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DRINKING AND SMOKING.
THESE are dreadful words, especially the former. How frightful an array does it summon up of shattered constitutions, blighted fates, and shipwrecked souls; of misery, want, and crime. When we reflect on the whole dark annals of intemperance, it is not wonderful that any word connected with it should inspire in good men's minds a shrinking horror inimical to patient investigation and just appreciation. As the people who in old fable believed their territory to be desolated by some supernatural dragon, fled hither and thither in ignorant terror, instead of calmly examining the evidence of the animal's devastating powers, and assigning to it a place in natural history, so the well-meaning world is driven frantic by the very name of that instrument which has been perverted to so much evil, and endeavours to drive it out of sight and out of existence with such a loathing horror that no opportunity is given for calm, dispassionate consideration of the real manner in which it accomplishes its mischief, and the true nature of the proper remedy.
This, we consider, renders it all the more incumbent on those who feel that they can handle the matter boldly and freely, to do so. We modestly claim to be in that position. We are not abstainers, or teetotallers, as they are called, but belong to the large body whom it has been customary of late to denominate partakers. But, on the other hand, we never beat a wife, or committed murder in a fit of frantic intoxication; so that we feel no call to demand that the system of the world should be changed on our account, because our sins of intemperance have been so great that it requires the penance of all mankind to atone for them.
We must commence by saying that we are not going to give a particle of countenance to the views of those who think that all narcotics and stimulants may be driven, so far as the human race is concerned, out of presumed existence, and that mankind can be set in the mass on a specific regimen as sheep can be depastured
on the most economical and nutritious
the dog-opens his eyes, shakes
Drinking and Smoking.
from reaching that height of excellence at which he aims! And it is out of passions and propensities which, if left to themselves, degrade him far below the brute, that he has been commissioned, through the faculties with which he has been gifted, to raise himself indefinitely in the scale of being. Remove any of his appetites and propensities, we remove the rich materials out of which he is to work his purification; for purity is not negative, consisting in the nonexistence of what is gross, but is the creature of its conquest and subjection, as virtue consists in the conquest of vice. No! man would not possess his present greatness-could not hope for the still higher greatness he is to achieve, were he made a little more like the innocent part of the animal creation, and stripped entirely of the passions and propensities which it is his function to subdue and mould to good purposes.
As a type of the class of opinions with which we are here at variance, we quote the following passages from the great text-book of the non-partakers 'Bacchus, an Essay on the Nature, Causes, Effects, and Cure of Intemperance: by Ralph Barnes Grindrod, LL.D.; "an interesting and curious book, by the way-full of quaint learning. Dr Grindrod—who thinks our glass of sherry at dinner kus on the whole rather a greater iminal than any of those who were last night committed in deadly stupor to the lock-up, because it is taken without any uncontrollable impulse, and in a deliberate belief that it is healthy and right-tells us of all fermented and alcoholic liquors.
Alcohol is now universally acknowledged to be the product of Vegetable decomposition; hence it is Rod oliminated from any living or watural procean, On the supposition Check the formation of alcohol is the code of natural laws, it may perCuently be inquired why man interRoses with and disturbs the operations oluituro at a perticular period, that is exacly at the commencement of her grand Chuna prevents that ultimit Tom which otherwise would vitably take place? He arrests いい operations of nature exactly at test porod when he can supply him
self with a product calculated to gratify his depraved and vitiated appetites; hence the multifarious and complicated inventions of the winemaker and brewer." Then follows a long demonstration, for which the reader, if he pleases, may consult the work itself; and the conclusion is thus specifically set forth: "Alcohol, then, is not produced in the ordinary therefore, in the true sense of the course of nature, and has no claim, word, to be entitled 'a good creature of God.' It is an unnatural combination of natural elements manifestly the Creator. not in accordance with the will of purpose, and in the manner prescribed by fallible man, it is producWhen used for the tive of injurious results both to the health and morals. The elements of which alcohol is formed are, in the strict sense of the word, the creation of Divine power; but that peculiar which constitutes alcohol is the recombination or form of these elements sult of decomposition or decay, induced or directed by human agency." -(P. 284-290.)
it is difficult to put it into intelligible This is very perilous matter, and words without irreverence. The conclusion, in short, is, that the Almighty Framer of the universe did not intend that man should have fermented or alcoholic liquors, but somehow He was outwitted by the ingenuity of the argument, we leave it to its fate, His creature. And so, having put and, concluding that for wise purposes man has been endowed with cotics, and the means of gratifying the appetite for stimulants and narthat appetite, inquire, with such light as abundant facts and much crude argument afford us, what view legislators and leaders of opinion take of the whole matter.
proposition, which the reader may Here we shall again start with a either admit or deny—“ Man, being reasonable, must get drunk," says Byron. We shall be content to put the proposition in a less emphatic shape, and say that the fully developed man has a natural desire to enjoy himself by the consumption of exhilarating liquors. In barbarism he indulges this desire without limit-in civilisation he restrains
it. The barbarian is often a soberer man than the cultivated gentleman; but it is from necessity, not choice. To possess unlimited supplies, yet to restrain unlimited indulgence, is the result of advanced civilisation. The Red Indian drinks himself dead drunk when he can; so does the negro slave; so, unfortunately, and to the scandal of our social condition, does our jolly tar and railway navvy. The well-bred gentleman, with his tastes and appetites fully developed, and his cellar fully supplied, uses its contents rationally, if not beneficially. This brings us to the grave question-Are we to compel people to be sober in spite of their appetites-or are we to cultivate these appetites until they produce honest grain instead of tares? We like a sober man-who does not? But we are not prepared to admit in all cases the incomparable moral eminence of the class called teetotallers. One section only of them can we admire-those who, in the belief that the cause is a good one, sacrifice their inclinations for the sake of giving us the benefit of an example. For the type of a far more numerous class-for the man who, having been a terrific drunkard, takes the vow to save himself from perdition, we have no respect. He takes the measure of his elevation from the depths of his own previous degradation, instead of the natural level of humanity; and, thus convinced of his own moral majesty, totters along at teetotal processions under the weight of a stupendous banner, to the braying and banging of brass bands. But still, through all the moral majesty of the sight, we see the refuse of the last fit of delirium in the motion of his legs; and the uneasy twinkle of his eye suggests that the old love is not entirely deserted, and may soon again be pressed to his lips. We cannot view him as any better than a man morally diseased, who is administering to himself a violent remedy, fortunately not needed by his moderate brethren.
But there is another member of the teetotal class--the man who constitutionally dislikes liquid stimulants -who is made sick with a glass of champagne, and discovers an offensive odour in the bouquet of his
friend's best Bordeaux. Shall we not give our meed of admiration to his happy constitution? No. There is a defect in it, which his wife, or his partner in business, or his servant, or some one or other, has known but too well. We cannot say we entirely approve of the speech of a worthy Aberdonian matron, who, when her companions were talking bitterly of the vices of their respective husbands, represented her own as "jist a gueed, discreet, couthy, canny, weel-principled, drucken body, wi' nae ill habits about him ava.' But the man who has no taste for stimulants in his constitution may have something worse, and the natural teetotaller generally has it. Some of them we have known men of dire morosity of temper-sullen, impracticable, and relentless. Others of them, again, we have known the victims of continual excitement, as if they were afflicted with a sort of chronic intoxication. Pride, vanity, and such like moral stimulants, provide them with a self-contained ginpalace, furnishing them with the temptations to many a fantastic folly. Supreme among this class was Charles XII. of Sweden, one of the few men the world has seen who, with no cruelty of character or other glaring vice, yet in mere self-indulgence, and the pursuit of a whim or hobby, kept the world in dispeace, desolated whole nations, and sacrificed thousands of valuable lives. It is remarkable, on the other hand though not, of course, a matter to be made a precedent that his illustrious rival, Peter the Great, he who, perhaps, did more for civilisation than any other single man, was a hard drinker. Rousseau was another type of the natural teetotaller. The mention of his name is quite sufficient to conjure up a sufficient array of compensatory defects of character to make up for the absence of the common appetite. Such anomalies are often seen on a smaller scale. Your excited friend, who is like the very effervescence of champagne, ever fizzing, spurting, and threatening to discharge his cork, getting into unaccountable scrapes every day, and a nuisance to all his friends from his eccentricity and wrongheadedness-he is a teetotaller; whereas
air, for you give them no air to breathe.
MILBORDE.-But we are beginners, and all that will come in time.
LAKE. Very possibly; but you begin at the wrong end. You start with the details, and then hope the effect will come of itself. You should begin with the effect, and then work out the details in subordination to it. Who is that looking in at the window with his sharp eyes? Denny the landscape-painter, who, since his fivefoot study was blown away over the rocks, has painted nothing but calm. Come in, Denny, and light your pipe. Denny, we must call you the serene painter, or give you the name of a Spanish watchman, "el sereno," for you are the painter of all scenes fit to give effect to serenades; they are warm, and clear, and very still, and generally rather late in the evening. I fear you love late hours, Tom
DENNY.-I love quiet hours. I paint calm scenes, because I hold that calm, and not storm, is the high art of landscape-painting. When Divine Perfection rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a great calm, He exercised the same powers that He did at the dawn of the world-He brought harmony out of chaos, He changed the temporal into the eternal. Look at that full moon which rose over the shoulder of Moël Liabod yesterday night; is there to us any wind or turbulence on her disc? No! We do not know what there may be in fact; there may be volcanic convulsions, tornadoes, earthquakes or moonquakes, wars, pestilence, violence there; but we know nothing about it-all is dwarfed by the distance into calm. And the farther the stars are off, the calmer do they seem-the more regular in their twinkling; for there may be calm in motion as well as in repose. And the most heavenly clouds that we paint are all calm. All is calm to God, not to us; for we cannot see the calm harmony that underlies outward disturbance. But for this reason calm is best for the soul, as, in the contemplation of it, we open the gate of eternity, and look out, whither, we may some day know better. But it gives to earthly scenes a spirituality
that no other condition can give, and in such spirituality resides the highest beauty of art-I may, indeed, say all beauty. There is a harmony in the tempest-torn scenes of Salvator, but a harmony not so easily appreciable by us. His country is rugged, his clouds are ragged; his figures are both, but they have a romantic grandeur; and repose is the result of the fitness of the parts of the whole, and in that repose the soul of the artist feels itself at home in the storm even as in the calm. But I am no Salvator, and I love to paint the calm, as being that kind of beauty most accessible to me.
LAWLESS.-You are no Salvator, Denny, but I think you are in a fair way to be a Claude, without Claude's formality. You paint birch-trees in preference to all other trees, because, being of all most easily moved by the air, when in repose they give the
deepest feeling of calm. I saw a picture of yours in the British Institution, called "Childhood's Trophies." There was a picture beside it representing a dead peacock, some gold plate, and other brilliant and conspicuous things, admirably drawn and coloured to the life. But your picture was neither brilliant or conspicuous, although a large one, and the peacock drew the eyes of most of the gazers off your landscape. Yet the eyes of some did not rest on the peacock long, for the colours hurt them, mine amongst the number. I could have looked, however, at your picture for ever. It grew upon one, and shed a magnetism as one looked, like the symmetrical but inconspicuous statues of antiquity. The evening blush was over the scene, but there was no sun in the middle, as in Turner's pictures, with a black tree against it, dazzling and offending, though in its way true to nature. The blush was in the sky, which looked immeasurably deep and calm to the bottom or the top, as the case may be. There were faint traces of pearly clouds, which gave distance to the skyey depths. The blush was over the rocks of Bryn Cefn, lighting up the broken faces of the storm in a hundred different degrees, and showing terrace upon terrace, like an irregular ruin of some mighty temple of enchantment,
with hints of wild-flower gardens among the gaps. The blush was on the stream, while it was still in the foreground, before it came to the stepping-stones, having in that still part the character of
"The stream whose waters scarcely seem to stray,
And yet they glide, like happiness, away." The blush followed it a little way, when it hastened on, as the stream of our lives hurries on when it is near the middle, to bury itself in the invisible green depths of the middle distance, above which point rose the sisterhood of birches, like graceful statues in perfect repose, and like Canova's or Baily's Graces, bending their heads together, and interlacing each other with their arms. To the right was indicated the road, which wound under a rugged hill, covered with gorse and thyme, and crowned with a clump of Scotch firs. To the left was a grove of Arcadian scenery, platforms of rocks, large and small trees, runnels and pools, broken into forms inviting rest, where you may take your choice of a sofa of sward and moss, an arm-chair of tree-trunks, a severe seat of stone,
οἱ κῶλα κάμψον τουδ ̓ ἐπ ἀξέστου πέτρου. or a down-bed at the water-side, broken also into forms inviting curiosity and superstitious speculation, hollow rocks, hollow spring-heads, hollow trees. The only figures introduced are crossing near the steppingstones-a tall boy with a child in his arms, the child carrying long streamers of flags the captured flags which constitute "childhood's trophies." Perfect idleness characterises them, as it does Brown's children, for the small child is doing nothing, and the huge child helping him; and the choice of these figures, let me observe, Denny, shows an instinct of good taste. Maga's "Sketcher" most truly observed, that nothing destroys the beauty of a picture so much as the representation of toil. Labour is the curse, and therefore, although it is the duty of all of us to submit to it cheerfully, we should not represent it in delineations of nature's innocence and nature's repose. The only way in which toil may be beautified is by the idea of heroism as attached
to it, just as there is a beauty in the patient martyrdom of St Sebastian. But the artist, in his proper work, as Schiller well says
"Malt mit lieblichem Betruge Elysium auf seinem Kerkerward""with sweet deceit paints Elysium upon the wall of his earthly dungeon." Nor can he be blamed who, in the midst of his necessary daily labour, takes a refreshing draught at that fountain of repose, which we all believe to spring perennial in a world even beyond the farthest and the quietest stars. Denny, it is when I see such a picture as that of yours that I especially feel the want of wherewithal to buy it; the duris urgens in rebus egestas, which is the penalty for the slack performance of that improbus labor, or " villain toil," justly so called both by Virgil and "the Sketcher."
DENNY.-It is for the reasons you have given that I do not like a sketch of yours of the Falls of Schaffhausen ; you have put a man on a raft there, working away with all his might and main at an enormous oar in a strong current. The unpleasant sympathy with the man's toil takes the eyes off the waterfall, and the sunset hues on the rocks above it.
LAWLESS.-Your criticism is just, and I give up the sketch to suffer condign punishment, if you will. But with all my views about labour, I must allow that it becomes a plea sure when it is taken up in the right frame of mind, and when it is natural to the disposition of the labourer. Although it is the Curse, it is intended to be a blessing to those who rightly use it. It is the short-sighted vice and injustice of man that makes labour so often cruel. Schiller beautifully worked up this idea in his poem of "Pegasus in the Harness." I would not put a hunter in a cider-mill, nor would I put Burns to gauge spiritcasks. Of all trials to which human nature can be subjected, the severest is that which forces the time of the gifted amongst men to be taken up with works which might be done by any hewer of wood or drawer of water; for they feel that man has no right to make the curse harder than it was intended to be.