Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/16

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4
OUR COMMON LAND.

rough lads who have walked miles, as their dusty boots well show; their round, honest faces have beamed with rough mirth at every joke that has come in their way all day; they have rejoiced more in the clamber to obtain the great branches of may than even in the proud possession of them, though they are carrying them home in triumph. To all these the day brings unmixed good.

Now, have you ever paused to think what Londoners would do without this holiday, or what it would be without these open spaces? Cooped up for many weeks in close rooms, in narrow streets, compelled on their holiday to travel for miles in a crowded stream, first between houses, and then between dusty high hedges, suddenly they expand into free uncrowded space under spreading trees, or on to the wide Common from which blue distance is visible; the eye, long unrefreshed with sight of growing grass, or star-like flowers, is rejoiced by them again. To us the Common