The Perils of
Money is admitted to bethere is no earthly use of dodging the
factthe lever of the whole world, by which it and its multifarious
cargo of men and matters, mountains and mole hills, wit, wisdom, weal,
woe, warfare and women, are kept in motion, in season and out of
season. It is the arbiter of our fates, our health, happiness, life and
death. Where it makes one man a happy Christian, it makes ten
thousand miserable devils. It is no use to argufy the matter,
for money is the root of all evil, more or less, andas Patricus
Hibernicus is supposed to have said of a single feather he reposed
onif a dollar gives some men so much uneasiness, what must a million
do? Money has formed the basis of many a long and short story, and we
only wish that they were all imbued, as our present story is,
withmore irresistible mirth than misery. Lend us your ears.
Not long ago, one of our present well-knownor ought to be, for he
is a man of partsbusiness men of Boston, resided and carried on a
small trade and dicker in the city of Portland. By frugal care and
small profits, he had managed to save up some six hundred dollars, all
in halves, finding himself in possession of this vast sum of
hard cash, he began to conceive a rather insignificant notion of
small cities; and he concluded that Portland was hardly big enough
for a man of his pecuniary heft! In short, he began to feel the
importance of his position in the world of finance, and conceived the
idea that it would be a sheer waste of time and energy to stay in
Portland, while with his capital, he could go to Boston, and
spread himself among the millionaires and hundred thousand dollar men!
Yes, said B, I'll go to Boston; I'd be a fool to stay here
any longer; I'll leave for bigger timber. But what will I do with my
money? How will I invest it? Hadn't I better go and take a look around,
before I conclude to move? My wife don't know I've got this money, he
continued, as he mused over matters one evening, in his sanctum; I'll
not tell her of it yet, but say I'm just going to Boston to see how
business is there in my line; and my money I'll put in an old cigar
* * * * *
Bwas all ready with his valise and umbrella in his hand. His
good-bye and all that, to his wife, was uttered, and for the tenth
time he charged his better half to be careful of the fire, (he occupied
a frame house,) see that the doors were all locked at night, and be
sure and fasten the cellar doors.
Bhad got out on to the pavement, with no time to spare to reach
the cars in season; yet he haltedran backopened the door, and in
evident concern, bawled out to his wife
Well? she answered.
Be sure to fasten the alley gate!
Ye-e-e-e-s! responded the wife, from the interior of the house.
And whatever you do, don't forget them cellar doors,
Ye-e-e-e-s! she repeated, and away went B, lickety split, for
the Boston train.
After a general and miscellaneous survey of modern Athens,
Bfound an openinga good oneto go into business, as he desired,
upon a liberal scale; but he found vent for the explosion of one very
hallucinating ideahis six hundred dollars, as a cash capital, was a
most infinitesimal circumstance, a mere flea bite; would do
very well for an amateur in the cake and candy, pea-nut or vegetable
business, but was hardly sufficient to create a sensation among the
monied folks of Milk street, or bulls and bears on 'change.
However, this realization was more than counter-balanced by another
factconfidence was a largely developed bump on the business
head of Boston, and if a man merely lacked means, yet possessed an
abundance of good business qualificationsspirit, energy, talent and
tactthey were bound to see him through! In short, B, the great
Portland capitalist, found things about right, and in good time, and in
the best of spirits, started for home, determining, in his own mind, to
give his wife a most pleasant surprise, in apprizing her of the fact
that she was not only the wife of a man with six hundred silver
dollars, and about to move his institutionbut the better half
of a gentleman on the verge of a new campaign as a Boston business man.
Lord! how Caroline's eyes will snap! said B; how she'll go
in; for she's had a great desire to live in Boston these five years,
but thinks I'm in debt, and don't begin to believe I've got them six
hundred all hid away down. But I'll surprise her!
Bhad hardly turned his corner and got sight of his house, with
his mind fairly sizzling with the pent-up joyful tidings and grand
surprise in store for Mrs. B., when a sudden change came over the
spirit of his dream! As he gazed over the fence, by the now dim
twilight of fading day, he thoughtyes, he did see fresh earthy loose
stones, barrels of lime, mortar, and an ominous display of other
building and repairing materials, strewn in the rear of his domicil!
The cellar doorsthose wings of the subterranean recesses of his
housewhich he had cautioned, earnestly cautioned, the wife of his
bussim to close, carefully and securely, were sprawling open, and
indeed, the outside of his abode looked quite dreary and haunted.
My dear Caroline! exclaimed B, rushing into the rear door of
his domestic establishment, to the no small surprise of Mrs. B., who
gave a premature
Oh dear! how you frightened me, Fred! Got home?
Home? yes! don't you see I have. But, Carrie, didn't I earnestly
beg of you to keep those doorscellar doorsshut? fastened?
Why, how you talk! Bless me! Keep the cellar shut? Why, there's
nothing in the cellar.
Nothing in the cellar? fairly howls B.
Nothing? Of course there is not, quietly responded the wife;
there is nothing in the cellar; day before yesterday, our drain and
Mrs. A.'s drain got choked up; she went to the landlord about it; he
sent some men, they examined the drain, and came back to-day with their
tools and things, and went down the cellar.
Down the cellar? gasped B, quite tragically.
Down the cellar! slowly repeated Mrs. B.
Give me a lightquick, give me a light, Caroline!
Why, don't be a fool. I brought up all the things, the potatoes,
the meat, the squashes.
P-o-o-h! blow the meat and squashes! Give me a light! and with a
genuine melo-drama rush, Bseized the lamp from his wife's hand, and
down the cellar stairs he went, four steps at a lick. In a moment was
O-o-o-h! I'm ruined!
With a full-fledged scream, Mrs. B. dashed pell-mell down the
stairs, to her husband. He had dropped the lampall was dark as a coal
FredFrederick! oh! where are you? What have you done? cried his
wife, in intense agony and doubt.
Done? Oh! I'm done! yes, done now! he heavily sighed.
Done what? how? Tell me, Fred, are you hurt?
What on airth's the matter, thar? Are you committing murder on one
another? came a voice from above stairs.
Is that you, Mrs. A.? asked Mrs. B. to the last speaker.
Yes, my dear; here's a dozen neighbors; don't get skeert. Is thare
robbers in yer house? What on airth is going on?
This brought Bto his proper reckoning. He ordered his wife to
go up, and he followed, and upon reaching the room, he found quite a
gathering of the neighbors. He was as white as a white-washed wall, and
the neighbors staring at him as though he was a wild Indian, or a
chained mad dog. Importuned from all sides to unravel the mystery,
B informed them that he had merely gone down cellar to see what the
masons, &c., had been doingdropped his lamphis wife screamedand
that was all about it! The wife said nothing, and the neighbors shook
their incredulous heads, and went home; which, no sooner had they gone,
than Bseized his hat and cut stick for the office of a cunning,
far-seeing limb of the law, leaving Mrs. B. in a state of mental
agitation better imagined than described. Bstated his casehe had
buried six hundred dollars in a box under the lee of the
cellar-wall, and gone to Boston on business, and as if no other time
would suit, a parcel of drain-cleaners, and masons, and laborers, must
come and go right there and then to digget the six hundred dollars
After a long chase, law and bother, Brecovered half his
moneypacked up and came to Boston.There's a case for you! Beware of