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MRS. BATKINSON is of opinion that I ought
to make it public;—what we have endured.
If this were a more revolutionary country
than it is, and if I were more of a poet than
I am, I would write a Marseillaise against
the lodging-house-keepers, the tyrants by
whom we are made to bleed. I have heard
of a man by the name of K├Ârner, who was
a soldier-poet, and there are poets of home
and so forth. I should like to be known as
Batkinson the lodger poet, he who led his
brother lodgers on to freedom, or in a milder
way, as the poet of lodgings. I never hear
the Marseillaise without some longing of this
sort, and I hear it played by the organ boys
several times a day, three times a week in
revolutionary character on an infernal machine
that is brought round by a donkey. It really
explodes in a way fit to kill me, and Mrs.
B., and the baby. But how fine it is!—

Tremble, tyrants and oppressors,
    Tremble, ye perfidious friends,
On your false and treacherous actions
     Their desert at last descends:
All's prepared now to resist ye-

Really it is very fine.

I believe that the enslaved body of lodgers
in this country is entitled to immediate
emancipation, but I see too clearly that the time
is not yet ripe for a rebellion, that our lodger
chieftain, our Toussaint, is yet to come. Our
friends without sympathize with us very
little, for we all notoriously give uncomfortable
dinners, and lay traps for visitors with
pails upon the stairs. Our friends without,
and the public generally, are very much
disposed to leave us to our fate. Like the slaves
in Cuba, we can buy our liberty. We have
only to pay a certain sum of money to an
upholsterer, and to do homage for whatever
independent castles of our own we may
inhabit, to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, in
the person of her tax collector. That is all.

I have heard householders complain much
of the tax collector as a despot. It is a
mistake. I have looked out of window at him
often, when he has come with bits of paper
for the people of the house I was inhabiting,
and have generally observed that he was a
very amiable looking, harmless sort of man.
If he were otherwise, it could not matter
much, for he merely knocks at the street-
door now and then, and upon being requested
to call again in a fortnight, goes away. Now,
a landlady is often to be heard all day and
every day rumbling underground like an
earthquake; she is perpetually to be met on
the stairs, and in her softest glance you see
that she has been given to you by nature for
an enemy. She cannot help it. You cannot
help it. It is her instinct to skin and feed
upon you. As for the landlord, when there
is one, he regards you simply as a nuisance
on the premises; thinks of you as he would
of a burst water pipe, or an offensive drain.

The landlord, when there is one. I know
very well that lodging letting often is a fruit
of sorrow, with a seed of further sorrow in
the core of it. I am not pitiless. Pitiless
too often the widow is when she has young
ones to be fed upon the substance of the
strangers that she may take in. Worms, at
least, have a right to complain of the old
bird's care for her offspring, however tender
it may be in the opinion of all other animated
beings. The spider has a right to offer lodgings
to the fly, but it is not for the fly to be
contented with the conduct of his landlady.
If it be natural for me to suffer, it is at least
also natural that I should complain.

How natural, I will enable you to judge.
My name, as I have already given you to
understand, is Batkinson. I ought to make
a good lodger, for I am not young enough to
be wild, and not old enough to be querulous
and fidgettymy age is forty. I am a
gentleman; that is to say, I do nothing for my
living because I have a share in a small
coalmine. I am not rich, but can live comfortably
in a modest way. I never run up any bill,
and have not once in my life missed paying to
landlord or landlady my weekly rent on the
appointed day. I may say that I ought to
be thought a model lodger.

There was a time before I became
acquainted with Miss Mannacrop when I was
not a lodger or a Londoner, but lived in a
house of my own by the sea-side. It was
a house full of air, with a fresh breeze all
about it; and the roll of the tide, and
the laughter of young ladies on donkeys,
made the only music that I heard when
sitting at my window. It having occurred