Away with these wine-drinking convivialities! How dare you, the father of a household, trifle with the appetites of our young people? Perhaps, out of regard for the minister, or some other weak temperance man, you have the decanter in a side-room, where, after refreshments, only a select few are invited; and you come back with a glare in your eye, and a stench in your breath, that shows that you have been out serving the devil.
Some one asks, “For what purpose are these people gone into that side-room?”
“O,” replies one who has just come out, smacking his lips, “they have gone in to see the white dog!”
The excuse which Christian men often give for this is, that it is necessary, after such late eating, by some sort of stimulant to help digestion. My plain opinion is, that if a man have no more control over his appetite than to stuff himself until his digestive organs refuse to do their office, he ought not to call himself a man, but rather to class himself among the beasts that perish. I take the words of the Lord Almighty, and cry, “Woe to him that putteth the bottle to his neighbor’s lips!”
Young man, take it as the counsel of a friend, when I bid you be cautious where you spend your winter evenings. Thank God that you have lived to see the glad winter days in which your childhood was made cheerful by the faces of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, some of whom, alas! will never again wish you a “happy New Year,” or a “Merry Christmas.”
Let no one tempt you out of your sobriety. I have seen respectable young men of the best families drunk on New Year’s day. The excuse they gave for the inebriation was that the ladies insisted on their taking it. There have been instances where the delicate hand of woman hath kindled a young man’s taste for strong drink, who after many years, when the attractions of that holiday scene were all forgotten, crouched in her rags, and her desolation, and her woe under the uplifted hand of the drunken monster who, on that Christmas morning so long ago, took the glass from her hand. And so, the woman stands on the abutment of the bridge, on the moon-lit night, wondering if, down under the water, there is not some quiet place for a broken heart. She takes one wild leap,—and all is over!
Ah! mingle not with the harmless beverage of your festive scene this poison of adders! Mix not with the white sugar of the cup the snow of this awful leprosy! Mar not the clatter of cutlery at the holiday feast with the clank of a madman’s chain!
Stop and look into the window of that pawnbroker’s shop. Elegant furs. Elegant watches. Elegant scarfs. Elegant flutes. People stand with a pleased look gazing at these things; but I look in with a shudder, as though I had seen into a window of hell.
Whose elegant watch was that? It was a drunkard’s watch!
Whose furs? They belonged to a drunkard’s wife!