Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/160

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148
OPEN SPACES.

nor from all parts of London. But I ought hardly to pass them over in absolute silence; they certainly do meet a quite distinct want on the part of the stronger portion of the community, who can get some sense of power of expansion, can see the fair summer sun going down behind the towers of Westminster Abbey, a space of sky being visible, so rarely seen from the streets or courts. Let us be very thankful for them.

Also when I undertake to speak to you about open spaces, though I cannot to-day dwell on them at length, I dare not omit all reference to those which are perhaps most precious of any, and which are by no means secured to us as yet as the parks are—our commons—the only portion of the land of England which remains in a living sense of the birthright of the people of England, and which, bit by bit, gradually and insidiously is filched away, under this and that pretext, by one big landowner after another, quietly surrounded by