Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/38

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26
DISTRICT VISITING.

the eyes and bring the ready smile to the face, and make the step free and joyous, prepare us to bring a gleam of sunlight into many a monotonous life among the poor. What, in comparison with these gains, is the regularity of work of the weary worker, whose life tends to make her deal with people en masse, who gains little fresh spring from other thoughts and scenes? For what is it that we look forward to as our people gradually improve? Not surely to dealing with them as a class at all, any more than we should tell ourselves off to labour for the middle class, or aristocratic class, or shop-keeping class. Our ideal must be to promote the happy natural intercourse of neighbours—mutual knowledge, mutual help, of a kind, certainly, but not this professed devotion of a life; and it will be better from the beginning to mould our system so that it shall bear witness of what it ought to become. If we establish a system of professed workers, amateur or paid, we shall