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mere hewer of wood and drawer of water on his own land under its quintupled burdens.
In the second place, large salaries, certified by the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces to amount to as much as 5,000l. in each small district, will be drawn by British officers, for superintending the compulsory well-digging: 14 However the wells themselves may turn out, this latter feature of the scheme is far too valuable to be overlooked. All other advantages are contingent, but this one is steadfast and sure.
What would be the feelings of an Irish tenant if placed under such a system as that above described ? Verily, in three short months he would find out that the little finger of the Anglo-Indian official is thicker than the loins of the Irish landlord.
J. SEYMOUR KEAY.
14 Famine Commission Report, Appendix V., p. 96; Parliamentary Papers, 3086, V. of 1881.
COLOUR, SPACE, AND MUSIC FOR
I BELIEVE I may assume that many Londoners have a general idea of the objects and ways of action of the Kyrle Society, and have seen enough of the poorer inhabitants of their city to realise that they need the gifts it brings them; but the work of the Society increases year by year, and the Committee feel that it is now necessary to secure if possible a larger measure of public support. I propose, therefore, here to indicate what forms of useful action this might take.
Before I enter upon this, the main subject of my paper, let me say, once for all, that I am not among those who have any tendency to exaggerate the importance of beauty. The Kyrle Society might be described as one formed for giving pleasure to the poor, but its founders certainly have no idea that it brings to them the principal sources of joy. The certainty of loving guidance, the near presence of a Father by us day by day, form so immeasurably the greatest joy in life that it seems to me both sad and extraordinary to hear people talk as if music and painting filled so large a part of their horizon, and assume that under what they call ' wretched circumstances' life is necessarily cheerless. To any one who knows the way in which a thought of God transcends all sorrow and subdues all fear, the idea of there being any life which need be forlorn sounds strange. Again, the second great source of human joy lies in family ties: these exist in all classes, and circumstances, however trying, only bring out more strongly the blessing of this family life to every man and woman who enters into the inheritance of love by the fulfilment of duty. These two primary blessings, the power of entering into divine and human love, we all possess--high and low, rich and poor.
But how about the secondary gifts—music, colour, art, nature, space, quiet? Let us pause for a moment to reflect how unequally are these divided. In late years, I suppose, many of us have tried to share them with those who have least of them, but how far-how very far
1 Adapted from a paper read before the Kyrle Society at Grosvenor House on the 24th of March last.
are they get from reaching with any sort of frequency thousands upon thousands of our fellow-citizens! Can we do more than alter this state of things? That is the question I propose to consider here. Can this little society help any one to do more, can it expand to anything like the extent which is needed ?
I said I would certainly not exaggerate the value of the things it provides. I believe I would rather ask my readers to pause and consider whether they should not try to supply these things, not because they are large gifts, but because they are small; or, to speak more precisely, to give them not because they are magnificent gifts, but because they should be so common. Think, those of you who bave had any country life as children, how early the wild flowers formed your delight; remember, those of you who can, what the bright colour of flag, or dress, or picture was; recall the impression of concerted music when first its harmonies reached you ; live over again the glad burst out of doors into any open space where you could breathe and move freely; trace onward from earliest childhood what, in developed forms, these gifts of nature, colour, painting, music, and open space bave been, and then, summoning before you the scene you best remember in poor London-I will not describe any-picture it for yourselves this time -resolve whether you will try for your part henceforward silently, but steadily, to send there something of all the splendour, brightness, harmony, you gather round you in your London homes.
For instance, there are doubtless on your own walls pretty papers, various and harmonious colours, and probably something in the way of pictures. I went the other day to see the Hospital for Accidents at Poplar, which has applied to the Society for decorations which cannot be completed without more money. The hospital is mainly for men. It is close to the docks, where there are many accidents. Most of the patients are strong men, or big lads, suddenly struck down, breadwinners cut short in their work-many of them crippled for life. Tedious enough at best will be to them the six weeks' idleness till the broken leg or arm is healed. It is little enough, but will those of you. who can paint give them anything more cheerful to look at than the distempered wall ? “He will never get up again,' said the nurse to me as she looked towards the bed of a man whose spine was injured. · How long shall you keep him here?' I asked. “As long as ever we can spare a bed,' she replied. While he pauses there, before going back to the cramped room at home, or to the hopeless workhouse, what sball his surroundings be? Can you carry his thoughts anywhereaway from his own blasted life? Can you do so through his eyes, by means of those vivid and abiding images which penetrate deep through organs formed to be links between God's visible world and our minds ? Shall any picture of our Lord's life recall the Great Healer? Shall any cottage scene carry the man's mind back to his child-life in the country? Shall story in form make him forget him
self, even for a few minutes, in some other life, the illustration of an incident transporting him into other scenes and times? You think a good deal of an amusing book if time drags when you lie ill, and books are much needed in hospitals too, but to those who are not accustomed to read much, to many who are more used to things than to books, a picture is more living, and easier to look at, than a book.
Again, colour is intended to be a perpetual source of delight. From the early pleasure in a scarlet dress for dolly, and a gilt top, on to the glow and splendour of Venetian art, from the buttercup to the sunrise, all bright colour exhilarates and gives a sense of gladness. Till you stay a little in the colourless, forlorn desolation of the houses in the worst courts, till you have lived among the monotonous, dirty tints of the poor districts of London, you little know what the colours of your curtains, carpets, and wall-papers are to you. See how the first thing the Irishwoman does when she gets any affection for her tiny room is to pin up a coloured print, or put a gay quilt on her bed. Notice the effort of the prosaic English workman to procure pictures in gilt frames, wax flowers, or a red or green table cover. Instantly, , if we come upon these little signs of care and taste, however rude, we feel a sense of relief if we have been wading through the multitudes of monotonous, colourless, dreary rooms, approached by staircases as desolate, which disgrace our courts and alleys. Let the room we enter be small, low, even dark, if but one touch of colour strike the eye it rests there thankful. So instantly, so strangely, does the human soul recognise, and rest in, one of God's gifts even when surrounded by the degradation man has too often brought into his Father's bright world of beauty.
In their own little homes we may trust the human heart, which is the same everywhere, wherever it has a chance of scope for the elasticity which is in it, to teach the inhabitants to provide these natural sources of simple pleasure. When not quite oppressed by toil and poverty, the father makes window-boxes for his nasturtiums, the girl puts on her bright ribbon, the mother hangs up the red curtain. But there are certain rooms where we ask the poor to come in to see us, or to enjoy entertainments. Call them schoolrooms, mission-rooms, parish-rooms, what you will. Thanks to the better understanding of the wants of those who work all day, these are increasingly used for parties and amusements. I asked you just now to consider what your own London sitting-rooms would be if you withdrew all colour from them; I will ask you now to think what you would feel if you were giving a party and all the colour were suddenly to disappear. You feel at once that, though your guests come from bright homes and will return to them, the loss would be depressing. Do you not think we ought to be ashamed if we any longer leave in their present ugliness the parish-rooms which are the only
drawing-rooms where our various hard-working clergy and ministers can entertain their poor neighbours, and our fellow citizens, for us? I have visited many a one for the Kyrle Society when decorations have been asked for, I have accepted the loan of many, kindly lent me for parties of my own tenants, and I must say my heart has sunk at the forlorn look. Dirty distemper, or at best of a pale, dingy, yellowy brown if quite new; flat ceilings often blackened with gas and smoke; heavy, long, comfortless benches, frequently without backs; old dusty cords to the windows; no mantel-piece, bracket, or pillar where one can put a glass of flowers ; not a picture on the walls unless some wretched rolled glazed print or map; not a curtain to introduce colour, or break the line of square, flat windows; draughts under the doors; black coal-scuttles, broken fenders—everything ugly, everything dingy. If there are any tea-things, they are sure to be of the commonest; if there are any, urns they probably leak. Bare and hideous, their surfaces broken with nothing but holes made by nails torn out from the plaster, the walls stare at one. Cleanliness and good repair are the primary needs, and these the Kyrle Society does not profess to supply. But when these are secured, the place still looks cheerless without colour or decoration. Many such rooms have been put in order by their owners, encouraged by the promise of the Society that decoration would then be supplied. Many such now await treatment. More volunteers to paint, more money to buy what is needed, are now asked for, for fresh applications reach us continually ; there are some hundreds of such rooms which ought to be done. When from the bare homes, when out of the streets, when from the dark courts, you ask your poor neighbours to turn in to their parish-parlour, I am sure you do not wish this to be your preparation to receive them, you, whose walls blaze with gold and mirrors, and who put down red cloth to step from carriage to hall. Paint the walls, lighten them, brighten them, for the love of colour is a human instinct.
We often bave to lend from our store of flags and mottoes, coloured table-covers, and pretty vases, a number of things for evening parties in rooms such as these. Increase our stock of such if you can; they are borrowed continually by workers in poor districts, and transform the ugliest rooms for the time, and make pleasant variety in those which are not dreary. If you send scrap-books or illustrated books, try, so far as is easily possible, to send them in bright covers.
The workers who live habitually in a dingy, shabby district feel this need of colour quite as much as the poor. We ought to think of them; they are leading a forlorn hope against enemies we only fight from a distance. It would strike you very much to bear many of them speak, as they have often done to us, as if the ugliness of the eastern districts were almost unbearable after a time; and I remember well happening to be present at a Committee of the House of