Page:Homes of the London Poor.djvu/63

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
61
VOLUNTEERS IN THE ORGANIZATION OF CHARITY.

go to visit those who are bitterly resenting the decision of the committee not to help so long as the strong son remains idle or children are kept away from school. She will speak gently and simply of the blessedness of duties; she will tell of the kindness which has seen so far that it would make the idle industrious, the careless careful, the ignorant wise. Perhaps she will find and talk to the idler or the truants, and them she will induce to go with some of their playmates to school, him she will stir up to apply for the work of which the committee told him. Thus the visitor in her visits will persuade and rouse the people to the action that the committee saw to be good, but were powerless to enforce.

Then there are those who suffer poverty quietly and shrink from making any appeal. These the visitor finds out and sends to the committee for their advice and help. Spirited and hard-working women, high-class working men whose illness has been so long that the club money has ceased, will thus be brought to the notice of the committee, who will go patiently into each case. The woman will probably be offered some work; and though she has a hard life at home, children to care for, and occasional mangling to do, she will make an effort to accept the offer; some means of cure or some quiet work will be proposed to the sick man, or it may be thought well to grant him a regular sum weekly for a time. In all the cases the knowledge of the committee will be brought to bear on the poverty of the striving family that the visitor has discovered.

The visitor, however, may not always appear to advocate assistance; sometimes she comes to discourage it. People will apply whose tale seems good. A man wants work; a girl wants clothes to go to a place. At first it appears as if they would make good use of help. The visitor's report soon gives another aspect to the case. She will tell how on such a date the man had lost his work through drink, or how the help so often received had been misused; it is clear to the committee now that such a man