Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/83

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71
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

sence, your companionship, is needed there? Whether the little children want your teaching? Whether your gentleness, your refinement, your gaiety, your beauty, are wanted there? Neighbourhood! Oh yes, it has strong claims—some of the best possible; but then we must take care that we let our neighbours come round us naturally, rich and poor. I only know this neighbourhood as I see it from the station, and it is possible it is otherwise inside, for I know quarters where the poor lodge often escape the eye of a casual observer; but I do know districts which are very like what yours looks, where the villas cover all the ground, and there is no place for the poor man's cottage. Where the idea of building for him would be mentioned with awed abhorrence by the comfortable residents, and they would talk about the unpleasantness of the poor living so near, chances of infection, &c. &c. Where the few persons required to serve the needs of the residents live, in a some-