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I should not be at all surprised if the
reverend gentleman were to leave all his
moneyespecially if I don't go to see him
to the skittle-playing, school-expelled,
extravagant scapegrace, to whom his letter was



BY others' faults wise men correct their
own, is an aphorism which I have transcribed
more than once, with a varying amount of
ink-splashes and blots, and with greater or
less fineness in the up-strokes and firmness
in the down-stroke. It is even probable that
many of my readers may have performed
the same achievement of caligraphy. By
others' wants wise men measure their own,
is a maxim which is much less frequently
either theoretically studied or practically
carried out. Yet it is as good a maxim
as the otherbetter, I will say; because,
although faults are a moving-spring of considerable
power in the mechanism of human
society, wants are even yet more effective in
their actions on the cogs and wheels which
keep life a-going.

We are grumbling a little, and are likely
to grumble more, about the anticipated want
of a penny in our circulation, without reflecting
that, as half a loaf is better than
no bread, so mils and half-cents are better
than no coppers at all. A wail is uttered
by an opposite neighbour, which ought
to make us hug ourselves in our riches
both present and in contemplation. If
Midas was punished by the conversion of
whatever he touched into gold, nations in
like manner are made to do penance by
having nothing but golden and large silver
coin to handle. The Oran (Algerian) newspapers
state that the country is at its wit's
end for what all Frenchmen are so dearly
fond ofchange. Buyers and sellers are
equally in a fix how to regulate the odd cash
left when their transactions are finished: all
kinds of tricks are played to find up small
change, which remains unfindable. For instance,
an individual who dare not smoke a
single pipe of tobacco if you offered him a
sovereign to do so, rushed into Madame
Levillain's shop in a red-hot hurry, asked for
a one-sou cigar, laid down a five-franc piece,
and, with a sickly smile, requested his

"Monsieur," said Madame, with dignity,
"keep your piece of silver. You will pay
me for the cigar when you can."

She cunningly preferred risking the loss
of her ware to shortening her stock of
that precious change, of which she has
not always a supply. In order to appreciate
the value of halfpence, and the untold
treasure you possess in a copper coal-scuttle
and a series of bright stew-pans, ranging
from least to little, through big, biggest, and
very biggest of all, you ought to witness the
despair of Algerian shopkeepers when you
purchase of them some three-halfpenny
article, and treacherously slide beneath their
very nose a great piece of silver; you ought
to behold the porters who have received a
douro (four shillings and sixpence) in payment
for a twopenny job, running about from door
to door, begging and praying for d├ęcimes.
They would often be justified in keeping
the whole piece, on the ground that they
had fairly earned the balance. In former
times, as in Naples and elsewhere, when
you changed a silver five-franc piece for
smaller coin, especially for copper, you
easily got a discount of ten centimes. But
although the five-franc piece retains its credit
as firmly as ever, not only can you get no
discount on it now, but it is often impossible
to change it at all.

The cause of this terrible scarcity of coppers,
which may, before long, even make itself
felt in England, arises from a curious spot,
if I may apply the word spot to so vast
a tract as the Great African Desert. The
inhabitants of the Sahara, in consequence of
certain movements, transactions, and
advancements, have absorbed all the current
small change in Algeria. Even the new,
light, French copper coinage is hailed with
delight by the children of the sands; the
coins are greedily imported under
circumstances the most flattering to themselves
(the sous). Another thirsty sponge, which
sucks up an immensity of copper, is Morocco.
It appears that the first stray copper utensil
that comes to hand, is instantly seized by one
of the innumerable coiners of base money,
whose clumsy wares, rude and worthless as
they are, are nevertheless used as change in
the open market. The more closely you
look at Africa, the less you are surprised
at the disappearance of small coins when
once they have entered its boundaries. It
has always been a coinless country,
regarding it in a general point of view. Shells
have been even used as the money wherewith
to purchase slaves; a fine black young
woman was worth so many thousand cowries.
Amidst the populous tribes of the interior
the drollest substitutes for a currency
have been employed. It is not therefore
a few handfuls of halfpence and fourpenny
pieces, such as an electioneering candidate
would scatter amidst a crowd, that will fill
up this yawning vacuum of cash. The
natives are daily becoming better and better
acquainted with the uses of money, in
consequence of their intercourse with or subjection
to various European nations at various points
of the immense line of coast which runs from
Egypt, past Algeria, past Sierra Leone,
round the Gold Coast, round the Cape of
Good Hope, past Madagascar, to the top of
the Red Sea. Add to this, that in Algeria,
the bank in which the Arabs place the most
confidence, is mostly a bank whereon the

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