Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/62

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HOMES OF THE LONDON POOR.

she can permanently support herself. Yet she cannot see it at present in this light, it comes to her too suddenly. In spite of the gentle considerateness of the members of the committee, it must be hard for her to face her fate, receive as it were the verdict, "No more home," from a company of people she never saw before. The decision must seem stern. But that night a letter will be dispatched to the lady who has charge of the district where she lives, telling her the committee's decision; the visitor will gently talk to her, advise her, perhaps find a situation for her; when she has resolved to take one, the visitor will herself write to the committee asking for a grant for an advertisement, or for clothes.

Others apply to whom the committee recommend a course which seems hard. A little sick child must be sent away into the country. The father of a family must go to a Convalescent Hospital. The large and expensive room must be given up by the old couple whose wages are falling lower and lower. The kitchen, the dampness of which is sapping the children's strength, must be left; the idle son must be made to work. The advice of the committee is generally refused, but they need not despair. They know that in a day or two the visitor will call—she will tell the mother how kind are those who care for sick children, and will gradually persuade her to send her little one out of the hot, close air which is killing it. She will tell the man how much better it would be to get thoroughly strong than to work on in his weak state; she will stir him up by thoughts of the bright grounds which surround the Convalescent Hospital: and soon she will come to the committee for the offered letter. Going day by day she will break down the apathy and carelessness which has allowed a high rent or an unhealthy situation so long to cripple the strength of the family. She will tell of better and cheaper rooms, she will appeal to both love and prudence, and by kind words to-day and by stern refusals to-morrow give help till they so far help themselves as to move. She will