Part 6 out of 11
first time in six months. His wife, a beautiful young girl when he
married her, but now a thin, pale, heart-broken creature, sat near a
window sewing when he entered. But she did not look up. She heard
him come in--but she could not turn her eyes towards him, for her
heart always grew sicker whenever she saw the sad changes that drink
had wrought upon him.
"For a few moments Joe stood gazing at his young wife, with a
tenderer interest than he had felt for a long time. He saw that she
did not look up, and was conscious of the reason.
"'Sarah,' he at last said, in a voice of affection, coming to her
"'What do you want?' she replied, still without looking up.
"'Look up at me, Sarah,' he said, in a voice that slightly trembled.
"Instantly her work dropped from her hands, and she lifted her eyes
to the face of her husband, and murmured in a low, sad tone,
"'What is it you wish, Joseph?'
"'You look very pale, and very sorrowful, Sarah,' her husband said,
with increasing tenderness of tone and manner.
"It had been so very long since he had spoken to her kindly, or
since he had appeared to take any interest in her, that the first
tenderly uttered word melted down her heart, and she burst into
tears, and leaning her head against him, sobbed long and
"With many a kind word, and many a solemn promise of reformation did
the husband soothe the stricken heart of his wife, into which a new
hope was infused.
"'I will be a changed man, after this, Sarah,' he said--
'And then it must go well with us. It seems as if I had been, for
the last year, the victim of insanity. I cannot realize how it is
possible for any one to abandon himself as I have done; to the
neglect of all the most sacred ties and duties that can appertain to
us. How deeply--O, how deeply you must have suffered!'
"'Deeply, indeed, dear husband!--More than tongue can utter,' the
young wife replied, in a solemn tone. 'It has seemed, sometimes, as
if I must die. Day after day, week after week, and month after
month, to see you coming in and going out, as you have done, for
ever intoxicated. To have no kind word or look. No rational
intercourse with one to whom I had yielded up my heart so
confidingly. O, my husband! you know not how sad a trial you have
imposed upon your wife!'
"'Sad--sad, indeed, I am sure it has been, Sarah! But let us try and
forget the past. There is bright sunshine yet for us, and it will
soon, I trust, fall warmly and cheeringly on our pathway.'
"All that day Bancroft remained at home with his wife, renewing his
assurances of reformation, and laying his plans for the future. I
saw all this, and began to fear lest Joe would really get freed from
the toils we had, through the rum-sellers, thrown around him--toils,
that I had felt, sure would soon cause him to fall headlong down
amongst us. I, of course, suggested nothing to him then; for it
would have been of little use. Towards night, his wife proposed that
he should sign the pledge. I was at his ear in a moment--
"'That would be too degrading!' I whispered. 'You have not got quite
so low as that yet.'
"'No, Sarah, I do not wish to sign the pledge,' he at once replied.
"'Why not, dear?'
"'Because, I have always despised this way of binding oneself down
by a written contract, not to do a thing. It is unmanly. My
resolution is sufficient. If I say that I will never drink another
drop, why I won't. But if I were to bind myself by a pledge not to
touch liquor again, I should, never feel a moment's peace, until I
had broken it.'
"These objections I readily infused into his mind, and he at once
adopted them as his own. I had power to do so, because I now
perceived that his love of drink was so strong, that he did not wish
to cut off all chance of ever tasting it again. He, therefore,
wanted specious reasons for not signing the pledge, and with these I
promptly furnished him!
"It was in vain that his wife urged him, even with tears and eager
entreaties to take the pledge: I was too much for her, and made him
firm as a rock in his determination not to sign.
"On the next morning, he parted with his wife, strong in his
resolution to be a reformed man. The pleasant thrill of her parting
kiss, the first he had received for more than a year, lingered in
his memory and encouraged him to abide by his promise. He passed his
accustomed places of resort for liquor, on his way to business, but
without the first desire to enter. I noted all this, and kept myself
busy about him to detect a moment of weakness. Our friend Graves
advertised his 'Sub-Treasury' on that morning. I calculated largely
on the novelty of the idea to win him off. But, somehow or other, he
did not see it. Another young man, one of his companions, did,
"'Have you tried Graves' new drink, yet?' he asked of him about
eleven o'clock, while he was under the influence of a pretty strong
"'No, what is it?' he replied, with a feeling of lively interest.
"'Sub-Treasury,' replied his friend.
"'Sub-Treasury! That must be something new! I wonder what it can
"Into this feeling of interest in knowing what the new drink could
be, I infused a strong desire to taste it.
"'Suppose we go and try some,' suggested his friend.
"'There'll not be the least danger,' I whispered in his ear. 'You
can try it, and refrain from drinking to excess. The evil has been
your drinking too much. There is no harm in moderate drinking. This
decided him, and I retired. I knew, if he tasted, that he was gone.'
"Down he went to the Harmony House;--I was there when he came in. It
would have done your hearts good to have seen with what delight he
sipped the new beverage,--and to have heard him say, as I did, to
Graves;--'I had half resolved to join the temperance society this
day,--but your Sub-Treasury has entirely shaken my resolution. I
shall never be able to do it now in this world, nor in the next
either, if I can only get you in the same place with me to make
Sub-Treasury.' And then he laughed with great glee. One, of course,
did not satisfy him, nor two, nor three. Before dinner-time he was
gloriously drunk, and went staggering home as usual. I could not
resist the inclination to see a little of the fun when he presented
himself to his wife, whose fond hopes were all in the sky again.
Like a bird, she had sung about the house during the morning, her
heart so elated that she could not prevent an outward expression of
the delight she felt. As the hour drew near for her husband's
return, a slight fear would glance through her mind, quickly
dismissed, however;--for she could not entertain the idea for a
moment that his newly-formed resolution could possibly be so soon
"At last the hour for his accustomed return arrived. She heard him
open the door--and sprung to meet him. One look sufficed to break
her heart. Statue-like she stood for a moment or two, and then sunk
senseless to the floor.
"Other matters calling me away, I staid only to see this delightful
little scene, and then hurried back to the Harmony House, to see if
the run was kept up. Customers came in a steady stream, and crowded
the bar of our worthy friend, whose heart was as light as a feather.
I saw at least half a dozen come in and sip a glass of Sub-Treasury,
who I knew had not tasted liquor for months. I marked them; and
shall be about their path occasionally. But the best thing of all
that I saw, was a reformer break his pledge. He was, years ago, a
noted drunkard, but had been a reformed man for four years. In that
time he had broken up several grog-shops, by reforming all their
customers, and had got, I suppose, not less than five or six hundred
persons to sign the pledge. I had, of course, a particular grudge
against him. It was an exceedingly warm day, and he was uncommonly
thirsty. He was reading the paper, and came across the
"'Ha! ha! What is this, I wonder?' he said, laughing; some new trick
of the enemy, I suppose.'
"'Look here, what is this Sub-Treasury stuff, that Graves advertises
this morning?' he said, to a young fellow, a protege
of mine, who was more than a match for him.
"'A kind of temperance beverage.' I put it into the fellow's head to
"'Yes. It's made of lemonpeel, and one stuff or other, mixed up with
pounded ice. He's got a tremendous run for it. I know half a dozen
teetotallers who get it regularly. I saw three or four there to-day,
at one time.'
"'It's a fact. Come, won't you go down and try a glass? It's
"'Are you in earnest about it?'
"'Certainly I am. It's one of the most delicious drinks that has
been got up this season.'
"'I don't like to be seen going into such a place.'
"'O, as to that, there is a fine back entrance leading in from
another street, that no one suspects, and a private bar into the
bargain. We can go in and get a drink, and nobody will ever see us.'
"'Well, I don't care if I do,' said the temperance man, 'for I am
"'You're a gone gozzling, my old chap,' I said, as I saw him moving
off. 'I thought I'd get you before long.' Sure enough, the moment he
took the first draught his doom was sealed. His former desire for
liquor came back on him with irresistible power; and before
nightfall, he was so drunk that he went staggering along the street,
to the chagrin and consternation of the teetotallers; but to the
infinite delight of your humble servant.
"And so saying, that malignant fiend, who, while he inhabited a
material body, was called old Billy Adams, stepped down from the
still. Then there arose three loud and long cheers, for Graves, and
his 'Sub-Treasury,' that echoed and re-echoed wildly through that
"You're much thought of down there, you see," continued Riley, with
a cold grin of irony.--"Adams says, that if this temperance movement
aint stopped soon, they will have to get you among them, and make
you head devil in that department. How would you like that, old
chap, say? How would you like to go now?"
As Riley said this, he threw himself forward, and clasped his thin,
bony fingers around the neck of the rum-seller, with a strong grip.
"How would you like to go now, ha?" he screamed fiercely in his ear,
clenching his hand tighter and still tighter, while his hot breath
melted over the face of Graves in a suffocating vapour. The
struggles of the rum-seller were vigorous and terrible--but the
dying man held on with a superhuman strength. Soon everything around
grew confused, and though still distinctly conscious, it was a
consciousness in the mind of the tavern-keeper of the agonies of
death. This became so terrible to him that he resolved on one last
and more vigorous effort for life. It was made, and the hands of the
dying man broke loose. Instantly starting to his feet, the wretched
dealer in poison for both the bodies and souls of men, found himself
standing in the centre of his own parlour, with the sweat rolling
from his face in large drops.
"Merciful Heaven! And is it indeed a dream?" he ejaculated, panting
with terror and exhaustion.
"A dream--and yet not all a dream," he added, in a few moments, in a
sad, low tone.--"In league with hell against my fellow-men! Can it
indeed be true? But away! away such thoughts!"
Such thoughts, however, could not be driven away. They crowded upon
his mind at every avenue, and pressed inward to the exclusion of
every other idea.
"But I am not in league with evil spirits to do harm to my
fellow-men. I do not wish evil to any one," he argued.
"You _are_ in such evil consociation," whispered a voice within him.
"There are but two great parties in the world--the evil and the
good. No middle ground exists. You are with one of these--working
for the good of your fellow-men, or for their injury. One of these
great parties acts in concert with heaven, the other with hell. On
the side of one stand arrayed good spirits--on the side of the other
evil spirits. Can good spirits be on your side? Would they, for the
sake of gain, take the food out of the mouths of starving children?
Would they put allurements in a brother's way to entice him to ruin?
No! Only in such deeds can evil spirits take delight."
"Then I am on the side of hell?"
"There are but two parties. You cannot be on the side of heaven, and
do evil to your neighbour."
"Dreadful thought! In league with infernal spirits to curse the
human race! Can it be possible Am I really in my senses?"
For nearly half an hour did Graves pace the floor backwards and
forwards, his mind in a wild fever of excitement. In vain did he
try, over and over again, to argue the point against the clearest
and strongest convictions of reason. Look at it as he would, it all
resolved itself into that one bold and startling position, that he
was in league with hell against his fellow-men.
"And now, what shall I do?" was the question that arose in his mind.
"Give up my establishment?"
At that moment, Sandy, the bar-tender, opened the parlour door, and
said with a broad smile--
"The Sub-Treasury is working wonders again! I'm overrun, and want
"I can't come down, just now, Sandy. I'm not very well. You will
have to get along the best you can," Graves replied.
"I don't know what I shall do then, sir: I can't make 'em half as
fast as they are called for."
"Let half of the people go away then," was the cold reply. "I can't
help you any more to-day."
Sandy thought, as he withdrew, that the "old man" must have suddenly
lost his senses. He was confirmed in this idea before the next
It was past twelve o'clock when the run of custom was over, and
Sandy closed up for the night. As soon as this was done, Mr. Graves
came in for the first time since dinner.
"It's been a glorious day for business," Sandy said, rubbing his
hands. "I've taken in more, than thirty dollars. Lucifer himself
must have put the idea into your head."
"No doubt he did," was the grave reply.
Sandy stared at this.
"Didn't you tell me that Bill Riley had joined the temperance
"Yes, I did," replied the bar-keeper.
"Are you sure?"
"I am sure, I was told so by one that knew."
"I only wish I was certain of it," was the reply, made half
abstractedly. And then the dealer leaned down upon the bar and
remained in deep thought for a very long time, to the still greater
surprise of Sandy, who could not comprehend what had come over his
"Aint you well, Mr. Graves," he at length asked, breaking in upon
the rum-seller's painful reverie.
"Well!" he ejaculated, rousing up with a start. "No, I am not well."
"What is the matter, sir?"
"I'm sick," was the evasive response.
"How, sick?" was Sandy's persevering inquiry.
"Sick at heart! O, dear! I wish I'd been dead before I opened a
grog-shop!"--And the countenance of Mr. Graves changed its quiet,
sad expression, to one of intense agony.
Sandy looked at the tavern-keeper with an air of stupid astonishment
for some moments, unable to comprehend his meaning. It was evident
to his mind that Mr. Graves had suddenly become crazed about
something. This idea produced a feeling of alarm, and he was about
retiring for counsel and assistance, when the tavern-keeper roused
himself and said:
"When did you see Bill Riley, Sandy?"
"I saw him yesterday."
"Are you certain?" in a quick, eager tone.
"O yes. I saw him going along on the other side of the street with
two or three fellows that didn't look no how at all like
"I was afraid he was dead," Mr. Graves responded to this, breathing
"Dead! Why should you think that?" inquired Sandy, still more (sic)
"I had reason for thinking so," was the evasive reply. A pause of
some, moments ensued, when the bar-keeper said--
"I shall have to be stirring bright and early to-morrow morning."
"We're out of sugar and lemons both. That Sub-Treasury runs on them
'ere articles strong."
"Confound the Sub-Treasury!" Mr. Graves ejaculated, with a strong
and bitter emphasis. Sandy stood again mute with astonishment,
staring into the tavern-keeper's face.
"Sandy," Mr. Graves at length said in a calm, resolute tone, "my
mind is made up to quit selling liquor."
"Quit selling liquor, sir!" exclaimed Sandy, more astonished than
ever. "Quit selling liquor just at this time, when you have made
such a hit?"
"Yes, Sandy, I'm going to quit it. I'm afraid that we rum-sellers
are on the side of hell."
"I never once supposed that we were on the side of heaven," the
bar-keeper replied, half smiling.
"Then what side did you suppose we were on?"
"O, as to that, I never gave the matter a thought. Only, it never
once entered my head that we could claim much relationship with
heaven. Heaven feeds the hungry and clothes the naked. But we take
away both food and clothing, and give only drink. There is some
little difference in this, now one comes to think about it."
"Then I am right in my notion."
"I'm rather afraid you are, sir. But that's a strange way of
"Aint it the true way?"
"I am sure so, Sandy! And that's what makes me say that I'm done
The tavern-keeper did not tell all that was in his mind. He said
nothing of his dream, nor of that horrible idea of going to the
rum-seller's hell, and becoming a devil, filled with the delight of
rendering mankind wretched by deluging the land with drunkenness.
"What are you going to do then?" asked Sandy.
"Why, the first thing is to quit rum-selling."
"But what then?"
"I'm not decided yet;--but shall enter into some kind of business
that I can follow with a clear conscience."
"You'll sell out this stands I suppose. The goodwill is worth three
or four hundred dollars."
"No, Sandy, I will not!" was the tavern-keeper's positive, half
indignant reply. "I'll have nothing more to do with the gain of
rum-selling. I have too much of that sin on my conscience already."
"Somebody will come right in, as soon as you move out. And I don't
see why you should give any one such an advantage for nothing."
"I'm not going to move out, Sandy."
"Then what are you going to do?"
"Why, one thing--I'm going to shut up this devil's man-trap. And
while I can keep possession of the property, it shall never be
opened as a dram-shop again."
"What are you going to do with your liquors, Mr. Graves? Sell 'em?"
"Burn 'em. Or let 'em run in the gutter."
"That I should call a piece of folly."
"You may call it what you please. But I'll do it notwithstanding.
I've received my last dollar for rum. Not another would I touch for
all the world!"
A slight shudder passed through the tavern-keeper's body, as he said
this, occasioned by the vivid recollection of some fearful passage
in his late dream.
"You'd better give the liquors to me, Mr. Graves. It would be a
downright sin to throw 'em in the gutter, when a fellow might make a
good living out of 'em."
"No, Sandy. Neither you nor anybody else shall ever make a man drunk
with the liquor now in this house. It shall run in the gutter.
When the sun arose next morning, Harmony House was shorn of its
attractions as a drinking establishment. All the signs, with their
deceptive and alluring devices, were taken down--the shutters
closed, and everything indicating its late use removed, excepting a
strong smell of liquor, great quantities of which had been poured
into the gutters.
In the course of a few weeks, the house was again re-opened as a
hatter-shop, Mr. Graves having resumed his former honest business,
which he still follows, well patronized by the temperance men, among
whom are Joseph Randolph, and William Riley, the former reclaimed
through his active instrumentality.
HOW TO CURE A TOPER.
[THE following story, literally true in its leading particulars, was
told by a reformed man, who knew W--very well. In repeating it, I
do so in the first person, in order to give it more effect.]
I was enjoying my glass of flip, one night, at the little old "Black
Horse" that used to stand a mile out of S.--, (I hadn't joined the
great army of teetotallers then,) when a neighboring farmer came in,
whose moderation, at least in whisky toddies, was not known unto all
men. His name was W--. He was a quiet sort of a man when sober,
lively and chatty under the effect of a single glass, argumentative
and offensively dogmatic after the second toddy, and downright
insulting and quarrelsome after getting beyond that number of
drinks. We liked him and disliked him on these accounts.
On the occasion referred too, he passed through all these changes,
and finally sunk off to sleep by the warm stove. Being in the way,
and also in danger of tumbling upon the floor, some of us removed
him to an old settee, where he slept soundly, entertaining us with
rather an unmusical serenade. There were two or three mischievous
fellows about the place, and one of them suggested it would be
capital fun to black W--'s face, and "make a darkey of him." No
sooner said than done. Some lamp-black and oil were mixed together
in an old tin cup, and a coat of this paint laid over the face of
W--, who, all unconscious of what had been done, slept on as
soundly and snored as loudly as ever. Full two hours passed away
before he awoke. Staggering up to the bar, he called for another
glass of whisky toddy, while we made the old bar-room ring again
with our peals of laughter.
"What are you all laughing at?" he said, as he became aware that he
was the subject of merriment, and turning his black face around upon
the company as he spoke.
"Give us Zip Coon, old fellow!" called out one of the "boys" who had
helped him to his beautiful mask.
"No! no! Lucy Long! Give us Lucy Long!" cried another.
"Can't you dance Jim Crow? Try it. I'll sing the 'wheel about and
turn about, and do jist so.' Now begin."
And the last speaker commenced singing Jim Crow.
W--neither understood nor relished all this. But the more angry
and mystified he became, the louder laughed the company and the
freer became their jests. At last, in a passion, he swore at us
lustily, and leaving the barroom, in high dudgeon, took his horse
from the stable and rode off.
It was past eleven o'clock. The night was cold, and a ride of two
miles made W--sober enough to understand that he had been rather
drunk, and was still a good deal "in for it;" and that it wouldn't
exactly do for his wife to see him just as he was. So he rode a mile
past his house,--and then back again, at a slow trot, concluding
that by this time the good woman was fast asleep. And so she was. He
entered the house, crept silently up stairs, and got quietly into
bed, without his better half being wiser therefor.
On the next morning, Mrs. W--awoke first. But what was her
surprise and horror, upon rising up, to see, instead of her lawful
husband, what she thought a strapping negro, as black as charcoal,
lying at her side. Her first impulse was to scream; but her presence
of mind in this trying position, enabled her to keep silence. You
may be sure that she didn't remain long in such a close contact with
Sir Darkey. Not she! For, slipping out of bed quickly, but
noiselessly, she glided from the room, and was soon down stairs in
the kitchen, where a stout, two-fisted Irish girl was at work
"Oh! dear! Kitty!" she exclaimed, panting for breath, and looking as
pale as a ghost, "have you seen any thing of Mr. W--, this
"Och! no. But what ails ye? Ye're as white as a shate?"
"Oh! mercy! Kitty. You wouldn't believe it, but there's a monstrous
negro in my room!"
"Gracious me! Mrs. W--, a nager?"
"Yes, indeed, Kitty!" returned Mrs. W--, trembling in every limb.
"And worse and worse, he's in my bed! I just 'woke up and thought it
was Mr. W--by my side But, when I looked over, I saw instead of
his face, one as black as the stove. Mercy on me! I was frightened
almost to death."
"Is he aslape?" asked Kitty.
"Yes, sound asleep and snoring. Oh! dear! What shall we do? Where in
the world is Mr. W--? I'm afraid this negro has murdered him."
"Och! the blasted murtherin' thafe!" exclaimed Kitty, her organ of
combativeness, which was very large, becoming terribly excited. "Get
into mistress's bed, and the leddy there herself, the omadhoun! The
black, murtherin' thafe of a villain!"
And Kitty, thinking of no danger to herself, and making no
calculation of consequences, seized a stout hickory clothes pole
that stood in one corner of the kitchen, and went up stairs like a
whirlwind, banging the pole against the door, balusters, or whatever
came in its way. The noise roused W--from his sleep, and he raised
up in bed just as Kitty entered the room.
"Oh! you murtherin' thafe of a villain!" shouted Kitty, as she
caught sight of his black face, pitching into him with her pole, and
sweeping off his night-cap, at the imminent risk of taking his head
"Hallo!" he cried, not at all liking this strange proceeding, "are
"Mad is it, ye thafe!" retorted Kitty, who did not recognize the
voice, and taking a surer aim this time with her pole, brought him a
tremendous blow alongside of the head, which knocked him senseless.
Mrs. W--who was at the bottom of the stairs, heard her husband's
exclamation, and, knowing his voice, came rushing up, and entered
the room in time to see Kitty's formidable weapon come with terrible
force against his head. Before the blow could be repeated, for
Kitty, ejaculating her "murtherin' thafe of a villain!" had lifted
the pole again, Mrs. W--threw her arms around her neck, and cried,
"Don't, don't, Kitty, for mercy's sake!" It's Mr. W--, and you've
"Mr. W--indade!" retorted Kitty, indignantly, struggling to free
herself. "Is Mr. W--a thafe of a nager, ma'am?"
But even Kitty's eyes, as soon as they took the pains to look more
closely, saw that it was indeed all as the mistress had said.
W--had fallen over on his face, and his head and white neck were
not to be mistaken.
The pole dropped from Kitty's hands, and, with the exclamation,
"Och! murther!" she turned and shot from the room, with as good a
will as she had entered it.
The blow which W--received was severe, breaking through the flesh
and bruising and lacerating his ear badly. He recovered very soon,
however, and, as he arose up, caught sight of himself in a looking
glass that hung opposite. We may be sure that it took all parties,
in this exciting and almost tragical affair, some time to understand
exactly what was the matter. W--'s recollection of the loud
merriment that had driven him from the "Black Horse" on the previous
night, when it revived, as it did pretty soon, explained all to him,
and set him to talking in a most unchristian manner.
Poor Kitty was so frightened at what she had done that she gathered
up her "duds" and fled instanter, and was never again seen in that
As for W--, he was cured of his nocturnal visits to the "Black
Horse," and his love of whisky toddy. Some months afterwards he
espoused the temperance cause, and I've heard him tell the tale
myself, many a time, and laugh heartily at the figure he must have
cut, when Kitty commenced beating him for a "thafe of a nager."
THE BROKEN PLEDGE.
"IT is two years, this very day, since I signed the pledge,"
remarked Jonas Marshall, a reformed drinker, to his wife, beside
whom he sat one pleasant summer evening, enjoying the coolness and
quiet of that calm hour.
"Two years! And is it, indeed, so long?" was the reply. "How swiftly
time passes, when the heart is not oppressed with cape and sorrow!"
"To me, they have been the happiest of my life," resumed the
husband. "How much do we owe to this blessed reformation!"
"Blessed, indeed, may it be called!" the wife said, with feeling.
"It seems scarcely possible, Jane, that one, who, like me, had
become such a slave to intoxication, could have been reclaimed. I
often think of myself, and wonder. A little over two years ago, I
could no more control the intolerable desire for liquor that I felt,
than I could fly. Now I have not the least inclination to touch,
taste, or handle it."
"And I pray Heaven you may never again have!"
"That danger is past, Jane. Two years of total abstinence have
completely changed the morbid craving once felt for artificial
stimulus, into a natural and healthy desire for natural and healthy
"It would be dangerous for you even now, Jonas, to suffer a drop of
liquor to pass your lips; do you not think so?"
"There would be no particular danger in my tasting liquor, I
presume. The danger would be, as at first, in the use of it, until
an appetite was formed." Marshall replied, in a tone of confidence.
"Then you think that old, inordinate craving for drink, has been
"O yes, I am confident of it."
"And heartily glad am I to hear you say so. It doubles the guarantee
for our own and children's happiness. The pledge to guard us on one
side, and the total loss of all desire on the other, is surely a
safe protection. I feel, that into the future I may now look,
without a single painful anxiety on this account."
"Yes, Jane. Into the future you may look with hope. And as to the
past, let it sink, with all its painful scenes,--its heart-aching
trials, into oblivion."
Jonas Marshall and his young wife had, many years before the period
in which the above conversation took place, entered upon the world
with cheerful hopes, and a flattering promise of happiness. They
were young persons of cultivated tastes, and had rather more of this
world's goods than ordinarily falls to the lot of those just
commencing life. A few years sufficed to dash all their hopes to the
ground, and to fill the heart of the young wife with a sorrow that
it seemed impossible for her to bear. Marshall, from habitual
drinking of intoxicating liquors, found the taste for them fully
confirmed before he dreamed of danger, and he had not the strength
of character at once and for ever to abandon their use. Gradually he
went down, down, slowly at first, but finally with a rapid movement,
until he found himself stripped of everything, and himself a
confirmed drunkard. For nearly two years longer, he surrendered
himself up to drink--his wife and children suffering more than my
pen can describe, or any but the drunkard's wife and drunkard's
Then came a new era. A friend of humanity sought out the poor,
degraded wretch, in his misery and obscurity, and prevailed upon him
to abandon his vile habits, and pledge himself to total abstinence.
Two years from the day that pledge was signed, found him again
rising in the world, with health, peace, and comfort, the cheerful
inmates of his dwelling. Here is the brief outline of a reformed
drinker's history. How many an imagination can fill in the dark
shadows, and distinct, mournful features of the gloomy picture!
On the day succeeding the second anniversary of Jonas Marshall's
reformation, he was engaged to dine with a few friends, and met them
at the appointed hour. With the dessert, wine was introduced. Among
the guests were one or two persons with whom Marshall had but
recently become acquainted. They knew little or nothing of his
former life. One of them sat next to him at table, and very
naturally handed him the wine, with a request to drink with him.
"Thank you," was the courteous, but firm reply. "I do not drink
Another, who understood the reason of this refusal, observing it,
"Our friend Marshall belongs to the tee-totallers."
"Ah, indeed! Then we must, of course, excuse him," was the
"Don't you think, Marshall," remarked another, "that you temperance
men are a little too rigid in your entire proscription of wine?"
"For the reformed drinker," was the reply, "it is thought to be the
safest way to cut off entirely everything that can, by possibility,
inflame the appetite. Some argue, that when that morbid craving,
which the drunkard acquires, is once formed, it never can be
"Do you think the position a true one?" asked a member of the party.
"I have my doubts of it," Marshall said. "For instance: Most of you
know that for some years I indulged to excess in drink. Two years
ago I abandoned the use of wine, brandy, and everything else of an
intoxicating nature. For a time, I felt the cravings of an intense
desire for liquor; but my pledge of total abstinence restrained me
from any indulgence. Gradually, the influence of my old appetite
subsided, until it ceased to be felt. And it is now more than a year
since I have experienced the slightest inclination to touch a drop.
Your wine and brandy are now, gentlemen, no temptation to me."
"But if that be the case," urged a friend, "why need you restrict
yourself, so rigidly, from joining in a social glass? Standing, as
you evidently do, upon the ground you occupied, before, by a too
free indulgence, you passed, unfortunately, the point of
self-control: you may now enjoy the good things of life without
abusing them. Your former painful experience will guard you in that
"I am not free to do so," replied Marshall.
"Because I have pledged myself never again to drink anything that
can intoxicate, and confirmed that pledge by my sign-manual--thus
giving it a double force and importance."
"What end had you in view in making that pledge?"
"The emancipation of myself from the horrible bondage in which I had
been held for years."
"That end is accomplished."
"True. But the obligations of my pledge are perpetual."
"That is a mere figure of speech. You fully believed, I suppose,
that perpetual total-abstinence was absolutely necessary for your
"I certainly did."
"You do not believe so now?"
"No. I have seen reason, I think, to change my views in that
respect. The appetite which I believed would remain throughout life,
and need the force of a solemn bond to restrain it, has, under the
rigid discipline of two years, been destroyed. I now feel myself as
much above the enslaving effects of intoxicating liquors, as I ever
did in my life."
"Then, it is clear to my mind, that all the obligations of your
pledge are fulfilled; and that, as a matter of course, it ceases to
"I should be very unwilling to violate that pledge."
"It would be, virtually, no violation."
"I cannot see it in that light," Marshall said, "although you may be
perfectly correct. At any rate, I am not now willing to act up to
your interpretation of the matter."
This declaration closed the argument, as his friends did not feel
any strong desire to see him drink, and argued the matter with him
as much for argument sake as anything else. In this they acted with
but little true wisdom; for the particular form in which the subject
was presented to the mind of Marshall, gave him something to think
about and reason about. And the more he thought and reasoned, the
more did he become dissatisfied with the restrictions under which he
found himself placed. Not having felt, for many months, the least
desire for liquor, he imagined that even the latent inclination
which existed, as he readily supposed, for some time, had become
altogether extinguished. There existed, therefore, in his
estimation, now that he had begun to think over the matter, no good
reason why he should abstain, totally, from wine, at least, on a
The daily recurrence of such thoughts, soon began to worry his mind,
until the pledge, that had for two years lain so lightly upon him,
became a burden almost too intolerable to be borne.
"Why didn't I bind myself for a limited period?" he at last said,
aloud, thus giving a sanction and confirmation by word of the
thoughts that had been gradually forming themselves into a decision
in his mind. No sooner had he said this, than the whole subject
assumed a more distinct form, and a more imposing aspect in his
view. He now saw clearly, what had not before seemed perfectly
plain--what had been till then encompassed by doubts. He was
satisfied that he had acted blindly when he pledged himself to
"Three hundred signed the pledge last night," said his wife to him,
a few weeks after the occurrence of the dinner-party, just
"Three hundred! We are carrying everything before us."
"Who can tell," resumed the wife, "the amount of happiness involved
in three hundred pledges to total-abstinence? There were, doubtless,
many husbands and fathers among the number who signed. Now, there is
joy in their dwellings. The fire, that long since went out, is again
kindled upon their hearths. How deeply do I sympathize with the
heart-stricken wives, upon whom day as again arisen, with a bright
sun shining down from an unclouded sky!"
"It is, truly, to them, a new era--or the dawning of a new
existence.--Most earnestly do I wish that the day had arrived, which
I am sure will come, when not a single wife in the land will mourn
over the wrong she suffers at the hand of a drunken husband."
"To that aspiration, I can utter a most devout amen," Mrs. Marshall
"A few years of perseverance and well-directed energy, on our part,
will effect all this, I allow myself fondly to hope, if we do not
create a reaction by over-doing the matter."
"How, over-doing it?" asked the wife.
"There is a danger of over-doing it in many ways. And I am by no
means sure that the pledge of perpetual abstinence is not an
instance of this."
"The pledge of perpetual abstinence! Why, husband, what do you
"My remark seems to occasion surprise. But I think that I can make
the truth of what I say apparent to your mind. The use of the
pledge, you will readily admit, is to protect a man against the
influence of a morbid thirst for liquor, which his own resolution is
not strong enough to conquer."
"So soon, then, as this end is gained, the use of the pledge
"Is it ever gained? Is a man who has once felt this morbid thirst,
ever safe from it?"
"Most certainly do I believe that he is. Most certainly do I believe
that a few years of total abstinence from everything that
intoxicates, will place him on the precise ground that he occupied
before the first drop of liquor passed his lips."
"I cannot believe this, Jonas. Whatever is once confirmed by habit,
it seems to me, must be so incorporated into the mental and physical
organization, as never to be eradicated. Its effect is to change, in
a degree, the whole system, and to change it so thoroughly, as to
give a bias to all succeeding states of mind and body--thus
transmitting a tendency to come under the influence of that bias."
"You advance a thing, Jane, which will not hold good in practice.
As, for instance, it is now two years since I tasted a drop of wine,
brandy, or anything else of a like nature. If your theory were true,
I should still feel a latent desire, at times, to drink again. But
this is not the case. I have not the slightest inclination. The
sight, or even the smell of wine, does not produce the old desire,
which it would inevitably do, if it were only quiescent--not
extirpated--as I am confident that it is."
"And this is the reason why you think the pledge should not be
"It is. Why should there be an external restraint imposed upon a
mere nonentity? It is absurd!"
"Granting, for the sake of argument, the view you take, in regard to
the extirpation of the morbid desire, which, however, I cannot see
to be true," Mrs. Marshall said, endeavouring to seem unconcerned,
notwithstanding the position assumed by her husband troubled her
instinctively,--"it seems to me, that there still exists a good
reason why the pledge should be perpetual."
"What is that, Jane?"
"If a man has once been led off by a love of drink, when no previous
habit had been formed, there exists, at least, the same danger
again, if liquor be used;--and if it should possibly be true that
the once formed desire, if subdued, is latent--not eradicated--the
danger is quadrupled."
"I do not see the force of what you say," the husband replied. "To
me, it seems, that the very fact that he had once fallen, and the
remembrance of its sad consequences, would be a sure protection
against another lapse from sobriety."
"It may all be so," Mrs. Marshall said, in a voice that conveyed a
slight evidence of the sudden shadow that had fallen upon her heart.
And then ensued a silence of more than a minute. The wife then
remarked in an inquiring tone--
"Then, if I understand you rightly, you think that the pledge should
be binding only for a limited time?"
"From one to two years. Two, at the farthest, would be sufficient, I
am fully convinced, to restore any man, to the healthy tone of mind
and body that he once possessed. And then, the recollection of the
past would be an all-sufficient protection for the future."
Seeing that the husband was confirming himself more and more in the
dangerous position that he had assumed, Mrs. Marshall said no more.
Painfully conscious was she, from a knowledge of his peculiar
character, that, if the idea now floating in his mind should become
fixed by a rational confirmation, it would lead to evil
consequences. From that moment, she began eagerly to cast about in
her mind for the means of setting him right,--means that should
fully operate, without her apparent agency. But one way presented
itself,--(argument, she was well aware, as far as it was possible
for her to enter into it with him, would only set his mind the more
earnestly in search of reason, to prove the correctness of his
assumed positions,)--and that was to induce him to attend more
frequently the temperance meetings, and listen to the addresses and
experiences there given.
"Come, dear," she said to him, after tea, a few evenings subsequent
to the time Marshall had begun to urge his objections to the pledge.
"I want you to go with me to-night to this great temperance meeting.
Mr.--is going to make an address, and I wish to hear him very
"It will be so crowded, Jane, that you will not have the least
satisfaction," objected her husband--"and, besides, the evening is
"But I don't mind that, Jonas. I am very anxious to hear
"I am sorry, Jane," Marshall said, after the silence of a few
moments. "But I recollect, now, that I promised Mr. Patton to call
down and see him this evening. There are to be a few friends there,
and he wished me, particularly, to meet them."
Poor Mrs. Marshall's countenance fell at this, and the tears
gathered in her eyes.
"So, then, you won't go with me to the temperance meeting," she
said, in a disappointed tone.
"I should like to do so, Jane," was the prevaricating reply, "but
you see that it is out of my power, without breaking my promise,
which you would not, of course, have me do."
"O, no, of course not."
"You can go, Jane. I will leave you at the door, and call for you
when the meeting is out."
"No, I do not feel like going, now I should have enjoyed it with you
by my side. But to go alone would mar all the pleasure."
"But surely that need not be, Jane. You know that I cannot be always
"No, of course not," was uttered, mechanically; and then followed a
"So you will not go," Marshall at length said.
"I should not enjoy the meeting, and therefore do not wish to go,"
his wife replied.
"I am sorry for it, but cannot help it now, for I should not feel
right were I not to comply with my promise."
"I do not wish you to break it, of course. For a promise should ever
be kept sacred," Mrs. Marshall said, with a strong emphasis on the
This emphasis did not escape the notice of her husband, who felt
that it was meant, as it really was, to apply to his state of mind
in regard to the pledge. For it was a fact, which the instinctive
perception of his wife had detected, that he had begun, seriously,
to argue in his own mind, the question, whether, under the
circumstances of the case, seeing, that, in taking the pledge, the
principle of protection was alone considered, he was any longer
bound by it. He did not, however, give expression to the thoughts
that he had at the time. The subject of conversation was changed,
and, in the course of half an hour, he left to fulfil his
engagement, which had not, in reality, been a positive one. As he
closed the door after him, Mrs. Marshall experienced a degree of
loneliness, and a gloomy depression of feeling, that she could not
fully account for, though she could not but acknowledge that, for a
portion of it, there existed too certain a cause, in the strange and
dangerous position her husband had taken in regard to the pledge.
As Marshall emerged from his dwelling, and took his way towards the
friend's house, where he expected to meet a select company, his mind
did not feel perfectly at ease. He had partly deceived his wife in
reference to the positive nature of the engagement, and had done so
in order to escape from an attendance on a temperance meeting. This
did not seem right. There was, also, a consciousness in his mind
that it would be extremely hazardous to throw off the restraints of
his pledge, at the same time that a resolution was already half
formed to do so. The agitation of mind occasioned by this conflict
continued until he arrived at his friend's door, and then, as he
joined the pleasant company within, it all subsided.
"A hearty welcome, Marshall!" said the friend, grasping his hand and
shaking it warmly. "We were really afraid that we should not have
the pleasure of your good society. But right glad am I, that, with
your adherence to temperance men and temperance principles, you do
not partake of the exclusive and unsocial character that so many
"I regard my friends with the same warm feelings that I ever did,"
Marshall replied,--"and love to meet them as frequently."
"That is right. We are social beings, and should cultivate
reciprocal good-feelings. But don't you think, Marshall, that some
of you temperance folks carry matters too far?"
"Certainly I do. As, for instance, I consider this binding of a man
to perpetual total-abstinence, as an unnecessary infringement of
individual liberty. As I look upon it, the use of the pledge, is to
enable a man, by the power of an external restraint, to gain the
mastery over an appetite that has mastered him. When that is
accomplished, all that is wanted is obtained: of what use is the
pledge after that?"
"Very true," was the encouraging reply.
"A man," resumed Marshall, repeating the argument he had used to his
wife, which now seemed still more conclusive, "has only to abstain
for a year or two from liquor to have the morbid craving for it
which over-indulgence had created, entirely eradicated. Then he
stands upon safe ground, and may take a social glass, occasionally,
with his friends, without the slightest danger. To bind himself up,
then, to perpetual abstinence, seems not only useless, but a real
infringement of individual liberty."
"So it presents itself to my mind," rejoined one of the company.
"I feel it to be so in my case," was the reply of the reformed man
to this, thus going on to invite temptation, instead of fleeing from
"Certainly, if I were the individual concerned," remarked one of the
company, "I should not be long in breaking away from such arbitrary
"How would you get over the fact of having signed the pledge?" asked
Marshall, with an interest that he dared not acknowledge to himself.
"Easy enough," was the reply.
"On the plea that I was deceived into signing such a pledge."
"Into a belief that it was the only remedy in my case. There is no
moral law binding any man to a contract entered into ignorantly. The
fact of ignorance, in regard to the fundamental principles of an
agreement, vitiates it. Is not that true?"
"It certainly is," was the general reply to this question.
"Then you think," said Marshall, after reflecting for a few moments,
"that no moral responsibility would attach to me, for instance, if I
were to act independently of my pledge?"
"Certainly none could attach," was the general response; "provided,
of course, that the end of that pledge was fully attained."
"Of that there can be no doubt," was the assumption of the reformed
man. "The end was, to save me from the influence of an appetite for
drink, against which, in my own strength, I could not contend. That
end is now accomplished. Two years of total abstinence has made me a
new man. I now occupy the same ground that I occupied before I lost
"Then I can see no reason why you should be denied the social
privilege of a glass with your friends," urged one of the company.
"Nor can I see it clearly," Marshall said. "Still I feel that a
solemn pledge, made more solemn and binding by the subscription of
my name, is not a thing to be lightly broken. The thought of doing
so troubles me, when I seriously reflect upon it."
"It seems to me that, were I in your place," gravely remarked one of
the company, heretofore silent, "I would not break my pledge without
fully settling two points--if it is possible for you, or any other
man, under like circumstances, to settle them."
"What are they?" asked Marshall, with interest.
"They are the two most prominent points in your case;--two that have
already been introduced here to-night. One involves the question,
whether you are really free from the influence of your former
"I have not a single doubt in regard to that point," was the
"I do not see, Mr. Marshall, how it is possible for you to settle it
beyond a doubt," urged the friend. "To me, it is not philosophically
true that the power of habit is ever entirely destroyed. All
subsequent states of body or mind, I fully believe, are affected and
modified by what has gone before, and never lose the impression of
preceding states,--and more particularly of anything like an
overmastering habit--or rather, I should say, in this case, of an
overmastering affection. The love, desire, or affection, whichever
you may choose to call it, which you once felt for intoxicating
drinks, or for the effects produced by them, never could have
existed in the degree that they did, without leaving on your
mind--which is a something far more real and substantial than this
material body, which never loses the marks and scars of former
abuse--ineradicable impressions. The forms of old habits, if this be
true, and that it so, _I_ fully believe, still remain; and these
forms are in the endeavour, if I may so speak, to be filled with the
affections that once made them living and active. Rigidly exclude
everything that can excite these, and you are safe;--but, to me it
seems, that no experiment can be so dangerous, as one which will
inevitably produce in these forms a vital activity."
"That, it seems to me," was the reply of one of the company, "is a
little too metaphysical--or rather, I should say,
transcendental--for, certainly, it transcends my powers of reasoning
to be able to see how any permanent forms, as you call them, can be
produced in the mind, as in the body--the one being material, and
the other immaterial, and, therefore, no more susceptible of lasting
impressions, than the air around us."
"You have not, I presume, given much thought to this subject," the
previous speaker said, "or you would not doubt, so fully, the truth
of my remark. The power of habit, a fact of common observance, which
is nothing but a fixed form of the mind, illustrates it. And,
certainly, if the mind retained impressions no better than the air
around us, we should remember but little of what we learned in early
"I see," was the reply to this, "that my remark was too broad.
Still, the memory of a thing is very different from a permanent and
inordinate desire to do something wrong, remaining as a latent
principle in the mind, and ready to spring into activity years
afterwards, upon the slightest provocation."
"It certainly is a different thing; and if it be really so, its
establishment is a matter of vital importance. In regard to reformed
drinkers, there has been much testimony in proof of the position. I
have heard several men relate their experiences; and all have said
that time and again had they resolved to conquer the habit that was
leading them on headlong to destruction; and that they had, on more
than one occasion, abstained for months. But that, so soon as they
again put liquor to their lips, the old desire came back for it,
stronger and more uncontrollable than before."
"That was, I presume," Marshall remarked, "because they had not
abstained long enough."
"One man, I remember to have heard say, that he did not at one
period of his life use any kind of intoxicating drink for three
years. He then ventured to take a glass of cider, and was drunk and
insensible before night! And what was worse, did not again rise
superior to his degradation for years."
"I should call that an, extreme case," urged the infatuated man.
"There must have been with him a hereditary propensity. His father
was, doubtless, a drunkard before him."
"As to that, I know nothing, and should not be willing to assume the
fact as a practical principle,"--the friend replied. "But there is
another point that ought to be fully settled."
"What is that?"
"No one can, without seriously injuring himself, morally, violate a
solemn pledge--particularly, as you have justly said, a pledge made
more binding and solemn, by act and deed, in the sign-manual. A man
may verbally pledge himself to do or not to do a thing. To violate
this pledge deliberately, involves moral consequences to himself
that are such as almost any one would shrink from incurring. But
when a man gives to any pledge or contract a fulness and a
confirmation by the act of subscribing his name to it, and then
deliberately violates that pledge or contract, he necessarily
separates himself still further from the saving power of good
principles and influences than in the other case, and comes more
fully under the power of evil principles and evil influences. After
such an act, that man's state is worse, far worse than it was
before. I speak strongly and earnestly on this subject, because I
feel deeply its importance. And I would say to our friend Marshall
here, as I would say to my own brother, let these two points be
fully settled before you venture upon dangerous ground. Be sure that
the latent desire for stimulating drinks is fully eradicated--and be
certain that your pledge can be set aside without great moral injury
to yourself, before you take the first step towards its violation,
which may be a step fraught with the most fatal consequences to
yourself and family."
This unlooked-for and serious turn which the discussion assumed, had
the effect to make Marshall hesitate to do what he had too hastily
made his mind up that he might venture upon without the slightest
danger. It also furnished reasons to the company why they should not
urge him to drink. The result was, that he escaped through all the
temptations of the evening, which would have overcome him,
inevitably, had his own inclination found a general voice of
But none of the strong arguments why he should not again run madly
into the way of evil, which had been so opportunely and unexpectedly
urged, had the effect to keep his eye off of the decanters and
brim-full glasses that circulated far too freely;--nor to prevent
the sight of them from exciting in his mind a strong, almost
unconquerable desire, to join with the rest. This very desire ought
to have warned him--it should have caused him to tremble and flee
away as if a raging wild beast had stood in his path. But it did
not. He deceived himself by assuming (sic) hat the desire which he
felt to drink with his friends arose from his love of sociality, not
The evening was lonely and long to Mrs. Marshall, and there was a
shadow over her feelings that she endeavoured in vain to dispel. Her
husband's knock, which came between ten and eleven o'clock, and for
which she had been listening anxiously for at least an hour, made
her heart bound and tremble, producing a feeling of weakness and
oppression. As she opened the door for him, it was with a vague
fear. This was instantly dispelled by his first affectionate word
uttered in steady tones. He was still himself! Still as he had been
for the blessed two years that had just gone by!
"What is the matter, Jane? You look troubled," the husband remarked,
after he had seated himself, and observed his wife's appearance.
"Do I?--If so, it is because I have felt troubled this evening."
"Why were you troubled, Jane?"
"That question I can hardly answer, either to your satisfaction or
my own," Mrs. Marshall said. "From some cause or other, my feelings
have been strangely depressed this evening; and I have experienced,
besides, a consciousness of coming misery, that has cast a shadow
over my spirits, even now but half dispelled."
"But why is all this, Jane? There must be some cause for such a
change in your feelings."
"I know but one cause, dear husband!" Mrs. Marshall said, in a voice
of deep tenderness, laying her hand upon her husband's arm as she
spoke, and looking him in the face with an expression of earnest
"Speak out plainly, Jane. What is the cause?"
"Do not be offended, Jonas, when I tell you, that I have not been so
overcome by such gloomy feelings since that happy day when you
signed the pledge, as I have been this evening. The cause of these
feelings lies in the fact of your having become dissatisfied with
that pledge. I tremble, lest, in some unguarded moment, under the
assurance that old habits are conquered, you may be persuaded to
cast aside that impassable barrier, which has protected your home
and little ones for so long and happy a time."
"You are weak and foolish, Jane," her husband said, in a
"In many things I know that I am," was Mrs. Marshall's reply, "but
not in this. A wife who loves her husband and children as tenderly
as I do mine, cannot but tremble when fears are suddenly awakened
that the footsteps of a deadly enemy are approaching her peaceful
"Such an enemy is not drawing nigh to your dwelling, Jane."
"Heaven grant that it may not be so!" was the solemn ejaculation.
"To this, Marshall felt no inclination to reply. He had already said
enough in regard to his pledge to awaken the fears of his wife, and
to call forth from her expressions of strong opposition to his views
of the nature of his obligation. His silence tended, in no degree,
to quiet her troubled feelings.
On the next morning, Marshall was thoughtful and silent. After
breakfast, he went out to attend to business, as usual. As he closed
the door after him, his wife heaved a deep sigh, lifted her eyes
upwards, and prayed silently, but fervently, that her husband might
be kept from evil. And well might she thus pray, for he needed
support and sustenance in the conflict that was going on in his
bosom--a conflict far more vigorous than was dreamed of by the wife.
He had invited temptation, and now he was in the midst of a
struggle, that would end in a more perfect emancipation of himself
from the demon-vice that had once ruled him with a rod of iron, or
in his being cast down to a lower depth of wretchedness and misery
than that out of which he had arisen. In this painful struggle he
stood not alone. Good spirits clustered around him, anxiously
interested in his fate, and endeavouring to sustain his faltering
purposes; and evil spirits were also nigh, infusing into his mind
reasons for the abandonment of his useless pledge. It was a period
in his history full of painful interest. Heaven was moving forward
to aid and rescue him, and hell to claim another victim. But neither
the one nor the other could act upon him for good or for evil,
except through his own volition. It was for him to turn himself to
the one, and live, or to the other, and die.
So intense was this struggle, that, after he had entered his place
of business, he remained there for only a short time, unable to fix
his mind upon anything out of himself, or to bid the tempest in his
mind "be still." Going out into the street, he turned his steps he
knew not whither. He had moved onwards but a few paces, when the
thought of home and his children came up in his mind, accompanied by
a strong desire to go back to his dwelling--a feeling that required
a strong effort to resist. The moment he had effectually resisted
it, and resolved not to go home, his eye fell upon the tempting
exposure of liquors in a bar-room, near which he happened to be
passing. At the same instant, it seemed as if a strong hand were
upon him, urging him towards the open door.
"No--no--no!" he said, half aloud, hurrying forward, "I am not
prepared for that. And yet, what a fool I am," he continued, "to
suffer myself thus to be agitated! Why not come to some decision,
and end this uncertain, painful state at once? But what shall I do?
How shall I decide?"
"To keep your pledge," a voice, half audible, seemed to say.
"And be for ever restless under it,--for ever galled by its slavish
chains," another voice urged, instantly.
"Yes," he said, "that is the consequence which makes me hesitate.
Fool--fool--not to have taken a pledge for a limited period! I was
deceived--tricked into an act that my sober reason condemns! And
should I now be held by that act? No!--no!--no! The voice of reason
says no! And I will not!"
As he said this, he turned about, and walked with a firm, deliberate
step, towards the bar-room he had passed but a few moments before,
entered it, called for a glass of wine, and drank it off.
"Now I am a free man!" he said, as he turned away, and proceeded
towards his place of business, with an erect bearing.
He had not gone far, however, before he felt a strong desire for
another glass of wine, unaccompanied by any thought or fear of
danger. From the moment he had placed the forbidden draught to his
lips, the struggle in his mind had ceased, and a great calm
succeeded to a wild conflict of opposite principles and influences.
He felt happy, and doubly assured that he had taken a right step. A
second glass of wine succeeded the first, and then a third, before
he returned to his place of business. These gave to the tone of his
spirits a very perceptible elevation, but threw over his mind a veil
of confusion and obscurity, of which, however, he was not conscious.
An hour only had passed after his return to business, before he
again went out, and seeking an obscure drinking-house, where his
entrance would not probably be observed, he called for a glass of
punch, and then retired into one of the boxes, where it was handed
to him. Its fragrance and flavour, as he placed it to his lips, were
delightful--so delightful, that it seemed to him a concentration of
all exquisite perceptions of the senses.
Another was soon called for, and then another and another, each one
stealing away more and more of distinct consciousness, until at last
he sunk forward on the table before which he had seated himself,
perfectly lost to all consciousness of external things!
Gladly would the writer draw a veil over all that followed that
insane violation of a solemn pledge, sealed as it had been by the
hand-writing of confirmation. But he cannot do it. The truth, and
the whole truth needs to be told,--the beacon-light must be raised
on the gloomy shores of destruction, as a warning to the thoughtless
or careless navigator.
Sadder and more wretched was the heart of Mrs. Marshall during the
morning of that day, than it had been on the evening before. There
was an overwhelming sense of impending danger in her mind, that she
could not dissipate by any mode of reasoning with herself. As her
children came about her, she would look upon them with an emotion of
yearning tenderness, while her eyes grew dim with tears. And then
she would look up, and breathe a heart-felt prayer that He who
tempereth the winds to the shorn lamb, would regard her little ones.
The failure of her husband to return at the dinner hour, filled her
with trembling anxiety. Not once during two years had he been absent
from home without her being perfectly aware of the cause. Its
occurrence just at this crisis was a confirmation of her vague
fears, and made her sick at heart. Slowly did the afternoon pass
away, and at last the hour came for his return in the evening. But
though she looked for his approaching form, and listened for the
well-known sound of his footsteps, he did not come.
Anxiety and trembling uncertainty now gave way to an overwhelming
alarm. Hurriedly were her children put to bed, and then she went out
to seek for him, she knew not whither. To the store in which he had
become a partner, she first turned her steps. It was closed as she
had feared. Pausing for a few moments to determine where next to
proceed, she concluded to go to the house of his partner, and learn
from him if he had been to the store that day, and at what time. On
her way to his dwelling, she passed down a small street, in which
were several drinking-houses, hid away there to catch the many who
are not willing to be seen entering a tavern.
In approaching one of these, loud voices within, and the sound of a
scuffle, alarmed her. She was about springing forward to run, when
the door was suddenly thrown open, and a man dashed out, who fell
with a violent concussion upon the pavement, close by her feet.
Something about his appearance, dark as it was, attracted her eye.
She stooped down, and laid her hand upon him. It was her husband!
A wild scream, that rung upon the air,--a scream which the poor
heart-stricken creature could not have controlled if her life had
been the forfeit--brought instant assistance. Marshall was taken
into a neighbouring house, and a physician called, who, on making an
examination, said that a serious injury might, or might not have
taken place--he could not tell. One thing, however, was certain, the
man was beastly drunk.
O, with what a chill did that last sentence fall upon the ear of his
wife! It was the death-knell to all the fond hopes she had cherished
for two peaceful years. For a moment she leaned her head against the
wall near which she was standing, and wished that she could die. But
thoughts of her children, and thoughts of duty roused her.
A carnage was procured and her husband conveyed home, and then,
after he had been laid upon a bed, she was left alone with him, and
her own sad reflections. It was, to her, a sleepless night--but full
of waking dreams, whose images of fear made her heart tremble and
shrink, and long for the morning.
Morning at last came. How eagerly did the poor wife bend over the
still unconscious form of her husband, reading each line of his
features, as the pale light that came in at the windows gave
distinctness to every object! He still breathed heavily, and there
was an expression of pain on his countenance. A double cause for
anxiety and alarm, pressed upon the heart of Mrs. Marshall. She knew
not how serious an injury his fall might have occasioned,--nor how
utter might be his abandonment of himself, now that he had broken
his solemn pledge. As she bent over him in doubt, pain, and anxiety,
he suddenly awoke, and, without moving, looked her for a moment
steadily in the face, with a glance of earnest inquiry. Then came a
distinct recollection of his violated pledge; but all after that was
only dimly seen, or involved in wild confusion. His bodily
sensations told him but too plainly how deep had been his fall: and
the intolerable desire, that seemed as if it were consuming his very
vitals, was to him a sad evidence that he had fallen, never, he
feared, to rise again. All this passed through his mind in a moment,
and he closed his eyes, and turned his face away from the earnest,
and now tearful gaze of his wife.
"How do you feel, Jonas?" Mrs. Marshall inquired, tenderly,
modifying her tones, so as not to permit them to convey to his ear
the exquisite pain that she felt. But he made no reply.
"Say, dear, how do you feel?" she urged, laying her hand upon him,
and pausing for an answer.
"As if I were in hell!" he shouted, springing suddenly from the bed,
and beginning to dress himself, hurriedly.
"O, husband, do not speak so!" Mrs. Marshall said, in a soothing
tone. "All may be well again. One sin need not bring utter
condemnation. Let this be the last, as it has been the first,
violation of your pledge. Let this warn you against the removal of
that salutary restraint, which has been as a wall of fire around you
"Jane!" responded the irritated man, pausing, and looking at his
wife, fixedly, while there sat upon his face an expression of
terrible despair; "that pledge can never be renewed! It would be
like binding a giant with a spider's web. I am lost! lost! lost! The
eager, inexpressible desire that now burns within me, cannot be
controlled. The effort to do so would drive me mad. I must drink, or
die. And you, my poor wife!--and you, my children! what will become
of you? Who will give you sufficient strength to bear your dreadful
As he said this, his voice fell to a low and mournful, despairing
expression--and he sunk into a chair, covering his face with his
"Dear husband!" urged his wife, coming to his side, and drawing her
arm around his neck, "do not thus give way! Let the love I have ever
borne you, and which is stronger and more tender at this moment than
it has ever been--let the love you feel for your dear little ones,
give you strength to conquer. Be a man! Nerve yourself, and look
upwards for strength, and you must conquer."
"No--no--no--Jane!" the poor wretch murmured, shaking his head,
mournfully. "Do not deceive your heart by false hopes, for they will
all be in vain. I cannot look up. The heavens have become as brass
to me. I have forfeited all claim to success from above. As I lifted
the fatal glass to my lips, I heard a voice, whose tones were as
distinct as yours--'Let us go hence!' and from that moment, I have
been weak and unsustained in the hands of my enemies. I am a doomed
As he said this, a shrinking shudder passed through his frame, and
he groaned aloud. The silence that then reigned through the chamber
was as appalling as the silence of death to the heart of Mrs.
Marshall. It was broken at length by her husband, who looked up with
an expression of tenderness in her face, as she still stood with her
hand upon him, and said--
"Jane, my dear wife! let me say to you now, while I possess my full
senses, which I know not that I ever shall again, that you have been
true and kind to me, and that I have ever loved you with an earnest
love. Bear with me in my infirmity;--if, amid the grief, and wrong,
and suffering, which must fall upon you and your children, you _can_
bear with the miserable cause of all your wretchedness. I shall not
long remain, I feel, to be a burden and a curse to you. My downward
course will be rapid, and its termination will soon come!"
A gush of tears followed this, and then came a stern silence, that
chilled the heart of Mrs. Marshall. She longed to urge still further
upon her husband to make an effort to restrain the intense desire he
felt, but could not. There seemed to be a seal upon her lips. Slowly
she turned away to attend to her little ones, upon whom she now
looked with something of that hopelessness which the widow feels, as
she turns from the grave of her husband, and looks upon her
With a strong effort, Marshall remained in the house until breakfast
was on the table. But he could only sip a little coffee, and soon
arose, and lifted his hat to go out. His wife was by his side, as he
laid his hand on the door.
"Jonas," she said, while the tears sprang to her eyes, "remember
me--remember your children!" She could say no more; sobs choked her
utterance--and she leaned her head, weak and desponding, upon his
Her husband made no reply, but gently placed her in a chair, kissed
her cheek, and then turned hastily away, and left the house.
It was many minutes before Mrs. Marshall found strength to rise, and
then she staggered across the room, like one who had been stunned by
a blow. We will not attempt the vain task of describing her feelings
through that terrible day;--of picturing the alternate states of
hope and deep despondency, that now made her heart bound with a
lighter emotion,--and now caused it to sink low, and almost
pulseless, in her bosom. It passed away at last, and brought the
gloomy night--fall--but not her husband's return. Eight, nine, ten,
eleven, and twelve o'clock came, and went, and still he was absent.
For an hour she had been seated by the window, listening for the
sound of his approaching footsteps. As the clock struck twelve, she
started, listened for a moment still more intently, and then arose
with a deep sigh, her manner indicating a state of irresolution.
First she went softly to the bed, and stood looking down for some
moments upon the faces of her little ones, sleeping calmly and
sweetly, all unconscious of the anguish that swelled their mother's
heart almost to bursting. Then she raised her head, and again
assumed a listening attitude. An involuntary sigh told that she had
listened in vain. A few moments after she was aroused from a state
of deep abstraction of thought, by a strong shudder passing through
her frame, occasioned by some fearful picture which her excited
imagination had conjured up. She now went hastily to a wardrobe, and
took out her bonnet and shawl. One more glance at her children, told
her that they were sleeping soundly. In the next minute she was in
the street, bending her steps she knew not whither, in search of her
Almost involuntarily, Mrs. Marshall took her way towards that
portion of the city where she had, on the night previous,
unexpectedly found him. It was not longer before she paused by the
door at the same drinking-house from which her husband had been
thrust, when he fell, almost lifeless, at her feet. Although it was
past twelve o'clock, the sound of many voices came from within,
mingled with wild excitement, and boisterous mirth.
Now came a severe trial for her shrinking, sensitive feelings. How
could she, a woman, and alone, enter such a place, at such an hour,
on such an errand? The thought caused a sensation of faintness to
pass over her, and she leaned for a moment against the side of the
door to keep from falling. But affection and thoughts of duty
quickly aroused her, and resolutely keeping down every weakness, she
placed her hand upon the door, which yielded readily to even her
light hand, and in the next moment found herself in the presence of
about a dozen men, all more or less intoxicated. Their loud, insane
mirth was instantly checked by her entrance. They were all men who
were in the habit of mingling daily in good society, and more than
one of them knew Marshall, and instantly recognised his wife. No
rudeness was, of course, offered her. On the contrary, two or three
came forward, and kindly inquired, though they guessed too well, her
errand there at such an hour.
"Has my husband been here to-night, Mr.--?" she asked, in a
choking voice, of one whose countenance she instantly recognised.
"I have not met with him, Mrs. Marshall," was the reply, in a kind,
sympathizing tone, "but I will inquire if any one here has seen
These inquiries were made, and then Mr.--came forward again, and
said, in a low tone,
"Come with me, Mrs. Marshall."
As the two emerged into the street, Mr.--said,
"I would not, if I were you, madam, attempt to look further for your
husband. I have just learned that he is safe and well, only a little
overcome, by having, accidentally, I have no doubt, drunken a little
too freely. In the, morning he will come home, and all will, I
trust, be right again."
"What you say, I know, is meant in kindness, Mr.--," Mrs. Marshall
replied, in a firmer tone, the assurance that her husband was at
least safe from external danger, being some relief to her, "but I
would rather see my husband, and have him taken home. Home is the
best place for him, under any circumstances--and I am the most
fitting one to attend to him. Will you, then, do me the favour to
procure a hack, and go with me to the place where he is to be
Mr.--saw that in the manner and tone of Mrs. Marshall which made
him at once resolve to do as she wished him. The hack was procured,
into which both entered. Directions were given, in a low tone, to
the driver, and then they rattled away over the resounding pavement,
for a space of time that seemed very long to the anxious wife. At
last the hack stopped, the door was opened, and the steps thrown
down. When Mrs. Marshall descended, she found herself in a narrow,
dark street, before a low, dirty-looking tavern, the windows and
doors of which had been closed for the night.
While Mr.--was knocking loudly for admission, her eyes, growing
familiar with the darkness, saw something lying partly upon the
street and partly upon the pavement a few yards from her, that grew
more and more distinct, the more intently she looked at it.
Advancing a few steps, she saw that it was the body of a man,--a few
paces further, revealed to her eyes the form of her husband. An
exclamation of surprise and alarm brought both Mr.--and the
hack-driver to her side.
In attempting to raise Marshall to his feet, he groaned heavily, and
writhed with a sensation of pain. Something dark upon the pavement
attracted the eye of his wife. She touched it with her hand, to
which it adhered, with a moist, oily feeling. Hurrying to the lamp
in front of the hack, with a feeling of sudden alarm, she lifted her
hand so that the light could fall upon it. It was covered with
With a strong effort, she kept down the sudden impulse that she felt
to utter a wild scream, and went back to Mr.--and communicated to
him the alarming fact she had discovered. Marshall was at once laid
gently down upon the pavement, and a light procured, which showed
that his pantaloons, above, below, and around the knees, were
saturated with blood.
"O, Mr.--! what can be the matter?" Mrs. Marshall said, in husky
tones, looking up, with a face blanched to an ashy paleness.
"Some passing vehicle has, no doubt, run over him--but I trust that
he is not much hurt. Remain here with him, until I can procure
assistance, and have him taken home."
"O, sir, go quickly!" the poor wife replied, in earnest tones.
In a short time, four men, with a litter, were procured, upon which
Marshall, now groaning, as if acutely conscious of pain, was placed,
and slowly conveyed home. A surgeon reached the house as soon as the
party accompanying the injured man. An examination showed that his
legs had been broken just above the knees. And one of them had the
flesh dreadfully torn and bruised, and both were crushed as if run
over by some heavy vehicle. A still further examination showed the
fracture to be compound, and extensive; but, fortunately, the knee
joint had entirely escaped. Already the limbs had swollen very
considerably, exhibiting a rapidly increasing inflammation. This was
a natural result flowing from the large quantity of alcohol which he
had evidently been taking through the day and evening.
Fortunately, notwithstanding the morbid condition of his body, and
the nature and extent of the injury he had sustained, the vital
system of Marshall, unexhausted by a long-continued series of
physical abuse from drinking, rallied strongly against the violent
inflammation that followed the setting of the bones, and dressing of
the wounds, and threw off the too apparent tendency to mortification
that continued, much to the anxiety of the surgeon, for many days.
During this time, he suffered almost incessant pain--frequently of
an excruciating character. The severity of this pain entirely
destroyed all desire for intoxicating drink. This desire, however,
gradually began to return, as the pain, which accompanied the
knitting of the bones, subsided. But he did not venture to ask for
it, and, of course, it was not offered to him.
With the most earnest attentions, and the tenderest solicitude, did
Mrs. Marshall wait and watch by the bedside of her husband, both day
and night, wearing down her own strength, and neglecting her
At the end of three weeks, he had so far recovered, as to be able to
sit up, and to bear a portion of his weight. As fear for the
consequences of the injury her husband had received, began to fade
from the mind of Mrs. Marshall, another fear took possession of
it--a heart-sickening fear, under which her spirit grew faint. There
was no pledge to bind him, and his newly-awakened desire for liquor,
she felt sure would bear him away inevitably, notwithstanding the
dreadful lesson he had received.
About this time, however, two or three of his temperance friends,
who had heard of his fall, came to see him. This encouraged her,
especially as they soon began to urge him again to sign the
pledge;--but he would not consent.
"It is useless," was his steady reply, to all importunities, and
made usually, in a mournful tone, "for me to sign another pledge.
Having broken one, wilfully and deliberately, I have no power to
keep another. I am conscious of this--and, therefore, am resolved
not to stain my soul with another sin."
"But you can keep it. I am sure you can," one friend, more
importunate than the rest, would repeatedly urge. "You broke your
first pledge, deliberately, because you believed that you were freed
from the old desire, even in a latent form. Satisfied, from painful
experience, that this is not the case, you will not again try so
dangerous an experiment."
But Marshall would shake his head, sadly, in rejection of all
arguments and persuasions.
"It may all seem easy enough for you," he would sometimes say, "who
have never broken a solemn pledge; but you know not how utter a
destruction of internal moral power such an act, deliberately done,
effects. I am not the man I was, before I so wickedly violated that
solemn compact made between myself and heaven--for so I now look
upon it. While I kept my pledge, I had the sustaining power of
heaven to bear me safely up against all temptations;--but since the
very moment it was broken, I have had nothing but my own strength to
lean upon, and that has proved to be no better than a broken reed,
piercing me through with many sorrows."
To such declarations, in answer to arguments, and sometimes earnest
entreaties made by his friends to induce him to renew his pledge,
Mrs. Marshall would listen in silence, but with a sinking, sickening
sensation of mind and body. All and more than she could say, was
said to him, but he resisted every appeal--and what good could her
weak persuasions and feeble admonitions do?
Day after day passed on, and Marshall gradually gained more use of
his limbs. In six weeks, he could walk without the aid of his
"I think I must try and get down to the store to-morrow," he said,
to his wife, about this time. "This is a busy season, and I can be
of some use there for two or three hours, every day."
"I don't think I would venture out yet," Mrs. Marshall said, looking
at him, with an anxious, troubled expression of countenance, that
she tried in vain to conceal.
"Why not, Jane?"
"I don't think you are strong enough, dear."
"O, yes, I am. And, besides, it will do me good to go out and take
the fresh air. You know that it is now six weeks since I have been
outside of the front door."
"I know it has. But--"
"But what, Jane?"
"You know what I would say, Jonas. You know the terrible fear that
rests upon my heart like a night-mare."
And Mrs. Marshall covered her face with her hands, and gave way to
A long silence followed this. At length Marshall said,
"I hope, Jane, that I shall be able to restrain myself. I am, at
least, resolved to try."
"O, husband, if you will only try!" Mrs. Marshall ejaculated
eagerly, lifting her tearful eyes, and looking him with an appealing
expression in the face--"If you will only try!"
"I will try, Jane. But do not feel too much confidence in my effort.
I am weak--so weak that I tremble when I think of it--and remember
what an almost irresistible influence I have to contend with."
"Why not take the pledge, again, Jonas?" said his wife, for the
first time she had urged that recourse upon him.
"You have heard my reasons given for that, over and over again."
"I know I have. But they never satisfied me."
"You would not have me add the sin of a double violation of a solemn
pledge to my already overburdened conscience?"
"No, Jonas. Heaven forbid!"
"The fear of that restrains me. I dare not again take it."
"Do you not deeply repent of your first violation?" the wife asked,
after a few moments of earnest thought. "Heaven knows how deeply."
"And Heaven, that perceives and knows the depth and sincerity of
that repentance, accepts it according to its quality. And just so
far as Heaven accepts the sincere offering of a repentant heart,
conscious of its own weakness, and mourning over its derelictions,
is strength given for combat in future temptations. The bruised reed
he will not break, nor quench the smoking flax. Hope, then, dear
husband! you are not cast off--you are not rejected by Heaven."
"O, Jane, if I could feel the truth of what you. say, how happy I
should be!--For the idea of sinking again into that hopeless,
abandoned, wretched condition, out of which this severe affliction
has lifted me, as by the hair of the head, is appalling!" was the
reply, to his wife's earnest appeal.
"Trust me, dear husband,--there is truth in what I say. He who came
down to man's lowest, and almost lost condition, that he might raise
him up, and sustain him against the assaults of his worst enemies,
has felt in his own body all the temptations that ever can assail
his children, and not only felt them, but successfully resisted and
conquered them; so that, there is no state, however low, in which
there is an earnest desire to rise out of evil, to which he does not
again come down, and in which he does not again successfully contend
with the powers of darkness. Look to Him, then, again, in a fixed
resolution to put away the evils into which you have fallen, and you
must, you will be sustained!"
"O, if I could but believe this, how eagerly would I again fly to
the pledge!" Marshall said, in an earnest voice.
"Fly to it then, Jonas, as to a city of refuge; for it is true. You
have felt the power of the pledge once-try it again. It will be
strength to you in your weakness, as it has been before."
Still Marshall hesitated. While he did so, his wife brought him
pens, ink and paper.
"Write a pledge and sign it, dear husband!" she urged, as she placed
them before him. "Think of me--of the joy that it will bring to my
"I am afraid, Jane."
"Can you stand alone?"
"I fear not."
"Are you not sure, that the pledge will restrain you some?"
"O, yes. If I ever take it again, I shall tremble under the fearful
responsibility that rests upon me."
"Come with me, a moment," Mrs. Marshall said, after a thoughtful
Her husband followed, as she led the way to an adjoining room, where
two or three bright-eyed children were playing in the happiest mood.
"For their sakes, if not for mine, Jonas, sign the pledge again,"
she said, while her voice trembled, and then became choked, as she
leaned her head upon his shoulder.
"You have conquered! I will sign!" he whispered in her ear.
Eagerly she lifted her head, arid looked into his face with a glance
of wild delight.
"O, how happy this poor heart will again be!" she ejaculated,
clasping her hands together, and looking upwards with a joyous
In a few minutes, a pledge of total abstinence from all kinds of
intoxicating drinks, was written out and signed. While her husband
was engaged in doing this, Mrs. Marshall stood looking down upon
each letter as it was formed by his pen, eager to see his name
subscribed. When that was finally done; she leaned forward on the
table at which he wrote, swayed to and fro for a moment or two, and
then sank down upon the floor, lost to all consciousness of external
From that hour to this, Jonas Marshall has been as true to his
second pledge, even in thought, as the needle to the pole. So
dreadful seems the idea of its violation, that the bare recollection
of his former dereliction, makes him tremble.
"It was a severe remedy," he says, sometimes, in regard to his
broken legs; "and proved eminently successful. But for that, I
should have been utterly lost."
THE WANDERER'S RETURN.
A THANKSGIVING STORY.
A MAN, who at first sight, a casual observer would have thought at
least forty or fifty years of age, came creeping out of an old,
miserable-looking tenement in the lower part of Cincinnati, a little
while after night-fall, and, with bent body and shuffling gait,
crossed the street an angle; and, after pausing for a few moments
before a mean frame building, in the windows of which decanters of
liquor were temptingly displayed, pushed open the door and entered.
It was early in November. Already the leaves had fallen, and there
was, in the aspect of nature, a desolateness that mirrored itself in
the feelings. Night had come, hiding all this, yet by no means
obliterating the impression which had been made, but measurably
increasing it; for, with the darkness had begun to fall a misty
rain, and the rising wind moaned sadly among the eaves.
A short time after sundown the man, to whom we have just referred,
came home to the comfortless-looking house we have seen him leaving.
All day he had turned a wheel in a small manufactory; and when his
work was done, he left, what to him was a prison-house, and retired
to the cheap but wretched boarding-place he had chosen, where were
congregated about a dozen men of the lowest class. He did not feel
happy. That was impossible. No one who debases himself by
intemperance can be happy; and this man had gone down, step by step,
until he attained a depth of degradation most sad to contemplate.
And yet he was not thirty years old! After supper he went out, as
usual, to spend the evening in drinking.
The man, fallen as he was, and lost to all the higher and nobler
sentiments of the heart, had experienced during the day a pressure
upon his feelings heavier than usual, that had its origin in some
reviving memories of earlier times.
The sound of his mother's voice had been in his ears frequently
through the day; and images of persons, places, and scenes, the
remembrance of which brought no joy to his heart, had many times
come up before him. At the supper-table, amid his coarse,
vulgar-minded companions, his laugh was not heard as usual; and,
when spoken to, he answered briefly and in monosyllables.
The tippling-house to which the man went to spend his day's earnings
and debase himself with drink, was one of the lowest haunts of vice
in the city. Gambling with cards, dominoes, and dice, occupied the