Sunday, June 22, 2014

Object of the Day: Charity's Home

Click on image to see a picture with no relation whatsoever to the copy.

Well, I have no idea.

I decided that I would sit down and type the copy from the reverse of this page and see where it took me. After a lot of dialogue and a peculiar use of the affectionate term of “glow worm,” the copy finally told me that this was an ad for Met Life Insurance. It’s the twelfth of something. I’d guess that it’s twelfth chapter of an ongoing insurance-themed saga. It appears to be a page from a booklet since it just cuts off.

The obverse gives us a nice look at a little girl with a puppy. This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story of Israel and Charity and their shotgun house. Still, it’s a strangely compelling read.

Judge for yourself. I insist. I took the time to type it.




A FEW years ago, my wife said to me one morning:

“Israel, we must have a home of our own.”

Said I: “Charity, it’s just impossible; we hain’t the means.”

Said she: “Israel, we hain’t the means to pay the rent these people charge, that’s clear.”

She began washing up the breakfast things, and off I went to duty.

In the evening, Charity said to me, as we sat down to supper:

“Israel, I’ve bought a lot.”

I srpanf up from my chair and said: “You’ve bought what?”

“A lot.” Said she.

“A lot?” Said I.

“A lot.” Said she.

“Well!” said I and sat down again and went for the tea and biscuit. When I came to, I said to my wife: “Just explain yourself, Charity.”

“I’ve bought a lot,” said she. “Mr. Dodd says the fifty dollars down are satisfactory, and the rest may run at six per cent. Twenty feet front, one hundred feet deep—two thousand feet at twn cents a foot, two hundred dollars. Fifty paid, one hundred and fifty due.”

“But, Charity, how about a house?”

“All right, Israel. I’ve made a contract with Chipps & Cullings; house, shed and fence, fifteen hundred and fifty.”


“Israel, honey, don’t talk please. You men—“

“Charity, are you?”

“Deranged, eh? No, love, not a bit. One hundred dollars cash when possession is given--”

“But, Charity--”

“Stop a minute. You know, Israel, we can never get our large bureau, nor our large sofa, nor our high-post bedstead, nor our large dining table, nor our large wardrobe into this little four-room house. That’s clear, hain’t it?”


“Well, then, we’ll sell them all, and the proceeds will meet these two cash payments.”


“Exactly, with a little difference, may be. So, you see.”

“But, how can we do without those things?”

“As easy as you will do without cigars; as easy as you will be your own barber and boot-black; as easy as we’ll both take our breakfast without half-dollar butter; as easy as I’ll make all last winter’s clothes carry me through next winter; as easy as I’ll carry you through, nice and genteel, on the same principle; as easy as--”



“As easy as I’ll do without a “breakfaster” and a “nooner” and a “night-cap,” and my cigars, and an occasional theatre ticket, and--”

“Exactly, old glow-worm.”

“Well—well. Suppose we should do without these things, and I should be taken away before it is paid, where would our own—my Charity’s home—be then?”

“Oh, you can get your life insured in the METROPOLITAN, and make that all safe.”

“Darling, here’s with you!” I never saw debts squared off so soon. Two hundred and fifteen hundred make seventeen; and one hundred and fifty cash, paid off by proceeds of surplus furniture, leaves fifteen hundred and fifty. Fifty dollars a month pays this off in—no, not thirty-one months, because the interest and insurance payments put it off somewhat…

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