Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/71

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VOLUNTEER VISITORS.

kindest to them—kindest in the long run, certainly, but still kindest. I think small doles unkind to them, though they bring a momentary smile to their faces. First of all, I think they make them really poorer. Then I think they degrade them and make them less independent. Thirdly, I think they destroy the possibility of really good relations between you and them. Surely when you go among them you have better things to do for them than to give them half-crowns. You want to know them, to enter into their lives, their thoughts, to let them enter into some of your brightness, to make their lives a little fuller, a little gladder. You who know so much more than they might help them so much at important crises of their lives; you might gladden their homes by bringing them flowers, or, better still, by teaching them to grow plants; you might meet them face to face as friends; you might teach them; you might collect their savings; you might sing for and with them; you might