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Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 454 Volume 18, New Series, September 11, 1852   By:

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No. 454. NEW SERIES. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1852. PRICE 1 1/2 d.


The poorest and most unlucky dog in the world either has or had some small portion of money. No matter how small, how hardly, or how precariously earned, he has seen, from time to time, a glimpse of the colour of his own cash, and rejoiced accordingly as that colour was brown, white, or yellow. It follows, therefore, that even the poorest and most unlucky dog in the world has experienced monetary sensations. It may appear paradoxical, but it is no less true, that it is the very rich, born to riches, the heirs to great properties, or no end of consolidated stock, who have never enjoyed or feared the sensation to which we allude. To them, money is a thing of course; it pours in upon them with the regularity of the succeeding seasons. Rent day comes of itself, and there is the money; dividend day is as sure as Christmas, and there lie the receipts. These are the people who know nothing of the commodity with which they are so well endowed, or, at most, their knowledge is but skin deep. They take and spend, just as they sit or walk. Both seem natural processes; they have performed them since they were born. Their money is a bit of themselves an extra and uncommonly convenient limb with which they are endowed. It is only when some sudden catastrophe bursts upon and cuts off the supplies, that this class of ladies and gentlemen experience, like the shock of a thousand freezing shower baths, their first 'monetary sensation.'

But the men and women who work either with head or hands who fight their way who plan to gain and plan to spend, so that the latter shall counterbalance the former who lie sleepless in their beds, intent on how to make both ends meet who are lucky and unlucky who travel the ups and the downs of life, here grasping fortunes, there turning out the linings of penniless pockets: these are the people whose whole lives are one long succession of monetary sensations. Among them mainly is cultivated the art of looking at two sides of a shilling. They know how to value half crowns and sovereigns in calling up the long arrear of hard worked hours, which are, as it were, the small change of quarters' salaries and weeks' wages. How many strokes of the steady going pen are encircled in those bright yellow disks how many thumps of the ponderous hammer has it taken to produce this handful of silver. Or on a larger scale as the successful speculator sweeps to himself the mass of notes and bills, all as good as gold, for which he has set every penny of his worldly means upon the stake, and feels with a thrill which makes him clutch the precious paper, that had things not turned out as, thank Heaven! they have, that then, and then! He has had a tolerably vigorous monetary sensation.

But the whole of the money getting classes, and, to some extent, the classes who merely spend what others got and gave them, can look very well back upon a series of monetary sensations which have marked epochs in their lives. Our remembrances of that kind are, of course, most deeply engraved, and most clearly recollected, in the cases in which we are working for ourselves, and have ourselves achieved steps and triumphed over difficulties in life each step and triumph marked by a lengthening of the purse. But there are early monetary impressions common to almost all the juvenile world, rich and poor to the children of the duke or of the mechanic, to the boy who has obtained the price of a pony or a watch, and the boy who has been made a present of what will buy him a twopenny story book, or a twopenny bun. Boys and girls commonly have poses to adopt a phrase not known south of the Tweed, where it must be explained, that to have a pose, is to possess a little private and secret, or quasi secret, hoard of treasure... Continue reading book >>

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