Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Broken Pledge
by [?]

“IT is two years, this very day, since I signed the pledge,” remarked Jonas Marshall, a reformed drinker, to his wife, beside whom he sat one pleasant summer evening, enjoying the coolness and quiet of that calm hour.

“Two years! And is it, indeed, so long?” was the reply. “How swiftly time passes, when the heart is not oppressed with cape and sorrow!”

“To me, they have been the happiest of my life,” resumed the husband. “How much do we owe to this blessed reformation!”

“Blessed, indeed, may it be called!” the wife said, with feeling.

“It seems scarcely possible, Jane, that one, who, like me, had become such a slave to intoxication, could have been reclaimed. I often think of myself, and wonder. A little over two years ago, I could no more control the intolerable desire for liquor that I felt, than I could fly. Now I have not the least inclination to touch, taste, or handle it.”

“And I pray Heaven you may never again have!”

“That danger is past, Jane. Two years of total abstinence have completely changed the morbid craving once felt for artificial stimulus, into a natural and healthy desire for natural and healthy aliments.”

“It would be dangerous for you even now, Jonas, to suffer a drop of liquor to pass your lips; do you not think so?”

“There would be no particular danger in my tasting liquor, I presume. The danger would be, as at first, in the use of it, until an appetite was formed.” Marshall replied, in a tone of confidence.

“Then you think that old, inordinate craving for drink, has been entirely eradicated?”

“O yes, I am confident of it.”

“And heartily glad am I to hear you say so. It doubles the guarantee for our own and children’s happiness. The pledge to guard us on one side, and the total loss of all desire on the other, is surely a safe protection. I feel, that into the future I may now look, without a single painful anxiety on this account.”

“Yes, Jane. Into the future you may look with hope. And as to the past, let it sink, with all its painful scenes,–its heart-aching trials, into oblivion.”

Jonas Marshall and his young wife had, many years before the period in which the above conversation took place, entered upon the world with cheerful hopes, and a flattering promise of happiness. They were young persons of cultivated tastes, and had rather more of this world’s goods than ordinarily falls to the lot of those just commencing life. A few years sufficed to dash all their hopes to the ground, and to fill the heart of the young wife with a sorrow that it seemed impossible for her to bear. Marshall, from habitual drinking of intoxicating liquors, found the taste for them fully confirmed before he dreamed of danger, and he had not the strength of character at once and for ever to abandon their use. Gradually he went down, down, slowly at first, but finally with a rapid movement, until he found himself stripped of everything, and himself a confirmed drunkard. For nearly two years longer, he surrendered himself up to drink–his wife and children suffering more than my pen can describe, or any but the drunkard’s wife and drunkard’s children realize.

Then came a new era. A friend of humanity sought out the poor, degraded wretch, in his misery and obscurity, and prevailed upon him to abandon his vile habits, and pledge himself to total abstinence. Two years from the day that pledge was signed, found him again rising in the world, with health, peace, and comfort, the cheerful inmates of his dwelling. Here is the brief outline of a reformed drinker’s history. How many an imagination can fill in the dark shadows, and distinct, mournful features of the gloomy picture!

On the day succeeding the second anniversary of Jonas Marshall’s reformation, he was engaged to dine with a few friends, and met them at the appointed hour. With the dessert, wine was introduced. Among the guests were one or two persons with whom Marshall had but recently become acquainted. They knew little or nothing of his former life. One of them sat next to him at table, and very naturally handed him the wine, with a request to drink with him.