We all love, worship and adore that everlasting deitymoney.
The poor feel its want, the rich know its power. Virtue falls before
its corrupting and seductive influence. Honor is tainted by it. Pride,
pomp and power, are but the creatures of money, and which corrupt
hearts and enslaved souls wield to the great annoyanceyea, curse of
mankind in general.
It is well, that, though we are all fond of money, not over one in a
thousand, prove miserable misers, and go on to amass dollar upon
dollar, until the shining heaps of garnered gold and silver become a
god, and a faith, that the rich wretch worships with the tenacious
devotion of the most frenzied fanatic. In the accumulation of a
competency, against the odds and chances of advanced life, a man may be
pardoned for a degree of economical prudence; but for parsimonious
meanness, there is certainly no excuse. I have heard my father speak of
an old miserly fellow, who owned a great many blocks of buildings in
Philadelphia, as well as many excellent farms around there, and who,
though rich as a Jew (worth $200,000), was so despicably and
scandalously mean, as to go through the markets and beg bones of the
butchers, to make himself and family soup for their dinners! He
resorted to a score of similar humiliating dodges, whereby to prolong
his miserable existence, and add dime and dollar to his already
At length, Death knocked at his door. The debt was one the poor
wretch would fain have gotten a little more time on, but the Court of
Death brooks no delaythere is no cunning devise of learned counsel,
no writs of error, by which even a miserable miser, or voluptuous
millionaire, can gain a moment's delay when death issues his summons.
The miser was called for, and he knew his time had come. He sent for
the undertaker, he bargained for his burial
They say I'm rich! it's a lie, sirI'm poor, miserably poor. I
want but three carriages. My children may want a dozenI say but
three; put that down. A very plain coffin; pine, stained will do,
and no ornaments, hark ye. A cheap grave. I would be buried on one of
my farms, but then the coach-drivers would charge so much to carry me
out! Now, what will you ask for the job?
About thirty dollars, sir, said the almost horrified undertaker.
Thirty dollars! why, do you want to rob me? Say fifteen
dollarsgive me a receiptand I'll pay you the cash down!
Poor wretch! by the time he had uttered this, his soul had flown to
its resting-place in another world.
In the upper part of Boston, on what is called the Neck, there
lived, some years ago, a wealthy old man, who resorted to sundry
curious methods to live without cost to himself. His houseone of the
handsomest mansions in the South End, in its daystood near the road
over which the gardeners, in times past, used to go to market, with
their loads of vegetables, two days of each week. Old Gripes would be
up before day, and on the lookout for these wagons.
Halloo! what have you got there? says the miser to the countryman.
Well, daddy, a little of all sorts; potatoes, cabbages, turnips,
parsnips, and so on. Won't you look at 'em?
At this, the old miser would begin to fumble over the vegetables,
pocket a potato, an onion, turnip, or
Ah, yes, they are good enough, but we poor creatures can't afford
to pay such prices as you ask; no, nowe must wait until they come
down. The old miser would sneak into the house with his stolen
vegetables, and the farmer would drive on. Then back would come the
miser, and lay in ambush for another load, and thus, in course of a few
hours, he would raise enough vegetables to give his household a dinner.
Another dodge of this artful old dodger, was to take all the coppers
he got (and, of course, a poor creature like him handled a great many),
and then go abroad among the stores and trade off six for a fourpence,
and when he had four fourpences, get a quarter of a dollar for them,
and thus in getting a dollar, he made four per cent., by several hours'
disgusting meanness and labor.
But one day the old miser ran foul of a snag. A market-man had
watched him for some time purloining his vegetables, and on the first
of the year, sent in a bill of several dollars, for turnips, potatoes,
parsnips, &c. The old miser, of course, refused to pay the bill,
denying ever having had the goods. But the countryman called, in
propria persona, refreshed his memory, and added, that, if the bill
was not footed on sight, he should prosecute him for stealing!
This made the old miser shake in his boots. He blustered for awhile;
then reasoned the case; then plead poverty. But the purveyor in
vegetables was not the man to be cabbaged in that way, and the old
miser called him into his sitting-room, and ordered his son, a wild
young scamp, to go up stairs and see if he could find five dollars in
any of the drawers or boxes up there. The young man finally called
Dad, which bag shall I take it out of, the gold or silver?
Odd zounds! bawled the old manthe boy wants to let on I've got
bags of gold and silver!
And so he had, many thousands of dollars in good gold and silver; he
hobbled up stairs, got nine half dollars, and tried to get off fifty
cents less than the countryman's bill; but the countryman was stubborn
as a mule, and would not abate a farthingso the old miser had to
hobble up stairs and fetch down his fifty cents more, and the whole
operation was like squeezing bear's grease from a pig's tail, or
jerking out eye-teeth.
The miser never waylaid the market-men again; and not long after
this, he got a spurious dollar put upon him in one of his exchanging
operations, and that wound up his penny shaving.
Time passedDeath called upon the wretched man of ingots and money
bags,but while power remained to forbid it, the old miser refused to
have a physician. When, to all appearance, his senses were gone, his
friends drew the miser's pantaloons from under his pillow, where he had
always insisted on their remaining during his sleeping hours, and his
last illnessbut as one of the attendants slowly removed the garment,
the poor old man, with a convulsive efforta galvanic-like grabthrew
out his bony, cold hand, and seized his old pantaloons!
The miser clutched them with a dying grasp; words struggled in his
throat; he could not utter them; his jaw fellhe was dead!
Much curiosity was manifested by the friends and relatives to know
what could have caused the poor old man to cling to his time-worn
pantaloons; but the mystery was soon revealedfor upon examination of
the linings of the waistbands and watch-fob, over $30,000 in bank notes
were there concealed!
The Lord's pardon and human sympathy be with all such misguided and
wretched slaves ofmoney, say we.