Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/66

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54
A FEW WORDS TO

him in not making the effort to do this, arc we quite sure to be at hand when the need comes? Are we not most likely to be away? Trade is slack when London is empty and district visitors away. Every man's riches depend on his providence; they do so tenfold more markedly the nearer poverty he is, yet we have undermined his providence by uncertain action. Do not our doles encourage him to keep his big daughter at home, earning a few pence in the street, where she has what she calls "freedom," instead of training her for decent service? I believe our irregular alms to the occupant of the miserable room, to the shoeless flower-seller, are tending to keep a whole class on the very brink of pauperism who might be taught self-control and foresight if we would let them learn it. I believe too that our blanket charities, soup-kitchens, free dormitories, old endowed charities distributing inadequate doles, have a great tendency to keep down the rate of wages of the very