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“Of course, I would n't have taken it, anyway, with only six rooms, and so high up. But what prices! Now, we must be very circumspect about the next place.”
It was a janitress, large, fat, with her arms wound up in her apron, who received them there. Mrs. March gave her a succinct but perfect statement of their needs. She failed to grasp the nature of them, or feigned to do so. She shook her head, and said that her son would show them the flat. There was a radiator visible in the narrow hall, and Isabel tacitly compromised on steam-heat without an elevator, as the flat was only one flight up. When the son appeared from below with a small kerosene hand-lamp, it appeared that the flat was unfurnished, but there was no stopping him till he had shown it in all its impossibility. When they got safely away from it and into the street March said, “Well, have you had enough for to-night, Isabel ? Shall we go to the theatre now ?”
“ Not on any account. I want to see the whole list of flats that Mr. Fulkerson thought would be the very thing for us.” She laughed, but with a certain bitterness.
“ You 'll be calling him my Mr. Fulkerson next, Isabel.” “Oh no!”
The fourth address was a furnished flat without a kitchen, in a house with a general restaurant. The fifth was a furnished house. At the sixth a pathetic widow and her pretty daughter wanted to take a family to board, and would give them a private table at a rate which the Marches would have thought low in Boston.
Mrs. March came away tingling with compassion for their evident anxiety, and this pity naturally soured into a sense of injury. “Well, I must say I have completely lost confidence in Mr. Fulkerson's judgment. Anything more utterly different from what I told him we wanted I could n't imagine. If he does n't manage any better about his business than he has done about this, it will be a perfect failure.”
“ Well, well, let's hope he 'll be more circumspect about that,” her husband returned, with ironical propitiation. “But I don't think it's Fulkerson's fault altogether. Perhaps it's the house-agents'. They ’re a very illusory generation. There seems to be something in the human habitation that corrupts the natures of those who deal in it, to buy or sell it, to hire or let it. You go to an agent and tell him what kind of a house you want. He has no such house, and he sends you to look at something altogether different, upon the well-ascertained principle that if you can't get what you want, you will take what you can get. You don't suppose the party' that took our house in Boston was looking for any such house ? He was looking for a totally different kind of house in another part of the town.”
“I don't believe that!” his wife broke in.
“Well, no matter. But see what a scandalous rent you asked for it."
“We did n't get much more than half; and, besides, the agent told me to ask fourteen hundred.”
“Oh, I'm not blaming you, Isabel. I'm only analysing the house-agent, and exonerating Fulkerson."
“Well, I don't believe he told them just what we wanted ; and at any rate, I'm done with agents. Tomorrow, I'm going entirely by advertisements.”
Howitt, Mary, an English poet, story-writer, and essayist; wife of and collaborator with William; born (Botham) of Quaker parentage in Coleford, March 12, 1799; died at Rome, January 30, 1888. “The Desolation of Eyam," a poem; “Colonization and Christianity ;” “Rural Life in England;" and volumes of essays and historical studies, besides articles on Spiritualism, - in which both believed, — represent their joint work. Her own are “ The Seven Temptations," a striking poem; various children's stories; and translations of Fredrika Bremer's novels.
WHEN on the breath of autumn breeze
From pastures dry and brown,
The fair white thistle-down,
What joy in dreamy ease to lie
Amid a field new shorn,
The piled-up stacks of corn ;
I feel the day – I see the field,
The quivering of the leaves,
Binding the yellow sheaves;
I see the fields of Bethlehem,
And reapers many a one,
And Boaz looking on,
And Ruth, the Moabitess fair,
Again I see a little child
His mother's sole delight, —
The kind good Shunamite, -
The sun-bathed quiet of the hills,
The fields of Galilee,
Were full of corn, I see, -
O golden fields of bending corn,
How beautiful they seem!
To me are like a dream :
THE SALE OF THE PET LAMB. Oh! poverty is a weary thing, 't is full of grief and pain; It boweth down the heart of man, and dulls his cunning brain; It maketh even the little child with heavy sighs complain. The children of the rich man have not their bread to win; They scarcely know how labor is the penalty of sin; Even as the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin.
And year by year, as life wears on, no wants have they to bear;
The children of the poor man, though they be young each one,