“I believe I do,” replied the cooper. “Of course it’s a regular proceeding; but you must excuse me if I think of it in another light, when I reflect that to-morrow at this time my family may be without a shelter.”
“My dear sir, positively you are looking on the dark side of things. It is actually sinful for you to distrust Providence as you seem to do. You’re a little disappointed, that’s all. Just take to-night to sleep on it, and I’ve no doubt you’ll see things in quite a different light. But positively”—here he rose, and began to draw on his gloves—“positively I have stayed longer than I intended. Good-night, my friends. I’ll look in upon you in the morning. And, by the way, as it’s so near, permit me to wish you a happy New Year.”
The door closed upon the landlord, leaving behind two anxious hearts.
“It looks well in him to wish that,” said the cooper, gloomily. “A great deal he is doing to make it so. I don’t know how it seems to others; for my part, I never say them words to anyone, unless I really wish ’em well, and am willing to do something to make ’em so. I should feel as if I was a hypocrite if I acted anyways different.”
Martha was not one who was readily inclined to think evil of anyone, but in her own gentle heart she could not help feeling a repugnance for the man who had just left them. Jack was not so reticent.
“I hate that man,” he said, decidedly.
“You should not hate anyone, my son,” said Mrs. Harding.
“I can’t help it, mother. Ain’t he goin’ to turn us out of the house to-morrow?”
“If we cannot pay our rent, he is justified in doing so.”
“Then why need he pretend to be so friendly? He don’t care anything for us.”
“It is right to be polite, Jack.”
“I s’pose if you’re goin’ to kick a man, it should be done politely,” said Jack, indignantly.
“If possible,” said the cooper, laughing.
“Is there any tenement vacant in this neighborhood?” asked Mrs. Harding.
“Yes, there is one in the next block belonging to Mr. Harrison.”
“It is a better one than this.”
“Yes; but Harrison only asks the same rent that we have been paying. He is not so exorbitant as Colman.”
“Couldn’t we get that?”
“I am afraid if he knows that we have failed to pay our rent here, that he will object.”
“But he knows you are honest, and that nothing but the hard times would have brought you to this pass.”
“It may be, Martha. At any rate, you have lightened my heart a little. I feel as if there was some hope left, after all.”
“We ought always to feel so, Timothy. There was one thing that Mr. Colman said that didn’t sound so well, coming from his lips; but it’s true for all that.”
“What do you refer to?”
“I mean that about not distrusting Providence. Many a time have I been comforted by reading the verse: ’Never have I seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.’ As long as we try to do what is right, Timothy, God will not suffer us to want.”