Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/82
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.
Have you ever realised what those acres and acres of crowded, heated, badly-built houses, over which you pass so quickly by train when you go in and out of London, mean? What kind of homes they make? What sort of human beings live and die there? Have you asked yourselves whether your pre-
daughters whose strength may make their feebleness more bearable, no little grandchildren to be cared for, and make the old which is passing forget itself in the young which is coming into vigour! Is your bright young presence not asked for by the gray, monotonous, slowly-ebbing life of those wards? If your strength does not allow you to visit in remote districts, I grant that an unanswerable argument; for strength is meant to be temperately used and not thrown away. Time! Well, it takes time to go backwards and forwards; but isn't one hour where the need is great and the workers very few worth more than many hours in a more favoured district?