Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/40

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28
DISTRICT VISITING.

all! Think of the doctors, the legislators, the poor-law reformers, the advocates of co-operation, the members of the Charity Organisation Society, how they examine, study, and expound. Once duty to the poor was supposed to consist in giving large alms; once, self-sacrifice and devotion were thought sufficient qualifications for a worker among the poor; now it is seen that to these must be added the farthest sight, the wisest thought, the most self-restraining resolution to make a useful worker.

These two classes, gentle doers and wise thinkers, stand far apart, yet, if they could be brought into close communication, both would gain much; the people for whom they are both labouring would gain much more. In what follows I have tried to show how such a communication might be made a practical reality. The scheme described is not based wholly on theory, but has substantially been in operation in a district of Marylebone for some years, and has been lately adopted by two other districts.