Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/69

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nearly every case requiring help there is some such step of self-help which ought to be taken by the family itself, or some member of it; some girl ought to go to service, some boy to get a place, some member of the family to begin learning a trade, some cheaper lodging to be found. Depend on it, you cannot wisely help a family, you cannot tell whether help at all is needed, till the circumstances and character of each member has been well investigated. Lay this to heart as a fact—I am certain of it. Let it be with any of you who desire to do good a strict rule to yourselves to have the case of every family you want to help thoroughly scrutinised. If you can make up your mind not to give anything pending the receipt of a report, so much the better. But if you can't (I think you soon will), at any rate never give a sixpence without sending for a report on the case; it will guide your future action in that and other instances. It is not much I ask of you. The Charity Orga-