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Starved in the Midst of Riches.

That a millionaire should die of starvation is surely, says a contemporary, a strange freak of destiny. Recently an elderly gentleman, notorious for his miserly habits, was found dead on the floor of his garret in a cheap lodging house at Dunai, a small town in Podolia. He had occupied the attic in question for many years, during which time he had never been known to light a fire in his stove, despite the terrific cold of Russian winters. His chief food was bread; which he purchased once a week at a village several versts distant from Dunai, in order to save a few copecks upon its price; and at long intervals he would regale himself with a few ounces of hog’s liver, the cheapest' meat in the public market, beef or mutton being, as he was wont to declare, quite beyond his means. Nor even during his long winter evenings did he ever burn candles or oil; as he “ could not afford such luxuries.” On searching his room after his death, the police authorities found hidden away under heaps of rags and valueless rubbish, over half amillion of roubles in coined gold, and securities to an even larger amount, The post-mortem examination to which his body was submitted proved conclusively that he had perished of sheer hunger, dissolution having been hastened on by extreme cold. The attenuated corpse was frozen hard, and no trace of nourishment could be discovered in the stomach or intestines. Surrounded by treasures that could have procured for him every imaginable comfort*and enjoyment, this strange being chose to die a painful and lingering death rather than spend a single coin of his vast hoards in the commonest necessaries of life. It would require almost superhuman effort, even on the part of the most tender-hearted philanthropist, to drop a tear upon the grave of so monstrous an anomaly as this famished Harpagon.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 180, 30 October 1880

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Starved in the Midst of Riches. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 180, 30 October 1880