Albert Day, Atlantic Monthly, Atlantic Monthy 1869, Binghamton, Cornell's Making of America, Dr. Albert Day, Dr.Edward Turner, dramatists, Ethiopian Minstrel, Inebriates, Isaac Perry, novelists, NY State Inebriate Asylum, Old Woodcuts, poets, Scientific American, Temperance
At eleven o’clock, and again at six, a mail-bag arrives from the post-office in town, and there is a distribution of letters and papers. These are ever the two exciting episodes of our daily being; for to them belongs the weighting or the lightening of hearts; I have seen at least one poor life, that had hung upon them forlornly, suddenly let go its hold. At the same time come the great newspapers, with their freight of stirring matter.
At one we dine, and at six we sup, – quite substantially still; for our appetites are such as belong to lusty stomachs, cocktailed by gay, hopeful tempers. And these our prattling reunions in the refectory are our occasions of most genial companionship, breaking, as they do, the monotony of a routine which, diversify it as we may, is yet not without its irksomeness to frames so vigorous and spirits so restless. They constitute to us, likewise, a sort of dress parade in which we are careful to make a handsome appearance; for it is here that we are oftenest cheered by the presence of the fair. After dinner, to our pipes (which are free), and to our naps, which might be wholesomely reformed. But as at the table we meet as ninety-six cheerful gentlemen, pleasantly familiar, might sit down together in a genteel hotel, so, in our rooms and everywhere, we are much given to taking our ease in our inn; for are we not here for rest most of all, – rest from the racket of our own excitements, and all the wearisome wear of our alternate recklessnesses and remorses ? God knows we were tired enough when we came!
Our evenings are – according to the day. For Mondays we have provided readings, in the chapel, from the poets, the dramatists, the novelists; and our readers are whoever can and will read.
On Wednesday evenings, Dr. Day talks to us about Temperance, with all the plainness and good – humor, and much of the drollness, of the familiar “Dutch Uncle.”
Pithy performances these, — neither scientific nor rhetorical, but of the very mother-soil of the subject, awfully sound, and to the point, —at times with a directness so drolly excruciating as to make the squirming hearer feel as though he were a full bottle of “S. T.—1860 — X,” and the spiral horror of an analyzer’s corkscrew, with its cold, critical intelligence, were slowly but surely grinding into his head.