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then !' These men take our breath away. When our little nuts want cracking, and our teeth are very, very frail, we are stricken with terror at the entrance of a locomotive or a twenty-ton gun escorted by a detachment of smug officials threatening us with a crushed kernel as the inevitable consequence of an awful explosion !
Nor, when we resolve to set to work in earnest, is the modus operandi always evident, or the modus incipiendi.
It is an unaccountable fact that if a man has a good horse, or an old watch, or a family picture, or even a mansion in a particular square, he often exhibits an infatuate attachment for it, and resents with absolute passion the notion of selling it. Men are so irrational ! They perversely cling to their own even at the verge of the grave; and though a man would be incomparably better off in No. 16, which has been painted and decorated inside and out, and put in complete repair, be madly, even violently, adheres to No. 6, where there is actually no cellar! And the same delusions prevail among the country landlords. The smaller their holdings the more ferociously they resent being asked to part with them. I have heard of an old carrier who directed by his last will that a particular pond in his tiny croft should be strictly entailed upon his heirs male. Infatuate moribund, he could not die at peace while there was a prospect of
the quality' gaining possession of his darling pool, and enlarging it into an ornamental lake to glorify the Hall. The smaller landlords cling to their land as if it were their heart's blood. The last thing a townsman parts with, I am told, is the policy upon his life; the last thing the countryman lets go is his farm' of twenty icres. Indeed, in many cases where the sale of it would be the saving of him it has become practically unsaleable. It is not always easy to find out how many mortgages there are upon it, and how many claimants there may be to pay off. In Arcady we have no registers of these matters. So that when you want to acquire sites for labourers' dwellings, if you ask the needy owner, he cannot sell; if you ask the thriving one, he will not.
Nor is this all. If you can only drop the labourer down in a swamp, or hide him away in a lonely lane where he is a couple of miles from his yeast, where the hawker of herrings never comes, and whence his children have to toddle three miles to school, you may almost as well leave bim as he is. There is a growing reluctance among the labourers to play the part of Robinson Crusoe. I hold it to be a good sign that the men are beginning to show preferences, and to dislike the outlying dwellings which you may frequently see untenanted and falling to ruins. But the fact being so, it will never do to take the first site that offers; and if you will have only No. 6, you must often compensate its owner rather extravagantly for shunting him to No. 16. Hence the difficulty of getting eligible sites in the country is sometimes almost as great as it is in the towns, and compulsory sale is not to be thought of.
Yet there are sites, and very convenient sites too; though, if the truth must be told, every one shrinks from suggesting that these sites could be rendered available. The Theoric Fund at Athens was hardly a more dangerous theme to speak upon than this; and they who know anything of the history of the inclosure of the commons, and of some other shameful acts of spoliation on which I need not dwell, cannot wonder that it should be so.
There is scarcely a parish in Norfolk that has not some reserve lands which were given or bequeathed in former times to the inhabitants or the poorer portion of them, and the rents of which are set apart for providing the villagers with fuel, clothing, bread, or money doles. These small estates must not be confounded with the commons or waste lands, which even now, after all the immense inclosures, cover nearly 13,000 acres. They are the town lands held by trustees or feoffees for the use and benefit of the parishioners, and the income derived from them is in some instances very large. At Gortys upwards of three hundred pounds a year derivable from the rent of the town lands is paid out in cash to the beneficiaries. At Hypsus, a village of about 1,000 inhabitants, the town estate used to let for eight hundred a year, one-third of the income being applied for the relief of poor widows and apprenticing children. At Phæzon, another parish, with about 900 inhabitants, the rent of the town land gives every married couple five shillings, and every child eighteenpence; and over and above this, and a great deal more, there is a special widows' gown land,' which would exactly suit Mr. George, the rent of which is applied for the benefit of the parish widows, who are furnished annually with one or more gowns all of one colour. Sobriety of dress must be enforced, and skittish widows protected from their own volatile tastes. It would not do to let the widows choose their own gowns. Think of a widow insisting on being provided with a book muslin !
These lands are, as a rule, very conveniently situated, and if they were utilised and labourers' dwellings erected upon them the value of the lands would be largely enhanced, and the beneficiaries of the charity be no sufferers. But by some strange perversity Mr. Jesse Collings's Bill for the Extension of Allotments, amongst its other crude and ill-considered provisions, throws serious difficulties in the way of erecting any dwellings upon the town lands; and certainly no feoffees would with that Bill before them venture to set aside any part of the town lands for agricultural dwellings without first applying to the Charity Commissioners and getting their express sanction. This is the very last thing that any sane dweller in Arcady would propose doing.
Rightly or wrongly, deservedly or not, the high-handed proceedings of the Charity Commissioners during the last twenty years have aroused such an intensity of suspicion, bitterness, fear, resentment,
and dislike among the labouring class, as to make them-and, I may add, their employers too—willing to submit to any abuses or any waste of resources, however grotesque or even demoralising, rather than apply to the Charity Commissioners. “While things are let alone,' they say, 'we know the worst, but we never know the worst when the Commissioners move. It may or may not be objectionable to spend fifty pounds a year in providing old women with red cloaks.
It may or may not be “pauperising' to divide the rental of thirty acres of good land in buying loaves which are solemnly handed out to all comers, at the church porch three times a year. It may be wasteful to scramble among five parishes a specified sum of money, or to lay out another sum in the purchase of flannels and kerseys-whatever they may be ; but King Log is better than King Water-snake, and up and down the length and breadth of Arcady the cry is loud, and the opinion is all but unanimous : "Anything is better than applying to the Charity Commissioners." If it were otherwise, one of the difficulties in the way of finding sites for agricultural dwellings would be greatly lessened ; and in some instances not only the sites, but the houses might be provided from funds at our disposal. Here and there money might be borrowed upon the security of the town lands, the debt incurred being extinguished by annual instalments.
Pending the removal of such obstacles to improvement as, I trust, may sooner or later be swept away, the agricultural poor in the open parishes must needs look for deliverance from their low estate to those whom God has blessed with the two great gifts of wealth and a generous heart. In some cases it will be a mere matter of a few hundreds of pounds; only in exceptional cases will it be a question of thousands. It may happen that here and there the purchase of fifty or sixty acres will be the only way out of the difficulty of getting the right land in the right place; and the owner, being master of the situation, will not forget to put on the screw. Even so it must be remembered that the price of land in Arcady is as nothing compared with what it would fetch in the suburbs of a great city; and, once acquired, a further question may present itself, whether to re-sell the portion not needed for building on, or to attempt a further experiment in the direction of offering a chance to the thrifty and enterprising among our peasantry of gradually increasing the size of their holdings, and so rising to the status of tenants of broad acres, employing labourers in their turn.
Having due regard to all that has been done in some parishes, and much that is being attempted in others, the amount that is needed to change the whole face of the open parishes in East Anglia, and to raise the level of comfort, sobriety, and self-respect of a whole class, would, I am satisfied, be found to be insignificant. Those good people who are a trifle impatient, and ask for a quid pro quo even in their almsgiving, need never be long without their reward here. That man
builds an enduring monument to himself, which his children will never be ashamed of, who provides smiling homesteads for the tillers of the soil, forced now with a bitter sense of wrong to take any hovel that they can get. Nor is this all. If we can bring these poor fellows to believe—that which they now find it almost impossible to believe that there need be no cruel war between class and class, that the rich are not the enemies of the poor, that they do not want to grind them down, nor keep them down, nor make merchandise of them body and soul, but that they do want to help them, raise them, and befriend them; if we can draw the labourer into closer and more personal relations with a landlord, who shall be other than the agent of an absentee proprietor, or some petty huckster living for small gains, or even the farmer doing his utmost to get all he can out of his hands, and to cheapen their toil-surely we shall have done something in our generation, and sown the seed of promise, leaving a harvest of good things to come for others to garner.
O it is not loud tones and mouthingness,
THERE is no doubt a general tendency amongst women, both in our own country and in America, towards public speaking. Why is there this tendency, and what is at the bottom of it? for it is not only that women for the most part aspire towards a religious ministry in their generation (which would be an ambition both intelligible and laudable), but that on questions of reform, social as well as moral, in political and philanthropic matters, they insist on being seen as well as heard.
We women seem to be specially fitted for the work of teaching ; we bring to bear upon it great patience, power of entering into minute detail, and, above all, imagination, which enables us to put ourselves into the mental condition of our pupils. Although there are objections to women as teachers of men, yet there are instances in which they have been specially successful. Hypatia, the Alexandrian, taught and lectured to men, so did a few noble and highly cultivated dames in Italian cities during medieval times. The distinction between teaching and speaking is not easy to define, and get there does exist a very marked line of distinction. A teacher does not put himself forward, but rather the matter which he has to impart, and although his own personality does, and indeed must, pervade his teaching if it is to be in any degree instinct with life, it is not the main part of his business to insist upon it. If he be really a first-rate teacher, he keeps himself in the background as much as is consistent with making his subject acceptable and intelligible to his pupils.
The reverse is, and must be, the case in public speaking of any kind. The fact of being raised upon a platform, either actual or implied, in order to deliver yourself of your opinion on a question, political, moral, or religious, demands that your individuality shall be brought into the foreground, and shall be made, of necessity, to play a large part in the effect produced upon your audience. VOL. XV.-No. 85.