48 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
evil-smelling doors to the passer-by. As we look upon all this, it
is borne upon us that the disaster which has placed its weight of
suffering upon these people is not a convulsion of nature, but
poverty—poverty with its inseparable companion, vice.
This unhappy and dangerous state of things, to which our
attention is called at intervals by the newspaper accounts of violent
and immoral crime, stirs the hearts and conscience of many who
come to undertake among these people some work of generous
benevolence. One might almost say that every form of misery
inspires a special remedy and that all have been tried here, from
the attempt to introduce hygienic principles into each house, to the
establishment of creches, " Children's Houses," and dispensaries.
But what indeed is benevolence ? Little more than an expres-
sion of sorrow; it is pity translated into action. The benefits of
such a form of charity cannot be great and, through the absence
of any continued income and the lack of organization, it is
restricted to a small number of persons. The great and widespread
peril of evil demands, on the other hand, a broad and comprehen-
sive work directed towards the redemption of the entire community.
Only such an organization as, working for the good of others, shall
itself grow and prosper through the general prosperity which it has
made possible, can make a place for itself in this Quarter and
accomplish a permanent good work.
It is to meet this dire necessity that the great and kindly work
of the Roman Association of Good Building has been undertaken.
The advanced and highly modern way in which this work is being
carried on is due to Edoardo Talamo, Director-General of the
Association. His plans, so original, so comprehensive, yet so
practical, are without counterpart in Italy or elsewhere.
This Association.was incorporated three years ago in Rome,
the plan being to acquire city tenements, remodel them, put them
into a productive condition, and administer them as a good father
of a family would.
. The first property acquired comprised a large portion of the
Quarter ^of, San Lorenzo, where today the Association* possesses