Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/174

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162
EFFECTUAL CHARITY.

he dissipates them in the public-house; he gets into the habit of doing so; we, or succeeding visitors, feel the hopelessness of help increase; not only does the drag upon our purse become heavier and heavier, but it becomes clearer to us that the money we give does not adequately feed the wife and children, while it does lead the husband to hope that if he yields to the strongly increased temptation to drink, some lady will help, some charity interpose, the children won't quite starve. We have weakened the natural ties, broken the appointed order, and the neat, tidy little home has sunk into the drunkard's desolate room.

Or we take up the case of a widow, and instead of once for all considering how much she can do for her own and her children's support, and deliberately uniting our forces to relieve her once for all of that part of the cost which she cannot meet, we let her come up to our house whenever she cannot fulfil