Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Hollands, Irish whiskey, cordials of names innumerable, (although of one unchanging nature,) and wines from every part of the globe-all were in dread array opposed to the water-drinker's scheme.

Who can describe the Vermonter's astonishment, when on the morning after his arrival, (it was in the month of June,) he opened his eyes at the noise made by opening the chamber door, and saw a negro approaching his bed with a huge bowl, crowned with the fresh and fragrant herb, cool from the garden, and mingled with transparent ice.

" Master says, please to take a drink, and make you sleep till breakfast bell."

Somewhat oppressed by heat, and feverish from the previous day's travel, he looked on the green mint and ice-he smelt the odour only of the dew-spangled leaves, and took the bait from the hands of the slave--but the hook was soon obvious to his unsophisticated sense—and as the fumes of rum mingled with the cool atmosphere that surrounded the tempting draught-it was rejected almost with disgust.

The negro stared ! “ Him very good to make sleep, master."

Spiffard excused himself-sent his thanks to the hospitable planter, who wished to welcome him with that which delighted himself—and instead of mint-julip, took water and a walk before breakfast.

Another repulsive enemy to his peace was ever before his eyes. It was Slavery. I may be permitted to mention it as an evil, although it is cherished at the seat of my country's government. But whether I have permission or not, I will say that I think and know it to be an evil; and (any sophistry to the contrary, notwithstanding) it is an evil that congress have power and right to root out of the district, which is appropriated as the hallowed spot where freemen meet to deliberate for the welfare of freemen.

Spiffard knew he was in a slave-holding state, but he believed, until he became a resident, that slave-holders considered slavery an evil entailed upon them, which they wished to throw off, and he was willing to assist them. But when he saw that negroes were bred for exportation—that they were pend in appropriate places, men, women and children shut up together, and kept in drunkenness until the prison ship was ready to carry them to the Mississippi—and that most of the male part of his congregation ardently desired the creation of more slave states as recipients for this growth of their plantations--he, in melancholy mood, turned his face home, and now lives with the Littlejohns, assisting to rear the children of his aunt Eliza, and his friends Henry and Emma Johnson, in the precepts of heavenly love, and in promoting schools and societies for the diffusion of that knowledge which will bring peace to individuals and to nations.

It is, perhaps, unnecessary to say (but if only the necessary had been said or written, how few would be now our books, and how short the records of public speaking) that a moral is to be drawn from the story of Zebediah Spiffard, almost as useful as from that of George Frederick Cooke. For although temperance guarded the Vermonter from the ills which the tragedian drew upon himself, yet the water-drinker provided a train of other ills to torment the early portion of his life. First, by his disingenuous conduct toward bis uncle—then by yielding to the allurements of a theatrical life, and renouncing the profession intended for him-and lastly, by his precipitate choice of a partner for life. The ills flowing from these false steps were consummated in the last; and the faults themselves were, each one, consequent upon the other. Experience, the great castigator, at length rendered him wise, and many years of his life were passed happily, employed in the offices of teaching and assisting others. He established temperance societies, organized schools, and assisted in every good plan proposed by others, for enlightening and ameliorating the condition of the poor or the erring.

THE END.

NOTE. To prevent any misapprehensions respecting Mr. Cooke's matrimonial affairs, be it remembered, that the fiction of a marriage with Miss Johnson must be dated in 1790. In 1796 he was really married to Miss Daniels, from whom he was divorced in 1800. In 1808 he married Miss Lamb, who took refuge from him with her friends, in March, 1909. In November, 1810, he arrived at New York, and on the 19th of June, 1811, he married a lady of Baltimore, who faithfully nursed him until his death, in September, 1812.

« ZurückWeiter »