Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/72

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take them into the parks, or out for quiet days in the country in small companies, or to your own or your friends' grounds, or to exhibitions or picture galleries; you might teach and refine and make them cleaner by merely going among them. What they would do for you I will not dwell on, for if the work is begun in the right spirit you will not be thinking of that; but I do believe the poor have lessons to teach us of patience, vigour, and content, which are of great value to us. We shall learn them instinctively if we are among them as we ought to be as friends. It is this side of your relation to them, that of being their friends, which has given all the value to your work as district visitors; it has been because you have been friends, in as far as you have been friends, that the relation between you has been happy and good. The gift has often darkened this view of you, and prevented the best among the poor from wishing to know you; when it has absolutely been the expression of friendship,