Page:Twenty years before the mast - Charles Erskine, 1896.djvu/329

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
302
Twenty Years Before the Mast.

prostrate upon the floor. The two elderly men referred
 to, lifted him up and tenderly laid him on the bench. It
 was some time before he regained his consciousness, but
 when he did, he wept like a child. The other men were
 also so much overcome that they retired from the cabin.
 The scene that followed within the cabin during the next
 half-hour is better imagined than described.

I remained at my father’s boarding-house three days,
 during which time I learned from the good woman of
 the house more facts concerning the history of my father’s
 life since he had left his home. She told me she had
 heard him say that about a year after his departure, while
 at work in Hartford, Conn., he drew nine thousand dollars in a lottery. He then stopped drinking, and fully
 resolved to return to his family and live a sober life the
 remainder of his days. For seven weeks he refrained
 from the use of intoxicating drinks. Then, receiving the
 money, he started for home, but thought he would just
 call at the tavern and take a parting glass with the boys.
 That glass aroused the old appetite. "More, more,"
 cried the demon within him, drowning all nobler resolves. So resistless was this thirst that he spent a year in drunkenness, at the end of which time his money was gone.
 He did not return to his home as he really longed to do
 when he made that resolve, nor did he send a dollar to
 his family.

The third morning, after breakfast, I bade my father
 and the family in the house good-bye, and started for
 home, traveling a part of the way by the Erie Canal.
 When I arrived in Boston I found the family well, and
 astonished them by the story of my adventures in Ohio.