Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
On Gold-Seeking
By Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)
 
From “Mr. Dooley on Peace and in War”

“WELL, sir,” said Mr. Hennessy, “that Alaska’s th’ gr-reat place. I thought ’twas nawthin’ but an iceberg with a few seals roostin’ on it, an’ wan or two hundhred Ohio politicians that can’t be killed on account iv th’ threaty iv Pawrs. But here they tell me ’tis fairly smothered in goold. A man stubs his toe on th’ ground an lifts th’ top off iv a goold mine. Ye go to bed at night an’ wake up with goold fillin’ in ye’er teeth.”
  1
  “Yes,” said Mr. Dooley. “Clancy’s son was in here this mornin’, an’ he says a frind iv his wint to sleep out in th’ open wan night, an’ whin he got up his pants assayed four ounces iv goold to th’ pound, an’ his whiskers panned out as much as thirty dollars net.”  2
  “If I was a young man an’ not tied down here,” said Mr. Hennessy, “I’d go there; I wud go.”  3
  “I wud not,” said Mr. Dooley. “Whin I was a young man in th’ ol’ counthry, we heerd th’ same story about all America. We used to set be th’ tur-rf fire o’ nights, kickin’ our bare legs on th’ flure an’ wishin’ we was in New York, where all ye had to do was to hold ye’er hat an’ th’ goold guineas’d dhrop into it. An’ whin I got to be a man, I come over here with a ham and a bag iv oatmeal, as sure that I’d return in a year with money enough to dhrive me own ca-ar as I was that me name was Martin Dooley. An’ that was a cinch.  4
  “But, faith, whin I’d been here a week, I seen that there was nawthin’ but mud undher th’ pavement—I learned that be means iv a pick-ax at tin shillin’s th’ day—an’ that, though there was plenty iv goold, thim that had it were froze to it; an’ I come West, still lookin’ f’r mines. Th’ on’y mine I sthruck at Pittsburg was a hole f’r sewer-pipe. I made it. Siven shillin’s th’ day. Smaller thin New York, but th’ livin’ was cheaper, with Mon’gahela rye five a throw, put ye’er hand around th’ glass.  5
  “I was still dreamin’ goold, an’ I wint down to Saint Looey. Th’ nearest I come to a fortune there was findin’ a quarther on th’ sthreet as I leaned over th’ dashboord iv a car to whack th’ off mule. Whin I got to Chicago, I looked around f’r the goold mine. They was Injuns here thin. But they wasn’t anny mines I cud see. They was mud to be shoveled an’ dhrays to be dhruv an’ beats to be walked. I choose th’ dhray; f’r I was niver cut out f’r a copper, an’ I’d had me fill iv excavatin’. An’ I dhruv th’ dhray till I wint into business.  6
  “Me experyence with goold minin’ is it’s always in th’ nex’ county. If I was to go to Alaska, they’d tell me iv th’ finds in Seeberya. So I think I’ll stay here. I’m a silver man, annyhow; an’ I’m contint if I can see goold wanst a year, whin some prominent citizen smiles over his newspaper. I’m thinkin’ that ivry man has a goold mine undher his own durestep or in his neighbor’s pocket at th’ farthest.”  7
  “Well, annyhow,” said Mr. Hennessy, “I’d like to kick up th’ sod an’ find a ton iv goold undher me fut.”  8
  “What wud ye do if ye found it?” demanded Mr. Dooley.  9
  “I—I dinnaw,” said Mr. Hennessy, whose dreaming had not gone this far. Then, recovering himself, he exclaimed with great enthusiasm, “I’d throw up me job an’—an’ live like a prince.”  10
  “I tell ye what ye’d do,” said Mr. Dooley. “Ye’d come back here an’ sthrut up an’ down th’ sthreet with ye’er thumbs in ye’er armpits; an’ ye’d dhrink too much, an’ ride in sthreet ca-ars. Thin ye’d buy foldin’ beds an’ piannies, an’ start a reel-estate office. Ye’d be fooled a good deal an’ lose a lot iv ye’er money, an’ thin ye’d tighten up. Ye’d be in a cold fear night an’ day that ye’d lose ye’er fortune. Ye’d wake up in th’ middle iv th’ night, dhreamin’ that ye was back at th’ gas-house with ye’er money gone. Ye’d be prisidint iv a charitable society. Ye’d have to wear ye’er shoes in th’ house, an’ ye’er wife’d have ye around to rayciptions an’ dances. Ye’d move to Mitchigan Avnoo, an’ ye’d hire a coachman that’d laugh at ye. Ye’er boys’d be joods an’ ashamed iv ye, an’ ye’d support ye’er daughters’ husbands. Ye’d rackrint ye’er tinants an’ lie about ye’er taxes. Ye’d go back to Ireland an’ put on airs with ye’er cousin Mike. Ye’d be a mane, onscrupulous ol’ curmudgeon; an’, whin ye’d die, it’d take half ye’er fortune f’r rayqueems to put ye r-right. I don’t want ye iver to speak to me whin ye get rich, Hinnissy.”  11
  “I won’t,” said Mr. Hennessy.  12
 
 
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