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Lawyer Julep, a smart fellow in his day; but they say he's drunk half the time now. "Moderate I"
Wilky. It's amusing to see how these moderate drinkers fool themselves! The fact is, folks have got to progress either forward or backward. Well (wiping the table), these are the fellows that are needed to keep up the figures,—the "sixty thousand a year" of the temperance lecturers.
Ketchum (impatiently). Stop dinging that in my ear! I'd rather hear a dead-march on a hand-organ!
Wiley (jingling money). But how do you like that music?
Enter a ragged, forlorn specimen, with a jug. Ketchum reads hi* paper; Wiley turns away, humming a tune.
Guzzler (drumming on the counter). I say, who keeps this consarn? Who tends it, anyway? Ha'n't you got something to cheer a fellow up? I'm dry.
Wiley. Yes, yes, J ou're always dry! Never knew you when you weren't. Got any change? We don't credit.
Gczzler (confidentially). Tell you what, Wiley, I am a little short jest now, but expect a job of work week after next.
Wiley. Bother week after next! We don't trust! do you lnderstand?
tirzzLER. But, Wiley, I'm awful thirsty! Can't get along without my bitters,—I need it. I'm weak, Wiley. ( Whimpering.) I've been a good customer, Wiley; gi' me a quart, just for medicine.
Wiley. Oh, get along! This is a respectable establishment; we don't entertain paupers and vagabonds.
Guzzler (doubling hisjistt). Now see here, you, calling me a pauper and a vagabond! Who made me so, eh? Whose work is it, eh? Hear the old spider! You've got my farm, and my tools, and my wife's wedding-gown, and now can't trust me for a drink of whisky! I'm disgusted!
Ketchum. Give him a little, Wiley, and be rid of him.
Wiley. Can't—can't do it. It's against my principles. Thought I hadn't any, but I guess I have. Can't give away whisky, that's against my principles.
Guzzler (fumbling in an old pocket-book). Ixiok here, friend, here's something; I don't want to part with it. Sht doesn't know I've got it, but it's good gold. Whst'll you gi' me for it (holdi.ig out a plain wedding-ring)?
Wiley (matching ring and dropping it in drawer). All right! What'll you have? whisky? (Gives him a glass, which he drink*.
Guzzler. I say, how much you going to gi' me for it?
Wiley. Oh, you'll trade it out fast enough!
Guzzler. But, consider its value! That's a weddingring! That's a memento, Wiley,—that's a memento of happier days, all done up with hopes, and hearts, and white flowers, and white ribbons, and all that. (Wiping his eyes.) It—it—it kind o' makes a fellow feel blue to part with it; and then consider Sarah Ann's exasperation when she finds it out! Consider all that, and pay according, Mr. Wiley.
Wiley (fills the jug, hands it to him, and pushes him out). You'd better go now, you're getting foolish. [Exit Guzzler.
Enter Fred, and calls for a glass of wine; Will follows, hastily seizing his hand.
Will. Don't Fred, don't! Think of your mother and sisters; think of the consequences; think
Fred. Oh, bother! Will, don't preach; I will enjoy myself.
Wiley. Right, my young friend! Enjoyment is a good thing; get all you can of it.
Will (stepping between Fred and the glass). Stop, Fred, I've something to tell you. Some of our friends are coming round here, directly; let's go with them to the Cold -Water Temple.
Fred. What for? What's the fun?
Will. Oh, we have music and speeches, and a nice time, and go home with clear heads and light hearts.
Fred. That's well enough. I believe in cold water and all that, but I must have one little glass to steady my nerves; that examination was awful hard on a fellow.
Will. And you passed it splendidly! Now don't spoil all, and shame your friends, by giving way to temptation. Come!
Wiley. Look here, young man, seems to me you might as well put on a white choker, and carry a psalm-book. Why can't you let your friend have a mind of his own?
Fred. Yes, that's it, Will! If I want to drink, it is none of your business; I'm old enough to take care of myself.
Will. But if I saw a venomous serpent in that glass, Fred, would it be "none of my business?" Yet that is just what I do see. And if I saw that man aiming a deadly weapon at you, would that be " none of my business?" Yet that is what I do see. He who offers poison to his neighboi ought to be seized by the strong arm of the law; and I'll ,
Ketcuum. Come, young man, none of your threats! Our business is all fair, and as for the buyers, a man has a right to do as he pleases, and right wrongs nobody. (Cold-Water Army, with banners and badges, approaching.) What's that? Con-fusion! bolt the door, Wiley.
Will. That's our Cold-Water Army! Come on! come on! here's a stronghold of King Alcohol. Now for a skirmish! Come, Fred, which side will you take?
Good Templars take their stand on one end of the platform.
Fred (irresolute). I—I—it seems to me I'm " on the fence!" Wiley (sneering). A milksop!
Will. Fred, you know where you ought to be. Step out, like a man!
Fred. I—believe—I—will. Here goes! (Joins the line and tt received with cheers.)
Ketchum. Now, if you'll be good enough to tell us, what's all this hullaballoo about?
Leader. We come, Mr. Rumseller, in the interest of humanity, to declare war against all that can intoxicate.
Second Boy. We have come to do battle in behalf of weeping wives, starving children, and sorrowing parents.
Third Boy. We want to save fresh, young souls from guilt and misery.
All. And we are going to do it! (Cheers.)
Very Little Boy (shouting). And then, Mr. Rumseller, you'll have to shut up shop!
Ketchum. Did ever anybody see the like? Here we are, minding our own business, meddling with nobody, and in comes a raft of impudent youngsters, raising a tornado about our ears. Wiley, call the police.
Wiley. Oh, never mind, Ketchum; let's hear them talk.
Ketchum (susiiicionslg). Who knows but they are armed?
First Girl. We have weapons, Mr. Rumseller, but they are spiritual ones.
Second Girl. Who hath woe?
Third Girl. Who hath sorrow?
Fourth Girl. Who hath contentions?
Fifth Girl. Who hath babbling?
Sixth Girl. Who hath wounds without cause?
Seventh Girl. Who hath redness of eyes?
All. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
First Girl. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup.
Second Girl. At the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.
Wiley. I don't see that you hit us.
Third Girl. How is this?—Woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink!
Fourth Girl. Or this?—That puttest thy bottle to him, and maketh him drunken.
Ketchum. Wiley, this is getting disagreeably personal.
Wiley. Nonsense, 1 call it! (To children.) Come, let's talk a little sense. What right have you to come here, meddling with our business?—that's what 7 want to know.
Ketchum. You've already taken off half our profit by your tee-total tomfoolery!
Leader. As we said before, Mr. Wiley, we have come in the interest of humanity, to ask you to stop this wicked traffic . We come in the spirit of Him who has said, Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Wiley. But I tell you we're doing a lawful business, and wo don't want to be interfered with; let everybody take care of himself. Besides, if we didn't do it, somebody else would, so what would you gain?
Fifth Girl. Mr. Wiley, if you could realize what you are doing, I am sure you would consider us as your best friends. Why, the midnight assassin, the highway robber, and the murderer are merciful compared with you!
Wiley. Come, come, that's a little too much!
Fred. The murderer kills: but what nerves his hand? Felons fill the prisons; but what makes the felons? Crime, want, and misery stalk abroad through the land
All. And for this we call you to account!
Ketchum. Good gracious! I can't stand this. What do you want? We'll try and make it square, somehow.
First Girl. Make it square? Hear him! Can you gather up the raindrops that have fallen? Can you paint the rainbow on the midnight cloud? Can you rueii! die delicate vase you have crashed to atoms? Then you may hope to restore broken hearts and ruined households, wafted health, shattered intellects, and hopes that are quenched in the midnight of despair.
Ketchcm (talking to himself). Unreasonable! nonsense! It cannot be true.
Second Girl. Ah! Mr. Rumseller, can you give back to the drunkard his lost manhood, his peace of mind, his strength of will?
Little Boy. I want to have father, dear father, come home, Mr. Rumseller.
Little Girl. We want our lost brothers, Mr. Rumseller.
Another. We want the mothers that have died with broken hearts, Mr. Rumseller.
Ketchum (stopping his ears). Enough! enough! for heaven's sake, stop!
Wiley. Where's my hat, Ketchum? Let's be off.
Guzzler (re-entering). Stop, stop, old friend, I've a leetle mite of a favor to ask of you afore you go. Jest you gi' me back Sally Ann's wedding-ring, that's a good fellow. She's that exasperated that I daren't come within ten foot of her! Gi'me back Sally Ann's wedding-ring, I tell ye! (Wiley iings it on the table.) Thankee, sir. (Puts it in an old pockeibook.) Now, if you please, I'll take that little farm yon got away from me. You made me crazy with your doctored liquors, till you got every rag I had in the world but these I've got on. Purty lookin' sight ain't I, to be in respectable company,—out at the elbows, out at the toes, empty pockets, no friends, no character, no home, and who's done it t And now I give you fair warning,—I'm going over to t'other side! The cold-water chaps can make something of old Dick, if anybody can. [Joins the ranks; Templars sing:
Tune, "Mountain Maid's Invitation."
Come, come, come!
Be a man once more!
As in days of yore.