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a good space on each side of it. If this were done, the approach to the commons and parks, the forest, or the heath, might still be by these pleasant walking ways which are so much healthier and more refreshing than the train or the omnibus, and bring the sense of country much nearer to the town. Would it not be possible,' I asked myself, now, if the Charity Commissioners see their way to devoting a really large sum to this great need of open space, which must be met now or never, to get them to buy some of the field ways, and to mark on a map the most important walks which yet remain, choosing

‘A, those which form radiating lines from nearest the central populous districts, out to, or towards, the heaths and commons already secured ; and,

‘B, those which form lines connecting the various heaths with one another, or with railway stations, or roads traversed by trams or omnibuses?

Might it not also be possible to secure sometimes a green belt to a road newly cut across the country, plant it with trees, and make of it a walking and riding way?'

Still, as I know well, on the outskirts, those working-men who love a country walk, turning up some narrow way, can find a few fields to wander over; there you may see them on Sunday or Saturday with the sturdier children, or perhaps with wife and baby too, taking a happy stroll; the little ones with pleasure gathering buttercups, or running merrily on the grass. But year by year these field ways are being turned into forty-feet roads, and houses come and the walk is gone; the weary pavements afford no rest or pleasure, and the country walk becomes impossible. If anything is to be bought, , these field ways now seem to me among the best investments possible for the future of London walkers. We could not in the autumn complete exhaustive maps of these, but obtained and recorded much valuable information, and handed in to the Commissioners one or two detailed accounts, with maps of such possible schemes. Then, fourthly, among valuable kinds of open space we knew well the hill-tops must be reckoned. How well we knew it! The sense of fresher air, the sight of sky, the feeling of space, the little effort of the climb, the fun to the children of the run down the hill, the wider view, the beauty of the slope, the sight from a distance, the way the air blows down among the houses—all make the hill of special value if it can be saved. Therefore we first marked on maps, and then visited, all the near hill-tops not yet covered, in hopes that at least some might be secured. Specially did we look on the SouthEast and North-East, of course, and most interested were we to find in the former, just outside the four-mile radius, that there still remained some acres of Telegraph or Pepys Hill unbuilt over. It is now a few years since a number of the working people of the neighbourhood

implored us to try and save these hilly fields. We did our best, but at that time it was impossible to rouse people to care to dedicate such land or to purchase ground for the poor, and there was no fund like this of the Parochial Charities available. So the houses have crept up the hill; and broad roads cross it, and it is being parcelled out for building. But as we climbed it we found there was still a good deal of open ground. There the hill stands, like a little promontory in the sea of small Deptford houses, a green oasis to which men might climb after their work was done, a little above the smoke and dirt and noise of Deptford, and see the sun go down over great London, and the bend of the river and the tall masts; the hill might lift itself green and steep within sight of many a little house, and every tree planted on it stand visible to thousands up against the sky; there near to their homes children might run and play, and the fresh pure air blow down all over the plain of small houses, the inhabitants of which go neither to sea-side nor country when the August holidays come, if only, and that in time, we save them the crest of the hill. It belongs to the Haberdashers' Company; they have a memorial from the Kyrle Society now before them asking them to devote at least some part of the hill to the public.

It would be unadvisable to give here the details of the schemes which we submitted to the Commissioners ; they were samples-good ones, we think—of the sort of work we hope they may see their way to take up. We did not go to ask support for this scheme or that scheme, for a few thousands more or less, but to urge the importance of their considering the propriety of devoting some really large sum to the adequate provision of open spaces for Londoners. We hold that there are many reasons why the Parochial Charity Fund should be devoted to open spaces. Not only will it be impossible to secure the most valuable unless they are saved at once, but also, as Lord Hobhouse so well expresses it

1. They cannot be procured in crowded parts of the town, where they are especially wanted, except by the application of large sums of money at a time.

2. They are the constant source of health and of innocent enjoyment to all within their reach.

3. It is difficult to conceive any lapse of time or change of circumstance which sball take away their value.

4. They are available, if properly placed, to the very poorest classes.

5. They are a kind of charity which cannot demoralise and cannot be abused or jobbed.

6. They do not require any great amount of labour or wisdom for their management, which is the point at which endowments for other purposes are apt to break down after their first founders are gone.

We feel that the intelligent support of the public in favour

1888

MORE AIR FOR LONDON.

187

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of a large and thoughtful scheme for meeting London needs is of
the greatest importance at this moment. Sometimes I think that
God has ordered that this great gift from the generous men of old
should become available just when the people have wakened up
to the need of space, and will ask to have the money thus spent,
and sometimes I think that the great opportunity now offered may
pass away, and, like the Sibylline books, the fields for those who come
after us may have to be bought, fewer of them, at tenfold cost,
when the world is wiser, and that they will be for ever farther from
the people's homes, the near ones irrecoverably lost where now they
might be saved.

When I think this, I ask myself, and I think each of my readers
will do the same, “What can I myself do? have I any duty with
regard to the matter?' In reply, let me point out that each of us
can in a measure influence public opinion, and that much will depend
on public opinion in the next few months with regard to any schemes
for saving or purchasing. In many districts of London questions
relating to open spaces are coming before vestries, and men, at any
rate, might help on the cause largely by supporting wise measures
of purchase. St. Pancras, Hampstead, Marylebone, Islington, South
Hornsey, and Stoke Newington have lately made votes which do
them great credit with the object of securing valuable space. Just
now there is before the Lambeth vestry the question of purchasing
the Lawn, eight and a half acres of ground really in the heart of our
city, and in the South-East quadrant of it; the place is moreover as-
sociated with Professor Fawcett's life.

There come too, now and again, questions of actual purchase of
land by private subscription. The only one I know of now before
the public is that of the extension of Hampstead Heath by the
purchase of Parliament Hill. I have said here, and elsewhere, why
I feel this Hill to be of vital importance to Londoners, precisely the
most important place to secure that I know. The rich people of
London were asked to give 52,5001. towards the purchase. This
would have met other funds, and so have secured 265 acres of land.
The scheme has been before the public for some nine weeks, and
70001. of that money is still not given. Many have given generously,
many have made great sacrifices to help—but where are the rest?
Surely there must be more who could easily contribute, and who
should be proud to join in so splendid a gift to their fellow-citizens.
It is a gift that almost must bring blessing ; for it is, as it were, a
giving back to men that which God gives most freely and generally
to all His children-blue sky, pure earth, bright water, green grass.
And more than this. Do you think these are only earthly gifts, and
do you aspire to grant spiritual ones? Pause a minute, and think.

Since this was written, an appeal has appeared for money to purchase North
Woolwich Gardens.

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In the houses of the poor are multitudes who from birth onwards have never been alone, day or night; the room is always full ; others are round them; not for five minutes have they the sense of being alone with God. When sorrow comes, when joy comes, it is all the same: no quiet for the still small voice to whisper. There are wonen, nervous and worn, who never have rest all day from the tramp of the little feet on the noisy boards or the sense of continual movement all round. Think of the ceaseless echo, the shout, the scream, the bustle in the narrow court. Ask yourself whether it would not help you to be your best self, to realise that your Father was speaking to you, if, in such a life, there came some day when you sat silent alone under the trees, could look up into the lovely sky, or see far away the stretch of distant blue.

OCTAVIA HILL.

THE PANAMA CANAL AND ITS

PROSPECTS.

For some years past, the world has heard from time to time strange stories concerning that narrow belt of land which divides the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. There is perhaps no similarly narrow piece of soil in the world that has loomed more largely in the annals of adventure, of diplomacy, of engineering failures and triumphs, of broken hopes and defeated aspirations. No other equally limited section of the world's surface has held, or is likely to continue to hold, so great an influence over the destinies of nations and the commerce of mankind. For more than two hundred years, plans and projects have been put forward for constructing across the isthmus a great waterway, which should enable the commerce of the world to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and vice versâ, without rounding Cape Horn. It is now announced that one project—that of the Panama Canal—may be completed in 1890, and that a rival project—that of the Nicaraguan Canal-is about to be begun.

There is nothing in the recent history of the world that is more remarkable than the formidable and costly works that have been undertaken in our age to annihilate space and time, and promote ease and economy of transport. Every modern nation has contributed its quota to this movement. Great Britain has been the pioneer of the railway system, and has, besides, constructed a system of canals, some 4,000 miles in extent, and involving an expenditure of 60,000,0001. to 70,000,0001., which, though far from being as useful as it might be made, and greatly overshadowed by the omnipotent and omnipresent iron way, is still found of great advantage in the transport of heavy commodities. In France, canal navigation is much more valued and utilised than in England, and the water-ways are specially looked after by the Government, which has recently undertaken a large expenditure for their further development. Germany, like France, has a canal system of considerable extent, and has in hand at the present time two important links in the chain of such communications—a canal 163 miles long, from Dortmund to Emden harbour, which is to cost 3,233,000l. ; and the improvement of the navigation from the Oder at Fürstenberg to the Upper Spree at Berlin, a distance of

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