Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/91

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79
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

that starvation or great need may arise if they have a weekly committee and no officer empowered to deal with urgent cases. Suppose we ourselves had lost the pride of independence which does still exist in the middle and upper classes, though the tendency to look for extraneous help is, I sometimes fear, eating gradually upwards; but suppose we had no hesitation on the score of pride in asking our richer neighbour for a meal, or new clothes or boots, or additional blankets, or a ton of coal, would it be better for us to use just the amount of providence necessary for us to go to him a week beforehand and say, "Please we shall want our dinner next Sunday," or would it be better for us to be led to expect that if we called on Saturday to tell him the fact, and he was out at a garden-party, when he came home he would say: "Dear me, perhaps they have no dinner, and Sunday too. I dare not wait to see why they are in want; whether there is any member of the family