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´╗┐Title: From Wealth to Poverty; Or, the Tricks of the Traffic. A Story of the Drink Curse
Author: Potter, Austin
Language: English
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FROM WEALTH TO POVERTY;

OR,

THE TRICKS OF THE TRAFFIC.

A Story of the Drink Curse


BY THE REV. AUSTIN POTTER.


"I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard.
Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all.
To be now a sensible man, by-and-bye a fool, and presently a beast"
--Othello, Act II.


TO THE FRIENDS OF PROHIBITION THE WORLD OVER THIS BOOK IS
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE

My reasons for writing this story were principally two. The first
was my undying hatred of the rum traffic, which, in the days of
the long ago, caused me and those dear to me to endure intense
hardship and suffering; and the second was my desire to expose the
unprincipled measures which were employed by the liquor party in
order to render the Dunkin Act non-effective, and thus bring it
into disrepute.

What I have written has been taken from personal experience and
observation; and as I have resided in three counties where the Act
was in force, and have since visited several others, the data,
which served as a foundation for what follows, was not gleaned
from any particular locality.

The picture I herein present of the plottings of the liquor party,
and the cruel treachery to which they resorted in order to bring
their conspiracy to defeat the law to a successful issue, is not
overdrawn; and, let me ask, can there be any doubt but there are
in existence at the present time plots similar to the one laid
bare in this book, which have for their object the obstruction of
the Scott Act in the counties where it has been or may be carried,
thus if possible to bring it into such contempt among the
unthoughtful, who will not examine back of the effect for the
cause, as to finally secure its repeal. Of one thing we may be
certain, if an unscrupulous use of money and the resorting to
"ways that are dark" will accomplish their purpose, these
conspirators will not fail of success.

It has been my aim in this book to help educate public sentiment,
so that if the same tactics are resorted to as were in the places
where the Dunkin Act was in force, my readers will not aid the
violators of the law by joining in the senseless cry, "the Scott
Act is a failure," but that they will, to the extent of their
ability, assist those who are determined that it, like every law
which has been placed on our statute books for the protection of
the subject, must and shall be respected, and that the violators
of its enactments shall be brought to summary and condign
punishment: for except it is backed by public sentiment it, though
much superior to the Dunkin Act, will fail just as signally.

In regard to the principal characters who appear in these pages,
they are not mere creations of my imagination; for Richard and
Ruth Ashton were real personages, with whom I was well acquainted,
as were all the prominent individuals of this story.

The descriptions given of the murders and suicides, also of Morris
throwing the tumbler at his son, and of the scene when Allie
Ashton was insulted by Joe Porter and the latter was knocked down
by Frank Congdon, are all taken from events which really occurred.

For what I have written I offer no apology, but will simply state
that I have only been animated with a sincere desire to do my
little all to sweep the drink curse from our country and the
world.

A. P.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.       A Departure.

CHAPTER II.      Richard and Ruth Ashton.

CHAPTER III.     On the down grade.

CHAPTER IV.      Sail for America and meet a kindly welcome.

CHAPTER V.       Good resolution--A tempter and a fall.

CHAPTER VI.      Arrival in Canada--A friendly host--Applies for a
                 situation.

CHAPTER VII.     Mr. and Mrs. Gurney.

CHAPTER VIII.    Ashton meets with friends and secures a situation.

CHAPTER IX.      Ruth's misgivings and mental agony.

CHAPTER X.       All in Canada.

CHAPTER XI.      Aunt Debie and her friends.

CHAPTER XII.     A worthy Sheriff and Judge--Dr. Dalton.

CHAPTER XIII.    Ruth Ashton's introduction to Aunt Debie--Ruth's
                 dilemma.

CHAPTER XIV.     A happy home.

CHAPTER XV.      Mr. and Mrs. Gurney's satisfaction with Ashton--
                 Mutual congratulations.

CHAPTER XVI.     Ashton revisits old scenes.

CHAPTER XVII.    Mr. Howe gives his views in regard to Canada.

CHAPTER XVIII.   The banquet, and what followed.

CHAPTER XIX.     A startling newspaper item to Mr. and Mrs. Reid.

CHAPTER XX.      A base plot, and what it led to.

CHAPTER XXI.     Utterly broken--Blasted hopes.

CHAPTER XXII.    The Dunkin Act--A discussion in which strong
                 language is used.

CHAPTER XXIII.   The conspirators formulating their scheme.

CHAPTER XXIV.    Alderman Toper's flattering opinion of the "Dodger".

CHAPTER XXV.     The friends of temperance rejoicing over their
                 victory.

CHAPTER XXVI.    In which the reader listens to a _tete-a-tete_
                 between mother and daughter.

CHAPTER XXVII.   Barton's despair, and what it led to.

CHAPTER XXVIII.  The conspirators perfecting the details of their
                 conspiracy.

CHAPTER XXIX.    Mr. Brown's opinion of the trial, and the presiding
                 magistrates.

CHAPTER XXX.     The insult to Allie Ashton--Her gallant defender.

CHAPTER XXXI.    Richard Ashton and little Mamie--Mamie's dream.

CHAPTER XXXII.   A bar-room settlement of a misunderstanding.

CHAPTER XXXIII.  The home and family of Morris--He nearly kills
                 little Harry.

CHAPTER XXXIV.   Tom Flatt's hut--A description of the scene in
                 which he murders his wife.

CHAPTER XXXV.    John, jun.'s wedding--Barton's murder--Luella
                 Sealy's suicide and Ginsling's tragical death.

CHAPTER XXXVI.   Some of the characters who helped the repeal--
                 A  hoodlum's victory.

CHAPTER XXXVII.  Death of little Mamie--A promise.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. Richard Ashton murderously attacked--His death.

CHAPTER XXXIX.   Mr. Gurney speaks his mind--Death of Dr. Dalton
                 And Aunt Debie.

CHAPTER XL.      Conclusion.



CHAPTER I.

A DEPARTURE.


"Richard, you will keep from drink, will you not, dear?" and the
speaker, in order to make her pleading irresistible, kissed the
one to whom these words were addressed again and again; and, as
with a hand upon each shoulder, she looked lovingly into his eyes,
there was an added pathos which, to a man of Richard Ashton's
sympathetic and sensitive nature, was all powerful.

"Well, Ruth, dear, God helping me, I will again be a man, and when
I am tempted I will think of my dear little wife and my darling
children at home; and remembering how they love me, though I have
been such an indifferent husband and father to them, I will not
touch nor taste the cursed stuff."

The tears gleamed in his eyes as he thus spoke, but feeling his
manhood was being compromised he endeavored to suppress them, the
effort, however, was in vain, for the deepest depths of a noble,
sensitive nature had been wrought upon by the loving appeal of his
wife and the pent-up feeling, gathering force by the very effort
which he had made to suppress it, manifested itself in a series of
short, choking sobs. He returned the kisses of his wife, clasped
her convulsively to him, and, as he looked down into the upturned
face, his eyes manifested an affection which found no expression
in speech. He stooped down and fondly kissed his children and then
opening the door, with satchel in hand, he darted out, only
looking back when his wife called to him, as she stood with her
three little ones on the threshold--

"Remember, Richard, your wife and children will pray for you, that
our Father in heaven may preserve you from danger, give you
strength to resist temptation, and bring you back in safety to
those who love you better than their own lives."

He stood looking back for a moment, and as he saw his wife and
children still gazing intently after him, he murmured, "God bless
you, my darlings;" and turning again, walked rapidly on until he
was lost to view.



CHAPTER II.

RICHARD AND RUTH ASHTON.


Richard Ashton was a native of the town of G----, in the county
of B----, England. His father, who was a draper in good
circumstances, had given his son a liberal education and had
brought him up to his own calling. The son, a young man of quick
parts, took advantage of the opportunities so generously offered
to him and prosecuted his studies with commendable success, and by
the time he was a stripling of sixteen was possessed of knowledge
that few of his years could boast.

Richard was also an omniverous reader, and, as his father
possessed a good library, he, from a very early period had
literally devoured the contents of the books which lined its
shelves, and thus became well versed in history, both ancient and
modern, in the biographies of most of the celebrated men of all
ages, and was also well acquainted with the most eminent poets,
from Chaucer to Tennyson, ever having an apt quotation at his
command to fasten home a maxim or make more pungent a witticism.
In fact he had further developed a mind naturally broad by making
his own the best thoughts of the ages, and his sensitive nature
could not, knowingly, have given pain to a worm--no one that was
worthy appealed in vain to his generosity, and it seemed to be the
endeavor of his life to gain happiness by making those with whom
he associated happy. With his genial disposition, sparkling wit,
skill at repartee, and brilliant conversational powers, it was not
at all surprising, with such a nature and such accomplishments,
joined to an exceedingly handsome person he should have been voted
a good fellow by the men and a "catch" by the young ladies who had
entered that interesting period when they are considered eligible
candidates for matrimony. And as he had, over and above his
accomplishments, good prospects for the future, the mammas of the
aforementioned young ladies should not receive severe censure if
they did each exercise the utmost skill to secure for a son-in-law
the coveted prize. But these delicate manifestations were not
productive of the results which, it was whispered by the Mrs.
Grundies of the neighborhood, would have been most agreeable to
the parties interested, for his heart had long been given to one
who was in all respects worthy of its best affections. It afforded
him, however, no little amusement to find himself the object of so
much attention, and he quietly enjoyed the situation, while the
parties in question endeavored to out-manoeuvre each other, as
they strove, as they supposed without appearing to strive, to
capture the object of their ambition. There was such subtle tact
exhibited and such powers of delicate blandishment displayed that
he was convinced women were born diplomatists, and he now had some
conception of how it was that in a broader field some of the sex
had wielded such an influence over kings and statesmen as to be
the powers behind the throne which ruled empires and kingdoms for
their benison or their bane. He certainly would have possessed
extraordinary attributes if his vanity had not been flattered, by
being conscious he was thought worthy of such flattering
attention; though his thoughts were tinged with cynicism when
exhibitions of selfishness were not wanting in his fair friends,
and as, sometimes, delicate hints were faintly outlined which
darkened character, and inuendoes were whispered to the detriment
of rivals, by lips that seemed moulded only to breathe blessings
or whisper love.

As we have previously stated, Richard Ashton had met his fate
years before, when, as a young man of eighteen, he attended a
social party given by a Mrs. Edmunds, whose husband was a great
friend of his father's, and a member of the same guild. He was
there introduced to a modest, unpretentious, but yet cultivated
and refined country maiden, Ruth Hamilton by name, who was a niece
of his host. We will not say it was a case of love at first sight,
though they certainly were, from the first, mutually attracted
each to the other, for, when he entered into conversation, he
found her so modest and unaffected, yet with a mind so well
furnished--seeming to have an intelligent conception of every
topic upon which they touched, as they ranged at will in their
conversation, evincing such acumen of intellect and such practical
comprehension of subjects of which many of her sex, who made much
greater pretentious, were entirely ignorant, that Ashton,
concluded she was a treasure, indeed, which he would make his own,
if possible.

She might not by some be called a beauty, for she could not boast
of classic regularity of feature; but no one could be long in her
presence without yielding the tribute which, at first sight, he
was chary of giving. She was fair of complexion--not of a pallid
hue, but tenderly tinted, like a peach blossom, and so transparent
that the blue veins could be plainly discerned as they made their
delicate tracery across her low, broad brow. Her mouth was small,
but expressive, and her lips red and fresh as a rosebud. She had
glorious gray eyes, large and expressive, luminous and deep, which
in repose spoke of peace and calm, but which, when excited by
mirth or by a witticism, glowed and scintillated like wavelets in
the golden light of the sun.

Two such spirits, so alike in taste and yet so opposite in
temperament and complexion, could scarcely fail to be mutually
attractive; for he was dark and she fair; his temper was as the
forked lightning's flash, quick and sometimes destructive, while
she was ever calm, gentle, and self-possessed. In fact, they were
the complement each of the other, and it was not long ere he had
wooed and won her, and obtained the consent of her guardians to
make her his wife.

They were married one beautiful day in the bright Spring-time,
when nature had donned her loveliest dress, and the air was
fragrant with the breath of flowers and vocal with the songs of
birds. As they stood together at the altar--he with his wavy raven
locks swept back from his broad brow, with his dark eyes flashing
with intelligence; she with a face that rivalled in fairness the
wreath of orange blossoms that crowned her luxuriant tresses of
gold--they presented a picture of manly strength and sweet,
womanly beauty that is seldom equalled and scarcely ever excelled.

As the guests congratulated them upon the happy consummation of
their ardent desires, and expressed the hope that life would be to
them as a summer's day with few clouds, they had every reason to
believe their most sanguine hopes would be realized. Alas! many a
day that has had a rosy morn, sweet with the breath of flowers and
jocund with the voice of birds, has been dark with clouds and
flashing angry lightnings ere noon. What a blessing it is that God
in His mercy allows us to revel in the sunshine of the present,
and does not darken our clear sky with the clouds of coming woe.



CHAPTER III.

ON THE DOWN GRADE.


A short time after their marriage Richard inherited the business
and property of his father, whose health had been failing for
years, and who died quite unexpectedly. His mother never recovered
from the shock, but in a short time followed her loved husband to
the grave. So the son was left with a good business and ample
means, seeming to be on the road to opulence.

As the years rolled on business prospered, and the prattle of
children's voices gladdened their home. First a boy came, with the
fair hair and large dreamy eyes of the mother; then, two years
later, a girl with the dark eyes and the raven black hair of the
father, and their cup of bliss seemed full to overflowing.

Circumstances, however, had already occurred which caused Ruth
very much uneasiness of mind, and sometimes when a friend called
she had to absent herself for a short time until she had removed
the traces of her tears.

Richard had joined the "Liberal Club," and as he threw his whole
soul into anything which he deemed worthy of his attention, his
wife soon had grave fears that it absorbed too much of his time.
Hours which should have been devoted to business were spent in
discussing the political issues of the day, and she felt they
suffered serious loss, for there were left to his employees
important transactions which should have had his undivided
attention; and the course he had pursued had alienated some of his
best customers. The Liberal Club of which he was a member was
composed of the most ultra of the Radicals in that section of
country--in fact a great many of its members had been participants
in the Chartist agitation, and, a short time after Ashton joined,
they invited Henry Vincent, the celebrated agitator, to deliver an
address, he, while he remained in town, being the guest of Ashton.
This gave great offence to many of his best customers--not only to
those who were ultratories, but also to the whigs, and, as a
consequence, many of them left him and gave their patronage to
rival establishments.

This, however, was not the worst feature of the case; there was
another and a stronger motive power to accelerate his already
rapid descent. He, with many more of the prominent members of the
"Liberal Club," was also among those who are called liberals in
their religious views. This could not be tolerated for a moment by
those among his customers who were decided in their religious
convictions, for they were fully convinced that a person who held
such opinions was a dangerous man in any community. They therefore
withdrew their patronage, which completed the ruin of his formerly
prosperous business, for it did not afterwards pay running
expenses.

This state of things greatly alarmed Ruth, and was the source of
much sorrow. But there were greater sorrows to follow.

When we are struggling with difficulties and environed by
circumstances which have a tendency to make us miserable, we must
not imagine that we have sounded the deepest depths of the abyss
of woe, for if we do we may discover there are depths we have not
yet fathomed. This Ruth Ashton soon bitterly realized, for her
husband had of late frequently returned from the Club so much
under the influence of liquor as to be thick in his speech and
wild, extravagant and foolish in his actions, which caused her
many hours of unutterable anguish.

When he first began to drink she was not seriously alarmed, it
being the custom in England, at their convivial parties, to pledge
each other in wine; and since on such occasions it frequently
happened that they imbibed, enough, not only to make them a little
exuberant but also quite intoxicated, she thought she must not
expect her husband to be different from other men in this respect,
as it was at most only a venial offence. But now when his troubles
thickened, and his friends one after another left him, and he
began to drink more deeply to drown his cares and to stimulate him
to meet his difficulties, her partial anxiety deepened into agony,
strong and intense. She made loving remonstrance, appealing to him
if he loved wife and children to leave the "Club," and not destroy
his business and thus involve them all in ruin. Also, frequently,
when the children were fast asleep in their little cot, as she
looked with a mother's tenderness and pride upon them, thinking
what a picture of innocence and beauty they presented as their
heads nestled lovingly together on the pillow--the raven-black and
gold mingling in beautiful confusion--she would kneel beside them,
and as the deepest, holiest feelings of her heart were stirred,
she would pray that the one who was so dear to them all might be
redeemed from evil and become again a loving husband, a kind
father, and a child of God.

Richard at first received her gentle remonstrance with good-natured
banter, and generally turned it off with a playful witticism. He asked
her if she had not enough confidence in him to believe he was
sufficiently master of himself to take a glass with a friend without
degenerating into a sot, and he used very strong expletives when
speaking of those who were so weak as not to be able to take a glass
without making fools of themselves.

But he would not allow even Ruth to influence him in regard to his
political predilections, for, when she tried to persuade him to
take a more moderate course, he sternly replied he would not
desist from exercising what he believed to be his right, not even
for her, much as he loved her. He said it was his proud boast that
he was a Briton, and as such he would be free--free not only to
hold his opinions, but to act upon his convictions, and any man
who would withdraw his support from him because he would not be a
slave was a petty tyrant, and if such an one was not a Nero it was
because he lacked the power, not the spirit.

So matters went from bad to worse with Richard Ashton, not only in
regard to the moral, but, also, in the financial aspect of the
case. In fact he had soon to draw so largely on his banker that
the money his father had left him, outside of the business, began
to be seriously diminished. Josh Billings says, "When a man begins
to slide down hill he finds it greased for the occasion." And
certainly the case of Richard Ashton illustrated the truth of the
aphorism, for when he once began to go down hill his descent was
so rapid that he soon reached the bottom; and became bankrupt in
capital and character. He now began to talk of selling out and
going to America: "There," he said, with much emphasis, "I shall
be free."



CHAPTER IV.

SAILS FOR AMERICA, AND MEETS A KINDLY WELCOME.


Ruth was now suffering keenly. She loved her husband with such an
intense passion that even his folly did not cool its ardor, and
when others denounced him in the harshest terms she spoke only in
tenderness. And when many of her friends went so far as to advise
her to leave him, and so save to herself and children some remnant
of her fortune, she indignantly protested against their giving her
any such advice. She said she would remain faithful to her
marriage vow, no matter what suffering and obloquy it might
involve. Not but her idol had fallen very low. She had been so
proud of him, proud of his manly bearing, his strength of
character. Proud of his ability, which, to her, seemed to enter
the regions of genius. "Oh!" she said, as she mourned over her
blasted hopes, her vanished dream of bliss, "I never expected
this." She suffered as only such a sensitive, noble, cultured
woman could suffer, and suffered the more because she would give
voice to no complaint. The heart was at high pressure, and the
valve was close shut.

But she did not give up her endeavors to save him. She tried by
gentle endearing tenderness to win him from destruction; and when
she found this did not avail she passionately appealed to him to
stop ere he had involved them all in ruin.

"Oh Richard!" she would say, "Why do you drink? You know your
business is now nearly ruined. Your friends have nearly all
deserted you. You are fast losing your self-respect, wrecking your
health, and dragging your wife and children down with you.
Consider, my darling, what you are sacrificing, and don't be
tempted to drink again!"

She might have reminded him of how he formerly boasted of his
strength, and denounced the weakness of the habitual drunkard, but
she refrained from so doing. She determined, no matter what she
suffered, never to madden him by a taunt or unkind word, but to
save him if possible by love and gentleness. He as yet, though
harsh and peevish to others, had never spoken an unkind word to
her. He had once or twice been unnecessarily severe to the
children, which caused pain to her mother's heart, but she had by
a quiet word thrown oil upon the troubled waters of her husband's
soul, and applied a balm to the wounded hearts of her children.

Sometimes, when she with tears in her eyes appealed to him, he
would promise not to drink again. There is no doubt but it was his
intention to keep his word, but yet it was invariably broken. The
fact was he had become a slave to drink, such a slave that neither
what he owed to wife, nor children, nor man, nor God, could
restrain him. His word was broken; his honor stained, his wife and
children ruined, his God sinned against, and he had become that
thing which formerly he so despised--a poor, miserable drunkard.

His friends had seen this for some time, and now he himself could
not fail to recognize his awful situation; for his thirst for
spirituous liquor had become so strong that he would sacrifice
everything he held dear on earth to obtain it--in fact, it had
become a raging, burning fever, which nothing but rum could allay.

Reader, do not be too strong in your words of scorn and
condemnation. You may never have been tried. People who boast of
their purity and strength may never have been environed by
temptation. "Let him that is without fault cast the first stone."

A few weeks after he had expressed to his wife his determination
to sell out and go to America, two men, who were mutual friends of
his, and who were members of the "Liberal Club," casually met on
the street. After the usual compliments, one said to the other:
"By-the-bye, Saunders, did you hear that Ashton had sold out to
Adams and was going to sail for America next week?"

"No; is that so? Well, I expected something would happen. The
poor fellow has been going to the bad very rapidly of late. Who
would have thought he was so weak? I take it that a man who
cannot drink a social glass with a friend without degenerating
into a sot has very little original strength of character."

"It is all very well to talk, Bell; I have frequently heard Ashton
express himself in the same manner, and yet you see what he is
to-day. There was not a member of the Club his equal when it was
first formed. In fact, he was the master spirit of the society.
Not one of all the members could approach him in culture, in
brilliancy, or in legislative ability. You remember that in a
former conversation we thought it strange he should associate with
us, when he would be welcomed as a peer by those who, at least,
consider themselves our betters; and you expressed it as your
opinion that he, like Milton's Satan, would rather reign in hell
than serve in heaven."

"But, Charley, is he completely bankrupt?"

"Well, I guess I might almost say so, for it is reported he has
used up all the capital which was left him by his father and has
drawn heavily on his wife's means. From what I hear, I would
conclude he has but a few hundred pounds left to take him to
America. I pity his wife. She was a charming girl, so beautiful,
so clever, and yet so modest. Many a man envied Ashton his prize.
And you know that many an eligible girl would like to have stood
in her shoes and been the bride of Richard Ashton, for he was
considered one of the best catches in the matrimonial market. Such
is life; then it was high noon with him, and all smiled upon him;
now, none so poor as to do him reverence."

This conversation gives a true outline of the actual state of
affairs. Richard Ashton, at the date of which we are speaking,
found absolute ruin staring him in the face, and he now knew he
must either sell or be sold out. He wisely chose the former
alternative, while there was some chance of saving a little for
himself.

Poor Ruth, it almost broke her heart. Her guardian had died before
her husband had so utterly fallen, and his wife had preceded him
to the grave. She had now lost every near relative, with the
exception of her husband and children. But every one who had been
at all intimate with her was her friend, and ready to give
sympathy and help. She felt grateful for the many expressions of
kindness she had received, and it was a severe trial to sever the
cords which bound her to those whom she had known so long, and to
leave her dear native land and old home to go among strangers who
were thousands of miles away. But though it was hard to part, she
thought it would be for the best--it could scarcely be for the
worse. She was rashly advised by some not to go, as they said,
"there was no knowing how utterly he might fall, and then, if she
were among strangers, she and her children might be brought down
to the deepest depths of poverty and woe." But she nobly replied,
"he is my husband and the father of my children, and no matter how
he is despised by others he is inexpressibly dear to me, and I
will never forsake him 'till death do us part,' no matter what may
befall."

Soon after the conversation I have just narrated ensued, Richard
Ashton settled up his business gathered the small remnant of his
fortune together, and he and his family set sail for that land of
promise--America. It was with sad forebodings that Ruth bade her
friends a long, and, as it proved to be, a final farewell.

She stood upon the deck of the gallant vessel that bore them away,
and as she saw the land she loved so well slowly fade from view
and grow dimmer and dimmer as the distance lengthened, until it
seemed as a haze upon the dreary waste of waters, there was a
feeling of inexpressible sadness took possession of her. She
involuntarily drew closer to her husband, and gave expression to
the emotions of her soul by sobbing as though her heart would
break. He lovingly threw his arm around her waist and drew her
closely to him, soothing her sorrow by loving caresses. As the old
look shone in his eye, he gently whispered, "God helping me, my
darling, I will be a better man, and, as far as I can, I will
redeem the past."

After landing in New York he remained there a short time to visit
some old friends, and then pushed through to the beautiful city of
Rochester, where a relative of his resided. Here he purchased an
unpretentious but cozy little cottage, situated not far from Mt.
Hope. It had a latticed porch, which was in summer-time covered
with honeysuckles; and the cottage was embosed in flowering trees
and morning glories. It had at the back a very fine garden, which
also contained numerous peach trees and a delightful snuggery of a
summer-house, whose sides were covered with lattice-work, over
which clambered the vine, and through whose interstices, in their
season, hung bunches of luscious grapes. In the front there was a
nice lawn, with circular flower beds; in attending to which Ruth
and her two children (Eddie and Allie) spent many happy hours.

After a short delay, he, through the influence of his friends,
obtained employment as book-keeper for a large dry goods firm in
the city. When he first began his engagement, his salary was
comparatively small; but when his capabilities were recognized,
his employer, who was a man of gentlemanly instincts, and was also
generous in his dealings with those of his employees who were
capable and industrious, raised his salary to an amount which not
only enabled them to live respectably, but also to deposit
something in the savings-bank each week, preparatory for a rainy
day.

Ruth's face began to wear the old radiant look of calm peace, if
not exuberant joy, which shone in her eye in the days of yore, and
she, for two years, was able to send home to her friends in the
old home land "glad tidings of great joy." But, alas! the dream
was short as it was blissful. He met one day an old companion of
his, with whom he had associated in his native town, and was
induced by him, after much persuasion, to join in a friendly glass
for the sake of "Auld Lang Syne." He met Ruth when she ran to the
gate to welcome him that night with what seemed to her loving
heart a cold repulse, for he was drunk--yes, my dear reader--crazily,
brutally drunk. His poor wife was as much stunned as if
he had been brought home dead. She stood pale as death, with lips
tightly pressed, with wide open eyes staring wildly. Poor little
Eddie and Allie ran to their mother and nestled close to her for
protection, as birdlings run to the cover of the mother in seasons
of danger. And even poor little Mamie, for they had been blessed
by a little girl, whom they had thus named, shortly after they
arrived in Rochester, cuddled her head more closely to her
mother's bosom, and clung to her as if in mortal terror of one
whom she usually greeted with the fondest tokens of welcome.

From that time forward his descent to Avernus was very rapid. He
soon lost his situation and was unable to secure another. He also
became dissatisfied with the country. It is generally men who are
their own worst enemies, who become agitators against the existing
order of things.

The time of which I am writing was immediately after the American
War, and, at that period, there was a great deal of dissatisfaction
felt and expressed against England, because there were so many
of her citizens who sympathized with the Southern cause. And if any
of the more ignorant discovered a man to be an Englishman, he was
almost certain to seize the opportunity to rail against his country.
Ashton had to endure a great deal of this; for, in the hotels he met
a great many returned soldiers, among whom there was a large
percentage of the Fenian element; for the majority of the rank and
file of these miscreants were tavern loafers. Their denunciation of
England was not only strong, but blatant and couched in language both
blasphemous and obscene. This Ashton felt he could not endure,
this land of freedom was far too free for him. He said he loved
liberty, but not license, and, therefore, stimulated by the spirit of
patriotism, and by another spirit, which in his case was far the more
potent, he resolved to move to Canada, to shelter again under the
protecting folds of the "Union Jack." I have already given the reader
to understand, in another chapter, that he acted upon that
resolution.



CHAPTER V.

GOOD RESOLUTIONS; A TEMPTER, AND A FALL.


On the morning we introduced him to the reader he took the train
to Charlotte and secured a berth on the steamer _Corinthian_
for a port on the Canadian side, and as it would not start for an
hour after he arrived, he thought he would endeavor to compose his
perturbed mind by a quiet walk up the river. For in his sober
moments he suffered intensely from the "pricks of an outraged
conscience," and more than once he had been tempted to take his
own life, but the thought of wife and children had restrained him
from the rash and cowardly act. It may be, there was intermingled
with that the thought, as Shakespeare says--

  "Which makes cowards of us all,
   And makes us rather bear those ills we have
   Than fly to others that we know not of."

He now resolved, God helping him, he would never drink again, but
he would establish a home in the strange land whither he was
journeying, and live a sober, industrious life. But even as he
made these resolves his craving, burning appetite came tempting
him; and as he strove against it, he shut his teeth and knit his
brow, and involuntarily clenched his hand as if about to struggle
with a mortal foe, and stamped his foot as he hissed through his
clenched teeth, "I will be free." Ah, Richard! don't begin to
boast before you have gained the victory, depend more upon God
than self, you surely need his aid, for here comes a tempter.

"Hallo, Ashton, is that you? What is the matter with you? Why, one
would suppose you had an attack of the blues. At what were you
glaring so fiercely? You look as if you had a live Fenian before
you and was striking for the Old Land with a determination to give
no quarter. How came you here, and whither are you bound?" And the
speaker, with a quizzical smile upon his face, which half
concealed and half revealed an underplay of devilish mockery, put
his hand familiarly upon the shoulder of Ashton, and then grasped
him by the hand and gave it a hearty shake. But if a good judge of
human nature had been by, he would have concluded his manner was
assumed for the occasion--that he was simply acting, and was a
failure at the role he had assumed.

I have not given to the reader the expletives with which he
adorned his conversation, nor do I intend to do so, for though he,
like others who indulge in the habit of swearing, may have thought
it was both ornamental and emphatic, I don't think so. Besides, I
have hopes that these pages may be read by the young, and I do not
wish to give, even in the conversations which I may transcribe,
anything that is profane or impure; for if I did I might inoculate
their young minds with an evil virus, which I would not knowingly
do.

This person, who now accosted Ashton, was the one who acted imp to
his satanic majesty in leading him to his last fall, and here he
was again to tempt him. Well would it be for you, Richard Ashton,
if you would contemptuously spurn him as you would kick a rabid
dog from your path.

I have noticed this person before in these pages but I will now
give him a more elaborate introduction to the reader; but as he is
an unsavory subject I will make the introduction as brief as
possible.

His name was Stanley Ginsling, he was the youngest son of an
English gentleman, of considerable property, and of more pride,
whose estate lay in the vicinity of Ashton's native town. His
father intended him for the Church, not because there were any
manifestations that he was peculiarly qualified for holy orders,
either by mental or moral endowments, but because he did not know
what else to do with him, he concluded he would make him a parson.

So, after he had gone through a certain course by private tuition
he was sent to Eton, preparatory to going to Oxford.

He then got through his studies in some manner, though it was
generally understood by his mates that he was better acquainted
with the brands of his favorite liquors and cigars than he was
with the works of the authors which filled up the list of his
college curriculum.

But when he entered Oxford he threw off all restraint and gave
himself up to a life of utter dissipation, and before long his
father received a polite note from the college authorities,
intimating that to save further disgrace he had better call his
worthy son home.

After this he became a dissipated tavern lounger, a barnacle on
the good ship of society, a miserable sponge.

He soon found, as he sententiously expressed it, that it was not
agreeable for him to remain under the kindly shelter of the
paternal mansion; so he, prodigal like, took the portion his
father gave him and spent it in riotous living. But he was
determined not to feed on husks, if unmitigated cheek and
unblushing effrontery could bring him better fare.

It was while he was a gentleman lounger about town he first met
Richard Ashton, who, at that time, had become too much demoralized
to be very choice in the selection of his associates. And Ginsling
was rather intelligent--had a fine person and pleasing address,
and had it not been for his moral depravity and lack of every
noble instinct, he might have made his mark in society.

So Ashton, the ultra radical, and Ginsling, the young scion of
extreme toryism, used to fraternize in their drinking bouts, and
though they would, when sufficiently stimulated, boozily wrangle
over their cups, there was in their common dissipation a ground
for mutual understanding. But in his sober moments the radical had
the most supreme contempt for his tory associate, and, sometimes,
could not suppress its manifestation. The other, however, was too
great a toady to be too thin skinned. It was not convenient for
him to be over-sensitive. In fact he was willing to swallow such
insults _ad infinitum_ if their donors would only furnish the
wherewithall to wash them down.

After Ashton left England he felt somewhat lonely, and then his
father had become so utterly estranged from him because of his
conduct, that his situation became unpleasant even for him; so he
determined to sail for America. Learning that Ashton had settled
in Rochester, he made his way to that city. He arrived there at
the latter part of the year 1864, towards the close of the
American War; and shortly after his arrival, meeting with his old
comrade, as we have informed the reader, the latter, strange to
say, had power enough over him to seduce him to his fall. And now,
when Ashton was leaving Rochester in order to get away from his
old associates, and was making resolutions of reform, here he was
again as his tempter to lead him astray.

At his salute Ashton looked up with a dazed, faraway look upon his
face, and then, as he slowly realized his position, he thought how
foolish he must have appeared to another who had witnessed his
fierce gesticulations and heard his wild and incoherent
murmurings. The thought covered him with confusion, and he did not
for a moment gain sufficient control of his faculties to answer
his interlocutor in a rational manner.

The other, however, relieved his embarrassment by continuing in a
bantering tone: "Why, Ashton, one would suppose by your actions
you were the principal of some terrible tragedy, and that just now
you were suffering from the "pricks of an outraged conscience." I
declare you have mistaken your calling; you would have made your
fortune on the stage. Why, your looks just now would have done for
either Hamlet in the crazy scene, or Macbeth when talking to
Banquo's ghost. But if you are suffering I have something which
will reach the seat of the ailment; as the Scripture puts it, it
is "A balm for all our woes, and a cordial for our fears." Here
it is, Ashton. I have just been up to Charley's to have this dear
little friend of mine replenished. How do you like the looks of
it?" And suiting the action to the word he held up before him a
beautiful little brandy flask. Then detaching the silver cup from
the bottle it partially covered, he filled it full to the brim.
"Here, Ashton, take this potheen," he said, "it will settle your
perturbed spirits, comfort your soul, and drive dull care away."

Ashton's hand shot forward mechanically to take the proffered
glass, and then he drew it hastily back.

"No, Quisling," he said, "I will not touch it. Curse the stuff;
it has wrought enough ruin with mine and me. I was just swearing I
would never drink again, and I was in earnest. I know I must have
appeared to you as some gibbering maniac, but I was fighting my
craven appetite for strong drink. Oh how hard the struggle has
been; its fierceness is only known to God and myself. It comes
upon me when I am least prepared to defend myself, and tortures me
with the cruel malignity of a devil. And then I beat it back, and
it comes upon me again. But I must triumph or go under; for if it
is not liberty with me it will soon be death."

He then turned fiercely upon Ginsling, and said--

"Why do you dog my footsteps like a shadow? Have you not wrought
ruin enough? Curse you; it was an evil day for me when you crossed
the Atlantic, for had you not done so, I would have been a
respectable and happy man to-day. It was you who urged me to
drink, and, listening to you, brought me down from the happy and
prosperous man that you found, to the miserable wreck you now look
upon! A thing for angels and good men to pity, and for devils and
evil men to despise. Leave me, if you have any pity, and do not
tempt me more."

If there had been the slightest instinct of honor in the creature
to whom these words were addressed, the appeal would not have been
in vain. But his original stock of this attribute had been
limited, and he had long since disposed of the little he once
possessed. Such an attribute as honor or pity was viewed by him as
a useless incumbrance, for he was a miserable, heartless wretch,
seeking the gratification of his own depraved appetite, and
careless of who might suffer.

He laughed with a seeming bluff heartiness when Ashton had
finished speaking, but the laugh sounded hollow and insincere.

Novelists are ever introducing upon their pages, as the villain of
the story, the smooth, oily rogue: as if they considered such ones
were alone capable of cunning roguery and subtle diabolism. But
there is many a mean soul disguised by a bluff, hearty exterior,
and the mask is much the more difficult to penetrate. It is said
of such an one--"He says hard things, but you always see the
worst of him, for he puts his worst side out." Shakespeare's
rogue, honest Jack Falstaff, was brusk and blunt, but he carried a
rascal's heart, and there are many now living who are just as
great blusterers, and are equally as cowardly and as base.

"Ha, ha! Ashton! this is too good to last! You know you have
assumed the role of the Prodigal Son before, but you have come
back to the riotous living again." Come, old fellow, take a
little; it will do you good. I believe you used to be an orthodox
Methodist, and, therefore, must be considerably versed in
Scripture, and you know that Paul advised Timothy to "take a
little wine for his stomach's sake, and for his oft infirmities."

When Ginsling had finished speaking, a look of unutterable scorn
passed over the face of Ashton, and he glared at the former with
fierce contempt, and once or twice he seemed as if about to reply,
but, though his quivering lips and the contortions of his face
showed violent emotion, he for a time uttered no response, as if
he could not find words adequate to express his burning thoughts,
till suddenly starting he said--"Pshaw! you miserable rascal, it
was an evil day for me when I first met you. Have you not wrought
ruin enough? Why do you come again to tempt me? Leave me or I will
not be responsible for the consequences." And, turning upon his
heel, he abruptly left him.

"Whew--but that's cool," whispered Ginsling, "but old fellow you
are not going to escape me that easily. I have come down here for
a purpose, and I am going to succeed in my undertaking, or my name
is not Stanley Ginsling."

And I might here give the reader to understand that it was not
mere accident which brought Ginsling to Charlotte that day, he had
come with a fixed purpose of meeting Ashton, enticing him to
drink, and then accompanying him upon his journey and getting as
much out of him as possible. He had heard Ashton say it was his
intention to start for Canada, and he concluded that he was too
good a quarry for an old hunter like himself to lose. And as it
did not matter to him whether he spent the instalments, which were
regularly forwarded from home, in the United States or in Canada;
he resolved to meet Ashton at Charlotte, and be the companion of
his voyage. This accounts for his coming upon the latter as we
have just narrated.

He did not allow Ashton, who was walking rapidly away after he had
done speaking, to proceed far before he called after him, "Stop!"

The latter turned to learn what he wanted, for he began to have a
little compunction of conscience, because he had treated him so
rudely, and under the impulse of the new change of feeling waited
until Ginsling had caught up.

"Now Ashton," he said, "I think you have treated me in a manner
which is very hard for a gentleman of spirit to endure." As he
said this he saw the faint outline of a sneer curling the lip of
his companion. But taking no notice he hastily continued, "But I
have known you too long to be over-sensitive at what you say or
do, I would endure more from you, old fellow, than from any man on
earth. Let us be friends, Ashton, for the sake of our friendship
in 'Merry England.'"

"I am sure, Ginsling, I don't want to part with you in anger, and
if I have wounded your feelings you must remember it was under
strong provocation. Drink has been my ruin, and the ruin of those
I love best on earth. It has certainly been 'Our Curse,' and
through it I have been most cruel to those I love best and for
whom, when I am myself, I would sacrifice my life to defend from
evil or danger. This morning I promised my wife, as I have at
least a score of times before, that I would keep sober, and, while
struggling against my appetite, and determined to conquer, no
matter how much suffering the struggle might entail, you came up,
as my evil genius, to tempt me to my ruin, I could scarcely endure
your solicitations, but your rough banter drove me wild."

"Well, old fellow, let it all pass, I was not aware of the mood
you were in, or I would have been more careful how I addressed
you. I am sure I would be the last man in the world who would
knowingly cause you pain. And to lead you astray, I can assure
you, is far from my purpose. I would rather do what I could to
help you. And, in my opinion, if I can prevail upon you to take a
few spoonfuls of brandy I will do this most effectively; why, man,
a glass is just what you want. A little, under certain circumstances,
will benefit any one who takes it; especially is this the case with
one who is as you are now. Why, you are all unnerved--see how your
hands tremble, and your whole system seems as if it wanted toning
up. Now if you break off too suddenly it may be serious for you,
while if you take a little, to brace you up, such disagreeable
consequences will not follow. I hate a man to drink too much, for,
if he does, he is sure to make a fool of himself, but a little will
do any man good."

The tone and manner of Ginsling when he thus addressed Ashton was
subdued and gentlemanly, for he had not so far degenerated as to
have lost altogether the grace and polish which the refined
associations of his youth had given to him. His language, also,
sounded reasonable to the one to whom it was addressed, for,
though Ashton had become an awful example of the ultimate issue of
moderate drinking, at least in some cases, he would still argue in
its favor, and when the advocates of prohibition would point to
those who had fallen victims to the pernicious habit, he would
answer that it was the abuse and not the use of intoxicating
liquor which produces the evil.

So Ginsling, who had frequently heard him thus argue, adroitly
stole an arrow out of his own quiver, and addressed him as he had
frequently heard him address others. And there was just enough
truth mixed with the sophistry of his argument to carry conviction
to the mind of one as unstable as Ashton; for he did feel all
unnerved. He had broken off suddenly from a long-continued drunken
spree, and was beginning to have premonitions of something which
he dreaded only second to death. He had already twice suffered the
horrors of delirium tremens, and he now had good cause for fearing
another attack. It was to this Ginsling referred when he said if
he broke off suddenly it might lead to serious consequences. So,
after what seemed to be a desperate struggle--the better instincts
of his nature endeavoring to overcome the craving of his appetite
and the sophistry of his tempter--he concluded he would just take
a little now to help him over this one trouble, and then he would
give it up forever. He argued to himself, "I could not live
through another attack, for I am sure the dreadful suffering is
akin to the horrors of the host."

"Well, Ginsling," he said, "I think I will take your advice." He
was half ashamed thus to speak, because he was about to do
something for which his conscience strongly condemned him, and
also because he felt he was manifesting weakness and vacillation
in the presence of one whom he, in his heart, despised, and who,
after this, would hold similar sentiments in regard to himself.
"I do feel a little unlike myself this morning, and as the wind is
rather squally, and the captain says when we shoot out beyond the
point the lake will be wild, I need a little something to settle
my stomach; I have a fearful dread of sea-sickness." He said this
partly to justify his conduct to his companion, but more to
convince himself he was about to take a step which was not only
perfectly justifiable, but, under the circumstances, a manifestation
of wisdom.

If a man is about to perform an action of doubtful propriety, he
is never at a loss to find arguments to defend the course he is
about to pursue, and though he may not be able to satisfy his
conscience, he can, at least to some extent, deaden the acuteness
of its pangs. Richard Ashton endeavored to justify his present
action to himself, in the moment which intervened between his
new-formed resolution and its consummation. The reader is no doubt
aware, from experience, that a great deal will pass through the
mind in the space of a single moment, and that sometimes a man's
weal or woe, for time, yea, and for eternity, depends upon a
decision which has to be thus hastily given. It was one of these
crucial moments which Ashton was now passing through. Alas! his
decision was far from being a wise one, and he could not deceive
himself so completely as not to partially feel this; for, try how
he would, he could not banish the thought that yielding to the
tempter might entail a train of misery horrible to contemplate.
Then Ruth's pale, pleading face, all suffused with tears, came up
vividly before him, as he last saw her, and as he remembered the
promise given, for a moment he hesitated, but finally he subdued
every better feeling, and reaching forth his hand, took the glass
which Ginsling temptingly offered, and drained it to the dregs.

One glass such as he had thus taken was sufficient to make Ashton
regardless of consequences, and, therefore, it was not long before
it was followed by another and more copious one. In short, in half
an hour after he had met Ginsling he was wild and reckless, and
the latter had accomplished his purpose, for Ashton was spending
his money as freely as though he had the coffers of a Rothschild
or an Astor. In short, ere the steamboat had started he had to be
helped on board, for he was utterly helpless.



CHAPTER VI.

ARRIVAL IN CANADA: A FRIENDLY HOST APPLIES FOR A SITUATION.


It was a beautiful morning when the boat landed at the picturesque
little Canadian town of L----. The first that Ashton knew of the
arrival was when he was awakened from his drunken stupor by being
violently shaken by Ginsling; and, as he gained consciousness, he
heard that worthy saying, with a subdued voice: "Come, wake up,
Ashton, for we are again on British soil. Why, is not that strain
enough to cause any true Briton to rise from the dead?"

He was at last aroused, and his first sensation was that he had a
terrible pain in his head, a horrible thirst, and a certain vague
realization that he heard the strains of "Rule Britannia." He
staggered out to the bar, for he felt he must soon have a drink,
or he could not live. Ginsling also stepped up without being
invited; for that worthy could not righteously be charged with too
much modesty, as he never was backward in helping himself at a
friend's expense.

They immediately, after securing their luggage, stepped out upon
the wharf, where there was a large crowd gathered, listening to
the music of a band--each member of which was dressed in the garb
of a British soldier--as it played patriotic airs, such as "Rule
Britannia," "God Save the Queen," etc. The reason of this
manifestation of patriotism will be readily understood when we
inform the reader that it was the Queen's Birthday.

Ashton, for a moment or two, almost thought he was back in Old
England again, and he was so carried away by the grand old airs
that if a recruiting sergeant had presented himself just then he
might have taken a step in haste of which he would have repented
at leisure.

"Come, Ashton, don't stand there in that daft fashion, or the
Canucks will imagine you are one of the irresponsibles who lately
arrived in New York from Europe, and that the cute Yankees have
quietly shipped you over to John Bull's domains."

He was aroused by the voice of Ginsling out of his day-dream to
realize that several cabbies were exerting the utmost of their
lung power in crying up the merits of their respective hotels.

"British American, sir--the best house in town. Won't cost you a
cent to ride there, sir."

"Don't you believe that fellow," shouted another. "Come to the
Tarlton; it is the only house in town which is fit to kape a
gentleman like you, sir." And then several others shouted out in
full chorus, each endeavoring to say something more witty than the
other; and if push, rough bantering wit, and imperturbable good
nature could secure success, certainly each would have had a bus
full.

But Ashton had caught the name "British American," and as he, just
then, was feeling intensely loyal, he determined to put up there,
and he intimated to the runner his resolution. Ginsling, who was
waiting for him to decide, jumped aboard also, and they were soon
quartered at the aforementioned hotel, which they found, if not of
the very highest grade, at least eminently respectable. The
charges, also, were exceedingly moderate.

The room he had given to him looked out upon the blue waters of
noble Ontario, which swept far away to the south, until it laved
the shores he had left but a few hours before--a land now
associated in his mind with so much of happiness and of misery,
and which yet contained those who were inexpressibly dear to him.

He had no sooner secured a room than he sat down to write a note
to Ruth; for, demoralized as he was, he did not forget his
promise. He found, however, that his head was in a perfect whirl,
and that his hand was so unsteady as to make the accomplishment of
the task almost an impossibility; but he managed, in an almost
illegible scrawl, to inform her of his safe arrival. He asked her
to excuse the brevity of his communication, as he was still
suffering from the effects of his stormy voyage across the lake,
which had shattered, for the time being, his nervous system. He
ended by sending his love to her and the children, and asking her
to write immediately, as he was anxious to hear from his darlings
at home.

The next two weeks were passed in continuous drunkenness. He would
awaken each morning feeling, as those who have passed through the
ordeal say has to be experienced in order to have the faintest
idea of what it is; his lips and throat were as dry as withered
leaves; his brain seemed on fire, and his bloodshot eyes, gleaming
out from his pale, emaciated face, appeared as though they might
have belonged to one of Canada's dark-visaged aborigines in the
savage state rather than to their present intellectual, though
dissipated, owner.

In his sober moments he would think of his wife and children, and
there was in the thought a mingling of shame and agony which
almost drove him wild; then he would remember the purport of his
journey, for which he had not yet made the slightest endeavor; and
when, on examination, he found his stock of money was almost gone,
and that he would soon have either to secure a situation or be a
penniless vagrant in a strange land, it added to his despair.

"I say, Mr. Ashton," said the polite landlord of the hotel one
morning, as he was about to take his first drink, "did you not
give me to understand you were looking for a situation in some dry
goods or clothing establishment?"

"Yes, Mr. Rumsey, that is what I am after; but God knows how I
will succeed; for I have done nothing, nor am I, as I am now, in a
fit state to do anything; for who would engage such a wretch as I
am?"

Rumsey pitied him; for he was a man who was too good for the
business in which he was engaged.

"I will give you a light glass, Ashton," he said; "but you must
sober off. I like you, and therefore will not let you kill
yourself with drink at this establishment; so for your sake, and
also to keep up the reputation of my house, I must limit you to-day
to two more glasses. And if you will excuse me for presuming
to interfere with your business, I would advise you to cut the
acquaintance of that precious companion of yours. I gave him a bit
of my mind last night, and told him pretty emphatically what I
thought of him. Why, man, have you entirely lost possession of
your senses, to let a leech like that loafer drain you dry? I will
give you this drink now, one after breakfast, and one after
dinner; then you must eat something, for I do not believe that
during the last three days you have taken enough to keep a pigeon
alive. If you find that in trying to sober off you are likely to
be sick, I will send for the doctor, and he will help you through.
You told me you were a married man; for the sake of your wife and
children you must get over this spree."

Ashton took the proffered glass with his hand shaking as if he had
the ague, and with the eagerness of one who was perishing for want
of a drink.

"Oh, landlord," he said, "that was only a taste; I must have more.
Do, please, give me more."

"No, sir, not a drop," said Mr. Rumsey, with considerable
sternness. "If you must have it, you will have to go to some other
house to get it. I am not willing to be in any way responsible for
what is sure to follow. Come, now, and have some breakfast--a bit
of toast, a poached egg--and be yourself; for I want to become
acquainted with the _bona fide_ Mr. Ashton. I have not met
him yet; you have not been sober since you came here."

"Well, sir, I will take your advice; and there is one who, when I
tell her, will thank you, as I cannot. She has not a very high
opinion of your guild, and she has strong reason not to have. God
help me--how am I to get over this?"

"Well, Mr. Ashton, if others would stop selling liquor, I would
willingly never sell another glass, for I could live comfortably
here on the income I derive from the travelling public and my
summer guests; for, to tell you the truth, I don't like the
business, especially when I see its effects as exhibited in cases
like your own; but while others sell I must, or I would lose my
business. It is a case of self-preservation, and you know that
'self-preservation is the first law of nature.'"

"Or, in other words," said Ashton, "'every man for himself, and
Satan take the hindmost.'"

Ashton made the trial, and, though he had to pass through the
fiery ordeal of intense suffering, yet, aided by the judicious
treatment of his host, he was brought safely through.

He had, in the meantime, received a letter from his wife, and each
of his children, breathing out love to him. Each one expressing
the deepest anxiety as to the nature and result of his illness,
and praying that he would soon be back with those who loved him so
truly.

"Ashton," said Mr. Rumsey, his host, one morning, "this is the
thing which will just suit you, if you can secure it," and he
handed a copy of the _Daily Globe_ to Ashton, at the same
time pointing to an advertisement which read as follows: "A good
managing clerk wanted for a dry goods and clothing establishment
in the town of Bayton. He must be a man of matured experience.
Apply Box 152, Post Office."

"That will just suit me," said Ashton. "What is the distance to
Bayton?"

"About ninety miles. I suppose you think of applying personally? I
should advise you by all means to do so."

Ashton immediately set about making the necessary preparation, and
next morning started for the above-mentioned town, upon which
journey we will leave him for the present.



CHAPTER VII.

MR. AND MRS. GURNEY.


Mr. and Mrs. Gurney sat in their cosy sitting-room, which was
plainly but tastefully furnished; but though quiet, one could not
fail to realize that it was the home of people of more than
ordinary intelligence and culture. They both had passed life's
meridian, and were, at the time we introduce them to our readers,
verging upon three score years. They were dressed in deep
mourning, and the look of subdued sadness which overcast their
thoughtful faces told they had lately "passed under the rod." But
suffering had not made them hard and cynical, but richer in grace
and goodness, riper, sweeter, mellower. Each had learned to say
with Asaph, "My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the
strength of my heart and my portion for ever."

They certainly had reason to mourn. God had blessed them with four
children; children of whom they had just cause to be proud, for
they early displayed talents which marked them as above
mediocrity, but one after another, just after they had reached
manhood and womanhood, they had fallen victims to that insidious
disease, consumption, and the aged couple were left in their
declining years, sad and lonely, like two aged trunks stript of
their foliage, bare and alone.

Mr. Gurney had been for years engaged in the dry goods and
clothing trade, and had intended his last surviving son should
take the business, but Providence had ordered otherwise, taking
him away just at the time when the father was about to carry out
his long cherished scheme.

After they had laid in the grave the body of their beloved, for a
while a cloud of intense sorrow hung over their home, though they
had faith to believe it was lined with the silver of their
Father's love.

They were too intelligent, and their grief was too intense for
much outward manifestation, but each knew the pregnancy of the
other's sorrow from their individual experiences; and by gentle
ministrations of love each endeavored to soothe and ease the
burdened heart of the other.

Mrs. Gurney found some relief in attending to her household
duties--to the plants and flowers in the conservatory--for they
had one of considerable size. This latter had been the special
duty of her daughter who had preceded her brother by a few weeks
to the grave. And as the mother now engaged in this "labor of
love," each plant and flower that received her gentle attention
would suggest some tender recollection of the loved and lost. As
she trained them to their supports and trellises she would
remember that the white fingers which had so frequently and
lovingly performed the task were now cold in death.

But there was one--a night blooming cereus--which was a particular
favorite of Grace's, and which, even after she knew she had not
long to live, she hoped she would be spared to see bloom. But when
she perceived she was failing so rapidly--quietly, peacefully,
sinking to rest--she said--

"Mamma, darling, I have looked forward with a great deal of
expectancy to the time when my cereus should bloom, I now know my
hope in this respect will not be realized, but I want you, mother,
when it opens out its pure white petals and its fragrance perfumes
the midnight air to remember I shall be in heaven--among fairer
flowers, with sweeter perfume; for they have not been cursed by
sin. And while you mourn at my absence remember I am with
Jesus--'Absent from the body, present with the Lord.'"

And now as the mother tended these flowers, and lovingly lingered
near this special favorite, around which such tender memories
lingered, the flood-gates of her soul were mercifully lifted up
and she "eased her poor heart with tears."

Thus the mother, who was constitutionally the frailer of the two,
and was the one from whom the children had inherited the tendency
to the disease which had carried them off so prematurely, seemed
to come back to herself, so to speak, and she soon manifested a
subdued cheerfulness as she set about managing the domestic
economy of her home.

But Mr. Gurney did not recover so rapidly; there seemed to be no
outlet to his feelings--nothing to ease his burdened heart.

He had given his business into the hands of his clerks, and had
concluded to sell out and permanently retire from active life. He
went with his wife on a journey to the seaside, to a quiet
watering-place, hoping that change of scene might divert his
attention from his sorrows and enable him, at least to some
extent, to recover his wonted health and spirits. But he returned
unbenefited, and his wife and friends began to have grave fears
for his life. They consulted an eminent physician, who advised him
not to give up his business, but to devote to it as much of his
attention as his strength would permit; and this advice coinciding
with his own judgment, he concluded to act upon it; but as none of
his employees hardly came up to his ideal of what a managing clerk
should be, he thought he had better advertise for a responsible
man, who thoroughly understood the business, and who could keep
the books, while he could do the buying and attend to the outlying
duties of the firm.

It was in accordance with this idea that he inserted the
advertisement in the _Globe_ which brought Richard Ashton to
answer in person.



CHAPTER VIII.

ASHTON MEETS WITH FRIENDS AND SECURES A SITUATION.


"Have you received any answer to your advertisement, dear?" asked
Mrs. Gurney of her husband.

"Yes, dear, I received a telegram this morning from a man who
lives in L----, who said he thought he would suit me. He stated he
could give first-class references, and that he had been in the
business from a boy. He also stated he would make personal
application, and would take the next train for this place: so I am
expecting him on the 7 o'clock. I left word with Johnson to drive
him here, and he may arrive at any moment."

"But, my dear," said his wife, "is it not rather risky for him to
come? You may not like his appearance, and if even in this respect
everything is satisfactory, his credentials may not be so."

"I am sure I cannot help that," replied Mr. Gurney. "I did not
state in the advertisement that parties who wished to engage
should make personal application, and I have no doubt but I shall
receive applications by letter. If individuals come from a
distance to apply, it must be at their own risk."

Their conversation was here interrupted by the ringing of the
door-bell, and in a moment after the servant reported that a Mr.
Ashton wished to see Mr. Gurney.

"That is the name of the person in question," Mr. Gurney remarked.
"Show him in, Sarah;" and in a moment after Ashton was ushered
into their presence.

"Mr. Gurney, I presume," he said, with that ease and grace that
good breeding and familiarity with good society alone gives to a
man.

"I sent you a telegram," Ashton continued, "making application for
the situation, in answer to your advertisement; and I have now
come in person, as I stated I would."

Mr. Gurney, who had risen, extended to him his hand--then
introduced him to his wife, and in a few moments, by his cordial
reception, made him completely at his ease.

His appearance, and, still more, his manner, impressed Mr. and
Mrs. Gurney favorably, and they both concluded he was a very
intelligent person.

He produced his credentials, which were highly satisfactory; but
Mr. and Mrs. Gurney were too keen observers not to notice the
marks of dissipation which his two weeks' debauch had stamped upon
his face. The former, however, possessed too much of the courtesy
which distinguishes the true gentleman to give utterance to a word
which would wound even the most sensitive person, if he could do
his duty and avoid it. Though, if it lay in the way of his duty,
he immediately entered into its performance, but in the least
offensive manner possible.

He said to Richard Ashton, in his most kindly tone: "You will
pardon me, I am sure, for asking you another question. I would not
do so only it is necessary that I should exercise the utmost
caution in order that I may secure a person who has not only
ability and experience, but who also is a man of good character
and temperate habits--who, in short, would be every way reliable.
Pardon me if I ask, in all kindness, would you in every respect till
up my requirements?"

This was a plain question, put with the most gentle courtesy, but
yet in a straightforward manner; and if Ashton had wished in any
way to equivocate, he felt he could not do so without utterly
destroying his chances of employment. To do him justice, however,
let us state he never, even for a moment, entertained a thought of
so doing. He felt he was being weighed in the balance, and would
probably be found wanting, but he resolved he would not endeavor
to bring down the scale in his favor, either by equivocation or
dealing in untruths. In fact, he immediately concluded to make a
clean breast of it, and give him, in as few words as possible, a
history of his life, and then leave him to deal with his case.
Acting upon this thought, he in a few moments graphically and
pathetically told his sad story.

"I will not ask you to decide to-night," he said after he had
finished, "but if it is agreeable to you I will call in the
morning. I would like you would give me a decided answer by that
time if possible, and," he added, "if you conclude to engage me I
will endeavor so to devote myself to your interest as never to
give you cause to regret it."

Mr. Gurney immediately agreed to this arrangement, as he thought
it would be better to have a few hours to carefully consider the
matter, and to talk it over with his wife. In fact, he had been so
much wrought upon by the sad recital, as to entirely unfit him for
a calm and judicious consideration of the business in hand. So,
making an appointment for the next day at 9 a.m., he saw Ashton to
the door, and bade him good night.

Ashton, as he walked rapidly away, was very despondent. He had but
slight hope of securing the situation; for, he reasoned to
himself, had a person of similar character come to him seeking a
position, when he was in business, no matter how much he might
sympathise with him he never would have thought of engaging him.

He wisely determined, however, to hope for the best. He was sure
he would like the situation, for he had formed a very high opinion
of Mr. Gurney. He considered him a very superior person--cultured,
but plain, and practical, and it was because he knew he possessed
the latter attribute he had no hopes of being engaged.

But had he been capable of reading Mrs. Gurney's mind, and could
he also have known the influence she possessed over her husband,
he would not have been so despondent. His story had not been half
told before she had been so affected by its touching pathos as to
be unable to repress her tears, and before he had finished she had
resolved she would exert all the influence she possessed over her
husband to persuade him to take Ashton on trial; for she felt it
would be a noble thing to aim at the redemption of this man from
evil, and to give help, hope, and joy to his wife and children, of
whom he had spoken so tenderly.

"Well, Martha," said Mr. Gurney, after Ashton had departed, "would
it be safe for us to employ him?"

He asked this in all sincerity; for he was a man who consulted his
wife in relation to all his business affairs. He said, "he looked
upon marriage as a partnership, the wife being an interested
member of the firm." And as he firmly believed this, he made it a
rule never to enter into any business transaction without seeking
her counsel, in regard to it, and he boasted that some of the best
hits he had made in business had been the outcome of acting upon
her advice.

"Well, my dear," she said in answer to his question, "I am
strongly in favor of giving him a chance. He is certainly a man of
more than ordinary intelligence, and he could not have that ease
and grace of manner which he possesses in so eminent a degree had
he not associated with the best society. It is certainly a great
pity he has become a victim of strong drink, but, then, if he had
not he would never have applied for the situation."

"But, Martha," interjected Mr. Gurney, "do you think it would be
in conformity with sound wisdom to engage him after the confession
he has made?"

"Yes, James, I really do, and one of the strongest reasons for my
thinking so is because of that confession. If he had protested he
had not been drinking, as most men in his circumstances would have
done, then I should have opposed your engaging him, but he was so
straightforward that he has certainly enlisted my sympathy in his
favor; and then I really think God guided him here. We have always
been advocates of temperance, and if there is one thing more than
any other for which I feel like praising Him, it is because he has
enabled us to deliver some of our fellow-mortals from lives of
intemperance, and it may be, some from drunkard's graves. But this
has been done without any great sacrifice upon our parts--that is,
we have not had to run any great risk. Now we are placed in
different circumstances, and we have an opportunity of possibly
saving one of our fellow-creatures if we are only willing to risk
a little trouble and loss in order to accomplish our object. Now,
don't you think, James, the Lord has sent him here just to try
us?"

"It has not thus occurred to me," he answered; but he did not make
any further remark, wishing to hear all his wife had to say before
doing so.

"I think, James," she continued, "the reason that the cause of
temperance has not gained greater triumphs, has been because its
advocates have not been willing to make sacrifices enough: let us
not fail in this respect. There is no doubt but you would employ
Mr. Ashton if you had no fear he would again fall, for he seems to
me in every way suited for the position--if we had any doubt in
this respect his credentials should remove it. But, unfortunately,
he has been a great drinker, and, therefore, if you employ him, it
may involve you in trouble, and in the end it may result in loss;
but if you do not employ him it will be because you are afraid of
these things, that is, it will be a matter of selfishness, and you
will practically say you are a friend of temperance until it
becomes a matter which may affect your interest, but when it
touches you there you will draw back and go no further, though by
being willing to risk a little you may be the means of saving this
man, and of giving succor to his wife and helpless children. I
think, James, looking at it in this light, you should give him a
trial for a month or two if you can agree as to terms."

She had grown quite eloquent, ere she was through, for her heart
was enlisted, and she was determined, if possible, to save this
man. And, as she had listened to his description of his wife and
children, she felt as if she almost knew Mrs. Ashton, and was
certain she should esteem her very highly. So, she brought all her
powers of persuasion to bear upon her husband, that she might
persuade him to her way of thinking.

Mr. Gurney had listened to his wife attentively until she waited
for an answer, and then he scarcely knew what to say in reply. He
had, in fact, as we have stated, been also touched by Ashton's
graphic story, and he felt he would be willing to sacrifice a
great deal to save him; he also felt the force of her logic when
she argued if he were a true temperance man he would be willing to
make great sacrifice in order to rescue one of the victims of the
rum traffic, but he thought he would be running almost too much
risk to employ him under the circumstances. It was under the
influence of these counter currents of thought he made his reply:

"Well, Martha," he said, "I should like to engage the man, and I
have concluded, if he did not drink, he would just suit me, but,
according to his own statement, he has not only fallen once, but
several times, and we have no guarantee that he will not fall
again. The fact is, judging from almost universal experience, he
is more likely to fall than not, and if I should employ him, and
after he had charge of the business he should give way to his
besetting sin, he would not only cause me serious loss, but care
and worry, which, in my delicate state of health, I should, if
possible, avoid. Really, dear, I am in a strait betwixt two; I
should like very much to help him, for, I will candidly confess,
that no stranger, in so short a period of time, ever took hold of
my feelings as he has done, and yet to put him in charge of my
business, after the confession he has made, seems so contrary to
the dictates of sound judgment as, in fact, to be actually
courting trouble. But, my dear, let us not say anything more about
it to-night; we will pray over it, and, in the morning, we will
decide what to do. God will guide us in this as He has in all our
past transactions, when we have gone to Him for guidance."

"I am perfectly content, dear, to leave it in His hands," said his
wife, "but I am nearly satisfied now that it is His will we should
employ Mr. Ashton. We will lay all the matter before him, and let
us also bring this poor victim of strong drink, and his wife and
children, before the Throne of Grace."

Mr. Gurney, after praying for Divine direction, and seriously
considering the matter, concluded he would give Ashton a trial. He
saw his wife would be seriously disappointed if he did not do so,
and he wished to gratify her as far as he possibly could. He also
thought if he took him for a comparatively limited period, on
trial, there would be no great risk in it. He, however, determined
to give him to understand the retaining of his position entirely
depended upon his good behavior.

Ashton, when he called in the morning, was agreeably surprised to
learn that Mr. Gurney had concluded to try him for a short period,
if they could agree as to salary, and as he was willing to accept
a very moderate one until he had satisfied his employer he was
worthy of something better, they were not long in coming to terms.

So the matter was settled, and Ashton was able to write home to
his wife that he had secured a situation.

"I think, my darling," he said, "I shall like the place very much.
Mr. and Mrs. Gurney (my employer and his wife) seem to be an
excellent couple. I should judge, from appearances, they are in
very easy circumstances, and very intelligent and cultured.

"Bayton is a beautiful, cosy, old-fashioned town, containing, I
should think, about three thousand inhabitants, and there is a
fine river running through the centre of it, nearly, if not quite,
as large as the Genesee. Its houses are, most of them, embowered
in trees; in fact, it appears like an English town Americanized,
and its inhabitants seem to have more the characteristics of
Americans than Canadians.

"The business of which I am to have the management is the best dry
goods and clothing establishment in the place. I am to remain on
trial for a month, and then, if I give satisfaction and like the
situation, I am to have a permanent engagement.

"I hope, my dear, at least for once, that old Father Time will fly
with rapid wings. I do so long to see you all again. Tell Eddie
that this is a famous river for fish, and will furnish him with
rare sport. Also tell Allie that Bayton is a famous place for
flower culture, almost every house having a flower garden in front
of it to beautify it and to fill the air with fragrant perfumes.

"I was glad to learn that papa's darling little Mamie was well;
and growing finely. You must not let her forget me. I hope Eddie
and Allie are paying strict attention to their studies; for if
they do, success is almost certain, and in after years they will
rejoice because of their present self-denial.

"And now, my darling, good-bye for the present. Kiss all the
children for their papa.

"Your affectionate husband,

"RICHARD ASHTON."



CHAPTER IX.

RUTH'S MISGIVINGS AND MENTAL AGONY.


It is now time that we should return to Ruth and her children.

After her husband had left her, as we narrated in the first
chapter, she was very sad, almost desolate, and she felt she must
retire to hold communion with Him who promised to give rest to the
weary soul who came to Him; so, leaving little Mamie in care of
Eddie and Allie, she retired to her room to weep and also to pray.
She was literally following the injunction of her Saviour--praying
to her Father in secret that He might reward her openly. The
reward she longed for was that He would protect her husband and
influence him to walk aright.

As she was thus alone--and yet not alone, for God was with her--her
memory took her back to the sunny days of her girlhood. How
bright those halcyon days appeared! She was in fancy again walking
amid the green fields and by the hedgerows of dear old England,
plucking the daisies from the meadows and listening to the sweet
strains of the lark as it carolled its lay to the morning. Sunny
visions of the past, with loved faces wandering in their golden light,
flitted before her; and her heart was filled with sadness as she
remembered the breaks that Time, with his relentless hand, had made
in that once happy number. She found herself unconsciously repeating--

  "Friend after friend departs--
    Who hath not lost a friend?
  There is no union here of hearts
    That hath not here an end."

Then the thoughts of the days when Richard Ashton came wooing,
of moonlight walks, of music and literature--these incidents of joyful
days flitted before her, each for a moment, and then vanished
away, like dissolving views. Some who sought her then were now
opulent, filling positions of honor and great responsibility; and some
of her associates who then envied her, because she was more
sought after than they, were now presiding over palatial homes.

As these visions of the happy days of yore passed like fairy
dreams before her she heaved an involuntary sigh as she
passionately exclaimed: "Oh drink, thou hast been our curse;
turning our happiness into misery; our Eden of bliss into a waste,
weary wilderness of poverty and woe!"

"Mamma, mamma, may I tum, I have such a petty flower to show oo."

It was the voice of little Mamie, and, as her mother opened the
door, she came in, an almost perfect picture of innocent beauty;
as with eyes sparkling with delight she held up to her mother a
large and beautiful pansy.

"Isn't that petty, mamma? and wasn't Eddie a dood boy to get it
for me? Now, mamma, I'm dust going to save it for papa. Will you
put it up for him?"

Mrs. Ashton hastily turned away her head, and wiped her eyes, so
that her child might not see traces of her recent tears. She then
turned, and taking Mamie in her arms brushed her golden curls,
which, young as she was, hung down her back, falling in rippling
waves of sunlight over her fair young form, and assured her she
would put away the flower for dear papa.

Little Mary, or as they called her Mamie, was born, as we have
already noticed, a short time after they came to Rochester. She
was a beautiful child, and in some respects seemed to resemble
each of her parents; for she had the complexion and large, dreamy
eyes of her mother and the features of her father. And in
disposition and mental characteristics she also inherited
qualities from both father and mother; for she possessed the
sprightly animation of the former which ever and anon bubbled over
in gentle, kindly mischief. While she, also, possessed the
guileless trustfulness of the latter, and seemed never so happy as
when she nestled peacefully in the arms of one she loved, and
listened to a simple story of the good in other days, or was
charmed by some beautiful song or hymn, which it was her delight
to help sing.

As one looked at her fair young face--her sunny curls and regular
classic features--either sparkling with animation or melting with
tenderness, they wondered not that she was the pet of home, and
generally beloved, for with such beauty and such gentle witcheries
she could not fail to win hearts.

"Mamma," she said, after her mother had kissed her, "Why has papa
don away? I 'ove my papa ever so much, and I asked him, before he
went away, if he 'oved oo and Eddie and Allie, and he taid he did,
and that he 'oved me, his 'ittle sunbeam, too, and ett he has don
and left us all. I am so sorry papa has don."

As Mamie said this the tears began to glisten in her eyes, and
then sparkling for a moment, in their blue settings, ran in pearly
drops down over her cheeks. Her mother snatched her closely to her
to quiet her sobbings; but, in a moment or two, was weeping in
sympathy with her child.

"My darling," she said, "papa has gone away to find another home
for us all, and after awhile he will come back for us, then my
little Mamie will be her papa's sunbeam again."

"But, mamma, I don't want to go, I dust want to 'top where we are
now, for Eddie was saying, yesterday, that papa was in Tanada, and
that he was coming over after us. And he taid, mamma that Tanada
was so cold we would not have any petty flowers there, and I don't
want to leave all my petty flowers. I dust want to stay here in
our nice home."

"Eddie should not talk so to his little sister," said her mother,
"and I do not think we will find Canada much colder than this
country. God will take care of us there, Mamie, if we are good and
pray to Him, and He will also take care of papa if we ask Him to
do so."

"Will He, mamma?" said Mamie, "den I will ask Him."

She knelt down, and clasping her tiny hands looked heavenward with
sweet trustfulness as she murmured: "Dod bless my papa, and take
care of him." And then she added--the thought seeming to come
intuitively to her mind. "O, Dod, don't let my papa drink, taus
den he is tross to my dear mamma and to Eddie and Allie; and he
don't 'ove mamma den. Dust let him come home nice.--Amen."

Her mother was strangely moved at her child's prayer and murmured,
Amen. And as the little innocent knelt there, a perfect picture of
seraphic beauty, purity, innocence and faith, the thought of the
poet came to her mind--

  "O man, could thou in spirit kneel beside that little child;
   As fondly pray, as purely feel, with heart as undefiled;
   That moment would encircle thee with light and love divine,
   Thy soul might rest on Deity, and heaven itself be thine."

And she prayed that God might ever keep her as innocent and pure.



CHAPTER X.

ALL IN CANADA.


Time seemed to creep along very slowly for the next two days to
Ruth Ashton. She sent Eddie to the Post Office, and when he came
without a letter she was terribly disappointed. She exclaimed:
"Oh, I am afraid he has broken his promise and is drinking again;
for he certainly would have written if he were not!"

If those Christians and respectable members of society, who favor
the drinking usages and oppose with all the power of their
intellect the passing of a law to do away with its sale, only
experienced for one short day the agony which wrung the heart of
that sensitive, loving woman, that experience would do what the
tongue of the most eloquent pleader would utterly fail to
accomplish; that is, turn them to hate the traffic as they hate
the father of evil.

Her mind was preyed upon by doubt, fear, terrible anxiety. "If he
were drinking, in a strange country, what would become of him? She
remembered he had considerable money with him; also, when he was
intoxicated he always became reckless, and would be almost certain
to display it, and thus, probably, tempt some hard character to
rob or murder him.

"Oh, my Father, protect him!" she exclaimed in her anguish, as she
knelt before Him who was her only help and consolation in such
times of trouble.

The next morning Eddie was again sent for a letter, and as he came
with one in his hand, the mother grasped it impulsively. But, a
moment after, thinking her action might appear strange to Eddie,
she kissed him affectionately, and said: "Excuse your mamma; my
boy, I was so anxious to read papa's letter that I forgot myself."

The reader has already been made acquainted with the contents of
that letter, and when Ruth had read it her worse fears were not
allayed--rather, confirmed.

She wrote to him immediately--not expressing her fears, but filling
her letter with words of love and confidence, thinking that by
thus doing it would influence him, at least to some extent, to
endeavor to prove to her that her confidence had not been
misplaced.

She did not hear from him again for more than two weeks, though
either she or the children wrote him several letters in the
meantime. The agony she endured during that period I will allow
the reader to imagine.

At length Eddie brought home the letter, the contents of which I
have given in a former chapter. It relieved her heart of a great
burden. In fact, she felt some compunctions of conscience--she
thought she must have judged him wrongfully, for it hardly seemed
possible to her that a stranger to her husband would have engaged
him, if he had presented himself immediately after a long
continued debauch.

That night, as she knelt by her bedside, she thanked God for His
loving-kindness to her, in her hour of great trial. But, after she
had retired and began to think over what the letter contained, she
found that while, on the whole, its contents gave her great cause
for thankfulness, yet, that it made her feel inexpressibly
sad--sad, because she would have again to part with tried and true
friends and go among strangers.

Never in her life had she been the recipient of more gentle
attentions and delicate expressions of kindness than since she had
resided in Rochester. True, some of her neighbors were more
curious in regard to her affairs than she thought was consistent
with good breeding, and sometimes they made inquiries which she
did not wish to answer, but which she did not know how to evade
without giving offence. However, this trait of a certain class of
her American friends--and which, by-the-bye, has furnished a fund
for humorists the world over--was more than redeemed by their
genuine kindness and willingness to help upon every possible
occasion. And some, she thought, were noble examples of what men
and women are when in them natural goodness is joined with
intelligence and culture; for they seemed to divine her wants like
a quick-witted person will catch at a hint, and any service
rendered was so delicately tendered that it almost left the
impression upon the mind of the recipient that a favor had been
granted in its acceptance. In fact, she had been favorably
impressed with her acquaintances in Rochester from the first, and
now she was about to leave, their kindly attentions endeared them
to her so as to make it very hard for her to separate from them;
for, day after day, they vied with each other in doing everything
which kindness could suggest to prepare her for her anticipated
journey.

And Ruth herself was employing every moment, for she never doubted
her husband would have a permanent engagement. She had clothes to
provide for the children, and her own wardrobe to replenish, so
that all might be well prepared to go among strangers.

Eddie and Allie, also, had their own sorrows and trials. At first
they said they would not leave their old home. Child-like, they
thought Rochester was the only place in the wide, wide world where
they could live and find pleasure; and as they had but dim
recollections of England, and all the persons, objects, and scenes
which they loved, and around which their memories lingered, were
centred there, it is not surprising it was the dearest spot on
earth to them, nor that it seemed very hard to leave their school
and school-mates, their trees and flowers, and the many and varied
objects which had been familiar to them for so many years.

"I do wish mamma would coax father not to move among strangers,
especially when it is a cold country like Canada he is going to. I
declare, it is too bad to leave everything we like behind, and go
among those we won't care for, and who will not care for us."

As Eddie spoke, the tears began to glimmer in his eyes, for he
certainly thought their lot was a hard one.

Allie agreed to use all her powers of persuasion to prevail upon
their mother to influence their father not to take them from
Rochester.

It was at one of these little indignation meetings they had given
expression to the speeches which had been reported to their mother
by Mamie. This called forth a remonstrance from her, and she
pointed out to them how selfish and sinful it was to talk as they
had been doing. This had the desired effect, and they promised not
to murmur again, and the promise was kept; for they truly loved
their mother, and would not do anything which they thought would
grieve her.

"I tell you, Allie," said Eddie, one day, "it won't be so bad
after all; for if we are lonesome, when we are not helping father
and mother, you can be working in your flower garden, and I can
help you; and if the fishing is as good as father thinks it is,
won't I enjoy it? I tell you it will be jolly, and if I catch some
big ones I will be able to write back and tell Harry Wilson and
Jim Williams about it."

The eyes of Eddie sparkled with animation as he was looking
forward and by anticipation enjoying these pleasures--forgetting,
for the time being, the hardships which a short period before had
stirred up such rebellious feelings; and then they settled into a
more thoughtful expression as he continued: "Father says there is
a good high school there, and I will, if I can, be the best in my
class there, as I have been here."

"Well," said Allie, "I think we were naughty to speak as we did,
and we caused mamma to grieve. She says God knows what is best,
and that we should be satisfied to leave everything in His hands.
I am sure I shall enjoy myself helping mamma and attending to my
flower garden; for I know you will help me to make the beds, and
we will also make a nice tiny one for Mamie, too. O! won't that be
splendid?"

"I hope," continued Eddie, "that father will keep from drink
there. I am sure mamma thinks he has been drinking since he has
been away, and she is almost grieving herself to death about it.
Oh, I don't see how it is that he don't leave whiskey alone!"

"I do wish he would," said Allie; "for sometimes, when I see mamma
looking so sad, I go to my room and cry, and, Eddie, I often pray
to God to keep papa from drink. Do you think He will hear and
answer me, Eddie?"

"I guess He will," said Eddie. "Mamma says so, and she knows. I
always say my prayers, Allie, but I don't do much more praying. I
think you girls are better than we boys, anyway."

"I don't know," replied his sister; "I think I am bad enough, and
I pray to God to make me better. I think the girls quarrel just as
much the boys, and though they may not swear and talk so roughly,
yet I think they speak far more spitefully."

"I never thought so," said Eddie.

"Well, they do. Why, just yesterday, Sarah Stewart, because I got
ahead of her in our spelling class, twitted me about father's
drinking, and said 'a girl who had an old drunkard for a father
need not put on such airs.' And, Eddie, I did not say anything to
her to make her speak so, only teacher put me up because I knew my
lesson better."

"If a boy, had twitted me like that I would have knocked him
down." And he clenched his teeth and doubled up his fist as he
spoke, which left no doubt in the mind of his sister that he would
have tried his best to have done as he said.

"Well, Eddie, that would have been wicked; it would have grieved
mamma, and, besides, it would have brought you to the level of the
one who insulted you. I was very angry at first, and almost felt
like slapping her, but then I thought how low it would be. When I
cried, the other girls, who heard what she said, shamed her. I
stopped them, for I pitied her. I would pity any girl, Eddie, who
could do so low a thing, and every night since then I have prayed
for her."

"You are a good little puss," said Eddie, as he kissed her.

"Not very good," she answered, "for I am sometimes quick-tempered
and hateful, but I do try to be good."

Richard Ashton gave good satisfaction, and was hired for a year
with a salary that exceeded his expectations. He rented a suitable
house, filling up in every respect the promises made in his
letter. Then, getting leave of absence for a week, he came over
for his wife and family.

He found a purchaser for his property in his next door neighbor,
who paid half down and gave him his note for the remainder, which
would expire a year from date.

He could not, try how he would, keep from feeling sad at leaving
his American home and many friends: for Richard was himself again,
and now saw, in its true light, his former foolishness. In his
heart he sincerely liked the Americans, and left them with regret.

The hearts of Ruth and her children were almost too full for
utterance, and when the time of parting came they did not attempt
to give expression to their sorrow in words. They parted with many
regrets from the dear old home that had sheltered them so long,
and that would be hallowed in their memory forever more; and from
the many friends who had treated them so kindly, some of whom they
would never meet again. In a few days they were kindly welcomed
and settled in their new home.



CHAPTER XI.

AUNT DEBIE AND HER FRIENDS.


"Did I not tell thee, Phoebe, that I was sartan there was going to
be a death, and like enough more than one? Does thee not remember
I told thee that on the first day, just before William Gurney
died? And thee sees now that what I said has come troo, for both
William and Annie have died since."

"Yes," said the person addressed as Phoebe, "thee then said thee
had warning of death and knoo some one was going to die, and that
thee thought there was going to be more than one. I remember just
as plainly as if thee had said it not more'n a minute ago."

"I thought thee'd mind it," said the first speaker, and there was
an accent of triumph in the tone of her voice as she spoke.

"I have known thee to tell before of things that jest happened as
thee said they would. Why, thee told there was going to be a death
just before Martha Foxe's child died; and whenever thee has told
me that such was to be the case, I ain't never known it to fail.
Tell us, Aunt Debie, how thee is able to foretell things as thee
does."

"Well, Phoebe, there is more ways than one that I get warnings. If
in the night I hear three loud raps, one after the other, I am
then sartan there is goen to be a death; and if there is more than
three then I knows there is goen to be more'n one death. If the
raps are loud and sharp, then I know the death or deaths are to be
right away; but if they be kind of easy like, I then know it will
be quite a while. Now, I hearn three raps last night. I was
awakened about one o'clock. I knoo it was one, 'cause I had the
rheumatiz so bad I couldn't sleep, and so I got up and went to the
fire to keep warm. I thought I would put my horn to my ear, and I
jest caught the faintest sound of the roosters crowin'; so when I
hearn that I knoo what time it was. Jest a little after that I
went back to bed, and I hadn't been there more'n a minute of two
before I hearn a rap, and then, in a little, I hearn another, and
then another; they sounded far away like, and awfully solemn. Is
it not strange that I can hear these things, when I cannot hear
anything else?"

"Yes," said Phoebe, "it is strange; but God's ways are mysterious
to us, and past finding out."

"Well," continued Aunt Debie, "I am sartan there is goen to be
another death; for I never hear these things but some of our
friends die."

"Oh," said Phoebe, solemnly, "I wonder who will be called for this
time."

"God knows best," remarked Debie, "and he ain't going to do wrong;
we must larn to trust Him."

"And then," she continued, "I have another way of knowing when
there is to be trouble, sickness, and death. If I dream of a
person walking through a corn or wheat field, I am then sartan
there is going to be trouble or sickness; if they are cutting the
wheat, or plucking the ears of corn, it is then sure to be
followed by a death. I suppose God reveals these things to me by
figures, the same as He did to Simon Peter in the long ago; for
ain't we all jest like wheat waiting for the sickle, or like corn
waiting till the time comes to be plucked by the Death Angel? I
suppose my heavenly Father reveals more to me than He does to
others, 'cause He, in His wisdom, has taken so much from me. He
has left me here a poor old woman, deaf, blind, and lame. I can't
see the faces of my friends through these poor sightless eyes, nor
the beauties of the fields and sky, nor the blossoms and fruit of
the trees, nor the flowers in the garden; neither can I hear the
sweet music of the birds, nor even the prattle of the dear little
children who come and kiss me, and let me play with their curls,
save through this horn. He only knows"--and Aunt Debie looked up
as she spoke--"how I long sometimes to see them. But, Father, Thou
knowest what is best: 'Though Thou slayest me, yet will I trust in
Thee.'"

This conversation occurred in Mrs. Gurney's parlor; for both Mr.
and Mrs. Gurney were originally Quakers, but, settling in Bayton
in their early married life, they joined another body, though they
ever retained a profound respect for the Church of their
childhood. In fact a great many of their relatives, and a very
large circle of friends in the surrounding country, belonged to
that body; and, as they are a people who are especially noted for
their social qualities and for their warm attachment to kinsfolk
and friends, the Gurneys very frequently received visits from
them.

The conversation, part of which I have given to my readers, took
place upon one of these visits. One of the parties present on this
occasion deserves more than a passing notice, as she was an
uncommon character.

Deborah Donaldson, or, as she was always called, "Aunt Debie,"
was, "after the strictest sect of her religion," a Quaker, and she
never quite forgave James and Martha Gurney for leaving the Church
of their fathers. She had been a widow for more than thirty years,
her husband having been killed by the falling of a limb from a
tree which he was chopping down, and she had been blind and deaf
for the greater part of that time.

She had been a woman of very great energy, and there were some who
hinted that she was the controlling member of the matrimonial firm
when the now lamented Donaldson was living. Whether there was any
truth or not in that report it is not for the writer to say, but
she was certainly a woman of great force of character--a living
embodiment of the Scripture maxim, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to
do, do it with all thy might." And even now, in extreme old
age--for she was more than four score--though in many ways she
manifested she had entered her second childhood, she yet retained
a great deal of her original energy. As I have illustrated, though
she possessed genuine piety, it was so mingled with superstition
as to leave it difficult to decide which exerted the controlling
influence.

If any of my readers have associated to any extent with the
people in the rural districts, especially those of American or
Dutch-American descent, they, no doubt, have observed that a great
many of the older and more illiterate ones among them are very
superstitious, being implicit believers in signs, charms,
apparitions, etc.; and most of them, also, entertain the opinion
that the moon exerts an occult influence over many things of vital
importance to the residents of this mundane sphere; and no power
that could be brought to bear could induce some of them to plant
corn, make soap, kill pigs, or perform many other important duties
in certain phases of the moon, for they would be positive if they
did it would result in dire disaster.

There are also sounds and signs which are looked upon as warnings
of coming woe; for instance: three knocks in the still hours of
the night are considered a "death call," and when heard by them
they expect soon to learn of the decease of a friend. Dreams are
the certain presages of coming events--of prosperity and
happiness, of sorrow, disease, and death.

Now, Aunt Debie and her friends were firm believers in these
things, and the former was looked upon as one who was favored with
receiving more signs, seeing more visions, and dreaming more
dreams, than any person in that section of country. She was also
viewed by her friends as an oracle, in interpreting these signs;
and she, having no doubt in regard to her own endowments, accepted
in perfect faith their eulogium of her power in this respect.

Another present at the time to which we refer was a sister of Aunt
Debie's, some ten years younger than herself, Phoebe Barrett by
name. She was attended by her husband, whom she addressed as
Enoch. He certainly was not the predominant spirit of the family;
for he was so quiet and unobtrusive as to scarcely ever utter a
word, except it might be to make a remark in regard to the weather
or answer a question. There was also a young Quakeress by the name
of Rachel Stebbins, a distant relative of the others, and they
were all related to Mr. and Mrs. Gurney.

"Did thee have any peculiar dreams lately, Aunt Debie?" asked
Rachel Stebbins. "I had a perfectly awful one the other night."

"Doo tell. What was it, Rachel?" said Aunt Debie.

"I dreamt," continued Rachel, "that I was standing by an open
grave; and it appeared to me, jest before they lowered the coffin
into it, they took the lid off from the coffin, and in it was the
corpse of a young girl, white as chalk, but she appeared as if she
must have been very pretty when she was living. There were orange
blossoms on her bosom and also in her hair. The features 'peared
familiar, but I could not, for the life of me, make out who she
was, nor can I yet, though I see her ghastly face ever before me,
and think I shall thus see it until the day I die. And what 'pears
to me as singular is, that I saw every one that is here now there,
and a great many more of our relatives and friends, and all were
weeping as if she were some one very near and dear to them. Now,
what does thee make of that dream?"

"What did thee eat before thee went to bed, Rachel?" asked Mr.
Gurney, who came into the room while she was relating her dream.
He was by nature inclined to be reserved, but yet possessed a fund
of quiet humor, and he delighted to quiz Aunt Debie and her Quaker
friends in respect to their superstitious fancies. But Aunt Debie
could not look upon this levity with any degree of allowance, in
fact, she viewed it as little else than profanity. "Did thee eat
mince pie, dough nuts, or plum cake? If thee did, thee must be
more careful in thy diet, or thee may dream something even more
terrible the next time."

Rachel Stebbins repeated to Aunt Debie what Mr. Gurney had said,
which so roused the old lady that she said to him, with
considerable asperity in the tone of her voice:

"I know thee always laughs at these things, James; but thee may be
convinced some day in a manner that thee will not like, and then
thee will be sorry that thee made so light of it."

And then addressing Rachel, she said, in answer to her question:
"Well, Rachel, when I dream of a death I always expects to hear of
a wedding. I have never known it to fail. And thee will see that
some friend of ours will be getting married soon, and then thee
will wonder how strangely contrary these kinds of dreams is. Why,
before Jonas Head was married to Prudence Leggit, I seed him laid
out in his shroud as plainly as I used to see thee; and a short
time after that I hearn that he was married. Now, thee just watch
if this dream don't end in the same way."

"But, Debie," said Phoebe, "thee was telling me the other day
about dreaming of Charles Dalton walking through the cornfield.
Will thee tell it to us now?"

This was a request that would yield a great amount of satisfaction
to Aunt Debie, for she was always delighted to be asked to relate
her dreams and the warnings she received of coming woe. Phoebe, of
course, was well aware of this, and it was partially because of it
that she asked the question; but the strongest motive power that
moved her was that she herself was a strong believer in the
supernatural. And though men will not acknowledge it, or rarely do
so, nevertheless all are more or less influenced by a certain
undefined and shadowy belief in the supernatural, even in this
grosser shape; and I believe most have a desire, though mixed with
a strange dread, to listen to its relation.

"Well," began Aunt Debie, responding to Phoebe's request, "I
dreamt I saw before me a field of waving corn. It was nearly ready
to cut, and the wind moaned through it, as it bent and shook
before it, and the tassels glinted in the moonlight like ghosts
keeping watch. And then there seemed to be something gliding
through the corn; at first it was nothing but a shadow, but after
a little it 'peared more plain, and at last I could see the
features--it was the face of Charles Dalton. And then way down at
the other end of the field I could see men, though not very plain,
but just like shadows, and they were cutting the corn. I tell thee
there is going to be some terrible trouble come to him ere long,
and before many years he will die."

Just after Phoebe had asked the question, Ruth Ashton came in and
was introduced to the company, with the exception of Aunt Debie,
Mrs. Gurney explaining that the latter was blind and deaf, and
telling Mrs. Ashton she would introduce her to the old lady when
she had finished relating and explaining her dream.

Mrs. Ashton had been invited to spend the afternoon with them, and
had accepted the invitation.

After Aunt Debie had finished relating her dream and giving her
interpretations of its meaning, Mr. Gurney moved his chair over
near her and asked: "Were you talking and thinking of Charles
Dalton, and of his unfortunate drinking habits, also of his being
nearly drowned, before you went to bed the night you dreamed that
dream?"

"Ye-s," said Aunt Debie, "I--was." She made the admission very
reluctantly; for she immediately saw the inference Mr. Gurney
wished to draw.

"And did thee not eat plum cake and cheese just before retiring?"
He knew the old lady was very partial to the edibles he mentioned,
and suspected that because she had yielded to her weakness she had
been disturbed by dreams.

"Well," he said, "thee ate the cheese and plum cake, and these
indigestibles caused thee to dream; and thee believes that to
dream of persons walking in a cornfield and plucking ears of corn
is a sign of disease and death. You were talking of Charles Dalton
and of his unfortunate drinking habits, also of his being nearly
drowned lately. Now, what is more natural than that you should
dream of him of whom you were thinking just before you went to
sleep, and that your sleeping thoughts should be influenced by
your waking ones, and by your opinions in regard to such dreams?"

"Thee can always explain things to suit thine own notion, James
Gurney. Does thee not believe that God can give warnings now the
same as He did in the days of old? Did He not give warnings to
Samuel of Eli's coming trouble? Likewise of Saul's? And to Nathan
of David's? And is there not many other places in the Bible where
it speaks of warnings given? Now let me ask, Is not God 'the same
yesterday, today, and forever,' and, if so, can He not do as well
now as He did then? _I wonder at thee, James Gurney_!"--and
the old lady raised her voice as she uttered the last sentence.

Mr. Gurney thought it better not to argue the point, so he put his
mouth to her horn and said: "Thee and I had better not argue any
further, Aunt Debie. Thee always gets the better of me anyway. But
were not Judge McGullett and Sheriff Bottlesby with Charles
Dalton, and were they not the ones who furnished him with the
liquor that intoxicated him?"

"Yes, they were," said the old lady. But we will leave the
remainder of her reply to another chapter.



CHAPTER XII.

A WORTHY SHERIFF AND JUDGE--DR. DALTON.


Aunt Debie continued: "They were out shooting on the marsh, and
the jedge and the sheriff had whiskey with them, of which I guess
they drank as much as he did, but it 'pears they was able to stand
it better, for they did not get drunk. I think it is a disgrace to
this county to have a drunken jedge and sheriff. The idea of the
judge setting on the bench and trying men for breaking the law!
And yet he will intice other men to drink that which will fit them
to commit the crime which, if they come before him, he will punish
them for doing. And the sheriff will take them to jail when they
are condemned by the jedge, though he helped to prepare them for
the evil work they did."

"I agree with you, Aunt Debie," said Mrs. Gurney, speaking for the
first time. "These two men being allowed to hold such high
positions is not only a disgrace to this county but also to
Canada. Men who hold offices of trust and grave responsibility
should be patterns to the community, and above reproach.
Especially should this be the case with a judge. He should be a
man not only of the highest legal talent, and with a broad,
judicial mind, but also of a pure and lofty character. How ever
they came to appoint a man with the loose habits of Judge
McGullett to the position is a mystery to me."

"Why, my dear," said Mr. Gurney, "it was given him because he
worked for his party. He has ever been a man of low instincts and
loose habits, though he was considered what is called a smart
lawyer. In my opinion this did not qualify him for his position as
judge. A man may be cunning, and so is a fox. He may have the
qualities which enable him to browbeat a witness, and so has a
bully. He may have great volubility, and so has a Billingsgate
fishwife. He may even have considerable legal acumen, and yet be
narrow and coarse. A man to be a judge, as you just remarked,
should be of a broad, judicial mind, able to look at a case in all
its bearings, to sift evidence, balance probabilities, and, being
above prejudice and every outward influence, should decide a case
on its merits. And I believe with you and Aunt Debie, that he
should be as far above anything that is coarse or impure in his
private life as above suspicion in his public capacity. But I look
upon our present judge as the farthest remove from this; he was a
good party hack, and, to the shame of the government in power
when he was appointed be it said, he was rewarded for his
unscrupulousness by being elevated to the bench of our county.

"In regard to Sheriff Bottlesby, he is a man who is almost beneath
contempt; he has neither the brains, dignity, nor character to fit
him for such a position. He cunningly worked to pack a caucus to
secure the choice of our present member as a candidate to the
local legislature, with the understanding, no doubt, if his
efforts were crowned with success, that he should receive his
reward. By low cunning, and resorting to means that no honorable
man could employ, he succeeded. The last occupant of the position
was found to be too old, and therefore asked to retire; and
Bottlesby was rewarded for his faithfulness by getting the vacant
position, though his predecessor was infinitely his superior in
every respect.

"The fact is, everything that is pure and good in the government
of our country is being dragged through the mire of party
politics. If a measure is brought forward, I am afraid the
question is not, Will this be for the best interest of society or
the country? but, Will it help or hurt the party? If a public
position of great responsibility becomes vacant, they do not
appoint the man who is best qualified to fill it, but the one who
has done the most for his party. And in some instances when they
have not places for those who have been their subservient tools,
they make them by removing, on some trivial pretext, those who are
the occupants of the position, utterly regardless of the fact that
it may cause misery to the ones removed and their families. If
this evil is allowed to grow unchecked, our country will ere long
be cursed with a system similar to that introduced into the United
States by Burr and Jackson, and forcibly expressed by the words of
an unscrupulous politician, 'To the victor belongs the spoil.'"

Mr. Gurney became quite excited while he was making this speech,
for it was a subject upon which he had often thought, and with a
great deal of solicitude. In fact, it was about the only topic which
could have inspired him to speak with so much bitterness, and it
was also the only time any of his friends had seen him so animated
since his great bereavement. He was a man too broad in his views
to make principle subservient to party. He had a party, and believed
that it was necessary in the government of a country that such
should exist; but he would not be a mere tool and follow his leaders,
even though he could not endorse their policy. He said he would
not vote for a man whom he believed was unprincipled, even if his
party, through the caucus system, did make him their standard-bearer.
He was strongly of the opinion that men who were not pure in private
life should not be entrusted to conduct public affairs; and if the
party to which he gave allegiance chose such a man as their candidate,
he would not so violate his conscience as to give him his support,
for he would not trample his honor and principle in the dust for any
party.

As Mr. Gurney has given to my readers some idea of Judge McGullett
and Sheriff Bottlesby, I will give a sketch of Charles Dalton, the
one whose name had been associated with those two worthies.

He was the only son of Aunt Debie's youngest sister. This sister
had not married a Quaker, and in this respect differed from the
rest of the family. Her husband was, however, a farmer in very
comfortable circumstances, and was chosen, because of his superior
intelligence, as reeve of the township in which he resided; but he
had become a poor, besotted victim of strong drink, and driving
home from Bayton one night, while in a helpless state of
intoxication, he was thrown from his buggy, being so injured by
the fall as never to recover consciousness, and died the following
day. He left his wife and only child--a son, three years old--ample means.

Mrs. Dalton, much to the surprise of the Mrs. Grundys of the
neighborhood, never married again, but seemed to devote her life
to her son, whom she loved with a passionate tenderness. He, from
a very early age, manifested that he was a child of quick parts:
he seemed to master in a short time, with consummate ease, lessons
that would tax the brains of others for hours; and he had a
prodigious memory. He was also a general favorite, because of his
chivalrous character and amiable disposition. In fact, this last
element of character was his weakness, for he was so amiable as to
sometimes be persuaded to enter into engagements against the
dictates of his better judgment.

When he reached the age necessary for him to decide as to his
future course of action, he chose medicine for his profession. He
first took an Arts course in Toronto University, and then entered
one of the Medical Schools of that city, in both institutions
taking front rank as a student.

He had, previous to his entering the Medical School, neither
smoked nor drank, and even when there, though he was almost alone
in this respect, his companions found it impossible to tempt him.
His mother had suffered so much from drink that she had taught him
to shrink from even a glass that contained it as he would from a
rattlesnake. But visiting one day at an old friend of his
mother's, who was at that time residing in Toronto, a glass of
wine was placed before him; and as all the rest drank, he, through
fear of being laughed at for being singular, drank too. He would,
no doubt, have passed through the ordeal unscathed, had not the
eldest daughter of his host, a handsome young girl of eighteen,
said to him, when she saw he hesitated, "Take a glass, Charley; it
will do you good, and cannot possibly do you any harm."

Now, he had conceived a warm attachment for her, and had every
reason to believe that his attentions were not distasteful to her;
so, when she made the remark, he no longer hesitated, but took the
fatal first glass. As he and a companion were on their way home
from Mr. Fulton's to their boarding-house, the companion said:
"Come, Charley, let us go into Frank's and take a glass of ale;"
and, since he had taken the wine, it strangely presented itself to
his consciousness as a reason why he should not refuse to take the
beer. Thus Satan leads us on by first tempting us to transgress,
then making our first sin an argument to sweep away all objections
in regard to committing others. Dalton took the ale; and the enemy
having broken down the barriers of his temperance principles, it
was not long ere he had full possession of the citadel. In fact,
in a short time after he had taken his first glass, he and several
of his fellow-students had, what they termed, "a regular spree."

His mother, fortunately for her, did not live to hear of her son's
sad fall; for, as she was sitting in her easy chair one day, she
was suddenly seized with a pain near her heart, asked to be
assisted to bed, and before the doctor could arrive she was dead.

"Died of heart disease," said the doctor; and then he added:
"There is no doubt it resulted from her husband's death. She has
never recovered from the shock; and though she has lived for
years, she might have dropped off at any moment if she had been
the least excited."

But she received her call home while sitting in her chair reading
the 14th chapter of St. John's Gospel; asked to be carried to her
bed, and, after being propped up by pillows, she said to her
attendant, "Elizabeth, I think I am dying; tell Charley my last
thoughts were of him." And then, looking heavenward, she murmured,
"God bless and guard my own dear boy," and in another moment she
was dead. But "the silver cord was loosed" as if by seraph
fingers, and "the golden bowl was broken" so gently that she
scarcely felt the stroke of the Death Angel. They laid her to rest
while yet in her prime by the side of the husband of her youth.

The son was sadly stricken by his mother's death, for he had a
very strong affection for her; and for a long time after his
return to the Medical College--in fact, until he had taken his
diploma--he remained perfectly sober; but in the banquet that he
and the rest of his class held to celebrate that event he again
fell, and ere he left was so intoxicated he had to be helped to
his lodgings. From that period he seemed to lose all power of
resistance and almost all sense of shame.

He had been engaged to Mary Fulton, the young woman who, in her
innocence, first tempted him to drink, and who now bitterly
repented of her thoughtlessness; for she was a true woman, and
loved him with all the strength of her deep, sensitive nature. He,
after taking his medical degree, had started to practice in
Orchardton, a small and lovely village not far from Bayton, and
would have done exceedingly well had it not been for his drinking
propensities.

It was about a year after he had begun to practice that he met
with the adventure of which Aunt Debie and her friends were
speaking.

"God was merciful when He removed poor Rebecca before she had a
chance to hear of her boy's shameful conduct," said Aunt Debie.
"'Pears to me that the words of Scripter is come troo in his
case--'The sins of the parent has to be borne by the children to
the third and fourth generation.'"

Aunt Debie endeavored to quote from memory, and so she is to be
excused if she did not render it according to the letter.

"I believe with thee, Aunt Debie," said Mrs. Gurney. "It was a
blessed thing for Rebecca she died thinking her boy was pure; if
she had known how it was--and if she had lived a little longer she
would have been sure to have found out--it would have broken her
heart. Then she would have gone down to her grave in sorrow, and
Charles would have had his mother's death to answer for."

"I believe," said Mr. Gurney, breaking in rather abruptly, "that a
tendency to drink is transmitted from father to son--that, in
fact, it is a disease, and in this respect is similar to
consumption or insanity. Because I take this view of the case, I
have a great deal of sympathy with Charley Dalton. I am determined
to do all I can to save the boy. I heard from a lady friend the
other day who is very intimate with Mary Fulton, and she said that
the latter was experiencing deep grief because of Charley's utter
fall; for she holds herself partially responsible, because she, in
her innocence and thoughtlessness, tempted him to take his first
glass of wine. Her friends have been endeavoring to influence her
to break the engagement, but she resolutely refuses to do so. She
says she will never marry him while he continues to drink as he
does, but breaking off the engagement will be the last report, and
she declares she will never marry another."

"Well," said Phoebe, "I don't wonder she feels bad; 'pears to me I
should feel bad, too, if I had coaxed the man I thought more of
than any one else to drink, and then he went to the bad after it."

"Thee must not be too severe in thy thoughts of poor Mary," said
Mrs. Gurney, "but when thee feels like censuring her, just remember
that she has been accustomed to see wine on her father's table
ever since she was a girl. It is the custom which should be
condemned, and not poor, foolish innocents like Mary Fulton."



CHAPTER XIII.

RUTH ASHTON'S INTRODUCTION TO AUNT DEBIE RUTH'S DILEMMA.


As there was a lull in the conversation which we reported in the
last chapter, after Mrs. Gurney had finished speaking, she thought
it would be a favorable opportunity to introduce Mrs. Ashton to
Aunt Debie; so she spoke to the former, and they walked over to
the old lady's chair. Mrs. Gurney then took Mrs. Ashton's hand and
placed it in the old lady's, saying, as she did so: "Aunt Debie,
this is Mrs. Ashton, of whom thee has heard us speak!"

"Happy to meet with thee, I am sure." said Aunt Debie.

"What is thy fust name?"

"Ruth," answered Mrs. Ashton.

"That is a good Script'al name. May thee, like thy namesake, be
worthy of the Lord's blessing."

"What is thy husband's name?"

"Richard," answered Mrs. Ashton.

"And how many children has thee got?"

"We have three, a boy and two girls," and then, as if in
anticipation of the old lady's next question, she added: "Their
names are Edward, Alice Maud, and Mary; Edward is fourteen, Alice
Maud is twelve, and Mary is four, she is our baby."

"Thee had a long rest between thy second and third," remarked Aunt
Debie. "Did thee lose any?"

Ruth Ashton's face flushed slightly, for Aunt Debie was like a new
revelation to her; she had never met anyone like her before, but
she good-naturedly answered "No" to her question.

Mrs. Gurney now told Ruth she had better leave the old lady, for
she was very inquisitive, and added, by way of explanation: "She
has been blind and deaf so long that she seems to have forgotten
that some of her questions are hardly in keeping with good
manners;" and, she continued, "in her youth, where she was raised,
the habits and customs were not as they are here at the present.
Then, as she cannot see nor hear, she is naturally more
inquisitive."

Mrs. Ashton, who began to be alarmed, would gladly have left the
old lady; but, as the latter held her by the hand, she thought it
would be rude to hastily withdraw.

"It is a blessing thee has not had to pass through that sore
trial," she said. "I lost a little babe more than sixty years ago,
and I see its sweet little face now just as plainly as if it were
only yesterday that it was taken from me; and often in my dreams
it comes to me, and again I hear it prattle and crow as it did in
the days of the long, long ago. But God was good to me in taking
it away; for, while all the rest of my children are now getting
old and gray, in my memory that sweet little babe is ever young.
James and Sarah have had a harder trial. If God in His mercy,
wisdom, and love, had seen it was for the better to have taken
their children when they were young, it would not have been so
hard for them to bear; but when they were let to grow up and then
taken, leaving them alone in their age, the stroke is very hard
indeed. But they--thank God--know where to go for consolation, and
have learned to say: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.'" And then, addressing Ruth, she
said: "Thee ought to be very thankful that God hath not made thee
to pass through this fire."

"I am more thankful than I can find words to express," said Ruth,
as the tears streamed from her eyes, as they also did from the
eyes of every person in the room, for, they were all strangely
moved by Aunt Debie's pathos.

"But thee has had thine own troubles, has thee not?" and Aunt
Debie asked the question significantly, as if she referred to a
particular trouble.

Mrs. Gurney now saw what she feared was coming, and she told Ruth
it would be prudent to withdraw, quietly, but as quickly as
possible.

Mrs. Gurney was secretly condemning herself for what she now felt
was to say the least, imprudence; for in a conversation she had
had with Aunt Debie she gave her an outline of the life of Richard
and Ruth Ashton, and she was now sure that the old lady was about
to refer to it. In fact, she had unfolded to her, almost in full,
the benevolent schemes they had formed for the purpose of
reforming Richard Ashton.

Ruth, in answer to Aunt Debie's question, replied: "Yes, I have
had to pass through troubles. I suppose," she added, "God has seen
that it was better for me that I should have my share, the same as
others. It would not do for any of us to be basking always in the
sunlight and experiencing nothing but pleasure; so God takes us
down in the shadow and brings sorrow upon us, that we can more
fully sympathize with our suffering fellow-creatures, and also be
made riper for heaven."

Ruth now gently withdrew her hand, and, bending down, said:
"Please excuse me, Aunt Debie, Mrs. Gurney has called me into the
conservatory."

"'Pears to me Martha is in a hurry to get thee away"--and she spoke
with some asperity of tone. "But I was going to say that I heard
thee has passed through particular trouble--that thy husband had
been a drinker, and that he had brought thee and thy children to
poverty. This must have caused thee much sufferin'; and the wust
of it is, if a man becomes a drinker, though he does break off he
is almost sartan to begin again. He never abused thee and thy
children, did he, Ruth?"

Ruth's pale face flushed red as she quickly withdrew. She did not
know what to say in the way of reply, and therefore left the room
as speedily as possible; but though she did, the tones of Aunt
Debie's voice fell distinctly upon her ear as, in her innocence,
she garrulously gave expression to her fears as to the woe that
was yet to come. "I pity the poor thing," she said; "for thee jest
mind if he does not take to drink again, such men scarcely ever
fail to do so. He will likely drink himself to death, and then she
will be a widow and her children orphans in a strange land. God
help the poor thing!'"

Mrs. Gurney closed the door to shut out the sound, but Ruth had
heard the ominous words, and they made her feel wretched. She was
not angry with Aunt Debie, for she was broad enough to understand,
after Mrs. Gurney's explanation, that what would be inquisitive
rudeness in another was to be excused in her because of her early
environments and her latter afflictions. The major portion of her
life had been passed in a primitive community, where, though its
inhabitants were as pure as they were simple and unsophisticated,
they had no conception of that fine sense of delicacy which is the
product of higher culture, and keeps one from prying into the
affairs of others. She was, in fact, an exaggerated specimen of
those primitive times, for her afflictions had preserved her from
the influences which had wrought such a transformation on those
around her. Indeed, if she, at the time of which we are writing,
could have had her hearing and her sight restored, the world would
have appeared as strange to her as it did to Rip Van Winkle after
his twenty years' sleep.

But though, as we have intimated, Ruth Ashton could, at least to
some extent, excuse the old lady, when she understood the
circumstances, this did not keep what she said from exerting such
an influence upon her, for the time being, as to entirely destroy
all peace of mind, and to cause the former to wish she had not
accepted Mrs. Gurney's invitation.

In a short time after her interview with Aunt Debie, Enoch broke
his long silence by giving expression to the opinion that "it was
time to go hum." The female members of the party acquiescing, they
quietly departed. And as her husband called on his way home from
the shop to escort her, Ruth, shortly after, bade her kind host
and hostess good-night.

Her first association with the rural inhabitants of Canada was
not of the most pleasing character, but yet they possessed
characteristics she could not help admiring; for, while there was
an entire absence of that delicate sensibility which would have
kept them from so rudely endeavoring to satisfy their curiosity,
there was exhibited, in the short time she was in their company,
so much shrewdness, common sense, and, added to this, such an
inherent hatred of shams, of vice and villany, and such a love for
the true, the pure, and the good, that she formed an opinion in
regard to them a narrower person, under the circumstances, would
be incapable of doing.

That night she slept but little, and the little she did was
broken, fitful, and disturbed by hideous dreams, in which her
husband and children, Aunt Debie, and herself, were all mixed up
in horrible confusion; and when awake she found the couplet of the
poet Campbell running through her mind--

  "The sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
   And coming events cast their shadows before"

the association of ideas in her mind quite involuntarily, as far
as her will-power was concerned, linking this creation of the poet
with Aunt Debie's ominous utterances. She finally quietly left the
side of her sleeping husband, and knelt before the Lord in prayer;
and then, returning to bed, soon fell into a peaceful slumber.



CHAPTER XIV.

A HAPPY HOME.


Richard Ashton had now settled down to business as vigorously and
keenly as in the days of the past, and he seemed not to have lost
any of his faculties by what he had passed through. And yet,
physically, a great change had come over him in the last few
years. He had aged very fast, his thick, wavy hair had lost its
glossy blackness, and was now shaded with grey and white. The hand
was not so steady as in the days of the past; the step had not so
firm a tread.

Ruth saw this with loving apprehension, and while thanking God
that He had influenced her husband so that he was as of old in his
love and kindness to her and their children, and that they had
again a happy home, she prayed he might be kept from temptation;
for she was afraid, if he fell again, he would not be long with
them, as he was only now a wreck of his former self.

And Ruth herself, though time had dealt more kindly with her than
with her husband, knew that the care and anxiety of the last ten
years had, to a serious extent, undermined her constitution and
made her prematurely old. She was now much more easily fatigued
than of yore, and there were those certain indications of time's
ravages, "busy wrinkles," forming around her eyes, though her fair
complexion was favorable to her.

She was sitting at the window one beautiful summer evening,
listening to the carolling of a bird which was perched upon the
bough of a tree that shaded the house, and little Mamie was
playing at her feet, when Allie, who was in the parlor practising
on the piano, struck up with her full-toned soprano voice:

  "Darling, I am growing old
   Silver threads among the gold
   Shine upon my brow to-day;
   Life is passing fast away."

"Why, my mamma, dear, oo have silver threads among the gold," said
Mamie. "See dare," and she pointed to the shining silver threads
that were glimmering in the sunlight amid her mother's golden
hair. "I heard Eddie say to Allie that oo had."

Allie, hearing her little sister's remarks, came out and kissed
her affectionately; then, sitting upon her mother's lap, she
lovingly entwined her right arm round her neck, while she caressed
and smoothed her hair with her left hand, and said:

"Yes, mamma, dear, there are now a great many 'silver threads
among the gold,' and yet I don't think my own dear mamma is
growing old at all." And then, as the white tears glistened in her
dark eyes, she continued: "I hope my darling mamma's life is not
passing fast away, for Eddie was saying last night that he was
sure there never was another mother so patient, loving and good as
you are;" and she kissed her again and again.

Ruth returned her child's caresses and said: "I am sure, Allie
darling, I am very happy to know my children love me so fondly;
but if God saw fit to take me, He would care for my motherless
children. He has promised to be a 'Father to the fatherless;' but
tell Eliza to hasten up tea, for here comes your pa."

The conference between mother and daughter was suddenly broken up
by the husband and father's return to his tea. He was in high
spirits, and having brought home a beautiful gros grain silk dress
as a present to Ruth, he claimed a kiss as a bounty. He said to
her: "I want you to congratulate me, dear, for Mr. Gurney has been
so well pleased with me that he has raised my salary; so it will
be the same as what I received when in Rochester, and as our
living is much cheaper here, I consider it fully equal to a
hundred dollars a year more. I am sure, dear, you find the people
equally as considerate and kind as you did in your other home. Do
you not?"

"Yes, dear, I have every cause to be thankful." She could truly
thus speak; for, with the exception of the interview with Aunt
Debie, her intercourse with her neighbors had been of the most
pleasing character. They could not, in fact, do otherwise than
treat Ruth Ashton with considerate kindness, as her amiable
disposition drew all hearts to her, and her intelligent culture
caused even the comparatively ignorant to respect her; for they
instinctively realized she was a lady.

"I am sure, Richard, dear," she said, "that wherever you and our
children are, if we are enjoying health and comparative prosperity,
I cannot but feel contented. I should be very ungrateful, indeed,
if I did not do so. Have we not every reason to be thankful? We
are living in this delightful home, and is it not like Mount Zion,
beautiful for situation?" As she spoke she drew aside the curtain,
and looked out upon the flowers and gravelled walks which,
sweeping in a circle, enclosed a closely-cropped lawn, with
flower-beds on either side of and bordering them, and through
an opening they could see the broad river that gradually widened
until it entered the bay, which was dotted here and there with
white sails, and away in the dim distance they could just discern
the blue waters of the wide-sweeping Ontario. And, as she opened
the window the breeze came fresh from the bay, catching, as it
came, the fragrance of the clover and flowers, which had an
exhilarating effect upon those who inhaled its fragrance. In fact,
her words were emphasized by the silent but poetic eloquence
of the surroundings.

Just then Eddie came in, bringing a fine string of fish. He had
been angling in a stream which flowed into the river, a little
more than a mile from the town, and had succeeded in capturing
some really fine trout. His father, as he looked at them, said
they were "speckled beauties," and they were; for, after counting
them and finding there were nineteen, the scales were brought in,
when they were found to weigh ten pounds.

Eddie's eyes sparkled with triumph. He enjoyed his success all the
more because his father had indulged in a little good-natured
banter as he was starting away, asking him if he should send out a
cart to bring home what he would catch. He now felt he could turn
the laugh against his father.

But who has ever yet caught a fine string of fish without being
proud of his success? Even my reader, who may have reached life's
summit, and is now on the steep decline, if he ever has indulged
in the "gentle art," so beautifully delineated by quaint old Izaac
Walton, will, I think, acknowledge that even yet he feels somewhat
elated when he is so fortunate as to bring home a nice basket of
the "speckled beauties," thus manifesting to all that his hand has
not lost its cunning; but his feelings are cold when compared to
the joy that animates the youthful heart under similar circumstances.

Let any gentleman who may read these pages go back, in memory, to
the sunny days of boyhood, when he returned home with a "fine
string"--the result of a day's fishing--how enthusiastically he
entered into the description of the manner in which the big ones
were captured. And then, with a tinge of regret in the tones, how
graphically he related the escape of some monster of the stream,
which, probably, carried away the hook and part of the line. If
you can remember such episodes in your life, now, alas! in the
long ago--and if you cannot the author sincerely pities you--then
you can have some idea of the triumph of Eddie Ashton upon the
evening in question. He had fished on several occasions in the
river and bay, both with rod and with trolling line, and had been
moderately successful, catching some fine pike and bass--larger
indeed than he had ever seen before, even in the fish-market in
the city; but their capture did not animate him with pride like
this day's catch. He had often read of trout-fishing, and had
longed to participate in its exciting pleasures, thinking how
delighted he should be if he were ever so fortunate as to bring
home even a few; but never in his wildest dreams did he anticipate
anything like what he had now actually realized. That night he sat
down and wrote to Jim Williams, telling him of his success, and
then asking him if he thought Canada was such a slow place to live
in after all.

As the Ashton family gathered round the tea board in their neat
cosy dining-room that beautiful summer evening they presented a
picture of true happiness. They had still many things left which
they had purchased in the days of their opulence. The silver tea
set was shining upon the board as brightly now as it did fifteen
years before. The table was spread with a snow-white cloth--one
that had been brought from over the sea. The silver spoons and
china tea set were also mementos of the dear old home land. The
fare was simple but ample, and there was so much of kindly mirth
and genial wit that each one was happy.

Richard Ashton had not lost his fine sense of humor, and he dearly
loved to enjoy a joke with his wife and children, though he never
indulged in witticisms that would wound the feelings of the most
sensitive person; he was too much of a gentleman to thus torture
others.

If a person could have been present that night, without
restraining their innocent mirth, and participated in the joy of
that happy family, he would never have dreamed that less than one
short year before there had been a dark cloud of sorrow lowering
over them, shutting out all the sunlight from their view.

"Our business has been developing very rapidly lately," said Mr.
Ashton; "there has not been a period during the time in which Mr.
Gurney has been in business that the sales have equalled this
month. And this is the reason, I suppose, he has raised my salary
sooner than he promised. I think I have no cause to be discouraged
with the result."

The dark eyes of Richard Ashton flashed pleasure as he thus spoke,
and the eyes of his wife and children caught and reflected back
the light.

"Pa," said Allie, "my music teacher spoke very kindly to-day, and
said I had made much more advancement than any of his pupils. He
also said if I only had the opportunity I would be much above
mediocrity as a musician. I do wish, papa, that an opening might
occur. Ella Fair has been to Toronto for a year taking lessons
from one who is considered among the best teachers in Canada, and
yet my teacher told me to-day that neither her touch nor her
execution of difficult parts could be compared to my own."

"I am afraid," said her father, "that Mr. Stevens is praising you
so much that he will make you vain. You must remember you are only
a little girl as yet, and have to finish your studies at the High
School. I think there is too much superficiality in the education
of the young in this country, especially in the education of young
girls. There seems to be a desire for what is named the
accomplishments, while even the rudiments of an English education
are to a great extent neglected.

"Why, the young lady of whom you were speaking bought the material
for a silk dress from me to-day, and she undertook to make up the
bill, but failed to do so. I am certain I should have had no
difficulty in reckoning it when I was a mere child, eight years of
age; and though she appeared to be so estimable young lady, her
English was execrable and her slang phrases offensive to
cultivated ears. I concluded if she had only been thoroughly
taught in one of our common schools, she would have appeared to
much better advantage.

"I hope, Allie, you will not become so entirely absorbed in your
music as to neglect those primary studies, which certainly are of
much greater importance. Pastry is all very well for dessert; it
is, however, a very poor substitute for bread.

"But be diligent with your studies, dear, and then we will
probably, some day, see if something cannot be done. If you will
play a piece for me I shall be happy to listen to you after tea."

"I tay, papa," said little Mamie, "I'se going to have a foochoo,"
and she shook her head in coquettish consequence, till the curls
fell over her eyes and nearly hid them from view.

"A foochoo? What is that, little sunbeam? Is it a Chinese doll, or
a doggie, or what is it?"

Of course, by this time, the whole family had joined in a good-natured
laugh at little Mamie's expense.

"No, no, papa, a foochoo--a pant dat will have a petty fower, I
mean. Mrs. Gurney was here, and she taid she ood div me a foochoo
in a petty 'ittle pot, and dat den I ood have my own fowers, and
tood water and tend 'em all myself."

"Oh, it is a fuchsia that she is to give you! Well, I am sure papa
is glad that his little sunbeam is to have a pretty plant to tend;
and if she smiles as sweetly at it as she does at her papa, it
will be a very naughty plant indeed if it does not soon have a
great many beautiful flowers."

"Do you know, papa," said Mrs. Ashton, "that your little daughter
has learned another hymn to sing for you, and she would like to
sing it to you before you return to the store, if it will not
detain you too long."

"Is that so?" said Mr. Aston. "Then, by all means, papa must hear
it."

"I 'earned it from Allie," said Mamie, "and she has been teaching
me this 'ong, 'ong time; but dey told me I was not to 'et papa
know till I had dot it dood."

"Well, Allie," said her father, "you come and give me your piece,
and then I will hear my little Mamie."

Allie sat down at the piano and played Thalberg's "Home, Sweet
Home," and as she rendered it its sweet pathos went to the heart
of her father, and he paid her the highest compliment possible;
for when she had finished she found him with his head turned away
to hide his emotion.

It had brought back the dear old home of his boyhood, and the dear
ones who had made it so happy, but who had long, long ago gone to
the home above; and then his thoughts came back to his present
happy home, and he thought of the dear inmates who had been so
true to him when he had been so untrue to himself. The piece was,
in his estimation, the sweetest, the most thrilling, the most
delicately and tenderly touching of anything to which he had ever
listened.

"It is certainly very fine, my darling," he said, as he stooped
and kissed Allie. "I never had music exercise such a power over
me; it was almost painful in its thrilling ecstasy."

The fine dark eyes of Allie glowed with happiness as she listened
to the commendation of her father. Praise from any other lips
would be but as "sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal" when
compared with his; for her love for him, under every circumstance,
through evil as well as good report, was so great that she would
have died for him; and his praise of her singing filled her with
inexpressible joy.

"Now, little sunbeam," said Mr. Ashton, "I will hear you sing your
piece. Come, Allie, and play for her, for I must soon return to
the shop."

Allie again took her place at the piano and played the prelude,
and then started little Mamie, who sang:

  "I am so glad that my Father in heaven
   Tells of His love in the Book He has given.
   Wonderful things in the Bible I see,
   But this is the dearest--that Jesus loves me.

       "I am so glad that Jesus loves me--
        Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me;
        I am so glad that Jesus loves me--
        Jesus loves even me."

There was something in the singing of his little prattler which
filled Richard Ashton with strange awe. As she lisped out "I am so
glad," with note as clear as the carolling of a lark, the look of
seraphic rapture which overspread her face evinced that she had
entered into the spirit of the piece and that her little heart was
glad. As he looked into the face of his wife he saw, intuitively,
her thoughts were as his, and he whispered to her: "Ruth, dear,
she seems too fair, too sweet, too good for earth; I am sometimes
afraid that God will take her from us."

Mrs. Ashton made no reply; her heart was too full for speech. But
as he looked at Allie he saw she had caught his whispered words,
and--it seemed almost in unconscious harmony with her thoughts--her
fingers struck the keys and her lips warbled forth in sweetest
pathos the simple but tenderly touching words:

  "Strange, we never prize the music
     Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown!
   Strange, that we should slight the violets
     Till the lovely flowers are gone!
   Strange, that summer skies and sunshine
     Never seem one half so fair
   As when winter's snowy pinions
     Shake the white down in the air!

       "Then scatter seeds of kindness," etc.

They each of them kissed the little one who was to them so dear.

"My little girl sang that beautifully," said her father, "but she
must not sing too much; I am afraid, if she does, she will injure
her voice."

"Call Eddie," he said; and Mamie ran out for him, for he had gone
out immediately after supper to exhibit his catch to the son of a
neighbor. Mamie met him, and told him that his father was waiting
to have prayer.

It was now the custom of Richard Ashton to gather his wife and
children around him at the family altar, both morning and evening,
to sing a hymn and read a portion of Scripture; and then to
supplicate the Father in heaven for His benediction upon the
little group that were there assembled.

He had commenced family worship when they were married, but as his
views changed he gradually desisted, and finally left off
entirely. This caused Ruth great grief, for she had ever been a
conscientious and consistent Christian. Since they came to Bayton
she had prevailed upon him to resume the custom that was such a
source of joy and comfort to them in the halcyon days of yore. He
always held the service in the morning before breakfast and just
after supper in the evening, as then all the children could be
present.

When Eddie came his father took down the family Bible. They then
sang an appropriate hymn, and, after reading a chapter, he carried
them all to a throne of grace in prayer.

The Bible from which he read the lesson had been in the family for
four generations, and in the family record there were the names of
some who had been gathered to their fathers for over a hundred
years. It had been left him by his mother, and almost her last
words were spoken as she presented it to him. She said: "Take
this, my son; it has been your mother's counsellor and guide
through life, and when other friends failed her it was true. Go to
it for counsel every day, my son; it will be better unto thee than
thousands of gold and silver."

The son took it with a determination to guard it as a precious
treasure, and to leave it as an heirloom to his children. He
penned upon its flyleaf the beautiful words of the poet Morris, as
they so explicitly expressed the incidents which were associated
with his own experience:

  "This Book is all that's left me now;
     Tears will unbidden start;
   With faltering lip and throbbing brow
     I press it to my heart.
   For many generations past
     Here is our family tree,
   My mother's hand this Bible clasped,
     She dying gave it me."


After prayer he went to his shop thanking God in his heart for His
mercy to him after all his lapses. And there was that glow of
happiness reigning in his soul which he only knows who has a happy
home.

Never were truer words penned than those of the poor wanderer,
John Howard Payne:

  "Be it ever so humble,
   There's no place like home."

If a man has hearts that love him there, he is better prepared to
successfully meet and overcome life's difficulties and to endure
buffetings from the outside world. It seems eminently felicitous
that heaven should be called home; for the name is associated with
the sweetest, purest, holiest joys that are experienced in this
life. It raises our hopes, and fills us with a glorious
expectancy, when we think of that place of rest as "home, sweet
home."



CHAPTER XV.

MR. AND MRS. GURNEY'S SATISFACTION WITH ASHTON; MUTUAL
CONGRATULATIONS.


The next summer and winter passed away and there was nothing
transpired to cause sorrow to rest upon the home of Richard and
Ruth Ashton. They and their children were winning golden opinions
from all with whom they were associated; and as Mr. Gurney's
business prospered under the management of the former, who proved
himself to be reliable, Mr. Gurney felt very thankful that he had
secured so good a man.

"I think, dear," he said to his wife one day, "we might have gone
farther and fared worse. I did not dream that I would be so
relieved from responsibility. Ashton is certainly one of the best
business men I have ever met."

"True," interjected Mrs. Gurney, "I came to that conclusion from
almost the first; and his courteous, gentlemanly demeanour makes
him a general favorite."

"Yes," continued Mr. Gurney, "and then he is so clear-sighted,
intelligent, and energetic; so conscientious in regard to what he
owes to his employer that he takes just as much interest in the
business as if it were his own."

"I am sure, James," his wife replied, "we were divinely directed;
the clouds of our affliction were so dark they hid all the
sunlight from our view; but yet we can now see, can we not, dear,
that they were lined with silver?"

"Yes," he replied; "God's ways are not our ways."

"I hope," she said, "Mr. Ashton may continue as he has so far; but
if he were again to fall a victim to his old habit I should not,
even then, regret that we employed him."

"How is that, my dear?" queried Mr. Gurney.

"Why, because in so doing, James, we have kept him from sin for a
considerable period of time, and enabled him to sustain in
comparative comfort his wife and family. And then I esteem it a
great privilege to be intimately acquainted with such a family.
Mrs. Ashton is certainly one of the most estimable women with whom
I have ever associated; and their children are, to my mind, models
of what children should be--they are so bright and amiable, so
gentle to each other, and so obedient to their parents. Besides,
he has taken such an interest in your business, and has so won the
confidence of the public by his engaging manners and what seems to
be his intuitive insight into character; and his power to please
has helped your business so."

"Yes, I think you are about right, dear. In fact, I know you are,
as far as what you said applies to myself, for I am certain I
would not have recuperated so soon had it not been that I was
relieved from a great deal of care and worry by my confidence in
him, while I have had enough to employ my mind to keep me from
brooding sorrow. I am now confident the doctor gave me the best
possible advice when he said, 'You had better not give up your
business.'"

"I am certain, dear," his wife said, "that the course you adopted
was the very best under the circumstances; but, as you just
remarked, it would not have done to have tried if you had not had
a foreman to relieve you from all worry."

"Well, my dear," he remarked, "if it has turned out well for all
parties concerned, it is you who deserves the credit. I believe a
woman's instinctive perception of character is keener and clearer
than that of a man's. And the heart of a true woman always beats
responsive to human woe. If charity depended entirely upon the
sterner sex, there would be many hearts which have been made happy
by the beneficent hand of charity still unrelieved, and many homes
which are now happy would be filled with misery--their inmates
almost shut out from hope and sinking in despair."

"Thee mustn't flatter so, or I'll get vain," she said playfully,
at the same time going over to his chair and, kissing him lightly
on the forehead. She always spoke the plain language when she
wished to manifest her affection, for it was the language that
both of them spoke in their childhood.

"I do not deserve any more credit than you do. You hesitated, in
order that you might look at the matter from all sides, and view
it in all its bearings; you wished to weigh it carefully in your
mind, and not come to a conclusion from the impulse of the moment.
You desired to do what was best for all concerned, and I have no
doubt but you would have concluded to do just what you did."

"I might, or I might not," he said; "but thee seemed to conclude
at once that he would be just the man for me; and then thee pitied
him so that I think thee wanted to give him a chance under any
circumstances."

"Well--yes, James, I will admit I did; but I must say that from
the very first I liked him, and thought he would be, if he kept
from drink, just the man for you. And I think you may be right in
your estimate of women; for I have no doubt they have an intuitive
perception of character that is, to a certain extent, lacking in
men; this, in many instances at least, takes the place of
reasoning with them. I also believe their hearts are more easily
influenced by the appeals of want or sorrow, and that therefore
they are more frequently found taking the initiative in matters
that appeal largely to the heart. Their nature and their position
alike fit them for this."

"Let me see, Sarah!" said Mr. Gurney, jocosely. "You are among
those strong-minded women that believe in women being the equal of
man in every respect, and should have the same rights as men."

"Now, James, thee knows better than that, and simply likes to
tease. I believe that women should have the same rights as men, in
their proper sphere; and I would like to see them have a right to
vote on this temperance question, for if they had they would soon
sweep the land clear of its most blighting curse; but except for
this purpose I think the right place for woman to exert an
influence is in the home circle: though, James, thee knows," she
said, "that 'George Eliot' and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are, in
their field, unexcelled--though I never think of the former
without sorrow and shame--and there are a great many more whom I
might mention. Then I often think, dear, there would be a much
larger proportion of eminent women if they had the same chances as
your sex; in their daily rounds of domestic duties they have not
the same opportunities of development. I think it may be better
that it is so; but yet, in making a comparison of the two sexes,
we should not overlook this fact. Gray's lines--

  'Full many a gem of purest ray serene
     The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
   Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
     And waste its sweetness on the desert air'--

"I think, are even more applicable to the women than to the men.
But I am talking too much. Does thee not feel tired, dear? If thee
does not, I do; come, let's make ready for bed."

"Yes, dear, I do feel tired, for I have had rather a hard day; but
I am very thankful I can now go to bed and sleep. If I was not so
weary I would answer that long speech," he said, playfully: "Thee
may expect a crushing reply at some other time."



CHAPTER XVI.

ASHTON RE-VISITS OLD SCENES.


A week or two after the conversation we recorded in the last
chapter, Richard Ashton spoke to Mr. Gurney in regard to his
contemplated journey to Rochester. He wished to go that he might
settle his business with the man who had purchased his place.

Mr. Gurney was well aware that such a journey was contemplated,
and he was sincerely sorry that such was the case.

Ashton, during the year that was passed, had never left the town
for any purpose whatever, and had kept so strictly to his business
as not to form any association with those who would be likely to
lead him astray. Mr. Gurney, therefore, was not altogether
satisfied that he would have strength enough to resist the
temptations to which he would be exposed when he met his old
associates in Rochester. He plainly told Ashton what his fear was,
but the latter assured him he would pass through the ordeal and
come out unscathed. So Mr. Gurney expressed the hope that he would
bring his business to a successful issue, and return with improved
health from his trip, and he then bade him a kindly good-bye.

But it was his wife who experienced the greatest anxiety. Ruth had
from the beginning expressed her fears as to the result of the
voyage. It seemed to her like courting temptation. She thought the
business might have been settled through his solicitor without his
going in person. But, as he seemed bent on the journey, she did
not like to make many objections; she was afraid, by so doing, she
would wound his feelings, for he would be certain to interpret the
objections as inspired by her fears of his falling, and, strange
to say, that, like a great many others in similar circumstances,
he seemed to be very much hurt if anyone hinted to him that there
was any danger of his drinking again.

She had, however, prevailed upon him to take Eddie along. She
thought his presence would have a restraining influence upon his
father, and she reasoned, if he should again fall, Eddie could, to
some extent, take care of him.

The thought of this journey had so preyed upon her mind that it
robbed her of her sleep; and now, as the time more nearly
approached, her anxiety deepened into anguish which was all the
more acute because she dare not make a confident of him from whom
she kept no other secret. Only to Him from whom no thoughts are
hidden, did she go and tell her anguish, and pray for strength to
bear up under her great sorrow. She also prayed that God would
protect him who was dearer to her than her own life.

It was nearly a year from the day in which they first landed in
Bayton, when Richard Ashton was again bidding his wife and
children an affectionate farewell, ere he departed on a journey to
another land. It was undertaken under much more favorable auspices
than when he started from Rochester to Canada; for in the first
instance he was journeying to a strange land on an errand of
doubtful success, while in the present instance he was going to a
place with which he was familiar, where he would have old friends
to bid him welcome, and kindly hearts to care for him. And yet, if
possible, there was greater dread entertained by his wife now than
there had been on the former occasion. Then he could scarcely make
his position worse, and there was a possibility of his bettering
it; now there was everything to lose and nothing to gain.

True, he had assured her she had nothing to fear. Just the night
before he started he had said, as he lovingly threw his arms
around her and drew her to him:--

"I know, Ruth, darling, you are suffering anxiety upon my account,
and are fearing I shall not have strength to resist the temptation
to which I shall be exposed; but you need not fear, little wife, I
shall return as I leave you. I have made up my mind, God helping
me, I will never drink again."

The tears started from Ruth's eyes as he spoke, and she threw her
arms around his neck as she clung to him, sobbing as she did so.
She spoke no word in denial of what he had stated concerning her
fears in his behalf, but simply murmured: "God bless you, my
darling; I know I am a poor, weak, foolish little thing to grieve
so at parting from you; but oh, Richard, I am afraid something
will happen you, and we are so happy now!"

He endeavoured to calm her by loving caresses. He was not at all
surprised that his wife should be troubled with anxious fear. He
inwardly resolved he would so acquit himself this time that she
should ever after, in this as in other respects, repose the most
perfect confidence in him.

As we said, on the morning in question he and Eddie kissed their
loved ones good-bye and took the seven o'clock train for the place
in which they had spent so many happy years.

The wife and mother, with her two children who had accompanied
them to the station, looked at the receding train with tearful
eyes.

It was a beautiful morning: the first beams of the slowly-rising
sun, stealing gently above the eastern hills, scattered the mist
of the morning and bathed the river and bay in its golden light. A
robin, which was perched upon a maple growing not far from where
Ruth and her children were standing, was singing its lay to the
morning, and the atmosphere was balmy with the breath of flowers.
It was a morning to charm the heart into joyousness, and yet the
heart of Ruth Ashton was filled with unutterable woe. The thoughts
which had borne so heavily upon her spirits for so long a period
of time now came with redoubled force, and dark, dreadful
forebodings and sorrowful memories assailed her soul and filled it
with unspeakable anguish.

"Oh, my Father, help me to bear up!" she prayed. "Oh, why am I
filled with dread, with this awful fear?"

Taking her children by the hand, she led them back to the house.
They uttered no word, even little Mamie seeming to understand that
her mother's heart was too full for words.



CHAPTER XVII.

MR. HOWE GIVES HIS VIEWS IN REGARD TO CANADA.


Richard Ashton found many in Rochester who were glad to see him
again and extend to him a most cordial welcome. He soon had
completed his business with Mr. Howe, the gentleman who had
purchased his property, and was ready to return to Canada.

"I suppose you are able to exist in that country, Ashton," said
Mr. Howe. "The climate must be somewhat healthy, or you and your
boy would not be so hearty. But, from what I hear, I would not
like to put in much of the time that may be allotted to me on this
terrestrial sphere in a land where the thermometer so assiduously
courts zero; and then the nature of the soil will keep it from
ever amounting to much. The fact is, Ashton, the only hope for
Canada is annexation to the United States."

When Mr. Howe made these remarks he threw himself back in his
chair, elevated his feet on the back of another chair, took
another chew of his honey dew, and, as he whittled a stick,
consequentially shook his head, as much as to say, "I know what I
am talking about."

"You are altogether mistaken, Mr. Howe, in almost everything about
Canada, as most of your countrymen are."

"Well, I may be, but I would like to know in what particulars."

"Well, in the first place, in regard to the climate. I suppose you
will be somewhat surprised when I inform you that it has not been
so cold this winter where I reside as it has been in Rochester;
for I have carefully noted what the thermometer registered in both
places, and we had the advantage of you in this respect. As to the
soil, there is no part of the world in which I have travelled, not
even your much-lauded and far-famed Genesee, has better land than
the country surrounding the town of Bayton, and I have been
informed from the most reliable sources that the major portion of
the land in Ontario is of a similar character."

"I want to know!" ejaculated Mr. Howe.

"And then we have the great North-West, that is just opening up,
which they say has as fine land as the world possesses, and to an
extent that is practically illimitable. This is settling rapidly,
and will be in some future day the home of countless millions."

"I guess you are going to your imagination for your facts now,
Ashton. Why, man, the thermometer often sinks to forty below zero.
They'd freeze out; no white population can stand that."

"But, my dear fellow, they have stood it, and 'facts are stubborn
things;' and you are well aware that at this present time the
northern nations are the ones that lead the world in skill,
enterprise, and deeds of daring. And then the atmosphere is so
clear and dry that those who have resided there for years say they
do not suffer from cold to the same extent as they did in
countries where it was not nearly so cold but where the atmosphere
was more humid."

"Well, all I can say is, they may stay and shiver there for all
me. I wouldn't live there all my life if they'd give me the whole
concern. No, no, not for Joseph!"

"I wouldn't trust you, sir, if you had the offer."

"You might."

"Then there is something else I wish to mention, and that is, our
Common School system is not surpassed in the world; and for
intelligent, healthy lads and lasses we will compare favorably
with any country under the sun.

"The fact is, Mr. Howe, we like you as neighbors, but are too
loyal to our Queen and mother land ever to want to be united by
any closer ties."

"Well, then, if Canada is the Eden you paint it how is it the
views of Canadian life and scenery are so wintry looking? Why,
sir, in the show rooms of the artists in this city--and you will
see the same in artists' rooms of England and even Europe--there
are sketches of Canadian scenes, and almost invariably something
wintry is suggested--men in great fur overcoats and caps, muffled
up to the eyes, and with capouches that seemed capacious enough to
carry a week's stock of provisions, and yet have spare room; the
men generally having on snow-shoes and accompanied with Indians to
wait on them, and dogs to drag their toboggans, while all around
them are heaps of snow piled up on huge rocks, and overtopping and
bearing down short scrubby pines and firs. If you have a good
country I calculate that such pictures as these, no matter what
may be their artistic merits, are poor advertisements, and will
not get you many immigrants."

"I am well aware of this. But I suppose you know these scenes have
been got up, for effect, in the studios of enterprising
photographer; and though they may be very fair representations of
some parts of our Dominion in the depth of winter, they represent
the country, generally, about as faithfully as winter views from
the main lumber woods, or even from Alaska, would represent the
United States."

At that moment Eddie, who had been enjoying himself with some of
his old friends, came in. He asked his father if he might go and
spend the afternoon and evening with his old and very particular
friend, Jim Williams; as there was yet two days ere the time
expired upon which he had decided to return home, he gave Eddie
permission to go and extend his visit until the next day.

Eddie, during that afternoon, accompanied by his friend, visited
some of the old familiar places; they were dear to him, because
they were associated in his mind with some of the happiest hours
in his life; and he thought that, though in the land where it
seemed to be his destiny to reside in the future there were many
attractive spots which would, no doubt, in time be very dear to
him, he would never forget his old home nor the scenes where he
had played in childhood's happy hours.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE BANQUET, AND WHAT FOLLOWED.


Richard Ashton had been invited by some of his friends to a supper
at the Metropolitan Hotel, which had been specially got up for his
benefit.

His first thought was that he would absolutely refuse to accept
the invitation--he was afraid he might be tempted to drink; but as
he concluded it would be considered ungracious on his part to
refuse he decided to go, but only on the understanding if there
was any toast-drinking he would be permitted to pledge them in
pure cold water.

When the members of the committee who had been appointed to wait
upon him heard his decision, they said they certainly could not
object to his observing his own mind; that they had no desire to
cause him to violate his principles; in fact, they gave it as
their opinion that there would not be a person present who would
not respect him the more for proving that he had the courage of
his convictions.

Upon the night appointed he went to the banquet, and it passed off
as such affairs usually do. Many very gracious and pleasant things
were said of the guest of the evening in the eulogistic strains
which generally characterize speeches made on such occasions. How
much of what was said was sincere, and how much mere complimentary
phraseology of the dental kind, I will allow those who are in the
habit of attending such parties to decide.

The meeting at last ended, as all meetings on earth do. But this
differed in one respect from the great majority of such
gatherings--that is, those who attended it at least left the
banqueting room sober; though, as the sequel will show, one of
them was not so fortunate as to reach his lodgings in that
condition.

"I will accompany you home, Ashton," said one who had taken a very
active part in the entertainment.

"I am sure, Chappell, I should like very much to have your
company, but I could not think of allowing you to put yourself to
such trouble on my account; of course you are aware that I am well
acquainted with the city."

"Oh, I am well aware of that, but you seem to forget that until we
cross the bridge my way home lies in the same direction as your
own; and then I can, after seeing you up the avenue, cross by the
way of Alexander or Jefferson Street to my own lodgings."

"It is exceedingly kind of you, Chappell, to make the offer, and I
shall be thankful for your company as far as the bridge, but I
shall insist upon our separating there, as I will soon reach
Reid's after that."

Chappell, after what seemed at least to be a vigorous protest,
finally yielded, and they started on their homeward journey.

The night was dark and cold--one of those chilly nights which we
frequently experience in the first week of June--and they had to
walk along briskly to keep themselves warm.

"Halloa, Chappell, is that you? Where are you going at this time
of night? It seems to me rather peculiar that a man who sits in
his pew every Sunday and listens to eloquent homilies on the evils
that result from the keeping of late hours and indulging in
bacchanalian revels should be wending his way home in the small
hours of the morning. Come, sir, give an account of yourself!" and
he slapped Chappell familiarly on the shoulder, and stood right in
his way, hindering his further progress.

"Allow me, Lawrence," said Chappell, "before answering your
question, to introduce you to Mr. Ashton."

"Oh, that is not necessary; we are old acquaintances, but I did
not expect to have the pleasure of meeting him to-night. I thought
he had migrated northward. I am happy to meet you again, Mr.
Ashton; but it is cold, let us step into Conglin's, he is open
yet. I want a few moments' conversation with you, Chappell."

Chappell asked Ashton if he would have any objections, and he, in
reply, said if they would excuse him he'd journey homeward, for
his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Reid, with whom he was stopping, would
not go to bed until he returned, and he would be sinning against
their hospitality by remaining longer.

"But a few moments will not make any particular difference," said
Lawrence, "and you will particularly oblige me if you step in for
a moment or two, as I should like to have your opinion in regard
to something of consequence."

Ashton, who, as the reader has already discovered, had a facile
disposition, and was easily persuaded, yielded, and followed
Lawrence and Chappell into the cosy sitting-room of Conglin's
hotel.

The fire was burning brightly, and the atmosphere of the room was
particularly warm and comfortable to men who had been out in the
chill night air as they had been, with clothing that was not heavy
enough to keep them warm.

"Just remain here a moment or two, gentlemen," said Lawrence, "I
have a word or two to say to our mutual friend, Tom."

According to his promise he soon returned, but the landlord
accompanied him carrying a tray, upon which there were three
steaming glasses of whiskey punch.

"Gentlemen," said Lawrence, "it is not necessary for me to
introduce you to Tom Conglin, for you have both been acquainted
with him and his liquors in the long ago, and you know he always
kept the very best brands. But I think this old rye is better than
any he has ever had before. It is only, however, as the Scripture
says "darkening counsel by words," to tell either of you the
quality of liquor, for you have only to taste to immediately and
correctly pass judgment. It was in regard to this matter I asked
for your counsel. Come, gentlemen, after paying your respects to
our jolly host we will do honor to his liquor."

They both shook hands with old Tom Conglin, a large, red-faced
individual, who, evidently, knew the flavor of his favorite
liquors. He expressed himself as particularly delighted to meet
Ashton, and said he was sorry that they lost him; which no doubt
was true, for Ashton had been one of his best customers, and had
left with him many a dollar.

Chappell, who was standing near to Ashton, and was afraid he was
about to refuse, whispered to him not to do so. "It will give
offence," he said. "A glass will do you no harm, and may do you a
great deal of good."

When the tray was presented he hesitated a moment, and then
stifling, as men will sometimes, every warning of conscience, he
took the fatal glass, and was again the foolish victim of his
facile disposition and his appetite for strong drink.

He might, if he had watched the faces of Chappell and Lawrence,
have noticed that a significant look passed between them when he
took the glass, and that a gleam of hellish triumph shone in their
eyes.

"Come, Tom, bring us some more liquor," said Chappell. "I will
have another glass of punch. What will you have, gentlemen?"

"I will have the same," said Lawrence.

"What will you have, Ashton?" and as Ashton hesitated a moment
before replying Chappell spoke for him: "Silence gives consent; he
will keep us company."

"Of course you will bring one for yourself, Tom."

"I never refuse to take a glass with a gentleman, especially in
such company as the present."

They were soon engaged sipping their fuming punch, and in a very
short time Ashton seemed the gayest and most voluble of the
company.



CHAPTER XIX.

A STARTLING NEWSPAPER ITEM TO MR. AND MRS. REID.


That night Mr. and Mrs. Reid waited long and anxiously for Ashton,
but as he did not return they concluded he must have decided to
remain at the Metropolitan, so at one o'clock in the morning they
retired, not, however, without misgivings that all was not right.

They slept long that morning, and when they had completed their
toilets Mr. Reid found the Rochester _Democrat_ lying at the
door. He read it leisurely as he ate his toast and sipped his
coffee, now and then reading an item which he thought would be
particularly interesting to his wife. Suddenly he exclaimed:

"My God, it is Ashton!" And in his excitement he sprang from his
seat, nearly upsetting the table and seriously frightening Mrs.
Reid.

"What is it Robert?" she said. "Oh, read it please."

In answer to her request he read the following:--

"As policeman Rogers was walking his beat about half-past one this
morning, he heard a cry for help, which was evidently stifled. He
ran towards the spot whence he thought the sound came, and as he
neared the bridge he saw three men apparently engaged in a
desperate struggle. He sounded his rattle for assistance; two of
them, who evidently had been garroting and robbing the third, ran,
leaving him lying motionless on the tow-path. He had either been
choked until he was insensible, or else he had been made so stupid
by drink as to be incapable of thought or action. Policeman
Johnson coming up, they gave chase to the other two who, however,
made good their escape. They carried the one who had been
assaulted to No. ---- Station, where he was recognized by Sergeant
Jameson as a man by the name of Ashton, who was once in the employ
of Robertson & Co., but had lately been residing in Canada. He
came over to settle his business with Mr. Howe, who purchased some
property from him. He evidently had been intoxicated, and while
thus was waylaid and robbed. He had not, up to the time of our
going to press, sufficiently recovered to be able to give an
account of the affair, so at present it remains a mystery."

"Oh, Robert, you must go at once," said his wife; "the poor fellow
has fallen again. I am afraid some of the party have made a
pretence of doing him special honor in order that they might
entice him to drink, and then waylay and rob him. Do you know,
dear, whether he carried much money on his person?"

"I don't think he had any but what he brought from Canada. I
remember hearing him say he had deposited what he had received
from Mr. Howe in the bank, but I have no doubt he had quite a sum
with him, and of course they would rob him of all he had."

"I think he said Eddie was stopping with Mr. Williams. I will run
up and tell him, and then go to the police station and see what I
can do."

"The poor boy will be nearly frightened to death," said Mrs. Reid;
"and if there is anything very serious comes from this, God help
Mrs. Ashton! The poor creature has had her own trouble."

Mr. Reid found Eddie eating his breakfast, and in as quiet a
manner as possible broke the news, endeavoring to avoid every
expression that would cause unnecessary alarm. But at the first
hint every particle of color left the boy's face and he sprang to
his feet, saying:

"Oh, Mr. Reid! what has happened to my father? Please tell me
quickly."

Mr. Reid quietly handed him the paper, and as he took it, so great
was his agitation, his hand trembled like an aspen leaf; but when
he had read the paragraph which particularly interested him, it
had just the opposite effect upon him to what Mr. Reid expected;
for he seemed at once to become another person, and the boy of
fifteen was as if transformed by some cabalistic power into a man.

"Let us go at once," he said with decision; and, as the tears
gushed from his eyes and streamed down over his cheek he murmured,
"Oh, my poor mother! if she hears of this it will break her
heart."



CHAPTER XX.

A BASE PLOT, AND WHAT IT LED TO.


"I say, Bill, I have a pretty good lay for you, and I think you
can work it without much risk."

The speaker was Chappell, and the person whom he addressed was
Lawrence.

We, in the preceding chapter, introduced these worthies into this
story, but as we wish our readers to become more thoroughly
acquainted with them, will now give them a more formal introduction.

Moses Chappell was the son of highly respectable parents, and had
the advantages that are ever associated with a home where there is
comparative wealth, culture, and purity. He had a fair education,
possessed a fine person and a gracious, polished manner.

When quite a young man he commenced the study of law with a firm
in the city, but he became so unsteady in his habits that it took
him a year or two longer to get through than the course required.
When he became an attorney,--it being immediately after the close
of the war,--he, through the influence of his friends, secured the
position of claim agent; and as there were a great many soldiers
who had claims for extra bounty and for pensions to prosecute, it
was not long before he secured a large share of this business.

It was just after he had entered into business on his own
responsibility that he became acquainted with Ashton. At that time
he was simply looked upon as a rather fast young man, who would
take a glass with a friend, and, as the boys would say, "just once
in a while get a little 'O be joyful!'" But among this class he
passed as a "Jolly good fellow!"

During the last year his degeneracy had been very rapid, and he
had become almost a confirmed drunkard, it being well known by the
initiated that he indulged in the passion of gambling, by which he
lost a great deal of money.

A short time before Ashton's return to Rochester, Chappell's
losses were, for him, very large indeed; and as his income failed
to meet his liabilities, he took the money which he had collected
from the Government for his clients, to meet his gambling debts,
and also to make new ventures, with the hope that he would win
back all his losses. But, as he expressed it, luck seemed to have
turned against him, and he lost in one night, by wild, reckless
play, hundreds of dollars that he had drawn for poor, wounded, and
disabled men, many of whom had expended quite a sum in instituting
their claim, and sadly needed it, because they had undermined
their constitutions in the campaigns through which they had
passed; some of them having wives and children depending upon them
for support. In fact, no one knows what disappointment and misery
was caused by the dishonest and reckless conduct of this now
abandoned young man.

He, however, though fallen, had not yet reached such a depth of
degradation as to be utterly careless of his reputation, or of the
suffering and shame he would entail upon his friends if his
wrong-doings were discovered, and he well knew that discovery was
inevitable if he did not in some manner recover the amount he had
lost. "Desperate diseases require desperate remedies;" and his
case was desperate indeed, and he was now in such a state of mind
that he was willing to resort to anything short of murder to
extricate himself.

He was in this state of mind when Ashton again appeared in
Rochester, and when he learned the nature of his business he
resolved, if possible, to get possession of his money. He had, in
the gambling dens of the city, formed the acquaintance of some
hard characters, and resolved to use them as his tools in carrying
out his purpose.

"Lawrence will do," he said, "and he can associate Dick Eagle with
him in the venture. Lawrence is acquainted with Ashton, as they
used to meet at old Tom's when on their drinking bouts. I will
sound him, and, if I find he is all serene on the matter, Ashton
must have become a more wary fly than he used to be if I do not
induce him to enter my spider's web."

It was to further this scheme that he hinted to some mutual
friends it would be a gracious thing to give Ashton a supper, and
as they immediately entered with fervor into the idea, it was
agreed upon. When Ashton stipulated, if he accepted, it must be
understood he would not be asked to drink anything but water, it
looked as if his well-concerted scheme would be entirely frustrated.
And then, after thinking the matter over, he hit upon the plan which
he adopted, and which, alas, as we have already made known
to our readers, he carried to a successful accomplishment.

Lawrence, the young ruffian whom he made his tool, had been
associated with him before, in some transactions that would not
bear the light of day, and when he unfolded the present scheme to
him he found him ready to be his pliant instrument--willing to
enter into any scheme, no matter how villainous its nature, if he
could be sure of making something by the venture.

"I am pretty certain," said Chappell, "he will have by that time
some four or five hundred dollars in his possession; and if you
would meet us and persuade him to accompany us into Tom's, I
think, old boy, we can induce him to take a glass. If he takes
one, you know he is such a fool that we will soon have him
gloriously drunk. But to make certain we will fix his liquor, and
then by the time he gets to the bridge he will be completely at
your mercy."

"Well, the question is, Chappell, what am I to get for the
venture? Of course, if there is any hard work to be done you will
expect me to do it, while you will play the role of gentleman."

"I am willing to deal fairly with you, Bill."

"But I want to have an understanding. I know you pretty
thoroughly, Mose, and I am not going to let you gull me as you
have on some former occasions. The question is what am I to get?
And if I can't get what's square, I will wash my hands of the
whole affair. 'Honor among thieves,' you know, Mose."

Chappell, who winced at the epithet "thieves," shrugged his
shoulders, and a look of supreme disgust gleamed for a moment from
his eyes, which did not pass unnoticed by Lawrence.

"Come now, Mose, no airs," he said; "if you don't like me just
keep away, and I'll not bother you with my company. When you force
yourself upon me you must be a little respectful, or, at least,
you must not be so open in your manifestations of disgust, as I am
somewhat sensitive and may resent it."

"Who was showing any signs of being disgusted? Now, what is the
use of making a fool of yourself, Bill, because you know how; and
if I were you I would not speak of "putting on airs." When Bill
Lawrence talks of being sensitive, he of course means all he says:
the idea of 'Billy the Kid' being sensitive is certainly a new
wrinkle."

"Well, Chappell, I know I am not as good as I might be; if I were
I would cut you dead, though you do wear kid gloves and move in
the so-called 'best society,' like many another scoundrel. But
this is neither here nor there; let's come to business. Before I
enter into this thing I want an understanding; you are not going
to come it over me as you have on former occasions."

"Why, Lawrence, I don't want to come it over you. It seems to me
you are deuced suspicious, all at once. I'll tell you what I'll
do. I'll give you one half, to be divided between you and Dick
Eagle. And when you remember that I put up the job, and run just
as much risk as you do, I think you will conclude that I am quite
moderate."

"Yes, 'quite moderate;' you are always 'moderate,' especially when
it comes to risks; but you don't come none of your moderate games
over me. If I get Dick Eagle to assist me in this job I will have
to go halves with him. I couldn't gull him if I were to try, and I
don't wish to try. I am not quite so mean as to cheat a comrade
who runs equal risks with myself, though some would-be gentlemen
of my acquaintance would. If we make anything by this venture it
must be equally divided, if it is not more than fifteen cents. If
you will not agree to this proposition I will wash my hands of the
whole affair."

Chappell--after putting in several demurrers, at last, when he saw
that he could make no better terms--consented.

It was arranged that Chappell should, if possible, induce Ashton
to drink at the supper; but if he could not accomplish that, he
was to accompany him up St. Paul street until he came in front of
Tom Conglin's, and then Lawrence was to meet them, and between
them they were to induce him to enter and, if possible, entice him
to drink. Chappell was, after this, to accompany him as far as the
bridge and leave him. And then Lawrence and Eagle were--to put it
in their classic language--"to go through him."

The scheme was carried to a successful issue, though not with the
ease that was anticipated. The drug was not as effective as they
supposed it would be; for though, when they started, Ashton was in
such a complete state of intoxication as not to be able to walk
without the assistance of Chappell, as they continued on their
homeward journey, the further they went the stronger he became.
The cold morning air seemed to revive him. Chappell accompanied
him to the spot agreed upon, and then left him, though not without
making a show of wishing to see him all the way home.

Ashton had not proceeded far on his uneven way before Lawrence,
who had gone by another route and got ahead of him and Chappell,
said to Eagle, who had waited for him near the appointed spot:
"Here he comes, and he don't seem to be very drunk either. We'll
have to make sure work, Dick. Now, go for him!"

Eagle, with whom Ashton was not acquainted, sprang forward as
Lawrence spoke and struck him a terrible blow in the stomach; at
the same time, Lawrence from behind swiftly passed his arm around
his neck, then drew him across his back, lifting him entirely from
the ground and choking him so that he could not cry out. But
before Lawrence had succeeded in doing this an alarm had been
given; for, though Eagle had struck him a terrible blow, Ashton
gave a startled sound, something between a cry and a moan, but
afterwards was perfectly helpless in their hands.

It was this sound which Constable Rogers heard, and, as we have
already informed our readers, he immediately hastened to the spot,
but arrived too late to rescue Ashton from his treacherous and
brutal assailants.

All the three worthies secured as the result of their base
treachery and inhuman villainy was about twenty dollars; for this
was all that Ashton had upon his person at the time.

As soon as the latter was able, he gave an account to a detective
of all that had transpired during the previous evening, which led
the latter strongly to suspect Chappell and Lawrence, as he was
well acquainted with them and knew their antecedents. He arrested
them both, but as nothing could be substantiated, though there
were strong grounds for believing they were the parties, they were
discharged.

The Police Magistrate, however, gave them to understand that it
was simply a case of "not proven." And he added, if they were the
guilty parties, they deserved to be execrated by every good
citizen for their treachery. He admonished them to be cautious, as
a strict watch would be kept on their movements, and they would
not be able always to escape the punishment they so richly
deserved.

It was not long after this before Chappell was called to give an
account of the money which he had collected for the soldiers who
had entrusted their cases to him. And as it was discovered he had
squandered it, the result was he was prosecuted and sent to jail
for defrauding his clients, and lay there for a considerable time.
Since that period he has been a moral leper, a disgrace to his
friends, and loathed and shunned by respectable society.

Lawrence and Eagle, his companions in the nefarious transaction,
were soon after captured as they were burglarizing a store, and
sent to States Prison for five years.

We will now let them pass from these pages, simply remarking if it
had not been for drink, which had made them its slaves and
corrupted their young lives, they might have had honorable careers
and been respectable and respected citizens; but rum was their
ruin, their curse, as it has been of millions of others, and
through it they are a disgrace to their friends and a curse to
society. Surely "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and
whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."



CHAPTER XXI.

UTTERLY BROKEN--BLASTED HOPES.


Ashton's constitution was so severely shaken by the treatment he
had received, and from the effects of his debauch, that the
physician Mr. Reid called in considered his condition really
critical. He said his nervous system had received such a shock
that he must have complete rest for a week or two, and then he
might possibly be so far recruited as to start for his home; but
he doubted if ever he would so recover as to be the same man he
was before.

Eddie wrote home to his mother, telling her that "his father had
been taken ill, and therefore they would not be able to start for
home for a few days; but," he added, "he hoped their return would
not long be delayed."

He was almost certain his mother would divine the cause, and that
her grief would be inexpressible. But as he did not know what the
issue might be, for his father was certainly very ill, he felt if
he did not partially reveal the truth to her, and anything serious
did happen, he never would forgive himself.

The reader will remember that Eddie's letter was composed under
somewhat similar circumstances to those under which his father had
written his hurried note just after his arrival in Canada, and if
he recollects what the result was at that time he will be able, at
least partially, to understand what the effect was in the present
instance.

When Allie returned from the post-office with the letter, Mrs.
Ashton found herself strangely excited, even before she had broken
the seal. She held it with nervous hand, and ere she had read the
first page sank pale and trembling into her chair, and gasped out,
rather than spoke: "Oh, Allie, my worst fears are more than
realized! Oh! what will become of us all?"

Allie and Mamie were immediately by their mother's side, the face
of the former manifesting by its alarmed and saddened expression
that she divined, at least to some extent, what had happened.
While the face of innocent little Mamie wore a puzzled, troubled
look; and though she could not understand what had happened to
grieve her mother, tears glistened in her eyes in sympathy with
her grief.

"What has happened to papa?" said Allie. "Is it anything very
serious?" and she looked anxiously up in her mother's face.

The question was purely mechanical; she felt sure her father had
again fallen, and she also knew if her mother thought so she would
not give expression to her fears.

"Eddie writes he is ill," said her mother; "but he says he has
hopes he will soon recover, and that their return will not long be
delayed."

Allie sat down in her mother's lap, and, as she entwined her arms
round her neck and kissed her, she said, "Mamma, you must not give
way too much to trouble and sorrow, for God knows what is best,
and He will take care of papa and of us all."

Little Mamie, who had been an attentive listener, now endeavored
to console her mother.

"Mamma," she said, "you read me from the Bible the other day, that
Dod cared for the dood man, and sent the raven to feed him. And
you taid He would send His angel to care for me if I was a dood
dirl. Will not Dod care for papa and Eddie?"

Mrs. Ashton returned Allie's caresses; and catching little Mamie
in her arms, and kissing the tears from her face, she said,
"Mamma's daughters are a great comfort to her. God will take care
of us all, my darling. He will send His angel down to care for
papa and Eddie, and to console us who are troubled and sorrowing
because of them. He will care for us all!"

In a few days she received a letter from Eddie stating that,
though his father was still weak, the doctor thought he was so far
convalescent as to be able to start upon his journey, and
therefore they might expect them in a short time; and he mentioned
the day when he thought they would reach Bayton.

Four days after they received the letter, Eddie and his father
arrived. But what was the grief and anguish of Mrs. Ashton, and
the sorrow of Mr. Gurney, who had accompanied her to the station,
to discover that even now, when they had come with hearts full of
sympathy to administer consolation to him in his hour of sickness
and suffering, he had been so far forgetful of what was due to
himself and to his friends, also of the anguish with which he would
wring the heart of his wife, as to be in a state of semi-intoxication.

As they looked at him they were both terribly shocked at the
change which a few days had wrought in him. He did not appear like
the same person as the one who left them two short weeks before.
He was, in fact, only the dilapidated wreck of his former self.
His manhood, his self-respect, his glory had departed.

His wife welcomed both him and Eddie with a kiss; but Mr. Gurney,
who was shocked beyond measure, coldly turned away--he could not
trust himself to speak, for, if he had, burning as he was with
indignation and a sense of violated trust, he would have given
utterance to words that would have caused him future regret.

Mrs. Ashton had Eddie call a cab, and had her husband driven home,
and by the time he reached there he seemed to become so
intoxicated as to be almost helpless, having to be carried from
the cab into the house; and what added to the shame and anguish of
Mrs. Ashton was that there were a great many of the neighbors who
had gathered to welcome him who, of course, took in the situation,
though they were too well bred to give expression to their
astonishment. It caused her exquisite pain to think her husband
had again been degraded in the sight of the world, and that she
and her children shared with him that degradation.

Richard Ashton, from that time, rapidly degenerated. He seemed to
be sapped of both physical and moral strength. His friends rallied
round and endeavored to induce him to reform. Mr. and Mrs. Gurney
used every art they could command to restore him, but though he
would promise to listen to their injunction, his promises were
never put in practice. He really meant to be as good as his word,
but he lacked the moral stamina, and the consequence was he sank
to a lower level every day. It at last became evident he wished to
avoid a meeting, and they therefore felt their endeavors in his
behalf were becoming distasteful to him. So with great sorrow of
heart, for they had become sincerely attached to him, they had,
for the time being, to desist from their benevolent attempts and
leave him to his fate.

And just then, to make matters still worse, Stanley Ginsling
appeared upon the scene. Like the foul buzzard, he seemed to have
scented his quarry from afar. And to add to the intense pain of
Mrs. Ashton and her children, they were again boon companions.

The strain was finally too great for poor Ruth. Like thousands of
other poor, heart-broken wives and mothers, she used every
endeavor to keep up her spirits and try and maintain her strength;
but her sensitive mind was daily tortured with the most exquisite
pain.

Finally her strength gave way, and she was completely prostrated,
all the more completely because of the unequal struggle she had
been maintaining for the last few months.

"A complete collapse of the system," said the doctor. "She must
have good nursing and rest; for without she has rest of mind and
body I cannot possibly bring her through."

The doctor had a private interview with Ashton and told him, in
language we will not repeat, for it was more energetic than
select, that it was a shame for a man with his intelligence and
refinement to so degrade himself, and then he added: "You are
killing your wife, and if you do not desist from drinking it is
very little use for me to come."

But his appetite seemed to have so gained the ascendancy that he
daily came home in a state of intoxication. He seemed to have lost
every vestige of his manhood's strength, and was such a vile slave
to his appetite as not to be able to restrain himself even to save
his wife.



CHAPTER XXII.

THE DUNKIN ACT.--A DISCUSSION IN WHICH STRONG LANGUAGE IS USED.


"I say, Judge, I hear they are about to try and carry the Dunkin
Act in this county, and I guess they will succeed, for I think
there are a sufficient number of fools and fanatical humbugs to
carry anything. What is your opinion in regard to it?"

The speaker was Sheriff Bottlesby, and the question was asked in
one of the private rooms of the Bayton House--a house that was
kept by Charles Rivers, Esq., and it was looked upon as the most
respectable hotel in town.

There were assembled there at this time Judge McGullet, Sheriff
Botttesby, Captain McWriggler, who was an aspirant for the
position of M.P., and whose only hope of success was in gaining
the whiskey vote. There were also present Charles Dalton, Charles
Sealey, Esq. (a prominent magistrate), Stanley Ginsling, and a
retired captain--late of the British service--who rejoiced in the
name of Timothy Flannigan. He kept a second-class tavern in
Bayton, which was known as the "Crown Hotel."

"Well," said the judge, "you ask me a question which you should
not expect me, situated as I am, to answer. But," he continued
with a chuckle, "I will say it may, but if it succeeds here this
will be the first place it has ever done so."

"Yes, it may," said Ginsling, "and elephants may fly, but they are
not likely-looking birds. I have too high an opinion of the men of
this county to believe they will give away their manhood. But if its
advocates do succeed in their fanatical endeavours it will be a
_brutem fulmen_. No true man will be weak enough to be bound
by it. No man, or set of men, has a right to dictate to me what I
shall eat or drink, and a man who would submit to it is a fool and
a slave."

Dr. Dalton, who had been indulging very freely in drink, and had
arrived at that stage when men are generally demonstrative,
started up the refrain:

  "Britons never, never shall be slaves."

"If any man could be a greater slave than you are, Dalton, his
condition would be worse than any nigger I ever came across in the
south. A fellow that can't take a glass of liquor with a friend,
without getting beastly drunk, is about the worst specimen of a
slave a man could even imagine. It is men like you that furnish
the teetotal fanatics with their strongest arguments, and because
of such fellows sensible men must suffer."

The words of Bottlesby had a magical effect upon Dalton, and he
seemed to become sober in a moment. He sprang to his feet, his
eyes flashed fire, and cutting, stinging words came to his lips.

"I am no greater slave than you are, Bottlesby," he said; "and, if
I were, you are the last man in the world should taunt me with the
fact. You know you drink twice the quantity of liquor that I do,
and if you don't get drunk, it is because it does not find any
brain to expend its strength upon. Whiskey attacks a man in his
most prominent point, which, in your case, is your stomach. Men of
genius like Savage, Goldsmith, Sheridan, Poe and others, it
attacked their brains and made madmen of them; but it always soaks
into a fool, because he is soft and porous like a sponge; and any
man at a look would place you among the latter. Why, sir, you are
at present full to the eyebrows, and your nose is a danger-signal
to warn all young men to keep out of your track. It would have
been well for me if I had heeded the warning."

"Dalton," said Bottlesby, emphasizing his remarks with expletives
that can have no place here, "I want no more of your insults, and
if you don't shut up I'll make you. I won't be insulted by a
drunken blackguard like you, without resenting it. If it were not
that I don't wish to disgrace my office and the company I am in, I
would wring your neck."

"It is a good thing for you," said Dalton sardonically, "that
those weighty considerations keep you from undertaking a contract
you might not successfully complete. The government must have lost
sight of the dignity of the office, or you would never have got
the appointment. Your consideration of your office and the company
you are in remind me of Pompey's, who, when he was asked why he
ran from a battle, gave as his reason 'that he knew the rebs too
well to have anything to do with such a pesky lot, and den,' he
added, 'back, of dis dare is a pusonal consideration.' I wouldn't
wonder if back of your other considerations there is one of a
personal nature. Why, man, if you were even to touch me with your
finger, in anger, I would leave you so you would have to employ a
sub to draw your pay and drink your whiskey, which is your
principal occupation at present."

"Come now, Charley," said Rivers, coming in between the two, who
were standing in a threatening attitude and glaring at each other,
"don't be so fast and rash; and, Sheriff, there is no sense in
getting up, a row. How would it sound if it got out that there was
a fight at the Bayton House between Dr. Dalton and Sheriff
Bottlesby, and that Judge McGullet and Captain McWriggler were
there to see fair play. If you are both very desirous to have your
names figuring in the papers as participants in such a disgraceful
brawl, you had better retire to some other quarters, as I am
determined it shall not take place in my establishment, if I can
hinder it."

"I'll be blowed! but it would be as good as a circus, wouldn't it
though?" observed Ginsling. "I wonder who would act as Her
Majesty's representative, to vindicate the honor of outraged
justice, if our sheriff happened to be the principal in a case of
aggravated assault, and our judge had to be subpoened as a witness
for the Crown!"

"Be jabers, boys, go on!" said Captain Flannigan; "I havn't seen a
dacent fight for a twelvemonth, barring a skirmish in which I
meself was somewhat interested. You may desarn traces of it here."
And, suiting the action to the word, he pointed to his eye, which
was slightly discolored. "I had an argument with Bill Duffy
yesterday, and he became so excited he emphasized his remarks by
giving me a blow in the eye; but I soon demonstrated, to his
complate satisfaction, that if he came to that style of argument I
could make two points to his one, and put them in much more
emphatically. He has kept to his room since to ponder the matter
over. Now, boys, the best thing you can do is to take a walk out
of town, and settle the matter dacently; but don't stop here,
scolding like a couple of fishwives. Or put it off now and settle
it after--there would be no nade for it to go any farther."

"As far as I am concerned, I am willing to settle it now or any
other time," said Dalton.

Judge McGullet, who had been quietly listening, now spoke.

"I should think," he said, "you fellows have exhibited enough
foolishness for one scene; it is about time for a change. I did
not think you were capable of making such asses of yourselves. You
were saying, Sheriff, before you entered into your extremely
interesting conversation with Dalton, that the teetotalers were
about to try and carry the Dunkin Act in this county. Well, if you
desire to ensure them complete success, just have a brawl, and
have the present company figuring in the papers as either
participating in the row or of being present when it took place.
You know they are extremely verdant, as well as what you term
fanatical, and they are not likely to make any capital out of such
a muss! Come, now, sit down, and act like rational beings."

The two men sank into their seats, but grumbling as they did, and
each muttering he would yet have satisfaction.

"Boys, will yez just kape quiet for a minute, until I sing a song?
and then the fellow that won't drink to the health of every man
present, and be willing to shake hands with each and every one in
this dacent company--well, then, Tim Flannigan will recognize him
as a friend no more for ever!"

"Come, Rivers, fill up our glasses, and prove that your name is
not a misnomer, by furnishing this thirsty crowd with something to
drink."

Rivers, after taking their orders, brought in the liquor, and then
they all clamored for Flannigan to give them his song. "And we
want you to give us one of your own, Captain."

"Yes, yes, Captain," they all shouted; "give us a war song of your
own composition."

Now this was something that would please Flannigan exceedingly,
for he imagined he was quite a poet. He had written some wretched
doggerel, in which he had endeavored to embody his thoughts of
persons and of personal experiences during the war. He actually
thought the wretched stuff was equal to the best efforts of "Tom"
Moore. And if any one wished especially to flatter him he would
best accomplish his purpose by asking him to sing one of his own
songs. Those who knew him were well aware of this, and often
enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of his vanity. This accounts
for the clamorous call he received to give them a song of his own
composition.

Flannigan cleared his throat. "Ye do me honor," he said; "but I
shall be happy to plase ye. I will at this time give yez the song
I composed when I quit the sarvice and had made up my mind to come
to Canada." He then, in high cracked notes, sang:

    THE SOLDIER'S FAREWELL!

    I'll put by my musket,
      Also my red coat;
    On war and its glory
      I'll no longer gloat.

  CHO.--I'll go to the land
          Of the green maple tree;
        Whose emblem's the baver,
          Whose paple are free.

    No thoughts of ambition
      Inspires now my breast.
    My solduring's o'er--
      In peace I'll now rest.--_Cho._

    And now I heed not
      The trumpet or drum.
    My battles are ended--
      No more will now come.--_Cho._

They greeted his song with uproarious applause, which he drank in
as a genuine tribute to his genius as a poet, and also to his
power in the realm of song.

It was really strange that a man with his, in some respects, sharp
intellect and native wit, should be so weak as to imagine the
trash he jumbled together was poetry, and thus leave himself open
to be laughed at by even his own cronies. But it is said we all
have a weak point--this was his.

After the applause which greeted his song had somewhat subsided,
he said: "Come, now, each man of you saze his glass and let us
drink to the toast--'Prosperity to our cause, and bad luck to the
Dunkinites.'" After they had all drunk, he said: "Now, boys, let
us have a talk of these cold-water men."

"If they are 'cold-water' men, as you contemptuously dub them,
you'll find they will fight like heroes for what they believe to
be right," remarked Dr. Dalton.

"Well," answered Flannigan, "they may, Charley; but I am tould
they go in for petticoat government, for the best man among them
is a woman. If such be the case we are not worth much if we let
them bate us."

They all joined in a laugh at Flannigan's Hibernianism.

"That is a genuine Irish bull, Captain," said Sealy. "But as we
are here we may as well have an informal talk as to the best
course to pursue in the present contingency. In my opinion, it is
our best policy not to make a very strong fight this time. I would
be for almost letting them have a walk over. And then when they
think the victory is theirs, I would commence the real battle.
After it becomes law I would sell whiskey just the same as ever,
and entice all the bummers in the country to drink and have a
regular drunken carnival. You will not have to pay any license, so
you will be able to stand being fined a time or two. But I can
tell you what it is, boys, they will have a hard time to convict.
From my experience--and it has been considerable--I have learned
it is a pretty difficult thing to worm the truth out of unwilling
witnesses. Then there is another thing in your favor, the majority
of the magistrates have no sympathy with this movement. I would
therefore badger and bother them all I could, and have free trade
in whiskey; and after the people are thoroughly disgusted I would
go in for repeal. I saw Jobson, the President of the Licensed
Liquor Sellers' Association, the other day, and when I suggested
this course to him he said he thought it would be the wisest one
to pursue. Have you heard from him, Rivers?"

"Yes, I received a letter yesterday," answered Rivers. "And I have
notified the members of the association in the county to meet here
on Saturday, when I shall use my influence to get them to play a
waiting game, and then, when the time comes, we will force the
fighting."

"I think that will be the wisest policy," said the sheriff.

"If the Act is carried, there will be whiskey enough drunk here to
satisfy Bacchus himself. We won't have to fight our battles
without assistance, as we have had promised to us all the money
that is really necessary from the outside. The Licensed Liquor
Sellers' Association will supply all the needful we want. And if
we don't flood this county with whiskey, then you may call Charley
Rivers a liar. They may have a chance to chuckle for a while, but
we'll be more than even with them yet."

"Your craft is in danger," sneered Dalton, who, though he was such
a slave to liquor, sympathised with the temperance party and
constantly manifested his sympathy with them. "There is no doubt
but you will fight for your interest, no matter who suffers."

"Now, Charley, don't be raising another row," said Ginsling. "You
are as prickly as a hedgehog."

"What I say is the truth," he answered. "When the tavern-keepers
fight against the Dunkin Act they are fighting in company with
their father, the devil, and his angels, their brethren, against
the right. My sympathy is with the temperance party, for I know
that every one who really cares for me is among them, and my only
hope in this world and the world to come is in their success. If
there was no liquor to be got I might be a man yet."

"Well, if you sympathise with them you had better associate with
them. We would manage to exist without you."

Rivers spoke very angrily, for he was irritated almost beyond
endurance by the words and manner of Dr. Dalton.

"It is my intention to join them; so you had better not concoct
any more schemes in my presence; but I promise what I have heard
to-night shall never be repeated outside. Yes, I will join them;
for if I continue as I am the end is not far off, and God only
knows what that end will be."

"Come, Judge, let us go. I perceive you have about as large a
cargo as you can conveniently carry. You will not be fit for court
to-morrow, if you don't take time to sober off."

The judge had not been in the room during the time they were doing
the greater part of their talking, as he had been called out just
after he had replied to the sheriff; for though he sympathised
with them they would not have talked quite so freely in his
presence. In answer to Dalton he said:

"You will oblige me if you take care of yourself, Doctor, and
leave me to mind my own affairs. I--hic--hic--have an idea it is
just about as much as you can attend to, and I think I know what I
am doing."

The worthy judge then turned to the company and said: "Good night,
gentlemen. Don't all get drunk, or some of you may be more
formally introduced to me. Come, Doctor, if I leave you here there
is sure to be a row."

He then took the arm of Dalton, and bowed himself out, and as the
last bow he made was rather an elaborate effort, he lost his
equilibrium; and, if Dalton had not held him up, he might have
demonstrated that a judge could be lowly as well as learned.

When they were out of hearing, Rivers said: "I am glad that
fellow, Dalton, has gone. If the judge had not been with him I
would have kicked him out long ago. He has a sharp, impudent
tongue, when he has a mind to be ugly."

"Yes," said Sealy, "I am glad he has gone and taken the judge with
him; for, even though he was more than half-seas-over, he did not
wish to compromise himself by listening to our conversation upon
that subject. I think he was glad that Peters called him out."

"He is on our side, though," said Rivers, "and will use every
technicality that the law furnishes to baulk the fanatics and make
their efforts fruitless."



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE CONSPIRATORS FORMULATING THEIR SCHEME.


After the judge and Dr. Dalton had left, the worthies who remained
sat long in council concocting their Satanic schemes for the final
defeat of the Dunkinites. Each one who was present promised to
exert all his influence to make as many drunk as possible, after
the law was adopted in the county.

"You, Bottlesby, will be able to give a good account of Dalton,
and you, Ginsling, can take care of Ashton," said Rivers. "I know
that old Gurney and his wife will be doing their level best with
them, but if you only work your cards for what they are worth they
will not succeed worth a cent, for if whiskey is put in their way
they are bound to drink."

"But what about the fine, Rivers?" said Capt. Flannigan. "If we
sell liquor we will be fined, and if we have to pay a couple of
hundred dollars in this way, or kape company with the rats for five
or six months in jail, I guess we'll soon tire of that game. And
they say that ould nager of a service is a regular sleuth-hound
on the hunt. By St. Patrick! if he comes nosing round my place
I will bate him until his skin is blacker than it is at present,
and to do that I'll have to nearly murder him entirely."

"Don't you do anything of the kind; for if you did you would be
putting your foot in it," said Rivers. "The Dunkinites would like
us to resort to that kind of thing that they might get up a howl
about ruffianism, brutality, etc. They well know this would enlist
the sympathy of the public to their side of the question; now this
would just defeat the object I have in view. What I intend to do
is to sell liquor as usual, and when I can't sell it I will give
it away, and make as many drunk as possible. If some of those to
whom I sell give me away, and I am hauled up, I will then show
what I can do on the fight."

"You'll beat them every time," said Bottlesby, "for almost every
sensible magistrate in the county will sympathise with you."

"Yes, I am counting on that, and those who are not on our side I
intend to employ a good sharp lawyer to badger and bother as much
as possible, and I guess you are aware that a great many of our
Justices of the Peace are as innocent of any knowledge of law as a
ten-year-old boy. I have no doubt but most of them can be so
frightened as to be afraid to convict. And you know most of the
witnesses will be our friends, and, as Seely has just remarked, it
will be pretty hard to worm the truth out of unwilling witnesses."

"But supposing they do convict, what will you do then?" asked
Capt. Flannigan.

"I will appeal, and if it is decided against me in the lower court
then I will appeal to a higher, and during the time it remains
_sub judice_ my friends and I will be flooding the county
with liquor."

"But who will pay the piper?" asked Ginsling.

"The Licensed Liquor Sellers' Association," answered Rivers. "The
Association is bound to beat if it costs them a hundred thousand
dollars. The hotel-keepers of this county will only have to pay
their fee into the society, and it won't cost them a cent more; so
you see we can afford to fight and be cheerful. And after we have
bothered them and kept them from carrying out the law for six or
seven months, having, in the meantime, deluged the county with
whiskey, we will then start the cry that the Act is a failure; and
any one who is at all acquainted with human nature knows that it
will not be long before we will have thousands to join in the
cry."

"Of course they will," said Bottlesby, "the great majority of
those who vote for it will do so because it is fashionable. They
don't care a cent who gets drunk so long as they don't lose
anything. It happens that just now it is thought rather
respectable to be on the side of temperance, and so they are
voting for it; but in their hearts half of them hope it will fail,
and they will not turn their fingers to make it a success. And if
the plan which has been suggested by my friend, Rivers, is carried
out, that is, to badger and bother them in every way we can, and
at the same time to make this county, if possible, a perfect
pandemonium of drunkenness and revelry, these parties will then
eagerly join in the cry that the Act is a huge failure, and when
we try to have the thing repealed they will give us their active
support, because they will be able to assume the same role upon
our side they did on the other, that is, that they are philanthropic
citizens working on the side of morality and order. You mark my
words, in a year from the present we will carry the repeal with an
overwhelming majority."

The party broke up in the small hours of the morning, and the only
one who was then sober was the landlord. In fact it was well
understood, even among his cronies, that he was too mean to drink
to any excess except he drank on the treats of his numerous
customers; and then he was careful not to be so much under its
influence as to neglect his business. He was one of those men of
whom, alas! the world has too many, who live to satisfy their own
selfish interest no matter who may be made to suffer.



CHAPTER XXIV.

ALDERMAN TOPER'S FLATTERING OPINION OF THE "DODGER."


The next week the "Licensed Liquor Sellers' Association" of the
county held the meeting of which Rivers had spoken, and there were
also representatives present from Toronto and other places. They
all agreed that the plan outlined by Rivers would be the best to
adopt; that was, if the reader recollects, to play a waiting game,
and at the same time to treat the law with supreme contempt.

"I tell you what it is," said Alderman Toper, who was one of the
representatives from the city--having been elected an alderman by
the whiskey interest, for He was proprietor of the "Toper House,"
one of the largest second-class hotels in the city--"I will spend
a thousand dollars of my own money in order in the end to beat
them."

"Don't you think, Toper," said Rivers, "it would pay us to
employ Gustavus Adolphus Dodger. I hear he is one of the best
stump-speakers in the country, and that he can do as he likes
with an average crowd What do you think? You know him better
than I do."

"Yes," said Toper, in an undertone, "I know his face better than I
do his dimes, for I have had the former at my bar every day for
the last six months, though nary one of the latter have I seen.
But 'he is just the man for Galway,' for all that. He is the
aptest, smoothest, most oily rascal I have ever met, and there is
not a man in Canada that can hold a candle to him as a speaker in
his own line. Why, I remember at a certain meeting he addressed a
crowd who had been shouting themselves hoarse against the man in
whose behalf he was about to speak, but he pleaded so eloquently
and plausibly for his friend--and he was the man's friend, because
he had received a consideration--that, before he was through, they
shouted as loudly for the one whose cause he was advocating as
they had a few moments before for his opponent."

"I suppose," said William Soker, one of the delegates from the
county, "there is no fear of the other side getting the start of
us and buying him up, for, from what you say, I should judge he
was in the market and ready to sell himself to the highest
bidder."

"There is no danger of that," said Toper, "for he has committed
himself, soul and body, to the liquor interest, both upon the
stump and through the press; and, though a man may not be troubled
with that inconvenient article called principle, yet he has, to
secure success, to be somewhat consistent."

"Oh, bosh about consistency," remarked Bottlesby; "I would not
trust the rascal if he could make more than he could with us."

"Neither would I, if he had any chance to sell us, not a bit
quicker than I would a fox in a goose-pen or a monkey on a
peanut-stand, but there is no fear of the Dodger (that's what we
call him) in this case, because he has so far committed himself
to our side that the public would not believe him if he turned. But
if he were ever so willing, the teetotal party 'wouldn't touch him
with a ten-foot pole.'"

That night, after they were through with the business part of
their programme, a supper was held by them at the Bayton House.
There were present Judge McGullett, Capt. McWriggler, Sheriff
Bottlesby, Capt. Flannigan, John Sealy, Esq., Stanley Ginsling,
and as many of the magistrates of the town and county as could be
induced to come. All were jubilant that so many of the latter
responded to their invitation; for they considered their presence
indicated their sympathy with them. Rivers, in a private
conversation that he managed to have with Sealy, said with a
chuckle:

"We have them as good as beaten already, for we have here the
principal part of the men before whom the cases must be tried."

"That's so," replied Sealy, "but we will have some hard fighting
to do first."

The party broke up in the small hours of the morning. During the
course of their night's debauch there was a great deal of
speechifying, and the epithets fanatical, humbug, etc., were used
_ad infinitum_. Over the state of nearly every one of the
party it is well to cast the veil of oblivion. But what may be
expected of a town or a county that has such men to administer
justice and to hold its most responsible positions.



CHAPTER XXV.

THE FRIENDS OF TEMPERANCE REJOICING OVER THE VICTORY.


"I am certain, friends, from my knowledge of the places from which
we have not yet received any returns, that our victory is assured;
for I think we may depend upon those we have received as being
correct, and those which are yet to be reported will help to swell
the majority.

"We should be very thankful, as we are gaining a greater victory
than what was anticipated by even the most sanguine of us. Our
opponents seemed to have been paralysed, and were routed horse and
foot.

"I am more thankful than I can find words to express that such is
the case. When I remember the many who are miserable, degraded
drunkards, without shame, and many of them without honor, who a
few years ago were respectable citizens and worthy of our esteem
and our confidence, but who have been thus degraded by the drink
traffic; when I remember the number of those we once knew, and
some of them amongst the most brilliant in intellect, the purest
in morals, and the best loved of our citizens, who were cut off in
their prime by this fell destroyer--who, if it had not been for
alcohol, might have been with their friends--their hope, their
joy, and their pride; when I think of the miserable, desolate
homes--the brokenhearted wives--the wretched, starving little
ones, whom rum has made so, then I thank God for this victory.

"I have no children of my own. God, in His mercy, has taken them
'one by one.' They are now where no destroyer can enter; but my
friends and neighbours have children, and I see, with alarm, that
some of them are being led to their ruin by those who frequent the
rum-shops in our town; for their sakes I rejoice that this
temptation is about to be removed.

"As I was on my way to this meeting to-night, I called upon one
who was once a happy wife, but who now is a very wretched one, for
her husband has been nearly ruined by this awful curse; one who,
as those who know her best can testify, is a cultured lady, and
her husband was once every way worthy of her, but he is now a
poor, dilapidated wretch--a wreck, mentally, morally, and
physically; and she is now prostrated upon what, in all
probability, will be her death-bed, brought low by the hardship
and mental anguish she has endured; for she and her children--and
God never blessed a mother with better ones--have been reduced to
abject poverty through rum. As I was leaving, she grasped my
hand in both of her emaciated ones, and said, 'Oh, Mr. Gurney, may
God give you the victory to-day! and if the prayers of a wretched
wife and mother can affect the issue, He will. We are being
brought to utter ruin, and if liquor is not kept from my husband
we shall soon both be in our graves, and our children will be
orphans in a cold, cold world. Oh! tell them that a worse than
widowed wife, who is now very near the grave, but who was a happy
wife and mother until the drink-curse blighted her hopes and
destroyed her home, is now praying for the victory. May God bless
you!'

"I am certain, friends," continued Mr. Gurney, "there are hundreds
of such wives in our town and county, and thousands within the
bounds of our fair Dominion who are praying for our success."

When Mr. Gurney, who was chairman of the temperance meeting, which
was held in the Sons of Temperance Hall, in Bayton, on the evening
of the polling day, sat down, there was a lady arose to address
the meeting. When she stood up the audience was immediately hushed
into silence. She had a beautifully modulated voice, full and
round as the notes of a flute, over which she had perfect control,
and that could be heard to the furthest corner of the room.

The speaker was Mrs. Holman, who has since been recognized as one
of the most able prohibition speakers in Canada. Her first
attempts at public speaking was when she addressed the Ladies'
Temperance Association of the town of Bayton, of which she was
president, and then she was inducted to talk to the Sunday-school
children upon the same topic. Her friends were so much impressed
with her ability as a speaker, they urged her to come out and
publicly address meetings upon this subject. At first she could
not be persuaded to do so; the ordeal was too severe, for she was
naturally sensitive, and her refined mind shrank from appearing
upon the platform, where she would be subjected to the taunts of
rough and vulgar men. But finally her sense of duty overcame every
restraining influence, and she came forward as the eloquent
pleader for the wretched drunkards and their wives and mothers,
and their poor, helpless children, the last mentioned of whom, as
she eloquently expressed it, were subjected to unmentionable and
almost unimagined indignities, and had to suffer untold, misery
through the curse of intoxicating liquor.

She, upon the occasion to which we refer, said:--"Friends, we
have gained a great victory to-day. There has been in this
struggle, arrayed upon opposite sides, light against darkness,
philanthropy against, selfishness, virtue against vice, heaven
against hell; and I do thank God for the help He has given us. The
prayers of the vast majority of the great and good in our land, of
the poor, suffering and wretched wives and mothers, have been
ascending like an incense of a sweet-smelling savor in our behalf
to-day; from many a sad heart whose life has been made wretched
and whose home has been made desolate, has gone up the prayer,
'God help the Temperance Cause.' These prayers have been
answered." And she added, looking upward: "Not unto us, O Lord,
not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory for Thy mercy." Her face
shone with a seraphic glow, as she thus offered the glory and
praise unto Him to whom all glory belongeth; and she seemed, like
one of old, to be holding intercourse with God. The impression
that these words, with their concomitant action, had upon the
meeting was indescribable.

"But," she added, "something whispers to me that the hardest part
of our fighting is yet before us. Our victory has been secured in
a manner so easy that I think they intend to make the greatest
resistance now when we imagine we have nothing to do but enjoy its
triumph. I have been informed they intend to fight the Act in
every possible manner, and, as they are inspired by their
selfishness, you may rest assured they will not be very particular
as to the means employed to accomplish their end. I have reasons
for believing that the greater part of the hotels, and groggeries
in this county will not only be kept open to sell, in defiance of
the law, but also to give rum away, when they can in no other
manner accomplish their diabolical purpose of making men drunk.
This town and county is to be made a perfect saturnalia of
drunkenness, and the Licensed Victimizers--I cannot call them by
any other name--promise to pay all the cost, though it should
amount to a hundred thousand dollars. Friends! What care they for
the misery and crime this cruel, heartless course will entail upon
this country? They are utterly regardless of the men who are now
pure, who may be degraded and wrecked, both in soul and body, and
sent to drunkards' graves and a drunkard's eternity. They think
not of the poor wives who will be beaten and bruised, and it may
be murdered, by husbands who have become besotted and brutalized
by drink; nor of the poor, innocent little children who will be
neglected and have to endure barbarity and hunger because of this
course. Their traffic has entirely hardened their hearts; they
care not who suffer so they prosper. God will require a fearful
reckoning from them some day.

"Now, friends, it is for us to do our duty--to work, to sacrifice,
to suffer, and, having done all, to stand. Let us each and every
one resolve that now we have carried this Act, that when the time
comes for it to become law it must and shall be respected; and
that those who violate it with impunity shall be punished.

"I congratulate the men and women who have prayed and worked in
the good cause for the success which has crowned our efforts. Let
us be firm to our purpose, and let nothing daunt us or keep us
from performing our duty, and God will uphold and bless the
right."

When Mrs. Holman sat down there was loud applause, and many were
the vows audibly registered that, God helping them, they would be
true.

Just then an old lady, with hair of snowy whiteness and a face
which, though beautiful with the goodness and benevolence which it
expressed, was marked and seamed with care, arose. Her trembling
limbs had scarcely strength to sustain her body, emaciated though
it was with care and suffering. She attempted two or three times
to speak, but not a word escaped from her quivering lips; and the
tears gushing from her eyes followed each other in quick
succession down her cheeks; and, finally, her pent-up feelings
found expression in short, convulsive sobs. Her inability to speak
because of her emotion had a greater power to move the meeting
than the most fervid eloquence could have had. Soon there was
scarcely a dry eye in the room, and many were sobbing in sympathy
with her inexpressible woe. Her voice was finally heard, and
though low and quavering, the sweetly modulated tones indicated a
cultivated mind and loving nature:

"I thank my heavenly Father," she murmured, "for this day's
victory. He only knows what I have suffered; Rum has blighted and
ruined my fondest anticipations. It has changed a life radiant
with joy into blackest desolation. It robbed me of peace in my
young womanhood. It made my middle age one terrible struggle with
poverty and despair, and has left me in my old age--bereft of all
my natural supports--like an aged tree in a desert; withered and
alone.

"I had a husband, and God and my own heart know how pure and true
he was. It first robbed him of his manhood and his purity, and
then murdered him. No tongue can depict, no mind can imagine, the
torture, the agony I suffered during the years that he was
sinking deeper, deeper into the unholy abyss; nor my utter despair
when they brought him home to me dead, slain by rum, and I was
left with my helpless little ones to struggle on alone. And now my
only son, for whom I toiled, and wept, and prayed, and who was--as
many of you know--worthy of a mother's love, is a wretched
drunkard. Oh! I pray that this victory may be the means of his
salvation, that my grey hairs may not go down in sorrow to the
grave."

When she took her seat there was not a person in the room but was
visibly affected.

Several others made good speeches, but one of the most telling of
the evening was made by the Rev. J. H. Mason. He, though a young
man, had won for himself an enviable reputation as a brilliant
preacher and humble Christian worker. In fact, he had manifested,
by what he had accomplished and by the hold he had gained of his
people's affections, that he was eminently qualified for the
position he occupied.

He was now pastor of the most influential church in Bayton, and
had thrown himself, heart and soul, into the campaign which was
now ended. He said he had borne calumny and insult in the cause,
and expected he would still have to endure it; but, God helping
him, he would, in the future as in the past, do his duty, and had
no doubt but every one who had worked for the end now accomplished
would do the same.

They were about to close the meeting when a man arose and asked
permission to read a communication from the _Globe_.  Permission
was given, and he read amid the profoundest silence, the following:

"A BAYTON MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY TRACK! THE LAST
OF A WILFUL SON.

"The engineer of the morning train from Belleville thought he
noticed something upon the track, shortly after leaving the city.
He whistled down brakes, and the train was stopped. Upon going
back the horrible discovery was made of the dead body of a man,
with both legs cut off just above the knee.

"The body was lying on the south side of the track, face downward,
and the remnants of his legs on the inside between the rails. Upon
his head was a wound which may have rendered him senseless at the
moment of the fatal occurrence. The man was well dressed and
appeared to be respectable. It is supposed he fell from the train
which had immediately preceded the one by which he was found. The
coroner was sent for and, upon searching the dead man's pockets,
nothing was found but a letter, enclosed in a mourning envelope,
and addressed to Willie Fleming, Bayton. The letter reads as
follows, and founds the only clue to his person and character:

                                      "BAYTON, June 20th, 187--.

"MY DEAR SON WILLIE,--"I received your letter last week, after I
had almost given up hope of hearing from you again. My son,
remember that 'hope deferred maketh the heart sick.' Please do not
cause your poor old mother again to suffer such pain and anguish.

"My darling boy, you have had another warning not to indulge in
strong drink. I would to God, my son, you would take it. Your
course is cruel, and is slowly but surely killing me. God forgive
the man who first led you astray, and the men, some of them in
high position in this town, who have helped on the work.

"Oh! my son, I long to see you, and my daily prayer to our
heavenly Father is that you may become--as you once were--pure and
good. I hope you are now steady and giving good satisfaction to
your employers. No more at present from your heart-broken
                                                         MOTHER.

"P.S.--Write as soon as you receive this, and it will save me a
great deal of mental anguish.                              M. F."

When the man had finished reading, he said: "Most of you know that
that communication brings me the news of the awful end of my only
brother. I am on my way to break it, as gently as possible, to my
mother, but I could not resist the impulse--even in this hour of
awful woe--to come in and read it to you all, that you might be
influenced to greater zeal and nobler sacrifices in the temperance
cause. You know how bright his prospects were a short time ago,
but he has been murdered in his prime by whiskey, and I have no
hesitancy in saying that the man who was the chief instrument in
his destruction is a hotel-keeper in this town who is the strongest
opponent of this prohibition movement.

"Oh, friends! be true to your principles, that many may be saved
from a similar fate; and pray to God for my poor old mother, for I
am afraid this will break her heart."

"I have one request to make," said the Rev. Mr. Mason, "before
this meeting breaks up: Let every person in this room who has
heard that communication read, which comes laden with anguish to a
broken-hearted mother, and sorrow to such a large circle of
relatives and friends, now enter a solemn vow before high heaven,
to do all they can to banish this our curse from this town and
country. All that will thus promise, please stand upon your feet."

In an instant every person stood up.

"My friends," said Mr. Mason, "remember your vow; and remember,
this sad case is only one of many thousands. Oh! what millions of
lives have been and are still being blighted! What hearts are
being blasted and broken by this fearful traffic! May God give us
all power to resist temptation, and throw all our soul into our
endeavors in this cause. Let us now sing, as we never sang before,

  "'Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.'"

After singing, the benediction was pronounced and the meeting
broke up.



CHAPTER XXVI.

IN WHICH THE READER LISTENS TO A TETE-A-TETE
BETWEEN MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.


A mother and daughter were conversing on what would appear, from
their earnestness, to be a very important subject, in a cosy
drawing-room of a beautiful brick villa, situated in the suburbs
of Bayton. Their surroundings would lead the careful observer to
the conclusion that they were in easy if not affluent circumstances.
Though the effect of the room's furnishing would cause one to be
possessed with the idea that there was more wealth than
refinement;--there was too much coloring, too much gauze and glitter,
to be reconciled with any considerable degree of aesthetic taste or
true culture.

The elder of the two was dressed in a manner that would better
become a miss of twenty than a matron who was on the shady side of
fifty; and the young lady, though not displaying the ingrained
vulgarity of the mother, was not costumed with that simple
elegance that would indicate a refined taste.

They were the wife and daughter of John Sealy, Esq., whom we have
already introduced to our fit readers.

"I don't think, Luella," said the mother, "you should hesitate for
a moment in deciding between Bill Barton and Mr. Ginsling."

"Neither do I, mother; but while I would prefer the former, I
should judge, from your accent on the 'Bill,' your preference
would be given to the latter."

"It certainly would, Luella; for what has Barton to offer a young
lady of your wealth? He has neither looks, nor money, nor
position. I think he had a great deal of assurance to come to see
you, in the first place. He knows my opinion in regard to the
matter; and, if I am not mistaken, thinks about as much of me as I
do of him, and that is not saying a great deal."

"What has Ginsling to offer, mother, besides his bloated face and
aristocratic airs? And then he looks nearly as old as pa."

"He is a gentleman, Luella, and is from one of the most
aristocratic houses in England." Mrs. Sealy particularly
emphasized the fact of his being of an old family; for, like all
artificial and vulgar natures, she would have made any sacrifices
to be related in any way to those whom she endeavored, though
ineffectually, to copy. "As to age, Luella," she continued,
"though he may be a few years older, that does not signify. I
prefer to see a husband a few years older than his wife. Your
father is ten years older than I am, and yet, I am sure, the
difference is not particularly noticeable, though I do not think
time has been particularly severe upon me." And the lady viewed
her rather good-looking face in the glass, and, from the
complacent look that swept over it, one would be led to believe
the answer to her interrogation was to her eminently satisfactory.

"Mother, all I have to say is, I love William Barton, while I
cannot help loathing Ginsling. You say the former has neither
money, nor position, nor beauty; though in regard to the latter
assertion, it will be sufficient for me to say we differ. But if
he has neither of these he has brains, and manhood, and purity."

"I don't see anything particularly smart about him, Luella; and in
regard to purity he is, I suppose, on a level with, the average
young man about town."

"Now, ma, it is not fair to speak of him in that manner; for I am
sure you know of nothing but what's to his credit, and if Ginsling
is what you term a gentleman by birth, he certainly is not one by
instinct; though no one can truthfully make such an assertion in
regard to William Barton."

"As you just remarked, Luella, there may be difference of opinion
as to which is by nature the greater gentleman, but, as I said
before, I can't conceive how he had the audacity to come to see
you, in the first place."

"I guess he wouldn't have come if he had not received some
encouragement; and I am sure, ma, he is not only my equal but my
superior in every respect."

"You don't mean to say, Luella Sealy," said the mother, with what
seemed at least indignation, "that you were so unmaidenly as to
make the first advances to this young man. If I thought you were
capable of doing such a thing I should be ashamed of you. It would
be bad enough if he were your equal, and a gentleman, but when he
is a mere bank clerk and a person of no position, how you could
descend to do so is beyond my comprehension."

"Mother," said the daughter, while a quizzical smile lit up her
face, "when pa came to see you did you not encourage him, or in
some manner give him to understand that his visits were not
altogether distasteful to you? From what I have heard pa say, I
should rather think you did. Now, ma, I rather liked William
Barton; and while I did not tell him so, he seemed in some manner
or other to find out my secret, and I have not tried to deceive
him."

"But, Luella," said her mother,--not replying to her daughter's
mischievous reference to her days of romance and love, for, like
many other ambitious, scheming mothers, if she ever had such a
foolish emotion as love, she had forgotten it, or else she had
been led to believe it was all Moonshine; and if a girl only
married wealth and position, she thought love would come,--"what
is the use of acting so foolishly? If you marry William Barton you
will have to leave the set with which you are now associating, and
if you degrade yourself by a _mesalliance_ you will drag us
down with you."

"You had better wait, mother, until he asks me to marry him."

"No! I want to talk it over now, and then you will be prepared to
act like a sensible girl. If Barton wishes to marry you it is
because you have money, and he will bring you nothing in exchange
but degradation. How the McWrigglers will sneer if such a thing
happens! They schemed and plotted until they got Captain Merton to
marry that baby-faced Elaine; and because he is an officer in the
English army and the youngest son of a gentleman, they have been
putting on airs ever since; and they are now so stuck-up there is
scarcely any living for them."

"I am sure, ma, they are welcome to him, for I hear he does not
use her very kindly when he is in liquor, which is most of the
time."

"Oh! I guess that is like a great deal of what people
say--scandal. I am certain since that alliance they have moved in
society into which they could not gain entrance before. Now, if
you marry Stanley Ginsling, as he is first cousin to Lord
Fitzjinkins, we will have the _entree_ to society to which
they dare not aspire; and then the airs of superiority can be on
our side, not theirs."

"So, ma, you would have me marry a sot, who is twice my age, and
whom I detest, in order that you may have a paltry advantage over
one who, when she calls, you kiss and use the most endearing
epithets in your vocabulary, in order to express your friendship
for her. To tell you the truth, I don't see much in what you call
'our set,' to encourage me to sacrifice myself in order to remain
in it. When you meet you are all honey, smiles, and kisses, and
you profess to be the dearest of friends; and yet you are
constantly endeavoring to gain some petty triumph at each other's
expense, and then to relate it in such a manner as to cut and
cause envy and jealousy. 'Our set,' ma, is too superficial and
spiteful for me to wish to remain in it."

"Your remarks, Luella, are the reverse of complimentary; but I am
not going to be angry. If you don't like the set you are in get
above it. If you only become the wife of one who, some day, will
become the Hon. Stanley Ginsling, you will be lifted out of
anything of that kind."

"You mean dragged beneath it, ma. It would be a nice thing to be a
drunkard's wife."

"O there is no fear of that. The majority of men drink before they
are married. All they want is a good wife, and then they settle
down; and as to that, I have been told that Barton drinks. So
there is as, much danger with one as the other. You had better be
sensible, dear, for your father will feel like disowning you if
you marry Barton, and he has set his heart upon a match between
you and Mr. Ginsling."

"Mother, I don't believe William Barton drinks; and it is wrong to
repeat as fact what is nothing but malicious scandal. I also think
it is very unkind of you to threaten me, and thus try and force me
to marry one I despise. Surely, since I will have to live with the
man I marry, I should have some choice in the matter."

After she thus spoke she abruptly left the room in a passion of
tears.

The mother did not introduce the subject again, but it was
constantly in her mind, and she knew Luella would not forget it.
She understood her daughter's weak points, and had no doubt if she
persevered she would gain her end. In fact, though Luella Sealy
was in every respect, except in narrow strength, her mother's
superior, yet her intellectual and moral nature was not all
golden--there were some parts of baser metal, and even of clay, in
her composition. As the reader will conclude from her conversation
with her mother, she possessed more than ordinary intelligence,
which was subdued and chastened by the emotions of a warm, loving
heart; and if uninfluenced she would have proved true to a friend,
even though it caused her self-sacrifice and suffering. But yet
she was not of the stuff of which martyrs are made, for she was
weak, being easily persuaded, and withal a little selfish; and
though she would endure a great deal for friendship's sake, yet
when the opposing forces came on thick and fast, and persevered in
their effort--when that opposition came which would have caused a
stronger nature to be all the more real--she would yield to the
opposing forces and desert the one who trusted her, leaving him to
endure scorn and contumely alone.

She had met William Barton at a party, and, being introduced by a
mutual friend, was fascinated by his manly bearing and intelligent,
racy conversation. And he, as his blood tingled at coy cupid's
whisperings, soliloquized: "She is the most intelligent and charming
girl I ever saw." They met several times at parties during the
winter, and he became marked in his attentions, which she did not
discourage. And soon--at least on his part--the friendship ripened
into genuine love; and she, as the sequel will show, though for a
time carried down by the force of an opposing current, really
entertained for him an undying affection.

William Barton was the son of respectable parents who resided in
Bayton. They were comparatively poor, but managed to give their
son a good business education. He had entered as a junior clerk in
one of the banks of the town, and, by strict attention to business
and a natural adaptation to the profession chosen, had risen to a
position of considerable responsibility.

He was a young man of more than average ability, not strictly
handsome, but possessed a good figure and pleasant, intelligent
countenance, though the lower portion of the face was disappointing,
for it did not denote decision of character or massive strength.
And the face was an index of the man, for he was so intelligent,
kindly and gentle in his manner, that he was a favorite in society;
but he was volatile, and easily influenced for good or evil.

As he was moving in the best society of the town when he met Miss
Sealy, her father and mother did not, at first, object to his keeping
company with their daughter, though his attentions were very marked
indeed. But when Stanley Ginsling appeared upon the scene, and they
learned he was the scion of an old and aristocratic family--a near
kin to a live lord--their vain, selfish, and artificial minds became
excited, and they determined, if possible, to have the latter allied
with the house of Sealy, then they turned against Barton.

From this time Mrs. Sealy especially gave the latter to understand
his visits were simply tolerated, and Mr. Sealy took no pains to
conceal the fact that something had transpired to change his views
in regard to him.

Barton went one evening determined, if possible, to discover the
cause of their coldness. He was received by Luella with her usual
cordiality, but by her mother with marked discourtesy bordering on
rudeness. He was scarcely seated when Mr. Sealy came in,
accompanied by Stanley Ginsling; and as Mrs. Sealy received the
latter with special attention, which, was all the more noticeable
because of her icy reserve in Barton's case, the latter thought he
understood the situation.

"Can it be possible," he soliloquized, "they are anxious to get
rid of me that the coast may be clear for that drunken loafer?"
The thought at first could be scarcely entertained, it seemed so
monstrous; but before he left he had substantial reasons for
believing that Mr. and Mrs. Sealy were actually scheming to make a
match between Ginsling and Luella.

Barton and Luella were both sitting on the sofa, when Mr. Sealy
and Stanley Ginsling came in, much to Mrs. Sealy's disgust, and
she managed to separate them several times during the evening by
resorting to the manoeuvres which never fail an accomplished
female tactician; but as her daughter invariably returned to her
seat near Barton, she was determined to make a final effort that
should not fail.

"Luella," she said, "will you kindly favor us with a little music?
Give us that duet Mr. Ginsling and you rendered the other evening.
You have a magnificent bass voice, sir," she said to Mr. Ginsling,
in her most dulcet tones; "will you not kindly assist Miss Sealy?"

"Your will is my pleasure," Ginsling replied, "though I would
rather sit and listen while Miss Sealy gives us a number of her
varied and delightful selections. The last time I was here I
thought her playing was exquisite."

"Mr. Barton will excuse you," said Mrs. Sealy, after a significant
pause, and her tone conveyed the idea that the remark was merely a
cold conventionalism.

"Certainly," he replied.

Luella reluctantly left her seat on the sofa and took her position
at the piano. The mother had certainly manifested the astuteness
of an accomplished artist, for she had not only separated her
daughter and Barton, but by her manner wounded his sensitive
nature, and had also given Mr. Ginsling to understand that, if he
wished to pay his addresses to Miss Sealy, his doing so would be
eminently satisfactory to her parents.

Barton's position, after what had occurred, was an unenviable one,
for he was placed in the cruel dilemma of either remaining in a
home where his presence was not agreeable to the host and hostess,
or abruptly leaving without having an understanding with the one
he so dearly loved. He chose the latter alternative, and burning
with indignation, but with cool exterior, he took advantage of the
pause which ensued after Miss Sealy and Ginsling had finished
their duet, and politely took his leave. Luella, though she knew
it was contrary to her mother's wishes, accompanied him to the
door and bade him an affectionate goodbye.

These events transpired on the day previous to that on which the
mother and daughter engaged in the conversation which is related
in the commencement of this chapter.



CHAPTER XXVII.

BARTON'S DESPAIR, AND WHAT IT LED TO.


It would be impossible to give an analysis of William Barton's
feelings as he walked rapidly away from the Sealy residence upon
the night in question.

In the evening he had gone to the home of one whom he had looked
upon as his betrothed bride, with calm confidence. True, he had
not as yet asked her to be his wife, though he had vowed again and
again he would do so; and had determined that very evening he
would get her to give the pledge that should bind them for ever.
He had no misgivings as to her answer. He had, however, lately
been somewhat pained by Mrs. Sealy's not receiving him with the
cordiality that she once did; but he had not thought there would
be serious opposition to his suit. He argued: "Luella certainly
loves me, and will be as true as the needle to the pole, and her
mother will give way when she is convinced that if she does not
she will be sacrificing her daughter's happiness." But when he
left, this calm assurance had been succeeded by positive fear; his
joy by agonizing doubt; and dread and disgust, jealousy and fierce
hatred, reigned supreme in his soul.

"To think" he soliloquized, "they would bring her down to the
level of that disgusting brute; that they should actually scheme
to entrap him as a husband for Luella, while they have driven me
away from their home by slights so little concealed that I would
be a fool if I did not take them; and I have either to give her up
or else become the rival of that degraded being. I will never do
it. I will see Luella, and tell her she must decide at once
between us, and take a decisive stand in the matter. I saw a sneer
upon the licentious mouth and a leer in the bloodshot eye of the
reptile as he saw me treated so cavalierly. If I had him here for
about five minutes I would settle this matter with him. And then I
thought Luella's parting was not as warm as usual. Was it my
jealous fears, or has she really been influenced? Her failing is
that she is too easily persuaded; and if her father and mother
are very strong in their opposition to me, may she not yield? Oh,
this would be the crowning sorrow of all! How could I bear up
under it? How can a mother become so forgetful of her own bright
youth as to sacrifice a pure, lovely daughter on the altar of
brutal lust, in order to satisfy a shallow and selfish vanity?"

William Barton's estimation of the woman whose daughter he
passionately loved, was anything but flattering to her. He did not
attach the same blame to Mr. Sealy, because he believed the latter
had been influenced by his wife, and in this he was correct; for
Mr. Sealy had no ambitious designs when he first introduced
Stanley Ginsling to his home; but after his wife had unfolded her
plans to him, he approved of them. What had considerable influence
with him was the fact that he had learned, through Ginsling's
lawyer, that the former had inherited a considerable fortune by
the death of a maiden aunt, and, therefore, was not only a
gentleman by birth, but would have the wealth to maintain a style
essential to that dignity. Neither of the worthy pair ever
considered for a moment the pain it would cause the young man whom
they had received, at least without disapproval, and had, by so
doing, to a certain extent encouraged. Nor did they even for a
moment consider that their daughter might also be involved in that
suffering. They only thought of working out their own selfish
schemes, as thousands of other selfish parents have done, and no
doubt are still doing. Mr. Sealy at first had some misgivings, as
he well knew Ginsling was, as he put it, "addicted to drink." "I
know," he said, "he is far from being perfect, yet he is much the
same as society men in general, and I am not a model of propriety
myself. No doubt but a few years will tone him down and make him a
model husband."

Barton walked rapidly on, he scarcely knew or cared whither. The
excited state of his mind seemed to propel him to celerity of
flight. This quickness of movement acted as a safety-valve, and
let off some of the pressure.

He came at last to a small hotel on the opposite side of the town
from whence he started. It was situated in a cosy little bower
in the outskirts, and was called "The Retreat." And rumor had it
that many of the so-called gentlemen of Bayton were wont to resort
thither to get on a genteel debauch, and to engage in the innocent
diversions of euchre, poker, and whist, and it was said a great
deal of money changed hands here on certain occasions.

Barton was well acquainted with the proprietor--Joe Tims by name.
He certainly would not have been mistaken for a teetotaler. He
was, however, considered a model landlord, because he would not
sell liquor to a man after he was drunk; though he never hesitated
to furnish him with as much as he would pay for until that stage
was reached. Barton had frequently been there before; for he was a
young man who would take a glass with a friend, and had once or
twice in his life been intoxicated. In fact, he belonged to the
great army of moderate drinkers.

When he came in front of the hotel he heard voices within, and
acting upon the impulse of the moment, he opened the door and
entered.

As he stepped in he found several young men, with many of whom he
was well acquainted, standing in front of the bar, glasses in
hand, just about to drink. The one who was "standing treat" hailed
him with, "Come, Barton, take something," and, being in a reckless
mood, he said, "I will take brandy." The decanter was handed to
him, and he filled his glass more than half full, which was
noticed by the landlord and young men present, and thought for him
very singular.

After he had drained his glass, he said, "Come, boys, it's my
treat now! What will you have?"

They again stepped up to the bar and each took his glass. "I will
have some more brandy," he said, and he again took twice the
quantity that is usually taken.

"Be careful, Barton, my boy," said Tims; "that brandy is 'the real
old stingo,' and will set you up before you know where you are. I
don't want you to think I care how much you take, but would not
like you to do something for which you will be sorry afterwards."

"I guess his girl has gone back on him," remarked a young man by
the name of William Stewart. "I hear that English snob, Ginsling,
is now shining round there, and that pa' and  ma' favor his
suit."

Several of the others, with the same want of good taste as had
been manifested by Stewart, joined him in giving expression to a
number of coarse jokes and vulgar witticisms.

Barton stood as if stunned for a moment, and then, with a frown,
said: "Gentlemen, you will oblige me by changing the subject."

As he requested, the subject was allowed to drop by those present,
but not before they had stung poor Barton almost to madness.

"My God," he thought, "then it has come to this, that she for whom
I would sacrifice my life, through the folly of her parents has
become the object of the coarse, vulgar witticisms of bar-room
loafers! The thought is almost unendurable."

William Barton was too sensitively organized to pass through his
present fiery ordeal without terrible suffering. We have already
said he was kindly and gentle, but under this he had an intensely
passionate nature; which, combined with an extreme sensitiveness
and a rather weak will, constituted him, of all persons, less
calculated to endure the peculiar trial to which he was now
subjected. He was, in fact, one who, under such circumstances,
would display his weakness, and give a man with a cold, selfish,
unfeeling nature, every advantage over him. The night in question
he drank until Tims positively refused to give him any more.

"No, Barton," he kindly said, when the former had taken his fifth
or sixth glass and asked for another; "no! you are not yourself
tonight, and have taken more than is good for you. I am now using
you as I would have another deal with my own son under similar
circumstances."

Barton became wild and foolish; in fact, if he had carefully
thought out the best mode of procedure to give his enemies the
advantage over him, he could not have improved upon his present
course.

He was assisted to his home that night in a state of maudlin
intoxication, to awaken next morning with an aching head and
remorse gnawing at his heart, for he had, to his other sorrows,
added the thought that he had disgraced his manhood and lost his
self-respect.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE CONSPIRATORS PERFECTING THE DETAILS OF THEIR CONSPIRACY.


It was a month or two after the events narrated in the last
chapter when there was another meeting at the Bayton House of
those who were the principal opponents of the Dunkin Act. It was
an informal gathering, convened for the purpose of having an
exchange of views as to the best method to adopt to prevent the
Act from being successfully worked, and also to bring it into
general disrespect and contempt. Of course the proprietor, John
Rivers, was present; and beside him were Sealy, Townly, Sims,
Porter, Tims, Ginsling, McWriggler, Bottlesby, Flannigan, and a
disreputable lawyer by the name of Murdon.

The Act had now been law for over a month. Some of the
hotel-keepers had desisted from selling for the time being, while
others sold as usual, and, as a consequence, had been informed
upon and were summoned for trial. They had to appear the day
following their present meeting. "I have been as good as my word,"
remarked Rivers. "I said I would not quit selling for a single day,
nor have I. They are to have me up to-morrow. Let them do their
best. I'll give them all they make."

"What will you do," said Tims, "if they fine you, as they are
likely to do?"

"I am not fined yet, and will not be if my friend Murdon here can
prevent it; but if I am, I will appeal to the county court, and I
know the judge will postpone his decision as long as possible.
Then, if he decides against me, I will appeal to a superior court,
and, I can tell you, it will take time and money before the case
is settled. But we will talk this over after a while; let us now
attend to the business for which we have more particularly met
to-day; that is, how we can best turn public sympathy against the
Dunkinites."

"I thought," remarked Sealy, "that was all settled at our last
meeting."

"So the outlines were; but we have to-day to arrange in regard to
detail," said Bottlesby.

"Well," said Ginsling, "I should say the best means to adopt to
accomplish our purpose is to consult as to the men in the
different localities whom we think can be approached. Then we
should consider how this is to be done, and who, in the several
cases, will be best to do it."

"That's just it," said Townly; "I could influence a man that some
one else could not approach, while he would have power over
another where I would utterly fail."

"I see," remarked Porter, while a cynical smile curled his sensual
lips; "we are to say to as many silly flies as possible, 'come,
walk into my parlor;' and if we cannot induce them to come
ourselves, we are to employ some of our imps to accomplish that
purpose; and, when we get them there, we are not to let them off
until they are thoroughly soaked. We are then to turn them out as
finished specimens, to illustrate to the public the efficacy of
the Dunkin Act. Is that your game, gentlemen?"

"Yes; that's about the idea." answered Rivers. "I admit it seems
rather hard, and may involve some suffering, and I am sorry we
have to resort to such means to accomplish our ends; but the
temperance fanatics have driven us to this, and upon them rests
the responsibility."

"If that is your game, gentlemen, you can count me out," remarked
Bill Tims. "I have been in business now for a great many years,
and I never have yet sold to a man when he was drunk. I don't
purpose to begin now. I can assure you, gentlemen, it means too
much suffering for women and children."

"I have thought just as you do," said McWriggler, speaking for the
first time, "and must yet admit it seems rather hard; but, you
know, 'Violent diseases require violent remedies.' You are well
aware if the Dunkinites succeed, you and all your fellow hotel
keepers will be ruined. So it is a matter whether the ruin shall
come to your home or possibly to the homes of those to whom you
sell. In such a case I should not be long in coming to a decision.
In this world every man is for himself. It is for you to take care
of yourself, and let the Dunkinites take care of their _proteges_.
he fools are bound to drink anyway, and their wives and children
must suffer sometime, and it might just as well come now as in
a few months hence. If it becomes a matter whether my wife and
I shall suffer or somebody else and his wife, I can assure you I
am going to take care of myself and those belonging to me every
time."

"Tims is wonderfully squeamish," sneered Rivers. "If we had been
permitted to do a legitimate trade, it would not have come to
this. I have invested every cent of my capital in the hotel
business in this town, and my place is not yet paid for; if this
Act is a success, my property will depreciate in value nearly
half, my trade will be ruined, and my wife and children will be
little better than paupers. Now, as Captain McWriggler has put it,
if I am to decide whether my family is to suffer or the family of
some other man, I take it, if I don't care for my own I am a
miserable fool. The one thing for us to consider is how we can
defeat the Dunkinites, and we must not be very particular
regarding the means we employ to accomplish our object."

"The question for us to settle now," said Sealy, "for it is no use
wasting time in argument, is what individuals are there in the
different localities that can be made tools of for our purpose?
The best course, I think, to pursue is that suggested by Ginsling;
that is, to make a canvass of the different localities, and see
who can be influenced. To commence, who can be used for the
purpose in Bayton? Come, Rivers or Bottlesby, you are better
acquainted here than I am; name over a few."

"You had better do it yourself, Sheriff," answered Rivers.

"Well," said the sheriff, "if you are too modest to do it, here's
at it. There are Morris, Dr. Dalton, Ashton, Flatt, McDonald,
Smith, Murphy, McLaughlin, and Stewart."

"You forget to mention the name of the would-be son-in-law of our
friend Sealy--Bill Barton." As he said this, he looked with a
quizzical sneer at Sealy and winked at Ginsling, but neither of
them appeared to notice the remark.

"Who are there in your locality, Townly?" he asked.

Townly mentioned several persons he thought might be approached,
and added: "I am certain, though some of them are keeping straight
at present, all that has to be done is to put liquor before them,
and they are bound to take it every time."

"What I can learn by the inquiries I have made and by
observation," said Murdon, the lawyer, "is this: the temperance
party are having quite a jollification because a number of those
whose names have been mentioned have kept sober since the Act came
in force. I also learned that a great many who gave a reluctant
support to the Act are now pleased they did so, because, as they
say, it has been the means of keeping these men from drinking; and
they argue, if it has been effective in their cases it will be
just as effective if it is adopted all over the Province, or even
the Dominion. Now, if the men you have named are led to get on a
bender or two these very persons will be led to change their tune,
and will condemn it as a failure just as emphatically as they now
endorse it as a blessing."

"That's just it," interjected Bottlesby. "Why, I was talking with
Old Gurney this morning, and the old fool at once mounted his
usual hobby. He pointed me to Ashton, Morris, and Dalton, who, he
said, were keeping sober since the Act came in force, though they
were going rapidly to destruction previous to that time. Now I
know, and so does every one that is not blinded by fanaticism,
that no power on earth will long be able to keep these fellows
from drinking, for if whiskey is to be had they are bound to have
it. If we use them as tools to accomplish our purpose we will only
be shortening the agony of both themselves and their friends."

"Then, gentlemen," said Rivers, "let us now consider how we can
best accomplish our object. I suppose those who are most familiar
with the parties of whom we have spoken, had better be left to use
their own discretion as to how they shall bring about the desired
result."

"Ginsling can give a good account of Ashton and Dr. Dalton. Can't
you?" said Bottlesby.

"I'll try," he answered, with a diabolical leer. "All I can say is
this, in one of the cases I have frequently tried and never
failed, and I think I'll manage the other."

We will not trouble our readers by repeating any more of their
very interesting and disinterested conversation. Before they
separated, every locality in the county was canvassed over, and
every man who had been an unfortunate victim of drink, but who had
kept sober since the Act came in force, was to be approached by
the one who would be the most likely to succeed in influencing him
to his fall. In fact, they concocted a scheme that night that was
worthy of Satan himself. They also had a special conference with
Murdon, the lawyer, so as to be prepared for the coming trials,
and several who had been subpoenaed were brought in and questioned
regarding what they actually knew, and also posted as to the
manner they could best evade the questions which would be put to
them, without swearing to that which was actually false.

"If I cannot frighten them half out of their wits," said Murdon,
speaking of the magistrates who would try the cases, "then I will
miss my guess. The most of them know but very little of law, and
are easily bothered. It is my intention to browbeat them all I can
to-morrow, and then dare them to convict. You must be specially
frightened, Sealy."

"I guess you'll find me equal to the occasion," he replied, with a
knowing wink.



CHAPTER XXIX.

MR. BROWN'S OPINION OF THE TRIAL AND THE PRESIDING MAGISTRATES.


"I told you it would be a farce, did I not? How could it be
otherwise, when a man like Hubbard was the presiding magistrate?
His sympathies were entirely with those who had violated the law;
and though he made an effort to conceal his bias, the attempt was
a failure."

"I agree with you, Mr. Gurney; the whole thing, to me, seemed like
a put-up job, and the bench were like children in the hands of
that crafty lawyer. I never witnessed a greater exhibition of
imbecility than was manifested by both Hubbard and Broban. They
appear to have studied law to about the same extent that Sealy has
the Bible, and you have an idea of about how much that is."

"Yes, Mr. Brown, I have an idea! And I also have an idea there was
an understanding between Murdon and Sealy. The fact is, the bench
consisted of two old geese and a fox. Two of them were lukewarm
supporters, who would 'damn it with faint praise;' and the third
was a rabid opponent, and he was the only one who was qualified,
either by native or acquired ability, for the position."

"But I thought, Mr. Gurney, that both Hubbard and Broban were
strong supporters of the bill. I know they voted for it. But I was
surprised that they were chosen to try these cases. I considered
them incompetent to do so. In fact, I have often wondered that men
so utterly unqualified were ever appointed to the position."

"In regard to their being supporters of the Dunkin Act," said Mr.
Gurney, "they, like many others, voted for it because they found
it popular to do so; at the same time, I believe, they wished it
to fail, for their sympathies were entirely with the drinking
party, and if it is a success they will deserve no credit for it."

"From what I saw yesterday, I must agree with you, Mr. Gurney. I
am sure they did not wish to convict. But how was it that Squires
Stebbins and Griffiths did not try these cases?"

"In my opinion, Mr. Brown, they were afraid to act. They said
important business called them away; but I am almost certain they
made business in order to escape the duty. I understand they have
been subjected to a species of bull-dozing. Being both of them
merchants, they were threatened by the liquor party with a loss of
custom if they acted, and they had not enough backbone to stand
the pressure. I have also been informed that their wives, who were
in abject terror, met and had a consultation, and concluded it
would not be safe for their husbands to act, as there had been
threats of personal violence and of injury to property; so, under
these influences, 'important' business was manufactured for the
occasion. They have thus escaped the responsibility!"

"Yes," said Mr. Brown, "and left those two non-entities to be
gulled by Sealy and bullied by Murdon. I must again express my
surprise that such incompetents should have been appointed to
their positions."

"They are specimen bricks of the big batch the Government turned
out a year or two ago. Why, do you not know that they manufactured
magistrates by the wholesale? Many of them were appointed--not
because of their qualifications, for they were notoriously
ignorant--but because they wished to reward them for services to
the party, and to insure their loyalty in the future."

"I am afraid," said Mr. Brown, "when you have to depend upon such
broken reeds, and have so many other obstacles to meet, you will
find it difficult to successfully work the Act."

"Yes, we will have to meet and overcome difficulties; but we have
anticipated this from the first. I must confess, however, that I was
disappointed at the attitude of some who, I thought, would be its
strongest supporters. I find they are craven-hearted, weak-kneed,
and afraid to give active assistance. They say it will injure their
business; so it is a matter of selfishness with them. If it fails,
it will be because of the half-hearted support we receive from
so-called respectable temperance men and moderate drinkers. I know
the Act is far from perfect, because the liquor party in Parliament
succeeded in introducing clauses that somewhat weaken its
effectiveness, and they now attack it because of these very defects.
But with all its defects, we would succeed in working it if we had
the sympathy and hearty support of all its professed friends; without
this, though it came forth with the stamp of the Infinite, it would
fail."

"You think we have too many of the genus mollusk in the temperance
ranks, Mr. Gurney? These creatures, with, no backbone, infest and
curse the Churches of to-day, and I have no doubt they will prove
the greatest curse to the temperance cause. A half-hearted friend
in the citadel is more to be dreaded than a foe without."

"Yes, Mr. Brown; more to be dreaded, and generally more to be
despised."

"I understand, Mr. Gurney, the liquor party are jubilant over the
result of the trial. I heard Captain McWriggler expatiating upon
it this morning, and he said the Act and all sumptuary laws of
similar character are a humbug."

"I have no doubt he will say so," answered Mr. Gurney; "and so
will all unprincipled demagogues. They are willing to pander to
the liquor interests, or anything else--no matter how low and
demoralizing it may be--if it only helps them to power. I
understood what he was at. He said to Mr. Martin, 'I told you it
would end in a fizzle;' and then continued talking to him in a
similar strain for some time: and when he was through, the latter
said 'he thought he was about right.' But you know as well as I
do, Mr. Gurney, that Martin is weak, and easily influenced."

"Yes, I know it, Mr. Brown; and all such men as he is will be
approached, and, if we keep them on our side, it will be by making
the Act a success from the first. In regard to yesterday's trial,
I am willing to admit it was a great failure of justice, or, to
use McWriggler's classic language, 'a fizzle.' But he knew, as
well as we do, what led to that result; for, as I remarked a few
moments ago, the whole proceedings were a farce. Between the
vexatious objections of Murdon, the pettifogger, who had charge of
the defence, and of Sealy, who, I believe, had entered into a
conspiracy with the former to defeat the ends of justice by
browbeating and cajoling the other two magistrates, the trial was
made a complete fiasco."

"And there was some rather crooked swearing done there, was there
not, Mr. Gurney?" asked Mr. Brown.

"Swearing! I should think there was! I shuddered as I listened to
the evidence of some of the hotel-keepers and the miserable
creatures they had degraded by their traffic. I was always aware
that whiskey was a fearful demoralizer, and I have seen some
striking illustrations of the fact before; but the swearing done
yesterday by men whose word a few years ago would not have been
questioned, has demonstrated, as nothing else could, its power to
deprave. Why, they twisted, and quibbled, and tried in every
possible manner to evade the questions put; they swore they were
not certain the liquor they drank was intoxicating, when it was
evident to all who heard them that the statements they were making
under oath were untrue."

"Are you not now more dubious as to the result than you were
before the trial?"

"Yes; I am willing to admit I am not so sanguine as I was," Mr.
Gurney replied. "What with weak or else utterly profligate and
unprincipled magistrates; with opponents of the lowest and most
vicious instincts, who have poor creatures that are completely
under their control, and seem so lost to every vestige of honor as
to be willing to swear to anything in order to screen those who
furnish them with liquor; with a large percentage of the press
prostituting its power in assisting our enemies; and with timid
and vacillating friends to help meet this determined and
unprincipled opposition, I must confess I am somewhat troubled.
But the thought of such men as Ashton, Morris, and Dr. Dalton,
with their stricken and despairing families and friends, nerves me
for the conflict, and makes me resolve that, trusting in God, I will
fight it as long as He gives me strength to do so; and, when I die,
God will raise up those who will take my place and the place of
those with whom I am associated. I am certain, in the end, our cause
will succeed. It may not be during my life. It may be long, long years
hence, when the cause of temperance shall ultimately prevail--but
it will prevail some time. We must remember that 'one day with the
Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day;' and,
though this prevalence of evil and the triumphing of the vicious may
cause us to be impatient and cry out in our anguish, 'How long, O
Lord, how long?' yet God will sweep away the scourge from our
land, like He swept away slavery from our mother and sister lands.
It is for us to pray, and watch, and work, and leave the rest with
God; and some day there will be a great shout, and we will cry,
some on earth and some in heaven, 'God has gotten us the
victory?'"

"Well, Mr. Gurney, I, like you, believe that temperance will
ultimately prevail; but I do not believe it will be in the near
future, and I am afraid this attempt will be a failure. If we try
to push legislation faster than public sentiment will warrant us
in doing, we will defeat our object and help the enemy. In my
opinion, there will have to be years of agitation; and the great
masses, who are either indifferent or antagonistic, will have to
be enlightened, and their sympathies enlisted, before a law like
the present can be run successfully. I have to-day conversed with
men who professed to favor our side, and yet they expressed great
sympathy for Rivers because he was fined, and some of them gave it
as their opinion that the Act would end in failure. I believe the
farmers are very much annoyed because the tavern-sheds are closed
against them; and some say, if they had to vote again it would be
to reverse their former one. The fact is, there must be a strong
public sentiment in our favor if we successfully cope with those
men who have their capital invested in the business, and who will
fight with the vigor that selfishness and desperation ever impart.
To-day's trial indicates we have desperate and unscrupulous foes
to meet, and that they can find miserable and degraded tools in
attendance to do their dirty work, and help them defeat the ends
of justice."

"I am more sanguine than you are," said Mr. Gurney; "and while I
am willing to admit that the imbecility of the magistrates who
professed to be our friends, the coldness on the part of a great
many who, I expected, would give us enthusiastic assistance, and
'having done all, would still stand;' and the manner in which both
the tavern-keepers and their degraded tools, as I believe,
perjured themselves, have made me a little less confident than I
was before yesterday's exhibition. Yet I am still of the opinion
the Act can be made a success. I, at least, am determined to do
all I can to make it such."

"I, like you, Mr. Gurney, was astonished at the reckless manner
with which some gave evidence yesterday, for while I was certain
the defendant in each case was equally as guilty as Rivers, he was
the only one who was fined, the others clearing themselves by
equivocation, and what, at least, appears to me very much like
perjury. And that miserable Grogson evidently was posted to swear
straight through. I was amazed at his flippancy and his evident
willingness to swear to anything that would screen those who had
received him."

"I am not surprised that you were, Mr. Brown; for we know that Dr.
Dalton and Ashton had no reason to swear to anything that was
untrue, and we do not believe they would be capable of doing so,
if they had, and they both swore that Grogson, and, in fact, the
whole party, drank liquor on the night in question. So the latter
actually perjured himself to screen a man who has taken hundreds
of dollars from him, and is, more than any one else, responsible
for his being the degraded wretch he is at present, and for his
wife and children being in the most abject poverty."

"I remember him when he was in comfortable circumstances and
considered a respectable man," said Mr. Brown, "and rather a
fine young fellow. He was illiterate, of course, but possessed
good native talent and a fund of humor which seemed almost
inexhaustible. He was a good business man for one whose early
opportunities were but limited; and his tact and shrewdness
largely compensated for what he lacked in other respects. He
married an estimable young girl from the neighborhood in which I
was raised; but he took to drinking, and from that time degenerated
very rapidly, until he is the degraded creature you saw yesterday.
His cronies have very appropriately given him the sobriquet of
'Whiskey Jemmie.' I understand his wife and children are existing
in utter poverty--brought, by his abuse, to be abject specimens of
squalor and rags."

"Yes, Mrs. Holman and my wife were to his shanty the other day,
and found them actually in need of the necessaries of life; and
some time ago, when Mr. Mason took them some food, Grogson waited
until he was out of sight, and then meanly ate up what had been
brought for his starving wife and little ones, and though Mrs.
Grogson was ill at the time, and part of what was brought was
prepared especially for her; yet the brute devoured every morsel.
And I heard they were laughing at Porter's, because, as they put
it, he had 'sold the parson.'"

"I believe Rivers has appealed, has he not, Mr. Gurney?"

"Yes! on the ground that the law is _ultra vires_. It is
appealed until next month, when the case will come before Judge
McGullet, and, as he is entirely in sympathy with the antis, I
have no doubt he will decide in their favor. Then we will have to
carry it to a Court of Appeal, when we hope to obtain justice."

"I have no doubt but you will," said Mr. Brown; "but, in the
meantime, they will continue selling liquor, and, having no
license to pay, they will endeavor to have a perfect carnival of
drunkenness. When they think it is time to strike, they will
circulate a petition to have the Act repealed, and the great
majority, who will only look at the effect without stopping to
consider the cause, will be in sympathy with them, and they will
carry the appeal by an immense majority. Do you not think so?"

Mr. Gurney remained in an attitude of deep contemplation for a few
moments, and then answered:

"Such may be the case; but we will have to throw our best energies
into the work, and leave the rest to God. If we do our part and
remain faithful to each other and the cause we have espoused, we
will have done what we could; and if our efforts are for the
present fruitless, we shall, at least, have no reason for regret."



CHAPTER XXX.

THE INSULT TO ALLIE ASHTON--HER GALLANT DEFENDER.


Six months have elapsed since Mr. Gurney and Mr. Brown engaged in
the conversation as presented in the last chapter. During that
period there had been a great many hotel-keepers tried and fined
for selling liquor, though numbers had escaped through the utter
depravity of both them and their miserable dupes; and also
because, in a great many instances the magistrates who presided
were utterly incompetent to try the cases.

The hotel-keepers had pursued to the letter the diabolical policy
they had agreed upon; that is, they had defied the law, and sold
liquor with reckless impunity, having, when fined, appealed, and
then continued selling and giving it away until they had literally
accomplished their object, and flooded the country with liquor,
making a perfect carnival of drunkenness and debauchery. They
could afford to be lavish in their expenditure, as they had a
wealthy corporation to back them in their iniquity.

Among those who had been enticed to fall was the unfortunate
personage who is the chief character in this story. Ginsling had
been successful, and Richard Ashton had once more been led astray.

Ruth had scarcely become convalescent when this occurred, and was
again completely prostrated. The family were now only kept from
want by the earnings of Eddie and Allie, though Mr. Gurney and
other friends were exceedingly kind, and did everything they
could, without wounding the sensibilities of Mrs. Ashton, to help
her and her family.

Ashton was now completely demoralized. He had become so depraved
by drink as to have lost all self-respect, and seemed to be
regardless of the condition of his family. He had not only
desisted from bringing anything in to help support them, but the
miserable man had, again and again, stealthily taken some souvenir
of other and happier days, and pawned it in order to procure
liquor.

He had also become so completely transformed by drink that, in his
wild, drunken frenzy, he would be cross and even abusive to his
wife and children; and there was that shadow of a great sorrow
ever lowering over them, and that wearing unrest and fear that is
ever the patrimony of those who are the inmates of a drunkard's
home.

It was now a providential thing for them that Eddie had procured a
situation with Mr. Gurney; and that Allie, though she was so
young, was able to turn her musical accomplishments to account,
and give instruction in music to several pupils. They, by their
united earnings, as we have before intimated, managed to keep the
wolf from the door.

Ashton was now most of his time absent from home, drinking at some
of the hotels or groggeries, and he had become so utterly degraded
that even Ginsling, the man who had been the chief instrument of
his ruin, would avoid him; and Rivers and Porter, and the other
tavern-keepers, would turn him out on the street, as they did many
others, in order to demonstrate that the Dunkin Act was a failure.
At such times he would stagger home if he was able, which was not
always the case; and once or twice he nearly perished from cold
and exposure. Eddie frequently had to search through the
groggeries to find him and lead him home.

One evening, just at twilight, as Allie was returning from giving
a lesson to one of her pupils, she had to pass by Porter's hotel
on her way home, and, when opposite the bar-room door, she heard
her father in loud conversation with some one inside. Impelled by
an impulse to rescue him from impending evil, she opened the door
and walked in. She found herself in the midst of a bar-room full
of drunken, ruffianly-looking men, a long row of whom were
standing at the bar, with glasses in hand, while one of their
number was proposing a toast of the grossest character. To her
dismay her father was among them. She stood for a moment or two
hesitating what to do, and she trembled violently, and experienced
a sinking sensation as she found every eye turned upon her. The
voice of him who was proposing the toast was instantly hushed, and
every glass was lowered and placed on the counter. There was a
dead silence for a few moments, as all seemed intuitively to
understand they were in the presence of innocence and refinement;
in fact, of a being superior to themselves, and one who was not
accustomed to such surroundings.

"Do you wish to see me?" said Mr. Porter.

After a moment's hesitation, in order to gain control of herself,
Allie answered his question in true Yankee style; that is, by
asking another. She asked, with great dignity--though she had to
assert all her will-power to conceal her agitation:--

"Are you the proprietor?"

"I am," said Porter. "Will you not step into the sitting-room?" he
said, with rough kindness; for naturally brutal as he was, even he
for a moment was toned down by the presence of the fair young
girl.

"No, thank you," she answered. "I came in to ask my father to come
home. I heard his voice as I was passing by, and thought if I
stepped in and asked him he would not refuse to accompany me."

In a moment there was a marvellous change in the manner of Porter,
and he asked, in reply to Allie, in a coarse, ruffianly manner:

"Are you Ashton's daughter?"

"I am, sir," replied Allie, straightening herself up, the manner
of the question, more than the words, causing her cheeks to flush
and indignant fire to flash in her eyes.

"I wish, then," he continued, "you would take the drunken fool
home, and keep him when you get him there. I have been bothered
enough with him lately."

"Why, then, have you, and others in your business, enticed him to
drink? He would not have been in the sad state he is to-day, sir,
if he had not been tempted to do wrong. Would to God, for my poor
mother's sake" (and as she mentioned her mother's name her eyes
filled with tears), "he would never again put foot in this place.
Father!" she said, walking over to him, and putting her hand
affectionately on his arm, "you will come, will you not?"

"Yes, my girl, I will," answered her father, who, though very much
under the influence of liquor when she so unexpectedly made her
appearance, seemed considerably sobered by what had transpired. He
also keenly felt the degradation of having his pure, gentle young
daughter in a place with such surroundings.

"I will, my girl," he reiterated; "and what you said was true. I
was waylaid and tempted, and I believe it was all planned by him
and others of the same profession. Had it not been for this, you
would not have found me here to-day, and would also have been
spared this degradation. But if I and others had not been weak
their schemes would have failed."

"If you or any one else say I enticed you, or employed any other
person to do so, I say, in reply, it is a lie!" said Porter; and
he not only looked at Ashton as he spoke, but also at his
daughter.

Ashton was maddened by the insulting remarks which were evidently
intended for both. He turned almost savagely to Porter, and said:

"You dastardly ruffian! if you were not a coward you would not
insult a young girl." As he said this, he struggled to get away
from Allie, as if he would fly at Porter; but she threw her arms
around him, and, crying piteously, begged him to come home.

"Oh, father!" she said, "I want to leave this horrible place. Oh!
don't say anything, but come home."

"You had better leave," said Porter; "and if you were not an old
man, and your daughter was where she should be--at home--I would
knock you down. I would allow no man who was able to defend
himself to say so much to me without making him sorry for it."

"You wouldn't," said a tall, athletic young man, stepping forward
as he spoke. "Well, I will give you an opportunity to make good
your words. I say that the man who is contemptible enough to make
use of the language you have, in the presence of a young lady, is
a bully, a brute, and a miserable coward. Now, make good your
boast."

Porter, stung by the epithets applied to him, sprang with the fury
of a tiger at the young man who thus defied him; but if he
expected to surprise him by the suddenness of his attack, or to
crash him with his vast bulk, he counted without his host, for the
young man, with the agility of a cat, stepped to one side, and, as
he did so, struck Porter such a blow that he fell to the floor as
one dead. He then turned to Allie as if nothing had happened, and
said, with gentle courtesy:

"Miss Ashton, this is no place for you; if you will leave, I will
accompany Mr. Ashton and you home."

"Oh! is he dead?" she said, as she viewed with anxiety and alarm
the prostrate form of the brutal ruffian.

"You need not be in the least alarmed about that, miss," said one
who was bending over him; "Joe Porter ain't so easily killed as
that; though I tell you, that young fellow's blow is like a kick
from a boss. He did hit him a stunner, but I must say he just got
what he deserved."

Just then Porter, in whose face they had been sprinkling water,
began to show signs of life and to mutter fearful oaths against
Ashton, Allie, and the young man who had so nobly championed their
cause.

"Let us go," said Allie; "let us leave this awful place. Come, pa,
for he will soon be up. Oh, how can you frequent such a place as
this is?"

When they stepped outside, they found the twilight was deepening
into darkness. Allie thanked the young man for his gallant
conduct, but would not accept his proffered escort: she said she
did not wish to trouble him further. As they parted she shook hands
with him, as did her father, and bade him a cordial good-bye.

"I am very much obliged to you," said Mr. Ashton to him, "and
shall never forget your kindness; but I hope you may not get into
trouble for your valor in our behalf."

"There is no danger of that," he said; "I am abundantly able to
take care of myself. But, sir," he continued, "if you will allow
one who is young enough to be your son to put in a word to you in
the way of advice, I would say, do not be found again as you were
to-night. My dear sir, you are altogether too good for such
company as that; and then, you involve others in your own
degradation."

"I know it, sir; I know it too well. I take your advice as it is
intended, and hope I may yet receive strength to follow it; but I
have failed so often that I dare not make a promise. God bless you
sir! Good-bye."

The young man stood looking after Ashton as he disappeared in the
darkness. Allie had started a little before her father, and had
not therefore been a listener to their conversation. She had to
call into a store to make a few purchases, her father promising to
meet her at the shop-door and accompany her home.

"There," soliloquised the young man, "is another poor fool who,
possessing bright parts, is just about destroyed by drink. How
many thousands there are, even in this country, just like him--going
to ruin themselves at lightning speed, and dragging their
families with them! What a beautiful girl his daughter is! What a
figure! What eyes and hair, and what a beautiful complexion! How
cultured and intelligent she appeared! She cannot be more than
fourteen or fifteen, and yet she seemed to have the thoughtfulness
and self-possession of a woman. The idea of one possessing her
refinement being in the den of Old Joe Porter! I must endeavor to
be better acquainted if we establish a business here. It was
fortunate I went to make that enquiry. I guess Porter will not
forget me for some time."



CHAPTER XXXI.

RICHARD ASHTON AND LITTLE MAMIE--MAMIE'S DREAM.


After Allie had left her father she hastened on, determined to get
through her shopping as quickly as possible, so as to be ready to
accompany him home. She now began to doubt if she did right to
leave him, even for a moment, for might he not now be led by his
appetite to some other groggery, and then what would be the
result! She hastened out, and rejoiced to find him waiting for
her, and together they silently wended their way home.

It was not their old home, for they were forced some time previous
to this to remove from it to one that was much less pretentious;
for now they had to exercise the most rigid economy.

Their present abode was a little rough-cast storey-and-a-half
house, consisting of a main building and an addition. The main
building contained three apartments down-stairs, one of which
served for dining-room and parlor, and the other two were
bedrooms. The up-stairs had not been finished, though they had
managed to fix it up so that Eddie could sleep there; and by the
mother's and sister's industry and skill it had been made quite
comfortable; but it was not to be compared to the beautiful room
which he possessed in his old home.

The addition contained the kitchen and pantry; and though very
cold in severe weather, it served the purpose for which it was
intended.

The principal apartment in the main building was very small; but
though such was the case, and Mrs. Ashton was still weak and
suffering, yet she and Allie had managed to give those little
touches in its arrangement which indicated a cultured taste and
made it snug and cozy.

The night in question, when Allie and her father came in, Mrs.
Ashton was sitting in an easy chair, propped up by pillows. As she
sat there, one could see that sickness and worry had wrought
terrible ravages during the last year. Her thin, white face looked
all the more ghastly because of her large, dreamy eyes; and her
hands were so white and thin that they seemed as though
transparent. Her hair, which had once been so golden, was now
shimmering with silver; and no one who had known her a few years
previous would recognize her now as the same person. Surely she
had passed "under the rod." The suffering she had endured would
have turned the rich purple wine of some women's natures into
vinegar, and the drunkard's home would have been a miniature
pandemonium; but it had not been so in the present instance. Ruth
Ashton had borne her sorrows meekly; and, let me ask, what sorrow
is greater than that which she had to bear? She had seen the man
that she loved for his noble and manly attributes, ruined by
strong drink; his bright intellect robbed of its lustre, and his
loving heart made sluggish and cold. What shame she felt! For did
not she and the children share in his degradation? What
humiliation of spirit they endured! But she never spoke other than
kindly to her husband. He had not the trite excuse of thousands of
worthless husbands who are neglecting their homes and spending
their money in the groggery, while their families are existing in
squalor and famishing for bread. He could never say he was driven
to drink by the naggings of a querulous wife; for though tried
almost beyond human endurance--so tried, that the poor heart was
well-nigh broken, and her flesh had almost failed--she never
changed in her manner towards him, but was still the kind, loving
wife she had been from the first.

When he and Allie came in, every eye was turned upon him to see if
he was, as usual, intoxicated; and when Mrs. Ashton saw that he
was almost as sober as when he left home, her heart was filled
with joy.

"Hurry up, Mamie," she said, "and give your papa a seat. Take his
hat, dear, and get his slippers. If you are not too tired, Allie
dear, hurry up with the supper."

Ashton was touched by the thoughtful kindness of his long-suffering
wife, and he went over to where she was sitting and tenderly kissed
er. "You have been a true, good wife to me," he said; "God never
blessed a man with a better one. So sinned against, and yet so
forgiving; so faithful, so loving." Tears were in his eyes as he spoke,
and then he gently kissed her again; but Ruth never uttered a word.
He sat down on a chair which was near the table, and, leaning his
head upon the latter, wept bitterly.

Little Mamie, who had grown considerably during the last year, had
lost her baby manner, and possessed a mind much too mature for one
of her age. She now spoke quite plainly, and seemed to understand
the circumstances in which they were placed nearly as well as her
elder brother and sister. She had of late always waited until she
discovered what was her father's condition before she made any
advances. If he was intoxicated she would sit, mute as a mouse, in
the corner, with a look of thoughtful sorrow upon her face; but if
he were not, she would steal gently up to him, climb upon his
knee, and then, leaning her head upon his breast, kiss and fondle
him, and coax him to tell her a story, or sing her one of his
numerous hymns or songs.

And he always seemed happy to be the slave of this his youngest
and frailest child, who, by her gentle witcheries, had so wiled
herself into his affections as to have a power over him that no
one else possessed.

He had not been sitting at the table long ere she gently crept up
to him, and, climbing on to his knee, lifted his arm, and then
nestled her cheeks to his until her streamlets of gold mingled
with his grizzled locks.

"Oh, papa!" she said, "don't cry--please, don't cry. I pray to God
every morning and every night that He may keep the naughty men
from giving you drink, and I am sure God will hear me; then you
will be as you used to be, and mamma will not cry as she sometimes
does now."

Mamie little thought how her words went home to her father's
heart--what feelings of shame and remorse they awakened.

"Oh, papa!" she said, "I had such a wonderful dream last night. I
dreamt I was in heaven, and it seemed such a beautiful place.
There were flowers far more lovely than any I ever saw on earth,
and the trees were filled with birds of all colors; and they sang
so sweetly--more sweetly than any I ever heard. And there were
thousands and thousands of bright angels, and they had harps in
their hands shining like gold. And there were thousands of men,
women, and children there, all dressed in white, with something
bright and beautiful in their hands. And there seemed to be a
great high throne, and some one sitting upon it--just such a
throne as mamma showed me the other day in a book, only far more
beautiful. And the face of the One who sat on the throne shone
more brightly than the sun, and lit up all the place. Oh, papa! I
was so happy--more than when I have been playing with Allie among
the flowers on a bright summer's day. And the angels struck their
golden harps; and as the people and children sang, the music was
more delightful than I can tell. I felt I was selfish to listen
all alone, and that I must run and tell you all, that you might
hear it also. But, just as I was about to start, I looked up, and
you were standing by my side, looking down at me. And, pa, you did
not look like you do now, but as you used to look when I first
knew you--as my own dear papa--only there was no gray in your
hair. Then you smiled so sweetly upon me, that I knew you were
happy; and your face was bright and shining. I asked you where was
mamma, Eddie, and Allie, that I might tell them what we were
enjoying, and you said they were not here yet, but would be
by-and-bye.

"Then it seemed as if we all left the throne and wandered by the
beautiful river and picked the beautiful flowers that were so
fragrant. Then I said, 'Oh, papa, I wish my mamma was here!' and
just at that time I awoke, and mamma was standing by my bedside,
smiling; for, it being morning, the sun was filling my room with
light, and little Dickie was singing. I told mamma my dream, and
she said she thought it was because of what she was reading to me,
and the stories she told me before I went to bed; for, papa, she
read that chapter which speaks of the 'great multitude which no
man can number, who washed their robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb.' And she read me of the walls so high and
beautiful, and of the streets of gold. She said no earthly home
could equal it. And she thinks this, with Dickie's singing and the
sun's shining, was what caused me to dream such a lovely dream. Do
you think it was this that caused it, papa?"

Ashton looked down upon his fair, fragile young child, and, as he
did so, he thought how far he had fallen from such purity as she
possessed.

"No doubt, my dear," he said, "but your mamma's reading and the
stories she told had something to do with your dream. But I think
even the angels would come from heaven to whisper in the ears of
one so good and beautiful as papa's little daughter."

"Oh, papa!" she said, "I wish we were all in heaven, and then we
would be so happy. You would never drink again, because there
would be no wicked men to give you whiskey; for mamma said, 'None
that are wicked shall enter there,' and then mamma would not cry
like she sometimes does now; because there shall be 'no sorrow
there, and God shall wipe all tears from the eye.' Do you not wish
we were there, papa?"

The tears were trickling down the cheeks not only of the father
but also of Mrs. Ashton and Allie. She seemed to them too pure for
earth, and fit for the association of those bright spirits of
which she had been dreaming.

As her father did not speak--in fact he dare not make the attempt,
for if he had he could not have controlled his emotion--her mother
said:

"Mamie better not ask any more such questions. Papa, mamma, and
all hope to be there some day; but we want to remain to work for
and love each other until God sees fit to call us home. Now, my
dear, do not say anything more about it to-night, because you make
papa and mamma feel bad."

Mamie was subdued into silence, for a request from her mother
always exerted a great power over her. She nestled so closely to
her father's breast that she could hear the beatings of his heart,
which, though he had fallen so utterly, beat only for his dear
ones at home.

It would certainly have been a subject worthy of a great painter
to depict that pure, beautiful child, sitting upon the lap of her
sinful, erring father. Her face so smooth and radiant, his so
seamed and gloomy. Her eyes large, full, and deep, with the light
of a pure soul finding expression through them; his, blood-red and
bleared from the effects of his recent and frequent debauches, and
with the despair which was eating, like a canker, deep down in the
heart, manifesting its intensity in those exponents of its
happiness or misery.

"Papa, your supper is waiting for you," said Allie cheerfully.
"Come, mamma and Mamie, your chairs are ready."

But we will leave this family scene to take our readers back to
Porter's hotel.



CHAPTER XXXII.

A BAR-ROOM SETTLEMENT OF A MISUNDERSTANDING.


After Porter had been lifted to his feet, and had completely
regained consciousness, he poured out a volley of oaths and foul
expletives, and swore dire vengeance against Ashton and the
unknown stranger who had championed his cause.

"I'll meet that fellow again," he said; "and when I do, I'll pay
him with interest--you'll see if I don't; and if that drunken
fool, Ashton ever enters this place again, I'll pitch him out
quicker than he comes in. I have it in for him for giving me away
to Old Service, and then swearing against me at the trial. Before
long I'll get even with him for both."

"If you were to throw him out, Porter, it might be worse for you
and better for him," said Stewart. "If Ashton had all the money he
has left with you, I guess he would be willing to be put out--and
stay out, too. I know it would have been a good thing for me if
you, and others like you, had turned me out long ago, and never
let me in again."

"I guess, Porter," said Morris, banteringly, "you'll not be in a
hurry to meet that young chap again, for, as Tremaine said, 'his
blow was like the kick of a horse.' Why, man, he knocked you as
clean off your pins as if you had been a skittle! and I'll lay you
any amount that he would use you up in five minutes. Don't you
think he would, boys?"

Some of the boys to whom the question was referred said they
thought he would, while others expressed a different opinion.
Among the latter were two or three who were anxious to curry favor
with Porter.

There are hangers-on at almost every groggery, who loaf around,
day after day, for the purpose of what, in slang terms, is called
"spunging,"--that is, they are either not able or not willing to
pay for liquor themselves, and therefore sit waiting to be asked
to drink by any customer who comes in and is willing to "stand
treat." Of course it is to the interest of such creatures as those
to be on good terms with the landlord--for it is only by his
tolerance they can so cheaply indulge their bibulous propensities.

There were some of this class present when Morris asked his
question, and they, of course, expressed the opinion that Porter,
if he only had fair play, would be more than a match for his late
antagonist, who, they said, had taken him at a disadvantage.

"I'd bet on Porter every time," said a burly loafer by the name of
Tom Flatt, "if he only had a fair show. I'd liked to see him try
it, at any rate."

"O you would, would you?" said Morris, in a sarcastic, rasping
tone; "I believe that, but you would take care not to get into
anything of the kind yourself. I never knew a man who was more
careful of his own precious carcase. Now, let me tell you, I
believe that fellow would clean you both out so suddenly you would
be whipped before you knew it."

"That's so," said Stewart. "Why, he was quick as a streak of forked
lightning."

"If I were you, Morris," said Flatt, "I'd shut up. A man who lets
his wife lick 'un, and is afeared to go home because she'd pull
his hair or broomstick 'un, shouldn't talk to other men about
being cowards. I'd like to see my wife touch me."

As he spoke about his wife beating him, he doubled his ponderous
fist and assumed a fierce look, which would lead one to conclude
he would be a perfect hero under such circumstances.

What enabled Flatt thus to taunt Morris was the fact that one
night the latter had come home frenzied with drink, and was very
abusive to his wife and children. Indeed, he became almost
uncontrollable, and began to smash up the furniture, when his
eldest son, with the assistance of his mother, watching his
opportunity, had overpowered and bound him. The story in some
manner had leaked out, and the present occasion was not the first
time he had been twitted about it.

"We know all about thee, Tom," said Tremaine, in answer to Flatt.
He lived next door to him, and therefore understood the relation
in which he stood to his family better than any one else did.
"Thou art brave as a lion when thee's got that little wife of
thine to thump, but thee's not so valiant when there are men
around."

Morris now stepped forward and said: "Don't say a word, Tremaine.
I want myself to settle this score with Flatt."

As he spoke he was trembling with excessive rage, and his eyes
were blazing with the baleful fire which burned within. He was a
man of powerful physique, and, when partially intoxicated, was
quarrelsome and dangerous; and it was a surprise to those who were
present that Flatt, who was a great coward, dared to taunt or
provoke him. This could only be accounted for from the fact that
the sarcastic words of Morris had so stung him as to throw him off
his guard, and he therefore did not manifest his usual discretion
when talking with one who had the power to defend himself.

"You just said," continued Morris, "that I allowed my wife to
broomstick me and pull my hair, and that I was afraid to go home.
Now, you are a liar," he hissed between his teeth, with the
vicious venom of a rattlesnake, "and a sneak, and a sponge, and a
coward; and if there is any manhood about you, defend yourself."
As he said this he sprang at Flatt as a panther might spring on
his prey.

There was a terrible scuffle for a moment or two, and several
voices shouted in chorus: "Make a ring, and let them fight it
out." How strange it is that so many who call themselves men love
these brutal exhibitions--especially when they are not principals!

A ring was formed, and the two men, who had fallen on the floor,
were tumbling over each other like bulldogs: they were hitting and
gouging each other, and all the time swearing most horrible oaths.
In fact, they were more like wild beasts than men.

"Enough! enough! For God's sake take him off!" said Flatt. "Take
him off, or he'll murder me!" he again groaned out hoarsely, and
the blood and foam oozed from his mouth and flew in flakes over
his murderous antagonist.

Two or three seized hold of Morris and pulled him off, and it was
well they did, for certainly he would have killed the miserable
wretch whom he had at his mercy. All his latent ferocity seemed to
be aroused, and he would never have stopped short of murder. As it
was, he struggled and swore at them who interfered, and endeavored
again to assault the half-throttled ruffian whom they had just
lifted to his feet.

They took Flatt to another room and washed his face, when it was
discovered that both of his eyes were very much discolored, his
upper lip split, and his nose so battered that it corresponded
with his name. In fact, he had been so changed in a few moments
that his most intimate acquaintance would scarcely recognise him.

Morris had come out of the affray with barely a scratch or two.
His attack had been so sudden and so ferocious that Flatt, though
he was the larger man, had little chance to defend himself.

Joe Porter had been behind the bar when the events which we have
described occurred; for the blow he had received had so shaken him
as to leave him incapable either of resenting the taunts which he
had flung at him by Morris and the others, or of interfering to
stop the bloody affray which was the sequel to his own little
affair. In fact, he did not have any special anxiety to risk his
own precious person again. He, however, managed to signal to his
son, a young man who had come in during the _melee_, and he
went for the town constable. It was not long before that personage
arrived, but the fight was ended. Porter gave him to understand he
would rather no arrests were made; so he sent them to their
respective homes, at the same time giving them to understand if he
caught either of them engaging in a row again they should not
escape so easily.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

THE HOUSE AND FAMILY OF MORRIS--HE NEARLY KILLS LITTLE HARRY.


When Morris arrived at his home after he left Porter's, he found
tea ready, and his wife and children about to partake of it. When
he entered, the children, who were always anxious as to the
condition of their father, discovered immediately that he was in a
state which would cause him to be on the alert to discover some
slight or insult which would justify him in being cross.

"Why did you not wait tea for me?" he asked gruffly; "you must
have been desperately hungry when you could not wait for a few
moments."

"Now, Henry," answered his wife, "you know it is an hour after our
regular tea-time; and I am sure, if you will only think of it, you
will remember that lately you have been very irregular in your
habits. We have several times waited tea for you until it was
almost spoiled, and then you did not come."

"You knew well enough I would be here in time to-night, because
before I left I told you I would; and it is no use of your trying
to get out of it in that manner. I ain't a fool."

"I don't remember, Henry, your promising to be home for tea; and
if I did, I could not have depended upon your promise, for, you
know, lately you have disappointed us so often that we can no
longer trust your word. Oh, Henry! I only wish I could trust you
as I once could, and then there would not be a happier woman in
Bayton."

"I don't want any of your snivelling, Nell," he said; "I'd rather
have something to eat."

The supper was eaten in silence, the children being afraid to
speak, and Mrs. Morris's heart was too full for conversation. She
sat silently rocking in her low arm-chair, the tears welling from
her eyes and chasing each other down her cheeks. She had noticed
the scratches upon her husband's face, which he had received in
his recent fight. She did not ask him how he came by them, for she
well knew how violent his temper was; but she was almost certain
he had been mixed in some low bar-room affray, and this thought
pained her beyond measure.

When they were married he was a blacksmith in good circumstances,
and carried on an extensive business; but he had for the last few
years been drinking deeply, and, as a consequence, had so
neglected his business that most of his customers left him; and
this, with what he spent in drink, had so reduced him in
circumstances that he and his family were now very poor. He had
desisted from drink when the Dunkin Act came in force, and for a
while his home was cheerful again, for a great sorrow was lifted
from it, and his steady habits were bringing in money sufficient
to purchase many little comforts which had been wanting during the
time he was indulging in drink. But this did not last long, for he
was one that was selected as a victim by the antis, and they soon
succeeded in making him succumb to their wiles. I will not enter
into a lengthy description of how their hellish purpose was
accomplished, suffice it to say that in his case, as well as in
Barton's, Ashton's, Dr. Dalton's, and many others, the conspiracy
was, from the diabolical standpoint of the antis, a success. All
over the county men were entrapped into drinking by the nefarious
means employed, entailing, in some instances, horrible murders and
deaths from accidents and exposure; and the misery which helpless
women and poor little innocent children suffered will never be
known on this side of the judgment. The victims fell easy preys to
their wily seducers, for when a man once contracts an appetite
for spirituous liquors it is, in nine cases out of ten, easy to
tempt him again to his fall; and none knew this better than those
who were engaged in this conspiracy, for they were old and
experienced hands at the business.

Mrs. Morris keenly felt her present position. She had belonged to
a very respectable family--being naturally of a proud, imperious
disposition--and to think that she and her children had been
reduced to poverty and rags through the drunken habits of her
husband, had almost broken her heart. But this evening, when he
came in with the marks on his face which led her to believe he had
been engaged in another bar-room brawl--for this was not the
first--the sense of their disgrace came upon her with such
overwhelming force as to bow her proud spirit to the earth.

During the day she had been visited by her sister's husband, whom
she had not seen for years, and she had experienced that
humiliation which those only can understand who have been in
circumstances of comfort, if not of opulence, and through the
misconduct of others have been brought to poverty and disgrace,
and, under these changed conditions, are visited by those they
have known in the days of their prosperity. The early opportunities
of her brother-in-law had not been at all superior to that of her
husband; but he was now rich, residing in a palatial home, and the
thought that he had found her such a victim of poverty and neglect,
added to her accumulated bitterness.

Her husband, as he sat eating his supper, ever and anon cast his
eyes to where she sat--her tears seemed to irritate him more than
words could possibly have done.

"I don't see, Nell," he said, "why you should sit there sulking
after that style. I guess I'll go back to where I came from, I do
hate a person to sulk."

"I am not sulking, Henry," she replied bitterly; "but I am
heart-broken with grief and shame. It was bad enough, surely, for me
to be compelled to suffer the disgrace of being a drunkard's wife,
and of being, with my children, dragged down from respectability to
poverty and rags, without having to endure the thought that my
husband--through his drunken, quarrelsome habits--had given people
the opportunity to bruit his name through the country as a bar-room
bully."

While she was speaking, her eldest son had entered the house. He
was almost a man grown, and was a fine-looking, athletic young
fellow. He, as well as his brothers and sisters, had suffered a
great deal from his father's cruelty, and Mrs. Morris had
frequently screened them from her husband's wild fury; for, though
he had often threatened, he had never so far forgotten his manhood
as to strike his wife. His son had lately decided not to endure
any more abuse, nor, if he could prevent it, would he allow his
father to maltreat his brothers and sisters. He acted upon this
resolve when, on another occasion, as we have previously stated,
he, with the assistance of his mother, had prevented him from
smashing up the furniture; though, in order to do this, they had
to overpower and bind him with ropes. Of course they could not
have succeeded had he not been very drunk. Morris at other times
in his wild frenzy acted as though he had just escaped from
bedlam. So foolish had he been, that there was scarcely a door or
a piece of furniture in the house which did not bear some mark of
these seasons of desperation.

The son immediately saw that his father was in his most
quarrelsome mood, for his eyes flashed fire; and no sooner had
Mrs. Morris stopped speaking, than he replied in his most rasping
tones:

"I want you to shut up, Nell, and if you don't I'll make you. I
suppose, now Jim has come, you think you can run the establishment;
and because you succeeded in tying me up the other day, you
imagine you can do it again. I was drunk then. You had better try
it on now if you think you will be able to complete the contract."

"Oh, Henry!" replied Mrs. Morris, "you know well enough that all
we did was to prevent you from destroying the furniture and
abusing the children, when you were so drunk as not to know what
you were doing. Why do you go away and disgrace us, and then come
back drunk to abuse us and make home wretched."

"It was thrown in my teeth to-night by Tom Flatt," he continued,
without noticing what his wife had said, "that you and that
precious son of mine, who is now sitting there grinning, tied me
up the other day and whipped me. I guess he won't tell me that
again in a hurry, as I nearly finished him; and I gave him to
understand if he did I should complete the job. Now, I suppose,
Jim, you want to try it on again; if you do, just come along--I'm
not drunk now!"

"Now, father, why can't you behave yourself? You know we only
prevented you from doing something you would be sorry for
afterwards."

When Jim thus spoke he did not intend to be impudent to his
father, but; on the contrary, to allay his temper; but his words
had just a contrary effect, for the latter immediately sprang to
his feet and said, while his eyes were blazing with passion:

"How dare you speak to me of behaving myself? Things have come to
a pretty pass when you dare thus to dictate to me. This comes from
your mother encouraging you to disobey me. Now you take your hat
and go, or I'll make you."

"I am not interfering with you, father; and if you were yourself
you would not want me to go. If you let the others and me alone I
will not say a word to you."

"Leave the house this minute," his father roared, "and don't dare
to bandy words with me."

"Father," said the son quietly, "I'll not do it. I am not going to
leave my mother and the rest here alone to be abused by you."

"You say you won't!" he hissed between his clenched teeth; "but
you will, or I'll break every bone in your body."

As he said this he ran around the table to the place where Jim was
standing; but the latter, nimbly avoiding him, dodged to the other
side of the table, while the rest of the children ran screaming
into another room. Mrs. Morris attempted to expostulate, but her
voice was lost in the general confusion; and Morris had become so
enraged that he was literally frothing at the mouth. He chased Jim
around the table for a few times, but his efforts proving
abortive, he, in his mad rage, seized a heavy glass tumbler and
threw it, with all his strength, at Jim's head.

"Look out, Jim!" screamed his mother, in a voice of horror, and
the boy dodging, the tumbler just grazed the side of his face; if
he had not done so, it would have taken him square in the mouth,
and would certainly have knocked out most of his front teeth, if
it had not broken his jaw.

But, though Jim fortunately escaped, Harry, the brother next to
him, was not so fortunate, for he happened to be standing
behind--almost in line with Jim--and the tumbler, which missed
the latter, struck him with terrific force just above the temple, and,
glancing therefrom, struck the window-sash behind, shattering two
of the panes to atoms from the force of the blow.

The boy, with a groan, sank to the floor, turning deathly pale as
he did so, and in a moment the blood began to trickle down his
face.

"Oh, Henry!" exclaimed Mrs. Morris, "you have killed Harry! Oh,
how could you throw a tumbler like that? Jim, bring some water
quickly."

The mother bent over her boy, who lay as one dead; and, as Jim
came with the water, she bathed his head with it and sprinkled
some upon his face. But their efforts to bring him back to
consciousness were in vain, for he lay breathing heavily, but
still insensible.

Morris, after seeing the effects of his reckless folly, stood for
a moment as one stunned. He was no longer drunk, but a sober and
deeply-penitent man. His boy lying there as dead, appealed to his
father's heart as no words could have done, and he now would
willingly have sacrificed his life if he could have recalled the
events of the last half hour. He came up to the bed, where Jim had
carried Harry, with face almost as white as that of his wounded
boy, and whispered: "I have not murdered him have I, Nellie dear?
Oh! my God, I hope I have not murdered him!"

And then, in his anguish, doing what he had not done for years,
that is, sinking on his knees in prayer, he cried, as his bosom
heaved with agony:

"O God! spare my child, and I will never drink again!"

Then, rising, he looked at Harry for a moment, and as there was no
indication of consciousness, he said to his eldest son:

"Jim! run for Dr. Dean. I am sure, my boy, you will not linger a
moment longer than there is need of your doing. Life and death may
depend upon your haste."

Jim ran, and in a few moments returned with the doctor, who
examined the boy, and said to the group who were so anxiously
awaiting his decision:

"His skull is not fractured. I think it must have been a glancing
blow, and I will soon bring him to consciousness. It was a
providential escape, however; for if the tumbler had come direct,
and struck him a little lower down, it would have killed him."

"Thank God!" exclaimed Morris.

"You may well thank Him," said the doctor, "for it certainly was a
narrow escape for both of you; that is, you just escaped from
being a murderer, and the poor boy here from being murdered. I
have often warned you, Morris, against drinking, and told you it
would end in some terrible catastrophe. I should think you would
now reform."

"God helping, I will."

Dr. Dean was a very strong temperance man, and had been an active
supporter of the Dunkin Act. He had, in fact, used all the power
of his intellect to make the legalized selling of liquor a thing
of the past; he was also an accomplished and eloquent platform
speaker. His friends, after earnest solicitation, had obtained his
consent to come forward as a candidate for Parliamentary honors.
So he was at the present the recognized opponent of Capt.
McWriggler, whose superior he was both morally and intellectually.

After a while he succeeded in resuscitating Harry. The latter
opened his eyes, and as he did so they fell upon the doctor.

"Where am I, mother?" he enquired. "What is the matter? What is
the doctor doing here?"

"Never mind now, Harry dear," she said; "you have been hurt, and
if you are very quiet we will tell you after a while."

Having shut his eyes as if he were satisfied, or as if he were too
weak to pursue the enquiry any further, the doctor felt his pulse
again, and remarked: "He will be all right in a short time." He
then gave them instructions as to how they should proceed in case
of contingencies, and turning to Morris said: "I believe you have
signed the pledge more than once, and a few moments ago you
remarked you would never drink again. Did you mean it?"

"I did, and, God helping me, liquor shall never enter my lips
again."

"Here is a pledge," and the doctor produced one. "Will you sign
it? I always carry one with me to use on such occasions as this."

"I will, sir. And I am thankful to you for your interest in me.
Pray for me, that I may receive strength to keep it."

Morris signed the pledge with trembling hand, and no sooner had he
done so than his wife, throwing her arms around his neck, kissed
him. "Thank God," she said, and then, casting her eyes heavenward,
she prayed: "O, my Father, aid him to keep his promise."

"You kept sober," said the doctor, "for several weeks after the
Act came in force, and then you were, with several others, tempted
to drink."

"Yes," said Morris, "I was coaxed to drink by the sheriff, though
I was weak and foolish to listen to him."

"It was a vile conspiracy," continued the doctor, indignantly,
"and I am certain that some of those in the county who are now
infamously degrading the most important offices in the gift of the
Crown are among the conspirators. I am personally acquainted with
numbers who were seduced to their ruin by this devilish
conspiracy, entailing an amount of misery that it is impossible to
estimate."

Before the doctor had finished speaking, Jim, who had been sent to
have a prescription filled out, came running in with a look of
horror on his face. "They are looking for you, doctor," he said,
"to go down to Flatt's. They say Tom has murdered his wife."

"Another victim," said the doctor sententiously, and then he
hurried away.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

TOM FLATT'S HUT--A DESCRIPTION OF THE SCENE IN WHICH
HE MURDERS HIS WIFE.


When Flatt arrived at the hovel where his wife and children
burrowed (for they could scarcely be said to live) he found them
in the most abject misery. But I will ask my reader to accompany
me to it.

Imagine a log shanty, twelve by sixteen in dimensions, roofed by
troughs, or what appeared to be halves of hollow logs. The back of
the shanty on the outside was not originally more than six feet
high; but as the logs which formed the sides, and ends had so
rotted that by their own weight they had settled considerably, it
was now much lower. The shanty contained two windows, which were
ornamented by having two or three old hats used as substitutes
for panes of glass, and the panes which were not broken were so
cracked and splintered that they were in eminent peril of being
blown out at every violent gust of wind.

But the exterior of the shanty, dilapidated-looking though it was,
gave no conception of the squalor and wretchedness which its walls
confined. I will introduce my readers to the inmates.

Mrs. Flatt was an undersized, dark-complexioned little woman, who
at one time possessed considerable personal beauty; but she had
been so worn by toil, hard usage, and insufficient food, that she
now appeared little else than skin and bone; in fact, she as much
resembled a mummy as a being through whose veins throbbed the
blood of life.

In different attitudes--on the clay floor, on the two miserable
beds, and on the old broken chairs and benches of the hut--were
distributed six children. They, if possible, were more squalid and
wretched-looking than their mother; for though it was midwinter,
not one of them was so fortunate as to possess a pair of shoes,
but they had frequently to run out from the hut into the deep snow
in their poor little bare feet, which were red, cracked, and
bleeding from the cold. The miserable rags in which they were
clothed did not serve to cover their nakedness; and their blue,
pinched faces pathetically spoke of want and neglect.

The youngest of the number was a babe, some five or six months
old; she was lying in a creaky old cradle, which squeaked when
rocked as if uttering a discordant protest. She was a poor,
pallid, little thing, that scarcely seemed to have strength to
utter her low moan of pain, as she lay famishing for the
nourishment which the now starved mother was unable to supply.
The next older was barely able to toddle round on the clay floor;
and they ranged up from that until the eldest of the six was
reached, who was a bare-footed, bare-legged girl of eight. She
was, however, so dwarfed through rough usage, insufficient food,
and exposure, as to be little larger than an ordinary child of
six.

"Mamma! I want a piece. I'se so hungry!" cried the third child
from the youngest--a little boy, about four years of age. "Oh,
mamma! I do want a piece."

"And so do I, mother," cried the next, a little girl of five. "Oh!
why don't dad come with the bread?"

"Piece, mamma, piece!" whined out little Katie, the next to the
youngest. "Piece, mamma, piece!" she cried out again piteously, as
she toddled over to her mother, and, hanging on to the skirts of
her dress, looked up with a famished longing that made the latter
sob convulsively.

"Oh, children!" she said, "mother would give her darlings bread
if she had any, but there is not a crumb in the house; no, dears,
not one poor crumb, so I can't give my children any now; but I
hope your father will come home and bring some bread with him; and
if he does, then you shall all have some. Don't cry, now--you make
mother feel so bad."

"Mamma," said Nannie, the eldest girl, "I wish father was dead."

"Hush, child," said the mother sharply; "you must not talk so."
But in the mother's reproof there was an utter want of the emotion
of horror at the astounding and unnatural wish of the child. It
seemed as if she was reproved for giving utterance to her
thoughts--not for entertaining them. In fact, the mother had often
in her heart entertained similar sentiments, and wished that her
drunken, brutal husband were dead.

When they were first married, Flatt had treated his wife well for
a time, and they lived as comfortably as people of their means and
limited stock of intelligence generally do. But he began to
indulge in drink, and from that period until after the Dunkin Act
became law, he seemed to be predominated with the instincts of a
brute. He worked but little at his trade, which was that of a
brickmaker, and the small amount that was earned by him was mostly
squandered in drink. Mrs. Flatt tried to keep her children from
starving by taking in washing; and very frequently the brutal
husband and father would return from his drunken orgies to eat the
scanty meal she had toiled so hard, with weary body and reeling
brain, to procure for her children. If, under such provocation,
she ventured to protest, she would be answered by blows, and many
a time she had been beaten black and blue by the brutal monster.

After the Act came in force he had remained sober for several
weeks, and there was comparative cheerfulness and comfort in the
hut where he resided; the children, during that brief period, had
plenty to eat, and they did not dread his coming home for fear of
a beating. But it was not long before he was brought again under
the force of his old habits. He was, in fact, met by those who had
been appointed to induce him to drink; and they were as successful
in his case as they had been in the other instances which we have
mentioned. From that period, the life of Mrs. Flatt and her
children had been utterly wretched.

Is it strange she had lost all affection for the brutal ruffian
who had the right, by law, to call her his wife? or that his
neglect of both her, and their children, his kicks and blows, had
driven out even the last vestige of respect, and that now
detestation--yes, even intense hatred--had taken full possession
of her soul? And once, or twice, as he lay in his drunken slumber,
utterly in her power, the awful thought had possessed her that she
could, in a few short minutes, revenge herself for all his abuse
by taking the life which had so utterly cursed and blighted her
own. And then, when, coming to her better self, she meditated upon
the sin of harboring such thoughts, a feeling of horror crept over
her and chilled, her blood; when, throwing herself impulsively on
her knees, the cry had gone up from her heart:

"Oh, my Father! save me from temptation."

The reader, after this explanation, can easily understand how it
was she rebuked her child for giving expression to her thoughts
rather than for entertaining them.

"But, mother, I do often wish dad was dead, and I might as well say
it as think it," said Nancy.

"And so do I," boldly chimed in little Jack, a precocious and
manly little fellow of seven, who very much resembled his mother;
"for if he was dead he could not beat you and thump us until we
were black and blue, mother. And he would not eat up everything
from us, and drive us all out into the snow."

The mother sternly rebuked the children for talking in that
manner. "No matter how bad he is," she said, "he is your dad, and
it is very sinful to be talking after that style.

"Hush, children!" she whispered; "I guess here he comes!"

In a moment the only noise which could be heard in the shanty was
the low moan of the baby, as it lay in the cradle, while from the
outside could be heard the heavy, uneven thud of advancing
footsteps.

"Drunk as usual!" whispered little Jack; "now look out for thumps
and bruises. Oh!" he whispered through his clenched teeth, "I wish
I were a man, then he wouldn't beat us like he does now, for I
wouldn't let 'un do it."

"Take the baby, mother, and run over to Tremaine's," said Nannie;
"I'm afraid he'll kill you."

"No, Nannie, I'll not run; if he kills me I can't help it; I'll
not run away any more. I'm afraid it will come to that some day,
but I will stay and take care of you all, no matter what happens."

The children had just managed to crawl under the two dilapidated
beds when their father lifted the latch and stumbled into the
room.

"Oh! what's the matter, Tom?" said his wife, as at a glance she
took in his disfigured face.

"What's that to you?" he replied with an oath. "If you'd get me
something to eat, it 'ud show more sense than asking what's none
of your business."

"There is not a bit in the house," she replied, and then, stung
into reckless madness by his asking for food when he had spent for
whiskey the money with which he had promised to procure it, she
continued bitterly: "The children have been crying for something
to eat for the last two hours, in tones that would melt the heart
of a stone, and I hadn't a crumb to give 'um, and you, who have
been spending on drink what should have bought it for them, have
the brazen impudence to come home drunk, demanding food. Go to the
cupboard and get you some, if you think there is any there."

"Now, Nance, I don't want any of your chin music, but I wants you
to get me suthin' to eat. You can't fool me; I knows you has got
it in the house."

"God knows, Tom, there isn't a bit. Do you suppose if there was
any I would let the children be crying for it and not give it to
them? If you think so, you don't know me yet; for I can tell you
it would have been given to them two hours ago, and not saved for
one who allows his own flesh and blood to starve, while he spends
that which would furnish them with bread for rum in a rum-shop."

The reader might be ready to assert, after reading this connubial
wrangle, that the fault was not all on one side, but that Nancy's
sharp tongue was in some measure responsible for Tom's drinking;
that, in fact, if she had not been such a termagant he might, at
least, have been an average husband. But if you have so concluded,
I will endeavour to disabuse your mind; for Nancy, before she
married Tom Flatt, was a smart, good-tempered lass, but his
continued neglect and abuse had vinegared all her sweetness, and
she was not of that temperament which could bear ill-treatment
without giving expression to her feelings. If, in her youth, she
had been surrounded by different associations, and then married to
a man who could have appreciated her, she might have developed
into an intelligent, loving woman; but the terrible wretchedness
of her life, brought about by the faults of her husband, had
turned all her nature into bitterness.

And let me ask any of my gentle readers if, under similar
circumstances, honeyed words would have been uttered by you? If
you had suffered such treatment, and not only you but your
children, who were bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh, do
you not think you would protest? If you were being dragged down
into the slough of poverty, disgrace, and wretchedness, and you
knew that he who was thus dragging you down could, if he were a
true husband and father, place you in a position of comfort and
respectability, but who was devouring from you and your children
food that you had earned by the most menial drudgery--by the sweat
of body and brain--and leaving you all to nearly famish for
bread, would you not remonstrate? Nay, would not feelings of
outraged confidence, of soul-anguish, sorrow, and shame coin
themselves into bitter chiding words which you would be powerless
to repress?

How many thousands of sweet, pure souls, who, in their innocent
maiden days, were the embodiment of gentleness and affection,
have, after marriage to some brute in human shape, been brought,
by years of neglect and abuse, to become that which is among the
most maligned and despised of all creatures--a scolding wife.

We must, in all fairness, admit that such Nancy Flatt had become.
Her nature, as we have said, was intense, and she had endured a
great deal in her early married life. At first she would gently
remonstrate, but as years rolled on and she had not only to suffer
neglect and abuse herself, but her helpless little ones also, her
remonstrances became tinged with the acidity of her soured nature;
and finally as toil, neglect, and hunger reduced her to the
haggard, dejected creature we have presented to the reader, she
would meet Tom's oaths and blows with her only weapon of defence,
and pour out sharp, rasping words from her woman's tongue.

"I tell you what it is, Nance," said Tom, in answer to her
chiding; "I want you to shut that jaw of thine and get me some
grub, or I'll make you wish you had never been born."

"You have made me wish that a thousand times, Tom," she answered
with passionate bitterness. "See that wasted arm," and suiting the
action to her words she stripped up her sleeve; "look at my
fleshless face--what has brought me to this but starvation and
drudgery? Hear the moaning of that helpless babe in the cradle,
crying for nurse that starvation has dried up. Oh, Tom! how can
you spend your money in whiskey when you know we are starving at
home? You knew when you left this morning there was not a morsel
of food in the house, nor money to buy it, for you have not
brought in a cent for weeks, and you promised when you left to
come right back with bread, but instead of that you have spent the
day in drinking whiskey and fighting with great hulking loafers
like yourself, and now you come home to abuse your wife and
children. You are worse than a brute; for brutes do provide for
their own flesh and blood, while you have nothing better than
oaths and blows for yours."

With fearful oaths Flatt sprang forward to answer his wife's
passionate arraignment of his conduct by the method he usually
adopted on such occasions--that was, by the irresistible logic of
his ponderous fist. As she saw he was about to make the rush, her
first impulse was to open the door and run for safety, for well
she knew, from a terrible experience, that when he was aroused he
had the ferocity of a brute with the temper of a demon. But as she
was about to do so she saw he did not heed the cradle which lay in
his way. The danger of her child caused the mother to be heedless
of her own, and, with the wild cry, "Look out for the babe, Tom!"
she sprang forward and snatched it from the cradle, thus bringing
herself into the power of the furious brute. In his mad rage he
picked up a trowel which, unfortunately, lay near him, and, as his
wife was rising with her babe, he struck her with terrific force
upon the head, the sharp corner of the instrument cutting through
the flesh and imbedding itself deep into the skull, carrying the
hair with it.

"Oh, Tom! you have killed me!" she groaned, as she fell forward on
her face, covering her babe as she fell. But even in that terrible
moment she must have had some thought of it, for she managed to
shift over on her side, clasping it to her breast as she did so.

All the ferocity in Tom's brutal nature seemed to be aroused, and
the sight of his wife's blood running down over her forehead and
dyeing with red the pallid face of his child, which one would
think might have moved even a demon to pity, only seemed to arouse
the latent tiger within him, for he struck the prostrate woman
again and again, until she settled heavily on to the floor and was
limp and still. This act in the tragedy was complete, for Nancy
Flatt was dead, and her infant lay clasped in her arms bespattered
with the life-blood of its dead mother.

The children, who had been cowering under the beds, witnessed the
terrible scene, and though they were frightened at their father's
and mother's jangling, as they thought it would result in the
latter being beaten--which was usually the case--at first they
kept perfectly still, for fear of what the result might be to
themselves if they drew their father's attention. But when he
struck their mother with the trowel and she fell forward with her
face bathed in blood, they gave vent to their terror in wild and
frantic screams.

"Oh, dad!" cried little Jack, almost fiercely, "you've killed our
mamma." And as he thus spoke he stepped boldly out and faced his
father, seeming to have lost all fear in the presence of the
calamity that had befallen them; and then he and Nanny escaped
from the house and ran over to Tremaine's. When they reached there
Nannie, who had outrun her brother, burst into the door and said
in a ghastly whisper, which appeared all the more horrible because
of her pallid face, over which her hair was streaming in tangled
masses, giving her a ghost-like appearance:

"Oh, Mr. Tremaine, dad has murdered mother! Run quick, sir, and
see!"

Just then little Jack came up with face as pallid as Nannie's, and
though panting for want of breath managed to say:

"Dad struck mother with the trowel!--and cut an awful gash in her
head!--and her face is all covered with blood--and I think she is
dead."

Tremaine, who was really a noble fellow, though he unfortunately
did indulge in strong drink, immediately ran over to the shanty,
and when he arrived there he found the children's fears were well
founded, for a spectacle so ghastley in its details met his view
that, strong man as he was, he stood for a moment as if bereft of
motion, and even thought.

Nancy Flatt was lying stark dead on the floor, and her babe, which
was yet muttering its low moan of hunger, was clasped close in the
arms of its dead mother, and was dabbling in the blood which had
flowed from the wounds in her head and face.

Tom was not to be found. He had evidently realized, when it was
too late, what would be the consequence of his terrible crime, and
had fled to escape the Nemesis, in the form of avenging justice,
which he knew would soon be on his track.

I will not, however, enter into the details of his capture,
imprisonment, trial and execution; for Tom Flatt was executed for
the murder of Nancy, his wife; and on the scaffold he, as
thousands of others in similar circumstances have done, blamed his
wife's murder, his own sad fate, and his children's orphanage, to
love for strong drink.

Reader, was Tom Flatt alone responsible for the murder of his
wife, or were there not others who, at least to some extent,
shared with him that responsibility? Could the man who sold him
the liquor, or he who manufactured it, or the Government who drew
revenue--which to all intents and purposes was blood money--from
its sale, or the intelligent electors who, in the exercise of
their franchise and by their sympathy, endorsed that legislation,
escape all responsibility? My dear reader, ponder this question,
for great issues are involved in your conclusion.



CHAPTER XXXV.

JOHN, JUN.'S WEDDING--BARTON'S MURDER--LUELLA SEALY'S
SUICIDE--GINSLING'S TRAGICAL DEATH.


The truth of the aphorism of Solomon--"Whoso diggeth a pit shall
fall therein"--is verified by multiplied examples the wide world
over every day of the year, and it received a very striking
verification in the events which we shall chronicle in this
chapter.

The reader will recollect that the leading mind among the
conspirators was John Sealy, Esq. He was the one who suggested the
infamous scheme, which was afterwards adopted, of leading as many
poor unfortunates as possible to drink. He did not calculate that
into the pit which was thus dug for others he himself, or some
member of his family, might possibly fall. But we anticipate.

His only son, John, jun., had been associating with low companions
and conducting himself in a manner that was not at all satisfactory
to him, John, sen., or to Mrs. and Miss Sealy; and, to crown all,
they had every reason to believe he was actually paying his
address to Miss Angelina Porter, a daughter of Old Joe Porter, who
kept the groggery. This, of course, was very distasteful even to Mr.
and Miss Sealy; but language would fail us in any attempt we might
make to delineate the utter consternation of the high-toned Mrs. Sealy
when she became satisfied that the rumor was founded on fact.
She had again and again remonstrated with him, but without effect,
as he had treated her remonstrances with good-natured contempt;
and when she resorted to harsher means and applied contumelious
epithets to his intended, he returned a Roland for her Oliver, so that
she, finding it was useless to try to influence him, sulkily retired
from the encounter.

But though baffled in that direction she was determined not to
give up; for she thought if she could not accomplish her object by
one method she would resort to another, and thus she might
possibly succeed. She, in fact, determined to address a letter to
Miss Porter, to see if she could not influence her. Acting upon
this impulse, the vain and foolish woman sent her a very insulting
epistle, such a one in fact as could only emanate from a coarse
and vulgar mind.

Miss Porter treated it with the contempt it merited, and did not
even mention to John, jun., that she had received it; and he might
have remained in blissful ignorance of his mother's folly had she
not in her insane fury spitefully said to him: "I have sent the
low, designing thing a letter, giving her to understand what we
think of her, and what she may expect if her schemes are
successful and she entraps you into marrying her."

That information drew the retort from the dutiful and affectionate
son that Angelina Porter was his mother's equal in every respect,
and that she need not "take on such airs" and make such a fuss,
because the former's father kept "a low groggery," as she termed
it, when she knew that her own father (that was his own maternal
grandfather) made all his money at the same business; "and you
know, mother," he added, "grandfather was not a bit superior in
any respect to Joe Porter, though you so affect to despise the
latter."

"You know you are saying what is not only false, but also
insulting to your own mother," she answered; and now she was
weeping bitterly. "I knew you had become low in your aims since
you had associated with the set you now think so much of, but I
did not think you had become so abandoned as to scandalize your
own dead grandfather."

"But, mother, you forget you are scandalizing one who is nearer to
me than grandfather was to you, and that you sent her a low,
scurrilous letter, full of bitter taunts and insults, which you
intended should annoy her."

"If she gets you," his mother answered, with a sneer, "I guess
she'll forget it. I want to inform you," she added, and she had
reserved this broadside for her final effort, "if you marry that
low creature I'll disown you, and I know your father will cut you
off with a shilling, and let you go to her and her low, drunken
sot of a father to find a living."

"You and father can do as you please and so shall I," he almost
savagely retorted; "but dad had better sweep his own doorstep
before he complains about his neighbor's being dirty, for he is
not very select in his own company; and if he does not keep a
groggery, those which are kept in this town have few more
attentive customers. I only know of one who can claim to excel him
in this respect, and that is he whom you have, by your schemes,
almost compelled poor Lou to accept as her affianced husband. I
mean that distinguished member of the bloatocracy, Stanley
Ginsling. Consistency is a jewel, mother, you know and if you are
consistent, you will not come down on me for marrying one whose
father you term 'a sot,' and at the same time scheme to ally your
daughter to one who is a perambulating whiskey barrel."

Mrs. Sealy did not try to answer her son; she felt, in fact, if
she were to attempt it, she could not possibly do justice to the
subject; so she gave him what she intended for a withering look,
gathered up the skirts of her dress, and swept majestically from
the room.

That evening she had a long consultation with her husband in
regard to the matter, the result of which was a very stormy
interview between the father and son, when the latter, having been
threatened with disinheritance if he did not break off from all
association with the Porter family, gave the father to understand
as it was a matter that more especially concerned himself, he
should observe his own mind in regard to it, and his father might
dispose of his property as it pleased him.

The climax was reached when the residents of Bay View--for that
was the name of their villa--heard that John, jun., and Angelina
Porter were married. He had, in fact, the license in his pocket at
the time he held his interview with his father, and had gone
directly after to the groggery of his intended father-in-law, and
having secured the services of the Rev. John Turnwell, the
ceremony was privately performed.

Porter and his son-in-law celebrated the wedding by getting
gloriously drunk. This caused the young bride intense pain; for
though she had been long accustomed to such scenes, it came closer
to her when her own husband was involved.

John, jun., did not go near his father's residence, nor indeed
take any steps towards reconciliation, for, he said, "the old man
will come around all right after awhile." He, for the time being,
kept bar for Joe Porter, and was one of his most bibulous, though
not one of his most profitable, customers. In fact, he was
generally intoxicated each day by noon, and before night was
stupidly drunk.

His father, who really thought as much of his boy as it was
possible for a man with such a nature as his to think of any one,
heard he was going rapidly to destruction, and felt some effort
must be made to save him. He had a conversation with his wife in
regard to the matter, and though she declared she would never
forgive her son for marrying into such a low family, as she knew
it would subject her to the cynical and sneering remarks of some
of the set with whom she associated, yet she concluded it was
better to make the best of the matter, and not, by a course of
coldness, drive him utterly to destruction; so she agreed with her
husband when he said he thought he had better go and see him, and,
if possible, wean him from his present debauch.

Mr. Sealy owned a farm of two hundred acres, which was situated on
the shores of the bay, about two miles east of Bayton. It had been
the old homestead, and he had always intended to will it to his
son; but since the memorable interview, when the latter had spoken
so defiantly, and then followed up his words by forming the
alliance against which his father had warned him, Mr. Sealy, in
his anger, determined to carry out his threat, and cut his son off
without a cent. But when he found he was likely, if left much
longer with his present surroundings, to degenerate into a
dissipated loafer, he relented, and now determined to offer it to
him if he would settle there immediately.

The fact was, that now the evil effects of drink was brought home
to him, and his only son was one of its victims, he suffered very
keenly indeed, and was willing to humiliate himself and make
considerable sacrifice to save him.

With this end in view, he went to Porter's quite early one
morning, for he was almost certain he would have to be there
before his son had an opportunity to indulge to any extent, if he
expected to find him sober.

When he arrived at the groggery Old Joe had just opened up, and
was taking his morning drink, which his trembling hand indicated
he sadly needed.

"Good morning, Joe," he said.

"Morning," replied Joe, gruffly, in answer to the salutation.

"Where is John, Mr. Porter?" This question was asked in Mr.
Sealy's blandest tones, for he was sufficiently acquainted with
human nature to perceive nothing would be gained by being cross.

"He hasn't come down yet."

"Will you kindly tell him I would like to see him?"

"Yes, I will. But won't you have a glass of something to drink as
an appetizer? You must have been up early."

As Porter spoke he handed down a black bottle labelled "Old Rye
Whiskey."

"I don't care if I do take a smile," Sealy replied. And taking the
bottle from Porter's hand he poured a tumbler half full, and drank
it down as if it were so much water.

"I will now run up-stairs and see if John has tumbled out yet,"
said Porter; and suiting the action to the word, his bloated face
and burly form disappeared through the door.

In a few moments John, jun., appeared, his face bearing palpable
traces of his last night's debauch.

I will not enter into a lengthy narrative of the interview between
father and son; suffice to say that everything was amicably
arranged, and in less than a month from the date of the interview,
John, jun., and his wife were settled in the old Sealy homestead.

For awhile Mrs. Sealy was cold and distant, but finally she became
reconciled, and frequently visited them with her daughter, who
from the first had treated her brother's wife with kindness,
having found her an amiable and well-disposed little thing, who
would have made some man a good wife. But she was not composed of
stern enough stuff to have influence upon her husband.

John, jun., certainly did not indulge in drink, after his removal
from his father-in-law's, to the same extent as he had previously
done, but yet he had got to be such a victim to the habit as now
to become intoxicated at every favorable opportunity, which not
only caused his wife excruciating pain, but was also the source of
annoyance and sorrow to his parents and sister. But though Mr.
Sealy was sorely troubled by his son's conduct, and was led to
realize, at least to some extent, the worry and shame that is
associated with having a near relative an habitual drunkard,
strange to say it did not seem to change his views in the least in
regard to the drink traffic, for he still remained as stern, and
uncompromising an opponent of teetotalism as ever.

It was about a month after John, jun., and his wife had commenced
housekeeping that Miss Sealy came to spend a week or two with
them. She, in fact, thought she might have a restraining influence
upon him, as he had genuine affection for her, whom he had always
found to be an affectionate sister and true friend.

While she was there, Stanley Ginsling, who, without loving, she
had been coaxed and badgered into recognizing as her affianced
husband, came to see her.

John, jun., had, previous to this time, frequently met him since
the day when, conversing with his mother, he had employed such
stinging epithets to express his opinion of him, but had now
changed his mind. In fact, he now thought he was rather a good
fellow, and had promised to use his influence to overcome his
sister's evident aversion.

Ginsling brought with him a flask of brandy. It was the same flask
that he used when tempting Richard Ashton at Charlotte, and he
and John, jun. indulged so freely of its contents as soon to be
considerably under its influence. Miss Sealy perceived the state
they were in, and blaming the former for leading her brother to
thus debase himself, gave him to understand his presence was
extremely distasteful to her, and that he might consider their
engagement broken off; for, no matter what influence might be
brought to bear, she had made up her mind, after what had just
transpired, she would never marry him.

Her brother, in his drunken foolishness, had gone in to
remonstrate with her; but now, thoroughly aroused, she had
requested him, in indignant terms, to mind his own business. "It
is bad enough," she said, "to be disgraced by a drunken brother,
without running with eyes open into greater misery and degradation.
I told him our engagement was broken, and I meant it."

John, jun.'s wife also rebelled. She had borne a great deal with
patience; but when Luella came in weeping bitterly, the former
rated her husband soundly, and told him, "If there was not a
change for the better she would leave him." The two women had then
retired to the parlor, and the two men went out into the kitchen
to smoke.

"I don't see what is the matter with Lou," said Ginsling; "she is
as cross as a badger. She gave me my walking-ticket, and told me
not to return again. I wonder if she has seen Barton lately?"

"I don't think so. I know he has not been permitted to go to the
old man's; though I heard dad say he has been seen several times
hanging around there, but he never goes near except he is drunk,
which now is pretty nearly all the time. I suppose you heard he
had lost his position in the bank?"

"Yes, I heard. The fact is, I told Smith, the manager, I was
surprised he had not turned him off long ago."

"I tell you what it is, Ginsling, he was pretty badly gone on Lou,
and I believe she liked the beggar. But I never took any stock in
him; and if I were the old man, and he came hanging round, I'd
shoot him like a dog."

"And so he should. I know, for my part, I would not be annoyed by
the drunken nuisance. I only want a good opportunity to pay a debt
I owe him, and then he shall have it with compound interest."

Ginsling was quite under the influence of liquor when he made the
remark in regard to Barton, and the one to whom he was talking was
far from sober. They could both see the mote in Barton's eye, but
failed to remove the beams from their own.

When Ginsling spoke of owing Barton a debt, he referred to an
incident which had occurred some time before. He had been one
evening in "The Retreat," which, my readers will remember, was
kept by Ben Tims; and while he was there William Barton had come
in, just enough intoxicated to be reckless, and Ginsling himself
was far from sober. The latter said something which the former
eagerly construed into an insult, and to which he replied by
knocking him down. Tims had then interfered, and led Barton into
another room, leaving Ginsling to stagger to his feet as best he
could. The latter, after picking himself up, went to the wash-room
and staunched the blood flowing from his nose, which Barton's blow
had made more bulbous than usual, washed all traces from his face,
and then left; but before he did so, he vowed he would be even
with him yet.

"You had better look out, Barton," said Tims; "that rascal will
have his revenge if you give him any chance, and I believe he is
as treacherous as he is cowardly. I'm glad you hit him though,
only I'd rather it hadn't happened in my place."

"He gave me an opportunity I was waiting for," replied Barton, now
seemingly almost sober. "I'll risk all the harm he is likely to do
me."

Tims knew very well how it was with the poor fellow, but he had
too much good taste to refer to it.

It was of this bar-room squabble Ginsling spake when he said he
"owed him a debt which he was determined to pay back to him with
interest."

John, jun., who was cognizant of the facts, remarked, "If he were
in his (Ginsling's) place, he'd be even with him yet."

"I can't help but suspect that he has seen Lou lately, and I am
half inclined to think she likes him yet; if she didn't, she would
not have used me as she has done to-night."

"She may have," said John, jun.; "but the reason she was so huffy
to-night was because you were drunk. But who's that?" he suddenly
exclaimed--"I believe it is Barton!"

As he spoke, he drew back his chair from the window, and gliding
therefrom, stealthily crept to where he could observe all Barton's
movements, but where the latter could not possibly see him.
Ginsling also arose as stealthily as possible, and glided behind
John, jun. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and they could see
almost as plainly as if it were day.

"Yes; it is Barton!" whispered Ginsling; "and I believe he is
drunk."

"I wonder what the idiot is going to do?" questioned John, jun.;
"here he comes towards the house."

"Let him come," said Ginsling; "I guess we will be ready for him."

Barton staggered towards the veranda--which extended around three
sides of the house--and after one or two attempts to step up on to
it, was at last successful; then, muttering to himself, he came
towards the window, where the two men were observing him.

"Hush!" said Ginsling, "he seems to be having an interesting
soliloquy, and possibly we may hear what he says."

In the dead stillness of the night Barton's low mutterings could
be heard distinctly:

"I am bound to see Luella," he said; "I know she loves me, for she
has told me so a hundred times, and she is too pure and good to
lie. I saw her coming here this morning, and I am determined to
see her and hear my fate from her own lips. Oh, Luella! I am sure
you love me, and if you will promise to be mine I will swear never
again to let a drop of liquor pass my lips."

He looked ghastly in the moonlight, his pale face with its
background of jet black hair hanging in tangled masses down upon
his shoulders giving him a weird appearance. He became fiercer in
his gesticulations as he continued his strange, wild soliloquy.

"I must know to-night from her own lips or I shall go mad."

"He's that already," whispered Ginsling. "Mad as a March hare."

"There will be no sordid father and mother to interfere with us
here! They want to sell you to that craven-hearted sot, Ginsling;
but he shall never have you, for before that shall happen I will
strangle him, even if I have to hang for it."

As he thus spoke he advanced closer to the window. But he suddenly
clasped his hand over his heart and exclaimed: "Oh, Luella, I'm
shot!" and the same instant, the report of a pistol sounded sharp
and clear on the still night air.

The shot was fired by Ginsling, who, maddened by the epithets
Barton had applied to him, had drawn a pistol, and, before John,
jun., could interfere, had fired through the window straight at
his advancing, antagonist.

"Oh! you have done for him, Ginsling," said his companion, "and we
will both be arrested for murder."

"But you can swear," replied Ginsling, "that he threatened to
murder me, and was advancing to break through the window."

Just then the front door opened, and Luella Sealy ran around the
house on the veranda to the spot where William Barton had fallen;
for, after receiving the shot, he sank gradually to the ground.
When she reached the spot her frantic screams sounded through the
house, and echoed and re-echoed over the quiet bay.

"Oh, William! my darling," she exclaimed, "has he murdered you?"

As she thus spoke she sat down upon the floor of the veranda, and
lifting his head into her lap kissed him, her fair hair hanging in
dishevelled masses as she did so.

Barton, however, was too far gone to respond by word, but Luella
could see by the light of the moon, that cast its flickering rays
on the scene, a look of joy for a moment illumine his eye and then
pass away forever: for William Barton was dead.

Luella Sealy was taken to her room that night a raving maniac. The
sight of any member of her family made her furious; and she
accused them in the fiercest tones of murdering her darling
William. After awhile she became more calm, seeming to be quietly
slumbering, and, under the circumstances, they thought it would be
safe to leave her for a short time. Her father, acting upon this
idea, left her alone for a few moments while he went to call his
daughter-in-law to come and remain with her; but when he returned
to her room she was gone. In a moment all was excitement, and
every part of the house was searched, but she could not be found.
As, however, they ran round the varanda they found her under the
window, on the spot where William Barton had been murdered, lying
cold and dead, with a ghastly gash in her neck, and her white
garments dyed red with her life-blood. A razor, the instrument
with which she had accomplished her self-destruction, was
clutched, with the grip of death, in her red right hand.

Ginsling was tried for the murder of Barton; but as John, jun.,
swore the latter was about to enter the house to attack him, and,
therefore, the shot was fired in self-defense, he got off with a
short imprisonment. But after leaving the jail he found that it
would be neither agreeable nor safe for him to reside longer in
Bayton, as almost all of the inhabitants shunned him, and the
friends of Barton vowed vengeance against him. He accordingly left
to reside in the town of M----. He did not live long after
leaving Bayton. He went down to the quay one night, when he was,
as usual, so intoxicated as to have a very unsteady gait.
Unheeding the warnings of a companion he would venture too near
the edge; a sudden gust of wind came, he was carried off his
equilibrium and fell into the lake. His companion did all he could
to save him, but as there was a storm raging at the time, his
efforts were unavailing. He said Ginsling's bloated face appeared
for a moment in the hollow of the waves, and with an agonizing
tone he cried to God to save him; then a huge wave, more mighty
than its fellows, engulfed him, and he sank in life to rise no
more. A few days after his corpse was found floating upon the
water. "Accidentally drowned" was the verdict at the inquest, and
he was buried in a nameless grave, with no loved one or friend to
drop a tear on his last resting-place.

Mr. and Mrs. Sealy were completely prostrated by what had
transpired, and retired from active life to hide their sorrows
from the world; they are, I believe, so living at the present
time.

John, jun., soon vacated the house by the bay, some of the more
ignorant saying he did so because it was haunted by the ghosts of
William Barton and Luella Sealy. The house is now standing idle,
and is known to the children of the neighborhood as the "haunted
house," and many say that, in the night, two white figures are
seen walking on the verandah, and that frequently the stillness is
broken by the sound of a pistol, and the agonizing shrieks of a
woman in the anguish of a terrible fear.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

SOME OF THE CHARACTERS WHO HELPED THE REPEAL--A HOODLUM'S
VICTORY.


We have only given the reader one or two of the more prominent of
the tragic events which transpired after the passing of the Dunkin
Act, but a volume of ten thousand pages would fail to tell of the
suffering that was endured in hundreds of homes, by wives and
mothers and little helpless children; or how far the wave of evil
extended that was set in motion by the antis.

When six months had passed they thought it would be a good time to
strike, as they were certain a majority of the voters were not
satisfied with the working of the bill. There had been a great
number of trials similar in character to the one we have already
noticed; and though, in numerous instances, those who were
notorious for their open and flagrant violation of the law
escaped, because of the questionable evidence given by themselves
and the wretched creatures who had been subpoened as witnesses,
yet a great many were convicted and fined. They then carried out
their pre-concerted scheme--appealed to the court over which Judge
McGullet presided, and he postponed, from time to time, his
decision. While the cases were thus remaining _sub judicia_,
the hotel-keepers were selling and giving away liquor, thus making
as many drunk as possible, and blaming the Act for the result.
This, of course, produced the effect they desired upon the great
mass of the unthoughtful, who began condemning it as a failure,
and clamoring for its repeal.

The judge now gave, as his decision, that in his opinion the law
was _ultra vires_, which, of course, postponed the punishment
of the culprits until a higher court should settle the point at
issue.

The liquor party were now jubilant, and the judge was toasted by
them as a "brick," as his "just decision enabled them to laugh at
the fanatics:" and as they now sold liquor with impunity, even a
great many of the pretended friends of temperance began to lose
heart, not possessing sufficient mental acumen to look back of the
effect to the cause which had produced it.

A special meeting of the Bayton Branch of the association was
convened at the Bayton House, and a great many of the members of
that--in a Picwickian sense--honorable fraternity and their
friends were present. But there were two who had formerly taken a
very active part in its deliberations, who were now conspicuous by
their absence: these were John Sealy, Esq, and Stanley Ginsling.
The former had retired from public life to hide his disgrace and
sorrow in almost monkish seclusion; while the latter had, before
this, gone to "that undiscovered country from whose bourn no
traveller returns."

The name of the former was mentioned, and a motion of condolence
was unanimously passed expressing sorrow for his affliction; but
it did not seem to occur to any present that the very traffic they
met to defend by such unprincipled means had been instrumental in
bringing about the result they affected to deplore; and no sorrow
was expressed for the horrible murder of poor Mrs. Flatt, the
orphanage of her children, nor the treacherous slaying of William
Barton.

Reports were received from all parts of the country of the success
which had attended their efforts in plying their traffic--in other
words, the number they had succeeded in tempting to their ruin;
and many a laughable story was related with great gusto, of how
they had "fooled the fanatics," and had succeeded in getting on a
jolly tear certain individuals whom the Dunkinites had fondly
persuaded themselves they had reclaimed from intemperance. But not
one seemed to ponder for a moment upon the lives that had been
ruined by their machinations, nor upon what homes had been made
wretched, what suffering had been entailed, nor what souls had
been eternally lost through the success that attended their
devilish treachery.

"Let us to business now, gentleman," said Rivers; "and permit me
to remark we have two questions to consider. The first is, Could
the repeal be carried at this time in the county? and the second
is, If so, what means will it be best for us to adopt in order to
make it a grand success? I will simply say that I am as certain as
I can be of anything in this world of contingencies, we could
carry it now with a sweeping majority."

"There is nothing surer than that," said Bottlesby. It was moved,
seconded, and unanimously carried, that the attempt to repeal the
Act be made at the earliest opportunity.

The question next considered was, What is the best means to adopt
to make success certain?

"I suppose you will employ the Dodger?" said Bottlesby. "He is a
whole host in himself, and though he values his services rather
highly, it will pay in the end to employ him."

It was moved, seconded, and carried that his services be secured.

"The next thing to do," said Capt. Flannigan, "is to hire all the
busses in the town; and all the rigs that can be secured in the
county, then run them on the day of the election. We must spare no
expense, for we will get all the backing we want. This is a test
county, and the eyes of the whole of Canada are upon us, and the
association knows it will pay to spend money here, for if we
succeed in carrying the repeal in this place it will deter other
counties from trying it, thus it will save thousands of dollars in
the end."

"I am instructed by the president of the association," said Rivers,
"to say that we need not spare expense for either speakers, horse
hire, or liquor, if the money is judiciously distributed. So you
see we need not be afraid to go ahead, as we shall have good
backing."

"I move a vote of thanks to the association for its generous
offer," said Joe Porter.

"I second the motion," said Michael Maloney, the keeper of a low
groggery in the purlieus of the town.

The others present, who held both the mover and seconder in
contempt, would much rather the initiative had been taken in this
matter by men of little more respectability--for there is such a
thing as caste even among grog-sellers--but as Porter and Maloney
had taken the matter into their own hands, the others, though with
bad grace, had to accept the situation, and it was put and carried
unanimously.

That night the whole scheme was mapped out. What men could be
approached, and who could best influence certain voters. They also
decided how much each would be called upon to sacrifice, that the
necessary ammunition might be furnished to carry on the campaign,
and how much would be required from the funds of the "association."
Captain McWriggler, the expected M.P., announced that a celebrated
speaker from the west who, like himself, was a candidate for
parliamentary honors, had intimated to him his willingness to assist
them in the campaign, if his services were required. This announcement
was received with uproarious applause, and it was moved, seconded,
and unanimously carried, that this magnanimous offer be accepted
with thanks.

That night the usual banquet was held, and all those who were
present in the afternoon, and a great many invited guests who, of
course, were sympathizers, were also present. Among others Judge
McGullett was toasted because of his fearless, upright, and
impartial decisions, and Captain Flannigan sang, "He's a jolly
good fellow," etc., the others joining in the chorus.

Their drunken orgies were continued into the small hours the
following morning. It is not, I suppose, necessary to state that
during this period there were numerous songs sung--some of which,
to say the least, were not of a high moral order--and speeches
were delivered whose senselessness were only equalled by their
blatant untruthfulness, when attacking men and women who were
working and suffering for the welfare of their fellow-men, and the
honor and glory of God.

I do not think it necessary to enter into the details of the
campaign, which came on at the appointed time; and which, although
the real and true friends of temperance did all that men and women
could do to retain the law until it should receive a fair trial,
ended in the complete triumph of the liquor party.

Augustus Adolphus Dodger, as usual, did yeoman's service for those
who employed him, and prostituted his really fine speaking talent
to the base purposes of giving impetus to a cause that every
year--in England and America--is sending over a hundred and fifty
thousand human beings to drunkards' graves and to a drunkard's
eternity, and which is costing civilized Christendom every year
over a thousand million of dollars. He proved to be a complete
master of that shallow sophistry which generally carries the
unthinking multitudes; and none knew better than he how to appeal
to the selfish instincts of those whom he was addressing. He
demonstrated to them, as they thought conclusively, that the
Temperance Act would have the effect of entirely destroying the
market for their barley and rye, and even depreciate the price of
their farms. Of course his nonsense was received as it should be
by the educated and thoughtful; but it was not to these he was
appealing, but to the ignorant, illiterate masses, and upon them
it had the effect he desired.

Personally he was held in contempt by many of the respectable
among those whose cause he, for hire, advocated. They admired his
talents while they despised the man, and would no more associate
with him than English gentlemen would with a demagogue who,
because they knew he could influence a certain class, was hired to
do the dirty work of their party. In fact, he was despised by the
better class of hotel keepers, and was always called the "Dodger"
by them, being viewed in much the same light as the treacherous
miscreant was by the Italian nobleman of the dark ages, who,
because he was skilled in the use of the stiletto, was employed to
remove a hated enemy.

Capt. McWriggler and his western friend were also on the ground,
speaking and working to carry the repeal. It was well understood
they were catering for the liquor vote, and were willing to resort
to any means, however low, to accomplish their end.

Not only were these unprincipled hirelings, and would-be M.P.'s,
on the stump, to assist the liquor party in their endeavors, but,
astonishing to relate, there was also a minister of the Gospel,
who was actually engaged as a co-adjutor of these men and their
drunken battalions. The person to whom I refer was a certain Mr.
Turnwell. Dryden's picture of a celebrated personage in his day
would equally serve as a description of him; for he certainly was
"everything by turns and nothing long." He had, in his early
manhood, belonged to a certain church, and owed the education and
the culture he possessed to it; but because that body did not, as
he thought, recognize his exalted ability, nor give him such
charges as a man of his exceptional powers should occupy, he left
them in disgust, and from that time forward was their most rabid
opponent. In the charge he occupied immediately preceding his
present one, finding that his leading men were in sympathy with
the Dunkin Act, he gave it his actual support--stumping the
country in its behalf--and even after coming to Bayton he spoke in
favor of it; but receiving a hint from some who financially, were
main pillars of his church, he suddenly veered round and became
one of the strongest champions for its repeal. If he had possessed
the smallest modicum of good sense he would, after changing his
views--remembering his former course--have remained neutral, or,
in a modest manner, have endeavored to convince men he was
influenced simply by his convictions; but he was so lost to good
taste and what he owed to his holy office, as a professed priest
of Him who said, "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it
must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the
offence cometh," as to take the stump as a blatant opponent of
what the great mass of the good and pure of the county were
advocating in order to arrest the ravages of the greatest curse
that ever destroyed mankind. He soon became a recognized leader of
the rum party, and there is no doubt he influenced some, as he was
constantly quoting Scripture and twisting its meaning to suit his
purpose, conveniently forgetting to mention those passages that
would consign the major portion of those whose cause he was
advocating to everlasting infamy and woe. As might be expected,
the party he was assisting pointed to him as a model clergyman;
many of them who had not read a passage of Scripture for years,
having shaken the dust off their Bibles, turned to the verses to
which he referred, and when in the taverns, so intoxicated as to
be scarcely able to stand, they, with maudlin utterances, and
serio-comic grimaces, would unctiously quote these hackneyed texts
in the pauses which intervened between their drinks.

The night the returns came in the liquor party, finding they had
carried the county by a large majority, had a grand torch-light
procession, and the "Dodger," with Capt. McWriggler, his western
friend, Ald. Toper, the president of the association, Rivers,
Bottlesby and Capt. Flannigan, were elevated into an open "bus,"
and drawn by their enthusiastic admirers through the principal streets
of Bayton. They had hoisted a broom in the front of their vehicle
as an emblem of their victory.

"What does that mane, Mike?" queried one of the army of ragged,
blear-eyed tatterdemalions of his mate.

"Why, don't you know, Patsy," replied his friend, "that it manes
our party have made a clane swape of the cowld-wather men?"

As the procession swept on the band played "See the conquering
hero comes," and Augustus Adolphus Dodger, who was vain enough to
suppose it was all meant for him, stood smirking, smiling, and
raising his hat to the mob of the "great unwashed" with as much
pride as if he had been a mighty hero receiving the homage of his
countrymen after returning from a splendid victory.

If a stranger had formed his opinion of the citizens of Bayton
from those who made up that procession it certainly would not have
been a favorable one; for respectable men in the ranks were the
exception, not the rule. It appeared, for the time being, the
denizens of the lowest dens of the town and the surrounding
country were holding a drunken Saturnalia; for, as numerous kegs
of beer were rolled out into the street and tapped, while liquor
of a much stronger character was furnished without stint, it was
not long before it was almost literally a huge reeling mass of
drunkenness. Ever and anon some hero, smitten by the deadly shaft
of king alcohol, would tumble from the ranks of the ragged
regiment, his place being immediately supplied by another
volunteer, who was also willing to vigorously tackle the enemy,
though he should fall in the conflict.

It only required a slight effort of memory to decide as to the
vast superiority of the virtuous Christian band, who were victors
in the former contest, to the reeling host of Bacchanalian
revellers, who were now, with howling songs of exultation,
celebrating their victory. And yet in some of the leading journals
the next day there were editorials rejoicing over what they termed
"the triumph of liberty," though, if they were open to conviction,
they had but to observe the character of the majority of those who
were celebrating their conquest to conclude it was for the time
being a supremacy of vice over virtue, of brute force over
principle, and of selfishness over philanthrophy. How respectable
papers of acknowledged ability could join in the brutal shout of
the ruffianly host--thus lending their powerful influence to sweep
away the barriers which the good and true had been endeavoring to
erect, that the onward tides of vice, crime, and misery, might be
kept back--we will allow them to answer? We will observe, however,
that in our opinion, it is not an indication of wisdom in a great
public journal to array itself against the great forces of
temperance and morality; for we believe it will discover, possibly
when it is too late, it has destroyed its influence with those
whose good opinion was best worth possessing.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

DEATH OF LITTLE MAMIE--A PROMISE.


As we have for a time lost sight of Richard Ashton and his family
we will now return to them. He had become almost an imbecile,
being a complete mental wreck, his family having to watch him as
they would a child to keep him from obtaining liquor. He was now
so weak in this respect that he would actually steal away, if he
could do so without being observed not returning until he was
brought back completely intoxicated.

They had become quite poor; for though Mr. Gurney was giving Eddy
a good salary for one of his years and experience, yet, as Allie,
who had become weak from worry and over-work, was forced for a
time to desist from giving music lessons, his earnings barely
sufficed to procure life's necessities.

Little Mamie was now becoming quite frail. She had in the early
part of the winter contracted a severe cold, which, having settled
on her lungs, congestion had ensued. She, after a protracted
illness, was now convalescent, yet it was evident she was not long
for earth, but, like a beautiful flower, was slowly fading away.

"Mamma," she said one day, "I am going to die. Oh, how sad it will
be to leave this beautiful world, and papa, and you, my mamma, and
Eddie, and Allie! But," she added, "I am going to the beautiful
home of which I was dreaming, to be with Jesus, who loves little
children. And then in a little while you and papa will come, and
we will live in one of the 'many mansions' which Jesus has gone to
prepare. I shall not be long with you here, mamma; but you will
come to be with me. Eddie and Allie will be coming too, some day,
when God calls them, and we will all be home together."

Her mother was deeply moved, but endeavored to conceal her emotion
from her little daughter.

"My darling must not talk of leaving us; we could not spare our
little Mamie. No doubt, dear, but you will get better, now the
spring is coming, and soon you will be out with the flowers."

Mrs. Ashton had to endure the agony that an intelligent, loving
mother must always experience when an almost idolized child, that
she could press to her heart forever, is fading from her. She
could see her dear, loving, bright little daughter--who was very
precocious, talking more like a girl of ten than one of only
five--slowly, almost imperceptibly, failing every day, and every day
becoming more bright and beautiful; but it was the beauty of the
flower that was to bloom but for a few hours, and then whither and
die away.

One day in the spring, as she was looking at her mother, who was
working among her flowers, she began coughing violently; Allie,
who had been attending to her household duties, now joining them,
stooped down to help her, but as she did so she saw her face was
of deathlike pallor, and that the blood was slowly oozing from her
mouth, staining her pale lips with its crimson tide.

"Mother! come quickly," she said, as she lifted Mamie in her arms
and ran with her into the house. She gently laid her on the sofa,
and then wiped the blood from her lips.

Mrs. Ashton, when she reached the sofa, found her heart beating
violently; but she resolutely forced back her emotion, so that she
might not agitate Mamie. As she took her eldest daughter's place,
she whispered: "Go to the garden, dear, and tell your father to
run for the doctor. He must make haste, for I am afraid Mamie is
dying."

Allie ran for her father, but, though he was there a short time
before, he could not now be found. The fact is, the wretched man,
who had been working in the vegetable-garden, had been watching
all morning for an opportunity to steal away and get a drink.
Finding the coast clear, when Mrs. Ashton and Allie had gone in
with Mamie, he, like a truant child stealing away from its
parents, glided out on to the sidewalk, and hastily made his way
to the nearest groggery.

Allie told her mother her father had disappeared, when the latter
requested her to hasten and tell the doctor to come immediately,
as the case was very urgent.

The doctor, when he arrived, endeavored to quiet Mrs. Ashton's
fears by assuring her there was no immediate danger; "but," he
gently continued, "she will not long be with you--two or three
days at the longest, and she may not linger that long."

When Eddie came home he went for his father, and found him in
Flannigan's groggery with several others who were unfortunates
like himself. At the voice of his son, he straightened himself up
as well as he could in his intoxicated condition, looking at him
with a sort of dazed, stupid stare; but as Eddie went over to him,
saying, "Come, father, we want you at home," he took his arm and
walked quietly away.

When they arrived at the house, Eddie took him round the back way
so as not to disturb the dying child, and after requesting him to
be as quiet as possible, as Mamie was seriously ill, he then went
in and told his mother his father was safe at home.

Eddie and Allie wished their mother to rest for a time, as they
thought if she did not do so the fatigue and worry might result
disastrously to her. But she was firm in her resolve not to leave
the bedside of her dying child, so that all their solicitations
were in vain.

Mrs. Gurney came to remain all night with them, so Eddie and Allie
retired. Mrs. Ashton was very grateful for this practical
expression of sympathy for this noble Christian woman. Mamie
passed the night quietly--not suffering excessive pain, but they
concluded she was growing weaker, the end being not far off.

She was peacefully sleeping about five o'clock, and Allie having
awakened joined the watchers; she, with the assistance of Mrs.
Gurney, finally prevailed upon her mother to lie down, and, if
possible, snatch a little sleep. About six o'clock Mrs. Gurney
noticed there was a change for the worse in the little slumberer,
and she had just remarked it to Allie, when Mamie languidly opened
her large blue eyes--which now shone as if they reflected the
light of the heavenly land--"Mamma! Mamma!" she called in a low
but very distinct voice.

Allie bent over her and asked, "What is it darling? Mamma has gone
to lie down for a little while."

Mamie closed her eyes for a moment, and then opening them, said,
"Call her, and call papa and Eddie, for I think I am dying."

Allie quietly left her side to call her mother. Eddie having just
arrived glided silently into the room, and then went to call his
father. He experienced difficulty in awakening him, who, though he
appeared to be in a stupor, no sooner heard that Mamie had asked
for him, and that she said she was dying, than he, having dressed,
made haste to go to her. When he arrived in the room he eagerly
asked his wife, "Is Mamie worse? You had better make haste, Eddie,
and run for the doctor."

Mamie looked up as she heard her father's voice. "My own dear
papa!" she murmured; and then she continued, "don't go, Eddie; if
you do I shall never see you again, for I shall have gone home
before you return."

"Papa, Mamma," she said, "each of you give me a hand." Her father
taking her right hand and her mother her left, she continued,
"Papa, I want you to promise me you will never drink again. I am
going to be with Jesus, and when I look down from heaven I want to
see my papa good, and not doing anything to make my mamma grieve
so, because then I shall grieve too. I know I shall feel so sorry
when I am in heaven, if my darling papa is out with the naughty
men drinking; for my mamma will come some day to meet me, but the
Bible says no drunkard can enter there; so if my papa dies a
drunkard I shall never see him again. Oh papa! shall I meet only
my mamma there, and will not my papa come too? Shall I look and
look for papa, and never find him?"

She paused for breath, looking inquiringly at her father. The
effort had evidently taken from her most of her rapidly failing
strength, and every individual in the room was sobbing before she
had finished speaking.

"God bless you, my darling!" replied her father, "I will promise
never to drink again, and God helping me, I will keep my promise."

"Kiss me, papa, mamma, all." They each lovingly kissed her, she
murmured "thank you for--" but she could say no more, her eyes
speaking the gratitude her failing voice could not utter. Her eyes
closed for a moment, and then slowly opening, she, turning them
upon all, faintly whispered, "Good-bye," and then they closed
never to open again to the light of this life. She lingered on as
if sleeping quietly with a sweet smile of peace irradiating her
face, and sank gently to rest, so gently they could not tell the
exact moment of her departure.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

RICHARD ASHTON MURDEROUSLY ATTACKED--HIS DEATH.


Richard Ashton faithfully kept the promise made to little Mamie;
for he never touched nor tasted liquor again. His struggle was a
desperate one; but as he was determined, by the help of God, to
conquer, he succeeded. Mr. Gurney again employed him, but in a
subordinate position; and though there was subdued sadness in the
house, because they missed the prattle of their lost darling--missed
her sunny face and cheery songs--yet even in her death she
had left such a benediction that they were still experiencing its
blessedness months after she had passed away. It was her dying
request which had influenced her father to change, and he was
truly changed; for not only had he, as we have noticed, conquered
his appetite for strong drink, but he had so completely repented
of the past as to have become a devoted Christian, and was
trusting that through the merits of his crucified Redeemer he
would, one day, meet his little daughter in heaven.

But trouble, dark and terrible, was again to visit the home of the
Ashtons, and this time it was the poor lost sheep who had lately
been gathered by the Good Shepherd into the lower fold, that was
to be translated--though by a cruel death--to the green pastures
and still waters of the homeland above.

One very dark night as he was returning home from the store, where
he had been detained later than usual, having reached the back
street on which his house was situated, and when within a short
distance of it, as he was passing an alley he was suddenly struck
a terrific blow on the head, which felled him senseless to the
earth. The ruffian who had attacked him was not content with
knocking him down, but continued brutally kicking him after he had
fallen, and did not desist until his victim was lying still, as
though dead.

"I guess that settles the score I have against him," muttered Joe
Porter, for he it was who had made the murderous attack. "I'm
thinking they'll have a good time finding out who did it. And
he'll be some time before he swears against me again. If I only
had that young dandy here that took his part I'd settle with him,
too. No man ever meddled with me yet without suffering for it, for
I hold spite like an Injun, and I'll have satisfaction out of him
if I swing for it." Thus muttering to himself he glided off into
the darkness.

Eddie, when on his way home a few moments afterwards, saw, by the
light of his lantern, a man lying on the sidewalk; and, on closer
inspection, what was his surprise and horror to find it was his
father. The latter's face was all covered with blood, and though
he seemed to be still insensible, he began to groan as though
conscious of pain. Eddie ran to a neighbour's, and procuring the
assistance of a Mr. Thompson, and two grown-up sons, he asked them
to kindly carry his father home, while he would run ahead and
prepare his mother for the shock which must certainly ensue; for
he wisely concluded, if on their entering the house she should
come to the door and meet them carrying what would appear to be
the lifeless body of her husband--in her present delicate state of
health--the effect would be most serious. He broke the news to her
as gently as possible, but he had uttered but a very few words
when she concluded something alarming had occurred. "Oh, Eddie!"
she exclaimed, as all color forsook her face--leaving it as white
as marble--"what has happened? Is your father dead?"

Eddie answered in the negative, but said he had been hurt, though
he hoped not seriously. Hearing Mr. Thompson and his sons coming
with his father, he ran to meet them; his mother, having by this
time mastered her emotion, was now quite calm and prepared for the
worst. They bringing him in laid him on the bed, and Mrs. Ashton,
immediately getting a towel, began washing the blood off his
temple, knowing the water would likely have the effect of
restoring him to consciousness. She had not continued it long
before he awakened out of his stupor and faintly asked: "Where am
I? What has happened?"

Mrs. Ashton replied, "You have been hurt, dear, but lie still, and
don't agitate yourself now, for you will know all about it after
awhile." He shut his eyes at her request and lay perfectly still.

Eddie, in the meanwhile, had gone for the doctor, and in a few
minutes returning with him the latter proceeded to examine Mr.
Ashton. He found him very seriously, if not fatally injured. He
had been first struck on the temple by a cane or club. This blow
of itself was sufficient to do him very grave injury, but it had
been followed by brutal kicks on the prostrate man's body. The
doctor pronounced two of his ribs broken and his spine seriously
injured.

"Will he recover, doctor?" asked Mrs. Ashton. "I would like you to
give me your honest opinion as to what you think the result will
be."

"We must leave results with God," Mrs. Ashton. "He has been
brutally beaten, and what I fear most is the shock to his nervous
system. His constitution was so seriously impaired previous to
this attack that I have the gravest fears as to the issue."

He never arose from his bed; though he lingered for several days,
and gave his wife and family the sweet consolation of knowing his
whole trust was in Christ, through whose merits and intercession
he expected to have an abundant entrance into His kingdom. Before
he died his ante-mortem statement was taken, when he said he just
had a glimpse of the person who struck him, and he believed his
assailant was Joe Porter.

He remained conscious to the last, and the parting with his wife
and family was very affecting. He asked Eddie to be faithful to
his mother, which he promised to be. "Oh, Ruth," he said, "I have
been a very unfaithful husband. Rum has been our curse, but I know
you forgive me, darling." He then kissed them each; asking them to
meet him in heaven, and in a few moments after quietly departed.

Thus died Richard Ashton, in the flower of his manhood, a victim
of the drink curse; for rum had broken his constitution, robbed
him of his intellectual vigor, reduced him and his family almost
to beggary, and he was finally murdered by one of its vendors. He
was endowed by his Maker with a bright intellect and a loving
heart. In his early manhood he fell heir to an ample fortune, and
was blessed with as good a wife as God ever gave to man; but rum,
"cursed rum," had blighted all his prospects, made life a failure,
and was instrumental in bringing him to an untimely grave.

They buried him by the side of little Mamie in the beautiful
Bayton cemetery, "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, to wait the
resurrection of the just."

Joe Porter was arrested and tried for the crime, but, as several
of his creatures swore he was present in his bar until after ten
o'clock that night he was acquitted; though the public believed he
was the criminal, and he was despised and shunned by all but the
lowest dregs of the populace.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

MR. GURNEY SPEAKS HIS MIND--DEATHS OF DR. DALTON AND AUNT DEBIE.


The antis were wild with joy because of their complete triumph;
and certainly, looking at the result from their standpoint, they
had cause to rejoice, for their victory was far-reaching in its
results. It strengthened the opponents of temperance throughout
our fair Dominion--yes, beyond its bounds--while it certainly had
a depressing effect upon its staunch supporters, for they were
well aware the failure would not be attributed to its true source
--that is, the bitter opposition it had met with from its
unprincipled opponents, the lethargy of many of its pretended
friends, and from other causes which we have already mentioned in
this book. But it would be published "from Dan to Beersheba" that
it had received a fair trial and, after being "weighed in the
balance and found wanting," had been spurned from the county with
contumely by the intelligent electors.

"I told you it would never succeed," said Bottlesby to Mr. Gurney,
just after the repealers had gained their victory. "The fact is,
Mr. Gurney, while every one respects you personally, because they
know you are an honorable and upright citizen, having the best
interests of the public at heart, they think you are a little off
on this matter of total prohibition. I tell you such a law will
never be successful, because people will not stand to have their
private rights invaded in such a manner. No man has a right to
dictate to me what I shall eat or drink; and it is because the
intelligent electors have thus thought, this tyrannical bill has
failed."

Mr. Gurney thoroughly despised the speaker, because he knew he was
a low, cunning knave, and a thorough-paced hypocrite. He was also
aware of the part Bottlesby had taken in opposition to the bill;
that he was one of the chief concoctors of the hellish scheme
which had for the time being proved so successful, and that in
giving the reason he did for its defeat he was simply lying. Mr.
Gurney thought, therefore, he would take advantage, of this
opportunity to "give him a bit of his mind," and lead him to
understand he was not ignorant of the means employed by the rum
party to accomplish their purpose.

"It would probably have been better, Sheriff," he said, "not to
have entered into any discussion in regard to the matter; but as
you have thought fit to do so, and have advanced what you say is
your opinion as to the cause of the failure of this bill, you must
not feel aggrieved if I plainly give you mine. And as I have
listened with patience until you were through, kindly do not
interrupt me. Now, I do not believe, as you say you do"--and Mr.
Gurney laid particular stress upon the _you say_--"that the
Act was a failure because men would not have their private rights
interfered with--though I know there are many who are so selfish
as to be willing to allow thousands to perish rather than practice
a little self-denial; but that is not the reason of its failure.
It failed, sir, because there was a vile conspiracy against it;
and what made the conspiracy successful was, that among the
leading conspirators were officers of the law--the very men
without whose active co-operation it was impossible for it to be
successful. Allow me to illustrate what I mean by an anecdote: A
few years ago there was a gang of desperadoes, who operated in one
of the south-western states. They robbed every one with perfect
impunity for several years, all attempts to capture them proving
abortive, for they seemed, in some mysterious manner, to get
notice of any move made in that direction. But, strange to relate,
the people in that section did not cry for the repeal of the law
against stealing; on the contrary, they determined to vigorously
use the means placed at their disposal until those who had
violated its precepts had received the punishment they merited. At
last one of the desperadoes, having been taken ill and expecting
to die, revealed the secret of their successful evadence of the
law. It was because there were some in league with the outlaws who
were officers of the state, who, being in a position to know,
would warn them when any attempt was to be made to capture them.
Now, sir, this is a case in point; for I have no doubt there has
been a huge conspiracy to defeat the Dunkin Act in this county,
and among the conspirators there have been many whom, forsooth, we
must look upon as the guardians of the law."

"Why, sir," broke in Bottlesby, "there have been among those who
opposed the Act ministers of the gospel, and numerous others,
whose characters are above reproach.

"I admit there have been, and these, no doubt, conscientiously
oppose all coercive measures, but in my opinion, such are
comparatively few in number. The opponents of the Act are
principally those interested in the liquor business, whose craft
is in danger; the great body of their poor, miserable victims,
comprising among their number the vilest elements of society:
designing politicians, who pander to the liquor vote; and the
great mass of the indifferent, who will throw their influence upon
which ever side they are led to believe their interest lies. The
liquor party have appealed to their selfishness; and because this
class is not as rule intelligent, by employing such orators as
Dodger, and by a lavish expenditure of money, they have succeeded
for the present in getting their support--but, I warn you, it is
only for the present. The masses are becoming more enlightened.
With enlightenment there will be broader views of duty--of what
they hold to fellowmen and what to God. They will then be able to
place the proper value upon the shallow sophistries of the paid
demagogues, whose mission is to mislead them.

"I ask you to mention to me one appeal that was made to anything
high or holy by Dodger or either of his confreres the other day.
You cannot do so, because they only appealed to the passions,
prejudices, and selfishness of those whom they were addressing.
You have gained the victory now, and we view it with sorrow,
though not with despair; for we will, by the help of God, pass the
Scott Act in this county, which is, I understand, a more mature
piece of legislation than the Dunkin Act. Its framers, having been
active participants in several temperance campaigns where the
latter has been on trial, have embodied in the new bill what they
have learned by experience and observation; even not failing to
learn something from the rabid and unfair criticisms of their
opponents. We, who have wrought and toiled to drive the liquor
curse out of the country, lose nothing in a pecuniary sense by
your victory--we had a higher purpose in view than our own gain.
It is the poor, miserable inebriates, and their wives and
children, who will suffer; and when the news of your victory was
flashed over our Dominion, it caused sorrow to visit the hearts of
thousands of the purest and best, while a fiendish howl of
exultation went up from every low groggery and brothel that the
tidings reached."

Bottlesby stood like one stunned, as these words of indignation
and scorn flowed from the lips of Mr. Gurney. He made no attempt
to reply, but grew angry as he realized that the latter was well
aware of the active part he had taken in the plots of the rum
party; finally, cursing him as an old fanatic, he walked rapidly
away.

About the time the conversation which we have related occurred,
Dr. Dalton had an interview with Mary Fulton, who had once been
his betrothed bride. She had been visiting some of her friends in
Bayton, and Dalton called to see her, but so absolutely was he the
slave of his appetite as to be under the influence of liquor when
he did so. He begged her to reconsider what he considered her
cruel decision, and to receive him on the same terms as of old;
but she kindly though firmly refused to accede to his request.
With tears in her eyes she told him she loved him yet, and should
never love another; "but," she added, "I cannot place the
slightest reliance upon your word, you have broken it so often;
nor will I ever marry one who is so addicted to drink, as it
would, in the end, involve us both in bitterest misery."

He left her that night in a state of desperation, and she was the
last person who saw him alive. For a short time his absence was
not commented upon, as he frequently absented himself for lengthy
periods from his boarding-place; but as weeks passed away and
there were no tidings of him, the anxiety of his friends became
intense, and advertisments were inserted in the leading papers
asking him to reply, if alive. Receiving no response, a reward was
offered for any information regarding him; but this also proved
futile, and a year passed before they had any idea of his fate.
One day a boy who was gathering wood on the beach, which separated
the bay from the lake, when going into a thick grove of cedar
bushes which grew luxuriantly there, was stricken with horror to
see a ghastly human skull grinning at him. He immediately ran to
Bayton to tell what he had found, and he looked almost half-dead
with fright at his discovery.

Those who went back with him searched and found in the skull the
mark of a pistol ball, and buried in the sand, 'neath the skeleton
fingers, was found a Smith & Wesson revolver. In the side pocket
of his coat his wallet was discovered, with its contents
untouched, and among numerous other articles was a letter
addressed to Charles Dalton.

Thus perished, at the early age of twenty-six, one who possessed a
bright intellect and noble nature, but who had, after being the
source of inexpressible sorrow to his friends, been brought to an
untimely and dishonored grave through the drink curse.

Mary Fulton now dresses in deep mourning, and still remains
faithful to her vow never to marry. She says her heart lies buried
in the grave with Charles Dalton, and her pale, sad face seals the
testimony of her lips.

When Aunt Debie was informed of the doctor's death she said--"Did
I not tell thee, Phoebe, two years ago, when I dreamt of them
plucking the ears of corn, that Dr. Dalton would die before long?
Thee sees it has come troo, and I've never known it to fail. I
wonder if James Gurney would laugh now?"

As the old lady spoke it would be difficult to conjecture which
was the predominant sentiment of her mind--sorrow, because of the
untimely death of Dr. Dalton; or a certain feeling of triumph,
because her predictions had proven correct.

Aunt Debie always claimed credit for her prophetic powers if any
person happened to die of whom she had dreamt; and if they did
not, she asked her auditors just to wait and time would vindicate
her. Of course the old lady was correct in that, for, if they
waited for a sufficient length of time all would die."

"Thee told it as straight as could be," said Phoebe. "I was sartin
it would come troo, for I never knew thee to fail. But what a
blessing it was that his mother died before this terrible deed was
committed." Genuine tears shone in the eyes of Phoebe as she thus
spoke.

"Yes," said Aunt Debie, "God is sometimes like Jacob when he
blessed Joseph's children with crossed hands. We say, at some
visitation of His providence, that seems hard to us, 'Not so,
father;' but He knows where He is placing His hands. It was in
mercy that He took Rebecca that she might not have to bear still
greater sorrows. She is better where she is, and I shall soon be
with her; then these eyes shall no longer be sightless, but shall
be brighter than in youth. O! I long to be where I shall see the
King in His beauty, and the glory and loveliness of the Father's
home; where, these deaf ears being unsealed, I shall hear the
rapturous music of those who surround the throne and swell the
rapturous songs of the redeemed."

Aunt Debie's wish has since been granted, and she has gone to meet
the friends of her youth in the land where they will part no more.



CHAPTER XL.

CONCLUSION.


Six years have passed since the events narrated in the last
chapter transpired. Judge McGullet, Sheriff Bottlesby and Old Joe
Porter, have in the interval been summoned to attend the last
assize. The latter died of delirium tremens, and it was whispered
around that his family were afraid to bring a physician, because
he raved so of the treacherous slaying of Richard Ashton. The
judge was said to have died of brain fever, and the sheriff of
inflammation; yet it is an open secret that drink was the real
agent in their destruction.

Rivers, Ben Tims, and the others whom we have mentioned, are still
plying their nefarious trade, which will in all probability
ultimately involve themselves and their unfortunate customers in a
common ruin.

The temperance men are not disheartened, but intend ere long to
try and pass the Scott Act, which has more grip to it than the
Dunkin Act, in King's County; for in every county the friends of
temperance can apply to Government for the appointment of a
stipendiary magistrate, from whose decisions there can be no
appeal. So the antis, as they have found to their cost in several
counties where it has been tried, cannot trifle with it as they
did with the latter. The liquor party know this to be the case,
and so they have lately held a monster meeting, which was presided
over by the chief distiller in the Dominion--a man who has become
a millionaire by the manufacture of that which, no doubt, has
destroyed thousands of men, caused untold misery in thousands of
homes, and sent, God only knows the number, to a drunkard's hell.
What he has manufactured has, no doubt, prepared many men to
murder their wives; mothers to neglect, starve, and even destroy
their children; and, I have no hesitancy in saying, I believe has
caused more wide-spread devastation and ruin in this Dominion
since its establishment than what has been caused in the same
period by those two destructive agencies--flood and fire combined.
The meeting was convened for the purpose of taking steps to fight
the Scott Act in every county where it was submitted, and it was
there resolved to employ the "Dodger" to again take the stump as
the champion of their life-destroying traffic.

"I can assure you, gentlemen," said one present, who had lately
come from a county where the Scott Act was in force, and who had
been fined until he was forced to give up the business, "you are
not fighting the Dunkin Act this time, for it was a thing without
vertebrae or claws; but the present Act has both; yes, and teeth,
too, as I have found to my cost. What we have to do is to resort
to every means to defeat it; for if it once becomes law in a
county then we are done."

Before the meeting closed forty thousand dollars were subscribed
by those present to stubbornly contest every inch of ground, and
if possible still to keep, this fair province under the demon rule
of "Old King Alcohol."

The liquor party in King's County are not so confident as they
endeavor to lead people to think they are, as may be gathered from
the following conversation between Rivers and Capt. McWriggler,
M.P. He has gained the coveted position; but it is the opinion of
the most intelligent men in the riding that the whiskey-horse,
which carried him to victory this time will utterly fail him in
the next campaign.

"I hear," said Rivers, "that old Gurney and his set are determined
to pass the Scott Act in this county, and Murden says it is a much
more perfect bill than the Dunkin Act was."

"Yes, I believe they are," said McWriggler, "and, as far as I can
learn, it is about as perfect as any sumptuary law can be; but
Toper says they will have that fixed all right. George Maltby,
M.P., member for Eastmorland, is going to introduce a clause next
session, if possible, which will utterly destroy it. The clause
stipulates that there must be a majority of all the legal voters;
and as there are hundreds who cannot be induced to go to the
polls, you can easily see, if this amendment carries, it will make
the Act as good as nil. Maltby could not have been elected had it
not been for the help he received from the association, and he
will do anything to retain their good will; for it is only by
their favor he can hope to win again."

"But supposing he does not succeed," said Rivers, "what will you
do then?"

"I don't think there is much danger of that in the present house.
In fact we have calculated pretty closely, and have every reason
to be satisfied with the conclusion at which we have arrived; but
if he fails we hold another trump card. Allsot, in the senate,
will introduce a rider to it, which will be so heavy as to break
its back."

McWriggler laughed at his play upon words, manifesting the fact
that one person, at least, could enjoy his attempt at wit.

We will now bid a final farewell to these worthies. Their plots
have so far been successful, but the end is not yet. The untimely
death of the majority of those who were their associates in
iniquity should, one would think, be to them as the handwriting
upon the wall, to warn them, what would be their fate if they
still persisted in their course. But such men seem to forget that
God's word, which is certain of fulfilment, says:

"The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with
his teeth.

"The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is
coming....

"I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like
a green-bay tree.

"Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but
he could not be found."

Mr. and Mrs. Gurney still reside in Bayton, and his business is
the most prosperous in the town. They have not grown weary in
well-doing, but are now actively engaged agitating the public mind
for the submission of the Scott Act in King's County, and they
ardently hope they will live to see the day when a prohibitory law
shall be passed in our Dominion, and the liquor curse shall be
banished forever.

Mrs. Holman is still actively engaged in helping on, with pen and
voice, the good cause of temperance, and has deservedly won for
herself a continental fame.

Eddy Ashton, who is a fine specimen of handsome, intellectual
manhood, has, by his business tact and energy, so engratiated
himself into the good will of his employer that he has now for
over a year occupied the position in Mr. Gurney's establishment
which was formerly held by his father. He removed with his mother
and sister to the house which was their home the first happy year
they spent in Bayton, and it is as beautiful and cosy as ever.

Allie developed into a beautiful and cultured woman, and shortly
after they were again settled in their old home, desisted from
giving music lessons; there were, however, for some time those
mysterious preparations which are the certain precursors of a
wedding. And a wedding, my dear young friends, in due time there
was. Allie was the happy bride, the bridegroom being Frank
Congdon, the young man who so chivalrously came to her rescue when
she was so grossly insulted by the brutal Joe Porter. Congdon's
father, who was a retired merchant, had had extensive business
transactions with some of the Bayton establishments. It was to
settle some old standing accounts that Frank first went there,
and, while taking a stroll for the purpose of viewing the town and
its surroundings, he went into Joe Porter's to make certain
enquiries, and met with the adventure which we have already
narrated to the reader.

He had at that time formed such a liking for Bayton that he
resolved, with his father's consent, to purchase a partnership in
one of the leading dry goods firms in the town, of which he is at
the present sole proprietor, and doing a flourishing business.

He had not been long there when he sought out Allie, who had made
such an impression upon him that it was a case of love at first
sight. Closer acquaintance served to deepen that impression; for
he, who was himself a noble, intelligent young fellow, when he
became more intimate loved her, not only from a mere passing
impulse or fancy, but from a deep and ever deepening respect for
her intelligent, womanly, self-sacrificing nature. In fact, they
became affianced lovers, and the wedding day came as such days do.
Mrs. Gurney insisted upon furnishing the trouseau, and there was a
small but select company at the wedding.

As Allie stood by her husband a fair young bride, her mother, in
memory, went back to a wedding that took place over twenty-five
years before in the dear home land, and she prayed that the
daughter might not have to "pass under the rod" as she had done.

Eddie is still unmarried, and lives with his mother. And Ruth is
now happy, though that happiness is mellowed by the sorrows
through which she has passed, and the memories of the loved ones
she has lost; but the hope of meeting them again is the rainbow
that spans the sky of her existence, shining out radiantly in her
hours of mist and gloom, enabling her to say, even when most cast
down: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the
name of the Lord."

Friends, we will now say farewell. The sad tale which you have
read but faintly conveys an idea of the misery, degradation, and
sin which is caused in thousands of homes by this blighting;
withering traffic.

Oh, rum! cursed rum! I hate it with intensest hatred: for it dims
the brightest intellects; it sullies and makes impure the most
spotless and the best; it spares neither frail and unprotected
womanhood, innocent childhood, nor hoary age; it enters like a
serpent the Eden called home and seduces its inmates to their
fall, thus turning this paradise of love into a hell of fiercest
passions and intensest hate; it entails upon the drunkard's
children in their very existence a patrimony of depraved appetites
and unholy passions; and it supplies the prisons and lunatic
asylums with a large percentage of their inmates, the gallows with
its victims, and hell with lost souls. If what he has written will
be effective in winning any from the ranks of the indifferent, or
from the ranks of those who oppose prohibitory laws, to become
active, energetic workers in the cause of temperance, and what he
is convinced is the cause of God, it will amply repay



THE AUTHOR.





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