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“Come, come, wine is a 5. familiar creature if it be well used — exclaim no man against it.”—IAGo.
“Give it me without water; so, my friend, so.” – RABELAIs.
“‘I believe, an' please your Honor,’ quoth the Corporal, “that if it had not been for the quantity of brandy we set fire to every night, and the claret and cinnamon with which I plied your Honor off— ”
“‘And the Geneva, Trim,” added my Uncle Toby, “which did us more good than all.’” — TRISTRAM SHANDY.
TEMPERANCE is a Virtue. “No doubt of it,” cries a little fat, plethoric gentleman, with a sanguine complexion, and a very short neck— too short to be long in this world. “It’s the summit of human Virtue,” exclaims a tall, long, vinegar-faced female, holding up a Teatotal Tract. “A Virtue that will preserve itself in any climate,” shouts an advertiser of quack nostrums. “And a Virtue that costs nothing,” adds a Templar of Pump Court. “It is virtuous for de outside of a man, and for de inside of a man,” says a foreign water-curate. “It’s a Cardinal Virtue,” cries a Romish Priest, not hopeless, perhaps, of arriving by water at a Red Hat. “And a primitive Virtue,” puts in a friend in drab. “It was practised by our first parents.”
“A Virtue that is its own reward,” exclaims a scholastic copyholder. Then what need, say I, of a Temperance Medal.
HEAVENS 1 what a hubbub What an uproar from Teatotal Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Grand Masters, and Grand Mistresses | What an awful flourishing of white staves, and red hands, and brown cudgels! I shall have my eye punched out by a total abstinence fist, or my nose broken by Sobriety's flagstaff, or my skull fractured by a temperate shillelagh ' Yes; I shall be brained by yonder red-headed hod-carrier, with the muddy knees, – who, for all his uproarious support of the element, would as soon be choked as drink Boyne Water l No matter: I must speak my mind. “You shall do no such thing,” screams a she-Rechabite, “unless you speak your mind on our side.” “Tell the brass band to play up, and drown his voice l’’ roars a brother-bite. “He’s a publican and sinner,” squeaks a little old woman, , the very model for a Water Witch. “Pump on him Duck him 1 Drown him 1" cries an admirer of aquatic sports. “Make him take the pledge l’ bellows Waterman No. 1. “And kneel to the 'Postle !” bawls Waterman No. 2. “And force him to be blest l” bellows Waterman No. 3. “And to buy a medall’ suggests a Hebrew member of the Numismatic Society. Which brings us round again to the old question, as to the need of a temperance medal at all. There are no such honorary badges for the other virtues — for example, Honesty, Charity, Veracity — then why a medal for Temperance 2 “Wy!” exclaims the Wandering Jew. “Vy, becos if ve melts up all the metal for medals, there won't be no pewter left to make quart and pint pots.” Bravo, Moses Thou hast extemporized the most reasonable reason yet advanced in favor of the ridiculous decoration 1 A sort of Water-loo medal, precociously worn before the moral battle is even fought — much less won 1
C H A P T E R III.
“AND do you really think, sir,” asks a little woman, in an Eau du Nil colored bonnet, with watered ribbons,—“do you really think that there is any harm in wearing such an ornament 2 ” “No wickedness, ma'am, but great weakness. Something of that contemptible vanity which induces certain people to decorate themselves with the ribbon or insignia of foreign orders, conferred on themselves by themselves.” “Ah—you're agin the cause !” “Far from it, madam. On the contrary, I was for many months a strict teatotaller. Nay, I not only abstained from wine, beer, and spirits, for my own good; but, from the same exalted motive, drank daily, almost hourly, the most nasty, filthy, nauseous, abominable, disgusting draughts, to smell and taste, that my doctor and apothecary could invent. But did I, therefore, bedeck myself with rewards of merit, or was I treated with any public honors 2 Who gave me a medal for swallowing, for my health's sake, vile tincture of bark 2 Who invested me with a Blue Ribbon, for improving my appetite by chamomile tea? Who waved a green banner over me, for drinking infusion of senna? Or ground even a hurdy-gurdy before me, for taking castor-oil? Faugh! my gorge rises at the remembrancel And your teatotaller, forsooth, is to be decorated, like a Knight of the Bath, for only quaffing, for soul and body's sake, nice, pure, sweet, delicious water! the Nectar of the Naiads !” “Then of course, sir, with such sentiments, you would not kneel down, and be blessed by the Apostle of Temperance?” “Certainly not, madam. When I kneel to mortal, it will be to my lady-love, or her Majesty the Queen; but to man, never !” “Ah! because the father is a popish priest.” “Not at all. But because the posture, however common amongst the Neales and O'Neils, is not an English one. In the time of the “Spectator, indeed, it was usual for a dutiful son to kneel down to his parents for a blessing. But Father Mathew is not my father, nor, although an Irishman, is he my mother, to entitle him to such a filial genuflection. I can respect the man and honor the cause ; but, as to dropping on my knees, like some of his proselytes, whenever I found myself in Theobald’s Road —” “Well, for my part, sir, I don't mind saying, I did kneel to him at the great Marrowbone meeting — I should say Maryle-bone.” “As you please, madam ; but the hinges of my legs are not so pliant. Besides, consider the monstrous inconvenience that would result; for, after kneeling to Father Mathew, I should feel bound, on temperance principles, to drop on my pans to some thousand or so of other meritorious individuals —beginning with my friend Martin the Painter.” “A painter P” “Yes—for his Plan for Supplying the Metropolis with Spring Water.” “Are you serious, sir?” “Quite, madam. I decidedly think that every Protestant man, woman, or child, who has knelt to Father Mathew, is bound, in common consistency, to fall on his or her knees, shine or shade, wet or dry, dust or mud, rough or smooth, easy or greasy, not only to Mr. Martin, but to Mr. Pedley, Mr. Robins, Mr. Schweppe, Captain Pidding, and the Directors of the Chelsea Water-Works, the East London WaterWorks, the New River Company, the East India Company, the Master Wardens and Members of the Grocers' Company, Captain Claridge, Mr. Braidwood, the Parish Turncocks; in short, every notable patron of tea and water in the kingdom.” “Mercy on us!” “Nay, more, ma'am ; I venture to say, that if any person ever kissed Father Mathew, he or she is bound by the movement to kiss every one of the personages I have just enumerated, - and Mr. Mackay into the bargain, – for so strongly recommending the Thames and its Tributaries.”
“Now really, really,” says the fat, red-faced gentleman with the short neck,-" really now, you are really — too bad | To turn such a cause into ridicule !”
“Who, I, my dear sir? Heaven forbid! It is its own watery-headed pumpkins of followers—temperate perhaps in body, but certainly not sober-minded — who render it ridiculous. A great authority has compared public meetings to farces; but what with its processions and its brass bands, its banners and crosses, its green scarfs and blue sashes, – its foppery and its poppery—its stepfathers, Roman monks, and bearded pilgrims — its terrific combats between the Wapping bullies and the pot-valiants — and its teatotal chorusses, from its six foolish virgins in white, – a Mathewite meeting bade fair to become — ” “What, sir – what?” “A GRAND MELODRAMATIC PANToMIME witH REAL WATER l’” “Very well, sir—very well, indeed! I see you are not for the promotion of temperance amongst the lower classes 1" “On the contrary. But, my dear Moses, just cease for a moment the jingling of your medals — my dear female Rechabite, have the goodness to take your wet tract out of my eye, — and my dear little printseller, be off with your portraits of the apostle. If the poor man must lay out his pence or shilling in a picture, let him have a cheap print, at cost price, of Hogarth's Gin Lane.” “Humph 1 Why then, sir, you do approve of temperance in the lower orders ?” “Yes; certainly. But I have some misgivings, when I see a flock of bleating human animals plunging, helter-skelter, follow-my-leader, into the fresh water—as Dingdong's sheep rushed into the herring-pond — not from principle, but gregarious impulse. I should like to know how many of the converted have already broken their rash pledges—how many are at this hour writhing, like poor Mr. Brunel, with their temperance medals sticking in their throats.” “Why, then, you are against the Movement after all?” “Nay. I would move still further—for I would water not only the bodies of the poor and ignorant, but their minds— open to them not merely the parish pump, but the springs of knowledge. In plain words, I would educate them,-furnish schools for them, and, as in the schools abroad, “la morale’ should form a distinct and prominent item in the prospectus. They should be taught that temperance involves something more than a mere abstinence from strong drinks — that it for