Written in 1850 by F. Somner Merryweather
, and almost, if not completely, impossible to track down at present. Charles Dickens
references it in Chapter VI, Book the Third of Our Mutual Friend
Mr. Boffin's newly acquired wealth has begun to turn him into a miser, and one of his new habits is to buy books on other misers (so he can learn how to properly go about it). These books are then read to him by his half-literate, one-legged employee Wegg.
The full title is Lives and Anecdotes of Misers, or the Passion of Avarice Displayed. Boffin is interested, of course, in only the meanest of misers, as follows:
Daniel Dancer-- After he died, "naked in a sack", a dung-heap on his property was found to contain 2,500 pounds. 500 pounds were found in an old jacket, 600 more in a teapot, and 200 more in the chimney of the decaying ruin he lived in.
John Elwes-- Didn't stash anything, and had too many redeeming features. Boffin instructs Wegg to skip the chapter.
Elizabeth Wilcox-- "stowed away gold and silver in a pickle-pot in a clock-case, a canister-full of treasure in a hole under her stairs, and a quantity of money in an old rat-trap."
Mrs. Daniel Collwood-- claimed to be a pauper, but stashed away money wrapped in paper and old rags.
Joanna Horrel, the Apple-Woman of Exeter-- saved ten thousand pounds, amassed from selling apples, and stashed it in the walls and floors of her house.
M. Thibaudard-- a Frenchman who hid 20,000 francs, and precious stones, in his chimney, where a chimney sweep found it after his death.
The Jardines of Cambridge-- A father who hid 1,000 guineas under his bed, and upon his death, his two sons continued the hoarding of wealth. The sons wore filthy rags, slept on bundles of packing-cloths "to save the expense of a bed", and when one of them died, it was discovered he had hoarded a vast sum of money away from the other one.
Boffin, having inherited a miser's money, and installed Wegg in the miser's house, is leading him on to believe that there is something stashed away in the house. There is, but Boffin has already found it.
Merryweather, who was something of a historian, wrote several other books which are available through rare-book dealers, but this one seems to have vanished completely, with the only traces being in Dickens' near-contemporary novel.