페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

to Him-learn of Him-trust Him; make His | etrating the thick atmosphere which hung as a Book your guide;" and opening the Bible he vail before his bedroom window. read one other passage : “Keep innocency, and To Mathew the sunbeams came like heavenly take heed to the thing that is right, for that shall messengers, winging their way through the darkbring a man peace at the last.”

ness and chaos of the world for the world's light Pondering on this blessed rule of life, so sim- and life. He had never thought of that before ; ple and so comprehensive, he turned back the but he thought of and felt it then, and much good pages, repeating it over and over again, until he it did him, strengthening his good intent. A came to the first fly-leaf, wherein were written positive flood of light poured in through a pane the births, marriages, and deaths of the humble of glass which had been cleaned the previous family to whom the Bible had belonged ; and morning, and played upon the cover of the poor therein, second on the list, he saw in a stiff, half-Drunkard's Bible. Mathew bent his knees to printed hand, the name-Emma HANBY, only the ground, his heart full of emotions, the emodaughter of James and Mary Jane Hanby, born tions of his early and better nature—and he bowso-and-so, married at such a date to Petered his head upon his hands, and prayed in honest Croft!

resolve and earnest zeal. The burden of that “Emma Hanby'-born in his native village; I prayer, which escaped from between his lips in the little Emma Hanby whom he had loved to murmurs sweet as the murmurs of living waters, carry over the brook to school-by whose side in was--that God would have mercy upon him, and boy-love he had sat in the meadows--for whom keep him in the right path, and make him, unhe had gathered flowers-whose milk-pail he had worthy as he was, the means of grace to others so often lifted over the church-stile—whom he —to be God's instrument for good to his fellowhad loved as he never could or did love woman creatures; to minister to the prosperity, the resince-whom he would have married, if she, generation of his own kind. Oh, if God would light-hearted girl that she was, could have loved but mend the broken vessel, if he would but heal the tall, yellow, awkward youth whom it was her the bruised reed, if he would but receive him into pastime to laugh at, and her delight to call “ Dad- his flock! Oh, how often he repeated : “God dy"_was she then the wife—the torn, soiled, give me strength! Lord strengthen me !" tattered, worn-out, insulted, broken-spirited wife And he arose, as all arise after steadfast prayer of the drunkard Peter Croft! It seemed impos- | -strengthened—and prepared to set about his sible; her memory had been such a sunbeam from work. I now quote his own account of what boyhood up; the refiner of his nature—the dream followed : that often came to him by day and night. While “I had,” he said, “fixed in my mind the duty passing the parochial school, when the full tide I was called upon to perform; I saw it bright of girls rushed from its heat into the thick city before me. It was now clear to me, whether I air, his heart had often beat if the ringing laugh turned to the right or to the left; there it was, of a merry child sounded like the laugh he once written in letters of light. I went down stairs, thought music; and he would watch to see if the I unlocked the street-door, I brought a ladder girl resembled the voice that recalled his early from the back of my house to the front, and with

| my own hands, in the gray, soft haze of morn“And I have helped to bring her to this,” he ing, I tore down the sign of my disloyalty to a repeated over and over to himself; “even I have good cause. The Grapes' lay in the kennel, done this—this has been my doing.” He might and my first triumph was achieved. I then dehave consoled himself by the argument, that if scended to my cellar, locked myself in, turned Peter Croft had not drunk at “the Grapes," he all the taps, and broke the bottles into the torwould have drunk somewhere else; but his sear-rents of pale ale and brown stout which foamed ed conscience neither admitted nor sought an around me. Never once did my determination exexcuse; and after an hour or more of earnest even waver. I vowed to devote the remainder prayer, with sealed lips, but a soul bowed down, of my life to the destruction of alcohol, and to at one moment by contempt for his infirmity of give my power and my means to reclaim and purpose, and at another elevated by strong re-succor those who had wasted their substance solves of great sacrifice, Mathew, carrying with and debased their characters beneath my roof. him the Drunkard's Bible, sought his bed. He I felt as a freed man, from whom fetters had been slept the feverish, unrefreshing sleep which so fre- suddenly struck off; a sense of manly independquently succeeds strong emotion. He saw troops ence thrilled through my frame. Through the of drunkards—blear-eyed, trembling, ghastly spec- black and reeking arch of the beer-vault, I looked tres, pointing at him with their shaking fingers, up to Heaven; I asked God again and again for while, with pestilential breath, they demanded the strength of purpose and perseverance which "who had sold them poison.” Women, too | I had hitherto wanted all my latter life. While drunkards, or drunkards' wives in either case, called a "respectable man,' and an honest pubstarved, wretched creatures, with scores of ghast-lican,' I knew that I was acting a falsehood, and ly children, hooted him as he passed through cav- dealing in the moral-perhaps the eternal_deaths erns reeking of gin, and hot with the steam of all of many of those careless drinkers, who had 'sorpoisonous drinks! He awoke just as the dawn row and torment, and quarrels and wounds withwas crowning the hills of his childhood without cause,' even while I, who sold the incentives glory, and while its munificent beams were pen- to sorrow and torment, and quarrels and wounds without cause, knew that they .bit like serpents | mad; she never understood me, but less than and stung like adders.' What a knave I had ever then. I had, of course, more than one scene been! erecting a temple to my own respectability with her; and when I told her that, instead of on the ruins of respectability in my fellow-crea- ale, I should sell coffee, and substitute tea for tures! talking of honesty, when I was inducing brandy, she, like too many others, attaching an sinners to augment their sin by every temptation idea of feebleness and duplicity, and want of rethat the fragrant rum, the white-faced gin, the spectability to Temperance, resolved to find anbrown bouncing brandy, could offer-all adulter- other home. We passed a stormy hour together, ated, all untrue as myself, all made even worse and among many things, she claimed the Drunkthan their original natures by downright and pos- ard's Bible; but that I would not part with. itive fraud ; talking of honesty, as if I had been “I lost no time in finding the dwelling of Pehonest; going to church, as if I were a practical ter Croft. Poor Emma! If I had met her in Christian, and passing by those I had helped to the broad sunshine of a June day, I should not make sinners with contempt upon my lip, and a have known her; if I had heard her speak, I • Stand by, I am holier than thou!' in my proud should have recognized her voice among a thouheart, even at the time I was inducing men to sand. Misery for her had done its worst. She become accessories to their own shame and sin, upbraided me as I deserved. You,' she said, and the ruin of their families.

love.

• and such as you, content with your own safety, “ Bitter, but happy tears of penitence gushed never think of the safety of others. You take from my eyes as the ocean of intoxicating and care to avoid the tarnish and wretchedness of baneful drinks swelled, and rolled, and seethed drunkenness yourselves, while you entice others around me. I opened the drain, and they rushed to sin. Moderation is your safeguard; but forth to add to the impurity of the Thames. when did you think it a virtue in your custom

Away they go!' I said; their power is past ; , ers?' they will never more turn the staggering work. “I told her what I had done, that in future man into the streets, or nerve his arm to strike mine would be strictly a Temperance house; that down the wife or child he is bound by the law I would by every means in my power undo the of God and man to protect ; never more send the evil I had done. self-inflicted fever of delirium-tremens through “Will that,' she answered in low deep tones the swelling veins; never drag the last shilling of anguish— will that restore what I have lost? from the drunkard's hand; never more quench -will it restore my husband's character ?-will the fire on the cottage hearth, or send the pale, it save him, even if converted, from self-reproach? overworked artisan's children to a supperless bed; -will it open the grave, and give me back the never more blister the lips of woman, or poison child, my first-born, who, delicate from its cradle, the blood of childhood; never again inflict the could not endure the want of heat and food, Saturday's headache, which induced the prayer which the others have still to bear?--will it give less Sunday. Away-away! would that I had us back the means squandered in your house?the power to so set adrift all the so perverted will it efface the memory of the drunkard's songs, produce of the malt, the barley, and the grape of and the impurity of the drunkard's acts? O ihe world! As my excitement subsided, I felt Mathew! that you should thrive and live, and still more resolved; the more I calmed down, the grow rich and respectable, by what debased and firmer I became. I was as a paralytic recovering debauched your fellow-creatures. Look" she the use of his limbs; as a blind man restored to added, and her words pierced my heart—look! sight. The regrets and doubts that had so often had I my young days over again, I would rather disturbed my mind gathered themselves into a supposing that love had nothing to do with my mighty power, not to be subdued by earthly mo- choice-I would rather appear with my poor detives or earthly reasoning. I felt the dignity of graded husband, bad as he has been, and is, at a mission; I would be a Temperance Missionary the bar of God, than kneel there as your wife! to the end of my days! I would seek out the You, cool-headed and moderate by nature, knowworst among those who had frequented the ing right from wrong, well educated, yet temptGrapes,' and pour counsel and advice—the ear-ing, tempting others to the destruction which nest counsel and the earnest advice of a purely I gave you food and plenishing-your fine gindisinterested man-into ears so long deaf to the palace! your comfortable rooms! your intoxicatvoice of the charmer. I was a free man, no lon- ing drinks! the pleasant company! all, all! wilger filling my purse with the purchase-money of ing the tradesman from his home, from his wife, sorrow, sin, and death. I owed the sinners, con- from his children, and sending him back when the firmed to lead the old life of sin in my house-Istars are fading in the daylight. Oh! to what owed them atonement. But what did I not long a home! Oh! in what a state!' to do for that poor Emma! When I thought of "I do think, as you stand there, Mathew her-of her once cheerfulness, her once inno- | Hownley, well dressed, and well fed, and re cence, her once beautyI could have cursed my- spectable-yes, that is the word, “respectable !" self. Suddenly my sister shook the door. She -that you are, at this moment, in the eyes of entreated me to come forth, for some one had the Almighty, a greater criminal than my poor torn down our sign, and flung it in the kennel. husband, who is lying upon straw with madness When I showed her the dripping taps and the in his brain, trembling in every limb, without broken bottles, she called me, and believed me even a Bible to tell him of the mercy which

Christ's death procured for the penitent sinner Her heart was still with her husband, and she at the eleventh hour!

found no rest until she was placed beside him in "I laid her own Bible before her. I did not the crowded church-yard. The children live on ask her to spare me , every word was true; I the son, with the unreasoning craving for strong deserved it all. I went forth, I sent coal, and drink, which is so frequently the inheritance of food, and clothing into that wretched room ; I the drunkard's child, the daughters, poor weaksent a physician ; I prayed by the bedside of ly creatures-one, that little deformed girl who Peter Croft, as if he had been a dear brother. I sits behind the tea-counter, and whose voice is found him truly penitent; and with all the re- so like her mother's; the other, a suffering creatsolves for amendment which so often fade in the ure, unable to leave her bed, and who occupies sunshine of health and strength, he wailed over a little room at the top of what was 'the Grapes.' his lost time, his lost means, his lost character Her window looks out upon a number of flowerall lost; all God had given-health, strength, pots, whose green leaves and struggling bloshappiness, all gone--all but the love of his ill. soms are coated with blacks, but she thinks them used and neglected wife ; that had never died ! the freshest and most beautiful in the world!" * And remember,' she said to me, 'there are hundreds, thousands of cases as sad as his in En- ! GAMBLING HOUSES IN GERMANY. gland, in the Christian land we live in! Strong WHERE are subjects and scenes, in themselves drink-fills our jails and hospitals with sin, with 1 loathsome to contemplate, which are yet sugcrime, with disease, with death; its mission is gestive of great moral lessons. And having, in sin and sorrow to man, woman, and child; under a recent visit to Germany, unexpectedly witthe cloak of good-fellowship it draws men to nessed the workings, and marked some of the gether, and the "good-fellowship" poisons heart results, of the foul passion for gambling, I shall and mind! Men become mad under its influence. now attempt to depict the sad reality, with the Would any man not mad, squander his money, earnest hope that it may not be without benefit, his character, and bring himself and all he is especially to the young reader. bound to cherish to the verge of the pauper's On a summer afternoon in 1853, I was sauntergrave ; nay, into it? Of five families in this ing with a young companion through a well-known wretched house, the mothers of three, and the town not far from the Rhine, celebrated for its fathers of four, never go to their ragged beds mineral springs. We had entered the magnifisober; yet they tell me good men, wise men, cent Kur Haus, the centre of fashionable resort, great men, refuse to promote temperance. Oh, and walking down the grand saal or dining-room, they have never seen how the half-pint grows to a door opened to the left, unexpectedly ushering the pint—the pint to the quart--the quart to the us, for the first time in our lives, into a gambling gallon! They have never watched for the drunk-“hell." With a painful feeling of mingled inard's return, or experienced his neglect or ill- dignation and disgust to find the visible proof usage-never had the last penny for their chil. before me that gambling was (as I had read in dren's bread turned into spirits-never woke to the guide-books) thus publicly sanctioned by the knowledge, that though the snow of Decem- law, I entered the room.' How shall I describe ber be a foot on the ground, there is neither food the scene? I saw a crowd of well-dressed peonor fire to strengthen for the day's toil!' ple gathered around a long table, over which was

“ Poor Emma! she spoke like one inspired; suspended a lamp, which, softened to the eye by and though her spirit was sustained neither by a broad green shade (causing a kind of inferno flesh por blood, she seemed to find relief in words. gloom through the apartment), threw an intense

“When I spoke to her of the future with hope, light on the table beneath. In the midst of this she would not listen. ·No,' she said, my hope table was a large revolving brazen dish. A ball for him and for myself is beyond the grave. He of ivory rolling rapidly round it, ever and anon can not rally; those fierce drinks have branded fell into a hollow space beneath, marked with his vitals, burnt into them. Life is not for either certain numbers corresponding with those on the of us. I wish his fate, and mine, could warn green cloth which covered the table. Around those around us; but the drunkard, day after day, this dish were piled rouleaus of gold and silver sees the drunkard laid in his grave, and before coin, and at each side of the table sat two men the last earth is thrown upon the coffin, the quick as croupiers or markers, presiding over the game. is following the example set by the dead-of an- One, two, or three persons, and often more, from other, and another glass!'

the circle around, were incessantly laying down "She was right. Peter's days were numbered; money. They staked sometimes gold, but more and when she knelt beside his coffin, she thanked frequently silver. Almost immediately on our God for his penitence, and offered up a prayer entrance, our attention was arrested by a young that she might be spared a little longer for her Englishman, fashionably dressed, but yet of such children's sake. That prayer gave me hope : rakish and sinister aspect, that I set him down at she had not spoken then of hope, except of that once as a blackleg who had figured at Epsom or beyond the grave.

Newmarket; a London roué, who, having lost “My friends jested at my attention to the character and means at home, now formed one young widow, and perhaps I urged her too soon of that base band of English sharpers who are to to become my wife. She turned away, with a be found on the Continent, and who initiate our feeling which I would not, if I could, express young bloods” into the mysteries of the gambling-table, borrow their money, or fleece them | What family wretchedness, what personal degraat private gaming parties without mercy. In dation and guilt, what an amount of beggary and eager excitement this person pressed through the ruin, and how many cases of suicide, have sprung crowd, and, bending over the table, rapidly de- from this one source !" And as we went forth posited a handful of silver florins, until nearly through the streets of the town, as the golden every yellow line or open space had a stake | light of the setting sun played on the flaxen locks placed upon it. His recklessness strikingly con- of a band of rosy children, whose merry laughter trasted with the caution of the other players. It rose upon the air, I could not but contrast their seemed as if he had set “ his life upon a cast,” | happy, innocent glee with the ever-gnawing and and was resolved to take the bank by storm. morbid misery of the gamblers whom I had left Within a few minutes, however, his entire cash behind was lost, and as the croupiers remorselessly. But I was yet to have one other glimpse of the gathered it with their little rakes into their German gambling-tables. Our present habitat glittering stores, he turned abruptly away. But at W- was but for a night; and on the morwhose are the small gloved hand and rounded row we left, and arrived two days after at the arm which just at my left are suddenly thrust fashionable baths of E- , on the banks of the forward to obtain silver for a Napoleon-d'or, Lahn. Here, as at W- , the government has which she gives to the markers? I look round | farmed the gambling-tables to three brothers. and find a tall and elegantly-dressed French lady The resources of these brothers are understood to standing at my side. Having received a number be immense, but they have ere now undergone a of silver forins in exchange for gold, she cau. thorough test. Of this Michael Angelo Titmarsh tiously deposits one or two on the board, and has given a characteristic version, in the followwith subdued excitement she watches the prog- ing passage of one of his graphic productions, in ress of the game. At length the silver pieces which he gives the soubriquet of Lenoir to the are all staked in succession, and are lost. And proprietors. now, with nervous hand, she unfastens the spring «There came, at a time when the chief Lenoir of a French silk purse; other gold is produced was at Paris, and the reins of government were and changed, until all is gone, and she, tor, in the hands of his younger brother, a company suddenly disappears. The game, however, has of adventurers from Belgium, with a capital of proceeded but a few minutes when our country-three hundred thousand francs, and an infallible man returns, and stakes large sums with the system for playing rouge-et-noir, and they boldly same recklessness as before, and, after some challenged the bank of Lenoir, and sat down bealternations of success, with similar results. fore his croupiers, and defied them. They called Nay, here is also the French lady again, re- themselves in their pride the Contrebanque de turned with her silk purse recruited with gold Noirbury. They had their croupiers and punters pieces, and playing with greater excitement than even as Lenoir had his; they had their rouleaus ever ; but, after some winnings, she too loses all. of Napoleons; they had their contrebanquist But as I lift my eyes I see two ladies enter the seal; and they began to play. room, and stand for a time in the background. “As when two mighty giants step out of a Neither of them is young, but their whole bear- host and engage, the armies stand still in expecing is refined, and their faces are unmistakably tation, and the puny privates and commonalty English. At last they approach, and after looks remain quiet to witness the combat ; so it is said ing on for a time, one after another, as under a that when the contrebanque arrived, and ranged sudden fascination, puts down money on the itself before the officers of Lenoir-rouleau to table. I had seen the fierce mastery of the pas- rouleau, bank note to bank note, war for war, sion for play over the man with pain and grief, controlment for controlment—all the minor punbut this fresh illustration of its power over the ters and gamblers ceased their peddling play, and female heart filled me with indescribable sadness. looked on in silence round the verdant plain Here were ladies of whose standing and rank where the great combat was to be decided. their lout ensemble left no doubt, who in a strange “Not used to the vast operations of war, like land are guilty of conduct for which in their own his elder brother, Lenoir junior, the lieutenant, country they would be hooted out of society. telegraphed to his absent chief the news of the Oppressed and sick at heart, I hastily left the mighty enemy who had come down on him, building. We walked through the beautiful I asked for instructions, and in the mean while met grounds connected with the Kur Saal, and along the foeman like a man. The Contrebanque of the banks of the stream (now swollen by recent Noirburg gallantly opened its campaign. rains into a torrent) which flows through them. “The Lenoir bank was defeated, day after But all the while that gambling-table was in my day, in numerous savage encounters. The tactics thoughts; and as, from the little temple which of the contrebanquist generals were irresistible, crowns a rising ground, I looked on the gay and they marched onward, terrible as the Maceflowers and graceful trees, on the fields white to donian phalanx Tuesday, a loss of eighteen the harvest, and the hunting-grounds of the thousand florins ; Thursday, a loss of forty thoureigning duke (whose revenues are largely drawn sand florins : night after night, the young Lenoir from the gambling-tables), I said to myself, “ All had to chronicle these disasters in melancholy these are beautiful and fair ;

dispatches to his chief. What was to be done? But the trail of the serpent is over them all! | How was it to end?

“ Far away at Paris, the elder Lenoir answer- and see how long she considers, how anxiously ed these appeals of his brother, by sending rein- her eye wanders over the board, and then how forcements of money. Chests of gold arrived for cautiously at last she stakes it. Once or twice the bank. The prince of Noirburg bade his be- she wins, and the croupiers toss to her the spoil, leaguered lieutenant not to lose heart : he him and her pale cheek is flushed, and her dull eye self never for a moment blenched in the trying kindles. But in a short time her little all is gone. hour of danger.

She is here for the last time to-night. And to• The contrebanquists still went on victorious. morrow, and for many days to come, I shall see Rouleau after rouleau fell into their possession. her sitting apart on one or another of the garden At last the news came. The emperor had joined chairs scattered around, with cheeks paler than the grand army. Lenoir himself had arrived ever, and that thin form more wasted, and in her from Paris, and was once more among his chil- whole aspect downcast and half broken-hearted, dren, his people. The daily combats continued ; as if the thoughts of a confiding husband or fond and still, still, though Napoleon was with the children far away at home oppressed her spirit. eagles, the abominable contrebanquists fought But look again. There is a mother and a young and conquered. Like Polyphemus, who only lady by her side. Can it be possible? Yes, that took one of his prisoners out of the cave at a is her daughter, and she is initiating that young time, and so ate them off at leisure, they con- girl into the mysteries of the gambling-table. tented themselves with winning so much before Who would like to marry a young woman thus dinner, and so much before supper, say five thou- trained—the daughter of such a mother as this? sand florins for each meal.

But who is this man who suddenly enters the “ At last there came one day when the contre-room with a little girl clinging to his side? His banquists had won their allotted sum, and were dress and person are neglected, his face unwashed, about to leave the tables which they had swept his long and grizzled hair falls wildly over a foreso often. But pride and lust of gold had seized head seamed and furrowed by deep wrinkles ; his upon the heart of one of these vainglorious chief- little girl is miserably dressed, and his rank seems tains; and he said, • Do not let us go yet—let us but that of a peasant: amidst a throng so gay, what win a thousand florins more!' So they stayed, does he here? All ranks may play, and he, a deand set the bank yet a thousand florins. The graded and inveterate gambler, can not live withNoirburgers looked on and trembled for their out this fatal excitement. He takes a place near prince.

the foot of the table, and draws forth a sum of “ Some three hours afterward, a cheer, a money, from which he takes a florin from time mighty cheer, was heard around the windows of to time and stakes it. He has a small card, like the palace; people rushed into oach other's arms; some other practiced hands at the table, and he men, women, and children cried and kissed each carefully marks with a pin opposite red or black other. Croupiers who never feel, who never lines the results of each rotation of the wheel. tremble, who never care whether black wins or For a time familiarity with the game seems to red loses, took snuff from each other's boxes and give him the advantage, and with calm satisfaclaughed for joy; and Lenoir, the dauntless, the tion he rakes together his winnings into a heap, invincible Lenoir, wiped the drops of perspiration on which the little girl bends her glistening eyes. from his calm forehead, as he threw the enemy's And there he sits until the evening closes, and last rouleau into his till. He had conquered." in the end departs after a season of feverish ex

Thus far Mr. Titmarsh, who albeit not writing citement, such as has become the element of his what he calls “a treaty of morals," yet is "wise" being, having lost all. The face of that gambler, as well as “ merry," when he adds : “ If you lose, and that of his poor child (who was always with worthy friend, as possibly you will, at Lenoir's him, and who seemed as if she was the only one pretty games, console yourself by thinking that it left of a shipwrecked and ruined family), haunt is much better for you in the end that you should me to this hour. lose than that you should win. ... For my part, But let us now pass into the inner apartment, I hope and pray that every honest reader of this and mark the group assembled at the rouge-etvolume who plays at M. Lenoir's table will lose noir table. Here is a more select class than is every shilling of his winnings before he goes generally found playing at roulette ; and, as at away."

W— , larger stakes are here deposited. Here But the loss of money does not eradicate the are “Russians, Poles, French, English, Gerpassion for play. To have evidence of this, let mans, with enormous mustaches or without them : the reader enter with me the Kur Haus as these the fire of Mammon always burning on his altars, splendid chandeliers are being lit up in the grand and the doomed flies buzzing about them, and saal, and let it be our last visit to such a scene. some already with scorched-off wings. It is a There is a motley crowd assembled round the scene of external gayety, with all that is interroulette-table. There is a tall thin lady whom Inally hollow, and rotten, and deceitful.” The see every morning imbibing the healing waters. lights are burning brightly over-head; the players This is not the first time she has been at the are nearly all seated, while a constantly shifting gambling-table. Her stock of cash is always company of spectators forms an outer circle round small; she is never found at the rouge-et-noir the table. A young Indian officer, who last year table, where a Prussian thaler at least must be ventured and lost, and has had wisdom and prinput down. The modest florin is admitted here ; ciple sufficient to take warning, stands by my

« 이전계속 »