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The Lights and Shadows of Real Life
by T.S. Arthur
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In an earnest spirit of thankfulness for this restoration of Alfred, did the mother and sisters look up to the Giver of all good, and with tearful devotion pray that there might ensue a moral as well as a physical restoration. For years, they had not felt towards him the deep and yearning tenderness that now warmed their bosoms. They longed to rescue him, not for their sakes, but for his own, from the horrible pit and the miry clay into which he had fallen.

"O, if we could but save him, sister!" Anna said, as she sat conversing with Mary, after all doubt of his recovery had been removed. "If we could only do some. thing to restore our brother to himself, how glad I should be!"

"I would do anything in my power," Mary replied, "and sacrifice everything that it was right to sacrifice, if, by so doing, I could help Alfred to conquer his besetting evils. I cannot tell you how I feel about it. It seems as if it would break my heart to have him return again into his old habits of life: and yet, what have we to found a hope upon, that he will not so return?"

"I feel just as you do about it, Mary," her sister said. "The same yearning desire to save him, and the same hopelessness as to the means."

"There is one way, it seems to me, in which we might influence him."

"What is that, Mary?"

"Let us manifest towards him, fully, the real affection that we feel; perhaps that may awaken a chord in this own bosom, and thus lead him, for our sakes, to enter upon a new course of life."

"We can at least try, Mary. It can do no harm, and may result in good."

With the end of his reformation in view, the two sisters, during his convalescence, attended him with the most assiduous and affectionate care. The moment Anna would come home from the store at night, she would repair with a smiling countenance to his bedside, and although usually so fatigued as to be compelled to rally her spirits with an effort, she would seem so interested and cheerful and active to minister in some way to his pleasure, that Alfred began to look forward every day as the evening approached, with a lively interest, for her return. This Mary observed, and it gave her hope.

Three weeks soon passed away, when Alfred was so far recovered as to be able to walk out.

"Do not walk far, brother," Mary said, laying her hand gently upon his arm, and looking him with affectionate earnestness in the face. "You are very weak, and the fatigue might bring on a relapse."

"I shall only walk a little way, Mary," he replied, as he opened the door and went out.

Neither the mother nor sister could utter the fear that each felt, lest Alfred should meet with and fall in temptation before he returned. This fear grew stronger and stronger, as the minutes began to accumulate, and lengthen to an hour. A period of ten or fifteen minutes was as long as they had any idea of his remaining away. Where could he be? Had he been taken sick; or was he again yielding to the seductions of a depraved and degrading appetite? The suspense became agonizing to their hearts, as not only one, but two, and even three hours passed, bringing the dim twilight, and yet he returned not.

In the meantime, the young man, whose appearance the careful hand of Mary and her sister had been rendered far superior to what it had been for years past, went out from his mother's humble dwelling, and took his way slowly down one of the streets, leading to the main portion of the city, with many thoughts of a painful character passing through his mind. The few weeks that he had been confined to the house, and in constant association with his mother, and one or both of his sisters, who were at home, had startled his mind into reflection. He could not but contrast their constant and affectionate devotion to him, with his own shameful and criminal neglect of them. Conceal her real feelings as she would, it did not escape his notice, that when Anna came home at night, she was so much exhausted as to be hardly able to sit up; and as for Mary, often when she dreamed not that he was observing her, had he noticed her air of languor and exhaustion, and her half-stifled expression of pain,—as she bent resolutely over her needle-work. Never before had he felt so indignant towards Ellen's husband for his neglect and abuse of her, his once favourite sister; and, indeed, the favourite of the whole family.

It was, to his own mind, a mystery how he ever could have sunk so low, and become so utterly regardless of his mother and sisters.

"Wretch! wretch! miserable wretch that I am!" he would, sometimes, mentally exclaim, turning his face to the wall as he lay reviewing, involuntarily, his past life. Uniformly it happened, that following such a crisis in his feelings, would be some affectionate word or kind attention from Mary or his mother, smiting upon his heart with emotions of the keenest remorse.

It was under the influence of such feelings that he went out on the afternoon just alluded to. Still, no settled plan of reformation had been formed in his mind, for the discouraging question would constantly arise while pondering gloomily over his condition and the condition of the family.

"What can I do?" To this, he could find no satisfactory answer. Three or four years of debasing drunkenness, had utterly separated him from those who had it in their power to encourage and strengthen his good desires,—and to put him in the way of providing for himself and his family, by an industrious application to some kind of business.

He had walked slowly on, in painful abstraction, for about five minutes, when a hand was laid on his arm, and a familiar voice said—

"Is this you, Graham! Where in the name of Pluto have you been, for the last three weeks? Why, how blue you look about the gills! Havn't been sick, I hope?"

"Indeed I have, Harry," Alfred replied, in a feeble voices. "It came very near being all over with me."

"Indeed! Well, what was the matter?"

Raising his hat, and displaying a long and still angry-looking wound on the side of his head, from which the hair had been carefully cut away, he said—

"Do you see that?"

"I reckon I do."

"Well, that came very near doing the business for me."

"How did it happen?"

"I hardly know, myself. I was drunk, I suppose, and quarrelled with some one, or insulted some one in the street—and this was the consequence."

"Really, Graham, you have made a narrow escape."

"Havn't I? It kept me in bed for nearly three weeks, and now, I can just totter about. This is the first time I have been outside of the house since it happened."

"You certainly do look weak and feeble enough," replied his old friend and crony, who added, in a moment after,

"But come! take a drink with me at the tavern across here. You stand in need of something."

"No objection, and thank you," Alfred rejoined, at once moving over towards a well-known, low tavern, quenching in imagination a morbid thirst that seemed instantly created, by a draught of sweetened liquor.

"What will you take?" asked his friend, as the two came up to the counter.

"I'll take a mint sling," Alfred replied.

"Two mint slings," said his companion, giving his orders to the bar-keeper.

"Hallo, Graham! Is this you?" exclaimed one or two loungers, coming forward, and shaking him heartily by the hand. "We had just made up our minds that you had joined the cold-water army."

"Indeed!" suddenly ejaculated Graham, an instant consciousness of what he was, where he was, and what he was about to do, flashing over his mind. "I wish to heaven your conclusion had been true!"

This sudden charge in his manner, and his earnestly, indeed solemnly expressed wish, were received with a burst of laughter.

"Here Dan," said one, to the bar-keeper, "havn't you a pledge for him to sign."

"O, yes! Bring a pledge! Bring a pledge! Has no one a pledge?" rejoined another, in a tone of ridicule.

"Yes, here is one," said a man in a firm tone, entering the shop at the moment. "Who wants to sign the pledge?"

"I do!" Graham said, in a calm voice.

"Then here it is," the stranger replied, drawing a sheet of paper from his pocket, and unrolling it.

"Give me a pen Dan," Alfred said, turning to the barkeeper.

"Indeed, then, and I won't," retorted that individual, "I'm not going to lend a stick to break my own head."

"O, never mind, young man, I can supply pen and ink," said the stranger, drawing forth a pocket inkstand.

Alfred eagerly seized the pen that was offered to him, and instantly subscribed the total abstinence pledge.

"Another fool caught!" sneered one.

"Ha! ha! ha! What a ridiculous farce!" chimed in another.

"He'll be rolling in the gutter before three days, feeling upwards for the ground," added a third.

"Why, I don't believe he can see through a ladder now;" the first speaker said, with his contemptuous sneer. "Look here, mister," to the stranger who had appeared so opportunely. "This is all gammon! He's been fooling you."

"Come along, my friend," was all the stranger said, drawing his arm within that of the penitent young man, as he did so,—"this is no place for you."

And the two walked slowly out, amid the laughter, sneers, and open ridicule of the brutal company. Once again in the open air, Alfred breathed more freely.

"O, sir," he said, grasping the hand of the individual who had appeared so opportunely—"you have saved me from my last temptation, into which I was led so naturally, that I had not an idea of danger. If I had fallen then, as I fear I should have fallen but for you, I must have gone down, rapidly, to irretrievable ruin. How can I express to you the grateful emotions that I now feel?"

"Express them not to me, young man," the stranger said, in a solemn voice; "but to him, who in his merciful providence, sent me just at the right moment to meet your last extremity. Look up to him, and, whenever tempted, let your conscious weakness repose in his strength, and no evil power can prevail against you. Be true to the resolution of this hour—to your pledge—to those who have claims upon you, for such, I know there must be, and you shall yet fill that position of usefulness in society, which no one else but you can occupy. And now let me advise you to go home, and ponder well this act, and your future course. No matter how dark all may now seem, light will spring up. If you are anxious to walk in a right path, and to minister to those who have claims upon you, the way will be made plain. This encouragement I can give you with confidence; for twelve months ago, I trembled on the brink of ruin, as you have just been trembling. I was once a slave to the same wild infatuation that has held you in bondage. Hope, then, with a vigorous hope, and that hope will be a guarantee for your future elevation!"

And so saying, the stranger shook the hand of Alfred heartily, and, turning, walked hastily away.

The young man had proceeded only a few paces when he observed his old friend and companion, Charles Williams, driving along towards him. No one had done so much towards corrupting his morals, and enticing him away from virtue, as that individual. But he had checked himself in his course of dissipation, long before, while Alfred had sunk rapidly downward. Years had passed since any intercourse had taken place between them, for their condition in life had long been as different as their habits. Charles had entered into business with his father, and was now active and enterprising, increasing the income of the firm by his energy and industry.

His eye rested upon Graham, the moment he came near enough to observe him. There was something familiar about his gait and manner, that attracted the young man's attention. At first, he did not distinguish, through the disguise that sickness and self-imposed poverty had thrown over Alfred, his old companion. But, suddenly, as he was about passing, he recognised him, and instantly reined up his horse.

"It is only a few minutes since I was thinking about you, Alfred," he said. "How are you? But you do not look well. Have you been sick?"

"I have been very ill, lately," Alfred Graham replied, in a mournful tone; former thoughts and feelings rushing back upon him in consequence of this unexpected interview, and quite subduing him.

"I am really sorry to hear it," the young man said, sympathizingly. "What has been the matter?"

"A slow fever. This is the first time I have been out for weeks."

"A ride, then, will be of use to you. Get up, and let me drive you out into the country. The pure air will benefit you, I am sure."

For a moment or two, Alfred stood irresolute. He could not believe that he had heard aright.

"Come," urged Williams. "We have often ridden before, and let us have one more ride, if we should never go out again together. I wish to have some talk with you."

Thus urged, Alfred, with the assistance of Charles Williams, got up into the light wagon, in which the latter was riding, and in a moment after was dashing off with him behind a spirited horse.

It was on the morning of a day, nearly a week previous to this time, that Mary Williams, or rather Mrs. Harwood,—for Anna and Mary Graham's old friend had become a married woman—entered the store of Mrs.—on Chestnut-street, for the purchase of some goods.

While one of the girls in attendance was waiting upon her, she observed a young woman, neatly, but poorly clad, whom she had often seen there before, come in, and go back to the far end of the store. In a little while, Mrs.—joined her, and received from her a small package, handing her some money in return, when the young woman retired, and walked quickly away. This very operation Mrs. Harwood had several times seen repeated before, and each time she had felt much interested in the timid and retiring stranger, a glance at whose face she had never been able to gain.

"Who is that young woman?" she asked of the individual in attendance.

"She's a poor girl, that Mrs.—buys fine work from, out of mere charity, she says."

"Do you know her name?"

"I have heard it, ma'am, but forget it."

"Have you any very fine French worked capes, Mrs.—," asked Mrs. Harwood, as the individual she addressed came up to that part of the counter where she was standing, still holding in her hand the small package which had been received from the young woman. This Mrs. Harwood noticed.

"O, yes, ma'am, some of the most beautiful in the city."

"Let me see them, if you please."

A box was brought, and its contents, consisting of a number of very rich patterns of the article asked for, displayed.

"What is the price of this?" asked Mrs. Harwood, lifting one, the pattern of which pleased her fancy.

"That is a little damaged," Mrs.—replied. "But here is one of the same pattern," unrolling the small parcel she had still continued to hold in her hand, "which has just been returned by a lady, to whom I sent it for examination, this morning."

"It is the same pattern, but much more beautifully wrought," Mrs. Harwood said, as she examined it carefully. "These are all French, you say?"

"Of course, ma'am. None but French goods come of such exquisite fineness."

"What do you ask for this?"

"It is worth fifteen dollars, ma'am. The pattern is a rich one, and the work unusually fine."

"Fifteen dollars! That is a pretty high price, is it not, Mrs.—?"

"O, no, indeed, Mrs. Harwood! It cost me very nearly fourteen dollars—and a dollar is a small profit to make on such articles."

After hesitating for a moment or two, Mrs. Harwood said—

"Well, I suppose I must give you that for it, as it pleases me."'

And she took out her purse, and paid the price that Mrs.—had asked. She still stood musing by the side of the counter, when the young woman who had awakened her interest a short time before, re-entered, and came up to Mrs.—, who was near her.

"I have a favour to ask, Mrs.—," she overheard her say, in a half tremulous, and evidently reluctant tone.

"Well, what is it?" Mrs.—coldly asked.

"I want six dollars more than I have got, for a very particular purpose. Won't you advance me the price of three capes, and I will bring you in one a week, until I have made it up."

"No, miss," was the prompt and decisive answer—"I never pay any one for work not done. Pay beforehand, and never pay, are the two worst kinds of pay!"

All this was distinctly heard by Mrs. Harwood, and her very heart ached, as she saw the poor girl turn, with a disappointed air, away, and walk slowly out of the store.

"That's just the way with these people," ejaculated Mrs.—, in affected indignation, meant to mislead Mrs. Harwood, who, she feared, had overheard what the young woman had said. "They're always trying in some way or other, to get the advantage of you."

"How so?" asked Mrs. Harwood, wishing to learn all she could about the stranger who had interested her feelings.

"Why, you see, I pay that girl a good price for doing a certain kind of work for me, and the money is always ready for her, the moment her work is done. But, not satisfied with that, she wanted me, just now, to advance her the price of three weeks' work. If I had been foolish enough to have done it, it would have been the last I ever should have seen of either money, work, or seamstress."

"Perhaps not," Mrs. Harwood ventured to remark.

"You don't know these kind of people as well as I do, Mrs. Harwood. I've been tricked too often in my time."

"Of course not," was the quiet reply. Then after a pause,

"What kind of sewing did she do for you, Mrs.—?"

"Nothing very particular; only a little fine work. I employ her, more out of charity, than anything else."

"Do you know anything about her?"

"She's old Graham's daughter, I believe. I'm told he died in the Alms-house, a few weeks ago."

"What old Graham?" Mrs. Harwood asked, in a quick voice.

"Why, old Graham, the rich merchant that was, a few years ago. Quite a tumble-down their pride has had, I reckon! Why, I remember when nothing in my store was good enough for them. But they are glad enough now to work for me at any price I choose to pay them."

For a few moments, Mrs. Harwood was so shocked that she could not reply. At length she asked—

"Which of the girls was it that I saw here, just now?"

"That was Mary."

"Do you know anything of Anna?"

"Yes. She stands in a store in Second-street."

"And Ellen?"

"Married to a drunken, worthless fellow, who abuses and half starves her. But that's the way; pride must have a fall!"

"Where do they live?" pursued Mrs. Harwood.

"Indeed, and that's more than I know," Mrs.—replied, tossing her head.

Unable to gain any further information, Mrs. Harwood left the store, well convinced that the richly-wrought cape, for which she had paid Mrs.—fifteen dollars, had been worked by the hands of Mary Graham, for which she received but a mere pittance.

Poor Mary returned home disappointed and deeply troubled in mind. She had about three dollars in money, besides the two which Mrs.—had paid her. If the six she had asked for had only been advanced, as she fondly hoped would be the case, the aggregate sum, eleven dollars, added to three which Anna had saved, would have enabled them to purchase a coat and hat for their brother, who would be ready in a few days to go out. They were anxious to do, this, under the hope, that by providing him with clothes of a more respectable appearance than he had been used to wearing, he would be led to think more of himself, seek better company, and thus be further removed from danger. At her first interview with Mrs.—, Mary's heart had failed her—and it was only after she had left the store and walked some squares homeward, that she could rally herself sufficiently to return and make her request. It was refused, as has been seen.

"Did Mrs.—grant your request?" was almost the first question that Anna asked of her sister that evening, when she returned from the store.

"No, Anna, I was positively refused," Mary replied, the tears rising and almost gushing over her cheeks.

"Then we will only have to do the best we can with what little we have. We shall not be able to get him a new coat; but we can have his old one done up, with a new collar and buttons,—I priced a pair of pantaloons at one of the clothing-stores, in Market-street, as I came up this evening, and the man said three dollars and a half. They looked pretty well. There was a vest, too, for a dollar. I heard one of the young men in the store say, two or three days ago, that he had sold his old hat, which was a very good one, to the hatter, from whom he had bought a new one—or rather, that the hatter had taken the old one on account, valued at a dollar. I asked him a question or two, and learned that many hatters do this, and sell the old hats at the same that they have allowed for them. One of these I will try to get,—even if a good deal worn; it will look far better than the one he has at present."

"In that case, then," Mary said, brightening up, "we can still get him fitted up respectably. O, how glad I shall be! Don't you think, sister, that we have good reason to hope for him?"

"I try to think so, Mary. But my heart often trembles with fearful apprehensions when I think of his going out among his old associates again. It will be little less than a miracle if he should not fall."

"Don't give way to desponding thoughts, sister. Let us hope so strongly for the best, that our very hope shall compass its own fruition. He cannot, he must not, go back!"

Anna did not reply. Her own feelings were inclined to droop and despond, but she did not wish to have her sister's droop and despond likewise. One reason for her saddened feelings arose from the fact, that she had a painful consciousness that she should not long be able to retain her present situation. Her health was sinking so rapidly, that it was only by the aid of strong resolutions, which lifted her mind up and sustained her in spite of bodily weakness, that she was at all enabled to get through with her duties. This she was conscious could not last long.

On the next morning, when she attempted to rise from her bed, she became so faint and sick that she was compelled to lie down again. The feeling of alarm that instantly thrilled through her bosom, lest she should no longer be able to minister to the wants of her mother, and especially of her brother at this important crisis in his life, acted as a stimulant to exhausted nature, and endowed her with a degree of artificial strength that enabled her to make another and more successful effort to resume her wearying toil.

But so weak did she feel, even after she had forced herself to take a few mouthfuls of food at breakfast time, that she lingered for nearly half an hour longer than her usual time of starting in order to allow her system to get a little braced up, so that she could stand the long walk she had to take.

"Good by, brother," she said in a cheerful tone, coming up to the bed upon which Alfred lay, and stooping down and kissing him. "You must try and sit up as much as you can to-day."

"Good by, Anna. I wish you didn't have to go away and stay so long."

To this, Anna could not trust herself to reply. She only pressed tightly the hand she held in her own, and then turned quickly away.

It was nearly three quarters of an hour later than the time the different clerks were required to be at the store, when Anna came in, her side and head both paining her badly, in consequence of having walked too fast.

"It's three quarters of an hour behind the time," the storekeeper said, with a look and tone of displeasure, as he drew out his watch. "I can't have such irregularity in my store, Miss Graham. This is the third time within a few days, that you have come late."

A reply instantly rose to Anna's tongue, but she felt that it would be useless—and would, perhaps, provoke remarks deeply wounding to her feelings. She paused, therefore, only a moment, with a bowed head, to receive her rebuke, and then passed quickly, and with a meek, subdued air, to her station behind the counter. There were some of her fellow-clerks who felt for and pitied Anna—there were others who experienced a pleasure in hearing her reproved.

All through that day, with only the respite of some ten or fifteen minutes, when she retired to eat alone the frugal repast of bread and cold meat that she had brought with her for her dinner, did Anna stand behind the shop-man's counter, attending to his customers with a cheerful air and often a smiling countenance. She spoke to no one of the pain in her breast, back, and side; and none of those around her dreamed that, from extreme lassitude, she could scarcely stand beside the counter.

To her, suffering as she did, the hours passed slowly and heavily away. It seemed as if evening would never come—as if she would have to yield the struggle, much as she strove to keep up for the sake of those she loved.

But even to the weary, the heavy laden, and the prisoner, the slow lingering hours at length pass on, and the moment of respite comes. The shadows of evening at last began to fall dimly around, and Anna retired from her position of painful labour, and took her way homeward. But not even the anticipation of speedily joining those she loved, had power so to buoy up her spirits, that her body could rise above its depressed and weakened condition. Her weary steps were slowly taken, and it seemed to her that she should never be able to reach home. Many, very many depressing thoughts passed through her mind as she proceeded slowly on her homeward way. The condition of her sister Ellen troubled her exceedingly. About one-third of her own and Mary's earnings were required to keep her and her little ones from absolute suffering; and Mary, like herself, she too plainly perceived to be rapidly sinking under her burdens.

"What is to be done when we fail, heaven only knows!" she murmured, as a vivid consciousness of approaching extremity arose in her mind.

As she said this, the idea of her brother presented itself, with the hope that he would now exert for them a sustaining and supporting energy—that he would be to them at last a brother. But this thought, that made her heart leap in her bosom, she put aside with an audible—

"No,—no,—Do not rest on such a feeble hope!"

At last her hand was upon the latch, and she lifted it and entered.

"I am glad to see you home again, Anna," Alfred said, with an expression of real pleasure and affection; as she came in.

"And I am glad to see you sitting up and looking so well, brother," Anna replied, her gloomy thoughts at once vanishing. "How do you feel now?"

"O, I feel much better, sister. In a few days I hope I shall be able to go out. But how are you? It seems to me that you do not look well."

"I do feel very much fatigued, Alfred," Anna said, while her tone, in spite of her effort to make it appear cheerful, became sad. "We are not permitted in our store to sit down for a moment, and I get so tired by night that I can hardly keep up."

"But surely, Anna, you do not stand up all day long."

"Yes. Since I left this morning, I have been standing every moment, with the exception of the brief period I took to eat my dinner."

This simple statement smote upon the heart of the young man, and made him silent and thoughtful. He felt that, but for his neglect of duty—but for his abandonment of himself to sensual and besotting pleasures, this suffering, this self-devotion need not be.

Anna saw that what she had said was paining the mind of her brother, and she grieved that she had been betrayed into making any allusion to herself. To restore again the pleased expression to Alfred's countenance, she dexterously changed the subject to a more cheerful one, and was rewarded for her effort by seeing his eye again brighten and the smile again playing about his lips.

Instead of sitting down after tea and assisting Mary with her embroidery, as she usually did, Anna took a book and read aloud for the instruction and amusement of all; but most for the sake of Alfred-that he might feel with them a reciprocal pleasure, and thus be enabled to perceive that there was something substantial to fall back upon, if he would only consent to abandon the bewildering and insane delights to which he had given himself up for years. The effect she so much desired was produced upon the mind of her brother. He did, indeed, feel, springing up within him, a new-born pleasure,—and wondered to himself how he could so long have strayed away from such springs of delight, to seek bitter waters in a tangled and gloomy wilderness.

When the tender good-night was at last said, and Mary stretched her wearied limbs in silent thoughtfulness beside her sister, there was a feeble hope glimmering in the dark and gloomy abyss of doubt and despondency that had settled upon her mind—a hope that her brother would go forth from his sick chamber a changed man. On this hope, fancy conjured up scenes and images of delight, upon which her mind dwelt in pleased and dreamy abstraction, until sleep stole upon her, and locked up her senses.

When she awoke, it was with the same sinking sensation that she had experienced on the morning previous, and, indeed, on every morning for many months past. The remembrance of the rebuke she had received on the day before for being late at her place of business, acted as a kind of stimulant to arouse her to exertion, so as to be able to get off in time. It was, however, a few minutes past the hour when she entered the store, the owner of which looked at his watch, significantly, as she did so.

This day passed, as the previous one had, in pain and extreme weariness—and so did the next, and the next, the poor girl's strength failing her too perceptibly. During this time, Alfred's coat had been repaired, a pair of pantaloons and a vest bought for him, and also a second-hand hat of very respectable appearance—all ready so soon as he should be strong enough to venture out. How anxiously, and yet in fear and trembling, did the sisters look forward to that period, which was to strengthen their feeble hopes, or scatter them to the winds!

"I do really feel very ill," Anna said, sinking back upon her pillow, after making an attempt to rise, one morning some four or five days after that on which Mary has been represented as endeavouring to get an advance from Mrs.—.

"What is the matter?" Mary inquired kindly.

"My head aches most violently—and grows confused so soon as I attempt to rise."

"Then I would lie still, Anna."

"No, I must be up, and getting ready to go to the store."

"I wouldn't go down to the store, if I were you, Anna. You had better rest for a day."

"I cannot afford to lose a day," Anna said, again rising in bed, and sitting upright, until the swimming in her head, that commenced upon the least motion, had subsided. Then she got out upon the floor, and stood for a few moments, while her head seemed reeling, and she every instant about to sink down. In a little while this dizziness went off, but her head throbbed and ached with aggravated violence.

At breakfast, she forced herself to swallow a small portion of food, although her stomach loathed it; and then, with trembling limbs and a feeling of faintness, she went out into the open air, and took her way to the store. The fresh breeze, as it fell coolingly on her fevered forehead, revived her in a degree; but long ere she had reached the store her limbs were sinking under her with excessive fatigue.

"Late again, miss—" said her employer, as she came in, with a look of stern reproof.

"I have not been very well, sir," Anna replied, lifting her pale, languid face, and looking appealingly into the countenance of the store-keeper.

"Then you should stay at home altogether, Miss," was is cold response, as he turned away, leaving her to proceed to her accustomed station at the counter.

The day happening to be one of unusual activity in business, Anna was kept so constantly busy, that she could not find a moment in which to relieve the fatigue she felt by even leaning on the counter. Customer after customer came and went, and box after box was taken from, and replaced again upon the shelves, in what seemed to her an endless round. Sometimes her head ached so violently, that it was with difficulty she could see to attend correctly to her business. And sometimes she was compelled to steady herself by holding to the counter to prevent sinking to the floor, from a feeling of faintness, suddenly passing over her. Thus she held bravely on, under the feeble hope that her indisposition, as she tried mentally to term it, would wear off.

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon that the fever which had been very high all through the day, began to subside. This symptom she noticed with an emotion of pleasure, as indicating a healthy reaction in her system.

It was but half an hour after, that she sunk, fainting, to the floor, at her place beside the counter. When the fever abated, exhausted nature gave way.

For nearly an hour she remained insensible. And it was nearly two hours before she had so far recovered as to be able to walk, when she was suffered to go away unattended. It was seven o'clock, when, with a face almost as white as ashes, and nearly sinking to the ground with weakness, she arrived at home, and opening the door, slowly entered.

"O, Anna! What ails you?" exclaimed her mother.

"I feel very sick," the poor girl replied, sinking into a chair. "But where is Alfred?" she asked, in a quicker tone, in which was a strong expression of anxiety, as she glanced her eye about the room, in a vain search for him.

"He has walked out," Mary said.

"Has he!" ejaculated Anna. "How long has he been away?"

"It is now nearly four hours,'" Mary said, endeavouring to conceal the distress she felt, in pity for her sister, who was evidently quite ill.

"Four hours!" exclaimed Anna, her face blanching to still whiter hue. "Four hours! And do you not know where he is?"

"Indeed we do not, Anna. He went out to take a short walk, and said he would not be gone more than ten or twenty minutes."

Anna did not reply, but turned slowly away, and entering her chamber, threw herself exhausted upon her bed, feeling so utterly wretched, that she breathed an audible wish that she might die. In about ten minutes a carriage stopped at the door; and in a moment after, amid the rattling of departing wheels, Alfred entered, looking better and happier than he had looked for a long, long time. A single glance told the mother and sister that all was right.

"O, brother! How could you stay away so long?" Mary said, springing to his side, and grasping tightly his arm.

"I did not expect, when I walked out, that it would be so long before I returned, Mary," he replied, kissing her cheek affectionately. "But I met with an old, though long estranged friend, who seeing that I had been ill, and needed fresh air, insisted on taking me out into the country in his carriage. I could but consent. I was, however, so weak, as to be obliged to go to bed, when about three miles from the city, and lie there for a couple of hours. But I feel well, very well now; and have some good news to tell you. But where is Anna?"

"She has just come in, and gone up to her chamber. I do not think her at all well to-night," Mary said.

"Poor girl! She is sacrificing herself for the good of others," Alfred remarked, with tenderness and interest.

"Shall I call her down?" Mary asked.

"O, yes,—by all means."

Mary went up and found her sister lying across the bed, with her face buried in a pillow.

"Anna! Anna!" she said, taking hold of her and shaking her gently.

Anna immediately arose, and looking wildly around her, muttered something that her sister could not comprehend.

"Anna, brother's come home."

But she did not seem to comprehend her meaning.

The glaring brightness of Anna's eyes, and her flushed cheeks, convinced Mary that all was not right. Stepping to the head of the stairs, she called to Alfred, who instantly came up.

"Here is Alfred, Anna," she said, as she re-entered the chamber, accompanied by her brother.

For a moment or two, Anna looked upon him with a vacant stare, and then closing her eyes, sunk back upon the bed, murmuring

"It is all over—all over."

"What is all over, Anna?" her sister asked.

"What is all over?" the sick girl responded, in a sharp, quick tone, rising suddenly, and staring at Mary with a fixed look. "Why, it's all over with him! Havn't I drained my heart's blood for him? Havn't I stood all day at the counter for his sake, when I felt that I was dying? But it's all over now! He is lost, and I shall soon be out of this troublesome world!"

And then the poor half-conscious girl, covered her face with her hands and sobbed aloud.

"Don't do so, dear sister!" Alfred said, pressing up to the bedside, and drawing his arm around her. "Don't give way so! You won't have to stand at the counter any longer. I am Alfred—your brother—your long lost, but restored brother, who will care for you and work for you as you have so long cared for and worked for him. Take courage, dear sister! There are better and happier days for you. Do not give up now, at the very moment when relief is at hand."

Anna looked her brother in the face for a few moments, steadily, as her bewildered senses gradually returned, and she began to comprehend truly what he said, and that it was indeed her brother who stood thus before her, and thus appealed to her with affectionate earnestness.

"O, Alfred," the almost heart-broken creature, said—as she bent forward, and leaned her head upon his bosom—"Heaven be praised, if you are really and truly in earnest in what you say!"

"I am most solemnly in earnest, dear sister!" the young man said, with fervency and emphasis. "Since I saw you this morning, I have signed my name to the total abstinence pledge, and I will die before that pledge shall be broken! And that is not all. I met Charles Williams immediately after that act, and have had a long interview with him. He confessed to me that he had often felt that he was much to blame for having first introduced me into dissipated company, and that he now desired to aid me in reforming and assisting my mother and sisters, if I would only try and abandon my past evil courses. I responded most gladly to his generous interest, and he then told me, that if I would enter his and his father's store as a clerk, he would make my salary at once a thousand dollars per annum. Of course I assented to the arrangement with thankfulness. Dear mother! Dear sisters! There is yet, I trust, a brighter day in store for you."

"May our Heavenly Father cause these good resolutions to abide for ever, my son!" Mrs. Graham, who had followed her children up stairs, said, with tearful earnestness.

"He will cause them to abide, mother, I know that he, will," Alfred replied.

Just at that moment some one entered below—immediately after quick feet ascended the stairs, and Ellen bounded into the room.

"O, I have such good news to tell!" she exclaimed, panting for breath as she entered. "My husband has joined the reformers! I felt so glad that I had to run over and let you know. O, aint it good news, indeed!" And the poor creature clapped her hands together in an ecstacy of delight.

"It is truly good news, my child," Mrs. Graham said, as she drew her arm about the neck of Ellen. "And we too have glad tidings. Alfred has joined them also, and has got a situation at a thousand dollars a year."

Ellen, who had always loved her brother, tenderly, notwithstanding his vile habit of life, turned quickly towards him, and flinging her arms about his neck, said while the tears gushed from her eyes,

"Dear brother! I have never wholly despaired of this hour. Truly, my cup of joy is full and running over!"

It was about eleven o'clock on the next day, as Mary and her mother sat conversing by the side of the bed upon which lay Anna, now too ill to sit up, that a knock was heard below. Mrs. Graham went down and opened the door, when an elegantly dressed lady entered, calling her by name as she did so, at the same time asking for Anna and Mary.

She was shown up stairs by the mother, who did not recognise her, although both voice and face seemed familiar. On entering the chamber, Mary turned to her and exclaimed—

"Mary Williams! Is it possible!"

"And Mary Graham, is it indeed possible that I see you thus!"—(kissing her)" And Anna—is that pale, worn face, the face of my old friend and companion, Anna Graham?" And she bent down over the bed and kissed the lips and cheek of the sick girl, tenderly, while her eyes grew dim with tears. "How changed in a few short years!" she added, as she took a proffered chair. "Who could have dreamed, seven years ago, that we should ever meet thus!"

In a short time, as the first shock and surprise of meeting passed off, Mary Williams, or rather Mrs. Harwood, entered into a serious conversation with Mrs. Graham, and her daughters, in reference to the past, the present, and the future. After learning all that she could of their history since their father's failure, which was detailed without disguise by Mary—Anna was too feeble to converse—Mrs. Harwood turned to Mary and asked suddenly—

"Do you know this cape, Mary?" alluding to one she had on.

"O, yes—very well."

"You worked it, did you not?"

"Yes."

"For what price?"

"Two dollars."

"Is it possible! I bought it of Mrs.—for French, and paid her for it fifteen dollars."

"Fifteen dollars!" ejaculated Mary, in surprise. "How shamefully that woman has imposed upon me! During the last two years, I have worked at least one hundred capes for her, each of which brought me in only two dollars. No doubt she has regularly sold them for French goods, at from ten to fifteen dollars apiece."

"No doubt of it. I, myself, have bought several from her during that time at high prices, all of which may have been worked by you. I saw you in her store a few days ago, but did not recognise you, although your appearance, as it did several times here before, attracted my attention. I had my suspicions, after I had learned from Mrs.—who you were, that you had wrought this cape, and from having overheard you ask her for an advance of six dollars, as the price of three capes, was pretty well satisfied that two dollars was all you received for it. I at once determined to seek you out, and try to aid you in your severe struggle with the world. It was only last evening that I learned from my brother where you lived—and I also learned, what rejoiced my heart, that there was about occurring a favourable change in your circumstances. If, however, your health should permit, and your inclination prompt you to do so, I will take care that you get a much better price for any capes that you may hereafter work. They are richly worth ten and twelve dollars apiece, and at that price, I have no doubt but that I can get sales for many."

"Bless you, Mary! Bless you!" Anna said, smiling through gushing tears, as she rose up in the bed, and bent over towards her old friend and companion. "Your words have fallen upon my heart like a healing balsam!"

Mrs. Harwood came forward, and received the head of Anna upon her bosom, while she drew an arm round her waist, and bent down and pressed her with tenderness and affection.

A better day had truly dawned upon this ruined and deeply afflicted family. Mrs. Harwood and her brother continued to be their steady friends. For a year Alfred remained in his new situation as an efficient clerk, and at the end of that time had his salary advanced. During that period, Mary, and Anna, whose health had become measurably restored, employed all their spare time in embroidery, which, at the excellent prices which, through the aid of Mrs. Harwood, they were enabled to get for their really beautiful work, brought in a handsome addition to their brother's earnings, and this enabled them to live in independence, comfort and respectability. As for Ellen, her husband had become truly a reformed man, and provided for her comfortably.

It is now nearly two years since this happy change took place, and there is every appearance that another and a still happier one is about to occur in reference to Anna. Charles Williams is seen very often, of late, riding out with her and attending her to public places. The reader can easily guess the probable result. If there; is not a wedding-party soon, then appearances, in this case at least, are very deceptive.



THE RUM-SELLER'S DREAM.



"HOW much have you taken in to-day, Sandy?" asked a modern rum-seller of his bar-tender, after the doors and windows of his attractive establishment were closed for the night.

"Only about a dollar, Mr. Graves. I never saw such dull times in my life."

"Only about a dollar! Too bad! too bad! I shall be ruined at this rate."

"I really don't know what ails the people now. But 'spose it's these blamenation temperance folks that's doin' all the mischief."

"We must get up something new, Sandy;—something to draw attention to our house."

"So I've been a thinkin'. Can't we get George Washington Dixon to walk a plank for us? That would draw crowds, you know; and then every feller almost that we got in here would take a drink."

"We can't get him, Sandy. He's secured over at the—. But, any how, the people are getting up to that kind of humbuggery; and I'm afraid, that, like the Indian's gun, it would cost in the end more than it came to."

"Couldn't we get a maremaid?"

"A mermaid?"

"Yes, a maremaid. You know they had one in town t'other day. It would be a prime move, if we could only do it. We might fix her up here, just back of where I stand, so that every feller who called to see it would have to come up to the bar, front-face. There'd be no backing out then, you know, without ponying up for a drink. No one would be mean enough, after seeing a real maremaid for nothing, to go away without shelling out a fip for a glass of liquor."

"Nonsense, Sandy! Where are we to get a mermaid?"

"Where did they get that one from?"

"That was brought from Japan; and was a monkey's head and body sewed on to a fish's tail,—so they say;"

"Well, can't we send to Japan as well as any one? And as to its being a monkey's head on a fish's tail, that's no concern. It would only make a better gull-trap."

"And wait some two years before it arrived? Humph! If that's the only thing that will save me, I shall go to the dogs in spite of the—"

"Don't swear, Mr. Graves. It's a bad habit, though I am guilty of it myself,"—the bar-tender said, with vulgar familiarity. "But, why need we wait two years for a maremaid?"

"Did you ever study geography, Sandy?"

"Jografy?"

"Yes."

"What's that?"

"Why, the maps, at school."

"I warn't never to school."

"Then you don't know how far Japan is from here?"

"Not exactly. But 'spose it's some twenty or thirty miles."

"Twenty or thirty miles! It's t'other side of the world!"

"O, dear! Then we can't get a maremaid, after all. But 'spose we try and get a live snake."

"That won't do."

"Why not?"

"A live snake is no great curiosity."

"Yes, but you know we could call it some outlandish name; or say that it was dug up fifty feet below the ground, out of a solid rock, and was now all alive and doin' well."

"It wouldn't do, Sandy."

"Now I think it would, prime."

"It might if these temperance folks were not so confounded thick about here, interfering with a man and preventing him making an honest living. If it wasn't for them, I should be clearing five or ten dollars a day, as easy as nothing."

"Confound them! I say," was Sandy's hearty response; while he clenched his fist, and ground his teeth together. "If I had a rope round the necks of every mother's son of 'em, wouldn't I serve 'em as old Julus Cesar did the Hottentots? Wouldn't I though! But what could they say or do about it, Mr. Graves."

"They'd pretty quick put it on to us in their temperance papers about the good device we had. They'd talk pretty fast about the serpent that seduced Eve, and all that. No, blast 'em! A snake won't do, Sandy."

"How will a monkey do?"

"A monkey might answer, if he was a little cuter than common. But we can't get one handy."

"Try a band of music."

"That would soon wear out; and then we should have to get up something else, and the people would suspect us of trying to gull them."

"Then what is to be done, Mr. Graves? We can never stand it at this rate."

"I'm sure I don't know." And the rum-seller leaned upon his bar, and looked quite sad and dejected.

"I wonder what has become of Bill Riley?" he at length asked, rising up with a sigh. "He hasn't been here for a week."

"Dick Hilton told me to-day that he believed he had joined the teetotallers."

"I feared as much. He was one of my very best customers; worth a clear dollar and a half a week to me, above the cost of the liquors, the year round. And Tom Jones? Where can he be?"

"Gone, too."

"Tom Jones?" in surprise.

"It's a fact. They got him on the same night Bill Riley was caught."

"Foolish fellow, to go and throw himself away in that style! Them temperance men will get from him every dollar he can earn, to build Temperance Halls, and get up processions, and buy clothes for lazy, loafing vagabonds, that had a great sight better be sent to the poorhouse. It is too bad. My very blood boils when I think what fools men are."

"And there's Harry Peters,—Dick Hilton told me that he'd gone, too."

"Not Harry Peters, surely!"

"Yes. He hasn't been near our house for several days.

"Well, something must be done to get up a new set of customers, or we are gone. We must invent some new drink."

"What shall it be?"

"O, that's no consequence. The name must be taking."

"Have you thought of one?"

"No, Can't you think of something?"

"Well—Let me see. But I'm sure I don't know what would do."

"What do you think of 'Bank Stock?' That would attract attention."

"I can't say that I like it."

"Or 'Greasers?'"

"Most too vulgar."

"So I think myself. Suppose we call it a 'Mummy?'"

"I'm afraid it wouldn't go. It ought to have 'Imperial,' or 'Nectar,' or something like that about it."

"O, yes, I see your notion. But they've all been used up long ago. It must be some entirely new name, which, at the same time, will hit a popular idea. As 'Tariff,' or 'Compromise.'"

"I see now. Well, can't you hammer out something?"

"I must try. Let me see. How will 'Sub-Treasury' do?"

"Capital! 'Graves' Sub-Treasury' will be just the thing. You see, the young-fellows will say—'Why, what kind of a new drink is this they've been getting up, down at the Harmony House?'

"'I don't know—What is it?'

"'The Sub-Treasury, they call it.'

"'Have you tried it yet?'

"'No.'

"'Well, come, let's give him a call. Novelty, you know, is the order of the day.'

"That's the way these matters work, Mr. Graves. But how are you going to make it?"

"I've not thought of that. But anything will do. Liquor tastes good to 'em any way you choose to fix it."

"True enough. You can leave that part to me. I'll hatch up something that will tickle as it goes down, and make 'em wish their throats were a mile long, that they might taste it all the way."

"Have you tried Graves' new drink yet, Joe?" asked one young man of another, a day or two after the conversation just noted took place.

"No.—What is it?"

"Sub-Treasury."

"Sub-Treasury? That must be something new. I wonder what it is?"

"I've just been wondering the same thing. Suppose we go down and try it."

"I was about swearing off from ever tasting another drop of liquor. But, I believe I will try a 'Sub-Treasury' with you, just for the fun of the thing."

"Well, come along then."

And so the two started off for the Harmony House.

"Give us a couple of Sub-Treasuries," said one of them as they entered; and forthwith a couple of glasses filled with mixed liquors, crushed ice, lemonpeel, and snow-white sugar, were prepared, and a straw placed in each, through which the young men "imbibed" the new compound.

"Really, this is fine, Nelson!" said the one, called Joe, smacking his lips.

"It is, indeed. You'll make your fortune out of this, Graves."

"Do you think so?" the pleased liquor-seller responded, with a broad smile of satisfaction.

"I've not the least doubt of it," Joe, or Joseph Bancroft, said,—"I had half resolved to join the temperance society this day. But your 'Sub-Treasury' has shaken my resolution. I shall never be able to do it now in this world, nor in the next, either, if I can only get you in the same place with me to make 'Sub-Treasury!' Ha! ha! ha!"

"A Sub-Treasury," said another young man, coming up to the bar.

"Here, landlord, let us have one of your—what do you call 'em? O, Sub-Treasuries!" was the request of another.

"Hallo, Sandy! What new-fangled stuff is this you've got?" broke in a half-drunken creature, staggering up, and holding on to the bar-railing. "Let us have one, will you?"

Both Sandy and Graves were now kept as busy as they could be, mixing liquors and serving customers. The advertisement which had been inserted in two or three of the morning papers, in the following words, had answered fully the rum-sellers' expectations.

"Drop in at the HARMONY HOUSE, and try a 'Sub-Treasury.' 'What is a Sub-Treasury?' you ask. Come and see for yourself, and taste for yourself. Old Graves' word for it, you'll never want anything else to wet your whistle with, as long as you live."

All through the forenoon the run was kept up steadily, dozens of new faces appearing at the bar, and cheering the heart of the tavern-keeper with the prospect of a fresh set of customers. About two o'clock, succeeded a pause.

"That works admirably,—don't it, Sandy?" said Mr. Graves, as soon as the bar-room was perfectly clear, for the first time, since morning.

"Indeed, it does. They havn't given me time to blow. But aint some folks easily gulled?"

"Easily enough, Sandy. This Sub-Treasury they think something wonderful. But it's only rum after all, by another name, and in a little different form. A 'cobbler,' or a 'julep' has lost its attractions; but get up some new name for an old compound, and you go all before the wind again."

"I think we might tempt some of the new converts to temperance with this. Bill Riley, for instance."

"No doubt. I'll see if I can't come across Bill; he is too good a customer to lose."

And so saying, Mr. Graves retired from the bar-room, to get his dinner, feeling better satisfied with himself than he had been for a long time. After eating heartily, and drinking freely, he went into his handsomely furnished parlour, and reclined himself upon a sofa, thinking still, and with a pleasurable emotion that warmed his bosom, of the success of his expedient to draw custom. He had been lying down, it seemed to him, but a few moments, when a tap at the door, to which he responded with a loud "come in," was followed by the entrance of a thin, pale, haggard-looking creature, her clothes soiled, and hanging loosely, and in tatters about her attenuated body. By the hand she held a little girl, from whose young face had faded every trace of childhood's happy expression. She, too, was thin and pale, and had a fixed, stony look, of hopeless suffering. They came up to where he still lay upon the sofa, and stood looking down upon him in silence.

"Who are you? What do you want?" the rum-seller ejaculated, raising himself up with a strange feeling about his heart.

"The wife and child of one of your victims! He is dying, and wishes to see you."

"Who is he? What is his name?" asked the tavern-keeper, while his face grew pale, and his lips quivered.

"William Riley," was the mournful reply.

"Go home, woman! Go home! I cannot go with you! What good can I do your husband?"

"You must go! You shall go!" shrieked the wretched being, suddenly grasping the arm of Mr. Graves, with a tight grip, while her hand seemed to burn his arm, as if it were a hand of fire.

A sudden and irresistible impulse to obey the call of the dying man came over him, and as he arose mechanically, the mother and her child turned towards the door, and he followed after them. On emerging into the street, he became conscious of a great and sudden change in external nature. On retiring from his bar an hour before, the sun was shining in a sky of spotless beauty. Now the heavens were shrouded in dense masses of black clouds that were whirling here and there in immense eddies, or careering across the sky as if driven by a fierce and mighty wind. But below, all was hushed and pulseless as the grave; and the stagnant air felt like the hot vapour over an immense furnace. The tavern-keeper would have paused and returned so soon as he became conscious of this fearful change, portending the approach of a wild storm; but his conductors seemed to know his thoughts; and turning, each fixed upon him a stern and threatening look, whose strange power he could neither resist nor understand.

"Come," said the mother in a hollow, husky voice; and then turned and moved on again, while the tavern-keeper followed impulsively. They had proceeded thus, for only a few paces, when a fierce light glanced through half the sky, followed by a deafening crash, under the concussion of which the earth trembled as if shaken to its very centre. The tavern-keeper again paused in shrinking irresolution, and again the woman's emphatic,

"Come!" caused him to follow his guides mechanically.

Soon the storm burst over their heads, and raged with a wild fury, such as he had never before witnessed. The wind howled through the streets and alleys of the city, with the roar of thunder; while the deep reverberations following every broad sheet of lightning that blazed through the whole circle of the heavens, was as the roar of a dissolving universe. Amid all this, the rain fell like a deluge. But the rum-seller's guides paused not, and he kept steadily onwards after them, shrinking now into the shelter of the houses, and now breasting the fierce storm with a momentary desperate resolution.

Through street after street, lined on either side with wretched tenements that seemed tottering and just ready to fall, and through alley after alley, where squalid misery had hid itself from the eye of general observation, did they pass, in what seemed to Mr. Graves an interminable succession; At last the woman and her child paused at the door of an old, wretched-looking frame house, that appeared just ready to sink to the ground with decay.

"This is the place, sir. Come in! Your victim would see you before he dies," the woman said in a deep voice that made a chill run through every nerve, at the same time that she looked him sternly and with an expression of malignant triumph in the face.

Unable to resist the impulse that drove him onward, the rum-seller entered the house.

"See there, sir! Look! Behold the work of your own hands!" exclaimed the woman with startling emphasis, as he found himself in a room, with a few old rags in one corner of it for a bed, upon which lay, in the last sad agonies of dissolution, his old customer, Bill Riley, who, he had been that day informed by his bar-keeper, had joined the temperance society.

"There, sir! See there!" she continued, grasping his arm, and dragging him up to where the miserable wretch lay. "Look at him!—Bill—Bill!" she continued, stooping down, while she still held tightly the rum-seller's arm, and shaking the dying man. "Bill—Bill! Here he is. You said you wanted to see him! Now curse him, Bill! Curse him with your dying breath!" And the woman's voice rose to a wild shriek.

The wretch, thus rudely and suddenly called back from the brink of death into a painful consciousness of existence, half rose up, and stared wildly around him for a moment or two.

"Here he is, Bill! Here he is!" resumed his wife, again shaking him violently.

"Who? Who?" inquired the dying man.

"Why, the rum-seller, who robbed you of your hard earnings, that he might roll in wealth and feast daily on luxuries, while your wife and children were starving! Here he is. Curse him now, with your dying breath! Curse him, I say, Bill Riley! Curse him!"

"Who? Who?" eagerly asked the wretched being, a thrill of new life seeming to flash through his exhausted frame—"Old Graves? Where is he?"

"Here he is, Bill! Here he is! Don't you see him?"

"Ah, yes! I see him now!" And Riley fixed his eyes, that seemed, to the rum-seller, to burn and flash like balls of fire, sending off vivid scintillations, upon him with a long and searching stare.

"Ah, yes," he continued, "this is old Graves, the rum-seller, who has sent more men to hell, and more widows and orphans to the poor-house, than any other man living. How do you do, sir?" rising up still more in his bed, and grasping the unwilling hand of the tavern-keeper, which he clenched hard, and shook with superhuman strength. "How are you, old fellow? I'm glad to see you once more in this world. We shall have a jolly time in the next, though, shan't we?"

A smile of malignant triumph flitted for a moment over the livid face of Riley. Then its expression brightened into one of intelligence.

"Look here," he said, and brought his lips close to the ear of Graves. Then in a deep whisper, he breathed the words,

"Sub-Treasury!"

The rum-seller started, suddenly, and grew paler than ever.

Instantly a loud, unearthly laugh rang through the room, causing the blood to curdle about his heart.

"Ha! ha! ha! I thought that chord could be touched! Ha! ha! That was a capital idea, wasn't it, old fellow? But you were too late for Bill Riley. You thought the temperance men had him. But that was a little mistake."

The sweat already stood in large drops on the pale face of the tavern-keeper, and his limbs trembled like the quivering aspen.

"Horrible!" he murmured, closing his eyes, to shut out the scene.

"Not half so horrible as the place where I was, just before you came in, Mr. Graves," said Riley in a calmer voice. "And where do you think that was?"

"In hell, I suppose," replied the rum-seller, with the energy of desperation.

"Exactly," was the calm reply. "And what do you think I heard and saw there? Let me tell you. I was dead for a little while, and found myself in strange quarters, as you will say, when you get there. I always thought devils had long tails, and cloven feet, horns, and all that kind of thing. But that's a vulgar error. They are nothing but wicked men like you, who in this world have taken delight in injuring others. You will make a first-rate devil! Ha! ha! I heard 'em say so, and wishing you were only there to help them work out their evil intentions.

"There are a great many little hells there, all grouped into one immense hell, like societies here, grouped into one larger society or nation. And there, as here, every smaller society is engaged in doing some particular thing, and all are in one society who love to do that thing. As for instance, all who, while here, have taken delight in theft, are there associated together, and are all the while busy in inventing reasons to put into the heads of thieves here to justify them in stealing. Murderers, in like manner; and so rum-sellers. They have a hell all filled with rum-sellers there! I was let into it for a little while to see what was going on, and who do you think I saw there. Why, old Adams, that died about a month ago. The old fellow was as lively as a cricket, and as busy as a bee.

"'How is that prime old chap, Graves?' he asked of me, as soon as he found out I was there.

"'I havn't seen him for a week,' I replied. 'I have been sick for that time.'

"'But he's a rum 'un, though, ain't he?' chuckled Adams. 'Many a scheme he and I have laid to get money out of the grog-drinkers. But he was always ahead of me. I used, in my early days, to feel a little compunction when I saw a clever fellow going to ruin. But it never affected him in the least. All was fish that came into his net. I wish we had him with us. We want just such scheming devils as he to help us devise ways and means to circumvent these temperance men. They'll ruin us, if we don't look out. How were they coming on when you left?'

"'Carrying everything before them,' I said. 'The rum-sellers are almost driven to their wit's ends for devices to get customers.'

"'Too bad! Too bad!' ejaculated old Adams. 'I'll turn hell upside down, but what I'll beat them out.'

"'You'll have to do your prettiest, then, let me tell you, old fellow,' I rejoined, 'for the temperance cause is going with a perfect rush. It is a mighty torrent whose course, neither men nor devils can stay. It moves onward with a power and majesty that astonishes the world,—and onward it will move, until your hell of rum-makers and rum-sellers will not be able to find a single point through which to flow into the world and tempt men with your infernal devices!'

"O, if you had heard the horrid yell of malignancy which arose, and echoed through the black chamber of that region of wickedness and misery, it would have made you shrink into nothingness with terror. They fairly gnashed on me with their teeth in impotent rage. At length old Adams got upon a whiskey-still—they have such things in hell—the pattern was got from there when introduced here, and made a speech to his associates. From what he said, I found that he had minute information of all that was going on in this region.

"'Old Graves,' he said—'our very best man, has already been so reduced in his business by this accursed temperance movement, that he has recently thought seriously of giving up. This must not be. We cannot lose him. No mind receives our suggestions more readily than his.—If he gives up, we lose a host. You all know, that our influence on earth is powerless, unless we have men to carry out our plans. If they will not listen to our suggestion—if they will not become our agents, we can do nothing there. As spiritual existences, we cannot affect that which is corporeal, except through the spiritual united with the corporeal—that is, through spiritual bodies in material bodies. In other words, we can act on men's minds, and they can do our works on earth for us. Now, seeing that we can do nothing to stop this temperance movement, except through the self-love of the rum-sellers and rum-makers, it will never do to let old Graves fall. We must help him to some new scheme by which to bring back his diminished custom. Now what shall it be?'

"'Some device that will call attention to his bar-room, is what is wanted,' remarked one.

"Yes, that is plain enough,' replied old Adams, who seemed to be a kind of head devil there—'but what shall it be? That's the question!'

"'Suppose we put him up to getting a woman to walk a plank,' suggested one.

"'No. That has been tried already; and if it is tried again so soon, these temperance men will cry, humbug!'

"'How would it do for him to get a pretty girl behind his bar.'

"'That might do. But then, his wife is a sort of religious woman, and wouldn't let him do it.'

"Couldn't we induce him to poison her, and so get her out of the way?'

"'No—That's out of the question. He kind of likes the woman too well for that.'

"'What, then, do you suggest?'

"'Some new drink will be the thing. Something that will tickle the ear at the same time that it tickles the palate. It will be a great thing, if, in this matter, we can kill two birds with one stone. Bring back by some new attraction the wavering ones, and turn the tide of custom in the direction of our very particular friend Mr. Graves.'

"'Have you thought of a name for it?'

"'No.'

"'How would Ambrosia do?' suggested one.

"'Not at all,' replied old Adams. 'It aint the thing to catch gulls now-a-days. And more than that, it isn't something new.'

"'What do you think of Harlequinade?'

"'That might answer; but it's been used, already.'

"'Fiscal agent?'

"'The same objection.'

"'Mummy?'

"'The same.'

"'Cobbler?'

"'Good, but stale.'

"'Greaser?'

"'No'—And Adams shook his head emphatically.

"'Sam Weller?'

"'Been used already.'

"'Veto?'

"'That too.'

"'Hardware?'

"'Likewise.'

"'What do you think of Elevator?'

"'That might do; but still I can't exactly say that I like it. It should be something to strike the popular idea.'

"'Sub-Treasury, then?'

"That's it, exactly! Sub-Treasury—Sub-Treasury. Let it be called Sub-Treasury! And now, as I have more power over Graves than any of you, let me have the managing of him.' And so saying, Adams seemed to go away, and remain, for a day or two. When he came back, all the devils gathered around him full of interest to hear of his success. They greeted him, first, with three wild, infernal cheers, full of malignant pleasure, and then asked,

"'What news? What news from earth?'

"'Glorious!' was his response. And then another wild yell of triumph went up.

"'I found Graves,' he went on, 'just the same pliant fool that he has ever been. He fell into my suggestions at once, and on the very next day advertised his 'Sub-Treasury.' It took like a charm. I could tell you of a dozen young fellows just about being caught by the teetootallers, who couldn't withstand the new temptation. There was one in particular. His name is Joe Bancroft. Only married about three years, and almost at the bottom of the hill already. On the day before 'Sub-Treasury' was announced, he came home sober, for the first time in six months. His wife, a beautiful young girl when he married her, but now a thin, pale, heart-broken creature, sat near a window sewing when he entered. But she did not look up. She heard him come in—but she could not turn her eyes towards him, for her heart always grew sicker whenever she saw the sad changes that drink had wrought upon him.

"For a few moments Joe stood gazing at his young wife, with a tenderer interest than he had felt for a long time. He saw that she did not look up, and was conscious of the reason.

"'Sarah,' he at last said, in a voice of affection, coming to her side.

"'What do you want?' she replied, still without looking up.

"'Look up at me, Sarah,' he said, in a voice that slightly trembled.

"Instantly her work dropped from her hands, and she lifted her eyes to the face of her husband, and murmured in a low, sad tone,

"'What is it you wish, Joseph?'

"'You look very pale, and very sorrowful, Sarah,' her husband said, with increasing tenderness of tone and manner.

"It had been so very long since he had spoken to her kindly, or since he had appeared to take any interest in her, that the first tenderly uttered word melted down her heart, and she burst into tears, and leaning her head against him, sobbed long and passionately.

"With many a kind word, and many a solemn promise of reformation did the husband soothe the stricken heart of his wife, into which a new hope was infused.

"'I will be a changed man, after this, Sarah,' he said— 'And then it must go well with us. It seems as if I had been, for the last year, the victim of insanity. I cannot realize how it is possible for any one to abandon himself as I have done; to the neglect of all the most sacred ties and duties that can appertain to us. How deeply—O, how deeply you must have suffered!'

"'Deeply, indeed, dear husband!—More than tongue can utter,' the young wife replied, in a solemn tone. 'It has seemed, sometimes, as if I must die. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, to see you coming in and going out, as you have done, for ever intoxicated. To have no kind word or look. No rational intercourse with one to whom I had yielded up my heart so confidingly. O, my husband! you know not how sad a trial you have imposed upon your wife!'

"'Sad—sad, indeed, I am sure it has been, Sarah! But let us try and forget the past. There is bright sunshine yet for us, and it will soon, I trust, fall warmly and cheeringly on our pathway.'

"All that day Bancroft remained at home with his wife, renewing his assurances of reformation, and laying his plans for the future. I saw all this, and began to fear lest Joe would really get freed from the toils we had, through the rum-sellers, thrown around him—toils, that I had felt, sure would soon cause him to fall headlong down amongst us. I, of course, suggested nothing to him then; for it would have been of little use. Towards night, his wife proposed that he should sign the pledge. I was at his ear in a moment—

"'That would be too degrading!' I whispered. 'You have not got quite so low as that yet.'

"'No, Sarah, I do not wish to sign the pledge,' he at once replied.

"'Why not, dear?'

"'Because, I have always despised this way of binding oneself down by a written contract, not to do a thing. It is unmanly. My resolution is sufficient. If I say that I will never drink another drop, why I won't. But if I were to bind myself by a pledge not to touch liquor again, I should, never feel a moment's peace, until I had broken it.'

"These objections I readily infused into his mind, and he at once adopted them as his own. I had power to do so, because I now perceived that his love of drink was so strong, that he did not wish to cut off all chance of ever tasting it again. He, therefore, wanted specious reasons for not signing the pledge, and with these I promptly furnished him!

"It was in vain that his wife urged him, even with tears and eager entreaties to take the pledge: I was too much for her, and made him firm as a rock in his determination not to sign.

"On the next morning, he parted with his wife, strong in his resolution to be a reformed man. The pleasant thrill of her parting kiss, the first he had received for more than a year, lingered in his memory and encouraged him to abide by his promise. He passed his accustomed places of resort for liquor, on his way to business, but without the first desire to enter. I noted all this, and kept myself busy about him to detect a moment of weakness. Our friend Graves advertised his 'Sub-Treasury' on that morning. I calculated largely on the novelty of the idea to win him off. But, somehow or other, he did not see it. Another young man, one of his companions, did, however:

"'Have you tried Graves' new drink, yet?' he asked of him about eleven o'clock, while he was under the influence of a pretty strong thirst.

"'No, what is it?' he replied, with a feeling of lively interest.

"'Sub-Treasury,' replied his friend.

"'Sub-Treasury! That must be something new! I wonder what it can be?'

"Into this feeling of interest in knowing what the new drink could be, I infused a strong desire to taste it.

"'Suppose we go and try some,' suggested his friend.

"'There'll not be the least danger,' I whispered in his ear. 'You can try it, and refrain from drinking to excess. The evil has been your drinking too much. There is no harm in moderate drinking. This decided him, and I retired. I knew, if he tasted, that he was gone.'

"Down he went to the Harmony House;—I was there when he came in. It would have done your hearts good to have seen with what delight he sipped the new beverage,—and to have heard him say, as I did, to Graves;—'I had half resolved to join the temperance society this day,—but your Sub-Treasury has entirely shaken my resolution. I shall never be able to do it now in this world, nor in the next either, if I can only get you in the same place with me to make Sub-Treasury.' And then he laughed with great glee. One, of course, did not satisfy him, nor two, nor three. Before dinner-time he was gloriously drunk, and went staggering home as usual. I could not resist the inclination to see a little of the fun when he presented himself to his wife, whose fond hopes were all in the sky again. Like a bird, she had sung about the house during the morning, her heart so elated that she could not prevent an outward expression of the delight she felt. As the hour drew near for her husband's return, a slight fear would glance through her mind, quickly dismissed, however;—for she could not entertain the idea for a moment that his newly-formed resolution could possibly be so soon broken.

"At last the hour for his accustomed return arrived. She heard him open the door—and sprung to meet him. One look sufficed to break her heart. Statue-like she stood for a moment or two, and then sunk senseless to the floor.

"Other matters calling me away, I staid only to see this delightful little scene, and then hurried back to the Harmony House, to see if the run was kept up. Customers came in a steady stream, and crowded the bar of our worthy friend, whose heart was as light as a feather. I saw at least half a dozen come in and sip a glass of Sub-Treasury, who I knew had not tasted liquor for months. I marked them; and shall be about their path occasionally. But the best thing of all that I saw, was a reformer break his pledge. He was, years ago, a noted drunkard, but had been a reformed man for four years. In that time he had broken up several grog-shops, by reforming all their customers, and had got, I suppose, not less than five or six hundred persons to sign the pledge. I had, of course, a particular grudge against him. It was an exceedingly warm day, and he was uncommonly thirsty. He was reading the paper, and came across the 'Sub-Treasury' advertisement.

"'Ha! ha! What is this, I wonder?' he said, laughing; some new trick of the enemy, I suppose.'

"'Look here, what is this Sub-Treasury stuff, that Graves advertises this morning?' he said, to a young fellow, a protege of mine, who was more than a match for him.

"'A kind of temperance beverage.' I put it into the fellow's head to say.

"'Temperance beverage?'

"'Yes. It's made of lemonpeel, and one stuff or other, mixed up with pounded ice. He's got a tremendous run for it. I know half a dozen teetotallers who get it regularly. I saw three or four there to-day, at one time.'

"'Indeed!'

"'It's a fact. Come, won't you go down and try a glass? It's delightful.'

"'Are you in earnest about it?'

"'Certainly I am. It's one of the most delicious drinks that has been got up this season.'

"'I don't like to be seen going into such a place.'

"'O, as to that, there is a fine back entrance leading in from another street, that no one suspects, and a private bar into the bargain. We can go in and get a drink, and nobody will ever see us.'

"'Well, I don't care if I do,' said the temperance man, 'for I am very dry.'

"'You're a gone gozzling, my old chap,' I said, as I saw him moving off. 'I thought I'd get you before long.' Sure enough, the moment he took the first draught his doom was sealed. His former desire for liquor came back on him with irresistible power; and before nightfall, he was so drunk that he went staggering along the street, to the chagrin and consternation of the teetotallers; but to the infinite delight of your humble servant.

"And so saying, that malignant fiend, who, while he inhabited a material body, was called old Billy Adams, stepped down from the still. Then there arose three loud and long cheers, for Graves, and his 'Sub-Treasury,' that echoed and re-echoed wildly through that gloomy prison-house.

"You're much thought of down there, you see," continued Riley, with a cold grin of irony.—"Adams says, that if this temperance movement aint stopped soon, they will have to get you among them, and make you head devil in that department. How would you like that, old chap, say? How would you like to go now?"

As Riley said this, he threw himself forward, and clasped his thin, bony fingers around the neck of the rum-seller, with a strong grip.

"How would you like to go now, ha?" he screamed fiercely in his ear, clenching his hand tighter and still tighter, while his hot breath melted over the face of Graves in a suffocating vapour. The struggles of the rum-seller were vigorous and terrible—but the dying man held on with a superhuman strength. Soon everything around grew confused, and though still distinctly conscious, it was a consciousness in the mind of the tavern-keeper of the agonies of death. This became so terrible to him that he resolved on one last and more vigorous effort for life. It was made, and the hands of the dying man broke loose. Instantly starting to his feet, the wretched dealer in poison for both the bodies and souls of men, found himself standing in the centre of his own parlour, with the sweat rolling from his face in large drops.

"Merciful Heaven! And is it indeed a dream?" he ejaculated, panting with terror and exhaustion.

"A dream—and yet not all a dream," he added, in a few moments, in a sad, low tone.—"In league with hell against my fellow-men! Can it indeed be true? But away! away such thoughts!"

Such thoughts, however, could not be driven away. They crowded upon his mind at every avenue, and pressed inward to the exclusion of every other idea.

"But I am not in league with evil spirits to do harm to my fellow-men. I do not wish evil to any one," he argued.

"You are in such evil consociation," whispered a voice within him. "There are but two great parties in the world—the evil and the good. No middle ground exists. You are with one of these—working for the good of your fellow-men, or for their injury. One of these great parties acts in concert with heaven, the other with hell. On the side of one stand arrayed good spirits—on the side of the other evil spirits. Can good spirits be on your side? Would they, for the sake of gain, take the food out of the mouths of starving children? Would they put allurements in a brother's way to entice him to ruin? No! Only in such deeds can evil spirits take delight."

"Then I am on the side of hell?"

"There are but two parties. You cannot be on the side of heaven, and do evil to your neighbour."

"Dreadful thought! In league with infernal spirits to curse the human race! Can it be possible Am I really in my senses?"

For nearly half an hour did Graves pace the floor backwards and forwards, his mind in a wild fever of excitement. In vain did he try, over and over again, to argue the point against the clearest and strongest convictions of reason. Look at it as he would, it all resolved itself into that one bold and startling position, that he was in league with hell against his fellow-men.

"And now, what shall I do?" was the question that arose in his mind. "Give up my establishment?"

At that moment, Sandy, the bar-tender, opened the parlour door, and said with a broad smile—

"The Sub-Treasury is working wonders again! I'm overrun, and want help."

"I can't come down, just now, Sandy. I'm not very well. You will have to get along the best you can," Graves replied.

"I don't know what I shall do then, sir: I can't make 'em half as fast as they are called for."

"Let half of the people go away then," was the cold reply. "I can't help you any more to-day."

Sandy thought, as he withdrew, that the "old man" must have suddenly lost his senses. He was confirmed in this idea before the next morning.

It was past twelve o'clock when the run of custom was over, and Sandy closed up for the night. As soon as this was done, Mr. Graves came in for the first time since dinner.

"It's been a glorious day for business," Sandy said, rubbing his hands. "I've taken in more, than thirty dollars. Lucifer himself must have put the idea into your head."

"No doubt he did," was the grave reply.

Sandy stared at this.

"Didn't you tell me that Bill Riley had joined the temperance society?"

"Yes, I did," replied the bar-keeper.

"Are you sure?"

"I am sure, I was told so by one that knew."

"I only wish I was certain of it," was the reply, made half abstractedly. And then the dealer leaned down upon the bar and remained in deep thought for a very long time, to the still greater surprise of Sandy, who could not comprehend what had come over his employer.

"Aint you well, Mr. Graves," he at length asked, breaking in upon the rum-seller's painful reverie.

"Well!" he ejaculated, rousing up with a start. "No, I am not well."

"What is the matter, sir?"

"I'm sick," was the evasive response.

"How, sick?" was Sandy's persevering inquiry.

"Sick at heart! O, dear! I wish I'd been dead before I opened a grog-shop!"—And the countenance of Mr. Graves changed its quiet, sad expression, to one of intense agony.

Sandy looked at the tavern-keeper with an air of stupid astonishment for some moments, unable to comprehend his meaning. It was evident to his mind that Mr. Graves had suddenly become crazed about something. This idea produced a feeling of alarm, and he was about retiring for counsel and assistance, when the tavern-keeper roused himself and said:

"When did you see Bill Riley, Sandy?"

"I saw him yesterday."

"Are you certain?" in a quick, eager tone.

"O yes. I saw him going along on the other side of the street with two or three fellows that didn't look no how at all like rum-bruisers."

"I was afraid he was dead," Mr. Graves responded to this, breathing more freely.

"Dead! Why should you think that?" inquired Sandy, still more (sic) mistified.

"I had reason for thinking so," was the evasive reply. A pause of some, moments ensued, when the bar-keeper said—

"I shall have to be stirring bright and early to-morrow morning."

"Why so?"

"We're out of sugar and lemons both. That Sub-Treasury runs on them 'ere articles strong."

"Confound the Sub-Treasury!" Mr. Graves ejaculated, with a strong and bitter emphasis. Sandy stood again mute with astonishment, staring into the tavern-keeper's face.

"Sandy," Mr. Graves at length said in a calm, resolute tone, "my mind is made up to quit selling liquor."

"Quit selling liquor, sir!" exclaimed Sandy, more astonished than ever. "Quit selling liquor just at this time, when you have made such a hit?"

"Yes, Sandy, I'm going to quit it. I'm afraid that we rum-sellers are on the side of hell."

"I never once supposed that we were on the side of heaven," the bar-keeper replied, half smiling.

"Then what side did you suppose we were on?"

"O, as to that, I never gave the matter a thought. Only, it never once entered my head that we could claim much relationship with heaven. Heaven feeds the hungry and clothes the naked. But we take away both food and clothing, and give only drink. There is some little difference in this, now one comes to think about it."

"Then I am right in my notion."

"I'm rather afraid you are, sir. But that's a strange way of thinking."

"Aint it the true way?"

"Perhaps so."

"I am sure so, Sandy! And that's what makes me say that I'm done selling rum."

The tavern-keeper did not tell all that was in his mind. He said nothing of his dream, nor of that horrible idea of going to the rum-seller's hell, and becoming a devil, filled with the delight of rendering mankind wretched by deluging the land with drunkenness.

"What are you going to do then?" asked Sandy.

"Why, the first thing is to quit rum-selling."

"But what then?"

"I'm not decided yet;—but shall enter into some kind of business that I can follow with a clear conscience."

"You'll sell out this stands I suppose. The goodwill is worth three or four hundred dollars."

"No, Sandy, I will not!" was the tavern-keeper's positive, half indignant reply. "I'll have nothing more to do with the gain of rum-selling. I have too much of that sin on my conscience already."

"Somebody will come right in, as soon as you move out. And I don't see why you should give any one such an advantage for nothing."

"I'm not going to move out, Sandy."

"Then what are you going to do?"

"Why, one thing—I'm going to shut up this devil's man-trap. And while I can keep possession of the property, it shall never be opened as a dram-shop again."

"What are you going to do with your liquors, Mr. Graves? Sell 'em?"

"No."

"What then?"

"Burn 'em. Or let 'em run in the gutter."

"That I should call a piece of folly."

"You may call it what you please. But I'll do it notwithstanding. I've received my last dollar for rum. Not another would I touch for all the world!"

A slight shudder passed through the tavern-keeper's body, as he said this, occasioned by the vivid recollection of some fearful passage in his late dream.

"You'd better give the liquors to me, Mr. Graves. It would be a downright sin to throw 'em in the gutter, when a fellow might make a good living out of 'em."

"No, Sandy. Neither you nor anybody else shall ever make a man drunk with the liquor now in this house. It shall run in the gutter. That's settled!"

When the sun arose next morning, Harmony House was shorn of its attractions as a drinking establishment. All the signs, with their deceptive and alluring devices, were taken down—the shutters closed, and everything indicating its late use removed, excepting a strong smell of liquor, great quantities of which had been poured into the gutters.

In the course of a few weeks, the house was again re-opened as a hatter-shop, Mr. Graves having resumed his former honest business, which he still follows, well patronized by the temperance men, among whom are Joseph Randolph, and William Riley, the former reclaimed through his active instrumentality.



HOW TO CURE A TOPER.



[THE following story, literally true in its leading particulars, was told by a reformed man, who knew W—very well. In repeating it, I do so in the first person, in order to give it more effect.]

I was enjoying my glass of flip, one night, at the little old "Black Horse" that used to stand a mile out of S.—, (I hadn't joined the great army of teetotallers then,) when a neighboring farmer came in, whose moderation, at least in whisky toddies, was not known unto all men. His name was W—. He was a quiet sort of a man when sober, lively and chatty under the effect of a single glass, argumentative and offensively dogmatic after the second toddy, and downright insulting and quarrelsome after getting beyond that number of drinks. We liked him and disliked him on these accounts.

On the occasion referred too, he passed through all these changes, and finally sunk off to sleep by the warm stove. Being in the way, and also in danger of tumbling upon the floor, some of us removed him to an old settee, where he slept soundly, entertaining us with rather an unmusical serenade. There were two or three mischievous fellows about the place, and one of them suggested it would be capital fun to black W—'s face, and "make a darkey of him." No sooner said than done. Some lamp-black and oil were mixed together in an old tin cup, and a coat of this paint laid over the face of W—, who, all unconscious of what had been done, slept on as soundly and snored as loudly as ever. Full two hours passed away before he awoke. Staggering up to the bar, he called for another glass of whisky toddy, while we made the old bar-room ring again with our peals of laughter.

"What are you all laughing at?" he said, as he became aware that he was the subject of merriment, and turning his black face around upon the company as he spoke.

"Give us Zip Coon, old fellow!" called out one of the "boys" who had helped him to his beautiful mask.

"No! no! Lucy Long! Give us Lucy Long!" cried another.

"Can't you dance Jim Crow? Try it. I'll sing the 'wheel about and turn about, and do jist so.' Now begin."

And the last speaker commenced singing Jim Crow.

W—neither understood nor relished all this. But the more angry and mystified he became, the louder laughed the company and the freer became their jests. At last, in a passion, he swore at us lustily, and leaving the barroom, in high dudgeon, took his horse from the stable and rode off.

It was past eleven o'clock. The night was cold, and a ride of two miles made W—sober enough to understand that he had been rather drunk, and was still a good deal "in for it;" and that it wouldn't exactly do for his wife to see him just as he was. So he rode a mile past his house,—and then back again, at a slow trot, concluding that by this time the good woman was fast asleep. And so she was. He entered the house, crept silently up stairs, and got quietly into bed, without his better half being wiser therefor.

On the next morning, Mrs. W—awoke first. But what was her surprise and horror, upon rising up, to see, instead of her lawful husband, what she thought a strapping negro, as black as charcoal, lying at her side. Her first impulse was to scream; but her presence of mind in this trying position, enabled her to keep silence. You may be sure that she didn't remain long in such a close contact with Sir Darkey. Not she! For, slipping out of bed quickly, but noiselessly, she glided from the room, and was soon down stairs in the kitchen, where a stout, two-fisted Irish girl was at work preparing breakfast.

"Oh! dear! Kitty!" she exclaimed, panting for breath, and looking as pale as a ghost, "have you seen any thing of Mr. W—, this morning?"

"Och! no. But what ails ye? Ye're as white as a shate?"

"Oh! mercy! Kitty. You wouldn't believe it, but there's a monstrous negro in my room!"

"Gracious me! Mrs. W—, a nager?"

"Yes, indeed, Kitty!" returned Mrs. W—, trembling in every limb. "And worse and worse, he's in my bed! I just 'woke up and thought it was Mr. W—by my side But, when I looked over, I saw instead of his face, one as black as the stove. Mercy on me! I was frightened almost to death."

"Is he aslape?" asked Kitty.

"Yes, sound asleep and snoring. Oh! dear! What shall we do? Where in the world is Mr. W—? I'm afraid this negro has murdered him."

"Och! the blasted murtherin' thafe!" exclaimed Kitty, her organ of combativeness, which was very large, becoming terribly excited. "Get into mistress's bed, and the leddy there herself, the omadhoun! The black, murtherin' thafe of a villain!"

And Kitty, thinking of no danger to herself, and making no calculation of consequences, seized a stout hickory clothes pole that stood in one corner of the kitchen, and went up stairs like a whirlwind, banging the pole against the door, balusters, or whatever came in its way. The noise roused W—from his sleep, and he raised up in bed just as Kitty entered the room.

"Oh! you murtherin' thafe of a villain!" shouted Kitty, as she caught sight of his black face, pitching into him with her pole, and sweeping off his night-cap, at the imminent risk of taking his head with it.

"Hallo!" he cried, not at all liking this strange proceeding, "are you mad?"

"Mad is it, ye thafe!" retorted Kitty, who did not recognize the voice, and taking a surer aim this time with her pole, brought him a tremendous blow alongside of the head, which knocked him senseless.

Mrs. W—who was at the bottom of the stairs, heard her husband's exclamation, and, knowing his voice, came rushing up, and entered the room in time to see Kitty's formidable weapon come with terrible force against his head. Before the blow could be repeated, for Kitty, ejaculating her "murtherin' thafe of a villain!" had lifted the pole again, Mrs. W—threw her arms around her neck, and cried, "Don't, don't, Kitty, for mercy's sake!" It's Mr. W—, and you've killed him!"

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