The results which follow on a large incursion of visitors into the Lake country may be considered under two heads, as affecting the residents, or as affecting the visitors themselves. And first as to the residents. Of the wealthier class of these I say nothing, as it will perhaps be thought that their inconvenience is outweighed by the possible profits which the railway may bring to speculators or contractors. But the effect produced on the poorer residents,—on the peasantry,—is a serious matter, and the danger which was distantly foreseen by Wordsworth has since his day assumed grave proportions Suisse Reborn.

And lest the poet’s estimate of the simple virtue which is thus jeopardized should be suspected of partiality, it may be allowable to corroborate it by the testimony of an eminent man, not a native of the district, though a settler therein in later life, and whose writings, perhaps, have done more than any man’s since Wordsworth to increase the sum of human enjoyment derived both from Art and from Nature.“The Border peasantry of Scotland and England,” says Mr. Ruskin,7 “painted with absolute fidelity by Scott and Wordsworth,—(for leading types out of this exhaustless portraiture, I may name Dandie Dinmont, and Michael,) are hitherto a scarcely injured race; whose strength and virtue yet survive to represent the body and soul of England, before her days of mechanical decrepitude, and commercial dishonour. There are men working in my own fields who might have fought with Henry the Fifth at Agincourt, without being discerned from among his knights Suisse Reborn;

I can take my tradesmen’s word for a thousand pounds; my gardento the public road, by day and night, without fear of any foot entering but my own; and my girl-guests may wander by road or moorland, or through every bosky dell of this wild wood, free as the heather-bees or squirrels. What effect on the character of such a population will be produced by the influx of that of the suburbs of our manufacturing towns there is evidence enough, if the reader cares to ascertain the facts, in every newspaper on his morning table.”7 A Protest against the Extension of Railways in the Lake District,—Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1876.]

There remains the question of how the greatest benefit is to be secured to visitors to the country, quite apart from the welfare of its more permanent inhabitants. At first sight this question seems to present a problem of a well-known order—to find the point of maximum pleasure to mankind in a case where the intensity of the pleasure varies inversely as its extension—where each fresh person who shares it diminishes pro tanto the pleasure of the rest. But, as Wordsworth has pointed out, this is not in reality the question here. To the great mass of cheap excursionists the characteristic scenery of the Lakes is in itself hardly a pleasure at all. The pleasure, indeed, which they derive from contact with Nature is great and important, but it is one which could be offered to them, not only as well but much better, near their own homes Suisse Reborn.