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to Him—leam of Him—trust Him; make His Book your guide;" and opening the Bible he read one other passage: "Keep innocency, and tahe heed to the thing that is right, for that shall bring a man peace at the last."
Pondering on this blessed rule of life, so simple and so comprehensive, he turned back the pages, repeating it over and over again, until he came to the first fly-leaf, wherein were written the births, marriages, and deaths of the humble family to whom the Bible had belonged; and therein, second on the list, he saw in a stiff, halfprinted hand, the name—Emma Hanry, only daughter of James and Mary Jane Hanby, born so-and-so, married at such a date to Peter Croft!
"Emma Hanby"—born in his native village; the little Emma Hanby whom he had loved to carry over the brook to school—by whose side in boy-love he had sat in the meadows—for whom he had gathered flowers—whose milk-pail he had so often lifted over the church-stile—whom he had loved as he never could or did love woman since—whom he would have married, if she, light-hearted girl that she was, could have loved the tall, yellow, awkward youth whom it was her pastime to laugh at, and her delight to call " Daddy"—was she then the wife—the torn, soiled, tattered, worn-out, insulted, broken-spirited wife of the drunkard Peter Croft! It seemed impossible; her memory had been such a sunbeam from boyhood up; the refiner of his nature—the dream that often came to him by day and night. While passing the parochial school, when the full tide of girls rushed from its heat into the thick city air, his heart had often beat if the ringing laugh of a merry child sounded like the laugh he once thought music; and he would watch to see if the girl resembled the voice that recalled his early love.
"And I have helped to bring her to this," he repeated over and over to himself; "even I have done this—this has been my doing." He might have consoled himself by the argument, that if Peter Croft had not drunk at "the Grapes," he would have drunk somewhere else; but his scared conscience neither admitted nor sought an exexcuse; and after an hour or more of earnest prayer, with sealed lips, but a soul bowed down, at one moment by contempt for his infirmity of purpose, and at another elevated by strong resolves of great sacrifice, Mathew, carrying with him the Drunkard's Bible, sought his bed. He slept the feverish, unrcfreshing sleep which so frequently succeeds strong emotion. He saw troops of drunkards—blear-eyed, trembling, ghastly spectres, pointing at him with their shaking fingers, while, with pestilential breath, they demanded "who had sold them poison." Women, too— drunkards, or drunkards' wives—in either case, starved, wretched creatures, with scores of ghastly children, hooted him as he passed through caverns reeking of gin, and hot with the steam of all poisonous drinks! He awoke just as the dawn was crowning the hills of his childhood with glory, and while its munificent beams were pen
etrating the thick atmosphere which hung as a vail before his bedroom window.
To Mathew the sunbeams came like heavenly messengers, winging their way through the darkness and chaos of the world for the world's light and life. He had never thought of that before; but he thought of and felt it then, and much good it did him, strengthening his good intent. A positive flood of light poured in through a pane of glass which had been cleaned the previous moming, and played upon the cover of the poor Drunkard's Bible. Mathew bent his knees to the ground, his heart full of emotions—the emotions of his early and better nature—and he bowed his head upon his hands, and prayed in honest resolve and earnest zeal. The burden of that prayer, which escaped from between his lips in murmurs sweet as the murmurs of living waters, was—that God would have mercy upon him, and keep him in the right path, and make him, unworthy as he was, the means of grace to others —to be God's instrument for good to his fellowcreatures; to minister to the prosperity, the regeneration of his own kind. Oh, if God would but mend the broken vessel, if he would but heal the bruised reed, if he would but receive him into his flock! Oh, how often he repeated: "God give me strength! Lord strengthen me!"
And he arose, as all arise after steadfast prayer —strengthened—and prepared to set about bis work. I now quote his own account of what followed:
"I had," he said, "fixed in my mind the duty I was called upon to perform; I saw it bright before me. It was now clear to me, whether I turned to the right or to the left; thero it was, written in letters of light. I went down stairs, I unlocked the street-door, I brought a ladder from the back of my house to the front, and with my own hands, in the gray, soft haze of morning, I tore down the sign of my disloyalty to a good cause. 'The Grapes' lay in the kennel, and my first triumph was achieved. I then descended to my cellar, locked myself in, turned all the taps, and broke the bottles into the torrents of pale ale and brown stout which foamed around me. Never once did my determination even waver. I vowed to devoto the remainder of my life to the destruction of aleohol, and to give my power and my means to reclaim and succor those who had wasted their substance and debased their characters beneath my roof. I felt as a freed man, from whom fetters had been suddenly struck off; a sense of manly independence thrilled through my frame. Through the black and reeking arch of the beer-vault, I looked up to Heaven; I asked God again and again for the strength of purpose and perseverance which I had hitherto wanted all my latter life. While called a 'respectable man,' and an 'honest publican,' I knew that I was acting a falsehood, and dealing in the moral—perhaps the eternal—deaths of many of those careless drinkers, who had 'sorrow and torment, and quarrels and wounds without cause,' eveiwwhile I, who sold the incentives to sorrow and torment, and quarrels and wounds without cause, knew that they 'bit like serpents and stung like adders.' What a knave I had been! erecting a temple to my own respectability on the ruins of respectability in my fellow-creatures! talking of honesty, when I was inducing sinners to augment their sin by every temptation that the fragrant rum, the white-faced gin, the brown bouncing brandy, could offer—all adulterated, all untrue as myself, all made even worse than their original natures by downright and positive fraud; talking of honesty, as if I had been honest; going to church, as if I were a practical Christian, and passing by those I had helped to make sinners with contempt upon my lip, and a 'Stand by, I am holier than thou!' in my proud heart, even at the time I was inducing men to become accessories to their own shame and sin, and the ruin of their families.
"Bitter, but happy tears of penitence gushed from my eyes as the ocean of intoxicating and baneful drinks swelled, and rolled, and seethed around me. I opened the drain, and they rushed forth to add to the impurity of the Thames. 'Away they go!' I said; 'their power is past; they will never more turn the staggering workman into the streets, or nerve his arm to strike down the wife or child he is bound by the law of God and man to protect; never more send the self-inflicted fever of delirium-tremens through the swelling veins; never drag the last shilling from the drunkard's hand; never more quench the fire on the cottage hearth, or send the pale, overworked artisan's children to a supperless bed; never more blister the lips of woman, or poison the blood of childhood; never again inflict the Saturday's headache, which induced the prayerless Sunday. Away—away! would that I had the power to so set adrift all the so perverted produce of the malt, the barley, and the grape of the world!' As my excitement subsided, I felt still more resolved; the more I calmed down, the firmer I became. I was as a paralytic recovering the use of his limbs; as a blind man restored to sight The regrets and doubts that had so often disturbed my mind gathered themselves into a mighty power, not to be subdued by earthly motives or earthly reasoning. I felt the dignity of a mission; I would be a Temperance Missionary to the end of my days! I would seek out the worst among those who had frequented 'the Grapes,' and pour counsel and advice—the earnest counsel and the earnest advice of a purely disinterested man—into ears so long deaf to the voice of the charmer. I was a free man, no longer filling my purse with the purchase-money of sorrow, sin, and death. I owed the sinners, confirmed to lead the old life of sin in my house—I owed them atonement. But what did I not long to do for that poor Emma? When I thought of her—of her once cheerfulness, her once innocence, her once beauty—I could have cursed myself. Suddenly my sister shook the door. She entreated me to come forth, for some one had torn down our sign, and flung it in the kennel. When I showed her the dripping taps and the broken bottles, she called me, and behoved me
mad; she never understood me, but less than ever then. I had, of course, more than one scene with her; and when I told her that, instead of ale, I should sell coffee, and substitute tea for brandy, she, like too many others, attaching an idea of feebleness and duplicity, and want of respectability to Temperance, resolved to find another home. We passed a stormy hour together, and among many things, she claimed the Drunkard's Bible; but that I would not part with.
"I lost no time in finding the dwelling of Peter Croft. Poor Emma! If I had met her in the broad sunshine of a June day, I should not have known her; if I had heard her speak, I should have recognized her voice among a thousand. Misery for her had done its worst. She upbraided me as I deserved. 'You,' she said, 'and such as you, content with your own safety, never think of the safety of others. You take care to avoid the tarnish and wretchedness of drunkenness yourselves, while you entice others to sin. Moderation is your safeguard; but when did you think it a virtue in your customers!'
"I told her what I had done, that in future mine would be strictly a Temperance house; that I would by every means in my power undo the evil I had done.
"' Will that,' she answered in low deep tones of anguish—' will that restore what I have lost 7 —will it restore my husband's character ?—will it save him, even if converted, from self-reproach? —will it open the grave, and give me back the child, my first-born, who, delicate from its cradle, could not endure the want of heat and food, which the others have still to bear?—will it give us back the means squandered in your house!— will it efface the memory of the drunkard's songs, and the impurity of the drunkard's acts! O Mathew! that you should thrive and live, and grow rich and respectable, by what debased and debauched your fellow-creatures. Look!' she added, and her words pierced my heart—' look! had I my young days over again, I would rather —supposing that love had nothing to do with my choice—I would rather appear with my poor degraded husband, bad as he has been, and is, at the bar of God, than kneel there as your wife! You, cool-headed and moderate by nature, knowing right from wrong, well educated, yet tempting, tempting others to the destruction which gave you food and plenishing—your fine ginpalace I your comfortable rooms! your intoxicating drinks! the pleasant company! all, all! wiling the tradesman from his home, from his wife> from his children, and sending him back when the stars are fading in the daylight. Oh! to what a home! Oh! in what a state!'
"' I do think, as you stand there, Mathew Hownley, well dressed, and well fed, and re spectable—yes, that is the word, "respectable.'" —that you are, at this moment, in the eyes of tho Almighty, a greater criminal than my poor husband, who is lying upon straw with madness in his brain, trembling in every limb, without even a Bible to tell him of the mercy which Christ's death procured for the penitent sinner at the eleventh hour!'
"I laid her own Bible before her. I did not ask her to spare me , every word was true, I deserved it all. I went forth, I sent coal, and food, and clothing into that wretched room; I sent a physician; I prayed by the bedside of Peter Croft, as if he had been a dear brother. I found him truly penitent; and with all the resolves for amendment which so often fade in the sunshine of health and strength, he wailed over his lost time, his lost means, his lost character— all lost; all God had given—health, strength, happiness, all gone—all but the love of his illused and neglected wife; that had never died! 'And remember,' she said to me,'there are hundreds, thousands of cases as sad as his in England, in the Christian land we live in! Strong drink fills our jails and hospitals with sin, with crime, with disease, with death; its mission is sin and sorrow to man, woman, and child; under the cloak of good-fellowship it draws men together, and the "good-fellowship" poisons heart and mindi Men become mad under its influence. Would any man not mad, squander his money, his character, and bring himself and all he is bound to cherish to the verge of the pauper's grave; nay, into it! Of five families in this wretched house, the mothers of three, and the fathers of four, never go to their ragged beds sober; yet they tell me good men, wise men, great men, refuse to promote temperance. Oh, they have never seen how the half-pint grows to the pint—the pint to the quart—the quart to the gallon! They have never watched for the drunkard's return, or experienced his neglect or illusage—never had the last penny for their children's bread turned into spirits—never woke to the knowledge, that though the snow of December be a foot on the ground, there is neither food nor fire to strengthen for the day's toil!'
"Poor Emma! sho spoke like one inspired; and though her spirit was sustained neither by flesh nor blood, she seemed to find relief in words.
"When I spoke to her of the future with hope, she would not listen. 'No,' she said, 'my hope for him and for myself is beyond the grave. He can not rally; those fierce drinks have branded bis vitals, burnt into them. Life is not for either of us. I wish his fate, and mine, could wam those around us; but the drunkard, day after day, sees the drunkard laid in his grave, and before the last earth is thrown upon the coffin, the quick is following the example set by the dead—of another, and another glass!'
"She was right. Peter's days were numbered; and when she knelt beside his coffin, she thanked God for his penitence, and offered up a prayer that she might be spared a little longer for her children's sake. That prayer gave me hope: she had not spoken then of hope, except of that beyond the grave.
"My friends jestsd at my attention to the young widow, and perhaps I urged her too soon to become my wife. She turned away, with a feeling which I would not, if I could, express.
Her heart was still with her husband, and she found no rest until she was placed beside him in the crowded church-yard The children live on— the son, with the unreasoning craving for strong drink, which is so frequently the inheritance of the drunkard's child; the daughters, poor weakly creatures—one, that little deformed girl who sits behind the tea-counter, and whose voice is so like her mother's; the other, a suffering creature, unable to leave her bed, and who occupies alittle room at the top of what was'the Grapes.' Her window looks out upon a number of flowerpots, whose green leaves and struggling blossoms are coated with blacks, but she thinks them the freshest and most beautiful in the world!"
GAMBLING HOUSES IN GERMANY.
THERE are subjects and scenes, in themselves loathsome to contemplate, which are yet suggestive of great moral lessons. And having, in a recent visit to Germany, unexpectedly witnessed the workings, and marked some of the results, of the foul passion for gambling, I shall now attempt to depict the sad reality, with the earnest hope that it may not be without benefit, especially to the young reader.
On a summer afternoon in 1853,1 was sauntering with a young companion through a well-known town not far from the Rhine, celebrated for its mineral springs. We had entered the magnificent Kur Haus, the centre of fashionable resort, and walking down the grand saal or dining-room, a door opened to the left, unexpectedly ushering us, for the first time in our lives, into a gambling "hell." With a painful feeling of mingled in-dignation and disgust to find the visible proof before me that gambling was (as I had read in the guide-books) thus publicly sanctioned by law, I entered the room. How shall I describe the scene? I saw a crowd of well-dressed people gathered around a long table, over which was suspended a lamp, which, softened to the eye by a broad green shade (causing a kind of inferno gloom through the apartment), threw an intense light on the table beneath. In the midst ef this table was a large revolving brazen dish. A ball of ivory rolling rapidly round it, ever and anon fell into a hollow space beneath, marked with certain numbers corresponding with those on the green cloth which covered the table. Around this dish were piled rouleaus of gold and silver coin, and at each side of the table sat two men as croupiers or markers, presiding over the game. One, two, or three persons, and often more, from the circle around, were incessantly laying down money. They staked sometimes gold, but more frequently silver. Almost immediately on our entrance, our attention was arrested by a young Englishman, fashionably dressed, but yet of such rakish and sinister aspect, that I set him down at once as a blackleg who had figured at Epsom or Newmarket; a London roue, who, having lost character and means at home, now formed one of that base band of English sharpers who are to be found on the Continent, and who initiate our young "bloods" into the mysteries of the gambling-table, borrow their money, or fleece them at private gaming parties without mercy. In eager excitement this person pressed through the crowd, and, bending over the table, rapidly deposited a handful of silver florins, until nearly every yellow line or open space had a stake placed upon it. His recklessness strikingly contrasted with the caution of the other players. It seemed as if he had set "his life upon a cast," and was resolved to take the bank by storm. Within a few minutes, however, his entire cash was lost, and as the croupiers remorselessly gathered it with their little rakes into their glittering stores, he turned abruptly away. But whose are the small gloved hand and rounded arm which just at my left are suddenly thrust forward to obtain silver for a Napoleon-d'or, which she gives to the markers? I look round and find a tall and elegantly-dressed French lady standing at my side. Having received a number of silver florins in exchange for gold, she cautiously deposits one or two on the board, and with subdued excitement she watches the progress of the game. At length the silver pieces are all staked in succession, and are lost. And ndw, with nervous hand, she unfastens the spring of a French silk purse; other gold is produced and changed, until all is gone, and she, to^, suddenly disappears. The game, however, has proceeded but a few minutes when our countryman returns, and stakes large sums with the same recklessness as before, and, after some alternations of "success, with similar results. Nay, here is also the French lady again, returned with her silk purse recruited with gold pieces, and playing with greater excitement than ever; but, after some winnings, she too loses all. But as I lift my eyes I see two ladies enter the room, and stand for a time in the background. Neither of them is young, but their whole bearing is refined, and their faces arc unmistakably English. At last they approach, and after looking on for a time, one after another, as under a sudden fascination, puts down money on the table. I had seen the fierce mastery of the passion for play over the man with pain and grief, but this fresh illustration of its power over the female heart filled me with indescribable sadness. Here were ladies of whose standing and rank their tout ensemble left no doubt, who in a strange land are guilty of conduct for which in their own country they would be hooted out of society. Oppressed and sick at heart, I hastily left the building. We walked through the beautiful grounds connected with the Kur Saal, and along the banks of the stream (now swollen by recent rains into a torrent) which flows through them. But all the while that gambling-table was in my thoughts; and as, from the little temple which crowns a rising ground, I looked on the gay flowers and graceful trees, on the fields white to the harvest, and the hunting-grounds of the reigning duke (whose revenues arc largely drawn from the gambling-tables), I said to myself, "All these are beautiful and fair;
'But the trail of the serpent is over them all !4
What family wretchedness, what personal degradation and guilt, what an amount of beggary and ruin, and how many cases of suicide, have sprung from this one source!" And as we went forth through the streets of the town, as flic golden light of the setting sun played on the flaxen locks of a band of rosy children, whoso merry laughter rose upon the air, I could not but contrast their happy, innocent glee with the ever-gnawing and morbid misery of the gamblers whom I had left behind.
But I was yeUto have one other glimpse of the German gambling-tables. Our present habitat at W was but for a night; and on the morrow we left, and arrived two days after at the
fashionable baths of E , on the banks of the
Lahn. Here, as at W , the government has
farmed the gambling-tables to three brothers. The resources of these brothers are understood to be immense, but they have ere now undergone a thorough test. Of this Michacl Angelo Titmarsh has given a characteristic version, in the following passage of one of his graphic productions, in which he gives the soubriquet of Lenoir to the proprietors.
"There came, at a time when the chief Lenoir was at Paris, and the reins of government were in the hands of his younger brother, a company of adventurers from Belgium, with a capital of three hundred thousand franes, and an infallible system for playing rouge-et-noir, and they boldly challenged the bank of Lenoir, and sat down before his croupiers, and defied them. They called themselves in their pride the Contrebanque de Noirburg. They had their croupiers and punters even as Lenoir had his; they had their rouleaus of Napoleons; they had their contrebanquist seal; and they began to play.
"As when two mighty giants step out of a host and engage, the armies stand still in expectation, and the puny privates and commonalty remain quiet to witness the combat; so it is said that when the contrebanque arrived, and ranged itself before the officers of Lenoir—rouleau to rouleau, bank note to bank note, war for war, controlment for controlment—all the minor punters and gamblers ceased their peddling play, and looked on in silence round the verdant plain where the great combat was to be decided.
"Not used to the vast operations of war, like his elder brother, Lenoir junior, the lieutenant, telegraphed to his absent chief the news of the mighty enemy who had come down on him, asked for instructions, and in the mean while met the foeman like a man. The Contrebanque of Noirburg gallantly opened its campaign.
"The Lenoir bank was defeated, day after day, in numerous savage encounters. The tacties of the contrebanquist generals were irresistible, and they marched onward, terrible as the Macedonian phalanx. Tuesday, a loss of eighteen thousand florins ; Thursday, a loss of forty thousand florins: night after night, the young Lenoir had to chronicle these disasters in melancholy dispatches to his chief. What was to be done % How was it to end 1
"Far away at Paris, the elder Lenoir answered these appeals of his brother, by sending reinforcements of money. Chests of gold arrived for the bank. The prince of Noirburg bade his beleaguered*lieutenant not to lose heart: he himself never for a moment blenched in the trying hour of danger.
"The contrebanquists still went on victorious. Rouleau after rouleau fell into their possession. At last the news came. The emperor had joined the grand army. Lenoir himself had arrived from Paris, and was once more among his children, his people. The daily combats continued; and still, still, though Napoleon was with the eagles, the abominable contrebanquists fought and conquered. Like Polyphemus, who only took one of his prisoners out of the cave at a time, and so ate them off at leisure, they contented themselves with winning so much before dinner, and so much before supper, say five thousand florins for each meat.
"At last there came one day when the contrebanquists had won their allotted sum, and were about to leave the tables which they had swept so often. But pride and lust of gold had seized upon the heart of one of these vainglorious chieftains; and he said, ' Do not let us go yet—let us win a thousand florins more!' So they stayed, and set the bank yet a thousand florins. The Noirburgers looked on and trembled for their prince.
"Some tjiree hours afterward, a cheer, a mighty cheer, was heard around the windows of the palace; people rushed into each other's arms; men, women, and children cried and kissed each other. Croupiert who never feel, who never tremble, who never care whether black wins er red loses, took snuff from each other's boxes and laughed for joy; and Lenoir, the dauntless, the invincible Lenoir, wiped the drops of perspiration from his calm forehead, as he threw the enemy's last rouleau into his till. He had conquered."
Thus far Mr. Titmarsh, who albeit not writing what he calls " a treaty of morals," yet is " wise" as well as " merry," when he adds: "If you lose, worthy friend, as possibly you will, at Lenoir's pretty games, console yourself by thinking that it is much better for you in the end that you should lose than that you should win. . . . For my part, I hope and pray that every honest reader of this volume who plays at M. Lenoir's tabic will lose every shilling of his winnings before he goes away."
But the loss of money does not eradicate the passion for play. To have evidence of this, let the reader enter with me the Kur Haus as these splendid chandeliers are being lit up in the grand taal, and let it be our last visit to such a scene. There is a motley crowd assembled round the roulette-table. There is a tall thin lady whom I see every morning imbibing the healing waters. This is not the first time she has been at the gambling-table. Her stock of cash is always small; she is never found at the rouge-et-noir table, where a Prussian thaler at least must be put down. The modest florin is admitted here;
and sec how long she considers, how anxiously her eye wanders over the board, and then how cautiously at last she stakes it. Once or twice she wins, and the croupiers toss to her the spoil, and her pale cheek is flushed, and her dull eye kindles. But in a short time her little all is gone. She is here for the last time to-night. And tomorrow, and for many days to come, I shall see her sitting apart on one or another of the garden chairs scattered around, with cheeks paler than ever, and that thin form more wasted, and in her whole aspect downcast and half broken-hearted, as if the thoughts of a confiding husband or fond children far away at home oppressed her spirit.
But look again. There is a mother and a young lady by her side. Can it be possible? Yes, that is her daughter, and she is initiating that young girl into the mysteries of the gambling-table. Who would like to marry a young woman thus trained—the daughter of such a mother as this' But who is this man who suddenly enters the room with a little girl clinging to his side' His dress and person are neglected, his face unwashed, his long and grizzled hair falls wildly over a forehead seamed and furrowed by deep wrinkles; his little girl is miserably dressed, and his rank seems but that of a peasant: amidst a throng so gay, what does he here? All ranks may play, and he, a degraded and inveterate gambler, can not live without this fatal excitement. He takes a place near the foot of the table, and draws forth a sum of money, from which he takes a florin from time to time and stakes it. He has a small card, like some other practiced hands at the table, and he carefully marks with a pin opposite red or black lines the results of each rotation of the wheel For a time familiarity with the game seems to give him the advantage, and with calm satisfaction he rakes together his winnings into a heap, on which the little girl bends her glistening eyes. And there he sits until the evening closes, and in the end departs after a season of feverish excitement, such as has become the clement of his being, having lost all. The face of that gambler, and that of his poor child (who was always with him, and who seemed as if she was the only one left of a shipwrecked and ruined family), haunt me to this hour.
But let us now pass into the inner apartment, and mark the group assembled at the rouge-etnoir table. Here is a more select class than is generally found playing at roulette; and, as at
W , larger stakes are here deposited. Here
are "Russians, Poles, French, English, Germans, with enormous mustaches or without them: the fire of Mammon always burning on his altars, and the doomed flies buzzing about them, and some already with scorched-off wings. It is a scene of external gayety, with all that is internally hollow, and rotten, and deceitful." The lights are burning brightly over-head; the players are nearly all seated, while a constantly shifting company of spectators forms an outer circle round the table. A young Indian officer, who last year ventured and lost, and has' had wisdom and principle sufficient to take warning, stands by my