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have seen beauty pale and die. before the simoon of base seduction. I have seen honest worth cast into prison, and highhanded roguery stalk abroad free and untrammelled. I have seen the moral law of institutions upset, and rascality prosper in its stead. I have seen men high in office set the example of nefarious speculations, and a whole nation follow their wake! I have seen the foul tempest sweep over the land from north to south, and from east to west! were the people all mad? Or was it because I drank not, and could see things differently from what I did seventeen years ago? Perhaps so.
. During that long period what temptations have I not resisted? The hand of beauty has been turned aside, when it was proffered with the wine cup. The syren smile of some fond one has been disregarded, when it rested on the sparkling glass. The convivial board has been shunned, and the companions of my youth left to themselves when the cry was "Wine, wine, more wine!" It was offered to my lips in a southern clime, when death, they said, would fly before it. The flowing bowl was raised to the dimmed eye and the quivering lip, as the last hope, like the cross--it was believed to be the means of salvation-in the dark and the gloom of the chamber of death!
Seventeen years! Happy, happy years-at least they were to me. I could sleep at night, and arise in the morning refreshed. It required no artificial stimulants to allay that nervous excitement liquid fire creates. My room always looked the sober man! There stood my neat book case, and my well selected volumes of useful knowledge, and my centre table, tastefully arranged, and covered with the choicest gems of the day. There too was my collection of dramatic works, (I am fond of the drama,) some of them two hundred years old! Oh, I love these old authors, they
seem to me as the very pillars of the mimic world. There is a copy of the Davenant, printed in his time with a likeness-what a flat nose he has! I do not believe the base story which purports to give an account of the cause. It is a base libel on a talented man—the god-son of the immortal bard! There is my own selection of American dramatic authors-small it is true, but indicative of the genius and talent of the land. We have some among us equal to any in the world; give them encouragement and in time we will have a youthful Shakspeare of our own! Over the mantelpiece is a likeness of General Washington, painted by Jarvis, of New York-eccentric Jarvis, companion of William Dunlap, and Hugh Reinagle; he is dead now, and himself and cronies sleep together? On the opposite side is Nagel's original portrait of Edmund Kean, as Richard the Third. Then, there is my bed, ah! that cosey, sober-sided looking bed; and, the old bureau, an old family relic, there it stood in the days of my debauch, covered with gin bottles-ugh! horrid recollections. There it stands yet; a neat mirror stands on its polished top, and instead of rum bottles, it is graced with one of Eau de Cologne, sweet delicious perfume, I look around upon those things, and a smile lights up my countenance, and I throw myself upon the rocking chair, and indulge in one of those pleasing reveries, which are rendered doubly so, by making us forget all present troubles. But to my subject.
* * * * It was a friend's house, in the lovely month of June. It was his wedding night. The lights burned bright, but the glances from many a lovely eye sparkled still brighter. The toast-the song the repartee-the dance, were given in the fulness and joyousness of youthall were happy. Could I remain cold and rigid amid such a gleam of starlight beauties, scattering their rays around
with so lavish a favor? No! I gradually warmed into fellowship with them, but when the sparkling wine-cup was presented, I hesitated, gazed upon its ruby brightness, and wildly rushed from the room! I soon recovered from the momentary alarm the temptation caused, and again entered the house. A nymph, one so lovely that to gaze upon her was to think of the angels in heaven-sat beside me, we talked, her voice was like a seraph's, so sweet, so musical, she was tuned to harmony and love; I forgot every thingyears seem to have rolled away, and the stream of oblivion swallowed up all recollection of the past. My seventeen years of temperance appeared like a speck on the bright escutcheon of the beautiful creature before me; she handed me the wine cup, I filled it to the brim and drank! Horror! I felt it coursing through my veins; it seemed to call up all the furies of hell, that liquid hell from which I once so miraculously escaped; I looked around, the scene before so lovely and bright was now darkened; I again raised the wine cup and drank to the health of all,-I was lost. Once more I was become a thing of guilt and shame-I felt all the pangs of the confirmed inebriate-I was going back, back to the horrid gulf from which I had been wrested, as if by superhuman power. I shuddered. Where was my long treasured resolution? Gone-gone. I was now a being to be despised, lost in my own estimation and that of others? Who would trust me now?
I left the room-the house; the wild laugh, the gay song, and strains of sweet music, rang in my ears! I shuddered -and hurried on. I could not go home. How could I gaze upon that little sanctum? How act in that room which for seventeen years had received me a sober man? I was now a drunkard! A public house stood before meone glass more I cried, and memory will be crushed!
tasted that cup-it refreshed the memory of the stomach, but could not, would not, drown recollection. That insatiate maw, tickled with the exciting liquid, cried out for more -"feed me-feed me," it seemed to say, "or I'll madden you!" I indulged it. Yes, glass after glass disappeared, and I became beastly. The landlord ejected me from his house.
The streets seemed peopled with fiends-they passed me like ghosts, and mocked me by their strange and unearthly sounds. The stars seemed as if they were drunk, and reeled in the heavens. Ah! see, they fall! God of the orbs save them! The lamps shed a bright flood of light over the scene, and the pavements seemed to raise up as I staggered along. I heard voices, old familiar voices, which had long since gone out from the bodies wherein they lived, call me by name, and from the charnel house they started forth to meet me!
All things were changed, and apparently alive, the very air breathed sounds suitable to my feelings. The laugh, the jeer, the gibe, the deep curse fell upon my ear, like sweet music from the æolian harp. I liked it, and shouted with maddening joy as I rushed on. Where was I? The days
But oh! how changed!
of my youth had come back again. Mind and body had undergone a complete revolution. A world of spirits was before, and they greeted me as I passed. But there came a change. I came in contact with one who, unlike me, was sober and rational. A quarrel ensued, he struck me; rendered desperate, I drew my knife and rushed upon him like a demon. For a moment, he manfully resisted-but I stabbed him; and the blood from the gaping wound gushed fearfully up into my face! I staggered back
there he lay upon the pavement, seemingly a living corpse; the moonlight rested upon his face, and its ghastly
appearance shocked me-I fled the spot; in my hand I held the knife reeking with his blood. I now heard the cry of murder; it came on the winds of the night like a messenger from hell to drag me down. On, on I went-footsteps followed close, and I could hear the hot breath of my pursuers hissing in mine ears. My foot struck a stone, I faltered and fell prostrate on the pavement.
Then came a dull sense of pain, a sickness of death; and the very fiends of hell seemed rioting in my brain, and in the wilderness of insanity I shouted and blasphemed as I lay quivering on the ground!
The bright sun arose and found me a prisoner, closely confined in a narrow cell-and for what? The horrid truth flashed upon me; I had committed a murder! The image of my victim appeared before me; the deep wound, the ghastly look, the quivering frame, presented themselves to my sight, and almost maddened me. The torments of that hour I can never forget; ages of misery were crowded into seconds; I had leisure to reflect. Alas! what were my reflections? In one moment, one unguarded moment, I had been decoyed, betrayed, lost! What followed? Horror-Horror! There are no dreams, no visions of the night, half so dreadful as are the stern realities of life. Here was I a prisoner, one whose career had been honorable, and whose endeavors were to do good, and set a bright example to others-now a murderer! A murder committed under the influence of liquor. That curse-that dark spot upon the mirror of creation, whose power over mortals is almost omnipotent. Fatal, fatal hour, in which I left the quiet of my own house to mingle with the gay, the foolish and the inebriate. Yes, the inebriate; for soften it as you will, all are so who make liquor the means of gratifying a foolish desire to be considered fashionable. Oh! that cus