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Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
MY DEAR Neighbour,
I SUPPOSE you are sitting by your fire-side this cold winter evening, and you take up this first number of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor. "Well," you say, "and what have we got here? A new book. And, by the name of it, I see we are to have it every month. Well this is just the thing; it is just what I have been wanting. I often get hold of a little tract; and, when I have finished it, I want another: Now I shall be sure of something new every month. Then what a clever thing it will be for the little children! for they all learn to read now. There they go to school every day of the week: it was never so in my young days: very few of us learned to read then. And they learn to read so well too, now, according to these new ways. It is beautiful to hear the little dears how they will read. Then they have their Bibles, and their Prayers, and many other beautiful books, such as they read in at school. And, when they come home, they tell us what nice things they have been reading about, and what choice prayers they have learned, and what pretty verses they can repeat. The little dears take a delight in telling us all about these things; and they read to us of a night out of their Bibles, and they say the prayers they have learned at school, where poor peoples' children may learn to read for little or nothing. And, now the young things can read so
well, I have often thought, that, if we had some little new book about once a month, the children could read it so nicely to us, and we might learn a good deal about matters that we poor people know nothing of now; and so I hope this little book is coming to teach us. I hope, however, it is a good book; for there are books of all sorts. I hope it is a religious book; for, religion being the one thing needful for us, and so many things constantly happening to take our thoughts from what is good, we need to be constantly put in mind of those things on which our everlasting happiness depends. But then there are many people that will not look into a book if it is about religion. Poor creatures! they think it dull, for want of knowing better. I am sure, if they could see it right, they would know that religion is true happiness, and true wisdom; that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' I do wish, however, that those who will not read about religion, would read about some other useful things. It would be an amusement to them; it would find them something to do; it would keep them from idle company, and foolish expense, and from those difficulties and distresses that people get into for want of knowing how to spend their evenings comfortably at home. And so I do hope that this little book has got some amusing stories in it, or some small matter of instruction, or something that can do no harm, if it does no good. Now, if it be such a kind of a book, I will take it in, and I hope many of my neighbours will too. Sixpence a month; well, this is no more than three halfpence a week, and that cannot be much, if there be any thing to be learnt from it. To be sure, now a days, there are many good ladies and gentlemen that take in these sorts of books, and lend them to us poor people; and I call that a great charity; for some of these good books are too expensive for poor people to buy. However, I mean to take in this little book
myself, and then it will be my own, and I shall be sure of it on the first day of every month, and then, at the year's end, I can have all the numbers bound. up together, and so, in time, I shall get a nice shelf full of books, and I can look into them again at any time, for, if a book is good for any thing, it will bear reading more than once, especially as such matters are so apt to slip out of one's memory."
You see, neighbour, I have ventured to think. you a very sensible, well judging, sort of a cottager. But I expect to fall into bands that may not use me quite so well. 1 think I see another sort of person taking me in his hand; and, after turning me over, and eyeing me on both sides, I hear him say, "O here's another of these religious books, is there? We want no more of 'em. We've enough of these already. It's all about religion. It's mighty dull. I'll have nothing to do with it, not I." Now, my good friend, I must say I take it rather hard to be treated in this way on my first visit to you. I must say I don't take it quite civil of you. however, I won't quarrel with you. No. And I think that you and I shall be better friends before we part. And, to tell you the truth, the book is not all about religion. You will perhaps find something or other in it that may amuse you. And I know you like to pick up a bit of knowledge, in a quiet way; you may perhaps find a little instruction here. And, if you do, you may then perhaps be willing to hear what we have got to say on more weighty matters. Now, you know very well, that, the last time I saw you coming out of the alehouse, you had been spending sixpence in a quart of ale.. Your sixpence was gone, and you were not one penny the better for it. Nay, for my part, I thought you looked worse when you came out than when you went in. Now, if you had saved that sixpence, you might have bought a Monthly Visitor. One quart of beer, every month, will just do the business, and