Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/84

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72
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

what pampered and very respectful dependence, in small districts decently withdrawn from view, visited and over-visited by ladies who haven't far to go—where the poor say there isn't a house to be had, and the rich say they get everything from a distance.

While you are determined to have the rich neighbourhoods, you must have the poor ones elsewhere. When you have gathered the poor round you, built for them, taught them, purified their houses and habits by your near presence, by all means talk about the claims of neighbourhood. But till then you must, I believe, take a wider outlook, and think of the neighbourhoods you have left, where moreover those who indirectly serve you earn their bread. You who are merchants' wives and daughters, nay, even those of you who buy the merchants' goods, have the dock-labourers no claims upon you? If the question, Who is my neighbour? is asked by you, how do you think God answers it from heaven when He looks down