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An essay by Israel Zangwill

A Day In Town

Title:     A Day In Town
Author: Israel Zangwill [More Titles by Zangwill]

I have often wondered what country children do for a holiday. Do good people go round collecting to give them a day in London or Liverpool or Manchester, so that their stunted lives that stretch on from year to year with never a whiff of town fog, never a glimpse of green 'buses, or dangerous crossings, or furnace-smoke, may be expanded and elevated? If not, I beg to move the starting of a Town Fund at once. Nothing can be more narrowing than rustic existence--there are old yokels whose lives have always moved within a four-mile radius, women who have grown gray without ever knowing what lay beyond the blue hills that girdled their native village. I once knew a chawbacon who came to town and was barked at by a street-dog. He stooped down to pick up one of the rough stones lying in the roadway to ward it off withal, but to his astonishment the stone refused to budge, for it was an integral part of the road. "Danged if that baint[*] queer!" he exclaimed. "At home the dogs be tied and the stones be loose. Here the dogs be loose and the stones be tied." Now, if that man had enjoyed a school excursion to the town when a boy, he would have deprived me of a good story. A glimpse of the town in youth might also do good in checking the perpetual urban immigration, which, alas! removes so many of the rustic population from the soil, and places them under it. To this end all school excursions to London should take place in November. Yes, there is a vast future before that fund, and I shall be happy to start it with five thousand pounds, if two hundred and sixty-three one-armed Scotchmen of good moral character will bind themselves to do the same.

[* Transcriber's note: So in original.]

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Israel Zangwill's essay: Day In Town