The Money-Box

Source: W.W. Jacobs, ‘The Money-Box’, in Odd Craft (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), pp. 4-6

Text: The first day they was as pleased as Punch. Old Isaac got a nice, respectable bedroom for them all, and arter they’d ‘ad a few drinks they humoured ‘im by ‘aving a nice ‘ot cup o’ tea, and then goin’ off with ‘im to see a magic-lantern performance.

It was called “The Drunkard’s Downfall,” and it begun with a young man going into a nice-looking pub and being served by a nice-looking barmaid with a glass of ale. Then it got on to ‘arf pints and pints in the next picture, and arter Ginger ‘ad seen the lost young man put away six pints in about ‘arf a minute, ‘e got such a raging thirst on ‘im that ‘e couldn’t sit still, and ‘e whispered to Peter Russet to go out with ‘im.

“You’ll lose the best of it if you go now,” ses old Isaac, in a whisper; “in the next picture there’s little frogs and devils sitting on the edge of the pot as ‘e goes to drink.”

“Ginger Dick got up and nodded to Peter.”

“Arter that ‘e kills ‘is mother with a razor,” ses old Isaac, pleading with ‘im and ‘olding on to ‘is coat.

Ginger Dick sat down agin, and when the murder was over ‘e said it made ‘im feel faint, and ‘im and Peter Russet went out for a breath of fresh air. They ‘ad three at the first place, and then they moved on to another and forgot all about Isaac and the dissolving views until ten o’clock, when Ginger, who ‘ad been very liberal to some friends ‘e’d made in a pub, found ‘e’d spent ‘is last penny.

“This comes o’ listening to a parcel o’ teetotalers,” ‘e ses, very cross, when ‘e found that Peter ‘ad spent all ‘is money too. “Here we are just beginning the evening and not a farthing in our pockets.”

Comments: William Wymark Jacobs (1863–1943) was a British novelist and short story writer, known for his humorous, maritime and ghost stories. Odd Craft is one of his several collections of stories. ‘Dissolving views’ refers to the magic lantern practice of one image dimming and being gradually replaced by another, by means of a two-lens (biunial) lens mechanism, or by using two separate lanterns.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

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