Friday, October 1, 2010

L'Estrange: A Cobler and a Financier.

There was a Droll of a Cobler that led a Life as Merry as the Day was Long, and Singing and Joking was his Delight. But it was not altogether so well with a neighbour of his, though a Great Officer in the Treasury; for there was no Singing, nor hardly any Sleeping under his Roof: Or if he happen'd to Doze a little now and then in a Morning, 'twas Forty to One the Jolly Cobler Wak'd him. How often would he be Wishing to Himself that Sleep were to be bought in the Market as well as Meat and Drink! While his Head was working upon this Thought, the Toy took him in the Crown to send for the Songster. Come Neighbour, says he, thou liv'st like a Prince here, How much a Year canst thou get by thy Trade? Nay, Faith Master, Says the Cobler, I keep no 'Count-Books; but if I can get Bread from Hand to Mouth, and make Even at the Years End; I never trouble my self for to Morrow. Well, says the Officer, but if you know what you can Earn by the Day, you may easily cast up what that comes to a Year: Ay, says he, but that's more or less as it falls out; for we have such a World of Holy-Days, Festivals, and New Saints, that 'tis a Woundy Hindrance to a Poor Man that Lives by his Labour. This Dry, Blunt Way, took with the Officer, and so he went on with him: Come my Friend, says he, You came into my House a Cobler, what will you say now, if I send you out on't an Emperor? and so he put a Purse of a Hundred Crowns into his Hand. Go your ways, says he, there's an Estate for ye, and be a Good Husband of it. Away goes the Cobler with his Gold, and in Conceit as Rich as if the Mines pf Peru had been empty'd into his Lap. Up he Locks it immediately, and all the Comforts of his Life together with his Crowns in the same Chest. From the time that he was Master of this Treasure, there was no more Singing or Sleeping at our House; not a Cat stirr'd in the Garret, but an Outcry of Thieves; and his Cottage as so haunted with Cares, Jealousies, and Wild Alarums, that his very Life was become a Burden to him. So that after a short time, away trudges he to the Officer again; Ah Sir says he, if you have any Charity for a Miserable Creature, do but let me have my Songs and my Sleep again, and do you take back your Hundred Crowns, with a Hundred Thousand Thanks into the Bargain.

The Poor Man that has but from Hand to Mouth, passes his Time Merrily, and without any Fear or Danger of Thieves, Publick or Private; but the House that has Money In't, is as good as Haunted.

Source: L'Estrange 402.
Pauper et Dives

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M0997 (not in Perry)

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