The Abominations of Modern Society
T. De Witt Talmage, Brooklyn, January 1st, 1872
While among my readers are those who have passed on into the evening of life, and the shadows are lengthening, and the sky crimsons with the glow of the setting sun—a large number of them are in early life, and the morning is coming down out of the clear sky upon them, and the bright air is redolent with spring blossoms, and the stream of life, gleaming and glancing, rushes on between flowery banks, making music as it goes. Some of you are engaged in mercantile establishments, as clerks and book-keepers; and your whole life is to be passed in the exciting world of business. The sound of business life stirs you, as the drum stirs the fiery war-horse. Others are in the mechanical arts, to hammer and chisel your way through life; and success awaits you. Some are preparing for professional life, and grand opportunities are before you; nay, some of you already have buckled on the armor.
But, whatever your age or calling, the subject of gambling, about which I speak in this chapter, is pertinent. Some years ago, when an association for the suppression of gambling was organized, an agent of the association came to a prominent citizen and asked him to patronize the society. He said, "No, I can have no interest in such an organization. I am in no way affected by that evil." At that very time, his son, who was his partner in business, was one of the heaviest players in "Herne's" famous gambling establishment. Another refused his patronage on the same ground, not knowing that his first book-keeper, though receiving a salary of only a thousand dollars, was losing from fifty to one hundred dollars per night. The president of a railroad company refused to patronize the institution, saying—"That we railroad people are not injured by this evil;" not knowing that, at that very time, two of his conductors were spending three nights of each week at gambling tables in New York.
Directly or indirectly, this evil strikes at the whole world. Gambling is the risking of something more or less valuable—in the hope of winning more than you risk. The instruments of gambling may differ—but the principle is the same. The shuffling and dealing of cards, however full of temptation, is not gambling, unless stakes are put up; while, on the other hand, gambling may be carried on without cards, or dice, or billiards, or a ten-pin alley. The man who bets on horses, on elections, on battles—the man who deals in "speculative" stocks, or conducts a business which hazards capital, or goes into transactions without foundation—but dependent upon what men call "luck," is a gambler.
It is estimated that one-fourth of the business in London is done dishonestly. Whatever you expect to get from your neighbor without offering an equivalent in money or time or skill—is either the product of theft or gambling. Lottery tickets come into the same category. Fairs for the founding of hospitals, schools and churches, conducted on the raffling system, come under the same denomination. Do not, therefore, associate gambling necessarily with any instrument, or game, or time, or place—or think the principle depends upon whether you play for a glass of wine, or a hundred shares of stock. Whatever instrument you employ—the very idea of the thing is dishonest; for it professes to bestow upon you a good for which you give no equivalent.
This crime is no new thought—but a haggard transgression which comes staggering down under a mantle of curses through many centuries. All nations, barbarous and civilized, have been addicted to it. Before 1838, the French government received revenue from gambling houses. In 1567, England, for the improvement of her harbors, instituted a lottery, to be held at the front door of St. Paul's Cathedral. The British Museum and Westminster Bridge were partially built by similar procedures. But now, the laws of the whole civilized world denounce the system. Enactments have been passed—but only partially enforced. The men interested in gambling houses wield such influence, by their numbers and affluence, that the judge, the jury, and the police officer must be bold indeed, who would array themselves against these infamous establishments. Ten years ago, the House of Commons of England had prohibited gambling—and now go out to bet on the races. And in the best circles of society in this country today, are many hundreds of professedly respectable men, who are acknowledged gamblers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in this land are every day being won and lost through open gambling.
Says a traveler through the West—"I have traveled a thousand miles at a time upon the Western waters and seen gambling at every waking moment from the commencement to the termination of the journey." The Southwest of this country reeks with this abomination. In New Orleans every third or fourth house in many of the streets, is a gambling place, and it may be truthfully averred that each and all of our cities are cursed with this evil. In themselves, most of the games employed in gambling are without harm. Billiard-tables are as harmless as tea-tables, and a pack of cards as a pack of letter envelopes, unless stakes are put up. But by their use for gambling purposes, they have become significant of an infinity of wretchedness.
In New York city there are said to be six thousand houses devoted to this sin of gambling; in Philadelphia about four thousand; in Cincinnati about one thousand; at Washington the amount of gambling is beyond calculation. There have been seasons when, by night, Senators, Representatives, and Ministers of Foreign Governments were found engaged in this practice. Men wishing to gamble will find places just suited to their capacity, not only in the underground cellar, or at the table in back of the curtain, covered with greasy cards, or in the steamboat smoking cabin, where the bloated wretch with rings in his ears deals out his pack, and winks in the unsuspecting traveler—providing free drinks all around—but also in gilded parlors and amid gorgeous surroundings.
This sin works ruin, first, by unhealthful stimulants. Excitement is pleasurable. Under every sky, and in every age, men have sought it. The Chinaman gets it by smoking his opium; the Persian by chewing hashish; the trapper in a buffalo hunt; the sailor in a squall; the inebriate in the bottle, and the avaricious at the gambling-table. We must at times, have excitement. A thousand voices in our nature demand it. It is right. It is healthful. It is inspiriting. It is a desire God-given. But anything that first gratifies this appetite and hurls it back in a terrific reaction, is deplorable and wicked. Look out for the agitation that, like a rough musician, in bringing out the tune, plays so hard that he breaks down the instrument!
God never made man strong enough to endure the wear and tear of gambling excitement. No wonder if, after having failed in the game, men have begun to sweep off imaginary gold from the side of the table. The man was sharp enough when he started at the game—but a maniac at the close. At every gambling-table —sit on one side Ecstasy, Enthusiasm, Romance—the frenzy of joy; on the other side, Fierceness, Rage, and Tumult. The professional gamester schools himself into apparent quietness. The keepers of gambling rooms are generally fat, rollicking, and obese; but thorough and professional gamblers, in nine cases out of ten, are pale, thin, wheezing, tremulous, and exhausted.
A young man, having suddenly inherited a large inheritance, sits at the hazard-table, and takes up in a dice-box the estate won by a father's lifetime sweat—and shakes it, and tosses it away. Intemperance soon stigmatizes its victim—kicking him out, a slavering fool, into the ditch, or sending him, with the drunkard's hiccough, staggering up the street where his family lives.
But gambling does not, in that way, expose its victims. The gambler may be eaten up by the gambler's passion, yet only discover it by the greed in his eyes, the hardness of his features, the nervous restlessness, the threadbare coat, and his embarrassed business. Yet he is on the high road to hell—and no preacher's voice, or startling warning, or wife's entreaty—can make him stop his headlong career for a moment. The infernal spell is on him; a giant is aroused within; and though you bind him with cables—they would break like thread; and though you fasten him seven times round with chains—they would snap like rusted wire; and though you piled up in his path, heaven-high, Bibles, tracts and sermons, and on the top should set the cross of the Son of God, over them all the gambler would leap like a roe over the rocks—on his way to perdition!
Again, this sin works ruin—by killing industry. A man used to reaping scores or hundreds of dollars from the gambling-table, will not be content with slow work. He will say, "What is the use of trying to make these fifty dollars in my store—when I can get five times that in half an hour down at Billy's?" You never knew a confirmed gambler who was industrious. The men given to this vice spend their time not actively employed in the game—in idleness, or intoxication, or sleep, or in corrupting new victims. This sin has dulled the carpenter's saw, and cut the band of the factory wheel, sunk the cargo, and broken the teeth of the farmer's harrow. The very first idea in gambling, is at war with all the industries of society. Any trade or occupation that is of use, is ennobling. The street sweeper advances the interests of society by the cleanliness effected. The cat pays for the fragments it eats by clearing the house of vermin. The fly that takes the sweetness from the dregs of the cup compensates by purifying the air and keeping back the pestilence. But the gambler gives not anything for that which he takes. I recall that sentence. He does make a return; but it is disgrace to the man that he fleeces, despair to his heart, ruin to his business, anguish to his wife, shame to his children, and eternal wasting away to his soul. He pays in tears and blood, and agony, and darkness, and woe. What dull work is ploughing to the farmer, when in the village saloon, in one night, he makes and loses the value of a summer harvest? Who will want to sell tape, and measure linen, and cut garments, and weigh sugars—when in a night's game he makes and loses, and makes again, and loses again, the profits of a season?
John Borack was sent as mercantile agent to England and America. After two years his employers mistrusted that all was not right. He was a defaulter for eighty-seven thousand dollars. It was found that he had lost in Lombard street, London, twenty-nine thousand dollars; in Fulton street, New York, ten thousand dollars; and in New Orleans, three thousand dollars. He was imprisoned—but afterwards escaped and went into the gambling profession. He died in a lunatic asylum. This crime is getting its pry under many a mercantile house in our cities, and before long down will come the great establishment, crushing reputation, home, comfort, and immortal souls.
How it diverts and sinks capital may be inferred from some authentic statements before us. The ten gambling-houses that once were authorized in Paris passed through the banks, yearly, three hundred and twenty-five million francs! The houses of this kind in Germany yield vast sums to the government. The Hamburg establishment pays to the government treasury forty thousand florins; and Baden Baden one hundred and twenty thousand florins. Each one of the banks in the large gambling-houses of Germany has forty or fifty croupiers standing in its service. Where does all the money come from? The whole world is robbed!
What is most sad, there are no consolations for the loss and suffering entailed by gambling. If men fail in lawful business, God pities, and society commiserates; but where in the Bible, or in society, is there any consolation for the gambler? From what tree of the forest, oozes a balm which can soothe the gamester's heart? In that bottle where God keeps the tears of his children, are there any tears of the gambler? Do the winds that come to kiss the faded cheek of sickness, and to cool the heated brow of the laborer, whisper hope and cheer to the emaciated victim of gambling?
When an honest man is in trouble, he has sympathy. "Poor fellow!" they say. But do gamblers come to weep at the agonies of the gambler? In Northumberland was one of the finest estates in England. Mr. Porter owned it, and in a year gambled it all away. Having lost the last acre of the estate, he came down from the saloon and got into his carriage; went back; put up his horses, and carriage, and town house, and played. He threw and lost. He started home, and on a side alley met a friend from whom he borrowed ten guineas; went back to the saloon, and before a great while had won twenty thousand pounds. He died at last a beggar in St. Giles. How many gamblers felt sorry for Mr. Porter? Who consoled him on the loss of his estate? What gambler subscribed to put a stone over the poor man's grave? Not one!
Furthermore, this sin is the source of uncounted dishonesties. The game of gambling itself is often a cheat. How many tricks and deceptions in the dealing of the cards! The opponent's hand is ofttimes found out by fraud. Cards are marked so that they may be designated from the back. Expert gamesters have their accomplices, and one wink may decide the game. The dice have been found 'loaded' with platina, so that "doublets" come up every time. These dice are introduced by the gamblers unobserved by the honest men who have come into the play; and this accounts for the fact that ninety-nine out of a hundred who gamble, however wealthy they began, at the end are found to be poor, miserable, ragged wretches, that would not now be allowed to sit on the door-step of the house that they once owned.
In a gambling-house in San Francisco, a young man having just come from the mines deposited a large sum upon the ace, and won twenty-two thousand dollars. But the tide turns. Intense anxiety comes upon the countenances of all. Slowly the cards went forth. Every eye is fixed. Not a sound is heard, until the ace is revealed favorable to the bank. There are shouts of "Foul! Foul!" but the keepers of the table produce their pistols and the uproar is silenced, and the bank has won ninety-five thousand dollars. Do you call this a game of chance? There is no chance about it. But these dishonesties in the carrying on of the game are nothing when compared with the frauds which are committed in order to get money to go on with the nefarious work.
Gambling, with its greedy hand, has snatched away the widow's mite and the portion of the orphans; has sold the daughter's virtue to get means to continue the game! Gambling has written the counterfeit signature, emptied the banker's money vault, and wielded the assassin's dagger. There is no depth of baseness to which it will not stoop. There is no cruelty at which it is appalled. There is no warning of God which it will not dare. Merciless, unappeasable, fierce and wild—it blinds, it hardens, it rends, it blasts, it crushes, it damns! It has peopled the prisons and mental institutions. How many railroad agents, and cashiers, and trustees of funds, it has driven to disgrace, incarceration, and suicide!
Witness a cashier of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, who stole one hundred and three thousand dollars to carry on his gambling practices. Witness the forty thousand dollars stolen from a Brooklyn bank; and the one hundred and eighty thousand dollars taken from a Wall Street Insurance Company for the same purpose! These are only illustrations on a large scale of the robberies every day committed for the purpose of carrying out the designs of gamblers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars every year leak out without observation from the merchant's til—into the gambling hell. A man in London keeping one of these gambling houses, boasted that he had ruined a nobleman in one day; but if all the saloons of this land were to speak out, they would utter a more infamous boast, for they have destroyed a thousand noblemen a year.
Notice also the effect of this crime upon domestic happiness. It has sent its ruthless ploughshare through hundreds of families, until the wife sat in rags, and the daughters were disgraced, and the sons grew up to the same infamous practices, or took a short cut to destruction across the murderer's scaffold. Home has lost all charms for the gambler. How tame are the children's caresses and a wife's devotion, to the gambler! How drearily the fire burns on the domestic hearth! There must be louder laughter, and something to win and something to lose; an excitement to drive the heart faster and warm the blood and fire the imagination. No home, however bright, can keep back the gamester. The sweet call of love bounds back from his iron soul, and all endearments are consumed in the flame of his passion. The family Bible will go, after all other treasures are lost; and if his everlasting crown in heaven were put into his hand he would cry: "Here goes, one more game, my boys! On this one throw I stake my crown of heaven!"
A young man in London, on coming of age, received a fortune of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and through gambling in three years was thrown on his mother for support. An only son went to New Orleans. He was rich, intellectual, and elegant in manners. His parents gave him, on his departure from home, their last blessing. The sharpers got hold of him. They flattered him. They lured him to the gambling-table and let him win almost every time, for a good while, and patted him on the back and said, "First-rate player." But, fully in their grasp, they fleeced him; and his thirty thousand dollars were lost. Last of all he put up his watch and lost that. Then he began to think of home and of his old father and mother, and wrote thus—
"My beloved parents,
You will doubtless feel a momentary joy at the reception of this letter from the child of your bosom, on whom you have lavished all the favors of your declining years. But should a feeling of joy for a moment spring up in your hearts when you shall have received this from me—cherish it not. I have fallen deep—never to rise. Those gray hairs that I should have honored and protected—I shall bring down with sorrow to the grave. I will not curse my destroyer—but oh! may God avenge the wrongs and impositions practiced upon the unwary in a way that shall best please Him. This, my dear parents, is the last letter you will ever receive from me. I humbly pray your forgiveness. It is my dying prayer. Long before you shall have received this letter from me, the cold grave will have closed upon me forever. Life is to me insupportable. I cannot, nay, I will not suffer the shame of having ruined you. Forget and forgive is the dying prayer of your unfortunate son."
The old father came to the post-office, got the letter, and fell to the floor. They thought he was dead at first; but they brushed back the white hair from his brow and fanned him. He had only fainted. I wish he had been dead; for what is life worth to a father—after his son is destroyed? When things go wrong at a gambling-table, they shout "Foul! foul!" Over all the gambling-tables of the world I cry out "Foul! foul! Infinitely foul!"
In modern days, in addition to the other forms of gambling, have come up the thoroughly organized and, in some States, legalized institution of lotteries. There are hundreds of citizens on the way to ruin, through the lottery system. Some of the finest establishments in town are by this process being demolished, and the whole land feels the exhaustion of this accumulating evil. The wheel of Fortune is the Juggernaut which is crushing out the life of this nation. The records of the Insolvent Court of one city show that, in five years, two hundred thousand dollars were lost by dealing in lottery tickets. All the officers of the celebrated Bank of the United States who failed, were found to have expended the money embezzled for lottery tickets. A man drew in a lottery fifty thousand dollars, sold his ticket for forty-two thousand five hundred dollars, and yet did not have enough to pay the charges against him for lottery tickets. He owed the brokers forty-five thousand dollars. An editor writes—"A man who, a few years ago, was blessed with about twenty thousand dollars (lottery money), yesterday applied to us for ninepence to pay for a night's lodging." A highly respectable gentleman drew twenty thousand dollars in a lottery; bought more tickets, and drew again; bought more—drew more largely; then rushed down headlong until he became a vagabond, and his children were picked up from the street half starved and almost naked. A hard-working machinist wins a thousand dollars; thenceforth he is disgusted with work, opens a rum grocery, is utterly debauched, and people go in his store to find him dead, close beside his rum-cask.
It would take a pen plucked from the wing of the destroying angel and dipped in blood, to describe this lottery business. A man committed suicide in New York, and upon his person was found a card of address giving a grog-shop as his boarding house, three blank lottery tickets, and a leaf from Seneca's Morals, containing an apology for self-murder. One lottery in London was followed by the suicide of fifty people who held unlucky numbers. There are men now, with lottery tickets in their pocket, which, if they have not sense enough to tear up or throw into the fire—will be their admission ticket at the door of the damned! As the brazen gates swing open they will show their tickets, and pass in and pass down. As the wheel of eternal Fortune turns slowly round, they will find that the doom of those who have despised God and imperilled their souls—will be their awful prize.
God forbid that you, my reader, should ever take to yourself the lamentation of the Boston clerk, who, in eight months, had embezzled eighteen thousand dollars from his employer and expended it all in lottery tickets. "I have for the last seven months gone fast down the broad road. There was a time, and that but a few months since, when I was happy, because I was free from debt and care. The moment of the first steps in my downfall was about the middle of last June, when I took a share in a company, bought lottery tickets whereby I was successful in obtaining a share of one-half of the capital prize, since which I have gone for myself. I have lived and dragged out a miserable existence for two or three months past. Oh, that the seven or eight months past of my existence could be blotted out; but I must go, and, before this paper is read, my spirit has gone to my Maker, to give an account of my misdeeds here, and to receive the eternal sentence for self-destruction and abused confidence. Relatives and friends I have, from whom I do not wish to part under such circumstances, but necessity compels. Oh, wretch! lottery tickets have been my ruin! But I cannot add more."
There are multitudes of people who disapprove of ordinary lotteries, yet have been thoroughly deceived by iniquity under a more attractive nomenclature. The lottery in which our most highly respectable and Christian people invest is some "Art Association," or some benevolent enterprise, in which they fondly believe there can be no harm! At no time have lottery tickets been sown so broadcast as today, notwithstanding the law forbids the old-style lottery. A few years ago our newspapers flamed with the advertisements of the Crosby Opera House scheme. A citizen of Chicago, finding on his hands an unprofitable building, calls upon the whole country to help him out. Rooms are opened in all the great cities. In rush, not the abandoned and the reprobate (for they like the old styles of swindling better)—but the educated and refined and polished, until a multitude of people are in imminent peril of having thrown upon their hands a splendid Opera House. Philadelphia buys thirty thousand dollars worth of tickets. The portentous day approaches. The rail trains from many of the prominent cities bring in dignified "Committees" who come to see that the great abomination is conducted in a decent and Christian manner. The throng presses in. Hold fast your tickets, all you respectable New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and Bostonians, for the wheel begins to move. The long agony is over!
Hundreds of thousands of people have made a narrow escape from being ruined by sudden affluence. Swift horses are despatched, that, foam-lathered, dash up to the house of him who owns the successful ticket. The lightnings tell it to the four winds of heaven, and our weekly pictorials hasten forward the photographers to take the picture of the famous man who owned the ticket numbered 58,600. Multitudes think that there has been foul play, and that, after all, they themselves, if the truth were known, did draw the Opera House. Ten years from now there will stand on the scaffold, or behind the prison door, or in the lonely room in which the suicide writes his farewell to wife or parents—men who will say that the first misstep of their life that put them on the wrong road was the ticket they bought in the Crosby Opera House. The man who won that prize is already dead of his dissipations, and, strange to say, the beautiful building thus raffled away was found to be owned by its original possessor when all the excitement in regard to the matter had died away. I care not on what street the office was, nor who were the abettors of the undertaking, nor who bought the tickets. I pronounce the whole scheme to have been a swindle, a crime, and an insult to God and the nation.
In this class of gambler-makers I also put the "gift stores," which are becoming abundant throughout the country. With a book, or knife, or sewing machine, or coat, or carriage—there goes a prize. At those stores people get something thrown in with their purchase. It may be a gold watch or a set of silver, a ring or a farm. Sharp way to get off unsalable goods! It has filled the land with fictitious articles and covered up our population with brass finger-rings, and despoiled the moral sense of the community, and is fast making us a nation of gamblers.
The Church has not seemed willing to allow the world to have all the advantage of these games of chance. A church fair opens, and towards the close it is found that some of the more valuable articles are unsalable. Forthwith the conductors of the enterprise conclude that they will raffle for some of the valuable articles, and, under pretense of anxiety to make their minister a present, or please some popular member of the church, fascinating people are despatched through the room, pencil in hand, to "solicit" shares; or perhaps each draws for his own advantage, and scores of people go home with their trophies, thinking that all is right, for Christian ladies did the embroidery, and Christian men did the raffling, and the proceeds went towards a new communion set. But you may depend on it that, as far as morality is concerned, you might as well have won by the crack of the billiard-ball or the turn of the dice-box.
Some good people cannot stand this raffling, and so, at fairs, they go to "voting," sometimes for editors, and sometimes for ministers, at a dollar a vote. Now the Methodist minister is ahead; now the Presbyterian leads, and now the Baptist. But, just at the last moment, when one of the ministers of the more popular sect seems sure to get the prize, the members from some obscure denomination, that do not deserve the prize, come in, and by a large contribution carry off for their minister the silver tea-set. Do you wonder that churches built, lighted, or upholstered by such processes as that, come to great financial and spiritual decrepitude? The devil says: "I helped build that house of worship, and I have as much right there as you have;" and for once the devil is right.
We do not read that they had a lottery for building the church at Corinth or Antioch, or for getting up a gold-headed cane or for an embroidered surplice for the apostle Paul. All this, I style ecclesiastical gambling. More than one man who is destroyed, can say that his first step on the wrong road was when he won something at a church fair!
The gambling spirit has not stopped for any indecency. There lately transpired, in Maryland, a lottery in which people drew for lots in a cemetery! The modern habit of betting about everything is productive of immense mischief. The most healthful and innocent amusements of yachting and baseball playing, have been the occasion of putting up excited and extravagant wagers. That which to many has been advantageous to body and mind—has been to others the means of financial and moral loss. The custom is pernicious in the extreme, where scores of men in respectable life give themselves up to betting, now on this boat now on that—now on the Atlantics and now on the Athletics. Betting, that once was chiefly the accompaniment of the race-course, is fast becoming a national habit, and in some circles any opinion advanced on finance or politics is accosted with the interrogatory, "How much will you bet on that, sir?" This custom may make no appeal to slow, lethargic temperaments, but there are in the country, tens of thousands of nervous, excitable temperaments which are ready to be acted upon, and their feet will soon take hold on death. For some months and perhaps for years they will linger in the more polite and elegant circle of gamesters—but, after a while, their pathway will come to the fatal plunge. Finding themselves in the rapids, they will try to back out, and, hurled over the brink, they will clutch the side of the boat until their finger-nails, blood-tipped, will pierce the wood, and then, with white cheek and agonized stare, and the horrors of the lost soul lifting the very hair from the scalp, they will plunge down where no grappling hooks can drag them out.
Young man! stand back from all styles of gambling! The end thereof is death! The gamblers enter the ten-pin alley where are husbands, brothers, and fathers. "Put down your thousand dollars all in gold eagles! Let the boy set up the pins at the other end of the alley! Now stand back, and give the gamester full sweep! Roll the first—there! it strikes! and down goes his respectability. Try it again. Roll the second—there! it strikes! and down goes the last feeling of humanity. Try it again. Roll the third—there! it strikes! and down goes his soul forever! It was not so much the pins which fell—as the soul! the soul!
Shall I sketch the history of the gambler? Lured by bad company, he finds his way into a place where honest men ought never to go. He sits down to his first game only for pastime and the desire of being thought sociable. The players deal out the cards. They unconsciously play into Satan's hands, who takes all the tricks, and both the players' souls for trumps—he being a sharper at any game. A slight stake is put up just to add interest to the play. Game after game is played. Larger stakes and still larger. They begin to move nervously on their chairs. Their brows lower and eyes flash, until now, those who win and they who lose, fired alike with passion, sit with set jaws, and compressed lips, and clenched fists, and eyes like fire-balls that seem starting from their sockets, to see the final turn before it comes; if losing, pale with envy and tremulous with unuttered oaths cast back red-hot upon the heart—or, winning, with hysteric laugh—"Ha! Ha! I have it! I have it!"
A few years have passed, and he is only the wreck of a man. Seating himself at the game before he throws the first card, he stakes the last relic of his wife—the marriage-ring which sealed the solemn vows between them. The game is lost, and, staggering back in exhaustion, he dreams. The bright hours of the past mock his agony, and in his dreams, fiends, with eyes of fire and tongues of flame, circle about him with joined hands, to dance and sing their orgies with hellish chorus, chanting—"Hail! brother!" kissing his clammy forehead until their loathsome locks, flowing with serpents, crawl into his bosom and sink their sharp fangs and suck up his life's blood, and coiling around his heart pinch it with unutterable pains!
Take warning! You are no stronger than tens of thousands who have, by this practice, been overthrown. No young man in our cities can escape being tempted. Beware of the first beginnings! This road is a down-grade, and every instant increases the momentum. Launch not upon this treacherous sea. Split hulks strew the beach. Everlasting storms howl up and down, tossing the unwary crafts into the Hell-gate. I speak of what I have seen with my own eyes. I have looked off into the abyss and have seen the foaming, and the hissing, and the whirling of the horrid deep in which the mangled victims writhed, one upon another, and struggled, strangled, blasphemed, and died—the death-stare of eternal despair upon their countenances as the waters gurgled over them. To a gambler's death-bed there comes no hope. He will probably die alone. His former associates come not near his dwelling. When the hour comes, his miserable soul will go out of a miserable life—into a miserable eternity. As his poor remains pass the house where he was ruined, old companions may look out a moment and say—"There goes the old carcass—dead at last," but they will not get up from the table. Let him down now into his grave. Plant no tree to cast its shade there, for the long, deep, eternal gloom that settles there, is shadow enough. Plant no "forget-me-nots" or daisies around the spot, for flowers were not made to grow on such a blasted heath. Visit it not in the sunshine, for that would be mockery—but in the dismal night, when no stars are out, and the spirits of darkness come down horsed on the wind, then visit the grave of the gambler!