Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/153

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141
OPEN SPACES.

I have thus far dwelt mainly on open spaces as affecting the health or social life of our people, but there is another way in which such spaces might be made most valuable to them. That is, if they could be made really beautiful. Londoners are surrounded with the most depressing ugliness; the richer ones try with more or less good taste to mitigate this by decoration indoors; but those who have little or no superfluous wealth, and far less refinement, to lead them to spend any part of it in this way, are, at home and abroad, from year's end to year's end, surrounded by ugliness. If we could alter this, it would go far to refine and civilise them. Now it would be difficult to do this in their own homes at once; besides, that is a sphere where each should do it for his own family; but wherever a common meeting-place is arranged, within doors or without, there it seems to me that rich people might find a really useful scope for spending money. The poor man's inde-