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a sight was that! The big stalwart man lying side by side with the tender maiden! the mother, with her hand still convulsively clasping her infant child ! and the young sailor boy, whose first voyage this had been, and whose heart had been so joyous at the prospect of returning to his mother's home; there they lay, and many more beside them, a ghastly spectacle, which, once seen, can never be forgotten.
Often since, have the horrors of that day come up before our memory, but never so vividly as when, a few weeks ago, after an absence of ten years, we paid a visit to our native town. No sea, indeed, is visible from its streets—no “stately ships go past it to their haven under the hill"for it is far inland. Yet, as we walked through its old familiar haupts, we seemed to be stepping over the fragments of human shipwrecks, and all around us lay scattered the sad remains of those who, in the voyage of life, had struck upon the rock of intemperance, and perished among the breakers. As it happened, just at the time of our return, one such case had occurred, which was in the mouths of the whole community, and which was peculiarly saddening to us. A young man, originally of great natural ability, amiable d sposition, and good prospects, at whose marriage we had been best man not long before we left our hoine, had died a victim to s'rong drink, in circumstances especially distressing. Led away by evil companionship, he had acquired the appetite of the drunkard, and as that grew upon him, his uature becaine besoited and cruel, so that even his devoted wife was not safe from his assaults. The loss of business, consequent upon his neglect of it, aggravated this evil temper, and eventually he became an habitual tyrant in his house, and an habitual toper out of it. All this preyed upon the spirits of his wife, and dried up the fountain of her life, so that, broken in heart, she died at the birth of her fifth child, and she and her infant were buried in the same coffin. Unappalled by all this, however, he still continued in his evil course, nay, it seemed as if his bereavement only added fuel to the flame of his appetite, for he became worse and worse, until, in the frantic madness of delirium tremens, he expired; and in four short months after the death of his wife, her grave was opened to receive his ashes--yes, we say his ashes; for strong drink had burned up everything that was combustible within him, and left his body like a blackened ruin. Oh, what a wreck was there! Two young lives, first rendered miserable, and then cut off in the very mid time of their days, and four belpless orphans cast upon the shore, and left to the cold charity of an unfeeling world !
Confronted with this melancholy case on our first arrival, we naturally led to look around and ask after others whom we remembered, and with some of whom we were formerly acquainted, when, to our utmost horror, we discovered that not a few of them also had perished in the same dreadful manner. We cannot give the particulars of each history; we will simply indicate the sepa rate instances.
H. D., a respectable draper, with a tolerably extensive trade. He was a prosperous man, but addicted to periodical drinking. a long time it was kept hid from all but his most intimate friends; but death revealed the secret, for who knows not delirium tremens ? On his gravesione are the words, “ aged 45."
J. R., a somewhat lymphatic young man, who conducted a large carrying business between the town and the western metropolis. He, 100, was long unsuspected, but he died with the bottle at his lips, aged 34.
J. W., a baker, who, not contented with a small trade in a country village, came into the town to keep a public-house in connection with a pastry shop. He lived in the business only four years, and died in consequence of drink, at the early age of 38.
R. H., a somewhat prepossessing young man in appearance, who had been waiter at one of the principal hotels, but took up a public-house of his own, and was one of his own best customers—he was in the business some six years, and then died. He too was considerably under 40.
R. F., when I first krew him was a respectable steady man ; and though an ostler at one of the hotels, he kept himself aloof for a while from the temptations which beset such a situation. But he did not always resist them--and caught in the whirlpool, he too, was sucked down by the great maelstrom of our life-ocean. He was not over 45, when death overtook him in the same dreadful form as the rest.
J. A., a young man of good education and fair prospects in life, was shopman in a large drapery business; he became addicted to gambling and drinking, and at lengih enlisted in the Scots Greys. For a while he behaved so well that he was made schoolmaster to the regiment, and a non-commissioned officer; but having fallen again, he was degraded, and when we last heard of him—was a common soldier.
W.S., a student of divinity, who, for intemperance and other kindred vices, was expelled from his class. He enlisted in the army, and our last account of him was that he was suffering imprisonment for desertion, after having been flogged for the same offence.
J. T., a very extensive grain dealer, and a wealthy man, but addicted to intemperance and the sins which usually accompany it. He was comparatively a young man, but died, as every one said, in consequence of bis excesses.
R. C., a fine-looking young man; he was long the confidential salesman of his employer, and at length succeeded to his business; but he had not the steady hand to carry the full cup, and fell into dissolute habits—which were all the more hateful because he had married a very excellent lady, possessed both of education and wealth. He went through her means, became a traveller for a large house, then a country draper, and now has left his family, having first taken with him all the money he could lay his hands on. Poor C.- what a wreck thou hast become! and who that saw thee twelve years ago would have dreamed of this !
J. I., a minister's son, who, amidst the temptations of a large city, whither he had been sent, with fair prospects for after life, fell a victim 10 intemperance, robbed his employer, was imprisoned, and after his liberation went to Australia, a sadder, and we hope a wiser man, to open a new volume of life. May it not be like the former one-blackened with his own sins, and blotted with a parent's tears.
But why need we go on? We could give as mauy cases more,
of them to the full as sad as any we have mentioned, and when we have said this, it will not seem strange that, as we paced the streets of the old town after so long an absence, we should have had so powerfully brought back to us those feelings of sickening horror with which we looked that morning upon the colourless corpses which the remorseless sea had cast upon the surf-beaten shore. And yet, after all, such things are common occurences in the midst of us; and there is not one who reads this, who might not from his own experience, give as long and as dark a catalogue as that which we have here presented.
AN OFT-TOLD TALE. It was a dark night in the end of November. The rain fell thick and fast—the cold was intense. A young girl fled along one of the wet streets of the dreary city. She had only a thin shawl round her head and shoulders to proiect her from the cold. She was very pale and frightened-looking; and no wonder, for she had just come out of one of the brilliantly-lighted “palaces," which every here and there shed their glare on the dismal town. She never once stopped in her rapid Aight till she reached the next palace; this she entered also, but was out again in a moment. On she went through three or four, emerging at last from one more brilliant and noisy than the rest, half dragging, half supporting, a lad, a year or two older than herself, who seemed quite unable to guide his own steps.
“Oh, try and walk, George," she cried through her tears. “You must come home. Father fallen off the top of the new houses, and is sore hurt, and mother is in a terrible state.”
Half sobered by this information, the lad went on with her. They soon reached the place which the poor girl called “home.”
It was a poor enough room, but it was perfectly clean, and on the top of a chest of drawers in the corner, there was a well-worn bible, with three or four other books.
On the bed lay the crushed form of, what a few short hours ago, been a strong man.
George Taylor was a carpenter—a good workman, too—but he was a drunkard. He had been employed that day putting up the scaffolding of some new houses. He had drunk a good deal during the afternoon, and in turning to come down, he lost his footing, and fell from a great height. He was quite insensible now, and the doctor had just left, giving no hope of his ever again waking to consciousness. His poor wife bent over the form of her husband, her tears falling fast on his cold hand.
Twenty years before, Martha Taylor had been a young, good-looking girl. She had married against the wishes of all her friends, for even then she knew her husband's fatal habit. For some years after their marriage. her influence had kept him right; but gradually old companions and old habits had resumed their sway, and all her efforts had only enabled her to keep a house over their heads.
To add to her sorrow, her boy-her only son—the child of many
prayers—for she was a good woman-had lately become his father's companion in the evenings, and was, alas, very often in the sad state in which his sister found him that night. He was quite himself now, and much shocked at the father's fearful fate.
The night passed slowly and sorrowfully to the three watchers in that wretched home-it was a night none of them ever forgot.
By the side of his dying father, George made a solemn vow never again to touch or taste what had been the cause of all their grief and trouble, but as far as he could, to be his mother's stay and comfort, a vow which he kept to the end of his life.
The grey morning broke over the city, and found the widow and the orphans kneeling by the side of their dead.
THE LIFE-BOAT. [An Address, by Mr. A. G. HANDS, a Member of a Band of Hope, at Pucklechurch,
near Bristol.) Mr. Chairman and Friends,- I thought as I sat there, that when one is about to speak in public, he should have something to say, and when he has said it to sit down. At seasons of the year like the present, we often hear of shipwrecks on the sea. The sailors generally provide themselves with life-boats. We often also hear of shipwrecks on land through the use of intoxicating liquor, and to save such we have prepared the Life-boat of Temperance.
Name the first letter in life-boat, L. This letter stands for large, and we are anxious that Parkfield Band of Hope should be a Large Band of Hope. Our population is not large, but we think that there are many children in our neighbourhood who are not connected with our society ; you who are members of our society should try and induce others to join. Children may be useful if they set about it in the right way. have great influence. The second letter, I. This letter stands for intelligent, and if you desire to be useful, you must be intelligent. An intelligent youth is a noble sight. If you desire to be intelligent on the Temperance question, read such works as the following:-Bachus, by Dr. Grindrod ; Anti-Bacchus, by Rev. B. Parsons ; the Temperance Cyclopædia, by Rev.
; William Reid ; Morning Dew-drops, by Mrs. Balfour ; &c. &c. The great Lord Bacon says, “ Reading makes a knowing man." Sir W. Jones, when a boy, was accustomed to ask his mother questions, and she would invariably reply,“ read and you will know.” If you wish to excel, be intelligent; knowledge is the result of study. The next letter, F, friendly. I wish you to be a Friendly Band of Hope ; live as friends, and walk and work
together in unity. The more friendly you are, the more influence for good you will exert upon your youthful companions. The next letter, E. I desire you to be an Eager Band of Hope : I do not want you to be eager to do evil, but eager to do good.
When you see any of the members of the Band of Hope lukewarm in the cause of Temperance, be anxious to strengthen them in the good work. When a vessel is ready to be wrecked, you know, the sailors are ready to take out the life-boat, to save the crew and passengers ; and when you see any of your companions led away by drinking intoxicating liquor, be eager.
The letter B. Not only should you be a large, intelligent, friendly, and eager society, but a Bold society, or Band of Hope. If
you meet the poor drunkard, put on courage and ask him to sign the pledge. When asked by your companions, don't be afraid to say boldly and fearlessly, that you belong to the “Cold Water Army.” Sometimes you may meet with those who would tempt you to break your pledge ; refuse it, and firmly stand to the truth and the path of duty. You, my young friends of the Band of Hope, are in the path of duty, and that only is the path of safety ; from this evening may many others be induced to follow your example. Next letter, O. I want you to be an Orderly Band of Hope. A good man once said,
Order is heaven's first law.” If you look at the seasons, it is 80 ; first spring, then summer, autumn, and winter: learn a lesson from the fact; come to the meetings orderly, and go away orderly ; whatever you do, do it orderly. "Let all things
; be done decently and in order.” The letter A, represents the word active, and I want you to be an Active Band of Hope. If you desire this Band of Hope to grow and be a large Band of Hope, you must work. Like the little bee, you must “improve each shining hour.” Study how you may may
make sublime, and leave behind you, "foot-prints on the sands of time.” You have infiuence, for “no man liveth to himself.” Don't say you can't do anything ; “I can't do it,” never accomplished any great work ; "I will try," has worked wonders, and “I will do it,” has performed miracles in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles. Persevere ! striving for the promotion of virtue and truth, and may God prosper your efforts.
The last letter, T. Temperance is a noble virtue. "Because of drunkenness the land mourneth,” but if you who are inembers of this Band, and all the Band of Hope children throughout the country, remain faithful to the end, drunkenness will decrease, and sobriety bless the land. He that endureth to the end shall be saved.