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CHAPTER XXIX.

EXPERIENCE IN TAKING BOARDERS.

I HAVE no experiences of my own to relate on this subject. But I could fill a book with the experiences of my friends. How many poor widows, in the hope of sustaining their families and educating their children, have tried the illusive, and, at best, doubtful experiment of taking boarders, to find themselves in a year or two, or three, hopelessly involved in debt, a life time of labor would fail to cancel. Many, from pride, resort to this means of getting a living, because—why I never could comprehendtaking boarders is thought to be more genteel than needlework or keeping a small store for the sale of fancy articles.

The experience of one of my friends, a Mrs. Turner, who, in the earlier days of her sad widowhood, found it needful to make personal effort for the sustenance of her family, I will here relate. Many who find themselves in trying positions like her's, may, in reviewing her mistakes, be saved from similar ones themselves.

“I don't know what we shall do!" exclaimed Mrs. Turner, about six months after the death

of her husband, while pondering sadly over the prospect before her.

She had one daughter about twenty, and two sons who were both under ten years of age. Up to this time she had never known the dread of want. Her husband had been able to provide well for his family; and they moved in a very respectable, and somewhat showy circle. But on his death, his affairs were found to be much involved, and when settled, there was left for the widow and children only about the sum of four thousand dollars, besides the household furniture, which was very handsome. This sad falling off in her prospects, had been communicated to Mrs. Turner a short time before, by the administrator on the estate; and its effect was to alarm and sadden her extremely. She knew nothing of business, and yet, was painfully conscious, that four thousand dollars would be but a trifle to what she would need for her family, and that effort in some direction was now absolutely necessary. But, besides her ignorance of any calling by which money could be made, she had a superabundance of false pride, and shrunk from what she was pleased to consider the odium attached to a woman who had to engage in business. Under these circumstances, she had a poor enough prospect before her. The exclamation as above recorded, was made in the presence of Mary Turner, her daughter, a well educated girl, who had less of that false pride which obscured her mother's perceptions of right. After a few moments' silence the latter said

“ And yet we must do something, mother.”

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“I know that, Mary, too well. But I know of nothing that we can do."

Suppose we open a little dry goods' store ?” suggested Mary. “ Others seem to do well at it, and we might. You know we have a great many friends."

“Don't think of it, Mary! We could not expose ourselves in that way.'

“ I know that it would not be pleasant, mother; but, then, we must do something."

“ It must be something besides that, Mary. I can't listen to it. It's only a vulgar class of women who keep stores.”

“I am willing to take in sewing, mother; but, then, all I could earn would go but a little way

, towards keeping the family. I don't suppose I could even pay the rent, and that you know, is four hundred dollars.” “ Too true,” Mrs. Turner said, despondingly.

Suppose I open a school ?” suggested Mary. “O no! no! My head would never stand the noise and confusion. And, any way, I never did like a school.”

“ Then I don't know what we shall do, unless we take some boarders.”

“ A little more genteel. But even that is low enough."

" Then, suppose, mother we look for a lower rent, and try to live more economically. I will take in sewing, and we can try for awhile, and see how we get along."

“O no, indeed, child. That would never do. We must keep up appearances, or we shall lose our place in society. You know that it is abso

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lutely necessary for you and your brothers, that we should maintain our position.”

“As for me, mother,” said Mary, in a serious tone, “I would not have you to take a thought in that direction. And it seems to me that our true position is the one where we can live most comfortably according to our means."

“ You don't know anything about it, child,” Mrs. Turner replied, in a positive tone.

Mary was silenced for the time. But a banishment of the subject did not, in any way, lesson the difficulties. Thoughts of these soon again became apparent in words; and the most natural form of these was the sentence

“I don't know what we shall do!" uttered by the mother in a tone of deep despondency.

Suppose we take a few boarders ?" Mary urged, about three weeks after the conversation just alluded to.

No, Mary; we would be too much exposed : and then it would come very hard on you, for you

know that I cannot stand much fatigue,' Mrs. Turner replied, slowly and sadly.

“O, as to that,” said Mary, with animation: “ I'll take all the burden off of you.”

“Indeed, child, I cannot think of it,” Mrs. Turner replied, positively; and again the subject was dismissed.

But it was soon again recurred to, and after the suggestion and disapproval of many plans, Mary again said

Indeed, mother, I don't see what we will do, unless we take a few boarders.”

“ It's the only thing at all respectable, that I

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can think of,” Mrs. Turner said despondingly; " and I'm afraid it's the best we can do."

“ I think we had better try it, mother, don't

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Well, perhaps we had, Mary.

There are four rooms that we can spare; and these ought to bring us in something handsome.”

“What ought we to charge ?”

“ About three dollars and a half for young men, and ten dollars for a man and his wife.”

“ If we could get four married couples for the four rooms, that would be forty dollars a week, which would be pretty good,” said Mary, warming at the thought.

Yes, if we could, Mary, we might manage pretty well.

But most married people have children, and they are such an annoyance that I wouldn't have them in the house. We will have to depend mainly on the young men.'

It was, probably, three weeks after this, that an advertisement, running thus, appeared in one of the newspapers :

BOARDING—Five or six genteel young men, or a few gentlemen and their wives, can be accommodated with boarding at No.-Cedar street. Terms moderate.”

In the course of the following day, a man called and asked the terms for himself and wife.

“ Ten dollars," said Mrs. Turner. “That's too high-is it not ?” remarked the

man.

“We cannot take you for less.”
“ Have you a pleasant room vacant ?”

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