Turner, a Miser, mentioned by Pope—Sir James Lowther and the suspicious halfpenny—A Warning to the Avaricious, in the horrible Death of Foscue, the Miser—Richard Child, the Miser of Colsall—Illustrations of Acquisitiveness, and the love of Hoarding—John Little, the Miser, of Kentish Town—Anecdote of Sir Thomas Colby—Life and Death of Vandille, the Miser of Paris—The rich Sir William Smyth, and Taylor the Oculist—A Miser starved by his own Parsimony—John Mounsey, of Patrickdale—Difficulties of making a Will—Better go to Prison than not save, or Anecdotes of Ben Pope, the Miser—Dick Jarret, the Miser, of Rye—Augustine Partheny, the Dublin Miser; his singular Scheme to save, after Death—Clerical Avarice, or the reverend Miser of Blewbury—How to Repair old Garments, and make Two Ends meet.
Facts are more conclusive than conjecture, and to enable our readers to behold the manifestations of avarice, we have thrown together, in our present chapter, an accumulation of anecdotes, which may amuse, by their eccentricity, and prove instructive, as illustrations of the workings of the human mind.
Pope, in his 'Moral Essays,' speaks of a miser, of the name of Turner, who was worth upwards of three hundred thousand pounds. The interest on money being reduced from five to four per cent., he immediately put down his coach, and, discontented with the reduced interest, he put out seventy thousand pounds to a charitable corporation, at an advanced rate. The institution failed, and the miser lost his money, which he took so much to heart, that he kept his chamber ever afterwards, quite broken down in spirits. His grief, at this diminution of his fortune, was so intense, that it was thought he would have sunk under it; but he was heir to a vast estate, and, in expectation of this fortune, he resorted to the plan of keeping to his bedchamber, to save his clothes, and other ordinary expenses. Dr King relates an anecdote of Sir James Lowther, which exemplifies the meanness of avarice. One day he went into George's Coffee House, and ordered a dish of coffee; on leaving, he offered a piece of silver in payment, from which the waiter took twopence, and gave the knight the change in coppers. He was then helped into his chariot, for he was very old and infirm, and drove away. Some days after, he returned to the same coffee house, to acquaint the woman who kept it, that she had given him a bad halfpenny, and to demand another in exchange for it. Sir James had about thirty thousand pounds per annum, and was at a loss whom to appoint his heir.
In the year 1762, an extraordinary instance of avarice occurred in France. A miser, of the name of Foscue, who had amassed enormous wealth, by the most sordid parsimony, and the most discreditable extortion, was requested, by the Government, to advance a sum of money, as a loan. The miser, to whom a fair interest was not inducement sufficiently strong, to enable him to part with his treasured gold, declared his incapacity to meet this demand; he pleaded severe losses, and the utmost poverty. Feeling, however, that some of his neighbours, among whom he was very unpopular, would report his immense wealth to the Government, he applied his ingenuity to discover some effectual way of hiding his gold, should they attempt to institute a search to ascertain the truth or falsehood of his plea. With great care and secrecy, he dug a deep cave in his cellar; to this receptacle for his treasure he descended by a ladder, and to the trap door he attached a spring lock, so that, on shutting, it would fasten of itself. By and bye the miser disappeared; inquiries were made; the house was searched; woods were explored, and the ponds were dragged; but no Foscue could they find; and gossips began to conclude that the miser had fled, with his gold, to some part, where, by living incognito, he would be free from the demands of the Government. Some time passed on; the house in which he had lived was sold, and workmen were busily employed in its repair. In the progress of their work they met with the door of the secret cave, with the key in the lock, outside. They threw back the door and descended with a light. The first object upon which the lamp was reflected, was the ghastly body of Foscue the miser, and scattered around him were heavy bags of gold, and ponderous chests of untold treasure; a candlestick lay beside him on the floor. This worshipper of mammon had gone into his cave, to pay his devoirs to his golden god, and became a sacrifice to his devotion! What must have been the sensations of that miserable man—what the horrors of his situation, when he heard the door close after him, and the spring lock effectually imprison him within his secret mine! How bitter must have been the last struggles of that avaricious soul! How terrible must have been the appeals of conscience within that sordid sinner! How each bag must have disgorged its treasure, and each piece of gold have danced, in imagination, around him as a demon! How hated, when the gnawing pangs of starvation came slowly upon him, must have been that yellow vision; his very heart must have grown sick, at that, which he once so dearly loved! Gold in bags; gold in chests; gold piled in heaps; gold for a pillow; gold strewed upon the ground for him to lie upon! Whilst his taper lasted, turn where he would his eyes, nothing met them but his gold. But when the last flicker died away, and the miser was left in darkness, to dwell upon his coming death, and upon his many sins, how awful must have been the agonies of conscience! How, surely, amidst the gloom of that sepulchre of gold, must the poor whom he had oppressed, and the unfortunate whom he had ruined by his avarice, have rose up to reproach him; and, when the mind became fevered by its last deadly struggles, how the faces of haggard poverty, of hate, and loathing for the miser, must, in. one loud, discordant chorus, have cried for vengeance and retribution upon his guilty soul!
Avarice will sometimes defeat its own aim, and guilt has often brought its own punishment. Richard Child, the miser of Colsall, who died in 1772, laid up during the severe dearth which occurred in the year 1739, upwards of a hundred quarters of wheat which he might then have sold, at nineteen pounds the load. He would not take less than twenty; and rather than abate his price he stowed the whole of it away, thinking that the scarcity would increase, and people gladly accede to his demand. The miser was disappointed; and for three and thirty years he had the satisfaction of keeping his corn, and grumbling over his mistake. When he died, the store was brought out of the granary. On inspection it was found so damaged by vermin and time, that only seventeen, out of upwards of one hundred quarters, were at all fit for use; and these were sold at Uxbridge market for eleven guineas the load. But had the miser lived still longer, he would rather have let his corn decay than have sold it at a loss, or have distributed it in purposes of charity.
The love of hoarding was curiously exemplified in the life of John Little, the miser of Kentish Town, who died in 1798, having reached his eighty-fourth year. He was not only a miser but a lumberer of useless trash. He gratified his mania to acquire, without regarding the utility or intrinsic value of the things which he amassed; and we can discover no motive in his accumulations but the mere gratification of the promptings of acquisitiveness. After his death, one hundred and seventy-three pairs of breeches, besides a numerous collection of other antiquated and useless articles of wearing apparel were found in a room which had been kept locked for many years. One hundred and eighty musty old wigs, of all shapes and sizes, yellow, black, and grey, were found stowed away in the coach-house; these he had been many years collecting, and some were left to him as legacies by his friends. So great was Little's antipathy to the married state, which he regarded as totally opposed to all thrifty measures, that he discarded his brother, his only relative, because he had ventured to take unto himself a wife: so violent was his resentment at this extravagant act, that he never afterwards spoke to him. His avarice overwhelmed all nobler feelings, and it was by his distrust and suspicion of others that he became instrumental in his own death. His physician had ordered him to drink a glass of wine occasionally; the miser refused for a length of time to accede to this most extravagant remedy—not that it would require any immediate expenditure of cash, for his cellars were well stored with hoarded wine—wine which had become luscious in its repose, and priceless from its antiquity. But the thought of separating his store lacerated the very sinews of his heart; and it was not until he was laid on a bed of sickness, and found that his physical strength was sinking fast, that he was induced to comply. But so distrustful was the sordid avarice of his nature, that he feared to entrust his own housekeeper with the key of his wine-cellar; and insisted upon being carried down, when he would take out one bottle, and relock the door. The miser grew worse, yet he still insisted upon following this course: one day being taken from his warm bed into the damp and humid vault, he was seized with a shivering fit, which, terminating in an apoplectic stroke, occasioned his death. Sir Thomas Colby, an avaricious soul, mentioned by Dr. King in his "Anecdotes of his Own Time," met with his death in a somewhat similar manner. He lived at Kensington, and was a commissioner in the Victualling Office. One night feeling indisposed he took some medicine, which had the effect of throwing him into a profuse perspiration; all at once, in the middle of the night, it struck him that he had left the key of the cellar on the table of his sitting room; and apprehensive that his servants might visit his store, and rob him of a bottle of wine, he arose from the bed, went down in the dark to search for the key, found it, and returned to his chamber; never again to pass its threshold but as a corpse. He died intestate, and left more than two hundred thousand pounds in the funds, which was shared among five or six day labourers who were his nearest kinsmen, but whom he had perhaps never seen.
Vandille is one of the most remarkable characters, as a miser, that is to be found among the eccentric biographers of France. His riches were immense, and his avarice and parsimony extreme. If it is a true saying that money begets money, it is also a true saying that riches beget avarice. This abject slave to Mammon, to avoid noise and to discourage visits, hired a miserable garret in one of the most obscure parts of Paris. He paid a poor woman a sous a day to wait upon him. Excepting once a week, his diet was never varied; bread and milk for breakfast; the same for dinner and the same for supper all the week round. On a Sunday he ventured to indulge in a glass of sour wine, and he strove to satisfy the compunctions of conscience by bestowing, in amity, a farthing every Sabbath. This munificence, which incurred an expenditure of one shilling and a penny per annum, he carefully noted down; and just before his death he found, with some degree of regret, that during his life he had disbursed no less than forty-three shillings and fourpence. Forty-three shillings and fourpence! prodigious generosity for the richest man in France! Vandille had been a magistrate at Boulogne, and whilst in that office he partly maintained himself, free of cost, by constituting himself milk-taster general at the market. He would munch his scrap of bread, and wash it down with these gratuitous draughts. By such parsimonious artifices, and a most penurious course of life, he succeeded in amassing an enormous fortune, and was in a position to lend vast sums of money to the French government. When he had occasion to journey from Boulogne to Paris, he avoided the expense of coach-fare by proceeding on foot; and lest he should be robbed, he never carried more than threepence in his pocket, although he had a distance of a hundred and thirty miles before him. If he found this sum insufficient, he would profess poverty, and beg from the passengers on the road a trifle to help him on.
In the year 1735, Vandille, the miser, was worth nearly eight hundred thousand pounds! He used to boast that this vast accumulation sprang from a single shilling. He had increased it, step by step, farthing by farthing, shilling by shilling, and pound by pound, from the age of sixteen to the age of seventy-two. For six and fifty years had that covetous old man for no other purpose than to accumulate gold which he had not the courage to enjoy. Not once during those years had he indulged himself in any luxury, or participated in any pleasure; his life was one continuous sacrifice to mammon. The blessings which a kind and benevolent providence has bestowed in his mercy upon mankind, were never accepted by Vandille; his whole soul was absorbed; his every joy was sought for in the yellow heap, which his avarice had accumulated. His death was a singular one; the end of that man was a terrible lesson, and one from which a fearful moral may be drawn. The winter of the year 1734, had been very cold and bitter, and the miser felt inclined to purchase a little extra fuel in the summer time, to provide, to some extent, against the like severity in the ensuing winter. He heard a man pass the street with wood to sell; he haggled for an unconscionable time about the price, and at last completed his bargain, at the lowest possible rate. Avarice had made the miser dishonest, and he stole from the poor woodman several logs. In his eagerness to carry them away, and hide his ill-gotten store, he overheated his blood, and produced a fever. For the first time in his life he sent for a surgeon. "I wish to be bled," said he; "what is your charge?" "Half a livre," was the reply. The demand was deemed extortionate, and the surgeon was dismissed. He then sent for an apothecary but he was also considered too high; and he at last sent for a poor barber, who agreed to open the vein for threepence a time. "But friend," said the cautious miser, "how often will it be requisite to bleed me?" "Three times," replied the barber. "Three times!" and pray what quantity of blood do you intend to take from me at each operation?" "About eight ounces each time," was the answer. "Let me see," said the possessor of three-quarters of a million, "that will be ninepence; too much; too much. I have determined to go a cheaper way to work; take the whole twenty-four ounces at once, and that will save me sixpence." The barber remonstrated, but the miser was firm; he was certain, he said, that the barber was only desirous to extort an extra sixpence, and he would not submit to such scandalous imposition. His vein was opened, and four-and-twenty ounces of blood were taken from him. In a few days, Vandille, the miser, was no more. The savings of his life, the wages of his vice and avarice, he left to the king of France.
A similar anecdote is related of Sir William Smyth, of Bedfordshire. He was immensely rich, but most parsimonious and miserly in his habits. At seventy years of age he was entirely deprived of his sight, un-able to gloat over his hoarded heaps of gold; this was a terrible affliction. He was persuaded by Taylor, the celebrated oculist, to be couched; who was, by agreement, to have sixty guineas if he restored his patient to any degree of sight. Taylor succeeded in his operation, and Sir William was enabled to read and write without the aid of spectacles, during the rest of his life. But no sooner was his sight restored, than the baronet began. to regret that his agreement had been for so large a sum; he felt no joy as others would have felt, but grieved and sighed over the loss of his sixty guineas! His thoughts were now how to cheat the oculist; he pretended that he had only a glimmering, and could see nothing distinctly; for which reason, the bandage on his eyes was continued a month longer than the usual time. Taylor was deceived by these misrepresentations, and agreed to compound the bargain, and accepted twenty guineas instead of sixty. Yet Sir William was an old bachelor, and had no one to care or provide for. At the time Taylor attended him, he had a large estate, an immense sum of money in the stocks, and six thousand pounds in the house.
In the year 1790, there died in the city of Paris, almost from starvation, a miser worth one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds. Ostervald, the banker, was well known in his day. He was one of the most acute, and one of the most successful stock-jobbers in France. He had practised from early life habits of the most pinching parsimony. Every night he resorted to a tavern, much frequented by the commercial class, and called for a pint of small beer, for which he paid three sous; and never, even in his most lucky days, nor when fortune had been most propitious, did he exceed that expenditure. In his early days he had practised the same habit; he was always observed to look eagerly for stray corks; to pick them up from the floor, or gather them off the table; these he carried home, and hoarded up. In the course of eight years, he had collected so many, that he was enabled to sell them for twelve louis d'ors. This was the foundation of his great fortune, which he accumulated by rigid parsimony, cunning, and fortunate speculation. When on the bed of sickness, and near unto his death, the miser could not conquer the passion of avarice. He was recommended by his doctor to partake of a little soup every day, to revive his exhausted strength; meat seldom passed his lips, and he had for years subsisted on bread and milk, copiously diluted with water. He regarded, therefore, the soup as extravagance, and the persuasions and importunities of friends were unavailing. "It is true," said he, "I should not dislike the soup, but I have no appetite for the meat; what then was to become of that?" In a few days the miser was a corpse. Around his neck was discovered a small bag made of silk, containing assignats to the value of eight hundred thousand livres.
John Mounsey, of Patrickdale, in the parish of Barton, in Westmorland, wag a most remarkable miser, and well deserves a place among our eccentric memoirs. His property was considerable, and the family mansion, on the lake Ullswater, gave dignity and importance to the Mounseys. Avarice in John, however, was innate; and from very early life he gave many manifestations of this ruling passion. Of all his play-fellows he had the largest property in marbles, and the greatest sums invested in buttons—he became the vender of these juvenile species of stock to all his acquaintance—he was the banker of the school-room, and his exchanges were always carried on upon the most sound principles of finance. His marbles, as soon as won, by play, fair or foul, he endeavoured to dispose of, and he gloried in the accumulation of genuine coin, which his acute and sordid mind taught him to value before the baubles of the play-ground. Thus nourished, and thus encouraged in his propensity to acquire, the youth grew up a wretched votary of avarice. All the usual joys of vigorous youth were insipid—all the sports of youthful innocence were distasteful, and all the sanguine hopes, and bright anticipations of opening manhood, were clouded and warped by his anxious and fevered pursuit for wealth. At the death of his father, which occurred when he was a young man, he came in possession of three hundred pounds per annum; but with this new acquisition of revenue his appetite for gold increased, rather than diminished. He would employ himself in the meanest occupations, and in the most laborious labour—he would sleep in a barn to save the cost of a tavern bed, and he presented, in his outward appearance, one of the most miserable objects of wretchedness and filth; indeed, to look upon him was to learn how deplorable and sinful were the consequences of that grovelling lust which guide the actions of the miser, and transform the noble image of man into the semblance of a brute. His coat was patched with pieces of dirty cloth, and his stockings with fragments of refuse leather, which he had been fortunate enough to meet with in his rambles. He wore wooden-shoes, thickly shod with iron, and an old hat without brim or nap; if he had particular business to transact from home, which required a more decent appearance, he borrowed a few clothes of a friend. One day whilst ferrying a load of wood down the lake with his man Pearson, he displayed the fortitude of his avarice. A violent storm arose—the winds blew a hurricane—the rain came down in torrents, and well nigh sunk the boat; and thunder and lightning filled their hearts with terror. The boat was in danger, but to throw their cargo overboard was too great a sacrifice, and an act of waste to which no miser could submit; rather than do so, for two days and two nights he braved the storm; neither danger, nor cold, nor hunger, nor the entreaties of his companion, could persuade him to relieve the boat of its weight. On the third day, the storm abated, and, with the assistance of some peasantry, they landed in safety. Mounsey was so penurious that his whole expenses did not exceed twenty or thirty pounds per annum; although he was proprietor of land which produced him eight hundred pounds per annum. To guard against robbers, he was in the habit of hiding his money in old stone walls; his visits to the place at which he was wont to secrete large sums, excited, on one occasion, the suspicions of an old woman, who, when he had left, commenced a diligent search of the wall; stone after stone she loosened and replaced, but no success rewarded her industry. She determined, however, to discover by stratagem what she could not find by labour. When the raiser the next day approached the wall, she tumbled a quantity of stones about, and ran off, pretending she had discovered the hidden treasure. The trick was successful, and the alarmed miser ran after her to beg and implore her to return the gold; he even offered her half if she would return the rest. The old woman was now convinced that the money was hid near the place of her recent search; and before the miser could recover from his consternation she returned, and, pulling out a few more stones, discovered a bag of gold, which she carried off in triumph.
A horse was considered too expensive to maintain, although Mounsey was constantly requiring one on his estate. He endeavoured to avoid so much extravagance by joining with a neighbour in the purchase of a nag; the partners, however, soon quarrelled, for when the poor animal was employed by Mounsey, he usually fasted throughout the day. Turnpike gates, too, were always avoided to save the toll, and tedious and circuitous routes added to the fatigues of the day; the horse grew like the rider, and every rib could have been accurately counted. Mounsey always walked with his eyes upon the ground in search of old rags and refuse. One day as he was riding to Penrith Market, by the Banks of Ullswater, he made a sudden stop—got off the back of his redoubtable nag—stripped himself, and walked into the lake to pull out an old dirty stocking, which he had observed through the limpid waters, lying at the bottom of the stream. In one of the last acts of his life, that of making his will, he was equally parsimonious. He bargained with a poor schoolmaster, of the name of Wilson, to write this document for tenpence; but alterations were so frequent that the village pedagogue remonstrated upon the lowness of the price, and the miser munificently offered to raise the sum to a shilling; the scribe, however, demanded half-a-crown, which was deemed so exorbitant that Mounsey employed another person. The dictating of a will is a hard thing for such men as John Mounsey, the allotting and parcelling out of that for which they have sacrificed all social com-forts, and ail domestic joys; for which they have dark-ened their lives, and perilled their souls in the world to come, is a hard and bitter task. It is like signing a warrant for one's own death—it is like squeezing blood from a heart of stone—a thing almost as difficult. The miser has found it impossible to part with his gold in life, and now he can scarcely gather up the courage to bequeath it in death. He seems to be relaxing the tenacity of his holding when he consents to devise and bequeath. He groans at every item of the ominous document, and would strive, as it were, to reserve some portion of his wealth for the time when wealth can no longer avail, and when gold can no longer impart delight.
"I give, I devise," old Euclio said
And sighed, "My lands and tenements to Ned."
"Your money sir?" "My money, sir! What! all?
"Why if I must (then wept) I give to Paul."
"The manor, sir?" "The manor! hold!" he cried.
"Not that—I cannot part with that"—and died!
Mounsey's son, who did not inherit the propensity of acquisitiveness from his father, but who retained a generous and noble heart, in spite of his niggardly education, and the pernicious examples and sordid admonitions which his parent had endeavoured to instil into his mind, advised the miser to leave two hundred pounds to the poor. "No," he said; "he had lost a great deal by the poor, but he never got anything from them in his life. Why, therefore, should he leave anything to them?" The son remonstrated with his dying father, and spoke of his duty as a Christian. "Well," said he at last to his only son, who was his sole heir and ex-ecutor, "I will leave one hundred pounds, if you will pay fifty!" Thus, with death before him, did the habits of the miser appear. He died on the 15th of October, 1793, after a long life of two and ninety years. His last words were words of regret that he could not live longer to grow richer!
Social comforts are willingly sacrificed, and corporeal deprivations are cheerfully borne, by the miser, if the sacrifice and deprivation tend to advance the great object of his life, and help to gratify his propensity to save. It is more easy for the miser to endure imprisonment than to part with his gold. Old Ben Pope, the miser, of Southwark, who was supposed to be worth seventy thou-sand pounds, was fined for some nefarious money trans-actions with Sir Alexander Leith—ten thousand pounds by way of damages. To evade the fine, Benjamin went to France, but afterwards returned to England, and resolved to show his resentment by going into the Fleet. For eleven years and three months he suffered imprisonment with philosophy and patience. At one time, his creditor was willing to compound, and tendered him his liberty for a thousand pounds; but Pope refused even this offer: he would rather die, he told them, than submit to such extortion. He carried, during his imprisonment, his habits of parsimony to the utmost extreme, seldom partaking of anything superior to a hard crust and an atom of the rind of cheese. A joint of meat was never known to have graced his table. On one memorable occasion, it was remarked that he indulged himself in a fourpenny plate of meat from the cookshop; but the indulgence was never afterwards repeated. Water was his usual beverage; but every other day, to sustain what little strength he had, he purchased a pint of beer, never omitting, before he paid for it, to examine well the measure, to ascertain that it was full: if, when the froth had disappeared, the liquor was not level with the brim, he would storm and haggle for an hour. He used to purchase a three farthing candle, but he would not complete his purchase unless the vendor would allow him to choose one himself from the box; and he used to chuckle to himself, when he was so fortunate as to find one a little thicker than the rest. After a life of sixty-seven years, the greatest portion of which had been spent in penury and misery like this, he died in prison worth seventy thousand pounds. The old inhabitants of Rye still re-member Dick Jarret, the miser. He was one of those greedy and covetous souls that would scruple to take two sixpences for a shilling, lest by any chance he should lose by the exchange. He lived by himself he never had the heart to love, nor the courage to marry. His diet was of the poorest and most comfortless description; and he grumbled in his old age at the hardness of the times, complaining that formerly his expenditure never exceeded six pounds per annum, but that latterly, on account of the dearness of provision, his household and other expenses had cost thirteen pounds per annum. His dress corresponded with these wretched habits: any one could recognise in him the victim of a sordid avarice. At his death, he had in his cellar some wine, which had been made for his christening seventy years before, he had never ventured to partake of it during his life, but left it for his relatives to make merry over at his funeral. He died in the year 1806, worth ten thousand pounds: his hoards might, perhaps, have exceeded that amount, for it is doubtful whether his hidden treasures were all discovered at the time—three hundred guineas were found under a brick in the floor, and notes were discovered in unsuspected crevices.
For our next illustration of the passion of avarice, we would refer to the life of Augustine Partheny, the Dublin miser. He was originally a journeyman cooper; but, when a young man, he relinquished his trade, and took a voyage to the West Indies, in company with his maternal uncle. Both uncle and nephew were of a plodding, parsimonious, disposition. The uncle made a fortune, and the nephew returned home with a tolerable share of riches, but with a discontented mind. His acquisitiveness had been excited: the possession of a little only fed the desire for more: he neither used nor enjoyed what he had; still, the promptings of avarice were strong within him, and he again left his county to seek in Antigua and Santa Cruz for fresh accumulations. His voyage was eminently successful, and he again returned home to lock up and to unlock—to count over and to pile up—to admire and to gloat upon his heaps of gold. But although he possessed one of the largest fortunes in Dublin, he was one of the most wretched objects of penury. In his person he was dirty and unprepossessing; and in his temper he was morose and scurrilous. He was never known to have bestowed praise upon others, and no one could ever boast of his friendship. 'The lust for gold, and the constant worshipping of his wealth, had effectually closed his heart to all human sympathies. He was never known to have shed a tear of sorrow, or to mourn for the death of kindred. He was never known to utter one word of compassion for the afflicted. He was never known to have distributed one mite from his crowded coffers in purposes of charity, and he was never known to have received one grateful look from the eyes of the sick, nor one honest benison from the lips of poverty. He sought not for the blessings, and he cared not for the curses of the poor. He never entered society, but shunned all intercourse with the world. Of the society of females, he had an utter abhorrence: with the true principles of rigid parsimony he looked upon matrimony with affright, and treated all women with contempt. It is probable that the fair sex entertained a similar feeling for the miser; for the longer he lived, the deeper he became rooted in his antipathy to their presence; a result almost impossible, had they exerted their feminine art to flatter his vanity, or to tolerate his company. He retained his love of gold in all its virulence, to the last day of his life; just before his death, a friendly neighbour sent him a physician, which he did not appear to dislike, but suddenly recollecting that, probably, the doctor would demand his fee, he became restless and uncomfortable; he raised himself in the bed, "Doctor," said he, "I am a strong man, and know my disorder, but as Mr. Nangle has sent you to my assistance, I shall not exchange you for any other person, if we can come to terms; in fact, I wish to know your charge for attendance, until I am recovered." The physician answered, "eight guineas." "Ah! sir," exclaimed the old miser, anxious to make a pinching bargain, "if you knew my disorder, you would not be so exorbitant; but to put an end to this discussion, I will give you six guineas and a-half." The doctor assented, and the patient gave the physician the stipulated sum. He died in 1811, after a long life of eighty-six years, but although his relatives were numerous, he did not leave them any part of his enormous wealth, which at his death amounted to three hundred thousand pounds. With the exception of four pounds per annum to his servant, who had been in his employ for four and twenty years, he bequeathed the whole of his fortune to a rich family in the West Indies. It was left, however, upon condition that they were to allow this vast sum to accumulate and improve for fourteen years, before they received it. Thus, not content with saving during his life, he was anxious to save after his death, it was a strange consolation for a dying sinner, that his wealth, the sordid accumulations of his useless life, should go on increasing long after he had himself mouldered into dust.
Who, down at Blewbury, has not heard of the Rev. Mr. Jones, whose rigid habits of parsimony exceeded even those of the celebrated John Elwes. This godly miser was curate of Blewbury for forty-five years. His stipend did not exceed fifty guineas per annum, and yet he died in 1827 worth many thousands of pounds. He was fortunate enough, at the death of a relative, to come into the possession of a little property, which produced him thirty pounds per annum, and which, with his salary, and the interest of his savings for the previous year, he always invested in the funds. Upon the fees of his office, which averaged about half-a-crown a week, he contrived to live; and even from that scanty allowance has been known to extract a saving of a few pence. He kept no servant, and never engaged any one to clean his rooms, or to assist in his domestic concern; he fulfilled himself the duties of the housemaid, chambermaid, and cook, and officiated as his own washerwoman and tailor. In appearance he was a walking scarecrow, and the hat which he had upon his head, and the rags which he had upon his back, were enough to frighten all the birds in the neighbourhood. The same hat and coat served him during the whole forty-five years that he lived at Blewbury. As specimens of industry, and curious stitching, they were both remarkable articles of wearing apparel. The brim of his hat on his left side was, by dint of constant handling, entirely worn off; one day, on coming from Upton, across the fields, he luckily espied an old hat stuck upon a pole, in a cornfield, to frighten away the birds; he immediately seized the prize and despoiled it of its brim, which he sewed on to his own hat with a piece of twine. It is doubtful, whether the addition was an improvement, for the new brim was a jet black, whilst the old head was of a most dingy brown. As to his coat, it was a miracle of art; if Joseph's coat surpassed it in the variety of its colours, it was nothing to it in the multiplicity of its patches. There never was a coat so twisted and turned, so doctored and re-paired, so altered in its fashion, or so metamorphosed in its shape, as the coat of the Rev. Mr. Jones. The life of that coat would have been an entertaining history; it would have taught those who wish to make a surtout, do double duty, how to achieve their end. When he first went to Blewbury, it was then the worse for wear, and after some considerable time, when it had become threadbare, and of the hue of russet, he had it turned inside out, and converted into a dress coat. This napless garment soon became dangerously thin, and subject to incessant rents, and tears, which continually kept its reverend owner employed; it was the practice of this thrifty curate to borrow needle and thread on these occasions of the neighbouring farmers, for to have in-vested any capital in the purchase of such articles, would have been a serious and weighty consideration. But at last, in spite of all his care and patching, pieces fell out, and were lost; to repair these dilapidations, he cut fragments off the tail, and sewed them in neatly himself. At last, this system of robbing one part to repair another, became so frequent, and the tails were so reduced, that the coat became a jacket, and certainly there never was a garment that so disgraced "the cloth," as that worn by this most reverend miser; old crones used to envy it as a piece of ingenious patch-work, and youthful rustics used to wonder, whether it could be Joseph's coat—grown dingy, and discoloured by time, which the curate would sometimes tell them about in his morning lesson; indeed, so much amazement and consternation did the tailless jacket produce, that Mr. Jones was at last compelled to refrain from appearing in it before the public eye; but he was constantly decorated in this strange garment when at home. In other articles of his apparel the curate was equally parsimonious. He had a great store of new shirts, neatly folded up, and locked within his drawers; but, with the exception of one solitary shirt, they were never allowed to part company; when he had it washed, which was only once in two or three months, he went about without a shirt at all, rather than take one of the new ones into use. He always took it off at night, that it might last clean the longer; and when it became worn, he always mended it himself, and repaired it on the same plan that he repaired his coat; the consequences were of course the same; the shirt became tailless, and no longer reached down to his knees. Sorely was the reverend miser tempted to disturb his hoarded linen, and to take a new one into use; but after a diligent search, he found in one of his drawers the top of a shirt, with a frill on, which had lain by ever since his gay and youthful days; this, with his usual sagacity, he tacked into the old shirt, with the frill hanging downwards, which embellished that useful garment with a novel and elegant appearance. In his diet Mr. Jones was as singular and as penurious as in his dress. On a Saturday he purchased the food which was to last him during the ensuing week, and he cooked the whole of his provisions on the Sunday. His meals were never varied, and he never purchased but three articles, bread, bacon, and tea, which he used to term two necessaries, and one luxury. This was invariably his diet all the year round; if his bread became dry, or his bacon "cupboardy," it was all the same; he rather, in fact, encouraged within himself a dislike for his meals, because he found it a saving; and it was always his aim to make one week's allowance, if possible, suffice for two; this he would sometimes manage by dining gratuitously with a neighbour. It was remarked, that although he was frequently entertained by his parishioners, only one person during ten years had ever been known to have sat at his table: this was a particular friend, and he only obtained a crust of bread, after much difficulty and importunity. In fact, the larder never contained anything but bread, and a piece of unsavoury bacon; no meat, sugar, coffee, cheese, milk, or such class of common provisions, ever entered his house; yet our parsimonious curate always manifested the utmost pleasure when he could partake of such luxuries free of expense. His common beverage was water, and at breakfast and supper he indulged in a cup of weak tea, unflavoured with milk or sugar. Few liked a glass of ale more than did the Rev. Mr. Jones, and yet he never spent but a single sixpence in that liquor during the whole time that he was curate of Blewbury. The farmers would occasionally, however, treat him to a glass, which formerly he used never to refuse; but being invited to a rustic wedding, about ten years before his death, he drank so freely of strong ale, and made so many grimaces, and played such unaccountable tricks for a parson, that the parishioners talked about it for some days, which so mortified this reverend gentleman, that he made a vow never to indulge in any stronger drink than his diluted tea; a vow which, it is said, he piously and scrupulously observed. Mr. Tones never lit a fire, however cold the weather, except on a Sunday, for the purpose of cooking his bacon, and brewing his tea; this was usually one of sticks and rubbish, which he was often seen busily collecting in the church-yard; he never could persuade himself to use coal, although he had a shed at the back of his house full of that article. On cold winter evenings he would beg a seat by the cheerful fire of a neighbour, and after warming his shivering limbs return, and immediately get to bed, to keep in the heat. It was one night returning thus that the old man died, comfortless, and alone; after having deprived himself of every comfort, and denied himself many of the necessaries of life, that he might leave thousands to relatives whom he had never seen.