LNJ0z

LNJ0z

“‘I will be your tenant. I will take it for five or seven years.’

“‘Well, I will think of it. I will call and see thee to-morrow.’

“As usual, I made it a matter of prayer. The reader may be sure that I kept a good look-out for my customer the next day, but did not let him see that I was at all anxious about the matter.

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“‘Have you thought about what I said?’

“God knows I had not slept for thinking of it.

“‘Yes, I have; and I will take £380 for it, and be your tenant for three, five, or seven years. I am going to leave my present house.’

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“‘I will give you £330,’ he said.

“‘Very well, I will take that. You know it is usual to pay a deposit?’

“‘Oh, yes; how much do you want? I have brought a bank cheque.’

“‘£150 would be enough.’

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“‘You can have more—say £200.’

“‘Very well, that will do.’

“‘He filled up the cheque for the last-mentioned amount, and we parted for the time. I was in the highest spirits. My difficulties had vanished. With this cheque I could command all the remaining materials that I wanted. I went to Mr. Cubitt’s office, got the boards for the floor, and everything else, and set the carpenters to work, early and late. At last it was finished. Before this, however, I took ground for two more houses, which Mr. Alsop also bought. The first p. 99one I lived in myself for seven years. This was the very man who had given me in charge nine months before.

“I went on building and building until I gave up taking ground for one or two houses, but took it for ten, then fifteen, then twenty, and then for twenty-seven. All one side of Bessborough Street was built by me. My son was an immense help to me. Of course, as might have been expected, my career was not one of uninterrupted prosperity. Things went very hard with me once or twice; but my troubles were chiefly owing to the political commotion of the times, which disturbed trade and unsettled men’s minds. The Chartist riots did me some harm, as did also the Feargus O’Connor disturbances, and some trade disputes.

“It was during the time of the Chartist disturbances that my troubles reached their climax, and that I really thought that results, for which I had so long laboured, were about to be removed from my reach for ever. One day, when I was really unable to say how my engagements were to be met, one of my foremen came and said there was a gentleman waiting to see me about a house. I said—

“‘Don’t bother! no one wants to buy a house in these times.

“‘But he is a decent-looking man,’ said the foreman.

“‘It’s no good. I see no hope of getting out of the present difficulties, and I shall have to discharge you all.’