Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/33

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21
DISTRICT VISITING.

On whom does the continuous watchfulness devolve at best? Visitors, young, inexperienced, untaught, undertake districts; they find themselves part of a system, and follow in its lines; they meet individual cases of want, improvidence, disease, and though they know little themselves how to deal with such, they hesitate to make calls upon the time of a too busy clergyman, kind as he is in helping, gladly as he would reply to a practical question about the individual; they cannot talk out with him radical means of dealing with the roots of such evils. What can they do? They give or withhold the soup-ticket or the shilling. Has the clergyman usually time, has the visitor often knowledge to do much more than deal with the individual question of relief or no relief at the moment in the special case?

And yet the problem has become appalling, gigantic: viewed in its entirety, it might make us almost tremble?

Statesmen, philanthropists, political econo-