Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/63

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VOLUNTEER VISITORS.

by undertaking a few patients for him, yet are they not doing something like it when they don't seek advice in district visiting? Gradually, after weeks, months, perhaps years of worse than wasted labour, those who persevere begin to realise the disastrous effect of their action; hundreds who do not steadily persevere never even catch a glimpse of it, and go on blindly scattering gifts to the destruction of the recipients. For just pause and think what these gifts do to them. You or I go into a wretched room; we see children dirty and without shoes, a forlorn woman tells us a story of extreme poverty, how her husband can find no work. We think it can do no harm to give the children boots to go to school; we give them, and hear no more. Perhaps we go to Scotland the following week, and flatter ourselves if we remember the children that that gift of boots at least was useful. Yet just think what harm that may have done. Perhaps the woman was a