176 BLA CK BE A UTY.
lame their own horses, that would be their own affair and we might let them alone; but it seems to me that the innocent always suffer; and then they can talk about compensation ! You can't make compensation; there's all the trouble, and vexation, and loss of time, besides losing a good horse that's like an old friend—it's nonsense talking of compensation! If there's one devil that I should like to see in the bottomless pit more than another it's the drink devil."
" I say, Jerry," said the Governor, " you are treading pretty hard on my toes, you know; I'm not so good as you are, more shame for me; I wish I was."
" Well," said Jerry, " why don't you cut with it, Governor ? You are too good a man to be the slave of such a thing."
" I'm a great fool, Jerry,but I tried it once for two days, and I thought I should have died ; how did you do ?"
"I had hard work at it for several weeks; you see I never did get drunk, but I found that I was not my own master, and that when the craving came on it was hard work to say ' no.' I saw that one of us must knock under, the drink devil or Jerry Barker, and I said that it should not be Jerry Barker, God helping me; but it was a struggle, and I wanted all the help I could get, for till I tried to break the habit I did not know how strong it was; but then Polly took great pains that I should have good food, and when the craving came on I used to get a cup of coffee, or some peppermint, or read a bit in my book, and that was a help to me; sometimes I had to say over and over to myself, ' Give up the drink or lose your soul! Give up the drink or break Polly's heart 1' but thanks be to God and my dear wife, my chains were broken, and now for ten years I have not tasted a drop, and never wrish for it."
" I've a great mind to try it, said Grant, " for 'tis a poor thing not to be one's master."
" Do, Governor, you'll never repent it; and what a help it would be to some of the poor fellows in our rank if they