Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/36

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work is less valuable in many ways, because it is intermittent; but pause to think what these visitors are and might be. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of gentle, earnest, duty-doing souls, well born, well nurtured, well provided for, possibly well educated, turning aside out of the bright paths which they could pursue continuously, to bring a little joy, a little help, to those who are out of the way. A voluntary gift this, if a very solemn duty. I have heard persons who give their whole time to the poor speak a little disparagingly of these fleeting visits, and young girls themselves, fevered with desire to do more, talk rather enviously of those who can give their time wholly to such work; but have they ever thought how much is lost by such entire dedication?—or, rather, how much is gained by her who is not only a visitor of the poor, but a member of a family with other duties? It is the families, the homes of the poor, that need to be influenced. Is not she most sympathetic, most powerful,