THE LIVES AND ANECDOTES OF MISERS
BY
F. SOMNER MERRYWEATHER

INTRODUCTION

The figure of the miser is well-known in fiction and not unknown in fact. He (or sometimes she) dresses in rags, goes cold in winter, eats as little as possible of the cheapest food and cadges or scavenges anything else needed. All this, in order to accumulate money which will never be spent.  One of my acquaintance seemed to be the poorest creature imaginable. She repaired her clothes with duct tape, lived in a squalid room, and lived by the charity of her neighbours and her church. When she eventually died, she left 250,000 to the local animal refuge, and nothing to those who had helped her for years.  Yet she presumably gained some pleasure from her wretched life, else why would she endure such hardship? We can only speculate

Merryweather's short book gathers together the stories of mostly 18th Century misers. It was well-known in its day, the more so because it features in Dickens'  Our Mutual Friend,  where Mr. Boffin buys a copy, and, since he cannot read, pays Silas Wegg to read it to him.  You can find the relevant passage here.
  Readable and highly entertaining, it deserves to be better known

 

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