Dream by T. S. Arthur
"HOW much have you taken in to-day, Sandy?" asked a modern
rum-seller of his bar-tender, after the doors and windows of his
attractive establishment were closed for the night.
"Only about a dollar, Mr. Graves. I never saw such dull times in my
"Only about a dollar! Too bad! too bad! I shall be ruined at this
"I really don't know what ails the people now. But 'spose it's
these blamenation temperance folks that's doin' all the mischief."
"We must get up something new, Sandy;—something to draw attention
to our house."
"So I've been a thinkin'. Can't we get George Washington Dixon to
walk a plank for us? That would draw crowds, you know; and then every
feller almost that we got in here would take a drink."
"We can't get him, Sandy. He's secured over at the—. But, any
how, the people are getting up to that kind of humbuggery; and I'm
afraid, that, like the Indian's gun, it would cost in the end more
than it came to."
"Couldn't we get a maremaid?"
"Yes, a maremaid. You know they had one in town t'other day. It
would be a prime move, if we could only do it. We might fix her up
here, just back of where I stand, so that every feller who called to
see it would have to come up to the bar, front-face. There'd be no
backing out then, you know, without ponying up for a drink. No one
would be mean enough, after seeing a real maremaid for nothing, to go
away without shelling out a fip for a glass of liquor."
"Nonsense, Sandy! Where are we to get a mermaid?"
"Where did they get that one from?"
"That was brought from Japan; and was a monkey's head and body
sewed on to a fish's tail,—so they say;"
"Well, can't we send to Japan as well as any one? And as to its
being a monkey's head on a fish's tail, that's no concern. It would
only make a better gull-trap."
"And wait some two years before it arrived? Humph! If that's the
only thing that will save me, I shall go to the dogs in spite of
"Don't swear, Mr. Graves. It's a bad habit, though I am guilty of
it myself,"—the bar-tender said, with vulgar familiarity. "But, why
need we wait two years for a maremaid?"
"Did you ever study geography, Sandy?"
"Why, the maps, at school."
"I warn't never to school."
"Then you don't know how far Japan is from here?"
"Not exactly. But 'spose it's some twenty or thirty miles."
"Twenty or thirty miles! It's t'other side of the world!"
"O, dear! Then we can't get a maremaid, after all. But 'spose we
try and get a live snake."
"That won't do."
"A live snake is no great curiosity."
"Yes, but you know we could call it some outlandish name; or say
that it was dug up fifty feet below the ground, out of a solid rock,
and was now all alive and doin' well."
"It wouldn't do, Sandy."
"Now I think it would, prime."
"It might if these temperance folks were not so confounded thick
about here, interfering with a man and preventing him making an
honest living. If it wasn't for them, I should be clearing five or
ten dollars a day, as easy as nothing."
"Confound them! I say," was Sandy's hearty response; while he
clenched his fist, and ground his teeth together. "If I had a rope
round the necks of every mother's son of 'em, wouldn't I serve 'em as
old Julus Cesar did the Hottentots? Wouldn't I though! But what could
they say or do about it, Mr. Graves."
"They'd pretty quick put it on to us in their temperance papers
about the good device we had. They'd talk pretty fast about the
serpent that seduced Eve, and all that. No, blast 'em! A snake won't
"How will a monkey do?"
"A monkey might answer, if he was a little cuter than common. But
we can't get one handy."
"Try a band of music."
"That would soon wear out; and then we should have to get up
something else, and the people would suspect us of trying to gull
"Then what is to be done, Mr. Graves? We can never stand it at this
"I'm sure I don't know." And the rum-seller leaned upon his bar,
and looked quite sad and dejected.
"I wonder what has become of Bill Riley?" he at length asked,
rising up with a sigh. "He hasn't been here for a week."
"Dick Hilton told me to-day that he believed he had joined the
"I feared as much. He was one of my very best customers; worth a
clear dollar and a half a week to me, above the cost of the liquors,
the year round. And Tom Jones? Where can he be?"
"Tom Jones?" in surprise.
"It's a fact. They got him on the same night Bill Riley was
"Foolish fellow, to go and throw himself away in that style! Them
temperance men will get from him every dollar he can earn, to build
Temperance Halls, and get up processions, and buy clothes for lazy,
loafing vagabonds, that had a great sight better be sent to the
poorhouse. It is too bad. My very blood boils when I think what fools
"And there's Harry Peters,—Dick Hilton told me that he'd gone,
"Not Harry Peters, surely!"
"Yes. He hasn't been near our house for several days.
"Well, something must be done to get up a new set of customers, or
we are gone. We must invent some new drink."
"What shall it be?"
"O, that's no consequence. The name must be taking."
"Have you thought of one?"
"No, Can't you think of something?"
"Well—Let me see. But I'm sure I don't know what would do."
"What do you think of 'Bank Stock?' That would attract attention."
"I can't say that I like it."
"Most too vulgar."
"So I think myself. Suppose we call it a 'Mummy?'"
"I'm afraid it wouldn't go. It ought to have 'Imperial,' or
'Nectar,' or something like that about it."
"O, yes, I see your notion. But they've all been used up long ago.
It must be some entirely new name, which, at the same time, will hit
a popular idea. As 'Tariff,' or 'Compromise.'"
"I see now. Well, can't you hammer out something?"
"I must try. Let me see. How will 'Sub-Treasury' do?"
"Capital! 'Graves' Sub-Treasury' will be just the thing. You see,
the young-fellows will say—'Why, what kind of a new drink is this
they've been getting up, down at the Harmony House?'
"'I don't know—What is it?'
"'The Sub-Treasury, they call it.'
"'Have you tried it yet?'
"'Well, come, let's give him a call. Novelty, you know, is the
order of the day.'
"That's the way these matters work, Mr. Graves. But how are you
going to make it?"
"I've not thought of that. But anything will do. Liquor tastes good
to 'em any way you choose to fix it."
"True enough. You can leave that part to me. I'll hatch up
something that will tickle as it goes down, and make 'em wish their
throats were a mile long, that they might taste it all the way."
"Have you tried Graves' new drink yet, Joe?" asked one young man of
another, a day or two after the conversation just noted took place.
"No.—What is it?"
"Sub-Treasury? That must be something new. I wonder what it is?"
"I've just been wondering the same thing. Suppose we go down and
"I was about swearing off from ever tasting another drop of liquor.
But, I believe I will try a 'Sub-Treasury' with you, just for the fun
of the thing."
"Well, come along then."
And so the two started off for the Harmony House.
"Give us a couple of Sub-Treasuries," said one of them as they
entered; and forthwith a couple of glasses filled with mixed liquors,
crushed ice, lemonpeel, and snow-white sugar, were prepared, and a
straw placed in each, through which the young men "imbibed" the new
"Really, this is fine, Nelson!" said the one, called Joe, smacking
"It is, indeed. You'll make your fortune out of this, Graves."
"Do you think so?" the pleased liquor-seller responded, with a
broad smile of satisfaction.
"I've not the least doubt of it," Joe, or Joseph Bancroft,
said,—"I had half resolved to join the temperance society this day.
But your 'Sub-Treasury' has shaken my resolution. I shall never be
able to do it now in this world, nor in the next, either, if I can
only get you in the same place with me to make 'Sub-Treasury!' Ha! ha!
"A Sub-Treasury," said another young man, coming up to the bar.
"Here, landlord, let us have one of your—what do you call 'em? O,
Sub-Treasuries!" was the request of another.
"Hallo, Sandy! What new-fangled stuff is this you've got?" broke in
a half-drunken creature, staggering up, and holding on to the
bar-railing. "Let us have one, will you?"
Both Sandy and Graves were now kept as busy as they could be,
mixing liquors and serving customers. The advertisement which had been
inserted in two or three of the morning papers, in the following
words, had answered fully the rum-sellers' expectations.
"Drop in at the HARMONY HOUSE, and try a 'Sub-Treasury.' 'What is a
Sub-Treasury?' you ask. Come and see for yourself, and taste for
yourself. Old Graves' word for it, you'll never want anything else to
wet your whistle with, as long as you live."
All through the forenoon the run was kept up steadily, dozens of
new faces appearing at the bar, and cheering the heart of the
tavern-keeper with the prospect of a fresh set of customers. About
two o'clock, succeeded a pause.
"That works admirably,—don't it, Sandy?" said Mr. Graves, as soon
as the bar-room was perfectly clear, for the first time, since
"Indeed, it does. They havn't given me time to blow. But aint some
folks easily gulled?"
"Easily enough, Sandy. This Sub-Treasury they think something
wonderful. But it's only rum after all, by another name, and in a
little different form. A 'cobbler,' or a 'julep' has lost its
attractions; but get up some new name for an old compound, and you go
all before the wind again."
"I think we might tempt some of the new converts to temperance with
this. Bill Riley, for instance."
"No doubt. I'll see if I can't come across Bill; he is too good a
customer to lose."
And so saying, Mr. Graves retired from the bar-room, to get his
dinner, feeling better satisfied with himself than he had been for a
long time. After eating heartily, and drinking freely, he went into
his handsomely furnished parlour, and reclined himself upon a sofa,
thinking still, and with a pleasurable emotion that warmed his bosom,
of the success of his expedient to draw custom. He had been lying
down, it seemed to him, but a few moments, when a tap at the door, to
which he responded with a loud "come in," was followed by the entrance
of a thin, pale, haggard-looking creature, her clothes soiled, and
hanging loosely, and in tatters about her attenuated body. By the hand
she held a little girl, from whose young face had faded every trace of
childhood's happy expression. She, too, was thin and pale, and had a
fixed, stony look, of hopeless suffering. They came up to where he
still lay upon the sofa, and stood looking down upon him in silence.
"Who are you? What do you want?" the rum-seller ejaculated, raising
himself up with a strange feeling about his heart.
"The wife and child of one of your victims! He is dying, and wishes
to see you."
"Who is he? What is his name?" asked the tavern-keeper, while his
face grew pale, and his lips quivered.
"William Riley," was the mournful reply.
"Go home, woman! Go home! I cannot go with you! What good can I do
"You must go! You shall go!" shrieked the wretched being, suddenly
grasping the arm of Mr. Graves, with a tight grip, while her hand
seemed to burn his arm, as if it were a hand of fire.
A sudden and irresistible impulse to obey the call of the dying man
came over him, and as he arose mechanically, the mother and her child
turned towards the door, and he followed after them. On emerging into
the street, he became conscious of a great and sudden change in
external nature. On retiring from his bar an hour before, the sun was
shining in a sky of spotless beauty. Now the heavens were shrouded in
dense masses of black clouds that were whirling here and there in
immense eddies, or careering across the sky as if driven by a fierce
and mighty wind. But below, all was hushed and pulseless as the grave;
and the stagnant air felt like the hot vapour over an immense furnace.
The tavern-keeper would have paused and returned so soon as he became
conscious of this fearful change, portending the approach of a wild
storm; but his conductors seemed to know his thoughts; and turning,
each fixed upon him a stern and threatening look, whose strange power
he could neither resist nor understand.
"Come," said the mother in a hollow, husky voice; and then turned
and moved on again, while the tavern-keeper followed impulsively.
They had proceeded thus, for only a few paces, when a fierce light
glanced through half the sky, followed by a deafening crash, under
the concussion of which the earth trembled as if shaken to its very
centre. The tavern-keeper again paused in shrinking irresolution, and
again the woman's emphatic,
"Come!" caused him to follow his guides mechanically.
Soon the storm burst over their heads, and raged with a wild fury,
such as he had never before witnessed. The wind howled through the
streets and alleys of the city, with the roar of thunder; while the
deep reverberations following every broad sheet of lightning that
blazed through the whole circle of the heavens, was as the roar of a
dissolving universe. Amid all this, the rain fell like a deluge. But
the rum-seller's guides paused not, and he kept steadily onwards
after them, shrinking now into the shelter of the houses, and now
breasting the fierce storm with a momentary desperate resolution.
Through street after street, lined on either side with wretched
tenements that seemed tottering and just ready to fall, and through
alley after alley, where squalid misery had hid itself from the eye
of general observation, did they pass, in what seemed to Mr. Graves
an interminable succession; At last the woman and her child paused at
the door of an old, wretched-looking frame house, that appeared just
ready to sink to the ground with decay.
"This is the place, sir. Come in! Your victim would see you before
he dies," the woman said in a deep voice that made a chill run
through every nerve, at the same time that she looked him sternly and
with an expression of malignant triumph in the face.
Unable to resist the impulse that drove him onward, the rum-seller
entered the house.
"See there, sir! Look! Behold the work of your own hands!"
exclaimed the woman with startling emphasis, as he found himself in a
room, with a few old rags in one corner of it for a bed, upon which
lay, in the last sad agonies of dissolution, his old customer, Bill
Riley, who, he had been that day informed by his bar-keeper, had
joined the temperance society.
"There, sir! See there!" she continued, grasping his arm, and
dragging him up to where the miserable wretch lay. "Look at
him!—Bill—Bill!" she continued, stooping down, while she still held
tightly the rum-seller's arm, and shaking the dying man. "Bill—Bill!
Here he is. You said you wanted to see him! Now curse him, Bill! Curse
him with your dying breath!" And the woman's voice rose to a wild
The wretch, thus rudely and suddenly called back from the brink of
death into a painful consciousness of existence, half rose up, and
stared wildly around him for a moment or two.
"Here he is, Bill! Here he is!" resumed his wife, again shaking him
"Who? Who?" inquired the dying man.
"Why, the rum-seller, who robbed you of your hard earnings, that he
might roll in wealth and feast daily on luxuries, while your wife and
children were starving! Here he is. Curse him now, with your dying
breath! Curse him, I say, Bill Riley! Curse him!"
"Who? Who?" eagerly asked the wretched being, a thrill of new life
seeming to flash through his exhausted frame—"Old Graves? Where is
"Here he is, Bill! Here he is! Don't you see him?"
"Ah, yes! I see him now!" And Riley fixed his eyes, that seemed, to
the rum-seller, to burn and flash like balls of fire, sending off
vivid scintillations, upon him with a long and searching stare.
"Ah, yes," he continued, "this is old Graves, the rum-seller, who
has sent more men to hell, and more widows and orphans to the
poor-house, than any other man living. How do you do, sir?" rising up
still more in his bed, and grasping the unwilling hand of the
tavern-keeper, which he clenched hard, and shook with superhuman
strength. "How are you, old fellow? I'm glad to see you once more in
this world. We shall have a jolly time in the next, though, shan't
A smile of malignant triumph flitted for a moment over the livid
face of Riley. Then its expression brightened into one of
"Look here," he said, and brought his lips close to the ear of
Graves. Then in a deep whisper, he breathed the words,
The rum-seller started, suddenly, and grew paler than ever.
Instantly a loud, unearthly laugh rang through the room, causing
the blood to curdle about his heart.
"Ha! ha! ha! I thought that chord could be touched! Ha! ha! That
was a capital idea, wasn't it, old fellow? But you were too late for
Bill Riley. You thought the temperance men had him. But that was a
The sweat already stood in large drops on the pale face of the
tavern-keeper, and his limbs trembled like the quivering aspen.
"Horrible!" he murmured, closing his eyes, to shut out the scene.
"Not half so horrible as the place where I was, just before you
came in, Mr. Graves," said Riley in a calmer voice. "And where do you
think that was?"
"In hell, I suppose," replied the rum-seller, with the energy of
"Exactly," was the calm reply. "And what do you think I heard and
saw there? Let me tell you. I was dead for a little while, and found
myself in strange quarters, as you will say, when you get there. I
always thought devils had long tails, and cloven feet, horns, and all
that kind of thing. But that's a vulgar error. They are nothing but
wicked men like you, who in this world have taken delight in injuring
others. You will make a first-rate devil! Ha! ha! I heard 'em say so,
and wishing you were only there to help them work out their evil
"There are a great many little hells there, all grouped into one
immense hell, like societies here, grouped into one larger society or
nation. And there, as here, every smaller society is engaged in doing
some particular thing, and all are in one society who love to do that
thing. As for instance, all who, while here, have taken delight in
theft, are there associated together, and are all the while busy in
inventing reasons to put into the heads of thieves here to justify
them in stealing. Murderers, in like manner; and so rum-sellers. They
have a hell all filled with rum-sellers there! I was let into it for a
little while to see what was going on, and who do you think I saw
there. Why, old Adams, that died about a month ago. The old fellow was
as lively as a cricket, and as busy as a bee.
"'How is that prime old chap, Graves?' he asked of me, as soon as
he found out I was there.
"'I havn't seen him for a week,' I replied. 'I have been sick for
"'But he's a rum 'un, though, ain't he?' chuckled Adams. 'Many a
scheme he and I have laid to get money out of the grog-drinkers. But
he was always ahead of me. I used, in my early days, to feel a little
compunction when I saw a clever fellow going to ruin. But it never
affected him in the least. All was fish that came into his net. I wish
we had him with us. We want just such scheming devils as he to help us
devise ways and means to circumvent these temperance men. They'll ruin
us, if we don't look out. How were they coming on when you left?'
"'Carrying everything before them,' I said. 'The rum-sellers are
almost driven to their wit's ends for devices to get customers.'
"'Too bad! Too bad!' ejaculated old Adams. 'I'll turn hell upside
down, but what I'll beat them out.'
"'You'll have to do your prettiest, then, let me tell you, old
fellow,' I rejoined, 'for the temperance cause is going with a
perfect rush. It is a mighty torrent whose course, neither men nor
devils can stay. It moves onward with a power and majesty that
astonishes the world,—and onward it will move, until your hell of
rum-makers and rum-sellers will not be able to find a single point
through which to flow into the world and tempt men with your infernal
"O, if you had heard the horrid yell of malignancy which arose, and
echoed through the black chamber of that region of wickedness and
misery, it would have made you shrink into nothingness with terror.
They fairly gnashed on me with their teeth in impotent rage. At
length old Adams got upon a whiskey-still—they have such things in
hell—the pattern was got from there when introduced here, and made a
speech to his associates. From what he said, I found that he had
minute information of all that was going on in this region.
"'Old Graves,' he said—'our very best man, has already been so
reduced in his business by this accursed temperance movement, that he
has recently thought seriously of giving up. This must not be. We
cannot lose him. No mind receives our suggestions more readily than
his.—If he gives up, we lose a host. You all know, that our
influence on earth is powerless, unless we have men to carry out our
plans. If they will not listen to our suggestion—if they will not
become our agents, we can do nothing there. As spiritual existences,
we cannot affect that which is corporeal, except through the
spiritual united with the corporeal—that is, through spiritual
bodies in material bodies. In other words, we can act on men's minds,
and they can do our works on earth for us. Now, seeing that we can do
nothing to stop this temperance movement, except through the self-love
of the rum-sellers and rum-makers, it will never do to let old Graves
fall. We must help him to some new scheme by which to bring back his
diminished custom. Now what shall it be?'
"'Some device that will call attention to his bar-room, is what is
wanted,' remarked one.
"Yes, that is plain enough,' replied old Adams, who seemed to be a
kind of head devil there—'but what shall it be? That's the
"'Suppose we put him up to getting a woman to walk a plank,'
"'No. That has been tried already; and if it is tried again so
soon, these temperance men will cry, humbug!'
"'How would it do for him to get a pretty girl behind his bar.'
"'That might do. But then, his wife is a sort of religious woman,
and wouldn't let him do it.'
"Couldn't we induce him to poison her, and so get her out of the
"'No—That's out of the question. He kind of likes the woman too
well for that.'
"'What, then, do you suggest?'
"'Some new drink will be the thing. Something that will tickle the
ear at the same time that it tickles the palate. It will be a great
thing, if, in this matter, we can kill two birds with one stone.
Bring back by some new attraction the wavering ones, and turn the
tide of custom in the direction of our very particular friend Mr.
"'Have you thought of a name for it?'
"'How would Ambrosia do?' suggested one.
"'Not at all,' replied old Adams. 'It aint the thing to catch gulls
now-a-days. And more than that, it isn't something new.'
"'What do you think of Harlequinade?'
"'That might answer; but it's been used, already.'
"'The same objection.'
"'Good, but stale.'
"'No'—And Adams shook his head emphatically.
"'Been used already.'
"'What do you think of Elevator?'
"'That might do; but still I can't exactly say that I like it. It
should be something to strike the popular idea.'
"That's it, exactly! Sub-Treasury—Sub-Treasury. Let it be called
Sub-Treasury! And now, as I have more power over Graves than any of
you, let me have the managing of him.' And so saying, Adams seemed to
go away, and remain, for a day or two. When he came back, all the
devils gathered around him full of interest to hear of his success.
They greeted him, first, with three wild, infernal cheers, full of
malignant pleasure, and then asked,
"'What news? What news from earth?'
"'Glorious!' was his response. And then another wild yell of
triumph went up.
"'I found Graves,' he went on, 'just the same pliant fool that he
has ever been. He fell into my suggestions at once, and on the very
next day advertised his 'Sub-Treasury.' It took like a charm. I could
tell you of a dozen young fellows just about being caught by the
teetootallers, who couldn't withstand the new temptation. There was
one in particular. His name is Joe Bancroft. Only married about three
years, and almost at the bottom of the hill already. On the day before
'Sub-Treasury' was announced, he came home sober, for the first time
in six months. His wife, a beautiful young girl when he married her,
but now a thin, pale, heart-broken creature, sat near a window sewing
when he entered. But she did not look up. She heard him come in—but
she could not turn her eyes towards him, for her heart always grew
sicker whenever she saw the sad changes that drink had wrought upon
"For a few moments Joe stood gazing at his young wife, with a
tenderer interest than he had felt for a long time. He saw that she
did not look up, and was conscious of the reason.
"'Sarah,' he at last said, in a voice of affection, coming to her
"'What do you want?' she replied, still without looking up.
"'Look up at me, Sarah,' he said, in a voice that slightly
"Instantly her work dropped from her hands, and she lifted her eyes
to the face of her husband, and murmured in a low, sad tone,
"'What is it you wish, Joseph?'
"'You look very pale, and very sorrowful, Sarah,' her husband said,
with increasing tenderness of tone and manner.
"It had been so very long since he had spoken to her kindly, or
since he had appeared to take any interest in her, that the first
tenderly uttered word melted down her heart, and she burst into
tears, and leaning her head against him, sobbed long and
"With many a kind word, and many a solemn promise of reformation
did the husband soothe the stricken heart of his wife, into which a
new hope was infused.
"'I will be a changed man, after this, Sarah,' he said— 'And then
it must go well with us. It seems as if I had been, for the last year,
the victim of insanity. I cannot realize how it is possible for any
one to abandon himself as I have done; to the neglect of all the most
sacred ties and duties that can appertain to us. How deeply—O, how
deeply you must have suffered!'
"'Deeply, indeed, dear husband!—More than tongue can utter,' the
young wife replied, in a solemn tone. 'It has seemed, sometimes, as
if I must die. Day after day, week after week, and month after month,
to see you coming in and going out, as you have done, for ever
intoxicated. To have no kind word or look. No rational intercourse
with one to whom I had yielded up my heart so confidingly. O, my
husband! you know not how sad a trial you have imposed upon your
"'Sad—sad, indeed, I am sure it has been, Sarah! But let us try
and forget the past. There is bright sunshine yet for us, and it will
soon, I trust, fall warmly and cheeringly on our pathway.'
"All that day Bancroft remained at home with his wife, renewing his
assurances of reformation, and laying his plans for the future. I saw
all this, and began to fear lest Joe would really get freed from the
toils we had, through the rum-sellers, thrown around him—toils, that
I had felt, sure would soon cause him to fall headlong down amongst
us. I, of course, suggested nothing to him then; for it would have
been of little use. Towards night, his wife proposed that he should
sign the pledge. I was at his ear in a moment—
"'That would be too degrading!' I whispered. 'You have not got
quite so low as that yet.'
"'No, Sarah, I do not wish to sign the pledge,' he at once replied.
"'Why not, dear?'
"'Because, I have always despised this way of binding oneself down
by a written contract, not to do a thing. It is unmanly. My
resolution is sufficient. If I say that I will never drink another
drop, why I won't. But if I were to bind myself by a pledge not to
touch liquor again, I should, never feel a moment's peace, until I
had broken it.'
"These objections I readily infused into his mind, and he at once
adopted them as his own. I had power to do so, because I now
perceived that his love of drink was so strong, that he did not wish
to cut off all chance of ever tasting it again. He, therefore, wanted
specious reasons for not signing the pledge, and with these I promptly
"It was in vain that his wife urged him, even with tears and eager
entreaties to take the pledge: I was too much for her, and made him
firm as a rock in his determination not to sign.
"On the next morning, he parted with his wife, strong in his
resolution to be a reformed man. The pleasant thrill of her parting
kiss, the first he had received for more than a year, lingered in his
memory and encouraged him to abide by his promise. He passed his
accustomed places of resort for liquor, on his way to business, but
without the first desire to enter. I noted all this, and kept myself
busy about him to detect a moment of weakness. Our friend Graves
advertised his 'Sub-Treasury' on that morning. I calculated largely
on the novelty of the idea to win him off. But, somehow or other, he
did not see it. Another young man, one of his companions, did,
"'Have you tried Graves' new drink, yet?' he asked of him about
eleven o'clock, while he was under the influence of a pretty strong
"'No, what is it?' he replied, with a feeling of lively interest.
"'Sub-Treasury,' replied his friend.
"'Sub-Treasury! That must be something new! I wonder what it can
"Into this feeling of interest in knowing what the new drink could
be, I infused a strong desire to taste it.
"'Suppose we go and try some,' suggested his friend.
"'There'll not be the least danger,' I whispered in his ear. 'You
can try it, and refrain from drinking to excess. The evil has been
your drinking too much. There is no harm in moderate drinking. This
decided him, and I retired. I knew, if he tasted, that he was gone.'
"Down he went to the Harmony House;—I was there when he came in.
It would have done your hearts good to have seen with what delight he
sipped the new beverage,—and to have heard him say, as I did, to
Graves;—'I had half resolved to join the temperance society this
day,—but your Sub-Treasury has entirely shaken my resolution. I
shall never be able to do it now in this world, nor in the next
either, if I can only get you in the same place with me to make
Sub-Treasury.' And then he laughed with great glee. One, of course,
did not satisfy him, nor two, nor three. Before dinner-time he was
gloriously drunk, and went staggering home as usual. I could not
resist the inclination to see a little of the fun when he presented
himself to his wife, whose fond hopes were all in the sky again. Like
a bird, she had sung about the house during the morning, her heart so
elated that she could not prevent an outward expression of the delight
she felt. As the hour drew near for her husband's return, a slight
fear would glance through her mind, quickly dismissed, however;—for
she could not entertain the idea for a moment that his newly-formed
resolution could possibly be so soon broken.
"At last the hour for his accustomed return arrived. She heard him
open the door—and sprung to meet him. One look sufficed to break her
heart. Statue-like she stood for a moment or two, and then sunk
senseless to the floor.
"Other matters calling me away, I staid only to see this delightful
little scene, and then hurried back to the Harmony House, to see if
the run was kept up. Customers came in a steady stream, and crowded
the bar of our worthy friend, whose heart was as light as a feather.
I saw at least half a dozen come in and sip a glass of Sub-Treasury,
who I knew had not tasted liquor for months. I marked them; and shall
be about their path occasionally. But the best thing of all that I
saw, was a reformer break his pledge. He was, years ago, a noted
drunkard, but had been a reformed man for four years. In that time he
had broken up several grog-shops, by reforming all their customers,
and had got, I suppose, not less than five or six hundred persons to
sign the pledge. I had, of course, a particular grudge against him. It
was an exceedingly warm day, and he was uncommonly thirsty. He was
reading the paper, and came across the 'Sub-Treasury' advertisement.
"'Ha! ha! What is this, I wonder?' he said, laughing; some new
trick of the enemy, I suppose.'
"'Look here, what is this Sub-Treasury stuff, that Graves
advertises this morning?' he said, to a young fellow, a protege of
mine, who was more than a match for him.
"'A kind of temperance beverage.' I put it into the fellow's head
"'Yes. It's made of lemonpeel, and one stuff or other, mixed up
with pounded ice. He's got a tremendous run for it. I know half a
dozen teetotallers who get it regularly. I saw three or four there
to-day, at one time.'
"'It's a fact. Come, won't you go down and try a glass? It's
"'Are you in earnest about it?'
"'Certainly I am. It's one of the most delicious drinks that has
been got up this season.'
"'I don't like to be seen going into such a place.'
"'O, as to that, there is a fine back entrance leading in from
another street, that no one suspects, and a private bar into the
bargain. We can go in and get a drink, and nobody will ever see us.'
"'Well, I don't care if I do,' said the temperance man, 'for I am
"'You're a gone gozzling, my old chap,' I said, as I saw him moving
off. 'I thought I'd get you before long.' Sure enough, the moment he
took the first draught his doom was sealed. His former desire for
liquor came back on him with irresistible power; and before
nightfall, he was so drunk that he went staggering along the street,
to the chagrin and consternation of the teetotallers; but to the
infinite delight of your humble servant.
"And so saying, that malignant fiend, who, while he inhabited a
material body, was called old Billy Adams, stepped down from the
still. Then there arose three loud and long cheers, for Graves, and
his 'Sub-Treasury,' that echoed and re-echoed wildly through that
"You're much thought of down there, you see," continued Riley, with
a cold grin of irony.—"Adams says, that if this temperance movement
aint stopped soon, they will have to get you among them, and make you
head devil in that department. How would you like that, old chap, say?
How would you like to go now?"
As Riley said this, he threw himself forward, and clasped his thin,
bony fingers around the neck of the rum-seller, with a strong grip.
"How would you like to go now, ha?" he screamed fiercely in his
ear, clenching his hand tighter and still tighter, while his hot
breath melted over the face of Graves in a suffocating vapour. The
struggles of the rum-seller were vigorous and terrible—but the dying
man held on with a superhuman strength. Soon everything around grew
confused, and though still distinctly conscious, it was a
consciousness in the mind of the tavern-keeper of the agonies of
death. This became so terrible to him that he resolved on one last
and more vigorous effort for life. It was made, and the hands of the
dying man broke loose. Instantly starting to his feet, the wretched
dealer in poison for both the bodies and souls of men, found himself
standing in the centre of his own parlour, with the sweat rolling
from his face in large drops.
"Merciful Heaven! And is it indeed a dream?" he ejaculated, panting
with terror and exhaustion.
"A dream—and yet not all a dream," he added, in a few moments, in
a sad, low tone.—"In league with hell against my fellow-men! Can it
indeed be true? But away! away such thoughts!"
Such thoughts, however, could not be driven away. They crowded upon
his mind at every avenue, and pressed inward to the exclusion of
every other idea.
"But I am not in league with evil spirits to do harm to my
fellow-men. I do not wish evil to any one," he argued.
"You are in such evil consociation," whispered a voice
within him. "There are but two great parties in the world—the evil
and the good. No middle ground exists. You are with one of
these—working for the good of your fellow-men, or for their injury.
One of these great parties acts in concert with heaven, the other with
hell. On the side of one stand arrayed good spirits—on the side of
the other evil spirits. Can good spirits be on your side? Would they,
for the sake of gain, take the food out of the mouths of starving
children? Would they put allurements in a brother's way to entice him
to ruin? No! Only in such deeds can evil spirits take delight."
"Then I am on the side of hell?"
"There are but two parties. You cannot be on the side of heaven,
and do evil to your neighbour."
"Dreadful thought! In league with infernal spirits to curse the
human race! Can it be possible Am I really in my senses?"
For nearly half an hour did Graves pace the floor backwards and
forwards, his mind in a wild fever of excitement. In vain did he try,
over and over again, to argue the point against the clearest and
strongest convictions of reason. Look at it as he would, it all
resolved itself into that one bold and startling position, that he
was in league with hell against his fellow-men.
"And now, what shall I do?" was the question that arose in his
mind. "Give up my establishment?"
At that moment, Sandy, the bar-tender, opened the parlour door, and
said with a broad smile—
"The Sub-Treasury is working wonders again! I'm overrun, and want
"I can't come down, just now, Sandy. I'm not very well. You will
have to get along the best you can," Graves replied.
"I don't know what I shall do then, sir: I can't make 'em half as
fast as they are called for."
"Let half of the people go away then," was the cold reply. "I can't
help you any more to-day."
Sandy thought, as he withdrew, that the "old man" must have
suddenly lost his senses. He was confirmed in this idea before the
It was past twelve o'clock when the run of custom was over, and
Sandy closed up for the night. As soon as this was done, Mr. Graves
came in for the first time since dinner.
"It's been a glorious day for business," Sandy said, rubbing his
hands. "I've taken in more, than thirty dollars. Lucifer himself must
have put the idea into your head."
"No doubt he did," was the grave reply.
Sandy stared at this.
"Didn't you tell me that Bill Riley had joined the temperance
"Yes, I did," replied the bar-keeper.
"Are you sure?"
"I am sure, I was told so by one that knew."
"I only wish I was certain of it," was the reply, made half
abstractedly. And then the dealer leaned down upon the bar and
remained in deep thought for a very long time, to the still greater
surprise of Sandy, who could not comprehend what had come over his
"Aint you well, Mr. Graves," he at length asked, breaking in upon
the rum-seller's painful reverie.
"Well!" he ejaculated, rousing up with a start. "No, I am not
"What is the matter, sir?"
"I'm sick," was the evasive response.
"How, sick?" was Sandy's persevering inquiry.
"Sick at heart! O, dear! I wish I'd been dead before I opened a
grog-shop!"—And the countenance of Mr. Graves changed its quiet, sad
expression, to one of intense agony.
Sandy looked at the tavern-keeper with an air of stupid
astonishment for some moments, unable to comprehend his meaning. It
was evident to his mind that Mr. Graves had suddenly become crazed
about something. This idea produced a feeling of alarm, and he was
about retiring for counsel and assistance, when the tavern-keeper
roused himself and said:
"When did you see Bill Riley, Sandy?"
"I saw him yesterday."
"Are you certain?" in a quick, eager tone.
"O yes. I saw him going along on the other side of the street with
two or three fellows that didn't look no how at all like
"I was afraid he was dead," Mr. Graves responded to this, breathing
"Dead! Why should you think that?" inquired Sandy, still more (sic)
"I had reason for thinking so," was the evasive reply. A pause of
some, moments ensued, when the bar-keeper said—
"I shall have to be stirring bright and early to-morrow morning."
"We're out of sugar and lemons both. That Sub-Treasury runs on them
'ere articles strong."
"Confound the Sub-Treasury!" Mr. Graves ejaculated, with a strong
and bitter emphasis. Sandy stood again mute with astonishment,
staring into the tavern-keeper's face.
"Sandy," Mr. Graves at length said in a calm, resolute tone, "my
mind is made up to quit selling liquor."
"Quit selling liquor, sir!" exclaimed Sandy, more astonished than
ever. "Quit selling liquor just at this time, when you have made such
"Yes, Sandy, I'm going to quit it. I'm afraid that we rum-sellers
are on the side of hell."
"I never once supposed that we were on the side of heaven," the
bar-keeper replied, half smiling.
"Then what side did you suppose we were on?"
"O, as to that, I never gave the matter a thought. Only, it never
once entered my head that we could claim much relationship with
heaven. Heaven feeds the hungry and clothes the naked. But we take
away both food and clothing, and give only drink. There is some
little difference in this, now one comes to think about it."
"Then I am right in my notion."
"I'm rather afraid you are, sir. But that's a strange way of
"Aint it the true way?"
"I am sure so, Sandy! And that's what makes me say that I'm done
The tavern-keeper did not tell all that was in his mind. He said
nothing of his dream, nor of that horrible idea of going to the
rum-seller's hell, and becoming a devil, filled with the delight of
rendering mankind wretched by deluging the land with drunkenness.
"What are you going to do then?" asked Sandy.
"Why, the first thing is to quit rum-selling."
"But what then?"
"I'm not decided yet;—but shall enter into some kind of business
that I can follow with a clear conscience."
"You'll sell out this stands I suppose. The goodwill is worth three
or four hundred dollars."
"No, Sandy, I will not!" was the tavern-keeper's positive, half
indignant reply. "I'll have nothing more to do with the gain of
rum-selling. I have too much of that sin on my conscience already."
"Somebody will come right in, as soon as you move out. And I don't
see why you should give any one such an advantage for nothing."
"I'm not going to move out, Sandy."
"Then what are you going to do?"
"Why, one thing—I'm going to shut up this devil's man-trap. And
while I can keep possession of the property, it shall never be opened
as a dram-shop again."
"What are you going to do with your liquors, Mr. Graves? Sell 'em?"
"Burn 'em. Or let 'em run in the gutter."
"That I should call a piece of folly."
"You may call it what you please. But I'll do it notwithstanding.
I've received my last dollar for rum. Not another would I touch for
all the world!"
A slight shudder passed through the tavern-keeper's body, as he
said this, occasioned by the vivid recollection of some fearful
passage in his late dream.
"You'd better give the liquors to me, Mr. Graves. It would be a
downright sin to throw 'em in the gutter, when a fellow might make a
good living out of 'em."
"No, Sandy. Neither you nor anybody else shall ever make a man
drunk with the liquor now in this house. It shall run in the gutter.
When the sun arose next morning, Harmony House was shorn of its
attractions as a drinking establishment. All the signs, with their
deceptive and alluring devices, were taken down—the shutters closed,
and everything indicating its late use removed, excepting a strong
smell of liquor, great quantities of which had been poured into the
In the course of a few weeks, the house was again re-opened as a
hatter-shop, Mr. Graves having resumed his former honest business,
which he still follows, well patronized by the temperance men, among
whom are Joseph Randolph, and William Riley, the former reclaimed
through his active instrumentality.