One day not long ago, while standing on the corner of a busy street in Philadelphia,
talking to a friend, along came an old man. He was a decrepit old man with swollen,
tearful eyes, and his unshaven face was drawn and withered. His lips were blue with
unclean sores. His toes were pushing through his worn-out shoes. His clothes were torn to
rags. He had seen better days. I thought, how dreadfully poverty has gnawed at you. I was
stunned for the moment. With a look of sadness, and with a dirty bloated hand thrust
forward, he pleaded for a few pennies. He got a few more pennies; I got a little more
As I pondered over the circumstances which had caused the deplorable condition of this
man, and had left him a wreck in its ruins, I began to think: It might have been you!

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