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Do I mistrust myself? you ask - I do!
proves not mental-weakness that I've signed
Thus you see,
LIFE BEHIND THE SCENES. Wall, the prompier, who was useful on the stage, happened one evening to play the Duke in the edy of “Othello,” having previously given directions to a girl of all work who attended on the wardrobe, to bring him a gill of the best whisky. Not wishing to go out,as the evening was wet, the girl employed a litile boy, who happened to be standing about, to execute the commission, and the little fellow (no person being present to stop him), without considering the impropriety of such an act, coolly walked on to the stage, and delivered his message-the state of affairs at this ridiculous juncture being exactly as follows:~The Senate was assembled, and the speaker was—
Brabuntio. So did I yours: Good, your grace, pardon me;
Duke. Why, what's the matter? Here the little boy walked on to the stage, with a pewter gill-stoup, and thus delivered himself:- “It's jist the whusky, Mr. Walls; and I couldna get ony at fourpence, so yer awn the landlord a penny; and he says it's time you was payin' what's down i' the book." The roars of laughter which followed are indescribable, and I daresay the scene will long remain stereotyped in the recollection of all who witnessed it.--Glimpses of Real Life.
THE GLASS OF BITTERS.
By the Rev. THEODORE CUYLER.
The prodigious increase of tippling under medical prescription (the patient generally being his own doctor), calls for attention. Thousands who would be ashamed to be seen tippling at a bar are not ashamed to swallow daily draughts of bitters, or 10 prescribe porter, Madeira, and even cognac for their dinner tables-all“ for a weak stomach." Is nothing else weak about them ?
Clergymen and all sedentary professional men are in especial danger of enslavement when they call in the treacherous assistance of alcobol as a tonic. The eloquent Dr. K- whose discourses on the sufferings of Christ were never surpassed for melting pathos, delivered those very discourses under stimulation from the wine cup. This was fisty years ago; before the temperance reforın had taught such as him their peril. His ally overmastered him ; but God brought this excellent man to repentance and reformation before his lamented death.
Should alcoholic drinks be ever used medicinally? Our answer is that when so used a man had best never be his own physiciau. His teaspoon is apl to grow into a tablespoon; his wineglass grows insensibly into a tumbler, and then into a brimming goblet, which “ biteth at the last like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.” A wise physician may sometimes use alcohol to save life, just as he might use opium; but I doubt if a wise physician would ever use it when any other remedy will answer the purpose. How can he know that he is not feeding a latent appetite that will yet destroy his patient? One of the most eminent civilians of America whom the bottle has destroyed, fell into intem perance under medical prescription. He had been an abstainer until middle life; he was then recommended to use wine as a daily tonic after recovery from a weakening disease; his ally became his conqueror. Lord Macaulay indicates the secret of the younger Pitt's enslavement to the bottle, hy telling us that port wine was freely administered to him in early youth as a medicine.
LOVE WITHOUT WISDOM. “What is wrong, Philip; why are you not taking something ?" This was addressed by a mother to her third son, at a party assembled at her house. The company, after supper, had had placed before them a liberal supply of intoxicating drinks. The mother had seen her son not partaking of anything; she had come round to where he was sitting, and touching him on the arm, whispered these words to him.
“ Nothing is wrong,” said he, “ but I don't want anything.” “Not want anything," said the mother; “why not; are you not well?” “I am quite well,” he replied, “but I shall take nothing to-night.” The mother, apparently both astonished and displeased, went back to her seat. About an hour after, she returned, and in a tone of entreaty said, “ What will the company think, Philip? you are certainly not giving them a very 175
welcome reception; can you not make yourself like the rest, and take a little ?” Instantly he turned round, and with a look which indicated great firmness and considerable vexation, but no disrespect, he said, “ Do not trouble me any more, mother, on that subject.” The writer of this tract, being next to Philip at the table, was the unwilling witness of this interview between mother and son.
Now, what had been the experience of this family in regard to strong drink? That mother had already lost two sons by drink. She had been a widow ten years; a daughter and three sons were a: home, and two
were not." The sad career of each of these may be described in a few words. Eight years before this, the eldest son was in a good situation in a counting-house in Edinburgh. He possessed superior abilities, and had excellent prospects. The father on his death-bed, had given the charge of the family to him. “ John," he had said, “ you must do what you can to fill my place in the house when I am gone; be kind to your poor mother, and take good care of your sister and brothers." These words, uttered in such solemn circumstances, had impressed John's heart for a time;—and well had he obeyed. But, alas ! by and by they had been forgotten. Strong drink has brought many sons to disregard their father's dying commands, and such was its influence on him. So completely was he brought under its power, that for the love of it he utterly neglected his mother and sister and brothers, gave up all his former associates, and lost his good name! His duties at the office became but imperfectly performed. His employers marked the change. In the strongest terms they both entreated and threatened. It was of no use. Promises were made by him but to be broken; resolutions formed only to be followed by deeper plunges into vice! Dreading that his employers were contemplating parting with him, and experiencing a pioch for money, he was guilty of embezzlement to a considerable extent, and then disappeared. For four years his mother could hear nothing of him. At length an acquaintance of the family met him in a foreign country, and sent word that he was living there as he had done at home. In fifteen months after, the mother received an intimation of his death.
The other son, the second in the family, had been a traveller for a commercial house. He had married a member of a family somewhat above his own in worldly position. They had two daughters. For several years after their union, their home had been filled with sunshine-their hearts with happiness. But he was at length overcome by the temptations which met him in business. From different quarters of the country reports about his intemperance and negligence reached the ear of his employer. He lost his situation. He got another as a salesman, but lost it too by the same cause.
The next situation he obtained was much inferior. He was now on that sliding scale, down which many a young man goes to ruin. Every change is one for the worse,--every step is one downward; the next employment received is more menial than the former; and the general appearance gradually becomes the more indicative of poverty and vice! It was so with him. Thus he descended, tin employment was lost altogether. Then, in that meanness to which
drink can bring even a noble heart, he permitted himself to be supported by her he had sworn, but a few years before, to cherish and protect. The little handiwork his wife had learned in youth-never dreaming that she and those dear to her would yet be dependent on it for daily breadnow stood her in good stead. To work in a drunkard's home, and 10 support a drunkard's family, was her task, and nobly she did it. But soon under the hard work and a heavy heart her health gave way, and she was laid in an early grave! Left to his own resources, the husband again sought employment and found it. For three or four months he remained steady; and hopes were entertained that his wife's death bad brought him to see the folly and cruelty of the life he had led. But he gave way again; and after several fits of hard drinking, died raving in delirium!
Such had been the influence of drink in this family; and when I saw the son that night refusing to touch or taste, I fancied it was the thought of this that was at work in his mind. I thought that memory was bringing up the past with its bitter experiences, and that under the influence of these a brother's heart had come to resolve to shun that which had so deeply injured those who were gone. My surmises proved correct. Philip afterwards became a member of the Temperance Society! and more than once has he told me that that night, in the midst of the party's glee, the remembrance of John and William had come into his mind, and that when the drink was set on the table, the thought occurred to him that that had killed them. So completely did this idea get possession of his mind, that it produced violent emotions in his breast. In his imagininys he actually thought he saw his brothers' blood upon the glass, and heard their voice of warning coming to him from it! Under the power fsuch thoughts and feelings as these, no wonder he acted as he did.
His conduct is easily understood; but how shall we account for the mother's ? When I saw her urging her third son to touch the intoxicatin cup before him, I could scarcely refrain from exclaiming—Foolish woman! you have lost two sons already by strong drink, and is that not enough? Will you do what you can to lose a third ?
Was her heart really destitute of love ? Far otherwise. She was naturally a kind-hearted woman, and often had she shewn herself a lovinghearted mother! Grief for her two sons had made deep furrows on her brow. Even that night, an observing eye might have discovered that her wounded heart was far from healed. And her third son she loved most ardently; indeed, it was love for him that led her to urge his partaking of the drink. She just wished to see him happy like the rest. But it was love without wisdom! Her past experience had been well fitted to teach her a lesson, but that lesson she had not learned. There was peril in the cup, but her eye was yet blind to it. She had not come to see that drink had been the murderer of her children! She blamed her sons -she blamed the companions that had helped to lead them astray--bu? she did not blame the drink. In her father's house and in her own it had been regularly used !--she had ever been accustomed to regard it as necessary for enjoyment, and her own history, sad though it was, had nou
dispelled the delusion. Her affection was as strong as ever ; but it continued to shew itself, in this matter at least, without the guidance of wisdom.
Is she alone? Are there not many mothers in our country who, though with one son ruined by drink, yet place it on their tables before the other members of their families and ask them to partake of it? In India, a few months ago, a little infant was sleeping in its cot; the attendant incautiously left the door open-a wolf entered, and carried the child away. That wolf, since the hour the terrible truth was known, has been before the mind of the agonized mother by night and by day. In her love, she keeps her other children nearer to her side; and in her wisdom, always now sees the door closed at night herself. Our sympathy for her is mingled with admiration! Drivk is worse than that wolf. The wolf but killed the body, but drink kills both soul and body! And yet many a mother whose son is ruined by drink, still keeps it on her table, and puts it now and then to the lips of her other children!
In this case, our sympathy is mingled with amazement.
Is she alone? How many thousands of mothers countenance the intoxicating cup, though they know the injury it has wrought in the families of their neighbours ! It may have done no evil as yet within their own households, but is it not wisdom to learn from the experience of others as well as from our own? Ah, our own often comes when it is too late! What has taken a son or a daughter from one fireside may do it from another. The constitutions of children in their general features are the same. Among a given number who are taught to drink, the history of the
past declares that a given number shall fall! Of what family, or of which member of a family, this shall be true, no one can tell; but is it not wise to remember the fact, and to be influenced by it?
Mothers, think what your children may become by intoxicating drink! That innocence you now see in them, and in which you delight, may be supplanted by deep guill—that mirth by misery—that rosy countenance by the bloated face of the drunkard! An immortal destiny is before them, but drink may make it one of blackness and woe! Surely, whoever puts danger in their way, it should not be a mother. They will encounter sufficient peril in the world without your adding to it. The Bible-reason-maternal affection-all demand that they be led in the way of safety by you. Should your eye not be quick in detecting danger ? Should your voice not be earnest in pointing it out! Teach them to shun drink-teach them to hate it. Send them out into the world abstainers.
you do, they will probably honour you and bring gladness to your hearts; and if they fall through the pernicious influence of others, they will not be able to say, as many have been, that it was a mother's voice and a mother's hand that led them on in the path which has brought them to . ruin! The evils of drinking are written in letters of blood on many a hearth, Take care lest you write them on your own! There is no want of love in your hearts--nature has put it there—but see that it be not blind love. Let it be guided by that lesson which the effects of the drinking customs everywhere are fitted to teach you. In everything-but, oh! especially in this--ever seek to add wisdom to a mother's love!