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Wilson's Border Tales
We'll Have Another


When the glass, the laugh, and the social "crack" go round the convivial table, there are few who may not have heard the words, "We’ll have another!" It is an oft repeated phrase—and it seems a simple one; yet, simple as it appears, it has a magical and fatal influence. The lover of sociality yieldeth to the friendly temptation it conveys, nor dreameth that it is a whisper from which scandal catcheth its thousand echoes—that it is a phrase which has blasted reputation—withered affection’s heart—darkened the fairest prospects—ruined credit—conducted to the prison-house, and led to the grave. When our readers again hear the words, let them think of our present story.

Adam Brown was the eldest son of a poor widow, who kept a small shop in a village near the banks of the Teviot. From infancy, Adam was a mild retiring boy, and he was seldom seen to join in the sports of his schoolmates. On the winter evenings, he would sit poring over a book by the fire, while his mother would say—"Dinna stir up the fire, bairn; ye dinna mind that coals are dear; and I’m sure ye’ll hurt yoursel’ wi’ pore, poring owre yer books—for they’re never oot o’ yer hand." In the summer, too, Adam would steal away from the noise of the village to some favourite shady nook by the river side; and there on the gowany brae, he would, with a standard author in his hand, "crack wi’ kings," or "hold high converse with the mighty dead." He was about thirteen when his father died; and the Rev. Mr. Douglas, the minister of the parish, visiting the afflicted widow, she said, "she had had a sair bereavement, yet she had reason to be thankfu’ that she had ae comfort left, for her poor Adam was a great consolation to her; every nicht he had read a chapter to his younger brothers—and oh sir," she added, "it wad make your heart melt to have heard my bairn pray for his widowed mother." Mr. Douglas became interested in the boy, and finding him apt to learn, he placed him for another year at the parish school, at his own expense. Adam’s progress was all that his patron could desire. He became a frequent visitor at the manse, and was allowed the use of the minister’s library. Mr. Douglas had a daughter who was nearly of the same age as his young protege. Mary Douglas was not what could be called beautiful; but she was a gentle and interesting girl. She and Adam read and studied together. She delighted in a flower-garden, and he was wont to dress it; and he would often wander miles, and consider himself happy when he obtained a strange root to plant in it.

Adam was now sixteen. It was his misfortune, as it has been the ruin of many to be without an aim. His mother declared that she was at a loss what to make him; "But," added she "he is a guid scholar, that is ae thing, and CAN Do is easy carried about." Mr. Douglas himself became anxious about Adam’s prospects: he evinced a dislike to be apprenticed to any mechanical profession, and he was too old to remain longer a burden upon his mother. At the suggestion of Mr. Douglas, therefore, when about seventeen, he opened a school in a neighbouring village. Some said, that he was too young; others, that he was too simple, that he allowed the children to have all their own way; and a few even hinted that he went too much back and forward to the manse in the adjoining parish, to pay attention to his school. However these things might be, certain it is the school did not succeed; and, after struggling with it for two years, he resolved to try his fortune in London.

He was to sail from Leith, and his trunk had been sent to Hawick to be forwarded by the carrier. Adam was to leave his mother’s house early on the following morning; and on the evening preceding his departure, he paid his farewell visit to the manse. Mr. Douglas received him with his wonted kindness; he gave him one or two letters of recommendation, and much wholesome advice, although the good man was nearly as ignorant of what is called the world as the youth who was about to enter it. Adam sat long, and said little; for his heart was full and his spirit heavy. He had never said to Mary Douglas, in plain words, that he loved her—he had never dared to do so; and he now sat with his eyes anxiously bent upon her, trembling to bid her farewell. She too was silent. At length he rose to depart; he held out his hand to Mr. Douglas; the latter shook it affectionately, adding—"Farewell, Adam!—may Heaven protect you against the numerous temptations of the great city!" He turned towards Mary—he hesitated, his hands dropped by his side--"Could I speak wi’ you a moment?" said he, and his tongue faltered as he spoke. With a tear glistening in her eyes, she looked towards her father who nodded his consent, and she arose and accompanied Adam to the door. They walked towards the flower-garden—he had taken her hand in his—he pressed it, but he spoke not, and she offered not to withdraw it. He seemed struggling to speak; and, at length, in a tone of earnest fondness—and he shook as he spoke, he said, "Will you not forget me, Mary?"

A half-smothered sob was her reply, and a tear fell on his hand.

"Say you will not," he added, yet more earnestly.

"O Adam!" returned she, "how can you say forget?— Never! Never!"

"Enough! enough!" he continued, and they wept together.

It was scarce daybreak when Adam rose to take his departure, and to bid his mother and his brethren farewell. "Oh!" exclaimed she, as she placed his breakfast before him, "is this the last meal that my bairn’s to eat in my house?" He ate but little; and she continued—weeping as she spoke— "Eat hinny, eat; ye have a lang road before ye;—and, O Adam, aboon everything earthly, mind that ye write to me every week; never think o’ the postage—for, though it should tak my last farthing, I maun hear frae ye."

He took his staff in his hand, and prepared to depart. He embraced his younger brothers, and tears were their only and mutual adieu. His parent sobbed aloud. "Fareweel, mother!" said he, in a voice half-choked with anguish—"Fareweel!"

"God bless my bairn!" she exclaimed, wringing his hand, and she leaned her head upon his shoulder and wept as though her heart would burst. In agony, he tore himself from her embrace, and hurried from the house; and during the first miles of his journey, at every rising ground, he turned anxiously round to obtain another lingering look of the place of his nativity; and in the fulness and bitterness of his feelings, he pronounced the names of his mother, and his brethren, and of Mary Douglas in the same breath.

We need not describe his passage to London, nor tell how he stood gazing wonderstruck, like a graven image of amazement, as the vessel winded up the Thames, through the long forest of masts, from which waved the flags of every nation.

It was about mid-day, early in the month of April, when the smack drew up off Hermitage Stairs, and Adam was aroused from his reverie of astonishment, by a waterman, who had come upon dock, and who, pulling him by the button-hole, said—"Boat, master? boat?" Adam did not exactly understand the question, but, seeing the other passengers getting their luggage into the boats, he followed their example. On landing, he was surrounded by a group of porters, several of whom took hold of his trunk, all inquiring, at the same moment, where he wished it taken to. This was a question he could not answer. It was one he had never thought of before. He looked confused, and replied, "I watna."

"Watna!" said one of the Cockney burden-bearers——"Watna!"—there ain’t such a street in all London."

Adam was in the midst of London, and he knew not a living soul among its million of inhabitants. He knew not where to go; but, recollecting that one of the gentlemen to whom Mr. Douglas had recommended him was a Mr Davison, a merchant in Cornhill, he inquired—

"Does ony o’ ye ken a Mr. Davison, a merchant in Cornhill?"

"Vy, I can’t say as how I know him," replied a porter; "but if you wish your luggage taken there," I will find him for you in a twinkling."

"An’ what wad ye be asking to carry the bit box there?" said Adam, in a manner betokening an equal proportion of simplicity and caution.

"Hasking?" replied the other—"vy, I’m blessed if you get any one to carry it for less than four shillings."

"I canna afford four shillings," said Adam," "and I’ll be obleeged to ye if ye’ll gie me a lift on to my shouther wi’t an’ I’ll carry it mysel."

They uttered some low jests against his country, and left him to get his trunk upon his shoulders as he best might. Adam said truly that he could not afford four shillings for, after paying his passage, he had not thirty shillings left in the world.

It is time, however, that we should describe Adam more particularly to our readers. He was dressed in a coarse grey coat, with trousers of the same colour, a striped waistcoat, a half-worn broad-brimmed hat, and thick shoes studded with nails, which clattered as he went. Thus arrayed, and with his trunk upon his shoulders, Adam went tramping and clattering along East Smithfield, over Tower-hill, and along the Minories, inquiring at every turning—"If any one could direct him to Mr. Davison’s, the merchant in Cornhill?" There was many a laugh, and many a joke at poor Adam’s expense, as he went trudging along, and more than once the trunk fell to the ground, as he came in contact with the crowds who were hurrying past him.—He had been directed out of his way; but at length he arrived at the place he sought. He placed his burden on the ground—he rang the bell—and again and again he rung, but no one answered. His letter was addressed to Mr. Davison’s counting-house—it was past business hours, and the office was locked up for the day. Adam was now tired, disappointed, and perplexed. He wist not what to do. He informed several "decent-looking people," as he said, "that he was a stranger, and he would be obleeged to them if they could recommend him to a lodging." He was shown several, but the rent per week terrified Adam. He was sinking under his burden, when, near the corner of Newgate Street, he inquired of an old Irish orange-woman, if "she could inform him where he would be likely to obtain a lodging at the rate of eighteen-pence or two shillings a-week?"

"Sure, and it’s I who can, jewel," replied she; "and an illigant room it is, with a bed his Holiness might rest his blessed bones on, and never a one slapes in it at all but my own boy Barney; and, barring when Barney’s in dhrink—and that’s not above twice a-week—you’ll make mighty pleasant sort of company together."

Adam was glad to have the prospect of a resting-place of any sort before him at last, and with a lighter heart and a freer step he followed the old orange-woman. She conducted him to Green Dragon Court, and desiring him to follow her up a long, dark, dirty stair, ushered him into small, miserable-looking garret, dimly lighted by a broken sky-light, while the entire furniture consisted of four wooden posts without curtains, which she termed a bed, mutilated chair, and a low wooden stool. "Now, darlint,’ said she observing Adam fatigued, "here is a room fit for a prince, and sure you won’t be thinking half-a-crown too much for it?"

"Weel," said Adam, for he was ready to lie down any where, "we’ll no quarrel about a sixpence."

The orange-woman left him, having vainly recommended him, "to christen his new tenement with a drop of the cratur." Adam threw himself upon the bed, and, in a few minutes, his spirit wandered in its dreams amidst the "bonny woods and braes" of Teviotdale. Early on the following day he proceeded to the counting-house of Mr. Davison, who received him with a hurried sort of civility—glanced over the letter of introduction—expressed a hope that Mr. Douglas was well—said he would be happy to serve him—but he was engaged at present, and, if Mr. Brown would call again, if he should hear of anything, he would let him know. Adam thanked him, and, with his best bow, (which was a very awkward one,) withdrew. The clerks in the outer office tittered as poor Adam, with his heavy hob-nailed shoes, tramped through the midst of them. He delivered the other letter of introduction, and the gentleman to whom it was addressed received him much in the same manner as Mr. Davison had done, and his clerics also smiled at Adam’s grey coat, and gave a very peculiar look at his clattering shoes, and then at each other. Day after day he repeated his visits to the counting-houses of these gentlemen—sometimes they were too much engaged to see him, at others they simply informed him that they were sorry they had heard of nothing to suit him and continued writing, without noticing him again; while Adam, with a heavy heart, would stand behind their desk, brushing the crown of his brown broad-brimmed hat with his sleeve. At length, the clerks in the outer office merely informed him their master had heard of nothing for him. Adam saw it was in vain—three weeks had passed, and the thirty shillings which he had brought to London were reduced to ten.

He was wandering disconsolately down Chancery Lane, with his hands thrust in his pockets, when his attention was attracted to a shop, the windows and door of which were covered with written placards, and on these placards were the words, "Wanted a Book-keeper"—"Wanted by a Literary Gentleman an Amanuensis"—in short, there seemed no sort of situation for which there was not a person wanted, and each concluded with "inquire within." Adam’s heart and his eyes overflowed with joy. There were at east half-a-dozen places which would suit him exactly—he was only at a loss now which to choose upon—and he thought also that Mr. Douglas’ friends had used him most unkindly in saying they could hear of no situation for him. when here scores were advertised in the streets. At length he fixed upon one. He entered the shop. A sharp, Jewish-looking little man was writing at a desk—he received the visitor with a gracious smile.

"If ye please, sir," said Adam, "will ye be so good as inform me where the gentleman lives that wants the book-keeper?"

"With pleasure," said the master of the register office "but you must give me five shillings, and I will enter your name."

"Five shilling!" repeated Adam, and a new light began to dawn upon him. "Five shillings, sir, is a deal o’ money an’, to tell ye the truth, I can very ill afford it; but, as am much in want of a situation, maybe ye would tak’ half-a-crown."

"Can’t book you for that," said the other; "but give me your half-crown, and you may have the gentleman’s address."

He directed him to a merchant in Thames Street. Adam quickly found the house; and, entering with his broad brimmed hat in his hand, and scraping the hob-nails along the floor—"Sir, said he, "I’m the person Mr. Daniells o’ Chancery Lane has sent to you as a book-keeper."

"Mr. Daniells—Mr. Daniells?" said the merchant; "don’t know any such person—have not wanted a book-keeper these six months."

"Sir," said Adam, "are ye no Mr. Robertson o’ 54 Thames Street?"

"I am," replied the merchant; "but," added he, "I see how it is. Pray, young man, what did you give this Mr. Daniells to recommend you to the situation?"

"Half-a-crown, sir," returned Adam. "Well," said the other, "you have more money than wit. Good morning, sir, and take care of another Mr. Daniells."

Poor Adam was dumfoundered; and, in the bitterness of his spirit, he said London was a den o’ thieves. I might tell you how his last shilling was expended—how he lived upon bread and water—how he fell into arrears with the orange-woman for the rent of his garret—how she persecuted him—how he was puzzled to understand the meaning of the generous words, "Money Lent;" how the orange-woman, in order to obtain her rent, taught him the mystery of the three golden balls—and how the shirts which his mother had made him from a web of her own spinning, and his books, all that he had, save the clothes upon his back, were pledged—and how, when all was gone, the old landlady turned him to the door, houseless, friendless, penniless, with no companion but despair. We might have dwelt upon these things, but must proceed with his history.

Adam after enduring privations which would make humanity shudder, obtained the situation of assistant-porter in a merchant’s office. The employment was humble, but he received it joyfully. He was steady, and industrious, and it was not long until he was appointed warehouseman; and his employer, finding that, in addition to his good qualities he had received a superior education, made him one of his confidential clerks. He had held the situation about two years. The rust, as his brother clerks said, was now pretty well rubbed off Scotch Adam. His hodden-gray was laid aside for the dashing green, his hob-nailed shoes for fashionable pumps, and his broad-brimmed hat for a narrow-crowned beaver; his speech, too, had caught a sprinkling of the southern accent; but, in other respects, he was the same inoffensive, steady, and serious being as when he left his mother’s cottage.

His companions were wont to "roast" Adam as they termed it, on what they called his Methodism. They had often urged him to accompany them to the theatre; but, for two years, he had stubbornly withstood their temptations. The stage was to Adam what the tree of knowledge was to his first namesake and progenitor. He had been counselled against it, he had read against it, he had heard sermons against; but had never been within the walls of a theatre. The Siddons, and her brother John Kemble, then in the zenith of their fame, were filling not only London but Europe with their names. One evening they were to perform together—Adam had often heard of them—he admired Shakspeare—his curiosity was excited—he yielded to the solicitations of his companions, and accompanied them to Covent Garden. The curtain was drawn up. The performance began. Adam’s soul was riveted, his senses distracted. The Siddons swept before him like a vision of immortality—Kemble seemed to draw a soul from the tomb of the Caesars, and, as the curtain fell, and the loud music pealed, Adam felt as if a new existence and a new world had opened before him, and his head reeled with wonder and delight.

When the performance was concluded, his companions proposed to have a single bottle in an adjoining tavern; Adam offered some opposition, but was prevailed upon to accompany them. Several of the players entered—they were convivial spirits, abounding with wit, anecdote, and song. The scene was new, but not unpleasant to Adam. He took no note of time. He was unused to drink, and little affected him. The first bottle was finished. "WE’LL HAVE ANOTHER," said one of his companions. It was the first time Adam had heard the fatal words, and he offered no opposition. He drank again—he began to expatiate on divers subjects—he discovered he was an orator. "Well done, Mr. Brown," cried one of his companions, "there’s hope of you yet—we’ll have another, my boy—three’s band!" A third bottle was brought; Adam was called upon for a song. He could sing and sing well too; and, taking his glass in his hand, he began—

"Stop, stop, we’ll hae anither gill,
Ne’er mind a lang-tongued beidame’s yatter;
They’re fools wha’d leave a glass o’ yill,
For ony wife’s infernal clatter.

"There’s Bet, when I gang hame the night,
Will set the hail stair-head a ringin’—
Let a’ the neebors hear her flyte,
Ca’ me a brute, and stap my singin’.
She’ll yelp about the bairns’ rags—
Ca’ me a drucken gude-for-naething’!
She’ll curse my throat an’ drouthy bags,
An’ at me thraw their duddy claethin’!

"Chorus, gentlemen—chorus!" cried Adam, and continued—

"The fient a supper I’ll get there—
A dish o’ tongues is a’ she’ll gie me!
She’ll shake her nieve and rug her hair,
An’ wonder hoo she e’er gaed wi’ me!
She vows to leave me, an’ I say,
‘Gang, gang! for dearsake !—that’s a blessin’!
She rins to get her claes away,
But—o’
the kist the key’s amissin’!

The younkers a set up a skirl,
They shriek an’ cry—‘Oh dinna, mither!’
I slip to bed, an’ fash the quarrel
Neither ae way nor anither.
But creeps beside me unco dour,
I clap her back; an’ say—’My dawtie!
Quo’ she—’Weel, weel, my passion’s owre,
But dinna gang a-drinkin’, Watty."

"Bravo, Scotchy!" shouted one. "Your health and song, Mr. Brown," cried another. Adam’s head began to swin—the lights danced before his eyes—he fell from his chair. One of his friends called a hackney coach; and, half insensible of where he was, he was conveyed to his lodging. It was, afternoon on the following day before he appeared at the counting-house, and his eyes were red, and he had the languid look of one who has spent a night in revelry. That night he was again prevailed upon to accompany his brother clerks to the club room, "just," as they expressed it, "to have one bottle to put all right." That night he again heard the words—"We’ll have another," and again he yielded to their seduction.

But we will not follow him through the steps and through the snares by which he departed from virtue and became entangled in vice. He became an almost nightly frequenter of the tavern, the theatre or both, and his habits opened up temptations to grosser viciousness. Still he kept up a correspondence with Mary Douglas, the gentle object of his young affections, and, for a time, her endeared remembrance haunted him like a protecting angel, whispering in his ear and saving him from depravity. But his religious principles were already forgotten; and, when that cord was snapped asunder, the fibre of affection that twined around his heart did not long hold him in the path of virtue. As the influence of company grew upon him, her remembrance lost its power, and Adam Brown plunged headlong into all the pleasures and temptations of the metropolis.

Still he was attentive to business—he still retained the confidence of his employer—his salary was liberal—he still sent thirty pounds a-year to his mother; and Mary Douglas yet held a place in his heart, though he was changed—fatally changed. He had been about four years in his situation when he obtained leave for a few weeks to visit his native village. It was on a summer afternoon, when a chaise from Jedburgh drove up to the door of the only public house in the village. A fashionably dressed young man alighted, and, in an affected voice, desired the landlord to send a porter with his luggage to Mrs. Brown’s. "A porter, sir?" said the innkeeper—"there’s naethin’ o’ the kind in the toun; but I’ll get twa callants to tak it alang."

He hastened to his mother’s—"Ah! how d’ye do?" said he, slightly shaking the hands of his younger brothers—but a tear gathered in his eye as his mother kissed his cheek. She, good soul, when the first surprise was over, said "she hardly kenned her bairn in sic a fine gentleman." He proceeded to the manse, and Mary marvelled at the change in his appearance and his manner; yet she loved him not the less: but her father beheld the affectation and levity of his young friend, and grieved over them.

He had not been a month in the village when Mary gave him her hand, and they set out for London together. For a few weeks after their arrival, he spent his evenings at their own fireside, and they were blest in the society of each other. But it was not long until company again spread its seductive snares around him. Again he listened to the words—"We’ll have another"—again he yielded to their temptations, and again the force of habit made him its slave. Night followed night, and he was irritable and unhappy, unless in the midst of his boon companions. Poor Mary felt the bitterness and anguish of a deserted wife; but she upbraided him not—she spoke not of her sorrows. Health forsook her cheeks, and gladness had fled from her spirit; yet as she nightly sat hour after hour waiting his return, as he entered, she welcomed him with a smile, which not unfrequently was met with an imprecation or a frown. They had been married about two years. Mary was a mother, and oft at midnight she would sit weeping over the cradle of her child, mourning in secret for its thoughtless father.

It was her birth-day, her father had come to London to visit them; she had not told him of her sorrows, and she had invited a few friends to dine with them. They had assembled; but Adam was still absent. He had been unkind to her; but this was an unkindness she did not expect from him. They were yet awaiting, when a police-officer entered. His errand was soon told. Adam Brown had become a gambler, as well as a drunkard—he had been guilty of fraud and embezzlement—his guilt had been discovered, and the police were in quest of him. Mr. Douglas wrung his hands and groaned. Mary bore the dreadful blow with more than human fortitude. She uttered no scream—she shed no tears; for a moment she sat motionless—speechless. It was the dumbness of agony. With her child at her breast, and, in the midst of her guests, she flung herself at her father’s feet. "Father!" she exclaimed, "for my sake!—for my helpless child’s sake—save! oh, save my poor husband!"

"For your sake, what I can do I will do, dearest," groaned the old man.

A coach was ordered to the door, and the miserable wife and her father hastened to the office of her husband’s employer.

When Adam Brown received intelligence that his guilt was discovered, from a companion, he was carousing with others in a low gambling house. Horror seized him, and he hurried from the room; but returned in a few minutes. "We’ll have another!" he exclaimed, in a tone of frenzy—and another was brought. He half filled a glass—he raised it to his lips—he dashed into it a deadly poison, and ere they could stay his hand, the fatal draught was swallowed. He had purchased a quantity of arsenic when he rushed from the house.

His fellow-gamblers were thronging around him, when his injured wife and her grey-headed father entered the room. "Away tormentors !" he exclaimed, as his glazed eyes fell upon them, and he dashed his hand before his face.

"My husband! my dear husband!" cried Mary, flinging her arms around his neck; "look on me—speak to me! All is well!"

He gazed on her face—he grasped her hand—"Mary--my injured Mary!" he exclaimed, convulsively, "can you forgive me—you—-you? O God! I was once innocent! Forgive me, dearest! for our child’s sake, curse not its guilty father!"

"Husband!—Adam!" she cried, wringing his hand "come with me, love, come--leave this horrid place—you have nothing to fear—your debt is paid."

"Paid!" he exclaimed, wildly—"Ha! Ha!—Paid! They were his last words—convulsions came upon him—the film of death passed over his eyes, and his troubled spirit fled.

She clung round his neck—she yet cried, "speak to me!"—she refused to believe that he was dead, and her reason seemed to have fled with his spirit.

She was taken from his body and conveyed home. The agony of grief subsided into a stupor approaching imbecility. She was unconscious of all around; and within three weeks from the death of her husband, the broken spirit of Mary Douglas found rest, and her father returned in sorrow with her helpless orphan to Teviotdale.


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