Immagini della pagina

wake up.

only sound he heard for many minutes, He couldn't see him, she whined. until, at last, pattering feet neared him He was asleep up there, on the table. on the inside, and a child's voice asked At one o'clock he had said he would who was there. To his friendly response the door was opened half-wide, He pushed past her, mounted to the and Vögelein's blank, pretty face peep- long room, pressed open the unfastened ed through.

door, and entered. Was Herr Lebensfunke at home ? The old man and the corpse of his No;, he had said that he wasn't at former self lay together under the light home; but then, she thought he was of a lamp that swung from the beam in the long room where mamma went overhead. An insulated carbon point to sleep. Could he be seen ? No, she was directed to each white, still breast. thought not; he was very tired, and, From the old man's hand a cord ran to in her own-Vögelein's - opinion, he a key beyond, arranged to make or was going to sleep too, just as mamma break connection at a touch. By it did. And the wizened little face, with stood a clock, with a simple mechanits eldritch eyes and tangled hair, was ism attached that bore upon a second withdrawn, and the door began to close. key like the first, evidently planned to Ronald forced himself inside, and grasp- press upon it when the hands should ed the child's arm.

mark a given hour. The child had “ Vögelein, don't you know me?" said that he would wake at one, and it

The girl, in nowise startled, gravely was now past midnight. set her flickering candle on the door- Ronald Wyde comprehended it all step, looked up at him wonderingly, as now. The wily old man's feeble life if he were an exhibition, and said she had been withdrawn into the great thought not, unless he had been asleep magnet, and mixed therein with what on the table.

remained of his own. In less than an “Good heavens!” cried Ronald, “can hour the key would fall, and the double this child talk of nothing but people stream would flow into and animate his asleep on a table ?"

young body, which would then wake But, as he spoke, a thought whirred to renewed life; while the cast-off shell through his brain. He drew the poor beside it, worn to utter uselessness by half-witted thing close to him and ask- a toilsome century, would be left to ed:

moulder as a mothed garment. “Can Vögelein tell me something Surely no time was to be lost; his life about mamma, and how she went to depended upon instant action. And yet, sleep?"

comprehending this, he went to work The child rambled on, pleased to find slowly, and as a somnambulist might, a listener to her foolish prattle. All he acting almost by instinct, and well could connect into a narrative was, that knowing that a blunder now meant irthe girl's mother, some seven or eight revocable death. years before, had been drained of her

Carefully disengaging the cord from life by the awful magnet, and that, as the old man's yet warm grasp, and setthe child said, "the Herr Doctor ever ting the carbon point aside, he lifted since had talked just like mamma.” the shrivelled corpse and bore it away,

His dread was well founded, then. to cast it on the white rubbish-heap in The old man's one dream and aim was one corner. Returning to his work, he to prolong his wretched life; could he stripped himself, and laid down in the doubt that he would not now make use old man's place. As he did so, the disof the means he had so unwisely thrown tant Minster bells rang the three quarin his way? He turned about, half mad- ters. dened.

Was there yet time? “ Girl !” he cried, “I must see the He braced his shoulders firmly against old man! Where is he?"

the brass plate under them, and moved VOL. VI.-11

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

than saw,

the carbon point steadily back to its with each beat of its mighty steam-heart place, with its tip resting on his breast; carried him further away, his thoughts the silk-wrapped wire that dangled be- flew back and clustered around witless, tween it and the magnet quivering, as brown-eyed birdling. Poor child, he he did so, as with conscious life. Draw- never learned her fate. ing a long breath, he tightened the cord, and heard a faint click as the key snap- I heard this strange story from its ped down.

hero, one sunny summer morning as we The same sharp sting as before in- swept over the meadowy reaches of the stantly pricked his breast, tingling Erie Railway, or hung along the cliffthrills pulsed over him, beats of light side by the wooded windings of the and shadow swept before his eyes, and Susquehanna. When he had ended it, he lost all consciousness. For how long he smiled languidly, and, showing me he knew not. At last he felt, rather his still-mutilated hand, said that the

the lamp-rays flickering above old doctor's job had been a sad bungle, him, and opened his eyes as though wak- after all. In fact, the only physical ing from a tired sleep. Sitting up, he proof that remained to verify his story, gave a fearful look around him, as if was a curved blue spot where the indreading what he might see. The going current from the magnet had cardrunkard's body lay stretched and mo- ried particles from the carbon point and tionless beside him, and the clock mark- lodged them beneath the skin. Psychoed three. He was saved !

logically, he was sadly mixed up, he Slipping down from his perilous bed, said ; for, Since that time, he had felt he resumed the old familiar garments that four lives were joined in bim-his that belonged to him as Ronald Wyde, own, the remnant of Herr Lebensfunke's shuddering with emotion as he did so. miserable hoard merged in that of poor Only pausing to give one look at the birdling's mother, and, last of all, Hans pale heap in the shadowy corner, and Kraut's. at the other sleeper under the now dy- He left the cars soon afterward at ing lamp, he quitted the room and lock- Binghampton, watchfully followed by ed its heavy door upon the two silent a stout, shabby man with a three days' guardians of its life-secrets. When he beard stubbling his chin, who had occureached the street, he found the rain pied the seat in front of us, and had had ceased to drop, and that the cold turned now and then to listen for å mostars blinked over the slumbrous town. ment to Ronald's rapid narration.

Before noon he had taken leave of A week later, and I heard that he Frau Spritzkrapfen, turned buxom Lott- was dead—having committed suicide in chen scarlet all over by a hearty, sud- a fit of delirium soon after his admisden farewell-kiss, and was far on his sion to the Binghampton Inebriate Asyway from Freiberg, with its red-vined lum. The attendant who made him balcony and its dark laboratory, never ready for burial noticed a singular blue again to visit it or them. And as the mark on his left breast, that looked, he busy engine toiled and shrieked, and said, a little like a horse-shoe magnet.



INEBRIATE asylums are expensive, and the carbon takes its place, and its inbesides, not unnaturally offend, in fluence is observable in the deadening their very designation, a kind of pride of all the faculties, the partial paralysis -false, if you choose-which every of the nerves and muscles, as observable man possesses to a more or less degree. in its effect on articulation and locomo

Their expense, too, usually falls on the tion; lastly the brain sinks under the friends of those whom they are designed deadly influence, and anesthesia more to benefit, and, for these and other or less complete, ensues. reasons, we propose to show that any But previous to anæsthesia, the brain man thus painfully situated may, if he acts with abnormal power. The passions chooses, illustrate for himself, and in become stimulated, and in this condi. himself, the title of this article.

tion, the inebriate performs acts comHabitual inebriety presents a condi- monly only ascribed to insanity or tion when the brain, being soddened idiocy. and dulled by the long and extravagant Now, while this over-stimulated conuse of the various poisons known under dition exists, it is impossible to regain the general name of “ardent spirits," the will-power, and here begins the refuses to respond to the will-power. treatment by which the unhappy victim Secondly, when the stomach, by long may of himself, and by himself, become custom, has so habituated itself to these his own “inebriate asylum,” with no stimulants that it takes to itself the loss of dignity, and regain his lost manprerogative of the will-power, and suc- hood by the exercise of a vital force, cessfully demands their continuance. fairly Godlike in its nature.

Thus this morbid condition becomes This article is not addressed-for it a true physical disease, and must be would be useless, and is unnecessarytreated as such. Of course, the final to those bestial beings, whose animal result to be attained is total abstinence passions naturally direct them to crimifrom the evil habit.

nal excesses, and whose loss to the But this result cannot be reached at world, should it occur from such or any once, because, first, of the inability of other cause, would be nil. the will to act through the brain and It is addressed to those, who, by deli. enforce the desire; and second, because cate temperament, uncongenial associathe intensified and abnormal condition tions, or over-laboriousness, have fallen of the stomach will not admit, with from their high and holy estate through safety to the physical system, of the the very means which they have adopted sudden reaction.

by which to sustain themselves and to The change must be effected gradually, keep alight, yet a little longer, the fires and the first step is to restore the brain

of hope. to its normal activity; afterward the Suppose, then, one of these, a sad and reorganization and establishment of the frail relic of departed nobility, with digestive and other functions may be the slumbering and nearly dead ashes safely attempted.

of his intellect and his aspirations The effects of alcoholic stimulants occasionally flickering up with a spark upon the system are twofold: stimula- of the old vitality. Suppose one who, tive and anæsthetic. At first the oxygen, for years, according to the strength of set free, courses through the circulation, his constitution, has battled, with the exalting all the functions to the per- aid of this deceitful ally, against a host formance of extraordinary tasks. Then of trials and annoyances, suddenly, by

[ocr errors]



one of those occasional visions of him.

forgotten, and that his hard fight is beself, which God graciously grants some- ing fought among those who love him, times to the most degraded, finds within and admire tlle renewed strength which him a new determination awakened, to daily animates him and enables him to burst out of the chains that have en- struggle successfully; and not among thralled him, and to become again what strangers who treat his case purely he has been, and more; and then finds from a scientific and routine point of the old, sinking, crushing feeling come view; his earnestness and determinaover him, that tells him he is a slave. tion are redoubled, and he nears the What shall he do?

victory. One thing is certain : there can be no Having then gained this temporary diminuendo in this.

asylum, we will say that he drinks his There is no “tapering off” with the usual allowance of liquor, and retires to devil.

bed in his usual condition of inebriety. Either he bas got you, or he has not He has taken care, in his steadier got you.

moments, to provide himself with The first part of the medical treat- twelve twenty-grain powders of Broment in this physical disease requires mide of Potassium, which he will get the immediate removal of the patient at a first-class drug-store, on presenting from all disturbing influences, of what the following prescription, which he ever nature.

can either obtain from a physician, or There must be no noisy children write for himself; but it is best to subabout, no quarreling women, no scan- mit it to a physician before presenting : dal-mongers pouring out their distilled renom to jar upon his nerves, and disturb his spirit: he must have absolute quiet and repose.

Potassii Bromidi 3 ij. But to obtain this, there need not be

Signa. vi. Pulv. recourse to an asylum.

(Smith) There is none so poor, who is worthy to be saved, who has not a friend.

Now it has been the regular custom, Let him then reach some such friend, and the daily necessity of this unfortutrust and confide in him, and obtain the nate, for months—perhaps for years, required shelter, rest, and attendance, for to stimulate into renewed power the a few days.

brain and nerves, suffering after a Not for months, during which new night's abstinence from their daily habits of thought are formed and old food, perhaps with one, two, or more business relations become broken off, cocktails," or quantities of greater or and the man falls again into his old less extent of clear spirits. place utterly forgotten, and unable to He wakens from his stupor or trouregain the threads of his lost identity. bled slumber, with his nerves all jarring, Not in constant, daily association with his muscles refusing to carry his tottersuch, from every walk in life, as have ing frame across the room; his tongue no other congeniality with him but the nearly paralyzed ; his stomach nausepainful one of similarity of disease, an ated; his brain crazed and inflamed ; association demoralizing in its very and he has recourse to the only thing nature; but among his friends, and he knows-poor creature, abandoned those who know him, and form a con- of men !-that will enable him to set stant bond of union with the great about his daily and requisite tasks. world he loves and lives in.

But now he has given himself a twoHe may continue his relations with weeks' holiday, and his friends have business and society by correspondence promised to see him through,"-and and by visits; and soothed and strength- will keep their promise, for it is sacred; ened by the knowledge that he is not and so he need not get out of bed at

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

all, and one horrible fear is removed brain; he slumbers for an instant, and at once.

is wakened by a spasm; cramps assail Now he takes one of his twenty-grain his limbs, and he kicks them out; if a powders of Bromide of Potassium, and pin drops it has the reverberation of a the internal conflict begins. It is a ten-pin ; spots, black and white, dance mortal fight with the foul Fiend him- before his eyes, open or closed; hideous self.

faces glare at him, and change and The patient has no cares, no thoughts. change like the patterns of a kaleidoSome one smooths his pillows, shuts scope; out of the pocket of his coat, out the bright light which would tor- hanging over yonder, there comes a ture his eyes, airs the room to suit wheel, which increases itself, and whirls him, and he feels once more as though spirally in the air toward him, till it he were a child again, nursed by his vanishes under his very eyes, and still, mother.

behind all this phantasmagoria, he He does not want to eat, and he need hears a soft musical voice saying, "Be not eat, for he has nothing to do but to not afraid! You shall win the fight!” lie still and fight, fight! Ah! There And by-and-by the sedative which he is the point. And now he shall show has taken, and which has insidiously of what stuff he is made.

been seeking out the enemy's weak For there is no sterner, as there is no point all this time, finds it, and the nobler, battle waged than this conflict patient falls into a sleep, the first naof the sick man with himself and with tural sleep he has had for years. the devil who has gotten possession of But he wakes again to find the conbim.

flict going on harder than ever, and the At first the system, surprised by this craving stronger; and he takes a secnovel condition of things, waits, pa- ond powder, say three hours after the tiently enough, for its usual morning first, and a third at nightfall; and so corrective; but, at length, grown weary the day passes. of waiting, and becoming even impa- The second day is worse than the tient

as the best-regulated systems, not first. The fancies are intensified; the to speak of ill-regulated ones, sometimes system is coming out from under the will—it begins to make itself heard. alcoholic influence; and the reaction is

Now it is to be understood that the the more terrible. But there must be motive of this article and its prime no flinching now! Keeping continually intention are, to show what the will before the mind, as it becomes clearer, power of man, though subdued and the determination to crush out and root crucified and stifled and subjected to out, at any cost, this vile enemy to the vilest slavery of earth, will do, if health and progress, the sufferer may the man be a man, without the aid of also remember that each hour brings asylums or other public and extraneous him more and more under the influence aid.

of his only friend, and each hour imThe fight is between the divinity of proves his condition and increases his man and the power of evil, and the ability to continue the conflict successbattlefield is the beautiful physical fully. structure, which, we are told, is “made Food should not be taken, unless in the image of God," while the gage is urgently desired, and then it should be an immortal soul.

of the most nutritious character. There is a gnawing at the pit of the Broths of fowl or beef; steak, and stomach, cold sweats crawl up and such other meats as are best calculated down the body; the skin is clammy; to preserve the tone of the stomach, are the head swims around and about; the to be preferred. muscles become completely relaxed ; Let the patient satisfy himself through the nervous system is entirely unstrung; all that, by this treatment, he must suc"strange dreams perplex” the dozing ceed. If his paroxysms become stronger

[ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »