Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Rising Sun.' He wanted me to go there and have a glass with him. I told him I would never enter it again. We adjourned to another house. There I had one glass; I lifted it, drunk it off, and vowed that, with the help of God, I would never, as long as I lived, drink another.

“ That night I was assisted by one or two friends in the hour of need, so that I had the child decently buried. But I may say, with truth, that as its sweet little eyes closed in death, mine were being opened to the outrageous folly of my drinking habits, and the public-house system. I now saw vividly the intense selfishness of the men who fatten on the misery and wretchedness of their fellow-men. I could not help regarding their dazzling shops and gilded saloons but as so many traps decked out to catch the simple, and their surface smiles and blandishments as hollow devices for completing the overthrow of their victims.

“I now thought it my duty to join an abstinence society, and accordingly attended the first meeting held. It soon became known I was an abstainer, and in ten days afterwards I was gratified by the receipt of a letter from my former employers, offering me my old situation with an advance on my wages. My wife, who had been long crushed by my former waywardness shed tears of joy on reading it. Since then, Bob, everything has prospered with us. I soon left the old garret in which we had been formerly living, and rented this cottage. We have now seven children, all of them thriving and promising, and I will take care, Bob, that none of them shall ever be able to quote his father's example for acquaintance with the bottle. So you see that, since my last glass, we have made steady progress.”

Bob listened with anabated attention to his friend's narration. He had never before heard him detail the circumstances that had led to his adoption of the abstinence principle; but these experiences, conjoined with his own observations, and a conviction that had been long growing with him, determined him at once to go and join the Abstinence Society,

“Well, I fear,” said Bob, after a thoughtful pause, Hawkins is just a type of his class; and that his moral code-mind number one'-is the reigning principle with all of them."

“No doubt of it,” replied Harry; "there may seem to be exceptions here and there, as individual dispositions differ; but it is quite plain, I think, that no man can follow the trade of a publican, and be an eye witness of the desolating havoc and wretchedness his traffic inflicts on his his fellow-creatures, with

" that

out having every amiable disposition and sympathy swallowed up by the number one' principle,-or, in other words by sheer selfishness.”

Mrs. Rose, who had just entered, nodded assent, when Bob shortly after took his departure; often, however, to meet again ; and to congratulate each other on the benign effects of their total abstinence practice.

Reader, if you have hitherto delayed, be persuaded to try the same safe and salutary experiment. Tamper no longer with the insiduous curse. Can a man take fire into his hands, and not be burned ? Can he take a serpent into his bosom, and not be stung? And do not reckon it necessary, with Harry, to go through the perilous ceremony of quaffing off a "last glass." Let

your “ last glass " be one in the past, and not one in the future. To sin once more, in the professed act of abjuring sin, is a contradiction and self-deception-it is going back while professing to go forward.

Deem the time past of your life more than sufficient “ to have wrought the will of the Gentiles.” Now, and henceforth, begird yourself for duty and for active consecration to the best interests of your kind.

“ Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are paths of peace.”

SCENES IN THE STREETS.

By the Rev. G. W. M'CREE The parish of St. Giles's is not worse than many other inetropolitan parishes. There is plenty of dirt and drunkenness in it, but so is there in Shoreditch, Westminster, and Somer's Town. My religious duties, however, call me more frequently into St. Giles's than elsewhere, and hence I see more of its good and evil. Some of the scenes in its streets are highly suggestive to thoughtful and philanthropic minds. The evil effects of drunkenness are seen daily. From one point twenty gin-shops, at least, may be counted, and they are nearly as thickly strewn in other parts of the parish. Time would fail me to tell of all that I have witnessed in the streets near the Seven Dials, but a few facts may be narrated.

Seeing a crowd I went into its midst, and found a number of inen and women in great excitement.

“ What is the matter?

“Why sir,” replied a very civil man, “Mr. A. has been on the drink for about a fortnight, and he has just cut his throat, and been taken off to the hospital.”

a

He was

Here, then, was a husband and a father found bleeding to death, borne through the streets followed by a noisy crowd, laid upon a hospital-bed where he soon died. But for intemperance he might have been a living man. The house where he obtained the drink which ruined him remains open to this day. How much more evil will it do ?

Not far from this spot I saw a man- -a huge fellow-who looked like a wild Indian. He had no hat on. Where his coat and vest were I do not know. One of his boots was missing, and his hair bristled aloft like the mane of a lion. stained with mud. From a wound behind his ear the red blood fell down upon his neck and back, and he kept looking wildly round for some one whom he could not find. Who was he? A wretched man fresh from a public-house row.

Seldom do I cross the Seven Dials without finding some of the evil effects of drunkenness. One day I came suddenly upon a mob. Two women were scolding one man, and as he seemed to have a hard time of it I went to his rescue. “What is the matter, my good woman?”

Why, sir,” said one of the poor, ragged, half-tipsy females, « that man insulted us."

6 How was that?"

“Well, we were standing here, and as he went by he said, 'you're lushy.?"

“ What did you say then ?” “No, says I, I ain't lushy.” “ Yes, but you are lushy." Well,” replied the poor wretch with a smile, “ I know I

65

"

am."

6

[ocr errors]

“How, then, came you to say, "No, I ain't lushy.”
* Ha! I would not let him say to me, you are lushy."
Go home like a good woman, Give

up

this drink. It is a great curse to you.”

“God bless you, sir, I will go home. But he said, 'you are lushy '-he did. No, says I, 'I ain't lushy.'” And so she and

' her friend reeled away. Did they go home? If so, what sort of a home was it? If not, what would become of their children that day?

Not far from Seven Dials is Drury lane. Some sad scenes may be witnessed there. A young girl left her home and went to live with a profligate man. She was only seventeen years

One day she got drunk, fell into the fire, and then, all in flames, rushed screaming into the street. She was carried

of age.

He was

a

to the hospital, and there lay in her agony. All day-all night she sent forth her direful wail. “ O Lord God ! O Lord God!! give me ease. Give me ease, O Lord God! if it be but for half a moment, half a moment, O Lord God, give me ease.”

It never came. Scorched, agonized, wailing, she died.

Within sight of where the flaming girl rushed into the street, a fight between two men took place. A large crowd assembled to witness the brutal conflict. When the police came they cleared the street, and then a large and heavily-laden van drove on its way. A drunken woman was standing on the curb, and alas ! she suddenly fell before its wheels. She was crushed to death.

“ Send for her husband,” criell the people.

He came. They told him of his wife's awful death. too drunk to understand their words. And this wretched pair had three children. What will become of them?

In one of the small streets, within a few yards of the British Museum, there was a tiny house inhabited by families which were crowded together in a very discreditable manner. Saturday night came, and they retired to sleep. When all was silent and dark, the flames of a fire suddenly burst forth. Fire! fire! cried a neighbour. In a few moments the house was surrounded by the alarmed neighbours. The fire-escape came; then the fireengine. Loud knocks were thundered upon the door, and for a moment it seemed as though the sleeping inmates would be saved. See! an arm is thrust out of the window, but it disappears again. Then a lad throws himself headlong from another window. He is picked up, taken to the hospital, and dies. “ Take care,” cried the crowd, “ the house is falling." Crash! It is down. Nothing remains but a burning mass. Thirteen human beings were under it. They were dug out, and I saw them—a hideous sight-in the dead-house of St. Giles's.

What caused this fatal fire? None can tell. It is known, however, that one of the victims had been drinking

When he went home he was far from being sober, and many

have suspected some carlessness of his caused the fire.

Such are the scenes common to a London parish. Other parishes present similar scenes. From Brixton to Hampstead, and from Kensington to Hackney, drunkenness is the curse and . shame of the great metropolis. It clothes the poor with rags. It makes them violent and cruel. It thrusts them into dark and filthy dens. It starves their children. It is their destroying

a

[ocr errors]

that night.

[ocr errors]

demon. Who will bring them out of their “ house of bondage ?" Alas ! that so many of them should live and die saying, “ No MAN CARETH FOR MY SOUL.”

In a

THE ORIGIN OF BANDS OF HOPE. It is often asked—Who founded the First Band of Hope? This is an interesting question, and we should like to see it settled. The Rev. Dr. Burns, of Paddington, claims we believe, this honour for the late Mrs. Carlisle, of Dublin. The Rev. Jabez Tunnicliffe, however, does not admit that claim. speech delivered in Bradford, on April 23rd, 1864, he said :

“ It was often a inatter of dispute between the people of Leeds and Bradford, as to which town the honour of superiority belonged, but he thought as a matter of fact, so far as respected the Band of Hope movement, in comparison with Bradford, Leeds was nowhere. The speaker then entered into a statement of the reasons which had induced him to commence the organisations, called Bands of Hope. The idea was first impres-ed upon his mind in 1847, by a man to whose death-bed he was called, who had ruined his constitution and brought on consumption by his intemperate habits. From the series of evils which had resulted to that man from his taking the first glass, he, the speaker, was led to consider the matter. He felt that much could not be done with drunkards, or moderate drinkers of the day, and it would be far better to devote their entire energy to an organisation which should be confined to the young. Through his instrumentality, therefore, a ladies' committee was formed in Leeds, where the Band of Hope movement originated."

From this statement, therefore, it would appear that Mr. Tunnicliffe claims to be the founder of Bands of Hope, and that they were first formed in the town of Leeds. It will give us much pleasure to know from competent correspondents whether any Bands of Hope existed prior to 1847 ?

MAKE THE BEST OF IT. “Oh, George Hays, just look here!” said little Madge Morrel. “The old gray cat just jumped through this window, and broke cousin Alice's beautiful rose geranium. Oh! isn't it too bad ? How angry

Alice will be !” “My sister don't get angry at such things, Miss Madge. I never saw her angry but once in my life, and that was when some boys worried a poor little kitten almost to death."

“But this is so provoking, Georgie. Anybody would be angry."

“ It is really too bad, but you see if Alice does not try to make the best of it."

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »