Poverty and wealth often choose people by chance. Opportunity or the lack of it, and circumstances good or bad, frequently determine people's fate regardless of what they do. Yet despite fate playing such a great part in people's lives, many of the poor feel that they are destined for poverty and many of the rich feel that they are deserving of wealth.
At the end of 1909, the English Edwardian era was full of contrasts between the rich and the poor. In London, on the Christmas Eve of 1909, George Johnson was one of those that suffered from being at the wrong end of that contrast. He had only a slum to house his family, which included his wife and his two children, and had a job that required him to work all hours for barely enough to feed them. Yet he was about to lose even those.
Despite already being very poor, fate and circumstance meant that George and his family were about to make a rapid journey from dire poverty to abject poverty. Crime, destitution or the indignity of the workhouse looked like his only options.
At the time, with Christmas only a day away, George thought that it was going to be the worst Christmas of his life and the worst day of his life. Yet on that Christmas Eve chance and fate instead gave them lavish splendour way beyond their dreams. They had their choice of expensive furniture, beds and carpets, they ate in the most luxurious surroundings, they had the best quality clothes, shoes, jewellery, perfumes, foods and drinks, and their two children had every toy and game imaginable available to them. It turned out to be by far the best Christmas they would ever have and change their lives for ever.
Sometimes in life the best things can happen when everything appears at its worst.