On one of these occasions, when they had both been
perfectly quiet for a long time, and Mr Dombey only
knew that the child was awake by occasionally
glancing at his eye, where the bright fire was
sparkling like a jewel, little Paul broke silence
'Papa! what's money?'
The abrupt question had such immediate reference to
the subject of Mr Dombey's thoughts, that Mr Dombey
was quite disconcerted.
'What is money, Paul?' he answered. 'Money?'
'Yes,' said the child, laying his hands upon the
elbows of his little chair, and turning the old face
up towards Mr Dombey's;
'what is money?'
Mr Dombey was in a difficulty. He would have liked
to give him some explanation involving the terms
circulating-medium, currency, depreciation of
currency', paper, bullion, rates of exchange, value
of precious metals in the market, and so forth; but
looking down at the little chair, and seeing what a
long way down it was, he answered:
'Gold, and silver, and copper. Guineas, shillings,
half-pence. You know what they are?'
Charles Dickens / Dombey and Son / Chapter 8