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companionship, the literature, the social prestige, a com plete enchantment.
But the evening is passing on, and so we hasten through the hall and down tht steps, and into the street, and from block to block until we come to another style of club-house. Opening the door, we find the fumes of strong drink and tobacco something almost intolerable. These young men at this table, it is easy to understand what they are at, from the flushed cheek, the intent look, the almost angry way of tossing the dice, or of moving the "chips." They are gambling. At another table are men who are telling vile stories. They are three-fourths intoxicated, and between 12 and 1 o'clock they will go staggering, hooting, swearing, shouting on their way home. That is an only son. On him all kindness, all care, all culture has been bestowed. He is paying his parents in this way for their kindness. That is a young married man, who, only a few months ago, at the altar, made promises of kindness and fidelity, every one of which he has broken. Walk through and see for your-. self. Here are all the implements of dissipation and of quick death. As the hours of the night go away, the conversation becomes imbecile and more debasing. Now it is time to shut up. Those who are able to stand will get out on the pavement and balance themselves against the lamp-post, or against the railings of the fence. The young man who is not able to stand will have a bed improvised for him in the club-house, or two not quite so overcome with liquor will conduct him to his father's house, and they will ling the door-bell, and the door will open, and the two imbecile escorts will introduce into the hallway tli6 ghastliest and most hellish spectacle that ever enters a front door—a drunken son. If the dissipating club-houses of this country would make a contract
with the Inferno to provide it ten thousand men a year *nd for twenty years, on the condition that no more rihould be asked of them, the club-houses could afford to make that contract, for they would save homesteads, save fortunes, save bodies, minds, and souls. The ten thousand men who would be sacrificed by that contract would be but a small part of the multitude sacrificed without the contract. But I make a vast difference between clubs. I have belonged to four clubs: A theological club, a ball club, and two literary clubs. I got from them physical rejuvenation and moral health. What shall be the principle? If God will help me, I will lay down three principles by which you may judge whether the club where you are a member, or the club to which you have been invited, is a legitimate or an illegitimate club-house.
First of all I want yon to test the club by its influences on home, if you have a home. I have been told by a prominent gentleman in club life that three-fourths of the members of the great clubs of these cities are married men. That wife soon loses her influence over her husband who nervously and foolishly looks upon all evening absence as an assault on domesticity. How are the great enterprises of art and literature and beneficence and public weal to be carried on if every man is to have his world bounded on one side by his front door-step, and on the other side by his back window, knowing nothing higher than his own attic, or nothing lower than his own cellar! That wife who becomes jealous of her husband's attention to art, or literature, or religion, or charity, is breaking her own sceptre of conjugal power. I know in this church an instance where a wife thought that her husband was giving too many nights to Christian service, to charitable service, to prayer meetings, and to religious convocation. She sytematically decoyed him away nntil now he attends neither this nor any other church, and is on a rapid way to destruction, his morals gone, his money gone, and, I fear, his soul gone. Let any Christian wife rejoice when her husband consecrates evenings to the service of God, or to charity, or to art, or *» anything elevated; but let not men sacrifice home life to club life. I have the rolls of the members of a great many of the prominent clubs of these cities, and I can point out to you a great many names of men who are guilty of this sacrilege. They are as genial as angels at the clubhouse, and as ugly as sin at home. They are generous on all subjects of wine suppers, yachts, and fast horses, but they are stingy about the wife's dress and the children's shoes. That man has made that which might be a healthful recreation an usurper of his affections, and he has married it, and he is guilty of moral bigamy. Under this process the wife, whatever her features, becomes uninteresting and homely. He becomes critical of her, does not like the dress, does not like the way she arranges her hair, is amazed that he ever was so unromantic as to offer her hand and heart. She is always wanting money, money, when she ought to be discussing Eclipses, and Dexter, and Derby Day, and English drags with six horses, all answering the pull of one "ribbon."
I tell you, there are thousands of houses in Brooklyn and New York being clubbed to death! There are clubhouses in these cities where membership always involves domestic shipwreck. Tell me that a man has joined a certain club, tell me nothing more about him for ten years, and I will write his history if he be still alive. The man is a wine-guzzler, his wife broken-hearted or prematurely old, his fortune gone or reduced, and his home a mere name in a directory. Here are six secular nights in the week. "What shall I do with themF says the father and the husband. "I will give four of those nights to the improvement and entertainment of my family, either at home or in good neighborhood; I will devote one to charitable institutions; I will devote one to the club." I congratulate you. Here is a man who says, "I will make a different division of the six nights. I will take three for the club and three for other purposes." I tremble. Here is a man who says, "Out of the six secular nights of the week, I will devote five to the club-house and one to the home, which night I will spemd in scowling like a March squall, wishing I was out spending it as I had spent the*other five." That man's obituary is written. Not one out of ten thousand that ever gets so far on the wrong road ever stops. Gradually his health will fail, through late hours and through too much stimulus. He will be first-rate prey for erysipelas and rheumatism of the heart. The doctor coming in will at a glance see it is not only present disease he must fight, but years of fast living. The clergyman, for the sake of the feelings of the family, on the funeral day will only talk in religious generalities. The men who got his yacht in the eternal rapids will not be at the obsequies. They will have pressing engagements that day. They will send flowers to the coflSn-lid, and send their wives to utter words of sympathy, but they will have engagements elsewhere. They never come. Bring me mallet and chisel, and I will cut on the tombstone that man's epitaph, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." "No," you say," that would not be appropriate." "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." "No," you ^ay, "that would not be appropriate." Then give me the mallet and the chisel, and I will cut an honest epitaph: -' Here lies the victim
of a dissipating club-house!" I think that damage is often done by the scions of some aristocratic family, who belong to one of these dissipating club-houses. People coming up from humbler classes feel it an honor to belong to the same club, forgetting the fact that many of the sons and grandsons of the large commercial establishments of the last generation are now, as to mind, imbecile; as to body, diseased; as to morals, rotten. They would have got through their property long ago if they had had full possession of it; but the wily ancestors, who got the money by hard knocks, foresaw how it was to be, and they tied up everything in the will. Now, there is nothing of that unworthy descendant but his grandfather's name and roast beef rotundity. And yet how many steamers there are which feel honored to lash fast that worm-eaten tug, though it drags them straight into the breakers.
Another test by which you can find whether your club is legitimate or illegitimate—the effect it has on your secular occupation. I can understand how through such an institution a man can reach commercial successes. I know some men have formed their best business relations through such a channel. If the club has advantaged you in an honorable calling it is a legitimate club. But has your credit failed? Are bargain-makers more cautious how they trust you with a bill of goods? Have the men whose names were down in the commercial agency A1 before they entered the club, been going down since in commercial standing? Then look outl You and I every day know of commercial establishments going to ruin through the social excesses of one or two members. Their fortunes beaten to death with ball-players' bat, or cut amidships by the front prow of the regatta, Qf going <Jown un4er the swift; fcoofs of the fast korftty