James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 24


By Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913)

  • An English-Jewish philanthropist, who was born on Oct. 24, 1784. He lived to be over a hundred years of age.

  • I SAW—’twas in a dream the other night—

    A man whose hair with age was thin and white;

    One hundred years had bettered by his birth,

    And still his step was firm, his eye was bright.

    Before him and about him pressed a crowd.

    Each head in reverence was bared and bowed,

    And Jews and Gentiles in a hundred tongues

    Extolled his deeds and spake his fame aloud.

    I joined the throng and, pushing forward, cried

    “Montefiore!” with the rest, and vied

    In efforts to caress the hand that ne’er

    To want and worth had charity denied.

    So closely round him swarmed our shouting clan

    He scarce could breathe, and, taking from a pan

    A gleaming coin, he tossed it o’er our heads,

    And in a moment was a lonely man!