MR. DOOLEY ON GOLD-SEEKING
by Finley Peter Dunne
"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 hundherd 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."
"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."
"If I was a young man an' not tied down here," said Mr. Hennessy,
"I'd go there: I wud so."
"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.
"But, faith, whin I'd been here a week, I seen that there was nawthin'
but mud undher th' pavement,--I larned that be means iv a pick-axe 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 Pittsburgh 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 at five a throw, put ye'er
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 f'r the goold mine.
They was Injuns here thin. But they wasn't anny mines I cud see.
They was mud to be shovelled 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.
"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 dure-step or in his neighbor's pocket at th'
"Well, annyhow," said Mr. Hennessy, "I'd like to kick up th' sod,
an' find a ton iv gold undher me fut."
"What wud ye do if ye found it?" demanded Mr. Dooley.
"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."
"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 on a visit, an'
put on airs with ye'er cousin Mike. Ye'd be a mane, close-fisted,
onscrupulous ol' curmudgeon; an', whin ye'd die, it'd take haf
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."
"I won't," said Mr. Hennessy.
~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~