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SPARE WELL, SPEND WELL.
-?- *i'a. f-yf^? ~--K --
ROCHUN IHE MISER
1 N' i S 0 N A N 11 I U '
SPARE WELL, SPEND WELL:
MONEY, ITS USE AND ABUSE.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
Stontc n t .
I. THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT, ... ... ... ... 7
II. MONEY WELL SPENT, ... ... ... ... 13
III. THE BANKER'S WIFE, ... ... ... ... 19
IV. THE POOR DRESSMAKER, ... ... ... ... 26
V. THE SABBATH-BREAKE, ... ... ... ... 31
VI. THE DISHONEST SERVANT, ... ... ... ... 35
VII. CHARITY AND OSTENTATION, ... ... ... ... 4
VIII. THE GAMBLER, ... ... ... ... ... 46
IX. THE POOR-RICH MAN, ... ... .. ... 50
X. THE RICH MAN'S DEATH, ... ... .. ... 56
XI. THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE, ... ... ... 60
XII. THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS, ... ... ... 66
XIII. THE PRAYER OF FAITI ANSWERElI), ... ... ... 73
XIV. THE MISE ... .. ... ... ... 78
THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR, THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE, ... 85
SPARE WELL, SPEND WELL.
THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
HOUGH I, a five franc piece, have
been but thirty years in existence, I
have seen much, travelled much,
and, if I have not felt much (for
I am not of a sensitive nature), I have
at least made others feel. I have excited
desire and regret, avarice and pleasure.
I have called forth ambition, disappointed
or realized hope. I have sometimes relieved
misfortune; but have more frequently satis-
fled the caprices and fancies of the spoiled
children of prosperity. In my ever-chang-
8 THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
ing career I have had periods of great activ-
ity; I have passed rapidly from the palace of
the great to the dwelling of the artisan, but
I have scarcely ever entered the miserable
shelter of the poor. At present I am im-
prisoned in the strong-box of an old miser,
and here I must most likely remain till the
day of his death, when his greedy heirs will
dispute who is to possess me. As this mo-
ment may still be far distant, I have taken
a fancy to employ my leisure in repeating
the varied incidents of my life, from the
happy day when, brilliant in youthful splen-
dour, I issued fresh from the mint, to swell
the public treasure.*
For several weeks I remained in the
Treasury, lost in a crowd of others like my-
self. Some, fresh and bright like me, had
never been soiled by human touch; others,
on the contrary, rubbed, worn, dirty, from
the mud that one gathers in passing through
*A franc is about tenpence of our money. A five franc piece is sometimes
called a crown, but it is not of so much value as an English crown piece. A
centime is the hundredth part of a franc.
THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT. 5
the world, were enjoying a momentary re-
pose before going forth again to stir up the
troubled waters of human passion.
On the 31st of December, a great many
of our number were taken from our prison
and packed up to recompense the toils (?) of
the Ministers of State. I fell to the lot of
a clerk in the Home Office. Although I
was the most shining and brilliant of all the
pieces of money which made up his quarter's
salary, he did not appear to value me more
than the rest, and placed me in a bag along
with my companions. In his eyes I was
only one of the means of procuring him the
various things he wished to possess; it
never once entered his imagination to love
me for my own sake. The poor man, con-
stantly chained to his very prosaic work,
had lost all sense of the beautiful. Not so
his wife; she was still alive to the natural
admiration of bright and pretty things, and
she looked at me almost tenderly, whilst
her husband was employed in dividing my
10 THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
companions into various little parcels, which
he wrapped up in paper, and then wrote on
one "Rent," on another "Baker," on a third
" Grocer." Just as he laid his hand on me
to put me into a little parcel intended for
the "Apothecary," he was stopped by his
wife-"Oh, Joseph!" she exclaimed, "do not
give away this shining new five franc piece."
It is not worth a centime more than the
others," replied her husband; "besides, you
cannot put it in a frame or under a glass-
case to look at it: we have not more than
we need to pay all our accounts. It is really
terrible, we can never lay by anything."
"Let us thank God, my dear," said his
wife, "that this year we are not in debt,
and let us not vex ourselves about the
future. But as to this shining piece of
money, could you not lay it by for a New
Year's gift for our little Henry ? Do you
not remember that you promised him a five
franc piece on the New Year's Day after he
should be nine years old ?"
THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT. 11
"Well, be it so; children like what
This consent given, the lady wrapped me
up in a piece of delicate pink silk paper, and
I was put into her drawer-till the morning
of the New Year. At the early dawn, little
Henry went to his mother's room, and
whilst his lips uttered the usual compliments
of the season, his wandering eyes seemed to
be looking about for the expected present.
At length his father placed me in his hand,
and eagerly tearing off my delicate wrapper,
he exclaimed, in a delighted tone-" Five
francs! I never had so much money in all
my life before. How many things I can
buy with five francs! I want a whip, a
little gun, a cane, lead soldiers, gingerbread,
and barley-sugar. Mamma, will you go
with me to-day to buy all these things ? "
"I am not sure if we can go to-day, for
you know we promised to spend the day
"Oh yes, I remember; but grandmamma
12 THE NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
will be sure to give me some presents too.
Perhaps she may give me a new ball, a top,
a large kite !" And the little boy forgot
his plans of shopping in his conjectures
what new gifts he might receive.
After admiring me for a while, Henry
put me into a pretty purse that his sister
gave him; and, in the course of the morning,
his little hand was often slipped into his
pocket, to make sure that his new treasure
was quite safe.
I. : -
MONEY WELL SPENT.
N the way to his grandmother's house,
he passed with his mother through
Si a street where his eyes were at-
tracted by many toy-shops, filled
with new toys for the season.
Every one knows how bright and attrac-
tive the toy-shops look on New Year's Day,
and how many pretty trifles and ingenious
devices are displayed to the eyes of the
admiring children. This is one of the means
employed by the inventive genius of trade
to satisfy the feverish greediness which is
one of the diseases of human nature at all
ages. Henry was seized with this fever;
he wished to buy everything,-he coveted
14 MONEY WELL SPENT.
everything he saw. At every few steps he
pulled his mother's cloak, to call her atten-
tion to some new thing that he desired to
have. His mother was so kind as to stop
very often, to ask the price of the various
toys he fancied; but as he always coveted
the largest and the best, the answer was
always unfavourable-ten francs, twelve
francs, fifteen francs,-all too much for
"There is nothing pretty to be got for five
francs," said he, in a discontented tone, as
he came out of the last shop. The poor
child, so rich in imagination in the morning,
thought himself poor before he reached his
grandmother's house. So true is it that
riches and poverty are comparative. As for
me, I felt my self-importance considerably
lessened in the course of that morning walk.
In the evening, Henry laid his purse on
the table, saying,-"Well, I hope that be-
fore to-morrow evening I shall have spent
my five francs."
MONEY WELL SPENT. 15
"Is it absolutely necessary to spend the
whole at once ?" said his mother.
"Certainly. What other use are they
for ?" replied the child, striking the table
with his purse, so as to make a ringing
"Would it not be better to wait for an
opportunity of spending them well, than be
in haste to buy at once something quite use-
less ? "
"Pooh, pooh! everything is useful if it
amuses me For one thing, I might get a
good many fireworks for five francs."
The little man went to sleep, and dreamed
of squibs and rockets; while his prudent
mother thought of the best means of teach-
ing her little boy how to spend his money
well, and to moderate his wishes.
The next day, the visit of a very poor
woman gave Henry's mother an opportunity
of putting his better feelings to the proof.
He stood by his mother, and listened to the
poor woman's story of her misery and suffer-
16 MONEY WELL SPENT.
ings, and he then saw his mother give her
some food and a small parcel of clothes.
"I should have wished to put a pair of
shoes into the parcel, my poor Fanchette,"
said she, "but my purse is quite empty; if
I can, I will buy you a pair soon."
"Oh, ma'am! you have been too kind
already," said the old woman, as she grate-
fully took her leave. Henry looked with
pity at her poor naked feet appearing
through her ragged shoes.
"Are shoes very dear ?" he whispered to
"The cheapest are two francs, my dear."
"And have you not two francs, mamma?"
"Not for this purpose at present, to my
very great regret, for poor Fanchette needs
them very much."
Henry slipped his hand into his pocket--
drew me half out of his purse, and put me
back again several times. At length he
said,-"Mamma, if I were to buy the shoes,
I would still have three francs. This is
MONEY WELL SPENT. 17
as much as I had last New Year, and I
thought that quite enough then."
The kind mother embraced her little son
with a pleasant smile, and her heart filled
with thankfulness to see that he felt inclined
to be generous and unselfish. She took him
out with her to a shop, where she helped
him to choose a suitable pair of shoes, for
which Henry paid. When he placed me in
the shoemaker's hand, his eyes sparkled-he
smiled pleasantly-he seemed much happier
than when he saw me for the first time. I
do not know if the three francs which he
received in change procured for him all the
pleasure he expected, but I am sure that
his first purchase gave him unalloyed plea-
sure, and that his mother, by directing him
to use his money thus, bestowed upon him a
pleasant remembrance,-an agreeable pic-
ture,-which would long be stored up in his
memory, entitled, "The use of my first five
For my part, I was proud of having helped
18 MONEY WELL SPENT.
to do a good action; and when the shoe-
maker threw me into his till, I lay there
dreaming of a long series of charitable deeds,
in which I should play the first part. In
my castles in the air, as in those of many
human beings, self was first, charity second
-the good deeds were to be done that I
might be glorified and admired.
THE BANKER'S WIFE.
N the shoemaker's shop, however, I
.was not long in discovering that I
.-' was not so important as I had fan-
cied, when I had made little Henry's
heart beat, and occupied his thoughts
for two whole days. A long time passed
away before any one took particular notice
of me again. I was thrust into a bag, with
many other crowns intended to pay a bill
that was due by the shoemaker. I then
passed through many hands,-from shop to
shop-from purse to purse-from the grocer's
till to the banker's money-drawer. I lost
my beauty and brilliancy, and was begin-
ning to look quite worn and rubbed, when
"20 THE BANKER'S WIFE.
one day I was put into a very elegant little
bag, containing a hundred and nineteen
other crown pieces and thirty gold napo-
leons. This precious bag was placed on the
dressing-table of the banker's young wife,
who every month spent as large a sum in
dresses, perfumes, gloves, and ribbons.
"Oh!" said she to her husband, as she
opened the bag, "what dirty money! I
hate these horrid five franc pieces. I wish,
my dear, you would always send me gold."
"The money does not remain long enough
in your hands to trouble you much," replied
he; "silver does quite well to pay your
"Oh, no lectures, I beg! I hate your
wearisome calculations. Keep them for your
clerks. I think Madame Dufour has just
sent me her account, so I will get rid of this
The young wife locked the gold into her
writing-desk, and then handed the bag of
silver to her maid.
THE BANKER'S WIFE. 21
: -- i' l 1 ,
"iC u tha, ; e- i s' "a se
I 1fr -- ..' '''' "
HE I AKEI'S WIFE.
if there is enough in the bag to pay Madame
22 THE BANKER'S WIFE.
Victoire counted the money, and replied,
"There is more than enough, madame. The
account is not above four hundred and fifty
"Very well, then, pay it, and keep the
rest for daily expenses. But let me see the
account; I have never looked at it."
After having carelessly glanced over the
minute details of charges for making, trim-
mings, and furnishings, which filled four col-
umns, the young lady said,-" This account
seems to me quite enormous. Are these
things overcharged ? You know the prices
of them better than I do, Victoire."
"Indeed, madame," replied Victoire, "the
account is not at all overcharged. Madame
Dufour is so very conscientious; I do not
understand how she can afford to charge
such very moderate prices."
Very well, then; pay what she asks."
That afternoon Victoire paid the milliner
four hundred and fifty francs, and received
back from her the odd fifty as the price of her
THE BANKER'S WIFE. 23
good offices in procuring for Madame Dufour
such a profitable customer as her rich young
mistress. I happened to be among the tenfive
franc pieces so honestly gained by the lady's
maid. I was placed in-a purse already toler-
ably well filled, but I did not remain long in it.
That very evening a poor woman was
shown into the lady's maid's room. She
looked sad and suffering. She brought a
dress, which the lady's maid tried on, finding
fault all the time with the sewing and the
fashion of it. The poor dressmaker prom-
ised to alter it as well as she could, but be-
fore going away, she asked, in a low voice,
if Mademoiselle Victoire would be so very
good as to pay her little account.
"Indeed," replied she, "you are very
impatient. You have scarcely worked for
me three months, and you are asking pay-
"Mademoiselle Victoire must know that
money is scarce among poor people. We
need all the little that we work for."
24 THE BANKER'S WIFE.
I certainly do not know how things go
on among poor people," said the lady's maid,
in a haughty tone; "but give me the ac-
count, I will pay it, and have done with it."
The poor woman, with a trembling hand,
gave a paper to Victoire, who had no sooner
cast her eyes upon it than she exclaimed
angrily, "Fifteen francs! what an enormous
account! ouly for having made me a pair of
stays, and altered three dresses. Indeed,
good woman, you cannot mean to make such
a charge. It must be a mistake."
"Mademoiselle will see that the trim-
mings are included. Indeed, I have charged
as low as I could for my work. I reckoned
it at the rate of fifteenpence a-day."
"You must work very slowly then; but
I mean to pay you, not for the time that
you chose to dawdle over your work, but for
the work which you have actually done; and
I think I am very reasonable when I offer
you eight francs. I had not intended to
spend more than six on these trifles."
TIE BANKER'S WIFE. 25
The poor dressmaker remonstrated, but
without much effect. After a long discus-
sion, she succeeded in getting ten francs.
She put me sadly in her pocket, along with
another crown, which she left at the baker's
on her way home, to pay an account which
she owed him for bread.
THE POOR DRESSMAKER.
*^'.,S she slowly mounted the long,
.' dark stair that led to her miserable
room on the fifth story, the poor
U'- woman took me in her hand, and
:'- looked at me with a tear in her
"Alas!" said she to herself, "I would
like so much to spend this crown in buying
a warm dress for my poor child but I fear
that Peter will not give me money this
week for the house expenses. Oh, if the
young lady had only paid me the fifteen
francs! They were so well earned! But
there are some people cruel enough to take
advantage of poor work-people. They seem
THE POOR DRESSMAKER. 27
THE POOR DRESSMAKER
never to think that they are taking away
our very bread. 0 my God, keep me from
.---_-_ r'- --, .. ._ -* *
THE POOR DEESSIAKE!%.
never to think that they are taking away
our very bread. 0 my God, keep me from
28 THE POOR DRESSMAKER.
murmuring," said the poor woman, as she
threw herself on her knees in a corner of
the room. After having wept and prayed
for a few minutes, she rose calm and quiet,
put me in a little box, which she hid under
a parcel of old clothes in her little press,
and then she sat down to work busily.
The next day was Saturday. Little
Felix, the poor woman's child, returned
from school with a flushed face, complaining
of a bad headache. His mother felt his
burning hands and quick pulse, and, much
alarmed, hastened to put him to bed, and
give him a cooling drink. She was watch-
ing by his bedside when his father came
"Peter," said his wife, "I am afraid that
little Felix is very ill; he ought to be kept
warm. I have put our last fagot on the
fire. Could you give me a little money to
buy wood ?"
My money is not so plenty," said the
half intoxicated man.
THE POOR DRESSMAKER. 29
"But your master has paid you to-night,
has he not ?"
What business is it of yours whether
he has paid me or not? But there is thirty
sous," said he, throwing the money on the
table, "and see that you don't ask me for
more money for a week at least."
So saying, Peter threw himself on his bed,
where he snored till daylight, and in the
morning set off again to join his wicked
companions. Meantime his poor wife, sure
that she could not hope for any help from
him, took up the money which he had thrown
down, and counted it slowly. I must have
a little sugar," said she, "to make him a cup
of tea; a small bit of meat for soup; and
wood, wood-we have not a morsel left. How
am I to pay for all? I must get him well
before I think of a dress for him," said the
poor mother, with a sigh, as she drew me
out of my hiding-place. This money must
go; and when it is spent, God, who sees
"* A French sou is about equal to an English half-penny.
30 THE POOR DRESSMAKER.
my misery will not forsake me. Oh that
I had perfect faith in him; that I could
trust this little one to him," continued she,
stooping to kiss the child's fevered brow.
The unhappy mother then went hastily
down the long stair, and at the nearest
corner she entered a shop, where she gave
me in exchange for a few fagots and some
smaller pieces of money. I would willingly
have remained in her hand if I could, for
I felt that she was giving away her last
resource; but the wood merchant seized me,
and slipped me into his pocket, saying to
the woman, "This is nice dry wood; it will
burn like a match." Alas! she who had
just paid so dear for these few fagots did
not wish them to burn away too quickly.
i'Y new master was a little squat man,
with a jovial face. I remained
S all night in his pocket, and went
with him when, next morning,
he went down to open his shop,
although it was Sunday.*
Soon after the door was opened a little boy
rushed in, saying to my new master,-
"Well, father, what are we to do to-day ?
You know it is a holiday."
"Oh, you little idle thing !" said his
In France and other Romanist countries, where many of the people have
not the Bible to teach them their true rights, the Sunday is not kept as it is
in Britain. In Rlomanist countries the poorer people are cheated of their
day of rest, and made to work either a part or the whole of the time which
God has given them for their own, that others may be-amused. Thus they
open shops, and submit to toil on a day when no human being has a right to
demand labour from another. Here we know our rights better, whether we
use them well or not.
82 THE SABBATH-BREAKER.
father, laughing, "so you are come to coax
me to go out. Well, well, only wait till my
usual customers have been here. I will
shut the shop:, and take you somewhere to
It would be better for you, Mr. Thomas,
if you would shut the shop and go to church,"
said a neighbour, who was just passing on
her way there.
"Ah, bah church is all very well for old
women like you," replied the wicked shop-
keeper; "for my part, I prefer a well filled
"The fool has said in his heart, There is
no God," said the woman solemnly, as she
passed on her way to church.
The shopkeeper was prevented from mak-
ing any reply by the appearance of his wife,
dressed in her best. "Come," said she,
"the weather is lovely; give us a drive in
a hackney coach for once, and let us go and
dine in the country."
"A hackney coach indeed !" said her
THE SABBATH-BREAKER. 33
husband, in a bantering tone; "but, how-
ever," continued he, things have gone well
with me this week. I have a five franc
piece in my pocket, which has not yet been
in the till; we may as well go and spend it
Half an hour afterwards, the family of the
shopkeeper were driving into the country;
before evening I was in the coachman's
pocket, and, a few minutes afterwards, he
threw me upon the counter of a public-
house to pay for drink.
I may as well tell here what I afterwards
heard of the family of my late master. He
was soon after ruined, and ended his days
in prison; and his little son, taught to be
a Sabbath-breaker, grew up a thief, and
perished miserably, after a career of crime.
The prosperity of the wicked is short.
He who saith in his heart, There is no
God, is indeed a fool, for this world as well
as for the next.
Soon after the coachman left me in the
34 THE SABBATH-BREAKER.
tavern, I was packed up with many more
like myself, and sent to Dijon to pay an
account due by the tavern-keeper to the
proprietor of the vineyards who supplied
him with wine.
THE DISHONEST SERVANT.
Y'" first appearance in the country
Swas made in the possession of
S "Madame Thierrens, the wife of
j the proprietor of the vineyards.
i, I was given by him to his wife,
and the gift was accompanied by a long
lecture on her extravagance.
Each of these five franc pieces," said he,
"is hardly earned by me, and in your hands
they run away like water."
"Well, we must eat," replied madame;
"and considering that we have had company
at dinner twice last week, I cannot say I
think the housekeeping expenses are any-
36 THE DISHONEST SERVANT.
Oh, when we have company I find no
fault, for I like to have everything right.
But it is possible to make a good appearance
without spending much money; there are
ways of saving and contriving, even though
we must mind appearance."
Madame Thierrens, though she appeared
displeased at her husband's remarks, did
not fail to repeat them the next morning
to her cook.
Madame thinks," replied the cook, "that
I buy things too dear. Well, I wish that
madame would go herself to market, and
see if she can make a better bargain."
"No," replied the mistress; "do you go,
and do your best to get things cheap. I
hope you will not spend all this five franc
piece." So saying, she gave me into the
hands of the cook.
Jeannette went out, shrugging her shoul-
ders, not in the most respectful manner.
She went first to the grocer's shop, where
she had a long gossip with the grocer's wife
THE DISHONEST SERVANT. 37
about the avarice of her master and the un-
reasonableness of her mistress, commenting
in a most uncharitable way on the most
minute details of their household arrange-
"Ah," continued Jeannette, "if I did not
take good care of myself, it would not be all
I get from them that would make me rich;
but you see I manage it all the same, for I
mean to put fivepence in my own pocket out
of this five franc piece, and I will add it in
halfpence to some of the articles of my
The grocer's wife answered, "You are
quite right; if your mistress will not do you
justice, you must take care of yourself."
The next shop into which Jeannette went
was a fruiterer's, where, while she was
choosing apples, she began the same com-
plaints; but here she did not meet with the
"Does your mistress not pay you your
wages ?" asked the fruiterer's wife.
38 THE DISHONEST SERVANT.
Oh, certainly; do you think I would
serve her for nothing ?"
"Are not you properly fed ?"
"We have no luxuries, yet we certainly
do not starve."
"In that case it seems to me that your
mistress has fulfilled her engagements to
you. As to perquisites, or presents, they
are quite voluntary-you have no right to
demand them; and if you are not satisfied,
why do you not rather leave the place at
once, than go about complaining of it, and
speaking evil of your employers ?"
Oh, if I could find a better I would not
be long of leaving it; but good places are
Good servants are scarce too. All
have their faults; and if we could learn to
bear and forbear, it would be better for all,
and things would go on better. At all
events, my dear Jeannette, remember that
the Word of God says, 'Servants, be sub-
ject to your masters with all fear; not only
THE DISHONEST SERVANT. 39
to the good and gentle, but also to the fro-
ward'" (1 Peter ii. 18).
"Pooh, pooh! all that is very well in a
sermon," said Jeannette crossly. But I
cannot stand here all day," continued she,
throwing me down on the counter; "give
me my change, and let me go to do my
So I parted from Jeannette; but I heard
of her afterwards. She was turned out of
place after place for pilfering; and having
lost her character, she lingered out a miser-
able old age in the poor-house.
CHARITY AND OSTENTATION.
S. \ T was on a Saturday that I became
Sthe property of the fruiterer's wife.
'. That evening, when the good woman
,i,. shut her shop, she put me along with
several others into a bag, and carried
me home with her. There we found her
husband and three children ready for supper,
and we were laid on a side-table. After the
evening meal, the father of the family opened
a large Bible, read a chapter, and then knelt
down in prayer with his household. After
family worship the three children went to
bed, and the husband and wife remained
alone talking about their concerns. The
wife brought the bag of money to the table,
CHARITY AND OSTENTATION. 41
emptied it, separated the copper money from
the silver, and counted it; while her husband
also produced the bag containing his weekly
earnings, and they summed up their accounts
together. At last the husband said,-
"We have done well this week; here are
forty francs to spare."
"God has blessed our labour," replied the
wife; "shall we not show our gratitude by
an offering of thanksgiving ? What do you
say, my dear? "
"You are right," replied the husband.
"'He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth
unto the Lord'" (Prov. xix. 17); "so let us
do something for that poor woman whose
husband beats her every day, while she is
half killing herself to support her children."
Very well, that is quite right; but might
we not also give something to the Missionary
Society ? It is the only way in which we
can do anything for the heathen, for neither
you nor I can go to preach to them. Yet
the command remains the same, 'Go ye into
42 CHARITY AND OSTENTATION.
all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature'" (Mark xvi. 15). "If we cannot go
ourselves, we can at least obey the command
by helping to send others."
The husband and wife were of one mind,
and with one accord they laid me aside to be
their offering to the missions. The rest of
the money was then tied up in little packets,
some to pay for the fruit which they sold,
others for various articles of household ex-
Before going to bed, good Madame Re-
nouard put all her house in perfect order, so
that she might have nothing to do on Sunday
morning. She laid out her children's Sun-
day dresses, and put a penny in each little
pocket, ready to be put in the collection for
the poor next day.
For my part, I remained some time in the
hands of the clergyman to whom I was given
for the Missionary Society. I was locked
into his desk, and from time to time other
pieces of money were put into the same bag.
CHARITY AND OSTENTATION. 43
I observed that the clergyman seemed to
have often most pleasure in putting in the
smallest sums. There," said he, while he
put in one day a few pence that a working-
man had saved from his hard earnings,
"these are the gifts that are pleasing in
God's sight,-the fruit of self-denial, the
offerings of love."
I passed from the minister's writing-desk
into the hands of a banker, who had under-
taken to remit the sums collected to Paris.
One day there was a great dinner-party in
Dijon, to which this banker was invited.
Gaily dressed, he came to his cash-box and
took out some money to fill his purse. I
happened to be one of the pieces chosen.
During the evening, one of the guests at the
party told a melancholy story of a fire that
had happened in a neighboring village.
Many families had had their houses burned,
and had lost their all. The story was pa-
thetically told ; the feelings of the listeners
were touched. The lady of the house pro-
44 CHARITY AND OSTENTATION.
posed to make a collection for the sufferers.
She took up a little velvet bag, and was
going to carry it round the circle of guests,
when she was stopped by her husband, who
left the room and soon returned carrying a
silver plate, which he gave to his wife,
saying, in a whisper, "This is a much
better plan of collecting the subscriptions."
At the same moment the fingers of the
banker let go the solitary franc which he had
taken out to put into the lady's bag, and,
seizing me instead, he placed me on the
silver plate, receiving in return a graceful
courtesy from the pretty collector.
The money thus gathered was employed
in buying some necessaries for the poor
people who had lost their all in the fire. I
passed into the hands of a rich shopkeeper,
whose only son was going the next day to
Paris. The young man was ambitious; he
was going to the capital, his mother said, to
get his manners formed. This is, in general,
an expensive process. So the shopkeeper,
CHARITY AND OSTENTATION. 45
besides a letter of credit, had placed in his
son's hands a very well filled bag of money,
in which I had a place; and so I returned to
the city whence, a few months before, I had
S.. "- ''- ___ -" -'- -
LTHOUGH I was near the bottom
of the bag, I was not long impris-
oned there, for the young man soon
emptied it. Three other pieces and
myself only remained, and he put
us one day in his pocket when he went to
walk on the Boulevards.
What is the matter with you ?" said one
of his companions, meeting him; "you look
very melancholy. Come and dine with me
at Very's, and then let us go to the opera."
"I cannot afford it," said my owner; I
have spent nearly all my ready money, and I
dare not use my letter of credit so soon, for
my father would never forgive me for having
THE GAMBLER. 47
spent so much money in such a short
"Oh, all fathers are alike! I have had
unspeakable trouble in getting any money
out of mine. But I have now found out a
way of doing without him. I am so success-
ful at play, that my winnings pay almost all
"Indeed is it possible? "
"You should try the same plan."
But what if I were to lose ? "
"Ah! you must run the risk; you have
your chance like others. But it is not
likely that you would lose, if you will follow
my directions; and if you should lose a little
at first, I will lend you as much as will en-
able you to try your fortune again."
A few minutes afterwards the two young
men might have been seen entering a hall,
in the middle of which was a long table
covered with green cloth, and surrounded by
a crowd of men, who seemed to have their
hearts in their eyes, so intently were they
48 THE GAMBLER.
watching the table, so eager and passionate
were the glances of alternate hope and fear
which they cast on the piles of gold rapidly
changing hands before them. No sound was
heard but the chink of the money as it passed
from hand to hand, or the quickly uttered
words-" Red!" "Black 1" "Put down your
stake !" &c.
One might have believed that all these
men had neither ideas nor words. They
seemed met to quarrel over the gold like
hungry dogs over a bone.
The four five franc pieces still remaining
to my master gained at first a few more; but
at the moment when he was congratulating
himself on his success his fortune changed,
and at the end of a few minutes he had lost
all, and I was drawn with my companions
into the heap lying before the banker.
I cannot tell how often I changed hands
during that evening, or rather during that
night; I was the sport of the lowest and
meanest passions that can exist in a human
THE GAMBLER. 49
breast, passions which stifle every remnant
of sense or feeling, and destroy all enjoyment
in pleasures of a nobler kind.
At four o'clock in the morning I found
myself among a number of napoleons in the
pocket of a stock-broker, who sometimes
came to keep up the excitement of the
morning's gambling on the Exchange by the
evening's gambling at the gaming-table.
\ ----->-\^^ (* y^^^ .i-i
___- S- *' --i-- i I
THE POOR-RICH MAN.
S _7f ,iO11M his hands I passed into those of
:, banker prince, who could command
millions by one stroke of his pen.
i-. He was one of those men whose
S whole thoughts, whose whole actions,
whose whole life, have but one object-and
that is, to enrich themselves. His name at
any speculation was a guarantee for its
success; he was fortunate in all that he
undertook. Proud of his talents for business,
he played the despot on the Exchange, and
enjoyed being courted to take a part in spec-
ulations, in which he was in truth most an-
xious to share. Rising with the dawn, after
having passed half the night at his books,
THE POOR-RICH MAN. 51
scarcely allowing himself a few minutes for
his meals, this rich speculator voluntarily
submitted to work harder than the poor
labourer who feeds his numerous family by
his daily work.
His physical labour, indeed, was small
compared to the mental anxiety caused every
day by the fluctuations of the stocks-the
arrival of his special messengers from all
quarters with news of exciting interest-the
failure of his correspondents, &c. Such a
life was indeed a martyrdom, self-imposed by
this man, from the love of money. And did
this money, it may be asked, procure him
all the pleasure he expected from it? His
house, indeed, was sumptuous, his establish-
ment complete, the luxury of his household
arrangements perfect; but the only enjoy-
ment he derived from all this was the pleasure
of displaying it in the eyes of others, who,
dazzled with the evidence of his success, ex-
claimed, What a wonderful man Mr. X. is;
what a head he has for business; what an
52 THE POOR-RICH MAN.
immense fortune he has made This kind
of admiration flattered his vanity, and made
amends to him for the long toils, and the
sleepless nights which he had even within
his silken curtains on his bed of down. Mr.
X. did not love money for its own sake,
neither did he value the luxuries it would
procure. The tranquillity and ease with
which he risked his money in fresh specula-
tion, proved that he was actuated by no
greedy desire to hoard it up. No; his am-
bitious mind longed to gain money as a proof
of his own talents. Considering his intel-
lectual faculties, in some measure, as a
machine for coining gold, he said to himself,
"The more I can acquire, the more I am
worth; the success of all my undertakings is
my title to the esteem and the admiration of
Alas, what a false standard of merit!
(Luke xii. 13-34; xvi. 19-31.)
Forgotten, by some chance, in the pocket
of one of his coats, I shared for some time in
THE POOR-RICH MAN. 53
his busy life and saw his pursuits. But sud-
denly Mr. X. fell ill, and I found myself in
his room, a silent listener to the daily con-
sultations which he held with his head clerks.
When they entered his room, he recovered
for the moment all his liveliness and activity,
dictated his letters with amazing facility, and
decided at a glance on immense speculations,
with the rapidity of thought and correct de-
cision which had made his fortune. But if
from time to time his wife tried to amuse
him, by reading to him or talking to him, he
listened indeed from civility, but he did not
hear a word that she said, and he seemed
almost nervously impatient that she should
close the book of her choice. She soon saw
this, and left him alone. One of his nieces,
whom he had adopted, came every day to
spend some hours by his bedside. This
young lady tried to fix her uncle's mind on
religious subjects, and persevered even when
he seemed inclined to laugh at what he
called her exaggerated notions. But at
54 THE POOR-RICH MAN.
length, when she ventured one day to hint
at the dangerous nature of his illness, he
sternly desired her to be silent.
It is time enough," said he, "to think of
death, when our cares and duties in this life
are at an end."
Yes," replied his niece, "if our Lord had
not said, Watch and pray, for ye know not
when the time is" (MI.,k xiii. 33; Luke
Pooh! pooh! death is not so near; I have
money enough to frighten him away by a
whole host of doctors and their medicines."
"The rich man in the Bible had money
enough for this when he said, 'Soul, thou
hast much goods laid up for many years:'
yet that very night his soul was required of
him" (Luke xii. 19, 00).
This courageous answer so irritated Mr.
X., that his anger closed the young girl's
lips. She went out of his room with tears
in her eyes, saying to herself with a deep
sigh, "How true is it that 'the love of
THE POOR-RICH MAN. 55
money is the root of all evil'" (1 Tim. iv.
The sick man was tossed on his uneasy
couch by violent spasms of pain, which the
well-paid doctors assured him were only
'-- "--- ... -:.. r .
TIE RICH MAN'S DEATH.
,iNNE day, the last that he passed on
-j earth, Mr. X. desired that his head
<- clerk should come as usual to tell
'1 him what was going on. Mr. Simon
almost shuddered, when he entered
the room, to see his master's livid face, on
which Death had already set his seal; but,
like a politic man of the world, he soon re-
covered his self-possession, and assured his
employer that he thought him looking much
better "Very soon," added he, we may
hope to have the pleasure of seeing you again
in the office, where yourmuch-desired presence
will quicken the zeal of your men, who are quite
inspired by your presence to fresh exertion."
THE RICH MAN'S DEATH. 57
After having thus scattered the incense
of servility even on a death-bed, Mr. Simon
unfolded a budget of letters, which were
briefly reviewed and decided on by him who
was soon to leave this earth and all its
concerns. Stimulated by long habit, he
listened and gave directions while Mr.
Simon recounted to him the progress of the
complicated business which was done in his
name in Vienna, Berlin, Odessa, Naples, &c.
At length, while Mr. Simon was reading
a letter from London, the invalid was seized
with a spasm of pain so violent that all
human aid seemed powerless. The doctors
were hastily summoned to the side of the
bed of agony, and their care and skill availed
once more for his relief. The dying man
opened his eyes and said, in a faltering
voice, "Go on-Mr. Simon."
"Sir ?" said the clerk, in an anxious tone.
"Well-go on; tell me-what is the
news from London ? What a sudden fall
-of the funds ah how unexpected !"
58 THE RICH MAN'S DEATH.
The attendants present looked at each
other in mute surprise, but one of the
doctors hastened to compliment Mr. X. on
his presence of mind.
"How wonderful! After such a violent
attack to take up again at once the thread
of business just where it had been broken!
Such presence of mind is sublime, quite an
unusual effort of genius-what a wonderful
"Nevertheless," said another doctor, "do
try, my dear sir, to moderate your excess of
feeling; you are too deeply interested in
your business. Wait till your health is a
little recovered before you trouble yourself
any more with these matters. You will
soon be better; these nervous complaints
sometimes pass off very quickly."
This very doctor, as he left the room, said
in a whisper to the banker's niece: "Do
not leave Madame X. alone in her husband's
room, for he will not live over the night."
Oh !" exclaimed the true-hearted young
THE RICH MAN'S DEATH. 59
girl, with gentle firmness, "will you not be
responsible to God for the soul that you
have thus deceived, even at his last hour ? "
The doctor, either not hearing or pre-
tending not to hear, went out hastily, and
hurried down the staircase humming a tune.
Still imprisoned in the coat pocket where
lie had put me, I was present during the
last hours of the rich banker. The strong
and active man had become a cold corpse,
beside which watched the mercenary attend-
ants, who were speculating on their chances
of getting a part of his wardrobe, or of being
remembered for a trifle in his will. Their
master was scarcely buried before they were
quarrelling over his cast-off clothes.
--- ...-..- -- -
THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE.
i JIIE coat in which I was hidden fell
[ t, the share of a servant, who sold
Shit directly to an old-clothes-man.
\ When he was brushing his new
purchase I fell out of the pocket, and he
soon picked me up and called to his wife to
show her what he had found.
"But," remonstrated his wife, urged by a
feeling of honesty unknown to her husband,
" ought we not to return this five franc piece
to the servant from whom you bought the
"Indeed what folly what is worth find-
ing is worth keeping; we have a good right
to what we find."
THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE. 61
The wife, convinced by this eloquent
reasoning, said no more, and returned to her
My new master, besides his trade of old-
clothes-man, was also a pawnbroker-a
business which brought him many and
strange customers. One day a young man
apparently about nineteen came in, carrying
a watch in his hand.
"Mr. Goulard," said he, "how much will
you lend me on this ?"
The pawnbroker turned round the watch
and examined it closely on all sides, weighed
the chain and the key, which were gold,
and then seemed to consider for a moment
before giving a decided answer.
I will lend you fifty francs, if you will
promise to pay me seventy at the end of a
"Fifty francs! that is very little; and
for one fortnight! that is a very short time.
I think you are a little of a Jew, my good
62 THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE.
"A Jew !" said the pawnbroker, "a
Jew ah, I wish you had to do with a Jew;
you would soon see the difference. A Jew
has neither faith nor conscience, while I am
get for it were I obliged to sell it; but I
hope you will not force me to do this."
Certainly not; it was my father's watch,
"Certainly not; it was my father's watch,
THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE. 63
and my mother would be in a sad state if I
did not take it with me when I go home at
the end of the session. In some way or
other I must try to redeem it from you be-
fore that time."
The poor student pocketed the money, of
which I formed a part, and returned rapidly
to the corner of the street, where a friend was
waiting for him. I did not remain long in
his possession, and after having been tossed
about for some time, I found myself in the
hands of a jeweller, into whose shop a young
couple came to buy some trifling ornaments.
The husband paid for the purchase in gold,
and I was given to him in exchange. He
threw me carelessly into a purse, in which
I found myself a few days afterwards
travelling with my master on the road be-
tween Paris and Nice. As we came near
the Sardinian custom-house, the young lady
appeared very uneasy about her luggage,
for which she seemed to fear the awkward
hands of the custom-house officers. As the
64 THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE.
carriage stopped at the door of the custom-
house, the pretty traveller smiled sweetly
to the officer who came up to the carriage;
but, unmoved by her civility, he said in a
cross voice, "This carriage must be unpacked
and all the boxes examined; we must search
The greedy rogues, regardless of the
nervous starts of the lady as they touched
her things, pulled all her precious boxes into
the middle of the court.
Then came the inspector, pulling up his
sleeves as if preparing for business. When
he had opened one trunk, and plunged his
hand into each corner, his superior officer,
seeing him so busy, went to receive a
carriage which arrived just at the moment.
Seizing the opportunity, my master drew
me from his purse, and slipped me into the
hand of the inspector; who, equally clever,
slipped me into his sleeve, and continued
his examination of the packages. But his
fingers never touched the contents, or even
THE PAWNBROKER AND THE BRIBE. 65
raised the silk paper which covered them.
Then he retreated into the background, and
began cording one of the travelling boxes
with an air of the most perfect nonchalance,
while my master turned towards his wife to
conceal a smile. In a minute or two, he
might be heard saying in loud tones, "This
carriage may be packed again; it is all per-
", I '
THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS.
"j'[ iHE inspector had a child who was
.':lp dy ing of consumption, and the un-
l-ppy mother, who was a Romanist,
ut- ver ceased telling her husband
that their child might live if she could afford
to have some masses said for it by the priest;
"But," said she, sighing, "he asks so very
much money for these masses !"
"This child has cost us enough already,
without throwing away money on nonsense,"
said the father. My opinion is, that the
priest's masses will have no more effect than
the doctor's remedies have had as yet.
These masses are just shams, invented by
the priest to make money."
THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS. 67
How can you be so unbelieving ? Have
you not heard of all the wonderful miracles
that have been done by the masses and by
the intercession of the saints ? You should
have heard all that our neighbour Girolamo
was telling me this morning."
"Well, if you have so much faith in the
saints, why do you not invoke them your-
self? You may, pray to them directly,
instead of paying so much money to the
priest for doing it."
"Oh, my prayers would never be worth
so much as a holy man's! And then the
mass the mass !"
I cannot understand why it is necessary
to pay for prayers. The priest must be less
generous than men usually are, or he would
pray for the child without being paid for it."
You take good care to make the travel-
lers pay for all your civility and service,
but you grudge money for any purpose but
your own selfish pleasures; and if our child
dies, it will be your fault."
68 THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS.
The poor ignorant woman begged, prayed,
wept, and implored, till her husband, fairly
worn out, at length threw me at her feet,
saying, "Well, well, I must give you your
own way for once."
I was given to the priest, who mumbled
over the masses bargained for. Nevertheless
the poor child died: but the priest pocketed
me all the same.
That evening the priest received one of
his friends at supper. The meal was both
plentiful and luxurious. After it was over,
the friends sat chatting together, and both
complained of the injury done to their
pockets by the incredulity of men, who
would not believe in the efficacy of masses.
"We should be ill off were it not for the
superstition of women," said one of them.
"And yet," replied the other, "it is by
no means universal, even among women.
Some of them are now pretending to be
strong-minded, and are beginning to doubt
the infallibility of the Church and the efficacy
THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS. 69
of masses, as well as their husbands. Since
that odious colporteur was here, I have
never found my parishioners so obedient or
so ready to pay. It was a great pity that we
did not manage to arrest him before he had
sold so many copies of the Bible. Only
imagine that some of my people actually
insist on keeping and reading that danger-
ous book, and go so far as to pretend to under-
stand it for themselves without my help !"
For my part," said the other, I settled
that matter by excommunicating from the
pulpit all who should dare to keep this
pernicious volume. After that, some of the
people got frightened, and brought me their
copies, which I burned; but I am much
afraid that there are more in the parish that
I have not been able to discover. I shall
have no peace till every one of them is in
"You are right, my friend; war to the
death against heresy. It is our only safety;
for if we suffer the Bible to spread, it will
70 THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYEBS.
put an end to the authority of the Church,
and will ruin us at the same time. Our
pockets will suffer if our people learn from
the Bible to pray for themselves, instead of
paying for masses."
The two friends separated, agreeing to do
all they could to discover and burn the
Bibles left by the colporteur. The priest
to whom I now belonged then rang the bell,
summoned his housekeeper, and placed me
in her hand, saying, "You will give this to
Juspino the carrier, and tell him when he
goes to Marseilles to bring me the very best
chocolate to be had there."
The housekeeper told her master that a
poor woman had just come to ask his pray-
ers for her husband, who had been ill for
some months. The priest gravely listened
to her story, and after hearing a heart-
rending account of her poverty and suffer-
ings, he took a little image out of a drawer,
and desired the housekeeper to give it to
the poor woman. "Tell her," said he,
THE PRIEST AND 11S PRAYERS. 71
"that she must say five paternosters three
times a-day before this image of St. Joseph,
for his intercession is very efficacious."
The housekeeper crossed herself devoutly
as she took the image, and quitted the room
to give her master's message to the afflicted
The carrier left me in Marseilles, after
paying for the priest's chocolate; and I
passed through many shops and counting-
houses in this town. I remained longest in
the wooden bowl of a money-changer, where,
exposed under a grating in his window
along with pieces of money of all kinds, we
attracted the longing eyes of the passers-by.
Often the poor beggar, who was holding out
his hand to implore a trifle in charity,
looked at us and sighed to see such riches
lying useless. More than once I have
seen a tear fall from the eye of the labourer
who was out of work, and, after a vain
search for employment, was returning home
empty-handed to his wife and his starving
72 THE PRIEST AND HIS PRAYERS.
children. One of us-only one-would have
made him so happy. The little ragged boys
of the neighbourhood often gathered round
the grated window, talking of all the enjoy-
ments they would have if so much money
were theirs; and sometimes they even
quarrelled and fought about these castles in
the air. Wiser people than they have been
known to quarrel over things as unreal.
THE PRAYER OF FAITH ANSWERED.
SWAS not sorry at length to leave
the money-changer's window; and I
Found myself a few minutes after-
wards in the pocket of a young man,
who was travelling for the double
purpose of amusement and instruction. He
visited all the ruins on his way; examined
all buildings of any interest-not a single
place marked in the guide-book escaped him;
and to the dictation and under the teaching
of the guide who accompanied him, he wrote
very numerous notes with a gold pencil in
an elegant pocket-book of Russian leather,
which was fastened with clasps of gold.
The traveller left this precious journal in
74 THE PRAYER OF FAITH ANSWERED.
.a hackney coach. He could not remember
where he had left it; he had no idea of the
number of the coach he had used. He feared
his valuable notes were gone for ever, and
so much learning and wisdom lost to the
world. In despair, he was in the act of pre-
paring an advertisement of his.loss for the
newspapers, when the much-prized note-book
was brought to him by the honest coachman,
who had been doing all he could to find out
the owner of it.
I was given to the worthy man as a re-
ward for his honesty. He carried me with
him to his humble home in the suburbs of the
town, and with great joy held me up to his
wife, who was waiting for him at the door.
"There," said he, "the sum is all made
up now, and for this year, at least, our cot-
tage is ours once more !"
"Thanks be to God!" said his wife,
wiping away a tear of gratitude and joy. "I
had prayed so very earnestly for his blessing;
yet not an hour ago I felt quite desponding:
THE PRAYER OF FAITH ANSWERED. 75
but he has not forsaken us; he has heard
"My faith almost failed to-day, when Mr.
Rochon came to give me notice that if we
did not send him by to-morrow morning the
fifteen francs-the interest of the two hun-
dred which he had lent us-he would turn us
out of the cottage. It was in vain that I
pleaded with him, and explained to him that
the delay was in consequence of your long ill-
ness. I begged him to take in the meantime
the ten francs which we had gathered.- He
would not listen to me, and left the house
saying, in an angry tone, 'No half payments;
all, or none.'"
Ah I was very uneasy about it too, for
I know the hard and pitiless nature of our
creditor. Did he not ruin the widow Per-
rin ? All the houses in the neighbourhood
will soon belong to him, if he continues his
plan of lending money at excessive interest,
and then seizing the goods of every family
who are at all behind with their payments."
76 THE PRAYER OF FAITH ANSWERED.
"My dear husband, we must not judge
even this hard old man; the Word of God
forbids it. Let us rather pray for this poor,
empty heart, who knows not the one thing
needful, and makes a god of his money."
"Alas! what good will it all do him at
the last day ? But I have not yet told you
how God in his providence has helped me to-
day. I was very sad, not knowing where to
turn for assistance in our difficulties, when I
found upon the seat of my coach a note-book,
ornamented and clasped with gold, worth a
great deal of money. For a moment I was
tempted to keep it. I said to myself, that
it probably belonged to a traveller who had
left by the diligence some hours before, and
that it would be impossible to find him out.
But these words kept sounding in my ears,
'It is a sin to keep what belongs to another;'
and I had no rest till I had gone from hotel
to hotel to find the owner-of the note-book.
At last I found the gentleman I had driven
in the morning; and he was so glad to see
THE PRAYER OF FAITH ANSWERED. 77
his note-book again that he gave me this as
Exactly the five francs we needed to
make up the sum !" said his wife. In this
we see the hand of God, who has heard our
prayers." (Ps. xxxvii. 3, 23-25.)
1- jHE next day I was carried to Mr.
-., I-ochon, who, wrapped in an old
,4( i: ressing-gown, all mended and pieced,
j-was seated in a black leather chair,
before an old writing-table. He was count-
ing up rows of figures, which so absorbed his
attention, that the honest coachman knocked
several times at the door before he could
make him hear.
"Oh, there you are," said Mr. Rochon at
length; "I hopeyouhave brought mymoney?"
"So much the better for you, for I was
just going to send to my agent to bid him
THE MISER. 79
"I am sorry we are a little behind this
year; but we could not help it; I was long
"Oh yes! always some trifling excuse;
THIE OLD MIBER.
debtors have always plenty of excuses ready.
I have half ruined myself by believing them,
and I have got no thanks for it. After this,
I am determined to give no delay, and take
no excuse. I must lay up a trifle for my old
80 THE MISER.
age. Here, take your receipt, and be more
correct and punctual in future."
The coachman withdrew, and I remained
lying on the old writing-table before Mr.
Rochon, who went on with his calculations.
"39,680 francs, the interest of 400,000 francs
lent to different people. What a pity I
could not make it 320 francs more !-that
would have been a round sum. But I am
too easy; I do not exact enough interest.
I lose a centime* here, and a centime there;
and at the end of the year these all count.
Here is the letter of my Paris correspon-
dent: 10,000 francs of profit on my last
speculation in the Austrian funds. And these
funds rose a trifle the very day after I sold!
What a pity I did not wait another day! I
am always losing something.
Rent of various farms, 30,000 francs.
That is a bad speculation; it is such hard
work to make the farmers pay; justice is so
slow in proceeding against them; and I
A centime is the hundredth part of a franc.
THE MISER. 81
think my agent is slower still. He is nbt so
zealous and sharp as he ought to be; he is
always sending me some excuse for the lazy
creatures. He gets soft over their stories of
misfortune, and writes me about the numer-
ous family of one, and the bad harvest of
another. Oh, it is hardwork to get one's due!"
Here the only servant of this poor-rich
man interrupted his calculations by bringing
him his breakfast, which consisted of a single
cup of coffee, without sugar, and a halfpenny
"Marianne," said Mr. Rochon to his
housekeeper, "this coffee is very strong; you
must have put in more than I ordered."
Monsieur may satisfy himself of that by
measuring what remains."
Well, at all events, you may make it still
weaker. Times are so hard, and everything
so dear, that we must retrench. Do not buy
any more white rolls for my breakfast; a
crust of household bread* will do for me."
* What is called in France "pain de mdnage"-household bread--is
dark-coloured, often almost black, heavy and bad.
82 THE MISER.
"I shall get what monsieur chooses," re-
plied Marianne. But as she left the room,
she muttered to herself,-" You old miser !
your nephews will not give you any thanks
for starving yourself to leave them a few
crowns more. How finely they will make
your money fly after you are dead !"
After having ate his slight repast, which
was to serve him till five o'clock in the after-
noon, Mr. Rochon double-locked the door of
his room, then cast an uneasy glance round
him, peered into every corner, as if he feared
that any inquisitive eye should see him,
then touching a spring, a panel in the wain-
scot opened and disclosed a strong-box of
iron, the cover of which he slowly raised.
It was divided into different compartments,
each filled with pieces of gold and silver of
various kinds. Mr. Rochon seemed to en-
joy looking at them, counting them, and
piling them up straight. He said to himself,
" It is a good thing to have a little laid by
for a rainy day. No one in the world knows
THE MISER. 83
about my little treasure here. It is but very
slowly that I am able to add to it. I have
been working hard for twenty years, and
although I put in all I can save, and all the
fractions of my payments, I have not more
here than 50,000 francs in reserve. All the
rest must be out at interest, risked in specu-
lations; but at least I will put another five
francs to my little savings." So saying, the
old Croesus laid me upon a pile of others in
the box. I have been reposing there three
years, and shall probably remain so impris-
oned till the death of the old maniac, to
whom I am about as useful as a piece of
flint picked up on the road.
Everything is valuable only as it is put to
use. A piece of silver is of no more use
than a piece of stone, if it is only hoarded.
A man of talent who makes no good use of
his talents is worse than a fool. Money and
talents are both given to be used; or rather,
they are lent to us for a time, that we may
use them for the service of Him whose we
84 THE MISER.
are, who has given us all we possess, and who
will one day ask an account of how his gifts
have been used. (Matt. xxv. 14-30.)
"Our gifts are only well enjoyed
When used as talents lent;
Those talents only well employed
When in God's service spent."
THE TOUCH OF GOLD;
'HERE was once a very rich king called
Midas, who lived long, long ago. He
had a little daughter, of whom no
one has ever heard except me, and I
do not remember her name. Perhaps I may
have heard it, but if so, I have forgotten it;
so, as I like fancy names for such little fairy
personages, I shall call her Marygold.
King Midas loved gold more than anything
else in the world. He valued his royal
crown chiefly because it was composed of
this precious metal. If there was anything
86 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
which he loved nearly as well as his gold, it
was his pretty little daughter, who played so
gracefully on the golden steps of his throne.
The more Midas loved this pretty child,
so much the more did he desire riches, he
said and thought, for her. He imagined,
foolish man that he was, that the best thing
he could do for the child he loved so much
was to leave her plenty of the bright yellow
money, which fools have ever valued beyond
anything else, and hoarded up ever since
the beginning of the world, or, at least, ever
since men learned to find gold.
All the thoughts and all the time of the
king were devoted to this one object. He
loved, he cared for, nothing else. If his eye
rested for a moment with pleasure on the
brilliant clouds of sunset, he thought the
next minute how fine it would be if he could
turn all this golden glow into real tangible
gold, and shut it up in his money-box !
When little Marygold ran to meet her
father, with her apron full of golden broom,
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 87
or of bright yellow buttercups, he always
said, "Pooh pooh my child, these fading
flowers are of no use; if they were only
really made of the metal which they resemble
in colour, then, indeed, they would be worth
the trouble of gathering "
Yet, in his early youth, before he became
the victim of a passion for gold, King Midas
had loved flowers. He had made a rose-
garden, where grew flowers the most ex-
quisite that had ever regaled the sight or
sense of mortals. These lovely roses had
lost none of their beauty, their fragrance was
as sweet as ever; but now Midas cared not
for them, and if he went into the lovely garden
at all, it was only to reckon how much it
might be worth if he could turn its beauty
and fragrance into hard money. In youth
Midas had loved music, and he might have
been soothed by the gentle sound of the
soft south wind breathing among the leaves
of his rose-garden; but now he cared for
nothing but the clink of the golden coin as
88 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
he counted it on the bare boards of his
It is said that as people grow older they
sometimes grow wiser; but this was not the
case with Midas. As he grew older, he
seemed more and more to lose common sense,
so that at length he cared for nothing but
gold. He passed most of his time in a dis-
mal vault below his palace. Here he kept
his hoarded treasure, and to it he resorted
whenever he wished to enjoy a happy hour.
Then he descended the steps that led to this
dark dungeon, and carefully shutting the
strong iron door behind him, he took up a
sack filled with gold pieces, or a box of gold
dust, and carried it near the narrow window,
-a mere slit in the strong stone wall, which
admitted only one ray of sunshine. He loved
this solitary sunbeam, not for its own beauty,
but because it cast a brighter and more
golden glow on the contents of his money-
bags. He sat in the dismal cell admiring
the light on his gold pieces,-watching the
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 89
bright ray sparkle through the showers of
gold dust as he lifted the powdered metal
and let it fall through his fingers,-or look-
ing at his own image reflected on the polished
surface of a golden cup. When thus oc-
cupied, he said to himself, "0 Midas for-
tunate King Midas! what a happy mortal
are you !"
Nothing could have been more amusing
than to see the foolish king making satisfied
faces and pleased grimaces at himself, as he
looked into his golden mirror; it seemed
almost as if the shadow reflected there had
really life and sense, and was mocking and
mimicking the silly king who sat before it.
Yet though he fancied himself happy,
Midas still felt an aching void in the midst
of his happiness, a blank that he could not
fill up. His satisfaction, even amid his
golden treasures, was never quite complete,
-there was something always wanting,-
he still longed for something more than he
90 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
It is surely quite unnecessary to remind
such learned children as our young readers,
that in the long-ago times, when King Midas
lived, many strange things happened which
never happen now, in our times, and in our
country; whilst, on the other hand, many
things happen now in our times which would
not have been believed by the people who
lived long ago. Long ago was the time of
the fairies. Now is the time of science; and,
to tell the truth, the wonders of science are
more wonderful than fairy tales. But, in
the meantime, we must go on with our
One day that Midas was sitting in his
dismal vault, counting the contents of his
money-bags, a shadow all at once darkened
the one ray of sunlight that shone through
his narrow window. He looked up, and saw
the figure of a stranger. The new-comer had
a form of light, and a face radiant as a sun-
We know not if it was an effect of the
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 91
imagination of King Midas, who had accus-
tomed himself to look at gold till everything
looked yellow, or if it was from any other
cause; but, at all events, certain it is that
the form of the strange visitor seemed to
King Midas to cast a still richer colour on
the heaps of gold coin, and to make all things
round him glow with a more brilliant light,
so that even the darkest corners of the dis-
mal vault seemed bright as day.
Midas was certain that when he came into
his much-loved vault he had turned the key,
so that no human being could follow him;
he was therefore quite sure that his strange
visitor was more than mortal. As we have
told you, those were the days of fairies and
elves; and Midas was therefore not sur-
prised to see a fairy stranger in his dark
abode: and as these elfin guests often be-
stowed favours on mortals, he had some hope
that this bright visitor might have come to
do him a kindness; and what kindness did
Midas care for,-what favour did he value,-
92 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
what good could he even imagine,-unless
the stranger had come to swell his treasure !
With this hope he watched the movements
of his guest.
The stranger cast his eyes round the dis-
mal vault, and after enlightening with his
smile all on which he looked, he said, "You
are very rich, King Midas. I doubt whether
there is more gold in all the world beside
than the heaps which you have hoarded
I have succeeded tolerably well," replied
Midas, with a half-satisfied air; "but, after
all, my success is nothing very astonishing,
when you consider that I have been obliged
to labour all my life to attain it! What can
one do in so short a life? If, indeed, one
might live for a thousand years, then truly
one might become rich!"
"What!" exclaimed the stranger, "are
you not yet content? Do you not yet think
that you are rich enough?"
Midas shook his head.
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 93
"What then can satisfy you ? asked the
stranger. "Do tell me; even from curiosity
I should like to know."
Midas was silent and thoughtful. A
strange presentiment made him feel that this
bright and noble stranger had very probably
the power of granting his very boldest re-
quest, of realizing his very wildest dreams.
The favourable moment in his life had come
at last-he had only to speak, to have all
his wishes gratified !
He remained for some minutes plunged
in thought, and in fancy heaping mountains
upon mountains of gold, yet still unsatisfied;
at length, all at once, a bright idea struck
him, and he looked up with anxious eyes in
the bright face of the stranger.
Well, Midas," said the unknown, "I see
that you have at last discovered what will
satisfy you. Tell me, then, what is your
wish ? "
It is easily told," replied the miser king.
"I am tired of the trouble of gathering to-
94 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
gether heaps of gold and silver, which, after
all, are not enough to satisfy me; and, there-
fore, I should like to have the power of turn-
ing into gold everything which I touch !"
The smile of the stranger became brighter
still at this speech, and shed over the dark-
ened room a golden glow, like the glorious
beams of the setting sun shining on the
yellow leaves of a forest in autumn.
"The touch of gold !" exclaimed he; "all
honour to thee, King Midas, for having con-
ceived so bright an idea! But are you very
sure that its fulfilment will really make you
happy ? "
How could it be otherwise ?" said
Midas, in surprise; for happiness and gold
were inseparable in his eyes.
"And are you sure," said the stranger,
"that you will never regret being endowed
with this marvellous power? "
"What reason could I have to regret it?"
replied Midas. "I ask nothing more to
make me perfectly happy."
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 95
Well, your wish is granted! said the
unknown, waving his hand, as if saying fare-
well. "To-morrow, then, at the first rising
of the sun, you shall feel that you have re-
ceived the touch of gold "
As the stranger spoke, such a brilliant
light shone around him, that Midas was
almost dazzled; he shut his eyes for a mo-
ment, and when he opened them again the
stranger was gone, as if he had glided out of
the dungeon on the bright path of sunbeam
which shone in at the narrow window.
Our story does not tell if Midas slept as
well as usual on that eventful night. Sleep-
ing or waking, however, his mind was full of
the golden promise of the stranger, and he
was as excited as a child who is expecting a
new toy. Scarcely had day dawned when
King Midas arose, eager to try his new
power. He first touched his curtains, then
the chair which stood beside his bed; and
what was his disappointment to see them
unchanged by his touch! He began to fear
96 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
that the golden promise of the stranger had
been false, or that all that had passed was
but a bright and passing dream!
The truth was, that Midas had been too
impatient-he had mistaken the glimmering
twilight for the glorious day-the first foot-
steps of Aurora for the golden sunrise. He
had fallen back on his pillow in despair,
when all at once a bright sunbeam struck
upon his closed eyelids and awoke him to new
hopes. He started up, and as he touched
the white coverlet of his bed, it suddenly
assumed a golden hue. What was his de-
light to see in a moment that his pillows,
his sheets, all around him shone like the
purest gold He had received the touch of
gold precisely at sunrise, the very time fore-
told by his fairy visitor !
Transported with joy, Midas started from
his bed, and began to try the power of his
wonderful touch on all the furniture of his
bed-room. He put his hand on the post of
his bed, and immediately it became a splen-
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 97
did pillar of fluted gold. He drew aside the
curtain of the window, that he might see
more clearly the wonders he was working,
and the tassel which he touched fell heavily
from his hand, a mass of solid gold. He
moved a book which lay on the table, and
it shone immediately as if it had been not
only gilt, but bound in sheets of gold. He
turned the leaves, and each leaf he turned
became a thin sheet of gold. To be sure
this had one disadvantage,-the printing be-
came illegible, the book could not be read.
But what did that signify to Midas-was
he not rich enough now to despise books, he
who valued only gold? He hastened to
dress, and was charmed to find that each
article of his dress became cloth of gold
as he put it on. His clothes preserved their
shape and fit, and were really wonderfully
comfortable still, notwithstanding the weight
of the material; at least he thought so,
infatuated as he was: but most people might
like linen and flannel better than cloth of
98 THE TOUCH OF GOLD; OR,
gold after all! He drew out of his pocket
a handkerchief hemmed for him by the
white hands of the little Marygold herself;
even this was changed-the delicate embroid-
ery, the small stitches put in by those fairy
fingers, all were gold. To tell the truth, this
did not quite please King Midas; he would
have liked to keep his little daughter's work
just as it came from her hands, as she had
given it to him, when, delighted with her
first performance, she had scrambled on his
knee to demand a kiss as her reward.
But this could not be helped; after all, it
was a trifle in the tide of wealth flowing upon
him. So King Midas consoled himself, and
put on his spectacles to see more distinctly
how much all around him was changed. In
those long-ago times spectacles had not been
invented for the use of ordinary mortals, but
were made only for kings; so King Midas
had one pair, which he valued highly. But,
to his great surprise, he found he could see
with them no longer,-the clear glasses had