Слике страница
PDF
ePub

was worn a with the the same frugality and economy, and when done with, returned into its band-box with remarkable care, when its place would be supplied by an old Welsh wig, which he luckily procured for a bad debt, together with some sheets and blankets, which he claimed in lieu of fees, from the executors. of an old man, who died a few pounds in his debt, leaving his grand-daughter behind him to execrate such a rapacious wretch; who could thereby deprive her of the small gratuities she expected for her attendance, and not even leave her a sufficiency to carry her grandfather with decency to the grave.

Wor. What a horrid wretch! And is he as frugal in his house-keeping, as he is in his clothing?

Free. Sir, he ever insists upon it, that if people are troubled with rats or mice, it is their own fault; for that it is a sure proof they keep too good a house; that as he has never been pestered with such sort of intruders, he has always saved himself the expence of keeping a cat; so that if ever a rat or a mouse through mistake, should steal into his premises, one could almost feign to oneself the idea, how they would stand with tears in their eyes, lamenting their sad mistake, that ever they should have found the unfortunate hole into that horrid land of famine !

Wor. Though none of us wish to be molested with such guests, yet I should be very sorry if the same fraternity had the same cause of sorrow in peeping into my pantry; yet there can be no doubt, but that his housekeeping was all of a piece, if rats and mice were so alarmed at the sight of it.

Free. He was in the habit of remarking, that his expences for himself and an old woman, who occasionally waits on him, formerly amounted to about ninepence a day, but that of late they had been nearly doubled. The common black tea he prefers, as being the most wholesome; for where he can save a penny, he wonderfully studies the wholesomes; and treacle and water, he adopts as his beverage, on the same account; though now and then, he allows

a pint of small beer, as a treat between him and his maid.

1

Wor. It is a wonder he has not starved himself to death.

Free. Sir, from the same principles he never allows the use of mustard, pepper, and scarcely any salt, as they are very expensive articles, and stimulate people's appetites to eat more than nature requires; while the little scraps he buys at the market, are pretty high scented, before they are reduced to the price he chooses to give. Sometimes he will even indulge himself with a little poultry, provided it has been rendered cheap through an untimely death.

Wor. I never heard of such a filthy old hog in all my life.

Free. But Sir, this strange old economist after all, while he is thus frugal at his own table, can be voracious enough, when he enjoys his repast at the tables of others; and though he always says, it is a sure sign a man is a toper when he can uncork the bottle for his own indulgence; yet at the table of others, the pop of an uncorking bottle, is not less pleasant to his ears, than the taste of the wine is grateful to his palate.

Wor. Such curious instances of astonishing frugality and meanness, I think I never heard of before.

4

Free. Sir, I can give you other instances of the same sort: whenever he attends any of the corporation feasts, made at the public expence, they say, he will not only half starve himself the day before, that he may then satisfy his voracious appetite with as much as ever it will dispense with; but after dinner, if he sees any thing that is moveable, such as biscuits, oranges, apples, almonds and raisins, dried sweetmeats, and other such rarities, these will find their way into his pocket in considerable abundance.

Wor. I wonder he is not ashamed of himself. Free. Shame Sir! why there is no shame in him.For though the town is filled with misers, yet he is so much worse than the worst of them, that he is the

butt of general ridicule and contempt among them all. On one of these occasions, an artful wag, contrived to cut a hole in his pocket, whereby his intended hoard was found scattered about the room as fast as he could pocket it. At another time, he was treated with the intermixture of a nearly tasteless powder of a certain root, that acts as a powerful cathartic, which they say, had a very rapid effect after a most plentiful repast. Really Sir, I am almost ashamed to tell you these strange stories, but that you may understand how he would submit to any thing, sooner than forego the advantages resulting from his covetous pranks.

Wor. Was ever such a creature heard of before? He surely never could find it in his heart to ask a friend to partake of a meal with him: if he begrudged himself, he certainly begrudged his friends. But in his line, how could he avoid all acts of apparent hospitalities of this sort?

Free. Now and then he was under the painful necessity of inviting a person to his table, and giving them a dinner, but never unless under the expectation of securing their custom, or for some other lucrative motive; and then he and his old servant would live upon the scraps that were left till quite musty. On one of these occasions, he treated his guest with a roasting pig, which unfortunately lost its life by being overlaid by the sow, and which was not discovered till above a day after its death.-And then it proved such a savory repast to his guest, that it made him so very ill, that he thought it necessary to employ Mr. Greedy to alter his will, lest he should die; whereby he not only procured a couple of guineas for himself, but another guinea for a physician, who was nearly as covetous as himself, that he might obtain a proper recipe to dislodge the portion of the afore-said pig, which had made him so ill.

However on the next market day, as report says, Mr. Greedy had the misfortune to be well paid off in return; for having agreed on the purchase of the dead pig for a shilling, the woman who sold it called

after him, while he was seeking for his cheap bar gains, as an old rascal, for that he had put her off with a bad shilling for her carrion pig, on the last market day, and demanded a good one in return,--This he refused; upon which the woman becoming clamorous, the rest of the market women joined in the uproar. They next helped her to seize him; and immediately they all surrounded him, treating him with a variety of such language as they are accustomed to use on the like occasions, threatening to drag him directly to justice, if he did not exchange the bad shilling for a good one; while he sadly against his will, that he might get out of the hobble, submitted to their demand. Thus he procured his escape, though he had still to run the gauntlet through the market, each calling after him; while one asked him what he would give, the next market day, for a half-rotten turkey; another offered him an old gander that had been killed by a fox; and a third presented him with the cheap offer of some stinking fish. It is not to be wondered that this treatment kept him out of the market for above a twelvemonth afterwards; nor could he dare, ever after that time, to appear but quite at the fagend of the day, when he might avail himself of the bargains, without running the risk of such another

[ocr errors]

rencontre.

Wor. Well, in all my life I never heard of such a creature. No wonder, that whenever his name is mentioned, Mr. Lovely is silent, and shakes his head. But the old woman in the market treated him just as the deserved.

Free. Sir, I can recollect a few more anecdotes, out of a vast abundance, which might be produced, concerning this most contemptible miser. He is so covetous, that he scarcely ever can afford to buy a piece of soap for the purpose of washing himself.

Wor. Anasty old fellow! one would think he

would be poisoned by his own filthiness.

[ocr errors]

Fit Free Really Sir, notwithstanding this, when you see him out of doors, he, in general, looks clean and

[blocks in formation]

wholesome. But he will boast how he keeps his skin clean, by merely rubbing himself with a coarse dry cloth, which he observes, not only has the salubrious effects of a flesh brush, but saves him the expence of soap. In his way it should appear, as though he was no bad physician, but all his knowledge in that line runs one way; he has discovered, greatly to his satisfaction, that the half-starved poor, on the average, actually live longer than the rich, who are over-fed with luxuries; so that he seems now quite delighted with living a half-starved life, that he may live the longer, to make a larger purse.

Wor. Was it possible that he could go beyond all this?

Free. Sir, he is the same man throughout. Once he had nearly suffered the penalty of fifty pounds, for making, with the assistance of his maid, his own tallow candles; not only that he might evade the duty on his own account, but that he might also make an advantageous swap of a part of his stock, for his black tea and brown sugar, at a poor little neighbouring chandler's shop.

Wor. Had the penalty been levied, I should suppose that the loss of the money might have broken his heart. But if he was the manufacturer of his own candles, I suppose he could afford himself a little light?

Free. Sir, I have been told, though he makes his own candles, yet he uses them very sparingly; for in the first instance, he never burns but one at a time, as he has discovered that a strong light is prejudicial to his eyes; and also that it is a sin to burn out day light. His employment therefore, during twilight, they say, is to knit his own stockings, which from the same frugal motives, he has learnt to accomplish in a most -dexterous manner.

Wor. Have you any more stories to tell of this curious muck-worm?

Free. Oh Sir! there is such a variety of them, that they would almost fill a little volume. At one time he

« ПретходнаНастави »