“Nothing sir,” they all replied.
“Wilton, how much money have you lost at play?”
“How much have you made?”
“Ten shillings—half a sovereign.”
“From whom did you win it?”
“Return it to him.”
Wilton obeyed. Adler had won about a dollar from Sanborn, which he was also compelled to restore. Mr. Lowington was satisfied that others had gained or lost by gambling, but as he did not know who the other gamblers were, he did not attempt to have the ill-gotten money restored; for he never made himself ridiculous to the students by endeavoring to do what could not be done.
Mr. Lowington then made a very judicious address upon the evil of gambling, pointing out its dangerous fascination, and the terrible consequences which sooner or later overtook its victims. He illustrated his remarks by examples drawn from real life. The chaplain followed him, detailing the career of a young man whom he had attended in prison, and who had been utterly ruined by the habit of gaming, contracted before he was of age.
These addresses seemed to produce a deep impression on the boys, and one would have judged by their looks that they all regarded the dangerous practice with well-grounded horror. Mr. Lowington took the stand again, and followed with another address upon “the root of all evil;” adding that, having money in their possession, they would be tempted to gamble.
“Now, young gentlemen, I propose that you all deliver your funds to me, taking my receipt for whatever amount you deliver to me. When you have any real need of money, apply to me, and I will restore it,” added Mr. Lowington.
“Take our money from us!” exclaimed several; and it was evident that the proposition was creating a tremendous sensation among the students.
PIPING TO MISCHIEF.
After the offensive announcement that the students were to deliver up their money to the principal, and take his receipt for it, the crew were dismissed from muster, after being informed that the business of receiving the funds would be immediately commenced in the steerage. The three gamblers were not punished, except by the mortification of the exposure, even by the loss of their marks, though Wilton was confined in the brig one hour for each falsehood he had uttered. Mr. Lowington knew that at least a dozen of the boys were guilty of gambling; and as the matter now came up for the first time, he did not deem it expedient to punish those who had been discovered hoping that the preventive measures he had adopted would effectually suppress the evil.
Many of the students regarded the taking of their money as an indignity. Only a few of them, comparatively, had engaged in gambling, though many of the occupants of the steerage knew of the existence of the practice on board the ship. They were willing to believe, and did believe, after the impressive addresses to which they had listened, that games of chance were a perilous amusement, but they were not quite willing to acknowledge the justice of Mr. Lowington’s measures.