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Martha Liston's Account of her Sister. 305 feeling of disgust; and, from being at first, only a looker on, the next step was to become a partaker in the sins of others; so that, in a few years, she contracted such a habit of drinking, as to bring upon herself many a word of advice and reproof from me, and sometimes a severe reprimand from her mistress; not that she cared for the sin, but she feared that my sister's conduct might bring discredit on herself and on the house. It was before the extent of her misconduct was generally known, that a change took place in her circumstances, in consequence of an offer of marriage made her by a man who had not long been in the habit of frequenting the alehouse, and who, liking her lively obliging manner, and thinking moreover, from the little he had seen of her, that she was likely to make an active managing wife, hastily made the proposal, without giving himself the trouble to consider how far her general behaviour would, probably, in married life be conducive to the well-being of her family, and the comfort of her husband. As it was, therefore, the old saying, “ marry in haste and repent at leisure,” was peculiarly applicable to him. For his house, after the first few weeks of their marriage, became one continued scene of discomfort, from the expense, confusion, and quarrelling, which her sad fault occasioned. The end of it was, that, one evening, when contention was sharper than usual between them, my sister's passion rose to such a height, that she proceeded so far as to throw a knife at her husband; the wound it inflicted was not dangerous, but he declared (not unjustly it must be owned) that after such an act of violence she should not sleep another night in his house; and, accordngly, he turned her out in the dusk of the evening to seek a sheltering roof where she could. It happened to be wet at the time, and she, not being in a state to find her way steadily to a cottage at no great distance, stumbled and fell, and, in the confused state of her faculties, and increasing darkness of the night, became so completely bewildered, as to be incapable of reaching the destined point till towards morning, when, drenched to the skin, and shivering with cold, she approached her neighbour's door, and received the friendly aid which a Christian is generally inclined to extend to a suffering, though guilty, fellow-creature.
A violent cold, followed by an inflammation of the lungs, was the consequence of several hours exposure to cold and wet, and it was soon evident that the end must be fatal: her husband and I were sent for, we came, and found her in a state of considerable bodily suffering, and of mental agony that is past describing. Our hearts ached to see her: we left no means untried to alleviate the pains of a perishing body, but what could we do to soften the pangs of an accusing conscience, and the dreadful anguish of an immortal spirit at the prospect of everlasting misery! She had known the Bible in her childhood, and had often been reminded by me of the appalling threatenings it contains against the drunkard; but, in the days of her health and strength, and with the certainty, as she flattered herself, of many years before her, they had been disregarded; they now appeared in all their solemn terror before her. We pitied her, and prayed for her, and endeavoured to direct her mind to the great atonement once made for the sins of the whole world, but nothing could soothe her troubled spirit.
She sent for the young people who might, as she feared, have been contaminated by her example, and earnestly intreated them to shun her fate ; and with “ have mercy on me. O Lord,” faltering on her tongue, she died. Could I believe she had met with acceptance at the throne of grace, great indeed would be my comfort :- that must, however, remain a secret till the day when a final judgment shall be
Mischievous Effects of Fairs. passed upon us all. I trust, therefore, in firm reliance on His goodness, who alone can judge of the extent of her guilt, and the sincerity of her repentance.
I have thus fulfilled her last wishes, and remain, honoured Sir,
Your very humble servant,
ON THE MISCHIEVOUS EFFECTS OF FAIRS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF THE
The following remarks, which we have kept by us longer than we intended, were sent us by a correspondent, signed J. B.
The practice of holding fairs in the neighbourhood of the metropolis is productive of the most injurious consequences, not only to the numerous villages where that practice prevails, but also to the community at large. Every one of the fairs alluded to is a rendezvous of the very worst part of the population of the metropolis. There the great city pours forth its dregs. Thieves, prostitutes, and sharpers, – loose, idle, and disorderly persons, of every description, flock thither as to their harvest. Depredations are committed in every direction. Gambling prevails to the greatest extent. Intemperance defies restraint. Vice and debauchery find the fullest scope for gratification. At the low dan
reat numbers of young women, and especially of female servants, are ruined.
Among the crowds resorting to these scenes of profligacy, it is truly distressing to witness great numbers of boys, who, having soon spent their little
portion of pocket-money, are easily persuaded, by their new connexions, to endeavour to supply their wants by dishonest practices, and chiefly by attempting to pick pockets; to which attempts the crowded · assemblage furnishes the most inviting opportunities. Finding it, at length, too late to return home, they sleep out the remainder of the night, or rather the early part of the morning, in carts, upon haystacks, or under stalls; and, at the end of the fair, they are either found in custody, by their masters or parents, under some criminal charge, or they join the numerous and the awfully-increasing band of juvenile delinquents. Thus do the fairs in question contribute, in a very great degree, to that increase of crimes which causes our prisons to overflow.
These great and accumulated mischiefs are not compensated by any one public advantage. Will any one say that, in the present state of society, the -inbabitants of a village, within a few miles of London, stand in need of a fair to supply them with any one article of necessity or convenience? The traffic in such articles as constitute the sole business of most fairs, is a mere pretext for that boundless dissipation, which is their real object.
It is sometimes urged, in behalf of this baneful practice of holding fairs in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, that the poor ought to have their amusements as well as the rich. These fairs, however, are the ruin of the poor, and no friend to the poor can be anxious for their participating in amusements which must prove injurious to their true interests. Now the amusements which are furnished by fairs are entirely of this description. The labouring classes are here tempted to abandon, for days together, their useful occupations, and to waste their time and squander their earnings, to the incalculable injury of their families, their employers
, and the public. Nor does the mischief end with the fair. The labourer thus acquires a distaste for
On Getting into Debt.
309, labour. He returns reluctantly to his work. He seeks for fresh opportunities of dissipation. He, at length, forms habits of idleness and intemperance, which lead to that state of distress, which admits of no relief but a burthensome dependence upon the parish, for the very necessaries of life. Surely it: would be most kind to the lower orders of society to preserve them from amusements which lead to such dreadful consequences.
It cannot be doubted that any attempt to deliver the public from these dreadful pests would instantly. cause a violent outcry. The publicans would complain of the loss of their most profitable season : the lovers of dissipation would declaim against such an interference with their pleasures; the cheats and pick-pockets would raise a great clamour : but the morals of the community, particularly of the lower classes, would be rescued from one great cause of contamination ; great numbers of young persons, of both sexes, would be preserved from ruin; --and a vast source of crimes would be cut off. ; These are advantages which the discerning part of the public would know how to estimate. Indeed, the public at large, would rejoice at the suppression of an evil, which may justly be described as . A HOT BED. OF VICE,' A NURSERY OF CRIME, AND A HARVEST OF THIEVES.
ON GETTING INTO DEBT. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another," Romans xii. 8.-The duty of paying our debts is frequently implied in different parts of Scripture; and it is plainly and imperatively laid down by the Apostle. The command itself is so clear, that none who reads can transgress the order without feeling that he is disobeying a positive, an express command of his