he soon discovered that the demon of drink was as black as the demon of play, and nearly as hard to get rid of--especially as his kind friends did all they could to second the promptings of his own insatiable cravings.'
`Then, they were demons themselves,' cried I, unable to contain my indignation. `And you, Mr Huntingdon, it seems, were the first to tempt him.'
`Well, what could we do?' replied he, deprecatingly--`We meant it in kindness--we couldn't bear to see the poor fellow so miserable:--and besides, he was such a damper upon us, sitting there, silent and glum, when he was under the threefold influence of the loss of his sweetheart, the loss of his fortune, and the reaction of the last night's debauch; whereas, when he had something in him, if he was not merry himself, he was an unfailing source of merriment to us. Even Grimsby could chuckle over his odd Sayings: they delighted him far more than my merry jests or Hattersleys riotous mirth. But one evening, when we were sitting over our wine, after one of our club dinners, and had all been hearty together,--Lowborough giving us mad toasts, and heating our wild songs and bearing a hand in the applause, if he did not help us to sing them himself,--he suddenly relapsed into silence, sinking his head on his hand, and never lifting his glass to his lips;--but this was nothing new; so we let him alone, and went on with our jollification, till, suddenly raising his head, he interrupted us in the middle of a roar of laughter by exclaiming,--
`Gentlemen, where is all this to end?--Will you just tell me that now?--Where is it all to end?'
`In hell fire,' growled Grimsby.
`You've hit it--I thought so!' cried he. `Well then, I'll tell you what'--he rose,
`A speech, a speech!' shouted we. `Hear, hear! Lowborough's going to give us a speech!'
`He waited calmly till the thunders of applause and jingling of glasses had ceased, and then proceeded,--
`It`s only this, gentlemen,--that I think we'd letter go no farther. We'd better stop while we can,'
`Just so!' cried Hattersley--
Before you farther go,
No longer sport upon the brink
Of everlasting woe.'
`Exactly!' replied his lordship, with the utmost gravity. `And if you choose to visit the bottomless pit, I won't go with you--we must part company, for I swear I'll not move another step towards it!--What's this?' he said, taking up his glass of wine.
`Taste it,' suggested I.
`This is hell broth!' he exclaimed. `I renounce it for ever!' And he threw it out into the middle of the table,
`Fill again!' said I, handing him the bottle--`and let us drink to your renunciation.'
`Its rank poison,' said he, grasping the bottle by the neck, `and I forswear it! I've given up gambling, and I'll give up this too.' He was on the point of deliberately pouring the whole contents of the bottle on to the table, but Hargrave wrested it from him, `On you be the curse, then!' said he. And backing from the room, he shouted, `Farewell, ye tempters!' and vanished amid shouts of laughter and applause.
`We expected him back among us the next day; but to our surprise, the place remained vacant: we saw nothing of him for a whole week; and we really began to think he was going to keep his word. At last, one evening, when we were most of us as sembled together again, he entered, silent and grim as a ghost, and would have quietly slipped into his usual seat at my elbow, but we all rose to welcome him, and several voices were raised to ask what he would have, and several hands were busy with bottle and
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