Vainly did friends beseech her to retire; vainly did they tell her she could not hasten his restoration to reason. She declared her determination to remain with him till morning.
Day dawned. There, at the side of her husband, sat the faithful wife, as neglective of her own wants as she was attentive to his. James began to realize his condition, but not fully. He had vague ideas of being in his own house, but his mind was at times wandering, and his words betrayed its condition.
“Here I am,” said he, “in a paradise, with an angel at my side, and beauty and rich fragrance all around me. See you how that diamond sparkles at the bottom of this brook flowing at my feet! Watch that dove as it comes down from the sky! See, it nestles in my angel’s bosom. See how it folds its wings! See how she smooths down its ruffled plumage, and, hark ye, listen to its plaintive cooing! My angel, my sweet one, come near me, let me whisper in thine ear. Go, bring me that bunch of luscious grapes which is suspended on that sapphire cloud, and make me wine of them that gods might envy! Ah, see, she goes,—she wings her flight,—she grasps the rich fruit,—she comes! She presses the grapes, and here is wine,—from where? From paradise! Droop not, droop not, droop not, spirit of light! Do not weep! What are you weeping for? Here, let me wipe those tears away. Ah, they are pearls, they are not tears! I thought they were tears.-Going so soon?-Gone?”
He sank into a quiet sleep. Josephine had wept as she caught his words partly uttered in a whisper so low as to be scarcely distinguishable. Now, as he slept, she watched his breathings, and hoped that when he awoke he would be of a sane mind, and that a realization of what had occurred might influence his future career for the better.
“News!” exclaimed Capt. Thorndyke, as he shook the hand of his friend Basyl. “Have you not heard it? Why, it’s common talk. Young Clifton imbibes rather too freely. You know him,—Laneville & Co.’s clerk,—best judge of liquors in the states; strange that he will imbibe.”
“Strange indeed, very strange, if he is really a judge and knows what they’re made of,” said Basyl; “and stranger yet that he will sell. For my part, I consider a man that will sell liquor, in these days of light and knowledge, as bad as a highwayman, and no better than a pirate.”
“Rather plain spoken.”
“I know it, but, look ye, there’s Follet, a fine man, a first-rate man, once worth half a million, but now not worth a guinea-pig. The man that sold him good wine in his better days sells him poor whiskey now; and the confounded dealer in fancy poisons has taken the houses of Mr. Follet, brick by brick, and piled them up in his own yard, so to speak. Why, no longer ago than yesternight, he took a fine black coat of Dick Pherson, and gave him in return a coarse, brown one and a glass of sin-gin, I mean. Fudge! talk about consistency! That rumseller is nominated for an alderman, and he’ll be elected. He’s rich; and all your say-so temperance men will vote for him, and when elected he’ll go hand-in-hand with some lone star, who deems it advisable that men should be licensed to corrupt the morals of the community, in order to make it wise and virtuous!”