Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/64

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52
A FEW WORDS TO

drunkard, and pawned the boots at once and drank the money; or perhaps the man was a drunkard neglecting his home, and the needs of it, which should have been the means of recalling him to his duties, he finds partially met by you and me and others; or perhaps the clergy have seen that the poor woman cannot support the children and her husband, who is much too ill to find work, and have felt that if she and they are not to die of starvation they must go into the workhouse, for it is the only means of getting enough for them; charity, not being organised in the district, cannot undertake to do all that is wanted for them, and so had better do nothing. For gifts so given may raise false hopes which you and I, now pleasantly enjoying ourselves, never think of. Because we went in and gave those boots, because others like us gave coal-tickets and soup-tickets last winter, what may not turn up? the poor woman asks herself. That gambling, desperate spirit enters into her heart,