Infomotions, Inc.The Gaming Table - Volume 1 / Steinmetz, Andrew, 1816-1877

Author: Steinmetz, Andrew, 1816-1877
Title: The Gaming Table - Volume 1
Date: 1996-01-25
Contributor(s): Starr, Frederick, 1858-1933 [Editor]
Size: 508538
Identifier: etext466
Language: en
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Rights: GNU General Public License
Tag(s): gambling gaming money table time project gutenberg etext andrew steinmetz votaries victims volume starr frederick editor
Versions: original; local mirror; plain HTML (this file);
concordance (most frequent 100 words, etc.)
Related: Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts

******The Project Gutenberg Etext of Andrew Steinmetz's********
*********The Gaming Table:  Its Votaries and Victims***********

Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check
the copyright laws for your country before posting these files!!

Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers.  Do not remove this.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below.  We need your donations.

The Gaming Table:  Its Votaries and Victims

by Andrew Steinmetz

March, 1996  [Etext #466]

******The Project Gutenberg Etext of Andrew Steinmetz's********
*********The Gaming Table:  Its Votaries and Victims***********
*****This file should be named tgamt10.txt or******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, tgamt11.txt.
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, tgamt10a.txt.

We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance
of the official release dates, for time for better editing.

Please note:  neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.  To be sure you have an
up to date first edition [] please check file sizes
in the first week of the next month.  Since our ftp program has
a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
new copy has at least one byte more or less.

Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
fifty hours is one conservative estimate for how long it we take
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.  This
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour this year as we release thirty-two text
files per month:  or 400 more Etexts in 1996 for a total of 800.
If these reach just 10% of the computerized population, then the
total should reach 80 billion Etexts.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by the December 31, 2001.  [10,000 x 100,000,000=Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only 10% of the present number of computer users.  2001
should have at least twice as many computer users as that, so it
will require us reaching less than 5% of the users in 2001.

We need your donations more than ever!

All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/IBC", and are
tax deductible to the extent allowable by law ("IBC" is Illinois
Benedictine College).  (Subscriptions to our paper newsletter go
to IBC, too)

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg
P. O. Box  2782
Champaign, IL 61825

When all other email fails try our Executive Director:
Michael S. Hart <>

We would prefer to send you this information by email
(Internet, Bitnet, Compuserve, ATTMAIL or MCImail).

If you have an FTP program (or emulator), please
FTP directly to the Project Gutenberg archives:
[Mac users, do NOT point and click. . .type]

login:  anonymous
password:  your@login
cd etext/etext90 through /etext96
or cd etext/articles [get suggest gut for more information]
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
for a list of books
GET NEW GUT for general information
MGET GUT* for newsletters.

**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**
(Three Pages)

Why is this "Small Print!" statement here?  You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault.  So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you.  It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement.  If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from.  If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor
Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at
Illinois Benedictine College (the "Project").  Among other
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works.  Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects".  Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from.  If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy.  If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.


Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect.

You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
     cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
     net profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Association / Illinois
     Benedictine College" within the 60 days following each
     date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare)
     your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.

The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty
free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution
you can think of.  Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg
Association / Illinois Benedictine College".


Scanned with OmniPage Professional OCR software
donated by Caere Corporation, 1-800-535-7226.
Contact Mike Lough <>


In all Times and Countries, especially in England
and in France.




`The sharp, the blackleg, and the knowing one,
Livery or lace, the self-same circle, run;
The same the passion, end and means the same--
Dick and his Lordship differ but in name.'



The Duke of Wellington, K.G.



To the readers of the present generation much of this book will,
doubtless, seem incredible.  Still it is a book of facts--a
section of our social history, which is, I think, worth writing,
and deserving of meditation.

Forty or fifty years ago--that is, within the memory of many a
living man--gambling was `the rage' in England, especially in the
metropolis.  Streets now meaningless and dull--such as Osendon
Street, and streets and squares now inhabited by the most
respectable in the land--for instance, St James's Square, THEN
opened doors to countless votaries of the fickle and capricious
goddess of Fortune; in the rooms of which many a nobleman, many a
gentleman, many an officer of the Army and Navy, clergymen,
tradesmen, clerks, and apprentices, were `cleaned out'--ruined,
and driven to self-murder, or to crimes that led to the gallows.
`I have myself,' says a writer of the time, `seen hanging in
chains a man whom a short time before I saw at a Hazard table!'

History, as it is commonly written, does not sufficiently take
cognizance of the social pursuits and practices that sap the
vitality of a nation; and yet these are the leading influences in
its destiny--making it what it is and will be, at least through
many generations, by example and the inexorable laws that preside
over what is called `hereditary transmission.'

Have not the gambling propensities of our forefathers
influenced the present generation? . . . .

No doubt gambling, in the sense treated of in this book, has
ceased in England.  If there be here and there a Roulette or
Rouge et Noir table in operation, its existence is now known
only to a few `sworn-brethren;' if gambling at cards `prevails'
in certain quarters, it is `kept quiet.'  The vice is not
barefaced.  It slinks and skulks away into corners and holes,
like a poisoned rat.  Therefore, public morality has triumphed,
or, to use the card-phrase, `trumped' over this dreadful abuse;
and the law has done its duty, or has reason to expect
congratulation for its success, in `putting down' gaming houses.

But we gamble still.  The gambling on the Turf (now the most
uncertain of all `games of chance') was, lately, something that
rang through and startled the entire nation.  We gamble in the
funds.  We gamble in endless companies (limited)--all resulting
from the same passion of our nature, which led to the gambling of
former times with cards, with dice, at Piquet, Basset, Faro,
Hazard, E O, _Roulette_, and _Rouge et Noir_.  At a recent
memorable trial, the Lord Chief Justice of England exclaimed--
`There can be no doubt--any one who looks around him cannot fail
to perceive--that a spirit of speculation and gambling has taken
hold of the minds of large classes of the population.  Men who
were wont to be satisfied with moderate gain and safe investments
seem now to be animated by a spirit of greed after gain, which
makes them ready to embark their fortunes, however hardly gained,
in the vain hope of realizing immense returns by premiums upon
shares, and of making more than safe and reasonable gains.  We
see that continually.'  In fact, we may not be a jot better
morally than our forefathers.  But that is no reason why we
should not frown over the story of their horrid sins, and,
`having a good conscience,' think what sad dogs they were in
their generation--knowing, as we do, that none of us at the
present day lose _FIFTY OR A HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS_ at play,
at a sitting, in one single night--as was certainly no very
uncommon `event' in those palmy days of gaming; and that we could
not--as was done in 1820--produce a list of _FIVE HUNDRED_ names
(in London alone) of noblemen, gentlemen, officers of the Army
and Navy, and clergymen, who were veteran or indefatigable
gamesters, besides `clerks, grocers, horse-dealers, linen-
drapers, silk-mercers, masons, builders, timber-merchants,
booksellers, &c., &c., and men of the very lowest walks of life,'
who frequented the numerous gaming houses throughout the
metropolis--to their ruin and that of their families more or less
(as deploringly lamented by Captain Gronow), and not a few of
them, no doubt, finding themselves in that position in which they
could exclaim, at _OUR_ remonstrance, as feelingly as did King

`Slave! I have set my life upon a _CAST_,
And I will stand the _HAZARD OF THE DIE!_'

Nor is gaming as yet extinct among us.  Every now and then a
batch of youngsters is brought before the magistrates charged
with vulgar `tossing' in the streets; and every now and then we
hear of some victim of genteel gambling, as recently--in the
month of February, 1868--when `a young member of the aristocracy
lost L10,000 at Whist.'

Nay, at the commencement of the present year there appeared in a
daily paper the following startling announcement to the editor:--

`Sir,--Allow me, through the columns of your paper, to call the
attention of the parents and friends of the young officers in the
Channel-fleet to the great extent gambling is carried on at
Lisbon.  Since the fleet has been there another gambling house
has been opened, and is filled every evening with young officers,
many of whom are under 18 years of age.  On the 1st of January it
is computed that upwards of L800 was lost by officers of the
fleet in the gambling houses, and if the fleet is to stay there
three months there will soon be a great number of the officers
involved in debt.  I will relate one incident that came under my
personal notice.  A young midshipman, who had lately joined the
Channel fleet from the Bristol, drew a half-year's pay in
December, besides his quarterly allowance, and I met him on shore
the next evening without money enough to pay a boat to go off to
his ship, having lost all at a gambling house.

Hoping that this may be of some use in stopping the gambling
among the younger officers, I remain, yours respectfully,

[1] Standard, Jan. 12, 1870.

In conclusion, I have contemplated the passion of gaming in all
its bearings, as will be evident from the range of subjects
indicated by the table of contents and index.  I have ransacked
(and sacked) hundreds of volumes for entertaining, amusing,
curious, or instructive matter.

Without deprecating criticism on my labours, perhaps I may state
that these researches have probably terminated my career as an
author.  Immediately after the completion of this work I was
afflicted with a degree of blindness rendering it impossible for
me to read any print whatever, and compelling me to write only by





















A very apt allegory has been imagined as the origin of Gaming.
It is said that the Goddess of Fortune, once sporting near the
shady pool of Olympus, was met by the gay and captivating God of
War, who soon allured her to his arms.  They were united; but the
matrimony was not holy, and the result of the union was a
misfeatured child named Gaming.  From the moment of her birth
this wayward thing could only be pleased by cards, dice, or

She was not without fascinations, and many were her admirers.  As
she grew up she was courted by all the gay and extravagant of
both sexes, for she was of neither sex, and yet combining the
attractions of each.  At length, however, being mostly beset by
men of the sword, she formed an unnatural union with one of them,
and gave birth to twins--one called DUELLING, and the other a
grim and hideous monster named SUICIDE.  These became their
mother's darlings, nursed by her with constant care and
tenderness, and her perpetual companions.

The Goddess Fortune ever had an eye on her promising daughter--
Gaming; and endowed her with splendid residences, in the most
conspicuous streets, near the palaces of kings.  They were
magnificently designed and elegantly furnished.  Lamps, always
burning at the portals, were a sign and a perpetual invitation
unto all to enter; and, like the gates of the Inferno, they were
ever open to daily and nightly visitants; but, unlike the latter,
they permitted _EXIT_ to all who entered--some exulting with
golden spoil,--others with their hands in empty pockets,--some
led by her half-witted son Duelling,--others escorted by her
malignant monster Suicide, and his mate, the demon Despair.

`Religion, morals, virtue, all give way,
And conscience dies, the prostitute of play.
Eternity ne'er steals one thought between,
Till suicide completes the fatal scene.'

Such is the _ALLEGORY_;[2] and it may serve well enough to
represent the thing in accordance with the usages of civilized or
modern life; but Gaming is a _UNIVERSAL_ thing--the
characteristic of the human biped all the world over.

[2] It appeared originally, I think, in the Harleian
Miscellany.  I have taken the liberty to re-touch it here and
there, with the view to improvement.

The determination of events by `lot' was a practice frequently
resorted to by the Israelites; as, by lot it was determined which
of the goats should be offered by Aaron; by lot the land of
Canaan was divided; by lot Saul was marked out for the Hebrew
kingdom; by lot Jonah was discovered to be the cause of the
storm.  It was considered an appeal to Heaven to determine the
points, and was thought not to depend on blind chance, or that
imaginary being called Fortune, who,

`----With malicious joy,
Promotes, degrades, delights in strife,
And makes a _LOTTERY_ of life.'

The Hindoo Code--a promulgation of very high antiquity--
denounces gambling, which proves that there were desperate
gamesters among the Hindoos in the earliest times.  Men gamed,
too, it would appear, after the example set them by the gods, who
had gamesters among them.  The priests of Egypt assured Herodotus
that one of their kings visited alive the lower regions called
infernal, and that he there joined a gaming party, at which he
both lost and won.[3]  Plutarch tells a pretty Egyptian story to
the effect, that Mercury having fallen in love with Rhea, or the
Earth, and wishing to do her a favour, gambled with the Moon, and
won from her every seventieth part of the time she illumined the
horizon--all which parts he united together, making up _FIVE
DAYS_, and added them to the Earth's year, which had previously
consisted of only 360 days.[4]

[3] Herod. 1. ii.

[4] Plutarch, _De Isid. et Osirid._

But not only did the gods play among themselves on Olympus, but
they gambled with mortals.  According to Plutarch, the priest of
the temple of Hercules amused himself with playing at dice with
the god, the stake or conditions being that if he won he should
obtain some signal favour, but if he lost he would procure a
beautiful courtesan for Hercules.[5]

[5] _In Vita Romuli_.

By the numerous nations of the East dice, and that pugnacious
little bird the cock, have been and are the chief instruments
employed to produce a sensation--to agitate their minds and to
ruin their fortunes.  The Chinese have in all times, we suppose,
had cards--hence the absurdity of the notion that they were
`invented' for the amusement of Charles VI. of France, in his
`lucid intervals,' as is constantly asserted in every collection
of historic facts.  The Chinese invented cards, as they invented
almost everything else that administers to our social and
domestic comfort.[6]

[6] Observations on Cards, by Mr Gough, in Archaeologia, vol.
viii. 1787.

The Asiatic gambler is desperate.  When all other property is
played away, he scruples not to stake his wife, his child, on the
cast of a die or on the courage of the martial bird before
mentioned.  Nay more, if still unsuccessful, the last venture he
makes is that of his limbs--his personal liberty--his life--which
he hazards on the caprice of chance, and agrees to be at the
mercy, or to become the slave, of his fortunate antagonist.

The Malayan, however, does not always tamely submit to this last
stroke of fortune.  When reduced to a state of desperation by
repeated ill-luck, he loosens a certain lock of hair on his head,
which, when flowing down, is a sign of war and destruction.  He
swallows opium or some intoxicating liquor, till he works himself
up into a fit of frenzy, and begins to bite and kill everything
that comes in his way; whereupon, as the aforesaid lock of hair
is seen flowing, it is lawful to fire at and destroy him as
quickly as possible--he being considered no better than a mad
dog.  A very rational conclusion.

Of course the Chinese are most eager gamesters, or they would not
have been capable of inventing those dear, precious killers of
time--cards, the EVENING solace of so many a household in the
most respectable and `proper' walks of life.  Indeed, they play
night and day--until they have lost all they are worth, and then
they usually go--and hang themselves.

If we turn our course northward, and penetrate the regions of ice
perpetual, we find that the driven snow cannot effectually quench
the flames of gambling.  They glow amid the regions of the
frozen pole.  The Greenlanders gamble with a board, which has a
finger-piece upon it, turning round on an axle; and the person to
whom the finger points on the stopping of the board, which is
whirled round, `sweeps' all the `stakes' that have been

If we descend thence into the Western hemisphere, we find that
the passion for gambling forms a distinguishing feature in the
character of all the rude natives of the American continent.
Just as in the East, these savages will lose their aims (on which
subsistence depends), their apparel, and at length their personal
liberty, on games of chance.  There is one thing, however, which
must be recorded to their credit--and to our shame.  When they
have lost their `all,' they do not follow the example of our
refined gamesters.  They neither murmur nor repine.  Not a
fretful word escapes them.  They bear the frowns of fortune with
a philosophic composure.[7]

[7] Carver, _Travels_.

If we cross the Atlantic and land on the African shore, we find
that the `everlasting Negro' is a gambler--using shells as dice--
and following the practice of his `betters' in every way.  He
stakes not only his `fortune,' but also his children and liberty,
which he cares very little about, everywhere, until we incite him
to do so--as, of course, we ought to do, for every motive `human
and divine.'

There is no doubt, then, that this propensity is part and parcel
of `the unsophisticated savage.'  Let us turn to the eminently
civilized races of antiquity--the men whose example we have more
or less followed in every possible matter, sociality, politics,
religion--they were all gamblers, more or less.  Take the grand
prototypes of Britons, the Romans of old.  That gamesters they
were!  And how gambling recruited the ranks of the desperadoes
who gave them insurrectionary trouble!  Catiline's `army of
scoundrels,' for instance.  `Every man dishonoured by
dissipation,' says Sallust, `who by his follies or losses at the
gaming table had consumed the inheritance of his fathers, and all
those who were sufferers by such misery, were the friends of this
perverse man.'  Horace, Juvenal, Persius, Cicero, and other
writers, attest the fact of Roman gambling most eloquently, most

The Romans had `lotteries,' or games of chance, and some of
their prizes were of great value, as a good estate and slaves, or
rich vases; others of little value, as vases of common earth, but
of this more in the sequel.

Among the Gothic kings who, in the fulness of time and
accomplishments, `succeeded' to that empire, we read of a
Theodoric, `a wise and valiant prince,' who was `great lover of
dice;' his solicitude in play was only for victory; and his
companions knew how to seize the moment of his success, as
consummate courtiers, to put forward their petitions and to make
their requests.  `When I have a petition to prefer,' says one of
them, `I am easily beaten in the game that I may win my
cause.'[8]  What a clever contrivance!  But scarcely equal to
that of the _GREAT_ (in politeness) Lord Chesterfield, who, to
gain a vote for a parliamentary friend, actually submitted to be
_BLED!_  It appears that the voter was deemed very difficult, but
Chesterfield found out that the man was a doctor, who was a
perfect Sangrado, recommending bleeding for every ailment.  He
went to him, as in consultation, agreed with the man's arguments,
and at once bared his arm for the operation.  On the point of
departure his lordship `edged' in the question about the vote for
his friend, which was, of course, gushingly promised and given.

[8] Sed ego aliquid obsecraturus facile vincor; et mihi tabula
perit ut causa salvetur.--Sidonius Apollinaris, _Epist_.

Although there may not be much Gothic blood among us, it is quite
certain that there is plenty of German mixture in our nation--
taking the term in its very wide and comprehensive ethnology.
Now, Tacitus describes the ancient stout and valiant Germans as
`making gaming with a die a very serious occupation of their
sober hours.'  Like the `everlasting Negro,' they, too, made
their last throw for personal liberty, the loser going into
voluntary slavery, and the winner selling such slaves as soon as
possible to strangers, in order not to have to blush for such a
victory!  If the `nigger' could blush, he might certainly do so
for the white man in such a conjuncture.

At Naples and other places in Italy, at least in former times,
the boatmen used thus to stake their liberty for a certain number
of years.  According to Hyde,[9] the Indians stake their fingers
and cut them off themselves to pay the debt of honour.
Englishmen have cut off their ears, both as a `security' for
a gambling loan, and as a stake; others have staked their lives
by hanging, in like manner!  Instances will be given in the

[9] De Ludis Orient.

But leaving these savages and the semi-savages of the very olden
time, let us turn to those nearer to our times, with just as much
religious truth and principle among them as among ourselves.

The warmth with which `dice-playing' is condemned in the writings
of the _Fathers_, the venerable expounders of Christianity, as
well as by `edicts' and `canons' of the Church, is unquestionably
a sufficient proof of its general and excessive prevalence
throughout the nations of Europe.  When cards were introduced, in
the fourteenth century, they only added fuel to the infernal
flame of gambling; and it soon became as necessary to restrain
their use as it had been that of dice.  The two held a joint
empire of ruin and desolation over their devoted victims.  A king
of France set the ruinous example--Henry IV., the roue, the
libertine, the duellist, the gambler,--and yet (historically) the
_Bon Henri_, the `good king,' who wished to order things so that
every Frenchman might have a _pot-au-feu_, or dish of flesh
savoury, every Sunday for dinner.  The money that Henry IV. lost
at play would have covered great public expenses.

There can be no doubt that the spirit of gaming went on acquiring
new strength and development throughout every subsequent reign in
France; and we shall see that under the Empire the thing was a
great national institution, and made to put a great deal of money
as `revenue' into the hands of Fouche.

But the Spaniards have always been, of all nations, the most
addicted to gambling.  A traveller says:--`I have wandered
through all parts of Spain, and though in many places I have
scarcely been able to procure a glass of wine, or a bit of bread,
or any of the first conveniences of life, yet I never went
through a village so mean and out of the way, in which I could
not have purchased a pack of cards.'  This was in the middle of
the seventeenth century, but I have no doubt it is true at the
present moment.

If we can believe Voltaire, the Spaniards were formerly very
generous in their gaming.  `The grandees of Spain,' he says, `had
a generous ostentation; this was to divide the money won at
play among all the bystanders, of whatever condition.

Montrefor relates that when the Duke of Lerma, the Spanish
minister, entertained Gaston, brother of Louis XIII., with all
his retinue in the Netherlands, he displayed a magnificence of an
extraordinary kind.  The prime minister, with whom Gaston spent
several days, used to put two thousand louis d'ors on a large
gaming-table after dinner.  With this money Gaston's attendants
and even the prince himself sat down to play.  It is probable,
however, that Voltaire extended a single instance or two into a
general habit or custom.  That writer always preferred to deal
with the splendid and the marvellous rather than with plain
matter of fact.

There can be little doubt that the Spaniards pursued gaming in
the vulgar fashion, just as other people.  At any rate the
following anecdote gives us no very favourable idea of Spanish
generosity to strangers in the matter of gambling in modern
times; and the worst of it is the suitableness of its application
to more capitals than one among the kingdoms of Europe.  `After
the bull-feast I was invited to pass the evening at the hotel of
a lady, who had a public card-assembly. . . .  This vile
method of subsisting on the folly of mankind is confined in Spain
to the nobility.  None but women of quality are permitted to hold
banks, and there are many whose faro-banks bring them in a clear
income of a thousand guineas a year.  The lady to whom I was
introduced is an old countess, who has lived nearly thirty years
on the profits of the card-tables in her house.  They are
frequented every day, and though both natives and foreigners are
duped of large sums by her, and her cabinet-junto, yet it is the
greatest house of resort in all Madrid.  She goes to court,
visits people of the first fashion, and is received with as much
respect and veneration as if she exercised the most sacred
functions of a divine profession.  Many widows of great men keep
gaming-houses and live splendidly on the vices of mankind.  If
you be not disposed to play, be either a sharper or a dupe, you
cannot be admitted a second time to their assemblies.  I was no
sooner presented to the lady than she offered me cards; and on my
excusing myself, because I really could not play, she made a very
wry face, turned from me, and said to another lady in my hearing,
that she wondered how any foreigner could have the
impertinence to come to her house for no other purpose than to
make an apology for not playing.  My Spanish conductor,
unfortunately for himself, had not the same apology.  He played
and lost his money--two circumstances which constantly follow in
these houses.  While my friend was thus playing _THE FOOL_, I
attentively watched the countenance and motions of the lady of
the house.  Her anxiety, address, and assiduity were equal to
that of some skilful shopkeeper, who has a certain attraction to
engage all to buy, and diligence to take care that none shall
escape the net.  I found out all her privy-counsellors, by her
arrangement of her parties at the different tables; and whenever
she showed an extraordinary eagerness to fix one particular
person with a stranger, the game was always decided the same way,
and her good friend was sure to win the money.

`In short, it is hardly possible to see good company at Madrid
unless you resolve to leave a purse of gold at the card-
assemblies of their nobility.'[10]

[10] `Observations in a Tour through Spain.'

We are assured that this state of things is by no means
`obsolete' in Spain, even at the present time.  At the time
in question, however, the beginning of the present century, there
was no European nation among which gaming did not constitute one
of its polite and fashionable amusements--with the exception of
the _Turks_, who, to the shame of Christians, strictly obeyed the
precepts of Mahomet, and scrupulously avoided the `gambling itch'
of our nature.

In England gambling prevailed during the reign of Henry VIII.;
indeed, it seems that the king was himself a gamester of the most
unscrupulous sort; and there is ample evidence that the practice
flourished during the reign of Elizabeth, James I., and
subsequently, especially in the times of Charles II.  Writing on
the day when James II. was proclaimed king, Evelyn says, `I can
never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and
all dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfulness of God (it
being Sunday evening) which this day se'nnight I was witness of,
the king sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth,
Cleaveland, and Mazarine, &c., a French boy singing love-songs,
in that glorious gallery, whilst about twenty of the great
courtiers and other dissolute persons were at Basset round a
large table; a bank of at least L2000 in gold before them,
upon which two gentlemen who were with me made reflections with
astonishment.  Six days after all was in the dust!'

The following curious observations on the gaming in vogue during
the year 1668 are from the Harleian Miscellany:

`One propounded this question, "Whether men in ships at sea were
to be accounted amongst the living or the dead--because there
were but few inches betwixt them and drowning?"  The same query
may be made of gamesters, though their estates be never so
considerable--whether they are to be esteemed rich or poor, since
there are but a few casts at dice betwixt a person of fortune (in
that circumstance) and a beggar.

`Betwixt twelve and one of the clock a good dinner is prepared by
way of ordinary, and some gentlemen of civility and condition
oftentimes eat there, and play a while for recreation after
dinner, both moderately and most commonly without deserving
reproof.  Towards night, when ravenous beasts usually seek their
prey, there come in shoals of hectors, trepanners, gilts, pads,
biters, prigs, divers, lifters, kidnappers, vouchers, mill kens,
piemen, decoys, shop-lifters, foilers, bulkers, droppers,
gamblers, donnakers, crossbiters, &c., under the general
appellation of "rooks;" and in this particular it serves as a
nursery for Tyburn, for every year some of this gang march

`Would you imagine it to be true--that a grave gentleman, well
stricken in years, insomuch as he cannot see the pips of the
dice, is so infatuated with this witchery as to play here with
others' eyes,--of whom this quibble was raised, "Mr Such a one
plays at dice by the ear."  Another gentleman, stark blind, I
have seen play at Hazard, and surely that must be by the ear too.

`Late at night, when the company grows thin, and your eyes dim
with watching, false dice are often put upon the ignorant, or
they are otherwise cozened, with topping or slurring, &;c.; and,
if you be not vigilant, the box-keeper shall score you up double
or treble boxes, and, though you have lost your money, dun you as
severely for it as if it were the justest debt in the world.

`There are yet some genteeler and more subtle rooks, whom you
shall not distinguish by their outward demeanour from persons of
condition; and who will sit by a whole evening, and observe who
wins; and then, if the winner be "bubbleable," they will
insinuate themselves into his acquaintance, and civilly invite
him to drink a glass of wine,--wheedle him into play, and win all
his money, either by false dice, as high fulhams,[11] low
fulhams, or by palming, topping, &c.  Note by the way, that
when they have you at the tavern and think you a sure "bubble,"
they will many times purposely lose some small sum to you the
first time, to engage you more freely to _BLEED_ (as they call
it) at the second meeting, to which they will be sure to invite

[11] It appears that false dice were originally made at
_Fulham;_ hence so called, high and low fulhams; the high ones
were the numbers 4, 5, 6.

`A gentleman whom ill-fortune had hurried into passion, took a
box and dice to a side-table, and then fell to throwing by
himself; at length he swears with an emphasis, "D--e, now I
throw for nothin;, I can win a thousand pounds; but when I lay
for money I lose my all."

`If the house find you free to box, and a constant caster, you
shall be treated below with suppers at night, and caudle in the
morning, and have the honour to be styled, "a lover of the
house," whilst your money lasts, which certainly will not be

`Most gamesters begin at small games, and by degrees, if their
money or estates hold out, they rise to great sums; some have
played first all their money, then their rings, coach and horses,
even their wearing clothes and _perukes;_ and then, such a farm;
and at last, perhaps a lordship.

`You may read in our histories, how Sir Miles Partridge played at
dice with King Henry the Eighth, for Jesus Bells (so called),
which were the greatest in England, and hung in a tower of St
Paul's church, and won them; whereby he brought them to ring in
his pocket; but the ropes afterwards catched about his neck; for,
in Edward the Sixth's days, he was hanged for some criminal

[12] The clochier in Paul's Churchyard--a bell-house, four
square, builded of stone, with four bells; these were called
_Jesus_ Bells.  The same had a great spire of timber, covered
with lead, with the image of St Paul on the top, but was pulled
down by Sir Miles Partridge, Kt, in the reign of Henry VIII.  The
common speech then was that he did set L100 upon a cast at
dice against it, and so won the said clochier and bells of the
king.  And then causing the bells to be broken as they hung, the
rest was pulled down, and broken also.  This man was afterwards
executed on Tower Hill, for matters concerning the Duke of
Somerset, in the year 1551, the 5th of Edward VI.--Stowe, B. iii.

`Sir Arthur Smithhouse is yet fresh in memory.  He had a fair
estate, which in a few years he so lost at play, that he died in
great want and penury.  Since that Mr Ba--, who was a clerk in
the Six-Clerks Office, and well cliented, fell to play, and won
by extraordinary fortune two thousand pieces in ready gold; was
not content with that, played on, lost all he had won, and almost
all his own estate; sold his place in the office, and at last
marched off to a foreign plantation, to begin a new world with
the sweat of his brow; for that is commonly the destiny of a
decayed gamester--either to go to some foreign plantation, or to
be preferred to the dignity of a _box-keeper_.

`It is not denied but most gamesters have, at one time or other,
a considerable run of winning, but such is the infatuation of
play, I could never hear of a man that gave over a winner--I
mean, to give over so as never to play again.  I am sure it is
_rara avis_, for if you once "break bulk," as they phrase it,
you are in again for all.  Sir Humphry Foster had lost the
greatest part of his estate, and then playing, as it is said,
_FOR A DEAD HORSE_, did, by happy fortune, recover it again; then
gave over, and wisely too.'[13]

[13] Harleian Misc. ii. 108.

The sequel will show the increase of gambling in our country
during the subsequent reigns, up to a recent period.

Thus, then, the passion of gaming is, and has ever been,
universal.  It is said that two Frenchmen could not exist even in
a desert without _QUARRELLING;_ and it is quite certain that no
two human beings can be anywhere without ere long offering to
`bet' upon something.  Indolence and want of employment--
`vacuity,' as Dr Johnson would call it--is the cause of the
passion.  It arises from a want of habitual employment in some
material and regular line of conduct.  Your very innocent card-
parties at home--merely to kill _TIME_ (what a murder!) explains
all the apparent mystery!  Something must be substituted to call
forth the natural activity of the mind; and this is in no way
more effectually accomplished, in all indolent pursuits, than by
those _EMOTIONS AND AGITATIONS_ which gambling produces.

Such is the source of the thing in our _NATURE;_ but then comes
the furious hankering after wealth--the desire to have it without
_WORKING_ for it--which is the wish of so many of us; and
_THIS_ is the source of that hideous gambling which has
produced the contemptible characters and criminal acts which
are the burthen of this volume.

We love play because it satisfies our avarice,--that is to say,
our desire of having more; it flatters our vanity by the idea of
preference that fortune gives us, and of the attention that
others pay to our success; it satisfies our curiosity, giving us
a spectacle; in short, it gives us the different pleasures of

Certain it is that the passion for gambling easily gets deeply
rooted, and that it cannot be easily eradicated.  The most
exquisite melody, if compared with the music of dice, is then but
discord; and the finest prospect in nature only a miserable blank
when put in competition with the attractions of the `honours' at
a rubber of Whist.

Wealth is the general centre of inclination.  Whatever is the
ultimate design, the immediate care is to be rich.  No desire can
be formed which riches do not assist to gratify.  They may be
considered as the elementary principles of pleasure, which may be
combined with endless diversity.  There are nearer ways to profit
than up the steeps of labour.  The prospect of gaining speedily
what is ardently desired, has so far prevailed upon the
passions of mankind, that the peace of life is destroyed by a
general and incessant struggle for riches.  It is observed of
gold by an old epigrammatist, that to have is to be in fear; and
to want it is to be in sorrow.  There is no condition which is
not disquieted either with the care of gaining or keeping money.

No nation has exceeded ours in the pursuit of gaming.  In former
times--and yet not more than 30 or 40 years ago--the passion for
play was predominant among the highest classes.

Genius and abilities of the highest order became its votaries;
and the very framers of the laws against gambling were the first
to fall under the temptation of their breach!  The spirit of
gambling pervaded every inferior order of society.  The gentleman
was a slave to its indulgence; the merchant and the mechanic were
the dupes of its imaginary prospects; it engrossed the citizen
and occupied the rustic.  Town and country became a prey to its
despotism.  There was scarcely an obscure village to be found
wherein this bewitching basilisk did not exercise its powers of
fascination and destruction.

Gaming in England became rather a science than an amusement
of social intercourse.  The `doctrine of chances' was studied
with an assiduity that would have done honour to better subjects;
and calculations were made on arithmetical and geometrical
principles, to determine the degrees of probability attendant on
games of mixed skill and chance, or even on the fortuitous throws
of dice.  Of course, in spite of all calculations, there were
miserable failures--frightful losses.  The polite gamester, like
the savage, did not scruple to hazard the dearest interests of
his family, or to bring his wife and children to poverty, misery,
and ruin.  He could not give these over in liquidation of a
gambling debt; indeed, nobody would, probably, have them at a
gift; and yet there were instances in which the honour of a wife
was the stake of the infernal game! . . . .  Well might the
Emperor Justinian exclaim,--`Can we call _PLAY_ that which
causes crime?'[14]

[14] Quis enim ludos appellet eos, ex quibus crimina
oriuntur?--_De Concept. Digest_. II. lib. iv. Sec. 9.



The recent great contribution to the history of India, published
by Mr Wheeler,[15] gives a complete insight into this interesting
topic; and this passage of the ancient Sanskrit epic forms one of
the most wonderful and thrilling scenes in that most acceptable

[15] The History of India from the Earliest Ages.  By J.
Talboys Wheeler.  Vol. I.--The Vedic Period and the Maha Bharata.

As Mr Wheeler observes, the specialties of Hindoo gambling are
worthy of some attention.  The passion for play, which has ever
been the vice of warriors in times of peace, becomes a madness
amidst the lassitude of a tropical climate; and more than one
Hindoo legend has been preserved of Rajas playing together for
days, until the wretched loser has been deprived of
everything he possessed and reduced to the condition of an exile
or a slave.

But gambling amongst the Hindoos does not appear to have been
altogether dependent upon chance.  The ancient Hindoo dice, known
by the name of coupun, are almost precisely similar to the modern
dice, being thrown out of a box; but the practice of loading is
plainly alluded to, and some skill seems to have been
occasionally exercised in the rattling of the dice-box.  In the
more modern game, known by the name of pasha, the dice are not
cubic, but oblong; and they are thrown from the hand either
direct upon the ground, or against a post or board, which will
break the fall, and render the result more a matter of chance.

The great gambling match of the Hindoo epic was the result of a
conspiracy to ruin Yudhishthira, a successful warrior, the
representative of a mighty family--the Pandavas, who were
incessantly pursued by the envy of the Kauravas, their rivals.
The fortunes of the Pandavas were at the height of human
prosperity; and at this point the universal conception of an
avenging Nemesis that humbles the proud and casts down the
mighty, finds full expression in the Hindoo epic.  The grandeur
of the Pandavas excited the jealousy of Duryodhana, and
revived the old feud between the Kauravas and the former.
Duryodhana plotted with his brother Duhsasana and his uncle
Sakuni, how they might dispossess the Pandavas of their newly-
acquired territory; and at length they determined to invite their
kinsmen to a gambling match, and seek by underhand means to
deprive Yudhishthira of his Raj, or kingdom.[16]

[16] The old Sanskrit words _Raj_, `kingdom,' and Raja,
`king,' are evidently the origin of the Latin _reg-num, reg-o,
rex, regula_, `rule,' &c, reproduced in the words of that ancient
language, and continued in the derivative vernaculars of modern
names--_re, rey, roy, roi, regal, royal, rule_, &c. &c.

It appears from the poem that Yudhishthira was invited to a game
at coupun; and the legend of the great gambling match, which took
place at Hastinapur, is related as follows:

`And it came to pass that Duryodhana was very jealous of the
_Rajasuya_ or triumph that his cousin Yudhishthira had performed,
and he desired in his heart to destroy the Pandavas, and gain
possession of their Raj.  Now Sakuni was the brother of Gandhari,
who was the mother of the Kauravas; and he was very skilful in
throwing dice, and in playing with dice that were loaded;
insomuch that whenever he played he always won the game.  So
Duryodhana plotted with his uncle, that Yudhishthira should be
invited to a match at gambling, and that Sakuni should challenge
him to a game, and win all his wealth and lands.

`After this the wicked Duryodhana proposed to his father the
Maharaja, that they should have a great gambling match at
Hastinapur, and that Yudhishthira and his brethren should be
invited to the festival.  And the Maharaja was glad in his heart
that his sons should be friendly with the sons of his deceased
brother, Pandu; and he sent his younger brother, Vidura, to the
city of Indra-prastha to invite the Pandavas to the game.  And
Vidura went his way to the city of the Pandavas, and was received
by them with every sign of attention and respect.  And
Yudhishthira inquired whether his kinsfolk and friends at
Hastinapur were all well in health, and Vidura replied, "They
are all well."  Then Vidura said to the Pandavas:--"Your uncle,
the Maharaja, is about to give a great feast, and he has sent me
to invite you and your mother, and your joint wife, to come to
his city, and there will be a great match at dice-playing."
When Yudhishthira heard these words he was troubled in mind,
for he knew that gaming was a frequent cause of strife, and that
he was in no way skilful in throwing the dice; and he likewise
knew that Sakuni was dwelling at Hastinapur, and that he was a
famous gambler.  But Yudhishthira remembered that the invitation
of the Maharaja was equal to the command of a father, and that no
true Kshatriya could refuse a challenge either to war or play.
So Yudhishthira accepted the invitation, and gave commandment
that on the appointed day his brethren, and their mother, and
their joint wife should accompany him to the city of Hastinapur.

`When the day arrived for the departure of the Pandavas they took
their mother Kunti, and their joint wife Draupadi, and journeyed
from Indra-prastha to the city of Hastinapur.  And when they
entered the city they first paid a visit of respect to the
Maharaja, and they found him sitting amongst his Chieftains; and
the ancient Bhishma, and the preceptor Drona, and Karna, who was
the friend of Duryodhana, and many others, were sitting there

`And when the Pandavas had done reverence to the Maharaja, and
respectfully saluted all present, they paid a visit to their
aunt Gandhari, and did her reverence likewise.

`And after they had done this, their mother and joint wife
entered the presence of Gandhari, and respectfully saluted her;
and the wives of the Kauravas came in and were made known to
Kunti and Draupadi.  And the wives of the Kauravas were much
surprised when they beheld the beauty and fine raiment of
Draupadi; and they were very jealous of their kinswoman.  And
when all their visits had been paid, the Pandavas retired with
their wife and mother to the quarters which had been prepared for
them, and when it was evening they received the visits of all
their friends who were dwelling at Hastinapur.

`Now, on the morrow the gambling match was to be played; so when
the morning had come, the Pandavas bathed and dressed, and left
Draupadi in the lodging which had been prepared for her, and went
their way to the palace.  And the Pandavas again paid their
respects to their uncle the Maharaja, and were then conducted to
the pavilion where the play was to be; and Duryodhana went with
them, together with all his brethren, and all the chieftains of
the royal house.  And when the assembly had all taken their
seats, Sakuni said to Yudhishthira:--"The ground here has all
been prepared, and the dice are all ready:  Come now, I pray you,
and play a game."  But Yudhishthira was disinclined, and
replied:--"I will not play excepting upon fair terms; but if you
will pledge yourself to throw without artifice or deceit, I will
accept your challenge."  Sakuni said,--"If you are so fearful
of losing, you had better not play at all."  At these words
Yudhishthira was wroth, and replied:--"I have no fear either in
play or war; but let me know with whom I am to play, and who is
to pay me if I win."  So Duryodhana came forward and said:--"I
am the man with whom you are to play, and I shall lay any stakes
against your stakes; but my uncle Sakuni will throw the dice for
me."  Then Yudhishthira said,--"What manner of game is this,
where one man throws and another lays the stakes?"  Nevertheless
he accepted the challenge, and he and Sakuni began to play.

`At this point in the narrative it may be desirable to pause, and
endeavour to obtain a picture of the scene.  The so-called
pavilion was probably a temporary booth constructed of bamboos
and interlaced with basket-work; and very likely it was
decorated with flowers and leaves after the Hindoo fashion,
and hung with fruits, such as cocoa-nuts, mangoes, plantains, and
maize.  The Chieftains present seem to have sat upon the ground,
and watched the game.  The stakes may have been pieces of gold or
silver, or cattle, or lands; although, according to the legendary
account which follows, they included articles of a far more
extravagant and imaginative character.  With these passing
remarks, the tradition of the memorable game may be resumed as

`So Yudhishthira and Sakuni sat down to play, and whatever
Yudhishthira laid as stakes, Duryodhana laid something of equal
value; but Yudhishthira lost every game.  He first lost a very
beautiful pearl; next a thousand bags, each containing a thousand
pieces of gold; next a piece of gold so pure that it was as soft
as wax; next a chariot set with jewels and hung all round with
golden bells; next a thousand war elephants with golden howdahs
set with diamonds; next a lakh of slaves all dressed in good
garments; next a lakh of beautiful slave girls, adorned from head
to foot with golden ornaments; next all the remainder of his
goods; next all his cattle; and then the whole of his Raj,
excepting only the lands which had been granted to the

[17]`A lakh is a hundred thousand, and a crore is a hundred
lakhs, or ten millions.  The Hindoo term might therefore have
been converted into English numerals, only that it does not seem
certain that the bards meant precisely a hundred thousand slaves,
but only a very large number.  The exceptional clause in favour
of the Brahmans is very significant.  When the little settlement
at Indra-prastha had been swelled by the imagination of the later
bards into an extensive Raj, the thought may have entered the
minds of the Brahmanical compilers that in losing the Raj, the
Brahmans might have lost those free lands, known as inams or
jagheers, which are frequently granted by pious Rajas for the
subsistence of Brahmans.  Hence the insertion of the clause.'

`Now when Yudhishthira had lost his Raj, the Chieftains present
in the pavilion were of opinion that he should cease to play, but
he would not listen to their words, but persisted in the game.
And he staked all the jewels belonging to his brothers, and he
lost them; and he staked his two younger brothers, one after the
other, and he lost them; and he then staked Arjuna, and Bhima,
and finally himself; and he lost every game.  Then Sakuni said to
him:--"You have done a bad act, Yudhishthira, in gaming away
yourself and becoming a slave.  But now, stake your wife,
Draupadi, and if you win the game you will again be free."  And
Yudhishthira answered and said:--"I will stake Draupadi!"
And all assembled were greatly troubled and thought evil of
Yudhishthira; and his uncle Vidura put his hand to his head and
fainted away, whilst Bhishma and Drona turned deadly pale, and
many of the company were very sorrowful; but Duryodhana and his
brother Duhsasana, and some others of the Kauravas, were glad in
their hearts, and plainly manifested their joy.  Then Sakuni
threw the dice, and won Draupadi for Duryodhana.

`Then all in that assembly were in great consternation, and the
Chieftains gazed upon one another without speaking a word.  And
Duryodhana said to his uncle Vidura:--"Go now and bring Draupadi
hither, and bid her sweep the rooms."  But Vidura cried out
against him with a loud voice, and said:--"What wickedness is
this?  Will you order a woman who is of noble birth, and the wife
of your own kinsman, to become a household slave?  How can you
vex your brethren thus?  But Draupadi has not become your slave;
for Yudhishthira lost himself before he staked his wife, and
having first become a slave, he could no longer have power to
stake Draupadi."  Vidura then turned to the assembly and said:--
"Take no heed to the words of Duryodhana, for he has lost
his senses this day."  Duryodhana then said:--"A curse be upon
this Vidura, who will do nothing that I desire him."

`After this Duryodhana called one of his servants, and desired
him to go to the lodgings of the Pandavas, and bring Draupadi
into the pavilion.  And the man departed out, and went to the
lodgings of the Pandavas, and entered the presence of Draupadi,
and said to her:--"Raja Yudhishthira has played you away, and
you have become the slave of Raja Duryodhana:  So come now and do
your duty like his other slave girls."  And Draupadi was
astonished at these words, and exceedingly wroth, and she
replied:--"Whose slave was I that I could be gambled away?  And
who is such a senseless fool as to gamble away his own wife?"
The servant said:--"Raja Yudhishthira has lost himself, and his
four brothers, and you also, to Raja Duryodhana, and you cannot
make any objection:  Arise, therefore, and go to the house of the

`Then Draupadi cried out:--"Go you now and inquire whether Raja
Yudhishthira lost me first or himself first; for if he played
away himself first, he could not stake me."  So the man returned
to the assembly, and put the question to Yudhishthira; but
Yudhishthira hung down his head with shame, and answered not a

`Then Duryodhana was filled with wrath, and he cried out to his
servant:--"What waste of words is this?  Go you and bring
Draupadi hither, that if she has aught to say, she may say it in
the presence of us all."  And the man essayed to go, but he
beheld the wrathful countenance of Bhima and he was sore afraid,
and he refused to go, and remained where he was.  Then Duryodhana
sent his brother Duhsasana; and Duhsasana went his way to the
lodgings of Draupadi and said:--"Raja Yudhishthira has lost you
in play to Raja Duryodhana, and he has sent for you:  So arise
now, and wait upon him according to his commands; and if you have
anything to say, you can say it in the presence of the
assembly."  Draupadi replied:--"The death of the Kauravas is
not far distant, since they can do such deeds as these."  And
she rose up in great trepidation and set out, but when she came
near to the palace of the Maharaja, she turned aside from the
pavilion where the Chieftains were assembled, and ran away with
all speed towards the apartments of the women.  And Duhsasana
hastened after her, and seized her by her hair, which was
very dark and long, and dragged her by main force into the
pavilion before all the Chieftains.

`And she cried out:--"Take your hands from off me!"  But
Duhsasana heeded not her words, and said:--"You are now a slave
girl, and slave girls cannot complain of being touched by the
hands of men."

`When the Chieftains thus beheld Draupadi, they hung down their
heads from shame; and Draupadi called upon the elders amongst
them, such as Bhishma and Drona, to acquaint her whether or no
Raja Yudhishthira had gamed away himself before he had staked
her; but they likewise held down their heads and answered not a

`Then she cast her eye upon the Pandavas, and her glance was like
the stabbing of a thousand daggers, but they moved not hand or
foot to help her; for when Bhima would have stepped forward to
deliver her from the hands of Duhsasana, Yudhishthira commanded
him to forbear, and both he and the younger Pandavas were obliged
to obey the command of their elder brother.

`And when Duhsasana saw that Draupadi looked towards the
Pandavas, he took her by the hand, and drew her another way,
saying:--"Why, O slave, are you turning your eyes about you?"
And when Karna and Sakuni heard Duhsasana calling her a slave,
they cried out:--"Well said! well said!"

`Then Draupadi wept very bitterly, and appealed to all the
assembly, saying:--"All of you have wives and children of your
own, and will you permit me to be treated thus?  I ask you one
question, and I pray you to answer it.'  Duhsasana then broke in
and spoke foul language to her, and used her rudely, so that her
veil came off in his hands.  And Bhima could restrain his wrath
no longer, and spoke vehemently to Yudhishthira; and Arjuna
reproved him for his anger against his elder brother, but Bhima
answered:--"I will thrust my hands into the fire before these
wretches shall treat my wife in this manner before my eyes."

`Then Duryodhana said to Draupadi:--"Come now, I pray you, and
sit upon my thigh!"  And Bhima gnashed his teeth, and cried out
with a loud voice:--"Hear my vow this day!  If for this deed I
do not break the thigh of Duryodhana, and drink the blood of
Duhsasana, I am not the son of Kunti!"

`Meanwhile the Chieftain Vidura had left the assembly, and
told the blind Maharaja Dhritarashtra all that had taken place
that day; and the Maharaja ordered his servants to lead him into
the pavilion where all the Chieftains were gathered together.
And all present were silent when they saw the Maharaja, and the
Maharaja said to Draupadi:--"O daughter, my sons have done evil
to you this day:  But go now, you and your husbands, to your own
Raj, and remember not what has occurred, and let the memory of
this day be blotted out for ever."  So the Pandavas made haste
with their wife Draupadi, and departed out of the city of

`Then Duryodhana was exceedingly wroth, and he said to his
father, "O Maharaja, is it not a saying that when your enemy
hath fallen down, he should be annihilated without a war?  And
now that we had thrown the Pandavas to the earth, and had taken
possession of all their wealth, you have restored them all their
strength, and permitted them to depart with anger in their
hearts; and now they will prepare to make war that they may
revenge themselves upon us for all that has been done, and they
will return within a short while and slay us all:  Give us
leave then, I pray you, to play another game with these Pandavas,
and let the side which loses go into exile for twelve years; for
thus and thus only can a war be prevented between ourselves and
the Pandavas."  And the Maharaja granted the request of his son,
and messengers were sent to bring back the brethren; and the
Pandavas obeyed the commands of their uncle, and returned to his
presence; and it was agreed upon that Yudhishthira should play
one game more with Sakuni, and that if Yudhishthira won the
Kauravas were to go into exile, and that if Sakuni won, the
Pandavas were to go into exile; and the exile was to be for
twelve years, and one year more; and during that thirteenth year
those who were in exile were to dwell in any city they pleased,
but to keep themselves so concealed that the others should never
discover them; and if the others did discover them before the
thirteenth year was over, then those who were in exile were to
continue so for another thirteen years.  So they sat down again
to play, and Sakuni had a set of cheating dice as before, and
with them he won the game.

`When Duhsasana saw that Sakuni had won the game, he danced
about for joy; and he cried out:--"Now is established the Raj of
Duryodhana."  But Bhima said, "Be not elated with joy, but
remember my words:  The day will come when I will drink your
blood, or I am not the son of Kunti."  And the Pandavas, seeing
that they had lost, threw off their garments and put on deer-
skins, and prepared to depart into the forest with their wife and
mother, and their priest Dhaumya; but Vidura said to
Yudhishthira:--"Your mother is old and unfitted to travel, so
leave her under my care;" and the Pandavas did so.  And the
brethren went out from the assembly hanging down their heads with
shame, and covering their faces with their garments; but Bhima
threw out his long arms and looked at the Kauravas furiously, and
Draupadi spread her long black hair over her face and wept
bitterly.  And Draupadi vowed a vow, saying:--

` "My hair shall remain dishevelled from this day, until Bhima
shall have slain Duhsasana and drank his blood; and then he shall
tie up my hair again whilst his hands are dripping with the blood
of Duhsasana." '

Such was the great gambling match at Hastinapur in the heroic age
of India.  It appears there can be little doubt of the truth
of the incident, although the verisimilitude would have been more
complete without the perpetual winning of the cheat Sakuni--which
would be calculated to arouse the suspicion of Yudhishthira, and
which could scarcely be indulged in by a professional cheat,
mindful of the suspicion it would excite.

Throughout the narrative, however, there is a truthfulness to
human nature, and a truthfulness to that particular phase of
human nature which is pre-eminently manifested by a high-minded
race in its primitive stage of civilization.

To our modern minds the main interest of the story begins from
the moment that Draupadi was lost; but it must be remembered that
among that ancient people, where women were chiefly prized on
sensual grounds, such stakes were evidently recognized.

The conduct of Draupadi herself on the occasion shows that she
was by no means unfamiliar with the idea: she protested--not on
the ground of sentiment or matrimonial obligation--but solely on
what may be called a technical point of law, namely, `Had
Yudhishthira become a slave before he staked his wife upon the
last game?'  For, of course, having ceased to be a freeman,
he had no right to stake her liberty.

The concluding scene of the drama forms an impressive figure in
the mind of the Hindoo.  The terrible figure of Draupadi, as she
dishevels her long black hair, is the very impersonation of
revenge; and a Hindoo audience never fails to shudder at her
fearful vow--that the straggling tresses shall never again be
tied up until the day when Bhima shall have fulfilled his vow,
and shall then bind them up whilst his fingers are still dripping
with the blood of Duhsasana.

The avenging battle subsequently ensued.  Bhima struck down
Duhsasana with a terrible blow of his mace, saying,--`This day I
fulfil my vow against the man who insulted Draupadi!'  Then
setting his foot on the breast of Duhsasana, he drew his sword,
and cut off the head of his enemy; and holding his two hands to
catch the blood, he drank it off, crying out, `Ho! ho!  Never did
I taste anything in this world so sweet as this blood.'

This staking of wives by gamblers is a curious subject.  The
practice may be said to have been universal, having furnished
cases among civilized as well as barbarous nations.  Of course
the Negroes of Africa stake their wives and children;
according to Schouten, a Chinese staked his wife and
children, and lost them; Paschasius Justus states that a
Venetian staked his wife; and not a hundred years ago certain
debauchees at Paris played at dice for the possession of a
celebrated courtesan.  But this is an old thing.  Hegesilochus,
and other rulers of Rhodes, were accustomed to play at dice for
the honour of the most distinguished ladies of that island--the
agreement being that the party who lost had to bring to the arms
of the winner the lady designated by lot to that indignity.[18]

[18] Athen. lib.  XI. cap. xii.

There are traditions of such stakes having been laid and lost by
husbands in _England;_ and a remarkable case of the kind will be
found related in Ainsworth's `Old Saint Paul's,' as having
occurred during the Plague of London, in the year 1665.  There
can be little doubt that it is founded on fact; and the conduct
of the English wife, curiously enough, bears a striking
resemblance to that of Draupadi in the Indian narrative.

A Captain Disbrowe of the king's body-guard lost a large sum of
money to a notorious debauchee, a gambler and bully, named Sir
Paul Parravicin.  The latter had made an offensive allusion
to the wife of Captain Disbrowe, after winning his money; and
then, picking up the dice-box, and spreading a large heap of gold
on the table, he said to the officer who anxiously watched his
movements:--`I mentioned your wife, Captain Disbrowe, not with
any intention of giving you offence, but to show you that,
although you have lost your money, you have still a valuable
stake left.'

`I do not understand you, Sir Paul,' returned Disbrowe, with a
look of indignant surprise.

`To be plain, then,' replied Parravicin, `I have won from you two
hundred pounds--all you possess.  You are a ruined man, and as
such, will run any hazard to retrieve your losses.  I give you a
last chance.  I will stake all my winnings--nay, double the
amount--against your wife.  You have a key of the house you
inhabit, by which you admit yourself at all hours; so at least I
am informed.  If I win, that key shall be mine.  I will take my
chance of the rest.  Do you understand me now?'

`I do,' replied the young man, with concentrated fury.  `I
understand that you are a villain.  You have robbed me of my
money, and would rob me of my honour.'

`These are harsh words, sir,' replied the knight calmly; `but
let them pass.  We will play first, and fight afterwards.  But
you refuse my challenge?'

`It is false!' replied Disbrowe, fiercely, `I accept it.' And
producing a key, he threw it on the table.  `My life is, in
truth, set on the die,' he added, with a desperate look; `for if
I lose, I will not survive my shame.'

`You will not forget our terms,' observed Parravicin.  `I am to
be your representative to-night.  You can return home to-morrow.'

`Throw, sir,--throw,' cried the young man, fiercely.

`Pardon me,' replied the knight; `the first cast is with you.  A
single main decides it.'

`Be it so,' returned Disbrowe, seizing the bow.  And as he shook
the dice with a frenzied air, the bystanders drew near the table
to watch the result.

`Twelve!' cried Disbrowe, as he removed the box.  `My honour is
saved!  My fortune retrieved--Huzza!'

`Not so fast,' returned Parravicin, shaking the box in his turn.
`You were a little hasty,' he added, uncovering the dice.  `I
am twelve too.  We must throw again.'

`This is to decide,' cried the young officer, rattling the

Parravicin smiled, took the box, and threw _TEN_.

`Perdition!' ejaculated Disbrowe, striking his brow with his
clenched hand.  `What devil tempted me to my undoing? . . .  My
wife trusted to this profligate! . . .  Horror!  It must not be!'

`It is too late to retract,' replied Parravicin, taking up the
key, and turning with a triumphant look to his friends.

Disbrowe noticed the smile, and, stung beyond endurance, drew his
sword, and called to the knight to defend himself.  In an instant
passes were exchanged.  But the conflict was brief.  Fortune, as
before, declared herself in favour of Parravicin.  He disarmed
his assailant, who rushed out of the room, uttering the wildest
ejaculations of rage and despair.

*       *        *        *        *        *
The winner of the key proceeded at once to use.  He gained
admittance to the captain's house, and found his way to the
chamber of his wife, who was then in bed.  At first mistaken for
her husband Parravicin heard words of tender reproach for his
lateness; and then, declaring himself, he belied her husband,
stating that he was false to her, and had surrendered her to him.

At this announcement Mrs Disbrowe uttered a loud scream, and fell
back in the bed.  Parravicin waited for a moment; but not hearing
her move, brought the lamp to see what was the matter.  She had
fainted, and was lying across the pillow, with her night-dress
partly open, so as to expose her neck and shoulders.  The knight
was at first ravished with her beauty; but his countenance
suddenly fell, and an expression of horror and alarm took
possession of it.  He appeared rooted to the spot, and instead of
attempting to render her any assistance, remained with his gaze
fixed upon her neck.  Rousing himself at length, he rushed out of
the room, hurried down-stairs, and without pausing for a moment,
threw open the street door.  As he issued from it his throat was
forcibly griped, and the point of a sword was placed at his

It was the desperate husband, who was waiting to avenge his
wife's honour.

`You are in my power, villain,' cried Disbrowe, `and shall not
escape my vengeance.'

`You are already avenged,' replied Parravicin, shaking off
his assailant--`_YOUR WIFE HAS THE PLAGUE_.'

The profligate had been scared away by the sight of the `plague
spot' on the neck of the unfortunate lady.

The husband entered and found his way to his wife's chamber.
Instantaneous explanations ensued.  `He told me you were false--
that you loved another--and had abandoned me,' exclaimed the
frantic wife.

`He lied!' shouted Disbrowe, in a voice of uncontrollable fury.
`It is true that, in a moment of frenzy, I was tempted to set
you--yes, _YOU_, Margaret--against all I had lost at play, and
was compelled to yield up the key of my house to the winner.  But
I have never been faithless to you--never.'

`Faithless or not,' replied his wife bitterly, `it is plain you
value me less than play, or you would not have acted thus.'

`Reproach me not, Margaret,' replied Disbrowe.  `I would give
worlds to undo what I have done.'

`Who shall guard me against the recurrence of such conduct?' said
Mrs Disbrowe, coldly.  `But you have not yet informed me how I
was saved!'

Disbrowe averted his head.

`What mean you?' she cried, seizing his arm.  `What has happened?
Do not keep me in suspense?  Were you my preserver?'

`Your preserver was the plague,' rejoined Disbrowe, mournfully.

The unfortunate lady then, for the first time, perceived that she
was attacked by the pestilence, and a long and dreadful pause
ensued, broken only by exclamations of anguish from both.

`Disbrowe!' cried Margaret at length, raising herself in bed,
`you have deeply, irrecoverably injured me.  But promise me one

`I swear to do whatever you may desire,' he replied.

`I know not, after what I have heard, whether you have courage
for the deed,' she continued.  `But I would have you kill this

`I will do it,' replied Disbrowe.

`Nothing but his blood can wipe out the wrong he has done me,'
she rejoined.  `Challenge him to a duel--a mortal duel.  If he
survives, by my soul, I will give myself to him.'

`Margaret!' exclaimed Disbrowe.

`I swear it,' she rejoined,' and you know my passionate
nature too well to doubt I will keep my word.'

`But you have the plague!'

`What does that matter?  I may recover.'

`Not so,' muttered Disbrowe.  `If I fall, I will take care you do
not recover. . . .  I will fight him to-morrow,' he added aloud.

About noon on the following day Disbrowe proceeded to the Smyrna
Coffee-house, where, as he expected, he found Parravicin and his
companions.  The knight instantly advanced towards him, and
laying aside for the moment his reckless air, inquired, with a
look of commiseration, after his wife.

`She is better,' replied Disbrowe, fiercely.  `I am come to
settle accounts with you.'

`I thought they were settled long ago,' returned Parravicin,
instantly resuming his wonted manner.  `But I am glad to find you
consider the debt unpaid.'

Disbrowe lifted the cane he held in his hand, and struck the
knight with it forcibly on the shoulder.  `Be that my answer,' he

`I will have your life first, and your wife afterwards,' replied
Parravicin fiercely.

`You shall have her if you slay me, but not otherwise,'
retorted Disbrowe.  `It must be a mortal duel.'

`It must,' replied Parravicin.  `I will not spare you this time.
I shall instantly proceed to the west side of Hyde Park, beneath
the trees.  I shall expect you there.  On my return I shall call
on your wife.'

`I pray you do so, sir,' replied Disbrowe, disdainfully.

Both then quitted the Coffee-house, Parravicin attended by his
companions, and Disbrowe accompanied by a military friend, whom
he accidentally encountered.  Each party taking a coach, they
soon reached the ground, a retired spot completely screened from
observation by trees.  The preliminaries were soon arranged, for
neither would admit of delay.  The conflict then commenced with
great fury on both sides; but Parravicin, in spite of his
passion, observed far more caution than his antagonist; and
taking advantage of an unguarded movement, occasioned by the
other's impetuosity, passed his sword through his body.  Disbrowe

`You are again successful,' he groaned, `but save my wife--save

`What mean you?' cried Parravicin, leaning over him, as he
wiped his sword.

But Disbrowe could make no answer.  His utterance was choked by a
sudden effusion of blood on the lungs, and he instantly expired.

Leaving the body in care of the second, Parravicin and his
friends returned to the coach, his friends congratulating him on
the issue of the conflict; but the knight looked grave, and
pondered upon the words of the dying man.  After a time, however,
he recovered his spirits, and dined with his friends at the
Smyrna; but they observed that he drank more deeply than usual.
His excesses did not, however, prevent him from playing with his
usual skill, and he won a large sum from one of his companions at

Flushed with success, and heated with wine, he walked up to
Disbrowe's residence about an hour after midnight.  As he
approached the house, he observed a strangely-shaped cart at the
door, and, halting for a moment, saw a body, wrapped in a shroud,
brought out.  Could it be Mrs Disbrowe?  Rushing forward to one
of the assistants in black cloaks, he asked whom he was about to

`It is a Mrs Disbrowe,' replied the coffin-maker.  `She died
of grief, because her husband was killed this morning in a duel;
but as she had the plague, it must be put down to that.  We are
not particular in such matters, and shall bury her and her
husband together; and as there is no money left to pay for
coffins, they must go to the grave without them.'

And as the body of his victim also was brought forth, Parravicin
fell against the wall in a state of stupefaction.  At this
moment, Solomon Eagle, the weird plague-prophet, with his burning
brazier on his head, suddenly turned the corner of the street,
and, stationing himself before the dead-cart, cried in a voice of
thunder--`Woe to the libertine!  Woe to the homicide! for he
shall perish in everlasting fire!  Woe! woe!'

Such is this English legend, as related by Ainsworth, but which I
have condensed into its main elements.  I think it bids fair to
equal in interest that of the Hindoo epic; and if it be not true
in every particular, so much the better for the sake of human


Concerning the ancient Egyptians we have no particular facts to
detail in the matter of gambling; but it is sufficient to
determine the existence of any special vice in a nation to find
that there are severe laws prohibiting and punishing its
practice.  Now, this testimony not only exists, but the penalty
is of the utmost severity, from which may be inferred both the
horror conceived of the practice by the rulers of the Egyptians,
and the strong propensity which required that severity to
suppress or hold it in check.  In Egypt, `every man was easily
admitted to the accusation of a gamester or dice-player; and if
the person was convicted, he was sent to work in the
quarries.'[19]  Gambling was,  therefore, prevalent in Egypt
in the earliest times.

[19] Taylor, _Ductor Dubitantium_, B. iv. c. 1.

That gaming with dice was a usual and fashionable species of
diversion at the Persian court in the times of the younger Cyrus
(about 400 years before the Christian era), to go no higher, is
evident from the anecdote related by some historians of those
days concerning Queen Parysatis, the mother of Cyrus, who used
all her art and skill in gambling to satiate her revenge, and to
accomplish her bloodthirsty projects against the murderers of her
favourite son.  She played for the life or death of an
unfortunate slave, who had only executed the commands of his
master.  The anecdote is as follows, as related by Plutarch, in
the Life of Artaxerxes.

`There only remained for the final execution of Queen Parysatis's
projects, and fully to satiate her vengeance, the punishment of
the king's slave Mesabetes, who by his master's order had cut off
the head and hand of the young Cyrus, who was beloved by
Parysatis (their common mother) above Artaxerses, his elder
brother and the reigning monarch.  But as there was nothing to
take hold of in his conduct, the queen laid this snare for him.
She was a woman of good address, had abundance of wit, and
been apparently reconciled to the king after the death of Cyrus,
and was present at all his parties of pleasure and gambling.  One
day, seeing the king totally unemployed, she proposed playing
with him for a thousand _darics_ (about L500), to which he
readily consented.  She suffered him to win, and paid down the
money.  But, affecting regret and vexation, she pressed him to
begin again, and to play with her--_FOR A SLAVE_.  The king, who
suspected nothing, complied, and the stipulation was that the
winner was to choose the slave.

`The queen was now all attention to the game, and made use of her
utmost skill and address, which as easily procured her victory,
as her studied neglect before had caused her defeat.  She won--
and chose Mesabetes--the slayer of her son--who, being delivered
into her hands, was put to the most cruel tortures and to death
by her command.

`When the king would have interfered, she only replied with a
smile of contempt--"Surely you must be a great loser, to be so
much out of temper for giving up a decrepit old slave, when I,
who lost a thousand good _darics_, and paid them down on the
spot, do not say a word, and am satisfied." '

Thus early were dice made subservient to the purposes of
cruelty and murder.  The modern Persians, being Mohammedans, are
restrained from the open practice of gambling.  Yet evasions are
contrived in favour of games in the tables, which, as they are
only liable to chance on the `throw of the dice,' but totally
dependent on the `skill' in `the management of the game,' cannot
(they argue) be meant to be prohibited by their prophet any more
than chess, which is universally allowed to his followers; and,
moreover, to evade the difficulty of being forbidden to play for
money, they make an alms of their winnings, distributing them to
the poor.  This may be done by the more scrupulous; but no doubt
there are numbers whose consciences do not prevent the disposal
of their gambling profits nearer home.  All excess of gaming,
however, is absolutely prohibited in Persia; and any place
wherein it is much exercised is called `a habitation of corrupted
carcases or carrion house.'[20]

[20] Hyde, _De Ludis Oriental_.

In ancient Greece gambling prevailed to a vast extent.  Of this
there can be no doubt whatever; and it is equally certain that it
had an influence, together with other modes of dissipation and
corruption, towards subjugating its civil liberties to the
power of Macedon.

So shamelessly were the Athenians addicted to this vice, that
they forgot all public spirit in their continued habits of
gaming, and entered into convivial associations, or formed
`clubs,' for the purposes of dicing, at the very time when Philip
of Macedon was making one grand `throw' for their liberties at
the Battle of Chaeronea.

This politic monarch well knew the power of depravity in
enervating and enslaving the human mind; he therefore encouraged
profusion, dissipation, and gambling, as being sure of meeting
with little opposition from those who possessed such characters,
in his projects of ambition--as Demosthenes declared in one of
his orations.[21]  Indeed, gambling had arrived at such a height
in Greece, that Aristotle scruples not to rank gamblers `with
thieves and plunderers, who for the sake of gain do not scruple
to despoil their best friends;'[22] and his pupil Alexander set a
fine upon some of his courtiers because he did not perceive they
made a sport or pastime of dice, but seemed to be employed as
in a most serious business.[23]

[21] First Olynthia.  See also Athenaeus, lib. vi. 260.

[22] Ethic.  Ad Nicomachum, lib. iv.

[23] Plutarch, _in Reg. et Imp. Apothegm_

The Greeks gambled not only with dice, and at their equivalent
for _Cross and Pile_, but also at cock-fighting, as will appear
in the sequel.

From a remark made by the Athenian orator Callistratus, it is
evident that desperate gambling was in vogue; he says that the
games in which the losers go on doubling their stakes resemble
ever-recurring wars, which terminate only with the extinction of
the combatants.[24]

[24] Xenophon, _Hist. Graec_.  lib.  VI. c. iii.



In spite of the laws enacted against gaming, the court of the
Emperor Augustus was greatly addicted to that vice, and gave it
additional stimulus among the nation.  Although, however, he was
passionately fond of gambling, and made light of the imputation
on his character,[25] it appears that in frequenting the gambling
table he had other motives besides mere cupidity.  Writing to his
daughter he said, `I send you a sum with which I should have
gratified my companions, if they had wished to play at dice or
_odds and evens_.'  On another occasion he wrote to Tiberius:--
`If I had exacted my winnings during the festival of Minerva; if
I had not lavished my money on all sides; instead of losing
twenty thousand sestercii [about L1000], I should have gained
one hundred and fifty thousand [L7500].  I prefer it thus,
however; for my bounty should win me immense glory.'[26]

[25] Aleae rumorem nullo modo expavit.  Suet. in Vita Augusti.

[26] Sed hoc malo: benignitas enim mea me ad coelestem gloriam
efferet.  _Ubi supra_.

This gambling propensity subjected Augustus to the lash of
popular epigrams; among the rest, the following:

Postquam bis classe victus naves perdidit,
Aliquando ut vincat, ludit assidud aleam.

`He lost at sea; was beaten twice,
And tries to win at least with dice.'

But although a satirist by profession, the sleek courtier Horace
spared the emperor's vice, contenting himself with only declaring
that play was forbidden.[27]  The two following verses of his,
usually applied to the effects of gaming, really refer only to

[27] Carm. lib. III. Od. xxiv.

Ludus enim genuit trepidum certamen et iram;
Ira truces inimicitias et funebre bellum.[28]

[28] Epist. lib. I. xix.

He, however, has recorded the curious fact of an old Roman
gambler, who was always attended by a slave, to pick up his
dice for him and put them in the box.[29]  Doubtless, Horace
would have lashed the vice of gambling had it not been the
`habitual sin' of his courtly patrons.

[29] Lib. II. Sat. vii. v. 15.

It seems that Augustus not only gambled to excess, but that he
gloried in the character of a gamester.  Of himself he says,
`Between meals we played like old crones both yesterday and

[30] Inter coenam lusimus <gr gerontikws> et heri et hodie.

When he had no regular players near him, he would play with
children at dice, at nuts, or bones.  It has been suggested that
this emperor gave in to the indulgence of gambling in order to
stifle his remorse.  If his object in encouraging this vice was
to make people forget his proscriptions and to create a diversion
in his favour, the artifice may be considered equal to any of the
political ruses of this astute ruler, whose false virtues were
for a long time vaunted only through ignorance, or in order to
flatter his imitators.

The passion of gambling was transmitted, with the empire, to the
family of the Caesars.  At the gaming table Caligula stooped
even to falsehood and perjury.  It was whilst gambling that
he conceived his most diabolical projects; when the game was
against him he would quit the table abruptly, and then, monster
as he was, satiated with rapine, would roam about his palace
venting his displeasure.

One day, in such a humour, he caught a glimpse of two Roman
knights; he had them arrested and confiscated their property.
Then returning to the gaming table, he exultingly exclaimed that
he had never made a better throw![31]  On another occasion, after
having condemned to death several Gauls of great opulence, he
immediately went back to his gambling companions and said:--`I
pity you when I see you lose a few sestertii, whilst, with a
stroke of the pen, I have just won six hundred millions.'[32]

[31] Exultans rediit, gloriansque se nunquam prosperiore
alea usum.  Suet. in _Vita Calig_.

[32] Thirty millions of pounds sterling.  The sestertius
was worth 1_s_.  3 3/4_d_.

The Emperor Claudius played like an imbecile, and Nero like a
madman.  The former would send for the persons whom he had
executed the day before, to play with him; and the latter,
lavishing the treasures of the public exchequer, would stake four
hundred thousand sestertii (L20,000) on a single throw of the

Claudius played at dice on his journeys, having the interior
of his carriage so arranged as to prevent the motion from
interfering with the game.

From that period the title of courtier and gambler became
synonymous.  Gaming was the means of securing preferment; it was
by gambling that Vitellius opened to himself so grand a career;
gaming made him indispensable to Claudius.[33]

[33] Claudio per aleae studium familiaris. Vita Vitelli.

Seneca, in his Play on the death of Claudius, represents him as
in the lower regions condemned to pick up dice for ever, putting
them into a box without a bottom![34]

[34]  Nam quotiens missurus erat resonante fritillo,
Utraque subducto fugiebat tessera fundo.
_Lusus de Morte Claud.  Caesar_.

Caligula was reproached for having played at dice on the day of
his sister's funeral; and Domitian was blamed for gaming from
morning to night, and without excepting the festivals of the
Roman calendar; but it seems ridiculous to note such
improprieties in comparison with their habitual and atrocious

The terrible and inexorable satirist Juvenal was the contemporary
of Domitian and ten other emperors; and the following is his
description of the vice in the gaming days of Rome:

`When was the madness of games of chance more furious?  Now-a-
days, not content with carrying his purse to the gaming table,
the gamester conveys his iron chest to the play-room.  It is
there that, as soon as the gaming instruments are distributed,
you witness the most terrible contests.  Is it not mere madness
to lose one hundred thousand sestertii and refuse a garment to a
slave perishing with cold?'[35]

[35] Sat. I. 87.

It seems that the Romans played for ready money, and had not
invented that multitude of signs by the aid of which, without
being retarded by the weight of gold and silver, modern gamblers
can ruin themselves secretly and without display.

The rage for gambling spread over the Roman provinces, and among
barbarous nations who had never been so much addicted to the vice
as after they had the misfortune to mingle with the Romans.

The evil continued to increase, stimulated by imperial example.
The day on which Didius Julianus was proclaimed Emperor, he
walked over the dead and bloody body of Pertinax, and began
to play at dice in the next room.[36]

[36] Dion Cass. _Hist. Rom_. l. lxxiii.

At the end of the fourth century, the following state of things
at Rome is described by Gibbon, quoting from Ammianus

`Another method of introduction into the houses and society of
the "great," is derived from the profession of gaming; or, as
it is more politely styled, of play.  The confederates are united
by a strict and indissoluble bond of friendship, or rather of
conspiracy; a superior degree of skill in the "tessarian" art,
is a sure road to wealth and reputation.  A master of that
sublime science who, in a supper or assembly, is placed below a
magistrate, displays in his countenance the surprise and
indignation which Cato might be supposed to feel when he was
refused the praetorship by the votes of a capricious

[37] Amm. Marcellin. lib. XIV. c. vi.

Finally, at the epoch when Constantine abandoned Rome never to
return, every inhabitant of that city, down to the populace, was
addicted to gambling.



CHARLES VI. and CHARLES VII.--The early French annals record the
deeds of haughty and idle lords, whose chief occupations were
tormenting their vassals, drinking, fighting, and gaming; for
most of them were desperate gamblers, setting at defiance all the
laws enacted against the practice, and outraging all the
decencies of society.  The brother of Saint Louis played at dice
in spite of the repeated prohibitions of that virtuous prince.
Even the great Duguesclin gamed away all his property in
prison.[38]  The Duc de Touraine, brother of Charles VI., `set to
work eagerly to win the king's money,' says Froissart; and
transported with joy one day at having won five thousand livres,
his first cry was--_Monseigneur, faites-moi payer_, `Please to
pay, Sire.'

[38] Hist. de Dugueselin, par Menard.

Gaming went on in the camp, and even in the presence of the
enemy.  Generals, after having ruined their own fortunes,
compromised the safety of the country.  Among the rest, Philibert
de Chalon, Prince d'Orange, who was in command at the siege of
Florence, under the Emperor Charles the Fifth, gambled away the
money which had been confided to him for the pay of the soldiers,
and was compelled, after a struggle of eleven months, to
capitulate with those whom he might have forced to surrender.[39]

[39] Paul. Jov.  _Hist_. lib.  xxix.

In the reign of Charles VI. we read of an Hotel de Nesle which
was famous for terrible gaming catastrophes.  More than one of
its frequenters lost their lives there, and some their honour,
dearer than life.  This hotel was not accessible to everybody,
like more modern gaming _salons_, called _Gesvres_ and
_Soissons;_ its gate was open only to the nobility, or the most
opulent gentlemen of the day.

There exists an old poem which describes the doings at this
celebrated Hotel de Nesle.[40]  The author, after describing
the convulsions of the players and recording their blasphemies,

[40] The title of this curious old poem is as follows:--
`C'est le dit du Gieu des Dez fait par Eustace, et la maniere
et contenance des Joueurs qui etoient a Neele, ou
etoient Messeigneurs de Berry, de Bourgogne, et plusieurs

Que maints Gentils-hommes tres haulx
Y ont perdu armes et chevaux,
Argent, honour, et Seignourie,
Dont c'etoit horrible folie.

`How many very eminent gentlemen have there lost their arms and
horses, their money and lordship--a horrible folly.'

In another part of the poem he says:--

Li jeune enfant deviennent Rufien,
Joueurs de Dez, gourmands et plains d'yvresse,
Hautains de cuer, et ne leur chant en rien
D'onneur, &c.

`There young men become ruffians, dice-players, gluttons, and
drunkards, haughty of heart, and bereft of honour.'

Still it seems that gaming had not then confounded all
conditions, as at a later period.  It is evident, from the
history and memoirs of the times, that the people were more given
to games of skill and exercise than games of chance.  Before
the introduction of the arquebus and gunpowder, they applied
themselves to the practice of archery, and in all times they
played at quoits, ninepins, bowls, and other similar games of

[41] Sauval, _Antiquites de Paris_, ii.

The invention of cards brought about some change in the mode of
amusement.  The various games of this kind, however, cost more
time than money; but still the thing attracted the attention of
the magistrates and the clergy.  An Augustinian friar, in the
reign of Charles VII., effected a wonderful reformation in the
matter by his preaching.  At his voice the people lit fires in
several quarters of the city, and eagerly flung into them their
cards and billiard-balls.[42]

[42] Pasquier, _Recherche des Recherches_.

With the exception of a few transient follies, nothing like a
rage for gambling can be detected at that period among the lower
ranks and the middle classes.  The vice, however, continued to
prevail without abatement in the palaces of kings and the
mansions of the great.

It is impossible not to remark, in the history of nations, that
delicacy and good faith decline in proportion to the spread
of gambling.  However select may be the society of gamesters, it
is seldom that it is exempt from all baseness.  We have seen a
proof of the practice of cheating among the Hindoos.  It existed
also among the Romans, as proved by the `cogged' or loaded dice
dug up at Herculaneum.  The fact is that cheating is a natural,
if not a necessary, incident of gambling.  It may be inferred
from a passage in the old French poet before quoted, that cheats,
during the reign of Charles VI., were punished with
`bonnetting,'[43] but no instance of the kind is on record; on
the contrary, it is certain that many of the French kings
patronized and applauded well-known cheats at the gaming table.

[43] Se votre ami qui bien vous sert
En jouant vous changeoit les Dez,
Auroit-il pas _Chapeau de vert_.

LOUIS XI.--Brantome says that Louis XI., who seems not to have
had a special secretary, being one day desirous of getting
something written, perceived an ecclesiastic who had an inkstand
hanging at his side; and the latter having opened it at the
king's request, a set of dice fell out.  `What kind of _SUGAR-
PLUMS_ are these?' asked his Majesty.  `Sire,' replied the
priest, `they are a remedy for the Plague.'  `Well said,'
exclaimed the king, `you are a fine _Paillard_ (a word he often
used); `_YOU ARE THE MAN FOR ME_,' and took him into his
service; for this king was fond of bon-mots and sharp wits, and
did not even object to thieves, provided they were original and
provocative of humour, as the following very funny anecdote will
show.  `A certain French baron who had lost everything at play,
even to his clothes, happening to be in the king's chamber,
quietly laid hands on a small clock, ornamented with massive
gold, and concealed it in his sleeve.  Very soon after, whilst he
was among the troop of lords and gentlemen, the clock began to
strike the hour.  We can well imagine the consternation of the
baron at this contretemps.  Of course he blushed red-hot, and
tightened his arm to try and stifle the implacable sound of
detection manifest--the _flagrans delictum_--still the clock went
on striking the long hour, so that at each stroke the bystanders
looked at each other from head to foot in utter bewilderment.

`The king, who, as it chanced, had detected the theft, burst out
laughing, not only at the astonishment of the gentlemen present,
who were at a loss to account for the sound, but also at the
originality of the stunning event.  At length Monsieur le Baron,
by his own blushes half-convicted of larceny, fell on his knees
before the king, humbly saying:--"Sire, the pricks of gaming are
so powerful that they have driven me to commit a dishonest
action, for which I beg your mercy."  And as he was going on in
this strain, the king cut short his words, exclaiming:--"The
_PASTIME_ which you have contrived for us so far surpasses the
injury you have done me that the clock is yours:  I give it you
with all my heart." '[44]

[44] Duverdier, _Diverses Lecons_.

HENRY III.--In the latter part of the sixteenth century Paris was
inundated with brigands of every description.  A band of Italian
gamesters, having been informed by their correspondents that
Henry III. had established card-rooms and dice-rooms in the
Louvre, got admission at court, and won thirty thousand crowns
from the king.[45]

[45] Journal de Henri III.

If all the kings of France had imitated the disinterestedness of
Henry III., the vice of gaming would not have made such progress
as became everywhere evident.

Brantome gives a very high idea of this king's generosity,
whilst he lashes his contemporaries.  Henry III. played at tennis
and was very fond of the game--not, however, through cupidity or
avarice, for he distributed all his winnings among his
companions.  When he lost he paid the wager, nay, he even paid
the losses of all engaged in the game.  The bets were not higher
than two, three, or four hundred crowns--never, as subsequently,
four thousand, six thousand, or twelve thousand--when, however,
payment was not as readily made, but rather frequently compounded

[46] Henry III. was also passionately fond of the childish
toy _Bilboquet_, or `Cup and Ball,' which he used to play even
whilst walking in the street.  Journal de Henri III., i.

There was, indeed, at that time a French captain named La Roue,
who played high stakes, up to six thousand crowns, which was then
deemed exorbitant.  This intrepid gamester proposed a bet of
twenty thousand crowns against one of Andrew Doria's war-galleys.

Doria took the bet, but he immediately declared it off, in
apprehension of the ridiculous position in which he would be
placed if he lost, saying,--`I don't wish that this young
adventurer, who has nothing worth naming to lose, should win
my galley to go and triumph in France over my fortune and my

Soon, however, high stakes became in vogue, and to such an extent
that the natural son of the Duc de Bellegarde was enabled to pay,
out of his winnings, the large sum of fifty thousand crowns to
get himself legitimated.  Curiously enough, it is said that the
greater part of this sum had been won in England.[47]

[47] Amelot de la Houss.  _Mem. Hist_. iii.

HENRY IV.--Henry IV. early evinced his passion for gaming.  When
very young and stinted in fortune, he contrived the means of
satisfying this growing propensity.  When in want of money he
used to send a promissory note, written and signed by himself, to
his friends, requesting them to return the note or cash it--an
expedient which could not but succeed, as every man was only too
glad to have the prince's note of hand.[48]

[48] Mem. de Nevers. ii.

There can be no doubt that the example of Henry IV. was, in the
matter of gaming, as in other vices, most pernicious.  `Henry
IV.,' says Perefixe, `was not a skilful player, but greedy
of gain, timid in high stakes, and ill-tempered when he
lost.'  He adds rather naively, `This great king was not without
spots any more than the sun.'[49]

[49] Hist. de Henri le Grand.

Under him gambling became the rage.  Many distinguished families
were utterly ruined by it.  The Duc de Biron lost in a single
year more than five hundred thousand crowns (about L250,000).
`My son Constant,' says D'Aubigne, `lost twenty times more
than he was worth; so that, finding himself without resources, he
abjured his religion.'

It was at the court of Henry IV. that was invented the method of
speedy ruin by means of written vouchers for loss and gain--which
simplified the thing in all subsequent times.  It was then also
that certain Italian masters of the gaming art displayed their
talents, their suppleness, and dexterity.  One of them, named
Pimentello, having, in the presence of the Duc de Sully, appealed
to the honour which he enjoyed in having often played with Henry
IV., the duke exclaimed,--`By heavens!  So you are the Italian
blood-sucker who is every day winning the king's money!  You have
fallen into the wrong box, for I neither like nor wish to have
anything to do with such fellows.'  Pimentello got warm.  `Go
about your business,' said Sully, giving him a shove; `your
infernal gibberish will not alter my resolve.  Go!'[50]

[50] Mem. de Sully.

The French nation, for a long time agitated by civil war, settled
down at last in peace and abundance--the fruits of which
prosperity are often poisoned.  They were so by the gambling
propensity of the people at large, now first manifested.  The
warrior, the lawyer, the artisan, in a word, almost all
professions and trades, were carried away by the fury of gaming.
Magistrates sold for a price the permission to gamble--in the
face of the enacted laws against the practice.

We can scarcely form an idea of the extent of the gaming at this
period.  Bassompierre declares, in his Memoirs, that he won
more than five hundred thousand livres (L25,000) in the course
of a year.  `I won them,' he says, `although I was led away by a
thousand follies of youth; and my friend Pimentello won more than
two hundred thousand crowns (L100,000).  Evidently this
Pimentello might well be called a _blood-sucker_ by Sully.[51]
He is even said to have got all the dice-sellers in Paris to
substitute loaded dice instead of fair ones, in order to aid his

[51] In the original, however, the word is piffre, (vulgo)

Nothing more forcibly shows the danger of consorting with such
bad characters than the calumny circulated respecting the
connection between Henry IV. and this infamous Italian:--it was
said that Henry was well aware of Pimentello's manoeuvres, and
that he encouraged them with the view of impoverishing his
courtiers, hoping thereby to render them more submissive!  Nero
himself would have blushed at such a connivance.  Doubtless the
calumny was as false as it was stupid.

The winnings of the courtier Bassompierre were enormous.  He
won at the Duc d'Epernon's sufficient to pay his debts, to dress
magnificently, to purchase all sorts of extravagant finery, a
sword ornamented with diamonds--`and after all these expenses,'
he says, `I had still five or six thousand crowns (two to three
thousand pounds) left, _TO KILL TIME WITH_, pour tuer le temps.'

On another occasion, and at a more advanced age, he won one
hundred thousand crowns (L50,000) at a single sitting, from M.
De Guise, Joinville, and the Marechal d'Ancre.

In reading his Memoirs we are apt to get indignant at the
fellow's successes; but at last we are tempted to laugh at his
misery.  He died so poor that he did not leave enough to pay the
twentieth part of his debts!  Such, doubtless, is the end of most

But to return to Henry IV., the great gambling exemplar of the
nation.  The account given of him at the gaming table is most
afflicting, when we remember his royal greatness, his sublime
qualities.  His only object was to _WIN_, and those who played
with him were thus always placed in a dreadful dilemma--either to
lose their money or offend the king by beating him!  The Duke of
Savoy once played with him, and in order to suit his humour,
dissimulated his game--thus sacrificing or giving up forty
thousand pistoles (about L28,000).

When the king lost he was most exacting for his `revanche,' or
revenge, as it is termed at play.  After winning considerably
from the king, on one occasion, Bassompierre, under the
pretext of his official engagements, furtively decamped: the king
immediately sent after him; he was stopped, brought back, and
allowed to depart only after giving the `revanche' to his
Majesty.  This `good Henri,' who was incapable of the least
dissimulation either in good or in evil, often betrayed a degree
of cupidity which made his minister, Sully, ashamed of him;--in
order to pay his gaming debts, the king one day deducted seventy-
two thousand livres from the proceeds of a confiscation on which
he had no claim whatever.

On another occasion he was wonderfully struck with some gold-
pieces which Bassompierre brought to Fontainebleau, called
_Portugalloises_.  He could not rest without having them.  Play
was necessary to win them, but the king was also anxious to be in
time for a hunt.  In order to conciliate the two passions, he
ordered a gaming party at the Palace, left a representative of
his game during his absence, and returned sooner than usual, to
try and win the so much coveted _Portugalloises_.

Even love--if that name can be applied to the grovelling passion
of Henry IV., intensely violent as it was--could not, with its
sensuous enticements, drag the king from the gaming table or
stifle his despicable covetousness.  On one occasion, whilst at
play, it was whispered to him that a certain princess whom he
loved was likely to fall into other arms:--`Take care of my
money,' said he to Bassompierre, `and keep up the game
whilst I am absent on particular business.'

During this reign gamesters were in high favour, as may well be
imagined.  One of them received an honour never conceded even to
princes and dukes.  `The latter,' says Amelot de la Houssaie,
`did not enter the court-yard of the royal mansions in a carriage
before the year 1607, and they are indebted for the privilege to
the first Duc d'Epernon, the favourite of the late king, Henry
III., who being wont to go every day to play with the queen,
Marie de Medicis, took it into his head to have his carriage
driven into the court-yard of the Louvre, and had himself carried
bodily by his footmen into the very chamber of the queen--under
the pretext of being dreadfully tormented with the gout, so as
not to be able to stand on his legs.'[52]

[52] Mem. Hist. iii.

It is said, however, that Henry IV. was finally cured of
gambling.  _Credat Judaeus!_  But the anecdote is as follows.
The king lost an immense sum at play, and requested Sully to let
him have the money to pay it.  The latter demurred, so that the
king had to send to him several times.  At last, however,
Sully took him the money, and spread it out before him on the
table, exclaiming--`There's the sum.'  Henry fixed his eyes on
the vast amount.  It is said to have been enough to purchase
Amiens from the Spaniards, who then held it.  The king thereupon
exclaimed:--`I am corrected.  I will never again lose my money at

During this reign Paris swarmed with gamesters.  Then for the
first time were established _Academies de Jeu_, `Gaming
Academies,' for thus were termed the gaming houses to which all
classes of society beneath the nobility and gentility, down to
the lowest, rushed in crowds and incessantly.  Not a day passed
without the ruin of somebody.  The son of a merchant, who
possessed twenty thousand crowns, lost sixty thousand.  It
seemed, says a contemporary, that a thousand pistoles at that
time were valued less than a _sou_ in the time of Francis I.

The result of this state of things was incalculable social
affliction.  Usury and law-suits completed the ruin of gamblers.

The profits of the keepers of gaming houses must have been
enormous, to judge from the rents they paid.  A house in the
Faubourg Saint-Germain was secured at the rental of about L70
for a fortnight, for the purpose of gambling during the time of
the fair.  Small rooms and even closets were hired at the rate of
many pistoles or half-sovereigns per hour; to get paid, however,
generally entailed a fight or a law-suit.

All this took place in the very teeth of the most stringent laws
enacted against gaming and gamesters.  The fact was, that among
the magistrates some closed their eyes, and others held out their
hands to receive the bribe of their connivance.

LOUIS XIII.--At the commencement of the reign of Louis XIII. the
laws against gaming were revived, and severer penalties were
enacted.  Forty-seven gaming houses at Paris, which had been
licensed, and from which several magistrates drew a perquisite of
a pistole or half a sovereign a day, were shut up and suppressed.

These stringent measures checked the gambling of the `people,'
but not that of `the great,' who went on merrily as before.

Of course they `kept the thing quiet'--gambled in secret--but
more desperately than ever.  The Marechal d'Ancre commonly
staked twenty thousand pistoles (L10,000).

Louis XIII. was not a gambler, and so, during this reign, the
court did not set so bad an example.  The king was averse to all
games of chance.  He only liked chess, but perhaps rather too
much, to judge from the fact that, in order to enable him to play
chess on his journeys, a chessboard was fitted in his carriage,
the pieces being furnished with pins at the bottom so as not to
be deranged or knocked down by the motion.  The reader will
remember that, as already stated, a similar gaming accommodation
was provided for the Roman Emperor Claudius.

The cup and ball of Henry III. and the chessboard of Louis XIII.
are merely ridiculous.  We must excuse well-intentioned monarchs
when they only indulge themselves with frivolous and childish
trifles.  It is something to be thankful for if we have not to
apply to them the adage--Quic-quid delirant reges plectuntur
Achivi--`When kings go mad their people get their blows.'

LOUIS XIV.--The reign of Louis XIV. was a great development in
every point of view, gaming included.

The revolutions effected in the government and in public
morals by Cardinal Richelieu, who played a game still more
serious than those we are considering, had very considerably
checked the latter; but these resumed their vigour, with
interest, under another Cardinal, profoundly imbued with the
Italian spirit--the celebrated Mazarin.  This minister,
independently of his particular taste that way, knew how to ally
gaming with his political designs.  By means of gaming he
contrived to protract the minority of the king under whom he
governed the nation.

`Mazarin,' says St Pierre, `introduced gaming at the court of
Louis XIV. in the year 1648.  He induced the king and the queen
regent to play; and preference was given to games of chance.  The
year 1648 was the era of card-playing at court.  Cardinal Mazarin
played deep and with finesse, and easily drew in the king and
queen to countenance this new entertainment, so that every one
who had any expectation at court learned to play at cards.  Soon
after the humour changed, and games of chance came into vogue--to
the ruin of many considerable families: this was likewise very
destructive to health, for besides the various violent
passions it excited, whole nights were spent at this execrable
amusement.  The worst of all was that card-playing, which the
court had taken from the army, soon spread from the court into
the city, and from the city pervaded the country towns.

`Before this there was something done for improving conversation;
every one was ambitious of qualifying himself for it by reading
ancient and modern books; memory and reflection were much more
exercised.  But on the introduction of gaming men likewise left
of tennis, billiards, and other games of skill, and consequently
became weaker and more sickly, more ignorant, less polished, and
more dissipated.

`The women, who till then had commanded respect, accustomed men
to treat them familiarly, by spending the whole night with them
at play.  They were often under the necessity of borrowing either
to play, or to pay their losings; and how very ductile and
complying they were to those of whom they had to borrow was well

From that time gamesters swarmed all over France; they multiplied
rapidly in every profession, even among the magistracy.  The
Cardinal de Retz tells us, in his Memoirs, that in 1650 the
oldest magistrate in the parliament of Bordeaus, and one who
passed for the wisest, was not ashamed to stake all his property
one night at play, and that too, he adds, without risking his
reputation--so general was the fury of gambling.  It became very
soon mixed up with the most momentous circumstances of life and
affairs of the gravest importance.  The States-general, or
parliamentary assemblies, consisted altogether of gamblers.  `It
is a game,' says Madame de Sevigne, `it is an entertainment, a
liberty-hall day and night, attracting all the world.  I never
before beheld the States-general of Bretagne.  The States-general
are decidedly a very fine thing.'

The same delightful correspondent relates that one of her
amusements when she went to the court was to admire Dangeau at
the card-table; and the following is the account of a gaming
party at which she was present:--

`29th July, 1676.

`I went on Saturday with Villars to Versailles.  I need not tell
you of the queen's toilette, the mass, the dinner--you know it
all; but at three o'clock the king rose from table, and he, the
queen, Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle, all the princes and
princesses, Madame de Montespan, all her suite, all the
courtiers, all the ladies, in short, what we call the court of
France, were assembled in that beautiful apartment which you
know.  It is divinely furnished, everything is magnificent; one
does not know what it is to be too hot; we walk about here and
there, and are not incommoded anywhere:--at last a table of
reversi[53] gives a form to the crowd, and a place to every one.
of Orleans, the queen, and Madame de Soubise; Dangeau and Co.;
Langee and Co.; a thousand louis are poured out on the cloth--
there are no other counters.  I saw Dangeau play!--what fools we
all are compared to him--he minds nothing but his business, and
wins when every one else loses: he neglects nothing, takes
advantage of everything, is never absent; in a word, his skill
defies fortune, and accordingly 200,000 francs in ten days,
100,000 crowns in a fortnight, all go to his receipt book.

[53] A kind of game long since out of fashion, and now almost
forgotten; it seems to have been a compound of Loo and Commerce--
the _Quinola_ or _Pam_ was the knave of hearts.

`He was so good as to say I was a partner in his play, by
which I got a very convenient and agreeable place.  I saluted the
king in the way you taught me, which he returned as if I had been
young and handsome--I received a thousand compliments--you know
what it is to have a word from everybody!  This agreeable
confusion without confusion lasts from three o'clock till six.
If a courtier arrives, the king retires for a moment to read his
letters, and returns immediately.  There is always some music
going on, which has a very good effect; the king listens to the
music and chats to the ladies about him.  At last, at six
o'clock, they stop playing--they have no trouble in settling
their reckonings--there are no counters--the lowest pools are
five, six, seven hundred louis, the great ones a thousand, or
twelve hundred; they put in five each at first, that makes one
hundred, and the dealer puts in ten more--then they give four
louis each to whoever has Quinola--some pass, others play, but
when you play without winning the pool, you must put in sixteen
to teach you how to play rashly: they talk all together, and for
ever, and of everything.  "How many hearts?"  "Two!"  "I
have three!"  "I have one!"  "I have four!"  "He has
only three!" and Dangeau, delighted with all this prattle, turns
up the trump, makes his calculations, sees whom he has against
him, in short--in short, I was glad to see such an excess of
skill.  He it is who really knows "le dessous des cartes."

`At ten o'clock they get into their carriages: _THE KING, MADAME
DE MONTESPAN_, the Duke of Orleans, and Madame de Thianges, and
the good Hendicourt on the dickey, that is as if one were in the
upper gallery.  You know how these calashes are made.

`The queen was in another with the princesses; and then everybody
else, grouped as they liked.  Then they go on the water in
gondolas, with music; they return at ten; the play is ready, it
is over; twelve strikes, supper is brought in, and so passes

This lively picture of such frightful gambling, of the adulterous
triumph of Madame de Montespan, and of the humiliating part to
which the queen was condemned, will induce our readers to concur
with Madame de Sevigne, who, amused as she had been by the scene
she has described, calls it nevertheless, with her usual pure
taste and good judgment, _l'iniqua corte_, `the iniquitous

Indeed, Madame de Sevigne had ample reason to denounce this
source of her domestic misery.  Writing to her son and daughter,
she says:--`You lose all you play for.  You have paid five or six
thousand francs for your amusement, and to be abused by fortune.'

If she had at first been fascinated by the spectacle which she so
glowingly describes, the interest of her children soon opened her
eyes to the yawning gulf at the brink of the flowery surface.

Sometimes she explains herself plainly:--`You believe that
everybody plays as honestly as yourself?  Call to mind what took
place lately at the Hotel de la Vieuville.  Do you remember
that _ROBBERY?_'

The favour of that court, so much coveted, seemed to her to be
purchased at too high a price if it was to be gained by ruinous
complaisances.  She trembled every time her son left her to go to
Versailles.  She says:--`He tells me he is going to play with his
young master;[54] I shudder at the thought.  Four hundred
pistoles are very easily lost: _ce n'est rien pour Admete et
c'est beaucoup pour lui_.[55]  If Dangeau is in the game he
will win all the pools: he is an eagle.  Then will come to pass,
my daughter, all that God may vouchsafe--_il en arivera, ma
fille, tout ce qu'il plaira a Dieu_.'

[54] The Dauphin.

[55] `It is nothing for Admetus, but 'tis much for him.'

And again, `The game of _Hoca_ is prohibited at Paris _UNDER THE
PENALTY OF DEATH_, and yet it is played at court.  Five thousand
pistoles before dinner is nothing.  That game is a regular cut-

Hoca was prodigiously unfavourable to the players; the latter had
only twenty-eight chances against thirty.  In the seventeenth
century this game caused such disorder at Rome that the Pope
prohibited it and expelled the bankers.

The Italians whom Mazarin brought into France obtained from the
king permission to set up _Hoca_ tables in Paris.  The parliament
launched two edicts against them, and threatened to punish them
severely.  The king's edicts were equally severe.  Every of
offender was to be fined 1000 livres, and the person in whose
house Faro, Basset, or any such game was suffered, incurred the
penalty of 6000 livres for each offence.  The persons who played
were to be imprisoned.  Gaming was forbidden the French cavalry
under the penalty of death, and every commanding officer who
should presume to set up a Hazard table was to be cashiered, and
all concerned to be rigorously imprisoned.  These penalties might
show great horror of gaming, but they were too severe to be
steadily inflicted, and therefore failed to repress the crime
against which they were directed.  The severer the law the less
the likelihood of its application, and consequently its power of

Madame de Sevigne had beheld the gamesters only in the
presence of their master the king, or in the circles which were
regulated with inviolable propriety; but what would she have said
if she could have seen the gamblers at the secret suppers and in
the country-houses of the Superintendent Fouquet, where twenty
`qualified' players, such as the Marshals de Richelieu, de
Clairembaut, &c., assembled together, with a dash of bad company,
to play for lands, houses, jewels, even for point-lace and
neckties?  There she would have seen something more than gold
staked, since the players debased themselves so low as to
circumvent certain opulent dupes, who were the first invited.  To
leave one hundred pistoles, ostensibly for `the cards,' but
really as the perquisite of the master of the lordly house;
to recoup him when he lost; and, when they had to deal with some
unimportant but wealthy individual, to undo him completely,
compelling him to sign his ruin on the gaming table-- such was
the conduct which rendered a man _recherche_, and secured the
title of a fine player!

It was precisely thus that the famous (or infamous) Gourville,
successively valet-de-chambre to the Duc de la Rochefoucault,
hanged in effigy at Paris, king's envoy in Germany, and
afterwards proposed to replace Colbert--it was thus precisely, I
say, that Gourville secured favour, `consideration,' fortune; for
he declares, in his Memoirs, that his gains in a few years
amounted to more than a million.  And fortune seems to have
cherished and blessed him throughout his detestable career.
After having made his fortune, he retired to write the scandalous
Memoirs from which I have been quoting, and died out of debt![56]

[56] Mem. de Gourville, i.

France became too narrow a theatre for the chevaliers d'industrie
and all who were a prey to the fury of gambling.  The Count de
Grammont, a very suspicious player, turned his talents to account
in England, Italy, and Spain.

This same Count de Grammont figured well at court on one
occasion when Louis XIV. seemed inclined to cheat or otherwise
play unfairly.  Playing at backgammon, and having a doubtful
throw, a dispute arose, and the surrounding courtiers remained
silent.  The Count de Grammont happening to come in, the king
desired him to decide it.  He instantly answered--`Sire, your
Majesty is in the wrong.'  `How,' said the king, `can you decide
before you know the question?'  `Because,' replied the count,
`had there been any doubt, all these gentlemen would have given
it in favour of your Majesty.'  The plain inference is that this
(at the time) great world's idol and Voltaire's god, was `up to a
little cheating.'  It was, however, as much to the king's credit
that he submitted to the decision, as it was to that of the
courtier who gave him such a lesson.

The magnanimity of Louis XIV. was still more strikingly shown on
another gambling occasion.  Very high play was going on at the
cardinal's, and the Chevalier de Rohan lost a vast sum to the
king.  The agreement was to pay only in _louis d'ors;_ and the
chevalier, after counting out seven or eight hundred, proposed to
continue the payment in Spanish pistoles.  `You promised me
_louis d'ors_, and not pistoles,' said the king.  `Since your
Majesty refuses them,' replied the chevalier, `I don't want them
either;' and thereupon he flung them out of the window.  The king
got angry, and complained to Mazarin, who replied:--`The
Chevalier de Rohan has played the king, and you the Chevalier de
Rohan.'  The king acquiesced.[57]

[57] Mem. et Reflex., &e., par M. L. M. L. F. (the Marquis de la

As before stated, the court of the Roman Emperor Augustus, in
spite of the many laws enacted against gambling, diffused the
frenzy through Rome; in like manner the court of Louis XIV.,
almost in the same circumstances, infected Paris and the entire
kingdom with the vice.

There is this difference between the French monarch and the Roman
emperor, that the latter did not teach his successors to play
against the people, whereas Louis, after having denounced gaming,
and become almost disgusted with it, finished with established
lotteries.  High play was always the etiquette at court, but the
sittings became less frequent and were abridged.  `The king,'
says Madame de Sevigne, `has not given over playing, but the
sittings are not so long.'

LOUIS XV.--At the death of Louis XIV. three-fourths of the nation
thought of nothing but gambling.  Gambling, indeed, became itself
an object of speculation, in consequence of the establishment and
development of lotteries--the first having been designed to
celebrate the restoration of peace and the marriage of Louis XIV.

The nation seemed all mad with the excitement of play.  During
the minority of Louis XV. a foreign gamester, the celebrated
Scotchman, John Law, having become Controller-General of France,
undertook to restore the finances of the nation by making every
man a player or gamester.  He propounded a _SYSTEM;_ he
established a bank, which nearly upset the state; and seduced
even those who had escaped the epidemic of games of chance.  He
was finally expelled like a foul fog; but they ought to have
hanged him as a deliberate corrupter.  And yet this is the man of
whom Voltaire wrote as follows:  `We are far from evincing the
gratitude which is due to John Law.[58]  Voltaire's praise
was always as suspicious as his blame.  Just let us consider the
tendency of John Law's `system.'  However general may be the fury
of gambling, _EVERYBODY_ does not gamble; certain professions
impose a certain restraint, and their members would blush to
resort to games the turpitude of which would subject them to
unanimous condemnation.  But only change the _NAMES_ of these
games--only change their _FORM_, and let the bait be presented
under the sanction of the legislature: then, although the
_THING_ be not less vicious, nor less repugnant to true
principle, then we witness the gambling ardour of savages, such
as we have described it, manifesting itself with more risk, and
communicated to the entire nation--the ministers of the altar,
the magistracy, the members of every profession, fathers, mothers
of families, without distinction of rank, means, or
duties. . . .  Let this short generalization be well pondered,
and the conclusion must be reached that this Scotch adventurer,
John Law, was guilty of the crime of treason against humanity.

[57] Nous sommes loin de la reconnoissance qui est due a
Jean Law.  Mel. de Litt., d'Hist., &c. ii.

John Law, whom the French called _Jean Lass_, opened a gulf into
which half the nation eagerly poured its money.  Fortunes were
made in a few days--in a few _HOURS_.  Many were enriched
by merely lending their signatures.  A sudden and horrible
revolution amazed the entire people--like the bursting of a bomb-
shell or an incendiary explosion.  Six hundred thousand of the
best families, who had taken _PAPER_ on the faith of the
government, lost, together with their fortunes, their offices and
appointments, and were almost annihilated.  Some of the stock-
jobbers escaped; others were compelled to disgorge their gains--
although they stoutly and, it must be admitted, consistently
appealed to the sanction of the court.

Oddly enough, whilst the government made all France play at this
John Law game--the most seductive and voracious that ever
existed--some thirty or forty persons were imprisoned for having
broken the laws enacted against games of chance!

It may be somewhat consolatory to know that the author of so much
calamity did not long enjoy his share of the infernal success--
the partition of a people's ruin.  After extorting so many
millions, this famous gambler was reduced to the necessity of
selling his last diamond in order to raise money to gamble on.

This great catastrophe, the commotion of which was felt even
in Holland and in England, was the last sigh of true honour among
the French.  Probity received a blow.  Public morality was
abashed.  More gaming houses than ever were opened, and then it
was that they received the name of _Enfers_, or `Hells,' by which
they were designated in England.  `The greater number of those
who go to the watering-places,' writes a contemporary, `under the
pretext of health, only go after gamesters.  In the States-
general it is less the interest of the people than the attraction
of terrible gambling, that brings together a portion of the
nobility.  The nature of the play may be inferred from the name
of the place at which it takes place in one of the provinces--
namely, _Enfer_.  This salon, so appropriately called, was in the
Hotel of the king's commissioners in Bretagne.  I have been told
that a gentleman, to the great disgust of the noblemen present,
and even of the bankers, actually offered to stake his sword.

`This name of _Enfers_ has been given to several gaming houses,
some them situated in the interior of Paris, others in the

`People no longer blush, as did Caligula, at gambling on their
return from the funeral of their relatives or friends.  A
gamester, returning from the burial of his brother, where he had
exhibited the signs of profound grief, played and won a
considerable sum of money.  "How do you feel now?" he was
asked.  "A little better," he replied, "this consoles me."

`All is excitement whilst I write.  Without mentioning the base
deeds that have been committed, I have counted four suicides and
a great crime.

`Besides the licensed gaming houses, new ones are furtively
established in the privileged mansions of the ambassadors and
representatives of foreign courts.  Certain chevaliers
d'industrie recently proposed to a gentleman of quality, who had
just been appointed plenipotentiary, to hire an hotel for him,
and to pay the expenses, on condition that he would give up to
them an apartment and permit them to have valets wearing his
livery!  This base proposal was rejected with contempt, because
the Baron de---- is one of the most honourable and enlightened
men of the age.

`The most difficult bargains are often amicably settled by a
game.  I have seen persons gaming whilst taking a walk and whilst
travelling in their carriages.  People game at the doors of
the theatres; of course they gamble for the price of the ticket.
In every possible manner, and in every situation, the true
gamester strives to turn every instant to profit.

`If I relate what I have seen in the matter of play during sleep,
it will be difficult to understand me.  A gamester, exhausted by
fatigue, could not give up playing because he was a loser; so he
requested his adversary to play for him with his left hand,
whilst he dozed off and slept!  Strange to say, the left hand of
his adversary incessantly won, whilst he snored to the sound of
the dice!

`I have just read in a newspaper,[59] that two Englishmen, who
left their country to fight a duel in a foreign land,
nevertheless played at the highest stakes on the voyage; and
having arrived on the field, one of them laid a wager that he
would kill his adversary.  It is stated that the spectators of
the affair looked upon it as a gaming transaction.

[59] Journal de Politique, Dec. 15, 1776.

`In speaking of this affair I was told of a German, who, being
compelled to fight a duel on account of a quarrel at the gaming
table, allowed his adversary to fire at him.  He was missed.

he said to his opponent, "I never miss.  I bet
you a hundred ducats that I break your right or left arm, just as
you please."  The bet was taken, and he won.

`I have found cards and dice in many places where people were in
want of bread.  I have seen the merchant and the artisan staking
gold by handfuls.  A small farmer has just gamed away his
harvest, valued at 3000 francs.'[60]

[60] Dusaulx, _De la Passion du Jeu_, 1779.

Gaming houses in Paris were first licensed in 1775, by the
lieutenant of police, Sartines, who, to diminish the odium of
such establishments, decreed that the profit resulting from them
should be applied to the foundation of hospitals.  Their number
soon amounted to twelve; and women were allowed to resort to them
two days in the week.  Besides the licensed establishments,
several illegal ones were tolerated, and especially styled
_enfers_, or `hells.'

Gaming having been found prolific in misfortunes and crimes, was
prohibited in 1778; but it was still practised at the court and
in the hotels of ambassadors, where police-officers could not
enter.  By degrees the public establishments resumed their
wonted activity, and extended their pernicious effects.  The
numerous suicides and bankruptcies which they occasioned
attracted the attention of the _Parlement_, who drew up
regulations for their observance, and threatened those who
violated them with the pillory and whipping.  The licensed
houses, as well as those recognized, however, still continued
their former practices, and breaches of the regulations were
merely visited with trivial punishment.

At length, the passion for play prevailing in the societies
established in the Palais Royal, under the title of _clubs_ or
_salons_, a police ordinance was issued in 1785, prohibiting them
from gaming.  In 1786, fresh disorder having arisen in the
unlicensed establishments, additional prohibiting measures were
enforced.  During the Revolution the gaming-houses were
frequently prosecuted, and licenses withheld; but notwithstanding
the rigour of the laws and the vigilance of the police, they
still contrived to exist.

LOUIS XVI. TILL THE PRESENT TIME.--In the general corruption of
morals, which rose to its height during the reign of Louis XVI.,
gambling kept pace with, if it did not outstrip, every other
licentiousness of that dismal epoch.[61]  Indeed, the
universal excitement of the nation naturally tended to develope
every desperate passion of our nature; and that the revolutionary
troubles and agitation of the empire helped to increase the
gambling propensity of the French, is evident from the magnitude
of the results on record.

[61] It will be seen in the sequel that gambling was vastly
increased in England by the French `emigres' who sought refuge
among us, bringing with them all their vices, unchastened by

Fouche, the minister of police, derived an income of
L128,000 a year for licensing or `privileging' gaming houses,
to which cards of address were regularly furnished.

Besides what the `farmers' of the gaming houses paid to
Fouche, they were compelled to hire and pay 120,000 persons,
employed in those houses as _croupiers_ or attendants at the
gaming table, from half-a-crown to half-a-guinea a day; and all
these 120,000 persons were _SPIES OF FOUCHE!_  A very clever
idea no doubt it was, thus to draw a revenue from the proceeds of
a vice, and use the institution for the purposes of government;
but, perhaps, as Rousseau remarks, `it is a great error in
domestic as well as civil economy to wish to combat one vice
by another, or to form between them a sort of equilibrium, as if
that which saps the foundations of order can ever serve to
establish it.'[62]  A minister of the Emperor Theodosius II., in
the year 431, the virtuous Florentius, in order to teach his
master that it was wrong to make the vices contribute to the
State, because such a procedure authorizes them, gave to the
public treasury one of his lands the revenue of which equalled
the product of the annual tax levied on prostitution.[63]

[62] Nouv. Heloise, t. iv.

[63] Novel.  Theodos. 18.

After the restoration of the Bourbons, it became quite evident
that play in the Empire had been quite as Napoleonic in its
vigour and dimensions as any other `idea' of the epoch.

The following detail of the public gaming tables of Paris was
published in a number of the _Bibliotheque Historique_, 1818,
under the title of `Budget of Public Games.'


Under the present Administration, there are:--
7 Tables of Trente-et-un.
9 ditto of Roulette.
1 ditto of Passe-Dix.
1 Table of Craps.
1 ditto of Hazard.
1 ditto of Biribi.

These 20 Tables are divided into nine houses, four of which are
situated in the Palais Royal.

To serve the seven tables of _Trente-et-un_, there are:--francs
28 Dealers,    at 550 fr. a month, making . . . . 15,400
28 Croupiers,  at 380. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10,640
42 Assistants, at 200. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,400


80 Dealers,    at 275 fr. a month . . . . . . . . 22,000
60 Assistants, at 150. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,000

12 Dealers,    at 300 fr. a month. . . . . . . . . 3,600
12 Inspectors, at 120 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,440
10 Aids,      at 100. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,000
6 Chefs de Partie at the principal houses, at
700 fr. a month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,200

3 Chefs de Partie for the Roulettes, at
500 fr. a month. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,500
20 Secret Inspectors, at 200 fr. a month. . . . . .4,000
1 Inspector-General, at . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,000
130 Waiters, at 75 fr. a month. . . . . . . . . . .9,750
Cards a month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,500
Beer and refreshments, a month. . . . . . . . . . .3,000
Lights. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5,500
Refreshment for the grand saloon, including two
dinners every week, per month . . . . . . . . . 12,000
Total expense of each month . . . .113,930
Multiplied by twelve, is. . . . . . . . . . . .1,367,160
Rent of 10 Houses, per annum. . . . . . . . . . .130,000
Expense of Offices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,000
Total per annum. . . . . . . . . 1,547,160
If the `privilege' or license is . . . . . . . 6,000,000
If a bonus of a million is given for six years, the
sixth part, or one year, will be . . . . . . . 166,666

Total expenditure . . . . . . . .7,713,826
The profits are estimated at, per month,. . . . .800,000
Which yield, per annum, . . . . . . . . . . . .9,600,000
Deducting the expenditure . . . . . . . . . . .7,713,826
The annual profits are. . . . . . . . . . . fr.1,886,174
Thus giving the annual profit at L7860 sterling.

We omit the profits resulting from the watering-places,
amounting to fr. 200,000.

One of the new conditions imposed on the Paris gaming houses is
the exclusion of females.

Thus, at Paris, the Palais Royal, Frascati, and numerous other
places, presented gaming houses, whither millions of wretches
crowded in search of fortune, but, for the most part, to find
only ruin or even death by suicide or duelling, so often
resulting from quarrels at the gaming table.

This state of things was, however, altered in the year 1836,
at the proposition of M. B. Delessert, and all the gaming houses
were ordered to be closed from the 1st of January, 1838, so that
the present gambling in France is on the same footing as gambling
in England,--utterly prohibited, but carried on in secret.



It seems that the rise of modern gaming in England may be dated
from the year 1777 or 1778.

Before this time gaming appears never to have assumed an alarming
aspect.  The methodical system of partnership, enabling men to
embark large capital in gambling establishments, was unknown;
though from that period this system became the special
characteristic of the pursuit among all classes of the community.

The development of the evil was a subject of great concern to
thoughtful men, and one of these, in the year 1784, put forth a
pamphlet, which seems to give `the very age and body of the time,
his form and pressure.'[64]

[64] The pamphlet (in the Library of the British Museum) is
entitled:--`Hints for a Reform, particularly of the Gaming Clubs.
By a Member of Parliament. 1784.'

`About thirty years ago,' says this writer, `there was but
one club in the metropolis.  It was regulated and respectable.
There were few of the members who betted high.  Such stakes at
present would be reckoned very low indeed.  There were then
assemblies once a week in most of the great houses.  An agreeable
society met at seven o'clock; they played for crowns or half-
crowns; and reached their own houses about eleven.

`There was but one lady who gamed deeply, and she was viewed in
the light of a phenomenon.  Were she now to be asked her real
opinion of those friends who were her former _PLAY_-fellows,
there can be no doubt but that they rank very low in her

`In the present era of vice and dissipation, how many females
attend the card-tables!  What is the consequence?  The effects
are too clearly to be traced to the frequent _DIVORCES_ which
have lately disgraced our country, and they are too visible in
the shameful conduct of many ladies of fashion, since gambling
became their chief amusement.

`There is now no society.  The routs begin at midnight.
They are painful and troublesome to the lady who receives
company, and they are absolutely a nuisance to those who are
honoured with a card of invitation.  It is in vain to attempt
conversation.  The social pleasures are entirely banished, and
those who have any relish for them, or who are fond of early
hours, are necessarily excluded.  Such are the companies of
modern times, and modern people of fashion.  Those who are not
invited fly to the _Gaming Clubs_--

"To kill their idle hours and cure _ennui!_"

`To give an account of the present encumbered situation of many
families, whose property was once large and ample, would fill a
volume.  Whence spring the difficulties which every succeeding
day increases?  From the _GAMBLING CLUBS_.  Why are they
continually hunted by their creditors?  The reply is--the
_GAMBLING CLUBS_.  Why are they obliged continually to rack their
invention in order to save appearances?  The answer still is--the

`The father frequently ruins his children; and sons, and
even grandsons, long before the succession opens to them, are
involved so deeply that during their future lives their
circumstances are rendered narrow; and they have rank or family
honours, without being able to support them.

`How many infamous villains have amassed immense estates, by
taking advantage of unfortunate young men, who have been first
seduced and then ruined by the Gambling Clubs!

`It is well known that the old members of those gambling
societies exert every nerve to enlist young men of fortune; and
if we take a view of the principal estates on this island, we
shall find many infamous _CHRISTIAN_ brokers who are now living
luxuriously and in splendour on the wrecks of such unhappy

`At present, when a boy has learned a little from his father's
example, he is sent to school, to be _INITIATED_.  In the course
of a few years he acquires a profound knowledge of the science of
gambling, and before he leaves the University he is perfectly
fitted for a member of the _GAMING CLUBS_, into which he is
elected before he takes his seat in either House of Parliament.
There is no necessity for his being of age, as the sooner he is
ballotted for, the more advantageous his admission will
prove to the _OLD_ members.

`Scarcely is the hopeful youth enrolled among these _HONOURABLE_
associates, than he is introduced to Jews, to annuity-brokers,
and to the long train of money-lenders.  They take care to answer
his pecuniary calls, and the greater part of the night and
morning is consumed at the _CLUB_.  To his creditors and
tradesmen, instead of paying his bills, he offers a _BOND_ or
_ANNUITY_.  He rises just time enough to ride to Kensington
Gardens; returns to dress; dines late; and then attends the party
of gamblers, as he had done the night before, unless he allows
himself to be detained for a few moments by the newspaper, or
some political publication.

`Such do we find the present fashionable style of life, from
"his Grace" to the "Ensign" in the Guards.  Will this mode of
education rear up heroes, to lead forth our armies, or to conduct
our fleets to victory?  Review the conduct of your generals
abroad, and of your statesmen at home, during the late
unfortunate war, and these questions are answered.[65]

[65] Of course this is an allusion to the American War of
Independence and the political events at home, from 1774 to 1784.

`At present, tradesmen must themselves be gamblers before
they give credit to a member of these clubs; but if a reform
succeeds they will be placed in a state of security.  At present
they must make _REGULAR_ families pay an enormous price for
their goods, to enable them to run the risk of never receiving a
single shilling from their gambling customers.'

Such is the picture of the times in question, drawn by a
contemporary; and it may be said that private reckless and
unscrupulous political machinations were the springs and
fountains of all the calamities that subsequently overflowed, as
it were, the `opening of the seals' of doom upon the nation.

Notwithstanding the purity of morals enjoined by the court of
George III., the early part of his reign presents a picture of
dissolute manners as well as of furious party spirit.  The most
fashionable of our ladies of rank were immersed in play, or
devoted to politics: the same spirit carried them into both.  The
Sabbath was disregarded, spent often in cards, or desecrated by
the meetings of partisans of both factions; moral duties were
neglected and decorum outraged.  The fact was, that a minor
court had become the centre of all the bad passions and
reprehensible pursuits in vogue.  Carlton House, in Pall Mall,
which even the oldest of us can barely remember, with its elegant
open screen, the pillars in front, its low exterior, its many
small rooms, its decorations in vulgar taste, and, to crown the
whole, its associations of a corrupting revelry,--Carlton House
was, in the days of good King George, almost as great a scandal
to the country as Whitehall in the time of improper King Charles
II.[66]  The influence which the example of a young prince, of
manners eminently popular, produced upon the young nobility of
the realm was most disastrous in every way and ruinous to public

[66] Wharton, `The Queens of Society.'  Mem. of
_Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire._

After that period, the vast license given to those abominable
engines of fraud, the E.O. tables,[67] and the great length of
time which elapsed before they met with any check from the
police, afforded a number of dissolute and abandoned characters
an opportunity of acquiring property.  This they afterwards
increased in the low gaming houses, and by following up the same
system at Newmarket and the other fashionable places of resort,
and finally by means of the lottery, that mode of insensate
gambling; till at length they acquired a sum of money nothing

[67] So called from the letters E and O, the turning up of
which decided the bet.  They were otherwise called _Roulette_ and
_Roly Poly_, from the balls used in them.  They seem to have been
introduced in England about the year 1739.  The first was set up
at Tunbridge and proved extremely profitable to the proprietors.

This enormous wealth was then used as an efficient capital in
carrying on various illegal establishments, particularly gaming
houses, the expenses of a first-rate house being L7000 per
annum, which were again employed as the means of increasing these
ill-gotten riches.

The system was progressive but steady in its development.
Several of these conspicuous members of the world of fashion,
rolling in their gaudy carriages and associating with men of high
rank and influence, might be found on the registers of the Old
Bailey, or had been formerly occupied in turning, with their own
hands, E.O. tables in the public streets.

The following _Queries_, which are extracted from the _Morning
Post_ of July the 5th, 1797, throw considerable light upon this
curious subject, and show how seriously the matter was regarded
when so public a denunciation was deemed necessary and
ventured upon:--

`Is Mr Ogden (now the Newmarket oracle) the same person who,
five-and-twenty years since, was an annual pedestrian to Ascot,
covered with dust, amusing himself with "_PRICKING in the_
belt," "_HUSTLING_ in the hat," &c., among the lowest class
of rustics, at the inferior booths of the fair?

'Is D-k-y B--n who now has his snug farm, the same person who,
some years since, _DROVE A POST CHAISE_ for T--y, of Bagshot,
could neither read nor write, and was introduced to _THE FAMILY_
only by his pre-eminence at cribbage?

`Is Mr Twycross (with his phaeton) the same person who some years
since became a bankrupt in Tavistock Street, immediately
commenced the Man of Fashion at Bath, kept running horses, &c.,
_secundum artem?_

`Is Mr Phillips (who has now his town and country house, in the
most fashionable style) the same who was originally a linen-
draper and bankrupt at Salisbury, and who made his first _family
entre_ in the metropolis, by his superiority at _Billiards_
(with Captain Wallace, Orrell, &c.) at Cropley's, in Bow Street?

`Was poor carbuncled P--e (so many years the favourite decoy
duck of _THE FAMILY_) the very barber of Oxford, who, in the
midst of the operation upon a gentleman's face, laid down his
razor, swearing that he would never shave another man so long as
he lived, and immediately became the hero of the card table, the
_bones_, the _box_, and the _Cockpit?_'

Capital was not the only qualification for admission into the
Confederacy of Gambling.  Some of the members were taken into
partnership on account of their dexterity in `securing' dice or
`dealing' cards.  One is said to have been actually a sharer in
every `Hell' at the West-End of the Town, because he was feared
as much as he was detested by the firms, who had reason to know
that he would `peach' if not kept quiet.  Informers against the
illegal and iniquitous associations were arrested and imprisoned
upon writs, obtained by perjury--to deter others from similar
attacks; witnesses were suborned; officers of justice bribed;
ruffians and bludgeon-men employed, where gratuities failed;
personal violence and even assassination threatened to all who
dared to expose the crying evil--among others, to Stockdale, the
well-known publisher of the day, in Piccadilly.

Then came upon the nation the muddy flood of French
emigrants, poured forth by the Great Revolution--a set of men,
speaking generally, whose vices contaminated the very atmosphere.

Before the advent of these worthies the number of gambling houses
in the metropolis, exclusive of those so long established by
subscription, was not more than half-a-dozen; but by the year
1820 they had increased to nearly fifty.  Besides _Faro_ and
_Hazard_, the foreign games of _Macao, Roulette, Rouge et Noir_,
&c., were introduced, and there was a graduated accommodation for
all ranks, from the Peer of the Realm to the Highwayman, the
Burglar, and the Pick  et.

At one of the watering-places, in 1803, a baronet lost L20,000
at play, and a bond for L7000.  This will scarcely surprise us
when we consider that at the time above five hundred notorious
characters supported themselves in the metropolis by this species
of robbery, and in the summer spread themselves through the
watering-places for their professional operations.  Some of them
kept bankers, and were possessed of considerable property in the
funds and in land, and went their _circuits_ as regularly as the
judges.  Most excellent judges they were, too, of the
condition of a `pigeon.'

In a great commercial city where, from the extent of its trade,
manufacture, and revenue, there must be an immense circulation of
property, the danger is not to be conceived of the allurements
which were thus held out to young men in business having the
command of money, as well as the clerks of merchants, bankers,
and others.  In fact, too many of this class proved, at the bar
of justice, the consequence of their resort to these complicated
scenes of vice, idleness, extravagance, misfortune, and crime.
Among innumerable instances are the following:--In 1796, a
shopman to a grocer in the city was seduced into a gaming party,
where he first lost all his own money, and ultimately what his
master had intrusted him with.  He hanged himself in his bed-room
a few hours afterwards.

In the same year, Lord Kenyon in summing up a case of the kind
said:--`It was extremely to be lamented that the vice of gambling
had descended to the very lowest orders of the people.  It was
prevalent among the highest ranks of society, who had set the
example to their inferiors, and who, it seemed, were too great
for the law.  I wish they could be punished.  If any
prosecutions are fairly brought before me, and the parties are
justly convicted, whatever may be their rank or station in the
country--though they should be the first ladies in the land--they
shall certainly exhibit themselves in the pillory.'

In 1820, James Lloyd, one of the harpies who practised on the
credulity of the lower orders by keeping a _Little Go_, or
illegal lottery, was brought up for the twentieth time, to answer
for that offence.  This man was a methodist preacher, and
assembled his neighbours together at his dwelling on a Saturday
to preach the gospel to them, and the remainder of the week he
was to be found, with an equally numerous party, instructing them
in the ruinous vice of gambling.  The charge was clearly proved,
and the prisoner was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with
hard labour.

In the same year numbers of young persons robbed their masters to
play at a certain establishment called Morley's Gambling House,
in the City, and were ruined there.  Some were brought to justice
at the Old Bailey; others, in the madness caused by their losses,
destroyed themselves; and some escaped to other countries, by
their own activity, or through the influence of their

A traveller of the coachmakers, Messrs Houlditch of Long Acre,
embezzled or applied to his own use considerable sums of money
belonging to them.  It appeared in evidence that the prisoner was
sent by his employers to the Continent to take orders for
carriages; he was allowed a handsome salary, and was furnished
with carriages for sale.  The money he received for them he was
to send to his employers, after deducting his expenses; but
instead of so doing, he gambled nearly the whole of it away.  The
following letter to his master was put in by way of explanation
of his career:--`Sir,--The errors into which I have fallen have
made me so hate myself that I have adopted the horrible
resolution of destroying myself.  I am sensible of the crime I
commit against God, my family, and society, but have not courage
to live dishonoured.  The generous confidence you placed in me I
have basely violated; I have robbed you, and though not to enrich
myself, the consciousness of it destroys me.  Bankruptcy,
poverty, beggary, and want I could bear--conscious integrity
would support me: but the ill-fated acquaintance I formed led me
to those earthly hells--gambling houses; and then commenced
my villainies and deceptions to you.  My losses were not large at
first; and the stories that were told me of gain made me hope
they would soon be recovered.  At this period I received the
order to go to Vienna, and on settling at the hotel I found my
debts treble what I had expected.  I was in consequence compelled
to leave the two carriages as a guarantee for part of the debt,
which I had not in my power to discharge.  I had hoped such
success at Vienna as would enable me to state all to you; but
disappointment blasted every hope, and despair, on my return to
Paris, began to generate the fatal resolution which, at the
moment you read this, will have matured itself to consummation.
I feel that my reputation is blasted; no way left of re-imbursing
the money wasted, your confidence in me totally destroyed, and
nothing left to me but to see my wife and children, and die.
Affection for them holds me in existence a little longer.  The
gaming table again presented itself to my imagination as the only
possible means of extricating myself.  Count Montoni's 3000
francs, which I received before you came to Paris, furnished me
with the means--my death speaks the result!  After robbery so
base as mine, I fear it will be of no use for me to solicit
your kindness for my wretched wife and forlorn family.  Oh, Sir,
if you have pity on them and treat them kindly, and do not leave
them to perish in a foreign land, the consciousness of the act
will cheer you in your last moments, and God will reward you and
yours for it tenfold.  Their sensibilities will not cause them to
need human aid.  Thus I shall be threefold the murderer.  I thank
you for the kindness you have rendered me; and I assure your
brother that he has, in this dreadful moment, my ardent wishes
for his welfare here and hereafter.  I have so contrived it that
you will see a person at the Prince's tomorrow, who will
interpret for you.  In mentioning my fate to him, you will not
much serve your own interest by blackening my character and
memory.  I subjoin the reward of my villainies and the correct
balance of the account.  Count Edmond's regular bills I have not
received; his valet will give you them; the others are in a
pocket-book, which will be found on my corpse somewhere in the
wood of Boulogne.

`Signed,    W. KINSBY.'

It appears, however, that the gentleman changed his mind and
did not commit suicide, but surrendered at the Insolvent Debtor's
Court to be dealt with according to law, which was a much wiser

To the games of Faro, Hazard, Macao, Doodle-do, and Rouge et
Noir, more even than to horse-racing, many tradesmen, once
possessing good fortunes and great business, owed their
destruction.  Thousands upon thousands have been ruined in the
vicinity of St James's.  It was not confined to youths of fortune
only, but the decent and respectable tradesman, as well as the
dashing clerk of the merchant and banker, was ingulfed in its

The proprietors of gaming houses were also concerned in
fraudulent insurances, and employed a number of clerks while the
lotteries were drawing, who conducted the business without risk,
in counting-houses, where no insurances were taken, but to which
books were carried, as well as from the different offices in
every part of the town, as from the _Morocco-men_, who went from
door to door taking insurances and enticing the poor and middling
ranks to adventure.

It was gambling, and not the burdens of the long war, nor the
revulsion from war to peace, that made so many bankruptcies
in the few years succeeding the Battle of Waterloo.  It was the
plunderers at gaming tables that filled the gazettes and made the
gaols overflow with so many victims.

A foreigner has advanced an opinion as to the source of the
gambling propensity of Englishmen.  `The English,' says M.
Dunne,[68] `the most speculative nation on earth, calculate even
upon future contingences.  Nowhere else is the adventurous rage
for stock-jobbing carried on to so great an extent.  The fury of
gambling, so common in England, is undoubtedly a daughter of this
speculative genius.  The _Greeks_ of Great Britain are, however,
much inferior to those of France in cunning and industry.  A
certain Frenchman who assumed in London the title and manners of
a baron, has been known to surpass all the most dexterous rogues
of the three kingdoms in the art of robbing.  His aide-de-camp
was a kind of German captain, or rather _chevalier d'industrie_,
a person who had acted the double character of a French spy and
an English officer at the same time.  Their tactics being at
length discovered, the baron was obliged to quit the country;
and he is said to have afterwards entered the monastery of
La Trappe,' where doubtless, in the severe and gloomy religious
practices of that terrible penitentiary, he atoned for his past

[68] `Refexions sur l'Homme.'

`Till near the commencement of the present century the favourite
game was Faro, and as it was a decided advantage to hold the
Bank, masters and mistresses, less scrupulous than Wilberforce,
frequently volunteered to fleece and amuse the company.  But
scandal having made busy with the names of some of them, it
became usual to hire a professed gamester at five or ten guineas
a night, to set up a table for the evening, just as any operatic
professional might now-a-days be hired for a concert, or a band-
master for a ball.

`Faro gradually dropped out of fashion; Macao took its place;
Hazard was never wanting; and Whist began to be played for stakes
which would have satisfied Fox himself, who, though it was
calculated that he might have netted four or five thousand a year
by games of skill, complained that they afforded no excitement.

`Wattier's Club, in Piccadilly, was the resort of the Macao
players.  It was kept by an old _maitre d'hotel_ of
George IV., a character in his way, who took a just pride in the
cookery and wines of his establishment.

`All the brilliant stars of fashion (and fashion was power then)
frequented Wattier's, with Beau Brummell for their sun.  `Poor
Brummell, dead, in misery and idiotcy, at Caen! and I remember
him in all his glory, cutting his jokes after the opera, at
White's, in a black velvet great-coat, and a cocked hat on his
well-powdered head.

`Nearly the same turn of reflection is suggested as we run over
the names of his associates.  Almost all of them were ruined--
three out of four irretrievably.  Indeed, it was the forced
expatriation of its supporters that caused the club to be broken

`During the same period (from 1810 to 1815 or thereabouts) there
was a great deal of high play at White's and Brookes',
particularly at Whist.  At Brookes' figured some remarkable
characters--as Tippoo Smith, by common consent the best Whist-
player of his day; and an old gentleman nicknamed Neptune, from
his having once flung himself into the sea in a fit of despair at
being, as he thought, ruined.  He was fished out in time, found
he was not ruined, and played on during the remainder of his

`The most distinguished player at White's was the nobleman who
was presented at the Salons in Paris as Le Wellington des Joueurs
(Lord Rivers); and he richly merited the name, if skill, temper,
and the most daring courage are titles to it.  The greatest
genius, however, is not infallible.  He once lost three thousand
four hundred pounds at Whist by not remembering that the seven of
hearts was in!  He played at Hazard for the highest stakes that
any one could be got to play for with him, and at one time was
supposed to have won nearly a hundred thousand pounds; but _IT
ALL WENT_, along with a great deal more, at Crockford's.

`There was also a great deal of play at Graham's, the Union, the
Cocoa Tree, and other clubs of the second order in point of
fashion.  Here large sums were hazarded with equal rashness, and
remarkable characters started up.  Among the most conspicuous was
the late Colonel Aubrey, who literally passed his life at play.
He did nothing else, morning, noon, and night; and it was
computed that he had paid more than sixty thousand pounds for
card-money.  He was a very fine player at all games, and a
shrewd, clever man.  He had been twice to India and made two
fortunes.  It was said that he lost the first on his way home,
transferred himself from one ship to another without landing,
went back, and made the second.  His life was a continual
alternation between poverty and wealth; and he used to say, the
greatest pleasure in life is winning at cards--the next greatest,

`For several years deep play went on at all these clubs,
fluctuating both as to amount and locality, till by degrees it
began to flag.  It had got to a low ebb when Mr Crockford came to
London and established the celebrated club which bore his name.

`Some good was certainly produced by the system.  In the first
place, private gambling (between gentleman and gentleman), with
its degrading incidents, is at an end.  In the second place, this
very circumstance brings the worst part of the practice within
the reach of the law.  Public gambling, which only existed by and
through what were popularly termed _hells_, might be easily
suppressed.  There were, in 1844, more than twenty of these
establishments in Pall Mall, Piccadilly, and St James's,
called into existence by Crockford's success.'[69]

[69] Private MS. (Edinburgh Review, vol. LXXX).

Whilst such was the state of things among the aristocracy and
those who were able to consort with them, it seems that the lower
orders were pursuing `private gambling,' in their `ungenteel'
fashion, to a very sad extent.  In 1834 a writer in the
`Quarterly' speaks as follows:--

`Doncaster, Epsom, Ascot, and Warwick, and most of our numerous
race-grounds and race-towns, are scenes of destructive and
universal gambling among the lower orders, which our absurdly lax
police never attempt to suppress; and yet, without the slightest
approach to an improperly harsh interference with the pleasures
of the people, the Roulette and E.O. tables, which plunder the
peasantry at these places for the benefit of travelling sharpers
(certainly equally respectable with some bipeds of prey who drive
coroneted cabs near St James's), might be put down by any
watchful magistrate.'[70]

[70] Quarterly Review, vol. LII.

I fear that something similar may be suggested at the present
day, as to the same notorious localities.

Mr Sala, writing some years ago on gambling in England, said:--

`The passion for gambling is, I believe, innate; but there is,
happily, a very small percentage of the population who are born
with a propensity for high play.  We are speculative and eagerly
commercial; but it is rare to discover among us that inveterate
love for gambling, as gambling, which you may find among the
Italians, the South American Spaniards, the Russians, and the
Poles.  Moro, Baccara, Tchuka--these are games at which
continental peasants will wager and lose their little fields,
their standing crops, their harvest in embryo, their very wives
even.  The Americans surpass us in the ardour of their
propitiation of the gambling goddess, and on board the
Mississippi steamboats, an enchanting game, called _Poker_, is
played with a delirium of excitement, whose intensity can only be
imagined by realizing that famous bout at "catch him who can,"
which took place at the horticultural _fete_ immortalized by
Mr Samuel Foote, comedian, at which was present the great
_Panjandrum_ himself, with the little round button at top, the
festivities continuing till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of
the company's boots.

`When I was a boy, not so very long--say twenty years--
since, the West-end of London swarmed with illicit gambling
houses, known by a name I will not offend your ears by repeating.

On every race-course there was a public gambling booth and an
abundance of thimble-riggers' stalls.  These, I am happy to
state, exist no longer; and the fools who are always ready to be
plucked, can only, in gambling, fall victims to the commonest and
coarsest of swindlers; skittle sharps, beer-house rogues and
sharpers, and knaves who travel to entrap the unwary in railway
carriages with loaded dice, marked cards, and little squares of
green baize for tables, and against whom the authorities of the
railway companies very properly warn their passengers.  A
notorious gambling house in St James's Street--Crockford's,--
where it may be said, without exaggeration, that millions of
pounds sterling have been diced away by the fools of fashion, is
now one of the most sumptuous and best conducted dining
establishments in London--the "Wellington."  The semipatrician
Hades that were to be found in the purlieus of St James's, such
as the "Cocoa Tree," the "Berkeley," and the "stick-shop,"
at the corner of Albemarle Street--a whole Pandemonium of
rosewood and plate-glass dens--never recovered from a razzia made
on them simultaneously one night by the police, who were
organized on a plan of military tactics, and under the command of
Inspector Beresford; and at a concerted signal assailed the
portals of the infamous places with sledge-hammers.  At the time
to which I refer, in Paris, the Palais Royal, and the environs of
the Boulevards des Italiens, abounded with magnificent gambling
rooms similar to those still in existence in Hombourg, which were
regularly licensed by the police, and farmed under the
municipality of the Ville de Paris; a handsome per-centage of the
iniquitous profits being paid towards the charitable institutions
of the French metropolis.  There are very many notabilities of
the French Imperial Court, who were then _fermiers des jeux_, or
gambling house contractors; and only a year or two since Doctor
Louis Veron, ex-dealer in quack medicines, ex-manager of the
Grand Opera, and ex-proprietor of the "Constitutionnel"
newspaper, offered an enormous royalty to Government for the
privilege of establishing a gambling house in Paris.  But the
Emperor Napoleon--all ex-member of Crockford's as he is--
sensibly declined the tempting bait.  A similarly
"generous" offer was made last year to the Belgian Government
by a joint-stock company who wanted to establish public gaming
tables at the watering-places of Ostend, and who offered to
establish an hospital from their profits; but King Leopold, the
astute proprietor of Claremont, was as prudent as his Imperial
cousin of France, and refused to soil his hands with cogged dice.

The lease of the Paris authorized gaming houses expired in 1836-
7; and the municipality, albeit loath to lose the fat annual
revenue, was induced by governmental pressure not to renew it;
and it is asserted that from that moment the number of annual
suicides in Paris very sensibly decreased.  "It is not generally
known," as the penny-a-liners say, "that the Rev. Caleb Colton,
a clergyman of the Church of England, and the author of
"Lacon," a book replete with aphoristic wisdom, blew his brains
out in the forest of St Germains, after ruinous losses at
Frascati's, at the corner of the Rue Richelieu and the
Boulevards, one of the most noted of the _Maisons des Jeux_, and
which was afterwards turned into a _restaurant_, and is now a
shawl-shop.[71]  Just before the revolution of 1848, nearly
all the watering-places in the Prusso-Rhenane provinces, and in
Bavaria, and Hesse, Nassau, and Baden, contained Kursaals, where
gambling was openly carried on.  These existed at Aix-la-
Chapelle, Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Ems, Kissengen, and at Spa,
close to the Prussian frontier, in Belgium.  It is due to the
fierce democrats who revolted against the monarchs of the defunct
Holy Alliance, to say that they utterly swept away the gambling-
tables in Rhenish-Prussia, and in the Grand Duchy of Baden.  Herr
Hecker, of the red republican tendencies, and the astounding
wide-awake hat, particularly distinguished himself in the latter
place by his iconoclastic animosity to _Roulette_ and _Rouge et
Noir_.  When dynastic "order" was restored the Rhine gaming
tables were re-established.  The Prussian Government, much to its
honour, has since shut up the gambling houses at that resort for
decayed nobility and ruined livers, Aix-la-Chapelle.  A motion
was made in the Federal Diet, sitting at Frankfort, to constrain
the smaller governments, in the interest of the Germanic good
name generally, to close their _tripots_, and in some
measure the Federal authorities succeeded.  The only existing
continental gaming houses authorized by government are now the
two Badens, Spa (of which the lease is nearly expired, and will
not be renewed), Monaco (capital of the ridiculous little Italian
principality, of which the suzerain is a scion of the house of
"Grimaldi"), Malmoe, in Sweden, too remote to do much harm,
and HOMBOURG.  This last still flourishes greatly, and I am
afraid is likely to flourish, though happily in isolation; for,
as I have before remarked, the "concession" or privilege of the
place has been guaranteed for a long period of years to come by
the expectant dynasty of Hesse-Darmstadt.  "_C'est fait_," "It
is all settled," said the host of the Hotel de France to me,
rubbing his hands exultingly when I mentioned the matter.  But,
_Quis custodiet custodes?_  Hesse-Darmstadt has guaranteed the
"administration of Hesse-Hombourg, but who is to guarantee
Hesse-Darmstadt?  A battalion of French infantry would, it seems
to me, make short work of H. D., lease guarantees, Federal
contingent, and all.  I must mention, in conclusion, that within
a very few years we had, if we have not still, a licensed
gaming house in our exquisitely moral British dominions.
This was in that remarkably "tight little island" at the mouth
of the Elbe, Heligoland, which we so queerly possess--Puffendorf,
Grotius, and Vattel, or any other writers on the _Jus gentium_,
would be puzzled to tell why, or by what right.  I was at Hamburg
in the autumn of 1856, crossed over to Heligoland one day on a
pleasure trip, and lost some money there, at a miniature
_Roulette_ table, much frequented by joyous Israelites from the
mainland, and English "soldier officers" in mufti.  I did not
lose much of my temper, however, for the odd, quaint little place
pleased me.  Not so another Roman citizen, or English travelling
gent., who losing, perhaps, seven-and-sixpence, wrote a furious
letter to the "Times," complaining of such horrors existing
under the British flag, desecration of the English name, and so
forth.  Next week the lieutenant-governor, by "order," put an
end to _Roulette_ at Heligoland; but play on a diminutive scale
has since, I have been given to understand, recommenced there
without molestation.

[71] Mr Sala is here in error.  Colton was a prosperous gambler
throughout, and committed suicide to avoid a surgical operation.
A notice of the Rev. C. Colton will be found in the sequel.

`We gamble in England at the Stock Exchange, we gamble on horse-
races all the year round; but there is something more than the
mere eventuality of a chance that prompts us to the _enjeu;_
there is mixed up with our eagerness for the stakes the most
varied elements of business and pleasure; cash-books, ledgers,
divident-warrants, indignation meetings of Venezuelan bond-
holders, coupons, cases of champagne, satin-skinned horses with
plaited manes, grand stands, pretty faces, bright flags, lobster
salads, cold lamb, fortune-telling gipsies, barouches-and-four,
and "our Aunt Sally."  High play is still rife in some
aristocratic clubs; there are prosperous gentlemen who wear clean
linen every day, and whose names are still in the Army List, who
make their five or six hundred a year by Whist-playing, and have
nothing else to live upon; in East-end coffee-shops, sallow-faced
Jew boys, itinerant Sclavonic jewellers, and brawny German sugar-
bakers, with sticky hands, may be found glozing and wrangling
over their beloved cards and dominoes, and screaming with
excitement at the loss of a few pence.  There are yet some occult
nooks and corners, nestling in unsavoury localities, on passing
which the policeman, even in broad daylight, cannot refrain from
turning his head a little backwards--as though some bedevilments
must necessarily be taking place directly he has passed--
where, in musty back parlours, by furtive lamplight, with
doors barred, bolted, and sheeted with iron, some wretched,
cheating gambling goes on at unholy hours.  Chicken-hazard is
scotched, not killed; but a poor, weazened, etiolated biped is
that once game-bird now.  And there is Doncaster, every year--
Doncaster, with its subscription-rooms under authority, winked at
by a pious corporation, patronized by nobles and gentlemen
supporters of the turf, and who are good enough, sometimes, to
make laws for us plebeians in the Houses of Lords and Commons.
There is Doncaster, with policemen to keep order, and admit none
but "respectable" people--subscribers, who fear Heaven and
honour the Queen.  Are you aware, my Lord Chief-Justice, are you
aware, Mr Attorney, Mr Solicitor-General, have you the slightest
notion, ye Inspectors of Police, that in the teeth of the law,
and under its very eyes, a shameless gaming-house exists in moral
Yorkshire, throughout every Doncaster St Leger race-week?  Of
course you haven't; never dreamed of such a thing--never could,
never would.  Hie you, then, and prosecute this wretched gang of
betting-touts, congregating at the corner of Bride Lane, Fleet
Street; quick, lodge informations against this publican who
has suffered card-playing to take place, raffles, or St Leger
sweeps to be held in his house.  "You have seen a farmer's dog
bark at a beggar, and the creature run from the cur.  There thou
might'st behold the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in
office."  You have--very well.  Take crazy King Lear's words as
a text for a sermon against legislative inconsistencies, and come
back with me to Hombourg Kursaal.'



The subject of English gambling may be illustrated by a series of
events which happened at Brighton in 1817, when an inquiry
respecting the gaming carried on at the libraries led to many
important disclosures.

It appears that a warrant was granted on the oath of a Mr William
Clarke, against William Wright and James Ford, charged with
feloniously stealing L100.  But the prosecutor did not appear
in court to prove the charge.  It was quite evident, therefore,
that the law had been abused in the transaction, and the
magistrate, Sergeant Runnington, directed warrants to be issued
for the immediate appearance of the prosecutor and Timothy
O'Mara, as an evidence; but they absconded, and the learned
Sergeant discharged the prisoners.

The matter then took a different turn.  The same William Wright,
before charged with `stealing' the L100, was now examined as a
witness to give evidence upon an examination against Charles
Walker, of the Marine Library, for keeping an unlawful Gaming

This witness stated that he was engaged, about five weeks before,
to act as _punter_ or player (that is, in this case, a sham
player or decoy) to a table called _Noir, rouge, tout le deux_
(evidently a name invented to evade the statute, if possible), by
William Clarke, the prosecutor, before-mentioned; that the table
was first carried to the back room of Donaldson's Library, where
it continued for three or four days, when Donaldson discharged it
from his premises.

He said he soon got into the confidence of Clarke, who put him up
to the secrets of playing.  The firm consisted of O'Mara,
Pollett, Morley, and Clarke.  There was not much playing at
Donaldson's.  Afterwards the table was removed into Broad Street,
but the landlady quickly sent it away.  It was then carried to a
room over Walker's Library, where a rent was paid of _twelve
guineas per week, showing plainly the profits of the

Several gentlemen used to frequent the table, among whom was one
who lost L125.

Clarke asked the witness if he thought the person who lost his
money was rich?  And being answered in the affirmative, it was
proposed that he, William Wright, should invite the gentleman to
dinner, to let him have what wine he liked, and to spare no
expense to get him drunk.

The gentleman was induced to play again, and endeavour to recover
his money.  As he had nothing but large bills, to a considerable
amount, he was prevailed on to go to London, in company with the
witness, who was to take care and bring him back.  One of the
firm, Pollett, wrote a letter of recommendation to a Mr Young, to
get the bills discounted at his broker's.  They returned to
Brighton, and the witness apprized the firm of his arrival.  They
wanted him to come that evening, but the witness _TOLD THE
GENTLEMAN OF HIS SUSPICIONS_--that during their absence a _FALSE
TABLE_ had been substituted.

The witness, however, returned to his employers that evening,
when the firm advanced him L100, and Ford, another punter
of the sort, L100, to back with the gentleman as a blind--so
that when the signal was given to put upon black or red, they
were to put their stakes--by which means the gentleman would
follow; and they calculated upon fleecing him of five or six
thousand pounds in the course of an hour.  According to his own
account, the witness told the gentleman of this trick; and the
following morning the latter went with him, to know if this
nefarious dealing has been truly represented.

On entering the library they met Walker, who wished them better
success, but trembled visibly.  At the door leading into the room
porters were stationed; and, as soon as they entered, Walker
ordered it to be bolted, for the sake of privacy; but as soon as
the gentleman ascended the dark staircase, he became alarmed at
the appearance of men in the room, and returned to the porter,
and, by a timely excuse, was allowed to pass.

At this table Clarke generally dealt, and O'Mara played.  It was
for not restoring the L100 to the firm that the charge of
felony was laid against the witness--after the escape of the
gentleman; but an offer of L100 was made to him, after
his imprisonment, if he would not give his evidence of the
above facts and transactions.

The evidence of the other witness, Ford, confirmed all the
material facts of the former, and the gentleman himself, the
intended victim, substantiated the evidence of Wright--as to
putting him in possession of their nefarious designs.

When the gentleman found that he had been cheated of the L125,
he went to Walker to demand back his money.  Walker, in the
utmost confusion, went into the room, and returned with a
proposal to allow L100.  This he declined to take, and
immediately laid the information before Mr Sergeant Runnington.

The learned Sergeant forcibly recapitulated the evidence, and
declared that in the whole course of his professional duties he
had never heard such a disclosure of profligacy and villainy,
combined with every species of wickedness.  In a strain of
pointed animadversion he declared it to be an imperative duty,--
however much his private feelings might be wounded in seeing a
reputable tradesman of the town convicted of such nefarious
pursuits,--to order warrants to be issued against all parties
concerned as rogues and vagrants.

At the next hearing of the case the court was crowded to
excess; and the mass of evidence deposed before the magistrates
threw such a light on the system of gambling, that they summarily
put a stop to the Cobourg and Loo tables at the various public

At the first examination, the `gentleman' before mentioned, a Mr
Mackenzie, said he had played _Rouge et Noir_ at Walker's, and
had lost L125.  He saw O'Mara there, but he appeared as a
player, not a banker; the only reason for considering him as one
of the proprietors of the table, arose from the information of
the witnesses Wright and Ford.

On this evidence, Mr Sergeant Runnington called on O'Mara and
Walker for their defence, observing that, according to the
statements before him, there appeared sufficient ground for
considering O'Mara as a rogue and vagabond; and for subjecting Mr
Walker to penalties for keeping a house or room wherein he
permitted unlawful games to be played.  O'Mara affirmed that the
whole testimony of Wright and Ford with respect to him was false;
that he had been nine years a resident housekeeper in Brighton,
and was known by, and had rendered essential services to,
many respectable individuals who lived in the town, and to many
noble persons who were occasional visitors.  He seemed deeply
penetrated by the intimation that he could be whipped, or
otherwise treated as a vagabond; and said, that if time were
allowed him to collect evidence, and obtain legal assistance, he
could disprove the charge, or at least invalidate the evidence of
the two accusers.

In consequence of these representations, the case was adjourned
to another day, when, so much was the expectation excited by the
rumour of the affair, that at the opening of the court the hall
was crowded almost to suffocation, and all the avenues were
completely beset.

O'Mara appeared, with his counsel, the celebrated Mr Adolphus--
the Ballantyne of his day--of Old Bailey renown and forensic

Mr Sergeant Runnington very obligingly stated to Mr Adolphus the
previous proceeding, directed the depositions to be laid before
him, and allowed him time to peruse them.  Mr Adolphus having
gone through the document, requested that the witnesses might be
brought into court, that he might cross-question them separately;
which being ordered, Wright was first put forward--the man
who had received the L100, enlightened the Mr Mackenzie, and
who was charged with feloniously stealing the above amount.

After the usual questions, very immaterial in the present case,
but answered, the witness went on to say that, O'Mara called at
his lodgings and said, if he (Wright) could not persuade Mr
Mackenzie to come from London, he was not to leave him, but write
to him (O'Mara), and he would go to town, and win all his money.
He had, on a former occasion, told the witness, that he could win
all Mackenzie's money at child's play--that he could toss up and
win ninety times out of one hundred; he had told both him and
Ford, that if they met with any gentleman who did not like the
game of _Rouge et Noir_, and would bring them to his house, he
was always provided with cards, dice, and backgammon tables, to
win their money from them.

The learned counsel then cross-questioned the witness as to
various matters, in the usual way, but tending, of course, to
damage him by the answers which the questions necessitated--a
horrible, but, perhaps, necessary ordeal perpetuated in our law-
procedure.  In these answers there was something like
prevarication; so that the magistrate, Mr Sergeant Runnington,
asked the witness at the close of the examination, whether he had
any previous acquaintance with the gentlemen who had engaged him
at half-a-crown a game, and then so candily communicated to him
all their schemes?  He said, none whatever.  `But,' said the
Sergeant, `you were in the daily habit of playing at this public
table for the purpose of deceiving the persons who might come
there?'  The witness answered--`I was.'

The witness Ford fared no better in the cross-examination, and Mr
Sergeant Runnington, at its close, asked him the same question
that he had addressed to Wright, respecting his playing at the
table, and received the same answer.

Mr Mackenzie did not appear, and there was no further evidence.
Mr Adolphus said that if he were called upon to make any defence
for his client upon a charge so supported, he was ready to do it;
but, as he must make many observations, not only on the facts,
but on the _LAW_, he was anxious if possible to avoid doing so,
as he did not wish to say too much about the law respecting
gaming before so large and mixed an audience.[72]

[72] See Chapter XI. for the views of Mr Adolphus here
alluded to.

Two witnesses were called, who gave evidence which was
damaging to the character of Ford, stating that he told them he
was in a conspiracy against O'Mara and some other moneyed men,
from whom they should get three or four hundred pounds, and if
witness would conceal from O'Mara his (Ford's) real name, he
should have his share of the money, and might go with him and
Wright to Brussels.

After hearing these witnesses, Mr Sergeant Runnington, without
calling on Mr Adolphus for any further defence of his client,
pronounced the judgment of the Bench.

He reviewed the transaction from its commencement, and stated the
impression, to the disadvantage of O'Mara, which the tale
originally told by the two witnesses was calculated to make.
But, on hearing the cross-examination of those witnesses, and
seeing no evidence against the defendant but from sources so
impure and corrupt--recollecting the severe penalties of the
Vagrant Acts, and sitting there not merely as a judge, but also
exercising the functions of a jury, he could not bring himself to
convict on such evidence.  The witnesses, impure as they were,
except the fact of his losing money, at a time when O'Mara did
not appear as a proprietor of the table, but as a player like
himself.  O'Mara must therefore be discharged; but the two
witnesses would not be so fortunate.  From their own mouths it
appeared that they had been using subtle craft to deceive and
impose upon his Majesty's subjects, by playing or betting at
unlawful games, and had no legal or visible means of gaining a
livelihood; the court, therefore, adjudged them to be rogues and
vagabonds, and committed them, in execution, to the gaol at
Lewes, there to remain till the next Quarter Sessions, and then
to be further dealt with according to law.  A short private
conference followed between the magistrates and Mr Adolphus, the
result of which was that Mr Walker was not proceeded against, but
entered into a recognizance not to permit any kind of gaming to
be carried on in his house.




Baden-Baden in the season is full of the most exciting
contrasts--gay restaurants and brilliant saloons, gaming-tables,
promenades, and theatres crammed with beauty and rank, in the
midst of lovely natural scenery, and under the shade of the pine-
clad heights of the Hercynian or Black Forest--the scene of so
many weird tales of old Germany--as for instance of the charming
_Undine_ of De la Mothe Fouque.

But among the seducing attractions of Baden-Baden, and of all
German bathing-places, the Rouge-et-noir and Roulette-table hold
a melancholy pre-eminence,--being at once a shameful source of
revenue to the prince,--a rallying point for the gay, the
beautiful, the professional blackleg, the incognito duke or
king,--and a vortex in which the student, the merchant, and the
subaltern officer are, in the course of the season, often
hopelessly and irrevocably ingulfed.  Remembering the gaming
excitement of the primitive Germans, we can scarcely be surprised
to find that the descendants of these northern races poison the
pure stream of pleasure by the introduction of this hateful
occupation.  It is, however, rather remarkable that all foreign
visitors, whether Dutch, Flemish, Swede, Italian, or even
English, of whatever age or disposition or sex, `catch the
frenzy' during the (falsely so-called) _Kurzeit_, that is, _Cure-
season_, at Baden, Ems, and Ais.

Princes and their subjects, fathers and sons, and even, horrible
to say, mothers and daughters, are hanging, side by side, for
half the night over the green table; and, with trembling hands
and anxious eyes, watching their chance-cards, or thrusting
francs and Napoleons with their rakes to the red or the black

No spot in the whole world draws together a more distinguished
society than may be met at Baden; its attractions are felt and
acknowledged by every country in Europe.  Many of the
_elite_ of each nation may yearly be found there during the
months of summer, and, as a natural consequence, many of the
worst and vilest follow them, in the hope of pillage.

Says Mrs Trollope:--`I doubt if anything less than the evidence
of the senses can enable any one fully to credit and comprehend
the spectacle that a gaming-table offers.  I saw women
distinguished by rank, elegant in person, modest, and even
reserved in manner, sitting at the Rouge-et-noir table with their
rateaux, or rakes, and marking-cards in their hands;--the
former to push forth their bets, and draw in their winnings, the
latter to prick down the events of the game.  I saw such at
different hours through the whole of Sunday.  To name these is
impossible; but I grieve to say that two English women were among

The Conversationshaus, where the gambling takes place, is let out
by the Government of Baden to a company of speculators, who pay,
for the exclusive privilege of keeping the tables, L11,000
annually, and agree to spend in addition 250,000 florins
(L25,000) on the walks and buildings, making altogether about
L36,000.  Some idea may be formed from this of the vast
sums of money which must be yearly lost by the dupes who frequent
it.  The whole is under the direction of M. Benazet, who formerly
farmed the gambling houses of Paris.

`On trouve ici le jeu, les livres, la musique,
 Les cigarres, l'amour, les orangers,
Le monde tantot gai, tantot melancholique,
 Les glaces, la danse, et les cochers;
 De la biere, de bons diners,
A cote d'arbre une boutique,
 Et la vue de hauts rochers.
    Ma foi!'

`We find here gambling, books, and music,
 Cigars, love-making, orange-trees;
People or gay or melancholic,
 Ices, dancing, and coachmen, if you please;
 Beer, and good dinners; besides these,
Shops where they sell not _on tic;_
 And towering rocks one ever sees.'

`How shall I describe,' says Mr Whitelocke, `to my readers in
language sufficiently graphic, one of the resorts the most
celebrated in Europe; a place, if not competing with Crockford's
in gorgeous magnificence and display, at least surpassing it in
renown, and known over a wider sphere?  The metropolitan pump-
room of Europe, conducted on the principle of gratuitous
admittance to all bearing the semblance of gentility and
conducting themselves with propriety, opens its Janus doors to
all the world with the most laudable hospitality and with a
perfect indifference to exclusiveness, requiring only the hat to
be taken off upon entering, and rejecting only short jackets,
cigar, pipe, and meerschaum.  A room of this description, a
temple dedicated to fashion, fortune, and flirtation, requires a
pen more current, a voice more eloquent, than mine to trace,
condense, vivify, and depict.   Taking everything, therefore,
for granted, let us suppose a vast saloon of regular proportions,
rather longer than broad, at either end garnished by a balcony;
beneath, doors to the right and left, and opposite to the main
entrance, conduct to other apartments, dedicated to different
purposes.  On entering the eye is at once dazzled by the blaze of
lights from chandeliers of magnificent dimensions, of lamps,
lustres, and sconces.  The ceiling and borders set off into
compartments, showered over with arabesques, the gilded pillars,
the moving mass of promenaders, the endless labyrinth of human
beings assembled from every region in Europe, the costly dresses,
repeated by a host of mirrors, all this combined, which the eye
conveys to the brain at a single glance, utterly fails in
description.  As with the eye, so it is with the ear; at every
step a new language falls upon it, and every tongue with
different intonation, for the high and the low, the prince, peer,
vassal, and tradesman, the proud beauty, the decrepit crone, some
fresh budding into the world, some standing near the grave, the
gentle and the stern, the sombre and the gay, in short, every
possible antithesis that the eye, ear, heart can perceive, hear,
or respond to, or that the mind itself can imagine, is here to be
met with in two minutes.  And yet all this is no Babel; for all,
though concentrated, is admirably void of confusion; and evil or
strong passions, if they do exist, are religiously suppressed--a
necessary consequence, indeed, where there can be no sympathy,
and where contempt and ridicule would be the sole reciprocity.
In case, however, any such display should take place, a gendarme
keeps constant watch at the door, appointed by government, it is
true, but resembling our Bow-street officers in more respects
than one.

`Now that we have taken a survey of the brilliant and moving
throng, let us approach the stationary crowd to the left hand,
and see what it is that so fascinates and rivets their
attention.  They are looking upon a long table covered with green
cloth, in the centre of which is a large polished wooden basin
with a moveable rim, and around it are small compartments,
numbered to a certain extent, namely 38, alternately red and
black in irregular order, numbered from one to 36, a nought or
zero in a red, and a double zero upon the black, making up the
38, and each capable of holding a marble.  The moveable rim is
set in motion by the hand, and as it revolves horizontally from
east to west round its axis, the marble is caused by a jerk of
the finger and thumb to fly off in a contrary movement.  The
public therefore conclude that no calculation can foretell where
the marble will fall, and I believe they are right, inasmuch as
the bank plays a certain and sure game, however deep, runs no
risk of loss, and consequently has no necessity for superfluously
cheating or deluding the public.  It also plays double, that is,
on both sides of the wheel of fortune at once.

`When the whirling of both rim and marble cease, the latter
falls, either simultaneously or after some coy uncertainty, into
one of the compartments, and the number and colour, &c., are
immediately proclaimed, the stakes deposited are dexterously
raked up by the croupier, or increased by payment from the bank,
according as the colour wins or loses.  Now, the two sides or
tables are merely duplicates of one another, and each of them is
divided something like a chess-board into three columns of
squares, which amount to 36; the numbers advance arithmetically
from right to left, and consequently there are 12 lines down, so
as to complete the rectangle; as one, therefore, stands at the
head, four stands immediately under it, and so on.  At the bottom
lie three squares, with the French marks 12 p--12 m--12 d, that
is, first, middle, third dozen.  The three large meadows on
either side are for red and black, pair and odd, miss and pass--
which last signify the division of the numbers into the first and
second half, from 1 to 18, and from 19 to 36, inclusive.  If a
number be staked upon and wins, the stake is increased to six
times its amount, and so on, always less as the stake is placed
in different positions, which may be effected in the following
ways--by placing the piece of gold or silver on the line (_a
cheval_, as it is called), partly on one and partly on its
neighbour, two numbers are represented, and should one win,
the piece is augmented to eighteen times the sum; three
numbers are signified upon the stroke at the end or beginning of
the numbers that go across; six, by placing the coin on the
border of a perpendicular and a horizontal line between two
strokes; four, where the lines cross within; twelve numbers are
signified in a two-fold manner, either upon the column where the
figures follow in the order of one, four, seven, and so on, or on
the side-fields mentioned above; these receive the stake trebled;
and those who stake solely upon the colour, the two halves, or
equal and odd, have their stake doubled when they win.  Now, the
two zeros, that is, the simple and compound, stand apart and may
be separately staked upon; should either turn up, the stake is
increased in a far larger proportion.

`To render the game equal, without counting in the zeros and
other trifles, the winner ought to receive the square of 36,
instead of 36.

`It is a melancholy amusement to any rational being not
infatuated by the blind rage of gold, to witness the incredible
excitement so repeatedly made to take the bank by storm,
sometimes by surprise, anon by stealth, and not rarely by digging
a mine, laying intrenchments and opening a fire of field-
pieces, heavy ordnance, and flying artillery; but the fortress,
proud and conscious of its superior strength, built on a rock of
adamant, laughs at the fiery attacks of its foes, nay, itself
invites the storm.

`For those classes of mankind who possess a little more prudence,
the game called _Trente-et-un_, and _Quarante_, or _Rouge et
Noir_ are substituted.

`The lord of the temple or establishment pays, I believe, to
government a yearly sum of 35,000 florins (about L3000) for
permission to keep up the establishment.  He has gone to immense
expense in decorating the building; he pays a crowd of croupiers
at different salaries, and officers of his own, who superintend
and direct matters; he lights up the building, and he presides
over the festivities of the town--in short, he is the patron of
it all.  With all this liberality he himself derives an enormous
revenue, an income as sure and determined as that of my Lord
Mayor himself.'[73]

[73] City of the Fountains, or Baden-Baden.  By R. H.
Whitelocke.  Carlsruhe, 1840.

The Baden season begins in May; the official opening takes place
towards the close of the spring quarter, and then the fashionable
world begins to arrive at the rendezvous.

It cannot be denied that everything is right well regulated,
and apart from the terrible dangers of gambling, the place does
very great credit to the authorities who thrive on the nefarious
traffic.  Perfect order and decency of deportment, with all the
necessary civilities of life, are rigorously insisted on, and
summary expulsion is the consequence of any intolerable conduct.
If it so happens that any person becomes obnoxious in any way,
whatever may be his or her rank, the first intimation will be--
`Sir, you are not in your place here;' or, `Madame, the air of
Baden does not suit you.'  If these words are disregarded, there
follows a summary order--`You must leave Baden this very day, and
cross the frontiers of the Grand Duchy within twenty-four hours.'

Mr Sala, in his novel `Make your Game,'[74] has given a spirited
description of the gambling scenes at Baden.

[74] Originally published in the `Welcome Guest.'

Whilst I write there is exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, London,
Dore's magnificent picture of the _Tapis Vert_, or Life in
Baden-Baden, of which the following is an accurate description:--

`The _Tapis Vert_ is a moral, and at the same time an
exceedingly clever, satire.  It is illustrative of the life,
manners, and predilections and pursuits of a class of society
left hereafter to enjoy the manifold attractions of fashionable
watering-places, without the scourge that for so many years held
its immoral and degrading sway in their sumptuous halls.

`In one of these splendid salons the fashionable crowd is eagerly
pressing round an oblong table covered with green cloth (_le
tapis vert_), upon which piles of gold and bank-notes tell the
tale of "_noir perd et la couleur gagne_," and vice versa.  The
principal group, upon which Dore has thrown one of his
powerful effects of light, is lifelike, and several of the actors
are at once recognized.  Both croupiers are well-known
characters.  There is much life and movement in the silent scene,
in which thousands of pounds change hands in a few seconds.  To
the left of the croupier (dealer), who turns up the winning card,
sits a finely-dressed woman, who cares for little else but gold.
There is a remarkable expression of eagerness and curiosity upon
the countenance of the lady who comes next, and who endeavours,
with the assistance of her eye-glass, to find out the state of
affairs.  The gentleman next to her is an inveterate
_blase_.  The countenance of the old man reckoning up needs no
description.  Near by stands a lady with a red feather in her
hat, and whose lace shawl alone is worth several hundred pounds--
for Dore made it.  The two female figures to the left are
splendidly painted.  The one who causes the other croupier to
turn round seems somewhat extravagantly dressed; but these
costumes have been frequently worn within the last two years both
at Baden and Hombourg.  The old lady at the end of the table, to
the left, is a well-known habituee at both places.  The
bustling and shuffling eagerness of the figures in the background
is exceedingly well rendered.

`As a whole, the _Tapis Vert_ is a very fine illustration of real
life, as met with in most of the leading German watering-

[75] `Illustrated Times.'

`At the present moment,' says another authority, writing more
than a year ago, `there are three very bold female gamblers at
Baden.  One is the Russian Princess ----, who plays several hours
every day at _Rouge et Noir_, and sometimes makes what in our
money would be many hundreds, and at others goes empty away.  She
wins calmly enough, but when luck is against her looks
anxious.  The second is the wife of an Italian ex-minister, who
is well known both as an authoress and politician.  She
patronizes _Roulette_, and at every turn of the wheel her money
passes on the board.  She is a good gambler--smirking when she
wins, and smirking when she loses.  She dresses as splendidly as
any of the dames of Paris.  The other night she excited a flutter
among the ladies assembled in the salons of the "Conversation"
by appearing in a robe flaming red with an exaggerated train
which dragged its slow length along the floor.  But the greatest
of the feminine players is the Leonie Leblanc.  When she is at
the _Rouge et Noir_ table a larger crowd than usual is collected
to witness her operation.  The stake she generally risks is 6000
francs (L240), which is the maximum allowed.  Her chance is
changing: a few days back she won L4000 in one sitting; some
days later she lost about L2000, and was then reduced to the,
for her, indignity of playing for paltry sums--L20 or

Among the more recent chronicles, the _Figaro_ gives the
following account of the close of the campaign of a gaming hero,
M. Edgar de la Charme, who, for a number of days together,
never left the gaming-room without carrying off the sum of 24,000

`The day before yesterday, M. de la Charme, reflecting that there
must be an end even to the greatest run of luck, locked his
portmanteau, paid his bill, and took the road to the railway
station, accompanied by some of his friends.  On reaching the
wicket he found it closed; there were still three-quarters of an
hour to pass before the departure of the train.  "I will go and
play my parting game," he exclaimed, and, turning to the
coachman, bade him drive to the Kursaal.  His friends surrounded
him, and held him back; he should not go, he would lose all his
winnings.  But he was resolute, and soon reached the Casino,
where his travelling dress caused a stir of satisfaction among
the croupiers.  He sat down at the _Trente-et-quarante_, broke
the bank in 20 minutes, got into his cab again, and seeing the
inspector of the tables walking to and fro under the arcades, he
said to him, in a tone of exquisite politeness, "I could not
think of going away without leaving you my P.P.C." '


`The gambling houses of Spa are in the Redoute, where _Rouge et
Noir_ and _Roulette_ are carried on nearly from morning to night.

The profits of these establishments exceed L40,000 a year.  In
former times they belonged to the Bishop of Liege, who was a
partner in the concern, and derived a considerable revenue from
his share of the ill-gotten gains of the manager of the
establishment, and no gambling tables could be set up without his

[76] Murray's Handbook for Travellers on the Continent.

`The gambling in Spa is in a lower style than elsewhere.  The
croupiers seem to be always on the look-out for cheating.  You
never see here a pile of gold or bank notes on the table, as at
Hombourg or Wiesbaden, with the player saying, "Cinquante louis
aux billet," "Cent-vingt louis a la masse," and the
winnings scrupulously paid, or the losings raked carefully away
from the heap.  They do not allow that at Spa; there is an order
against it on the wall.  They could not trust the people that
play, I suppose, and it is doubtful if the people could trust the
croupiers.  The ball spins more slowly at _Roulette_--the
cards are dealt more gingerly at _Trente-et-quarante_ here than
elsewhere.  Nothing must be done quickly, lest somebody on one
side or other should try to do somebody else.  Altogether Spa is
not a pleasant place to play in, and as, moreover, the odds are
as great against you as at Ems, it is better to stick to the
promenade _de sept heures_ and the ball-room, and leave the two
tables alone.  Outside it is cheery and full of life.  The Queen
of the Belgians is here, the Duke of Aumale, and other nice
people.  The breeze from the hills is always delicious; the
Promenade Meyerbeer as refreshing on a hot day as a draught of
iced water.  But the denizens, male and female, of the _salons de
jeu_ are often obnoxious, and one wishes that the old Baden law
could be enforced against some of the gentler sex.

`By way of warning to any of your readers who propose to visit
the tables this summer, will you let me tell a little anecdote,
from personal experience, of one of these places--which one I had
perhaps better not say.  I took a place at the Roulette table,
and had not staked more than once or twice, when two handsomely
dressed ladies placed themselves one on either side of me, and
commenced playing with the smallest coins allowed, wedging
me in rather unpleasantly close between them.  At my third or
fourth stake I won on both the colour and a number, and my
neighbour on the right quietly swept up my coins from the colour
the instant they were paid.  I remonstrated, and she very
politely argued the point, ending by restoring my money.  But
during our discussion my far larger stake, paid in the mean
while, on the winning number, had disappeared into the pocket of
my neighbour on the left, who was not so polite, and was very
indignant at my suggestion that the stake was mine.  An appeal to
the croupier only produced a shrug of the shoulders and regret
that he had not seen who staked the money, an offer to stop the
play, and a suggestion that I should find it very difficult to
prove it was my stake.  The "plant" between the two women was
evident.  The whole thing was a systematically-planned robbery,
and very possibly the croupier was a confederate.  I detected the
two women in communication, and I told them that I should change
my place to the other side of the table where I would trouble
them not to come.  They took the hint very mildly, and could
afford to do so, for they had got my money.  The affair was
very neatly managed, and would succeed in nearly every case,
especially if the croupier is, as is most probable, always on the
side of the ladies.'


`In 1842 Hombourg was an obscure village, consisting of the
castle of the Landgraf, and of a few hundred houses which in the
course of ages had clustered around it.  Few would have known of
its existence except from the fact of its being the capital of
the smallest of European countries.  Its inhabitants lived poor
and contented--the world forgetting, by the world forgot.  It
boasted only of one inn--the "Aigle"--which in summer was
frequented by a few German families, who came to live cheaply and
to drink the waters of a neighbouring mineral spring.  That same
year two French brothers of the name of Blanc arrived at
Frankfort.  They were men of a speculative turn, and a recent and
somewhat daring speculation in France, connected with the old
semaphore telegraph, had rendered it necessary for them to
withdraw for a time from their native land.  Their stock-in-trade
consisted in a Roulette wheel, a few thousand francs, and an
old and skilful croupier of Frascati, who knew a great deal about
the properties of cards.  The authorities of the town of
Frankfort, being dull traders, declined to allow them to initiate
their townsmen into the mysteries of cards and Roulette, so
hearing that there were some strangers living at Hombourg, they
put themselves into an old diligence, and the same evening
disembarked at the "Aigle."  The next day the elder brother
called upon the prime minister, an ancient gentleman, who, with a
couple of clerks, for some L60 a year governed the Landgrafate
of Hombourg to his own and the general satisfaction.  After a
private interview with this statesman the elder Blanc returned
poorer in money, but with a permission in his pocket to put up
his Roulette wheel in one of the rooms of the inn.  In a few
months the money of the innocent water-drinkers passed from their
pockets into those of the brothers Blanc.  The ancient man of
Frascati turned the wheel, and no matter on what number the
water-drinkers risked their money, that number did not turn up.
At the close of the summer season a second visit was made to the
prime minister, and the Blancs returned to Frankfort with an
exclusive concession to establish games of hazard within the wide
spreading dominions of the Landgraf.  For this they had agreed to
build a kursaal, to lay out a public garden, and to pay into the
national exchequer 40,000 florins (a florin is worth one shilling
and eight-pence) per annum.  Having obtained this concession, the
next step was to found a company.  Frankfort abounds in Hebrew
speculators, who are not particular how they make money, and as
the speculation appeared a good one, the money was soon
forthcoming.  It was decided that the nominal capital was to be
400,000 florins, divided into shares of 100 florins each.  Half
the shares were subscribed for by the Hebrew financialists, and
the other half was credited to the Blancs as the price of their
concession.  During the winter a small kursaal was built and a
small garden planted; the mineral well was deepened, and flaming
advertisements appeared in all the German newspapers announcing
to the world that the famous waters of Hombourg were able to cure
every disease to which flesh is heir, and that to enable visitors
to while away their evenings agreeably a salon had been opened,
in which they would have an opportunity to win fabulous sums
by risking their money either at the game of _Trente et Quarante_
or at _Roulette_.  From these small beginnings arose the
"company" whose career has been so notorious.  It has enjoyed
uninterrupted good fortune.  During the twenty-six years that
have elapsed since its foundation, a vast palace dedicated to
gambling has been built, the village has become a town, well
paved, and lighted with gas; the neighbouring hills are covered
with villas; about eighty acres have been laid out in pleasure-
grounds; roads have been made in all directions through the
surrounding woods; the visitors are numbered by tens of
thousands; there are above twenty hotels and many hundred
excellent lodging-houses.'[77]

[77] Correspondent of _Daily News._

`Let those who are disposed to risk their money inquire what is
the character of the managers, and be on their guard.  The
expenses of such an enormous and splendid establishment amount to
L10,000, and the shares have for some years paid a handsome
dividend--the whole of which must be paid out of the pockets of
travellers and visitors.'[78]

[78] Murray, _ubi supra_.

Mr Sala in his interesting work, already quoted, furnishes the
completest account of Hombourg, its Kursaal, and gambling,
which I have condensed as follows:--

`In Hombourg the Kursaal is everything, and the town nothing.
The extortionate hotel-keepers, the "snub-nosed rogues of
counter and till," who overcharge you in the shops, make their
egregious profits from the Kursaal.  The major part of the
Landgrave's revenue is derived from the Kursaal; he draws
L5000 a year from it.  He and his house are sold to the
Kursaal; and the Board of Directors of the Kursaal are the real
sovereigns and land-graves of Hesse Hombourg.  They have
metamorphosed a miserable mid-German townlet into a city of
palaces.  Their stuccoed and frescoed palace is five hundred
times handsomer than the mouldy old Schloss, built by William
with the silver leg.  They have planted the gardens; they have
imported the orange-trees; they have laid out the park, and
enclosed the hunting-grounds; they board, lodge, wash, and tax
the inhabitants; and I may say, without the slightest attempt at
punning, that the citizens are all _Kursed_.

`In the Kursaal is the ball or concert-room, at either end of
which is a gallery, supported by pillars of composition marble.
The floors are inlaid, and immense mirrors in sumptuous
frames hang on the walls.  Vice can see her own image all over
the establishment.  The ceiling is superbly decorated with bas-
reliefs in _carton-pierre_, like those in Mr Barry's new
Covent Garden Theatre; and fresco paintings, executed by Viotti,
of Milan, and Conti, of Munich; whilst the whole is lighted up by
enormous and gorgeous chandeliers.  The apartment to the right is
called the _Salle Japanese_, and is used as a dining-room for a
monster _table d'hote_, held twice a day, and served by the
famous Chevet of Paris.

`There is a huge Cafe Olympique, for smoking and imbibing
purposes, private cabinets for parties, the monster saloon, and
two smaller ones, where _FROM ELEVEN IN THE FORENOON TO ELEVEN
after year--(the "administration" have yet a "_jouissance_"
of eighty-five years to run out, guaranteed by the incoming
dynasty of Hesse Darmstadt), knaves and fools, from almost every
corner of the world, gamble at the ingenious and amusing games of
_Roulette_, and _Rouge et Noir_, otherwise _Trente et Quarante_.

`There is one table covered with green baize, tightly
stretched as on a billiard-field.  In the midst of the table
there is a circular pit, coved inwards, but not bottomless, and
containing the Roulette wheel, a revolving disc, turning with an
accurate momentum on a brass pillar, and divided at its outer
edge into thirty-seven narrow and shallow pigeon-hole
compartments, coloured alternately red and black, and numbered--
not consecutively--up to thirty-six.  The last is a blank, and
stands for _Zero_, number _Nothing_.  Round the upper edge, too,
run a series of little brass hoops, or bridges, to cause the ball
to hop and skip, and not at once into the nearest compartment.
This is the regimen of Roulette.  The banker sits before the
wheel,--a croupier, or payer-out of winnings to and raker in of
losses from the players, on either side.  Crying in a voice
calmly sonorous, "_Faites le Jeu, Messieurs_,"--"Make your
game, gentlemen!" the banker gives the wheel a dexterous twirl,
and ere it has made one revolution, casts into its Maelstrom of
black and red an ivory ball.  The interval between this and the
ball finding a home is one of breathless anxiety.  Stakes are
eagerly laid; but at a certain period of the revolution the
banker calls out--"_Le Jeu est fait.  Rien ne va plus_,"--
and after that intimation it is useless to lay down money.
Then the banker, in the same calm and impassable voice, declares
the result.  It may run thus:--"_Vingt-neuf, Noir, Impair, et
Passe," "Twenty-nine, Black, Odd, and Pass the Rubicon_" (No.
18); or, "_Huit, Rouge, Pair, et Manque_," "Eight, Red, Even,
and _NOT_ Pass the Rubicon."

`Now, on either side of the wheel, and extending to the extremity
of the table, run, in duplicate, the schedule of _mises_ or
stakes.  The green baize first offers just thirty-six square
compartments, marked out by yellow threads woven in the fabric
itself, and bearing thirty-six consecutive numbers.  If you place
a florin (one and eight-pence)--and no lower stake is permitted--
or ten florins, or a Napoleon, or an English five-pound note, or
any sum of money not exceeding the maximum, whose multiple is the
highest stake which the bank, if it loses, can be made to pay, in
the midst of compartment 29, and if the banker, in that calm
voice of his, has declared that 29 has become the resting place
of the ball, the croupier will push towards you with his rake
exactly thirty-three times the amount of your stake, whatever it
might have been.  You must bear in mind, however, that the bank's
loss on a single stake is limited to eight thousand francs.
Moreover, if you have placed another sum of money in the
compartment inscribed, in legible yellow colours, "_Impair_,"
or Odd, you will receive the equivalent to your stake--twenty-
nine being an odd number.  If you have placed a coin on _Passe_,
you will also receive this additional equivalent to your stake,
twenty-nine being "Past the Rubicon," or middle of the table of
numbers--18.  Again, if you have ventured your money in a
compartment bearing for device a lozenge in outline, which
represents black, and twenty-nine being a black number, you will
again pocket a double stake, that is, one in addition to your
original venture.  More, and more still,--if you have risked
money on the columns--that is, betted on the number turning up
corresponding with some number in one of the columns of the
tabular schedule, and have selected the right column--you have
your own stake and two others;--if you have betted on either of
these three eventualities, _douze premier, douze milieu_, or
_douze dernier_, otherwise "first dozen," "middle dozen," or
"last dozen," as one to twelve, thirteen to twenty-four,
twenty-five to thirty-six, all inclusive, and have chanced to
select _douze dernier_, the division in which No. 29 occurs,
you also obtain a treble stake, namely, your own and two more
which the bank pays you, your florin or your five-pound note--
benign fact!--metamorphosed into three.  But, woe to the wight
who should have ventured on the number "eight," on the red
colour (compartment with a crimson lozenge), on "even," and on
"not past the Rubicon;" for twenty-nine does not comply with
any one of these conditions.  He loses, and his money is coolly
swept away from him by the croupier's rake.  With reference to
the last chances I enumerated in the last paragraph, I should
mention that the number _EIGHT_ would lie in the second column--
there being three columns,--and in the first dozen numbers.

`There are more chances, or rather subdivisions of chances, to
entice the player to back the "numbers;" for these the stations
of the ball are as capricious as womankind; and it is, of course,
extremely rare that a player will fix upon the particular number
that happens to turn up.  But he may place a piece of money _a
cheval_, or astride, on the line which divides two numbers, in
which case (either of the numbers turning up) he receives
sixteen times his stake.  He may place it on the cross lines
that divide four numbers, and, if either of the four wins, he
will receive eight times the amount of his stake.  A word as to
_Zero_.  Zero is designated by the compartment close to the
wheel's diameter, and zero, or blank, will turn up, on an
average, about once in seventy times.  If you have placed money
in zero, and the ball seeks that haven, you will receive thirty-
three times your stake.'

The twin or elder brother of _Roulette_, played at Hombourg,
_Rouge et Noir_, or _Trente et Quarante_, is thus described by Mr

`There is the ordinary green-cloth covered table, with its
brilliant down-coming lights.  In the centre sits the banker,
gold and silver in piles and _rouleaux_, and bank-notes before
him.  On either hand, the croupier, as before, now wielding the
rakes and plying them to bring in the money, now balancing them,
now shouldering them, as soldiers do their muskets, half-pay
officers their canes, and dandies their silk umbrellas.  The
banker's cards are, as throughout all the Rhenish gaming-places,
of French design; the same that were invented, or, at least,
first used in Europe, for crazy Charles the Simple.  These
cards are placed on an inclined plane of marble, called a

`The dealer first takes six packs of cards, shuffles them, and
distributes them in various parcels to the various punters or
players round the table, to shuffle and mix.  He then finally
shuffles them, and takes and places the end cards into various
parts of the three hundred and twelve cards, until he meets with
a _court card_, which he must place upright at the end.  This
done, he presents the pack to one of the players to cut, who
places the pictured card where the _dealer_ separates the pack,
and that part of the pack beyond the pictured card he places at
the end nearest him, leaving the pictured card at the bottom of
the pack.

`The dealer then takes a certain number of cards, about as many
as would form a pack, and, looking at the first card, to know its
colour, puts it on the table with its face downwards.  He then
takes two cards, one red and the other black, and sets them back
to back.  These cards are turned, and displayed conspicuously, as
often as the colour varies, for the information of the company.

`The gamblers having staked their money on either of the colours,
the dealer asks, "_Votre jeu est-il fait?_" "Is your game
made?" or, "_Votre jeu est-il piet?_"  "Is your game
ready?" or, "_Le jeu est pret, Messieurs_," "The game is
ready, gentlemen."  He then deals the first card with its face
upwards, saying "_Noir;_' and continues dealing until the cards
turned exceed thirty points or pips in number, which number he
must mention, as "_Trente-et-un_," or "_Trente-six_," as the
case may be.

`As the aces reckon but for one, no card after thirty can make up
forty; the dealer, therefore, does not declare the _tens_ after
_thirty-one_, or upwards, but merely the units, as one, two,
three; if the number of points dealt for _Noir_ are thirty-five
he says "_Cinq_."

`Another parcel is then dealt for _rouge_, or _red_, and with
equal deliberation and solemnity; and if the players stake beyond
the colour that comes to _thirty-one_ or nearest to it, he wins,
which happy eventuality is announced by the dealer crying--
"_Rouge gagne_," "Red wins," or "_Rouge perd_," "Red
loses."  These two parcels, one for each colour, make a _coup_.
The same number of parcels being dealt for each colour, the
dealer says, "_Apres_," "After."  This is a "doublet,"
called in the amiable French tongue, "_un refait_," by which
neither party wins, unless both colours come to _thirty-
one_, which the dealer announces by saying, "_Un refait Trente-
et-un_, and he wins half the stakes posted on both colours.  He,
however, does not take the money, but removes it to the middle
line, and the players may change the _venue_ of their stakes if
they please.  This is called the first "prison," or _la
premiere prison_, and, if they win their next event, they draw
the entire stake.  In case of another "_refait_," the money is
removed into the third line, which is called the second prison.
So you see that there are wheels within wheels, and Lord
Chancellor King's dictum, that walls can be built higher, but
there should be no prison within a prison, is sometimes reversed.

When this happens the dealer wins all.

`The cards are sometimes cut for which colour shall be dealt
first; but, in general, the first parcel is for _black_, and the
second for _red_.  The odds against a "_refait_" turning up are
usually reckoned as 63 to 1.  The bankers, however, acknowledge
that they expect it twice in three deals, and there are generally
from twenty-nine to thirty-two coups in each deal.  The odds in
favour of winning several times are about the same as in the
game of Pharaon, and are as delusive.  `He who goes to Hombourg
and expects to see any melodramatic manifestation of rage,
disappointment, and despair in the losing players, reckons
without his host.  Winners or losers seldom speak above a
whisper; and the only sound that is heard above the suppressed
buzz of conversation, the muffled jingle of the money on the
green cloth, the "sweep" of the croupiers' rakes, and the
ticking of the very ornate French clocks on the mantel-pieces, is
the impassibly metallic voice of the banker, as he proclaims his
"_Rouge perd_," or "_Couleur gagne_."  People are too genteel
at Hombourg-von-der-Hohe to scream, to yell, to fall into
fainting fits, or go into convulsions, because they have lost
four or five thousand francs or so in a single coup.

`I have heard of one gentleman, indeed, who, after a ruinous
loss, put a pistol to his head, and discharging it, spattered his
brains over the Roulette wheel.  It was said that the banker,
looking up calmly, called out--`_Triple Zero,' `Treble
Nothing_,'--a case as yet unheard of in the tactics of Roulette,
but signifying annihilation,--and that, a cloth being thrown over
the ensanguined wheel, the bank of that particular table was
declared to be closed for the day.  Very probably the whole story
is but a newspaper _canard_, devised by the proprietors of some
rival gaming establishment, who would have been delighted to see
the fashionable Hombourg under a cloud.

`When people want to commit suicide at Hombourg, they do it
genteelly; early in the morning, or late at night, in the
solitude of their own apartments at the hotels.  It would be
reckoned a gross breach of good manners to scandalize the refined
and liberal administration of the Kursaal by undisguised _felo-
de-se_.  The devil on two _croupes_ at Hombourg is the very
genteelest of demons imaginable.  He ties his tail up with
cherry-coloured ribbon, and conceals his cloven foot in a patent-
leather boot.  All this gentility and varnish, and elegant
veneering of the sulphurous pit, takes away from him, if it does
not wholly extinguish, the honour and loathing for a common
gaming-house, with which the mind of a wellured English
youth has been sedulously imbued by his parents and guardians.
He has very probably witnessed the performance of the
"Gamester" at the theatre, and been a spectator of the
remorseful agonies of Mr Beverly, the virtuous sorrows of
Mrs B., and the dark villanies of Messieurs Dawson and Bates.

`The first visit of the British youth to the Kursaal is usually
paid with fear and trembling.  He is with difficulty persuaded to
enter the accursed place.  When introduced to the saloons--
delusively called _de conversation_, he begins by staring fixedly
at the chandeliers, the ormolu clocks, and the rich draperies,
and resolutely averts his eyes from the serried ranks of punters
or players, and the Pactolus, whose sands are circulating on the
green cloth on the table.  Then he thinks there is no very great
harm in looking on, and so peeps over the shoulder of a
moustached gamester, who perhaps whispers to him in the interval
between two coups, that if a man will only play carefully, and be
content with moderate gains, he may win sufficient--taking the
good days and the evil days in a lump--to keep him in a decent
kind of affluence all the year round.  Indeed, I once knew a
croupier--we used to call him Napoleon, from the way he took
snuff from his waistcoat pocket, who was in the way of expressing
a grave conviction that it was possible to make a capital
living at Roulette, so long as you stuck to the colours, and
avoided the Scylla of the numbers and the Charybdis of the Zero.
By degrees, then, the shyness of the neophyte wears off.  Perhaps
in the course of his descent of Avernus, a revulsion of feeling
takes place, and, horror-struck and ashamed, he rushes out of the
Kursaal, determined to enter its portals no more.  Then he
temporizes; remembers that there is a capital reading-room,
provided with all the newspapers and periodicals of civilized
Europe, attached to the Kursaalian premises.  There can be no
harm, he thinks, in glancing over "Galignani" or the
"Charivari," although under the same roof as the abhorred
_Trente et Quarante;_ but, alas! he finds _Galignani_ engaged by
an acrid old lady of morose countenance, who has lost all her
money by lunch-time, and is determined to "take it out in
reading," and the _Charivari_ slightly clenched in one hand by
the deaf old gentleman with the dingy ribbon of the Legion of
Honour, and the curly brown wig pushed up over one ear, who
always goes to sleep on the soft and luxurious velvet couches of
the Kursaal reading-room, from eleven till three, every day,
Sundays not excepted.  The disappointed student of home or
foreign news wanders back to one of the apartments where
play is going, on. In fact, he does not know what to do
with himself until table-d'hote time.  You know what the moral
bard, Dr Watts says:--

"Satan finds some mischief still,
For idle hands to do."

The unfledged gamester watches the play more narrowly.  A stout
lady in a maroon velvet mantle, and a man with a bald head, a
black patch on his occiput, and gold spectacles, obligingly makes
way for him.  He finds himself pressed against the very edge of
the table.  Perhaps a chair--one of those delightfully
comfortable Kursaal chairs--is vacant.  He is tired with doing
nothing, and sinks into the emolliently-cushioned _fauteuil_.  He
fancies that he has caught the eye of the banker, or one of the
gentlemen of the _croupe_, and that they are meekly inviting him
to try his luck.  "Well, there can't be much harm in risking a
florin," he murmurs.  He stakes his silver-piece on a number or
a colour.  He wins, we will say, twice or thrice.  Perhaps he
quadruples his stake, nay, perchance, hits on the lucky number.
It turns up, and he receives thirty-five times the amount of his
_mise_.  Thenceforth it is all over with that ingenuous
British youth.  The Demon of Play has him for his own, and he may
go on playing and playing until he has lost every florin of his
own, or as many of those belonging to other people as he can beg
or borrow.  Far more fortunate for him would it be in the long
run, if he met in the outset with a good swinging loss.  The
burnt child _DOES_ dread the fire as a rule; but there is this
capricious, almost preternatural, feature of the physiology of
gaming, that the young and inexperienced generally win in the
first instance.  They are drawn on and on, and in and in.  They
begin to lose, and continue to lose, and by the time they have
cut their wise teeth they have neither sou nor silver to make
their dearly-bought wisdom available.

`At least one-half of the company may be assumed to be arrant
rascals--rascals male and rascals female--_chevaliers
d'industrie_, the offscourings of all the shut-up gambling-houses
in Europe, demireps and _lorettes_, single and married women

In the course of the three visits he has paid to Hombourg, Mr
Sala has observed that `nine-tenths of the English visitors to
the Kursaal, play;' and he does not hesitate to say that the
moths who flutter round the garish lamps at the Kursaal Van
der Hohe, and its kindred Hades, almost invariably singe their
wings; and that the chaseer at _Roulette_ and _Rouge_, generally
turn out edged tools, with which those incautious enough to play
with them are apt to cut their fingers, sometimes very

The season of 1869 in Hombourg is thus depicted in a high class

`Never within the memory of the oldest inhabitant (who in this
instance must undoubtedly be that veteran player Countess
Kisselef) has the town witnessed such an influx of tourists of
every class and description.  Hotels and lodging-houses are
filled to overflowing.  Every day imprudent travellers who have
neglected the precaution of securing rooms before their arrival
return disconsolately to Frankfort to await the vacation of some
apartment which a condescending landlord has promised them after
much negotiation for the week after next.  The morning promenade
is a wonderful sight; such a host of bilious faces, such an
endless variety of eccentric costumes, such a Babel of tongues,
among which the shrill twang of our fair American cousins is
peculiarly prominent, could be found in no other place in
the civilized world.  A moralist would assuredly find here
abundant food for reflection on the wonderful powers of self-
deception possessed by mankind.  We all get up at most
inconvenient hours, swallow a certain quantity of a most nauseous
fluid, and then, having sacrificed so much to appearances, soothe
our consciences with the unfounded belief that a love of early
rising and salt water was our real reason for coming here, and
that the gambling tables had nothing whatever to do with it.
Perhaps, in some few instances, this view may be the correct one;
some few invalids, say one in a hundred, may have sought Hombourg
solely in the interest of an impaired digestion, but I fear that
such cases are few and far between; and, as a friend afflicted
with a mania for misquotation remarked to me the other day, even
"those who come to drink remain to play."

`Certainly the demon of Rouge et Noir has never held more
undisputed sway in Hombourg than in the present season; never
have the tables groaned under such a load of notes and rouleaux.
It would seem as if the gamblers, having only two or more years
left in which to complete their ruin, were hurrying on with
redoubled speed to that desirable consummation, and where a stake
of 12,000 francs is allowed on a single coup the pace can be made
very rapid indeed.  High play is so common that unless you are
lucky enough to win or rich enough to lose a hundred thousand
francs at least, you need not hope to excite either envy or
commiseration.  One persevering Muscovite, who has been punting
steadily for six weeks, has actually succeeded in getting rid of
a million of florins.  As yet there have been no suicides to
record, owing probably to the precautionary measures adopted by a
paternal Administration.  As soon as a gambler is known to be
utterly cleared out he at once receives a visit from one of M.
Blanc's officials, who offers him a small sum on condition he
will leave the town forthwith; which viaticum, however, for fear
of accidents, is only handed to him when fairly seated in the
train that bears him away, to blow out his brains, should he feel
so inclined, elsewhere.  One of the most unpleasant facts
connected with the gambling is the ardour displayed by many
ladies in this very unfeminine pursuit: last night out of twenty-
five persons seated at the Roulette table I counted no fewer than
fifteen ladies, including an American lady with her two

`The King of Prussia has arrived, and, with due deference to the
official editors who have described in glowing paragraphs the
popular demonstrations in his honour, I am bound to assert that
he was received with very modified tokens of delight.  There was
not even a repetition of the triumphal arch of last year; those
funereal black and white flags, whose sole aspect is enough to
repress any exuberance of rejoicing, were certainly flapping
against the hotel windows and the official flagstaffs, but little
else testified to the joy of the Hombourgers at beholding their
Sovereign.  They manage these things better in France.  Any
French _prefet_ would give the German authorities a few useful
hints concerning the cheap and speedy manufacture of loyal
enthusiasm.  The foreigners, however, seem determined to atone
amply for any lack of proper feeling on the part of the
townspeople.  They crowd round his Majesty as soon as he appears
in the rooms or gardens, and mob the poor old gentleman with a
vigour which taxes all the energies of his aides-de-camp to save
their Royal master from death by suffocation.  Need I add
that our old friend the irrepressible "'Arry" is ever foremost
in these gentlemanlike demonstrations?

`Of course the town swarms with well-known English faces; indeed,
the Peers and M.P.s here at present would form a very respectable
party in the two Houses.  We are especially well off for dukes;
the _Fremdenliste_ notifies the presence of no fewer than five of
those exalted personages.  A far less respectable class of London
society is also, I am sorry to say, strongly represented:  I
allude to those gentlemen of the light-fingered persuasion whom
the outer world rudely designate as pickpockets.  This morning
two gorgeously arrayed members of the fraternity were marched
down to the station by the police, each being decorated with a
pair of bright steel handcuffs; seventeen of them were arrested
last week in Frankfort at one fell swoop, and at the tables the
row of lookers-on who always surround the players consists in
about equal proportions of these gentry and their natural
enemies--the detectives.  Their booty since the beginning of the
season must be reckoned by thousands.  Mustapha Fazyl Pasha had
his pocket picked of a purse containing L600, and a Russian
lady was lately robbed of a splendid diamond brooch valued
at 75,000 francs.[79]

[79] Pall Mall Gazette, Aug. 1869.

But the days of the Kursaal are numbered, and the glories or
infamies of Hombourg are doomed.

`The fiat has gone forth.  In five years[80] from this time the
"game will be made" no longer--the great gambling establishment
of Hombourg will be a thing of the past.  The town will be
obliged to contend on equal terms with other watering-places for
its share of the wool on the backs of summer excursionists.

[80] In 1872.

`As most of the townspeople are shareholders in this thriving
concern, and as all of them gain either directly or indirectly by
the play, it was amusing to watch the anxiety of these worthies
during the war between Austria and Prussia.  Patriotism they had
none; they cared neither for Austrian nor Prussian, for a great
Germany nor for a small Germany.  The "company" was their god
and their country.  All that concerned them was to know whether
the play was likely to be suppressed.  When they were annexed to
Prussia, at first they could not believe that Count Bismarck,
whatever he might do with kings, would venture to interfere
with the "bank."  It was to them a divine institution--
something far superior to dynasties and kingdoms. . . .

`For a year the Hombourgers were allowed to suppose that their
"peculiar institution" was indeed superior to fate, to public
opinion, and to Prussia; but at the commencement of the present
year they were rudely awakened from their dreams of security.
The sword that had been hanging over them fell.  The directors of
the company were ordered to appear before the governor of the
town, and they were told that they and all belonging to them were
to cease to exist in 1872, and that the following arrangement was
to be made respecting the plunder gained until that date.  The
shareholders were to receive 10 per cent. on their money; 5000
shares were to be paid off at par each year, and if this did not
absorb all the profits, the surplus was to go towards a fund for
keeping up the gardens after the play had ceased.  By this means,
as there are now 36,000 shares, 25,000 will be paid off at par,
and the remaining 11,000 will be represented by the buildings and
the land belonging to the company, which it will be at liberty to
sell to the highest bidder.  Since this decree has been
promulgated the Hombourgers are in despair.  The croupiers
and the clerks, the Jews who lend money at high interest, the
Christians who let lodgings, all the rogues and swindlers who one
way or another make a living out of the play, fill the air with
their complaints.

`Although no doubt individuals will suffer by the suppression of
public play here, it is by no means certain that the town itself
will not be a gainer by it.  Holiday seekers must go somewhere.
The air of Hombourg is excellent; the waters are invigorating;
the town is well situated and easy of access by rail; living is
comparatively cheap--a room may be had for about 18_s_. a week,
an excellent dinner for 2_s_.; breakfast costs less than a
shilling.  Hombourg is now a fixed fact, and if the townspeople
take heart and grapple with the new state of things--if they buy
up the Kursaal, and throw open its salons to visitors; if they
keep up the opera, the cricket club, and the shooting; if they
have good music, and balls and concerts for those who like them,
there is no reason why they should not attract as many visitors
to their town as they do now.'[81]

[81] Correspondent of _Daily News._


The gaming at Aix-la-Chapelle is equally desperate and
destructive.  `A Russian officer of my acquaintance,' says a
writer in the Annual Register for 1818, `was subject, like many
of his countrymen whom I have known, to the infatuation of play
to a most ridiculous excess.  His distrust of himself under the
assailments which he anticipated at a place like Aix-la-Chapelle,
had induced him to take the prudent precaution of paying in
advance at his hotel for his board and lodging, and at the
bathing-house for his baths, for the time he intended to stay.
The remaining contents of his purse he thought fairly his own;
and he went of course to the table all the gayer for the license
he had taken of his conscience.  On fortune showing him a few
favours, he came to me in high spirits, with a purse full of
Napoleons, and a resolute determination to keep them by venturing
no more; but a gamester can no more be stationary than the tide
of a river, and on the evening he was put out of suspense by
having not a Napoleon left, and nothing to console but
congratulation on his foresight, and the excellent supper
which was the fruit of it.'

Towards the end of the last century Aix-la-Chapelle was a great
rendezvous of gamblers.  The chief banker there paid a thousand
louis per annum for his license.  A little Italian adventurer
once went to the place with only a few louis in his pocket, and
played crown stakes at Hazard.  Fortune smiled on him; he
increased his stakes progressively; in twenty-four hours won
about L4000.  On the following day he stripped the bank
entirely, pocketing nearly L10,000.  He continued to play for
some days, till he was at last reduced to a single louis!  He now
obtained from a friend the loan of L30, and once more resumed
his station at the gaming table, which he once more quitted with
L10,000 in his pocket, and resolved to leave it for ever.  The
arguments of one of the bankers, however, who followed him to his
inn, soon prevailed over his resolution, and on his return to the
gaming table he was stripped of his last farthing.  He went to
his lodgings, sold his clothes, and by that means again appeared
at his old haunt, for the half-crown stakes, by which he
honourably repaid his loan of L30.  His end was unknown to the
relater of the anecdote, but `ten to one,' it was ruin.

At the same place, in the year 1793, the heir-apparent of an
Irish Marquis lost at various times nearly L20,000 at a
billiard table, partly owing to his antagonist being an excellent
calculator, as well as a superior player.

A French emigrant at Aix-la-Chapelle, who carried a basket of
tarts, liqueurs, &c., for regaling the gamesters, put down
twenty-five louis at _Rouge et Noir_.  He lost.  He then put down
fifteen, and lost again; at the third turn he staked ten; but
while the cards were being shuffled, seeming to recollect
himself, he felt all his pockets, and at length found two large
French crowns, and a small one, which he also ventured.  The deal
was determined at the ninth card; and the poor wretch, who had
lost his all, dashed down his basket, started from his seat,
overturning two chairs as he forced the circle, tore off his
hair, and with horrid blasphemies, burst the folding doors, and
rushing out like a madman, was seen no more.

Another emigrant arrived here penniless, but meeting a friend,
obtained the loan of a few crowns, nearly his all.  With these he
went to the rooms, put down his stake, and won.  He then
successively doubled his stakes till he closed the evening with a
hundred louis in his pocket.  He went to his friend, and with
mutual congratulations they resolved to venture no more, and
calculated how long their gains would support them from absolute
want, and thus seemed to strengthen their wise resolution.

The next night, however, the lucky gambler returned to the room--
but only to be a spectator, as he firmly said.  Alas! his
resolution failed him, and he quitted the tables indebted to a
charitable bystander for a livre or two, to pay for his petty

It is said that the annual profit to the bankers was 120,000
florins, or L14,000.

`The very name of Aix-la-Chapelle,' says a traveller, `makes one
think (at least, makes me think) of cards and dice,--sharks and
pigeons.  It has a "professional odour" upon it, which is
certainly not that of sanctity.  I entered the Redoute with my
head full of sham barons, German Catalinas, and the thousand-and-
one popular tales of renowned knights of the green cloth,--their
seducing confederates, and infatuated dupes.

`The rooms are well distributed; the saloons handsome.  A
sparkling of ladies, apparently (and really, as I understood) of
the best water, the _elite_, in short, of Aix-la-Chapelle,
were lounging on sofas placed round the principal saloon, or
fluttering about amidst a crowd of men, who filled up the centre
of the room, or thronged round the tables that were ranged on one
side of it.

`The players continued their occupation in death-like silence,
undisturbed by the buzz or the gaze of the lookers-on; not a
sound was heard but the rattle of the heaped-up money, as it was
passed from one side of the table to the other; nor was the
smallest anxiety or emotion visible on any countenance.

`The scene was unpleasing, though to me curious from its novelty.

Ladies are admitted to play, but there were none occupied this
morning.  I was glad of it; indeed, though English travellers are
accused of carrying about with them a portable code of morality,
which dissolves or stiffens like a soap-cake as circumstances may
affect its consistency, yet I sincerely believe that there are
few amongst us who would not feel shocked at seeing one of the
gentler sex in so unwomanly a position.'[82]

[82] Reminiscences of the Rhine, &c. Anon.


The gambling here in 1868 has been described in a very vivid

`Since the enforcement of the Prussian Sunday observance
regulations, Monday has become the great day of the week for the
banks of the German gambling establishments.  Anxious to make up
for lost time, the regular contributors to the company's
dividends flock early on Monday forenoon to the play-rooms in
order to secure good places at the tables, which, by the
appointed hour for commencing operations (eleven o'clock), are
closely hedged round by persons of both sexes, eagerly waiting
for the first deal of the cards or the initial twist of the brass
wheel, that they may try another fall with Fortune.  Before each
seated player are arranged precious little piles of gold and
silver, a card printed in black and red, and a long pin,
wherewith to prick out a system of infallible gain.  The
croupiers take their seats and unpack the strong box; rouleaux--
long metal sausages composed of double and single florins,--
wooden bowls brimming over with gold Frederics and Napoleons,
bank notes of all sizes and colours, are arranged upon the
black leather compartment, ruled over by the company's officers;
half-a-dozen packs of new cards are stripped of their paper
cases, and swiftly shuffled together; and when all these
preliminaries, watched with breathless anxiety by the surrounding
speculators, have been gravely and carefully executed, the chief
croupier looks round him--a signal for the prompt investment of
capital on all parts of the table--chucks out a handful of cards
from the mass packed together convenient to his hand--ejaculates
the formula, "Faites le jeu!" and, after half a minute's pause,
during which he delicately moistens the ball of his dealing
thumb, exclaims "Le jeu est fait, rien ne va plus," and
proceeds to interpret the decrees of fate according to the
approved fashion of Trente et Quarante.  A similar scene is
taking place at the Roulette table--a goodly crop of florins,
with here and there a speck of gold shining amongst the silver
harvest, is being sown over the field of the cloth of green, soon
to be reaped by the croupier's sickle, and the pith ball is being
dropped into the revolving basin that is partitioned off into so
many tiny black and red niches.  For the next twelve hours the
processes in question are carried on swiftly and steadily,
without variation or loss of time; relays of croupiers are laid
on, who unobtrusively slip into the places of their fellows when
the hours arrive for relieving guard; the game is never stopped
for more than a couple of minutes at a time, viz., when the cards
run out and have to be re-shuffled.  This brief interruption is
commonly considered to portend a break in the particular vein
which the game may have happened to assume during the deal--say a
run upon black or red, an alternation of coups (in threes or
fours) upon either colour, two reds and a black, or _vice
versa_, all equally frequent eccentricities of the cards; and
the heavier players often change their seats, or leave the table
altogether for an hour or so at such a conjuncture.  Curiously
enough, excepting at the very commencement of the day's play, the
_habitues_ of the Trente et Quarante tables appear to
entertain a strong antipathy to the first deal or two after the
cards have been "re-made."  I have been told by one or two
masters of the craft that they have a fancy to see how matters
are likely to go before they strike in, as if it were possible to
deduce the future of the game from its past!  That it is possible
appears to be an article of faith with the old stagers, and,
indeed, every now and then odd coincidences occur which tend to
confirm them in their creed.  I witnessed an occurrence which was
either attributable (as I believe) to sheer chance, or (as its
hero earnestly assured me) to instinct.  A fair and frail Magyar
was punting on numbers with immense pluck and uniform ill
fortune.  Behind her stood a Viennese gentleman of my
acquaintance, who enjoys a certain renown amongst his friends for
the faculty of prophecy, which, however, he seldom exercises for
his own benefit.  Observing that she hesitated about staking her
double florin, he advised her to set it on the number 3.  Round
went the wheel, and in twenty seconds the ball tumbled into
compartment 3 sure enough.  At the next turn she asked his
advice, and was told to try number 24.  No sooner said than done,
and 24 came up in due course, whereby Mdlle L. C. won 140 odd
gulden in two coups, the amount risked by her being exactly four
florins.  Like a wise girl, she walked off with her booty, and
played no more that day at Roulette.  A few minutes later I saw
an Englishman go through the performance of losing four thousand
francs by experimentalizing on single numbers.  Twenty times
running did he set ten louis-d'ors on a number (varying the
number at each stake), and not one of his selection proved
successful.  At the "Thirty and Forty" I saw an eminent
diplomatist win sixty thousand francs with scarcely an
intermission of failure; he played all over the table, pushing
his rouleaux backwards and forwards, from black to red, without
any appearance of system that I could detect, and the cards
seemed to follow his inspiration.  It was a great battle; as
usual, three or four smaller fish followed in his wake, till they
lost courage and set against him, much to their discomfiture and
the advantage of the bank; but from first to last--that is, till
the cards ran out, and he left the table--he was steadily
victorious.  In the evening he went in again for another heavy
bout, at which I chanced to be present; but fortune had forsaken
him; and he not only lost his morning's winnings, but eight
thousand francs to boot.  I do not remember to have ever seen the
tables so crowded--outside it was thundering, lightening, and
raining as if the world were coming to an end, and the whole
floating population of Wiesbaden was driven into the Kursaal by
the weather.  A roaring time of it had the bank; when play
was over, about which time the rain ceased, hundreds of hot and
thirsty gamblers streamed out of the reeking rooms to the glazed-
in terrace, and the next hour, always the pleasantest of the
twenty-four here and in Hombourg--at Ems people go straight from
the tables to bed,--was devoted to animated chat and unlimited
sherry-cobbler; all the "events" of the day were passed in
review, experiences exchanged, and confessions made.  Nobody had
won; I could not hear of a single great success--the bank had had
it all its own way, and most of the "lions," worsted in the
fray, had evidently made up their minds to "drown it in the
bowl."  The Russian detachment--a very strong one this year--was
especially hard hit; Spain and Italy were both unusually low-
spirited; and there was an extra solemnity about the British
Isles that told its own sad tale.  Englishmen, when they have
lost more than they can afford, generally take it out of
themselves in surly, brooding self-reproach.  Frenchmen give vent
to their disgust and annoyance by abusing the game and its
myrmidons.  You may hear them, loud and savage, on the terrace,
"Ah! le salle jeu! comment peut-on se laisser eplucher par
des brigands de la sorte!  Tripot, infame, va! je te
donne ma malediction!"  Italians, again, endeavour to conceal
their discomfiture under a flow of feverish gaiety.  Germans
utter one or two "Gotts donnerwetterhimmelsapperment!" light up
their cigars, drink a dozen or so "hocks," and subside into
their usual state of ponderous cheerfulness.  Russians betray no
emotion whatever over their calamities, save, perhaps, that they
smoke those famous little `Laferme' cigarettes a trifle faster
and more nervously than at other times; but they are excellent
winners and magnificent losers, only to be surpassed in either
respect by their old enemy the Turk, who is _facile princeps_ in
the art of hiding his feelings from the outer world.

`The great mass of visitors at Wiesbaden this season, as at
Hombourg, belong to the middle and lower middle classes, leavened
by a very few celebrities and persons of genuine distinction.
There are a dozen or two eminent men here, not to be seen in the
play-rooms, who are taking the waters--Lord Clarendon, Baron
Rothschild, Prince Souvarof, and a few more--but the general run
of guests is by no means remarkable for birth, wealth, or
respectability; and we are shockingly off for ladies.  As a
set-off against this deficiency, it would seem that all the aged,
broken-down courtesans of Paris, Vienna, and Berlin have agreed
to make Wiesbaden their autumn rendezvous.  Arrayed in all the
colours of the rainbow, painted up to the roots of their dyed
hair, shamelessly _decolletees_, prodigal of "free" talk
and unseemly gesture, these ghastly creatures, hideous
caricatures of youth and beauty, flaunt about the play-rooms and
gardens, levying black-mail upon those who are imprudent enough
to engage them in "chaff" or badinage, and desperately
endeavouring to hook themselves on to the wealthier and younger
members of the male community.  They poison the air round them
with sickly perfumes; they assume titles, and speak of one
another as "cette chere comtesse;" their walk is something
between a prance and a wriggle; they prowl about the terrace
whilst the music is playing, seeking whom they may devour, or
rather whom they may inveigle into paying for their devouring:
and, _bon Dieu!_ how they do gorge themselves with food and drink
when some silly lad or aged roue allows himself to be bullied
or wheedled into paying their scot!  Their name is legion; and
they constitute the very worst feature of a place which,
naturally a Paradise, is turned into a seventh hell by the
uncontrolled rioting of human passions.  They have no friends--no
"protectors;" they are dependent upon accident for a meal or a
piece of gold to throw away at the tables; they are plague-spots
upon the face of society; they are, as a rule, crassly ignorant
and horribly cynical; and yet there are many men here who are
proud of their acquaintance, always ready to entertain them in
the most expensive manner, and who speak of them as if they were
the only desirable companions in the world!

`Amongst our notabilities of the eccentric sort, not the least
singular in her behaviour is the Countess C----o, an aged
patrician of immense fortune, who is as constant to Wiesbaden as
old Madame de K----f is to Hombourg on the Heights.  Like the
last-named lady, she is daily wheeled to her place in the Black
and Red temple, and plays away for eight or nine hours with
wonderful spirit and perseverance.  She has with her a _suite_ of
eight domestics; and when she wins (which is not often), on
returning to her hotel at night, she presents each member of her
retinue with--twopence! "not," as she naively avows, "from
a feeling of generosity, but to propitiate Fortune."  When
she loses, none of them, save the man who wheels her home, get
anything but hard words from her; and he, happy fellow, receives
a donation of six kreutzers.  She does not curse the croupiers
loudly for her bad luck, like her contemporary, the once lovely
Russian Ambassadress; but, being very far advanced in years, and
of a tender disposition, sheds tears over her misfortunes,
resting her chin on the edge of the table.  An edifying sight is
this venerable dame, bearing an exalted title, as she mopes and
mouths over her varying luck, missing her stake twice out of
three times, when she fain would push it with her rake into some
particular section of the table!  She is very intimate with one
or two antediluvian diplomatists and warriors, who are here
striving to bolster themselves up for another year with the
waters, and may be heard crowing out lamentations over her fatal
passion for play, interspersed with bits of moss-grown scandal,
disinterred from the social ruins of an age long past: Radetzky,
Wratislaw (le beau sabreur), the two Schwarzenbergs (he of
Leipsic, and the former Prime Minister), Paul Eszterhazy,
Wrangel, and Blucher were friends of her youth; judging from
her appearance, one would not be surprised to hear that she
had received a "poulet" from Baron Trenck, or played whist with
Maria Theresa.  She has outlived all human friendships or
affections, and exists only for the chink of the gold as it
jingles on the gaming table.  I cannot help fancying that her
last words will be "Rien ne va plus!"  She is a great and
convincing moral, if one but interpret her rightly.'[83]

[83] Daily Telegraph, Aug. 15, 1868.

The doom of the German gaming houses seems to be settled.  They
will all be closed in 1872, as appears by the following

`The Prussian government, not having been able to obtain from the
lessees of the gaming tables at Wiesbaden, Ems, and Hombourg
their consent to their cancelling of their contracts, has
resolved to terminate their privileges by a legislative measure.
It has presented a bill to the Chamber of Deputies at Berlin,
fixing the year 1872 as the limit to the existence of these
establishments, and even authorizing the government to suppress
them at an earlier period by a royal ordinance.  No indemnity is
to be allowed to the persons holding concessions.'--_Feb_. 23,

A London newspaper defends this measure in a very successful

`Prussia has declared her purpose to eradicate from the
territories subject to her increased sway, and from others
recognizing her influence, the disgrace of the _Rouge et Noir_
and the Roulette table as public institutions.  Her reasoning is
to the effect that they bring scandal upon Germany; that they
associate with the names of its favourite watering-places the
appellation of "hells;" that they attract swindlers and
adventurers of every degree; and that they have for many a year
past been held up to the opprobrium of Europe.  For why should
this practice be a lawful practice of Germany and of no other
country in Europe?  Why not in France, in Spain, in Italy, in the
Northern States, in Great Britain itself?  Let us not give to
this last proposition more importance than it is worth.  The
German watering-places are places of leisure, of trifling, of
_ennui_.  That is why, originally, they were selected as
encampments by the tribes which fatten upon hazards.  But there
was another reason: they brought in welcome revenues to needy
princes.  Even now, in view of the contemplated expurgation,
Monaco is named, with Geneva, as successor to the perishing
glories of Hombourg, Wiesbaden, and the great Baden itself.  That
is to say, the gamblers, or, rather, the professionals who live
upon the gambling propensities of others, having received from
Prussia and her friends notice to quit, are in search of new

`The question is, they being determined, and the accommodation
being not less certainly ready for them than the sea is for the
tribute of a river, will the reform designed be a really
progressive step in the civilization of Europe?  Prussia says--
decidedly so; because it will demolish an infamous privilege.
She affirms that an institution which might have been excusable
under a landgrave, with a few thousand acres of territory, is
inconsistent with the dignity and, to quote continental
phraseology, the mission of a first-class state.  Here again the
reasoning is incontrovertible.  Of one other thing, moreover, we
may feel perfectly sure, that Prussia having determined to
suppress these centres and sources of corruption, they will
gradually disappear from Europe.  Concede to them a temporary
breathing-time at Monaco; the time left for even a nominally
independent existence to Monaco is short: imagine that they
find a fresh outlet at Geneva; Prussia will have represented the
public opinion of the age, against which not even the
Republicanism of Switzerland can long make a successful stand.
Upon the whole, history can never blame Prussia for such a use
either of her conquests or her influence.  Say what you will,
gambling is an indulgence blushed over in England; abroad,
practised as a little luxury in dissipation, it may be pardoned
as venial; habitually, however, it is a leprosy.  And as it is by
habitual gamblers that these haunts are made to flourish, this
alone should reconcile the world of tourists to a deprivation
which for them must be slight; while to the class they imitate,
without equalling, it will be the prohibition of an abominable

[84] Extracts from a `leader' in the Standard of Sept. 4, 1869.



It is not surprising that a people so intensely speculative,
excitable, and eager as the Americans, should be desperately
addicted to gambling.  Indeed, the spirit of gambling has
incessantly pervaded all their operations, political, commercial,
and social.[85]  It is but one of the manifestations of that
thorough license arrogated to itself by the nation, finding its
true expression in the American maxim recorded by Mr Hepworth
Dixon, so coarsely worded, but so significant,--`Every man
has a right to do what he _DAMNED_ pleases.'[86]

[85] In the American correspondence of the Morning Advertiser,
Feb. 6, 1868, the writer says:--`It was only yesterday (Jan. 24)
that an eminent American merchant of this city (New York) said,
in referring to the state of affairs--"we are socially,
politically, and commercially demoralized." '

[86] `Spiritual Wives.'--A work the extraordinary disclosures
of which tend to show that a similar spirit, destined, perhaps,
to bring about the greatest social changes, is gaining ground
elsewhere than in America.

Although laws similar to those of England are enacted in America
against gambling, it may be said to exist everywhere, but, of
course, to the greatest extent in the vicinity of the fashionable
quarters of the large cities.  In New York there is scarcely a
street without its gambling house--`private,' of course, but well
known to those who indulge in the vice.  The ordinary public game
is Faro.

High and low, rich and poor, are perfectly suited in their
requirements; whilst at some places the stakes are unlimited, at
others they must not exceed one dollar, and a player may wager as
low as five cents, or twopence-halfpenny.  These are for the
accommodation of the very poorest workmen, discharged soldiers,
broken-down gamblers, and street-boys.

`I think,' says a recent writer,[87] `of all the street-boys in
the world, those of New York are the most precocious.  I have
seen a shoe-black, about three feet high, walk up to the
table or `Bank,' as it is generally called, and stake his money
(five cents) with the air of a young spendthrift to whom "money
is no object." '

[87] `St James's Magazine,' Sept., 1867.

The chief gambling houses of New York were established by men who
are American celebrities, and among these the most prominent have
been Pat Hern and John Morrissey.


Some years ago this celebrated Irishman kept up a splendid
establishment in Broadway, near Hauston Street.  At that time his
house was the centre of attraction towards which `all the world'
gravitated, and did the thing right grandly--combining the
Apicius with the Beau Nash or Brummell.  He was profusely lavish
with his wines and exuberant in his suppers; and it was generally
said that the game in action there, _Faro_, was played in all
fairness.  Pat Hern was a man of jovial disposition and genial
wit, and would have adorned a better position.  During the trout-
fishing season he used to visit a well-known place called Islip
in Long Island, much frequented by gentlemen devoted to angling
and fond of good living.

At Islip the equally renowned Oby Snedecker kept the tavern
which was the resort of Pat Hern and his companions.  It had
attached to it a stream and lake to which the gentlemen who had
the privilege of the house were admitted.  Mrs Obadiah Snedecker,
the buxom wife of `mine host,' was famous for the exquisite way
in which she cooked veal cutlets.  There were two niggers in the
establishment, named Steve and Dick, who accompanied the
gentlemen in their angling excursions, amusing them with their
stolidity and the enormous quantity of gin they could imbibe
without being more than normally fuddled.

After fishing, the gentlemen used to take to gambling at the
usual French games; but here Pat Hern appeared not in the
character of gambler, but as a private gentleman.  He was always
well received by the visitors, and caused them many a hearty
laugh with his overflowing humour.  He died about nine years ago,
I think tolerably well off.


John Morrissey was originally a prize-fighter,--having fought
with Heenan and also with Yankee Sullivan, and lived by
teaching the young Americans the noble art of self-defence.  He
afterwards set up a `Bar,' or public-house, and over this he
established a small Faro bank, which he enlarged and improved by
degrees until it became well known, and was very much frequented
by the gamblers of New York.  He is now, I believe, a member of
Congress for that city, and immensely wealthy.  Not content with
his successful gambling operations in New York, he has opened a
splendid establishment at the fashionable summer resort of
Saratoga, consisting of an immense hotel, ballrooms, and
gambling-rooms, and is said to have a profit of two millions of
dollars (about L400,000) during the season.[88]  He is
mentioned as one of those who pay the most income tax.

[88] _Ubi supra_.

Morrissey's gambling house is in Union Square, and is said to be
magnificently furnished and distinguished by the most princely
hospitality.  At all hours of the day or night tables are laid
out with every description of refreshment, to which all who visit
the place are welcome.

This is a remarkable feature in the American system.  At all
`Bars,' or public-houses, you find provided, free of charge,
supplies of cheese, biscuits, &c., and sometimes even some
savoury soup--which are often resorted to by those unfortunates
who are `clean broke' or `used up,' with little else to assuage
the pangs of hunger but the everlasting quid of tobacco,
furiously `chawed.'  Another generous feature of the American
system is that the bar-man does not measure out to you, after our
stingy fashion, what drink you may require, but hands you the
tumbler and bottle to help yourself, unless in the case of made
drinks, such as `mint-juleps,' &c.  However, you must drink your
liquor at a gulp, after the Yankee fashion; for if you take a sip
and turn your back to the counter, your glass will disappear--as
it is not customary to have glasses standing about.  Morrissey's
wines are very good, and always supplied in abundance.

Almost every game of chance is played at this establishment, and
the stakes are very high and unlimited.  The visitors are the
wealthy and wild young men of New York, and occasionally a
Southern-looking man who, perhaps, has saved some of his
property, being still the same professional gambler; for it may
be affirmed that all the Southern planters were addicted to

`The same flocks of well-dressed and fashionable-looking men
of all ages pass in and out all through the day and night; tens
of thousands of dollars are lost and won; the "click" of the
markers never ceases; all speak in a low tone; everything has a
serious, quiet appearance.  The dealers seem to know every one,
and nod familiarly to all who approach their tables.  John
Morrissey is occasionally to be seen, walking through the rooms,
apparently a disinterested spectator.  He is a short, thick-set
man, of about 40 years, dark complexion, and wears a long beard,
dresses in a slovenly manner, and walks with a swagger.  Now and
then he approaches the table; makes a few bets, and is then lost
in the crowd.'[89]

[89] _Ubi supra_.


The same writer furnishes other very interesting facts.

`After the opera-house and theatres are closed, Morrissey's
gambling house becomes very full; in fact, the best time to see
it to advantage is about two or three o'clock in the morning.

`A little below the New York Hotel, and on the opposite side
of Broadway, there is a gambling house, not quite so
"respectable" as the one I have been describing; here the
stakes are not below a dollar, and not more than twenty-five;
there are no refreshments gratis, and the rooms are not so well
furnished.  The men to be seen gaming in this house differ but
very little in appearance from those in Union Square, but there
seems to be less discipline amongst them, and more noise and
confusion.  It is a rare thing to see an intoxicated man in a
gambling house; the door-keepers are very particular as to whom
they admit, and any disturbance which might call for the
interference of the police would be ruinous to their business.
The police are undoubtedly aware of everything going on in these
houses, and do not interfere as long as everything goes on

`Now and then a clerk spends his employer's money, and if it is
discovered where he lost it then a _RAID_ is made by the police
in force, the tables and all the gaming paraphernalia are carried
off, and the proprietors heavily fined.

`I witnessed a case of this: a young man in the employment of a
commission merchant appropriated a large sum of his
employer's money, and lost it at Faro.  He was arrested, and
confessed what he had done with it.  The police at once proceeded
to the house where the Faro bank was kept, and the scene, when it
was known that the police were below, beggars description.  The
tables were upset, and notes and markers were flying about in all
directions.  Men, sprawling and scrambling on the floor, fought
with one another for whatever they could seize; then the police
entered and cleared the house, having arrested the owners of the
bank.  This was in one of the lowest gaming houses, where
"skin" games (cheating games) are practised.

`In the gambling house in Broadway, near the New York Hotel, I
have often noticed a young man, apparently of some 18 or 20 years
of age, fashionably dressed, and of prepossessing appearance.  On
some days he would play very high, and seemed to have most
remarkable luck; but he always played with the air of an old
gamester, seeming careless as to whether he won or lost.  One
night he lost so heavily that he attracted the notice of all the
players; every stake of his was swept away; and he still played
on until his last dollar was lost; then he quietly walked out,
whistling a popular Yankee air.  He was there next day
_MINUS_ his great-coat and watch and chain--he lost again, went
out and returned in his shirt sleeves, having pawned his coat,
studs, and everything he could with decency divest himself of.
He lost everything; and when I next saw him he was selling
newspapers in front of the post-office!

`The mania for gambling is a most singular one.  I have known a
man to win a thousand dollars in a few hours, and yet he would
not spend a dollar to get a dinner, but when he felt hungry he
went to a baker's shop and bought a loaf of bread, and that same
night lost all his money at Roulette.

`There is another house on the corner of Centre and Grand
Streets, open during night and day.  The stakes here are the same
as in the one in Broadway, and the people who play are very much
the same--in fact, the same faces are constantly to be met with
in all the gambling houses, from the highest to the lowest.  When
a gambler has but small capital, he will go to a small house,
where small stakes are admissible.  I saw a man win 50 or 60
dollars at this place, and then hand in his checks (markers) to
be cashed.  The dealer handed him the money, and said--"Now
you go off, straight away to Union Square, and pay away all you
have won from here to John Morrissey.  This is the way with all
of them; they never come here until they are dead broke, and have
only a dirty dollar or so to risk."  There was some truth in
what he said, but notwithstanding he managed to keep the bank
going on.  There is a great temptation to a man who has won a sum
of money at a small gambling house to go to a higher one, as he
may then, at a single stake, win as much as he could possibly win
if he had a run of luck in a dozen stakes at the smaller bank.

`In No. 102, in the Bowery, there is one of the lowest of the
gaming houses I have seen in the Empire city.  The proprietor is
an Irishman; he employs three men as dealers, and they relieve
one another every four hours during the day and night.  The
stakes here are of the lowest, and the people to be seen here of
the roughest to be found in the city.  The game is Faro, as

`In this place I met an old friend with whom I had served in the
army of Northern Virginia, under General Lee, in his Virginia
campaign of 1865.  He told me he had been in New York since
the end of the war, and lived a very uncertain sort of life.
Whatever money he could earn he spent at the gaming table.
Sometimes he had a run of luck, and whilst it lasted he dressed
well, and stopped at the most expensive hotels.  One night he
would sleep at the Astor House; and perhaps the next night he
would not be able to pay for his bed, and would stay all night in
the parks.  Strange to say, hundreds live in this way, which is
vulgarly called "scratching" in New York.  I afterwards saw my
friend driving an omnibus; and when I could speak to him, I found
that he was still attending the banks with every cent he earned!

`It is amusing to watch the proprietor of this place at the
Bowery; he has a joke for every one he sees.  "Hallo, old
sport!" he cries, "come and try your luck--you look lucky this
evening; and if you make a good run you may sport a gold watch
and chain, and a velvet vest, like myself."  Then to another,
"Young clear-the-way, you look down at the mouth to-night!  Come
along and have a turn--and never mind your supper tonight.'  In
this way the days and nights are passed in those gambling

There is also in New York an association for the prevention
of gambling.  The society employs detectives to visit the
gambling saloons, and procure evidence for the suppression of the

It is the business of these agents also to ascertain the names
and occupations of those who frequent the gambling rooms, and a
list of the persons thus detected is sent periodically to the
subscribers to the society, that they may know who are the
persons wasting their money, or perhaps the money of their
employers, in gambling.  Many large houses of business subscribe.

In the month of August the society's agents detected among the
gamblers 68 clerks of mercantile houses, and in the previous six
months reported 623 cases.  It is stated that there are in New
York and Brooklyn 1017 policy and lottery offices, and 163 Faro
banks, and that their net annual gains are not less than
36,000,000 dollars.


At American gambling houses `it is very easy,' says the same
writer, `to distinguish the professional from the ordinary
gambler.  The latter has a nervous expression about the
mouth, and an intense gaze upon the cards, and altogether a very
serious nervous appearance; while the professional plays in a
very quiet manner, and seems to care but little how the game
goes; and his desire to appear as if the game was new to him is
almost certain to expose him to those who know the manoeuvre.

`Previous to the struggle for independence in the South, there
were many hundreds of gamblers scattered through the Southern
towns, and the Mississippi steam-boats used to abound with them.
In the South, a gambler was regarded as outside the pale of
society, and classed with the slave-trader, who was looked upon
with loathing by the very same men who traded with him; such was
the inconsistency of public opinion.

`The American gambler differs from his European brethren in many
respects.  He is very frequently, in education, appearance, and
manner, a gentleman, and if his private history were known, it
would be found that he was of good birth, and was at one time
possessed of considerable fortune; but having lost all at the
gambling table, he gradually came down to the level of those who
proved his ruin, and having no profession nor means of
livelihood left to him, he adopted their mode of life.

`On one occasion I met a brother of a Southern General (very
famous in the late war and still a wealthy man) who, at one time,
was one of the richest planters in the State of Louisiana, and is
now acting as an agent for a set of gamblers to their gaming
houses.  After losing everything he had, he became a croupier to
a gambling house in New Orleans, and afterwards plied his trade
on the Mississippi for some years; then he went into Mexico, and
finally to New York, where he opened a house on his own account.

`During the war he speculated in "greenbacks," and lost all his
ill-gotten gains, and had to descend to his present

[90] _Ubi supra_.


Draw Poker, or Bluff, is a favourite game with the Americans.  It
is played by any number of persons, from four to seven; four,
five, or six players are preferred; seven are only engaged
where a party of friends consists of that number, and all
require to be equally amused.

The deal is usually determined by fixing on a card, and dealing
round, face upwards, until such card appears.  The dealer then
places in the pool an _Ante_, or certain agreed-upon sum, and
proceeds to deal to each person five cards.  The player next to
the dealer, before looking at his cards, has the option of
staking a certain sum.  This is called the `blind,' and makes him
the elder hand, or last player; and when his turn comes round he
can, by giving up his first stake, withdraw from the game, or, if
he pleases, by making good any sum staked by a previous player,
raise the stakes to any sum he pleases, provided, of course, that
no limit has been fixed before sitting down.  The privilege of
raising or doubling on the _blind_ may be exercised by any one
round the table, provided he has not looked at his cards.  If no
intervening player has met the original _blind_, that is, staked
double the sum, this must be done by all who wish to play, and,
of course, must be made good by the last player.  Each person
then looks at his cards, and decides on his plan of action.  It
should be understood that every one, except the _blind_, may
look at his cards in his turn before deciding if he will
meet the _blind_.  Before speaking of the manner of drawing it
will be better to give the relative value of the hands, which
will much simplify the matter, and make it more easily
understood.  Thus: four aces are the best cards that can be held;
four kings next, and so on, down to four twos; four cards of the
same value beating anything except four of a higher denomination.

The next best hand is called a _full_, and is made up thus:--
three aces and a pair of sixes; three nines and pair of twos; in
fact, any three cards of the same value and a pair constitute a
full hand, and can only be beaten by a full hand of a higher
denomination or fours.  The next hand that takes precedence is a
_flush_, or five cards of one colour; after this comes _threes_,
vis., three cards all of the same value, say, three aces, kings,
queens, and so on, downwards (the two remaining, being odd ones,
are of no value).  The next is a sequence, as five following
cards, for instance, nine.  eight, seven, six, five; it is not
necessary they should all be of one colour, as this, of course,
would constitute a _flush_.  Next come two pairs, say, two knaves
and two fives; and, last of all, is a single pair of cards.
Having explained the value of the hands, let us show how you
endeavour to get them.  The bets having been made, and the
_blind_ made good or abandoned, or given up, the dealer proceeds
to ask each player in his turn how many cards he wants; and here
begins the first study of the game--_TO KNOW WHAT TO THROW AWAY_
in order to get in others to make the hand better if possible.
Your hand may, of course, be so utterly bad as to make it
necessary to throw away the whole five and draw five new ones;
this is not very likely, as few players will put a stake in the
pool unless, on looking first at his cards, he has seen
something, say a pair, to start with.  We will suppose he has
this, and, of course, he throws away three cards, and draws three
in place of them.  To describe the proper way to fill up a hand
is impossible; we can but give an instance here and there to show
the varying interest which attaches to the game;--thus, you may
have threes in the original hand dealt; some players will throw
away the two odd cards and draw two more, to try and make the
hand fours, or, at least, a full; while a player knowing that his
is not a very good hand, will endeavour to _DECEIVE_ the rest by
standing out, that is, not taking any fresh cards; of course
all round the table make remarks as to what he can possibly have.

It is usually taken to be a sequence, as this requires no
drawing, if originally dealt.  The same remark applies to a
_flush;_ two pairs or four to a flush, of course, require one
card to make them into good hands, a player being only entitled
to draw once; and the hands being made good, the real and
exciting part of the game begins.  Each one endeavours to keep
his real position a secret from his neighbours.  Some put on a
look of calm indifference, and try to seem self-possessed; some
will grin and talk all sorts of nonsense; some will utter sly
bits of _badinage;_ while others will study intently their cards,
or gaze at the ceiling--all which is done merely to distract
attention, or to conceal the feelings, as the chance of success
or failure be for or against; and then begins the betting or
gambling part of the game.  The player next the _blind_ is the
first to declare his bet; in which, of course, he is entirely
governed by circumstances.  Some, being the first to bet, and
having a very good card indeed, will `bet small,' in hopes that
some one else will see it, and `go better,' that is, bet more, so
that when it comes round to his turn again he may see all
previous bets, and bet as much higher as he thinks proper; for it
must be borne in mind that a player's first bet does not preclude
him from coming in again if his first bet has been raised upon by
any player round the table in his turn; but if once the original
bet goes round and comes to the _blind_, or last player, without
any one going better, the game is closed, and it becomes a _show
of hands_, to see who takes the pool and all the bets.  This does
not often happen, as there is usually some one round the table to
raise it; but my informant has seen it occur, and has been highly
amused at watching the countenance of the expectant _small
better_ at having to show a fine hand for a mere trifle.  Some
players will, in order to conceal their method of play,
occasionally throw their cards among the waste ones and abandon
their stakes; this is not often done; but it sometimes happens
where the stakes have been small, or the player has been _trying
a bluff_, and has found some one whom he could not _bluff off_.
The foregoing is a concise account of the game, as played in
America, where it is of universal interest, and exercises great
fascination.  It is often played by parties of friends who
meet regularly for the purpose, and instances can be found where
fortunes have been lost in a night.

The game of Pokers differs from the one just described, in so far
that the players receive only the original five cards dealt
without drawing fresh ones, and must either play or refuse on
them.  In this game, as there are more cards, as many as ten
persons can play.


Lansquenet is much played by the Americans, and is one of the
most exciting games in vogue.

The dealer or banker stakes a certain sum, and this must be met
by the nearest to the dealer first, and so on.  When the stake is
met, the dealer turns up two cards, one to the right,--the latter
for himself, the former for the table or the players.  He then
keeps on turning up the cards until either of the cards is
matched, which constitutes the winning,--as, for instance,
suppose the five of diamonds is his card, then should the five of
any other suit turn up, he wins.  If he loses, then the next
player on the left becomes banker and proceeds in the same

[91] This name is derived from the German `_landsknecht_'
(`valet of the fief'), applied to a mercenary soldier.

When the dealer's card turns up, he may take the stake and pass
the bank; or he may allow the stake to remain, whereat of course
it becomes doubled if met.  He can continue thus as long as the
cards turn up in his favour--having the option at any moment of
giving up the bank and retiring for that time.  If he does that,
the player to whom he passes the bank has the option of
continuing it at the same amount at which it was left.  The pool
may be made up by contributions of all the players in certain
proportions.  The terms used respecting the standing of the stake
are, `I'll see' (_a moi le tout)_ and _Je tiens_.  When
_jumelle_ (twins), or the turning up of similar cards on both
sides, occurs, then the dealer takes half the stake.

Sometimes there is a run of several consecutive winnings; but on
one occasion, on board one of the Cunard steamers, a banker at
the game turned up in his own favour I think no less than
eighteen times.  The original stake was only six-pence; but had
each stake been met as won, the final doubling would have
amounted to the immense sum of L3,236 16_s_.!  This will
appear by the following scheme:--

L   s.  d.                  L       s.    d.
1st turn up 0   0   6     10th turn up  12      16    0
2nd   ,,    0   1   0     11th  ,,      25      12    0
3rd   ,,    0   2   0     12th  ,,      51      4     0
4th   ,,    0   4   0     13th  ,,      102     8     0
5th   ,,    0   8   0     14th  ,,      204     16    0
6th   ,,    0   16  0     15th  ,,      409     12    0
7th   ,,    1   12  0     16th  ,,      819     4     0
8th   ,,    3   4   0     17th  ,,      1,618   8     0
9th   ,,    6   8   0     18th  ,,      3,236   16    0

In fair play, as this is represented to have been, such a long
sequence of matches must be considered very remarkable, although
six or seven is not unfrequent.

Unfortunately, however, there is a very easy means by which card
sharpers manage the thing to perfection.  They prepare beforehand
a series of a dozen cards arranged as follows:--

1st Queen     6th  Nine
2nd Queen     7th  Nine
3rd Ten       8th  Ace
4th Seven     9th  Eight
5th Ten       10th Ace

Series thus arranged are placed in side pockets outside the
waistcoat, just under the left breast.  When the sharper becomes
banker he leans negligently over the table, and in this position
his fingers are as close as possible to the prepared cards,
termed _portees_.  At the proper moment he seizes the cards
and places them on the pack.  The trick is rendered very easy by
the fact that the card-sharper has his coat buttoned at the top,
so that the lower part of it lies open and permits the
introduction of the hand, which is completely masked.

Some sharpers are skilful enough to take up some of the matches
already dealt, which they place in their _costieres_, or side-
pockets above described, in readiness for their next operation;
others keep them skilfully hidden in their hand, to lay them, at
the convenient moment, upon the pack of cards.  By this means,
the pack is not augmented.[92]

[92] Robert Houdin, `Les Tricheries des Grecs devoilees.'

In France the stakes commence at 5 francs; and it may be easily
imagined how soon vast sums of money may change hands if the
players are determined and reckless.


This is also a game much played in the States.  I suppose it is a
Yankee invention, named by one of their learned professors, from
the Greek <gr euceis> (eucheir), meaning `well in the hand '
or `strong'--a very appropriate designation of the game, which is
as follows:--

In this game all the cards are excluded up to the sixes,--seven
being the lowest in the Euchre pack.  Five cards are dealt out,
after the usual shuffling and cutting, with a turn-up, or trump.
The dealer has the privilege of discarding one of his cards and
taking up the trump--not showing, however, the one he discards.
The Knave is the best card in the game--a peculiar Yankee
`notion.'  The Knave of trumps is called the Right Bower, and the
other Knave of the _same colour_ is the Left Bower.  Hence it
appears that the nautical propensity of this great people is
therein represented--`bower' being in fact a sheet anchor.  If
both are held, it is evident that the _point_ of the deal is
decided--since it results from taking three tricks out of the
five; for, of course, the trump card appropriated by the dealer
will, most probably, secure a trick, and the two Knaves must
necessarily make two.  The game may be five or seven points, as
agreed upon.  Euchre is rapid and decisive, and, therefore,
eminently American.


Some of the games played by the Americans are peculiar to
themselves.  For instance, vast sums of money change hands over
Fly Loo, or the attraction existing between lumps of sugar and
adventurous flies!  This game is not without its excitement.  The
gamblers sit round a table, each with a lump of sugar before him,
and the player upon whose lump a fly first perches carries off
the pool--which is sometimes enormous.

They tell an anecdote of a 'cute Yankee, who won invariably and
immensely at the game.  There seemed to be a sort of magical or
mesmeric attraction for the flies to his lump.  At length it was
ascertained that he touched the lump with his finger, after
having smeared it with something that naturally and irresistibly
attracts flies whenever they can get at it.  I am told that this
game is also played in England; if so, the parties must insist
upon fresh lumps of sugar, and prevent all touching.

The reader will probably ask--what next will gamblers think
of betting on?  But I can tell of a still more curious source of
gambling infatuation.  In the _Oxford Magazine_,[93] is the
following statement:--

[93] Vol. V.

`A few days ago, as some sprigs of nobility were dining together
at a tavern, they took the following conceit into their heads
after dinner.  One of them observing a maggot come from a
filbert, which seemed to be uncommonly large, attempted to get it
from his companion, who, not choosing to let it go, was
immediately offered five guineas for it, which was accepted.  He
then proposed to run it against any other two maggots that could
be produced at table.  Matches were accordingly made, and these
poor reptiles were the means of L500 being won and lost in a
few minutes!'


Suicides, duels, and murders have frequently resulted from
gambling here as elsewhere.  Many of the duels in dark rooms
originate in disputes at the gaming table.  The combatants rush
from play to an upper or adjoining room, and settle their
difference with revolver-shots, often fatal to both.

One of these was a serio-comic affair which is perhaps worth
relating.  Two players had a gambling dispute, and resolved to
settle it in a dark room with pistols.  The door was locked and
one of them fired, but missed.  On this the other exclaimed--
`Now, you rascal, I'll finish you at my leisure.'  He then began
to search for his opponent.  Three or four times he walked
stealthily round the room--but all in vain--he could not find his
man; he listened; he could not hear him breathe.  What had become
of him?  `Oh!' at length he exclaimed--`Now I've got you,
you ---- sneak--here goes!' `Hold!  Hold!' cried a voice from the
chimney, `Don't fire!  I'll pay you anything.--Do take away
that ---- pistol.'  In effect his adversary held the muzzle of
his pistol close to the seat of honour as the fellow stood
stuffed up the chimney!

`You'll pay, will you?' said the former; `Very well--800
dollars--is 't a bargain?'

`Yes, yes!' gasped the voice in the chimney.

`Very well,' rejoined the tormentor, `but just wait a bit; I must
have a voucher.  I'll just cut off the bottom of your breeches by
way of voucher.'  So saying he pulled out his knife and
suited the action to the words.

`Now get down,' he said, `and out with the money;' which was
paid, when the above-named voucher was returned to the chimney-

The town of Vicksburg, on the Mississippi, was formerly notorious
as the rendezvous of all sorts of desperadoes.  It was a city of
men; you saw no women, except at night; and never any children.
Vicksburg was a sink of iniquity; and there gambling raged with
unrestricted fury.  It was always after touching at Vicksburg
that the Mississippi boats became the well-known scene of
gambling--some of the Vicksburghers invariably getting on board
to ply their profession.

On one occasion, one of these came on board, and soon induced
some of the passengers to proceed to the upper promenade-deck for
gambling.  Soon the stakes increased and a heap of gold was on
the table, when a dispute arose, in the midst of which one of the
players placed his hand on the stake.  Thereupon the Vicksburg
gambler drew his knife and plunged it into the hand of the
former, with a terrible imprecation.

Throughout the Southern States, as before observed, gambling
prevailed to a very great extent, and its results were often

A planter went to a gambling house, accompanied by one of his
negroes, whom he left at the door to wait his return.  Whilst the
master was gambling the slave did the same with another whom he
found at the door.  Meanwhile a Mexican came up and stood by
looking at the game of the negroes.  By-and-by one of them
accused the other of cheating, which was denied, when the Mexican
interposed and told the negro that he saw him cheat.  The latter
told the Mexican that he lied--whereupon the Mexican stabbed him
to the heart, killing him on the spot.

Soon the negro's master came out, and on being informed of the
affair, turned to the Mexican, saying--`Now, sir, we must settle
the matter between us--my negro's quarrel is mine.'  `Agreed,'
said the Mexican; they entered the house, proceeded to a dark
room, fired at each other, and both were killed.

About six and twenty years ago there lived in New York a well-to-
do merchant, of the name of Osborne, who had an only son, who was
a partner in the concern.  The young man fell in love with
the daughter of a Southern planter, then on a visit at New
York, to whom he engaged himself to be married, with the perfect
consent of all parties concerned.

On the return of the planter and his daughter, young Osborne
accompanied them to Mobile.  On the very night of their arrival,
the planter proposed to his intended son-in-law to visit the
gaming table.  They went; Osborne was unlucky; and after some
hours' play lost an immense amount to the father of his
sweetheart.  He gave bills, drawn on his house, in payment of the
debt of honour.

On the following morning the planter referred to the subject,
hinting that Osborne must be ruined.

`Indeed, I am!' said the young man; `but the possession of your
daughter will console me for the calamity, which, I doubt not, I
shall be able to make up for by industry and exertion.'

`The possession of _MY_ daughter?' exclaimed the planter; `do
you think I would marry my daughter to a beggar?  No, no, sir,
the affair is ended between you--and I insist upon its being
utterly broken off.'  Such was the action of the heartless
gambler, rendered callous to all sentiments of real honour by his
debasing pursuit.

Young Osborne was equal to the occasion.  Summoning all his
powers to manfully bear this additional shock of fate, he calmly

`So be it, sir, as you wish it.  Depend upon it, however, that my
bills will be duly honoured'--and so saying he bowed and
departed, without even wishing to take leave of his betrothed.

On returning to New York Osborne immediately disclosed the
transaction to his father, who, in spite of the utter ruin which
impended, and the brutality of the cause of the ruin, resolved to
meet the bills when due, and maintain the honour of his son--
whatever might be the consequences to himself.

The bills were paid; the concern was broken up; old Mr Osborne
soon died broken-hearted; and young Osborne went as clerk to some
house of business in Wall Street.

A year or so passed away, and one day a lady presented herself at
the old house of Osborne--now no longer theirs--inquiring for
young Osborne.  She was directed to his new place of business;
being no other than his betrothed, who loved him as passionately
as ever, and to whom her father had accounted for the non-
fulfilment of the engagement in a very unsatisfactory
manner.  Of course Osborne could not fail to be delighted at this
proof of her devotedness; the meeting was most affectionate on
both sides; and, with the view of coming to a decision respecting
their future proceedings, they adjourned to an hotel in the
vicinity.  Here, whilst seated at a table and in earnest
conversation, the young lady's father rushed in, and instantly
shot down Osborne, who expired at his feet.  With a frantic
shriek the poor girl fell on the body of her betrothed, and
finding a poniard or a knife concealed in his breast, she seized
it, instantly plunged it into her heart, and was soon a corpse
beside her lover.



The passions of the two sexes are similar in the main; the
distinctions between them result less from nature than from
education.  Often we meet with women, especially the literary
sort, who seem veritable men, if not so, as the lawyers say, `to
all intents and purposes;' and often we meet with men, especially
town-dandies, who can only be compared to very ordinary women.

Almost all the ancients had the bad taste to speak ill of women;
among the rest even that delightful old Father `of the golden
mouth,' St Chrysostom.[94]  So that, evidently, Dr Johnson's
fierce dictum cannot apply universally--`Only scoundrels speak
ill of women.'

[94] Hom. II.

Seneca took the part of women, exclaiming:-- `By no means
believe that their souls are inferior to ours, or that they are
less endowed with the virtues.  As for honour, it is equally
great and energetic among them.'

A foreign lady was surprised at beholding the equality
established between the men and women at Sparta; whereupon the
wife of Leonidas, the King of Sparta, said to her:--`Do you not
know that it is we who bring forth the men?  It is not the
fathers, but the mothers, that effectually form the heart.'

Napoleon seems to have formed what may be called a professional
estimate of women.  When the demonstrative Madame de Stael
asked him--evidently expecting him to pay her a compliment--`Whom
do you think the greatest woman dead or alive?'  Napoleon
replied, `Her, Madame, _WHO HAS BORNE MOST SONS_.'  Nettled by
this sarcastic reply, she returned to the charge, observing, `It
is said you are not friendly to the sex.'  Napoleon was her match
again; `Madame,' he exclaimed, `I am passionately fond of my
wife;' and off he walked.  Assuredly it would not mend matters in
this world (or the next) if all men were Napoleons and all women
de Staels.

If we consider the question in other points of view, have
there been, proportionally, fewer celebrated women than
illustrious men? fewer great queens than truly great kings?
Compare, on all sides, the means and the circumstances; count the
reigns, and decide.

The fact is that this question has been argued only by tyrannical
or very silly men, who found it difficult to get rid of the
absurd prejudices which retain the finest half of human nature in
slavery, and condemn it to obscurity under the pretext that it is
essentially corrupted.  Towards the end of the 15th century a
certain demented writer attempted to prove that women do not even
deserve the title of reasonable creatures, which in the original
sounds oddly enough, namely, _probare nititur mulieres non
homines esse_.  Another, a very learned Jesuit, endeavoured to
demonstrate that women have no souls!  Some say that women
surpass us in wickedness; others, that they are both worse and
better than men.

That morbid wretch, Alexander Pope, said, `Every woman is at
heart a rake;' and a recent writer in the _Times_ puts more venom
in the dictum by saying, `Every woman is (or likes) at heart a
rake.'  Both these opinions may be set down as mere
claptrap, witty, but vile.

But a truce to such insults against those who beautify the earth;
_THEIR_ vices cannot excuse ours.  It is we who have depraved
them by associating them with excesses which are repugnant to
their delicacy.  The contagion, however, has not affected all of
them.  Among our `plebeians,' and even among nobility, many women
remind us of the modesty and courage of those ancient republican
matrons, who, so to speak, founded, the manners and morals of
their country; and among all classes of the community there are
thousands who inspire their husbands with generous impulses in
the battle of life, either by cheering words of comfort, or by
that mute eloquence of duties well fulfilled, which nothing can
resist if we are worthy of the name of men.  How many a gambler
has been reformed by the tender appeals of a good and devoted
wife.  `Venerable women!' one of them exclaims, `in whatever rank
Heaven has placed you, receive my homage.'  The gentleness of
your souls smooths down the roughness of ours and checks its
violence.  Without your virtues what would we be?  Without
YOU, my dear wife, what would have become of me?  You
beheld the beginning and the end of the gaming fury in me, which
I now detest; and it is not to me, but to you alone, that the
victory must be ascribed.'[95]

[95] Dusaulx, _De la Passion du Jeu_.

A very pretty anecdote is told of such a wife and a gaming

In order to simplify the signs of loss and gain, so as not to be
overburdened with the weight of gold and silver, the French
players used to carry the representation of their fortunes in
small boxes, more or less elegant.  A lady (who else could have
thought of such a device?), trembling for the fate of her
husband, made him a present of one of these dread boxes.  This
little master-piece of conjugal and maternal affection
represented a wife in the attitude of supplication, and weeping
children, seeming to say to their father--_THINK OF US!_ . . . .

It is, therefore, only with the view of avenging good and
honourable women, that I now proceed to speak of those who have
disgraced their sex.

I have already described a remarkable gamestress--the Persian
Queen Parysatis.[96]

[96] Chapter III.

There were no gamestresses among the Greeks; and the Roman
women were always too much occupied with their domestic affairs
to find time for play.  What will our modern ladies think, when I
state that the Emperor Augustus scarcely wore a garment which had
not been woven by his wife, his sister, or grand-daughters.[97]

[97] Veste non temere alia quam domestica usus est, ab
uxore et filia nepotibusque confecta.  Suet. in Vita Augusti.

Although deeply corrupted under Nero and the sovereigns that
resembled him, the Roman women never gambled among themselves
except during the celebration of the festival of the Bona Dea.
This ceremonial, so often profaned with licentiousness, was not
attended by desperate gambling.  The most depraved women
abstained from it, even when that mania was at its height, not
only around the Capitol, but even in the remainder of the Empire.

Contemporary authors, who have not spared the Roman ladies, never
reproached them with this vice, which, in modern times, has been
desperately practised by women who in licentiousness vied with

In France, women who wished to gamble were, at first, obliged to
keep the thing secret; for if it became known they lost
caste.  In the reign of Louis XIV., and still more in that of
Louis XV., they became bolder, and the wives of the great engaged
in the deepest play in their mansions; but still a gamestress was
always denounced with horror.  `Such women,' says La Bruyiere,
`make us chaste; they have nothing of the sex but its garments.'

By the end of the 18th century, gamestresses became so numerous
that they excited no surprise, especially among the higher
classes; and the majority of them were notorious for unfair play
or downright cheating.  A stranger once betted on the game of a
lady at a gaming-table, who claimed a stake although on a losing
card.  Out of consideration for the distinguished trickstress,
the banker wished to pay the stranger as well; but the latter
with a blush, exclaimed--`Possibly madame won, but as for myself,
I am quite sure that I lost.'

But if women cheated at play, they also frequently lost; and were
often reduced to beggary, or to what is far viler, to sacrifice,
not only their own honour, but that of their daughters.

Gaming sometimes led to other crimes.  The Countess of
Schwiechelt, a young and beautiful lady from Hanover, was much
given to gambling, and lost 50,000 livres at Paris.  In order to
repair this great loss, she planned and executed the robbery of a
fine coronet of emeralds, the property of Madame Demidoff.  She
had made herself acquainted with the place where it was kept, and
at a ball given by its owner the Hanoverian lady contrived to
purloin it.  Her youth and rank in life induced many persons to
solicit her pardon; but Buonaparte left her to the punishment to
which she was condemned.  This occurred in 1804.

In England, too, the practice of gambling was fraught with the
worst consequences to the finest feelings and best qualities of
the sex.  The chief danger is very plainly hinted at in the
comedy of _The Provoked Husband_.

_Lord Townley_.--'Tis not your ill hours that always distract me,
but, as often, the ill company that occasions those hours.

_Lady Townley_.--Sure I don't understand you now, my lord.  What
ill company do I keep?

_Lord Townley_.--Why, at best, women that lose their money, and
men that win it; _or, perhaps, men that are voluntary bubbles at
one game, in hopes a lady will give them fair play at another._

`The facts,' says Mr Massey,[98] `confirm the theory.
Walpole's Letters and Mr Jesse's volumes on George Selwyn and his
Contemporaries, teem with allusions to proved or understood cases
of matrimonial infidelity; and the manner in which notorious
irregularities were brazened out, shows that the offenders did
not always encounter the universal reprobation of society.

[98] History of England, ii.

`Whist was not much in vogue until a later period, and was far
too abstruse and slow to suit the depraved taste which required
unadulterated stimulants.'

The ordinary stakes at these mixed assemblies would, at the
present day, be considered high, even at the clubs where a rubber
is still allowed.

`The consequences of such gaming were often still more lamentable
than those which usually attended such practices.  It would
happen that a lady lost more than she could venture to confess to
her husband or father.  Her creditor was probably a fine
gentleman, or she became indebted to some rich admirer for the
means of discharging her liabilities.  In either event, the
result may be guessed.  In the one case, the debt of honour was
liquidated on the old principle of the law-merchant, according to
which there was but one alternative to payment in purse.  In
the other, there was likewise but one mode in which the
acknowledgment of obligation by a fine woman would be acceptable
to a man of the world.'

`The pernicious consequences of gambling to the nation at large,'
says another writer, `would have been intolerable enough had they
been confined to the stronger sex; but, unfortunately, the women
of the day were equally carried away by this criminal
infatuation.  The disgusting influence of this sordid vice was so
disastrous to female minds, that they lost their fairest
distinction and privileges, together with the blushing honours of
modesty.  Their high gaming was necessarily accompanied with
great losses.  If all their resources, regular and irregular,
honest and fraudulent, were dissipated, still, _GAME-DEBTS MUST
BE PAID!_  The cunning winner was no stranger to the necessities
of the case.  He hinted at _commutations_--which were not to be

"So tender these,--if debts crowd fast upon her,
She'll pawn her _VIRTUE_ to preserve her _HONOUR!_"

Thus, the last invaluable jewel of female possession was
unavoidably resigned.  That was indeed the forest of all
evils, but an evil to which every deep gamestress was
inevitably exposed.'

Hogarth strikingly illustrated this phase of womanhood in
England, in his small picture painted for the Earl of Charlemont,
and entitled `_Picquet, or Virtue in Danger_.'  It shows a young
lady, who, during a _tete-a-tete_, had just lost all her
money to a handsome officer of her own age.  He is represented in
the act of returning her a handful of bank-bills, with the hope
of exchanging them for another acquisition and more delicate
plunder.  On the chimney-piece are a watch-case and a figure of
Time, over it this motto--_Nunc_, `Now!'  Hogarth has caught his
heroine during this moment of hesitation--this struggle with
herself--and has expressed her feelings with uncommon success.

But, indeed, the thing was perfectly understood.  In the
_Guardian_ (No. 120) we read:--`All play-debts must be paid in
specie or by equivalent.  The "man" that plays beyond his
income pawns his estate; the "woman" must find out something
else to mortgage when her pin-money is gone.  The husband has his
lands to dispose of; the wife her person.  Now when the female
body is once dipped, if the creditor be very importunate, I
leave my reader to consider the consequences.' . . . .

A lady was married when very young to a noble lord, the honour
and ornament of his country, who hoped to preserve her from the
contagion of the times by his own example, and, to say the truth,
she had every good quality that could recommend her to the bosom
of a man of discernment and worth.  But, alas! how frail and
short are the joys of mortals!  One unfortunate hour ruined his
darling visionary scheme of happiness: she was introduced to an
infamous woman, was drawn into play, liked it, and, as the
unavoidable consequence, she was ruined,--having lost more in one
night than would have maintained a hundred useful families for a
twelvemonth; and, dismal to tell, she felt compelled to sacrifice
her virtue to the wretch who had won her money, in order to
recover the loss!  From this moment she might well exclaim--

`Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!'

The affectionate wife, the agreeable companion, the indulgent
mistress, were now no more.  In vain she flattered herself that
the injury she had done her husband would for ever remain one of
those secrets which can only be disclosed at the last day.
Vengeance pursued her steps, she was lost; the villain to whom
she had sacrificed herself boasted of the favours he had
received.  The fatal report was conveyed to her injured husband.
He refused to believe what he thought impossible, but honour
obliged him to call the boaster to the field.  The wretch
received the challenge with much more contentment than concern;
as he had resolution enough to murder any man whom he had
injured, so he was certain, if he had the good fortune to conquer
his antagonist, he should be looked upon as the head of all
modern bucks and bloods--esteemed by the men as a brave fellow,
and admired by the ladies as a fine gentleman and an agreeable
rake.  The meeting took place--the profligate gambler not content
with declaring, actually exulted in his guilt.  But his triumph
was of short date--a bullet through the head settled his account
with this world.

The husband, after a long conflict in his bosom, between justice
and mercy, tenderness and rage, resolved--on what is very seldom
practised by an English husband--to pardon his wife, conceal her
crime, and preserve her, if possible, from utter destruction.
But the gates of mercy were opened in vain-- the offender refused
to receive forgiveness because she had offended.  The lust of
gambling had absorbed all her other desires.  She gave herself up
entirely to the infamous pursuit and its concomitants, whilst her
husband sank by a quick decay, and died the victim of grief and

[99] Doings in London.

Of other English gamestresses, however, nothing but the ordinary
success or inconveniences of gambling are recorded.  In the year
1776, a lady at the West End lost one night, at a sitting, 3000
guineas at Loo.[100]  Again, a lady having won a rubber of 20
guineas from a city merchant, the latter pulled out his pocket-
book, and tendered L21 in bank notes.  The fair gamestress,
with a disdainful toss of the head, observed--`In the great
houses which I frequent, sir, we always use gold.'  `That may be,
madam,' said the gentleman, `but, in the _LITTLE_ houses which I
frequent, we always use paper.'

[100] Annual Register.

Goldsmith mentions an old lady in the country who, having been
given over by her physician, played with the curate of the parish
to pass the time away.  Having won all his money, she next
proposed playing for the funeral charges to which she would be
liable.  Unfortunately, the lady expired just as she had taken up
the game!

A lady who was desperately fond of play was confessing herself.
The priest represented, among other arguments against gaming, the
great loss of time it occasioned.  `Ah!' said the lady, `that is
what vexes me--so much time lost in shuffling the cards!'

The celebrated Mrs Crewe seems to have been fond of gaming.
Charles James Fox ranked among her admirers.  A gentleman lost a
considerable sum to this lady at play; and being obliged to leave
town suddenly, he gave Fox the money to pay her, begging him to
apologize to the lady for his not having paid the debt of honour
in person.  Fox unfortunately lost every shilling of it before
morning.  Mrs Crewe often met the supposed debtor afterwards,
and, surprised that he never noticed the circumstance, at length
delicately hinted the matter to him.  `Bless me,' said he, `I
paid the money to Mr Fox three months ago!'  `Oh, you did, sir?'
said Mrs Crewe good-naturedly, `then probably he paid me and I
forgot it.'

This famous Mrs Crewe was the wife of Mr Crewe, who was
created, in 1806, Lord Crewe.  She was as remarkable for her
accomplishments and her worth as for her beauty; nevertheless she
permitted the admiration of the profligate Fox, who was in the
rank of her admirers, and she was a gamestress, as were most of
the grand ladies in those days.  The lines Fox wrote on her were
not exaggerated.  They began thus:--

`Where the loveliest expression to features is join'd,
By Nature's most delicate pencil design'd;
Where blushes unhidden, and smiles without art,
Speak the softness and feeling that dwell in the heart,
Where in manners enchanting no blemish we trace,
But the soul keeps the promise we had from the face;
Sure philosophy, reason, and coldness must prove
Defences unequal to shield us from love.'

`Nearly eight years after the famous election at Westminster,
when she personally canvassed for Fox, Mrs Crewe was still in
perfection, with a son one-and-twenty, who looked like her
brother.  The form of her face was exquisitely lovely, her
complexion radiant.  "I know not," Miss Burney writes, "any
female in her first youth who could bear the comparison.  She
_uglifies_ every one near her."

`This charming partisan of Fox had been active in his cause;
and her originality of character, her good-humour, her
recklessness of consequences, made her a capital canvasser.'[101]

[101] Wharton, _The Queens of Society._


In 1776 the barrow-women of London used generally to carry dice
with them, and children were induced to throw for fruit and nuts.

However, the pernicious consequences of the practice beginning to
be felt, the Lord Mayor issued an order to apprehend all such
offenders, which speedily put an end to such street-gambling.  At
the present day a sort of roulette is used for the same purpose
by the itinerant caterers to the sweetmeat and fruit-loving
little ones.


Mrs Trollope has described two specimens of the modern
gamestresses at the German watering-places, one of whom seems to
have specially attracted her notice:--

`There was one of this set,' she says, `whom I watched, day after
day, during the whole period of our stay, with more interest
than, I believe, was reasonable; for had I studied any other as
attentively I might have found less to lament.

`She was young--certainly not more than twenty-five--and, though
not regularly nor brilliantly handsome, most singularly winning
both in person and demeanour.  Her dress was elegant, but
peculiarly plain and simple,--a close white silk bonnet and gauze
veil; a quiet-coloured silk gown, with less of flourish and
frill, by half, than any other person; a delicate little hand
which, when ungloved, displayed some handsome rings; a jewelled
watch, of peculiar splendour; and a countenance expressive of
anxious thoughtfulness--must be remembered by many who were at
Baden in August, 1833.  They must remember, too, that, enter the
rooms when they would, morning, noon, or night, still they found
her nearly at the same place at the _Rouge et Noir_ table.

`Her husband, who had as unquestionably the air of a gentleman as
she had of a lady, though not always close to her, was never very
distant.  He did not play himself, and I fancied, as he hovered
near her, that his countenance expressed anxiety.  But he
returned her sweet smile, with which she always met his eye,
with an answering smile; and I saw not the slightest indication
that he wished to withdraw her from the table.

`There was an expression in the upper part of her face that my
blundering science would have construed into something very
foreign to the propensity she showed; but there she sat, hour
after hour, day after day, not even allowing the blessed sabbath,
that gives rest to all, to bring it to her;--there she sat,
constantly throwing down handfuls of five-franc pieces, and
sometimes drawing them back again, till her young face grew rigid
from weariness, and all the lustre of her eye faded into a glare
of vexed inanity.  Alas! alas! is that fair woman a mother?  God

`Another figure at the gaming table, which daily drew our
attention, was a pale, anxious old woman, who seemed no longer to
have strength to conceal her eager agitation under the air of
callous indifference, which all practised players endeavour to
assume.  She trembled, till her shaking hand could hardly grasp
the instrument with which she pushed or withdrew her pieces; the
dew of agony stood upon her wrinkled brow; yet, hour after hour,
and day after day, she too sat in the enchanted chair.  I
never saw age and station in a position so utterly beyond the
pale of respect.  I was assured she was a person of rank; and my
informant added, but I trust she was mistaken, that she was an
_ENGLISH_ woman.'[102]

[102] Belgium and Western Germany, in 1833.


There is no doubt that during the last half of the last century
many titled ladies not only gambled, but kept gaming houses.
There is even evidence that one of them actually appealed to the
House of Lords for protection against the intrusion of the peace
officers into her establishment in Covent Garden, on the plea of
her Peerage!  All this is proved by a curious record found in the
Journals of the House of Lords, by the editor of the
_Athenaeum_.  It is as follows:--

`Die Lunae, 29 Aprilis, 1745.--_Gaming_.  A Bill for
preventing the excessive and deceitful use of it having been
brought from the Commons, and proceeded on so far as to be agreed
to in a Committee of the whole House with amendments,--
information was given to the House that Mr Burdus, Chairman of
the Quarter Sessions for the city and liberty of
Westminster, Sir Thomas de Veil, and Mr Lane, Chairman of the
Quarter Sessions for the county of Middlesex, were at the door;
they were called in, and at the Bar severally gave an account
that claims of privilege of Peerage were made and insisted on by
the Ladies Mordington and Casselis, in order to intimidate the
peace officers from doing their duty in suppressing the public
gaming houses kept by the said ladies.  And the said Burdus
thereupon delivered in an instrument in writing under the hand of
the said Lady Mordington, containing the claim she made of
privilege for her officers and servants employed by her in her
said gaming house.  And then they were directed to withdraw.  And
the said instrument was read as follows:--"I, Dame Mary,
Baroness of Mordington, do hold a house in the Great Piazza,
Covent Garden, for and as an Assembly, where all persons of
credit are at liberty to frequent and play at such diversions as
are used at other Assemblys.  And I have hired Joseph Dewberry,
William Horsely, Ham Cropper, and George Sanders as my servants
or managers (under me) thereof.  I have given them orders to
direct the management of the other inferior servants (namely):
John Bright, Richard Davis, John Hill, John Vandenvoren, as
box-keepers,--Gilbert Richardson, housekeeper, John Chaplain,
regulator, William Stanley and Henry Huggins, servants that wait
on the company at the said Assembly, William Penny and Joseph
Penny as porters thereof.  And all the above-mentioned persons I
claim as my domestick servants, and demand all those privileges
that belong to me as a peeress of Great Britain appertaining to
my said Assembly.  M. MORDINGTON.  Dated 8th Jan., 1744."

`Resolved and declared that no person is entitled to privilege of
Peerage against any prosecution or proceeding for keeping any
public or common gaming house, or any house, room, or place for
playing at any game or games prohibited by any law now in force.'

That such practice continued in vogue is evident from the police
proceedings subsequently taken against


This notorious gamestress of St James's Square, at the close of
the last century, actually slept with a blunderbuss and a pair of
pistols at her side, to protect her Faro bank.

On the 11th of March, 1797, her Ladyship, together with Lady
E. Lutterell and a Mrs Sturt, were convicted at the Marlborough
Street Police-court, in the penalty of L50, for playing at the
game of Faro; and Henry Martindale was convicted in the sum of
L200, for keeping the Faro table at Lady Buckinghamshire's.
The witnesses had been servants of her Ladyship, recently
discharged on account of a late extraordinary loss of 500 guineas
from her Ladyship's house, belonging to the Faro bank.[103]

[103] The case is reported in the Times of March 13th, 1797.
One cannot help being struck with the appearance of the Times
newspaper at that period--70 years ago.  It was printed on one
small sheet, about equal to a single page of the present issue,
and contained four pages, two of which were advertisements, while
the others gave only a short summary of news--no leader at all.

In the same year, the croupier at the Countess of
Buckinghamshire's one night announced the unaccountable
disappearance of the cash-box of the Faro bank.  All eyes were
turned towards her Ladyship.  Mrs Concannon said she once lost a
gold snuff-box from the table, while she went to speak to Lord
C--.  Another lady said she lost her purse there last winter.
And a story was told that a certain lady had taken, _BY
MISTAKE_, a cloak which did not belong to her, at a rout
given by the Countess of ----.  Unfortunately a discovery of the
cloak was made, and when the servant knocked at the door to
demand it, some very valuable lace which it was trimmed with had
been taken off.  Some surmised that the lady who stole the cloak
might also have stolen the Faro bank cash-box.

Soon after, the same Martindale, who had kept the Faro bank at
Lady Buckinghamshire's, became a bankrupt, and his debts amounted
to L328,000, besides `debts of honour,' which were struck off
to the amount of L150,000.  His failure is said to have been
owing to misplaced confidence in a subordinate, who robbed him of
thousands.  The first suspicion was occasioned by his purchasing
an estate of L500 a year; but other purchases followed to a
considerable extent; and it was soon discovered that the Faro
bank had been robbed sometimes of 2000 guineas a week!  On the
14th of April, 1798, other arrears, to a large amount, were
submitted to, and rejected by, the Commissioners in Bankruptcy,
who declared a first dividend of one shilling and five-pence in
the pound.[104]

[104] Seymour Harcourt, _Gaming Calendar._

This chapter cannot be better concluded than with quoting
the _Epilogue_ of `The Oxonian in Town,' 1767, humorously
painting some of the mischiefs of gambling, and expressly
addressed to the ladies:--

`Lo! next, to my prophetic eye there starts
A beauteous gamestress in the Queen of Hearts.
The cards are dealt, the fatal pool is lost,
And all her golden hopes for ever cross'd.
Yet still this card-devoted fair I view--
Whate'er her luck, to "_honour_" ever true.
So tender there,--if debts crowd fast upon her,
She'll pawn her "virtue" to preserve her "honour."
Thrice happy were my art, could I foretell,
Cards would be soon abjured by every belle!
Yet, I pronounce, who cherish still the vice,
And the pale vigils keep of cards and dice--
'Twill in their charms sad havoc make, ye fair!
Which "rouge" in vain shall labour to repair.
Beauties will grow mere hags, toasts wither'd jades,
Frightful and ugly as--the _QUEEN OF SPADES_.'



Perhaps the stern moralist who may have turned over these pages
has frowned at the facts of the preceding chapter.  If so, I know
not what he will do at those which I am about to record.

If it may be said that gamesters must be madmen, or rogues, how
has it come to pass that men of genius, talent, and virtue
withal, have been gamesters?

Men of genius, `gifted men,' as they are called, are much to be
pitied.  One of them has said--`Oh! if my pillow could reveal my
sufferings last night!'  His was true grief--for it had no
witness.[105]  The endowments of this nature of ours are so
strangely mixed--the events of our lives are so unexpectedly
ruled, that one might almost prefer to have been fashioned after
those imaginary beings who act so _CONSISTENTLY_ in the nursery
tales and other figments.  Most men seem to have a double soul;
and in your men of genius--your celebrities--the battle between
the two seems like the tremendous conflict so grandly (and
horribly) described by Milton.  Who loved his country more than
Cato?  Who cared more for his country's honour?  And yet Cato was
not only unable to resist the soft impeachments of alcohol--

Narratur et prisci Catonis
Saepe mero caluisse virtus--

but he was also a dice-player, a gambler.[106]

[105] Ille dolet vere qui sine teste dolet.  Martial, lib. I.

[106] Plutarch, _Cato._

Julius Caesar did not drink; but what a profligate he was!  And
I have no doubt that he was a gambler: it is certain that he got
rid of millions nobody knew how.

I believe, however, that the following is an undeniable fact.
You may find suspicious gamesters in every rank of life, but
among men of genius you will generally, if not always, find only
victims resigned to the caprices of fortune.  The
professions which imply the greatest enthusiasm naturally
furnish the greater number of gamesters.  Thus, perhaps, we may
name ten poet-gamesters to one savant or philosopher who deserved
the title or infamy.

Coquillart, a poet of the 15th century, famous for his satirical
verses against women, died of grief after having ruined himself
by gaming.  The great painter Guido--and a painter is certainly a
poet--was another example.  By nature gentle and honourable, he
might have been the most fortunate of men if the demon of
gambling had not poisoned his existence, the end of which was
truly wretched.

Rotrou, the acknowledged master of Corneille, hurried his
poetical effusions in order to raise money for gambling.  This
man of genius was but a spoilt child in the matter of play.  He
once received two or three hundred _louis_, and mistrusting
himself, went and hid them under some vine-branches, in order not
to gamble all away at once.  Vain precaution!  On the following
night his bag was empty.

The poet Voiture was the delight of his contemporaries,
conspicuous as he was for the most exquisite polish and
inexhaustible wit; but he was also one of the most desperate
gamesters of his time.  Like Rotrou, he mistrusted his folly, and
sometimes refrained.  `I have discovered,' he once wrote to a
friend, `as well as Aristotle, that there is no beatitude in
play; and in fact I have given over gambling; it is now seven
months since I played--which is very important news, and which I
forgot to tell you.'  He would have died rich had he always
refrained.  His relapses were terrible; one night he lost fifteen
hundred pistoles (about L750).

The list of foreign poets ruined by gambling might be extended;
whilst, on the other hand, it is impossible, I believe, to quote
a single instance of the kind among the poets of England,--
perhaps because very few of them had anything to lose.  The
reader will probably remember Dr Johnson's exclamation on hearing
of the large debt left unpaid by poor Goldsmith at his death--
`Was ever poet so trusted before!' . . .

The great philosophers Montaigne and Descartes, seduced at an
early age by the allurements of gambling, managed at length to
overcome the evil, presenting examples of reformation--which
proves that this mania is not absolutely incurable.
Descartes became a gamester in his seventeenth year; but it is
said that the combinations of cards, or the doctrine of
probabilities, interested him more than his winnings.[107]

[107] Hist.  des Philos. Modernes: _Descartes_.

The celebrated Cardan, one of the most universal and most
eccentric geniuses of his age, declares in his autobiography,
that the rage for gambling long entailed upon him the loss of
reputation and fortune, and that it retarded his progress in the
sciences.  `Nothing,' says he, `could justify me, unless it was
that my love of gaming was less than my horror of privation.'  A
very bad excuse, indeed; but Cardan reformed and ceased to be a

Three of the greatest geniuses of England--Lords Halifax,
Anglesey, and Shaftesbury--were gamblers; and Locke tells a very
funny story about one of their gambling bouts.  This philosopher,
who neglected nothing, however eccentric, that had any relation
to the working of the human understanding, happened to be present
while my Lords Halifax, Anglesey, and Shaftesbury were playing,
and had the patience to write down, word for word, all their
discordant utterances during the phases of the game; the result
being a dialogue of speakers who only used exclamations--all
talking in chorus, but more to themselves than to each other.
Lord Anglesey observing Locke's occupation, asked him what he was
writing.  `My Lord,' replied Locke, `I am anxious not to lose
anything you utter.'  This irony made them all blush, and put an
end to the game.

M. Sallo, Counsellor to the Parliament of Paris, died, says
Vigneul de Marville, of a disease to which the children of the
Muses are rarely subject, and for which we find no remedy in
Hippocrates and Galen;--he died of a lingering disease after
having lost 100,000 crowns at the gaming table--all he possessed.

By way of diversion to his cankering grief, he started the well-
known _Journal des Savans_, but lived to write only 13 sheets of
it, for he was wounded to the death.[108]

[108] Melanges, d'Hist. et de Litt. i.

The physician Paschasius Justus was a deplorable instance of an
incorrigible gambler.  This otherwise most excellent and learned
man having passed three-fourths of his life in a continual
struggle with vice, at length resolved to cure himself of
the disease by occupying his mind with a work which might be
useful to his contemporaries and posterity.[109]  He began his
book, but still he gamed; he finished it, but the evil was still
in him.  `I have lost everything but God!' he exclaimed.  He
prayed for delivery from his soul's disease;[110] but his prayer
was not heard; he died like any gambler--more wretched than

[109] `De Alea, sive de curanda in pecuniam cupiditate,' pub. in

[110] Illum animi morbum, ut Deus tolleret, serio et
frequenter optavit.

M. Dusaulx, author of a work on Gaming, exclaims therein--`I have
gambled like you, Paschasius, perhaps with greater fury.  Like
you I write against gaming.  Can I say that I am stronger than
you, in more critical circumstances?'[111]

[111] La Passion du Jeu.

What, then, is that mania which can be overcome neither by the
love of glory nor the study of wisdom!

The literary men of Greece and Rome rarely played any games but
those of skill, such as tennis, backgammon, and chess; and even
in these it was considered `indecent' to appear too skilful.
Cicero stigmatizes two of his contemporaries for taking too
great a delight in such games, on account of their skill in
playing them.[112]

[112] Ast alii, quia praeclare faciunt, vehementius quam causa
postulat delectantur, ut Titius pila, Brulla talis.  De Orat.
lib. iii.

Quinctilian advised his pupils to avoid all sterile amusements,
which, he said, were only the resource of the ignorant.

In after-times men of merit, such as John Huss and Cardinal
Cajetan, bewailed both the time lost in the most innocent games,
and the disastrous passions which are thereby excited.  Montaigne
calls chess a stupid and childish game.  `I hate and shun it,' he
says, `because it occupies one too seriously; I am ashamed of
giving it the attention which would be sufficient for some useful
purpose.'  King James I., the British Solomon, forbade chess to
his son, in the famous book of royal instruction which he wrote
for him.

As to the plea of `filling up time,' Addison has made some very
pertinent observations:--`Whether any kind of gaming has ever
thus much to say for itself, I shall not determine; but I think
it is very wonderful to see persons of the best sense passing
away a dozen hours together in shuffling and dividing a pack of
cards, with no other conversation but what is made up of a
few game-phrases, and no other ideas but those of black or red
spots ranged together in different figures.  Would not a man
laugh to hear any one of his species complaining that life is

Men of intellect may rest assured that whether they win or lose
at play, it will always be at the cost of their genius; the soul
cannot support two passions together.  The passion of play,
although fatigued, is never satiated, and therefore it always
leaves behind protracted agitation.  The famous Roman lawyer
Scaevola suffered from playing at backgammon; his head was
always affected by it, especially when he lost the game, in fact,
it seemed to craze him.  One day he returned expressly from the
country merely to try and convince his opponent in a game which
he had lost, that if he had played otherwise he would have won!
It seems that on his journey home he mentally went through the
game again, detected his mistake, and could not rest until he
went back and got his adversary to admit the fact--for the sake
of his _amour propre_.[113]

[113] Quinctil., _Instit. Orat_. lib. XI. cap. ii.

`It is rare,' says Rousseau, `that thinkers take much
delight in play, which suspends the habit of thinking or diverts
it upon sterile combinations; and so one of the benefits--perhaps
the only benefit conferred by the taste for the sciences, is that
it somewhat deadens that sordid passion of play.'

Unfortunately such was not the result among the literary and
scientific men, in France or England, during the last quarter of
the last century.  Many of them bitterly lamented that they ever
played, and yet played on,--going through all the grades and
degradations appointed for his votaries by the inexorable demon
of gambling.


Nature had by no means formed Nash for _beau_.  His person was
clumsy, large, and awkward; his features were harsh, strong, and
peculiarly irregular; yet even with these disadvantages he made
love, became an universal admirer of the sex, and was in his turn
universally admired.  The fact is, he was possessed of, at least,
some requisites of a `lover.'  He had assiduity, flattery, fine
clothes--and as much wit as the ladies he addressed.  Accordingly
he used to say--`Wit, flattery, and fine clothes are enough
to debauch a nunnery!'  This is certainly a fouler calumny of
women than Pope's

`Every woman is at heart a rake.'

Beau Nash was a barrister, and had been a remarkable, a
distinguished one in his day--although not at the bar.  He had
the honour to organize and direct the last grand `revel and
pageant' before a king, in the Hall of the Middle Temple, of
which he was a member.

It had long been customary for the Inns of Court to entertain our
monarchs upon their accession to the crown with a revel and
pageant, and the last was exhibited in honour of King William,
when Nash was chosen to conduct the whole with proper decorum.
He was then a very young man, but succeeded so well in giving
satisfaction, that the king offered to give him the honour of
knighthood, which, however, Nash declined, saying:--`Please your
Majesty, if you intend to make me a knight, I wish it may be one
of your poor knights of Windsor; and then I shall have a fortune
at least able to support my title.'

In the Middle Temple he managed to rise `to the very summit of
second-rate luxury,' and seems to have succeeded in becoming
a fashionable _recherche_, being always one of those who were
called good company--a professed dandy among the elegants.

No wonder, then, that we subsequently find him Master of the
Ceremonies at Bath, then the theatre of summer amusements for all
people of fashion.  It was here that he took to gambling, and was
at first classed among the needy adventurers who went to that
place; there was, however, the great difference between him and
them, that his heart was not corrupt; and though by profession a
gamester, he was generous, humane, and honourable.

When he gave in his accounts to the Masters of the Temple, among
other items he charged was one--`For making one man happy,
L10.'  Being questioned about the meaning of so strange an
item, he frankly declared that, happening to overhear a poor man
declare to his wife and large family of children that L10
would make him happy, he could not avoid trying the experiment.
He added, that, if they did not choose to acquiesce in his
charge, he was ready to refund the money.  The Masters, struck
with such an uncommon instance of good nature, publicly
thanked him for his benevolence, and desired that the sum might
be doubled as a proof of their satisfaction.

`His laws were so strictly enforced that he was styled "King of
Bath:" no rank would protect the offender, nor dignity of
station condone a breach of the laws.  Nash desired the Duchess
of Queensberry, who appeared at a dress ball in an apron of
point-lace, said to be worth 500 guineas, to take it off, which
she did, at the same time desiring his acceptance of it; and when
the Princess Amelia requested to have one dance more after 11
o'clock, Nash replied that the laws of Bath, like those of
Lycurgus, were unalterable.  Gaming ran high at Bath, and
frequently led to disputes and resort to the sword, then
generally worn by well-dressed men.  Swords were, therefore,
prohibited by Nash in the public rooms; still they were worn in
the streets, when Nash, in consequence of a duel fought by
torchlight, by two notorious gamesters, made the law absolute,
"That no swords should, on any account, be worn in
Bath." '[114]

[114] The Book of Days, Feb. 3.

About the year 1739 the gamblers, in order to evade the laws
against gaming, set up E O tables; and as these proved very
profitable to the proprietors at Tunbridge, Nash determined to
introduce them at Bath, having been assured by the lawyers that
no law existed against them.  He therefore set up an E O table,
and the speculation flourished for a short time; but the
legislature interfered in 1745, and inflicted severe penalties on
the keepers of such tables.  This was the ruin of Nash's gambling
speculation; and for the remaining sixteen years of his life he
depended solely on the precarious products of the gaming table.
He died at Bath, in 1761, in greatly reduced circumstances, being
represented as `poor, old, and peevish, yet still incapable of
turning from his former manner of life.'

`He was buried in the Abbey Church with great ceremony: a solemn
hymn was sung by the charity-school children, three clergymen
preceded the coffin, the pall was supported by aldermen, and the
Masters of the Assembly-Rooms followed as chief mourners; while
the streets were filled and the housetops covered with
spectators, anxious to witness the respect paid to the venerable
founder of the prosperity of the city of Bath.'[115]

[115] The Book of Days, Feb. 3.

The following are the chief anecdotes told of Beau Nash.

A giddy youth, who had resigned his fellowship at Oxford, brought
his fortune to Bath, and, without the smallest skill, won a
considerable sum; and following it up, in the next October added
four thousand pounds to his former capital.  Nash one night
invited him to supper, and offered to give him fifty guineas to
forfeit twenty every time he lost two hundred at one sitting.
The young man refused, and was at last undone.

The Duke of B---- loved play to distraction.  One night,
chagrined at a heavy loss, he pressed Nash to tie him up from
deep play in future.  The beau accordingly gave his Grace one
hundred guineas on condition to receive ten thousand whenever he
lost that amount at one sitting.  The duke soon lost eight
thousand at Hazard, and was going to throw for three thousand
more, when Nash caught the dice-box, and entreated the peer to
reflect on the penalty if he lost.  The duke desisted for that
time; but ere long, losing considerably at Newmarket, he
willingly paid the penalty.

When the Earl of T---- was a youth he was passionately fond
of play.  Nash undertook to cure him.  Conscious of his superior
skill, he engaged the earl in single play.  His lordship lost his
estate, equipage, everything!  Our generous gamester returned
all, only stipulating for the payment of L5000 whenever he
might think proper to demand it.  Some time after his lordship's
death, Nash's affairs being on the wane, he demanded it of his

Nash one day complained of his ill luck to the Earl of
Chesterfield, adding that he had lost L500 the last night.
The earl replied, `I don't wonder at your _LOSING_ money, Nash,
but all the world is surprised where you get it to lose.'

`The Corporation of Bath so highly respected Nash, that the
Chamber voted a marble statue of him, which was erected in the
Pump-room, between the busts of Newton and Pope; this gave rise
to a stinging epigram by Lord Chesterfield, concluding with these
"The _STATUE_ placed these busts between
  Gives satire all its strength;
_WISDOM_ and _WIT_ are little seen,
  But _FOLLY_ at full length." '[116]

[116] The Book of Days, Feb. 3.


Walpole tells us that the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield
_LIVED_ at White's Club, gaming, and uttering witticisms among
the boys of quality; `yet he says to his son, that a member of a
gaming club should be a cheat, or he will soon be a beggar;' an
inconsistency which reminds one of old Fuller's saw--`A father
that whipt his son for swearing, and swore himself whilst he
whipt him, did more harm by his example than good by his


The character of Selwyn,' says Mr Jesse, `was in many respects a
remarkable one.  With brilliant wit, a quick perception of the
ridiculous, and a thorough knowledge of the world and human
nature, he united classical knowledge and a taste for the fine
arts.  To these qualities may be added others of a very
contradictory nature.  With a thorough enjoyment of the pleasures
of society, an imperturbable good-humour, a kind heart, and a
passionate fondness for children, he united a morbid interest in
the details of human suffering, and, more especially, a
taste for witnessing criminal executions.  Not only was he a
constant frequenter of such scenes of horror, but all the details
of crime, the private history of the criminal, his demeanour at
his trial, in the dungeon, and on the scaffold, and the state of
his feelings in the hour of death and degradation, were to Selwyn
matters of the deepest and most extraordinary interest.  Even the
most frightful particulars relating to suicide and murder, the
investigation of the disfigured corpse, the sight of an
acquaintance lying in his shroud, seem to have afforded him a
painful and unaccountable pleasure.  When the first Lord Holland
was on his death-bed he was told that Selwyn, who had lived on
terms of the closest intimacy with him, had called to inquire
after his health.  "The next time Mr Selwyn calls," he said,
"show him up; if I am alive I shall be delighted to see him, and
if I am dead he will be glad to see me."  When some ladies
bantered him on his want of feeling in attending to see the
terrible Lord Lovat's head cut off--"Why," he said, "I made
amends by going to the undertaker's to see it sewed on again."
And yet this was the same individual who delighted in the first
words and in the sunny looks of childhood; whose friendship
seems to have partaken of all the softness of female affection;
and whose heart was never hardened against the wretched and
depressed.  Such was the "original" George Selwyn.'

This celebrated conversational wit was a devoted frequenter of
the gaming table.  Writing to Selwyn, in 1765, Lord Holland
said:--`All that I can collect from what you say on the subject
of money is, that fortune has been a little favourable lately; or
may be, the last night only.  Till you leave off play entirely
you must be--in earnest, and without irony--_en verite le
serviteur tres-humble des evenements_, "in truth, the
very humble servant of events." '

His friend the Lord Carlisle, although himself a great gambler,
also gave him good advice.  `I hope you have left off Hazard,' he
wrote to Selwyn; `if you are still so foolish, and will play, the
best thing I can wish you is, that you may win and never throw
crabs.[117]  You do not put it in the power of chance to
make you them, as we all know; and till the ninth miss is born I
shall not be convinced to the contrary.'

[117] That is, aces, or ace and deuce, twelve, or seven.  With
false dice, as will appear in the sequel, it was impossible to
throw any of these numbers, and as the caster always called the
main, he was sure to win, as he could call an impossible number:
those who were in the secret of course always took the odds.

Again:--`As you have played I am happy to hear you have won; but
by this time there may be a triste revers de succes_.'

Selwyn had taken to gaming before his father's death--probably
from his first introduction to the clubs.  His stakes were high,
though not extravagantly so, compared with the sums hazarded by
his contemporaries.  In 1765 he lost L1000 to Mr Shafto, who
applied for it in the language of an `embarrassed tradesman.'

`July 1, 1765.

`DEAR SIR,--I have this moment received the favour of your
letter.  I intended to have gone out of town on Thursday, but as
you shall not receive your money before the end of this week, I
must postpone my journey till Sunday.  A month would have made no
difference to me, had I not had others to pay before I leave
town, and must pay; therefore must beg that you will leave the
whole before this week is out, at White's, as it is to be paid
away to others to whom I have lost, and do not choose to leave
town till that is done.  Be sure you could not wish an
indulgence I should not be happy to grant, if it my power.'

Nor was this the only dun of the kind that Selwyn had `to put up
with' on account of the gaming table.  He received the following
from Edward, Earl of Derby.[118]

[118] Edward, twelfth Earl of Derby, was born September 12, 1752,
and died October 21, 1834.  He married first, Elizabeth, daughter
of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton, who died in 1799, and secondly,
the celebrated actress, Miss Farren, who died April 23, 1829.

_The Earl of Derby to George Selwyn_.

`Nothing could equal what I feel at troubling you with this
disagreeable note; but having lost a very monstrous sum of money
last night, I find myself under the necessity of entreating your
goodness to excuse the liberty I am taking of applying to you for
assistance.  If it is not very inconvenient to you, I should be
glad of the money you owe me.  If it is, I must pay what I can,
and desire Brookes to trust me for the remainder.  I repeat again
my apologies, to which I shall beg leave to add how very
sincerely I have the honour to be, my dear sir,

`Your most obedient humble servant,

This is the very model of a dun, and proves how handsomely
such ugly things can be done when one has to deal with a noble
instead of a plebeian creditor.

But Selwyn had not only to endure such indignities, but also to
inflict them, as appears by the following letter to him from the
Honourable General Fitzpatrick, in answer to a dun, which, we are
assured, was `gentle and moderate.'

`I am very sorry to hear the night ended so ill; but to give you
some idea of the utter impossibility of my being useful on the
occasion, I will inform you of the state of my affairs.  I won
L400 last night, which was immediately appropriated by Mr
_Martindale_, to whom I still owe L300, and I am in Brookes'
book for thrice that sum.  Add to all this, that at Christmas I
expect an inundation of clamorous creditors, who, unless I
somehow or other scrape together some money to satisfy them, will
overwhelm me entirely.  What can be done?  If I could coin my
heart, or drop my blood into drachms, I would do it, though by
this time I should probably have neither heart nor blood left.  I
am afraid.  you will find Stephen in the same state of
insolvency.  Adieu!  I am obliged to you for the gentleness and
moderation of your dun, considering how long I have been your

`Yours most sincerely,
`R. F.'[119]

[119] Apud _Selwyn and his Contemporaries_ by Jesse.

Selwyn is said to have been a loser on the whole, and often
pillaged.  Latterly he appears to have got the better of his
propensity for play, if we may judge from the following wise
sentiment:--`It was too great a consumer,' he said, `of four
things--time, health, fortune, and thinking.'  But a writer in
the _Edinburgh Review_ seems to doubt Selwyn's reformation; for
his initiation of Wilberforce occurred in 1782, when he was 63;
and previously, in 1776, he underwent the process of dunning from
Lord Derby, before-mentioned, and in 1779 from Mr Crawford (`Fish
Crawford,' as he was called), each of whom, like Mr Shafto, `had
a sum to make up'--in the infernal style so horridly provoking,
even when we are able and willing to pay.  However, as Selwyn
died comparatively rich, it may be presumed that his fortune
suffered to no great extent by his indulgence in the vice of

The following are some of George Selwyn's jokes relating to

One night, at White's, observing the Postmaster-General, Sir
Everard Fawkener, losing a large sum of money at Piquet, Selwyn,
pointing to the successful player, remarked--`See now, he is
robbing the _MAIL!_'

On another occasion, in 1756, observing Mr Ponsonby, the Speaker
of the Irish House of Commons, tossing about bank-bills at a
Hazard table at Newmarket--`Look,' he said, `how easily the
Speaker passes the money-bills!'

A few months afterwards (when the public journals were daily
containing an account of some fresh town which had conferred the
freedom of its corporation in a gold box on Mr Pitt, afterwards
Earl of Chatham, and the Right Honourable Henry Bilson Legge, his
fellow-patriot and colleague), Selwyn, who neither admired their
politics nor respected their principles, proposed to the old and
new club at Arthur's, that he should be deputed to present to
them the freedom of each club in a _dice-box_.

On one of the waiters at Arthur's club having been committed
to prison for a felony--`What a horrid idea,' said Selwyn, `he
will give of us to the people in Newgate!'

When the affairs of Charles Fox were in a more than usually
embarrassed state, chiefly through his gambling, his friends
raised a subscription among themselves for his relief.  One of
them remarking that it would require some delicacy in breaking
the matter to him, and adding that `he wondered how Fox would
take it.'  `Take it?' interrupted Selwyn, `why, _QUARTERLY_, to
be sure.'[120]

[120] Jesse, _George Selwyn and his Contemporaries._


This eminent statesman was regarded by his contemporaries as an
able, an influential, and occasionally a powerful speaker.

Though married to a lady for whom in his letters he ever
expresses the warmest feelings of admiration and esteem; and
surrounded by a young and increasing family, who were evidently
the objects of his deepest affection, Lord Carlisle,
nevertheless, at times appears to have been unable to extricate
himself from the dangerous enticements to play to which he
was exposed.  His fatal passion for play--the source of
adventitious excitement at night, and of deep distress in the
morning--seems to have led to frequent and inconvenient losses,
and eventually to have plunged him into comparative distress.

`In recording these failings of a man of otherwise strong sense,
of a high sense of honour, and of kindly affections, we have said
the worst that can be adduced to his disadvantage.  Attached,
indeed, as Lord Carlisle may have been to the pleasures of
society, and unfortunate as may have been his passion for the
gaming table, it is difficult to peruse those passages in his
letters in which he deeply reproaches himself for yielding to the
fatal fascination of play, and accuses himself of having
diminished the inheritance of his children, without a feeling of
commiseration for the sensations of a man of strong sense and
deep feeling, while reflecting on his moral degradation.  It is
sufficient, however, to observe of Lord Carlisle, that the deep
sense which he entertained of his own folly; the almost maddening
moments to which he refers in his letters of self-condemnation
and bitter regret; and subsequently his noble victory over the
siren enticements of pleasure, and his thorough emancipation
from the trammels of a domineering passion, make adequate amends
for his previous unhappy career.'[121]

[121] Jesse, _George Selwyn and his Contemporaries_, ii.

Brave conquerors, for so ye are,
Who war against your own affections,
And the huge army of the world's desires.

Lady Sarah Bunbury, writing to George Selwyn, in 1767, says:--`If
you are now at Paris with poor C. [evidently Carlisle], who I
dare say is now swearing at the French people, give my
compliments to him.    I call him poor C. because I hope he is
only miserable at having been such a _PIGEON_ to Colonel Scott.
I never can pity him for losing at play, and I think of it as
little as I can, because I cannot bear to be obliged to abate the
least of the good opinion I have always had of him.'

Oddly enough the writer had no better account to give of her own
husband; she says, in the letter:--`Sir Charles games from
morning till night, but he has never yet lost L100 in one

[122] This Lady Sarah Bunbury was the wife of Sir Charles
Bunbury, after having had a chance of being Queen of England, as
the wife of George III., who was passionately in love with her,
and would have married her had it not been for the constitutional
opposition of his privy council.  This charming and beautiful
woman died in 1826, at the age of 82.  She was probably the last
surviving great-granddaughter of Charles II.--Jesse, _Ubi supra_.

About the year 1776 Lord Carlisle wrote the following letter
to George Selwyn:--

`I have undone myself, and it is to no purpose to conceal
from you my abominable madness and folly, though perhaps the
particulars may not be known to the rest of the world.  I never
lost so much in five times as I have done to-night, and am in
debt to the house for the whole.  You may be sure I do not tell
you this with an idea that you can be of the least assistance to
me; it is a great deal more than your abilities are equal to.
Let me see you--though I shall be ashamed to look at you after
your goodness to me.'

This letter is endorsed by George Selwyn--`After the loss of
L10,000.'  He tells Selwyn of a set which, at one point of the
game, stood to win L50,000.

`Lord Byron, it is almost needless to remark, was nearly related
to Lord Carlisle.  The mother of Lord Carlisle was sister to
John, fourth Lord Byron, the grandfather of the poet; Lord
Carlisle and Lord Byron were consequently first cousins once
removed.  Had they happened to have been contemporaries, it would
be difficult to form an idea of two individuals who, alike from
tastes, feelings, and habits of life, were more likely to form a
lasting and suitable intimacy.  Both were men of high rank; both
united an intimate knowledge of society and the world with the
ardent temperament of a poet; and both in youth mingled a love of
frolic and pleasure with a graver taste for literary pursuits.'


In the midst of the infatuated votaries of the gaming god in
England, towers the mighty intellectual giant Charles James Fox.
Nature had fashioned him to be equally an object of admiration
and love.  In addition to powerful eloquence, he was
distinguished by the refinement of his taste in all matters
connected with literature and art; he was deeply read in history;
had some claims to be regarded as a poet; and possessed a
thorough knowledge of the classical authors of antiquity, a
knowledge of which he so often and so happily availed
himself in his seat in the House of Commons.  To these qualities
was added a good-humour which was seldom ruffled,--a peculiar
fascination of manner and address,--the most delightful powers of
conversation,--a heart perfectly free from vindictiveness,
ostentation, and deceit,--a strong sense of justice,--a thorough
detestation of tyranny and oppression,--and an almost feminine
tenderness of feeling for the sufferings of others.
Unfortunately, however, his great talents and delightful
qualities in private life rendered his defects the more glaring
and lamentable; indeed, it is difficult to think or speak with
common patience of those injurious practices and habits--that
abandonment to self-gratification, and that criminal waste of the
most transcendent abilities which exhausted in social
conviviality and the gaming table what were formed to confer
blessings on mankind.

So much for the character of Fox, as I have gathered from Mr
Jesse;[123] and I continue the extremely interesting subject by
quoting from that delightful book, `The Queens of
Society.'[124]  `With a father who had made an enormous fortune,
with little principle, out of a public office--for Lord Holland
owed the bulk of his wealth to his appointment of paymaster to
the forces,--and who spoiled him, in his boyhood, Charles James
Fox had begun life _AS A FOP OF THE FIRST WATER_, and squandered
L50,000 in debt before he became of age.  Afterwards he
indulged recklessly and extravagantly in every course of
licentiousness which the profligate society of the day opened to
him.  At Brookes' and the Thatched House Fox ate and drank to
excess, threw thousands upon the Faro table, mingled with
blacklegs, and made himself notorious for his shameless vices.
Newmarket supplied another excitement.  His back room was so
incessantly filled with Jew money-lenders that he called it his
Jerusalem Chamber.  It was impossible that such a life should not
destroy every principle of honour; and there is nothing
improbable in the story that he appropriated to himself money
which belonged to his dear friend Mrs Crewe, as before related.

[123] George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, ii.

[124] By Grace and Philip Wharton.

`Of his talents, which were certainly great, he made an affected
display.  Of his learning he was proud--but rather as adding
lustre to his celebrity for universal tastes.  He was not at all
ashamed, but rather gloried in being able to describe himself as
a fool, as he does in his verses to Mrs Crewe:--

"Is't reason?  No; that my whole life will belie;
For, who so at variance as reason and I?
Is't ambition that fills up each chink in my heart,
Nor allows any softer sensation a part?
Oh! no; for in this all the world must agree,

`Sensual and self-indulgent--with a grossness that is even patent
on his very portrait [and bust], Fox had nevertheless a manner
which enchanted the sex, and he was the only politician of the
day who thoroughly enlisted the personal sympathies of women of
mind and character, as well as of those who might be captivated
by his profusion.  When he visited Paris in later days, even
Madame Recamier, noted for her refinement, and of whom he
himself said, with his usual coarse ideas of the sphere of woman,
that "she was the only woman who united the attractions of
pleasure to those of modesty," delighted to be seen with him!
At the time of which we are speaking the most celebrated beauties
of England were his most ardent supporters.

`The election of 1784, in which he stood and was returned
for Westminster, was one of the most famous of the old riotous
political demonstrations. . . . .  Loving _hazard_ of all kinds
for its own sake, Fox had made party hostility a new sphere of
gambling, had adopted the character of a demagogue, and at a time
when the whole of Europe was undergoing, a great revolution in
principles, was welcomed gladly as "The Man of the People."  In
the beginning, of the year he had been convicted of bribery, but
in spite of this his popularity increased. . . .  The election
for Westminster, in which Fox was opposed by Sir Cecil Wray, was
the most tempestuous of all.  There were 20,000 votes to be
polled, and the opposing parties resorted to any means of
intimidation, or violence, or persuasion which political
enthusiasm could suggest.  On the eighth day the poll was against
the popular member, and he called upon his friends to make a
great effort on his behalf.  It was then that the "ladies'
canvass" began.  Lady Duncannon, the Duchess of Devonshire, Mrs
Crewe, and Mrs Damer dressed themselves in blue and buff--the
colours of the American Independents, which Fox had adopted and
wore in the House of Commons--and set out to visit the
purlieus of Westminster.  Here, in their enthusiasm, they shook
the dirty hands of honest workmen, expressed the greatest
interest in their wives and families, and even, as in the case of
the Duchess of Devonshire and the butcher, submitted their fair
cheeks to be kissed by the possessors of votes!  At the butcher's
shop, the owner, in his apron and sleeves, stoutly refused his
vote, except on one condition--"Would her Grace give him a
kiss?"  The request was granted; and the vote thus purchased
went to swell the majority which finally secured the return of
"The Man of the People."

`The colouring of political friends, which concealed his vices,
or rather which gave them a false hue, has long since faded away.
We now know Fox as he _WAS_.  In the latest journals of Horace
Walpole his inveterate gambling, his open profligacy, his utter
want of honour, is disclosed by one of his own opinion.
Corrupted ere yet he had left his home, whilst in age a boy,
there is, however, the comfort of reflecting that he outlived his
vices which seem to have "cropped out" by his ancestral
connection in the female line with the reprobate Charles II.,
whom he was thought to resemble in features.  Fox,
afterwards, with a green apron tied round his waist, pruning and
nailing up his fruit trees at St Ann's Hill, or amusing himself
innocently with a few friends, is a pleasing object to remember,
even whilst his early career occurs forcibly to the mind.'

Peace, then, to the shade of Charles James Fox!  The three last
public acts which he performed were worthy of the man, and should
suffice to prove that, in spite of his terrible failings, he was
most useful in his generation.  By one, he laboured to repair the
outrages of war--to obtain a breathing time for our allies; and,
by an extension of our commerce, to afford, if necessary, to his
country all the advantages of a renovated contest, without the
danger of drying up our resources.  By another, he attempted to
remove all legal disabilities arising out of religion--to unite
and thus, by an extension of common rights, and a participation
of common benefits, wisely to render that which has always been
considered the weakest and most troublesome portion of our
empire, at least a useful and valuable part of England's
greatness among the nations.  Queen Elizabeth's Minister,
Lord Burleigh, in the presence of the `Irish difficulty' in his
day, wished Ireland at the bottom of the sea, and doubtless many
at the present time wish the same; but Fox endeavoured to grapple
with it manfully and honestly, and it was not his fault that he
did not settle it.  The vices of Fox were those of the age in
which he lived; had he been reserved for the present epoch, what
a different biography should we have to write of him!  What a
helmsman he might be at the present time, when the ship of Old
England is at sea and in peril!

It appears from a letter addressed by Lord Carlisle to Lady
Holland (Fox's mother) in 1773, that he had become security for
Fox to the amount of fifteen or sixteen thousand pounds; and a
letter to Selwyn in 1777, puts the ruinous character of their
gaming transactions in the strongest light.  Lord Ilchester
(Fox's cousin) had lost thirteen thousand pounds at one sitting
to Lord Carlisle, who offered to take three thousand pounds down.
Nothing was paid.  But ten years afterwards, when Lord Carlisle
pressed for his money, he complained that an attempt was made to
construe the offer into a _remission_ of the ten thousand
pounds:--`The only way, in honour, that Lord Ilchester could
have accepted my offer, would have been by taking some steps to
pay the L3000.  I remained in a state of uncertainty, I think,
for nearly three years; but his taking no notice of it during
that time, convinced me that he had no intention of availing
himself of it.  Charles Fox was also at a much earlier period
clear that he never meant to accept it.  There is also great
injustice in the behaviour of the family in passing by the
instantaneous payment of, I believe, five thousand pounds, to
Charles, won at the same sitting, without any observations.  _At
one period of the play I remember there was a balance in favour
of one of these gentlemen (but which I protest I do not remember)
of about fifty thousand_.'

At the time in question Fox was hardly eighteen.  The following
letter from Lord Carlisle, written in 1771, contains highly
interesting information respecting the youthful habits and
already vast intellectual pre-eminence of this memorable
statesman:--`It gives me great pain to hear that Charles begins
to be unreasonably impatient at losing.  I fear it is the
prologue to much fretfulness of temper, for disappointment in
raising money, and any serious reflections upon his
situation, will (in spite of his affected spirits and
dissipation) occasion him many disagreeable moments.'  Lord
Carlisle's fears proved groundless in this respect.  As before
stated, Fox was always remarkable for his sweetness of temper,
which remained with him to the last; but it is most painful to
think how much mankind has lost through his recklessness.

Gibbon writes to Lord Sheffield in 1773, `You know Lord Holland
is paying Charles Fox's debts.  They amount to L140,000.'[125]

[125] Timbs, _Club Life in London_.

His love of play was desperate.  A few evenings before he moved
the repeal of the Marriage Act, in February, 1772, he had been at
Brompton on two errands,--one to consult Justice Fielding on the
penal laws, the other to borrow L10,000, which he brought to
town at the hazard of being robbed.  He played admirably both at
Whist and Piquet,--with such skill, indeed, that by the general
admission of Brookes' Club, he might have made four thousand
pounds a-year, as they calculated, at these games, if he could
have confined himself to them.  But his misfortune arose from
playing games of chance, particularly at Faro.

After eating and drinking plentifully, he would sit down at
the Faro table, and invariably rose a loser.  Once, indeed, and
once only, he won about eight thousand pounds in the course of a
single evening.  Part of the money he paid to his creditors, and
the remainder he lost almost immediately.

Before he attained his thirtieth year he had completely
dissipated everything that he could either command or could
procure by the most ruinous expedients.  He had even undergone,
at times, many of the severest privations incidental to the
vicissitudes that attend a gamester's progress; frequently
wanting money to defray the common daily wants of the most
pressing nature.  Topham Beauclerc, who lived much in Fox's
society, declared that no man could form an idea of the
extremities to which he had been driven to raise money, often
losing his last guinea at the Faro table.  The very sedan-
chairmen, whom he was unable to pay, used to dun him for arrears.
In 1781, he might be considered as an extinct volcano,--for the
pecuniary aliment that had fed the flame was long consumed.  Yet
he even then occupied a house or lodgings in St James's Street,
close to Brookes', where he passed almost every hour which
was not devoted to the House of Commons.  Brookes' was then the
rallying point or rendezvous of the Opposition, where Faro,
Whist, and supper prolonged the night, the principal members of
the minority in both Houses met, in order to compare their
information, or to concert and mature their parliamentary
measures.  Great sums were then borrowed of Jews at exorbitant

His brother Stephen was enormously fat; George Selwyn said he was
in the right to deal with Shylocks, as he could give them pounds
of flesh.

Walpole, in 1781, walking up St James's Street, saw a cart at
Fox's door, with copper and an old chest of drawers, loading.
His success at Faro had awakened a host of creditors; but, unless
his bank had swelled to the size of the Bank of England, it could
not have yielded a half-penny apiece for each.  Epsom too had
been unpropitious; and one creditor had actually seized and
carried off Fox's goods, which did not seem worth removing.  Yet,
shortly after this, whom should Walpole find sauntering by his
own door but Fox, who came up and talked to him at the coach
window, on the Marriage Bill, with as much _sang-froid_ as
if he knew nothing of what had happened.  Doubtless this
indifference was to be attributed quite as much to the
callousness of the reckless gambler as to anything that might be
called `philosophy.'

It seems clear that the ruling passion of Fox was partly owing to
the lax training of his father, who, by his lavish allowances,
not only fostered his propensity to play, but had also been
accustomed to give him, when a mere boy, money to amuse himself
at the gaming table.  According to Chesterfield, the first Lord
Holland `had no fixed principles in religion or morality,' and he
censures him to his son for being `too unwary in ridiculing and
exposing them.'  He gave full swing to Charles in his youth.
`Let nothing be done,' said his lordship, `to break his spirit,
the world will do that for him.'  At his death, in 1774, he left
him L154,000 to pay his debts; it was all `bespoke,' and Fox
soon became as deeply pledged as before.[126]

[126] Timbs, ubi supra.  There is a mistake in the
anecdote respecting Fox's duel with Mr Adam (not Adams), as
related by Mr Timbs in his amusing book of the Clubs.  The
challenge was in consequence of some words uttered by Fox in
parliament, and not on account of some remark on Government
powder, to which Fox wittily alluded, after the duel,
saying--`Egad, Adam, you would have killed me if it had not been
Government powder.'  See Gilchrist, Ordeals, Millingen, Hist.
of Duelling, ii., and Steinmetz, Romance of Duelling, ii.

The following are authentic anecdotes of Fox, as a gambler.

Fox had a gambling debt to pay to Sir John Slade.  Finding
himself in cash, after a lucky run at Faro, he sent a
complimentary card to the knight, desiring to discharge the
claim.  Sir John no sooner saw the money than he called for pen
and ink, and began to figure.  `What now?' cried Fox.  `Only
calculating the interest,' replied the other.  `Are you so?'
coolly rejoined Charles James, and pocketed the cash, adding--`I
thought it was a _debt of honour_.  As you seem to consider it a
trading debt, and as I make it an invariable rule to pay my Jew-
creditors last, you must wait a little longer for your money.'

Fox once played cards with Fitzpatrick at Brookes' from ten
o'clock at night till near six o'clock the next morning--a waiter
standing by to tell them `whose deal it was'--they being too
sleepy to know.

On another occasion he won about L8000; and one of his bond-
creditors, who soon heard of his good luck, presented
himself and asked for payment.  `Impossible, sir,' replied Fox;
`I must first discharge my debts of honour.'  The bond-creditor
remonstrated, and finding Fox inflexible, tore the bond to pieces
and flung it into the fire, exclaiming--`Now, sir, your debt to
me is a _debt of honour_.'  Struck by the creditor's witty
rejoinder, Fox instantly paid the money.[127]

[127]  The above is the version of this anecdote which I
remember as being current in my young days.  Mr Timbs and others
before him relate the anecdote as follows:--`On another occasion
he won about L8000; and one of his bond-creditors, who soon
heard of his good luck, presented himself and asked for payment.'

`Impossible, sir,' replied Fox `I must first discharge my debts
of honour.'  The bond-creditor remonstrated.  `Well, sir, give me
your bond.'  It was delivered to Fox, who tore it in pieces and
threw it into the fire.  `Now, sir,' said Fox, `my debt to you is
a debt of honour;' and immediately paid him .

Now, it is evident that Fox could not destroy the document
without rendering himself still more `liable' in point of law.  I
submit that the version in the text is the true one, conforming
with the legal requirement of the case and influencing the debtor
by the originality of the performance of the creditor.

Amidst the wildest excesses of youth, even while the perpetual
victim of his passion for play, Fox eagerly cultivated his taste
for letters, especially the Greek and Roman historians and poets;
and he found resources in their works under the most severe
depressions occasioned by ill-successes at the gaming table.  One
morning, after Fox had passed the whole night in company with
Topham Beauclerc at Faro, the two friends were about to separate.

Fox had lost throughout the night, and was in a frame of mind
approaching to desperation.  Beauclerc's anxiety for the
consequences which might ensue led him to be early at Fox's
lodgings; and on arriving he inquired, not without apprehension,
whether he had risen.  The servant replied that Mr Fox was in the
drawing-room, when Beauclerc walked up-stairs and cautiously
opened the door, expecting to behold a frantic gamester stretched
on the floor, bewailing his losses, or plunged in moody despair;
but he was astonished to find him reading a Greek Herodotus.

On perceiving his friend's surprise, Fox exclaimed, `What would
you have me do?  I have lost my last shilling.'

Upon other occasions, after staking and losing all that he could
raise at Faro, instead of exclaiming against fortune, or
manifesting the agitation natural under such circumstances, he
would lay his head on the table and retain his place, but,
exhausted by mental and bodily fatigue, almost immediately
fall into a profound sleep.

Fox's best friends are said to have been half ruined in annuities
given by them as securities for him to the Jews.  L500,000 a-
year of such annuities of Fox and his `society' were advertised
to be sold at one time.  Walpole wondered what Fox would do when
he had sold the estates of his friends.  Walpole further notes
that in the debate on the Thirty-nine Articles, February 6, 1772,
Fox did not shine; nor could it be wondered at.  He had sat up
playing at Hazard, at Almack's, from Tuesday evening, the 4th,
till five in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 5th.  An hour before
he had recovered L12,000 that he had lost; and by dinner,
which was at five o'clock, he had ended losing L11,000!  On
the Thursday he spoke in the above debate, went to dinner at past
eleven at night; from thence to White's, where he drank till
seven the next morning; thence to Almack's, where he won
L6000; and between three and four in the afternoon he set out
for Newmarket.  His brother Stephen lost L11,000 two nights
after, and Charles L10,000 more on the 13th; so that in
three nights the two brothers--the eldest not _twenty-five_
years of age--lost L32,000![128]

[128] Timbs, _ubi supra._

On one occasion Stephen Fox was dreadfully fleeced at a gaming
house at the West End.  He entered it with L13,000, and left
without a farthing.

Assuredly these Foxes were misnamed.  _Pigeons_--dupes of
sharpers at play--would have been a more appropriate cognomen.


These eminent statesmen were gamesters at one period of their
lives.  When Wilberforce came to London in 1780, after his return
to Parliament, his great success signalized his entry into public
life, and he was at once elected a member of the leading clubs--
Miles' and Evans', Brookes', Boodle's, White's, and Goosetree's.
The latter was Wilberforce's usual resort, where his friendship
with Pitt--who played with characteristic and intense eagerness,
and whom he had slightly known at Cambridge--greatly increased.
He once lost L100 at the Faro table.

`We played a good deal at Goosetree's,' he states,; and I
well remember the intense earnestness which Pitt displayed when
joining in these games of chance.  He perceived their increasing
fascination, and soon after abandoned them for ever.'

Wilberforce's own case is thus recorded by his biographers, on
the authority of his private Journal:--`We can have no play to-
night,' complained some of the party at the club, `for St Andrew
is not here to keep bank.'  `Wilberforce,' said Mr Bankes, who
never joined himself, `if you will keep it I will give you a
guinea.'  The playful challenge was accepted, but as the game
grew deep he rose the winner of L600.  Much of this was lost
by those who were only heirs to fortunes, and therefore could not
meet such a call without inconvenience.  The pain he felt at
their annoyance cured him of a taste which seemed but too likely
to become predominant.

Goosetree's being then almost exclusively composed of incipient
orators and embryo statesmen, the call for a gambling table there
may be regarded as a decisive proof of the universal prevalence
of the vice.

`The first time I was at Brookes',' says Wilberforce,
`scarcely knowing any one, I joined, from mere shyness, in play
at the Faro tables, where George Selwyn kept bank.  A friend, who
knew my inexperience, and regarded me as a victim decked out for
sacrifice, called to me--"What, Wilberforce, is that you?"
Selwyn quite resented the interference, and, turning to him, said
in his most expressive tone, "Oh, sir, don't interrupt Mr
Wilberforce, he could not be better employed."

Again:  `The very first time I went to Boodle's I won twenty-five
guineas of the Duke of Norfolk.  I belonged at this time to five
clubs--Miles' and Evans', Brookes', Boodle's, White's, and


Sir Philip Francis, the eminent politician and supposed author of
the celebrated `Letters of Junius,' was a gambler, and the
convivial companion of Fox.  During the short administration of
that statesman he was made a Knight of the Bath.  One evening,
Roger Wilbraham came up to the Whist table, at Brookes', where
Sir Philip, who for the first time wore the ribbon of the Order,
was engaged in a rubber, and thus accosted him.  Laying hold
of the ribbon, and examining it for some time, he said:--`So,
this is the way they have rewarded you at last; they have given
you a little bit of red ribbon for your services, Sir Philip,
have they?  A pretty bit of red ribbon to hang about your neck;
and that satisfies you, does it?  Now, I wonder what I shall
have.  What do you think they will give me, Sir Philip?'  The
newly-made knight, who had twenty-five guineas depending on the
rubber, and who was not very well pleased at the interruption,
suddenly turned round, and looking at him fiercely, exclaimed, `A
halter, and be,' &c.


Unquestionably this reverend gentleman was one of the most lucky
of gamesters--having died in full possession of the gifts
vouchsafed to him by the goddess of fortune.

He was educated at Eton, graduated at King's College, Cambridge,
as Bachelor of Arts in 1801, and Master of Arts in 1804, and
obtained a fellowship, having also a curacy at Tiverton, held
conjointly.  Some six years after he appeared in print as a
denouncer of a `ghost story,' and in 1812, as the author of
`Hypocrisy,' a satirical poem, and `Napoleon,' a poem.  In 1818
he was presented by his college to the vicarage of Kew with
Petersham, in Surrey.  Two years after he established a literary
reputation--lasting to the present time--by the publication of a
volume of aphorisms or maxims, under the title of `LACON; or,
Many Things in Few Words.'  This work is very far from original,
being founded mainly on Lord Bacon's celebrated Essays, and
Burdon's `Materials for Thinking,' La Bruyiere, and De la
Rochefoucault; still it is highly creditable to the abilities of
the writer.  It has passed through several editions; and even at
the present time its only rival is, `The Guesses at Truth,'
although we have numerous collections of apothegmatic extracts
from authors, a class of works which is not without its
fascination, if readers are inclined to _THINK._[129]

[129] The first work I published was of this kind, and
entitled, `Gems of Genius; or, Words of the Wise, with extracts
from the Diary of a Young Man,' in 1838.

Two years after he returned to his `Napoleon,' which he
republished, with extensive additions, under the new title of
`The Conflagration of Moscow.

It would appear that Colton at this period gave in to the
fashionable gaming of the day; at any rate, he dabbled deeply in
Spanish bonds, became involved in pecuniary difficulties, and,
without investigating his affairs closely--which might have been
easily arranged--he absconded.

He subsequently made appearance, in order to retain his living;
but in 1828 he lost it, a successor being appointed by his
college.  He then went to the United States of America; what he
did there is not on record; but he subsequently returned to
Europe, went to Paris, took up his abode in the Palais Royal,
and--devoted his talents to the mysteries of the gaming table, by
which he was so successful that in the course of a year or two he
won L25,000!

Oddly enough, one of his `maxims' in his Lacon runs as follows:
`The gamester, if he die a martyr to his profession, is doubly
ruined.  He adds his soul to every other loss, and, by the act of
suicide, renounces earth, to forfeit heaven.'

It has been suggested that this was writing his own epitaph, and
it would appear so from the notices of the man in most of the
biographies; but nothing could be further from the fact.  Caleb
Colton managed to _KEEP_ his gambling fortune, and what is
more, devoted it to a worthy purpose.  Part of his wealth he
employed in forming a picture-gallery; and he printed at Paris,
for private distribution, an ode on the death of Lord Byron.  He
certainly committed suicide, but the act was not the gamester's
martyrdom.  He was afflicted by a disease which necessitated some
painful surgical operation, and rather than submit to it, he blew
out his brains, at the house of a friend, at Fontainebleau, in

[130] Gent. Mag.  New Month. Mag.  Gorton's Gen. Biograph. Dict.


This singular man was an inveterate gambler, and for some time
very `lucky;' but the reaction came at last; the stakes were too
high, and the purses of his companions too long for him to stand
against any continued run of bad luck; indeed, the play at
Wattier's, which was very deep, eventually ruined the club, as
well as Brummell and several other members of it; a certain
baronet now living, according to Captain Jesse, is asserted to
have lost ten thousand pounds there at _Ecarte_ at one

[131] Life of Beau Brummell.

The season of 1814 saw Brummell a winner, and a loser
likewise--and this time he lost not only his winnings, but `an
unfortunate ten thousand pounds,' which, when relating the
circumstance to a friend many years afterwards, he said was all
that remained at his banker's.  One night--the fifth of a most
relentless run of ill-luck--his friend Pemberton Mills heard him
exclaim that he had lost every shilling, and only wished some one
would bind him never to play again:--`I will,' said Mills; and
taking out a ten-pound note he offered it to Brummell on
condition that he should forfeit a thousand if he played at
White's within a month from that evening.  The Beau took it, and
for a few days discontinued coming to the club; but about a
fortnight after Mills, happening to go in, saw him hard at work.
Of course the thousand pounds was forfeited; but his friend,
instead of claiming it, merely went up to him and, touching him
gently on the shoulder, said--`Well, Brummell, you may at least
give me back the ten pounds you had the other night.'

Among the members who indulged in high play at Brookes' Club was
Alderman Combe, the brewer, who is said to have made as much
money in this way as he did by brewing.  One evening whilst
he filled the office of Lord Mayor, he was busy at a full Hazard
table at Brookes', where the wit and the dice-box circulated
together with great glee, and where Beau Brummell was one of the
party.  `Come, Mash-tub,' said Brummell, who was the _caster_,
`what do you _set?_'  `Twenty-five guineas,' answered the
Alderman.  `Well, then,' returned the Beau, `have at the mare's
pony' (a gaming term for 25 guineas).  He continued to throw
until he drove home the brewer's twelve ponies running; and then
getting up, and making him a low bow, whilst pocketing the cash,
he said--`Thank you, Alderman; for the future I shall never drink
any porter but yours.'  `I wish, sir,' replied the brewer, `that
every other blackguard in London would tell me the same.'[132]

[132] Jesse, _ubi supra_.

The following occurrence must have caused a `sensation' to poor

Among the members of Wattier's Club was Bligh, a notorious
madman, of whom Mr Raikes relates:--`One evening at the Macao
table, when the play was very deep, Brummell, having lost a
considerable stake, affected, in his farcical way, a very
tragic air, and cried out--"Waiter, bring me a flat candlestick
and a pistol."  Upon which Bligh, who was sitting opposite to
him, calmly produced two loaded pistols from his coat pocket,
which he placed on the table, and said, "Mr Brummell, if you are
really desirous to put a period to your existence, I am extremely
happy to offer you the means without troubling the waiter."  The
effect upon those present may easily be imagined, at finding
themselves in the company of a known madman who had loaded
weapons about him.'

Brummell was at last completely beggared, though for some time he
continued to hold on by the help of funds raised on the mutual
security of himself and his friends, some of whom were not in a
much more flourishing condition than himself; their names,
however, and still more, their expectations, lent a charm to
their bills, in the eyes of the usurers, and money was procured,
of course at ruinous interest.  It is said that some unpleasant
circumstances, connected with the division of one of these loans,
occasioned the Beau's expatriation, and that a personal
altercation took place between Brummell and a certain Mr M--,
when that gentleman accused him of taking the lion's share.

He died in utter poverty, and an idiot, at Caen, in the year
1840, aged 62 years.  Brummell had a very odd way of accounting
for the sad change which took place in his affairs.  He said that
up to a particular period of his life everything prospered with
him, and that he attributed good luck to the possession of a
certain silver sixpence with a hole in it, which somebody had
given him years before, with an injunction to take good care of
it, as everything would go well with him so long as he did, and
the reverse if he happened to lose it.  The promised prosperity
attended him for many years, whilst he held the sixpence fast;
but having at length, in an evil hour, unfortunately given it by
mistake to a hackney-coachman, a complete reverse of his previous
good fortune ensued, till actual ruin overtook him at last, and
obliged him to expatriate himself.  `On my asking him,' says the
narrator, `why he did not advertise and offer a reward for the
lost treasure; he said, "I did, and twenty people came with
sixpences having holes in them to obtain the promised reward, but
mine was not amongst them!"  And you never afterwards,' said I,
`ascertained what became of it?  "Oh yes," he replied,
"no doubt that rascal Rothschild, or some of his set, got hold
of it." '  Whatever poor Brummell's supernatural tendencies may
have generally been, he had unquestionably a superstitious
veneration for his lost sixpence.


Tom Duncombe graduated and took honours among the greatest
gamblers of the day.  Like Fox, he was heir to a good fortune--
ten or twelve thousand a year--the whole of which he managed to
anticipate before he was thirty.  `Tom Duncombe ran Charles Fox
close.  When Mr Duncombe, sen., of Copgrove, caused his prodigal
son's debts to be estimated with a view to their settlement, they
were found to exceed L135,000;[133] and the hopeful heir went
on adding to them till all possibility of extrication was at an
end.  But he spent his money (or other people's money), so long
as he had any, like a gentleman; his heart was open like his
hand; he was generous, cordial, high-spirited; and his
expectations--till they were known to be discounted to the
uttermost farthing--kept up his credit, improved his social
position, and gained friends.  "Society" (says his son)
"opened its arms to the possessor of a good name and the
inheritor of a good estate.  Paterfamiliases and Materfamiliases
rivalled each other in endeavouring to make things pleasant in
their households for his particular delectation, especially if
they had grown-up daughters; hospitable hosts invited him to
dinner, fashionable matrons to balls; political leaders sought to
secure him as a partisan; _DEBUTANTES_ of the season endeavoured
to attract him as an admirer; _TRADESMEN THRONGED TO HIS
DOORSTEPS FOR HIS CUSTOM_, and his table was daily covered with
written applications for his patronage."  _Noblesse oblige;_
and so does fashion.  The aspirant had confessedly a hard time of
it.  "He must be seen at Tattersall's as well as at Almack's; be
more frequent in attendance in the green-room of the theatre than
at a _levee_ in the palace; show as much readiness to enter
into a pigeon-match at Battersea Red House, as into a flirtation
in May Fair; distinguish himself in the hunting-field as much as
at the dinner-table; and make as effective an appearance in the
park as in the senate; in short, he must be everything--not by
turns, but all at once--sportsman, exquisite, gourmand,
rake, senator, and at least a dozen other variations of the man
of fashion,--his changes of character being often quicker than
those attempted by certain actors who nightly undertake the
performance of an entire _dramatis personae_." '

[133] It will be remembered that when Fox's debts were in
like manner estimated they amounted to L140,000: the
coincidence is curious.  See ante.

Tommy Duncombe was not only indefatigable at Crockford's, but at
every other rendezvous of the votaries of fortune; a skilful
player withal, and not unfrequently a winner beyond expectation.
One night at Crockford's he astonished the house by carrying off
sixteen hundred pounds.  He frequently played at cards with Count
D'Orsay, from whom, it is said, he invariably managed to win--the
Count persisting in playing with his pleasant companion, although
warned by others that he would never be a match for `Honest Tommy

Tom Duncombe died poor, but, says his son, `rich in the memory of
those who esteemed him, as Honest Tom Duncombe.'

Perhaps the best thing the son could have done was to leave his
father's memory at rest in the estimation of `those who esteemed
him;' but having dragged his name once more, and
prominently, before a censorious world, he can scarcely
resent the following estimate of Tom Duncombe, by a well-informed
reviewer in the _Times_.  Alluding to the concluding summary of
the father's character and doings, this keen writer passes a
sentence which is worth preserving:--

`Much of this would do for a patriot and philanthropist of the
highest class--for a Pym, a Hampden, or a Wilberforce; or, we
could fancy, a son of Andrew Marvell, vowing over his grave "to
endeavour to imitate the virtues and emulate the self-sacrificing
patriotism of so estimable a parent, and so good a man."  But we
can hardly fancy, we cannot leave, a son of Duncombe in such a
frame of mind.  We cannot say to _HIM_--

Macte nova virtute, puer; sic itur ad astra.
"In virtue renewed go on; thus to the skies we go."

We are unfeignedly reluctant to check a filial effusion, or to
tell disagreeable truths; but there are occasions when a sense of
public duty imperatively requires them to be told.

`Why did this exemplary parent die poor?  When did he abandon the
allurements of a patrician circle?  He died poor because he
wasted a fine fortune.  If he abandoned a patrician circle,
it was because he was tired of it, or thought he could make a
better thing of democracy.  If he conquered his passions, it was,
like St Evremond--by indulging them.

` "Honest Tom Duncombe!"  We never heard him so designated
before except in pleasantry.  "As honest as any man living, that
is an old man, and not honester than I."  We cannot go further
than Verges; it is a stretch of charity to go so far when we call
to mind the magnificent reversion and the French jobs.  A ruined
spendthrift, although he may have many good qualities, can never,
strictly speaking, be termed honest.  It is absurd to say of him
that he is nobody's enemy but his own--with family, friends, and
tradespeople paying the penalty for his self-indulgence.  He must
be satisfied to be called honourable--to be charged with no
transgression of the law of honour; which Paley defines as "a
system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated
to facilitate their intercourse with one another, _AND FOR NO

`There was one quality of honesty, however, which "honest Tom
Duncombe" did possess.  He was not a hypocrite.  He was not
devoid of right feeling.  He had plenty of good sense; and it
would have given him a sickening pang on his death-bed to think
that his frailties were to be perpetuated by his descendants;
that he was to be pointed out as a shining star to guide, instead
of a beacon-fire to warn.  "No," he would have said, if he
could have anticipated this most ill-chosen, however well-
intentioned, tribute, "spare me this terrible irony.  Do not
provoke the inevitable retort.  Say of me, if you must say
anything, that I was not a bad man, though an erring one; that I
was kindly disposed towards my fellow-creatures; that I did some
good in my generation, and was able and willing to do more, but
that I heedlessly wasted time, money, health, intellect, personal
gifts, social advantages and opportunities; that my career was a
failure, and my whole scheme of life a melancholy
mistake." '[134]

[134] _Times_, Jan. 7, 1868.

This is a terrible rejoinder to a son endeavouring to raise a
monument to his beloved and respected parent.  But, if we will
rake up rottenness from the grave--rottenness in which we are
interested--we must take our chance whether we shall find a
Hamlet who will say, `Alas! poor Yorick!' and say _NO MORE_ than
the musing Dane upon the occasion.


A few years after the battle of Waterloo there appeared a French
work entitled `_L'Academie des Jeux_, par Philidor,' which was
soon translated into English, and here published under the title
of `Rouge et Noir; or, the Academies.'  It was a denunciation of
gambling in all its varieties, and was, no doubt, well-
intentioned.  There was, however, in the publication the
following astounding statement:--

`Not long ago the carriage of the heir-apparent to the T*****
of England, in going to his B****'s levee, was arrested for
debt in the open street.  That great captain, who gained, if not
laurels, an immense treasure, on the plains of Wa****oo,
besides that fortune transmitted to him by the English people,
was impoverished in a few months by this ignoble passion.'

There can be no doubt that the alleged gambling of the great
warrior and statesman was the public scandal of the day, as
appears by the duke's own letters on the subject, published
in the last volume of his _Dispatches_.  Even the eminent
counsel, Mr Adolphus, thought proper to allude to the report in
one of his speeches at the bar.  This called forth the following
letter from the duke to Mr Adolphus:--

`17 Sept., 1823.
`The Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr
Adolphus, and encloses him the "Morning Chronicle" of Friday,
the 12th instant, to which the duke's attention has just been
called, in which Mr Adolphus will observe that he is stated to
have represented the duke as a person _KNOWN SOMETIMES TO PLAY

`The duke concludes that this paper contains a correct statement
of what Mr Adolphus said upon the occasion, and he assures Mr
Adolphus that he would not trouble him upon the subject if
circumstances did not exist which rendered this communication

`Some years have elapsed since the public have been informed,
_FROM THE VERY BEST AUTHORITY_, that the duke had totally ruined
himself at play; and Mr Adolphus was present upon one occasion
when a witness swore that he had heard the duke was
constantly obliged to sell the offices in the Ordnance himself,
instead of allowing them to be sold by others! !  The duke has
suffered some inconvenience from this report in a variety of
ways, and he is anxious that at least it should not be repeated
by a gentleman of such celebrity and authority as Mr Adolphus.

`He therefore assures Mr Adolphus that in the whole course of his
life he never won or lost L20 at any game, and that he never
played at Hazard, or any game of chance, in any public place or
club, nor been for some years at all at any such place.

`From these circumstances, Mr Adolphus will see that there is no
ground for making use of the duke's name as an example of a

_Mr Adolphus to Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington_.

`Percy Street, 21st Sept., 1823.

`Mr Adolphus has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of a note
from his Grace the Duke of Wellington, and would have done so
yesterday, but was detained in court till a late hour in the
evening.  Mr Adolphus is extremely sorry that any expression used
by him should have occasioned a moment's uneasiness to the Duke
of Wellington.  Mr Adolphus cannot deny that the report in the
"Chronicle" is accurate, so far as it recites his mere words;
but the scope of his argument, and the intended sense of his
expression, was, that if the Vagrant Act were to receive the
extensive construction contended for, the most illustrious
subject of the realm might be degraded to the condition of the
most abject and worthless, for an act in itself indifferent--and
which, until the times had assumed a character of affected
rigour, was considered rather as a proof of good society than as
an offence against good order.  Mr Adolphus is, however,
perfectly sensible that his illustration in his Grace's person
was in all respects improper, and, considering the matters to
which his Grace has adverted, peculiarly unfortunate Mr Adolphus
feels with regret that any public expression of his sentiments on
this subject in the newspapers would not abate, but much
increase, the evil.  Should an opportunity ever present itself of
doing it naturally and without affectation, Mr Adolphus
would most readily explain, in speaking at the bar, the error he
had committed; but it is very unlikely that there should exist an
occasion of which he can avail himself with a due regard to
delicacy.  Mr Adolphus relies, however, on the Duke of
Wellington's exalted mind for credit to his assurance that he
never meant to treat his name but with the respect due to his
Grace's exalted rank and infinitely higher renown.'

_To Mr Adolphus_.

`Woolford, 23rd Sept., 1823.

`The Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr Adolphus,
and assures Mr Adolphus that he is convinced that Mr Adolphus
never intended to reflect injuriously upon him.  If the duke had
believed that Mr Adolphus could have entertained such an
intention he would not have addressed him.  The duke troubles Mr
Adolphus again upon this subject, as, in consequence of the
editor of the "Morning Chronicle" having thought proper to
advert to this subject in a paragraph published on the 18th
instant, the duke has referred the paper of that date and that of
the 12th to the Attorney and Solicitor-general, his counsel,
to consider whether the editor ought not to be prosecuted.

`The duke requests, therefore, that Mr Adolphus will not notice
the subject in the way he proposes until the gentlemen above
mentioned will have decided upon the advice which they will give
the duke.'[135]

[135] `Dispatches,' vol. ii. part i.

The result was, however, that the matter was allowed to drop, as
the duke was advised by his counsel that the paragraph in the
"Morning Chronicle," though vile, was not actionable.  The
positive declaration of the duke, `that in the whole course of
his life he never won or lost L20 at any game, and that he
never played at Hazard, or any game of chance, in any public
place or club, nor been for some years at all at any such place,'
should set the matter at rest.  Certainly the duke was afterwards
an original member of Crockford's Club, founded in 1827, but,
unlike Blucher, who repeatedly lost everything at play, `The
Great Captain,' as Mr Timbs puts it, `was never known to play
deep at any game but war or politics.'[136]

[136] Club Life in London.

This remarkable deference to private character and public
opinion, on the part of the Duke of Wellington, is in wonderful
contrast with the easy morality of the Old Bailey advocate, Mr
Adolphus, who did not hesitate to declare gambling `an act in
itself indifferent--and which, until the times had assumed a
character of _AFFECTED_ rigour, was considered rather as a proof
of good society than as an offence against good order.'  This
averment of so distinguished a man may, perhaps, mitigate the
horror we now feel of the gambling propensities of our ancestors;
and it is a proof of some sort of advancement in morals, or good
taste, to know that no modern advocate would dare to utter such a

Other great names have been associated with gambling; thus Mr T.
H. Duncombe says, speaking of Crockford's soon after its
foundation:--`Sir St Vincent Cotton (Lord Combermere), Lord
Fitzroy Somerset (Raglan), the Marquis of Anglesey, Sir Hussey
Vivian, Wilson Croker, _Disraeli_, Horace Twiss, Copley, George
many of them playing high.'

Respecting this statement the _Times'_[137] reviewer
observes:--`We do not know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer
will say to this.  Mr Wilson Croker (who affected great
strictness) would have fainted away.  But the authority of a
writer who does not know Sir St Vincent Cotton (the ex-driver of
the Brighton coach) from Sir _Stapleton_ Cotton (the Peninsular
hero) will go for little in such matters; and as for Copley, Lord
Lyndhurst (just then promoted from the Rolls to the Woolsack),
why not say at once that he attended the nocturnal sittings at
Crockford's in his robes.'

[137] Jan. 7, 1868.




Monsieur CHevalier, Captain of the Grenadiers in the first
regiment of Foot Guards, in the time of Charles II. of England,
was a native of Normandy.  In his younger days he was page to the
Duchess of Orleans; but growing too big for that service, he came
to England to seek his fortune, and by some good luck and favour
became an ensign in the first regiment of Foot Guards.  His pay,
however, being insufficient to maintain him, he felt compelled to
become a gamester, or rather to resort to a practice in which
doubtless he had been early initiated at the Court of France; and
he managed so well that he was soon enabled to keep up an
equipage much above his station.

Among the `bubbles' who had the misfortune to fall into
Chevalier's hands, was a certain nobleman, who lost a larger sum
to him than he could conveniently pay down, and asked for time,
to which Chevalier assented, and in terms so courteous and
obliging that the former, a fortnight after, in order to let him
see that he remembered his civility, came one morning and told
Chevalier that he had a company of Foot to dispose of, and if it
was worth his while, it should be at his service.  Nothing could
be more acceptable to Chevalier, who at once closed for the
bargain, and got his commission signed the same day.  Besides the
fact that it was a time of peace, Chevalier knew well that the
military title of Captain was a very good cloak to shelter under.

He knew that a man of no employment or any visible income, who
appears and lives like a gentleman, and makes gaming his constant
business, is always suspected of not playing for diversion only;
and, in short, of knowing and practising more than he should do.

Chevalier once won 20 guineas from mad Ogle, the Life-guardsman,
who, understanding that the former had bit him, called him to
account, demanding either his money back, or satisfaction in the
field.  Chevalier, having always courage enough to maintain
what he did, chose the latter.  Ogle fought him in Hyde Park, and
wounded him through the sword arm, and got back his money.  After
this they were always good friends, playing several comical
tricks, one of which is as follows, strikingly illustrating the
manners of the times.

Chevalier and Ogle meeting one day in Fleet Street jostled for
the wall, which they strove to take of each other, whereupon
words arising between them, they drew swords, and pushed very
hard at one another; but were prevented, by the great crowd which
gathered about them, from doing any mischief.  Ogle, seeming
still to resent the affront, cried to Chevalier, `If you are a
gentleman, pray follow me.'  The French hero accepted the
challenge; so going together up Bell Yard and through Lincoln's
Inn, with some hundreds of the mob at their heels, as soon as the
seeming adversaries were got into Lincoln's Inn Fields, they both
fell a running as fast as they could, with their swords drawn, up
towards Lord Powis's house, which was then building, and leaped
into a saw-pit.  The rabble presently ran after them, to part
them again, and feared mischief would be done before they
could get up to them, but when they arrived at the saw-pit, they
saw Chevalier at one side of it and Ogle at the other, sitting
together as lovingly as if they had never fallen out at all.  And
then the mob was so incensed at this trick put upon them, that
had not some gentlemen accidentally come by, they would have
knocked them both on the head with brickbats.

Chevalier had an excellent knack at cogging a die, and such
command in the throwing, that, chalking a circle on a table, with
its circumference no bigger than a shilling, he would, at above
the distance of one foot, throw a die exactly into it, which
should be either ace, deuce, trey, or what he pleased.

Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was a great gambler of the time,
and often practised dice-throwing in his shirt during the morning
until he fancied himself in luck, when he would proceed to try
his fortune with Chevalier; but the dexterity of the latter
always convinced the earl that no certainty lies on the good
success which may be fancied as likely to result from play in
jest.  Chevalier won a great deal of money from that peer, `who
lost most of his estate at gaming before he died, and which
ought to be a warning to all noblemen.'

Chevalier was a skilful sharper, and thoroughly up in the art and
mystery of loading dice with quicksilver; but having been
sometimes detected in his sharping tricks, he was obliged `to
look on the point of the sword, with which being often wounded,
latterly he declined fighting, if there were any way of escape.'
Having once `choused,' or cheated, a Mr Levingstone, page of
honour to King James II., out of 50 guineas, the latter gave the
captain a challenge to fight him next day behind Montague House--
a locality long used for the purpose of duelling.  Chevalier
seemingly accepted the challenge, and next morning, Levingstone
going to Chevalier's lodging, whom he found in bed, put him in
mind of what he was come about.  Chevalier, with the greatest air
of courage imaginable, rose, and having dressed himself, said to
Levingstone--`Me must beg de favour of you to stay a few minutes,
sir, while I step into my closet dere, for as me be going about
one desperate piece of work, it is very requisite for me to say a
small prayer or two.'  Accordingly Mr Levingstone consented to
wait whilst Chevalier retired to his closet to pray; but
hearing the conclusion of his prayer to end with these words--`Me
verily believe spilling man's blood is one ver' great sin,
wherefore I hope all de saints will interced vid de Virgin for my
once killing Monsieur de Blotieres at Rochelle,--my killing
Chevalier de Cominge at Brest,--killing Major de Tierceville at
Lyons,--killing Lieutenant du Marche Falliere at Paris, with half
a dozen other men in France; so, being also sure of killing him
I'm now going to fight, me hope his forcing me to shed his blood
will not be laid to my charge;'--quoth Levingstone to himself--
`And are you then so sure of me?  But I'll engage you shan't--for
if you are such a devil at killing men, you shall go and fight
yourself and be ----.'  Whereupon he made what haste he could
away, and shortly Chevalier coming out of the closet and finding
Levingstone not in the room, was very glad of his absence.'

Some time after, Chevalier was called to account by another
gentleman.  They met at the appointed hour in Chelsea Fields,
when Chevalier said to his adversary--`Pray, sir, for what do we
fight?'  The gentleman replied--`For honour and reputation.'
Thereupon Chevalier pulling a halter out of his pocket, and
throwing it between him and his antagonist, exclaimed--`Begar,
sir, we only fight for dis one piece of rope--so e'en _WIN IT
AND WEAR IT_.'  The effect of this jest was so great on his
adversary that swords were put up, and they went home together
good friends.

Chevalier continued his sharping courses for about fourteen
years, running a reckless race, `sometimes with much money,
sometimes with little, but always as lavish in spending as he was
covetous in getting it; until at last King James ascending the
throne, the Duke of Monmouth raised a rebellion in the West of
England, where, in a skirmish between the Royalists and Rebels,
he was shot in the back, and the wound thought to be given by one
of his own men, to whom he had always been a most cruel, harsh
officer, whilst a captain of the Grenadiers of the Foot Guards.
He was sensible himself how he came by this misfortune; for when
he was carried to his tent mortally wounded, and the Duke of
Albemarle came to visit him, he said to his Grace--`Dis was none
of my foe dat shot me in the back.'  `He was none of your friend
that shot you,' the duke replied.

So dying within a few hours after, he was interred in a
field near Philip Norton Lane, as the old chronicler says--`much
_UN_lamented by all who knew him.'[138]

[138] Lucas, _Memoirs of Gamesters and Sharpers_.


This gambler, who flourished towards the end of the 17th century,
was descended from a very good family in the West of England.  In
his younger days he was a member of the Honourable Society of the
Middle Temple, but his inclinations being incompatible with close
study of the law, he soon quitted the inns of court and went into
the army.  He obtained not only a commission in the first
regiment of Boot Guards, but a commission of the peace for the
county of Middlesex, in which he continued for three or four
years as Justice Higden.  He was very great at dice; and one
night he and another of his fraternity going to a gaming house,
Higden drew a chair and sat down, but as often as the box came to
him he passed it, and remained only as a spectator; but at last
one of the players said to him pertly, `Sir, if you won't play,
what do you sit there for?'  Upon which Higden snatched up
the dice-box and said, `Set me what you will and I'll throw at
it.'  One of the gentlemen set him two guineas, which he won, and
then set him four, which he `nicked' also.  The rest of the
gentlemen took the part of the loser, and set to Higden, who, by
some art and some good luck, won 120 guineas; and presently,
after throwing out, rose from the table and went to his companion
by the fireside, who asked him how he durst be so audacious as to
play, knowing he had not a shilling in his pocket?  One of the
losers overhearing what was said, exclaimed, `How's that--you had
no money when you began to play?' `That's no matter,' replied
Higden, `I have enough _NOW;_ and if you had won of me, you must
have been contented to have kicked, buffeted, or pumped me, and
you would have done it as long as you liked.  Besides, sir, I am
a soldier, and have often faced the mouths of thundering cannons
for _EIGHT SHILLINGS A DAY_, and do you think I would not hazard
the tossing of a blanket for the money I have won to-night?'

`All the parties wondered at his confidence, but he laughed
heartily at their folly and his good fortune, and so marched off
with a light heart and a heavy purse.'  Afterwards, `to make
himself as miserable as he could, he turned poet, went to
Ireland, published a play or two, and shortly after he died very
poor, in 1703.'[139]

[139] _ubi supra._


This gambler was of low birth, his parents keeping an ordinary in
Holland, where he was born, as stated by the old chronicler, `in
the happy Revolution of 1688.'

His career is remarkable on account of his connection with Lady
Mary Mordaunt, wife of `the Duke of Norfolk, who, proving her
guilty of adultery, was divorced from her.  She then lived
publicly with Germain.'

This Germain was the first to introduce what was called the
_Spanish Whist_, stated to be `a mere bite, performed after this
manner:--Having a pack of cards, the four treys are privately
laid on the top of them, under them an ace, and next to that a
deuce; then, letting your adversary cut the cards, you do not
pack them, but deal all of them that are cut off, one at a time,
between you; then, taking up the other parcel of cards, you deal
more cards, giving yourself two treys and a deuce, and to
the other persons two treys and an ace, when, laying the
remainder of the cards down--wherein are allowed no trumps, but
only the highest cards win--so they are but of the same suit,
whilst you are playing, giving your antagonist all you can, as
though it is not in your power to prevent him.  You seem to fret,
and cry you have good _put-cards;_ he, having two treys and an
ace, will be apt to lay a wager with you that you cannot have
better than he; then you binding the wager, he soon sees his
mistake.  But in this trick you must observe to put the other
three deuces under yours when you deal.'

It seems that this Monsieur Germain is not only remarkable for
the above precious addition to human knowledge, but also on
account of his expertness at the game of _Ombre_, celebrated and
so elegantly described by Pope in his `Rape of the Lock.'

He appears to have lived with the Duchess of Norfolk ever after
the divorce; and he died a little after Lady Mary, in 1712, aged
46 years.[140]

[140] _ubi supra_.


This Irishman was born in Dublin, and was the son of a
respectable tradesman.  Falling into dissipated company, he soon
left the city to try his fortune in London, where he played very
deep and very successfully.

He threw away his gains as fast as he made them, chiefly among
the frail sisterhood, at a notorious house in those days, in the
Piazza, Covent Garden.  He frequented Carlisle House in Soho
Square, and was a proprietor of E O tables kept by a Dr Graham in
Pall Mall.

He had a rencontre, in consequence of a dispute at play, and was
wounded.  The meeting took place under the Piazza, and his
antagonist's sword struck a rib, which counteracted its dangerous

Soon afterwards he won L3000 from a young man just of age, who
made over to him a landed estate for the amount, and he was
shortly after admitted a member of the Jockey Club.

His fortune now changed, and falling into the hands of Old Pope,
the money-lender, he was not long before he had to transfer his
estate to him.

After many ups and downs he became an inmate of the
spunging-house of the infamous Scoldwell, who was afterwards
transported.  He actually used his prison as a gaming house, to
which his infatuated friends resorted; but his means failed, his
friends cooled, and he was removed `over the water,' from which
he was only released by the Insolvent Act, with a broken
constitution.  Arrest soon restored him to his old habitation, a
lock-up house, where he died so poor, a victim to grief, misery,
and disease, that he did not leave enough to pay for a coffin,
which was procured by his quondam friend, Mr Thornton, at whose
cost he was buried.  Perhaps more than half a million of money
had `passed through his hands.'


Andrews was reckoned so theoretically and practically perfect at
the game of Billiards that he had no equal except Abraham Carter,
who kept the tables at the corner of the Piazza, Russell Street,
Covent Garden.

He one night won of Colonel W----e about a thousand pounds; and
the Colonel appointed to meet him next day to transact for stock
accordingly.  Going in a hackney-coach to the Bank of England
for this purpose, they tossed up who should pay for the coach.
Andrews lost--and positively on this small beginning he was
excited to continue betting, until he lost the whole sum he had
won the night before!  When the coachman stopped he was ordered
to drive them back again, as they had no occasion to get out!

Thus, in a few years, Hazard and other games of chance stripped
him of his immense winnings at Billiards, and he had nothing left
but a small annuity, fortunately for him so settled that he could
not dispose of it--though he made every effort to do so!

He afterwards retired in the county of Kent, and was heard to
declare that he never knew contentment when wallowing in riches;
but that since he was compelled to live on a scanty pittance, he
was one of the happiest men in the world.


Whig Middleton was a tall, handsome, fashionable man, with an
adequate fortune.  He one night had a run of ill-luck at
Arthur's, and lost about a thousand guineas.  Lord Montford, in
the gaming phrase, asked him what he would do or what he
would not do, to get home?  `My lord,' said he, `prescribe your
own terms.'

`Then,' resumed Lord Montford, `dress directly opposite to the
fashion for ten years.  Will you agree to it?'  Middleton said
that he would, and kept his word.  Nay, he died nine years
afterwards so unfashionably that he did not owe a tradesman a
farthing--left some playing debts unliquidated, and his coat and
wig were of the cut of Queen Anne's reign.

Lord Montford is said to have died in a very different but quite
fashionable manner.


Captain Campbell, of the Guards, was a natural son of the Duke
of ----.  He lost a thousand guineas to a Shark, which he could
not pay.  Being questioned by the duke one day at dinner as to
the cause of his dejection, he reluctantly confessed the fact.
`Sir,' said his Grace, `you do not owe a farthing to the
blackguard.  My steward settled with him this morning for _TEN_
guineas, and he was glad to take them, only saying--"I was
damned far North, and it was well it was no worse." '


Wrothesly, Duke of Bedford, was the subject of a conspiracy at
Bath, formed by several first-rate sharpers, among whom were the
manager of a theatre, and Beau Nash, master of the ceremonies.
After being plundered of above L70,000 at Hazard, his Grace
rose in a passion, put the dice in his pocket, and intimated his
resolution to inspect them.  He then retired into another room,
and, flinging himself upon a sofa, fell asleep.

The winners, to escape disgrace, and obtain their money, cast
lots who should pick his pockets of the loaded dice, and
introduce fair ones in their place.  The lot fell on the manager
of the theatre, who performed his part without discovery.  The
duke inspected the dice when he awoke, and finding them correct,
renewed his party, and lost L30,000 more.

The conspirators had received L5000, but disagreed on its
division, and Beau Nash, thinking himself ill-used, divulged the
fact to his Grace, who saved thereby the remainder of the money.
He made Nash a handsome present, and ever after gave him his
countenance, supposing that the secret had been divulged through
pure friendship.


A similar anecdote is told of another gamester.  `The late Duke
of Norfolk,' says the author of `Rouge et Noir,' writing in 1823,
`in one evening lost the sum of L70,000 in a gaming house on
the right side of St James's Street: suspecting foul play, he put
the dice in his pocket, and, as was his custom when up late, took
a bed in the house.  The blacklegs were all dismayed, till one of
the worthies, who is believed to have been a principal in
poisoning the horses at Newmarket, for which Dan Dawson was
hanged, offered for L5000 to go to the duke's room with a
brace of pistols and a pair of dice, and, if the duke was awake,
to shoot him, if asleep to change the dice!  Fortunately for the
gang, the duke "snored," as the agent stated, "like a pig;"
the dice were changed.  His Grace had them broken in the morning,
when, finding them good, he paid the money, and left off

[141] Rouge et Noir; the Academicians of 1823.


A few weeks before General Ogle was to sail for India, he
constantly attended Paine's, in Charles Street, St James's
Square.  One evening there were before him two wooden bowls full
of gold, which held L1500 guineas each, and L4000 in
rouleaus, which he had won.

When the box came to him, he shook the dice and with great
coolness and pleasantry said--`Come, I'll either win or lose
seven thousand upon this hand.  Will any gentleman set on the
whole?  _SEVEN_ is the main.'  Then rattling the dice once more,
cast the box from him and quitted it, the dice remaining

Although the General did not think this too large a sum for one
man to risk at a single throw, the rest of the gentlemen did, and
for some time the bold gamester remained unset.

He then said--`Well, gentlemen, will you make it up amongst you?'

One set him 500 guineas, another 500.  `Come,' said he, `whilst
you are making up the money I'll tell you a story.'  Here he
began--but perceiving that he was at last completely set for the
cast, stopt short--laid his hand on the box, saying--`I believe I
am completely set, gentlemen?'  `Yes, sir, and Seven is the
main,' was the reply.  The General threw out, and lost!
Seven thousand guineas!

Then with astonishing coolness he took up his snuff-box and
smiling exclaimed--`Now, gentlemen, if you please, I'll finish my


There can be no doubt that Horace Walpole was an inveterate
gambler, although he managed to keep always afloat and merrily
sailing--for he says himself:--`A good lady last year was
delighted at my becoming peer, and said--"I hope you will get an
Act of Parliament for putting down Faro."  As if I could make
Acts of Parliament! and could I, it would be very consistent too
in me, who for some years played more at Faro than anybody.'[142]

[142] Letters, IX.


This extraordinary and still famous personage, better known as
the Duke of Queensberry, was the `observed of all observers'
almost from his boyhood to extreme old age.  His passions were
for women and the turf; and the sensual devotedness with which he
pursued the one, and the eccentricity which he displayed in the
enjoyment of both, added to the observation which he
attracted from his position as a man of high rank and princely
fortune, rendered him an object of unceasing curiosity.  He was
deeply versed in the mysteries of the turf, and in all practical
and theoretical knowledge connected with the race-course was
acknowledged to be the most accomplished adept of his own time.
He seems also to have been a skilful gamester and player of
billiards.  Writing to George Selwyn from Paris in 1763, he
says:--`I won the first day about L2000, of which I brought
off about L1500.  All things are exaggerated, I am supposed to
have won at least twice as much.'  In 1765 he is said to have won
two thousand louis of a German at billiards.  Writing to Selwyn,
Gilly Williams says of him:  `I did not know he was more an adept
at that game than you are at any other, but I think you are both
said to be losers on the whole, at least Betty says that her
letters mention you as pillaged.'

Among the numerous occasions on which the name of the Duke of
Queensberry came before the public in connection with sporting
matters, may be mentioned the circumstance of the following
curious trial, which took place before Lord Mansfield in the
Court of King's Bench, in 1771.  The Duke of Queensberry, then
Lord March, was the plaintiff, and a Mr Pigot the defendant.  The
object of this trial was to recover the sum of five hundred
guineas, being the amount of a wager laid by the duke With Mr
Pigot--whether Sir William Codrington or _OLD_ Mr Pigot should
die first.  It had singularly happened that Mr Pigot died
suddenly the _SAME MORNING_, of the gout in his head, but before
either of the parties interested in the result of the wager could
by any possibility have been made acquainted with the fact.  In
the contemporary accounts of the trial, the Duke of Queensberry
is mentioned as having been accommodated with a seat on the
bench; while Lord Ossory, and several other noblemen, were
examined on the merits of the case.  By the counsel for the
defendant it was argued that (as in the case of a horse dying
before the day on which he was to be run) the wager was invalid
and annulled.  Lord Mansfield, however, was of a different
opinion; and after a brief charge from that great lawyer, the
jury brought in a verdict for the plaintiff for five hundred
guineas, and he sentenced the defendant to defray the costs of
the suit.[143]

[143] Jesse, George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, vol. i. p.

This prince of debauchees seems to have surpassed every
model of the kind, ancient or modern.  In his prime he reproduced
in his own drawing-room the scene of Paris and the Goddesses,
exactly as we see it in classic pictures, three of the most
beautiful women of London representing the divinities as they
appeared to Paris on Mount Ida, while he himself, dressed as the
Dardan shepherd holding a _GILDED_ apple (it should have been
really golden) in his hand, conferred the prize on her whom he
deemed the fairest.  In his decrepit old age it was his custom,
in fine sunny weather, to seat himself in his balcony in
Piccadilly, where his figure was familiar to every person who was
in the habit of passing through that great thoroughfare.  Here
(his emaciated figure rendered the more conspicuous from his
custom of holding a parasol over his head) he was in the habit of
watching every attractive female form, and ogling every pretty
face that met his eye.  He is said, indeed, to have kept a pony
and a servant in constant readiness, in order to follow and
ascertain the residence of any fair girl whose attractions
particularly caught his fancy!  At this period the old man was
deaf with one ear, blind with one eye, nearly toothless, and
labouring under multiplied infirmities.  But the hideous
propensities of his prime still pursued him when all enjoyment
was impossible.  Can there be a greater penalty for unbridled


Mr Lumsden, whose inveterate love of gambling eventually caused
his ruin, was to be seen every day at Frascati's, the celebrated
gambling house kept by Mme Dunan, where some of the most
celebrated women of the _demi-monde_ usually congregated.  He was
a martyr to the gout, and his hands and knuckles were a mass of
chalk-stones.  He stuck to the _Rouge et Noir_ table until
everybody had left; and while playing would take from his pocket
a small slate, upon which he would rub his chalk-stones until
blood flowed.  `Having on one occasion been placed near him at
the _Rouge et Noir_ table, I ventured,' says Captain Gronow, `to
expostulate with him for rubbing his knuckles against his slate.
He coolly answered, "I feel relieved when I see the blood ooze
out." '

Mr Lumsden was remarkable for his courtly manners; but his
absence of mind was astonishing, for he would frequently ask
his neighbour _WHERE HE WAS_!  Crowds of men and women would
congregate behind his chair, to look at `the mad Englishman,' as
he was called; and his eccentricities used to amuse even the
croupiers.  After losing a large fortune at this den of iniquity,
Mr Lumsden encountered every evil of poverty, and died in a
wretched lodging in the Rue St Marc.[144]

[144] Gronow, _Last Recollections._


General Scott, the father-in-law of George Canning and the Duke
of Portland, was known to have won at White's L200,000, thanks
to his notorious sobriety and knowledge of the game of Whist.
The general possessed a great advantage over his companions by
avoiding those indulgences at the table which used to muddle
other men's brains.  He confined himself to dining off something
like a boiled chicken, with toast and water; by such a regimen he
came to the Whist table with a clear head; and possessing as he
did a remarkable memory, with great coolness of judgment, he was
able honestly to win the enormous sum of L200,000.


Richard Bennet had gone through every walk of a blackleg, from
being a billiard sharper at a table in Bell Alley until he became
a keeper or partner in all the `hells' in St James's.  In each
stage of his journey he had contrived to have so much the better
of his competitors, that he was enabled to live well, to bring up
and educate a large legitimate family, and to gratify all his
passions and sensuality.  But besides all this, he accumulated an
ample fortune, which this inveterate gamester did actually
possess when the terriers of justice overtook and hunted him into
the custody of the Marshal of the Court of Queen's Bench.  Here
he was sentenced to be imprisoned a certain time, on distinct
indictments, for keeping different gaming houses, and was ordered
to be kept in custody until he had also paid fines to the amount,
we believe, of L4000.  Bennet, however, after undergoing the
imprisonment, managed to get himself discharged without paying
the fines.


Dennis O'Kelly was the Napoleon of the turf and the gaming
table.  Ascot was his elysium.  His horses occupied him by day
and the Hazard table by night.  At the latter one night he was
seen repeatedly turning over a _QUIRE OF BANK NOTES_, and a
gentleman asked him what he was looking for, when he replied, `I
am looking for a _LITTLE ONE_.'  The inquirer said he could
accommodate him, and desired to know for what sum.  Dennis
O'Kelly answered, `I want a FIFTY, or something of _THAT SORT_,
just to set the _CASTER_.  At this moment it was supposed he had
seven or eight _THOUSAND_ pounds in notes in his hand, but not
one for less than a _HUNDRED!_

Dennis O'Kelly always threw with great success; and when he held
the box he was seldom known to refuse throwing for _ANY SUM_
that the company chose to set him.  He was always liberal in
_SETTING THE CASTER_, and preventing a stagnation of trade at
the _TABLE_, which, from the great property always about him, it
was his good fortune very frequently to deprive of its last
floating guinea, when the box of course became dormant for want
of a single adventurer.

It was his custom to carry a great number of bank notes in his
waistcoat pocket, twisted up together, with the greatest
indifference; and on one occasion, in his attendance at a Hazard
table at Windsor, during the races, being a _STANDING_ better
and every chair full, a person's hand was observed, by those on
the opposite side of the table, just in the act of drawing two
notes out of his pocket.  The alarm was given, and the hand, from
the person behind, was instantly withdrawn, and the notes left
sticking out.  The company became clamorous for taking the
offender before a magistrate, and many attempted to secure him
for the purpose; but Captain Dennis O'Kelly very philosophically
seized him by the collar, kicked him down-stairs, and exultingly
exclaimed, `'Twas a _SUFFICIENT PUNISHMENT_ to be deprived of
the pleasure of keeping company with _JONTLEMEN_.'

A bet for a large sum was once proposed to this `Admirable
Crichton' of the turf and the gaming table, and accepted.  The
proposer asked O'Kelly where lay his _ESTATES_ to answer for the
amount if he lost?'  `My estates!' cried O'Kelly.  `Oh, if that's
what you _MANE_, I've a _MAP_ of them here'--and opening his
pocket-book he exhibited bank notes to _TEN TIMES_ the sum in
question, and ultimately added the _INQUIRER'S_ contribution to

Such was the wonderful son of Erin, `Captain' or `Colonel'
Dennis O'Kelly.  One would like to know what ultimately became of


Jack Tether, Bob W--r, Tom H--ll, Captain O'Kelly, and others,
spent with Dick England a great part of the plunder of poor
Clutterbuck, a clerk of the Bank of England, who not only lost
his all, but robbed the Bank of an immense sum to pay his `debts
of honour.'

A Mr B--, a Yorkshire gentleman, proposed to his brother-in-law,
who was with him, to put down ten pounds each and try their luck
at the `Hell' kept by `the Clerks of the Minster,' in the Minster
Yard, next the Church.  It was the race-week.  There were about
thirteen Greeks there, Dick England at their head.  Mr B-- put
down L10.  England then called `Seven the main--if seven or
eleven is thrown next, the Caster wins.'  Of course Dick intended
to win; but he blundered in his operation; he _LANDED_ at six
and the other did not answer his hopes.  Yet, with matchless
effrontery, he swore he had called _SIX_ and not seven; and as
it was referred to the majority of the goodly company,
thirteen _HONEST GENTLEMEN_ gave it in Dick England's
favour, and with him divided the spoil.

A Mr D--, a gentleman of considerable landed property in the
North, proposed passing a few days at Scarborough.  Dick England
saw his carriage enter the town, and contrived to get into his
company and go with him to the rooms.  When the assembly was
over, he prevailed on Mr D-- to sup with him.  After supper Mr
D-- was completely intoxicated, and every effort to make him play
was tried in vain.

This was, of course, very provoking; but still something must be
done, and a very clever scheme they hit upon to try and `do' this
`young man from the country.'  Dick England and two of his
associates played for five minutes, and then each of them marked
a card as follows:--`D-- owes me one hundred guineas,' `D-- owes
me eighty guineas;' but Dick marked _HIS_ card--`I owe D--
thirty guineas.'

The next day, Mr D-- met Dick England on the cliff and apologized
for his excess the night before, hoping he had given no offence
`when drunk and incapable.'  Having satisfied the gentleman on
this point, Dick England presented him with a thirty-guinea
note, which, in spite of contradiction, remonstrance, and denial
of any play having taken place, he forced on Mr D-- as his _FAIR
WINNING_--adding that he had paid hundreds to gentlemen in
liquor, who knew nothing of it till he had produced the account.
Of course Mr D-- could not help congratulating himself at having
fallen in with a perfect gentleman, as well as consoling himself
for any head-ache or other inconvenience resulting from his
night's potation.  They parted with gushing civilities between

Soon afterwards, however, two other gentlemen came up to Mr D--,
whom the latter had some vague recollection of having seen the
evening before, in company with Dick England; and at length, from
what the two gentlemen said, he had no doubt of the fact, and
thought it a fit opportunity to make a due acknowledgment of the
gentlemanly conduct of their friend, who had paid him a bet which
he had no remembrance of having made.

No mood could be better for the purpose of the meeting; so the
two gentlemen not only approved of the conduct of Dick, and
descanted on the propriety of paying drunken men what they won,
but also declared that no _GENTLEMAN_ would refuse to pay a
debt of honour won from him when drunk; and at once begged
leave to `remind' Mr D-- that he had lost to them 180 guineas!
In vain the astounded Mr D-- denied all knowledge of the
transaction; the gentlemen affected to be highly indignant, and
talked loudly of injured honour.  Besides, had he not received 30
guineas from their friend?  So he assented, and appointed the
next morning to settle the matter.

Fortunately for Mr D--, however, some intelligent friends of his
arrived in the mean time, and having heard his statement about
the whole affair, they `smelt a rat,' and determined to ferret it
out.  They examined the waiter--previously handing him over five
guineas--and this man declared the truth that Mr D-- did not play
at all--in fact, that he was in such a condition that there could
not be any real play.  Dick England was therefore `blown' on this
occasion.  Mr D-- returned him his thirty guineas, and paid five
guineas for his share of the supper; and well he might,
considering that it very nearly cost him 150 guineas--that is,
having to receive 30 guineas and to pay 180 guineas to the
Greeks--profit and loss with a vengeance.

Being thus `blown' at Scarborough, Dick England and his
associates decamped on the following morning.

He next formed a connection with a lieutenant on half pay, nephew
to an Irish earl.  With this lieutenant he went to Spa, and
realized something considerable; but not without suspicion--for a
few dice were missed.

Dick England returned to London, where he shortly disagreed with
the lieutenant.  The latter joined the worthy before described,
Captain O'Kelly, who was also at enmity with Dick England; and
the latter took an opportunity of knocking their heads together
in a public coffee-room, and thrashing them both till they took
shelter under the tables.  Dick had the strength of an ox, the
ferocity of a bull-dog, and `the cunning of the serpent,'
although what the latter is no naturalist has ever yet discovered
or explained.

The lieutenant determined on revenge for the thrashing.  He had
joined his regiment, and he `peached' against his former friend,
disclosing to the officers the circumstance of the dice at Spa,
before mentioned; and, of course, upset all the designs of Dick
England and his associates.  This enraged all the blacklegs; a
combination was formed against the lieutenant; and he was
shot through the head by `a brother officer,' who belonged to the

The son of an earl lost forty thousand pounds in play to Dick
England; and shot himself at Stacie's Hotel in consequence--the
very night before his honourable father sent his steward to pay
the `debt of honour' in full--though aware that his son had been
cheated out of it.

But the most extraordinary `pass' of Dick England's career is
still to be related--not without points in it which make it
difficult to believe, in spite of the evidence, that it is the
same `party' who was concerned in it.  Here it is.

In the _Gentleman's Magazine_, in Gilchrist's Collection of
British Duels, in Dr Millingen's reproduction of the latter, the
following account occurs:--

`Mr Richard England was put to the bar at the Old Bailey, charged
with the "wilful murder" of Mr Rowlls, brewer, of Kingston, in
a duel at Cranford-bridge, June 18, 1784.

`Lord Derby, the first witness, gave evidence that he was present
at Ascot races.  When in the stand upon the race-course, he heard
Mr England cautioning the gentlemen present not to bet with
the deceased, as he neither paid what he lost nor what he
borrowed.  On which Mr Rowlls went up to him, called him rascal
or scoundrel, and offered to strike him; when Mr England bid him
stand off, or he would be obliged to knock him down; saying, at
the same time--"We have interrupted the company sufficiently
here, and if you have anything further to say to me, you know
where I am to be found."  A further altercation ensued; but his
Lordship being at the other end of the stand, did not distinctly
hear it, and then the parties retired.

`Lord Dartrey, afterwards Lord Cremorne, and his lady, with a
gentleman, were at the inn at the time the duel was fought.  They
went into the garden and endeavoured to prevent the duel; several
other persons were collected in the garden.  Mr Rowlls desired
his Lordship and others not to interfere; and on a second attempt
of his Lordship to make peace, Mr Rowlls said, if they did not
retire, he must, though reluctantly, call them impertinent.  Mr
England at the same time stepped forward, and took off his hat;
he said--"Gentlemen, I have been cruelly treated; I have been
injured in my honour and character; let reparation be made, and I
am ready to have done this moment."  Lady Dartrey retired.
His Lordship stood in the bower of the garden until he saw Mr
Rowlls fall.  One or two witnesses were called, who proved
nothing material.  A paper, containing the prisoner's defence,
being read, _the Earl of Derby, the Marquis of Hertford, Sir
Whitbread, jun., Colonel Bishopp, and other gentlemen_, were
called to his character.  They all spoke of him as a man of
_decent gentlemanly deportment_, who, instead of seeking
quarrels, was studious to avoid them.  He had been friendly to
Englishmen while abroad, and had rendered some service to the
military at the siege of Newport.

`Mr Justice Rooke summoned up the evidence; after which the jury
retired for about three quarters of an hour, when they returned a
verdict of "manslaughter."

`The prisoner having fled from the laws of his country for twelve
years, the Court was disposed to show no lenity.  He was
therefore sentenced to pay a fine of one shilling, and be
imprisoned in Newgate twelve months.'

This trial took place in the year 1796, and the facts in evidence
give a strange picture of the times.  A duel actually fought in
the garden of an inn, a noble lord close by in a bower therein,
and his lady certainly within _HEARING_ of the shots, and
doubtless a spectator of the bloody spectacle.  But this is not
the point,--the incomprehensible point,--to which I have
alluded--which is, how Lord Derby and the other gentlemen of the
highest standing could come forward to speak to the character of
_DICK ENGLAND_, if he was the same man who killed the
unfortunate brewer of Kingston?

Here is _ANOTHER_ account of the matter, which warrants the
doubt, although it is fearfully circumstantial, as to the certain

`Mr William Peter le Rowles, of Kingston, brewer, was habitually
fond of play.  On one occasion he was induced--when in a state of
intoxication--to play with Dick England, who claimed, in
consequence, winnings to the amount of two hundred guineas.  Mr
le Rowles utterly denied the debt, and was in consequence pursued
by England until he was compelled to a duel, in which Mr le
Rowles fell.  Lord Dartrey, afterwards Lord Cremorne, was present
at Ascot Heath races on the fatal occasion, which happened in
1784; and his evidence before the coroner's inquest produced a
verdict of wilful murder against Dick England, who fled at
the time, but returned twelve years afterwards, was tried, and
found guilty of manslaughter only.  He was imprisoned for twelve
months.  England was strongly suspected of highway robberies;
particularly on one occasion, when his associate, F--, was shot
dead by Col. P-- on his return from the Curragh races to the town
of Naas.  The Marquis of Hertford, Lords Derby and Cremorne,
Colonels Bishopp and Wollaston, and Messrs Whitbread, Breton,
&c., were evidences in the trial.'[145]

[145] _The Gaming Calendar_, by Seymour Harcourt.

It may seem strange that such a man as Dick England could procure
such distinguished `witnesses to character.'  The thing is easily
explained, however.  They knew the man only as a turf companion.
We can come to no other conclusion,--remembering other instances
of the kind.  For example, the case of Palmer, convicted for the
poisoning of Cooke.  Had Palmer been on his trial merely for
fighting a fatal duel; there can be no doubt that several
noblemen would have come forward to give him a good character.  I
was present at his trial, and saw him _BOW TO ONE, AT LEAST, OF
OUR MOST DISTINGUISHED NOBLEMEN_ when the latter took his
seat near the judge, at the trial.  There was a _TURF
ACQUAINTANCESHIP_ between them, and, of course, all
`acquaintanceship' may be presumed upon, if we lay ourselves open
to the degradation.

The following is a curious case in point.  A gentleman of the
highest standing and greatest respectability was accosted by a
stranger to whom he said--`Sir, you have the advantage of me.'
`Oh!' rejoined the former, `don't you remember when we used to
meet at certain parties at Bath many years ago?'  `Well, sir,'
exclaimed the gentleman, `you may speak to me should you ever
again meet me at certain parties at Bath, but nowhere else.'


This famous gamester died in 1792, by a cold caught in `a round-
house,' or place of detention, to which he had been taken by
Justice Hyde, from a gaming table.

When too ill to rise out of his chair, he would be carried in
that chair to the Hazard table.

He was supposed to have been the utter ruin of above forty
persons at play.  He fought eleven duels.


The Duc de Mirefois was ambassador at the British Court, and was
extremely fond of chess.  A reverend gentleman being nearly his
equal, they frequently played together.  At that time the
clergyman kept a petty day-school in a small village, and had a
living of not more than twenty pounds a-year.  The French
nobleman made uncommon interest with a noble duke, through whose
favour he obtained for his reverend protege a living of
about L600 per annum--an odd way of obtaining the `cure of


`Some years since I was lieutenant in a regiment, which the alarm
and policy of administration occasioned to be quartered in the
vicinity of the metropolis, where I was for the first time.  A
young nobleman of very distinguished family undertook to be my
conductor.  Alas! to what scenes did he introduce me!  To places
of debauchery and dens of destruction.  I need not detail
particulars.  From the lures of the courtesan we went to an
adjoining gaming room.  Though I thought my knowledge of
cards superior to those I saw play that night, I touched no card
nor dice.  From this my conductor, a brother officer, and myself
adjourned to Pall Mall.  We returned to our lodgings about six
o'clock in the morning.

`I could think of nothing but Faro's magic centre, and longed for
the next evening, when I determined to enter that path which has
led so many to infamy, beggary, and suicide.  I began cautiously,
and for some time had reason to be satisfied with my success.  It
enabled me to live expensively.  I made golden calculations of my
future fortune as I improved in skill.  My manuals were treatises
on gaming and chances, and no man understood this doctrine better
than I did.  I, however, did not calculate the disparity of
resisting powers--my purse with _FIFTY_ guineas, and the Faro
bank with a hundred thousand.  It was ruin only which opened my
eyes to this truism at last.

`Good meats, good cooking, and good wines, given gratis and
plenteously, at these houses, drew many to them at first, for the
sake of the society.  Among them I one evening chanced to see a
clerical prig, who was incumbent of a parish adjoining that
in which my mother lived.  I was intoxicated with wine and
pleasure, when I, on this occasion, entered a haunt of ruin and
enterprising avarice in Pall Mall.  I played high and lost in

`The spirit of adventure was now growing on me every day.  I was
sometimes very successful.  Yet my health was impaired, and my
temper soured by the alternation of good and bad fortune, and my
pity or contempt for those with whom I associated.  From the
nobleman, whose acres were nightly melting in the dice box, there
were adventurers even to the _UNFLEDGED APPRENTICE_, who came
with the pillage of his unsuspecting master's till, to swell the
guilty bank of Dame N-- and Co.  Were the Commissioners of
Bankruptcy to know how many citizens are prepared for them at
those houses, they would be bound to thank them.

`Many a score of guineas have I won of tradesmen, who seemed only
to turn an honest penny in Leadenhall Street, Aldgate, Birchin
Lane, Cornhill, Cheapside, Holborn, the Borough, and other
eastern spots of industry; but I fleeced them only for the
benefit of the Faro bank, which is sure, finally, to absorb the
gain of all.  Some of the croupiers would call their gold
_GIFTS OF THE WISE MEN OF THE EAST;_ others termed their guineas

`One night I had such a run of luck in the Hazard room, which was
rather thinly attended, that I won everything, and with my load
of treasure collected from the East and West, nay, probably, some
of it from _Finchley Common_ and _Hounslow Heath_, I went, in
the flush of success, to attack the Faro bank.

`It was my determination, however, if fortune favoured me through
the night, never to tempt her more.  For some hours I proceeded
in the torture of suspense, alternately agitated by hope and
fear--but by five o'clock in the morning I attained a state of
certainty similar to that of a wretch ushered into the regions of
the damned.  I had lost L3500 guineas, which I had brought
with me from the Hazard table, together with L2000 which the
bank advanced me on my credit.  There they stopped; and, with an
apathy peculiar to themselves, listened to a torrent of puerile
abuse which I vented against them in my despair.

`Two days and two nights I shut myself up, to indulge in the most
racking reflections.  I was ruined beyond repair, and I had,
on the third morning, worked myself up to resort for relief to a
loaded pistol.  I rang for my servant to bring me some gunpowder,
and was debating with myself whether to direct its force to my
brain or my heart, when he entered with a letter.  It was from
Harriet ----.  She had heard of my misfortunes, and urged me with
the soul and pen of a heroine, to fly the destructive habits of
the town, and to wait for nine months, when her minority would
expire, and she would come into the uncontrolled possession of
L1700.  With that small sum she hoped my expenses, talents,
and domestic comfort, under her housewifery, would create a state
of happiness and independence which millions could not procure in
the mad career which I had pursued.

`This was the voice of a guardian angel in the moment of despair.
In her next, at my request, she informed me that the channel of
her early and minute information was the clerical prig, her
neighbour and admirer, who was related to one of the croupiers
at ----, and had from him a regular detail of my proceedings.

`Soothed by the magic influence of my virtuous Harriet,
instead of calling the croupier to account, I wrote to the
proprietors of the bank, stating my ruined condition, and my
readiness to sell my commission and pay them what I could.  These
gentlemen have friends in every department.  They completed the
transfer of my lieutenancy in two days, and then, in their
superabundant humanity, offered me the place of croupier in an
inferior house which they kept near Hanover Square.  This offer I
declined; and after having paid my tradesman's bill, I left
London with only eleven guineas in my pocket.  I married the best
of women, my preserver, and have ever since lived in real comfort
and happiness, on an income less than one hundred pounds a year.'


A stranger plainly dressed took his seat at a Faro table, when
the bank was richer than usual.  After some little routine play,
he challenged the bank, and tossed his pocket-book to the banker
that he might be satisfied of his responsibility.  It was found
to contain bills to an immense amount; and on the banker showing
reluctance to accept the challenge, the stranger sternly demanded
compliance with the laws of the game.  The card soon turned
up which decided the ruin of the banker.  `Heaven!' exclaimed an
old infirm Austrian officer, who had sat next to the stranger--
`the twentieth part of your gains would make me the happiest man
in the universe!'  The stranger briskly answered--`You shall have
it, then;' and quitted the room.  A servant speedily returned,
and presented the officer with the twentieth part of the bank,
adding--`My master requires no answer, sir,' and went out.  The
successful stranger was soon recognized to be the great King of
Prussia in disguise.



If we are to believe Pere Menestrier, the institution of
Lotteries is to be found in the Bible, in the words--`The _LOT_
causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty,'
Prov. xviii. 18.  Be that as it may, it is certain that lotteries
were in use among the ancient Romans, taking place during the
_Saturnalia_, or festivities in honour of the god Saturn, when
those who took part in them received a numbered ticket, which
entitled the bearer to a prize.  During the reign of Augustus the
thing became a means of gratifying the cupidity of his courtiers;
and Nero used it as the method of distributing his gifts to the
people,--granting as many as a thousand tickets a day, some of
them entitling the bearers to slaves, ships, houses, and
lands.  Domitian compelled the senators and knights to
participate in the lotteries, in order to debase them; and
Heliogabalus, in his fantastic festivities, distributed tickets
which entitled the bearers to camels, flies, and other odd things
suggested by his madness.  In all this, however, the distinctive
character of modern lotteries was totally absent: the tickets
were always gratuitous; so that if the people did not win
anything, they never lost.

In the Middle Ages the same practice prevailed at the banquets of
feudal princes, who apportioned their presents economically, and
without the fear of exciting jealousy among the recipients, by
granting lottery tickets indiscriminately to their friends.  The
practice afterwards descended to the merchants; and in Italy,
during the 16th century, it became a favourite mode of disposing
of their wares.

The application of lotteries by paid tickets to the service of
the state is said to have originated at Florence, under the name
of `Lotto,' in 1530; others say at Genoa, under the following
circumstances:--It had long been customary in the latter city to
choose annually, by ballot, five members of the Senate (composed
of 90 persons) in order to form a particular council.  Some
persons took this opportunity of laying bets that the lot would
fall on such or such senators.  The government, seeing with what
eagerness the people interested themselves in these bets,
conceived the idea of establishing a lottery on the same
principle, which was attended with such great success, that all
the cities of Italy wished to participate in it, and sent large
sums of money to Genoa for that purpose.

To increase the revenues of the Church, the Pope also was induced
to establish a lottery at Rome; the inhabitants of which place
became so fond of this species of gambling, that they often
deprived themselves and their families of the necessaries of
life, that they might have money to lay out in this speculation.

The French borrowed the idea from the Italians.  In the year
1520, under Francis I., lotteries were permitted by edict under
the name of _Blanques_, from the Italian _bianca carta_, `white
tickets,'-- because all the losing tickets were considered
_BLANKS;_--hence the introduction of the word into common talk,
with a similar meaning.  From the year 1539 the state derived a
revenue from the lotteries, although from 1563 to 1609 the French
parliament repeatedly endeavoured to suppress them as social
evils.  At the marriage of Louis XIV. a lottery was organized to
distribute the royal presents to the people--after the fashion of
the Roman emperor.  Lotteries were multiplied during this reign
and that of Louis XV.  In 1776 the Royal Lottery of France was
established.  This was abolished in 1793, re-established at the
commencement of the Republic; but finally all lotteries were
prohibited by law in 1836,--excepting `for benevolent purposes.'
One of the most remarkable of these lotteries `for benevolent
purposes' was the `Lottery of the Gold Lingots,' authorized in
1849, to favour emigration to California.  In this lottery the
grand prize was a lingot of gold valued at about L1700.

The old French lottery consisted of 90 numbers, that is, from No.
1 to No. 90, and the drawing was five numbers at a time.  Five
wheels were established at Paris, Lyons, Strasbourg, Bordeaus,
and Lille.  A drawing took place every ten days at each city.
The exit of a single number was called _extrait_, and it won 15
times the amount deposited, and 70 times if the number was
determined; the exit of two numbers was called the _ambe_,
winning 270 times the deposit, and 5100 times if the number was
determined;--the exit of three numbers was called the _terne_,
winning 5500 times; the _quaterne_, or exit of four numbers, won
75,000 times the deposit.  In all this, however, the chances were
greatly in favour of the state banker;--in the _extrait_ the
chances were 18 to 15 in his favour, vastly increasing, of
course, in the remainder; thus in the _ambe_ it was 1602 against
270; and so on.

The first English lottery mentioned in history was drawn in the
year 1569.  It consisted of 400,000 lots, at 10_s_. each lot.
The prizes were plate; and the profits were to go towards
repairing the havens or ports of this kingdom.  It was drawn at
the west door of St Paul's Cathedral.  The drawing began on the
10th of January, 1569, and continued incessantly, _DAY AND
NIGHT_, till the 6th of May following.[146]  Another lottery was
held at the same place in 1612, King James having permitted it in
favour of `the plantation of English colonies in Virginia.'  One
Thomas Sharplys, a tailor of London, won the chief prize, which
was `4000 crowns in fair plate.'

[146] The printed scheme of this lottery is still in the
possession of the Antiquarian Society of London.

In 1680, a lottery was granted to supply London with water.
At the end of the 17th century, the government being in want of
money to carry on the war, resorted to a lottery, and
L1,200,000 was set apart or _NAMED_ for the purpose.  The
tickets were all disposed of in less than six months, friends and
enemies joining in the speculation.  It was a great success; and
when right-minded people murmured at the impropriety of the
thing, they were told to hold their tongues, and assured that
this lottery was the very queen of lotteries, and that it had
just taken Namur![147]

[147] This town was captured in 1695, by William III.

At the same time the Dutch gave in to the infatuation with the
utmost enthusiasm; lotteries were established all over Holland;
and learned professors and ministers of the gospel spoke of
nothing else but the lottery to their pupils and hearers.

From this time forward the spirit of gambling increased so
rapidly and grew so strong in England, that in the reign of Queen
Anne private lotteries had to be suppressed as public nuisances.

The first _parliamentary_ lottery was instituted in 1709,
and from this period till 1824 the passing of a lottery bill was
in the programme of every session.  Up to the close of the 18th
century the prizes were generally paid in the form of terminable,
and sometimes of perpetual, annuities.  Loans were also raised by
granting a bonus of lottery tickets to all who subscribed a
certain amount.

This gambling of annuities, despite the restrictions of an act
passed in 1793, soon led to an appalling amount of vice and
misery; and in 1808, a committee of the House of Commons urged
the suppression of this ruinous mode of filling the national
exchequer.  The last public lottery in Great Britain was drawn in
October, 1826.

The lotteries exerted a most baneful influence on trade, by
relaxing the sinews of industry and fostering the destructive
spirit of gaming among all orders of men.  Nor was that all.  The
stream of this evil was immensely swelled and polluted, in open
defiance of the law, by a set of artful and designing men, who
were ever on the watch to allure and draw in the ignorant and
unwary by the various modes and artifices of `_insurance_,' which
were all most flagrant and gross impositions on the public, as
well as a direct violation of the law.  One of the most
common and notorious of these schemes was the insuring of numbers
for the next day's drawing, at a _premium_ which (if legal) was
much greater than adequate to the risk.  Thus, in 1778, when the
just premium of the lottery was only 7_s_. 6_d_., the office-
keepers charged 9_s_., which was a certain gain of nearly 30 per
cent.; and they aggravated the fraud as the drawing advanced.

On the sixteenth day of drawing the just premium was not quite
20_s_., whereas the office-keepers charged L1 4_s_. 6_d_.,
which clearly shows the great disadvantage that every person
laboured under who was imprudent enough to be concerned in the
insurance of numbers.[148]

[148] Public Ledger, Dec. 3, 1778.

In every country where lotteries were in operation numbers were
ruined at the close of each drawing, and of these not a few
sought an oblivion of their folly ill self-murder--by the rope,
the razor, or the river.

A more than usual number of adventurers were said to have been
ruined in the lottery of 1788, owing to the several prizes
continuing long in the wheel (which gave occasion to much
gambling), and also to the desperate state of certain branches
of trade, caused by numerous and important bankruptcies.
The suicides increased in proportion.  Among them one person made
herself remarkable by a thoughtful provision to prevent
disappointment.  A woman, who had scraped everything together to
put into the lottery, and who found herself ruined at its close,
fixed a rope to a beam of sufficient strength; but lest there
should be any accidental failure in the beam or rope, she placed
a large tub of water underneath, that she might drop into it; and
near her also were two razors on a table ready to be used, if
hanging or drowning should prove ineffectual.

A writer of the time gives the following account of the
excitement that prevailed during the drawing of the lottery:--
`Indeed, whoever wishes to know what are the "blessings" of a
lottery, should often visit Guildhall during the time of its
drawing,--when he will see thousands of workmen, servants,
clerks, apprentices, passing and repassing, with looks full of
suspense and anxiety, and who are stealing at least from their
master's time, if they have not many of them also robbed him of
his property, in order to enable them to become adventurers.  In
the next place, at the end of the drawing, let our observer
direct his steps to the shops of the pawnbrokers, and view, as he
may, the stock, furniture, and clothes of many hundred poor
families, servants, and others, who have been ruined by the
lottery.  If he wish for further satisfaction, let him attend at
the next Old Bailey Sessions, and hear the death-warrant of many
a luckless gambler in lotteries, who has been guilty of
subsequent theft and forgery; or if he seek more proof, let him
attend to the numerous and horrid scenes of self-murder, which
are known to accompany the closing of the wheels of fortune each
year:[149] and then let him determine on "the wisdom and
policy" of lotteries in a commercial city.'

[149] A case is mentioned of two servants who, having lost their
all in lotteries, robbed their master; and in order to prevent
being seized and hanged in public, murdered themselves in

The capital prizes were so large that they excited the eagerness
of hope; but the sum secured by the government was small when
compared with the infinite mischief it occasioned.  On opening
the budget of 1788, the minister observed in the House of
Commons, `that the bargain he had this year for the lottery was
so very good for the public, that it would produce a gain of
L270,000, from which he would deduct L12,000 for the
expenses of drawing, &c., and then there would remain a net
produce of L258,000.'  This result, therefore, was deemed
extraordinary; but what was that to the extraordinary mischief
done to the community by the authorization of excessive gambling!

Some curious facts are on record relating to the lotteries.

Until the year 1800 the drawing of the lottery (which usually
consisted of 60,000 tickets for England alone) occupied forty-two
days in succession; it was, therefore, about forty-two to one
against any particular number being drawn the first day; if it
remained in the wheel, it was forty-one to one against its being
drawn on the second, &;c.; the adventurer, therefore, who could
for eight-pence insure the return of a guinea, if a given number
came up the first day, would naturally be led, if he failed, to a
small increase of the deposit according to the decrease of the
chance against him, until his number was drawn, or the person who
took the insurance money would take it no longer.

In the inquiry respecting the mendicity of London, in 1815, Mr
Wakefield declared his opinion that the lottery was a cause of
mendicity; and related an instance--the case of an
industrious man who applied to the Committee of Spitalfields Soup
Society for relief; and when, on being asked his profession, said
he was a `_Translator_'--which, when _TRANSLATED_, signifies, it
seems, the art of converting old boots and shoes into wearable
ones; `but the lottery is about to draw, and,' says he, `I have
no sale for boots or shoes during the time that the lottery
draws'--the money of his customers being spent in the purchase of
tickets, or the payment of `insurances.'  The `translator' may
have been mistaken as to the cause of his trade falling off; but
there can be no doubt that the system of the lottery-drawing was
a very infatuating mode of gambling, as the passion was kept
alive from day to day; and though, perhaps, it did not create
mendicity, yet it mainly contributed, with the gin-shops, night-
cellars, obscure gambling houses, and places of amusement, to
fill the _PAWNBROKERS_' shops, and diminish the profits of the
worthy `translator of old shoes.'[150]

[150]  This term is still in use.  I recently asked one of
the craft if he called himself a translator.  `Yes, sir, not of
languages, but old boots and shoes,' was the reply.

This reasoning, however, is very uncertain.

The sixteenth of a lottery ticket, which is the smallest
share that can be purchased, has not for many years been sold
under thirty shillings, a sum much too large for a person who
buys old shoes `translated,' and even for the `translator'
himself, to advance; we may therefore safely conclude that the
purchase of tickets is not the mode of gambling by which
Crispin's customers are brought to distress.

A great number of foreign lotteries still exist in vigorous
operation.  Some are supported by the state, and others are only
authorized; most of them are flourishing.  In Germany,
especially, lotteries are abundant; immense properties are
disposed of by this method.  The `bank' gains, of course,
enormously; and, also of course, a great deal of trickery and
swindling, or something like it, is perpetrated.

Foreign lottery tickets are now and then illegally offered in
England.  A few years ago there appeared an advertisement in the
papers, offering a considerable income for the payment of one or
two pounds.  Upon inquiry it was found to be the agency of a
foreign lottery!  These tempting offers of advertising
speculators are a cruel addition to the miseries of

The Hamburg lottery seems to afford the most favourable
representation of the system--as such--because in it all the
money raised by the sale of tickets is redistributed in the
drawing of the lots, with the exception of 10 per cent. deducted
in expenses and otherwise; but nothing can compensate for the
pernicious effects of the spirit of gambling which is fostered by
lotteries, however fairly conducted.  They are an unmitigated

In the United States lotteries were established by Congress in
1776, but, save in the Southern States, heavy penalties are now
imposed on persons attempting to establish them.

I need scarcely say that lotteries, whether foreign or British,
are utterly forbidden by law, excepting those of Art Unions.  The
operations of these associations were indeed suspended in 1811;
but in the following year an act indemnified those who embarked
in them for losses which they had incurred by the arrest of their
proceedings; and since that time they have been _TOLERATED_
under the eye of the law without any express statute being framed
for their exemption.  It is thought, however, that they tend to
keep up the spirit of gambling, and therefore ought not to
be allowed even on the specious plea of favouring `art.'

_PRIVATE_ lotteries are now illegal at Common Law in Great
Britain and Ireland; and penalties are also incurred by the
advertisers of _FOREIGN_ lotteries.  Some years ago it became
common in Scotland to dispose of merchandise by means of
lotteries; but this is specially condemned in the statute 42 Geo.
III. c. 119.  An evasion of the law has been attempted by
affixing a prize to every ticket, so as to make the transaction
resemble a legal sale; but this has been punished as a fraud,
even where it could be proved that the prize equalled in value
the price of the ticket.  The decision rested upon the plea that
in such a transaction there was no definite sale of a specific
article.  Even the lotteries; for Twelfth Cakes, &c., are
illegal, and render their conductors liable to the penalties of
the law.  Decisive action has been taken on this law, and the
usual Christmas lotteries have been this year (1870) rigorously
prohibited throughout the country.  It is impossible to doubt the
soundness of the policy that strives to check the spirit of
gambling among the people; but still there may be some truth in
the following remarks which appeared on the subject, in a
leading journal:--

`We hear that the police have received directions to caution the
promoters of lotteries for the distribution of game, wine,
spirits, and other articles of this description, that these
schemes are illegal, and that the offenders will be prosecuted.
These attempts to enforce rigidly the provisions of the 10 and 11
William III., c. 17, 42 George III., c. 119, and to check the
spirit of speculation which pervades so many classes in this
country may possibly be successful, but as a mere question of
morality there can be no doubt that Derby lotteries, and, in
fact, all speculations on the turf or Stock Exchange, are open to
quite as much animadversion as the Christmas lotteries for a
little pig or an aged goose, which it appears are to be
suppressed in future.  Is it not also questionable policy to
enforce every law merely because it is a law, unless its breach
is productive of serious evil to the community?  If every old Act
of Parliament is rummaged out and brought to bear upon us, we
fear we shall find ourselves in rather an uncomfortable position.

We cannot say whether or not the harm produced by these humble
lotteries is sufficient to render their forcible suppression
a matter of necessity.  They certainly do produce an amount of
indigestion which of itself must be no small penalty to pay for
those whose misfortune it is to win the luxuries raffled for, but
we never yet heard of any one being ruined by raffling for a pig
or goose; and if our Government is going to be paternal and look
after our pocket-money, we hope it will also be maternal and take
some little interest in our health.  The sanitary laws require
putting into operation quite as much as the laws against public-
house lotteries and skittles.'

No `extenuating circumstances,' however, can be admitted
respecting the notorious racing lotteries, in spite of the small
figure of the tickets; nay this rather aggravates the danger,
being a temptation to the thoughtless multitude.  One of these
lotteries, called the Deptford Spec., was not long ago suppressed
by the strong arm of the law; but others still exist under
different names.  In one of these the law is thought to be evaded
by the sale of a number of photographs; in another, a chance of
winning on a horse is secured by the purchase of certain numbers
of a newspaper struggling into existence; but the following is,
perhaps, the drollest phase of the evasion as yet attempted:

`Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding _count the
number of the beast_.'--Rev., chap. xiii.


`HIS SATANIC MAJESTY purposes holding a series of Banquets,
Levees, and DRAWING ROOMS at Pandemonium during the ensuing
autumn, to each of which about 10,000 of his faithful disciples
will be invited.  H. S. M. will, at those drawing-rooms and
receptions, _NUMBER_ a lot of beasts, and distribute a series of
REWARDS, varying in value from L100 to 10_s_. of her Britannic
Majesty's money.

`Tickets One Shilling each, application for which must be made
_BY LETTER_ to His S. Majesty's Chamberlain, &c. &c.  The LAST
_DRAWING-ROOM_ of this season will be held a few days before the
Feast of the CROYDON STEEPLECHASES, &c. &c.




In ancient Rome all games of chance, with the exception of five
which had relation to bodily vigour, were absolutely prohibited
in public or private.  The loser could not be sued for moneys
lost, and could recover what he might have paid, such right being
secured to his heirs against the heirs of the winner, even after
the lapse of 30 years' prescription.  During 50 years after the
loss, should the loser or his heirs neglect their action, it was
open to any one that chose to prosecute, and chiefly to the
municipal authorities, the sum recovered to be expended in that
case for public purposes.  No surety for the payment of money for
gambling purposes was bound.  The betting on lawful games
was restricted to a certain amount, beyond which the loser could
recover moneys paid, and could not be sued for the amount.  A
person in whose house gambling had taken place, if struck or
injured, or if robbed on the occasion thereof, was denied
redress; but offences of gamblers among themselves were
punishable.  Blows or injuries might be inflicted on the gambling
house keeper at any time and anywhere without being penal as
against any person; but theft was not exempted from punishment,
unless committed at the time of gambling--and not by a gambler.
Children and freedmen could recover their losses as against their
parents and patrons.

Cicero, in his second Philippic, speaks of a criminal process
(_publicum judicium_) then in force against gamblers.

The laws of ancient Rome were, therefore, very stringent on this
subject, although, there can be no doubt, without much effect.


At the time of the French Revolution warlike games alone
conferred the right of action, restricted, however, in cases of
excessive losses; games of strength and skill generally were
lawful, but were considered as not giving any right of action;
games of mere chance were prohibited, but minors alone were
allowed to recover moneys lost.

By the present law of France no judicial action is allowed for
gambling debts and wagers, except in the case of such games as
depend upon bodily skill and effort, foot, horse, and chariot
races, and others of the like nature: the claim may be rejected
if the court considers it excessive; but moneys paid can never be
recovered unless on the ground of fraud.  The keepers of gaming
houses, their managers or agents, are punishable with fine (100
to 6000 francs) and imprisonment (two to six months), and may be
deprived of most of their civil rights.


By the Prussian Code all games of chance, except when licensed by
the state, are prohibited.  Gaming debts are not the subjects of
action; but moneys paid cannot be sued for by losers.  Wagers
give a right of action when the stakes consist of cash in the
hands of a third person; they are void if the winner had a
knowledge of the event, and concealed it.  Moneys lent for
gambling or betting purposes, or to pay gambling or betting
debts, cannot be sued for.  Gaming house keepers and gamblers are
punishable with fine; professed gamblers with imprisonment.
Occasional cheating at play obliges to compensation; professed
swindlers at play are punishable as for theft, and banished
afterwards.  Moneys won from a drunken man, if to a considerable
amount, must be returned, and a fine paid of equal value.


In Austria no right of action is given either to the winner or
the loser.  All games of chance are prohibited except when
licensed by the state.  Cheating at play is punished with
imprisonment, according to the amount of fraudulent gain.
Playing at unlawful games, or allowing such to take place in
one's house, subjects the party to a heavy fine, or in default,
to imprisonment.

5.  ITALY.

The provisions of the Sardinian Civil Code are similar to those
of the French, giving an action for moneys won at games of
strength or skill--when not excessive in amount; but not
allowing the recovery of moneys lost, except on the ground of
fraud or _MINORITY_, a provision taken from the _OLD_ French


By the Bavarian Code games of skill, and of mixed skill and
chance, are not forbidden.  The loser cannot refuse to pay, nor
can he recover his losses, provided the sport be honestly
conducted, and the stakes not excessive, having regard to the
rank, character, and fortune of the parties.  In cases of
fraudulent and excessive gaming, and in all games of mere chance,
the winner cannot claim his winnings, but must repay the loser on
demand.  In the two latter cases (apparently) both winner and
loser are liable to a fine, equal in amount,--for the first time
of conviction, to one-third of the stakes; for the second time,
to two-thirds; and for the third time, to the whole: in certain
cases the bank is to be confiscated.  Hotel and coffee-house
keepers, &c., who allow gambling on their premises, are punished
for the first offence by a fine of 50 florins; for the second,
with one of 100 florins; for the third, with the loss of the
license.  The punishment of private persons for the like
offence is left to the discretion of the judge.  _UNLAWFUL_
games may be _LEGALIZED_ by authority; but in such case, fraud
or gross excess disables the winner from claiming moneys won,
renders him liable to repayment, and subjects him to arbitrary
punishment.  _IMMORAL_ wagers are void; and _EXCESSIVE_ wagers
are to be reduced in amount.  Betting on indifferent things is
not prohibited, nor even as to a known and certain thing--when
there is no deception.  No wager is void on account of mere
disparity of odds.  Professed gamblers, who also cheat at play,
and their accomplices, and the setters-up and collectors of
fictitious lotteries, are subject to imprisonment, with hard
labour, for a term of from four to eight years.

Although, therefore, cheating gamblers are liable to punishment
in Bavaria, it is evident that gambling is there tolerated to the
utmost extent required by the votaries of Fortune.

7.  SPAIN.

Wagers appear to be lawful in Spain, when not in themselves
fraudulent, or relating to anything illegal or immoral.


In England some of the forms of gambling or gaming have been
absolutely forbidden under heavy penalties, whilst others have
been tolerated, but at the same time discouraged; and the reasons
for the prohibition were not always directed against the
impropriety or iniquity of the practice in itself;--thus it was
alleged in an Act passed in 1541, that for the sake of the games
the people neglected to practise _ARCHERY_, through which
England had become great--`to the terrible dread and fear of all
strange nations.'

The first of the strictly-called Gaming Acts is one of Charles
II.'s reign, which was intended to check the habit of gambling so
prevalent then, as before stated.  By this Act it was ordered
that, if any one shall play at any pastime or game, by gaming or
betting with those who game, and shall lose more than one hundred
pounds on credit, he shall not be bound to pay, and any contract
to do so shall be void.  In consequence of this Act losers of a
less amount--whether less wealthy or less profligate--and the
whole of the poorer classes, remained unprotected from the
cheating of sharpers, for it must be presumed that nobody has a
right to refuse to pay a fair gambling debt, since he would
evidently be glad to receive his winnings.  No doubt much misery
followed through the contrivances of sharpers; still it was a
salutary warning to gamesters of the poorer classes--whilst in
the higher ranks the `honour' of play was equally stringent, and,
I may add, in many cases ruinous.  By the recital of the Act it
is evident that the object was to check and put down gaming as a
business profession, `to gain a living;' and therefore it
specially mulcted the class out of which `adventurers' in this
line usually arise.

The Act of Queen Anne, by its sweeping character, shows that
gaming had become very virulent, for by it not only were all
securities for money lost at gaming void, but money actually
paid, if more than L10, might be recovered in an action at
law; not only might this be done, within three months, by the
loser himself, but by any one else--together with treble the
value--half for himself, and half for the poor of the parish.
Persons winning, by fraudulent means, L10 and upwards at any
game were condemned by this Act to pay five times the amount
or value of the thing won, and, moreover, they were to `be deemed
infamous, and suffer such corporal punishment as in cases of
wilful perjury.'  The Act went further:--if persons were
suspected of getting their living by gaming, they might be
summoned before a magistrate, required to show that the greater
portion of their income did not depend upon gaming, and to find
sureties for their good behaviour during twelve months, or be
committed to gaol.

There were, besides, two curious provisions;-- any one assaulting
or challenging another to a duel on account of disputes over
gaming, should forfeit all his goods and be imprisoned for two
years; secondly, the royal palaces of St James's and Whitehall
were exempted from the operation of this statute, so long as the
sovereign was actually resident within them--which last clause
probably showed that the entire Draconian enactment was but a
farce.  It is quite certain that it was inoperative, and that it
did no more than express the conscience of the legislature--in
deference to _PRINCIPLE_, `which nobody could deny.'

After the lapse of many years--the evil being on the increase--
the legislature stirred again during the reign of George
II., and passed several Acts against gaming.  The games of Faro,
Basset, Hazard, &c., in fact, all games with dice, were
proscribed under a penalty of L200 against the provider of the
game, and L50 a time for the players.  Roulette or Roly Poly,
termed in the Act `a certain pernicious game,' was interdicted,
under the penalty of five times the value of the thing or sum
lost at it.

Thus stood the statute law against gaming down to the year 1845,
when, in consequence of the report of the select committee which
sat on the subject, a new enactment was promulgated, which is in
force at the present time.

It was admitted that the laws in force against gaming were `of no
avail to prevent the mischiefs which may happen therefrom;' and
the lawgivers enacted a comprehensive measure on the subject.
Much of the old law--for instance, the prohibition of games which
interfered with the practice of _ARCHERY_--was repealed; also
the Acts of Charles II., of Queen Anne, and a part of that of
George II.--Gaming houses, in which a bank is kept by one or more
of the players, or in which the chances of play are not alike
favourable to the players--being declared unlawful, as of old.
Billiards, bagatelle, or `any game of the kind' (open, of
course, to legal discussion), may be played in private houses, or
in licensed houses; but still, in the case of licensed houses of
public resort, the police may enter at any time to see that the
law is complied with.  `Licensed for Billiards' must be legibly
printed on some conspicuous place near the door and outside a
licensed house.  Billiards and like games may not be played in
public rooms after one, and before eight, o'clock in the morning
of any day, nor on Sundays, Christmas Day, Good Friday, nor on
any public fast or thanksgiving.  Publicans whose houses are
licensed for billiards must not allow persons to play at any time
when public-houses are not allowed to be open.

`In order to constitute the house a common gaming house, it is
not necessary to prove that any person found playing at any game
was playing for any money, wager, or stake.  The police may enter
the house on the report of a superintendent, and the authority of
a commissioner, without the necessity of an allegation of two
householders; and if any cards, dice, balls, counters, tables, or
other instruments of gaming be found in the house, or about the
person of any of those who shall be found therein, such
discovery shall be evidence against the establishment until the
contrary be made to appear.  Those who shall appear as witnesses,
moreover, are protected from the consequences of having been
engaged in unlawful gaming.'[151]

[151] Chambers's Cyclopaedia, Art. Gambling.

The penalty of cheating at any game is liability to penal
servitude for three years--the delinquent being proceeded against
as one who obtains money under false pretences.  Wagers and bets
are not recoverable by law, whether from the loser or from the
wager-holder; and money paid for bets may be recovered in an
action `for money received to the defendant's use.'  All betting
houses are gaming houses within the meaning of the Act, and the
proprietors and managers of them are punishable accordingly.

The existing law on the gaming of horse-racing is as follows.
Bets on horse-races are illegal; and therefore are not
recoverable by law.  In order to prevent the nuisance which
betting houses, disguised under other names, occasioned, a law
was passed in 1853, forbidding the maintenance of any house,
room, or other place, for betting; and by the new Metropolitan
Traffic Regulation Act, now in force, any three persons
found betting in the street may be fined five pounds each `for
obstructing the thoroughfare'--a very odd reason, certainly,
since it is the _BETTING_ that we wish to prevent, as we will
not permit it to be carried on in any house, &c.  These _LEGAL_
reasons are too often sadly out of place.  Any constable,
however, may, without a warrant, arrest anybody he may see in the
act of betting in the street.

The laws relating to horse-racing have undergone curious
revisions and interpretations.  `The law of George II.'s reign,
declaring horse-racing to be good, as tending to promote the
breed of fine horses, exempted horse-races from the list of
unlawful games, provided that the sum of money run for or the
value of the prize should be fifty pounds and upwards, that
certain weights only might be used, and that no owner should run
more than one horse for the same prize, under pain of forfeiting
all horses except the first.  Newmarket, and Black Hambledon in
Yorkshire, are the only places licensed for races in this Act,
which, however, was also construed to legalize any race at any
place whatever, so long as the stakes were worth fifty pounds and
upwards, and the weights were of the regulated standard.  An
Act passed five years afterwards removed the restrictions as to
the weights, and declared that any one anywhere might start a
horse-race with any weights, so long as the stakes were fifty
pounds or more.  The provision for the forfeiture of all horses
but one belonging to one owner and running in the same race was
overlooked or forgotten, and owners with perfect impunity ran
their horses, as many as they pleased, in the same race.  In
1839, however, informations were laid against certain owners,
whose horses were claimed as forfeits; and then everybody woke up
to the fact that this curious clause of the Act of George II. was
still unrepealed.  The Legislature interfered in behalf of the
defendants, and passed an Act, repealing in their eagerness not
merely the penal clauses of the Act, but the Act itself, so far
as it related to horse-racing.  Now, it was supposed that upon
the Act of the thirteenth of George II. depended the whole
legality of horse-racing, that the Act of the eighteenth of
George II. was merely explanatory of that statute, which, being
repealed, brought the practice again within the old law,
according to which it was illegal.  By a judgment of the Court of
Common Pleas it was decided, however, that the words of the
eighteenth of George II.  were large enough to legalize all races
anywhere for fifty pounds and upwards, and that the Act was not
merely an explanatory one.  Upon this basis rests the existing
law on the subject of horse-racing.  Bets, however, as before
stated, on horse-races are still as illegal as they are on any of
the forbidden games--that is to say, they are outside the law;
the law will not lend its assistance to recover them.'[152]

[152] _Ubi Supra_.

The extent to which gambling has been carried on in the street by
boys was shown by the following summary laid before the Committee
of the House of Commons on Gaming, in 1844:--

Boys apprehended for gaming in the streets--

                        Convicted.  Discharged.
1841  .. ..   305 .. ..    68 .. ..   237
1842  .. ..   245 .. ..    66 .. ..   179
1813  .. ..   329 .. ..   114 .. ..   185
             ----        ----        ----
              879         278         601

Only recently has any effectual check been put to this pernicious
practice.  It is however enacted by the New Gaming Act, that--
`Every person playing or betting by way of wagering or
gaming in any street, road, highway, or other open and public
place to which the public have or are permitted to have access,
at or with any table or instrument of gaming, or any coin, card,
token, or other article used as an instrument of gaming or means
of such wagering or gaming, at any game or pretended game of
chance, shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond within the true
intent and meaning of the recited Act, and as such may be
punished under the provision of that Act.'

On this provision a daily paper justly remarks:--`A statute very
much needed has come into force.  Persons playing or betting in
the streets with coins or cards are now made amenable to the 5th
George IV., c. 83, and may be committed to gaol as rogues and
vagabonds.  The statutes already in force against such rogues and
vagabonds subject them, we believe, not only to imprisonment with
hard labour, but also to corporal punishment.  In any case the
New Act should, if stringently administered, speedily put a stop
to the too common and quite intolerable nuisance of young men and
boys sprawling about the pavement, or in corners of the wharves
by the waterside, and playing at "pitch-and-toss,"
"shove-halfpenny," "Tommy Dodd," "coddams," and other games
of chance.  Who has not seen that terrible etching in Hogarth's
"Industry and Idleness," where the idle apprentice, instead of
going devoutly to church and singing out of the same hymn-book
with his master's pretty daughter, is gambling on a tombstone
with a knot of dissolute boys?  A watchful beadle has espied the
youthful gamesters, and is preparing to administer a sounding
thwack with a cane on the shoulders of Thomas Idle.  But the race
of London beadles is now well-nigh extinct; and the few that
remain dare not use their switches on the small vagabonds, for
fear of being summoned for assault.  It is to be hoped that the
police will be instructed to put the Act sharply in force against
the pitch-and-toss players; and, in passing, we might express a
wish that they would also suppress the ragged urchins who turn
"cart-wheels" in the mud, and the half-naked girls who haunt
the vicinity of railway stations and steamboat piers, pestering
passengers to buy cigar-lights.'


****End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Andrew Steinmetz's****
**********The Gaming Table:  Its Votaries and Victims***********


This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts ( by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext466, and it should be available from the following URL:

Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."