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Rare Books and Special Collections: Horatio Alger Digital Repository: The Tin Savings Bank: A Tale for Hard Times by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Author: Alger, Horatio, 1832-1899.
Title: The Tin Savings Bank: A Tale for Hard Times.
In: Newsboy. [United States] : Horatio Alger Society, 1970. Vol.9, no.5 (Dec. 1970)
Format: leaves 4-5 ; 28 cm.
Other Name: Miller, Paul.
Horatio Alger Collection.
Other Title: Gleason's Pictorial (originally appeared in v. 2, 1861)
Location: PS1029.A3 T54 1970a (Special Collections)
Optically scanned and encoded by Mark A. Williams
Edited by Sam S. Manivong
Horatio Alger Digital Serials Project, Northern llinois University Libraries
DeKalb, IL
25-August-1999


Charles Lynford was a young mechanic in good business. At the age of twenty-six he had taken to himself as a wife Caroline Eustis, the daughter of a neighbor, who had nothing to bring him except her own personal merits, which were many, and habits of thrift learned in an economical household under the stern teaching of necessity.

It was well, perhaps, that Charles Lynford should obtain a wife of this character, since he himself found it very difficult to save anything from his income.

It was not long before Caroline became aquainted with her husband's failing.-- She could not feel quite easy in the knowledge that they were living fully up to their income, foreseeing that a time would come when their family would grow more expensive, and perhaps her husband's business, now flourishing, might become less so.

Accordingly one day she purchased of a tin-pedler who came to the door, a little tin safe, such as children frequently use as a savings bank. This she placed conspicuously on the mantlepiece, so that her husband might be sure to see it on entering, she should be able to make a daily deposit equal to that which she exacted of her husband. Of this however, she thought it best on the whole, not to inform Charles, enjoying in anticipation the prospect of being able at some time, to surprise him with the unexpected amount of her savings.

At the close of every month the contents were transferred to a savings bank of more pretensions where interest would be allowed. When the sums deposited here became large enough, Mrs. Lynford, who had considerable business capacity, withdrew them and invested in bank and other stocks, which would yield a larger percent. Of her mode of management her husband remained in complete ignorance. Nor did he ever express any desire to be made acquainted with his wife's management. He was an easy, careless fellow, spending as he went, enjoying the present and not feeling any particular concern about the future.

At the end of eight years, during which he had been unusually favored by prosperity in business and uninterrupted health, his books showed that he had not exceeded his income but on the other hand he had saved absolutely nothing.--Twenty-five cents alone stood to his credit.

"Running pretty close, isn't it, Carrie?" he said laughingly. "I take credit to myself for keeping on the right side of the line. But then I suppose you have saved up an immense sum."

"How much do you think?" asked his wife.

"O, perhaps a hundred dollars," said Charles Lynford, carelessly, "though it would take a good many dimes to do that."

His wife smiled, but did not volunteer to enlighten him as to the correctness of his conjecture.

So things went on till at length came the panic of 1857 -- a panic so recent that it will be remembered how universally trade and business of every kind were depressed at this period -- among others the trade which occupied Charles Lynford suffered.

One evening he came home looking quite serious - an expression which seldom came over his cheerful face.

Caroline, who had watched the signs of the times, was not unprepared to see this. She had suspected that her husband's business would be affected.

"What is the matter, Charles?" she asked cheerfully.

"The matter is that we shall have to economize greatly.

"Anything unfavorable turned up in business matters?"

"I think there has. I shall have but half a day's work for some time to come, and I am afraid that even this will fail before long. You haven't an idea, Carrie, how dull business of every kind has become."

"Fortunately, there is no need of it," said Mrs. Lynford. "You seem to forget our little savings bank."

"But is it possible it can amount to two hundred and fifty dollars?" exclaimed Charles in surprise.

"Yes, and six hundred more," said his wife.

"Impossible!"

"Wait a minute, and I will prove it."

Caroline withdrew a moment, and then reappeared with several certificates of bank and railroad shares, amounting to eight hundred dollars, and a bank-book in which the balance was deposited to her credit.

"Are you quite sure you hav'nt had a legacy?" demanded Charles in amazement. "Surely a dime a day has not produced this."

"No, but two dimes a day have, with a little extra deposit now and then. I think Charles, we shall be able to ward off starvation for a time."

"All this I owe to your prudence, said Charles, gratefully. "How can I repay you?"

Charles Lynford remained out of employment for some months, but in the spring, as he anticipated, business revived, and he was once more in receipt of his old income. More than two-thirds of the fund was still left, and henceforth Charles was no less assiduous than his wife in striving to increase it.

The little tin savings bank still stands on the mantle-piece, and never fails to receive a deposit daily.