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The Fair Tempter, or Wine On The Wedding Night
by [?]

“WHAT will you take, Haley?”

“A glass of water.”

“Nonsense! Say, what will you take?”

“A glass of water. I don’t drink anything stronger.”

“Not a teetotaller? Ha! ha! ha!” rejoined the young man’s companion, laughing in mingled mirth and ridicule.

“Yes, a teetotaller, if you please,” replied the one called Haley.–“Or anything else you choose to denominate me.”

“You’re a member of a temperance society, then? ha! ha!”

“No, I am not.”

“Don’t belong to the cold-water men?”

“No.”

“Then come along and drink with me! Here, what will you take?”

“Nothing at all, unless it be a glass of water. As I have just said, I drink nothing stronger.”

“What’s the reason?”

“I feel as well–indeed, a great deal better without it.”

“That’s all nonsense! Come, take a julep, or a brandy-punch with me.”

“No, Loring, I cannot.”

“I shall take it as an offence, if you do not.”

“I mean no offence, and shall be sorry, if you construe into one an act not so intended. Drink if you wish to drink, but leave me in freedom to decline tasting liquor if I choose.”

“Well, you are a strange kind of a genius, Haley–, but I believe I like you too well to get mad with you, although I generally take a refusal to drink with one as an insult, unless I know the person to have joined a temperance society,–and then I should deem the insult on my part, were I to urge him to violate his pledge. But I wonder you have never joined yourself to some of these ultra reformers–these teetotallers, as they call themselves.”

“I have never done so,–and never intend doing so. It is sufficient for me to decline drinking, because I do not believe that stimulating beverages are good for the body or mind. I act from principle in this matter, and, therefore, want no external restraints.”

“Then you are determined not to drink with me?”

“O, yes, I will drink with you.”

“Cold-water?”

“Of course.”

“One julep, and a glass of Adam’s-ale,” said Loring, turning to the bar-keeper.

They were soon presented, glasses touched, heads bobbed, and the contents of the two tumblers poured down their respective gullets.

“It makes a chill go over me to see you drinking that stuff,” Loring said, with an expression of disgust on his face.

“Every one to his taste, you know,” was Haley’s half-indifferent response.

“You’ll be over to-night, I suppose?” said a young man, stepping up to him, as the two emerged from the “Coffee”-house–precious little coffee was ever seen there.

“O, yes,–of course.”

“You’d better not come.”

“Why?”

“Clara’s got a bottle of champaign that she says she’s going to make you taste this very night.”

A slight shade flitted quickly over the face of Haley, as the young man said this. But it was as quickly gone, and he replied with a smile,

“Tell Clara it’s no use. I’m an incorrigible cold-water man.”

“She’ll be too much for you.”

“I’m not afraid.”

“You’d be, if you were as well acquainted with her as I am. I never knew that girl to set her head about anything in my life that she didn’t accomplish it. And she says that she will make you drink a glass of wine with her, in spite of all your opposition.”

“She’ll find herself foiled once in her life,” was the laughing reply; “and so you may as well tell her that all her efforts will be in vain, and thus save further trouble.”

“No, I won’t, though. I’ll tell her to go on, while I stand off and look at the fun. I’ll bet on her, into the bargain, for I know she’ll beat.”

“So will I, two to one!” broke in Loring–

“Don’t be so certain of that.”

“We’ll see,” was the laughing response, and then the young men separated.

Manley, the individual who had met Loring and Haley at the coffee-house door, was the brother of Clara, and Haley was her accepted lover. The latter had removed to the city in which all the parties resided, some two years before, from the east, and had commenced business for himself. Nothing was known of his previous life, or connections. But the pure gold of his character soon became apparent, and guarantied him a reception into good society. All who came into association with him, were impressed in his favour. Steadily, however, during that time, had he persisted in not tasting any kind of stimulating drinks. All kinds of stimulating condiments at table, were likewise avoided. The circle of acquaintances which had gradually formed around him, or into which, rather, he had been introduced, was a wine and brandy-drinking set of young men, and he was frequently urged to partake with them; but neither persuasion, ridicule, nor pretended anger, could, in the least, move him from his fixed resolution. Such scenes as that just presented, were of frequent occurrence, particularly with recent acquaintances, as was the case with Loring.