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CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKARD.

DeHORTATIONS from the use of I have known one in that state, strong liquors have been the favourite when he has tried to abstain but for topic of sober declaimers in all ages, one evening,-though the poisonous and have been received with abun- potion had long ceased to bring back dance of applause by water-drinking its first enchantments, though he was critics. But with the patient him- sure it would rather deepen his gloom self, the man that is to be cured, un- than brighten it,-in the violence of fortunately their sound has seldom the struggle, and the necessity he prevailed. Yet the evil is acknow- has felt of getting rid of the present ledged, the remedy simple. Abstain. sensation at any rate, I have known No force can oblige a man to raise him to scream out, to cry aloud, for the glass to his head against his will. the anguish and pain of the strife 'Tis as easy as not to steal, not to within him. tell lies.

Why should I hesitate to declare, Alas! the hand to pilfer, and the that the man of whom I speak is tongue to bear false witness, have no myself? I have no puling apology constitutional tendency. These are to make to mankind. "I see them all actions indifferent to them. At the in one way or another deviating from first instance of the reformed will, the pure reason. It is to my own they can be brought off without a nature alone I am accountable for murmur. The itching finger is but the woe that I have brought upon it. a figure in speech, and the tongue of I believe that there are constituthe liar can with the same natural tions, robust heads and iron insides, delight give forth useful truths, with whom scarce any excesses can hurt ; which it has been accustomed to whom brandy (I have seen them scatter their pernicious contraries. drink it like wine), at all events But when a man has commenced whom wine, taken in ever so plentisot

ful measure, can do no worse injury O pause, thou sturdy moralist, thou to than just to muddle their faculperson of stout nerves and a strong ties, perhaps never very pellucid. On head, whose liver is happily un- them this discourse is wasted. They touched, and ere thy gorge riseth at would but laugh at a weak brother, the name which I have written, first who, trying his strength with them, learn what the thing is; how much and coming off foiled from the conof compassion, how much of human test, would fain persuade them that allowance, thou may'st virtuously such agonistic exercises are dangermingle with thy disapprobation. ous. It is to a very different de Trample not on the ruins of a man. scription of persons I speak. It is to Exact not, under so terrible a penalty the weak, the nervous ; to those who as infamy, a resuscitation from a state feel the want of some artificial aid to of death almost as real as that from raise their spirits in society to what which Lazarus rose not but by a mi- is no more than the ordinary pitch of racle.

all around them without it. This is Begin a reformation, and custom the secret of our drinking. Such will make it easy. But what if the must fly the convivial board in the beginning be dreadful, the first steps first instance, if they do not mean to not like climbing a mountain but go- sell themselves for term of life. ing through fire? what if the whole Twelve years ago I had completed system must undergo a change vio- my six and twentieth year. i bad lent as that which we conceive of the lived from the period of leaving school mutation of form in some insects ? to that time pretty much in solitude. what if a process comparable to flay- My companions were chiefly books, ing alive be to be gone through? is or at most one or two living ones of the weakness that sinks under such my own book-loving and sober stamp. struggles to be confounded with the I rose early, went to bed betimes, pertinacity which clings to other and the faculties which God had given vices, which have induced no consti- me, I have reason to think, did not tutional necessity, no engagement of rust in me unused. the whole victim, body and soul ? About that time I fell in with VOL. VI.

K

some companions of a different or- opened my eyes to the supposed quader. They were men of boisterous lities of my first friends. No trace spirits, sitters up a-nights, dispuc of them is left but in the vices which tants, drunken ; yet seemed to have they introduced, and the habits they something noble about them. We infixed. In them my friends survive dealt about the wit, or what passes still, and exercise ample retribution for it after midnight, jovially. Of for any supposed infidelity that I may the quality called fancy I certainly have been guilty of towards them. possessed a larger share than my My next more immediate compacompanions. Encouraged by their nions were and are persons of such applause, I set up for a profest joker! intrinsic and felt worth, that though I, who of all men am least fitted for accidentally their acquaintance has such an occupation, having, in addi- proved pernicious to me, I do not tion to the greatest difficulty which I know that if the thing were to do experience at all times of finding words over again, I should have the couto express my meaning, a natural rage to eschew the mischief at the nervous impediment in my speech! price of forfeiting the benefit. I came

Reader, if you are gifted with to them reeking from the steams of nerves like mine, aspire to any cha- my late over-heated notions of comracter but that of a wit. When you panionship; and the slighest fuel find a tickling relish upon your tongue which they unconsciously afforded, disposing you to that sort of conver- was sufficient to feed my old fires sation, especially if you find a pre- into a propensity. ternatural flow of ideas setting in They were no drinkers, but, one upon you at the sight of a bottle and from professional habits, and another

a fresh glasses, avoid giving way to it from a custom derived from his faas you would fly your greatest de- ther, smoked tobacco. The devil struction. If you cannot crush the could not have devised a more subtle power of fancy, or that within you trap to re-take a backsliding peniwhich you mistake for such, divert tent. The transition, from gulping it, give it some other play. Write down draughts of liquid fire to puffing an essay, pen a character or descrip- out innocuous blasts of dry smoke, tion,--but not as I do now, with was so like cheating him. But he is tears trickling down your cheeks. too hard for us when we hope to

To be an object of compassion to commute. He beats us at barter; friends, of derision to foes; to be and when we think to set off a new suspected by strangers, stared at by failing against an old infirmity, 'tis fools; to be esteemed dull when you odds but he puts the trick upon us of cannot be witty, to be applauded for two for one. That (comparatively) witty when you know that you have white devil of tobacco brought with been dull; to be called upon for the him in the end seven worse than himextemporaneous exercise of that fa- self. culty which no premeditation can It were impertinent to carry the give; to be spurred on to efforts reader through all the processes by which end in contempt; to be set on which, îrom smoking at first with to provoke mirth which procures the malt liquor, I took my degrees through procurer hatred; to give pleasure and thin wines, through stronger wine be paid with squinting malice; to and water, through small punch, to swallow draughts of life-destroying those juggling compositions, which, wine which are to be distilled into under the name of mixed liquors, slur airy breath to tickle vain auditors; a great deal of brandy or other poito mortgage miserable morrows for son under less and less water continights of madness; to waste whole nually, until they come next to none, seas of time upon those who pay it and so to none at all. But it is hateback in little inconsiderable drops of ful to disclose the secrets of my Targrudging applause,-are the

vages tarus. of buffoonery and death.

I should repel my readers, from a Time, which has a sure stroke at mere incapacity of believing me, were dissolving all connexions which have I to tell them what tobacco has been no solider fastening than this liquid to me, the drudging service which I cement, more kind to me than my have paid, the slavery, which I have own taste or penetration, at length vowed to it. How, when I have resolved to quit it, a feeling as of in- represented in one point of time. gratitude has started up; how it has When I saw this, I admired the wonput on personal claims and made the derful skill of the painter. But when demands of a friend upon me. How I went away, I wept, because I the reading of it casually in a book, thought of my own condition. as where Adams takes his whiff in Of that there is no hope that it the chimney-corner of some inn in should ever change. The waters Joseph Andrews, or Piscator in the have gone over me. But out of the Complete Angler breaks his fast upon black depths, could I be heard, I a morning pipe in that delicate room would cry out to all those who have Piscatoribus Sacrum, has in a mo- but set a foot in the perilous flood. ment broken down the resistance of Could the youth, to whom the flavor weeks. How a pipe was ever in my of his first wine is delicious as the midnight path before me, till the vi. opening scenes of life or the entersion forced me to realize it,-how ing upon some newly discovered pathen its ascending vapours curled, its radise, look into my desolation, and fragrance lulled, and the thousand be made to understand what a dreary delicious ministerings conversant thing it is when a man shall feel about it, employing every faculty, himself going down a precipice with extracted the sense of pain. How open eyes and a passive will,—to see from illuminating it came to darken, his destruction, and have no power from a quick solace it turned to a to stop it, and yet to feel it all the negative relief, thence to a restless way emanating from himself; to perness and dissatisfaction, thence to a ceive all goodness emptied out of positive misery. How, even now, him, and yet not to be able to forget when the whole secret stands con- a time when it was otherwise ; to fessed in all its dreadful truth before bear about the piteous spectacle of me, I feel myself linked to it beyond his own self-ruins:-could he see my the power of revocation. Bone of my fevered eye, feverish with last night's bone

drinking, and feverishly looking for Persons not accustomed to exa- this night's repetition of the folly; mine the motives of their acti to could he feel the body of the death reckon up the countless nails that out of which I cry hourly with feebler rivet the chains of habit, or perhaps and feebler outcry to be delivered, being bound by none so obdurate as it were enough to make him dash those I have confessed to, may recoil the sparkling beverage to the earth from this as from an overcharged in all the pride of its mantling temppicture. But what short of such a tation; to make him clasp his teeth, bondage is it, which in spite of protesting friends, a weeping wife, and To suffer weT DAMNATION to run thro'

and not undo 'em a reprobating world, chains down

'em. many a poor fellow, of no original indisposition to goodness, to his pipe Yea, but (methinks I hear someand his pot ?

body object) if sobriety be that fine I have seen a print after Corregio, thing you would have us to underin which three female figures are mi- stand, if the comforts of a cool brain nistering to a man who sits fast bound are to be preferred to that state of at the root of a tree. Sensuality is heated excitement which you desoothing him, Evil Habit is nailing scribe and deplore, what hinders in him to a branch, and Repugnance at your own instance that you do not the same instant of time is applying return to those habits from which a snake to his side. In his face is you would induce others never to feeble delight, the recollection of past swerve? if the blessing be worth rather than perception of present preserving, is it not worth recoverpleasures, languid enjoyment of evil ing? with utter imbecility to good, a Sy- Recovering !-0 if a wish could baritic effeminacy, a submission to transport me back to those days of bondage, the springs of the will gone youth, when a draught from the next down like a broken clock, the sin clear spring could slake any heats and the suffering co-instantaneous, which summer suns and youthful or the latter forerunning the former, exercise had power to stir up in the remorse preceding action-all this blood, how gladly would I return to thee, pure element, the drink of be. I scarce knew what it was to children, and of child-like holy her- ail any thing. Now, except when mit. In my dreams I can sometimes I am losing myself in a sea of drink, fancy thy cool refreshment purling I am never free from those uneasy over my burning tongue. But my sensations in head and stomach, waking stomach rejects it. That which are so much worse to bear which refreshes innocence, only makes than any definite pains or aches. me sick and faint.

At that time I was seldom in bed But is there no middle way be- after six in the morning, summer twixt total abstinence and the excess and winter. I awoke refreshed, and which kills you ? -For your sake, seldom without some merry thoughts reader, and that you may never at- in my head, or some piece of a song tain to my experience, with pain I to welcome the new-born day. Now, must utter the dreadful truth, that the first feeling which besets me, afthere is none, none that I can find. ter stretching out the hours of reIn my stage of habit (I speak not cumbence to their last possible exof habits less confirmed — for some of tent, is a forecast of the wearisome them I believe the advice to be most day that lies before me, with a secret prudential) in the stage which I have wish that I could have lain on still, reached, to stop short of that mea- or never awaked. sure which is sufficient to draw on Life itself, my waking life, has torpor and sleep, the benumbing apo- much of the confusion, the trouble, plectic sleep of the drunkard, is to and obscure perplexity, of an ill have taken none at all. The pain of dream. In the day time I stumble the self-denial is all one. And what upon dark mountains. that is, I had rather the reader should Business, which, though never parbelieve on my credit, than know from ticularly adapted to my nature, yet his own trial. He will come to know as something of necessity to be gone it, whenever he shall arrive at that through, and therefore best understate, in which, paradoxical as it taken with cheerfulness, I used to may appear, reason shall only visit enter upon with some degree of ala-' him through intoxication : for it is a crity, now wearies, affrights, perfearful truth, that the intellectual fa- plexes me. I fancy all sorts of disculties by repeated acts of intempe- couragements, and am ready to give rance may be driven from their or- up an occupation which gives me derly sphere of action, their clear bread, from a harassing conceit of

a day-light ministeries, until they shall incapacity. The slightest commisbe brought at last to depend, for the sion given me by a friend, or any faint manifestation of their departing small duty which I have to perform energies, upon the returning periods for myself, as giving orders to a of the fatal madness to which they tradesman, &c. haunts me as a laowe their devastation. The drinking bour impossible to be got through. man is never less himself than during So much the springs of action are his sober intervals. Evil is so far his broken. good.*

The same cowardice attends me in Behold me then, in the robust pe- all my intercourse with mankind. I riod of life, reduced to imbecility and dare not promise that a friend's hodecay. Hear me count my gains, nour, or his cause, would be safe in and the profits which I have derived my keeping, if I were put to the from the midnight cup.

expense of any manly resolution in Twelve years ago I was possessed defending it. So much the springs of a healthy frame of mind and body. of moral action are deadened withI was never strong, but I think my in me. constitution (for a weak one) was My favourite occupations in times as happily exempt from the tendency past, now cease to entertain. I can to any malady as it was possible to do nothing readily. Application for

* When poor M -painted his last picture, with a pencil in one trembling hand and a glass of brandy and water in the other, his fingers owed the comparative steadiness, with which they were enabled to go through their task in an imperfect manner, to a temporary firmness derived from a repetition of practices, the general effect of which kad shaken both them and him so terribly.

ever so short a time kills me. This These are some of the instances, poor abstract of my condition was concerning which I can say with penned at long intervals, with scarce- truth, that it was not always so ly any attempt at connexion of with me. thought, which is now difficult to me. Shall I lift up the veil of my weak

The noble passages which formerly ness any further? or is this disclodelighted me in history or poetic fic- sure sufficient? tion, now only draw a few weak tears, I am a poor nameless egotist, who allied to dotage. My broken and have no vanity to consult by these dispirited nature seems to sink before Confessions. I know not whether I any thing great and admirable. shall be laughed at, or heard serious

i perpetually catch myself in tears, ly. Such as they are, I commend for any cause, or none. It is inex- them to the reader's attention, if he pressible how much this infirmity finds his own case any way touched. adds to a sense of shame, and a ge- I have told him what I am come to. neral feeling of deterioration. Let him stop in time. Elia.

ON THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH IN THE YOUNG AND THE OLD.

The child is rich in hope, and ground I am clearly disposed to conlongs to be a man; the man has his chude, that school-days are the haptreasures in memory, and wishes that piest of our lives. he had always been a child. We are How beautiful is that law of playall pleased to look back upon our- fulness, which governs the youth of selves as school-boys, and recall, all created animals ! How glorious with a mournful tenderness, those that short-lived era of the blood, thoughtless happy days when we when school-boys, and puppies, and had masters to instruct us that we kittens, caper and dance, by a sort were born to suffer and to die, but of instinct, or necessity! This irrewhen the feeling was, that we had sistible gaiety is not the result of life within us, whose principle was superior health and strength: it is enjoyment, and whose duration with- the exulting spirit of mere life in the out end. Whether our school-days newly born—an elementary joyousare the happiest of our lives is a ness, which requires no aid from contested question ; but there can be without, which is not excited in them, no doubt, i think, as to those of them but is a part of them. The child, in passed out of school. I have no great proof of its being, might say, in the favour, I confess, for masters, and spirit of the philosopher-I rejoice, cannot conscientiously defend the therefore, I am.-We, whom years agreableness of lessons, or the plea- and knowledge have invested with sing propriety of being flogged for the prerogative of being serious, smile not attending to them ; but the play- at the ecstasies of youthful levity, ground! and the holidays!—no, there with a sympathy moderated by conis nothing like them afterwards.- tempt. Poor, foolish creature, how In estimating the happiness of a happy it allows itself to be! Pleaschool-boy, people are apt to think sant enough, we exclaim ; but, ah! more of the school than of the boy.- if it knew what was to come! We He is not happy in consequence of shake our prophetic heads when we being at school, but in spite of it. I see the lambs frisking about us, and may incur some disgrace with elderly think of mutton. gentlemen, but I shall have all the This triumphant sense of life has boys on my side, I believe, when I different degrees of duration, accordadmit, absolutely, that school is but ing to varieties in moral and constia dreary place: it is not worse, how- tutional temperament; it may give ever, than the after-schools in which way, before its natural period, to men must learn to toil and suffer; the shocks of accident; sometimes it while the boys have an advantage alí is prolonged almost to that term their own, in the unconquerable which we call our years of discretion; sportiveness of their age. On this and sometimes it bursts out in brief

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