Mr. Dooley on the Pursuit of Riches
by F. P. Dunne
Dear me, I wisht I had money," said Mr, Hennessy.
"So do I," said Mr. Dooley. "I need it."
"Ye wudden't get it fr'm me," said Mr. Hennessy.
"If I didn't," said Mr. Dooley, "'twud be because I was poor or
tired. But what d'ye want money f'r? Supposin' I lost me head an'
handed over all me accumylated wealth? What wud ye do with that
gr-reat fortune? Befure ye had spint half iv it, ye'd be so sick ye'd
come to me an' hand me back th' remainin' eighteen dollars.
"A man has more fun wishin' f'r th' things he hasn't got thin
injyin' th' things he has got. Life, Hinnissy, is like a Pullman
dinin' car: a fine bill iv fare, but nawthin' to eat. Ye go in fresh
an' hungry, tuck ye'er napkin in ye'er collar, an' square away at th'
list iv groceries that th' black man hands ye. What'll ye have first?
Ye think ye'd like to be famous an' ye ordher a dish iv fame an' bid
th' waither make it good an' hot. He's gone an age, an' whin he comes
back ye'er appytite is departed. Ye taste th' ordher an' says ye:
'Why, it's cold an' full iv broken glass.' 'Tbat's th' way we always
sarve Fame on this car,' says th' coon. 'Don't ye think ye'd like
money f'r th' sicond coorse? Misther Rockyfellar over there has had
forty-two helpin's,' says he. 'It don't seem to agree with him,' says
ye, 'but ye may bring me some,' ye say. Away he goes an' stays till
ye're bald an' ye'er teeth fall out, an' ye set dhrummin' on th' table
an' lookin' out at th' scenery. By an' by he comes back with ye'er
ordher, but jus' as he's goin' to hand it to ye, Rockyfellar grabs th'
plate. 'What kind iv a car is this?' says ye. 'Don't I get annything
to eat? Can't ye give me a little happiness?' 'I wudden't ricommend
th' happiness,' says th' waither. 'It's canned an' it kilt th' las'
man that thried it.' 'Well, gracious,' says ye, 'I've got to have
something. Give me a little good health an' I'll thry to make a meal
out iv that.' 'Sorry, sir,' says th' black man, 'but we're all out iv
good health. Besides,' he says, takin' ye gintly by th' ar-rm, 'we're
goin' into th' deepo an' ye'll have to get out,' he says.
"An' there ye ar-re. Ye'll niver get money onless ye fix th'
waither an' grab th' dishes away fr'm th' other passengers. An' ye
won't do that. So ye'll niver be rich. No poor man iver will be. Wan
iv th' sthrangest things about life is that th' poor who need th'
money th' most ar-re th' very wans that niver have it. A poor man is a
poor man an' a rich man is a rich man. Ye're ayether born poor or
rich. It don't make anny diff'rence whether or not ye have money to
begin with. If ye're born to be rich, ye'll be rich, an' if ye're born
to be poor, ye'll be poor. Th' buttons on ye'er vest tell th' story.
Rich man, poor man, beggar man, rich man, or wurruds to that effect. I
always find that I have ayether two buttons or six.
"A poor man is a man that rayfuses to cash in. Ye don't get
annything f'r nawthin', an' to gather in a millyon iv thim beautiful
lithographs iv Salmon P. Chase, ye have to go down ivry day with
something undher ye'er ar-rm to th' great pawnshop. Whin Hogan wants
four dollars be takes th' clock down to Moses. Whin Rockyfellar wants
tin millyon, he puts up his peace iv mind or his health or something
akelly valyable. If Hogan wud hock his priceless habit iv sleepin'
late in th' mornin' he wud be able to tell th' time iv day whin be got
up without goin' to tb' corner dhrug store.
"Look at McMullin. He's rowlin' in it. It bulges his pocket an'
inflates his convarsation. Whin he looks at me, I always feel that
he's wondhrin' how much I'd bring at a forced sale. Well, McMullin an'
I had th' same start, about forty yards behind scratch an' Vanderbilt
to beat. They always put th' best man in anny race behind th' line.
Befure McMullin gets through he'll pass Vanderbilt, carry away th'
tape on his shorldhers, an' run two or three times around th' thrack.
But me an' him started th' same way. Th' on'y diffrence was that he
wud cash in an' I wudden't. Th' on'y thing I iver ixpicted to get
money on was me dhream iv avarice. I always had that. I cud dhream iv
money as hard as anny mam ye iver see an' can still. But I niver
thought iv wurrukin' f'r it. I've always looked on it as dishon'rable
to wurruk f'r money. I wurruk f'r exercise an' I get what th' lawyers
call an honoraryium be dilutin' th' spirits. Th' on'y way I iver
expict to make a cint is to have it left to me be a rich relation, an'
I'm th' pluthycrat iv me fam'ly, or to stub me toe on a gambler's roll
or stop a runaway horse f'r Pierpont Morgan. An' th' horse mustn't be
runnin' too fast. He must be jus' goin' to stop, on'y Morgan don't
know it, havin' fainted. Whin he comes to, he finds me at th' bridle,
modestly waitin' f'r him to weep on me bosom. But as f'r scramblin'
down town arly in th' mornin' an' buyin' chattel morgedges, I niver
thought iv it. I get up at siven o'clock. I wudden't get up at a
quarther to siven f'r all th' money I dhream about. I have a lot iv
things ar-round here I cud cash in if I cared f'r money. I have th'
priceless gift iv laziness. It's made me what I am, an' that's th'
very first thing ivry rich man cashes in. Th' millyonaires ye r-read
about thryin' to give th' rest iv th' wurruld a good time be runnin'
over thim in autymobills all started with a large stock iv indolence
which they cashed in. Now, whin they cud enjoy it, they can't buy it
back. Thin I have me good health. Ye can always get money on that. An'
I have me frinds; I rayfuse to cash thim in, I don't know that I cud
get much on thim, but if I wanted to be a millyonaire, I'd tuck you
an' Hogan an' Donahue undher me ar-rm an' carry ye down to Mose.
"McMullin did cash. He had no more laziness thin me, but he cashed
it in befure he was twinty-wan. He cashed in his good health, a large
stock iv fam'ly ties, th' affiction if his wife, th' comforts iv home,
an' wan frind afther another. Wanst in a while, late in life, he'd
thry to redeem a pledge, but he niver cud. They wasn't annything in
th' wurruld that McMullin wudden't change f'r th' roly-boly. He cashed
in his vote, his pathreetism, his rellijon, his rilitives, an' fin'lly
his hair. Ye heerd about him, didn't ye? He's lost ivry hair on his
head. They ain't a spear iv vigitation left on him. He's as arid as
th' desert iv Sahara. His head looks like an iceberg in th' moonlight.
He was in here th' other day, bewailin' his fate. 'It's a gr-reat
misfortune,' says he. 'What did ye get f'r it?' says I. 'That's th'
throuble,' says he. 'Well, don't complain,' says I. 'Think what ye
save in barber's bills,' I says, an' he wint away lookin' much cheered
"No, Hinnissy, you an' I, me frind, was not cut out be Provydence
to be millyionaires. If ye had nawthin' but money, ye'd have nawthin'
but money. Ye can't ate it, sleep it, dhrink it, or carry it away with
ye. Ye've got a lot iv things that McMullin hasn't got. Annybody that
goes down to Mose's won't see ye'er peace iv mind hangin' in th'
window as an unredeemed pledge. An' annyhow, if ye're really in search
iv a fortune, perhaps I cud help ye. Wud a dollar an' a half be anny
use to ye?"
"Life is full iv disappointments," said Mr. Hennessy.
"It is," said Mr. Dooley, "if ye feel that way. It's thrue that a
good many have thried it an' none have come back f'r a post-gradjate
coorse. But still it ain't so bad as a career f'r a young man. Ye
niver get what ye ordher, but it's pretty good if ye'er appytite ain't
keen an' ye care f'r th' scenery."