Posted 12/24/2012 12:00 am
“‘At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.’
“‘Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge.
“‘Plenty of prisons,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
“‘And the Union workhouses?’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’
“‘They are. Still,’ returned the gentleman, ‘I wish I could say they were not.’
“‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?’ said Scrooge.
“‘Both very busy, sir.’
“‘Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Scrooge. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’
“‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,’ returned the gentleman, ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?’
“‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.
“‘You wish to be anonymous?’
“‘I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge.”
If you have the luxury of Abundance, perhaps you’ll take time to remember — “at this festive season of the year” — the many who feel keen Want, even in this great and generous nation.