My Lost Dollar

Stephen Leacock is famous for his humourous writing which is marked by his keen observation and deep understanding of human character. In My Lost Dollar the title itself is funny since the writer refers to a dollar as ‘mine’ though he has given it away to a friend.

Mr. Todd, a friend, borrowed a dollar from the the writer and never gave it back. Mr. Todd borrowed it to pay for his taxi when he was leaving for Bermuda. From Hamilton in Bermuda Mr. Todd sent a letter to the writer. The writer thought it might contain his dollar but it was just a letter about the weather.

Three weeks later Mr.Todd came back and the writer met him at the railway station thinking that it would be a nice gesture on his part. The writer says he didn’t do that because of the dollar. However, he referred to it by suggesting that they should take a taxi to the club. He thought the word ‘taxi’ might make his friend recall the dollar. Later, the writer asked him what currency was used in Bermuda and whether the American Dollar went at par with it. But all these hints fell flat on Mr. Todd.

In a few days, the writer came to the conclusion that Mr. Todd had completely forgotten about the dollar. The writer kept hinting at it by asking him how much he had spent on his trip and whether he had settled after his trip. One night the writer became hopeful when he heard his friend say that Poland would never repay her debts. But it didn’t cross Mr. Todd’s mind that he also had not paid back his debt. During all this the writer harboured no ill will towards his friend, though he found it hard to forget that dollar.

Later, the writer thought that he was not getting repaid because he himself never repaid. This made him recall the people he had never repaid. Though he made a list of those people, he began to cancel the names of people who had lent him less than a dollar and those who lent him for an emergency. He planned to repay only those who lent him a dollar for a taxi when he was starting for Bermuda. In other words, blind to his own faults, he was going to correct only that action which would reverse his fate and help him get his dollar back. However, he has no sense of shame to think of starting a movement Back to Honesty for encouraging the other to pay all those dollars that were borrowed in moments of need.

At the beginning of the story he mentioned the date when Mr. Todd borrowed money from him hoping that Mr. Todd might see this story. But at the end, the writer tells us not to leave this book where it might be seen by Mr. Todd! We don’t know whether it is really out or respect or out of fear.

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