Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/61

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VOLUNTEER VISITORS.

drives her to seek refuge from it in Christian service of the poor; perhaps some family loss darkens her whole horizon, and opens her eyes to other forms of sorrow; perhaps some stirring sermon startles her in the midst of triumphant pleasure, making her feel that she ought to give some slight offering of time to the poor; perhaps weariness of all superficial glitter of amusement makes her seek for deeper interests in life. Be it what it may—desire to do good, or the urgent request of a friend, or desire to escape pain, she determines to volunteer as a district visitor. She is welcomed by the clergy, and requested to take such and such a district—I really think she has often little more preparation or instruction than that. She does not start with the desire of knowing the poor, but of helping them; help being in her mind synonymous in such cases with temporal help. She does not think of them primarily as people, but as poor people. But though her ideas naturally therefore turn