Down, down, down I went, lower and ever lower. Down, into the darkness of desperation!—down, into the gulf of ruin!—down, where Shame, and Sin, and Misery cry to fallen souls—“Stay! abide with us!” I felt now that all I had gained was lost, and that there was nothing more for me to hope for. The destroying devil had swept away everything. I was no longer a man. Behold me cowering before my race and begging the pitiful sum of ten cents with which to buy one more drink—begging for it, moreover, as something far more precious than life. I resorted then, as many times since, to every means in order to get that which would, and yet would not, satisfy my insatiate thirst. No one is likely to contradict me when I say that I know of more ways to get whisky, when out of money and friends, (although no true friend would ever give me whisky, especially to start on) than any other living man, and I sincerely doubt if there is one among the dead who could give me any information on the subject. Had I as persistently applied myself to my profession, and resorted to half as many tricks and ways to gain my clients’ cases, it would have been out of the range of probability for my opponents to ever defeat me. I might have had a practice which would have required the aid of a score or more partners. I understand very well that such statements as this are not likely to exalt me in the reader’s estimation, but I started out to tell the truth, and I shall not shrink from the recital of anything that will prejudice my readers against the enemy that I hate. I could sacrifice my life itself, if thereby I might slay the monster.
The “Baxter Law”—Its injustice—Appetite is not controlled by legislation—Indictments—What they amount to—“Not guilty”—The Indianapolis police—The Rushville grand jury—Start home afoot—Fear—The coming head-light—A desire to end my miserable existence—“Now is the time”—A struggle in which life wins—Flight across the fields—Bathing in dew—Hiding from the officers—My condition—Prayer—My unimaginable sufferings—Advised to lecture—The time I began to lecture.