The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
By Finley Peter Dunne (18671936)
From Mr. Dooley on Peace and in War
WELL, sir, said Mr. Hennessy, that Alaskas 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 cant 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 yeer teeth.
Yes, said Mr. Dooley. Clancys 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.
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 yeer hat an th goold guineasd 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 Id 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.
But, faith, whin Id been here a week, I seen that there was nawthin but mud undher th pavementI learned that be means iv a pick-ax at tin shillins th dayan that, though there was plenty iv goold, thim that had it were froze to it; an I come West, still lookin fr mines. Th ony mine I sthruck at Pittsburg was a hole fr sewer-pipe. I made it. Siven shillins th day. Smaller thin New York, but th livin was cheaper, with Mongahela rye five a throw, put yeer hand around th glass.
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 fr the goold mine. They was Injuns here thin. But they wasnt 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; fr I was niver cut out fr a copper, an Id had me fill iv excavatin. An I dhruv th dhray till I wint into business.
Me experyence with goold minin is its always in th nex county. If I was to go to Alaska, theyd tell me iv th finds in Seeberya. So I think Ill stay here. Im a silver man, annyhow; an Im contint if I can see goold wanst a year, whin some prominent citizen smiles over his newspaper. Im thinkin that ivry man has a goold mine undher his own durestep or in his neighbors pocket at th farthest.
I tell ye what yed do, said Mr. Dooley. Yed come back here an sthrut up an down th sthreet with yeer thumbs in yeer armpits; an yed dhrink too much, an ride in sthreet ca-ars. Thin yed buy foldin beds an piannies, an start a reel-estate office. Yed be fooled a good deal an lose a lot iv yeer money, an thin yed tighten up. Yed be in a cold fear night an day that yed lose yeer fortune. Yed wake up in th middle iv th night, dhreamin that ye was back at th gas-house with yeer money gone. Yed be prisidint iv a charitable society. Yed have to wear yeer shoes in th house, an yeer wifed have ye around to rayciptions an dances. Yed move to Mitchigan Avnoo, an yed hire a coachman thatd laugh at ye. Yeer boysd be joods an ashamed iv ye, an yed support yeer daughters husbands. Yed rackrint yeer tinants an lie about yeer taxes. Yed go back to Ireland an put on airs with yeer cousin Mike. Yed be a mane, onscrupulous ol curmudgeon; an, whin yed die, itd take half yeer fortune fr rayqueems to put ye r-right. I dont want ye iver to speak to me whin ye get rich, Hinnissy.