Do you realise how limited is our notion of it now, and what it has brought us to? Have you any picture before you of the parts of London where for acres and acres the ground is covered with the dwellings of the poor alone, where no landlord can afford many feet of space unbuilt over at the back of his house; where the clergyman toils on almost single-handed, for unrefreshed year after unrefreshed year; where curates will hardly go and work; where no gay life enlivens the monotony of toil, which is interrupted only by the wild unholy carousal of a Bank holiday; where the clergyman's wife can hardly sleep because of the wild mirth of the surrounding streets? We talk of the claims of parish and neighbourhood, and they should be seriously remembered; but are they not sometimes urged rather from a lazy desire not to take the trouble to go farther, or from the easy agreeable wish to oblige the neighbouring minister, who calls to ask a new resident for
Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/182
This page has been validated.