“Will you enter?” inquired Othro. Edward desired to be excused, and they parted; one entering the theatre, the other repairing to his home.
The “tavern” at which our hero boarded was of the country, or, rather, the colony order of architecture,—for piece had been added to piece, until what was once a small shed was now quite an extensive edifice.
As was the case with all taverns in those days, so also with this,—the bar-room was its most prominent feature. Mr. Blinge, the landlord, not only smoked, but was an inveterate lover of raw whiskey, which often caused him to perform strange antics. The fact that he loved whiskey was not strange, for in those days all drank. The aged drank his morning, noon and evening potations, because he had always done so; the young, because his father did; and the lisping one reached forth its hands, and in childish accents called for the “thugar,” and the mother, unwilling to deny it that which she believed could not harm it, gave.
Those were the days when seed was being sown, and now the harvesting is in progress. Vain were it for us to attempt its description; you will see it in ruined families, where are gathered blasted hopes, withered expectations, and pangs, deep pangs of untold sorrow.
The child indulged has become a man, yet scarce worthy of the name; for a habit has been formed that has sunken him below the brute, and he lives not a help, but a burden, not a blessing, but a curse, to his fellow-men.
Although Edward was opposed to the use of intoxicating drinks, his business led him to associate with those who held opposite opinions.
Among the boarders was one, a bold, drinking, independent sort of a man, who went against all innovations upon old customs with a fury worthy of a subject of hydrophobia.
His name was “Pump.” Barrel, or bottle, would have been more in accordance with his character; but, as the old Pump had not foresight enough to see into the future, he did not know that he was inappropriately naming his son.
Every Pump must have its handle, on the same principle that “every dog must have his day.” The handle to the Pump in question was a long one; ’t was “Onendago.”
“Onendago Pump” was written with red ink on the blank leaf of a “Universal Songster” he carried in his pocket.
Dago, as he was called, lived on appearances; that is, he acted the gentleman outwardly, but the beggar inwardly. He robbed his stomach to clothe his back: howbeit, his good outside appearance often got for him a good dinner.
By the aid of the tailor and the barber, he wore nice cloth and curled hair; and, being blessed with a smooth, oily voice, was enabled, by being invited to dinner here and to supper there, to live quite easy.
Edward had just seated himself, when a loud rap on the door was heard, and in a moment Mr. Onendago Pump, with two bottles, entered. With a low bow, he inquired as to our hero’s health, and proposed spending an evening in his company.