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wicked,” Jer. xvii. 9. I will leave the tract with you a little longer, give it another reading. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John i. 8, 9.
CALL ON A LODGING-HOUSE KEEPER. Visitor. Your poor little girl here has had a fall, but I hope she is more frightened than hurt. I came home with her, as she seemed to walk with some difficulty; but now she walks better.
Mrs. Townsend. Thank you, sir! Thank you, sir! Why, how could you tumble, child? Are you hurt?
Mary. I was at first, mother, but it is gone off; the gentleman picked me up, and was very kind to me.
Mrs. Townsend. I am much obliged to you, sir.
Visitor. I should be glad to do your little girl a greater kindness. She tells me that you keep a lodging-house.
Mrs. Townsend. Yes, I have just begun; but I cannot tell how it will answer.
Visitor. Should you feel offended if I were to make an observation or two about lodginghouses ?
Mrs. Townsend. No, sir; I shall be very glad to hear them.
Visitor. Well, then, I will do so. Once I was a lodger myself, and some things added much to my discomfort. Other lodgers, no doubt, are as much inconvenienced by such things as I have been; you may, therefore, glean a useful hint or two from my remarks. Some persons who let lodgings are upright, respectable people ; others are sordid and dishonest. I have known some of both descriptions. In the first place, I would remark, that most people have some peculiarity. Every man, as well as every child, has his hobbyhorse; and if there be nothing sinful, and nothing that trespasses on the happiness of another in this peculiarity, it may reasonably be indulged. One man loves to have his meals at certain hours; another likes to have his food cooked in a certain way; a third has a strong objection to the smoke of tobacco; and a fourth is not happy if his room is either dirty or in confusion. It is the duty and interest of one who lets lodgings to observe these peculiarities, and to act accordingly, so as to increase the comfort of her lodgers.
Great attention is often paid to a new lodger.
A new broom sweeps clean; but in a little time there is a falling off in this attention, and by degrees he is much neglected: this conduct is neither pleasant nor just.
Frequently a disposition to tattle and gossip is indulged in, at the lodger's expense. I once was in an adjoining room, when my landlady thought that I had gone out. A neighbour came in, and I heard more of myself, of my character, of my business, of my connexions, and of my faults, than I ever knew before. This is acting deceitfully.
A neglect of cleanliness in cookery and other things is unbearable. I have had dirty and stagnant water brought me to wash with; toast brought to table with black holes in it, showing me that the toasting fork had been used as a poker; and many such trifling but disagreeable matters have I been annoyed by.
It is too common a thing for landladies to make free with the provisions of their lodgers. I have had my bread and my butter sensibly diminished, my tea and my coffee taken, my preserves eaten, and my home-made wine drank day after day. Once I loosened the cork of a bottle of wine, on purpose to know whether my landlady was honest or not. The first time I went to my cupboard a glass was gone from the wine; in a little time after another glass was
taken, and thus in a few days the whole bottle was drained to the bottom without my having tasted a single drop; this was barefaced dishonesty.
Too often do landladies peep into their lodgers' drawers, read their letters, and pilfer what is not likely to be missed. Where can be the conscience of a landlady who acts in this manner ?
Then the spirit of overreaching and extortion, charging not only to the uttermost farthing, but beyond it on various pretences; and, lastly, an unmerciful and cruel propensity to urge the payment of a bill when circumstances of disappointment on the part of the lodger may have taken place, reckless of what pain is inflicted, and greedily grasping for gain. Mrs. Townsend, I hope, in the judgment of charity, that you are free from all these irregularities. There are temptations in your line of life, and you live by your lodgings; but an honest penny is worth a dishonest pound; and I hope that your lodginghouse will be a pattern of regularity, attention, cleanliness, discretion, uprightness, kindness, and piety; for without the last quality the others will hang on a slender thread. Take in good part, Mrs. Townsend, what I have said with a real desire to do you good; and may He who can abundantly bless you, temporally and spiritually, give you prosperity in this world, and a happy immortality in that which is to come.
CALL ON A YOUNG BIBLE READER. Thomas, I have brought you a book; and, next to the Bible, one of the most useful books that ever was printed. No Bible reader should be without it; for it enables us to consult, to compare, and to understand the different passages of the Holy Scriptures much more easily than we could do without its assistance. The book is an index to the Scriptures, and is called a Concordance.
A friend once gave me one of the very same kind, “Cruden's Concordance," and I cannot tell you the comfort it has been to me. Before I had it, hours and hours were frequently consumed in the vain attempt to find different passages of Scripture, which my memory did not perfectly retain; whereas, by the help of the Concordance, I can now find almost any text in the Bible or Testament in two minutes. When I have occasion to use the book, I turn back its green-grained cloth cover with a grateful emotion, well knowing it has been to me one of the most acceptable and useful presents that I ever received.