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Selling Scripture Texts.

THERE are many different ways of making a living; but selling Scripture texts is not one of them. I discovered this in two days. A friend who frames pictures in Sydney gave me some nice little works of art with a passage of Scripture in one corner, and I started out to supply a long-felt want. I always thought that when people are up to their eyes in debt and trouble would be the right time to drop in with some nice little texts, setting forth that “The Lord will provide,” etc. It seems not. But I should have sold more if I had only known what part of the town the Christians live in. I'm satisfied of that. As soon as I find that out I intend to make money. I met some queer people, though, for a person who doesn't know the town.

One of them is the woman who tells you, after a lot of talk, that she has a house-full of pictures—more than she has room to hang up; and just then one of the children opens the door wide and you discover that the walls are perfectly bare, excepting here and there a large, red spot where some robust bed-insect paused abruptly. And I like the woman who opens the door and smiles. When you put your pictures down on the door-step and start to clear your throat, she slams the door and knocks your pictures right to the bottom of the steps. Your throat clears very suddenly just here, and you quote Scripture which is n't on the texts. This person always lives in a fine, big house, being a lady.

After a few of these confidential interviews, I ceased to wonder how anarchists were built. I have a recipe which would make an anarchist of Job. If this meets the eye of any anarchist who wishes


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to begin work in Sydney, I will be glad to point out some houses which I think could be blown to pieces conveniently, and at little cost. I hate to see any man out of work.

Then there is the Salvation woman, who reads your texts over in a sacred voice as though afraid of stepping on her creed, and tells you to “Remember what them says!” Every minute at that house is time heaved away. The Sunday-school teacher—ditto. I think a lot of the man who sits smoking his pipe on the back verandah, and, when you come to the side-gate and ask if that dog will bite, says, “Sometimes.” A second glance at the house convinces you that the people in there don't know a nice, neat picture when they see it. Consequently, they don't see it.

I also met the man who said “he got some of them Scripture things once, but the kids knocked”—well, a very tropical place—“out of them.” Yes, I met some queer people. In fact, the only people I did n't meet were the people who wanted some nice little religious pictures. If the Apostle Paul were here now, he would soon knock off selling Scripture texts, and start out with “The Life of the Kelly Boys,” or “Bushranging in Australia.” Then he might make a living.

BOILING BILLY.

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