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of black-legging ever since, with a perfect hatred. The admonition of the old Irish woman to her son, when on the gallows, would have applied to my case at this time. She says to her boy while dangling at the rope's end: "Dear Jemmy, you will remember when you had your father's watch in your pocket, and money to pay for your edification, how many a time your old mither tould you to gang into dacent company, but you would not mind her. You see now where you are, you do, and I hope it may be a warning to ye." This event was ever "a warning" to me, and a cheap cure for such kind of speculations, for I presume, exposed as much as I have been through life to such kind of company, I have never gambled to the amount of ten dollars in my life. I could never forget that fatal "Jack of Clubs."
Alas! what ruin and misery have resulted from the wicked practice of gambling. As the wily spider spreads out its silken web, and ensnares the silly fly, so the cunning gambler enfolds within his artful net the innocent and unwary, and without remorse devours the victim of his craft.
The next vice, in the before-mentioned category, to which I became early addicted, and of which I shall also relate the cure, is tobacco-chewing. This vicious habit, so prevalent, if not absolutely an immorality, is at least so indecent, and in most cases injurious to health, that it ought to be scouted from civilized society.
I think it was in the seventeenth summer of my age, that I was labouring on a farm for a Mr. Campbell, of Winfield, in this county. He had a stepson living with him by the name of William Stewart. We had occasionally strolled into some of the village taverns, where we discovered many young men so far in advance of us in the accomplishments of the day, that we were, in our own esteem, most wondrous green country fellows. The young village gents could chew tobacco, puff the cigar, drink rum, and swear according to the most approved terms of blackguards. We discovered that something must be done to make us appear more like gentlemen, to give us a smack of refinement. We therefore bought a threepenny paper of tobacco, resolved to try the graces of chewing, and began by degrees to educate the palate to the use of the nauseous drug. As the dose was, by degrees, increased, the palate began to relish the taste, until about the fourth day, when, I was laying a stone fence in a warm summer day, and William was ploughing on the hill above me, having the tobacco, I left my work and went up to him, and said I: "Bill, I'll bet I can take a larger chew of tobacco than He "doubted it;" you can. so I ran my fingers into the paper, and took out a hard quid about as large as a hickory nut; William took out what he contended was equal or more. went my way imitating, as far as possible, the graces of an old tobacco-chewer, flattering myself that I had now acquired the accomplishments of the art.
But my feelings soon underwent a grievous change. A death-like sickness soon came over me, followed by a cold damp sweat and dizziness. Never was I in such misery. I paced the meadow for hours. I could neither die nor live, till I found some relief. But I was effectually cured of my hankering to adopt that vile practice, and of my admiration for its votaries, from that time hitherto. So these three cents were well laid out. How thankful I am that now, in my blindness, I am not a slave to a habit so opposed to cleanliness, so offensive in the family circle and in society, so pernicious to health, such a tax upon a poor man's purse, to the use of a filthy nauseous drug so unbefitting any purpose under the heavens, save the purpose of killing -on poór calves in the spring of the year! Surely:
"Tobacco is an Indian weed,
And from the devil doth proceed;
It picks your pockets, burns your clothes,
Youth is the most dangerous period of life, for the formation of such pernicious habits. The habits then formed, perhaps from an idle curiosity, maybe from a disposition to ape the example of others, it matters not from what cause, are very likely to become confirmed, and accompany an individual through life, and, if they be evil, to subject him to all the inconveniences and misery which they are fitted to bestow. And at this period of life there is generally found an anxious desire at once to be thought a man,
and an almost uncontrollable disposition to do about as one has a mind to. And the seeds of ultimate ruin and wretchedness are generally sown with the first vicious habits, and they readily spring up, and unless speedily extirpated, take deep root in the fertile soil of the youthful heart. Their fruit is only ruin. Think of this, my young readers and old. "Touch not, taste not, handle not the unclean thing." Resolve to be free from the slavery of habit, -a slavery more absolute, when you are once fully under its dominion, than any other. And remember, that in the simple matter of dollars and cents, (which is but a mere fraction of the evil,) your threepenny paper of tobacco per day (by no means extravagant, in the opinion of an old tobacco-chewer) will be a tax upon you, in forty years, of nearly $500! which is worse than thrown into the fire. Think of these things, my friends, and be wise.
THE phrenologist has said that I was a very great
lady's man." By this, I suppose, is meant a man fond of the society of the ladies, ready to bestow his gallant attentions upon the fair, and, it may be, occasionally touched with a tender inspiration of Cupid. If this is the proper meaning of the expounder of bumps, I have not a word to say in con
tradiction of his position, but shall leave the gentle reader to judge whether he has done me justice or not, after giving a few adventures bearing upon this point. The society of worthy young ladies had always a multitude of charms for me; and as for the tender passion, I agree with Hudibras, that—
"Love is a fire that burns and sparkles
At least it always seemed so to me. My ear was always awake to the "discourse of sweet music," and in the matter of dancing, from early boyhood, my feet would almost involuntarily join in the chorus of the violin, and respond with nimble antics to its bewitching tones. The fiddle, the bewitching fiddle! No sable son of Africa was ever more inspired by "the harmony of sweet sounds," flowing from fiddle-strings, or ever wore out more shoeleather in responding to its notes than I. Music, dancing, and the ladies, were three ideas that were closely associated in making up my notions of enjoyment. With spirits buoyant as air, and keyed on a high note, full of hope and animation, I was never troubled with what is sometimes called "the blue devils." My opportunities for gratifying my notions of enjoyment have corresponded to my position; and here I might open a rare scene of adventures and amusements, such as courtships, flirtations, meetings, partings, frolickings, &c., which I was at the time deeply interested in, no doubt, but