miss Gladstone is here.... She is full of wit, animation, stories, and
appreciation of the beauty.


  The following letter refers to the taking over the management of
  property ere to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.



It was a huge undertaking, and needed much care and labour to start it
well, and naturally we were all keen to help. It was a great day when we
took over the place. Our seconds in command took charge manfully for a
fortnight of all our old courts; and fourteen of us, including all my
own responsible workers, and one lady who had gained experience in
Edinburgh. We met on Monday, October 5th, to take over the estate, and
collect from 500 or 600 tenants wholly unknown to us. We organised it
all thoughtfully; we had fifteen collecting books, and all the tenants’
books prepared; had opened a bank account, had found a room as office,
and divided the area among our workers. Our first duty was to get the
tenants to recognise our authority and pay us. I think we were very
successful; we got every tenant on the estate to pay us without any
legal process, except one, who was a regular scamp. We collected some
£250, most of it in silver, and got it safely to the bank. Then came the
question of repairs; there were written in the first few weeks 1,000
orders for these, altho’, as the whole area is to be rebuilt, we were
only doing really urgent repairs and no substantial ones. All these had
to be overlooked and reported on and paid for. Next came pouring in the
claims for borough and water rates. We had ascertained the assessment of
every house, the facts as to whether landlord or tenant was responsible,
whether the rates were compounded for or not, what allowance was to be
claimed for empty rooms. There were two water companies supplying the
area, and we had to learn which supplied each house.

The whole place was to be rebuilt, and even the streets rearranged and
widened; and I had promised the Commissioners I would advise them as to
the future plans. These had to be prepared at the earliest date
possible; the more so as the sanitary authorities were pressing, and
sent 100 orders in the first few days we were there. It is needless to
say with what speed, capacity and zeal the representatives of the
Commissioners carried on their part of these preparations; and they
rapidly decided on the streets which should be first rebuilt, and what
should be erected there. But this only implied more to be done, for we
had to empty the streets swiftly, and that meant doing up all possible
empty houses in other streets and getting the tenants into them.
Fortunately, there were several houses empty, the falling in of the
lease having scared away tenants. The Commissioners had decided to close
all the public houses on the estate, and we let one to a girls’ club,
and had to put repairs in hand to fit it for its changed destination.

Meantime, my skilled workers had to be withdrawn, tho’ Miss Lumsden’s
staff was new to the work; and I do not know how the business could have
been done but for her immense power, devotion and zeal, and the extreme
kindness of friends in offering special help.

The matter now stands thus: We have got thro’ the first quarter; have
collected £2,672—mostly in silver. Plans have been prepared for
rebuilding and rearrangement of the whole estate, and these are now
before the Commissioners for consideration. They provide a site for
rebuilding the parish school; an area of about an acre as a public
recreation ground; they substitute four wide for three narrow streets,
and afford accommodation for 700 families in four-roomed and six-roomed
cottages, cottage flats, and flats of three and two-roomed tenements in
houses in no case higher than three storeys.

[Sidenote: MR. CHUBB’S WORK]

                                                   190, Marylebone Road,
                                                     October 19th, 1904.


Thank you for your able and most interesting letter _re_ the scheme for
the neighbourhood of the Wandle. It is the very thing one would desire
to have done. The best advice I can give is that you should approach the
able and helpful secretary of the Kent and Surrey Committee of the
C.P.S. at 25, Victoria Street, Westminster, and see if they can in any
way help. As a rule they work most in the country; but Mr. L. Chubb,
their Sec., has more knowledge of how to work such a scheme as you
sketch than anyone I know; and I hope he may at least see his way to
seeing and advising. I am writing to him and forwarding your letter.

I fancy he will agree with me that your best course would be to form a
strong local committee, to get some one or two people to select the
exact area as silently as possible, to approach the owners and get an
option of purchase, and _then only_ to make the scheme public and
approach the various bodies and individuals who should help.

I am a member of the Kent and Surrey Committee, and on that body might
be able to help; and I should always hear from Mr. Chubb of the progress
of the scheme, so as to help at any juncture if possible, tho’,
individually, I fear at this moment I cannot undertake anything. I have,
as you will see from the enclosed, in addition to my regular London
work, a large country one on hand.



In one way, this Notting Hill area is the most satisfactory to me of any
we have. It is so steadily improving, and the people with it. It is
meeting so much the needs of those who find it hardest to get on. The
group of ladies who manage it are eminently fitted to help on any who
can be helped there, whether it be by introducing the young people to
better work, by recommending widows for charing, by giving the labourer
an odd job of rough work, by immediately calling attention to cases of
illness or extreme want, by bringing a little healthy amusement into
somewhat monotonous hard-working lives, and in many other ways. The work
is much more like that which I was able to do in earlier years than any
which is possible in most new buildings.

We have had a great alarm about the work in South London. When I wrote
to you last it was still doubtful whether the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners would decide to undertake the responsibility of
rebuilding, and retaining in their own hands, the whole of the area
which was to be devoted to dwellings for the working classes. It was
still undecided whether they would not lease a part to builders or
companies. They have resolved to retain the whole in their own hands,
and to manage it by their own agents, of whom Miss Lumsden is the first.
The advantages of this plan are obvious. The Commissioners will be
directly responsible for good arrangements and government, instead of
being powerless to interfere for eighty or ninety years; they will be
freer than any lessees can be to modify, should change be needed, owing
to development of science, or alteration of requirements as time goes
on; they can determine conditions of life in a large area occupied by
working people, which may have as deep an influence as the churches and
schools, which, up to now, they have felt it their duty to supply. All
this they have felt it possible to do, because they realise that there
is growing up a certain number of ladies capable of representing them,
and possessing special knowledge. So that in the years to come, as they
will have lawyers to do legal business, surveyors and architects to see
to the fabric of their houses, so they will have managers to supervise
in detail the comfort and health of their tenants, so far as these
depend on proper conditions in the houses in which they live; managers
who will be interested in the people, and will have time to see
thoroughly to the numerous details involved in management of such areas.


                                                   190, Marylebone Road,
                                                     April 12th, 1905.

                    About Tolstoi’s “Resurrection.”


At last I have finished your book. Thank you very much for lending it to
me. Of course, one feels the nobility of the author’s aim, and some of
the chapters are interesting as opening a view into life so utterly
different from ours. A great advantage in a book I feel this to be. But,
take it as a whole, I can’t say I feel the book either refreshing or
helpful; and I am a little disappointed even with the art of it. There
is growth in one or two characters, but all the rest are like a series
of very minute photographs without clearness, or interest, or growth, no
connection with the rest of the book, and no beauty. Also the theories
seem to me not true nor practical. Wherefore I know I prove myself
unworthy and dense; but I cannot help it. The short stories are some of
them perfect, as works of art; and some have both meaning and beauty.
Anyway, thank you for lending them. It is interesting to realise what
men like Tolstoi are thinking, and to try to realise why many in England
look up to him.

                                                        July 16th, 1905.


I write to say how _very_ glad I shall be if you decide to go with us on
Wednesday.[131] Miss Yorke says we are to have a carriage reserved for
us, and to be driven to the cottages, of which there are 120! So, in
some ways, it won’t be so tiring as on an ordinary day, and we shall
certainly see and hear more. How nice it would be to have the day with

I had a wonderful day yesterday. The L.C.C. opened the garden given by
the Ecclesiastical Commissioners at Walworth. The whole place gay; a
platform at one end was enclosed, but in front of us was the whole space
crowded with people, the garden being open to all. In front and around
were all new houses, with large bow-windows overlooking the garden,
wider streets, the whole 22 acres either rebuilt or rebuilding.

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were represented by Sir Lewis Dibdin
and Sir A. De Bock Porter. The former made a most satisfactory speech,
showing that he grasped the main points of the work. I went to dear Red
Cross to the Flower Show. There the personal work was more marked, and
the people had done much for themselves.


                                                 Hotel Metropole, Leeds,
                                                   February 6th, 1907.


How very sweet of you to write to me, and such an interesting letter! I
was indeed glad to receive it. The extracts about tree-planting are
delightful. Curiously enough, two of our Commissioners had been at the
Distress Committee here yesterday, and had heard of some afforestation
being done by the unemployed; the planting near a moorland reservoir
belonging to the Corporation. They got £1,000 from the Local Government
Board, and were prepared to employ fifty men fencing and planting, but
can’t get more than thirty-three!...

I am looking forward with joy to returning home to-morrow. I believe I
shall spend the day at Bradford, and return straight from there. To-day
we have been all day at Hull. To give my mind a little change I read
Emerson in the train. It was very refreshing. I wonder if Edmund will
have seen Bryce. What a wonderful new work his will be!

                                                        June 13th, 1907.


I could not finish this yesterday, and now complete it while the
evidence goes on. We had a long day yesterday. We saw a large orphan
school—1,300 children in separate houses on a large estate, with river
running thro’ it, church, and school. It was built by a poor lad, very
forlorn in Glasgow, who resolved to help children if he could. He is
dead; but his daughter showed us over. It is one of those institutions
where they make a point of having no capital invested, or funded income;
they say all depends on prayer. There is a sanatorium for phthisis, and
a farm for sane epileptics close by. We hear that trade in Paisley is
very brisk, and the demand for girls in the factories is practically
unlimited; the wages often £1 or £2 a week, and some manufacturers have
a very high standard of duty. The Coatses have built beautiful
lodging-houses and clubs for the girls who work there. They would teach
girls work, which is readily learnt. We went over a large poor-house and
lunatic asylum, and attended a parish relief committee. I am longing to
be home.

                                                        September, 1907.


I had an interesting interview with Mr. Mackay on Saturday about giving
evidence before Poor Law Royal Commission. It seems he is a fellow
worker of Mr. Crowder’s, hence his wisdom. I liked him much. By the way,
at Islington there was in the chair a Mr. Robarts, a member of the
L.C.C., an ally of Mr. Murphy’s there, and a large builder. He told us
such interesting things about the Labour Leaders there. Also he put very
clearly the present difficulty of employing old or slightly disqualified
men at any wages, owing to the Trade Union rules now; but he added that
the working men were aware of the difficulty, and that the Amalgamated
Engineers were considering the possibility of dividing the men
themselves into 1st, 2nd, 3rd class, and fixing different rates. I had a
long interview with Mr. Hoole on Saturday to look over the Oxford plans.
Also the University itself wants to build cottages on a farm of theirs,
and wants me to send his address.

                                                         Red Cross Hall,
                                                         December 14th.


Burns is quite keen about the Wandle scheme; is sanctioning unemployed
money for clearing the area on its banks, used for dust. It will then be
made into a garden. He will not, after seeing our photographs, have the
river straightened.




The Poor Law Commission has necessarily occupied much of my time, and
bids fair to continue to do so. It is naturally very interesting. We
have visited Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, South Wales, the
Eastern Counties, the Western Counties, and Scotland. My colleagues went
also to the neighbourhood of Shrewsbury and to Northumberland; but I
could not go. Next year we purpose visiting Ireland. The time has not
arrived for making any remarks on the vast field which has opened before
us; it is deeply interesting, partly by the great and important
questions it suggests, partly by the large number of individuals of
whose life-work we get some idea. These latter have often and often
recalled to me Miss Alexander’s beautiful legend of the Hidden Servants;
and, as I have got a glimpse of the righteous manufacturer, the devoted
leader of the Friendly Society, the generous founder of some
out-of-sight charity, the faithful nurse, the energetic matron or
teacher, the self-sacrificing wise guardian, the humble and gentle
pauper, I have heard echo in my ear the thankful words: “How many Thy
hidden servants are.”

Of course there is the other side; and the problem appears to me the
more puzzling, the more the solution of it depends, not on machinery
which Commissions may recommend and Parliaments set up, but on the
number of faithful men and women whom England can secure and inspire as
faithful servants in their manifold duties.

We have placed on one such bit of land, given to the National Trust in
memory of my mother, a stone seat designed by Mr. Hoole. Near it her
eldest great grandchild has planted an oak; we hope he will remember it
in years to come, and connect the future with the past, where it had its
root. The seat bears words from Lowell’s Commemoration Ode, from the

            “Blow, trumpets, all your exultations blow,
            For never shall their aureoled presence lack;
            I see them muster in a gleaming row,
            With ever-youthful brows that nobler show.
            We find in our dull road their shining track
            In every nobler mood,
            We feel the orient of their spirit glow,
            Part of our life’s unalterable good
            Of all our saintlier aspiration.
            They come transfigured back,
            Secure from change in their high-hearted ways,
            Beautiful evermore, and with the rays
            Of morn on their white shields of expectation.”

In memory has it been given, but in glad memory, and with such thoughts
as should be present to him who shall there watch the spring growth, and
look out on the beauty of the England he loves, and which is the
inheritance of her sons.

[Sidenote: MARINERS’ HILL]

                                               190 Marylebone Road, N.W.
                                                 April 14th, 1908.


I am glad your houses in South London are doing well. We are having a
depressing time as to workmen’s houses in London; one wonders how things
will go in the future. I do hope, better.

You ask about our longed-for bit of ground. It is on the range of hills
on which Sevenoaks is, but further west; the hills are a range between
the North Downs and the Ashdown Forest range. The exact hill is called
Mariners’ Hill, and is about equidistant from Eden Bridge, Oxted and
Westerham. I was there on Sunday, and the view was quite magnificent.
The ground was a mass of primroses in full flower; and all the wild
hyacinth leaves were coming up. There is a great deal of brushwood,
through which we shall cut paths; but there are a few good oak trees;
and, if all be well, I shall plant some more, and some beeches, where
they will not hide the view; and the upland meadow we shall keep quite

We still want £336 to complete the purchase; but we have achieved
getting the land into friendly hands; so that we secure time to try to
raise the balance. This is a great mercy, especially as I am so very
busy that it is difficult to take steps for making the need more known.
Till we got the land into safe hands, I dared not mention where it was,
lest the vendors should raise the price.

                                                    190 Marylebone Road,
                                                        November, 1908.


I feel it so important that as many of us as possible should be able to
sign the report without reservations, that I trouble you with a letter.

I have always desired an “ad hoc” body; but I am too ignorant about
these statutory committees, absolutely to object to them. But it seems
to me that, as at present drafted, the report provides no safeguards
against two dangers, namely, the overtaxing of the strength of the
county councillors; and the possibility of the nominations (on the Minor
authority) being in untrustworthy hands.

If the scheme of nomination be much more carefully thought out, and
provided for, it would meet my great difficulty about the authority. Is
this possible?

I hear all round of the impossibility of County Councillors doing the
work entrusted to them; of the duties devolving necessarily on
officials; and of their being put on committees, other than those for
which they have aptitude and experience.

The _Minor_ Committees are those that really do the work, face to face
with the poor; and I see no provision that they shall be composed of the
right people.

I have not seen what Dr. Downes is drafting, yet; and I do not know how
far I may agree with it, but I would willingly come into line with you
all if I could; and, so far as the Authority is concerned, this of the
nomination is my difficulty.

I can’t see my way about the “Abnormal” scheme of National Work; nor to
accept what seems to me an extension of out-relief. I am ready not to
vote for its abolition. I am glad that the out-relief given should be
far more wisely supervised; that we should have country workhouses with
space for real work (called Labour Colonies if the world likes); but,
when it comes to money grants for the able-bodied men outside any
institution, and without disfranchisement, because they are thought
respectable, we seem to be extending out-relief so as to trench on what
can only be done by Charity. But these are points which will come up
soon on Part VI.

The other point arises only on Part IX.; and something will, I conclude,
go to the Government before it is before us; and I feel, with Dr.
Downes, that any dissent, that any of us are compelled to express, must
be expressed by them.


  This letter, written after Octavia’s death to her sister by the
  Chairman of the Poor Law Commission, is inserted here as bearing on
  that Commission.



.... I was associated with Miss Octavia Hill for five years on the Poor
Law Commission; and, during that time, I acquired for her a feeling of
deep reverence and regard. She was a great woman, and in no way did she
more show her greatness than in her absolute disregard of the
frivolities and fancies of the moment. The work she has done, and the
school she has founded, will live and perpetuate her memory.

To me she was a pillar of strength, and, at critical moments of
discussion and controversy, she would intervene, and, with a few words
of undeniable common sense and insight, solve the problem we were

                                                         May 29th, 1909.


Your sweet letter with all its loving thought, followed me to Italy;
and, now that we have just returned, I want to write to you and thank
you. We have had a wonderful time on Lakes Garda and Iseo and in Tyrol,
and in Switzerland. Miranda and I have returned much refreshed, ready
for a spell of work.

I am sure that you do all that is possible, with your health; and
_being_ is so much more important than _doing_.

About Notting Hill I am thankful to say that there is much religious and
temperance work going on among the people; and we are in closest touch
with those who are doing it, clergy, parish workers, heroic workers in
clubs. I trust that it may be telling on individuals; but those who are
doing it are at least as convinced as we are, that, in ordering the
homes, in employing and teaching the workers, in purifying the houses,
we have a special work to do, which is essential in supplementing the
spiritual teaching.

The Vicar is a splendid worker. Miranda’s goddaughter Miss
Macdonell[132] is wonderful in her work among the girls—but the power,
which we have, of preventing certain gross evils is, they feel, the
greatest help, in the rescue of these feeble folk.

                                                      September ?, 1909.


Dear Mr. Booth has resigned his place on the Commission. There was great
sympathy and warmth of feeling shown, and we all signed a letter to
him.... It was a little breezy; but L. did not make much way. Mr. Crooks
was interesting. It was a very long day. I thought I must stay till Mr.
Brookbank had finished. I told the Com. I did not think I could manage
Ireland. I believe I ought to take some Labour Colony visiting. It would
be far easier, and much more to the point.




We are, many of us, much exercised now as to the future of the Cadet
Corps. The First London Battalion, founded in 1887, has always been
linked closely with our work in Southwark, two companies drilling in the
Hall, and the headquarters of the battalion being quite near. The
health, the physique, and the moral training of our lads have owed much
to it. More than eight thousand boys have passed through its ranks; and
many have done honourable service for their country both by sea and
land. The day has now come when the War Office are about to link on the
Cadets to the general organisation for military service. They have
issued suggested regulations, which appear to me, and to all the devoted
group of gentlemen who have acted as officers to these lads for now so
many years, to be full of peril to the whole movement.

It is proposed to make the severance of the Cadet from his officers,
comrades, and club, compulsory at the age of seventeen. This regulation
is not proposed for higher-class boys; and it would seem hard indeed to
make it for such lads as ours. We have always felt the club life, the
camping out together and with their officers, part of the most valuable
influences possible. If it is to cease at seventeen, when the Cadet is
not a man, when he is open to all the temptations of the streets, and to
the undisciplined life there, most of the good gained from fourteen to
seventeen would be lost. Moreover, no workman’s club is open to him till
he is eighteen.

Setting aside the moral and physical training, it appears to us a great
mistake from the point of view of those who desire to link such lads on
to the organisation for the defence of our country. It is true that, if
they desire to do so, they can join the Territorials. But these boys are
not in a strong position to arrange with their employers to be given
time; nor can they afford to sacrifice time or wages. Some do and would
join the Territorials at seventeen; and we should not propose their
being barred from doing so; but we think their severance from the Cadet
Corps at seventeen should be optional. If they are inclined for a
military career, they are far more likely to enlist in the regular army,
where they would be provided for. This they cannot do till they are
eighteen. For the sake of that unique and wonderful reforming power,
which we have found the Cadet Corps to be for our London lads, we very
earnestly deprecate the adoption by the War Office of the suggested rule
of breaking its influence off at the early age of seventeen.

                                                         June 7th, 1910.


It is a lovely thought of yours to _give_[133] something, and like the
sort of inspiration which she gave. I am glad you were at the service.
It was indeed a gathering of those who loved her.

The blank here is terrible, but I have so many blessings; and among the
greatest is the memory of life with her.

                                                    190 Marylebone Road,
                                                      June 18th, 1910.



In very deed there is a fellowship of suffering. Our modern way of
looking upon suffering as a thing which, by good arrangements, we can
get rid of, misses often that solemn sense of its holiness, which those,
who live in constant memory of our Lord’s suffering, enter into.


Yours was a far harder loss,—in seeing the young right spirit pass from
among you, with all the promise of life before her.

My sister went, though full of eager and loving sympathy, and rich in
openings for useful work, yet after a long and very full and happy life;
and she lay, surrounded by flowers, with the love and devotion of the
many, high and low, young and old, who had loved her. She had no pain;
and she lived all her life so near to God, so vividly conscious of all
the spiritual world, that it hardly seemed a step to the heavenly one.
And yet the great void remains. I know that it is all right, and that my
sorrow is as nothing to that of many; there is no jar to forget, no
memories but of blessing and peace; but yet the loss is very great. I
had lived on her love for seventy years, and had had the blessing of it
daily; and the loss of its daily influence is very great.

                                                      August 28th, 1910.


We saw Elinor and Carrington[134] and the children yesterday; all well.
Baby Anna was asleep on the lawn. We had a most interesting morning at
Mariner’s Hill. Capell met us, and we arranged about various short
dwarfstone walls, curved, and with ivy in the interstices, here and
there, to keep up the bank near the lane and preserve trees thereon.
Also for stumps lying about to be arranged as seats. It was so nice to
see his interest in the place and joy in the beauty. We did some cutting
to open out view from Mama’s seat. In the afternoon we drove to Toy’s
Hill, and walked to Ide Hill to inspect possible future purchase.[135]
It was so lovely; the path by the stream promises well, and on the upper
field the heather has really taken hold, and was in flower; and the
trees we planted begin to be a feature. The stony field is now covered
with vegetation.

We hope to start on Thursday and visit Cheddar.

                                      On the Mendip Hills above Cheddar,
                                              September 4th, 1910.


Below lies a wide stretch of country; away to the right are Clevedon and
the Severn; in front, the grand-looking group of the Quantocks; and to
our left, Glastonbury Tor and Wells. We walked up the gorge where are
the Cheddar cliffs, and rejoiced in seeing what the National Trust has
done in stopping the quarrying.

The cliffs are really grand. From the top of the ravine we came up thro’
a wood and out on to this delicious ground, where we are spending the

Mrs. Lowe has left the National Trust £200! They are nearing the goal
about Borrowdale Fell!

                                                   September 14th, 1910.


We are having very beautiful walks. We drove to Minehead and then walked
along a wonderful cliff with splendid views. When the road came to an
end, we passed a little footpath thro’ fern and heather and dwarf
gorse.... At last we came to a rounded hill, which formed the end of the
high ground; and, far below us, we saw Porlock. We went quite down the
hillside by a lovely path cut on the slope by Sir Thos. Acland, who also
has made innumerable lovely paths all thro’ his woods, all open to the
public. We took a carriage from the little village of Bossington, and
the driver said: “If ever anything good is done, you always find the
Aclands are at the bottom of it.” This man had been five years up in
London as a grocer’s assistant; but finding his father overdone with his
farm, came back to help him, and says he and his brothers are making a
thorough success of it.


                                                          July 25, 1911.

 Speaking of the National Trust she says:

We are a body with many members, and, besides ourselves, there are the
various local correspondents of all sorts. We have had no friction, and
this has been largely due to the tact and judgment of our Secretary. We
must try to secure this again, but the sphere of work is much larger
than when Mr. Bond came.

                                                     February 5th, 1911.


We think of leaving here on Thursday and spending a night at Barmouth. I
want to see the earliest possession of the National Trust, and perhaps
the donor, Ruskin’s friend.

                                                    February 28th, 1911.


I heard from Mr. Bond[136] that a member of the Trust wished to give One
Tree Hill, and now he writes that he has leave to tell me that it is
Gertrude and Dr. Hurry; and that it is to be in memory of Arthur. I know
you will be very glad. How glad Arthur would be that his children showed
a large generosity for a public object.

                                                    November 25th, 1911.

On Wednesday there will be a gathering of the family at the opening of
the bath at Reading, given by his children and grandchildren in memory
of dear Arthur.[137]

                                                    November 28th, 1911.


I cannot tell you what a relief your gift is to me. It enables me to
purchase all the houses now purchasable there.... I think that, with all
our misfortunes there, much good is being done. A lady, who works among
the poor near, tells that, the other night, she saw a woman lying on the
pavement and went up to see if she could help. A young Irish policeman
was there, and helped most beautifully to get the poor woman to the
hospital. She was ill, but was known to be one of the worst characters.
The policeman opened out about his awe at the dreadful character of the
district; then he went on “But do you know, there are some ladies who
come down here? I have not an idea who they are; and I don’t know their
names; but they are Christians. They get possession of the houses, and
they won’t let any of this wrong go on there; not, if they know it. And
there isn’t anything to be made out of it.” This last sentence even
pleased me; for I have been rather unhappy, because, lately, it has been
so difficult to make things pay as they always used to do; and herein
one realised how the empty rooms (empty because the tidy people dread
the wickedness) had shown some men that a sacrifice was made by the
owners, rather than they would tolerate wrong doing where they had power
to keep order.


                                                      January 2nd, 1912.

             (About the proposed sale of Freshwater Place.)


Well, then comes the question, how far is what we planned and your
Father made possible, still wanted? And how far can you and I secure its
being carried on? If not to be carried on, what should take its place?

These three questions must be faced.

The first is to me the most difficult to answer. I have been so long out
of touch with the work there. Are the houses, which are thoroughly
healthy and so cheap, still prized by the people? or are the showier and
more elaborately fitted houses attracting tenants? The letting would
show this.... Supposing these houses, and the bright little playground
still appreciated, I do not think you would find it at all difficult to
get a trained lady to take the management.... Numbers of ladies are
learning managing now; and I, or those who hereafter may represent me,
would know such. And tho’ I do not feel the need of houses in London
anything comparable to what it was in old days (indeed, in many
districts there are quantities of unlet rooms), the need of wise
management is as great, or greater than ever; and, personally, I should
feel it a _great_responsibility to give up power of controlling the
management of any houses, for which I had been responsible. So that, if
the houses still let, I do think it would be very sad to let them go;
for, tho’ I quite see that you can’t do the thing, I feel sure you could
get it done.

Now as to No. 3. Suppose you decide to sell and give up the continuing
thro’ others of the old work, would you look out for something for which
you would care, to which this land could be devoted? Its possession in a
densely covered area is a power. Think over it well, will you?

                                                       April 12th, 1912.


Will you give my sincere thanks to Mrs. ——,[138] and tell her I am sure
that there is a blessing on such gifts. I do rejoice when people’s
hearts are set on giving, and what a joy it is to them; it seems to make
their lives so happy and so full. Gifts which are a sacrifice to the
giver impress and inspire others, and I am glad to report them to those
engaged in this work.

                                                190 Marylebone Road,
                                                      January 2nd, 1912.


Lily Shaen writes to ask me about a possible sale of Freshwater Place,
and the house in Marylebone Road.

I am going to see Capell on Saturday. I have a kind of idea that he may
be able to help about access to Ide Hill from the Toys Hill side.


We have gone on with Ruskin’s Life; it is very interesting; but the
writer esteems his political economy higher than I should do, in
comparison with his art work.

The New Year opens for me in many ways very happily. It is wonderful to
think that I have been able to secure the purchase of the seventeen
houses at Notting Hill, all we feared to lose; and even one seemed
impossible at one time.

Then the Wandle scheme promises well. I have a letter from Miss Tupper,
which may lead to the preservation of an important view from Mariners’
Hill, which is in danger. I think my new workers promise well; and
certainly the old ones are growing in power. I have various schemes for
the year which is beginning, and hope to carry them through. I have just
come in from Redvers Street, the place in Hoxton which we took over for
the Montefiores. It is a joy to note the wonderful progress there. Miss
Christian[139] has just been here. She gets into such real touch with
all whom she sees. And all her gifts are so full of sympathy with the
recipient. To-morrow is Cosette’s[140] wedding; it is to be very quiet.

                                                    Your loving sister,



  For more than a year before her death, Octavia had suffered from
  breathlessness, and at Easter of 1912, she became aware that her
  illness was serious. She at once began to plan the devolution of her
  work. She wrote to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and to five other
  owners of house property, to ask if they would appoint certain of her
  trained workers to take over the direct management of the houses. And
  she was much gratified that all these owners were ready to fall in
  with her suggestions; and that her lady workers were willing to
  undertake the responsibility of management and direction.

  She decided to bequeath her own freehold property to her married
  nieces, the three daughters of Mrs. Charles Lewes, in the belief that
  they would care for the work, and continue the good management which
  would ensure the welfare of the tenants. Her nieces had been
  associated with her in many ways from their early girlhood, and their
  love and reverence for her made it likely that they would respond to
  this trust.

  These arrangements entailed many letters and interviews, the looking
  over documents and accounts (she had no fewer than nine banking
  accounts for which she was personally responsible); and all this was a
  most arduous task in her weak state of health.

  In May she went with Miss Yorke to Larksfield to try what rest and
  fresh air would do for her. She greatly enjoyed the beauty of the
  spring, and sat in an easy chair on the lawn for hours delighting in
  the birds and flowers, and specially in the scarlet poppies and golden
  broom seen against the blue distance.

  However, she was fast losing strength, and when she returned to
  Marylebone Rd., on June 3rd, she never left the house again; but her
  energy never flagged. Up to within three days of her death she
  continued to see her friends and fellow workers, using to the utmost
  her failing strength, and endeavouring to arrange for the efficient
  carrying on of the many works in which she took such a keen interest.
  She was much cheered by the money sent to secure the purchase of
  Mariners’ Hill, and she watched eagerly for letters or news of


  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,

  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, and in speaking of this future
  for her work she said, “When I think of all this, it does not seem
  like death, but a new life.”

  On the evening of August 12th, she gathered her household round her to
  say good-bye, and on the following night passed peacefully away.

  She was laid by her sister, Miranda, in the quiet little churchyard at
  Crockham Hill; and, although no formal invitations to the funeral had
  been sent, friends and relations gathered from far and near, even one
  of her Dutch friends coming from Amsterdam for the occasion; and many
  representatives of public bodies with which she had been connected
  were present. Among the many lovely wreaths sent, was one from H.R.H.
  Princess Louise, bearing the following inscription:—

“In deepest admiration and esteem for one who devoted her whole life and
energy to the advancement and welfare of her fellow-countrymen.”

  Sir Robert Hunter had been deputed to represent the Princess as he was
  Chairman of the “National Trust for preserving places of beauty,” of
  which H.R.H. was President.

  Suggestions had been made that Octavia should be buried in Westminster
  Abbey, but her relations were obliged to decline this honour, as her
  express directions had been that she should be buried at Crockham

  The desire for a more public recognition, however, was gratified by a
  memorial service which was held in Southwark Cathedral, in the centre
  of a district where so much of her later work had been done. This was
  largely attended, and a beautifully appreciative sermon was preached
  by Canon Rawnsley.


  Many tributes were paid to her memory in newspapers both English and
  foreign; but perhaps the best summary of her life’s work might be
  expressed in the words which she herself used in returning thanks for
  the portrait presented to her by her friends in 1898. “When I am gone,
  I hope my friends will not try to carry out any special system, or to
  follow blindly in the track which I have trodden. New circumstances
  require various efforts; and it is the spirit, not the dead form, that
  should be perpetuated. When the time comes that we slip from our
  places, and they are called to the front as leaders, what should they
  inherit from us? Not a system, not an association, not dead formulas.
  We shall leave them a few houses, purified and improved, a few new and
  better ones built, a certain record of thoughtful and loving
  management, a few open spaces, some of which will be more beautiful
  than they would have been; but what we care most to leave them is not
  any tangible thing, however great, not any memory, however good, but
  the quick eye to see, the true soul to measure, the large hope to
  grasp the mighty issues of the new and better days to come—greater
  ideals greater hope, and patience to realise both.”


 Aberdare, Lord, 446, 526

 Ad hoc election, 568

 Alford, B. H., 468, 500, 528

 Alfreston, 538

 Amsterdam, 549, 582

 Antiquaries (Society of), 215, 216, 243

 Architecture, 99–100

 Arnold, Matthew, 244, 445

 Art, 13, 15, 21, 26, 30–1, 34, 37, 40, 66–7, 73, 99–100, 102–6, 145–6,
    159–60, 165, 196, 203, 204, 215, 222, 355, 389, 520

 Arthur (King), 158, 168

 Artizans’ Dwellings Bill, 264, 321–4, 337, 348, 438

 Assisi, 364–7, 463

 Association (Hall of), 24
   (Tailors’), 23

 Athens, 401–17, 419

 Ayres, Alice, 506

 Baptism, 284, 343–6

 Barter (Miss), 467
   letter to, 451

 Barmouth, 533

 Barnett, Canon, 258, 272, 281, 290, 297, 303, 305, 347, 369, 388, 417,
    419, 492
   letter to, 328–9.
   See Preface

 Barrington, Russell, 299

 Mrs., 506

 Baumgartner, Miss, 156, 162, 164
   letters to, 166, 167, 169, 172, 173, 174, 175, 229–230, 248

 B—— Court, 265, 268, 286, 310, 311, 320, 322, 326, 337, 339, 346, 350,
    351, 352, 353, 367, 390–392, 393–4, 399, 413, 466, 470

 Beethoven, 20

 Ben Rhydding, 189, 269

 Benson, Archbishop, 484, 498

 Berlin, 441, 538

 Bethnal Green, 449, 511–12

 Bible, 20, 33, 64, 277, 409–410
   Class, 32, 115

 Bible Women, 171

 Birthday, 62, 104, 169

 Blind, concerts for, 223

 Blyth, Wm., 393
   letters to, 439, 554, 555
   Mrs., 536

 Boarding out, 324, 352

 Bodichon, Madame, 182–3

 Bond, Ed., 261, 297, 315, 327, 331, 338
   Nigel, 575, 576

 Booth, Chas., 515, 570
   General, 505

 Bosanquet (C. P. B.), 259, 260, 287, 311, 323

 Botany, 80

 Brandlehow. See Derwent Water

 Brooke, Rev. Ingham, 491, 492
   letters to, 513–14, 552
   Mrs., letters to, 572

 Brougham Hall, 196

 Browning, Mrs., 97, 108–9, 146–7, 167, 179, 446
   Robert, 7, 108–9, 240, 245, 246, 272–3, 288, 446, 500

 Bryce, J., 465, 540

 Bunhill Fields, 316, 338, 346, 350

 Bunney, Mr., 175

 Burglar, 16

 Burne-Jones, E., 202, 522

 Burnham Beeches, 396

 Burns, John, 508, 565

 Buttercups, 32, 333

 Cadet Corps, 491, 518, 549, 552–3, 571–2

 Carlyle, Thos., 144, 261, 312–13.
   See Cromwell

 Carpenter, Rev. E., 314, 322

 Charity Organisation Society, 257–60, 272, 287, 304, 306, 323, 328–9,
    343, 348, 358, 399, 465, 466, 486, 505, 516

 Chartres, 139

 Chase, Ellen, 441, 508, 511, 513
   letters from, 458, 527, 540
   letters to, 478, 483–4, 486

 Children’s Consciences, 49–51
   Parties, 69, 244–5, 250–2, 535

 Christian, Ewan, 488
   Miss, 579

 Christian Socialists, 14, 15, 22, 23, 330–1

 Christmas, 68–72, 172, 194, 462, 519

 Chubb, Lawrence, 533, 538, 559

 Church, 28, 33, 155, 556

 Claude, 124

 Clergy (relations with), 258, 268, 273, 399

 Clifford, Ed., 397–8
   letter from, 357

 Coal pit, 198

 Cockerell, Mr., 189, 318, 394
   letter from, 269
   letters to, 265, 283, 295, 299, 301, 302, 337–8, 349, 350, 351
   Olive, letters to, 343–6, 499, 510, 525, 544
   Sydney, letters to, 473, 479, 480, 481, 495–7, 499–500, 508–10,
      515–18, 518–19, 519–20, 526, 538, 561

 Cockerill, Alice, letters to, 572, 578

 Commission Housing, 493
   Poor Law, 567–9

 Commons Preservation Society, 318, 335, 336, 338, 371, 388, 443, 538

 Communion, 133

 Confirmation, 97, 284

 Cons, Emma, 15, 24, 33, 34, 59, 66, 71–2, 191, 250, 278, 287, 326, 328,
    342, 355, 369, 394, 415, 489

 Constantinople, 430

 Co-operation, 14, 25, 54, 74

 Cooper, Honble. Fredk., 480
   Walter, 24, 25, 28, 31, 33, 35, 40

 Cottages, 220, 276, 489–90, 503, 536, 541, 551, 562

 Covington, Miss, 536

 Crabbe, 170

 Crane, Walter, 506

 Crimean War, 94

 Crockham Hill, 492–3, 495, 582

 Cromwell, 156, 157, 158, 163, 327

 Cross, Lord, 319, 321, 323

 Crowder, A. G., 290, 352, 564

 Daisies, 445

 Dante, 119, 523, 533

 Davies, Miss Emily, letter to, 209–11
   Llewellyn, 180, 183, 221, 284, 394

 De Morgan, 295–6

 Denmark Hill, 103, 136

 Deptford, 441, 450, 452, 453, 457, 458, 459, 460, 464, 466, 469, 479,
    489, 491, 504, 507, 513, 527

 Derwent Water, 196, 553

 Dibdin, Sir Lewis, 562

 Dickins, Mrs. Scrase, 524

 Dickinson, Lowes, 174–5

 Downs, Mr., 297

 Downes, Dr., 568, 569

 Dublin, 355

 Ducie, Lady, 222, 254, 285, 287, 297, 302, 332, 351, 353, 397, 404,
    457, 462, 471, 533
   Lord, 285, 446, 471
   letter to, 535

 Dulwich, 27, 66, 125, 126, 127, 129, 136, 157, 169, 368

 Dürer, Albert, 102–103

 Durrant, Mrs., 105
   letters to, 73, 75, 281, 481, 514–15, 526, 529

 Dutch ladies, 507

 Ecclesiastical Commissioners, 440, 450, 452, 470–1, 502–3, 525, 536,
    545–7, 548, 557–561, 580
   letter to Sec., 474
   History, 114–15

 Edgeworth, Miss, 121

 Edinburgh, 553–4, 557

 Employment, 258, 266, 268, 529, 568

 England, 109, 135, 137, 378, 416, 437

 Epping Forest, 3, 4, 52

 Evans, Richardson, 550

 Eversley, Lord, 318
   see Shaw-Lefevre

 Examinations, 206, 209–11

 Fairies, 5

 Farrer, Lord, 488

 Fawcett, H., 321, 350, 353, 477

 Fellow Workers, letters to, 292–5, 452, 454, 524, 545, 557, 560, 565

 Female Suffrage, 263

 Finchley, 4–7, 14

 Finlay, Mrs., 406

 Fitch, Mrs., 327, 368
   letter to, 291–2

 Florence, 135, 140–2, 237

 Footpaths Preservation, 481

 Fra Angelico, 203

 Fremantle, Rev. W., 253, 254, 258, 280, 283, 326

 French language, 5, 139, 150

 Freshwater Place, 189, 237, 292–7, 389–90, 440, 442, 443, 444, 577, 578

 Friends, letters to, 559, 567, 569

 Furnivall, F. J., 21, 22, 35, 88, 89, 150–1, 156

 Gainsborough, 196

 Gardiner, General, 394, 403

 George Eliot, 245, 246

 Gifts (their use and abuse), 227–8, 257, 356

 Gillies, Miss Mary, 10, 72
   letter to, 10
   Miss Margaret, 10, 13, 381

 Giotto, 165, 365

 Gillum, Mrs., 244
   letter to, 346–8

 Gladstone, Miss, 504, 556

 Goderich, Lord, 29

 Godmanchester, 156, 162

 Godwin, Mrs., 189, 297, 465

 Gothic, 100, 165

 Gowbarrow, see Ullswater

 Graham, Joanna, 14, 21, 23
   letters to, 24, 31. See Durrant

 Greek mythology, 248–50

 Gurney, Mrs. Russell, 524

 Hamilton, Lord George, 549
   letter to, 567–9
   letter from, 569

 Hampstead, 3, 17, 86, 315, 481
   Vestry, 478
   Heath, 18, 333, 350, 440

 Hansard, Rev. S., 25

 Hanson, Mrs., 580
   letter to, 544

 Harrison, Mrs., 19, 134
   Mary, 19, 75, 134
     letters to 47–58
   Margaret, letter to, 82
   Annie, 85
   Emily, 189, 297
     letters from, 388–90
   Harriet, 189

 Harris, Mary, 19, 66, 101, 113, 169, 170, 193, 197, 297, 532
   letters to, 68, 72, 78, 89–96, 115, 185, 248–50, 272–3, 276, 284–7,
      290, 305, 309, 310, 319–20, 325, 326, 328, 336–7, 338–9, 352, 500,
      519, 524, 528
   Annie and Edith, 199, 201

 Hart, Ernest, 261, 311–12, 394

 Haweis, Rev. H., 291, 315

 Herbert, George, 143, 167, 339

 Hidden Servants, 565–6

 Highgate, 7, 18

 Hill, Arthur, 3, 498, 576

 Hill, Caroline Southwood, 2, 3, 4, 7, 13, 14, 15, 20, 32, 34–47, 96,
    106, 109, 111, 117, 130, 153, 171, 195, 224, 247, 297, 347, 487,
    528, 554–5, 566, 574
   letters to, 7–8, 10, 11, 68, 112, 137, 200–2, 214, 356, 362–4,
      369–71, 371–3, 374–81, 398, 399–401, 401–4, 405–8, 411–13, 413–14,
      416–37, 446–8, 451,