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Title: Light Come, Light Go - Gambling—Gamesters—Wagers—The Turf
Author: Nevill, Ralph
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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From a scarce print by Darcis.







  "D'un bout du monde
  A l'autre bout,
  Le Hasard seul fait tout."






    The gambling spirit inborn in mankind--Its various forms in
    reality identical--Resemblance of gamblers to the alchemists
    of old--Capriciousness of fortune--Importance of small advantages
    at play--An extraordinary run at hazard--Napoleon
    and Wellington little addicted to cards--Blücher's love of
    gaming--He wins his son's money--Avaricious gamesters--Anecdotes
    of the miser Elwes--Long sittings at the card-table--Modern
    instance in London--Two nights and a day
    at whist at the Roxburgh Club--Casanova's forty-two hour
    duel at piquet--Anecdotes of Fox, the Duke of Devonshire,
    Sir John Lade, Beau Nash, and others--Country houses lost
    at play--"Up now deuce and then a trey"--The Canterbury
    barber                                                               1


    The spirit of play in the eighteenth century--The Duke of
    Buckingham's toast--Subscription-Houses, Slaughter-Houses,
    and Hells--The staff of a gaming-house--Joseph
    Atkinson and Bellasis--Raids on King's Place and Grafton
    Mews--Methods employed by Bow Street officers--Speculative
    insurance--Increase of gaming in London owing to
    arrival of _émigrés_--Gambling amongst the prisoners of war--The
    Duc de Nivernois and the clergyman--Faro and E.O.--Crusade
    against West-End gamblers--The Duchess of
    Devonshire and "Old Nick"--Mr. Lookup--Tiger Roche--Dick
    England--Sad death of Mr. Damer--Plucking a pigeon                  38


    Former popularity of dice--The race game in Paris--Description
    of hazard--Jack Mytton's success at it--Anecdotes--French
    hazard--Major Baggs, a celebrated gamester of the
    past--Anecdotes of his career--London gaming-houses--Ways
    and methods of their proprietors--Ephraim Bond and
    his henchman Burge--"The Athenæum"--West-End Hells--Crockford's--Opinion
    of Mr. Crockford regarding play--The
    Act of 1845--Betting-houses--Nefarious tactics of their
    owners--Suppression in 1853                                         74


    Craze for eccentric wagers at end of eighteenth century--Lord
    Cobham's insulting freak and its results--Betting and
    gaming at White's--The Arms of the Club--The old betting-book
    and its quaint wagers--Tragedies of play--White's to-day--£180,000
    lost at hazard at the Cocoa Tree--Brummell
    as a gambler--Gaming at Brooks's--Anecdotes--General
    Scott--Whist--Mr. Pratt--Wattier's Club--Scandal at
    Graham's--Modern gambling clubs--The Park Club case in
    1884--Dangers of private play                                      103


    Talleyrand whilst at cards announces the death of the Duc
    d'Enghien--"The curse of Scotland"--Wilberforce at faro--Successful
    gamblers--The Rev. Caleb Colton--Colonel
    Panton--Dennis O'Kelly--Richard Rigby--Anecdotes--Strange
    incidents at play--Aged gamesters--A duel with
    death--General Wade and the poor officer--Anecdote of a
    caprice of Fortune--Stock Exchange speculation--A man
    who profited by tips                                               137


    Colonel Mellish--His early life and accomplishments--His
    equipage--A great gambler--£40,000 at a throw!--Posting--Mellish's
    racing career--His duel--In the Peninsula--Rural
    retirement and death--Colonel John Mordaunt--His
    youthful freaks--An ardent card-player--Becomes aide-de-camp
    to the Nawab of Oude--Anecdotes--Death from a
    duel--Zoffany in India and his picture of Mordaunt's
    cock-fight--Anecdotes of cock-fighting                             167


    Prevalence of wagering in the eighteenth century--Riding a
    horse backwards--Lord Orford's eccentric bet--Travelling
    piquet--The building of Bagatelle--Matches against time--"Old
    Q." and his chaise match--Buck Whalley's journey
    to Jerusalem--Buck English--Irish sportsmen--Jumping
    the wall of Hyde Park in 1792--Undressing in the water--Colonel
    Thornton--A cruel wager--Walking on stilts--A
    wonderful leap--Eccentric wagers--Lloyd's walking match--Squire
    Osbaldiston's ride--Captain Barclay--Jim Selby's
    drive--Mr. Bulpett's remarkable feats                              204


    Gambling in Paris--Henry IV. and Sully--Cardinal Mazarin's
    love of play--Louis XIV. attempts to suppress gaming--John
    Law--Anecdotes--Institution of public tables in 1775--Biribi--Gambling
    during the Revolution--Fouché--The
    tables of the Palais Royal--The Galeries de Bois--Account
    of gaming-rooms--Passe-dix and Craps--Frascati's and the
    Salon des Étrangers--Anecdotes--Public gaming ended in
    Paris--Last evenings of play--Decadence of the Palais
    Royal--Its restaurants--Gaming in Paris at the present day         235


    Public gaming in Germany--Aix-la-Chapelle--An Italian gambler--The
    King of Prussia's generosity--Baden-Baden--M. de
    la Charme--A dishonest croupier--Wiesbaden--An eccentric
    Countess--Closing of the tables in 1873--Last scenes--Arrival
    of M. Blanc at Homburg--His attempt to defeat his
    own tables--Anecdotes of Garcia--His miserable end--A
    Spanish gambler at Ems--Roulette at Geneva and in
    Heligoland--Gambling at Ostend--Baccarat at French
    watering-places--"La Faucheuse" forbidden in France                282


    The Principality of Monaco--Its vicissitudes--Early days
    of the Casino--The old Prince and his scruples--Monte
    Carlo in 1858 and 1864--Its development--Fashionable in the
    'eighties--Mr. Sam Lewis and Captain Carlton
    Blythe--Anecdotes--Increase of visitors and present democratic
    policy of administration--The _Cercle Privé_ and its short
    life--The gaming-rooms and ways of their
    and roulette--Why the cards have plain white backs--Jaggers'
    successful spoliation of the bank--The croupiers and their
    training--The staff of the Casino--The
    _viatique_--Systems--The best of all                               319


    Difficulty of making money on the Turf--Big
    wins--Sporting tipsters and their methods--Jack
    Dickinson--"Black Ascots"--Billy Pierse--Anecdotes--Lord
    Glasgow--Lord George Bentinck--Lord Hastings--Heavy
    betting of the past--Charles II. founder of the English
    Turf--History of the latter--Anecdotes--Eclipse--Highflyer--The
    founder of Tattersall's--Old time racing--Fox--Lord
    Foley--Major Leeson--Councillor Lade--"Louse
    Pigott"--Hambletonian and Diamond--Mrs. Thornton's
    match--Beginnings of the French Turf--Lord Henry
    Seymour--Longchamps--Mr. Mackenzie Grieves--Plaisanterie--Establishment
    of the Pari Mutuel in 1891--How the large profits are
    allocated--Conclusion                                              374

    INDEX                                                              437


                              IN COLOUR

                                                                  FACE PAGE

    The Trente-et-Quarante of the Past. From a scarce Print
    by Darcis                                               _Frontispiece_

    The Beautiful Duchess throwing a Main. By Rowlandson                60

    La Bouillotte. From a scarce Print after Bosio                     138

    The Chaise Match                                                   214

    The Palmy Days of the Palais Royal. From a contemporary
    Print                                                              258

    A Gaming-Table in the Palais Royal                                 262

    Véry's in 1825                                                     276

    Plan of Roulette Table, as used at Monte Carlo                     348

    Betting. By Rowlandson                                             382

                              IN BLACK AND WHITE

    The Spendthrift. From an Eighteenth-Century Print                   26

    A Raid on a London Gaming-House                                     44

    Sharpers and Bucks in a Billiard Room                               68

    Light Come, Light Go                                                80

    A Row in a Fashionable Hell                                         86

    Count d'Orsay calling a Main at Crockford's                         98

    The Arms of White's                                           _p._ 107

    The Gambling-Room at Brooks's. From a Water-colour
    Drawing in the possession of the Club                              116

    The Cock-Fight at Lucknow, with Key. Engraved by
    R. Earlom, after Zoffany                                           194

    Roulette in the Eighteenth Century                                 284

    Facsimile Title-Page of "Guide du Spéculateur au Trente-Quarante
    et à la Roulette"                                                  298

    Gambling at Homburg. Drawn by the late G.A. Sala                   308

    E.O. on a Country Race-course. By Rowlandson                       398

    Mrs. Thornton                                                      416


 The gambling spirit inborn in mankind--Its various forms in
 reality identical--Resemblance of gamblers to the alchemists of
 old--Capriciousness of fortune--Importance of small advantages at
 play--An extraordinary run at hazard--Napoleon and Wellington little
 addicted to cards--Blücher's love of gaming--He wins his son's
 money--Avaricious gamesters--Anecdotes of the miser Elwes--Long
 sittings at the card-table--Modern instance in London--Two nights and
 a day at whist at the Roxburgh Club--Casanova's forty-two hour duel at
 piquet--Anecdotes of Fox, the Duke of Devonshire, Sir John Lade, Beau
 Nash, and others--Country houses lost at play--"Up now deuce and then
 a trey"--The Canterbury barber.

The passion for speculation which, throughout all ages, has captivated
the great bulk of humanity, would seem to be an innate characteristic
of mankind. It assumes various forms and guises which often deceive
those over whom it exercises its sway, and becomes in numberless cases
a veritable obsession, causing its victims to devote the whole of their
time, thoughts, and money--sometimes even their lives--to its service.
Devotees of the simpler forms of gambling, such as are to be procured
at the card-table and on the race-course, are often looked down upon by
people who are themselves under the sway of other insidious, if more
reputable, modes of tempting fortune. For all speculation, whether
it be in pigs or wheat, stocks and shares, race-horses or cards,
is in essence the same--its main feature being merely the desire to
obtain "something for nothing," or in other words to acquire wealth
without work. Gambling, of no matter what kind, is thus a conscious and
deliberate departure from the general aim of civilised society, which
is to obtain proper value for its money. The gambler, on the other
hand, receives either a great deal more than he gives or nothing at all.

All conditions of life being more or less disquieted either with the
cares of gaining or of keeping money, it is but natural that mankind
should be allured by the idea of discovering and utilising an easy
and quick road to riches. Alas, the prospect of speedy wealth, which
exercises such an irresistible fascination over certain natures, is in
the vast majority of cases nothing but a delusive mirage, as tempting
to covetous folly as the "philosopher's stone." Indeed, the votaries of
chance in a great measure resemble the alchemists of old, who were ever
seeking, but never found, a method of producing untold gold.

So convinced were these searchers of the possibility of eventually
discovering the secret of manufacturing riches, that they laughed even
at successful gamblers, deeming them to be mere drudges and sluggards
on the golden road. There was a time, indeed, when students of what
Gibbon termed "the vain science of alchemy," were actually called
"multipliers," and their unbounded confidence naturally made a deep
impression upon the credulous ignorance of their age. So much so that
our Henry IV. appears to have become seriously alarmed at the prospect
of the country being flooded with precious metals manufactured by the
"multipliers," for a statute passed during his reign decrees that "none
from henceforth shall use to multiply gold or silver or use the craft
of multiplication, and if any the same do he shall incur the pain of
felony." His Majesty might just as well have issued an edict against
gamblers making use of a sure method of winning!

One of the most remarkable things about gambling is that no one
ever seems to win--certainly the vast majority of those addicted to
play, even the most lucky, generally declare that on the whole they
have lost. A number of these, however, probably leave out of their
calculations the large amounts which they have spent whilst fortune was
in a generous mood; for gamblers when in luck are apt to fling their
money about very freely, and even when they are losing they do not as
a rule practise a rigid economy. This is not the case, of course, with
followers of methods and systems who take their gambling seriously;
these are often frugal men who, though quite callous about losing large
sums in the pursuit of their hobby, regard money spent on enjoyment or
luxuries as wasted. This is the type of gambler who racks his brains
with calculations, and takes immense trouble to obtain really sound
information about the chances of some race-horse, or of the rise or
fall of some stock.

But even to such sober gamblers the result is usually disappointing.
All methods, systems, and combinations do little to assist gamblers to
win--the most they can effect is to put a limitation on their losses;
and as regards special information, those who are addicted to racing
know only too well how expensive it is to be acquainted with any one
in a position to give really good "tips." More than that, information
which emanates from owners, trainers, and jockeys would soon break the
Bank of England were that institution to decide to risk its capital on
such advice. Not that in many cases these men are not really anxious to
give their friends winners; but somehow or other the good thing hardly
ever comes off. It is indeed not at all unlikely that the race-goer who
knows no one connected with the Turf has a distinct advantage; for when
regular racing men possess reliable information as to a horse which
has been reserved for some coup, they are obviously not at liberty to
divulge its name, and consequently the "tips" they give are little more
than hints of vague possibilities.

Although as a matter of fact the goddess of chance--not erroneously
called "fickle"!--is in the long run pitilessly severe upon her
votaries, one and all, there are times and occasions on which she seems
not indisposed to smile. To propitiate her is, therefore, the first
ambition of all gamblers, and in their efforts to attain this end many
of them exhibit an almost childish superstition. Yet we must remember
that the wisest of the Roman emperors kept a golden image of Fortune
in their private apartments, or carried it about them. They never sent
it to their successor till they were near expiring; and then it was
accompanied with this declaration--that in the whole course of their
achievements, they were more indebted to fortune than to any skill or
dexterity of their own.

Always feminine, Fortune is to all appearances essentially wayward and
capricious. She requires to be constantly tended, silently expected,
and approached with due caution and prudence. Rough and refractory
behaviour scares her away; irritation at her eccentricities banishes
her altogether; whilst levity and ingratitude, when she is in a
beneficent mood, soon causes her to escape. Moderation is the only
chance of securing her constant presence. In short, fortune, or luck,
is a phenomenon, the ground and essence whereof is to a great degree
inexplicable. For the most part we know it only from its effects, and
can give no certain account either of its nature or of its mode of
action, and of the always increasing or diminishing greatness of it. To
the gambler fortune appears to be an occult power, the aid of which is
not infrequently invoked by means of various fanciful fetishes, which
for the moment acquire a real virtue, as being likely to propitiate the
invisible influence which presides over speculation.

The movements of fortune have been well compared to those of the
sea, which for the most part seems to affect a serene and smiling
aspect, broken only by tranquil ripples. From time to time, however,
furious tempests and storms disturb its surface, calm being often
re-established as quickly and suddenly as it was originally broken.
Like the sea, Fortune would at heart appear to be inclined towards
tranquillity, though her fury, when roused, is inclined to conceal this

Whilst Fortune generally seems to distribute her favours in a somewhat
haphazard way, there is no doubt that those who study the so-called
laws of chance are the most likely to receive them. For although chance
is generally considered to be effect without design, this is not
strictly true. Throughout the universe of nature, indeed, all events
appear in the end to be governed by immutable laws which have existed
from the beginning of time, no matter what partial irregularities may
arise at certain periods.

In any game, for instance, equality in play is likely to restore the
players in a series of events to the same state in which they began;
while inequality, however small, has a contrary effect, and the longer
the game be continued, the greater is likely to be the loss of the one
player and the gain of the other. As has been very soundly said, this
"more or less," in play, runs through all the ratios between equality
and infinite difference, or from an infinitely little difference till
it comes to an infinitely great one. The slightest of advantages,
whether arising from skill or chance, will as surely "materialise"
in the course of play as does the carefully calculated profit of a
commercial expert.

An event either will happen or will not happen; this constitutes
a certainty. Some events are dependent, others independent. The
difference is very important. Independent events have no connection,
their happenings neither forwarding nor obstructing one another.
Choosing a card from each of two distinct packs includes two
independent events; for the taking of a card from the first pack does
not in any way affect the taking of a card from the second--the chances
of drawing, or of not drawing, any particular card from the second pack
being neither lessened nor increased. On the other hand, the taking of
a second card from a pack from which one has already been drawn is a
dependent event, as the composition of the pack has been altered by the
abstraction of one particular card.

The surprising way in which an apparently small advantage operates may
be judged from the following example:--A and B agree to play for one
guinea a game until one hundred guineas are lost or won. A possesses
an advantage on each game amounting to 11 chances to 10 in his favour.
Mathematical analysis of this advantage proves that B would do well to
give A upwards of ninety-nine guineas to cancel the agreement.

Further, many speculative events, which at first sight seem to
be advantageous to one side, are demonstrated by mathematical
investigation to be of an exactly contrary nature. A bets B thirty-two
guineas to one that an event does not happen, and also bets B thirty
guineas even that it does happen in twenty-nine trials. Besides this
A gives B one thousand guineas to play in this manner six hours a day
for a month. Here B would appear to have some advantage. Mathematical
investigation, however, proves that in reality the advantage of A is
so great that B ought not only to return the thousand guineas to A,
but give him, in addition, another ten thousand guineas to cancel the

Every game of chance presents two kinds of chances which are very
distinct--namely, those relating to the person interested (the
player) and those inherent in the combinations of the game. That is
to say, there is either "good luck" or "bad luck," which at different
times gives the player a "run" of good or bad fortune. But besides
this, there is the chance of the combinations of the game, which
are independent of the player and which are governed by the laws of
probability. Theoretically, chance is able to bring into any given game
all the possible combinations; but it is a curious fact that there are,
nevertheless, certain limits at which it seems to stop. A proof of this
is that a particular number at roulette does not turn up ten or a dozen
times in succession. In reality there would be nothing astounding about
such a run, but it is supposed never to have happened. On the other
hand, the numbers in one column at roulette have been known not to turn
up during seventeen successive coups.

All the same, extraordinary runs do occur at all games. In 1813, a
well-known betting man of the name of Ogden laid one thousand guineas
to one guinea, that calling seven as the main, a player would not throw
that number ten times successively from the dice-box. Seven was thrown
nine times in direct sequence! Mr. Ogden then offered four hundred and
seventy guineas to be let off the bet, but the thrower refused. He took
the box again but threw only twice more--nine--so that Mr. Ogden just
saved his thousand guineas.

In a game of chance, the oftener the same combination has occurred in
succession the nearer we are to the certainty that it will not recur at
the next coup. It would almost appear, in fact, as if there existed an
instant, prescribed by some unknown law, at which the chances become
mature, and after which they begin to tend again towards equalisation.
This is the secret of the pass and the counter-pass, and also of the
strange persistence which certain numbers at roulette sometimes show
in recurring--they are merely making up for lost time. At the end of a
year all the numbers on a roulette board would be found to have come up
about the same number of times--provided, of course, that the wheel is
kept in proper working order, a state of affairs which is assured at
Monaco by scrupulous daily inspection.

The considerations set forth above apply more especially to games like
roulette and trente-et-quarante played at public tables, where all
players have an equal chance against the bank, and where the personal
element, which is so important in private play, is to a large extent
eliminated. It is at public tables that the real gambler finds his
best chance. There, whilst having a fair field and no favour, he may,
if lucky, win very large sums with the certainty of being immediately
paid; and he is not exposed to various unfavourable influences, which
tell against men of his disposition when gambling amongst acquaintances
and even friends. Wherever a number of careless, inattentive people
possessed of money chance to be assembled, a few wary, cool, and shrewd
men will be found, who know how to conceal real caution and design
under apparent inattention and gaiety of manner; who push their luck
when fortune smiles and refrain when she changes her disposition; and
who have calculated the chances and are thoroughly master of every game
where judgment is required.

Occasionally men of this stamp have been known to have accumulated a
fortune, more often a respectable competency, at play. If they had
been interrogated as to the exact means by which they had made their
success, they would, had they been desirous of speaking the truth, have
replied in the words of the wife of the Maréchal d'Ancre, who, when
she was asked what charm she had made use of to fascinate the mind of
the queen, "The charm," she replied, "which superior abilities always
exercise over weaker minds."

The minor forms of gambling, which serve to gratify the speculative
instincts of ordinary mortals, have generally possessed little
attraction for great men, whose minds would seem to have been occupied
by more ambitious, though perhaps in essence not less speculative,
designs. Napoleon, for example, was a very poor card-player, and from
all accounts never indulged in any serious gambling. The great Duke
of Wellington, though he was once accused of being much addicted to
playing hazard, would also seem to have entertained no particular
fondness for play. In the course of a letter which he wrote in 1823 to
a Mr. Adolphus, who had publicly referred to his supposed love of play,
the great Captain wrote "that never in the whole course of his life had
he ever won or lost £20 at any game, and that he had 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." Nevertheless, the Duke became an
original member of Crockford's in 1827, though there is no record of
his ever having played there.

Another great soldier, on the other hand, repeatedly lost large sums
at play. This was Blücher, who was inordinately fond of gambling. Much
to his disgust this passion was inherited by his son, who had often
to be rebuked by his father for his visits to the gaming-table, and
was given many a wholesome lecture upon his youth and inexperience,
and the consequent certainty of loss by coming in contact with older
and more practised gamblers. One morning, however, young Blücher
presented himself before his father, and exclaimed with an air of joy,
"Sir, you said I knew nothing about play, but here is proof that you
have undervalued my talents," pulling out at the same time a bag of
roubles which he had won the preceding night. "And I said the truth,"
was the reply; "sit down there, and I'll convince you." The dice were
called for, and in a few minutes old Blücher won all his son's money;
whereupon, after pocketing the cash, he rose from the table observing,
"Now you see that I was right when I told you that you would never win."

If, however, it would seem to be the case that few, if any, of the
world's very greatest minds have been addicted to gambling, it is no
less true that outside this select band all classes have been, and are,
equally subject to the passion. Nothing, indeed, is more extraordinary
than the fact that it has been observed to exercise the same
fascination on men of the most diverse characters and dispositions--on
rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old, learned and

Moreover, unlike other passions, the love of gambling generally remains
unimpaired by age, and instances of people of advanced years expending
their few remaining energies at the card-table are not rare. There
is the story of the venerable old north-country lady whom a visitor
found looking very red-eyed and weary. "I fear you are suffering from
a bad cold?" he inquired, solicitously. "Eh, I'se gat na cauld," was
the reply; "some friends kem from Kendal on Tuesday that love a game
a whist dearly, and I'se bin carding the morn and e'en, the e'en an'
the morn, twa days." "Indeed, and what might you have won?" "Eh," she
replied, with considerable satisfaction, "it mun be a shilling."

At first sight, also, one would think that avarice and passion for
play were absolutely incompatible; yet there are not a few striking
instances of the two vices being combined--by men to whom the spending
of a few shillings was agony, but who would risk thousands at cards
with comparative equanimity. Such an one was the celebrated Mr. Elwes,
who combined a passion for gambling with habits of the greatest penury.
He was originally a Mr. Meggot, the name of Elwes being assumed under
the terms of the will of his uncle. Sir Harvey Elwes.

Sir Harvey was himself the perfect type of a miser. Timid, shy, and
diffident in the extreme, he kept his household, which consisted of
one man and two maid-servants, chiefly upon game from his own land
and fish from his own ponds; the cows which grazed before his door
furnished milk, cheese, and butter for the establishment; and what fuel
he burned his own woods supplied. As he had no acquaintances and no
books, the hoarding-up and the counting of his money was his greatest
delight. Next to that came partridge catching--or setting, as it was
then called--at which he was so great an adept that he was known to
take five hundred brace of birds in one season. What partridges were
not consumed by his household he turned out again, as he never gave
anything away. At all times he wore a black velvet cap much over his
face, a worn-out, full-dress suit of clothes, and an old great-coat,
with worsted stockings drawn up over his knees. He rode a thin
thoroughbred horse, and the horse and his rider looked as if a gust of
wind would have blown them away together.

At the time Mr. Meggot succeeded to the name and fortune of his uncle
he was over forty, having for about fifteen years previously been
well-known in the most fashionable circles of the West End. He was a
gambler at heart, and only late in life did he succeed in obtaining any
mastery over his passion for play. His losses were great, but this was
mainly because while he himself always paid when he lost, his opponents
were not always so scrupulous, and it was notorious that the sums
owed to him in this way were very considerable. But he professed the
quixotic theory that "it was impossible to ask a gentleman for money";
and to his honour, but financial disadvantage, he adhered strictly to
this rule throughout his life.

The acquaintances which he had formed at Westminster School and at
Geneva, together with his own large fortune, all conspired to introduce
Mr. Elwes (then Mr. Meggot) into whatever society he best liked.
He was at once admitted a member of the club at Arthur's, and of
various other similar institutions; and as a proof of his notoriety
as a gambler, it may be mentioned that he, Lord Robert Bertie, and
some others, are noticed in a scene in _The Adventures of a Guinea_
for the frequency of their midnight orgies. Few men, even on his own
acknowledgment, had played deeper than himself, or with such varying
success. He once played two days and a night without intermission;
and the room being a small one, the company were nearly up to their
knees in cards. He lost some thousands at that sitting. The Duke of
Northumberland was of the party--another man who never would quit the
gaming-table while any hope of winning remained.

Even at this period, Mr. Elwes' passion for gaming was equalled by
his avarice, and in a curious manner he contrived to mingle small
attempts at saving with pursuits of the most unbounded dissipation.
After sitting up a whole night playing for thousands with the
most fashionable and profligate men of the time--in ornate and
brilliantly-lighted salons, with obsequious waiters attendant upon his
call--he would walk out about four in the morning, not towards his
home, but into Smithfield, to meet his own cattle, which were coming up
to market from Thaydon Hall, a farm of his in Essex. There would this
same man, forgetful of the scenes he had just left, stand in the cold
or rain, haggling with a carcass butcher for a shilling. Sometimes
when the cattle did not arrive at the hour he expected, he would walk
on in the mire to meet them; and more than once he actually trudged
the whole way to his farm, seventeen miles from London--a tedious walk
after sitting up the whole of the night at play!

Though he never engaged personally upon the Turf, Mr. Elwes was in
the habit of making frequent excursions to Newmarket, and a kindness
which he once performed there is worthy of recollection. Lord Abingdon,
who was slightly known to Mr. Elwes, had made a match for £7000 which
it was supposed he would be obliged to forfeit from an inability
to produce the sum--though the odds were greatly in his favour.
Unsolicited, Mr. Elwes made him an offer of the money; he accepted it,
and won the engagement.

On the day this match was to be run a clerical neighbour had agreed to
accompany Mr. Elwes to Newmarket. As was the latter's custom they set
out on their journey at seven in the morning, and, with the hope of a
substantial breakfast at Newmarket, the clergyman took no refreshment
before starting. They reached Newmarket about eleven, and Mr. Elwes
busied himself in inquiries and conversation till twelve, when the
match was decided in favour of Lord Abingdon. The divine then fully
expected that they should move off to the town for breakfast; but Elwes
still continued riding about on one business or another. Eventually
four o'clock arrived; and by this time his reverence had become so
impatient that he murmured something about the "keen air of Newmarket
heath" and the comforts of a good dinner. "Very true," replied Elwes,
"have some of this," offering him at the same time a piece of old,
crushed pancake from his great-coat pocket. He added that he had
brought it from his house at Marcham two months before, but "that it
was as good as new." The sequel of the story was that they did not
reach home till nine in the evening, when the clergyman was so tired
that he gave up all other refreshment for rest. On the other hand,
Elwes, who had hazarded seven thousand pounds in the morning, retired
happily to bed with the pleasing recollection of having saved three

In later life Mr. Elwes was elected to Parliament, where he
proved himself an independent country member and exhibited great
conscientiousness. During this time he had the greatest admiration for
Mr. Pitt, and was wont to declare that in all the statesman's words
there were "pounds, shillings, and pence." When he quitted Parliament,
he was, in the common phrase, "a fish out of water." He had for some
years been a member of a card-club, at the Mount Coffee-House, and it
was there that he consoled himself for the loss of his seat. The play
was moderate, and he enjoyed the fire and candles which were provided
at the expense of the Club; but fortune seemed resolved to force from
him that money which no power could persuade him to bestow. He still
retained his fondness for play, and imagined that he had no small skill
at piquet. It was his ill-luck on one occasion to meet a gentleman who
had the same idea of his own powers in this direction, and on much
better grounds; for after a contest of two days and a night, in which
Elwes continued with the perseverance which avarice will sometimes
inspire, he rose the loser of no less than three thousand pounds. The
debt was paid by a draft on Messrs. Hoare, which was duly honoured the
next morning.

This is said to have been the last bout of gaming indulged in by
Mr. Elwes, and not long afterwards he retired to his country seat
at Stoke, remarking that "he had lost a great deal of money very
foolishly, but that a man grew wiser by time." After this no gleam of
pleasure or amusement broke through the gloom of a penurious life,
and his insatiable desire of saving became uniform and systematic. He
still rode about the country on an old brood mare (which was all he
had left); but then he rode her very economically, on the soft turf
adjoining the road, so as to avoid the cost of shoes. His household
expenses were reduced to a minimum, his few wants being attended to by
a man who became almost as celebrated as his master. This extraordinary
servant acted as butler, coachman, gardener, huntsman, groom, and
valet; and was, according to Mr. Elwes, "a d----d idle rascal" into the

Mr. Elwes died in 1789 and left an enormous fortune for that day,
about five hundred thousand pounds being divided between his two
natural sons.

Mr. Elwes' record of having played piquet for two days and a night
(thirty-six successive hours) was a remarkable one, for the physical
strain involved by playing for such a long period is very considerable.
Yet the fascination of remaining at the gaming-table for a long stretch
of time frequently takes possession of those addicted to play. As a
rule it is not by any means caused solely by the consideration of the
stakes played for; it would rather seem that the players become mere
automatic gaming machines, the mechanism of which runs steadily on.
Several years ago a noticeable instance of this occurred in a London
Club, where, on a certain evening, a small party had been playing
écarté for fairly moderate stakes. The game began about eleven o'clock;
some three or four hours later only two players remained. As the time
went on, fine after fine was incurred by this couple, but still they
continued playing--until they passed the hour when expulsion was the
penalty exacted from any member still remaining in the Club-house.
They were still playing when morning broke, and though horrified and
sleepy-eyed waiters informed them that they could no longer continue,
their only answer was to stop the clock, an irritating reminder of
the fleeting hours. In this fashion they continued till one o'clock
the next afternoon, when, having realised that their escapade was a
serious one, they strolled through a crowd of outraged members into
the brilliant sunlight which, as if in irony, chanced that morning to
be flooding the street. It should be added that before leaving the
Club-house--for ever, as it turned out--the two culprits prudently
wrote out their resignations. The curious thing was that the stakes
during this sitting were by no means high, and the sums which changed
hands were consequently comparatively small.

Rowlandson, the artist, who was a well-known figure at most of the
fashionable gaming-houses of his time, frequently played through a
night and the next day. On one occasion he remained at the hazard table
for thirty-six hours without a break, the only refreshment which he
took being brought to him in the gambling-room. Rowlandson, who was a
most honourable man, was generally unlucky, and lost several legacies
at play. His imperturbability was remarkable, and he never exhibited
the slightest emotion whether he won or lost.

At the Roxburgh Club in St. James's Square--at the time when it was
kept by Raggett, the well-known proprietor of White's--Hervey Combe,
Tippoo Smith, Mr. Ward (a member of Parliament), and the distinguished
Indian General, Sir John Malcolm, once sat from Monday evening till
Wednesday morning at eleven o'clock, playing whist. Even then, they
would very likely have continued playing, had not Hervey Combe been
obliged to attend the funeral of one of his partners. Combe, who had
won thirty thousand pounds from Sir John Malcolm, jocularly told him
that he could have his revenge whenever he liked. "Thank you," replied
Sir John, "another sitting like this would oblige me to return to India

In all probability, however, the longest duel at cards which ever
took place occurred in the eighteenth century at Sulzbach, where the
famous adventurer, Casanova, made the acquaintance of an officer,
d'Entragues by name, who was very fond of piquet. For four or five
days in succession the Venetian and this officer played after dinner.
At the end of that time, however, Casanova declined to play any more,
having come to the conclusion that his opponent made a regular practice
of rising from the table directly he had won ten or twelve louis. He
adhered to this resolution for a day or two, but d'Entragues became
quite importunate in offers to give him his revenge.

"I do not care to play," was the reply of Casanova, given with some
effrontery. "We are not the same kind of gamblers. I play only for my
pleasure and because the game amuses me, whilst you play merely to win."

"If I understand you rightly," was the retort, "this is deliberate

"I did not mean to be rude; but every time we have played you have left
me in the lurch at the end of an hour."

"A proof of my solicitude for your pocket, for as you are a worse
player than I, you would have lost a great deal had we continued."

"Possibly, but I don't believe it."

Eventually it was agreed that they should resume their contest, but
that the player who was the first to rise from the piquet-table should
forfeit fifty louis to his opponent. The stakes were five louis a
hundred points, ready money only to be played for.

The game began at three in the afternoon; at nine d'Entragues proposed
supper. Casanova said he was not hungry; whereupon his opponent
laughed, and the game was continued. The onlookers, who were fairly
numerous, went to supper, afterwards returning to remain till midnight,
when the players were left alone with a croupier who attended to the
accounts, the only utterances heard being those connected with the game.

From six in the morning, when the visitors who were taking the Sulzbach
waters began to be about, the contest excited the greatest public
interest. Casanova was now losing a hundred louis, though his luck had
not been very bad.

At nine o'clock a lady, Madame Saxe by name, to whom d'Entragues
was very devoted, arrived upon the scene and persuaded each of the
combatants to partake of a cup of chocolate. D'Entragues was the first
to consent to this; he believed that his opponent was near to giving in.

"Let us agree," he proposed, "that whoever asks for food, leaves the
room for more than a quarter of an hour, or goes to sleep in his
chair, shall be deemed the loser."

"I take you at your word," was Casanova's reply; "and shall be ready to
hold to any other irritating conditions you may suggest."

The game proceeded. At twelve o'clock another meal was announced,
but both players still declared that they were not hungry; at four,
however, they took some soup. Towards supper-time the onlookers began
to think that matters were going too far. Madame Saxe then made a
suggestion that the stakes should be divided, but to this proposal
Casanova firmly declined to consent. At this moment d'Entragues
might have risen from the table a winner even after having paid
the forfeit, for besides being the better player luck had favoured
him. Nevertheless, his pride prevented him from abandoning what had
degenerated into a mere contest of endurance. His appearance had become
that of a corpse which had been disinterred, in striking contrast to
the still normal looks of Casanova, who, to the remonstrances of Madame
Saxe, replied that he would only give up the struggle by falling down

The night wore on, and once more the players were left alone. By this
time d'Entragues was showing evident signs of complete exhaustion,
which was increased by an altercation about some trifling point
raised by Casanova with the express purpose of further weakening his
opponent's resistance.

At nine o'clock next morning Madame Saxe arrived to find her lover
losing, and so dazed that he could hardly shuffle the cards, count,
or properly discard. Once more she appealed to Casanova, pointing out
to him that he could now rise a winner. In a tone of great gallantry
the latter replied that he would agree to abandon the struggle if the
forfeit were declared void, a condition to which d'Entragues declined
to assent. The latter, though very weak, showed considerable annoyance
at the manner in which Casanova had spoken to Madame Saxe, and declared
that for his part he should not leave the table till either he or his
opponent lay dead upon the floor.

In due course of time soup was again brought to the players, but
d'Entragues, who was now in the last stage of weakness, fell down in
a dead faint almost immediately after the cup had been raised to his
lips, and in this condition he was carried away to bed. On the other
hand, Casanova, after having given half a dozen louis to the croupier
(who had been awake for forty-two consecutive hours), leisurely put
the gold he had won in his pockets, and strolled out to a chemist's
where he purchased a mild emetic. He then went to bed and slept lightly
for a few hours, getting up about three o'clock in the afternoon with
an excellent appetite. His opponent did not appear till the next
day, when, much to his credit, he told Casanova that he bore him no
ill-will, and was on the contrary grateful to him for a lesson which he
should remember all the days of his life.

Casanova was not always as successful as this in his gambling
enterprises, which indeed occasionally involved him in unpleasant
situations; but like most adventurers of his type and age he was seldom
depressed by losses. He would appear to have generally dominated
other gamesters whom he met--a state of affairs which was probably
not unconnected with the Venetian's well-known truculence. Besides,
he was, as a rule, not over-burdened with money, a circumstance which
perhaps made him the more ready to engage in a contest. People who are
over-prosperous are not given to exhibiting any particular spirit in
such affairs. A gentleman, who had been fortunate at cards, was asked
to be a second in a duel, at a period when the seconds engaged as
heartily as the principals. "I am not," replied he, "the man for your
purpose at this time; but go and apply to a friend of mine from whom I
won a thousand guineas last night, and I warrant you he will fight like
any devil!"

Though ready to resent any slight, and tenacious of keeping up a
reputation for being "cock of the walk" in the circles in which he
moved, Casanova was possessed of great self-control, and always made
a point of being urbane, even whilst sustaining a severe reverse--a
pleasing characteristic which, he declared, obtained him access to
much pleasant society. It was his constant practice to hold a bank
at the various resorts of the pleasure-loving world which he visited
during his adventurous career. At Aix in Savoy (which is still a
place in high favour with the votaries of chance owing to its two
Casinos), Casanova was once particularly successful. He himself, with
all a gambler's superstition, attributed his good fortune on this
occasion to the appearance of three Englishmen--one of them Fox (then
on the threshold of his career), who borrowed fifty louis of the great
adventurer, whom he had previously met at Geneva.

From his earliest years Charles James Fox had been accustomed to
gambling, having been elected a member of Brooks's when but sixteen
years old. At that time the Club in question, now so decorous and
staid, was the head-quarters of the fashionable London gamester,
and the high-spirited youth fully availed himself of the excellent
opportunities for dissipating a fortune which were here at easy
command. On one occasion Fox sat playing at hazard for twenty-two
consecutive hours, with the result that he rose the loser of eleven
thousand pounds. At twenty-five he was a ruined man, his father having
paid for him one hundred and forty thousand pounds out of his own

[Illustration: _The SPENDTHRIFT_

  Deaf to his aged Sire's advice,
  And biggotted to Cards and Dice;
  With many a horrid Oath and Curse,
  He loudly wails his empty Purse.

From an Eighteenth-Century Print.]

Though a most unsuccessful gambler. Fox played whist and piquet
exceedingly well, it being generally agreed at Brooks's that he might
have made about four thousand a year at these games had he but confined
himself to them. His misfortunes arose from playing at games of chance,
particularly at faro, of which he was very fond. As a rule after
eating and drinking plentifully, he would repair to the faro table,
almost invariably rising a loser. Once indeed, and only once, he
won about eight thousand pounds in the course of a single evening;
part of this money he paid away to his creditors, and the remainder he
lost again almost immediately in the same manner. Mr. Boothby, also an
irreclaimable gamester and an intimate friend of Fox, speaking of the
latter said, "He was unquestionably a man of first-rate talents, but so
deficient in judgment as never to have succeeded in any object during
his whole life. He loved only three things: women, play, and politics.
Yet at no period did he ever form a creditable connection with a woman;
he lost his whole fortune at the gaming-table; and with the exception
of about eleven months he remained always in opposition."

Before he attained his thirtieth year, Fox had completely dissipated
every shilling that he could either command or procure by the most
ruinous expedients. During his career he experienced, at times, many
of the severest privations attached to the vicissitudes which mark
a gamester's progress, and frequently lacked money to defray common
expenses of the most pressing nature. Topham Beauclerk--himself a
man of pleasure and of letters--who lived much in Fox's society at
that period of his life, used to say that no man could form an idea
of the extremities to which his friend had been driven in order to
raise money, after losing his last guinea at the faro table. For days
in succession he was reduced to such distress as to be under the
necessity of having recourse to the waiters of Brooks's Club to lend
him assistance--even sedan-chairmen, whom he was unable to pay, used to
clamour at his door.

Notwithstanding the numerous petty claims which at times made Fox's
life unbearable, he could never resist high play, which seems to have
completely destroyed his judgment as to the value of money, and prided
himself upon the largeness of his stakes. The Duke of Devonshire, who,
much to his honour, made a point of never touching a card, went one day
out of curiosity to the Thatched House Club to see the gambling. After
some time, finding himself awkward at being the only person in the
rooms who was not participating in the play, he proposed a bet of fifty
pounds on the odd trick to Charles Fox. "You'll excuse me, my Lord
Duke," replied Charles, "I never play for pence." "I assure you, sir,"
answered his Grace, "you do, as often as I play for fifty pounds."

Fox, whilst a gambler of the most hopeless description, and extravagant
almost beyond words, had, as is well known, many good points. Amongst
them was hatred of meanness, which was an abomination of the worst sort
in his eyes.

Finding himself on one occasion in considerable funds owing to a run of
luck at faro, he remembered an old gambling debt due to Sir John Lade,
familiarly known at that time as Sir John Jehu, and accordingly wrote,
desiring an appointment so that he might pay what he owed. When they
met, Charles produced the money, which Sir John no sooner saw, than
calling for a pen and ink, he very deliberately began to reckon up the

"What are you doing now?" cried Charles.

"Only calculating what the interest amounts to," replied the other.

"Oh, indeed!" returned Fox with great coolness, at the same time
pocketing the cash, which he had already thrown upon the table. "Why, I
thought, Sir John, that my debt to you was a debt of honour; but as you
seem to view it in another light, and seriously mean to make a trading
debt of it, I must inform you that I make it an invariable rule to pay
my Jew creditors last. You must therefore wait a little longer for your
money, sir; and when I meet my money-lending Israelites for the payment
of principal and interest, I shall certainly think of Sir John Jehu,
and expect to have the honour of seeing him in the company of my worthy
friends from Duke's Place"--a locality which at that time swarmed with

Though Fox rather excelled at card games of skill, horse-racing was
his darling amusement, until, from prudential motives, he quitted the
Turf and all other forms of speculation. He played at games of chance
with indifference, and would throw for a thousand guineas with as much
sang-froid as he would twirl a teetotum for a shilling. But when his
horse ran he was all eagerness and anxiety, always placing himself
where the animal was to make its effort, or where the race was likely
to be most strongly contested. From this spot he would watch the early
part of the race with an immovable look, merely breathing quicker as
they accelerated their pace. But when the horses came opposite to him,
he rode in with them at full speed, whipping, spurring, and blowing, as
if he would have infused his whole soul into the courage, speed, and
perseverance of his favourite racer. The race being over, the fact that
he had won or lost seemed to be a matter of perfect indifference to
him, for he immediately began to discuss the next event, whether he had
a horse entered for it or not.

The fact that Fox was often in the most dire financial straits through
his reckless gambling does not seem to have excited any extraordinary
astonishment amongst his contemporaries. The men of the eighteenth
century were quite accustomed to the vicissitudes connected with
gaming, which seems to have been viewed with the greatest leniency in
every way.

The celebrated Beau Nash was sometimes in sore straits owing to a run
of ill luck at play, and on one occasion, at York, he lost all the
money he possessed. In these circumstances some of his companions
agreed to equip him with fifty guineas, upon condition that he should
stand at the great door of the Minster in a blanket as the people were
coming out of church; and to this proposal he readily agreed. The Dean
passing by unfortunately knew him. "What," cried the divine, "Mr.
Nash in masquerade?" "Only a Yorkshire penance, Mr. Dean, for keeping
bad company," said Nash, pointing to his companions. Some time after
this the Beau won a wager of still greater consequence by riding naked
through a village upon a cow, an escapade which was considered as a
harmless and natural frolic.

In the year 1725, a giddy youth who had just resigned his fellowship
at Oxford, brought his whole fortune to Bath; and without the smallest
degree of skill in play, won a sufficient sum to make any ordinary
man happy. His desire of gain, however, being increased by his good
fortune, he plunged more deeply in the following October, and added
four thousand pounds to his former capital. Hearing of this, Beau Nash,
who was a good-natured man, one night invited him to supper, and told
him there would come a time when he would repent having left the calm
of a college life for the turbulent profession of a gamester. "You are
a stranger to me," said he, "but to convince you of the part I take in
your welfare, I'll give you fifty guineas to forfeit twenty every time
you lose two hundred at one sitting." The young gentleman refused this
offer, and was eventually ruined.

This system of tying up was very usual. The Duke of Bedford, being
chagrined at losing a considerable sum, pressed Mr. Nash to tie him
up for the future from playing deep. With this view the Beau gave his
Grace one hundred guineas to forfeit ten thousand whenever he lost a
sum to the same amount at one sitting. The Duke, however, loved play
to distraction, and within a short time again lost eight thousand
guineas at hazard. As he was on the point of throwing for three
thousand more, Nash caught hold of the dice-box and entreated him to
reflect on the penalty he would incur should he loose. For that time
the Duke desisted, but so possessed was he by the love of play, that
shortly afterwards, having lost a considerable sum at Newmarket, he was
contented to pay the penalty.

On another occasion Nash undertook to cure a young peer of the gambling
fever. Conscious of his own superior skill he determined to engage the
Earl in single play for a very considerable sum. His Lordship lost his
estate, and the title-deeds were put into the winner's possession;
finally his very equipage was deposited as the last stake, and he lost
that also. Nash, however, who showed himself to be the most generous
of gamesters, returned all, only stipulating that he should be paid
five thousand pounds whenever he should think proper to make the
demand. He never did anything of the kind during the nobleman's life;
but some time after his decease, Mr. Nash's affairs being on the wane,
he demanded the money of his Lordship's heirs, who honourably paid it
without hesitation.

At the present day gambling is more or less confined to large towns,
but a different state of affairs prevailed in the eighteenth century,
when whole properties frequently changed hands at the card-table. The
owner of Warthall Hall, for instance, having lost all his money, in a
frenzy of excitement finally risked the whole of his estate upon a low
cut of the cards. He cut the deuce of diamonds, and in remembrance of
his good luck fixed a representation of the lucky card upon the front
of his house with the following inscription:--

  Up now deuce and then a trey,[1]
  Or Warthall's gone for ever and aye.

Shelley Hall in Suffolk, the remains of which still exist, was lost at
play by Thomas Kerridge, the last squire, who died in 1743. According
to tradition, he gambled away the house room by room; and when all
the contents were gone and the house gutted, he pulled down certain
portions and gambled away the bricks. Blo' Norton Hall, Norfolk, is
also said to have been lost at play by its owner, Gawdy Brampton,
who, when he was finally ruined, committed suicide in an attic,
from which his ghost is still said to emerge and haunt an adjoining
staircase--perhaps because his widow married the man who had won his
money and the old Hall.

Many of the small tradesmen in the country towns were eager devotees
of chance, and sharpers frequently reaped a rich harvest in provincial
centres. Indeed, the happy-go-lucky spirit of the eighteenth century
was very favourable to such gentry, who pillaged all ranks without

About 1780 there resided at Canterbury a barber who was famous for
the way in which he made natty one-curled hunting wigs, but who was
also much given to making bets and to boasting of his discernment and
judgment. Two blacklegs, coming to Canterbury for the races, heard
of this barber and immediately formed a plan to shave him in his own
way. To accomplish the business, they went to one of the principal
inns, where, ordering a capital supper, they sent for the perruquier
to bespeak wigs for themselves and their servants. The knight of the
strop readily and cheerfully attended; and, having taken the external
dimensions of the gentlemen's heads, whilst totally ignorant of the
schemes which lay within them, was about to depart, but was prevented
by a pressing invitation from his new customers to take supper with
them. He was of a convivial turn and fond of company, which in his own
opinion afforded opportunities of displaying his great sagacity in the
mysteries of betting; and for this reason he politely accepted the

After supper, a game of whist was suggested, but as the barber did not
feel himself so great an adept at this as at his favourite game of
"done and done," the proposal fell to the ground. As the guest of the
evening was a great politician, and his companions were well informed
of his manners and character, the conversation turned upon politics,
from that unaccountably veering round till wagers became the general
topic. Highly delighted at the introduction of a subject of which he
deemed himself a perfect master, the barber listened with the greatest
attention to the conversation, and eagerly offered several bets
himself. As his two companions appeared rather shy, and hinted that it
would not be safe to bet with a man who calculated matters so shrewdly
as generally to win, he became very anxious to get the better of men
whom he considered as "pigeons"--though, unluckily for him, they turned
out to be "rooks."

After many propositions, they offered to bet him ten guineas that he
would not repeat one sentence, and that only, during the space of ten
minutes. Cunningly thinking that he had his men, the barber started
up and swore he could repeat any sentence for an hour. After having
blithely stepped home for a supply of cash, he returned, and a bet of
fifty guineas having been made, both stakes were deposited under a
hat on the table, the conditions being that the barber should without
intermission repeat the words "_There he goes_," for half an hour's
continuance. He accordingly took his station at the table, and, with
a watch before him to note the time, began his recital of _There he
goes_, _There he goes_, _There he goes_.

When he had kept on in a steady and unalterable tone for a quarter of
an hour, one of the gentlemen, with a view to lead the barber from his
stated subject, lifted up the hat, counted out half the money, and
saying "D--n me if I don't go," put the cash in his pocket and walked
off. This circumstance, however, had no effect upon the barber. A few
minutes later the man who remained coolly pocketed the residue of the
money, and added, as the barber repeated the words _There he goes_,
"And d--n me if I don't follow him." The barber was now left alone with
his eyes riveted on the watch, anxious for the expiration of the short
time which still remained to elapse before his bet was won, but more
confident than ever.

In the meantime, the departure of the two strangers without settling
the bill excited the notice of the landlord; he went into the room,
and the barber, looking him in the face, kept repeating _There he
goes_, "Yes, sir, I know it; they have both been gone some time; pray
are you to pay the bill?" No answer being given but _There he goes_,
the host immediately ran for the barber's wife and a doctor, supposing
him in a state of hopeless delirium. They arrived; his wife, taking
him round the neck, in vain endeavoured to make him deviate from his
purpose; the doctor, after feeling his pulse, pronounced him in a high
fever, and was getting ready his apparatus for opening a vein, when
the time expired, and the barber in a frenzy of excitement, jumped
upon the table and exclaimed, "Bravo, I have won fifty guineas of the
two gentlemen who are gone out!" The persons present now concluded,
beyond a doubt, that he had lost his senses; his wife screamed, and the
landlord called for assistance to have him secured.

When matters were explained, however, the landlord had a horse
saddled, and rode in pursuit of the gentlemen, to remind them of their
forgetfulness. After riding about ten miles, he overtook them in a
lonely part of the road. Here he reminded them that they had not paid
their bill, upon which they presented pistols to his head, robbed him
of between twenty and thirty guineas, and advised him not to travel
again upon such a foolish errand, but to look better after his inn, and
tell the barber to be careful how he made his bets in future.


[Footnote 1: A three.]


 The spirit of play in the eighteenth century--The Duke of Buckingham's
 toast--Subscription-Houses, Slaughter-Houses, and Hells--The staff of
 a gaming-house--Joseph Atkinson and Bellasis--Raids on King's Place
 and Grafton Mews--Methods employed by Bow Street officers--Speculative
 insurance--Increase of gaming in London owing to arrival of
 _émigrés_--Gambling amongst the prisoners of war--The Duc de
 Nivernois and the clergyman--Faro and E.O.--Crusade against West-End
 gamblers--The Duchess of Devonshire and "Old Nick"--Mr. Lookup--Tiger
 Roche--Dick England--Sad death of Mr. Damer--Plucking a pigeon.

During the last ten years of the reign of George II., "that destructive
fury, the spirit of play" wrought great havoc in London. Gaming was
declared to have become the business rather than the amusement of
persons of quality, who were accused (probably with considerable truth)
of being more concerned with speculation than with the proceedings of
Parliament. Estates were almost as frequently made over by whist and
hazard as by deeds and settlements, whilst the chariots of the nobility
might be said to roll upon four aces. As a means of settling disputes,
the wager was stated to have supplanted the sword, all differences of
opinion being adjusted by betting.

In fashionable circles and at Court, gambling was especially prevalent.
In January 1753 it was recorded that "His Majesty played at St.
James's Palace on Twelfth Night for the benefit of the Groom-Porter."
All the members of the Royal Family present on this occasion appear to
have been winners, the Duke of Cumberland getting £3000. Amongst the
losers were the Duke of Grafton and the Lords Huntingdon, Holdernesse,
Ashburnham, and Hertford. The exact amount of benefit which accrued to
the Groom-Porter from the evening's play does not transpire.

Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, had a house near the site of the
present Buckingham Palace, which went by his name. It was afterwards
purchased by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who, after obtaining
an additional grant of land from the Crown, rebuilt it in a magnificent
manner in 1703. During his residence here, the Duke was a constant
visitor at the then noted gaming-house in Marylebone, the place of
assemblage of all the infamous sharpers of the time. His Grace always
gave them a dinner at the conclusion of the season, and his parting
toast was, "May as many of us as remain unhanged next spring meet here
again." Quin related this story at Bath, within the hearing of Lord
Chesterfield, when his Lordship was surrounded by a crowd of worthies
of the same stamp. Lady Mary Wortley alludes to the amusement in this

 Some Dukes at Marybone bowl time away.

As the century waned, play became more and more popular in London. So
great indeed was the toleration accorded to gaming in the West End of
the town that what were virtually public tables may be said to have
existed. These were well-known under the names of Subscription-Houses,
Slaughter-Houses, and Hells, and were frequented by less aristocratic
gamesters than the Clubs, where whist, piquet, and other games were
played for large sums. At the houses not inaptly called Hells, hazard
was played every night, and faro on certain nights in each and every
week, nearly all the year round. These Hells were the resort of
gentlemen, merchants, tradesmen, clerks, and sharpers of all degrees
and conditions, very expensive dinners being given twice or thrice a
week to draw together a large company, who, if they meant to play, were
abundantly supplied with wines and liquors gratis.

The advantage to the faro bank varied at different stages of the game:
the least advantage to the proprietor of the bank, and against the
punter, was about three and a half per cent and the greatest twenty-six
per cent. It is said that the annual expense of maintaining one of
these Hells exceeded £8000, which of course came out of the pockets of
its frequenters.

Quite a large army of retainers were attached to every well-regulated
gaming-house. The first, and of the greatest importance, was the
commissioner, always a proprietor, who looked in at night, the week's
account being audited by him and two other proprietors. Then followed
the director, who superintended the rooms; the operator, who dealt
the cards at faro, or any other game; the croupier, who watched the
cards and gathered the money for the bank; a puff, handsomely paid to
decoy others to play; a clerk, who acted as a check upon the puff,
to see that he embezzled none of the money given him to play with; a
squib, who was a puff of meaner rank, and received but a low salary,
whilst learning to deal; a flasher, to swear how often the bank had
been stripped; a dunner, who went about to recover money lost at play;
a waiter, to fill out wine, snuff candles, and attend the gaming-room;
an attorney, the sharper the better; a captain, ready to fight any
gentleman who might be peevish at losing his money; an usher, to light
gentlemen up and downstairs, and give the porter the word; a porter,
who was generally a foot soldier; an orderly man, whose duty consisted
in walking up and down on the outside of the door to give notice to
the porter, and alarm the house at the approach of the constables;
a runner, employed to obtain intelligence of the justices' meeting.
Beside these, there were link-boys, coachmen, chairmen, drawers, and
others, who might bring information of danger, at half a guinea each
for every true alarm. Finally, there was a sort of affiliated irregular
force, the members of which--affidavitmen, ruffians, and bravoes--were
capable of becoming assassins upon occasion.

A celebrated sporting resort at the end of the eighteenth century was
Mundy's Coffee-House, in Round Court, opposite York Buildings, in
the Strand, then kept by Sporting Medley (the owner of Bacchus and
some other horses of eminence upon the Turf). Here thousands were
nightly transferred over the hazard and card tables by O'Kelly, Stroud,
Tetherington, and a long list of adventurous followers.

Another famous gaming-house was kept by a certain Joseph Atkinson and
his wife at No. 15 under the Piazza, in Covent Garden. Here they daily
gave elaborate dinners, cards of invitation being sent to the clerks
of merchants, bankers, and brokers in the city. Atkinson used to say
that he liked citizens--whom he called "flats"--better than any one
else, for when they had dined they played freely, and after they had
lost all their money they had credit to borrow more. It was his custom
to send any pigeons who had been completely plucked to some of their
solvent friends, who could generally be induced to arrange matters in a
satisfactory way. The game generally played here was E.O.,[2] a sort of

Keepers of gaming-houses in London were very liable to be black-mailed
by men whose principal means of livelihood was obtaining "hush money."
A certain class of individuals existed who for a specific amount
undertook to defend keepers of Hells against prosecutions. One of the
most notorious of these was Theophilus Bellasis, sometimes clerk and
sometimes client to a Bow Street attorney--John Shepherd by name--who
would, when it was likely to be profitable, act as prosecutor of
persons keeping gaming-houses. The magistrates at last realised the
collusion which existed between Bellasis and Shepherd, and refused to
move in cases where the two rogues were concerned.

The houses, called by sharpers Slaughter-Houses, were those where
persons were employed by the proprietors to pretend to be playing at
hazard for large sums of money, with a view to inducing some unthinking
individual to join in the play. When the scheme succeeded, the pigeon,
by means of loaded dice and other fraudulent methods, was eventually
dispossessed of all his cash, and perhaps plunged into debt, for
which a bond was given, the embarrassments of which he felt for some
years after. If, however, he returned to play again with the hope
of regaining what in such company was past redemption, his ruin was
quickly and completely sealed.

At one time, the parish officers of St. Ann's, Soho, set up a number
of lanterns and boards with the words "_Beware of bad houses_" painted
upon them, for the purpose of ridding the neighbourhood of dissolute
and abandoned women. In consequence of this having had the desired
effect, it was proposed to put up similarly-worded notices near the
Hells and Slaughter-Houses of St. James's, but the idea was never
carried into effect.

Places where faro was played abounded about Pall Mall and St. James's
Street, and from time to time exciting scenes were witnessed when the
authorities decided upon making a raid.

In 1799 considerable uproar was caused in Pall Mall by a raid upon Nos.
1 and 3 King's Place, which were attacked by what were facetiously
termed the "Bow Street troops" acting under a search warrant. These in
a very short time carried the place by storm, and took ten prisoners,
together with a great quantity of baggage, stores, which consisted
mainly of tables for rouge-et-noir and hazard; cards, dice, counters,
strong doors, bars and bolts. The attack began by a stratagem put
into execution by "General Rivett," who was in supreme command of the
attacking force. He sought to gain an entrance at the street door of
No. 1; but this having failed, and all attempts to force it having
proved ineffectual, one of the light troops mounted the counterscarp
of the area, and descended into the kitchen, while another scaled a
ladder affixed to a first floor of No. 3; and having each made good
their footing, opposition being then abandoned by the besieged who had
betaken themselves to flight, the attacking force without molestation
opened the gates and let in the main body, after which a general search
and pursuit ensued. Several gamblers retreated to the top of the houses
adjoining, whither they were followed and taken prisoners; one poor
devil, the supposed proprietor of No. 3, was smoked in a chimney, from
whence he was dragged down--a black example to all gamesters! Three
French _émigrés_ were among the captured, one of whom had his retreat
cut off just as he was issuing from a house in Pall Mall, through which
he had descended unobserved, and by which way some others escaped.
Mother Windsor and her nymphs, who were well-known residents in the
locality, were much alarmed by the operations; and the old lady, who
declared that the presence of gaming in the vicinity had long been
a scandal, vociferously applauded to the skies the vigilance of the
police in putting down such pests of society.


From a Print in the possession of Messrs. Robson & Co., 23 Coventry
Street, W.]

About the same time No. 13 Grafton Mews, Fitzroy Square, obtained an
unenviable reputation as being a veritable Temple of Fraud, an illegal
lottery insurance business being carried on there, which impoverished
the poorer class of people residing in the neighbourhood. The house
in question, which it was said had been specially built, was to all
appearance a square brick tower about fifty feet high--on three sides
it presented not the slightest sign of habitation; towards Grafton
Mews, however, it bore the usual semblance of a stable.

To this place flocked grooms, valets, and all the silly fry of the
district, carrying with them as much money as they could scrape
together. Business was generally over by the afternoon, when the
proprietors, who never made their exit by the door, climbed up to the
top of the tower, and got through a hole in the roof--from which, by
a ladder, they descended to a slated roof of a back place about twenty
feet lower; they then crawled along about twenty feet of wall, and by
an aperture in another, like a gun-port, descended into a back yard,
and completed their cat-like line of march through a house in Hertford
Street. This, to the astonishment of the neighbours, was done regularly
every morning.

The place having become a public scandal, Townshend, with several Bow
Street runners and four carpenters, went to Warren Street one morning,
three hackney coaches being posted at some distance from the scene of

On the arrival of the peace officers, the four proprietors of No. 13
came out through the roof, and planted their ladder; but it gave way,
and they were obliged to jump upon the slated roof twenty feet below
them. By some marvellous chance, however, they escaped uninjured, the
slates only being broken. They then jumped upon an adjacent wall, and
flung their books into the garden of a gentleman's house. No. 17 Warren
Street, and followed themselves; their idea was to escape through his
back door, but the owner was fortunately at home, and resisted this
design. They then leaped the wall of the next house, Drover's, the
hairdresser, with their books, and in this house they were secured. One
of them fired a pistol at the officers, which fortunately did no harm.
The runners had cutlasses and axes, with which they made their way into
the house.

The inhabitants of the district, it may be added, did not exhibit any
enthusiasm for the officers of the law--on the contrary, they showed
considerable displeasure against those who had come there to preserve
most of them from misery and ruin. The informer, never a popular
character, was a lean, cadaverous old woman. She accompanied the
swindlers in the first coach, with the hootings of the rabble in her
ears, and the whole cavalcade moved off the ground, escorted by a very
hostile crowd which accompanied it to Bow Street. Here the four men,
who had been arrested with so much difficulty, were sentenced to six
months' imprisonment each in the house of correction in Coldbath Fields.

It would appear that previous to 1778 gaming was never conducted upon
the methodical system of partnership concerns, wherein considerable
capital was embarked. After that period, the vast licence allowed to
keepers of fraudulent E.O. tables, 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 many excellent
opportunities of acquiring property, which was afterwards increased
in the low gaming-houses, by nefarious methods at Newmarket and other
fashionable places of resort, and in the lottery. At length, though
these individuals had started without any property, or any visible
means of lawful support, a sum of money, little short of one million
sterling, was said to have been acquired by a class originally (with
some few exceptions) of the lowest and most depraved description.
This enormous mass of wealth was employed as a great and an efficient
capital for carrying on various illegal establishments, particularly
gaming-houses, and houses for fraudulent insurances in the lottery.

Part of this capital was even said to be utilised in subsidising
various faro banks kept by ladies of fashion, whilst a certain
proportion was also devoted to fraudulent insurance in the lotteries,
where the chances were calculated to yield about thirty per cent to the
gambling syndicate, most of the members of which maintained a number
of clerks, employed during the drawing of the lotteries, who conducted
the business, without risk, in counting-houses where no insurances were
taken, but to which books were carried, not only from the different
offices in every part of the town, but also from the "Morocco-men," who
went from door to door taking insurances, and enticing the poor and the
middle ranks to become adventurers.

In calculating the chances upon the whole numbers in the wheels, and
the premiums which were paid, there was generally about £33:1:3 per
cent in favour of the lottery insurers: but when it is considered that
the people generally, from not being able to understand or recollect
high numbers, always fixed on low ones, the chance in favour of the
insurer was greatly increased, and the deluded poor plundered.

In the early part of the eighteenth century, speculative insurance,
which could be effected upon anything, including lives, was a favourite
form of gambling in England. Any one's life could be insured, including
that of the King, and, to such an extent was this carried, that daily
quotations of the rates on the lives of eminent public personages were
issued by members of Garraway's and Lloyd's. The highest premium ever
paid is supposed to have been twenty-five per cent on the life of
George II., when he fought at Dettingen. On the fall of the leaders of
the Rebellion of 1745 very large sums changed hands; whilst a number of
insurance brokers were absolutely ruined owing to the escape of Lord
Nithsdale from the Tower--an exploit which this nobleman accomplished
by the aid of his devoted wife. As time went on these speculative
insurances became a public scandal, and they were finally made illegal
by the Gambling Act of 1774.

At the time of the French Revolution hordes of _émigrés_ of all classes
took up their temporary or permanent residence in London, with the
result that over thirty gaming-places were, more or less, publicly
established in the Metropolis. Here, besides faro and hazard, the
foreign games of roulette and rouge-et-noir flourished, a regular
gradation of houses existing, suited to all ranks, from the man of
fashion to the pickpocket.

The mania for gaming amongst the exiles was confined to no particular
class--high and low alike being affected by it. Nothing, for instance,
could exceed the rage for gambling which possessed the prisoners of war
at Dartmoor. About two hundred of them, including a number of Italians,
having lost all their clothes by gaming, were sent to the prison ships
in the Hamoaze, to be clothed anew, many more being left in rags.
These unfortunate men played even for their rations, living three or
four days on offal, cabbage-stalks, or, indeed, anything which chance
might throw in their way. They staked the clothes on their backs, and
even their bedding. It was the custom at Dartmoor for those who had
sported away the latter article to huddle very close together at night,
in order to keep each other warm. One out of the number was elected
boatswain for the time being, and at twelve o'clock at night would pipe
all hands to turn, an operation which, from their proximity to each
other, had to be simultaneous. At four o'clock in the morning the pipe
was heard again, and the reverse turn taken.

Such of the _émigrés_ belonging to the upper classes as possessed
funds could easily indulge their passion for play in the fashionable
circles where many of them had made themselves popular during previous
and more pleasant visits to England. Many, like the Duc de Nivernois,
had intimate friends in high places. Before the Revolution he had
been Ambassador in England. This nobleman was well known for his love
of chess, which on one occasion led to a very pleasant incident.
Staying with Lord Townshend, the Duc, when out for a ride was obliged
by a heavy shower to seek shelter at a wayside house occupied by a
clergyman, who to a poor curacy added the care of a few scholars in the
neighbourhood. In all this might make his living about eighty pounds
a year, on which he had to maintain a wife and six children. When the
Duc rode up, the clergyman, not knowing his rank, begged him to come
in and dry himself, which he was glad to do, borrowing a pair of old
worsted stockings and slippers and warming himself by a good fire.
After some conversation the Duc observed an old chess-board hanging up,
and asked the clergyman whether he could play. The latter told him that
he could play pretty tolerably, but found it difficult in that part of
the country to get an antagonist. "I am your man," said the Duc. "With
all my heart," answered the clergyman, "and if you will stay and take
pot-luck, I will try if I cannot beat you." The day continuing rainy
the Duc accepted the proffered hospitality, and found his antagonist a
much better player than himself. Indeed, the clergyman won every game.
This, however, in no way annoyed the Duc, who was delighted to meet
with a man who could give him so much entertainment at his favourite
game. He accordingly inquired into the state of his host's family
affairs, and making a memorandum of his address, he thanked him and
rode away without revealing who he was.

Some months elapsed and the clergyman never thought of the matter, when
one evening a footman rode up to the door and delivered the following
note--"The Duc de Nivernois presents his compliments to the Rev. Mr.
Bentinck, and as a remembrance of the good drubbing he received at
chess, begs that he will accept the living of X----, worth £400 per
annum, and that he will wait upon his Grace the Duke of Newcastle on
Friday next, to thank him for the same." The good clergyman was some
time before he could imagine this missive to be more than a jest, and
hesitated to obey the mandate; but as his wife insisted on his taking
the chance, he went up to town, where to his unspeakable satisfaction
he found that his nomination to the living had actually taken place.

The habits of dissipation which had prevailed at Versailles in
some measure affected the English upper classes, many of whom were
thoroughly versed in the amusements so popular in France.

For a time a positive rage for gaming seized fashionable London, and
a number of ladies kept what were practically public gaming-tables to
which any one with money could obtain comparatively easy admission.

Faro is supposed to have been invented by a noble Venetian, who
gave it the name of _bassetta_; and for the evils resulting from it
he was banished his country. In 1674 Signor Justiniani, Ambassador
from Venice, introduced the game into France, where it was called
_bassette_. Some of the princes of the blood, many of the _noblesse_,
and several persons of the greatest fortune having been ruined by
it, a severe law was enacted by Louis XIV. against its play. To elude
this edict, it was disguised under the name of _pour et contre_, "for
and against"; and this occasioning new and severe prohibitions, it
was again changed to the name of _le pharaon_, in order to evade the
_arrêts_ of Parliament. From France this game soon found its way to
England, where it was first called basset, but in the fashionable
circles, where at that time it enjoyed a great vogue, it was invariably
known by the name of faro.

Faro, pharo, or pharaoh, which was Fox's favourite game, was supposed
to be easy to learn, fair in its rules, and pleasant to play. Two packs
of cards were used, and any number of people could play, one pack
being for the players whilst the banker had another. Fifty-two cards
were spread out, and the players staked upon one or more which they
might fancy. The banker dealt out his pack to the right, which was for
himself, and to the left (called the _carte anglaise_) for the players,
who instead of their pack often used a "livret," specially adapted for
staking. The "livret" consisted of thirteen cards, with four others
called "figures." The "little figure" had a blue cross on each side,
and represented ace, deuce, and three. The "yellow figure"--yellow
on both sides--signified 4, 5, and 6. The "third figure" had a black
lozenge in the centre, and stood for 7, 8, and 9. The "great figure"
was a red card, and indicated knave, queen, and king. The banker won
all the money staked on any card corresponding with a card dealt by
him to the right, and had to pay double stakes on any card dealt to
the left which players had selected in their own pack. If he dealt two
equal cards (called a doublet) he won half of all the money staked
upon the card of that value, and on the last card of his pack, did the
players win, he only paid even money. In reality the chances were very
favourable to the holder of the bank.

Complaints were very rife as to the way in which these faro parties
were conducted. An especial grievance was "card money," a small sum
paid by each visitor into a pool for every new pack of cards used.
This money was supposed to be a perquisite of the servants, though
malicious rumours declared that it never reached them. The advent of
French _émigrés_ after the French Revolution was also the cause of
considerable irritation, it being declared that many of the exiled
_noblesse_ completely monopolised some of the tables, round which they
formed a circle, and excluded English ladies and gentlemen from taking
part in the game.

The losses of many of those who played at faro were so heavy and
constant that the banks contracted many bad debts; and in addition the
fashionable parties in time became full of little tricks and artifices
which were to the detriment of those holding the bank. Some of the
latter found it advisable to employ eight croupiers instead of the
four usually attached to each faro table, for the pigeons were all
flown and those who remained were little better than hawks.

Faro, in the female circles of fashion, had given way to a more
specious and alluring game called lottery, which, instead of wheels,
consisted of two bags, from which prizes and blanks were drawn. The
holder of the bank derived an advantage of upwards of thirty per cent.

About 1794 some of the ladies who gave gambling parties in St. James's
Square began to add roulette as an increased attraction to those fond
of gaming. It was remarked at the time that this was merely the old
game of E.O. under a different name. As a matter of fact the two are
somewhat alike, though roulette is a far more complicated and amusing
method of losing money.

An E.O. table was circular in form and as a rule four feet in diameter.
The outside edge formed the counter on which the stakes were placed,
the letters E.O. being marked all round it. In the centre was a
stationary gallery in which the ball rolled, and an independent round
table moving by means of handles on an axis. The ball was started
in one direction and the table rotated in the other, there being
forty compartments of equal size, twenty marked E and twenty marked
O, the whole principle being that of roulette without a zero. This
very necessary adjunct to a successful bank, was in time furnished by
the adoption of "bar holes" into which two of the forty spaces were
converted, the practice being that the banker won all the bets on the
opposite letter whilst not paying over that into which the ball fell.
With such a proportion of two in forty, or five per cent in its favour,
the banks did very well.

Gaming raged throughout Society at this time, and it was even declared
that young ladies were taught whist and casino at fashionable
boarding-schools, where their "winning ways" were cultivated in
this direction. One schoolmistress, it was averred, was in despair
at the dullness of her pupils, who were quite unable to grasp the
comparatively easy intricacies of faro. Gillray was quick to grasp
the opportunity which such a state of affairs afforded to his powers
of satire, and was pitiless in his caricatures of female gamblers.
"Faro's Daughters, or the Kenyonian Blow-up to Gamblers," published
in 1796, was one of the most striking of these. In this Lady Archer
and Mrs. Concannon were shown in the pillory, upbraiding one another.
Lord Kenyon had made some very scathing comments upon the vice of
gaming during a recent trial to recover fifteen pounds won at play on
a Sunday, and had declared that the highest society was setting the
worst example to the lowest, being under the impression that it was too
great for the law. He himself, he added, should the opportunity arise,
would see that any gamblers brought before him, whatever their rank or
station, should be severely dealt with if convicted, and though they
might be the first ladies in the land they should certainly exhibit
themselves in the pillory.

Gambling in the West End of London amongst ladies had indeed become
a public scandal, and in due course the authorities found themselves
bound to take action.

In 1797 a regular crusade was made against faro, and the Countess
of Buckinghamshire, Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, Mrs. Mary Sturt, Mr.
Concannon, and Mr. O'Burne, were charged at Marlborough Street with
having "played at a certain fraudulent and unlawful game called faro,
at the house of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, in St. James's Square."

With them was also charged Henry Martindale, who had financed the
bank--the four or five people employed to run the table were each paid
half a guinea a night by him, tenpence out of which was deducted for
the use of the maids.

A witness, Joseph Evatt by name, deposed that he had seen Lady
Buckinghamshire play every Monday and Friday, as regular as the days
came. Her ladyship, said he, used to continue _punting_ and betting,
paying and receiving, from night till morning.

The lady's counsel, Mr. Onslow, endeavoured to invalidate this man's
testimony by showing that he was a terrible democrat, and disaffected
to His Majesty's person and government; and also by proving that he
wanted to palm an old suit of livery on his master, and to persuade
the tailor to charge for a new one, and give him part of the money. To
prove the first charge Mr. Onslow examined the witness Evatt himself,
and asked him if he had not declared that the Government was a bad one,
and that he should like to cut the King's head off? The magistrate, Mr.
Conant, would not suffer him to answer such a question. To prove the
latter, the foreman of Mr. Blackmore, a tailor, said that Evatt having
saved a suit of livery as good as new, wanted Mr. Blackmore to take it,
allow him four guineas, and send it home as a new suit. The magistrate
did not consider this such a notorious piece of fraud in a footman, as
to prevent his being believed on his oath.

Joseph Burford swore to the fact of Lady Buckinghamshire playing

Mr. Onslow ended by saying that he trusted the magistrate would not,
upon the evidence of such men as Evatt and Burford, convict Lady
Buckinghamshire, and hold her up as an object for the finger of
democratic scorn to point at.

Notwithstanding this defence, the lady was sentenced to pay a fine of
fifty pounds, as were Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, Mrs. Mary Sturt, and Mr.
O'Burne. The case against Mr. Concannon was quashed owing to his having
been described as Lucas Concannon instead of Lucius.

Martindale was fined two hundred pounds, and in consequence of the
scandal produced by the whole affair was eventually made a bankrupt,
by which the ladies of the fashionable world were thrown into a state
of considerable alarm. Martindale it was who supplied the beautiful
Duchess of Devonshire, and many other dashing women of distinction,
with sums to support their gambling propensities. His assignees were
said to have claims on some of the first families of England to the
amount of £180,000, and the curious disclosures which were made
engrossed much attention in all the sporting circles.

Many of the great ladies of that day lived only for pleasure, spending
enormous sums in dress, and also in carriages and horseflesh, it being
a point of honour amongst them to possess a superb turn-out. One lady,
well known for the splendour of her equipage at race meetings where she
cut a distinguished figure, once apologised to a friend for appearing
at Doncaster with a humble four-in-hand and four out-riders, saying
that her coachman wished to come with six horses as usual, but she
thought it right, in such hard times, to come "incog."

The gambling ladies of that day came into contact with all sorts of
shady characters, many of whom were very unpolished diamonds. Such a
one was the man known as "Old Nick," whose principal revenue was drawn
from a hazard table where strangers were treated with a hospitality
which they generally had good cause to remember.

Old Nick also had a considerable interest in a number of lottery
insurance offices, lent money, and gambled himself when able to get in
contact with any unplucked pigeon. Having once stripped a young man at
cards of about £100, with which he had been entrusted for the purpose
of paying a bill for the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire, her Grace
applied in person to the winner to refund the whole, or, at least, a
part of his booty. Old Nick's answer was: "Well, Madam, the best thing
you can do is to sit down with me at cards, and play for all you have
about you; after I win your smock, so far from refunding, I'll send you
home _bare_--to your Duke, my dear."

One of his friends being under trial for a very serious charge and
having no defence left but his character, produced Old Nick in order to
vouch for his respectability. The latter's ready eloquence represented
him as the most amiable and innocent of the creation. The counsel for
the prosecution having smelt a rat, began to ply the witness with such
questions as he positively refused to answer. Being asked the reason,
he answered honestly for once in his life: "My business here was to
give the man a good character, and you, you flat, imagine that I'm come
to give him a bad one."


By Rowlandson.]

In the early part of the year 1805 the West End was much excited by
a statement in a morning paper referring to the supposed discovery
by the Duke of Devonshire of immense losses at play, principally to
gamesters of her own sex, incurred by his lovely Duchess. Her Grace's
whole loss, chiefly at faro, was declared to amount to £176,000,
of which a private gentlewoman and bosom friend, Mrs. ---- was said
to have won no less than £30,000. The discovery was made to the Duke
one Sunday; the Duchess rushed into his library, and, in a flood of
tears, told him she was ruined in fame and reputation, if these claims
of honour were not instantly discharged. His Grace was thunderstruck
when he learned the extent of her requisition, and the names of the
friends who had contributed in so extraordinary a manner to such
extreme embarrassments. Having soothed her in the best manner he was
able, he sent for two confidential friends, imparted to them all the
circumstances, and asked them how he should act. Their answer was
promptly given--"Pay not one guinea of any such infamous demands!"
and this advice, it was supposed, would be strictly adhered to by the
Duke. Her Grace was said to have executed some bonds, to satisfy, for
a moment, these gambling claimants; but, of course, they could be of
no avail. Two gentlemen and five ladies formed the snug flock of rooks
that had so unmercifully stripped this female pigeon of distinction.

A few days later, however, _The Morning Herald_, which was responsible
for the startling news, declared that the fiction of the female
gamblers of distinction in a house fitted up near St. James's Street
for their ruinous orgies, began to die away; for it had been discovered
that the supposed pigeoned Duchess, declared to have sacrificed half a
million sterling of her lord's fortune, had never gambled at any game
of chance, whilst her amiable companion, who was a pattern of domestic
propriety, instead of having helped to pluck her Grace, had never
played for a guinea in the course of her life. This denial was probably
inspired from influential quarters.

The gambling ladies seem to have fallen into obscurity when the
nineteenth century began; the "faro dames," as they were called, found
their occupation gone. Their game, at which few of them had "cut with
honours," was up, and their "odd tricks" were no longer of any avail in
London. One of the most notorious, Mrs. Concannon, migrated to Paris,
where her house continued for some time to be the meeting-place of
those fond of deep play.

Whist now began to be a good deal played at fashionable parties, but
in 1805 four-handed cribbage became the fashionable game in the West
End, and whist, during a temporary eclipse, as it declined in the West,
rose with increase of splendour in the East. At a city club the stakes
played for were ten pounds a game, and guineas were betted on the odd
trick. A select party of business men, well known on the city side of
Temple Bar, once played at whist from one Wednesday afternoon till the
next Friday night, and only left off then because two of the players
were unfortunately Jews.

At another whist party, a lady who had not been accustomed to move
in quite as good society as the other guests, won a rubber of twenty
guineas. The gentleman who was her opponent pulled out his pocket-book
and tendered £21 in bank-notes.[3] The fair gamester observed, with a
disdainful toss of her head: "In the great houses which I frequent,
sir, we always use gold." "That may be, madam," replied the gentleman,
"but in the little houses which I frequent we always use paper!"

At this time adventurers abounded, many of whom profited by the
speculative tendencies of the age. A character of the first magnitude
in the annals of gaming, for instance, was a Mr. Lookup, who lived
towards the close of the eighteenth century. A Scotchman by birth,
a gamester by profession, he accumulated a considerable fortune by
methods of none too reputable a kind.

Originally an apprentice to an apothecary in the north of England, he
acted in that profession as journeyman in the city of Bath. Soon after
the death of his master, he paid his addresses to his mistress, the
widow; and, having none of that bashful modesty about him which is
sometimes an obstacle to a man in such pursuits, and being a remarkably
tall stout man, with a tolerably good figure, he prevailed on the Bath
matron to favour him with her hand.

From his infancy Lookup manifested a strong propensity for play, and
as he grew up became very expert at several games. Till his marriage,
however, he was hampered by lack of funds, which prevented him from
exercising his skill and judgment to much advantage. Finding himself
master of five hundred pounds brought to him by his wife, he soon shut
up shop, and turned his application from pharmacy to speculation.
He became a first-rate piquet and whist player, and soon mastered
various other games of chance and skill; in a short time, by incessant
industry, greatly increasing his capital.

Lord Chesterfield and Mr. Lookup, for a long time, played constant
matches at piquet together, the former being something of an adept at
the game; but Mr. Lookup's superior skill at length prevailed, with the
result that very considerable gains passed into his pocket.

Lord Chesterfield would also sometimes amuse himself at billiards with
Mr. Lookup, and upon one of these occasions the peer had the laugh
turned against him by the sharp tactics of his antagonist. Mr. Lookup
had met with an accident by which he was deprived of the sight of one
of his eyes, though to any cursory observer it appeared as perfect
as the other. Having beaten the peer playing evens, Lookup asked how
many his lordship would give him, if he put a patch upon one eye.
Lord Chesterfield agreed to give him five, upon which Lookup beat
him several times successively. At length his lordship, with some
petulance, exclaimed, "Lookup, I think you play as well with one eye
as two." "I don't wonder at it, my lord," replied Lookup, "for I have
seen only out of one for these ten years." With the money he won of
Lord Chesterfield he bought some houses at Bath, and jocularly named
them Chesterfield Row.

After he had accumulated a considerable sum by play, Mr. Lookup went
to London, and, having buried his wife, married another widow with
a very large fortune. His plan of operations was now much enlarged;
and, though he played occasionally for his own amusement, or when
he met with what is termed a "good thing," he abandoned gaming as a
regular profession. He now struck out several schemes, some visionary
and others advantageous; among the former being a project for making
saltpetre. A foreigner having drawn up a specious plan, presented it
to Lookup, who, from his superficial knowledge of chemistry, thought
the scheme practicable. A considerable range of buildings was erected
for carrying on these works near Chelsea; salaries were appointed
for the directors and supervisors, and large sums expended to bring
this favourite scheme to perfection. So sanguine were Lookup's hopes
of success, that he persuaded a particular friend of his (Captain
Hamilton) to become a partner, with the result that the latter lost
many thousands. At length, tired with the fruitless expense and
repeated disappointments, he abandoned this project for others less

Mr. Lookup was concerned in many privateering ventures, several of
which proved successful; at any rate he was thought to be a substantial
gainer in these enterprises. At the close of the war he engaged in the
African trade, and had considerable dealings in that commerce to the
time of his decease.

As he grew old, however, his darling passion would at times
predominate; and within a few weeks of his death he was known to sit up
whole nights playing for very considerable sums. It was even averred
that he died with a pack of cards in his hand, at his favourite game
of humbug or two-handed whist; on which Sam Foote jocularly observed,
"that Lookup was _humbugged_ out of the world at last."

Some description of Mr. Lookup's favourite game, of which he is said to
have been the inventor, may not be out of place. Though now obsolete,
it was once very popular at the rooms in Bath, and in the West End of

Humbug may properly be called two-handed whist, as only two persons
play. The cards are shuffled and cut; the lowest deals out all the
cards, and turns up the last for the trump. Each player has now
twenty-six cards in his hand, and the object is to make as many tricks
as they can, all the laws of whist prevailing, the cards being of
the same value as when four play. But the honours do not reckon any
further than they prevail in making tricks by their superiority over
inferior cards; the tricks reckon from one to as many as are gained;
for instance, if one player has twenty tricks, and the other only six,
the first wins fourteen, and if they play a guinea a trick of course
wins fourteen guineas. The game finishes every deal, when the balance
is settled, and they then commence another game. As each player knows,
at first, all the cards his adversary has in his hand, it is common,
in order to sort them, to lay them with their faces up; but after they
have ranged them, and begun to play, they are as careful of concealing
their cards as they are at the common game of whist, it then depending
upon memory to know what cards have been played and what remain in
hand. As it is allowed only to turn up the last trick to see what has
been played, a revoke is punished with the same rigour at this game as
at whist; and the forfeiting three tricks is often worth more at humbug
than at the former game.

The London of the past swarmed with sharpers of every description on
the look-out for rich young men. Billiard-rooms which are now quite
decorous resorts were favourite haunts of these gentry.

The noted Captain Roche, known as Tiger Roche, was once at the Bedford
billiard-table, when it was extremely crowded. As he was knocking the
balls about with a cue. Major Williamson, who wanted to talk to him
about some business, desired him to leave off, as he monopolised the
table and hindered gentlemen from playing. "Gentlemen!" exclaimed Roche
with a sneer. "Why, Major, except you and I, and two or three more,
there is not a gentleman in the room: the rest are all low blacklegs."
On leaving the place the Major expressed some astonishment at his
companion's rudeness, and wondered that, out of so numerous a company,
it was not resented. "Oh, d--n the scoundrels, sir," said Roche; "there
was no fear of that, as there was not a thief in the room that did not
suppose himself one of the two or three gentlemen I mentioned."

A particularly dangerous individual was the notorious Dick England,
an Irishman of obscure origin, who rose to comparative prosperity
through gaming and betting. A hard-headed man, England possessed great
control over his temper, which, however, when given a free run, could
be terrible. Having played at hazard one evening with a certain young
tradesman of his acquaintance, England lost some three or four score
pounds, for which he gave his draft upon Hankey, the banker. Having
persuaded his antagonist to give him his revenge, the luck turned, and
England not only won his money back, but as much more in addition. It
then being late, he desired to retire, and requested his antagonist to
pay in cash or to give a cheque upon his banker for the money which he
had lost. The tradesman resolutely refused to do either, on the plea
that he had been tricked, and that the money had not been fairly won.
England once more demanded the money, and when it was again refused,
he tripped up the young man's heels, rolled him up in the carpet,
and snatching a case-knife from the sideboard, cut off his long hair
close to the scalp. This violent action, coupled with the menacing
attitude of England still flourishing the knife, and uttering the most
deep-toned imprecations, had such an effect upon the young man in the
stillness of past three o'clock in the morning, that he arose, and with
the meekness of a lamb wrote a draft for the amount of his loss, took
his leave very civilly, wishing the Captain a good morning, and never
mentioned the circumstance again.


Dick England was a constant frequenter of all places likely to afford
him pigeons worth plucking. At a tennis court he met the Honourable
Mr. Damer, who was in the habit of playing tennis for amusement and
exercise. One evil day, however, when no one was about, Mr. Damer
played a game with England, who was profuse in his admiration for his
opponent's skill. Though Mr. Damer knew England's reputation, and would
not have been seen at Ranelagh with him, or had him at his table for
a thousand pounds, he was not proof against the man's flattery, and
England soon became his habitual opponent at tennis.

The latter, in league with other sharpers, soon sent to Paris for the
best tennis player in the world, who on his arrival was instructed
to lose unless given signals--the display of a certain coloured
handkerchief, the raising of a bat, and similar signs--should be made.

England now proceeded to begin the stripping of his dupe by pretending
to back him for fifty or a hundred guineas a set, complaining bitterly
of his losses when unsuccessful. Mr. Damer meanwhile was losing three,
four, and sometimes five thousand guineas in a day; and with such blind
avidity did he pursue this destructive game, that he soon found himself
a loser of near forty thousand guineas. At last, he found it prudent to
resist the propensity to play with England and his band of sharpers,
some of whom were constantly at his house in Tilney Street, requesting
payment. Mr. Damer offered them post-obits, bonds, or in short the best
security he could then offer, his father, Lord Milton, afterwards Lord
Dorchester, being alive; no, they would have cash. Mr. Damer could not
find it; but, to his high sense of honour be it told, he threw himself
at his father's feet; the worthy parent weighed the matter well, and
sent his steward from Milton Abbey with power to pay every shilling,
though he knew his son had been cheated of every guinea. The steward,
however, arrived only in time to learn that his young master, having
sent for five girls and a blind fiddler, had blown out his brains after
a roystering carouse at a tavern in Covent Garden. According to Horace
Walpole it was Fox who, with infinite good nature, went to meet Mrs.
Damer on her way to town and prepared her for the dismal news. "Can,"
says Walpole, "the walls of Almack's help moralizing when £5000 a year
in present and £22,000 in reversion are not sufficient for happiness
and cannot check a pistol!"

England was very fertile in expedients in plucking his pigeons. On one
occasion, being with other blacklegs at Scarborough, and a rich dupe,
from whom a good deal was expected, refusing to play after dinner, the
party, having made the pigeon drunk and given the waiter five guineas
to answer any awkward questions which might be asked in the morning,
wrote out on slips of paper "D---- (the pigeon's name) owes me a
hundred guineas." "D---- owes me eighty guineas," and so on. England,
however, wrote "I owe D---- thirty guineas."

The next morning England, meeting the guest of the night before on the
cliff, said to him: "Well, we were all very merry last night." "We were
indeed," replied the pigeon, "and I only hope I did not offend any one,
for I must confess that I drank a good deal more than usual."

"You were in good spirits, my dear fellow," said England, "that was
all; and now, before I forget, let me pay you the thirty guineas I lost
to you last night--I am not very lucky at cards."

D---- stared, and positively denied having played for a shilling; but
England assured him upon his honour that he had. He added that he had
paid hundreds to men who having drunk deep remembered nothing till he
had shown them his account. Mr. D---- thus fell into the trap laid
for him, and, being a novice, put the notes in his pocket, thinking
England the most upright man he had ever met. Shortly after, Mr.
England's friends presented their cards. Mr. D----, thunderstruck at
their demands, swore that he had never played with them, and indeed
that he did not know of his having played at all, until Captain
England, very much to his credit, had paid him thirty guineas, though
he himself did not remember any cards or dice having been in the room.
The leader of the band replied with great warmth, "Sir, it is the first
time my honour was ever doubted. Captain England, and the waiter, will
tell you I won a hundred guineas of you, though I was a great loser by
the night's play."

The victim of the plot, however, fortunately for himself, met
some friends who were men of the world, and one of them having
cross-examined the waiter, and promised him another five guineas if
he spoke the truth, the latter at last admitted that England and his
companions were notorious blacklegs, and that Mr. D---- did not play
at all, or, if he did, it could not have been for five minutes, as the
rest of the party were constantly ringing and making punch in their own

On the advice of this friend D---- ended the matter by sending England
back his thirty guineas with five more to pay the cost of the supper;
and the blacklegs, finding that the affair was likely to do them no
good, left Scarborough the next morning.

A young Kingston brewer, Rolles by name, having publicly insulted
England by calling him a blackleg at Ascot, the latter, who could
snuff a candle with a pistol ball, called him out and shot him, after
which he fled to the Continent, remarking: "Well, as I have shot a man
I must be after making myself scarce." As an outlaw living in Paris,
England continued to make money by play till the outbreak of the French
Revolution, which for a time rather injured the avocation of sharpers
in France.

It is said, however, that he furnished the heads of our army with some
valuable intelligence in its celebrated campaign in Flanders; and that,
as a reward, his return to this country was facilitated, and an annuity
promised him.

On his arrival in London, he was tried and acquitted of the murder of
Mr. Rolles. For the remainder of his life he appears to have completely
abandoned gambling, and to have lived a very quiet existence near
Leicester Square.


[Footnote 2: Described at page 55.]

[Footnote 3: £1 notes existed at this time.]


 Former popularity of dice--The race game in Paris--Description
 of hazard--Jack Mytton's success at it--Anecdotes--French
 hazard--Major Baggs, a celebrated gamester of the past--Anecdotes
 of his career--London gaming-houses--Ways and methods of
 their proprietors--Ephraim Bond and his henchman Burge--"The
 Athenæum"--West-End Hells--Crockford's--Opinion of Mr. Crockford
 regarding play--The Act of 1845--Betting-houses--Nefarious tactics of
 their owners--Suppression in 1853.

The most popular gambling game of the eighteenth century, at which
great sums were lost and won, was "hazard," which emptied the pockets
of multitudes in the West End, and proved the ruin of many a country
squire fresh to the allurements of town.

Before 1716 itinerant vendors usually carried dice with them, and
customers, even children, were encouraged to throw for fruit, nuts, or
sweets; and when the floors of the Middle Temple Hall were taken up
nearly a hundred sets of dice which had fallen through the chinks in
the flooring were found. Dice have been out of fashion for many years
in the modern world, though quite recently they have begun to enjoy
some slight popularity in France in connection with an elaborated
form of the race game which at one time was a favourite amusement in
English country houses. Two Clubs, the Racing Plomb Club and the Pur
Plomb Club, now exist in Paris, the members of which declare that the
movements of little leaden horses over a course, in accordance with
the throw of the dice, are more amusing and exciting than roulette
or baccarat. The little metal steeds used at this game are named
after prominent race-horses on the French Turf. The races, called
after events like the Grand Steeplechase and Grand Prix, are begun
with three or four dice, continued with two, and end with one, the
courses of Auteuil and Longchamps being realistically reproduced on
the race-boards. A leaden horse which wins a certain number of races
is accorded some advantage over the rest. For instance, a winner,
say of stakes amounting to one hundred francs, advances seven points
instead of six on the board when its owner throws a six, and so on in
proportion, whilst if it has won sixteen hundred points a throw of six
advances it eleven points. This racing game, which, however, is played
rather for amusement than mere gambling, was revived by M. Fernand
Vandéreux, who has brought it into popularity in Parisian literary and
artistic circles.

Hazard, which is now practically obsolete, seems to have made an
irresistible appeal to the gaming instincts of former generations, and
the financial ravages for which it was responsible eventually provoked
such scandals that the game was rendered illegal in 1845. It was a
somewhat complicated form of gambling, and in these days, when so many
easy forms of speculation exist, would in all probability have died a
natural death even without the intervention of the law.

The following is an account of the game as played some fifty years ago,
when it still enjoyed some popularity amongst racing men.

The players assembled round a circular table, a space being reserved
for the "groom-porter" (the term applied to the croupier), who occupied
a somewhat elevated position, and whose duty it was to call the odds
and see that the game was played according to rule. Two dice were used
and the player who took the box placed as much money as he wished to
risk in the centre of the table, where it was covered with an equal
amount, either by some individual speculator, or by the contributions
of several. The player (technically called the "caster") then proceeded
to call a "main," that is to say, any number from 5 to 9; of these
he would mentally select the one which either chance or superstition
might suggest, call it aloud, then shake the box, and deliver the dice.
If he threw the exact number he called, he "nicked" it, as the term
went, and won; if he threw any other number (with a few exceptions,
which will be mentioned), he neither won nor lost. The number,
however, which he threw became his "chance," and if he could succeed
in repeating it before he threw what was his main, he won; if not, he
lost. In other words, having completely failed to throw his main in
the first instance, he should have lost, but did not in consequence
of the equitable interference of his newly-made acquaintance, which
constituted itself his chance. If a player threw two aces (commonly
called "crabs") he lost his stake. For example, suppose the caster
"set"--that is, placed on the table--a stake of £10, and it was covered
by an equal amount, and he then called 7 in as his main and threw 5;
the groom-porter would at once call out "5 to 7"--meaning that 5 was
the number to win and 7 the number to lose. The player then continued
throwing until the event was determined by the turning up of either the
main or the chance. Meanwhile, however, a most important feature in the
game came into operation--the laying and taking of the odds caused by
the relative proportions of the main and the chance. These, as has been
said, were calculated with mathematical nicety, never varied, and were
proclaimed by the groom-porter. In the instance given, as the caster
stood to win with 5 and to lose with 7, the odds were declared to be 3
to 2 against him, inasmuch as there are three ways of throwing 7, and
only two of throwing 5. If a player should "throw out" once, the box
passed on to the next person on his left, who at once took up the play.
He could, however, "throw in" without interruption, and if he was able
to do this half a dozen times and back his luck, his gains would amount
to a large sum, sixty to one being the odds against it.

The choice of a main was quite optional: many preferred 7 in because
they might make a coup at once by throwing that number, or by throwing
11, which is a "nick" to 7, but to 7 only. Many shrewd players,
however, preferred some other main, with the view of having a more
favourable chance to depend upon of winning both stake and odds. For
example, let us reverse the case given above, and suppose the caster
called 5 and threw 7; he would then have 7 as his chance to win odds of
3 to 2 in his favour.

Such was the game of English hazard, at which large fortunes were
lost. Cheating could only be effected by the use of loaded dice, which
were called "dispatches," or by high and low dice having only certain
numbers. Sharpers often carried these and also "cramped" boxes to
make the dice fall in a particular way. So popular were dice with the
gamesters of old that one of them left an injunction in his will that
his bones should be made into dice and his skin into coverings for

The round table on which English hazard was played had a deeply
bevelled edge, intended to prevent the dice from landing on the floor,
which rendered a throw void. If either of the dice, after having left
the box, should strike any object on the table, such as a man's elbow
or stick, except money, it was also no throw. Every player had the
right of "calling dice," even when the dice were being thrown. This, of
course, nullified the throw, another set being handed to the caster
by the groom-porter. Many a lucky coup was destroyed by some captious
player having exercised this privilege--with most irritating effects to
the disappointed caster on finding that he had "nicked" his main. When
one of the dice remained in the box after the other had been landed,
the caster might either throw it quickly, or gently coax it from the
box. If one die landed on the top of another, it was removed by the
groom-porter and declared a throw. Dice were known as the "ivories."

At a Westminster election, the keeper of a notorious gambling-house
in St. Anne's parish, on being about to give his vote, was asked in
the usual way what his trade was; when after a little hesitation, he
replied, "I am an ivory turner."

Many curious incidents occurred at hazard. On one occasion when two
gamesters had deposited a very large stake to be won by him who threw
the lowest throw with the dice, one of them, who had thrown three aces,
thought himself secure of success.

"Wait for my throw," cried his opponent.

He threw, and with such dexterity, that by lodging one of the dice on
the other, he showed only one ace on the uppermost of them. He was
allowed by the company to have won the stakes.

It used to be said that at hazard, men under the influence of wine
were invariably more fortunate than those who played with cooler heads
or more collected judgments. Of this, perhaps the most remarkable
instance ever known was the notorious spendthrift and sportsman Jack
Mytton, of whom the Hell-keepers used to say, "there was no use playing
against the Squire when he was drunk."

Mytton was indeed rather a formidable figure at the hazard-table, where
he was supposed to have won more than he lost. When heated with wine
and full of courage he was the dread of the proprietors of the minor
gambling-tables at country race meetings, whose banks he was given to
breaking in more ways than one--it being his practice to demolish all
their gambling apparatus if he observed the slightest suspicion of foul
play. At Warwick races in 1824, for instance, Mytton and some friends
not only smashed a rouge-et-noir table to atoms, but soundly thrashed
the proprietor and his gang.

On another occasion he showed considerable presence of mind when
surprised by the Mayor of Chester during a raid on a hazard Hell one
Sunday. In the confusion which ensued the Squire of Halston, who was
a winner, deftly put his gains in his hat, which he quite coolly
placed upon his head, and walked out unnoticed. He was not so careful,
however, on one occasion after a great run of luck in London when,
having broken the banks of two well-known London Hells, he went off
with the money--a large sum in notes--to Doncaster. On his return from
the races in a post-chaise he set to work to count his winnings, the
windows of the carriage being open. He soon fell asleep, and when he
awoke, the night being far advanced, found that notes to the value of
several thousand pounds had been blown out of the window. Truly a case
of "light come, light go!"

[Illustration: LIGHT COME, LIGHT GO.]

When quite a young man Mytton had been subjected to plucking by many
a rook. As a subaltern of the 7th Hussars in the army of occupation
at Calais he borrowed £3000 of a banker at St. Omer one day and lost
half of it the next at a swindling E.O. table. However, he relieved
his feelings by demolishing the whole concern. About the same time he
lost no less than sixteen thousand napoleons to a certain Captain at
billiards, but Lord Uxbridge, who was Colonel of his regiment, having
reason to believe that the whole thing was a robbery, forbade him to

There are now probably very few people in England who could conduct a
game of hazard, the rules of which are practically forgotten. The last
man who was thoroughly versed in the intricacies of the game is said
to have been a certain well-known bookmaker, Atkins by name, who, as
late as the 'seventies, used to keep a hazard-table going at Brighton
during the race week, where considerable sums of money were lost and
won. He also presided over a hazard-table at Bognor during the Goodwood
meeting. An associate of his, who was known as "Chanticleer" owing to
his vocal powers in calling the odds, afterwards proved very successful
in another walk of life, where he accumulated a considerable fortune.

Some thirty-six years ago hazard used to be played at Doncaster during
the race week, an excellent account of the scenes which used to take
place there being given by Sir George Chetwynd in his _Recollections_.

French hazard was less rough-and-ready than the English game. Every
stake that was "set" was covered by the bank, so that the player ran no
risk of losing a large amount, though, if successful, he could win but
a trifling one; on the other hand, the scale of odds was so altered as
to operate most prejudicially against the player. An equal rate of odds
between main and chance was never laid by the French "banker" as was
insisted on by the English groom-porter; while, again, "direct nicks"
alone were recognised by the former. Most extraordinary runs of luck
have occurred at hazard, a player having sometimes thrown five, seven,
and even eleven mains in a single hand. In cases of runs like this the
peculiar feature in the French game became valuable, the bank being
prepared to pay all winnings, while, generally speaking, a hand of six
or seven mains at English hazard would exhaust all the funds of the
players, and leave the caster in the position of "setting the table"
and finding the stakes totally unnoticed or only partially covered.

To show what sums changed hands at hazard in the eighteenth century,
it may be mentioned that a celebrated gambler. Major Baggs by name,
once won £17,000 at hazard, by throwing in, as it is called, fourteen
successive mains. This Major Baggs was an extraordinary character
who went to the East Indies in 1780 on a gaming speculation; but
not finding it answer, he returned home overland, encountering many
adventures. At Cairo he narrowly avoided death by escaping in a Turkish
dress to Smyrna. A companion of his was seized, and sent prisoner to
Constantinople, where he was at length released by the interference
of Sir Robert Anstie, the English ambassador. Baggs once won £6000 of
a young gentleman at Spa, and immediately came to England to get the
money from the peer (Lord Onslow) who was the father of the young man.
Terms of accommodation were proposed by his lordship in presence of a
well-known banker whose respectability and consequence were well known.
The peer offered him a thousand guineas and a note for the remainder
at a distant period. Baggs, however, wanted the whole to be paid down,
and some altercation ensued, in the course of which the banker observed
that he thought his lordship had offered very handsome terms. "Sirrah,"
said Baggs in a passion, "hold your tongue; the laws of commerce you
may be acquainted with, but the laws of honour you can know nothing

Major Baggs at one time in his life was worth more than £100,000.
He had fought eleven duels, and was allowed to be very skilful with
the sword. He was a man of a determined mind, great penetration, and
considerable literary culture; and when play was out of the case,
could be an agreeable, gentlemanlike, and instructive companion. He
was very generous to people whom he liked; and a certain naval lord,
highly respected, when in rather a distressed situation at Paris, found
a never-failing resource in the purse of the Major, who was open-handed
enough at times. For several years he lived at Paris in the greatest
splendour, and during a stay at Avignon, frequently gave splendid
suppers to the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland and their friends,
whom he followed to Naples, getting introduced to the King's private
parties, and winning £1500 of His Majesty.

Major Baggs eventually fell a victim to gaming, dying of a chill
produced by a night passed in a round-house, having been locked up with
other frequenters of a gaming-house which was raided by the police.

Numbers of such places existed in the London of that day, which were
the constant resort of those who, like the Major, found access to Clubs
somewhat difficult.

From about 1780 to 1845 the West End was full of gambling-hells,
the most popular of which were generally in the parish of St.
James's, and St. George's, Hanover Square. Others also existed in St.
Martin's-in-the-Fields, Piccadilly, St James's Street, Pall Mall,
St. James's Square, Jermyn Street, Bury Street, Charles Street, King
Street, Duke Street, Bennett Street, and the neighbourhood of the
Quadrant. The games principally played, besides English and French
hazard, were rouge-et-noir, roulette, and une-deux-cinque. The
principal proprietors of these houses were Bond, Oldfield, Goodwin,
Bennet, Smith, Russell, Phillips, Rougeir, Burge, Carlos, Humphries,
Fielden, Taylor, Bird, Morgan, Kerby, Aldridge, Barnet, and many
others, amongst whom, of course, the celebrated Crockford stood forth
in almost regal splendour.

Nevertheless there was a crusade against gambling and betting always
carried on by the section of the population which were known as the
"Methodists," some of whose preachers were very clever and apt.

"Ah, my brethren," once said one of these, addressing a congregation
into which several sporting men had strolled, "why waste your lives
thinking so much of what you call 'flimsies.' These, my friends,"
turning over the leaves of his Bible, "are God's bank-notes, and when
you carry them to heaven, he will cash them at sight!"

Another preacher, whilst painting a vivid picture of the tortures which
awaited gamesters in a future life, declared that the apartments of
Satan were filled with cards and dice, and that Hoyle was the only book
in his library. Nevertheless, the denunciations of the "godly" effected
little, and though from time to time the authorities organised raids
upon the more scandalous resorts, gaming continued to flourish.

As late as the early 'thirties of the last century, the West End of
London was full of Hells, a number of them in the Quadrant. Hazard
was the principal game played. The lowest gaming-houses were generally
located in obscure courts or other places not much exposed to public
observation. As a rule they were kept shut up as if unoccupied, or else
some appearance of a trade was carried on to prevent suspicion. It used
to be said that at one or two of these Hells individuals were kept on
the premises whose sole duty lay in being able to swallow the dice in
case of a raid by the authorities. Whether this was the case or not, it
is certain that there was usually some convenient receptacle contrived
in the shutters or elsewhere into which the implements of gaming could
be speedily thrown. A house containing a back room sufficiently large
to contain forty or fifty people, was the ideal of the proprietors
of such places. The man who acted as croupier was, as has been said,
known as the "groom-porter," an appellation dating from the eighteenth
century, when the Court was, on occasion, wont to gamble at the
Groom-Porter's in the Palace of St. James.

The profits of the house were supposed to be derived from a tax levied
on successful players, any one winning three times running being
expected to pay a certain sum of money to the table or "cagnotte."
A player doing this was called a "box hand," the amount of his
contribution varying from a shilling to half a crown according to the
rules and standing of the house.


The main profits of these Hells, however, were in the majority
of instances derived from shady practices, many of the proprietors
being in league with sharks of various kinds who preyed upon the more
credulous or foolish players.

The least important gambling-houses were generally kept by retired
prize-fighters and bullies, who hectored their weaker clients out of
such sums as they might chance to win.

In the higher class of Hells, silver counters, representing certain
fractions of a pound, were used; these were called pieces, and one of
them was the amount of the tax levied on a "box hand."

When a gentleman first appeared at these Hells, the Hellites and the
players were curious to learn who and what he was, especially the
former, to calculate the rich or poor harvest to be reaped by him,
and they regulated their conduct accordingly. Should he be introduced
by a broken player, and lose a good sum, his introducer seized the
opportunity to borrow a few pounds of the Hellites. But if the
gentleman was successful, "a few pounds to give his kind friend a
chance" was not refused. If the visitor proved unlucky the Hellites
ventured, after he had lost hundreds, to lend him twenty or thirty
pounds, for which his cheque was demanded and given. Generally they not
only knew his name, but soon ascertained, by underhand inquiries at his
bankers, the extent of his account, his connections and resources. Upon
this knowledge, if his account was good, they would cash him cheques
to within a hundred pounds of the balance. Instances have been known,
after cheques have been cashed and paid in this way, to large amounts,
and the balance drawing to a close, that when a cheque for a small
amount has been wanted, cashed by the very same parties, it has been
refused, the Hellite actually telling the party, within a few pounds,
the amount he had left at his banker's. One gentleman was once told
within five pounds of what he had there.

A number of Hells masqueraded as Clubs, and made some show of only
admitting regular members to the delights of play.

The following prospectus, issued in the 'twenties of the last century,
is a fair sample of those used by the proprietors of gaming-houses
in London to attract clients. The house in question was under the
superintendence of Weare, who was murdered by Thurtell.

 A party of gentlemen, having formed the design of instituting a
 Select Club, to be composed of those gentlemen only whose habits and
 circumstances entitle them to an uncontrolled but proper indulgence
 in the current amusements of the day, adopt this mode of submitting
 the project to consideration, and of inviting those who may approve of
 it, to an early concurrence and co-operation in the design. To attain
 this object the more speedily, and render it worthy the attention
 and support it lays claim to, it may be only necessary to mention
 that the plan is founded on the basis of liberality, security, and
 respectability, combining with the essential requisites of a select
 and respectable association, peculiar advantages to the members
 conceded by no similar institution in town. Further particulars may be
 learned on personal application between the hours of twelve and two at
 55 Pall Mall.

In 1831 a gaming-house called the Athenæum was a public scandal. This
gaming-hell was situated at the upper end of St. James's Street, on the
same side as White's. It was owned by three brothers named Bond, one of
whom only, Ephraim, was publicly recognised as the proprietor.

This man Bond had had many vicissitudes. Once, when quite at the end of
his tether, a gentleman came into a house where he was looking on at
the play, and having no confidence in his own judgment or good fortune,
commissioned Bond to make his bets for him, and, being very successful,
the gentleman, who was a member of the House of Commons, presented him
with fifty pounds. This became the nucleus of his future fortune.

After working his fifty pounds for some time in various advantageous
gaming speculations, he became a small partner in a Bury Street house
and subsequently in gaming-houses in Bennett Street, Pall Mall, and
Piccadilly, until, as before stated, he located all his machinery and
performers in the Athenæum, in St. James's Street, near Nos. 50 and 51.

Burge, an individual closely connected with Bond, was another
well-known figure in the gambling world of those days.

The "Subject," as this man was nicknamed, in consequence of his
wretched and cadaverous appearance, was born at Glastonbury, in
Somersetshire, where he was brought up a tailor. Shortly after the
termination of his apprenticeship he married, but finding business
not answer his expectations he removed to London, where he commenced
business in a little way, but in about two years became a bankrupt.
At this period of his life, when distressed in pocket and harassed in
mind, he was introduced into a shilling table hazard-house kept at that
time by the celebrated J.D. Kelly and George Smith in Lisle Street,
Leicester Square.

From the very moment that the "Subject" first saw a hazard-table his
nature changed, and wife, children, home, and business were totally
obliterated from his mind. The few shillings which from time to time
he could scrape together from the charity of his own or his wife's
friends were all carried to the table, although at this time he was
still a perfect novice in all concerning play. He generally lost his
money soon after he entered a gaming-house, but even when penniless
he always remained until the table was broken up, generally some time
before midnight, when he would make his way to a miserable home, only
to sleep till the hour for witnessing play again arrived. This state
of restlessness and perturbation brought on a serious fit of illness,
whilst his wife was compelled to take in washing for the support of
the family, who lived amidst scenes of acute misery. Nothing, however,
diverted the "Subject" from the gaming-table; no sooner did he recover
and was able to crawl out than he was at hazard again, though many were
his quarrels with the table-keepers, who resented his presence in
their rooms, as he so rarely brought a shilling to play with. Nothing,
however, could overcome his infatuation, and had he been turned out for
good he would have lain down at the door, and listened to the sound of
the dice-box until he died of exposure to the weather. At length Smith,
a gaming-house proprietor who had removed to Oxendon Street, Coventry
Street, finding Burge determined, by some means or other, to be present
during play, installed him as a permanent official in his rooms, with
regular duties, the chief of which were to trim the lamps hanging over
the hazard-table and to hand a glass of gin to the man who threw in six
mains in succession, when he was allowed to say, "Remember the waiter,
your honour." Subsequently, the groom-porter being indisposed, the
"Subject" mounted the stool and called the main, continuing afterwards
sometimes to act alternately in each capacity until the proprietor took
the house in 71 Jermyn Street, when he got a rise in the world and was
made a regular groom-porter in a crown-house.

The history of the so-called "Athenæum" run by Bond was curious.

At the time when the real Athenæum in Pall Mall was being established
there was a swindler upon the town named William Earl. Although the
son of a respectable bookseller, who formerly resided in Albemarle
Street, Piccadilly, he committed some very flagrant acts of imposition
upon the public. Among many other schemes he conceived the plan
of pretending that he was the person deputed and authorised by the
gentlemen composing the members of the true Athenæum Club, to take
and fit up a house for their accommodation. The house in St. James's
Street being to let at the time, he (Earl) took it on the residue of a
lease having between two and three years to run, and, forthwith, when
in possession, got tradesmen to fit it up in the most superb manner
possible, making it a great favour to recommend them to so good a job,
the Athenæum management promising that all the money shares should
be paid down the moment the house was ready for the reception of the
members. The furniture, however, as fast as it was brought into the
house, disappeared, being taken away by Earl to dispose of for cash to
put into his own pocket, preparatory to a final retreat from the scene
of action. This being discovered before larger debts were contracted,
the creditors, who were already minus about £1400, convened a meeting,
at which, under a threat of a criminal prosecution, they compelled Earl
to assign the premises and everything else to three gentlemen, Messrs.
Baines, Vincent, and Laing, in trust for the benefit of the creditors.
These gentlemen, subsequently representing the case of the creditors
to the Lord Chamberlain, obtained a licence for music, the premises
being designated and inserted in the licence as known by the name of
the Athenæum; but this and a juggling speculation failing, it was at
length let to Ephraim Bond, Esq., at a rental of £50 per month. This
was in the early part of the year 1830, during which Earl was committed
to Newgate for swindling a jeweller in St. Paul's Churchyard out of a
gold chain and other property, being subsequently transported for the
term of seven years. The notoriety of these circumstances, and the
length of time Earl's name had been before the public, as being somehow
connected with the institution described as the Athenæum Club in St.
James's Street, led a vast number of thoughtless young men to visit
the house. Certain is it, that not a few joined the place under a full
impression that they were actually admitted into the real Athenæum
Club: and to this confusion of names did the new proprietor, in a very
large measure, owe the extraordinary run of play he had at his tables.
Among the persons who were employed at this house were Kelly, Peck,
Hancock, Mayne, and Thompson: the two latter were retained by Bond as
waiters, after having been placed in the house under the following
circumstances. Earl, as the spurious Athenæum progressed, advertised
for waiters; when these men applied, he represented in forcible
language the responsible nature of their situations, and the great
trust which would be reposed in them, informing one that all the linen
and glass would be placed in his hands, and the other that he would
have charge of plate to the value of some thousands. By these means he
induced one to deposit £150 and the other £100 as security before they
entered upon the service of the Club. Bond thought that the ill-usage
of these men gave them some claim upon the premises, and, therefore,
installed them into the office which they originally came to fill, that
is, as waiters.

At many of the gambling-houses the waiters reaped a rich harvest by
lending money. At Crockford's one of these servants once received £500,
nominally as a Christmas-box, but really as a recognition of timely
financial assistance rendered to frequenters of the hazard-table; £100
of this sum was given to him by a nobleman who had in one week won
£80,000 on a moderate sum which had been borrowed from the waiter in

About 1838 gaming-houses were kept open all day, the dice were scarcely
ever idle, day or night. All the week, all the year round, persons were
to be found in these places, losing their money, and up to 1844 there
were no less than twelve gaming-houses in St. James's and St. George's.
Before that the play was higher, but not so general.

The increase of gambling-houses was said to be owing to the existence
of Crockford's. Such was the opinion of the Honourable Frederick Byng,
as given before the Committee of the House of Commons. He declared
"that the facility to gamble at Crockford's led to the establishment of
other gambling-houses fitted up in a superior style, and attractive to
gentlemen who never would have thought of going into them formerly." He
added that in his older days gambling was very high, but the amusement
of a very few. Mr. Byng also said he "could have named all the gamblers
in his early days at the clubs. No person coming into a room where
hazard was carried on would have been permitted to play for a small
sum, and therefore poor people left it alone."

The gambling which was carried on in the private rooms of the wine and
oyster houses, about 1840, was of the same character as that which
had at the same time flourished in the vicinity of St James's. For
this reason the blackguards frequenting the former attained the most
profound knowledge of the art of robbing at the West-End Hells. They
visited the saloons every night, in order to pick up new acquaintances
amongst inexperienced youth. Well-dressed and polite, they carefully
scanned every visitor on the look-out for pigeons to pluck, and having
found one went soon to work to establish an acquaintance. Cards being
proposed, the leader of the band provided a room, play ensuing,
accompanied by the certainty of loss to the unfortunate guest. If the
invitation was rejected, the pigeon was attacked through a passion
of a different kind. The word being given to one of their female
friends, she threw herself in the quarry's way, and prevailed upon
him to accompany her to her house. In the morning the "gentleman,"
who in vain had solicited him to play at the saloon the night before,
would call--as if to pay "a friendly visit." Cards would be again
proposed, the "lady" offering to be the partner of her friend in the
game. Numbers of young men were plundered by such schemes of thousands
of pounds; and a good deal of demoralisation prevailed amongst small
tradesmen and gentlemen's servants, numbers of whom frequented the low
gambling-houses. If one of these could scrape together two or three
hundred pounds he was able, with the assistance of the keeper of the
Hell, to lend it to needy losers at sixty per cent.

A careful inspection was made of the visitor's appearance by a
gaming-house keeper's spies, his dress being strictly scrutinised. He
was obliged, before entering the saloon, to deposit his great-coat
and cane, or anything else which might facilitate the introduction of
some weapon; the value or elegance of these did not save him from the
humiliation of having it taken from him at the door. The assaults which
were sometimes made on the bankers led to such precautions.

The blame for the great increase of gambling in the West End was
mostly attributed to Crockford, who presided over the most palatial
gaming-house ever run in England.

William Crockford was the son of a small fishmonger who lived next door
to Temple Bar. After his father's death the young man soon abandoned
fish-selling for more exciting pursuits. He became a frequenter of the
sporting-houses then abundant in the neighbourhood of St. James's, went
racing, and, after setting up a successful hazard bank in Wattier's
old Club-house,[4] became connected with a gaming-house in King Street,
which, though it frequently got him into trouble with the authorities,
put a very large sum of money into his pocket. At King Street,
Crockford, together with his partner Gye, is said to have once won the
very large sum of £100,000 from five well-known men-about-town, amongst
whom were Lords Thanet and Granville and Mr. Ball Hughes.

With the capital amassed in the manner described Crockford founded
the celebrated institution in St. James's Street which was sometimes
jokingly called "Fishmonger's Hall."

It was opened at the end of the year 1827. There were about 1200
members, exclusive of ambassadors and foreigners of distinction; the
annual subscription was £25. The Club-house was luxurious beyond
anything which had been known up to that time. The decorations alone,
it is said, cost £94,000, and a salary of £1200 a year was paid by
Crockford to his cook, M. Eustache Ude.

The Club-house, which still exists in an altered form as the Devonshire
Club, was decorated and upholstered in the somewhat gaudy style popular
during the reign of George IV., the apartment known as the State
Drawing-room being particularly gorgeous and florid in its general

The gaming-room was comparatively small. Here were card-tables at
which whist was occasionally played, whilst in the centre stood the
hazard-table, the real _raison d'être_ of the whole establishment.

The expenses of running this gambling-club were large, the dice alone
costing some two thousand a year! Three new pairs at about a guinea
each pair were provided at the commencement of every evening's play,
and very often as many more were called for either by players or by
Crockford himself in order to change the luck.

By the terms of his agreement Crockford was bound to put £5000 into
a bank every night whilst Parliament was sitting; as long as any of
this capital remained he was not allowed to end the play until an hour
previously appointed.

During his first two seasons Crockford is said to have made about
£300,000; he may, indeed, be said to have extracted nearly all the
ready money from the pockets of the men of fashion of the day. So much
so was this the case, that when Crockford retired in 1840 it was said
that he resembled an Indian chief who retires from a hunting country
when there is not game enough left for his tribe.

Mr. Crockford's private views as to the likelihood of any player at
hazard increasing his fortune were certainly interesting. Being one day
asked by a young man of his acquaintance what was the best main to call
at the game, he solemnly replied: "I'll tell you what it is, young man.
You may call mains at hazard till your hair grows out of your hat
and your toes grow out of your boots. My advice to you is not to call
any mains at all."


This, though undoubtedly sound, was a curious speech from a man who had
laid the foundation of a large fortune at the gaming-table, and had
himself successfully called all the mains under the sun.

Whilst many were ruined at Crockford's, nobody appears to have made
much by the place except the proprietor, who, though latterly rather
unsuccessful in speculation, died a very rich man at the age of
sixty-nine in May 1844.

In 1844 a Select Committee on gaming took a great deal of evidence,
Crockford himself being examined, though nothing was got out of him.
The result of all this was that on the 8th of August 1845 was passed an
Act to amend the law against games and wagers. The Act in question was
particularly aimed against hazard, which had undoubtedly done a good
deal of harm, lending itself as it did to much trickery and foul play.
Gaming-houses were now rigorously repressed, but it was not long before
gambling began to rage in another form, many betting-houses being

The first institution of this kind appears to have opened its doors
in 1847, the proprietors being Messrs. Drummond and Greville. About
1850, about four hundred of these houses (the vast majority not very
solvent), where regular lists of the prices were openly exhibited,
flourished, and an epidemic of gambling was declared to have attacked
even the poorest class, who were being offered facilities for risking
their hard-earned sixpences and shillings. The rise and fall of the
odds before any great race was eagerly watched by the keepers of the
betting-houses, and scenes of wild excitement occasionally occurred.
Many of the smaller betting-shops were simply traps for the unwary.
The stock-in-trade needed was merely a few flyblown racing prints
and some old ledgers. A room was soon hired, often in some derelict
tobacconist's shop, and business then commenced. Most of these places
existed in obscure and dirty thoroughfares; the neighbourhood of Drury
Lane being especially affected by those indulging in this nefarious
industry. Just before a big race meeting, such as the Derby or Ascot,
numbers of these betting shops would burst into bloom for a short
space of time. When the meetings ended, the crowd coming to get paid
would find the proprietor gone and the place in charge of a boy, who,
generally not at all disconcerted, would announce that his master
had gone out on "'tickler bizness," and would not be back till late
at night. His wife also had gone out of town for her health till the
winter. "Will he be back to-morrow?" would cry the crowd. "No, he won't
be here to-morrow 'cos it's Sunday, and he always goes to church on
Sunday," a favourite reply which made even the losers laugh. "Will he
be back on Monday, then?" "Monday," would say the boy, reflecting, "No,
I don't think he'll be here on Monday--he's going to a sale on Monday."
After further inquiries and replies of this sort the crowd would,
for the time being, reluctantly disperse, murmuring something about a
"sell" instead of a "sale," to return again time after time with the
same ill-success, till eventually, realising that they had been duped,
the bell-pull was torn out and the windows broken, the proprietor
meanwhile doing a flourishing business in some other locality. Various
subterfuges were employed by betting-shopkeepers to attract clients.
One of these places grandiloquently styled itself "The Tradesmen's
Moral Associative Betting Club." The circular issued by this beneficent
organisation set forth that a number of persons in business, realising
the robberies hourly inflicted upon the humbler portion of the sporting
public by persons bankrupt alike in character and property, had banded
themselves together to establish a club wherein their fellow tradesmen
and the speculator of a few shillings might invest their money with the
assured consciousness of meeting with fair and honourable treatment. In
all probability the clients of the Moral Associative Club found that,
like other institutions of the same sort, its idea was to receive the
money of all and close its career by paying none.

A man named Dwyer, who kept a cigar shop and betting-house in St.
Martin's Lane in 1851, was in the habit of laying a point or two more
than the regular odds, and in consequence did the largest business of
any list man in London. He was considered to be absolutely safe. It
was his custom to pay the day following a big race, but when Miss
Nancy won the Chester Cup, his doors were found to be closed; and the
house being broken into by an enormous crowd of infuriated creditors,
everything valuable was discovered to have been removed. Dwyer, as a
matter of fact, had bolted with about £25,000 of the public's money.
The occurrence of scandals such as this naturally caused a considerable
outcry for the suppression of the betting-houses, which, it was
declared, were demoralising the public, who, even when they were not
swindled, were led into risking sums which they could not afford. A
Bill for checking the evil was eventually drafted, and in July 1853 was
passed an Act entitled "An Act for the Suppression of Betting-Houses,"
which inflicted on any one keeping or assisting to keep any house,
office, room, or place for the purpose of betting, a penalty not
exceeding one hundred pounds, or imprisonment with or without hard
labour for any time not exceeding six calendar months.


[Footnote 4: No. 81 Piccadilly.]


 Craze for eccentric wagers at end of eighteenth century--Lord
 Cobham's insulting freak and its results--Betting and gaming
 at White's--The Arms of the Club--The old betting-book and its
 quaint wagers--Tragedies of play--White's to-day--£180,000 lost
 at hazard at the Cocoa Tree--Brummell as a gambler--Gaming at
 Brooks's--Anecdotes--General Scott--Whist--Mr. Pratt--Wattier's
 Club--Scandal at Graham's--Modern gambling clubs--The Park Club case
 in 1884--Dangers of private play.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century a curious mania for making
eccentric wagers seized hold of the bucks of the day. Unlike many
another craze this was not imported from France, but had its rise
and progress entirely in England. During the last illness of Louis
XIV., Lord Stair laid a wager on his death, which rather astonished
the French, who did not approve of such a form of speculation. At a
subsequent period bets about the most trivial incidents became quite
common in the West End of London. Not infrequently some thoughtless
wager would lead to considerable trouble.

Lord Cobham, for instance, once foolishly bet Mr. Nugent a guinea
that he would spit in Lord Bristol's hat without the latter, who
had a reputation for effeminacy, resenting it. The wager itself was
singularly lacking in refinement, and the moment chosen for carrying it
out was quite in keeping.

Lord Bristol being one day at Lady Cobham's talking to some ladies, he
chanced to lean over a chair holding his hat behind him, into which
Lord Cobham deliberately spat, at the same time asking Mr. Nugent,
who was present, for his guinea; after which he began to make the
most profuse apologies to the victim of the outrage, who, remaining
apparently quite unmoved, merely asked if his host had any further
use for his hat, and then resumed his conversation, and every one
considered the incident at an end. Lord Bristol being to all outward
appearance absolutely unruffled.

The next morning, however, both Lord Cobham and Mr. Nugent received
messages demanding satisfaction, to which they returned the most humble
answers. The incident, they declared, was all merely a foolish joke,
and they were quite ready to make all sorts of submissive apologies.

Lord Bristol, however, would only assent to condone the insult if the
aggressors were ready to make a public apology in the Club-room at
White's, where he was prepared to receive it, and here, amidst a crowd
of members, Lord Cobham and Mr. Nugent publicly expressed their regret.

As the eighteenth century waned. White's Club developed into a great
gambling centre; its members indeed professed a universal scepticism
and decided everything by a wager. There was nothing, however trivial
or ridiculous, which was not capable of producing a bet. Many pounds
were lost upon the colour of a coach-horse, the birth of a child, the
breaking off of a marriage, and even a change in the weather.

A favourite mode of speculation was backing one man against another,
that is, betting that he would live the longest. People of all classes
were made the subjects of such bets. An actor was pitted against a
duke, an alderman against a bishop, a pimp against some member of
the privy council. Scarcely a remarkable person existed upon whose
life many thousand pounds did not depend. The various changes in the
health of any one who was the subject of heavy betting naturally gave
rise to many serious reflections in the minds of the people who had
wagered large sums on his life or death. Some would closely watch all
the stages of a total stranger's illness, more impatient for his death
than the undertaker who expected to have the care of his funeral;
others would be very solicitous about his recovery, and send every
hour to know how his health progressed, taking as great care of him
as any clergyman's wife who has no other fortune than the living of
her husband. Great consternation was caused by an unexpected demise.
Considerable odds were laid upon a man with the constitution of a
porter, who was pitted against an individual expected to die every
week. The porter, however, unexpectedly shot himself through the head,
and the knowing ones were taken in.

The main supporters of gaming at White's at this time were George
Selwyn, Lord March, Fox, and Lord Carlisle.

The latter was of a rather more serious disposition than the others,
and had a wife and children to whom he was devoted. Though at times a
high gambler himself, he wrote several letters to Selwyn, warning him
of the dangers of hazard.

On one occasion Lord Carlisle won £13,000 from a peer, which he never
seems to have got, and again indulged in some disastrous play in 1776,
after which he wrote to George Selwyn to say that he had never lost
so much at five different sittings as on this occasion in one night.
A note by Selwyn in the letter puts the sum at £10,000. In after-life
Lord Carlisle entirely abandoned gaming, and settled down into an
exemplary country gentleman.

Another constant player for high stakes at White's was Sir Everard
Fawkener, the writer's great-grandfather, who held an important office
in connection with the Post Office. He played cards very badly, and
George Selwyn used to say that playing with him was as bad as "robbing
the mail."

In the hall of White's Club hangs a carved wooden copy of the whimsical
old coat of arms of the Club--the original painting of which is at
Arthur's. This was painted by Dick Edgecumbe after the design had been
concocted one wet day at Strawberry Hill by the painter, George Selwyn,
George (known as Gilly) Williams, and their host Horace Walpole, who
had the arms engraved.

The original arms were as follows:--

"Vert (for a card-table); between three parolis, proper, on a chevron
sable, two rouleaux in saltire between two dice, proper. In a canton
sable, a ball (for election), argent. Supporters, an old knave of clubs
on the dexter, a young knave on the sinister side; both accoutred
proper. Crest, issuing out of an earl's coronet (Lord Darlington's) an
arm shaking a dice-box, all proper. Motto alluding to the crest '_Cogit
amor nummi_'.[5] The arms encircled with a claret bottle ticket by way
of order."


The old betting-book at White's contains many curious entries, the
first of which dates from 1743. A number of the earliest wagers
are concerned with the probabilities of the birth of children to
well-known ladies of the day, the duration of life to be enjoyed by
certain individuals, and the like.

On 21st March 1746, Mr. John Jeffries bets Mr. Dayrolle five guineas
that Lady Kildare has a child born alive before Lady Catherine
Petersham. A note is appended "miscarriages go for nothing."

On the 8th of October in the same year Lord Montfort bets Mr. Greville
one hundred guineas that Mr. Nash is alive on the same day four years
to come.

The Lord Montfort in question was a typical gamester of the time. In
the betting-book at White's no less than sixty wagers, amounting to
£5500, are recorded against his name. Most of these were about births,
marriages, and deaths. On sporting wagers, the nobleman in question
seems to have been content to risk only small sums. A true gambler, he
preferred to hazard his fortune, and, as it turned out, his life, on
the unforeseen.

On the 4th of November 1754, is entered the following: "Lord Montfort
wagers Sir John Bland one hundred guineas that Mr. Nash outlives Mr.
Cibber." This refers to two very old men, Colley Cibber, the actor, and
Beau Nash, the "King of Bath." Below the entry in the betting-book,
written in another handwriting, is the significant note: "Both Lord M.
and Sir John Bland put an end to their own lives before the bet was

The first of these tragedies took place on New Year's Day of 1755.
Lord Montfort's death and the circumstances of it attracted great
attention. He was considered one of the shrewdest men of his time, and,
as Walpole said, "would have betted any man in England against himself
for self-murder." Lord Montfort was of course eventually ruined--at
White's alone he lost a fortune at hazard. As a last resource, he
then eagerly applied (much to the surprise of the dilatory Duke of
Newcastle) for the Governorship of Virginia or the Royal hounds. He
got neither, and after spending the last evening of the year 1754 at
White's, where he sat up at whist till one o'clock, went home in a
strange mood, and shot himself next morning.

A tragic fate likewise befell Sir John Bland, who dissipated his entire
fortune at hazard. At a single sitting he at one time lost as much as
£32,000, though he recovered a portion of it before play was ended. Sir
John shot himself on the road from Calais to Paris.

Some of the wagers chronicled in the betting-book are decidedly vague,
the following for instance: "Mr. Talbot bets a certain gentleman a
certain sum that a certain event does not take place within a certain

During the Napoleonic era several bets were made as to the chances of
the Emperor getting back to Paris at the close of the Russian campaign,
about ten to one being wagered on such an event happening.

A curious bet, dated February 14, 1813, is the following: "Lord
Alvanley bets Sir Joseph Copley five guineas that a certain Baronet
understood between them is very much embarrassed in his circumstances
in three years from the date hereof; if one of his bills is
dishonoured, or he is observed to borrow small change of the chairmen
or waiters, Sir Joseph is to be reckoned to lose."

In 1797, hazard seems to have been allowed at White's, but it was
expressly laid down that no member should be permitted to keep a faro
bank. This rule was doubtless made to avoid the state of things which
had lately prevailed across the way at Brooks's.

As time went on gambling became a thing of the past within the walls
of White's, and the survivors of a reckless era in its history
sobered down into grave and somewhat crotchety old men, who, from the
stronghold of an accustomed seat, eyed younger members with a freezing
gaze. When the question of smoking in the morning-room was raised
their indignation knew no bounds, and even infirm old members--fossils
who Alfred Montgomery declared had come from Kensal Green--tottered
into the Club to oppose it. So given were these relics of the past to
wrapping themselves in a cloak of exclusiveness that at one time the
Club came almost to a standstill. Within recent years, however, White's
has taken a new lease of life, and after an existence of one hundred
and seventy-three years is now in as flourishing a state as ever. The
Club-house has been enlarged and various alterations made--always,
let it be said, with due regard for the traditions of the past.
Unfortunately, in the course of time much connected with its former
history has disappeared--it does not, for instance, possess a set of
old gaming counters, which have a certain historic interest in these
more sober days. The Club is particularly anxious to acquire any relics
connected with its past, and also any representations of the Club-house
(at the present time under repair) as it existed before the alterations
of 1853, when a new façade replaced the old front.

Lower down St. James's Street, on the other side of the road, another
Club, in old days notorious for high play, still exists. This is the
Cocoa Tree, where very large sums once changed hands. During the year
1780 no less than £180,000 was lost here in a single week. In the same
year Mr. O'Birne, an Irish gamester, won £100,000 at hazard of a young
Mr. Harvey of Chigwell, a midshipman, who, by his elder brother's
death, had suddenly come into a good estate. "You can never pay me,"
said O'Birne. "I will sell my estate to do so," replied the young
man. "No," was the not ungenerous reply, "I will win ten thousand and
you shall throw for the odd ninety." The dice were cast and Harvey
won--still the evening cost him £10,000.

After Waterloo there appears to have been a revival of gaming in the
West End, many officers returning to England with long arrears of pay
at their command. This wave of gaming ruined Brummell. At first he was
not particularly devoted to play, and had extraordinary luck when he
indulged in it. At one sitting at whist at White's he won £10,000 from
George Harley Drummond, the banker. It is said that this was the first
game Drummond ever played at a Club; it was probably his last, for it
led to his withdrawal from the banking business. But Brummell was not
a man of large property, and when later he began to play habitually, a
few reverses were sufficient to ruin a man of small means who matched
his fortune against the much longer purses of his friends.

Brummell had no illusions as to the ultimate fate of a gambler, and
once tied himself up against play, receiving a ten-pound note from
Pemberton Mills on condition that he should forfeit a thousand if he
played again at White's for a month. Nevertheless, a fortnight later
he was playing again. His friend did not claim the thousand but merely
said: "Well, Brummell, you may at least give me back my ten pounds."
Playing at hazard one night with Alderman Combe, whom he playfully
called "Mash-tub" because he was a brewer, the Beau, having won a
considerable sum, said, pocketing the cash: "Thank you, Alderman; in
future I shall never drink any porter but yours." "I wish, sir," was
the reply, "that every blackguard in London would tell me the same."

In the end Brummell went under, owing, he declared, with all the
superstition of a gambler, to the loss of a lucky sixpence with a hole
in it, which he had picked up in the small hours of the morning in
Berkeley Square. He gave it away, by mistake, to a cabman, and used to
say that he supposed "that rascal Rothschild, or some of his set, had
got hold of it."

One of the greatest gamblers in the early part of the nineteenth
century was Lord Rivers, whose dashing play at Parisian tables had
earned for him the name of "Le Wellington des Joueurs."

During a portion of his career this nobleman was said to have won
nearly a hundred thousand pounds by gambling. As a card-player he was
cool and skilful, whilst at the same time quick to seize the moment for
exchanging caution for dash. At times, however, he was careless--he
once lost £3400 at whist by not remembering that the seven of hearts
was still in.

Crockford's eventually ruined him as it did many others--some it could
not ruin. Lord Sefton, for instance, is said to have lost no less than
£200,000 there. After his death the proprietor presented an acceptance
for £40,000 to his son, which was paid. At the beginning of the
nineteenth century young men-about-town were exposed to every sort of
dangerous temptation.

In 1813 a youthful commoner, heir to large estates, was unpleasantly
initiated into the mysteries of fashionable play by losing nearly
£20,000 at hazard at a West-End Club, it being the first time he had
ever played. His single antagonist was a noble Lord of considerable
experience, who by mere chance held the box so luckily as to throw in
seven times successively. A remark being made upon so extraordinary
a run of the dice, his Lordship insisted upon having them cut up, to
manifest that his success had been perfectly honourable--and the bones,
on dissection, were found perfectly innocent.

Gambling flourished at all the fashionable clubs. Brooks's in
particular was noted for unlimited gambling during the first forty
years of its existence. The prevalence of gambling there is shown by
one of the old rules, which prohibited "gaming in the 'eating-room'
except tossing up for reckonings." The penalty for a breach of this
regulation was paying the whole bill of the members present.

Though a rule existed which forbade the members to stake upon credit,
it was more or less treated as a dead letter, Mr. Brooks being
generally ready to make any advance which the members might desire. The
result of such confidence in the solvency of his clientele appears to
have been disappointing, for after eight years Mr. Brooks withdrew from
the Mastership of the Club and died in very poor circumstances. All
things considered this was not surprising, for he was a man

  Who, nursed in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade,
  Exults to trust, and blushes to be paid.

During the gaming period losses and winnings amounting to five, ten,
or fifteen thousand pounds were not at all uncommon. Lord Stavordale,
before he was of age, having lost £11,000 one night, struck a good
run at hazard and got it all back. This, however, did not satisfy his
Lordship, who swore a great oath, saying, "Now if I had been playing
deep I might have won millions."

One member, Mr Thynne, retired in disgust in March 1772. According to
a note written opposite his name in the Club books this was because he
had "won only £12,000 during the last two months, and that he may never
return is the ardent wish of members."

At Brooks's, Charles James Fox found himself amidst the most congenial
facilities for ruin, and he did not let them pass. Fox, who joined
Brooks's when he was sixteen, once sat in the Club playing at
hazard for twenty-two hours in succession, when he lost £11,000. At
twenty-five he was a ruined man, though his father had paid £140,000
for him out of his own property. In 1793 his friends raised £70,000 to
pay his debts and buy him an annuity--a proof of the affection this
curious character inspired.

It was at Brooks's that Lord Robert Spencer is said at one stroke
to have recovered his considerable fortune lost at play. General
Fitzpatrick and Lord Robert, having both come to their last shilling,
contrived to raise a sufficient sum of money to keep a faro bank, which
proved an extraordinarily lucky one. Lord Robert's share was no less
than £100,000, with which he retired from the gambling-table for ever,
and never played again.

Another well-known man of fashion lost at Brooks's £70,000 and
everything else which he possessed, including his carriage and horses,
which was his last stake. Charles Fox, who was present, and partook of
the spoils, moved that an annuity of £50 per annum should be settled
upon the unfortunate gentleman, to be paid out of the general fund,
which motion was agreed to _nem. con._, and a resolution was entered
into at the instance of the same gentleman, that every member who
should be completely ruined in that house should be allowed a similar
annuity out of the same fund, on condition that they are never to be
admitted as sporting members; as in that case the society would be
playing against their own money.

The old betting-book at Brooks's is a most curious record. A certain
member, for instance, bets another five hundred guineas to ten that
none of the Cabinet will be beheaded within the following three years.
Another wagers fifty guineas that Mademoiselle Heinel will not dance at
the opera next year. The whole volume is most characteristic of an age
when all fashionable London lived in a vortex of speculation.


From a Water-colour Drawing in the possession of the Club.]

Faro, quinze, and macao were the favourite games at Brooks's, but at
one time whist for high stakes came into great favour. Two of the best
players at this were a couple of characters known as Tippoo Smith
and "Neptune"--the latter an old gentleman who had gained his nickname
owing to his having once thrown himself into the sea under the false
impression that he could no longer keep his head above water.

At Brooks's are preserved a number of relics of the old gambling days,
including the faro table at which Fox played. This has a portion
cut away, in order, it is said, to give room for his portly form. A
complete set of the old gaming counters--the highest inscribed 500
guineas--is also here, whilst several prints and pictures (one of them
reproduced in these pages by the courtesy of the Committee) give a good
idea of a vanished day.

Brooks's was much frequented by a famous whist-player, General Scott,
the father-in-law of George Canning and the Duke of Portland, who is
said to have won about £200,000 at the game, of which he was a past

The General, indeed, was a very shrewd man where all forms of
speculation were concerned, and once won a large wager at Newmarket
in the following way. Just as his horse was about to start for a
sweepstake, Mr. Panton called out to him, "General, I'll lay you a
thousand pounds your horse is neither first nor last." The General
accepted the bet and immediately gave directions to his rider; his
horse came in last, and he claimed the money. Mr. Panton objected to
payment, because the General had spoken to his rider; but the Jockey
Club held that the bet was laid not upon the chance of the place in
which the horse would come, if the rider was uninformed of it, but upon
the opinion, that he had not speed enough to be first, nor tractability
enough to be brought in last.

Nevertheless, the General, like most gamblers, had his moments of
generosity. He was playing one evening with the Count d'Artois and the
Duc de Chartres, at Paris, when a petition was brought up from the
widow of a French officer, stating her various misfortunes, and praying
relief. A plate was handed round, and each put in one, two, or three
louis d'or, but when it was held to the General, who was going to throw
for a stake of five hundred louis d'or, he said, "Stop a moment, if you
please, sir: here goes for the widow!" The throw was successful, and he
instantly swept the whole into the plate, and sent it down to her.

General Scott was an excellent whist-player, and lived in a
most careful manner, which gave him a great advantage over his
contemporaries, many of whom were reckless to a degree, tossing their
money about in all directions, and borrowing from any one when short of

General Scott followed a regime which assisted him to keep all his
faculties in the very best condition for getting the most out of
his cards. His dinner usually consisted of a boiled chicken, washed
down with toast and water. His memory, coolness, and judgment were
remarkable. With players such as these, whist became almost a religious
function of a singularly profitable kind.

At the present day, when whist has fallen from its ancient high estate,
and rendered practically obsolete owing to the popularity of bridge, it
is difficult to realise the place which the game held in the estimation
of many of our forefathers.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century almost as large sums were
lost and won at whist as at the hazard-table, which was chiefly the
resort of those who, like Fox, complained that games of skill afforded
no excitement.

Many who were not entirely devoted to high play found their only
relaxation in whist. Such a one was Lord Camden's brother, Mr. Edward
Pratt, connected with the East India Company, whose sole bond with
humanity is said to have lain in whist.

By no means an avaricious man, Mr. Pratt spent little upon his personal
comfort, always living in the upper floor of a house owing to its
tranquillity, and regularly dining in a room by himself at a tavern
every day of the year, his only companion a solitary bottle of port.

He was seldom heard to speak, but no circumstance, however urgent,
could prevail on him to break silence at whist, the favourite
amusement, or rather occupation of his life; and, at the conclusion of
each rubber, he could correctly call over the cards in the exact order
in which they were played, as well as the persons from whose hands
they fell, and enumerate various instances of error or dexterity in
his associates, with practical remarks. This extraordinary exertion
of the retentive powers was often doubted, and as often ascertained by
considerable wagers.

Abstinence from speech, however, was the favourite, habitual, perhaps
the affected, pleasure of his life; to such a pitch did he carry
this eccentricity that he deliberately chose to forego many little
satisfactions and comforts, rather than be at the trouble to ask for

In his voyages to India, Mr. Pratt might have been compared to some
Eastern mystic, whose eyes and thoughts are immovably riveted by
inspiration, madness, or emptiness to the region of the navel. When on
voyages by sea it was his invariable custom to present the appearance
of one entirely engrossed by his own thoughts, which, it was opined
from his countenance, were of a peculiarly morose character. He often
doubled the Cape without having scarcely uttered a word. During one
voyage, when his ship had been detained by a long and troublesome
calm, the anxious and dispirited crew were at last revived by the
advent of the long-wished-for breeze. Amidst general excitement, a
miserably dressed seaman on the topmast being at last able to proclaim
the welcome tidings of land, Mr. Pratt alone struck a discordant note,
for whilst the officers and ship's company were congratulating each
other on the approaching joys of being on shore, though his features
were observed to alter and somewhat unbend, no sound escaped his lips.
"I knew you would enjoy the sight of land," at length said the first
officer. "I saw it an hour before the careless ragamuffin aloft," were
the first, the last, and the only words Mr. Pratt uttered during the

"A clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigour of the game," was the
sole earthly aim of Mr. Pratt, as it was of the old lady who declared
that next to her devotions she loved a good game of whist. Players of
this sort were not lukewarm gamesters or half-and-half players who
have no objection to take a hand if one is wanted to make up a rubber;
affirming that they have no pleasure in winning, or that they like to
win one game and lose another. Keen antagonists, they never desired an
adversary who had slipped a wrong card, to take it up and play another.
They loved a thorough-paced partner and a determined enemy. They took
and gave no concessions; they hated favours, never made a revoke, or
passed it over in an adversary without exacting the utmost penalty.
They never introduced or connived at miscellaneous conversation during
the progress of a game, for, as they emphatically observed, cards were
cards. Whist was their business and duty--the thing which they had come
into the world to do--and they did it.

In the early days of the nineteenth century a great deal of gambling
went on at Wattier's Club, No. 81 Piccadilly (now a private house),
which made a speciality of macao. This game is said to have been
introduced into England by French _émigrés_.

Wattier's was kept by an old _maître d'hôtel_ of George IV., who, quite
a character in his way, prided himself upon the excellence of his
cuisine and wines.

The life of Wattier's was a short and merry one, for it only lasted
some twelve years, being closed in 1819, when for a time it became a
sort of common gambling-house. Byron, Beau Brummell, and many other
men of fashion frequented the Club, and, occasionally, says tradition,
solaced themselves for their losses by throwing bottles of wine out of
the window into the yard of the house just across the way.

Some sixteen years later there was a good deal of high play at whist
at Graham's Club, and a scandal occurred. Lord de Ros being charged
with unfair play by the _Satirist_ newspaper, against which he brought
an action for libel. Much curious evidence was given during the trial,
one witness admitting that he had won no less than £35,000 in fifteen
years at whist. Another--Captain Alexander--estimated his winnings
at about £1600 a year. Asked by Counsel how long he had played on a
certain occasion, he replied: "All night." "After a slight dinner I
suppose?" "As good a dinner as I can get." "A small boiled chicken and
a glass of lemonade perhaps?" The witness for some reason considered
this insulting and excitedly said: "I deny the lemonade altogether--I
never take lemonade"--a disavowal which plunged the court into
laughter. Considerable amusement was also created by another witness
who, being asked whether he had ever seen anything suspicious about the
prosecutor's play replied: "Yes." "What course did you take?" "I always
backed him," was the answer.

In the end the peer, who was Premier Baron of England, lost his case.
He did not long survive the disgrace, and on his death in 1837 the
following line was suggested by Theodore Hook as an epitaph--

 Here lies England's Premier Baron patiently awaiting the last trump.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century gambling in Clubs began to
decline, though, as is always the case, intermittent fits of private
gambling were frequent at the West End. In the late 'seventies and
early 'eighties, however, of the last century there was some revival of
gaming-clubs, or rather places called clubs.

A considerable number of these, started merely for the purposes of
play, sprang up in the West End; and the proprietors in many cases
realised large sums by cashing the cheques of players, a certain
percentage being deducted from the amount of the sum, which was not
infrequently handed over in counters. A clever proprietor would, of
course, know how much any particular client was good for, and take care
to run few risks. Where play was high and the members rich a plentiful
harvest was reaped.

The most fashionable Club of this sort was the Park Club, Park Place,
St James's, where, in 1884, there was a good deal of high play at
baccarat. The existence of what was virtually a gaming-club aroused
much comment, and, the matter reaching the ears of the authorities, it
was not long before action was taken.

As considerable misapprehension exists as to how the English law views
gaming, some account of the proceedings which followed may not be out
of place.

On the 17th of January 1884, Mr. St John Wontner attended at Bow
Street on behalf of Mr. Howard Vincent, the Director of the Criminal
Investigation Department, to apply for process against the Park Club,
Park Place, St. James's, under the provisions of the Gaming Acts.

Mr. Wontner, referring to the section of the Act under which it was
proposed to proceed, said that the summons was applied for against the
proprietor, the secretary, the committee, and various members of this
Club, for keeping the premises as a common gambling-house, where they
habitually allowed baccarat to be played.

Attention was called to the comments of the Press on gambling, and
it was said that various complaints had been made to the police, in
consequence of which an inspector was instructed to intimate to the
proprietors of various Clubs that the practice of playing games of
chance was illegal, and proceedings would be taken were it to be

Play had been suspended at various Clubs, but in the ease of this
particular Club, Messrs. Lewis & Lewis, Solicitors, of Ely Place,
had communicated with the authorities to the effect that it was the
intention of those concerned to test the question, and expressed
willingness to answer any proceedings that might be instituted.

On the 1st of February 1884, at Bow Street, before Sir J. Ingham, Jenks
(proprietor), Dalton (secretary), and certain members of this Club and
its committee appeared to a summons charging them with a contravention
of the Gaming Act.

Mr. St. John Wontner prosecuted, Mr. Charles Russell, afterwards Lord
Russell of Killowen, and Mr. Poland, instructed by Mr. George Lewis,

The charge against the defendants was that they were concerned in
keeping a common gaming-house, and permitting a game of chance to
be played called "baccarat." For the prosecution Mr. Wontner quoted
some rules of the game. He said that the regulation bank at this Club
was fixed at £50, an open bank at £1000. As a rule, the banks varied
from £25 to £300, but were often larger. Mr. Wontner quoted a printed
description of the game of baccarat, and submitted that it was purely
a game of chance of a dangerous character, at which excessive gambling
took place. Playing cards for amusement was not prohibited, but it was
contended that excessive gambling was punishable by law.

Sir J. Ingham inquired as to the definition of the word "excessive."
Mr. Wontner submitted that the Legislature had defined excessive
gambling as criminal, while moderate gaming was not. So the proprietor
of a place where excessive gaming was allowed, and who received
the profits, was guilty of the offence at common law of keeping a
gaming-house, and habitual users of the house were also liable.

An ordinary Club-house, where the profits went to the members, would be
equally a gaming-house if excessive and habitual play were allowed.

Mr. Wontner quoted several decisions, and referred to various Acts
dealing with gaming, dating from the reign of Henry VIII., when all
games except archery were declared illegal. A subsequent Act repealed
that Act, as far as games of skill went, but the old enactment still
held as to games, and he contended that whether unlawful gaming went
on in a house, the proprietor of which admitted members on payment of
subscription, or whether it took place in an ordinary Club, the offence
was just the same.

Inspector Swansen, of Scotland Yard, had had interviews with Jenks as
to particulars respecting the Club. Jenks told him the Club was open
in 1882, and he had bought the lease of the premises. He explained the
game of baccarat. After two o'clock the banks were put up to auction.
Each bank paid one per cent, and each player five shillings for
card-money up to 2 A.M. After that time, five shillings until 5 A.M.,
when £1 an hour was charged, in order to make the game prohibitory.
The profits so derived went to the proprietor. One per cent was also
charged for cashing cheques. The rules of the Club prohibited the
introduction of any stranger to the card-room. The profits realised
were from the subscriptions and the card-money. The kitchen had been
a loss, and wine and cigars were sold at cost price. On a subsequent
occasion, Mr. Jenks told witness that members' cheques were cashed,
and one per cent was charged as an insurance against bad cheques. He
stated that he did not cash cheques beyond a reasonable amount, which
he estimated at £300. In cross-examination by Mr. Russell, witness
admitted that Jenks had given all information freely. The Club, of
which he was the proprietor, consisted of from 200 to 300 members,
comprising gentlemen well-known in society.

The night steward of the Park Club was called, and gave evidence as
to the play in the card-room. Baccarat was not played there until
Mr. Jenks took possession of the Club. Play began about 4.30 in the
afternoon, and a break would be made about half-past seven for dinner,
after which play was resumed and kept up till two, three, four, and
sometimes eight o'clock in the morning. The average bank would be about

After further evidence had been taken, and speeches made for and
against the defendants, Sir James Ingham, in giving his decision on
the summons, said that Jenks was substantially charged with keeping a
house for unlawful gaming, and the other gentlemen were substantially
charged with aiding and assisting him in doing so. The first question
to determine was why and for what purpose Jenks kept this house open.
Was it an ordinary Club at which gambling was casually introduced, or
was it substantially a gaming-house? The question could be answered
by the evidence, as the profits arising from the wines, spirits, and
tobacco were admitted to be trifling, while the profits from food
were absolutely nothing, the kitchen being carried on at a loss.
The subscriptions received from 250 members at six guineas per year
produced annually £1711, which was subjected to very large deductions
for rent, taxes, etc. It must be clear to everybody that as a Club
for social purposes, the business would not be worth the care and
attention which it would require. What was the case with respect to
gambling? Jenks received one per cent upon all banks, and contributions
from all players who stayed after certain hours. Without going into
particulars he calculated on consideration of the number of games that
would be played ordinarily in the course of an evening, that Jenks must
realise from £45 to £50 per night, and that his annual profits must be
£10,000 to £12,000, or perhaps many thousands more. Therefore, no one
could doubt that the house had been kept and used for the purpose of
gambling, for its character as a social Club was absolutely ancillary
to its business as a gambling-house. The statute, however, required
that there should not only be gambling, but gambling at an unlawful
game, and the main question was whether the game of baccarat was an
unlawful game. It must be admitted that although a great many games
had been prohibited by the Legislature, baccarat had not, and whether
it was unlawful or not, must depend on other considerations. Baccarat
appeared to be a game of chance, tempered by a certain amount of skill
and judgment. Many games of mixed chance and skill might be innocently
played. It was important to glance at the state of the old law. Sir J.
Ingham then quoted from Baker's abridgment on the subject of gaming for
recreation and common gaming-houses, "which promote cheating and other
corrupt practices, and incite to idleness and avariciousness persons
whose time might otherwise be employed to the general good of the

The principle to be extracted was that gaming productive of the above
evils ought to be considered unlawful, and he (Sir James) considered
that the game of baccarat was not "a game played for recreation,
whereby a person is fitted for the ordinary duties of life." A great
deal had been said upon the subject of large and excessive gambling,
and the argument had been advanced that games which would be large and
risky and excessive for a man who was in the position of a shop-keeper,
would be nothing, trifles infinitesimal, in the eyes of a man of large
property. Granted that was so, still there might be cases in which the
law could be easily applied, and he thought this was one. Referring
to the rules of the Park Club, which was to consist of noblemen,
members of the learned professions, officers of the Army and Navy, and
gentlemen, Sir James observed that a man at the game in question might
lose, with consistent bad luck, £1000 before dinner, and a considerable
sum in addition afterwards. Would there be any difficulty in saying
that that was large and excessive gambling in the case of members of
the learned professions, clergymen, bishops, great leading counsel
of the day, or even judges with the largest salaries, physicians,
and so forth? Gaming such as had been proved to exist would be large
and excessive for any of those classes of men, and still more so for
officers of the Army and Navy. He had no hesitation in saying, with
reference to the gentlemen composing the Club at Mr. Jenks's house,
that gaming had been large and excessive, and that it came within the
principle of the law laid down by Chief Justice Abbot in the case of
"King _v._ Rosier." But he considered the case did not stop there, and
proceeded to refer at great length to the Act of Queen Anne, limiting

In conclusion, the learned Magistrate held that all the parties, with
the exception of Mr. Dalton (secretary), had been guilty of gaming. He
fined Mr. Jenks £500, the members of the committee £500, and each of
the players £100.

Notice of appeal was given.

The appeal was brought on May 26 and 27, and in giving judgment, Sir
Henry Hawkins (afterwards Lord Brampton), after saying that the facts
were undisputed--there was no profit except on the gaming, though from
the admirable printed rules one might well conclude that the Club was
a sociable Club, where a gentleman might dine and have his rubber
at whist, whilst not on any account allowed to gamble. The rules in
question were, however, nightly disregarded, and looking at the nightly
doings, it was impossible for any man in his senses to doubt that the
house was really opened and kept for the purpose of gaming at the game
of baccarat as its main and principal object.

He now had to consider the illegality of the gaming and not merely the
illegality of the game--the common law did not prohibit the playing at
cards and dice, which were not unlawful games, but the keeping of a
common gaming-house was at common law an indictable offence.

Sir Henry Hawkins, after some comments on what constituted a
gaming-house, went on to say that in his judgment it was not necessary
for a gaming-house to be a public nuisance, which the Park Club was
not:--a common gaming-house being itself a nuisance, though the gaming
there was limited to the subscribers and members of the Club. The
keeper of such a house could always admit or exclude whom he chose, and
the committee elected whom they pleased, provided the list of members
did not exceed 500. It might be 5000 and yet still not be a public, but
a common gaming-house.

As to unlawful games--no games had been in so many words declared by
name unlawful, though the Legislature intended to cover some games
which, being lawful in themselves, were only unlawful when played in
particular places or by particular persons. The Act of 1845 enacted
that a house is proved to be a common gaming-house which is kept for
playing any unlawful games and a bank is kept by one or more of the
players, exclusively of the others, or where the chances of any game
played are not alike favourable to all the players.

He divided unlawful games into two classes:

First, those absolutely forbidden by name, to the gaming at which a
penalty is attached. This class included "ace of hearts," "pharaoh or
faro," "basset," and "hazard," and any other game with a die or dice
except backgammon.

Second, a number of games not altogether prohibited under penal
consequences, nor declared to be altogether illegal, but which,
nevertheless, have been declared unlawful by the Legislature, because
the keeping of houses for playing them, and the play in them therein by
anybody, were rendered illegal.

The unlawful games of the Acts of Henry VIII. were "bowls," "quoits,"
"dicing," "tennis," and "carding," most of which would seem to have
been games of mere skill. The Acts in question were all repealed by 8
and 9 Vic.

The present unlawful games, then, were "ace of hearts," "faro,"
"basset," "hazard," "passage," "roulette," and every game of dice
except backgammon, and every game of cards which was not a game of
"mere skill." He was inclined to add any other game of "mere chance."

The question was, did "baccarat" come within this category?--the
description of the game given by Mr. Russell satisfied him that it did.

Baccarat was a game of cards--a game of chance--and though, as in most
other things, experience and judgment might make one player or banker
more successful than another, it would be a perversion of words to say
it was in any sense a game of mere skill. It was, therefore, in his
opinion an unlawful game within the meaning of the statute.

It was said that it was a modern game--assuming it to be so, it was
just what the Legislature intended to include in the phraseology of one
unrepealed section of the law of Henry VIII., which mentioned "any new
unlawful game hereafter to be invented."

With regard to excessive gaming since the repeal of the statutes of
Anne and George II., he did not think excessive gaming at any game
would in itself render the game unlawful, for excessive gaming _per se_
was not any longer a legal offence. Nevertheless, though excessive
gaming was no longer _per se_ unlawful, the fact that it was habitually
carried on in a house kept for the purpose of gaming was a cogent piece
of evidence to be offered to a jury or other tribunal called on to
determine whether a house was a common gaming-house so as to make the
keeper of it liable to be indicted for a nuisance at common law.

Seeing that Mr. Jenks was the occupier and kept the house open for
the purpose of gaming, at, amongst other games, baccarat, an unlawful
game within the meaning of the Statute, he was of opinion that he was
properly convicted.

As to the four members of the committee, the only question was whether
these appellants had the care or management of the house--he thought
they had--they could not but have been cognisant of the rules and of
the true character of the Club. The second rule of the Club placed its
internal management in their hands--he thought there was abundance of
evidence to warrant their conviction.

As to the three players, he found no evidence that they did more than
play at baccarat in the house, by which it might be that they somewhat
enhanced the profits, but they took no part in the management. Adding
to the profits was not a legal offence, as assistance in conducting the
establishment was--the conviction with respect to the three players
ought to be quashed.

Mr. Justice Smith followed, and his summing up entirely coincided with
that of Sir Henry Hawkins. This lucid judgment is of considerable
interest as affecting games played in English Clubs, and did much to
clear up all ambiguity as to how far a Club might allow gambling. It
put an end to all open baccarat, though the game was shortly afterwards
played for a time at "The Field Club," near St. James's Street, an
establishment which much resembled the defunct Park Club in its
diversions, members, and methods, but the police soon interfered, and
with its demise Club gambling at games of chance has become a thing of
the past, except in the low dens of Soho, where faro intermittently
calls for the intervention of the authorities. Police raids upon bogus
Clubs mainly frequented by foreigners of a low class are often reported
in the newspapers.

As regards respectable Clubs, a certain amount of bridge, usually for
very moderate stakes, is indulged in, but gambling for high stakes is
strongly discountenanced. Members inclined to indulge any tendencies
in this direction generally do so elsewhere than in a Club. From time
to time small Clubs in which there is some high play have sprung up
and had a brief existence. When bridge first began to capture London,
a bridge Club was started in the West End where very high stakes were
the rule. It lasted but a short time, owing chiefly to the fact that a
young and not very astute member lost a very large sum, which created
considerable scandal and broke up the Club.

High bridge is now played in London mostly by wealthy people, well
able to take care of themselves. The outcry raised some time ago about
young girls being compelled to join in playing for large stakes is not
based upon any solid foundation of truth, for as a rule high players
are not fond of running the chance of drawing a novice as a partner. A
bad player spoils the game.

Though there is practically no gambling in West-End Clubs, a good deal
of baccarat and poker is occasionally played in private houses, ladies
being not infrequently amongst the players, and here gaming assumes
its most undesirable form. Temper as well as money is generally lost,
whilst the winners are exposed to a by no means remote probability of
never being paid. Private gambling is especially dangerous to young
men, and without doubt a thousand times more harm is done by play of
this sort than by all the properly conducted public tables in the


[Footnote 5: The love of money compels.]


 Talleyrand whilst at cards announces the death of the Duc
 d'Enghien--"The curse of Scotland"--Wilberforce at faro--Successful
 gamblers--The Rev. Caleb Colton--Colonel Panton--Dennis
 O'Kelly--Richard Rigby--Anecdotes--Strange incidents at
 play--Aged gamesters--A duel with death--General Wade and the
 poor officer--Anecdote of a caprice of Fortune--Stock Exchange
 speculation--A man who profited by tips.

The history of card-playing is connected with many dramatic incidents.
If the story be true, one of the most striking of these was when
Talleyrand, who had been playing very late at "_la bouillotte_" with
the Duchesse de Luynes, suddenly laid down his cards, and in his cold,
impassive voice asked, "Has the Prince de Condé any other grandchildren
than the Duc d'Enghien?" Receiving an answer in the negative he calmly
said, "Then the house of Condé has come to an end."

At that very moment the ill-fated Duc was being led out to be shot at
the château of Vincennes.

A grim historical interest is also generally supposed to be connected
with the nine of diamonds, which is known as "the curse of Scotland,"
the reason assigned being that the Duke of Cumberland wrote his
sanguinary orders on the back of such a card in 1746. Notwithstanding
this popular tradition, the nine of diamonds had been known as "the
curse of Scotland" as far back as thirty years before Culloden--perhaps
because a somewhat similar design formed the arms of Colonel Packer,
who was on the scaffold when Charles I. was executed. Another reason
given is that there were nine lozenges resembling diamonds in the arms
of the Earl of Stair who made the Union.

Cards have at times attracted the most saintly persons. The first time
the philanthropic Wilberforce was at Brooks's he joined in playing
faro--according to his own account--from mere shyness. A friend of
his, very much surprised, called out to him, "What, Wilberforce, is
that you?" George Selwyn, who was keeping the bank, resented the
interference, and said in his most expressive tones, "Oh, sir, don't
interrupt Mr. Wilberforce, he could not be better employed."

Oddly enough, one of the most remarkable instances of a really
successful gambler was an English clergyman, the Reverend Caleb Colton.
A man of considerable learning, he was originally a fellow of King's
College, Cambridge, and curate of Tiverton. In 1812 he created some
slight stir with two poems entitled "Hypocrisy" and "Napoleon." His
literary reputation was further enhanced in 1818, when the author
had become Vicar of Kew, by the publication of a volume of maxims
called _Lacon: or Many Things in Few Words_. This work, however,
was not absolutely original, being in a great measure founded upon
Lord Bacon's _Essays_, Burdon's _Materials for Thinking_, and the
well-known aphorisms of La Rochefoucauld.

[Illustration: LA BOUILLOTTE.

From a scarce print after Bosio.]

About this time Mr. Colton began to speculate, and, having dabbled
rather recklessly in Spanish bonds, his affairs became involved. This
frightened the reverend gentleman, and, though there appears to have
been no pressing reason for taking such a step, he absconded.

His affairs were subsequently put in order, after which Mr. Colton for
a time betook himself to America, eventually returning to Europe and
settling down in Paris. Here he took up his abode in the Palais Royal,
at that time the head-quarters of dissipation and amusement--surely the
queerest spot ever selected by an English clergyman for his abode.

Colton now began to make an exhaustive study of the intricacies and
mysteries of the gaming-table, every facility for putting theory into
practice being at his very door. Unlike most searchers after infallible
methods of winning, he was completely successful, and in the course
of a year or two won over £25,000 by some method of staking, of which
no reliable record seems to exist. More wonderful still, the Reverend
Caleb kept his winnings, part of which he devoted to the purchase of
pictures. He was a cultivated man, and published an ode, which was
privately circulated, on the death of Lord Byron.

The end of Mr. Colton was a tragic one, for in 1832 he blew out his
brains at the house of a friend living at Fontainebleau. The act in
question was, of course, attributed to the effect of gambling losses. A
thrilling story was told which described how the unfortunate clergyman,
after ruinous losses at Frascati's, had blown his brains out in the
forest of St. Germain, and, as always follows in such cases, an outcry
arose, demanding the suppression of the tables in the Palais Royal
and at Frascati's. Gambling, however, was in no way responsible for
Colton's end, the real cause of his suicide having been a disease
necessitating a painful operation, to which the successful gambler
preferred death.

A very fortunate gamester was Colonel Panton, who in the early part
of the eighteenth century suddenly realised a considerable fortune by
keeping a gaming-house in Piccadilly. Though by nature a confirmed
gambler he then exhibited extraordinary common sense, and, having
invested his winnings in house property and land, entirely abandoned
the card-table and the dice-box. His name is still preserved in Panton
Street, Haymarket.

Another sporting character who amassed a large fortune by gambling
and the Turf was Colonel Dennis O'Kelly,[6] the owner of the famous
race-horse Eclipse.

The rank of Colonel which this Irishman was entitled to assume was
procured by him in a characteristically curious way. In 1760, when
the county of Middlesex was very backward in raising sufficient men
for its militia, a well-known Scotch adventurer, MacGregor by name,
whose family had suffered a good deal for the Stuarts in 1745, seeing
a good opportunity of making some money, set about raising a regiment
in Westminster which the Government promised to recognise as soon
as three-fourths of the commissions should be filled up. He found,
however, difficulty in obtaining officers and had to ransack the town
and hold out commissions to all sorts of people, amongst whom was
O'Kelly, who became an ensign, in due course of time rising to be
Lieutenant-Colonel. O'Kelly, though totally ignorant of discipline, is
said to have presented the most soldierly appearance of any officer in
the regiment. This was not saying much, for the third captain was a
tea-dealer, the fourth a tailor, and the fifth a boatswain's mate who
had bought an ale-house with prize-money and could just sign his name.
The most junior officer was a crippled creature of foreign extraction.

When O'Kelly became a major, he is described as having put his regiment
through certain military evolutions to the entire satisfaction of the
King and his staff, whilst his Lieutenant-Colonelcy was celebrated by a
splendid entertainment which many of the aristocracy of Leicestershire
attended. O'Kelly was sometimes known as Count O'Kelly, a title which
was supposed to have been conferred upon him by his fellow-prisoners
during a sojourn in the "Fleet" when he was a young man. Here he met
Catherine Hayes, who lived as his faithful companion through life.
Though she was never married to him, her position was more or less
recognised, and O'Kelly left her an annuity which she continued to
enjoy till she died, in the second decade of the nineteenth century, at
the age of eighty-five.

Among many racing successes O'Kelly won the Derby twice--in 1781 with
Young Eclipse by Eclipse, and three years later again with Sergeant by
Eclipse out of Aspasia.

His racing colours were scarlet and black cap.

Whilst there is no doubt but that O'Kelly was very lucky in much that
he undertook, his originality and penetration were largely responsible
for a success which, however, never gained him admission into
fashionable circles.

Though a hospitable man of a certain genial humour, O'Kelly was not
very open-handed to dependents. In spite of his affluence he was
even mean enough to keep jockeys of the poorer class out of their
money, season after season, being sometimes even sued by them in
the law courts, and personally dunned on the race-course stands. In
such a place, on one disgraceful occasion, an old sportsman made
the Captain look extremely small by apostrophising him as a mean,
low-lived, waiter-bred skunk. In spite of these failings O'Kelly
achieved a certain popularity by the good dinners and excellent wines
which he provided at his house at Epsom, his dry and truly Irish
facetiousness affording the highest zest to those entertainments. At
his country house he would never allow any betting or gambling. A
constant subject of jest amongst his familiars was the tone in which
at dinner he used to say, "John, bring the aaples," meaning the pines,
and the whimsicality with which he would apostrophise his servant on
certain occasions. The latter having announced the non-arrival of
fish, "Begorra," said his master, "and if you can't get any fish,
bring herrings." O'Kelly was a gentlemanly and even graceful man
in behaviour, a strong contrast to his bear-like figure, dark and
saturnine visage, with the accompaniment of his rough striped coat and
old round hat. A quite peaceable man, though a true-bred Milesian,
O'Kelly never had the smallest appetite for fighting with any weapon
whatever. He was a great contrast in this respect to the bullying
Dick England, with whom he once became involved in a law-suit. He
was ambitious of honour and distinction, a proof of which was his
successful pretension to military rank. In the darling object of his
life, however, capricious fortune left him in the lurch; the Jockey
Club, whose action in this matter was generally approved, steadily
refusing to admit among them a parvenu, not, perhaps, of unequivocal
character. This O'Kelly, so much of a philosopher in other things, did
not possess philosophy enough to forgive, but, in revenge, never failed
to characterise the honourable body which refused to admit him by the
very hardest professional names which his wit and bitterness could

Very much aggrieved at not being admitted into certain of the Clubs
at Newmarket and in London, which were frequented by aristocratic
sportsmen, he never lost an opportunity of retaliating on those whom he
deemed responsible for his exclusion.

On one occasion, when making an arrangement to retain the services of
a certain jockey, he told him he had no objection to his riding for
any other person provided he had no horse running in the same race;
adding, however, that he would be prepared to double his terms provided
he would enter into an arrangement and bind himself under a penalty
never to ride for any of the black-legged fraternity. The consenting
jockey saying that he did not quite understand who the Captain meant
by the black-legged fraternity, the latter instantly replied with his
usual energy, "Oh, by ---, my dear, and I'll soon make you understand
who I mean by the black-legged fraternity:--there's the Duke of G., the
Duke of D., Lord A., Lord D., Lord G., Lord C., Lord F., the Right Hon.
A.B.C.D., and C.I.F., and all the set of thaves that belong to their
humbug societies and bug-a-boo Clubs, where they can meet and rob one
another without detection."

This curious definition of the black-legged fraternity is a
sufficiently clear demonstration of how severely O'Kelly felt himself
affected by his rejection. He made a point of embracing every
opportunity of saying anything to excite the irascibility of the
sporting aristocracy, whilst shirking no difficulty or expense to
obtain that pre-eminence upon the Turf which he eventually enjoyed.
Dining at the stewards' ordinary at Burford races, in the year 1775,
Lord Robert Spencer in the chair, Lord Abingdon and many other noblemen
being present, matches and sweepstakes as usual, after dinner, were
proposed and entered into for the following year--amongst the rest,
one between Lord A. and Mr. Baily, of Rambridge, in Hampshire, for 300
gs. h. ft., when the Captain was once or twice appealed to by Mr. B.
in adjusting the terms, and Lord A. happened to exclaim that he and
the gentleman on his side the table ran for honour, the Captain and
his friends for profit. The match was at length agreed upon in terms
not conformable to the Captain's opinion, and consequently, when he
was applied to by B. to stand half, he vociferously replied, "No, but
if the match had been made cross and jostle, as I proposed, I would
have not only stood all the money, but have brought a spalpeen from
Newmarket, no higher than a twopenny loaf, that should (by ---!) have
driven his Lordship's horse and jockey into the furzes, and have kept
him there for three weeks."

His support of and attachment to Ascot was strikingly conspicuous.
During the races there he ran a horse each day for years, whilst his
presence and his pocket enlivened the hazard-table at night.

Here it was that, seeing him turning over a quire of bank-notes, a
gentleman asked him what he was in want of, when he replied he was
looking for a little one. The inquirer said he could accommodate him,
and desired to know for what sum. Upon which he answered, a "fifty, or
something of that sort, just to set the caster." At this time it was
supposed he had seven or eight thousand pounds in his hand, but not
a note for less than a hundred. He always threw with great success,
and when he held the box, was seldom known to refuse throwing for any
sum that the company chose to set him; and when "out" was always as
liberal in setting the caster, and preventing a stagnation of trade
at the table. On the other hand, his large capital and good luck not
infrequently captured the last guinea of the bank.

It was O'Kelly's usual custom to carry a great number of bank-notes
in his waistcoat pocket, wisped up together with the greatest
indifference. Playing at a hazard-table at Windsor during the races, as
a standing better (every chair being full), a strange hand was observed
by those on the opposite side of the table, furtively drawing two notes
out of his pocket. The alarm was given, and the hand as instantaneously
withdrawn, the notes being left more than half out of the pocket. The
company were eager for the offender to be taken before a magistrate,
and many attempted to secure him for that purpose, but the Captain
very philosophically seizing the thief by the collar, merely kicked
him downstairs with the exultant exclamation that "'twas a sufficient
punishment to be deprived of the pleasure of keeping company with

On one occasion, when at Newmarket, O'Kelly offered to bet a
considerable sum with a gentleman who knew nothing about the
redoubtable Irishman. The stranger, half suspecting that the challenge
came from one of the black-legged fraternity, begged to know what
security he would give for so large a sum, if he should lose, and
where his estates lay. "O! Begorra, my dear creature, I have the map
of them about me, and here it is, sure enough," said O'Kelly, pulling
out a pocket-book, and giving unequivocal proofs of his property, by
producing bank-notes far exceeding in value the amount of the wager.

Besides having been owner of the equine wonder Eclipse, old O'Kelly
was in his last years the possessor of a wonderful parrot said to have
been purchased at Bristol, where it had been bred--the only parrot of
this kind ever born in England. This extraordinary bird died at a great
age in the early years of the nineteenth century. It was of moderate
size, chiefly green in colour, with some grey and red, and spoke with a
clear and distinct articulation, and with so little inferiority to the
female human voice divine, that when its tones were heard outside in
the street, people would dispute as to whether the voice was that of a
woman or a parrot.

After O'Kelly's death it became the property of his nephew and heir,
Colonel Andrew O'Kelly, who lived in Half-Moon Street, which quiet
thoroughfare was very much enlivened by the performances of the parrot
at a window. When pressed to sing by passers-by, lively Poll would
swear and laugh at them, all the time spreading and fluttering its
wings in triumph. The bird's favours were divided between an old lady
and the Colonel, with both of whom it would converse on a variety of
topics. When the latter was returning home. Poll, if at the window,
would espy him across the street, upon which it would instantly clap
its wings, and set up an impatient squalling--"The Colonel! the
Colonel is coming! open the door!" If in a bad mood and asked to talk,
Poll would sometimes reply sullenly, "I'll see you damn'd first!" At
times, especially if not near the window, with the sash up below its
cage--which was the bird's favourite place--being asked, "How d'ye do
to-day, Poll?" the parrot would curtly answer, "Why, I don't know,"
"Middling," or "What's that to you?"

Colonel O'Kelly was very proud of his bird and had regular "parrot
concerts," on which occasions Half-Moon Street was filled with
carriages and an admiring crowd, to such a degree as to be scarcely
passable. Although solicited by many distinguished people, the Colonel
did not permit his parrot to leave his home and pay visits. So great
became the parrot's renown that his owner was once offered a very large
sum, by a well-known caterer of amusements, to allow Poll to appear in
public, the bird's life to be heavily insured.

Colonel O'Kelly, it should be added, had profited by the good English
and French education which his uncle had bestowed upon him. He was
Lieutenant-Colonel in the Middlesex Militia, and pursued the Turf with
some spirit.

Another gambler who achieved prosperity was Mr. Richard Rigby, who rose
to affluence owing to an incident on a race-course.

Having at an early age inherited a comfortable fortune, young Mr. Rigby
proceeded to squander it whilst yet incapable of appreciating the value
of money. Gaming, racing, and other forms of getting into difficulties
occupied his time, with the result that most of his inheritance soon
passed into the hands of lawyers and money-lenders. He would probably
have sunk into a state of abject destitution had not the Turf, which
had so largely contributed to diminish his fortune, also been the means
of restoring him to opulence.

The Duke of Bedford of that day had given great offence to the
gentlemen in the neighbourhood of Litchfield, by an improper and unfair
interference at their races; and as at the end of the eighteenth
century it was by no means safe or easy effectually to punish a man
fortified by rank, privilege, and wealth, they at last determined to
bestow on this illustrious offender manual correction. The overbearing
conduct of the Duke in some matter relating to the starting of their
horses, and their weights, in which he had no kind of right to
interfere, soon afforded the confederates an opportunity of executing
their purpose. He was in one moment separated from his attendants,
surrounded by the party, hustled and unmercifully horsewhipped by an
exasperated country attorney, with a keen sense of his wrongs and a
muscular arm. The lawyer persevered in this severe discipline without
being interrupted by his Grace's outcries and repeated declarations
that he was the Duke of Bedford, an assertion which Mr. Humphries, the
assailant, positively denied, adding that a peer of the realm would
never have conducted himself in so scandalous a manner. The matter
soon circulated over the course, and reaching Mr. Rigby's ear, the
latter with a generous, if perhaps calculated gallantry, burst through
the crowd, rescued the distressed noble, completely thrashed his
antagonist, and conveyed the Duke to a place of safety.

The result of this affair was most fortunate for the spendthrift, who,
as a consequence, eventually amassed a huge fortune.

The Russell family were very grateful for the singular service which
Mr. Rigby had rendered to the Duke, whose rescuer was loaded with
favours. These eventually culminated in his obtaining the most
lucrative office in the gift of the Crown, that of Paymaster-General;
the emoluments arising from which, during the American War, amounted
annually to £50,000.

In 1782, on Lord North's retirement, Mr. Rigby lost his post, and
was also called upon to refund a large sum declared to be public
money which should have been accounted for. Under these circumstances
Rigby applied to Thomas Rumbold, who, originally a waiter at White's,
had risen to be Governor of Madras. Whilst fulfilling his duties in
St. James's Street, the latter had often advanced Rigby, who was a
desperate punter, small sums, and on this occasion his services were
once more sought. The ex-waiter had returned to England with immense
wealth, procured, it was declared, by very doubtful means. Public
indignation having been aroused, a bill to strip the Anglo-Indian of
his ill-gotten gains had been introduced in the House of Commons.

Under these circumstances an arrangement was effected, which settled
his own difficulties and at the same time saved the fortune of his old
friend from White's.

The latter advanced Rigby a large sum, which enabled him to adjust
matters regarding the missing money, whilst the bill of confiscation
was dropped, its introducer being an intimate friend of the former

Rigby's nephew and heir soon after married Rumbold's daughter, so all
ended happily owing, as it was said, to Rigby's former devotion to

Mr. Rigby appears to have been a generous man, as the following
anecdote shows. Being one evening at a hazard-table in Dublin he was
very successful; and having won a considerable sum, he was putting it
in his purse when a person behind said in a low voice to himself, "Had
I that sum, what a happy man should I be!" Mr. Rigby, without looking
back, put the purse over his shoulder, saying, "Take it, my friend, and
be happy." The stranger made no reply, but accepted it, and retired.
Every one present was astonished at Mr. Rigby's uncommon beneficence,
whilst he derived additional pleasure from being informed that the
person who had received the benefit was a half-pay officer in great
distress. Some years after, a gentleman waited upon him in his own
equipage, and being introduced to Mr. Rigby, acquainted him that he
came to acquit a debt that he had contracted with him in Dublin. Mr.
Rigby was greatly surprised at this declaration, as he was an entire
stranger. "Yes, sir," continued the visitor, "you assisted me with
above a hundred pounds at a time that I was in the utmost indigence,
without knowing or even seeing me"; and then related the affair at the
gaming-table. "With that money," continued the stranger, "I was enabled
to pay some debts and fit myself out for India, where I have been so
fortunate as to make an ample fortune." Mr. Rigby declined to take
the money, but, through the pressing solicitations of the gentleman,
accepted a valuable diamond ring.

The strange incidents which arose at the old hazard-tables, frequented
as they were by all sorts and conditions of men, often produced strange
changes in men's lives.

General Wade had so great a propensity to gaming, that he frequented
places of every description where play was going forward, without
considering the low company he met there. At one of these places, one
night, in the eagerness of his diversion, he pulled out an exceedingly
valuable gold snuff-box, richly set with diamonds, took a pinch, and
passed it round, keeping the dice-box four or five mains before he
was "out," when recollecting something of the circumstances, and not
perceiving the snuff-box, he swore vehemently no man should stir till
it was produced, and a general search should ensue. On his right sat a
person dressed as an officer, very shabby, who from time to time, with
great humility, had begged the honour of going a shilling with him, and
had by that means picked up four or five; on him the suspicion fell,
and it was proposed to search him first. Begging leave to be heard, he
said, "I know the General well; not he, nor all the powers upon earth,
shall subject me to a search while I have life to oppose it. I declare,
on the honour of a soldier, I know nothing of the snuff-box, and hope
that will satisfy all suspicions: follow me into the next room, where I
will defend that honour, or perish!" The eyes of all were now turned
on the General for an answer, who, clapping his hand eagerly down for
his sword, felt the snuff-box (supposed to have been lost, and put
there from habit) in a secret side-pocket of his breeches, made for
that purpose. The injustice of his suspicions greatly affected the
General, who naturally felt a good deal of compassion for his poor
fellow-soldier. Overcome with remorse, he at once left the room, having
said, "Sir, I here, with great reason, ask your pardon, and I hope to
find it granted by your breakfasting with me, and hereafter ranking
me among your friends." As may be easily supposed the invitation
was complied with, and when, after some conversation, the General
conjured the officer to say what could be the true reason that he
should object to being searched: "Why, General," was the answer, "being
upon half-pay, and friendless, I am obliged to husband every penny;
I had that day very little appetite, and as I could not eat what I
had paid for, nor afford to lose it, the leg and wing of a fowl were
then wrapped up in a piece of paper in my pocket; the thought of which
coming to light, appeared ten times more terrible than fighting every
one in the room." "Enough! my dear boy, you have said enough! Let us
dine together to-morrow; we must prevent your being subjected again to
such a dilemma." They met the next day, and the General then gave him a
captain's commission, together with a purse of guineas to enable him to
join his regiment.

Whilst fortune as a rule seems to delight in favouring novices at
play, and is somewhat pitiless to those who have wooed her for years,
there have been certain old gamblers who, by making a study of some
particular game, have attained to such perfection in playing it as
seldom to lose. With some of these play endures as a dominant passion
after almost all the other faculties have become impaired.

Not very many years ago a well-known figure in a certain Parisian Club,
existing mainly for the purposes of play, was an old gentleman who,
paralysed below the waist, was most afternoons carried upstairs in an
invalid chair, placed in a fauteuil, and propped up with cushions in
order that he might hold a bank at his favourite écarté, a game at
which he was an expert of the highest kind.

Up to within a day or two of his death he continued to indulge in a
game which was practically his only link with the living world, his
faculties, though usually somewhat clouded, recovering all their old
vitality as far as concerned the purposes of the card-table.

A case of much the same sort was described by Brillat Savarin, who,
in the country where he resided, knew an old guardsman who had served
under Louis XV. and Louis XVI.

This aged individual, rather below than above the average of ordinary
men in general intelligence, possessed an extraordinary aptitude for
games--an expert at all the old ones, he would master any novelty in
this line after having played it once or twice.

With the advent of old age he had become paralysed--two faculties
alone remaining unimpaired--that of digestion and that of play. Every
day for twenty years he had been in the habit of frequenting a house
where he was made welcome. Here he would sit in a semi-comatose
condition, hidden away in a corner, seemingly indifferent to anything
that was done or said. When, however, the card-table was drawn out,
he immediately revived, and having dragged himself to a seat, soon
demonstrated that his powers as a gamester were as brilliant as in the
long dead past when he was a dashing officer at Versailles.

One day there came down into this part of France a Parisian banker who
was soon discovered to be a passionate votary of piquet, a game which
he declared himself ready to play with any one for very large stakes.
A council of war was held, and eventually it was decided that the old
guardsman should champion country against town, a war fund being raised
by general subscription, winnings or losings to be allocated according
to the size of the different shares.

When the banker sat down to the card-table to find himself confronted
by a grim, gaunt, twisted figure, he at first believed himself the
victim of a joke, but when he saw this spectre take the cards, shuffle
and deal with the air of a professor, he began to divine that no
unworthy antagonist was pitted against him. This conclusion was
before long considerably strengthened, for the unfortunate Parisian
was outmatched in play to such an extent that he eventually retired
the loser of a very substantial sum. Before setting out for his return
journey to Paris, the banker in question, whilst thanking all he had
met for their hospitality, declared that there was only one thing he
had to deplore, which was having been so bold as to pit himself against
a corpse at cards.

There is an awful story told of a gambler who refused to die, and who,
when _in extremis_, had the card-table drawn up to his bedside with
strong meats and drinks, and held the cards against Death himself; but
the grim tyrant held all the trumps, and soon snatched his prey.

Utter absorption to extraneous influences brands gamblers as with a hot
iron, and so great is the fascination which play exercises over certain
natures, that there exist people who fully believe that there is only
one thing less pleasant than winning--which is to lose. The originator
of the maxim in question was Lieutenant-Colonel Aubrey, one of the
boldest and most adventurous men that England has ever known, who lived
on into the twentieth century.

Piquet and hazard, particularly the former, were the games in which the
Colonel was known to excel, and on which he adventured greater sums
than any man living in his time. The Duke of York, George IV., Colonel
Fitzpatrick, Alderman Combe, and other distinguished personages were
his antagonists and associates at play, and he was always considered an
"honourable" man.

The domination exercised by gambling sometimes amounts almost to
insanity, all sense of decency and proportion being lost. This was the
case with a certain English Colonel, who was so addicted to gambling,
that having one night lost all the money he could command, determined
to stake his wife's diamond ear-rings, and going straight home, asked
her to lend them to him. She took them from her ears, saying that she
knew for what purpose he wanted them, and that he was welcome. The
jewels in question proved lucky, and the Colonel won largely, gaining
back all that he had lost that night. In the warmth of his gratitude
to his wife, he, at her desire, took an oath that he would never more
play at any game with cards or dice. Some time afterwards he was found
in a hay-yard with a friend, drawing straws out of the hay-rick, and
betting upon which should be the longest! As might be expected, he
lived in alternate extravagance and distress, sometimes surrounded
with every sort of luxury, and sometimes in dire want of half a crown.
Nevertheless, he continued gambling all his life. Bewailing a run of
ill-luck to a serious friend one day, the soldier in question said, "Is
it not astonishing how I always lose?" "That's not what surprises me,"
was the reply, "so much as where you get the money to pay." As a matter
of fact too many gamblers have taken much the same point of view as
was adopted by a certain Italian gamester who, after an intolerable run
of ill-luck, apostrophised Fortune, calling her a vixenish jade.

"Thou mayest," said he, "indeed cause me to lose millions, but I defy
thy utmost power to make me pay them."

In certain rare instances fortune seems to delight in suddenly
showering her gifts upon some one who is not a gambler.

A remarkable exemplification of this occurred in Australia not so
many years ago, when what was probably the biggest stake ever played
for was lost and won. A curious feature of the game having been that
neither winner nor loser knew that they were playing for anything but
an insignificant stake.

A young Englishman, who had gone out to Australia with a slender
capital, was one day standing at the door of his hut, wondering if
fortune would ever smile upon him, when two travel-stained men, having
much the appearance of tramps, appeared and, saying that they had come
a long way, begged that they might be allowed to rest for the night.
In accordance with the traditions of Colonial hospitality, the young
man at once proceeded to do all he could to make his rough-looking
guests comfortable, and in due course sat down with them to the best
dinner which his slender resources could provide. The meal over,
pipes were lit, and conversation (always limited in remote regions),
being exhausted, one of the men pulled out of his pocket an old
greasy-looking pack of cards and proposed a game. To make a long story
short the young man, who, it must be added, was no gambler, eventually
consented to hold a small bank at écarté against his two visitors.
He stipulated, however, that when either he or his opponents should
have chanced to lose such money as they had in their pockets, the game
should come to an end. For a time fortune wavered, but a sudden run in
favour of the host swept all the modest capital of his antagonists to
his side of the table.

A discussion now ensued, the guests being anxious to continue the game,
declaring that any losings should be promptly remitted on their arrival
at the nearest town. The Englishman, however, was obdurate. "We agreed
to play for ready money only, and ready money it shall be," said he,
"your losses after all are trifling. We are all tired and had better
turn in."

This was not at all to the taste of the losers, who argued and
entreated, with, however, complete lack of success, when suddenly one
of them said: "Bill, where's that bit of paper we got up country,
perhaps he'll play us for that." A well-thumbed document was then
produced which appeared to be the title to some plots of land up
country. The owners did not seem to attach any great importance to it,
for after some discussion it was eventually agreed that the document,
which the host considered a very flimsy security, should be estimated
as worth something like ten pounds; the game was resumed, and luck
continuing in the same direction, the Englishman went to bed with the
slip of paper in his pocket-book. The next morning the men proceeded on
their way, having, at the request of their host, given an address so
that, should any question arise as to the title of the land, they might
be referred to.

About a week after this the Englishman, who had forgotten all about
the slip of paper, which he had sent, with some other securities, to
the bank, was once more standing in front of his hut, when a mounted
stranger appeared, and saying that he had come a long way, begged
for a night's entertainment and lodging. The new arrival, though
roughly-dressed, was a man who, it was easy to see, enjoyed the command
of a certain amount of money. He was, he declared, anxious to purchase
plots of land for which he professed himself ready to give a liberal
price. Particularly persistent in inquiring of his host if he knew of
any claims likely to be sold, he eventually elicited from him the story
of the bit of paper, over which he seemed to be very much amused. "I
expect," said he, "that it's worth nothing at all, but I've taken a
fancy to you and I daresay you won't be sorry to take a tenner for it."
The Englishman, however, said he would rather do nothing till he had
had another look at the paper in the bank. "Besides," he added, "I've a
fancy to keep it."

"Well," replied the stranger, "that's queer. I'm a man of fancies too,
and though you may think me a flat, I'll give you another chance--£20
for the paper!"

This offer and yet others of £30, £40, and at last of £50, having met
with no better success than the first, the stranger eventually dropped
the subject, and the next morning rode off, apparently very much amused
at what he called the pigheadedness of his host.

About ten days passed and once more the same horseman appeared, this
time in a more serious mood. A veritable craving for the little bit of
paper, he said, had seized him, and as the thing was positively getting
on his mind he had ridden out to say that, to end the matter and do
his young friend a good turn, he was ready to give £200 (which he had
brought in cash) for it.

The Englishman now began to think that the document was really
valuable, and bluntly told his visitor that no offer whatever would be

His estimate was correct. The bit of paper, won in the Australian hut
from two wandering miners, eventually gave its possessor a fortune of
something not very far short of a million pounds, for, owing to the
title which it conveyed, he became the largest shareholder in one of
the richest mines in all Australia. The lucky winner is alive to-day,
and makes no secret of the origin of his wealth, which came to him as
if by the stroke of some magic wand. It is only fair to say that in due
course he provided handsomely for the two miners who had played with
him what was almost certainly the highest game of écarté on record.

The would-be purchaser, it afterwards appeared, was a speculator in
mines, who, having by some means or other learnt the value of the piece
of paper, had traced it with the intention of thus acquiring a highly
valuable property.

The modern English view of gambling is a sadly confused one, the
card-table and the race-course being bitterly denounced, whilst
speculation in stocks and shares is considered an entirely legitimate
method of attempting to make money. As a matter of fact, in a great
number of instances, this amounts to no more or less than backing a
stock to either rise or fall in value. Outside brokers exist, it is
even said, who do not always actually buy or sell any shares at all,
but simply, as it were, allow their clients to bet with them on a
selected stock rising or falling in price. These are to all purpose
and effect mere bookmakers, though, for some unknown reason, their
calling is not regarded with the same odium which British austerity is
generally ready to affix to members of the Ring.

For those who are not versed in the intricacies of City matters
speculation almost invariably results in loss, the odds being about 99
to 1 against the ordinary individual proving successful.

Speculation on the Stock Exchange, gambling generally, and betting on
the Turf are exactly similar from the point of view of the moralist;
there is no difference between all three.

During the recent debates upon the Budget a member stated in the
House of Commons that ninety per cent of the business of the London
Stock Exchange was of a gambling description, and represented only
purchases made with a view to a rise in prices. He wished to see such
transactions taxed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied that were this done it might
stop such transactions altogether.

Another member--Mr. Markham--supported such a tax, adding that he did
not wish to appear in a false light, and would admit that he gambled
himself, and, like most fools, always lost money--a remark which
excited considerable merriment.

Unimpeachable information about stocks and shares has ruined many a
man--nothing indeed is more fatal, as a rule, than so-called good tips
about the rise and fall of stocks, which, when originating from an
inspired quarter, are so much sought after by speculators.

There have, of course, been instances where tips have made people a

A few years ago an author, who, though fairly successful, had made
no particular stir in the literary world, and whose books did not
seem likely to have had a very enormous sale, suddenly purchased a
nice estate in which was included a luxurious country house, where he
began to entertain. An old friend of his on a visit frankly expressed
himself surprised at this sudden accession of prosperity, and alone one
wet day with his host in the smoking-room bluntly asked:

"However did you make so much money, surely not by your books?"

"No," was the reply, "by speculating in the City."

"An experience as rare as it was pleasant--I suppose you were given
some good tips."

"Yes, not taking them was the secret of my success!"

The host then proceeded to explain that, chancing to know a number
of men in the City who were in the best possible position to have
sound information as to the rise and fall of stocks and shares, the
thought one day struck him that he might profit by such opportunities.
Accordingly he let it be known that he had a certain amount of money
which it was his intention to try and increase by careful speculation.

Tips poured in upon him--he was entreated to become a bear of this and
a bull of that--people appeared anxious to put him into all sorts of
ventures, and he became the recipient of much "exclusive" information.

His idea of speculation, however, was original. Told to buy a certain
stock he invariably sold it; warned of a coming fall, he speculated
for a rise; in fact it became his practice to act in a manner exactly
contrary to that indicated by his many advisers, whom, meanwhile, he
kept in ignorance of what he was doing.

By this curious and original method in a comparatively short time
he accumulated a comfortable fortune, and then decided to abandon
speculation and spend the rest of his days in prosperous ease.

As this shrewd and fortunate speculator explained to his friend, human
nature must be reckoned with in all things, and in a vast number of
cases those who give tips are interested in the particular stocks which
they not unnaturally seek to bolster up--a really good thing does not
need much puffing.

On the other hand, regular schemes to depress certain stocks are often
engineered in a most clever manner, adverse rumours being spread
as to a probable fall in order to facilitate large purchases at a
small figure; these having been made, the stock rises with startling
rapidity. The best maxim for speculators, not well versed in City
matters, is to take plenty of advice, and in the vast majority of cases
to operate in an exactly contrary way.


[Footnote 6: An excellent account of this adventurer is given by that
gifted writer Mr. Theodore Andrea Cook, in _Eclipse and O'Kelly_,
published two years ago.]


 Colonel Mellish--His early life and accomplishments--His
 equipage--A great gambler--£40,000 at a throw!--Posting--Mellish's
 racing career--His duel--In the Peninsula--Rural retirement
 and death--Colonel John Mordaunt--His youthful freaks--An
 ardent card-player--Becomes aide-de-camp to the Nawab of
 Oude--Anecdotes--Death from a duel--Zoffany in India and his picture
 of Mordaunt's cock-fight--Anecdotes of cock-fighting.

Amongst the sporting characters of the past who flung their fortunes to
the winds at the gaming-table or on the race-course there were not a
few who were possessed of considerable intelligence and charm. Such a
one was the handsome, gallant, and accomplished Colonel Mellish, beyond
all doubt the Admirable Crichton of his day.

The son of Mr. Charles Mellish, of Blyth Hall, near Doncaster, a
gentleman devoted to antiquarian research and obviously of very
different disposition from his son, Henry Mellish was born in 1780, and
coming into his kingdom after a long minority, plunged at once with
infinite zest into every form of patrician dissipation. It has been
said that he was at Eton, but his name does not appear in the school
lists. At any rate, whatever his school, he seems to have distinguished
himself at it by a variety of escapades, which culminated in his
running away and flatly refusing to return. In his seventeenth year
he joined the 11th Light Dragoons, from which he exchanged into the
10th Hussars, the smartest light cavalry regiment of the day, with the
Prince of Wales for its colonel. There is a tradition that Mellish was
granted perpetual leave lest his extravagance should corrupt the young
officers; but his subsequent career proves that he must at least have
seen enough of soldiering to have learned his duty. After he had left
the 10th Hussars, his name appears in the army list as an officer of
the 87th Royal Irish Regiment, and also as a major of the Sicilian
Legion, in which many Englishmen held honorary commissions. At the same
time, his name figures in the list of Lieutenant-Colonels. Mellish was
no mere fashionable spendthrift. He was a man of many accomplishments.
Nature, indeed, seemed to have qualified him for taking the lead, and
to have given him a temperament so ardent, as made it almost impossible
for him ever "to come in second."

He understood music, and could draw, and paint in oil colours. As a
companion he was always in high spirits, and talked with animation on
every subject; whilst his conversation, if not abounding in wit, was
ever full of interesting information founded on fact and experience. He
had a manner of telling and acting a story that was perfectly dramatic.
He was at home with all classes, and could talk with the gentleman and
associate with the farmer.

In Mellish culminated all the best of these various qualities which
were considered the appanage of a patrician sportsman of his day. A
most expert whip, no man drove four-in-hand with more skill and with
less labour than he did; and to display that skill he often selected
very difficult horses to drive, satisfied if they were goers. As a
rider he was equally eminent: for years after his death his memory
lingered in many a hunt, where he had led all the light weights of
Leicestershire, Rutlandshire, and Yorkshire, when he was himself riding
fourteen stone. His was the art of making a horse do more than other
riders, and he accustomed them, like himself, "to go at everything."

The following stanza, one of those in a famous hunting song composed
when Lord Darlington, afterwards Duke of Cleveland, hunted the
Badsworth country, commemorates the young sportsman, who was well-known
as a daring rider with these hounds:--

  Behold Harry Mellish, as wild as the wind,
  On Lancaster mounted, leave numbers behind;
  But lately returned from democrat France,
  Where, forgetting to bet, he's been learning to dance.

A melancholy occurrence once gave him an opportunity of displaying, not
only his filial affection, but also his determination as a horseman.
Having heard the alarming intelligence of his mother's illness, he
mounted one of his barouche-horses to proceed to London, and actually
rode from Brighton to East Grinstead, a distance of twenty miles, in an
hour and twenty minutes; the strain of this feat was so severe that on
arrival at his destination the gallant horse which had carried him fell

As a runner he was by no means to be despised. He beat Lord Frederick
Bentinck (renowned for fleetness of foot) in a running match on
Newmarket Heath. For everything connected with sport Colonel Mellish
possessed a natural aptitude, as was universally recognised.

In appearance he was a big man, who even as a youth weighed some twelve
stone. Nearly six feet high and admirably proportioned, the pallor
of his complexion was rendered more noticeable by his black hair and
brilliant eyes. In dress he had a great fondness for light hues and
usually wore a white "boat hat,"[7] white trousers, and silk stockings
of the same colour. When he arrived on the course at Newmarket his
barouche, which he drove himself, was drawn by four beautiful white
horses, whilst two out-riders in crimson liveries, also mounted on
white steeds, preceded this brilliant turn-out. Behind rode another
groom leading a thoroughbred hack, whilst yet another waited at the
rubbing post with a spare horse in case of accidents.

At that time he had thirty-eight race-horses in training, seventeen
coach-horses, twelve hunters, four chargers, and a number of ordinary
hacks. The expenses of his establishment were enormous. Besides these
he lost very large sums at the gaming-table, where he once staked
£40,000 at a single throw and lost it. At his own home he gambled away
vast sums, and a table was formerly preserved at Blyth on which its
former owner had once lost £40,000 to the Prince Regent. At one sitting
at a London Club--it is said at Brooks's, though Mellish's name does
not appear in the list of former members--he rose the loser of £97,000,
and was leaving the Club-house, when he met the Duke of Sussex, who,
hearing what had happened, persuaded him to return and try his luck
once more. This he did, and in two or three hours won £100,000 off the
Duke, who paid as much of this sum as he could, promising to settle
the rest by a life annuity of £4000. It would, however, seem somewhat
doubtful whether the entire debt was ever liquidated.

As a matter of fact such large sums were often lost at hazard that it
was no infrequent thing for losers to compromise their debt by paying
an annuity to fortunate opponents. The impression that in old days all
gambling liabilities were scrupulously discharged on the spot is not
based upon any very solid foundation, and winners sometimes had the
greatest difficulty in getting their money. Under such circumstances
defaulters were occasionally posted.

The expression "posting a man" for not having paid a debt of honour is
now more or less figurative, but, as recently as the beginning of the
nineteenth century, defaulters were publicly posted.

In September 1824, for instance, all Brighton was surprised to find the
following placard posted up at Lucombe's Library and other places of
the same sort:--

  BRIGHTON, _September 8, 1824_.

 Twice have I applied to the Earl of S. for the settlement of a bet,
 and twice, having given him the offer of a reference, I was under
 the necessity of requesting the satisfaction of a gentleman, which
 he refused. As such, I post the Earl of S. as a man who constantly
 refuses to pay his debts of honour, and a coward.


The above placard is said to have been induced by the refusal of a
certain Peer to answer a demand of £2000, for which no satisfactory
claim could be produced.

To guard against the possibility of a duel, warrants were issued
against the nobleman and Mr. W.T. by the local magistrates. The Earl
was easily found, and bound in a recognisance of the peace. Mr. W.T.,
however, could not be discovered, it being declared that he feared
criminal proceedings being taken.

Most of the gamblers of a century ago were men of careless disposition,
and Colonel Mellish in particular lived in such a whirl of excitement
and gambled in such tremendous sums that a few thousands more or less
were at this time very little to him. His life was devoted to frolics
of every kind. On one occasion after a ball at Doncaster, Mellish and
the Duke of Clarence sallied out for a lark and assisted in the arrest
of a man who had been fighting in the street. When the party reached
the prison, Mellish locked the Royal Duke in a cell and went off with
the key, which he delivered to his brother the Prince of Wales. The
Duke on his liberation took the joke very good-humouredly.

It may be added that, like most born gamblers, Colonel Mellish lost
his money with the greatest coolness, ever accepting ill-luck with
imperturbable equanimity. The hazardous joys of racing were to him an
irresistible lure, and no more ardent supporter of the Turf than he
ever lived. His career as an owner of racers only extended over about
seven years, from 1801 to 1808, when financial difficulties obliged him
to abandon the sport to which he was devoted. The greatest financial
reverse he suffered was when Mr. Clifton's Fyldener won the St. Leger
in 1806. Over a million guineas are said to have changed hands over
this race, and Colonel Mellish lost an enormous sum. Nevertheless, as
a judge of racing there was no man held to be his equal. If indeed
judgment in such matters could preserve any one from ruin, then Mellish
should have kept his fortune. Endowed with mental qualities far above
those possessed by most sporting men, the owner of Blyth soon attained
a remarkable knowledge of the intricacies of the Turf, and the best
judges used to declare that they never knew a man who was better able
to gauge the powers, the qualities, and capabilities of the racer, as
well as the exact weights he could carry, and the precise distances he
could run. Unfortunately there was one side of the Turf life of his day
which he could not master, that was the rascality of those who took
care not to leave to accident the chances which made ultimate success

Colonel Mellish was not only a most excellent judge of a race-horse,
but well acquainted with all the intricacies of managing a
racing-stable. He was universally admitted to be possessed of an
extraordinary capacity for making matches, and as a handicapper was
declared to be supreme. A careful investigation, however, of the old
Racing Calendars from 1805 to 1807 hardly confirms such an estimate of
the Colonel's abilities in this direction. In those three years he won
38 and received forfeit for 15 matches, losing 57 and paying forfeit
for 31; that is, he won £11,505 and lost £18,600 in stakes. In addition
to this he must, of course, have lost very large sums in bets.

The most famous of all his matches was that between his Sancho and Lord
Darlington's Pavilion. There were really three matches. In the New
Claret Stakes at the Newmarket first Spring Meeting, 1805, Pavilion
beat Sancho and some other horses (6 to 4 Sancho, 7 to 1 Pavilion).
Mellish then challenged Lord Darlington, and a match was run in the
summer at Lewes--four miles for three thousand guineas, Buckle riding
Sancho and Chifney Pavilion. Sancho (the non-favourite, 2 to 1) won
easily. Another match was run over the same distance on the same course
for two thousand guineas, 6 to 4 on Sancho, who broke down badly.
Mellish on this occasion lost altogether five thousand guineas, though
at one moment before the race he had been offered twelve hundred to
have it off. A third match for two thousand guineas over a mile at
Brighton was made in the same year, but Sancho had to pay forfeit.
Colonel Mellish's colours were white with crimson sleeves. His trainer
was Bartle Atkinson, who from the time of entering his service in 1802,
till 1807, turned out what was probably a greater number of winners
than any other private trainer for one owner has ever done in the same
period of time. In 1804 and 1805 he won the St. Leger with Sancho and
Staveley, and trained many winners besides. In spite of all these
successes, racing proved most disastrous to the Colonel's fortune, and
like the vast majority of racing-men of this stamp, he left the Turf a
ruined man. In his palmy days it is said that he never opened his mouth
to make a bet under £500.

He wanted to be everything at once, and as the saying went, he was "at
all in the ring"; till by deep play, by racing and expenses of every
kind, and in every place, he found it necessary to part with his
estate in order to satisfy the demands which obsessed him on all sides.

Though the most popular of men, Colonel Mellish once had a serious
altercation with the Honourable Martin Hawke, and the result was a
duel, when the following conversation is said to have occurred--it
shows the light-hearted spirit of the combatants.

_Mellish._ "Take care of yourself, Hawke, for by --- I shall hit you."

_Hawke._ "I will, my lad, and let me recommend you to take care of your
own canister!"

The seconds, on hearing this, agreed that they should not take aim,
but fire by signal, which was done. The Colonel missed, but Hawke's
shot took effect, by passing round the rim of his opponent's stomach,
and eventually penetrating his left arm; on which Mellish exclaimed,
"Hawke, you have winged me! Lend me your neckcloth to tie up the broken
pinion!" This was immediately complied with, and the arm being bound
up, they both returned in the same chaise, as good friends as ever!

This duel was fought in 1807 in a field by the roadside, and originated
in a quarrel about the Yorkshire election, from which both duellists
were returning in their drags.

Mellish would appear to have run a great risk of being killed, for
the Honourable Martin Hawke was a singularly gifted man and could do
incredible things with a pistol. Indeed his skill in that direction was
probably never equalled. His nerve and courage were of the highest

Mr. Hawke once fought a duel near Brussels with a certain Baron
Smieten. Whilst the seconds were measuring out the distance, he amused
himself by drawing a mail-coach with his stick on the bank of a sandy
ditch. One of the seconds, a guardsman, came up just as the finishing
touches were being put to the coachman's whip, and said "All's ready,"
to which Hawke replied, "Just let me put the lash to this fellow's
whip." Having touched off this, he instantly proceeded to touch up his
antagonist, mentioning that as he had put him to so much trouble (they
fought over the frontiers) he must give him a touch, but would content
himself with spoiling his waltzing for a little; naming where and how
he would operate--and this he did to a hairbreadth.

At one time the patron of all the superior pugilists, Colonel Mellish
first brought many of them into notice. He arranged the first battle
ever fought by the famous Tom Cribb, who was matched by the Colonel
against Nicholl, who beat him. Unfortunately for his gallant backer,
Cribb on this occasion entered the ring very drunk, and, of course,
fell an easy prey to an antagonist whom in future days the champion
of England would have beaten in ten minutes. Colonel Mellish likewise
made the match betwixt Gully and the Game Chicken; the former of whom
he caused to "give in," much against his inclination. The Colonel's
humanity on this occasion cost him a large sum, as he had backed Gully
heavily. Nevertheless, he insisted upon his yielding, the man being
reduced to such a state of weakness that his supporter was afraid of an
accidental blow proving fatal.

At the time of the Peninsular campaign a regular crisis occurred
in Mellish's affairs, and Sir Rowland Ferguson appointed him his
aide-de-camp, and he went out to Spain. Previous to the battle of
Vimeiro, as the general officers were dining together, one of them
observed to Sir Rowland Ferguson that if the thing were not impossible,
he should have declared that an officer he had seen was a gentleman
whom he had left a week or two ago in the cockpit at York, with cocks
engaged in the main there--his name he had understood was Mr. Mellish.
"The very same man," returned Sir Rowland, "he is now my aide-de-camp,
and I think you will say, when you have the opportunity of knowing more
of him, a better officer will not be found," and this proved to be
the case. On many different occasions, indeed, the Duke of Wellington
declared that a better aide-de-camp than Mellish he had never observed.
The undaunted manner with which he encountered danger, the quickness
with which he rode, and the precision with which he delivered his
orders, never making any mistake in any moment of hurry or confusion,
were circumstances which excited much favourable comment from friend
and foe alike.

After the battle of Busaco, Colonel Mellish was sent with a flag
of truce to the French head-quarters, on a message respecting some
prisoners. On his arrival at Leiria, Massena invited him to dinner, and
treated him with great attention and respect.

After remaining some time with the army abroad, Colonel Mellish
returned home, and after that period engaged no more in military
duties. According to rumour his return was owing to the resumption of
his former habits of play, which the Duke of Wellington had forbidden;
but this is not certain.

The Prince Regent, who was so often accused of forgetting those who
had served him, certainly did not justify this reproach in the case of
Colonel Mellish; for on his having obtained a small appointment abroad
in one of the conquered islands, the Prince made him his equerry, in
order to enable him to enjoy the emoluments of it whilst remaining at

In addition to this the uncles of the Colonel, who had undertaken the
management of his property when he was abroad, enabled him, by their
arrangements, to take up his abode at Hodsock Priory, where he had
occasionally lived before, and where at a comparatively early age he
ended his days. On his way to this farm he had to pass the magnificent
mansion and domain of Blyth, the seat of his ancestors and formerly his
own, which the vicissitudes of a Turf career had obliged him to sell.

Colonel Mellish, however, accepted his lot with considerable
equanimity, and lived at his somewhat modest abode without any
mortifying regrets. Having married one of the daughters of the
Marchioness of Lansdowne,[8] who brought him a very handsome fortune,
his circumstances again became easy, and he was enabled to indulge in
those rural pursuits which appear early and late to have been congenial
to his disposition. He took to coursing and established a fine stud
of greyhounds. He also bred cattle with great success, winning many
prizes at northern cattle shows, and obtaining high prices for his
stock, and more fortunate than most men of his disposition and tastes,
ended his life in comfort and peace. His death, however, occurred
at a comparatively early age, for he fell a victim to dropsy in his
thirty-seventh year.

Another gallant sporting man, though of quite another description, was
the Anglo-Indian Colonel John Mordaunt, a natural son of the Earl of

John Mordaunt, as a boy, was too wild to learn much at school, his
whole time being devoted to playing the truant; as he often said,
"one half of his days were spent in being flogged for the other
half." Devoted to cards from youth, he received many a castigation
in consequence. "You may shuffle, Mordaunt, but I can cut," was the
remark made to him by his schoolmaster on more than one occasion.

In consequence of this unsatisfactory behaviour, when the boy left
school he was about as learned as when he first was sent there. His
guardians were very much annoyed at this and blamed his master, upon
which young Mordaunt very handsomely stepped forward to exculpate the
latter, whose attention he declared to have been unparalleled. Slipping
off his clothes, he exhibited the earnestness of the good man's
endeavours; humorously observing, that as nothing could be got into his
brains, his master had done his best to impress his instructions on the
opposite seat of learning.

When the moment came for the youth to pass muster before the India
directors he could not be found, and it was nearly too late when he was
at last discovered playing marbles in Dean's Yard. No time, however,
was wasted in driving him up to Leadenhall Street, where, more bent on
frivolity than on answering the grave questions put by his examiners,
he was near being rejected as an idiot, when one of the quorum, who
understood such a disposition well and who probably wished to see John
appointed, asked him if he understood cribbage. In an instant young
Mordaunt's attention was thoroughly roused, his eyes glistened, and
regardless of every matter relative to his appointment, he pulled out a
pack of cards, so greasy as scarcely to be distinguished, and offered
"to play the gentleman _for any sum he chose_!"

The youth now felt himself at home, and speedily convinced his
examiners that, however ignorant he might be of the classics, he was
a match for any of them at cards! He was passed, and despatched to
Portsmouth to embark on an Indiaman ready to sail with the first fair
wind; but as there seemed no likelihood of this for some days, the
person who had charge of him put him on board and returned to town.
Needless to say, Mordaunt at once got away to shore, where he played a
number of pranks before the ship eventually set sail.

On arriving at Madras young Mordaunt was received with open arms by
all his countrymen; but General Sir John Clavering, who was then
Commander-in-Chief in India, and who was, accordingly, second on the
council at Calcutta, having promised to provide for him, Mordaunt went
on to Bengal, where he was appointed an honorary aide-de-camp to that
officer, still retaining his rank on the Madras establishment. In
consequence of this he was afterwards subjected to much ill-will.

The young soldier unfortunately was quite uneducated, not being able
even to write an ordinary letter without making many mistakes. Study
was little to his taste, and he made scarcely any effort to remedy
this disadvantage or improve himself. Nevertheless, he excelled in
most things which he undertook entirely by natural intuition. His
ignorance of writing was the more remarkable as he spoke English with
an excellent diction and even refinement of phrase, though he could not
write two lines of it correctly. He spoke the Hindoo language fluently,
and was a tolerable Persian scholar. Mordaunt's weakness as a writer
was once strikingly demonstrated on an occasion where a friend, having
borrowed a horse from him for a day or two, wrote to ask if he might
keep it a little longer. The Colonel's reply was, "You may kip the hos
as long as you lick."

Subjected to a good deal of chaff on account of this failing, which he
himself realised, Mordaunt was generally very good-tempered, though
quick with an answer when any one he did not care for attempted to
make him a butt. On one occasion a very worthy young gentleman of the
name of James P----, who was rather of the more silly order of beings,
thinking he could take the liberty of playing with, or rather upon him,
called out to Mordaunt, before a large party, desiring him to say what
was the Latin for a goose. The answer was brief. "I don't know the
_Latin_ for it, but the _English_ is _James P----_."

It should be mentioned that the above question was put to Mordaunt in
consequence of his having, in a note sent to a person who had offended
him, required "an immediate _anser_ by the bearer." The gentleman
addressed, wishing to terminate the matter amicably, construed the word
literally, and sent a _goose_ by the bearer; stating also that he would
partake of it the next day. This, to a man of Mordaunt's disposition,
was the high road to reconciliation; though to nine persons in ten,
and especially to those labouring under such a desperate deficiency in
point of orthography, it would have appeared highly insulting!

In addition to his almost complete ignorance of calligraphy, Colonel
Mordaunt knew absolutely nothing of the ordinary rules of arithmetic.
He kept no books, but all his accounts were done on scraps of paper in
such an eccentric manner that the figures were only intelligible to
himself. It was necessary for him at times to register large financial
transactions, and he had immense losses and gains to register in the
I.O.U. way. Yet even the most intricate cases never puzzled him; and,
at settling times, he was rarely, if ever, found to be in error. This
was one of the points in which he was apt to be peremptory; for no
sooner did he hear a claim stated, which did not tally with his own
peculiar mode of calculation, than he condemned it, in round terms,
and would scarcely hear the attempt to substantiate that which he so
decidedly denied.

He was a man of most masterful disposition, very impatient of
contradiction, especially from his brother Harry, who was in India at
the same time. The latter possessed little social charm or originality,
but John always treated him with particular consideration. When,
however, Harry tried to oppose or argue with him, the Colonel would
soon check him with, "Hold your tongue, Harry, you are a puny little
fool, and fit for nothing but to be a lord."

Excelling at most things which he attempted, Mordaunt was so much
master of his racket, and was so vigorous, that he would always wager
on hitting the line from the over-all, a distance of thirty yards, once
in three times. As a matter of fact he could beat most people with a
common round ruler.

Card-playing, however, was the Colonel's particular passion. He was an
expert at most games, being besides acquainted with all the ordinary
tricks in the shuffling, cutting, and dealing way. The following is an
instance of his skill. On a certain occasion Mordaunt observed that one
of his adversaries at whist was remarkably fortunate in his own deals;
and, as he was rather a doubtful character, thought it needful to watch
him. When Mordaunt came to deal, he gave himself thirteen trumps! This
excited the curiosity of all, but particularly of the gentleman in
question, who was very pointed in his observations on the singularity
of the case. Mordaunt briefly said, "Sir, this was to show you that you
should not have all the fun to yourself," and rising from his seat,
left the blackleg to ruminate on the obvious necessity of quitting
India! Here, however, Mordaunt's goodness of heart showed itself, for
he obtained a promise from the whole party to keep the secret, provided
the offender instantly left the country; which he did by the first

It was well known that the Colonel could arrange the cards according to
his pleasure, yet such was the universal opinion of his honour, that
no one hesitated to play with him, sober or otherwise, for their usual
stakes. His decision, in cases of differences, was generally accepted
as final, and many references were made to him, by letter, from very
distant places, regarding doubtful points connected with gaming.

It may readily be supposed that Mordaunt was more ornamental than
useful in General Clavering's office; however, the latter could not
help esteeming him, and had he lived, would probably have effected
Mordaunt's removal from the Madras to the Bengal army. The Madras
officers never failed to comment, sometimes, indeed, in rather harsh
terms, upon the injustice of having on their rolls an officer who never
joined his regiment for nearly twenty years, and whose whole time was
passed in the lap of dissipation.

Being on a party of pleasure to the northward, and near to Lucknow,
the capital of Oude, and the residence of the Nawab of Oude, Asoph ud
Doulah, the young soldier was naturally curious to see this potentate
and his Court. The free, open temper of Asoph pleased Mordaunt, whose
figure and manner made a great impression on his illustrious host, who
was devoted to most forms of gambling and sport.

The Nawab in question was an original character. Being desirous of
becoming a highly efficient swordsman, he determined to get the best
practice possible and exercise his arm to some purpose. For some time
he used daily to order from his stables five horses and a couple of
bullocks, which he would cut down; the same fate befell five tigers,
the same number of bears, and two or three nylgaus.

In a short time Mordaunt became such a favourite, that he was retained
by the Nawab at his Court, in the capacity of aide-de-camp, though he
never attended at the Palace except when in the mood to do so, or for
the purpose of shooting or gambling with its ruler. During this period
the various sarcastic attacks directed against Mordaunt, as an absentee
from his corps for so many years--amusing himself a good two thousand
miles away--were disregarded both by himself and by the supreme
Government, of which all the members were personally attached to the

Mordaunt was now in the receipt of a handsome salary, and possessed
many distinguished privileges under the patronage of the Nawab, who
often used to refer Europeans to him on occasions requiring his advice;
this he not infrequently did when he needed an excuse for not complying
with some demand.

Mordaunt's influence, it should be added, was generally used in a very
kindly manner. Old Zoffany, who had come out to India and resided at
Lucknow as Court Painter to the Nawab, once, in a humorous moment,
painted a full-length picture of that potentate in high caricature.
Zoffany lived at Colonel Martine's, whose house was frequented by
immense numbers of natives, a number of whom, when the Nawab wanted
money, took his jewels to the Colonel's to be pledged. The picture,
of course, was seen by some of these men, and it was not long before
the Nawab was informed of the joke. The latter, in the first moments
of irritation, was disposed to shorten the painter by a head, and to
dismiss the Colonel, who was his chief engineer, and had the charge
of his arsenal. He was, however, unwilling to do anything without his
"dear friend Mordaunt" to whom a message was despatched, requiring
his immediate attendance, on "matters of the utmost importance."
This being a very usual mode of summoning his favourite, who would
attend, or rather visit, only when it pleased himself. As a matter of
fact the message would probably have been disregarded, had not the
bearer stated that the Nawab was incensed against Martine and Zoffany.
Accordingly the Colonel betook himself to the Palace, where he found
the Nawab foaming with rage, and about to proceed with a host of
rabble attendants to the Colonel's. Mordaunt, however, having got the
story out of the Nawab as well as he could, argued him into a state of
calmness, sufficient to let his sinister purpose be suspended until the
next day, and retired as soon as he could prudently do so; he then,
as privately as possible, sent a note to Zoffany warning him of the
intended visit.

The bold painter lost no time, and the laughable caricature was in a
few hours changed by his gifted hand into a superb portrait of a most
decorative kind, bearing far more resemblance to the Nawab than any
hitherto painted at regular sittings. Next day the potentate arrived,
his mind full of anxiety for the honour of his dignified person. He
was attended by Mordaunt, whose feelings for his friend's fate were
speedily dissipated, when, on entering the portrait-chamber, the
picture in question shone forth so superbly as to astonish and delight
the Nawab, who, beaming with pleasure, hurried the picture home, gave
Zoffany ten thousand rupees for it, and ordered the person who had
informed him of the supposed caricature to have his nose and ears cut
off. Mordaunt, however, again interposed, and was equally successful in
obtaining the poor fellow's pardon; and as the Nawab declined to keep
him as a servant, very generously made him one of his own pensioners.

At another time, the barber who cut the Nawab's hair happened by a slip
to draw blood. This was considered an offence of the highest atrocity,
because at that time crowned heads throughout India became degraded
if one drop of their blood were spilt by a barber. A drawn sword was
always held above a barber performing his duty, to remind him of his
fate in case of the slightest incision.

In consequence of this prejudice the barber had been condemned to be
baked to death in an oven, when Mordaunt applied for his pardon. He
could only obtain it conditionally, and certainly the condition was
both ludicrous and whimsical. Balloons were just invented when this
happened, and Colonel Martine being very ingenious, had made one which
had taken up a considerable weight for short distances.

The Nawab changed suddenly from great wrath to a wild hilarity, which
continued so long as to alarm Mordaunt; who at last was relieved to
hear that instead of being baked, the barber was to mount in the
balloon, and to brush through the air according as chance might direct

In due course the balloon was sent up in front of the palace, and the
barber carried through the air more dead than alive at a prodigious
rate. The poor man, however, sustained no injury, the balloon finally
descending to earth some five miles from the city of Lucknow.

Mordaunt never allowed the Nawab to treat him with the least disrespect
or with hauteur; indeed, such was the estimation in which he was held
by that prince, that, in all probability, the latter never showed any
sign of wishing to exert his authority. Mordaunt's independence is
shown by the following anecdote. The Nawab wanted some alterations
to be made in the howdah of his state elephant, and asked Mordaunt's
opinion as to the best mode of securing it; the latter very laconically
told the Nawab he understood nothing of the matter, he having been born
and bred a gentleman, but that probably his blacksmith (pointing to
Colonel Martine) could inform him how the howdah ought to be fastened.

This sneer, no doubt, gratified Mordaunt, who, though extremely
intimate with Martine, and in the habit of addressing him by various
ludicrous but sarcastic nicknames, seemed not to relish that fondness
for money, and other doubtful practices, of which he was said to be

Lord Cornwallis was either unwilling to compel Mordaunt to return to
the Madras establishment, or was prevailed on by the Nawab to let him
remain on his staff. The Marquis, one day, seeing Mordaunt at his
levee, asked him if he did not long to join his regiment. "No, my
Lord," answered Mordaunt, "not in the least." "But," continued he,
"your services may perhaps be wanted." "Indeed, my Lord," rejoined
Mordaunt, "I cannot do you half the service there, that I can in
keeping the Nawab amused, while you ease him of his money."

As a bon-vivant, as a master of the revels, or at the head of his own
table, few could give greater variety or more complete satisfaction
than Mordaunt. He had the best of wines, and spared no expense, though
he would take very little personal trouble in providing whatever was
choice or rare. He stood on little ceremony, especially at his own
house, and, at his friends', never allowed anything to incommode him
from a bashful reserve. Whatever was in his opinion wrong, he did not
hesitate to condemn.

These observations were very quick, and generally not devoid of humour.
His old friend, Captain Waugh, dining with him one day, made such a
hole in a fine goose as to excite the attention of Mordaunt, who,
turning to his head servant, ordered aloud that whenever Captain Waugh
dined at his house, there should always be two geese on the table, one
for the Captain, the other for the company.

Colonel Mordaunt was an excellent pistol shot, who could hit the
head of a small nail at fifteen yards. Nevertheless when he and a
friend engaged in a quarrel of a very serious nature with a third,
whom they had accused of some improper conduct at cards, he missed
his adversary, who, on the other hand, wounded both Mordaunt and his
friend desperately. This was not owing to agitation, but, as Mordaunt
expressed in very curious terms at the moment of missing, to the pistol
being too highly charged.

The Colonel never entirely recovered from the effects of the pistol
shot which he had received in his breast, and though possessed of a
vigorous constitution, seemed to descend, as it were, down a precipice
into his grave. A very Rochester of his day, inordinately fond of
women, he seemed, when at length stricken down, to regret his condition
chiefly as depriving him of their society. For some time before this,
actuated by that mistaken pride which so often urges men who have
done wonders not to allow their decrease of vigour to be noticed or
suspected, he had attempted to continue his usual mode of life, and
neglecting the warnings given him by one or two serious attacks on his
liver, had thus hastened his approach to a most untimely end.

He died in the fortieth year of his age, beloved and regretted by a
number of friends to whom his many genuine qualities were known.

An especial reason for the influence enjoyed by Mordaunt over the Nawab
was the latter's intimate knowledge of everything connected with the
branch of barbarity known as cock-fighting. So devoted was the Prince
in question to this form of sport that he often neglected to attend to
important business with the residents at his Court in order to indulge
in a "main" with him whom he called his "dear friend Mordaunt."

The well-known print representing Colonel Mordaunt's cock-fight depicts
a famous battle fought at Lucknow in 1786. Amongst the figures are
the Nawab, Colonel Mordaunt, and Colonel Martine, who founded the
Martine colleges at Lucknow, Calcutta, and Lyons, and Zoffany himself.
The picture, which was painted for Warren Hastings, was carefully
preserved in the Palace at Lucknow, but most unfortunately met with a
disastrous fate during the Mutiny, when with others of great value it
was destroyed.

A water-colour drawing of "The Cock-fight" was, however, made
under the last King of Oude in 1853, by "Masawar Khan," a Court
miniature-painter, and other copies also exist. The mezzotint of this
picture, together with the scarce engraved key published in May 1794,
are here reproduced.

Zoffany was a great favourite of Royalty. After the establishment of
his reputation in England, he passed many years of his life in India,
though in spite of the favour of the Nawab he does not seem to have
returned from Lucknow in very opulent circumstances, his industry not
having equalled either his reputation or his ability. An excessive
devotion to women, and to the Asiatic customs and luxuries, totally
precluded the execution of many works which would have brought this
painter prosperity. Many of his pictures, however, achieved great
popularity. This was especially the case with the "Water Cress Girl,"
which is engraved. The model, it may not be generally known, was a girl
of about sixteen who had achieved a certain notoriety by having been
one of a group of nymphs, who ran from the fields of Paddington, to
their lodgings in the vicinity of St. Giles's, at noonday, unencumbered
with one single habiliment or rag, from head to foot. It was in the
summer season, and they had been bathing in a pond, when some wicked
wag bundled up and made off with the whole of their clothes.

"The Cock-fight" was certainly one of the most successful works ever
executed by Zoffany; the portrait of Mordaunt in particular, according
to those who knew him, giving an excellent idea of his manly and
elegant appearance.


Engraved by R. Earlom, after Zoffany.

From a Print in the possession of Messrs. Robson & Co., 23 Coventry
Street, W.]

[Illustration: KEY TO THE COCK-FIGHT.]

The Colonel is represented as in the act of handing a cock, which he
has backed heavily, in opposition to a bird belonging to the Nawab, who
is portrayed in a loose undress on the opposite side of the pit.

Colonel Mordaunt's taste for cock-fighting had, of course, originally
been acquired in England, where this somewhat brutal sport would appear
to have been most popular towards the middle of the eighteenth century.
At that time it was no unusual circumstance to insert clauses in the
leases of farms and cottages, which ensured the right of walking a
certain number of game-cocks. As the century waned the cockpit began
rather to fall into disrepute, but about the years 1793-1794 a revival
occurred. Great patrons of cock-fighting were Lord Lonsdale (when
Sir James Lowther); the Duke of Northumberland, who fought regular
annual mains against Mr. Fenwick at Alnwick and Hexham, as did Lord
Mexborough with Sir P. Warburton and Mr. Halton at Manchester; the Duke
of Hamilton with Sir H.G. Liddell at Newcastle, and Lord Derby with Mr.
Wharton at Preston.

Amongst other lovers of cock-fighting were Colonel Lowther, Mr.
Holford, Mr. Bullock, Captain Dennisthorpe, and Mr. George Onslow,
out-ranger[9] of Windsor Forest, who was known as "Cocking George."

In 1793 the Cock Pit Royal, St. James's Park, was the scene of more
subscription matches than had occurred for some years before, an extra
battle, fought on the 13th of December between two red cocks belonging
to Colonel Lowther and Vauxhall Clarke for forty guineas, causing
particular excitement. Throughout this combat the odds were constantly
varying, till Colonel Lowther's cock was suddenly struck down dead at
a moment when odds of four and five to one were being laid upon his

One of the most horrible anecdotes connected with cock-fighting was
that of a certain Mr. Ardesoif, the son of a rich cheesemonger, who was
at one time well-known in the streets of London, it having been his
peculiar hobby to drive his phaeton through those thoroughfares which
were the most crowded with traffic. Mr. Ardesoif lived at Tottenham,
where he kept a number of game-cocks. One of these birds having refused
to fight, the cruel owner savagely had him roasted to death, whilst
entertaining his friends. The company, alarmed by the dreadful shrieks
of the poor victim, interfered, but were resisted by Ardesoif, who
threatened death to any who should oppose him; and in a storm of raging
and vindictive delirium, and uttering the most horrid imprecations, he
dropped down dead.

A cockpit was a scene not easily matched. On a race or a prize-fight,
the betting is nearly finished when the sport begins; but the same
state of affairs did not prevail at a cock-fight, where no one backed
a cock till he had had a good look at him. In consequence of this all
the betting had to be done in a short time, and the noise and apparent
confusion of layers and backers were quite bewildering. The betting
changed with considerable rapidity--in many a battle the odds would
veer round from 100 to 1 on one cock, to 40 to 1 against the same.

The issue of a cock-fight is never quite certain till a cock is
actually killed, an apparently moribund bird sometimes proving the
unexpected winner.

A very striking instance of this once occurred at Mr. Loftus's cockpit
at Newcastle, where a gentleman, on a cock being pounded, betted ten
guineas to a crown, which he lost in nearly the space of a minute, as
the pounded cock, while his antagonist was pecking in triumph, rose,
and after a stroke or two, laid him dead. As luck would have it, while
the same gentleman was going from the cockpit to the race-course in his
carriage, accompanied by some other gentlemen, one of them observed
the absurdity of buying money so dear, to which the other replied, he
would bet the same on anything, if he thought he could win; the former
gentleman said he would take it. "Done," says the gentleman, "I will
bet £10 to a crown that my carriage does not break down on 'going or
returning from the race-course.'" The bet was accepted; and after
going about 100 yards farther, down came the carriage. And thus, in
the course of the same day, he lost his two bets of £10 to 5s. In the
course of this week's fighting, there were several guineas betted to
shillings, and lost, on the various battles.

Cock-fights as a rule took place in the evening, seven having been the
usual hour appointed for the sport to commence.

In the palmy days of cock-fighting there were several celebrated pits
in London, the chief of which, of course, was the Cock Pit Royal, which
had been much frequented by Charles II. and his courtiers. Another
well-known cockpit existed at Moss Alley, Bankside, Southwark, where
great battles were contested. At the New Pit, Hoxton, in January, 1794,
a number of spirited mains were fought, the gentlemen of Islington
having challenged the gentlemen of Hackney for five guineas a battle
and fifty guineas the odd battle. Hackney easily proved victorious.

The Royal Cockpit in St. James's Park was taken down in 1810, never
again to be rebuilt. The Governors and Trustees of Christ's Hospital,
to whom the ground belonged, met on the spot, the very day the lease
expired; and, as might naturally be expected from the patrons of such
an institution, gave directions for the immediate demolition of the

A curious custom which was long ago sometimes enforced at cock-fights
prescribed that any one indulging in foul play or not paying his
bets should be put into a large basket and drawn up to the roof of
the cockpit. This was called being basketed. A man well-known to the
sporting world, being once in this predicament, and notwithstanding
that he had no money in his pocket and could not expect his bets to be
taken, had the fever of betting so strong upon him that in spite of
his situation in the basket, he could not help vociferating, as the
odds varied, "I'll lay six to four--two to one--five to two--three to
one--four to one--five to one--a guinea to a shilling--the long odds,
ten pounds to a crown," to the no small diversion of the auditors and
spectators, who, at length, commiserating his case and attributing
his imprudence to an insurmountable passion for play, shortened his
punishment; and when a gentleman present gave him a small sum he took
the long odds all the way through, went off with a hundred guineas in
his pocket, and from this source alone became a very distinguished
character on the Turf.

In Hogarth's print of the cockpit, published in 1759, a shadow of
mysterious contour is thrown upon the floor of the pit, the origin of
which may be seen to be a gambler who, having been basketed for not
paying his debts, is vainly offering his watch as a pledge so that
he may be let down and allowed to take his place among the somewhat
ill-favoured crowd which is watching the battle. The principal
figure in this print represents a nobleman (Lord Bertie) who, though
stone-blind, was a zealous patron of cock-fighting, though it is
difficult to see how, under these unfavourable circumstances, the sport
could have had any attraction for him.

The Preston race-meetings used to be a great rendezvous for
cock-fighters. Lord Derby long held a distinguished place among the
patrons of the sod, and was reckoned one of the best judges of a cock
in England. The excellent walks which his Lordship owned on his own
estates, and the number of cocks he bred, ensured him a plentiful
supply of fine young birds; consequently his birds never had a feather
wrong; this, joined to their true blood, which made them show fight to
the last, and the skill of Paul Potter, his feeder, caused Lord Derby
to be the winner of many a Preston main.

The following is a specimen of a challenge to a cock match:--


 The gentlemen of Windsor Forest having lost their annual opponent (who
 is gone to reside in Somersetshire), wish to show thirty-one in the
 main for five guineas a battle, and twenty the odds. Adding 10 byes at
 two guineas a battle for two days' play, to fight at Wokingham, Berks,
 between the present day and Whitsuntide. Any acceptance of the terms
 may be made through the medium of this communication, which shall be
 instantly acceded to and the necessary regulations made in proper form.

  C.W.T. & M.

  _February 22nd, 1794._

Though cock-fighting is now forbidden by law in England, a certain
amount of it still goes on in secret, whilst the sport flourishes
openly in the North of France and in Spain.

In former days there were regular families of cock-feeders or trainers.
The greatest authority on cock-fighting is said to have been Joe
Gilliver, who fought cocks for George III. and George IV. in the Royal
Cockpit at Windsor. He it was who fought the famous main at Lincoln
in 1815. On the occasion there were seven battles for five thousand
guineas the main and a thousand guineas a battle. Five battles were won
by Gilliver's birds.

The great-nephew of old Joe Gilliver still lives--the last of the
cock-fighters--at Cockspur, Polesworth. Over sixty years ago this
veteran[10] fought and won a main against Lord Berkeley in Battersea
fields, and within the last two decades he vindicated the honour of
the English game-cock at Lille, where some birds he took over proved
victorious--a particularly fine cock after a successful battle leaping
upon the body of its conquered opponent and emitting a series of lusty

Game-cocks are extraordinarily bold birds, and records exist of their
having even attacked men. A gentleman, for instance, passing down Park
Street was once surprised to find something fluttering about his head,
and turning round, received the spur of a game-cock in his cheek. He
beat off his antagonist, who, however, instantly returned to the
charge, and wounded him again in the shoulder. Another gentleman,
passing by at the same time, was also attacked by this feathered

A game-cock bred by Mr. Hunt of Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset, in
1814, displayed extraordinary courage when three years old. A fox
having seized a hen, her cries drew the attention of the cock, who,
discovering the fox in the act of carrying off his prey, flew at
reynard, and at one blow killed him on the spot, and saved the life of
the hen. In 1820 this cock fought a gallant battle at Epsom Races, and
won at high odds against him.

The high spirit of the game-cock was once strikingly manifested in a
naval action.

By some mistake or other a particularly fine bird was sold with a
number of other fowls to Captain Berkeley of the _Marlborough_, 74, for
his sea-stock. The purchase was made previous to the departure of the
British fleet that sailed under the gallant Lord Howe, in the month
of May 1794, about which time the cock was deposited in the coops on
board, for the purpose of being brought to table. On the glorious 1st
of June, the fate of the above ship, the intrepid bravery of whose crew
led her into the hottest scene of action, hung in the balance. The
enemy's shot had destroyed all the convenience made on her poop for
keeping the live stock, and the fowls were flying about in different
parts of the ship. Some time after the engagement had commenced, all
her masts were shot away by the board, and smoke, hurry, and alarm were
general. When the main-mast went, broken off about eight feet from the
deck, the cock immediately flew to the stump, where he began to flutter
his wings, and to crow with all the exultation so commonly observed in
a conquering bird; a circumstance so singular in its nature, that the
tars who were viewing it conceived a noble resolution from the example,
and actually maintained the same sense of triumph as did the cock,
until victory and glory crowned the gallant contest.

The spirit of the noble bird became the subject of much observation
when the ship arrived in the Hamoaze, and many curious spectators came
from different parts of the country to see the feathered hero who had
so proudly vindicated the conquering spirit of Old England.

Some time after a silver medal was struck by the orders of Admiral
Berkeley; it was hung upon the neck of the old game-cock, who in the
parks and around the princely halls of Goodwood passed the remainder of
his downy days in honoured ease.


[Footnote 7: He is described in contemporary sporting records as
wearing this, though the author has been unable to discover exactly
what a "boat hat" was. The French still make use of a similar
expression, calling a particular kind of straw hat a "_canotier_."]

[Footnote 8: This lady's first husband had been Sir Duke Giffard, and
Mrs. Mellish was one of several daughters she had by him. The writer
is indebted to Mr. Henry Mellish of Hodsock Priory for this and other
interesting details of his ancestor's career.]

[Footnote 9: The outrangership of Windsor Forest was originally
instituted for the protection of the deer between Windsor Park and the
river Wey, but in 1641 it was decided that no part of Surrey except
Guildford Park (afterwards granted away) belonged to the Forest, and
the post became a sinecure, keeping a salary of £500 a year. About the
time of the American War, however, when votes were valuable, this was
increased to £900.]

[Footnote 10: An interesting interview with William Gilliver appeared
in _Fry's Magazine_ for March 1909.]


 Prevalence of wagering in the eighteenth century--Riding a horse
 backwards--Lord Orford's eccentric bet--Travelling piquet--The
 building of Bagatelle--Matches against time--"Old Q." and his chaise
 match--Buck Whalley's journey to Jerusalem--Buck English--Irish
 sportsmen--Jumping the wall of Hyde Park in 1792--Undressing in the
 water--Colonel Thornton--A cruel wager--Walking on stilts--A wonderful
 leap--Eccentric wagers--Lloyd's walking match--Squire Osbaldiston's
 ride--Captain Barclay--Jim Selby's drive--Mr. Bulpett's remarkable

In the eighteenth century the bloods of the day bet on anything and
everything. A well-known spendthrift, for instance, made a practice
of backing one raindrop to roll down a window quicker than another--a
practice which gave rise to the following lines:--

  The bucks had dined, and deep in council sat,
  Their wine was brilliant, but their wit grew flat:
  Up starts his Lordship, to the window flies,
  And lo! "A race!--a race!" in rapture cries;
  "Where?" quoth Sir John. "Why, see the drops of rain
  Start from the summit of the crystal pane--
  A thousand pounds! which drop with nimblest force,
  Performs its current down the slippery course!"
  The bets were fix'd--in dire suspense they wait
  For vict'ry pendent on the nod of fate.
  Now down the sash, unconscious of the prize,
  The bubbles roll--like pearls from Chloe's eyes,
  But ah! the glittering charms of life are short!
  How oft two jostling steeds have spoiled the sport.
  Lo! thus attraction, by coercive laws,
  Th' approaching drops into one bubble draws--
  Each curs'd his fate, that thus their project cross'd;
  How hard their lot, who neither won nor lost!

Besides the huge sums which were lost at games (in 1793, £22,000
changed hands in a single day between two players at some
billiard-rooms in St. James's Street), a great deal of money was
frittered away in matches of an eccentric kind.

In 1722, for instance, a number of young men subscribed for a piece
of plate, which was run for in Tyburn Road by six asses, ridden by
chimney-sweepers. Two boys rode two asses on Hampstead Heath for a
wooden spoon, attended by above five hundred persons on horse-back.
Women running for Holland smocks was not uncommon; and a match was even
projected for a race between women, to be dressed in hooped petticoats.
Considerable sums of money are said to have changed hands over these
events, whilst a wager of £1000 depended on a match between the Earl of
Lichfield and Mr. Gage that the latter's chaise and pair should outrun
the Earl's chariot and four. The ground was from Tyburn to Hayes, and
Mr. Gage lost through some accident.

In 1735, Count de Buckeburg, a well-known German author, on a visit to
England, laid a considerable wager, that he would ride a horse from
London to Edinburgh backwards, that is, with the horse's head turned
towards Edinburgh, and the Count's face towards London; and in this
manner he actually rode the journey in less than four days.

At the end of the eighteenth century an officer trotted fifteen miles
from Chelmsford to Dunmow in one hour and nine minutes with his face to
the tail.

The eccentric wager made by George, Lord Orford, an ancestor of the
present writer, is well known. The latter, in 1740, bet another
nobleman a large sum that a drove of geese would beat an equal number
of turkeys in a race from Norwich to London. The event proved the
justness of his Lordship's expectations, for the geese kept on the road
with a steady pace, but the turkeys, as every evening approached, flew
to roost in the trees adjoining the road, from which the drivers found
it very difficult to dislodge them. In consequence of this, the geese
arrived at their destination two days before the turkeys.

This nobleman, who, by his eccentricities, had acquired the name of the
mad Lord Orford, trained three red deer to draw him in a light phaeton,
and in this uncommon equipage he frequently made excursions to some
distance, in Norfolk and Suffolk, till a singular adventure taught him
the danger of the practice.

One morning in winter, when the scent lay well on the ground, he was
taking one of his common drives towards Newmarket; his way was over the
heath. It happened that a pack of hounds, being out for a chase, took
scent of the deer, opened and followed in full cry. The deer caught the
death sound, took the alarm, and set off at full speed. It was in vain
his Lordship endeavoured to pull them in; fear of death was greater
than fear of their lord, and they dashed off towards Newmarket, a place
they were well accustomed to. The dogs were at their heels, but the
deer were sufficiently in advance to reach the inn they were accustomed
to put up at, when they dashed into the yard, with their terrified lord
close at their heels, and the hounds not far behind them; the ostlers,
however, exerted themselves to get the gates fastened before the hounds
came up, when the whipper-in called them off.

In 1758, Miss Pond, daughter of the compiler and publisher of _Ponds
Racing Calendar_, wagered a thousand guineas that she would ride a
thousand miles in a thousand hours. This feat she accomplished (it is
said on one horse) by the 3rd of May, having begun in April. A few
weeks later Mr. Pond rode the same horse in two-thirds of the time.

Even the most trivial things were utilised for losing or winning money.

A Yorkshire sportsman won a considerable bet on the extreme extent
to which a pound of cotton could be drawn in a thread by one of the
Manchester spinning jennies; the loser betted that it would not reach
two miles in length; but, upon measurement, it was found to exceed

A young man of the name of Drayton undertook for a considerable sum
to pull in a pound weight at the distance of a mile, that is, the
weight had to be attached to a string a mile in length, and Drayton to
stand still and pull it to himself. The time allowed for this singular
performance was two hours and a half. The odds were against him, but he
won his wager.

A printer at Chester for a wager picked up 100 stones each a yard
apart, returning every time with them to a basket at one end of the
line, in 44-1/2 minutes, it having been betted that he would not
complete his task within 47 minutes.

So great was the love of betting amongst sporting men that when they
were on a journey they would wager as to what they might meet with
next. This method of gambling was afterwards made into a regular game
which was called "Travelling Piquet." This was defined as a mode of
amusing themselves, practised by two persons riding in a carriage, each
reckoning towards his game the persons, or animals, that passed by on
the side next them, according to the following estimation:--

  A parson riding on a grey horse      Game
  An old woman under a hedge            do.
  A cat looking out of a window         60
  A man, woman, and child in a buggy    40
  A man riding with a woman behind him  30
  A flock of sheep                      20
  A flock of geese                      10
  A post-chaise                          5
  A horseman                             2
  A man or woman walking                 1

Death itself was not infrequently made the subject of a wager. Just
before two unfortunate men, hung at the Old Bailey, were _dropped off_,
a young nobleman present betted a hundred guineas to twenty "that the
shorter of the two would give the last kick!" The wager was taken, and
he won; for the other died almost instantly, whilst the shorter man was
convulsed for nearly six minutes.

So great was the mania for wagers at this epoch, that even the clergy
were affected by the prevailing craze. A young divine, in the vicinity
of Edinburgh, declared himself ready to undertake for a wager of a
hundred guineas to read six chapters from the Bible every hour for six
weeks. The betting was ten to one against him.

In France matters were much the same as in England.

The Duc de Chartres, the Duc de Lauzun, and the Marquis de FitzJames
once competed in a foot-race from Paris to Versailles for two hundred
livres; this was won by the Marquis de FitzJames.

The Duc de Chartres bet a considerable sum with the Comte de Genlis
that the latter would not go from Paris to Fontainebleau and back
before he (the Duc de Chartres) had pricked 500,000 pinholes in a piece
of paper. The Comte de Genlis was the winner by several hours.

The wager of the Comte d'Artois as to the building of Bagatelle is
historical. He bet Marie Antoinette 100,000 livres that he would erect
a palace on a certain site in the Bois de Boulogne in six weeks.

Nine hundred workmen were employed night and day, whilst patrols of the
Swiss Guard seized any building materials which might be of use on the
roads in the vicinity--these, it must, however, be added, were paid
for. At the end of the six weeks the Comte d'Artois entertained Marie
Antoinette at a splendid fête in the completed house.

Matches against time were common. In 1745 Mr. Cooper Thornhill rode
three times between Stilton and Shoreditch--two hundred and thirteen
miles--in eleven hours and thirty-four minutes on fourteen different
horses. Six years later, Captain Shafto won £16,000 by winning a wager
that he would cover fifty miles in two hours. He was allowed as many
horses as he pleased.

Not a few of these matches against time were carried out under most
whimsical conditions.

On 22nd August 1774, for instance, Anthony Thorpe, a journeyman baker,
at the Artillery Ground, ran a mile tied up in a sack, in eleven
minutes and a half.

In 1773 a London to York match was run, the winner, a mare, taking
forty hours and thirty-five minutes to complete the journey.

A sensational match of a more sporting description was the ride of
George IV., when Prince of Wales, to Brighton and back, a journey of
one hundred and twelve miles, which the Royal sportsman is said to
have performed on one horse in ten hours.

A wonderful ride was that performed in 1786 by a featherweight jockey
at Newmarket, who rode one horse twenty-three miles in two or three
minutes under the hour.

The Duke of Queensberry ("Old Q.") was at one time fond of sporting
matches, in which he generally came off victorious, for he was a
shrewd man. In 1789, during the Newmarket October Meeting, he and Sir
John Lade, mounted on a brace of mules, rode from the Ditch in for
£1000. This ludicrous race, which was very anxiously and obstinately
contested, terminated in favour of the Duke.

Mr. Thomas Dale was also the hero of a donkey match at Newmarket, where
he rode one hundred miles in twenty-two hours and a half on an ass;
£100 to £10 was laid against this being done within twenty-four hours.

Old Q., when Earl of March, for a wager, sent a letter fifty miles
within an hour by hand, which was cleverly effected by the missive in
question being enclosed in a cricket ball and thrown from one to the
other by twenty-four expert cricketers.

On another occasion Old Q. made a bet of a thousand guineas that he
would produce a man who would eat more at a meal than any one Sir John
Lade could find. The bet being accepted, the time was appointed, but
his Grace, not being able to attend the exhibition, wrote to his agent
to know what success, and accordingly received the following note:--

 MY LORD,--I have not time to state particulars, but merely to acquaint
 your Grace that your man beat his antagonist by a _pig and apple-pye_.

  (Signed) J.P.

A curious wager which led to litigation was one between Old Q., when
Lord March, and Mr. William Pigot. The latter and Mr. Codrington
being together at Newmarket, it was proposed to run their fathers
against each other. Mr. Pigot's father was upwards of seventy, and
Mr. Codrington's father little more than fifty. The chances were
calculated, and Mr. Codrington, thinking them disadvantageous to him,
declined the bet, whereupon Lord March agreed to stand in his place,
and mutual notes were interchanged. Mr. Pigot's note was:--

 I promise to pay to the Earl of March 500 guineas if my father dies
 before Sir William Codrington.


The Earl's was:--

 I promise to pay to Mr. Pigot 1600 guineas in case Sir William
 Codrington does not survive Mr. Pigot's father.


The fact was that Mr. Pigot's father was then actually dead, but that
was wholly unknown to the parties.

It was contended on the part of Mr. Pigot, that, as he could not
possibly win, he ought not to lose, and it was compared to a ship
insurance. If the policy upon a ship had not the words "lost or not
lost" inserted, and the ship should be actually lost at the time of
making that policy, it would be void.

For the plaintiff it was argued that the contract was good, because the
fact being wholly unknown to the parties, it could not influence either.

The wager was held to be good, and the plaintiff obtained a verdict of
£500, the amount of his wager.

The most important match made by the "evergreen votary of Venus," as
Old Q. was called, was in 1750, when, as Lord March, he bet Count
O'Taafe, an Irish gentleman notorious for eccentricity, one thousand
guineas that a carriage with four wheels could be devised capable of
being drawn at not less than nineteen miles within an hour.

Wright of Long Acre exhausted all the resources of his craft to
diminish weight and friction; the harness was made of silk combined
with leather. Four thoroughbreds, with two clever light-weight grooms,
were selected, and several trials, causing the death of some horses,
were run. On August 29, 1750, the match came off over a course of
a mile at Newcastle, many thousands of pounds being wagered on the
result, which was favourable to Lord March, the carriage being drawn
over the appointed distance well within the hour. Three of the four
horses which drew the machine had won plates. The leaders carried about
eight stone each, the wheelers about seven, and the chaise, with a boy
in it, about twenty-four. The time was 53 minutes 27 seconds.

The print (here reproduced) was published in 1788 by J. Rodger, after
the original painting by Seymour, which is now, I believe, in the
possession of Lord Rosebery.

Large sums were laid upon very trivial and useless performances, and a
certain number of individuals, well-known for their physical strength,
used to undertake to carry out all sorts of queer tasks.

In 1789 a man called Shadbolt, a respectable innkeeper at Ware, called
Goliath on account of his great muscular powers, undertook, for a
considerable wager, to run and push his cart from Ware to Shoreditch
Church (a distance of twenty-one miles) in ten hours, which he easily
performed within the space of six hours and a few seconds, without
the least appearance of fatigue. Great sums were won and lost on the

All sorts of curious wagers were laid in Ireland. The celebrated Buck
Whalley, for instance, once jumped over a carrier's cart on horse-back
for a bet. This he did from an upper story of a house, quantities of
straw being laid on the other side of the cart.

Thomas Whalley, known as Jerusalem Whalley, owing to the journey
which he made for a wager to Jerusalem, was the son of a gentleman of
very considerable property in the north of Ireland. His father, when
advanced in years, married a lady much younger than himself, and
left her a widow with seven children.

[Illustration: THE CHAISE MATCH.]

Thomas Whalley was the eldest son of this family, and had a property
of £10,000 per annum left him by his father. At the age of sixteen he
was sent to Paris to learn the French language and perfect himself
in dancing, fencing, and other elegant accomplishments. The tutor
selected to accompany him was not able or desirous of checking young
Whalley's extravagance. The latter purchased horses and hounds, took a
house in Paris, and another in the country, each of which was open for
the reception of his friends. His finances, ample as they were, were
found inadequate to the support of his extraordinary expenses, and,
with the hope of supplying his deficiencies, he had recourse to the
gaming-tables, which only increased his embarrassments. In one night
he lost upwards of £14,000. The bill which he drew upon his banker, La
Touche, in Dublin, for this sum was sent back protested, and it became
necessary for him to quit Paris. On his return to England, however, his
creditors (or rather the people who had swindled him out of this money)
were glad to compound for half the sum.

Whalley then went back to Ireland and took a house in Dublin, where he
lived in the most expensive manner, but quickly tiring of rural life
decided to return to the Continent. While he was still hesitating as to
his exact place of destination, some friends, with whom he was dining,
and who had heard that he was intending to go abroad, made inquiry of
him whither he was going. He hastily answered: "To Jerusalem." Upon
this, certain that he had no such intention, they offered to wager
him any sum he did not reach that city. As a result of this, in spite
of the fact that he originally had not the faintest idea of such an
expedition, he was so much stimulated by the offers made him that he
accepted bets to the amount of £15,000, and at once made preparations
for his journey. A few days later he set out, and having accomplished
what was then an adventurous journey, eventually returned to Dublin
within the appointed time, and in due course claimed and received
from his astonished antagonists the reward of his most unexpected

After staying some time in Dublin, Whalley again went to Paris, and was
witness to the very interesting scenes which occurred in the early part
of the Revolution in France. He remained in Paris till after the return
of the King from Varennes; and, when it became no longer safe for a
subject of the King of Great Britain to remain in France, he returned
to Ireland.

Being of a very active disposition, Whalley made constant trips to
England, where he frequented the gaming-houses in London, Newmarket,
and Brighton, and soon dissipated a large part of his remaining
fortune. He then retired to the Isle of Man, where he employed himself
in cultivating and improving an estate he possessed there, and in
educating his children. He at the same time drew up memoirs of his own
life, which were discovered a few years ago and published under the
title of _Memoirs of Buck Whalley_.

Another sporting character well known in Ireland was the celebrated
Buck English, who spent the latter part of his life in litigious
turmoil, and was a man who experienced infinite vicissitudes of
fortune. Born to a large estate, the earlier part of his life was spent
in scenes of the most unbounded dissipation; but these were curtailed
when he got into the hands of a litigious attorney, who, for years,
kept him out of his property. Mr. English was tried for his life,
for the murder of Mr. Powell, and was with difficulty acquitted, and
escaped narrowly from being torn to pieces by the mob in Cork. Previous
to this, he threw a waiter out of a window, and desired him to be
"charged in the bill!" In his career, he fought two duels with swords,
in the streets of Dublin; was a Member of Parliament, and an excellent
speaker; was thrown into a loathsome prison for debt, where his
constitution was totally destroyed. He died almost immediately after
his liberation, just as he recovered his fortune.

In October 1791, at the Curragh Meeting in Ireland, Mr. Wilde, a
sporting gentleman, made bets to the amount of two thousand guineas,
to ride against time, viz., one hundred and twenty-seven English miles
in nine hours. On the 6th of October he started in a valley, near the
Curragh course, where two miles were measured in a circular direction;
each time he encompassed the course it was regularly marked. During the
interval of changing horses, he refreshed himself with a mouthful of
brandy and water, and was no more than six hours and twenty-one minutes
in completing the one hundred and twenty-seven miles; of course he had
two hours and thirty-nine minutes to spare.

Mr. Wilde had no more than ten horses, but they were all thoroughbreds
from the stud of Mr. Daly.

Whilst on horse-back, without allowing anything for changing of horses,
he rode at the rate of twenty miles an hour for six hours. He was so
little fatigued with this extraordinary performance, that he was at the
Turf Club-house in Kildare the same evening.

The Right Honourable Thomas Conolly also rode for a wager of five
hundred guineas on the Curragh. He was allowed two hours to ride forty
miles with any ten hunters of his own. He with ease rode forty-two
miles in an hour and forty-four minutes on eight hunters.

At this time much money was wagered both in Ireland and England upon
the leaping powers of the horse, and occasionally the methods employed
were none too honourable.

A young sportsman, for instance, having boasted of the powers of a
recently purchased hunter which he offered to back at jumping against
any horse in the world, a friend ridiculed the idea, and said he had
a blind hunter that should leap over what the other would not. A wager
to no inconsiderable amount was the consequence, and day and place
appointed. The time having arrived, both parties appeared on the ground
with their nags; when laying down a straw at some distance, the friend
put his horse forward, and at the word "over" the blind hunter made a
famous leap; while neither whip nor spur could induce the other to rise
at all.

A very sporting bet was decided in the most fashionable part of London
in 1792. On the 24th of February in that year was accomplished the
feat of leaping over the high wall of Hyde Park from Park Lane. A bet
of five hundred guineas was reported to have been laid between a Royal
personage and Mr. Bingham, that the latter's Irish-bred brown mare
should leap over the wall of Hyde Park, opposite Grosvenor Place, which
wall was six feet and a half high on the inside, and eight on the out.
Mr. Bingham having sold his mare to Mr. Jones, the bet, of course,
became void. Mr. Jones offered bets to any amount that the mare should
do it, but his offers were not accepted. Mr. Bingham, to show the
possibility of its being done, led his beautiful bay horse, Deserter,
to the same place, who performed this standing leap twice without
any difficulty, except that, in returning, his hind feet brushed the
bricks off the top of the wall. As the height from which he was to
descend into the road was so considerable, he was received on a bed
of long dung. The Duke of York, Prince William of Gloucester, the Earl
of Derby, and a number of the nobility joined the vast concourse of
impatient spectators, who were pretty well tired out before the jumping

Another remarkable feat was the leap over a dinner-table with dishes,
decanters, and lighted candelabra, performed by Mr. Manning, a sporting
farmer, on a barebacked steed in the Rochester Room at the White Hart
Inn, at Aylesbury, during the steeplechases in 1851.

Wagers entailing considerable risk and endurance were popular in the
past. Two gentlemen at a coffee-house near Temple Bar once made an
extraordinary bet of this nature. One of them was to jump into seven
feet of water, with his clothes on, and to entirely undress himself in
the water, which he did within the appointed time.

The present writer, when an undergraduate at Cambridge, witnessed a
somewhat similar exploit performed in the Cam on a particularly cold
winter's day.

On this occasion, however, the undergraduate, a man of herculean frame,
who had wagered that he would undress in the water, was allowed to
cancel his bet after he had discarded everything but one sock. As he
appeared to be much exhausted, all bets were declared off by mutual
consent. The layer of the wager was in a terrible state on leaving the
water, but entirely recovered the next day.

Those fond of shooting frequently wagered on their powers as shots.

In 1800 the celebrated Colonel Thornton made a bet that he killed 400
head of game at 400 shots. The result was, he bagged 417 head of game
(consisting of partridges, pheasants, hares, snipes, and woodcocks) at
411 shots. Amongst these were a black wild duck and a white pheasant
cock; and at the last point he killed a brace of cock pheasants, one
with each barrel. On the leg of the last killed (an amazing fine bird)
was found a ring, proving that he had been taken by Colonel Thornton
when hawking, and turned loose again in 1792.

Colonel Thornton could not bear to hear that any one had outdone him
at anything. On one occasion a foreigner was boasting of the sporting
powers of the Comte d'Artois, afterwards Charles X., and asserted that
the Prince in question was, without doubt, considered the greatest shot
in Europe. On hearing this the Colonel looked highly offended, when the
foreign sportsman added, "except Colonel _Tornton_" (thus pronounced),
"who is acknowledged to be the longest shot in the world." There was a
great deal of bitter-sweet in this, but the Colonel wisely interpreted
the phrase in a sense complimentary to himself.

Colonel Thornton, though his name has come down to us as a great
sporting character, was not by any means universally popular in his own
day. Notwithstanding that he was of quite respectable descent, and had
inherited a comfortable fortune, he was never on familiar terms with
the aristocratic sportsmen of his age, with whom it was his darling
passion to be able to associate. A well-known member of the Jockey
Club, when the Colonel's name was mentioned, once said: "Oh! Thornton,
never let us hear that fellow named; we don't know him."

The Colonel provoked much ridicule by his overwhelming ambition to
excel everybody in everything--a notable instance of which was his
taking Thornville Royal, a palatial house of which his family and
suite could only occupy one corner, his means being inadequate to keep
up the house and domain in proper style. Incapable of restraining an
innate tendency to exaggeration, Colonel Thornton was known to many as
"Lying Thornton," a nickname which was in some degree justified by the
palpably mendacious accounts of his exploits, which his craving for
notoriety prompted him to disseminate. His conceit was gigantic. He
once actually sent an apology for not being present at a Royal Levee,
which absurd conduct caused a great personage many a hearty laugh.

The Colonel's extravagance, and the lawsuits in which he indulged,
often reduced him to great straits for ready money. Nevertheless,
he was always possessed of considerable property. Colonel Thornton
undoubtedly deserves to be remembered as a sportsman, though his
reputation as such would have been greater had he not sought to excel
all men in bodily activity and physical exertion, as well as eclipse
them in the extent and variety of land and water sports, which was
naturally an impossible feat.

Much given to litigation in life. Colonel Thornton gave the lawyers
employment even after his death. By his will he bequeathed all his
remaining property to an illegitimate daughter by Priscilla Druins,
leaving his wife, Mrs. Thornton, nothing, and his son by her only £100.
The will was disputed by the lawyers both in France and England. In
the English Courts it was decided that the Colonel had never ceased to
be a British subject, and that, therefore, the will must be valid. The
French Court, passing a contrary judgment, decreed that the Colonel had
petitioned in 1817, and obtained a complete naturalisation; that his
real domicile being therefore in France, the will must be decided by
its laws; and that the property having been willed to a child born in
adultery, and otherwise contrary to the laws of France, the will was
null and void; and they adjudged accordingly, with costs in favour of
Mrs. Thornton, the lawful wife. The Colonel's real property appeared to
be very little. He inhabited the Château de Chambord only as a tenant,
but he had purchased the domain of Pont le Roi, and the vendors sued
the Colonel's legatees for the purchase money.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century long-distance matches continued
to be in vogue. The distance between Burton, on the Humber, and
Bishopsgate, in the City of London, one hundred and seventy-two miles,
was covered in something like eight hours and a half by a sportsman in
1802, who had bet that, with the fourteen horses allowed him, he would
accomplish the journey in ten hours.

In April 1806 a very singular bet, or agreement, was made at Brighton
between Lieutenant-General Lennox and Henry Hunter, Esq. The former,
after some remarks on the prevalent winds at Brighton, proposed to give
to the latter, during the space of twenty-eight days, whenever the wind
blew from the south-west, one guinea per diem, provided the other would
forfeit to him the same sum, during the same period, every day that
the wind should blow from the north-east, which proposal was instantly
accepted. For the ensuing thirteen days the wind lay mostly in the
south-west quarter, upon which Mr. Hunter remarked that, in spite
of south-west gales not being to every one's taste, this was merely
another proof of the old adage that "It is an ill wind that blows
nobody good."

In 1807, Captain Bennet, of the Loyal Ongar Hundred Volunteers, engaged
to trundle a hoop from Whitechapel Church to Ongar, in Essex, in three
hours and a half, a distance of twenty-two miles, for the wager of one
hundred guineas.

He started on Saturday morning, November 21, precisely at six o'clock,
with the wind very much in his favour, and the odds about two to one
against him. Notwithstanding the early hour, the singularity of the
match brought together a numerous assemblage. The hoop used by Captain
Bennet on the occasion was heavier than those trundled by boys in
general, and was selected by him conformably to the terms of the wager.
The first ten miles Captain Bennet performed in one hour and twenty
minutes, which changed the odds considerably in his favour.

He accomplished the whole distance considerably within the given time,
as the Ongar coachman met him only five miles and a half from Ongar,
when he had a full hour in hand.

A cruel wager was the following, made in December of the same year,
when a Mr. Arnold, a sporting man who resided at Pentonville, bet Mr.
Mawbey, a factor of the Fulham Road, twenty guineas that the former did
not produce a dog, which should be thrown over Westminster Bridge at
dark, and find its way home again in six hours, as proposed by Arnold.
The inhuman experiment was tried in the evening, when a spaniel bitch,
the property of a groom in Tottenham Court Road, was produced and
thrown over from the centre of the bridge. The dog arrived at the house
of her master in two hours after the experiment had been made.

Little consideration was shown for animals in those days.

On a Saturday evening in August 1808, a crowd of people assembled at
Hyde Park Corner to watch the start of a pony which was, for a stake
of five hundred guineas, matched to start with the Exeter Mail and be
in Exeter first, with or without a rider. A man leading the pony was
at liberty to take a fresh post-horse whenever he liked. The backer of
the pony won the match, for though the odds were against it, the game
little animal arrived at Exeter in very good condition, forty-five
minutes before the Mail reached that city. Several thousands of pounds
were wagered on the result.

It should be added that the pony drank ale during the journey, and
several pints of port in addition.

The distance from London to Exeter is about one hundred and
seventy-four miles.

In 1809 a very extraordinary wager was decided upon the road between
Cambridge and Huntingdon. A gentleman of the former place had betted
a considerable sum of money that he would go, a yard from the ground,
upon stilts, the distance of twelve miles, within the space of four
hours and a half: no stoppage was to be allowed, except merely the
time taken up in exchanging one pair of stilts for another, and even
then his feet were not to touch the ground. He started at the second
milestone from Cambridge in the Huntingdon Road, to go six miles
out and six miles in; the first he performed in one hour and fifty
minutes, and did the distance back in two hours and three minutes, so
that he went the whole in three hours and fifty-three minutes, having
thirty-seven minutes to spare within the time allowed him.

In the winter of 1810-1811 a bet of £500 was made by the Duke of
Richmond, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, with Sir Edward Crofton
(who afterwards committed suicide), that the latter should not produce
a horse who would leap, in fair Irish sporting style (which allows
just touching with the hind feet), a wall seven feet high. Sir Edward
brought forward a cocktail horse, called Turnip, being got by Turnip, a
thoroughbred son of old Pot8o's (a horse imported, like the celebrated
Diamond, into Ireland by Colonel Hyde), out of a common Irish mare.

On the day appointed, a gate was removed from its place in a very high
park wall, near the Phoenix Park, and, men and stones being ready, was
built up to the required and specified height, in the presence of his
Grace. While this was being expeditiously accomplished by men used to
building up such fences. Turnip was kept walking about, by a common
groom in jacket and cap. When all was ready, and the signal given, over
he went, but had so little run that the Duke, thinking the rider was
going to turn him round and give him a race at it, turned his head at
the moment, and did not see the leap; to reassure him, however, the
horse was put over it again. He was a slow horse, and died afterwards
from the effects of a severe run with the Kildare hounds in an open
country, where, though the fences would in England be reckoned severe,
they were nothing to the walls of Roscommon and Galway.

About 1811 there appears to have been a recrudescence of the craze for
eccentric wagers. A good deal of interest was excited in January of
that year by the strange performance of a soldier in the Guards, who
had betted two guineas that he would mark a cross on every tree in St.
James's Park, that was within his reach, in an hour and ten minutes. He
started at ten o'clock in the morning from the first tree in Birdcage
Walk, and completed his task in three minutes less than the time
allowed him. A great number of bets depended upon the result.

In the same year a French cook, in the employ of Lord Gwydir, wagered
a considerable sum in the neighbourhood of Lincoln, that he could
roll a round piece of wood like a trencher from Grimsthorpe to Bourn,
a distance of nearly four miles, church-steeple road, at one hundred
starts. The bet having been accepted, the Frenchman had a groove formed
round the edge of the wood, and, with the aid of a piece of cord, he
accomplished his task in ninety-nine starts.

In the same year an ostler of the Dragoon Inn, at Harrowgate,
undertook, for a wager of one guinea, to drag a heavy phaeton three
times round the race-course there, being nearly four miles, in six
hours. He started at six in the evening, and at fifteen minutes to nine
he had performed his singular task.

In 1812 Scrope Davis, then a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge,
betted five thousand guineas that he would swim from Eaglehurst, the
seat of Lord Cavan, near Southampton Water, to the Isle of Wight. This
feat, however, he did not attempt, as he received seven hundred and
fifty guineas forfeit from the sporting gentleman with whom he made the

Scrope Davis was a particularly cultivated man, who for a time
frequented the gaming-table with considerable success. Eventually,
however, like the great majority of gamblers, he found himself with
little to live upon except his Cambridge fellowship. He retired to
Paris and bore his altered fortunes with the greatest philosophy,
whilst occupying himself in writing a diary which has unfortunately

In 1813 another literary man of sporting tendencies--a Mr. Thacker,
who had been an assistant master at Rugby--undertook at Lincoln, for a
wager of £5, to make two thousand pens in ten hours; this he performed
nearly two hours within the time. It was stipulated that they should
be well made; and a person was appointed umpire who examined every pen
as he made it. The pens were afterwards sold by auction at the Green
Dragon, where the bet had been decided.

In 1814 a somewhat novel wager was decided in a tavern in the City.

Two gentlemen undertook to drink against one another, one to drink
wine, and the other water, glass for glass, and he that gave in was to
be the loser. They drank the contents of a bottle and a half each,
but the wine-drinker was triumphant. The unfortunate water-drinker was
afterwards taken ill, being confined to his bed with an attack of the

In February 1815 a journeyman baker performed a wonderful feat of
winning a bet of fifty pounds to ten laid him by a gentleman that he
would not stand upon one leg for twelve hours. A square piece of carpet
was nailed in the centre of the room, and the time fixed was three
o'clock in the afternoon, when the baker made his appearance without
shoes, coat, or hat, and proceeded to take up his position upon his
right leg. After standing eight hours and a half, before a great number
of people, the gentleman, seeing the agony which the baker appeared to
be in, offered him one-half of the wager to relinquish the bet; but, to
the great astonishment of the spectators, the man refused, saying he
would have the whole, or at least try for it; the perspiration was then
running off him like rain, but he still persisted, when the bets were
fifty to one against him. Nevertheless he performed what was in its way
a wonderful feat, remaining on the one leg three minutes longer than
the stipulated time, when he was put into a chair, and carried home.

In May of the same year, a novel bet of £500 was laid in a coffee-room
in Bond Street. The wager in question stipulated that a gentleman
should go from London to Dover, and back, in any mode he chose, while
another made a million of dots with a pen and ink upon a sheet of

In 1826, Lloyd, the celebrated pedestrian, started, on Monday the 19th
March, at eight in the morning, to perform thirty miles _backwards_
in nine successive hours, including stoppages, at Bagshot, Surrey. He
went on during the morning at the rate of four miles an hour, although
the ground was much against him, and finished his task with apparent
ease fourteen minutes within the time. He immediately mounted a friends
horse, and proceeded to Hartford Bridge, where he took up his quarters
for the night, and walked on to Odiham the next morning (Tuesday),
where he undertook to walk twenty miles backwards in five hours and a
half, which, with the advantage of a good road, he again accomplished
seven minutes and a half within his time.

The same year a gentleman made a bet that he would cause all the
bells of a well-frequented tavern in Glasgow to ring at the same
period without touching one of them, or even leaving the room. This
he accomplished by turning the stop-cock of the main gas-pipe, and
involving the whole inmates in instant darkness. In a short period
the clangor of bells rang from every room and box in the house, which
gained him his bet amidst the general laughter and applause even of the

As the nineteenth century crept on, life grew more strenuous, and
the eccentric wagers, once so popular, went out of fashion; sporting
matches, however, were occasionally made.

In 1831, Squire Osbaldiston, of historic sporting memory, when
forty-four years old and over eleven stone in weight, won a thousand
guineas by riding two hundred miles in eight hours and thirty-nine
minutes, the conditions of the wager stipulating that he should go the
distance in ten hours. No less than twenty-eight horses were utilised
in this historic match.

At 3.15 A.M., July 13, 1809, at Newmarket, Captain Barclay, the famous
pedestrian, successfully ended a walk of a thousand miles in a thousand
successive hours at the rate of a mile in each and every hour. This
great walker had three-quarters of an hour to spare and completed his
task with great ease, 100 to 1 being offered upon him on the last
morning of his walk. About £100,000 depended upon this match, of which
£16,000 was won by Barclay himself.

Seventeen years later Captain Polhill easily accomplished the task of
walking, driving, and riding fifty miles in twenty-four consecutive
hours, the whole distance of a hundred and fifty being negotiated with
five hours to spare.

Jim Selby's coaching feat of driving to Brighton and back in eight
hours is still fresh in the memory of many. A thousand pounds to
five hundred was laid at the Ascot meeting of 1888 against such a
performance. Selby started from the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly,
at 10 in the morning of July 13, and reached the Old Ship at Brighton
at 1.56. Immediately starting on the return journey, he arrived at the
White Horse Cellars at 5.50, and thus won the bet by ten minutes. In
the same year an extraordinary sporting feat was performed by a friend
of the writer, Mr. Charles Bulpett (thirty-seven years old at the
time), who took £500 to £200 that he would ride a mile, run a mile, and
walk a mile--three miles in all--within sixteen minutes and a half.
This he was successful in doing, the exact time occupied being sixteen
minutes and seven seconds. It should be added that the extraordinary
athletic powers displayed on this occasion were greatly enhanced by the
fact that Mr. Bulpett was suffering from a game leg.

The same gentleman also won another sporting match of an original kind.
Dining one evening at the Ship at Greenwich (formerly a great resort
and the scene of an annual ministerial fish dinner) with some friends,
the subject of swimming came under discussion, and in the course of
the conversation some one, pointing across the river, spoke of the
difficulty of swimming the Thames at this spot in ordinary clothes.

"I will," said Mr. Bulpett, "lay you £100 to £25 that I do it." The bet
was taken and the next day, according to the terms of the wager, Mr.
Bulpett entered the water at the Ship dressed in a frock coat, top hat,
with a cane in his hand. A boat with his friends in it followed his
progress. He reached the opposite shore with the greatest ease, though
he was carried a mile and a quarter down by the tide, and when he got
there offered to lay the same bet that he would then and there swim
back to the other shore, but there were no takers. Had the wager been
repeated, there is little doubt but that another £25 would have found
its way into the pockets of this redoubtable athlete.

A feat of a somewhat similar kind to Mr. Bulpett's was performed in
1891 by Mr. J.B. Radcliffe, who within the space of fifteen minutes
rowed, swam, ran, cycled, and rode a horse the distance of a quarter
of a mile, successfully covering the mile and a half in the appointed


 Gambling in Paris--Henry IV. and Sully--Cardinal Mazarin's
 love of play--Louis XIV. attempts to suppress gaming--John
 Law--Anecdotes--Institution of public tables in 1775--Biribi--Gambling
 during the Revolution--Fouché--The tables of the Palais Royal--The
 Galeries de Bois--Account of gaming-rooms--Passe-dix and
 Craps--Frascati's and the Salon des Étrangers--Anecdotes--Public
 gaming ended in Paris--Last evenings of play--Decadence of the Palais
 Royal--Its restaurants--Gaming in Paris at the present day.

There has always been much gambling in Paris, and up to the middle of
the last century that city was the stronghold of public gaming, the
Goddess of Chance wielding absolute sway in the Palais Royal, where
licensed gaming-tables existed.

The toleration of public gaming in Paris dated as far back as the reign
of Henri IV. In 1617 there were forty-seven "Brelans" frequented by
any one who cared to play, each of which paid a daily tribute of one
pistole to the Lieutenant Civil, who held an office in a great measure
corresponding with that of the modern Prefect of Police. Henri IV.
himself was much addicted to gaming, and the celebrated Sully attempted
to reform him. The King in question having once lost an immense sum of
money at play, Sully let his royal master send to him for it several
times without taking any notice; at last, however, he brought it and
spread the coins before him upon a table. The King fixed his eyes
upon the vast sum--said to have been enough to have bought Amiens from
the Spaniards--and at last cried out to Sully, "I am corrected, I will
never again lose my money at gaming while I live."

The gaming-resorts of old Paris were filled with people whose
reputations for probity were generally a good deal more than doubtful.
In one of the best of these _tripots_ a gentleman, whose turn to hold
the hand had come, delayed the game by insisting on searching for a few
pieces of gold which he had dropped on the floor. The other players,
eager to pursue their game, remonstrated with him saying, "You know
we are all honest people here." "I know that," was the reply, "honest
people, one of whom gets hung every week when the law is in a mood to
do its duty."

Scandals of the most disgraceful kind were of constant occurrence,
and in consequence of the numerous quarrels relating to unpaid
wagers, Francis the First once proposed to create a special court of
jurisdiction to deal with such cases. A list of judges and officials
was even drawn up, but the scheme was never actually put into execution.

Whilst the ordinary folk flocked to more or less obscure gaming-houses,
the _noblesse_ in the seventeenth century were great patrons of the
tennis-court known as the "Tripot de la Sphère," in the Marais. A
considerable amount of etiquette prevailed, and not a few careers were
wrecked owing to the overbearing demeanour of some of the great nobles.

Cardinal Mazarin, however, introduced games of chance at the Court of
Louis XIV. in 1648, and having initiated the King and the Queen Regent
into the pleasures of the gaming-table, as an indirect consequence
caused the decadence of tennis, mail (pall mall), and billiards.

Games involving strength, skill, and exercise became neglected, and the
population somewhat demoralised.

Gaming spread from the Court to Paris, and from thence to provincial
towns, in many cases producing a very disastrous effect.

Louis the Fourteenth was fond of backgammon, at which one day he had
a doubtful throw. A dispute arose, and the surrounding courtiers all
remained silent. The Count de Gramont happened to come in at that
instant. "Decide the matter," said the King to him. "Sire," said the
Count, "your Majesty is in the wrong." "How," replied the King, "can
you thus decide without knowing the question?" "Because," said the
Count, "had the matter been doubtful, all these gentlemen present would
have given it for your Majesty."

Cardinal Mazarin himself was generally ready to bet about anything.
He was driving in the country one day with a certain Count, when the
latter proposed that they should wager on the number of sheep they
should pass in the fields on each side of the road, one taking the
right and the other the left side. The Cardinal was a heavy loser
over this, as, much to his surprise, both going and returning the side
selected by his companion simply swarmed with sheep, whilst very few
were to be seen on the other.

As a matter of fact, as he afterwards genially hinted, the Count
had taken measures not to lose his bet, but the Cardinal, who was
good-natured in such matters, bore him no ill-will.

Another great ecclesiastic who was equally good-humoured about losses
at play was the Cardinal d'Este, who, one day entertaining at dinner a
brother prince of the Church, the Cardinal de Medici, played with him
afterwards, and quite carelessly allowed the latter to win a stake of
some ten thousand crowns, because, as he told an onlooker, he did not
wish his guest to go away in a bad humour, or feel that he had been
made to pay for his dinner.

Hoca was a very popular game about this time. Certain Italians who had
come into France in the train of Cardinal Mazarin contrived to obtain
a concession from the King which enabled them to establish places
in which this game might be played, and as they took care always to
keep the bank themselves, they soon began to attract unfavourable
notice owing to the large sums which fell into their maw. The game
in question was prodigiously favourable to the bank, the players
having only twenty-eight chances against thirty. In consequence of the
public scandal which resulted, the Parliament of Paris stepped in and
threatened severe punishment against these men, whilst it was made
punishable by death to play hoca at all. Nevertheless, it continued to
be in high favour at the Court, where many were ruined by gambling.

In 1691, Louis XIV. determined to put a stop to the evil, and issued
an order that no one should engage at faro, basset, and other games
of chance on any consideration; every offender was to be fined 1000
livres, and the person at whose house any such game was played incurred
a penalty of 6000 livres for each offence. Gamblers were also to be
imprisoned for six months. The order in question, however, appears to
have effected nothing, for some years later the same prince published
a still severer edict, by which he forbade, on pain of death, any
gaming in the French cavalry, and sentenced every commanding officer or
governor who should presume to set up a hazard-table to be cashiered,
and all concerned to be immediately and rigorously imprisoned.

About the commencement of the Regency all Paris went mad over gaming;
many of the houses of the great nobles were virtually _tripots_,
special lights outside announcing this to passers-by. Horace Walpole
declared that at least a hundred and fifty people of the highest
quality lived on the play which took place in their houses, which any
one wishing to gamble could enter at all hours. At the mansion of the
Duc de Gevres persons desirous of taking the bank paid about twelve
guineas a night. Such proceedings were deemed to be no disgrace to the

Soon the gambling fever assumed a far more dangerous form than cards
or dice, owing to the wild speculation brought into fashion by Law.
This man, who was born in 1688, was the son of a lawyer at Edinburgh.
Coming up to London he fell in love with the sister of a peer, who,
disapproving of such a marriage with an adventurer, challenged Law,
and fell in the duel. Law immediately escaped into Holland, and was
tried, convicted, and outlawed in England. Perhaps it was in Holland he
acquired that turn of mind which revels in immense calculations; anyhow
he became an adept in the mysteries of exchanges and re-exchanges. From
thence he proceeded to Venice and other cities, studying the nature of
their banks. In 1709 he was at Paris, avid as ever of speculation.

At the close of the reign of Louis XIV., the French finances were
in great disorder; and Law, having obtained an audience of that
monarch, had almost convinced the bankrupt king of the feasibility
of his speculative projects. He had offered to pay the national debt
by establishing a company, whose paper was to be received with all
possible confidence, and who were to make immense profits by their
commercial transactions. The minister, Desmarest, however, took alarm
and, to get rid of Law, threatened him, by one of his emissaries,
with the Bastille. Law quitted Paris, and became a wanderer through
Italy. He then addressed himself to the King of Sardinia, who refused
the adventurer's assistance, curtly declaring that he was not powerful
enough to ruin himself!

At the death of Louis XIV., the Duke of Orleans was Regent. Law saw his
chance and ventured again to Paris, where he found the Regent docile
enough. The latter, indeed, was placed in a most trying situation:
the finances were all confusion, and no one appeared competent to
settle them. At first the Regent listened somewhat reluctantly to Law,
doubtful as to what consequences must follow such colossal schemes as
those in which the adventurer dealt. Matters, however, going from bad
to worse, the numerical quack was called in to relieve, by his powerful
remedy, the disorder which no one else would even attempt to cure.

Law commenced with most brilliant prospects. He established his bank,
was chosen director of the East India Company, and soon gave his scheme
that vital credit which produced real specie. In that distracted time,
every one buried or otherwise concealed his valuables; but, when
the spells of Law began to operate, every coffer was opened, while
the proprietors of many estates seemed to prefer his paper to the
possession of their lands. All Europe appeared delighted; Law acquired
millions in a morning; whilst the Regent, thoroughly duped, felicitated
himself on his possession of so great an alchemist.

Law was honoured with nobility, and created Comte de Tankerville;
as for marquisates, he purchased them at his will. Edinburgh, his
native city, humbly presented him with her freedom, in which appears
these remarkable expressions:--"The Corporation of Edinburgh presents
its freedom to John Law, Count of Tankerville, etc., etc., etc., a
most accomplished gentleman; the first of all bankers in Europe; the
fortunate inventor of sources of commerce in all parts of the remote
world; and who has deserved so well of his nation." From a Scotchman
(says Voltaire) he became, by naturalisation, a Frenchman; from a
Protestant, a Catholic; from an adventurer, a Prince; and from a
banker, a minister of state.

Law's novel system of finance was perhaps most aptly defined by a
dissipated and spendthrift member of the French _noblesse_, the Marquis
de Cavillac, who, much to the Scotchman's disgust, bluntly accused him
of plagiarising from his own methods, which, as he added, consisted in
drawing and giving bills which would certainly never be met.

Meanwhile a veritable rage for speculation prevailed. Fortunes were
made in a month, and stock-jobbing was carried on even in the narrowest
alleys of Paris. Singular anecdotes are recorded of this time. A
coachman gave warning to his master, who begged at least that he would
provide him with another as good as himself. "Very well," was the
reply, "I have hired two this morning; take your choice, and I will
have the other." A footman set up his chariot; but, going to it, got up
behind, where from force of habit he remained till reminded by his own
servant of the mistake. An old beggar, who had a remarkable hunch on
his back, haunted the Rue Quincampoix, which was the crowded resort of
all stock-jobbers; here he acquired a good fortune by lending out his
hunch for five minutes at a time as a desk.

Law himself was adored; the proudest courtiers were humble reptiles
before this mighty man; dukes and duchesses patiently waited in his
ante-chamber; and Mrs. Law, a haughty beauty, when a duchess was
announced, exclaimed, "Still more duchesses! There is no animal so
tiresome as a duchess!"

The Court ladies never left Law alone. One morning, when he was
surrounded by a body of _grandes dames_, he was going to retire. They
inquired the reason, which was of such a kind as should have silenced
them; but on the contrary, they said, "Oh! if it is nothing but that,
let them bring here a _chaise percée_ for Mr. Law." When the young
king was at play, and the stakes were too high even for his Majesty,
he refused to cover them all; young Law (the son of the adventurer)
cried out, "If his Majesty will not cover, I will." The King's governor
frowned on the boy of millions, who, perceiving his error, threw
himself at the king's feet.

The infatuation ran through all classes, and even the French Academy
solicited for the honour of Law becoming their associate--this
Scotchman was the only speculator they ever admitted into their body.

The evil hour, however, at last arrived; the immense machine became
so complicated that even the head of Law began to turn with its rapid
revolutions. In 1719 he created credit; but in May 1720, uncounted
millions disappeared in air. Nothing was seen but paper and bankruptcy
everywhere. Law was considered as the sole origin of the public
misfortune, no one blaming his own credulity. The mob broke his
carriages, destroyed his houses, and tried to find the arithmetician
in order to tear him to pieces. He escaped from Paris in disguise,
and long wandered in Europe incognito. After some years, he found
a hiding-place in Venice, where he lived, poor, obscure, yet still
calculating. Montesquieu, who saw him there, said: "He is still the
same man; his mind ever busied in financial schemes; his head is full
of figures, of agios, and of banks. His fortune is very small, yet he
loves to game high." Indeed, of all his more than princely revenues, he
only saved, as a wreck, a large white diamond, which, when he had no
money, he used to pawn.

Voltaire saw his widow at Brussels. She was then as humiliated, as
miserable, and as obscure, as she had been triumphant and haughty at

After the collapse of Law's schemes the stream of gaming returned to
its ordinary channels, and high play continued as formerly to be
the pastime of the _noblesse_, some of whom kept more or less public

Not, however, till 1775 were public gaming-tables, somewhat resembling
those still flourishing at Monaco, licensed in Paris. In that year
Sartines, the celebrated "Lieutenant of Police," began to authorise
regular "maisons de jeu," the profits of which were in principle
supposed to be devoted to the foundation of hospitals, but in reality
failed to reach their destined goal of philanthropy. The most popular
game played was called "la belle." Certain privileged ladies, it may be
added, were accorded permission to preside at the twelve gaming-tables
of Paris twice a week. The bankers gave these attractive sorceresses
six louis at each sitting, and paid all other expenses. A third day
in the seven was set aside for the benefit of the police, who, once
every week, ungallantly pocketed the six golden pieces of each of the
presiding goddesses, most of whom were battered baronesses and ruined
marchionesses, who had petitioned for the somewhat dubious honour of
presiding at these _tripots_. Amongst them were Madame de Thouvenère,
la Baronne de Gancière, and la Marquise de Sainte Doubeuville. The
ladies were generally represented by deputies of the fair sex, who
received a fair share of the wages of iniquity. The directors of
the gaming-houses in question were as a rule the valets of grand
seigneurs, the best known being a man called Gombaud, who acted as
cashier-general. The success of the authorised "houses" led to the
establishment of rival and clandestine _tripots_. The most celebrated
of these private pandemoniums, which were practically "Hells," were
kept by Madame de Selle, Rue Montmartre; la Comtesse Champeiron, Rue
de Cléry; and Madame de Fonteneille. Rue de l'Arsenal. It was at
the last-named place that Sartines, who often visited such places
as a private individual for his own pleasure, narrowly escaped the
blow of a poniard, on being recognised by a ruined gambler. A good
deal of crime and misery was declared to arise from the existence of
these gaming-houses, and at length, in 1781, after many suicides and
bankruptcies innumerable, they were temporarily prohibited. The main
cause, however, was that the brother of a favourite mistress of a
pet courtier, after ruining himself and robbing a friend in order to
obtain funds with which to play, had put an end to his existence, by
blowing out his brains, at a gaming-house kept by Madame de la Serre,
Place des Victoires. After this the demon of gaming took refuge at the
Court, where shady financiers and well-dressed scoundrels carried on
a very lucrative traffic almost under the nose of His Most Christian
Majesty. The privileged hôtels of the ambassadors, where the police had
no control, became also the _sanctum sanctorum_ of the vampires of that
period. In addition to this, after a short lapse of time, the original
Golgothas were re-licensed, the game called "biribi" displacing "la
belle," and becoming the popular road to ruin of the day.

Biribi is now probably quite obsolete. It was played upon a table which
contained seventy numbers, to which there were corresponding numbers
enclosed in a bag.

These the banker drew out one by one, the player whose money was on
the corresponding number on the table being paid a sum equivalent to
sixty-four times his stake. As at roulette, there were a great number
of other chances--_pair_ and _impair_, _noir_ and _rouge_, _du petit et
du grand côté_, _la bordure du tableau_, _les terminaisons_, and the

There were nine columns of numbers, each of which contained eight,
with the exception of the middle column, which was the banker's; this
consisted of six numbers only, which were considered zeroes.

Unattractive as this game must appear to a more sophisticated
generation, biribi became a regular craze.

About this time another epidemic of domestic horrors and public
crimes caused the Hells to be denounced to Parliament, which cited
the redoubtable lieutenant of police, Sartines, to its bar, and after
a good deal of gesticulation and ultra-moral oratory--most of it
from those members of the Parliament who themselves kept privileged
receptacles of gaming--it was decided that the high court of peers
should be convoked, in order that they might deal severely with
those minor ruffians, who, in contravention of the laws, carried
on clandestine play. The patrician moralists shortly after issued
a decree, sanctioned by Royalty, that the bankers of unauthorised
gaming-houses should be liable to the _carcan_ (pillory), branding with
a hot iron, and the _fout_ (flogging).

After this the licensed Hells carried on their golden commerce in
full security, but not entirely without competition, in spite of the
aforesaid pains and penalties which were in several cases enforced. A
curious and characteristic consequence of such a state of affairs was
the use to which certain diplomatic representatives put their mansions,
making good, or rather bad, use of the immunity from interference which
their office of Envoy conferred. M. le Chevalier Zeno, the Venetian
Ambassador, turned his house into a regular casino, admitting any one
into it who would play. For those of the lowest degree a particular
room was reserved, known to its habitués as "l'enfer." Remonstrances
and representations from the authorities were powerless to effect
the cessation of what became a public scandal, the Venetian Embassy
continuing to be little but a gambling-hell, till the departure of the
Ambassador in question.

Three other Ministers also maintained establishments of a similar kind.
These were the Prussian Envoy, who resided in the Rue de Choiseul,
the Envoy of Hesse-Cassel, whose house was in the Rue Poissonnière,
and the Ambassador of Sweden, whose gambling establishment was on the
Place du Louvre, at a house bearing the inscription "Écuries de M.
l'Ambassadeur de Suède." The somewhat singular methods employed by the
enterprising Diplomats in question were very freely commented upon in a
report issued by the "Lieutenant de Police" in February 1781, nothing,
however, being done to check the scandal. On the contrary, certain
members of the _noblesse_, being struck with the pecuniary advantages
to be reaped from keeping a gaming-house, followed the example of
the Ambassadors, M. le Marquis and M. le Comte de Genlis presiding
over establishments of this kind in the Place Vendôme and in the Rue
Bergère. It became no uncommon thing for Chevaliers de St. Louis to
act as bankers or croupiers. Owing to the decoration they wore they
were not subject to the same jurisdiction as ordinary mortals, besides
which, many of them were excellent swordsmen. This naturally gave
them a great advantage in the case of any protest on the part of the
players against the methods employed by the bank, a circumstance which
eventually led to a royal prohibition of further gaming enterprises
being undertaken by Chevaliers of this Order.

As the stormy days of '89 approached, gambling became more and more
prevalent, and during the Revolution, notwithstanding the Spartan
austerity which it was declared was to be a characteristic of the new
era, gaming was freely tolerated by the authorities. Later, when Fouché
assumed the office of Minister of Police, the privilege of keeping
gambling-houses was let out as openly and as publicly as the King's
Ministers had farmed out the duties upon salt, tobacco, or wine to the
"fermiers généraux" of the revenue. Cards of address to gambling-houses
were distributed in all parts of France in the same manner as circulars
in London. The sum of money which this system of toleration brought
into Fouché's pocket reached upwards of ten thousand pounds per month.
The Prefect at Lyons, Vermignac, learnt, to his cost, how dangerous
it was to meddle with this _lawful_ income of Citizen Fouché; for,
having ordered the suppression of all gambling-houses in that city,
Fouché represented him in such a light to Bonaparte that he lost the
honourable place of Prefect, and was sent, in disgrace, as Minister to
Switzerland, a situation no Prefect's secretary would by choice accept,
on account of the unsettled state of that country, and the disagreeable
and difficult part a French Minister had at that time to perform there.

Besides what the farmers of the gambling-houses paid to Fouché every
month, they were obliged to hire and pay 120,000 persons employed in
their houses at Paris, and in the provinces, as croupiers, from half a
crown to half a guinea a day; most of these 120,000 persons were also
supposed to be spies for Fouché.

In 1789, Thiroux de Crosne, Lieutenant de Police, estimated that there
were fifty-three houses in Paris where illegal games were played; other
authorities of that time gave figures far in excess of this. _Tripots_
existed in the Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, Rue des Petits Pères,
Place des Petits Pères, and Rue de Cléry. No. 35 Rue Traversière, Saint
Honoré, No. 18 Rue de Richelieu, and No. 10 Rue Vivienne were all
well-known gaming places.

In the Palais Royal, however, thirty-one different establishments
were ready to allure the votaries of fortune. At No. 33 a man named
Dumoulin, who had been a lackey in the service of the Dubarry, acted
as croupier; No. 50 was known as the rendezvous of Royalists; No.
113 enjoyed a bad reputation as being the cause of a great number of
suicides; No. 36 was very decorously conducted, no woman being allowed
to enter its doors, whilst non-alcoholic refreshments and a light beer
were alone provided in order that the players should run no risk of
exciting themselves.

In order to further safeguard their clients, the proprietors of No.
36 maintained a regular armed guard who effectually prevented the
incursion of undesirable characters.

There existed at this period a regular gang of black-mailers, who,
headed by a ruffian named Venternière, made a practice of entering
gaming places and extorting money from the executive under the threat
of creating such a disturbance as to cause the tables to be suppressed.
The gang in question were, however, thoroughly routed in November 1793
when making a determined incursion into No. 36. They were very roughly
handled, their leader being laid senseless upon the pavement.

A celebrated Parisian gamester at the time of the Revolution was
Monsieur de Monville, who was a great deal in the company of the Duc
d'Orléans--a Prince whose passion for play was notorious. Whilst the
projected arrest of the Duc was being debated in the Convention, this
gentleman was engaged in a particularly spirited gambling duel with
the regicide Philippe Égalité; the players indeed were so absorbed in
their game as to cause dinner to be served on the very table at which
they were playing. At this moment Merlin de Douai burst into the room
with the announcement of the impeachment of the Duc, who, horror-struck
at such news, deplored the ingratitude of his accusers, after the many
proofs of patriotism which he had given. Then turning to Monville he
cried, "What do you think of such an infamy, Monville?" The latter,
whilst leisurely squeezing a lemon over his sole, said in the calmest
manner in the world, "It is certainly horrible. Monseigneur, but
what did you expect? The rascals have got all they could out of your
Highness, who is now of no more use; consequently they are going to
treat you as I do this lemon." He then, in the most elegant manner
in the world, threw the remains of the fruit in question into the
fire-place, remarking the while, "One must never forget. Monseigneur,
that a sole should be eaten quite hot."

M. de Monville was a great frequenter of the gambling-rooms over which
presided the beautiful Madame de St. Amaranthe, whose tragic fate on
the scaffold excited so much pity. The _tripot_ over which she cast
her smiles was at No. 50 in the Palais Royal, which has been mentioned
before, and was the most luxurious in Paris. It was said, indeed, that
it resembled nothing so much as Versailles in the days before the
Revolution, and here many Royalist conspirators were wont to assemble.
Denunciations of what was described as a reactionary stronghold were
being constantly received by the Committee of Public Safety, and the
popularity of the presiding goddess of this shrine of chance with the
Royalists eventually led to her execution.

The Revolutionary authorities saw reaction in everything, even in
playing-cards, and in 1792 they arrived at the conclusion that the
kings were but antiquated symbols of tyranny, and attempted to
substitute a card called the "pouvoir exécutif" in their place. Players
using these new-fashioned cards, instead of speaking of the king of
hearts or clubs, were obliged to say the "pouvoir exécutif" of hearts
and so on. Citizens Dajouré and Jaume, however, improved upon this,
and invented a new sort of pack in which the king became "le génie,"
the queen "liberty," the knave "equality," and the ace "law." Hearts,
clubs, spades, and diamonds were changed into peace, war, art, and
commerce. The cards in question, it may be added, made no successful
appeal to gamblers, who continued to prefer the sort still in general
use. They were, however, extremely prettily designed, and are now
reckoned amongst the artistic curiosities produced by the Revolution.

During our war with France some French prisoners at Deal were once
rather amusingly rebuked for their anti-monarchical tendencies by a
private of the West Essex Militia, which regiment was then quartered at
Deal. The man in question had been begged by the prisoners to procure
them a pack of cards, which he did when off his duty; but before
he delivered the cards, picked out the four kings. The Frenchmen,
discovering the deficiency, said the pack was imperfect, having no
kings in it. "Why," replied the soldier, "_if you can fight without a
king, surely you can play without one_!"

The Palais Royal, called during the Revolution the Palais Égalité, soon
became the most famous gambling-resort in the world--to-day it is but
a pathetic shadow of its former self. Built in imitation of the Piazza
San Marco at Venice by Cardinal Richelieu and bequeathed by him to
Louis XIII., the palace in question was in course of time given by the
Roi Soleil to his brother and thus became the property of the Orléans
family. Fantastically extravagant and crippled by debts, Philippe
Égalité first conceived the idea of putting the noble building raised
by the great Cardinal to a commercial use, continuing to obtain a very
large sum by letting out suitable parts as shops, gaming-houses, and
restaurants, some of them of a rather questionable nature.

The Palais Royal, before it contained shops and gaming-tables, had
been the resort of all that was most aristocratic in Paris. Walks and
flower-beds abounded, whilst on the southern side was an alley of
ancient chestnut trees of great antiquity, the destruction of which
provoked much indignation and sorrow.

The transformation of the historic palace and grounds into a bazaar
effected a great change in the habits of the Parisians, who, without
distinction of rank or class, flocked to the spot which, since the
stately days of Anne of Austria, had been the evening promenade of good
society alone.

Louis XVI. is said, after hearing of his cousin's decision in this
matter, to have remarked: "I suppose we shall now only see the Duc
d'Orléans on Sundays--he has become a shop-man!"

The Prince in question, however, cared little about this as long as he
was able to procure the large sums necessary for his wildly extravagant
mode of living. The centre of Parisian activity, the Palais Royal was
the incarnation of Paris in the eyes of all pleasure-loving Europe,
the famous Galeries de Bois becoming the resort of all the profligate
frivolity of a somewhat unbridled age.

The old gardens, sad and deserted to-day, have witnessed some strange
scenes in their time. Here it was that one summer's day Camille
Desmoulins uttered those burning words which heralded the approach of
the Revolution.

It was on the Palais Royal that Philippe Égalité let his eyes linger as
the tumbrel bore him through a hooting mob, past the splendid old home
which he had once inhabited, to where the guillotine awaited him in the
Place de la Révolution--now the Place de la Concorde. From the windows
of that self-same Palais Royal, in July 1830, did the son of Égalité
look hopefully yet half-fearfully expectant on another mob, yelling and
triumphant, which, after storming the Louvre and sacking the Tuileries,
came screeching the Marseillaise, roaring "Vive la Charte!" "Vive la
République!" "Vive Lafayette!" and most portentous of all for him,
"Vive Louis Philippe!" The last cry won the day; and Louis Philippe,
Duke of Orleans, went forth from the Palais Royal to become the Citizen

Many queer characters haunted the galleries of the Palais Royal. As
late as the early years of the reign of Louis Philippe there could
on most days be seen there an aged individual who was pointed out as
"Valois Collier." He had been the husband of the infamous Jeanne de St.
Remy, "Comtesse" de la Motte, who was wont to boast (mayhap with some
probability of truth) that a strain of the royal blood of the Valois
ran in her veins.

On the side of the Galerie d'Orléans were the famous Galeries de Bois,
the resort of all lovers of careless gaiety during the Directory,
the Consulate, the First Empire, and the Restoration. In 1815 these
galleries were nicknamed, owing to the extensive Muscovite patronage
which they enjoyed, "Le Camp des Tartares."

The Palais Royal in its palmy days was the centre of luxury--an
emporium of every alluring delight. While its brilliantly-lit piazzas
were viewed with real or pretended horror by the austere, it was a
very Mecca to the pleasure-seekers of the world. In England the place
was often called "the Devil's Drawing-room," it being said that here a
debauchee could run the whole course of his career with the greatest
facility and ease.

On the first floor were cafés where his spirits could be raised to
any requisite pitch; on the second, gaming-rooms where he could lose
his money, and salons devoted to facile love--both, not unusually,
ante-chambers to the pawnbrokers who resided above; whilst, if at the
end of his tether and determined to end his troubles, he could repair
to some of the shops on the ground floor, where daggers and pistols
were very conveniently sold at reduced prices--every facility being
thus provided for enjoying all the pleasures of life under one roof.

Besides the licensed gaming-tables there were also many forms of
unsanctioned dissipation in divers subterranean chambers. A number of
billiard-rooms, each containing two or three tables, provided further
opportunities for passing the time. Women were everywhere, and from
about midday till three o'clock in the morning, the galleries of the
Palais Royal were thronged by crowds of gaily-attired nymphs ready to
lend their aid in charming the dream of life. In the days of the Terror
they absolutely dominated the whole place. It was an epoch when many
knew that the guillotine was being made ready to receive them, and
for this reason were seized with a veritable frenzy to snatch as much
enjoyment as possible.

The close connection which at that time existed between illicit passion
and death was well typified in the personality of one of the most
popular sirens. Mademoiselle Dubois, known as "la fille Chevalier," who
was a reigning favourite of the gardens. The girl in question possessed
no great beauty, her chief attraction being that her father was the
executioner at Dijon, who had sent numbers of people into the other


From a contemporary print.]

The gaming-rooms were on the southern side of the Palais Royal.
To enter them you ascended a staircase and opened the door of an
ante-chamber, where several hundred hats, sticks, and great-coats,
carefully ticketed, were arranged, under the charge of two or three old
men, who received either one or two sous from every owner for the
safe delivery of his precious deposit. No dogs were admitted into these
sacred apartments, nor anything which was likely to disturb the deep
attention and holy quiet which pervaded them! From this ante-chamber
opened a folding-door, which led to a large, well-lighted room, in the
centre of which was a table surrounded, at a moderate estimate, by two
hundred and fifty or three hundred persons anxiously inspecting a game.
The salons in the various establishments opened one into another, and
in some there were as many as six rooms which contained tables.

At one time a curious condition was imposed upon the proprietors of the
gaming-tables. They were obliged to furnish every one who entered their
rooms with as much table-beer as they chose to call for. Waiters were
therefore perpetually running backwards and forwards with overflowing
tumblers of this refreshing beverage--six or seven crowded on a tray.

On the restoration of the Bourbons, public play in Paris continued to
flourish with unabated vigour.

There were in 1818:

   7 Tables of Trente-et-un.
   9   "       Roulette.
   1   "       Passe-dix.
   1   "       Craps.
   1   "       Hazard.
   1   "       Biribi.

These twenty tables were divided into nine houses, four of which were
situated in the Palais Royal.

To serve the seven tables of trente-et-un there were:

  28 Dealers, at 550 francs a month, making            15,400
  28 Croupiers, at 380  "          "                   10,640
  42 Assistants, at 200 "          "                    8,400

For the nine roulette tables and one passe-dix:

  80 Dealers, at 275 francs a month                    22,000
  60 Assistants, at 150 "     "                         9,000

For the service of the craps, biribi, and hazard:

   12 Dealers, at 300 francs 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
       francs a month                                   4,200
    3 Chefs de Partie for the Roulettes, at 500 francs
       a month                                          1,500
   20 Secret Inspectors, at 200 francs a month          4,000
    1 Inspector-General at                              1,000
  130 Waiters, at 75 francs a month                     9,750
  _Cards every month_ cost                              1,500
  Beer and refreshments                                 3,000
  Lights                                                5,500
  The refreshments for the grand saloon, including
      two dinners every week, cost                     12,000
  The total expenses every month thus amounted to     113,930

The amount produced by the gaming-houses of Paris in 1823 was given as

                                             Francs.      Francs.

  Rough Revenue                                         15,000,000

  Expenses: upkeep of gaming-houses,
    pay of croupiers and
    the like                                1,000,000
  Annual tax to Government                  5,000,000
  Fifteen per cent for the poor               500,000
  Total profits of proprietors                           8,500,000

The scale of payment received by the croupiers and employés would seem
to have somewhat closely approximated to that in vogue at Monte Carlo
to-day. Every establishment employed the services of a functionary
called _l'homme de force_, whose duties seem to have exactly
corresponded with those of the less picturesquely named "chucker-out"
of to-day.

The lowest stake permitted at trente-et-quarante was five francs--in
certain rooms gold only was allowed--a lower limit of two francs being
imposed at roulette. In this respect, matters were much the same as at
German gaming-tables, which began to be put an end to after the war of
1866. The regulation now prevailing at Monte Carlo, which prescribes
twenty francs at trente-et-quarante and five francs at roulette, is
a very salutary one, preventing as it does a certain class of player
from risking small sums which he can ill afford to lose. During the
existence of the Paris gaming-tables there was at times a good deal
of agitation in favour of raising the limit at roulette, the lowness
of which was said to be responsible for widespread ruin amongst the
working-classes. Occasionally, however, fortune was kind towards some
of her humble worshippers. A cook employed at a Paris restaurant
happened one day to stroll into the gaming-rooms established at No. 113
in the Palais Royal. He had no money, so amused himself looking at the
people and eating oranges, a number of which he had brought with him.
The rooms were hot, and a thirsty player offered to give the man six
sous for one of the oranges, which the cook accepted. He then proceeded
to throw the six sous on the biribi table, where he won six francs,
which were increased to two hundred at roulette. At trente-et-quarante
he was even more lucky, and after playing with the greatest success for
some time found himself with a profit of some five hundred thousand
francs. His master, the restaurant-keeper, who was a wise man, with
some difficulty persuaded him to invest these large winnings in sound
securities, whilst pointing out the folly of any further gambling. The
cook never played again, and ended his days in affluence. He is said
to have been the only man of this class who ever made a fortune at the
Parisian gambling-tables.

Numbers of people who frequented the gaming-houses of the Palais
Royal came there when they were already ruined, and, losing the small
sums which still remained to them, afterwards created disturbance and


A case of this sort which attracted a good deal of attention was
that of an English half-pay colonel, who, having lost all his money at
one of the Palais Royal Hells, determined to kill himself and every
one in the place besides. With this object in view he smuggled into
the place a canister full of explosive powder, which he put under the
table and furtively set alight. Though players and croupiers were very
unpleasantly astonished at the result, no one was hurt except the
Colonel, who was very roughly handled and was thrown into prison, from
which he was after a time sent over to England as a madman.

Amongst the games played were two which are now quite forgotten; these
were passe-dix and craps.

Passe-dix is said to be the most ancient of all games of chance.
According to tradition it was at this game that the soldiers played for
the garments of Christ after the crucifixion.

There is one banker and any amount of players, each one of whom holds
the box in turn. When a point under ten is thrown all the players
lose their stake. If, however, a point above ten is thrown the banker
pays double on all stakes. At private play every player banks in his
turn, but in the Palais Royal the bank was, of course, held for the
proprietors of the gaming-rooms.

The game of creps or craps mentioned in the list of tolerated games is
now obsolete as a medium for any serious gambling in Europe. Curiously
enough, however, it still survives in another continent, being even
at the present day a favourite game in mining camps in Alaska, where
it is well known in the gaming-saloons which are almost inevitable
accompaniments of such settlements. The game would appear to consist of
a board, something like an enlarged and glorified backgammon board, on
which are emblazoned an anchor and five other emblems. The banker, when
the money has been staked on these emblems, shakes out six dice, each
of which bears on its facets devices corresponding with the designs on
the board, the players being paid in proportion to the number of dice
showing the figure they have selected. The boards used in Alaska are
said to have been copied from similar ones brought by French emigrants
to California during the famous gold fever in the 'forties. In some
cases the identical boards exported from France are said to be still in

The bankers at craps claim that the odds are perfectly even as between
the bank and the players, a statement which, however, would not resist
the test of serious mathematical investigation.

The farmer-general of all the metropolitan houses of play at this
time was Monsieur Benazet, Colonel of the Garde Nationale of Neuilly.
M. Benazet, after the Revolution of 1830, was decorated by Louis
Philippe with the cross of the Légion d'honneur, on account of his
loyalty. Besides the officials who have been enumerated, there was a
horde of attached spies, providers, pickers-up, and hangers-on, paid
for doing the "dirty work" of the houses, both in and out of doors.
The name, rank in life, presumed fortune, habitation, and habits of
each gaming-house guest were registered; and, if they became regular
customers, a sobriquet, or nickname, was given to each. By this means
the constant players were, in a certain degree, known to the police.
The salaried satellites of the _maisons de jeu_, when they entered upon
their office, were peremptorily told that "it was their duty to regard
every man who played at the tables as an enemy."

Three of the gaming-houses catered almost entirely for players of
means, Frascati's and the Salon des Étrangers being well-known to all
the gamblers of Europe. No. 154 in the Palais Royal, it should be
mentioned, was also a favourite resort of high gamblers during the
occupation of Paris by the Allies. Marshal Blücher lost very large sums

This rough old soldier was a most irascible player, and when he lost
(which was more often than not) he would rap out volleys of German
oaths whilst glaring at the croupiers. He usually played very high,
and would grumble at the limit of 10,000 francs imposed as a maximum;
so great was the sensation that he created, that any table at which he
might be playing was always uncomfortably crowded.

In 1814 the stakes on the tables of the French gaming-houses consisted
of the coins of all nations, it being not uncommon to see French
napoléons and louis d'or, English guineas and crowns, Dutch ducats,
Spanish doubloons, Russian roubles, as well as the various moneys of
Prussia, Italy, and Germany, on the tables at the same moment. Notes
were somewhat rare, though occasionally some daring gamester would
stake a French one for a large amount.

The Salon and Frascati's were situated close together at that extremity
of the Rue Richelieu which opens into the Boulevards; they both
presented a highly aristocratic exterior, and both professed to be
aristocratically exclusive and to admit no person without a suitable
and satisfactory introduction. From this rule, however, Frascati's in
its latter days departed; and the Cerberus who guarded the portals of
that pandemonium very, very seldom refused admittance to any one whose
exterior afforded evidence that he possessed any material wherewithal
to feed (it were too much to say, satisfy) the devouring appetites of
the bank.

Frascati's opened rather later than the other gaming-houses, its
portals being only thrown open at one in the afternoon.

The Salon des Étrangers, also a favourite resort of Marshal Blücher,
was frequented chiefly by that class who could afford to frequent
gaming-houses, the ambassadors of foreign potentates frequently
presiding at its sumptuous and magnificent entertainments.

The opening of these houses took place with nearly as great regularity
as that of any bureau in Paris.

A well-known figure at the Salon was an old gentleman whose existence
was bound up with that of this gaming-house. He had been completely
ruined by play, and the proprietors of the Salon allowed him a pension
to support him in his miserable senility--just sufficient to supply
him with a wretched lodging, bread, and a change of raiment once in
every three or four years! In addition to this he was allowed a supper
(which was his dinner) at the gaming-house. Thither, at about eleven
o'clock at night, he went. Till supper-time (two) he amused himself in
watching the games and calculating the various chances, although he was
destitute of the means of playing a single coup. At four he returned to
his lodging, retired to bed, and lay till between nine and ten on the
following night. A cup of coffee was then brought to him; and, having
dressed himself, at the usual hour he again proceeded to the Salon.
This had been his round of life for several years; and during all that
time (except on a few mornings about midsummer) he had not beheld the

Another constant frequenter of the Salon des Étrangers during the
occupation of Paris by the Allies in 1814 was a Mr. Fox, a popular
Secretary of the British Embassy, who was notorious for his easy-going
disposition. Though usually most unfortunate at play, he once had an
extraordinary run of luck, when having taken up the dice-box, he threw
eleven successful throws, broke the bank, and took home some sixty
thousand francs as winnings. All of this he spent in buying presents
for ladies, which he declared was the only way to prevent the rascals
at the Salon from getting back their money.

At the same gambling-place Lord Thanet lost enormous sums, whilst a
young Irishman, Mr. Gough by name, was totally ruined there, and in
consequence blew out his brains.

On the green cloth of the Salon des Étrangers also melted away the
fortune of Sir Francis Vincent, who, having dissipated the whole of
a fine property at play, entirely disappeared from the gay world.
Frascati's--a more amusing resort--was in its palmy days regularly
haunted by an aged gentleman well dowered with means, who was daily
carried by his servant to the rouge-et-noir table. There he sat playing
from three o'clock until five, at which hour, precisely, the servant
returned and carried him (for he had entirely lost the use of his legs)
back to his carriage. He was a man of large fortune, and the stakes he
played were not considerable; yet he was elated by every lucky coup,
and at every reverse he gnashed his teeth and struck the table in rage.
No sooner, however, had the moment for his departure arrived, than he
regained his equanimity, utterly regardless as to whether he had been a
winner, or a loser, by the proceedings. "I have outlived all modes of
excitement," said he, "save that of gaming: it is that that takes the
fastest hold on the mind and retains it the longest; my blood, but for
this occasional agitation, would stagnate in my veins--I should die."

Ten fêtes were given during the year at Frascati's, the sole
gaming-place to which, after 1818, women were allowed admittance.

The disinclination of the Parisian authorities to throw open the public
gaming-rooms to women was founded upon very substantial grounds, for
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, great scandals had arisen
owing to ladies becoming desperate after unsuccessful play. In 1804,
for instance, a young and beautiful Hanoverian Countess, who had lost
50,000 livres, planned and executed the robbery of a fine coronet of
emeralds, which she contrived to purloin at a ball given by the owner,
Madame Demidoff. The youth, beauty, and high rank of the thief caused a
great agitation in favour of her being pardoned, but Napoleon, who was
never moved by mere sentimental considerations, refused to annul the
sentence which had been passed upon her.

When they take to gambling, Frenchwomen become passionate devotees of
play, as may be verified at any casino in France when baccarat and
petits chevaux are in full swing. Very often they become so fascinated
by the spirit of speculation that they can think of nothing else. An
instance of this was the lady who, confessing to her priest, owned she
was desperately fond of gambling.

The confessor, after pointing out the evils of such a passion,
advanced several arguments against play, amongst which a principal one
was the great loss of time which it must inevitably occasion.

"Ah," said the lady, "that's just what vexes me--so much time lost in
shuffling the cards!"

Besides the licensed gaming-houses there were at this time a number of
"maisons de bouillotte," which, though unlicensed, were more or less
under the surveillance of the police. Here a good deal of play went on
practically unchecked, an added attraction being the female society of
no very rigorous morality which frequented such resorts. The favourite
game played in these bouillottes was not the "bouillotte" from which
they took their name, but écarté, in some ways a modification of the
old French game of "la triomphe." Écarté in its present form would seem
to have been first played in the early part of the nineteenth century
in Paris, whence it made its way to England about 1820.

Whilst such places, together with Frascati's and the Salon des
Étrangers, were the resort of the fashionable world, humbler gamblers
betook themselves to half a dozen houses which were frequented by all
classes of the population, the most popular being Nos. 9, 129, and
113 in the Palais Royal. Play began at twelve in the morning, except
on Sundays and holidays, when one was the hour fixed; on certain
Saints' Days and at Christmas all the gambling houses were compelled
by law to close at midnight, except the Salon des Étrangers and No. 9
in the Palais Royal, two of those curious exceptions for which the
authorities in France have always had (and still have) a liking, being
made in their favour.

On January 21, the day on which the unfortunate Louis XVI. had been
guillotined, a special regulation forbade any play at all. In 1819,
however, no notice was taken of this, which led to a great outcry; and
the following year the gambling-houses did shut their doors on the day
in question, but the keepers demanded a rebate on the sum paid to the
Government as compensation for their loss of profits.

The evil days of the Palais Royal as a pleasure-resort began about
the time of the Revolution of 1830, when it became evident that a
determined effort was going to be made to alter the character of the
place entirely. In 1831, stringent measures were adopted with regard to
the class of persons allowed to frequent the galleries, the amusements
permitted being exposed to a rigorous censorship, whilst every effort
was made to efface the traditions of light-hearted frivolity and
licence which had hung about the old place since the days of the

Numbers of the tradesmen who owned shops in the Palais Royal had called
for these measures. They were imbued with the somewhat pharisaical
respectability which is so often the appanage of their class, and
entertained the totally fallacious idea that the purification of
the gardens would cause a greater number of visitors from abroad to
frequent and make purchases at their shops. It soon became evident
that the fate of the gaming-tables was sealed, a great outcry being
raised against the toleration of what was characterised as a public
scandal, and was denounced as such in the Press. English opinion
particularly was said to be bitterly hostile to the tables, and the
deluded tradesmen of Paris entertained an idea that the doubtful
pleasures of the Palais Royal prevented much foreign money from pouring
into their pockets.

Finally in 1836, chiefly owing to the efforts of a Mr. Delessert, it
was decided that the gaming-houses of Paris should be closed two years
from that date, and on the 1st of January 1838 the Palais Royal ceased
to offer any attractions appealing to the gambler.

At the time when the agitation for the suppression of public gaming
in Paris was going on, a good deal of abuse was heaped upon the
proprietors of the tables, who were denounced as vampires sucking the
blood of the poor. One of them, M. Borsant by name, was exempted from
censure, being noted for many favourable traits not often to be met
with in those drawing their revenue from gaming. This gentleman once
actually restored 17,000 francs lost by a young man to his astonished
parents. The actual date of the cessation of public play in Paris was
Sunday, December 31, 1837. So numerous had the visitors been during the
last few weeks preceding this date, that an additional police force
had been found necessary for the maintenance of order. In consequence
of the excitement, the manufacturers and tradesmen of Paris had come
to a general agreement not to pay their workmen's wages before twelve
o'clock on Sunday night, lest the money might be carried to swell the
last day's receipts of the great joint-stock company to which all the
Parisian gaming-houses belonged.

On the last evening, which was a Sunday, the rooms at Frascati's were
so thronged that there was scarcely a possibility of stirring in them.
The tables were overladen with money. At ten o'clock such was the crowd
inside that it was found necessary to shut the street doors.

Placards stuck up in all the rooms warned the gamblers that the play
would not be suffered to extend a single minute beyond midnight, which
was the hour specified by the law. The Salon or Cercle des Étrangers,
still the most fashionable of the gambling-houses, which usually was
opened only at eleven at night and closed at three or four in the
morning, opened on Sunday evening at nine o'clock, a notification to
such effect having been sent round to the habitual frequenters of
the place. On Saturday and Sunday all the gambling-houses of Paris,
especially No. 154 of the Palais Royal and Frascati's, were immensely
crowded. Several dramatic incidents occurred. A workman destroyed
himself on quitting No. 113, and two young men who had lost large sums
disappeared entirely.

In accordance with the edict previously announced, the game ceased
exactly at midnight. The gambling during the last days of the tables
had been very high, and crowds flocked to witness the end. Disturbances
were anticipated, and the municipal guards were in consequence posted
in considerable force about the various rooms. At Frascati's an immense
crowd of visitors assembled, but they dispersed peaceably, after
encountering the shouts and hisses of the mob that had collected in the
Rue de Richelieu outside to witness their final exit from that historic
haunt of pleasure. A dramatic incident occurred, one unhappy wretch
shooting himself as the doors closed for ever. He had lost heavily, and
was in despair at the prospect of being unable to retrieve his losses.

In 1838 a case came on for trial before the Court of Assizes, Paris,
which excited a good deal of interest. The prisoner, a clerk to a
merchant, had gambled on several occasions, and had lost at Frascati's
and the gaming-houses licensed by Government upwards of 100,000 francs,
the property of his employer. In the course of the trial, Benazet, the
lessee of these establishments, stated that in the course of a year
there was thrown on the tables of the gaming-houses comprised in his
licence 800,000,000 francs (£32,000,000): that, independently of the
annual sum paid to Government for the licence (which was 6,000,000
francs or £240,000), the clear profit on the tables during the last
year of their life, 1837, was no less a sum than 1,900,000 francs
(£76,000), but that three-fourths of this sum was paid over to the
city of Paris; the other fourth (£19,000) was his proportion of the
gain. M. Benazet eventually declared that he would refund his part
of the sum lost by the prosecutor's clerk if the city of Paris would
equally pay back the three-fourths of it which had passed to its
credit. The average number of gamblers admitted to those houses had
been three thousand a day, another thousand having been denied entrance.

From the moment that the tables were suppressed, the prosperity of
the shops in the former Palace of Cardinal Mazarin began to wane. As
the years rolled on, visitors became fewer and fewer, till the place
assumed the forlorn aspect which it wears to-day, when even the tourist
scarcely deigns to visit its deserted galleries.

At the time of the Revolution there had been a number of first-class
restaurants in the Palais Royal. The café kept by Méot, for instance,
enjoyed a great reputation for its cellar. Here could be procured
twenty-two sorts of red wine, twenty-seven of white, and sixteen
different kinds of liqueurs, most of which had come from the cellars
of the _noblesse_. Méot's was essentially a Royalist restaurant,
and contained little rooms where aristocratic clients could dine in
luxurious privacy.

Beauvilliers, once cook to the Prince de Condé, also kept a restaurant
much frequented by adherents of the old régime, and here Rivarol
Champcenetz and others used, while dining, to compose articles for the
famous Royalist sheet--_Les Actes des Apôtres_.

A well-situated restaurant was Véry's, which paid no less than 196,275
livres a year as rent for No. 83. Véry's was founded in 1790: here it
was that Danton gave dinners to his friends, and pointed out to them
"that their turn had come to taste the delights of life; and enjoy the
sumptuous mansions, exquisite dishes, rare fabrics, and beautiful women
which were the legitimate spoils of the victors." This restaurant was
much frequented by foreigners, with whom it had a great reputation;
every Englishman of means who visited Paris made a point of dining
there once or twice.

At No. 73 was the restaurant Venua, where the Girondins used to
dine at ten francs a head. Robespierre also used to frequent its
gaily-decorated saloons, and men alive in the middle of the last
century well remembered the sinister profile and sky-blue coat of the
"sea-green incorruptible" reflected in the mirrors which adorned this

A badly-lit, ill-appointed restaurant was that kept by Fevrier;
nevertheless, its democratic lack of luxury attracted austere patriots.

Lepelletier de St. Fargeau, dining here on the 20th of January 1793, at
five o'clock in the afternoon, was accosted by a young man who stabbed
him to death as one who had voted for the execution of Louis XVI.

[Illustration: VERY'S IN 1825.]

As Paris gradually recovered from the fever of the Revolution, many
other first-class restaurants were established in the Palais Royal,
several of which survived up to our own time.

All of these have now long disappeared from the spot which was once a
shrine for the gastronomers of Europe. To-day the very name of Véfour
is forgotten. Les Trois Frères Provençaux, the Café Corazza, and other
resorts, once famous for their cuisine, have long ceased to make any
appeal to the modern gourmet, whilst even the less pretentious cafés,
which, in the early days of the third Republic, offered the passing
traveller a sumptuous dinner for two or three francs, have almost,
without exception, closed their doors.

From time to time schemes have been mooted which were to galvanise the
Palais Royal into some semblance of life; the latest of these is a plan
to pierce a street, or rather a drive, right through it, by which means
the place would become a thoroughfare and regain its lost vitality.

Sad and mournful as the old gardens are to-day, it is not altogether
without the bounds of possibility that they will in the future once
again become the resort of the wealthy pleasure-seekers of the world.

The fine shops which formerly abounded beneath the colonnades are
memories of the past, all the great shopkeepers having migrated from
what has become a little city of the dead. A number of the shopkeepers
in the Palais Royal lived to regret bitterly the rigorous measures for
which they had once so vehemently called, and there is no doubt that
the unfortunate commercial results which followed, once it had ceased
to be a pleasure-resort, made a deep and lasting impression upon the
mind of the Parisian tradesman, who to-day thoroughly realises that
visitors to Paris are attracted by some amusement of a speculative kind.

The Parisian shop-keeper would probably welcome the revival of public
gaming-tables for he is a warm supporter of French racing, where the
betting is legalised and carried on by the State, well knowing the
commercial benefits which indirectly accrue to the city of Paris.

During the Second Empire, Doctor Louis Véron, ex-dealer in quack
medicines, ex-manager of the Grand Opéra, and ex-proprietor of the
_Constitutionnel_ newspaper, offered an enormous royalty to Government
for the privilege of establishing a gambling-house in Paris. The
Emperor Napoleon III., however, declined to consider the proposal.

At the present day, though no public tables exist, there are ample
facilities for play in Paris, and baccarat flourishes in many a Club to
which admission is not difficult. The great evil of the gaming-houses
of the Palais Royal was that they especially appealed to a class which
could not afford to lose their hard-earned money--the poor being lured
to ruin. Such a state of affairs is non-existent in modern Paris, where
gambling, as far as possible, is limited to those able to afford to
indulge in it.

A Frenchman cares little for Clubs without play, and many a _Cercle_
draws its principal support from the cagnotte at baccarat; this amounts
to about ten per cent on the sum put into the bank, which goes to the
highest bidder up to five hundred louis, when, if there are two or
three competitors, they draw lots for it. The percentage in question,
however, varies as the bank increases, and is not levied after a
certain amount of renewals.

In former years the management of some of these gambling-clubs was
somewhat lax, and occasionally undesirable characters entered the
rooms and passed themselves off as members. At a certain well-known
resort, which formerly flourished not far from the Place de l'Opéra,
high gambling was the order of the day just before dinner. One fine
afternoon there was as usual somewhat spirited bidding for the bank,
which was eventually secured for some four hundred louis by a very
distinguished-looking man whose face was new to the usual frequenters
of the place. The individual in question, taking the banker's seat,
the cards having been shuffled and cut, produced no money but merely
told the croupier opposite, "Il y a quatre cents louis en banque," upon
which that official, with all the dignity of his race, tapped a piece
of red cardboard and repeated, "Quatre cents louis à la carte."

The stakes were made and the cards dealt--neuf on the right, huit on
the left--both sides won. "Caissier," cried the banker to the official
who exchanged money for counters and vice versa at the desk, "donnez
dix mille francs." The result of this was, however, unsatisfactory,
for the caissier most politely explained that he had no authority to
advance money to members, and certainly not to members whom he did not
know. "Well," said the banker, "if that is the case I must go and get
my pocket-book from my coat; it will be the matter of an instant."
This optimistic forecast, however, was hardly justified by subsequent
events, for the banker never returned, and eventually the expectant
and anxious players became so enraged that the management of the Club
thought it best to pay them their winnings. The banker, it afterwards
transpired, had been a notorious sharper.

It was at a Club of the same sort, where the membership was rather
mixed, that a certain English nobleman, finding that his pocket-book,
containing several thousand francs, had been taken out of his coat
hanging in the hall, did not hesitate to tell the committee that it
must have been purloined either by the waiters or the members, and
received the reply, "We can answer for the _waiters_!"

Not very far from Paris, at the Casino of Enghein, much baccarat is
played, which has rendered the resort in question very popular, so much
so indeed that the criminals known as "apaches" have begun to haunt the
road from Paris. Not very long ago a band of these pests contrived to
stop a motor, one of them lying down in the road in front of it, and
the rest attempting to rob the occupants when the car was pulled up.
The miscreants were on the point of wrenching a valuable pearl necklace
from a lady's neck when another car arrived and put the assailants to

About a couple of years ago roulette was played--practically without
let or hindrance--at St. Germain. No wheel, however, was employed,
its place being supplied by a dial on which by an ingenious device
the winning number and colour appeared on a croupier firing a sort of
rifle. The result was the same as at ordinary roulette, and just as in
the old-fashioned form of the game most people lost their money. This
resort, it should be added, was eventually closed by the authorities,
who were aroused by the great increase of gaming in Paris owing to the
introduction of baccarat with one tableau. This will be dealt with at
the end of the next chapter.


 Public gaming in Germany--Aix-la-Chapelle--An Italian gambler--The
 King of Prussia's generosity--Baden-Baden--M. de la Charme--A
 dishonest croupier--Wiesbaden--An eccentric Countess--Closing
 of the tables in 1873--Last scenes--Arrival of M. Blanc at
 Homburg--His attempt to defeat his own tables--Anecdotes of
 Garcia--His miserable end--A Spanish gambler at Ems--Roulette at
 Geneva and in Heligoland--Gambling at Ostend--Baccarat at French
 watering-places--"La Faucheuse" forbidden in France.

In former times a great deal of public gaming was carried on at
Aix-la-Chapelle, where the alluring rattle of the dice-box was to be
heard from morning till night. Here there were fixed hours for play,
one bank opening as another shut--biribi, hazard, faro, and vingt-et-un
being the favourite games. The chief banker paid a thousand louis per
annum for his licence during the season; and it was said that his
profit in general exceeded four thousand, and sometimes double that
sum. There were two gaming-houses a mile or two from the town, and
each gambling-house, each room, nay, each part of a room, had its
fashionable hours. From the commencement of play to the conclusion
(that is, from ten in the morning to two or three the next morning),
only two hours were allotted for meals.

In 1792 a little Italian created a considerable sensation at this
gaming-resort, to which he had come as an adventurer, with a few louis
d'or in his pocket, determined to try the favour of fortune. His first
attempt was at hazard, where he played crown stakes, which, as fortune
smiled on him, were increased to half a guinea, guinea, and so on to
bank-notes. In the space of twenty-four hours he had stripped the bank
of upwards of four thousand pounds; and the next morning, resuming his
operations, broke the bank entirely, his winnings amounting to more
than nine thousand pounds. One would have imagined that a poor needy
adventurer, who most probably had never seen a twentieth part of such a
sum before, would at once have pocketed his winnings and returned (in
his own mind a prince) to his native country. Content, however, was a
stranger to his mind, and the accession of one sum only brought with it
anxiety for a greater. He continued to be successful; and for several
days the bankers ceased to play, so completely had he reduced them
to their last stake. When a fresh supply of cash did at last arrive
the little adventurer recommenced operations--for a few hours with
his usual success. The luck, however, at last changed, and from being
the possessor of ten thousand pounds he left the bank reduced to his
very last louis. He next proceeded to negotiate a loan of about thirty
pounds, and returned to the tables, much to the discomfort of the
bankers, who, from the success that attended his play, had conceived no
small dread of him. His usual run of good luck attended him, and from
being master of only thirty pounds, he left the table with more than
ten thousand. He remembered a resolution he had formed in his fit of
poverty, went to an inn, ordered a carriage, and packed up his baggage.
In the interim, however, one of the directors of the bank, learning
his intention, set off to interview him, resolved to use all the
rhetoric he was master of to persuade him to relinquish his design. His
arguments were too specious not to destroy the resolution of the poor
Italian, whose fortitude vanished in a moment, and instead of making
for his native country he returned to the gaming-table, where, in a
very few hours, he was stripped of every _soldo_ he had in the world,
and left to reflect on the diversity of fortune which he had known in
the space of so short a time. The moment he got back to his lodgings he
sold the greater part of his clothes, and by this means raised a few
louis which he took to his old haunts, where he now cut a sorry figure.


A considerable sensation was once caused at the principal faro-table
at Aix-la-Chapelle by the success of a plainly-dressed stranger, who,
after playing in modest stakes for some time, suddenly challenged the
bank for the whole of its capital, carelessly tossing his pocket-book
to the banker, that the latter might not question his ability to pay in
case he lost. The banker, surprised at the boldness of the adventurer,
and no less so at his ordinary appearance, at first hesitated to
accept the challenge; but on opening the book and seeing bills to a
prodigious amount, and on the stranger sternly and repeatedly insisting
on his complying with the laws of the game, with much reluctance he
shuffled the cards in preparation for the great event. Excitement ran
high, and all eyes were soon attentively riveted upon the trembling
hands of the affrighted banker, who, while the gambler sat unruffled
and unconcerned, turned up the card which decided his own ruin and the
other's success.

The bank was broken, and the triumphant stranger, with perfect coolness
and serenity of features, turned to a person who stood at his elbow, to
whom he gave orders to take charge of the money. "Heavens," exclaimed
an infirm old officer in the Austrian service, who had sat next the
winner at the table, "if I had the twentieth part of your success this
night I should be the happiest man in the universe." "If thou wouldst
be this happy man," replied the stranger briskly, "then thou shalt have
it"; and, without waiting for a reply, disappeared from the room. Some
little time afterwards the entrance of a servant astonished the company
with the extraordinary generosity of the stranger as with his peculiar
good fortune, by presenting the Austrian officer with the twentieth
part of the faro bank. "Take this, sir," said the servant, "my master
requires no answer"; and he suddenly left him without exchanging
another word.

The next morning all Aix-la-Chapelle was agog with the news that the
lucky and generous stranger was no less a personage than the King of

In more recent times Aix-la-Chapelle appeared only destined to end its
gambling days as a trap for incautious travellers, many of whom, in
consequence, never saw the Rhine, and returned to England with very
misty ideas about Germany.

About 1840 several other German pleasure-resorts began to include
gambling amongst the attractions offered to visitors. After the closing
of the Parisian gaming-houses the proprietors, who found the business
much too profitable to be tamely resigned, turned their gaze beyond
the Rhine, where a fair field for their exertions in the pursuit of
a livelihood presented itself. After many weary negotiations with
the several governments, a syndicate of bankers, with M. Chabert at
their head, simultaneously opened their establishments at Baden-Baden,
Wiesbaden, and Ems. It was a very hard contest between the Regents
and the Frenchmen before the terms were finally settled, and the
latter expended much money and many promises in getting a footing. But
they eventually succeeded, and a few years saw their efforts richly
rewarded. As they had a monopoly, they could do pretty much as they
pleased, and made very stringent and profitable regulations relative
to the _refait_ and other methods of gaining a pull. On the retirement
of M. Chabert with an immense fortune, the company was dissolved,
and M. Benazet became ostensibly sole proprietor of the rooms at
Baden-Baden. The terms to which he had to subscribe were sufficient
to frighten any one less enterprising than the general of an army of
croupiers; he was compelled to expend 150,000 florins in decorating
the rooms and embellishing the walks round the town; and an annual sum
of 50,000 florins was furthermore demanded for permission to keep the
establishment open for six months in the year.

At Baden-Baden a well-known figure for many years was the old
ex-Elector of Hesse, who made his money by selling his soldiers to
England at so much a head, like cattle, during the American War. The
Prince in question was easily to be recognised by the gold-headed and
coroneted rake he always had in his hand. A constant player, he was a
most profitable customer to the bank. Eventually, however, the superior
attractions of Homburg led him away. The Revolution of 1848 frightened
or angered him to death.

At Baden the bank at roulette had two zeroes, an enormous advantage,
which rendered the certainty of success in the long run, which the bank
must of course possess, almost ridiculously easy. Nauheim, on the other
hand, was modestly content to claim only a quarter of the _refait_ at
trente-et-quarante, a good deal less than that taken by the present
Monte Carlo tables. The keen competition of its rivals, Wiesbaden and
Homburg, was the cause of this generosity.

In the late 'sixties a gaming hero, M. Edgar de la Charme, created
a great sensation at Baden, where, for a number of days together, he
never left the gaming-room without carrying off a profit which usually
did not fall far short of a thousand pounds in English money.

At the end of several days of almost unparalleled good fortune, M. de
la Charme, reflecting that there must be an end even to the greatest
run of luck, packed his portmanteau, paid his bill, and strolled down
to the railway station, accompanied by some of his friends. There,
however, he found the wicket closed, there being still three-quarter's
of an hour before the departure of the train. "Well," he exclaimed, "I
will go and play my parting game," and, taking a carriage, drove back
to the Kursaal, though his friends made every effort to prevent him.
Arrived at the Casino, he sat down at the trente-et-quarante, where
in twenty minutes he broke the bank again. He then left, but, while
getting into his cab, caught sight of the inspector of the tables
walking to and fro under the arcades, and said to him in a tone of
exquisite politeness, "I could not think of going away without leaving
you my P.P.C."

The society at Baden was said to be as mixed as that frequenting the
Paris boulevards. There was indeed a good deal of Parisian Bohemianism
about this charming spot, which, since the closing of the tables,
has been forced to rely upon its proximity to the Black Forest and
other natural attractions--poor substitutes to the gambler for the
whirl of the roulette wheel and the chanting of the croupier at

The rooms which re-echoed to these exciting, if none too reputable
sounds, to-day seem somehow to present a rather sad and almost wistful
appearance. Surely, "if aught inanimate e'er grieves," the Kurhaus
must sigh for the vanished days of the Second Empire, and for the gay,
careless folk who thronged its halls, now so decorous and staid.

Old gamblers used to say that the croupiers at Baden were recruited
from the same families who had held the rake in the gambling-rooms
of the Palais Royal. Certain veterans were even pointed out as being
survivors of the great days of Frascati's and the Salon.

Baden made no pretence to any particular exclusiveness. Here all men
and women were equal, people sitting down cheek by jowl with any one
at trente-et-quarante or roulette, a practice not much in favour at
aristocratic Ems, where the fashionable lounger was more given to
tossing down his stake carelessly as he or she strolled through the

Though the croupiers at Baden-Baden were generally above suspicion, the
bank was swindled by its employés on more than one occasion. A notable
instance was that of an official who was discovered to have carried on
a system of plunder for a long time with security. He used to slip a
louis d'or into his snuff-box whenever it came to his turn to preside
over the money department; he was found out by another employé asking
him casually for a pinch of snuff, and seeing the money gleam in the

On the whole the croupiers at Baden were admirable, sometimes
preserving their self-control under the most trying circumstances. On
one occasion when a young Englishman, of high repute and bearing an
honourable name, vented his rage at losing by breaking a rake over the
head of the croupier, the latter merely turned round and beckoned to
the attendant gendarme to remove his assailant and the pieces of the
rake, and then went on with his parrot-like "_rouge gagne, couleur

The croupiers in general seemed to unite the stoicism of the American
Indian with the politeness of the Frenchman of the _ancien régime_.
Impassive under all circumstances they seemed to fear neither God nor
man; for when a shock of the earthquake of 1847 was felt at Wiesbaden,
though all the company fled in terror, they remained grimly at their
posts, preferring to go down to their patron saints with their
rouleaux, as an evidence of their fidelity to their employer. It is not
unlikely that they regarded the earthquake as a preconcerted scheme to
rob the bank!

The public buildings of Wiesbaden were charming, especially the
Kursaal, with its open "Platz," its colonnades and magnificent
ball-room, its "salons de jeu," reading-rooms, restaurant, and charming
gardens behind. Here were lakes, fountains, running streams, which
made it as pretty a place as any of its kind on the banks of the Rhine.

Towards the last days of the gambling at Wiesbaden the majority of the
players belonged to the middle and lower middle classes, leavened by a
very few celebrities and persons of genuine distinction. The general
run of visitors, indeed, was by no means remarkable for birth, wealth,
or respectability, and it used at that time to be said that all the
aged, broken-down courtesans of Paris, Vienna, and Berlin had agreed to
make Wiesbaden their autumn rendezvous.

One of the well-known eccentric notabilities of Wiesbaden at that time
was a certain Countess--an aged patrician of immense fortune, whose
very existence seemed bound up with that of the tables. She used daily
to be wheeled to her place in the "temple of chance," where she usually
played for eight or nine hours with wonderful spirit and perseverance.
A suite of eight domestics were in attendance upon her, and when she
won, which was not often, she invariably presented each member of her
retinue with--twopence! This was done, she would naively declare, "not
from a feeling of generosity, but in order to propitiate Fortune." On
the other hand, when she lost, none of them, save the man who wheeled
her home and who received a donation of six kreuzers, got anything at
all but hard words. Unlike her contemporary, a once lovely Russian
Ambassadress, she did not curse the croupiers loudly for her bad luck,
but, being very far advanced in years and of a tender disposition,
would shed tears over her misfortunes, resting her chin on the edge of
the table. This old lady was very intimate with one or two antediluvian
diplomatists and warriors, whom she used to entertain with constant
lamentations over her fatal passion for play, interspersed with bits
of moss-grown scandal, disinterred from the social ruins of a bygone
age. Radetzky, Paul Eszterhazy, Wrangel, and Blücher had been friends
of her youth; and, to judge from her appearance, no one would have been
surprised to hear that she had attended the Jeu du Roi in the galleries
of Versailles, or played whist with Maria Theresa.

Wiesbaden boasted a financier from Amsterdam, who usually played on
credit--that is to say, he pocketed his winnings, but, if he lost,
borrowed money of the banker, squaring his account, which was generally
a heavy one, at the end of the week. Another well-known character was
an English baronet, who always brought a lozenge-box with him. When
this was filled with gold he would leave the rooms. He seldom had to
remain long, for he possessed his own luck, and that of some one else
into the bargain.

Wiesbaden, like the other German gaming-places, was made virtuous by
compulsion rather than choice. When Nassau was annexed by the astute
Bismarck, the law which abolished legal gambling affected this place as
it did Homburg, Ems, and other Spas. It should, however, be added that
its provisions showed a scrupulous regard for vested interests.

As the fateful 1st of January 1873--the day on which all public gaming
throughout the German Empire was to cease--approached, there was
considerable excitement, not only amongst the usual frequenters of
the tables, but also amongst the general population of the place, who
fully realised the financial benefits which had accrued to them through
roulette and trente-et-quarante, the impending prohibition of which
they deplored.

At midnight on the 31st December 1872, after a hundred years of
existence, the Kursaal clock at Wiesbaden sounded the close of play.
There was considerable disorder in the rooms on the last night, the
place being converted into a bear-garden. During the last week the
rooms got so enormously thronged that the administration found it
necessary to admit only by tickets. 1872 was a splendid financial year,
for, after paying all the enormous expenses (5000 florins a day),
including the yearly tax of 200,000 florins to the Prussian Government,
the shareholders received interest on their capital at the rate of
107 per cent per annum. A number of the eighty or ninety croupiers
were retained by M. Blanc for service at Monaco, whilst the rest it is
believed went into trade.

On the last night an immense throng gathered in the rooms, eagerly
crowding round the tables. The play, however, was unusually dull, and
on the green cloth, which had usually been liberally sprinkled with
gold, only a few spare florins were to be seen. The croupiers did
their best to dispel the depression which hung over the gamesters;
and as the final moment approached, shouted louder and louder, adding
to their usual formula, "Faites vos jeux, Messieurs," the words "le
troisième dernier!"--the third last chance; "le deuxième dernier!"--the
second last; and finally "le dernier!" which seemed to sound like a
death-knell. Their appeals had little effect, the moment being of
such solemnity as to stifle all emotion and paralyse every movement.
Here and there some small stake was noiselessly placed on the table
by some timid and unfamiliar hand, but the audacious spirit of the
real gambler was for the moment lulled to rest, and no one seemed
eager to try a last serious struggle with the goddess of chance. The
closing of the gaming-tables was a veritable convulsion of nature as
regards Wiesbaden. On the 1st of January 1873 there was universal
confusion in hotel and lodging-house, and the streets were thronged
with departing travellers and overladen porters, while the railway
stations were blocked with eager applicants for tickets. With a haste
bordering on indecency the old gambling-saloons were taken possession
of by the municipal authorities, and stripped of their furniture;
windows and doors being thrown open to the air, and the halls, formerly
devoted to chance, handed over to a host of painters, white-washers,
and scrubbers. The green tables, which had caused so many emotions,
were thrown out, and cast into heaps, preliminary to being carted
away as old furniture. The results to the town were disastrous. Many
of the hotels fell into bankruptcy and were forced to close their
windows--their doors they might have left open, for there were no
guests to enter them.

The shopkeepers, more especially the jewellers, who generally were
pawnbrokers too, and all dealers in articles of luxury, were also great
losers by the change.

The joint-stock company, which had owned the tables, dissolved,
after having divided a large amount of surplus. The shareholders had
indeed no cause for complaint, yet one of the two directors took the
dissolution so much to heart that he soon after drank himself to death.

A few days after the cessation of play hardly a gambler remained in the

One exception, however, there was, who for some years was pointed out
as a rare specimen of an extinct race by the few officials of the rooms
who had been retained as door-keepers and the like in the building from
which all life had fled.

Still clad in the torn, somewhat shabby livery of more prosperous days
when "Trinkgeld" was abundant, these men would describe to visitors
how this Englishman, a man bearing an historic name, had created a
sensation at the tables, where he had been notorious for his ill-luck.
To all appearance entirely ruined, he had suddenly been left some
twenty thousand pounds, which had soon followed the rest of his fortune
into the coffers of the bank. Reduced to his last florin, fortune for a
moment had seemed to relent, and he had left the rooms with about seven
thousand pounds in his pocket. Having deposited this at his banker's,
he had then declared his intention of never playing again--in less than
a week the sum had been withdrawn and lost.

His friends, now believing him to be incorrigible, settled upon him
a small allowance, which was paid quarterly, and with unfailing
regularity found its way to the green cloth.

Seemingly stunned by the closing of the rooms, this Englishman
lingered on for some years, mournfully marching about the spot which
had engulfed his fortune, the loss of which, however, caused him less
concern than being deprived of the means wherewith to gratify the
passion that had dominated his life.

All the gambling companies had to pay large sums in return for
the privileges which they enjoyed, but still they progressed most
successfully till they were frightened from their propriety by Monsieur
Blanc. This gentleman, after struggling against immense opposition on
the part of the Frankfort merchants, who were naturally alarmed at
the danger to which their _commis_ and cash-boxes would be exposed
by the proximity of a gambling-table, obtained a concession from the
Elector of Hesse to establish a bank at Homburg-von-der-Höhe. Play was
soon in full swing, with the additional attractions of being open
all the year round, and of having only a _trente-et-un après_ (known
as the _refait_) for the players to contend against. Some time after,
Wilhelmsbad was opened as a rival to Homburg, with no _après_ at all;
and the above mentioned, with the addition of Ems, Aix-la-Chapelle, and
Cöthen, formed the principal establishments where "strangers were taken
in and done for" throughout Germany.

Wilhelmsbad scarcely attracted the outside world at all, being
frequented almost exclusively by Germans. Wildungen might have been
called a child left out in the cold; the accommodation was indifferent,
and the place itself cheerless and devoid of charm, besides which it
was not so easy to get at. Modestly conscious of its slender claims
to consideration, the authorities presiding over the tables allowed a
minimum stake of 10 groschen (1 franc 25 cents), and only enforced a
tax of a quarter of the _refait_ at trente-et-quarante and a quarter
of the zero at roulette, a state of affairs which should have been far
from unfavourable to the players.

As a matter of fact, public gaming, whatever may be said against it,
left those places where it formerly flourished in a high state of
prosperity--the Kursaals and gardens of German health-resorts, such
as Homburg and Baden-Baden, owed their inception entirely to gaming,
whilst several other insignificant places were converted into agreeable
pleasure-resorts by the influence of trente-et-quarante and roulette.

In spite of the doubtful morality of the enterprise carried on by
the proprietors of the tables they certainly metamorphosed several
miserable German townlets into cities of palaces. They planted the
gardens; they imported the orange trees; they laid out the parks;
enclosed the hunting-grounds; and, as it were, boarded, lodged, washed,
and taxed the inhabitants. Homburg, for instance, was entirely the
creation of M. Blanc.

The story of the commencement of the immense fortune accumulated by M.
Blanc is curious.

One fine day in 1842 the two brothers Blanc, who were temporarily
disgusted with France owing to a daring and unsuccessful speculation
connected with the old semaphore telegraph (which electricity rendered
obsolete), arrived at Frankfort.

Their stock-in-trade consisted of a few thousand francs, a roulette
wheel, and an ancient croupier, a veteran of Frascati's who knew
everything worth knowing about gambling and cards.

The purpose of this visit was to convince the authorities of Frankfort
that their city would derive great benefit from affording facilities
for public play, but with this, however, they were not disposed to
agree. In consequence of its cool reception, the little party then
wended its way to the obscure village of Homburg, where the elder of
the two brothers, after some negotiations, obtained permission to set
the roulette wheel going in one of the rooms of the principal inn.


  avec la manière de faire

  1er Capital. 1,400 Florins. (3,000 Francs.)

  Par un ancien notaire.


As at Monte Carlo to-day, infallible "guides" to success at the tables
were to be obtained in the Homburg book-shops. The above is a facsimile
of the title-page of one of the most curious of these booklets.]

The next year an exclusive concession was granted to the Blancs to
establish games of hazard within the dominions of the Landgraf. They
agreed to build a Kursaal, lay out public gardens, and pay about
40,000 florins (something over four thousand a year) to the Landgraf.
A company was formed, and soon the fashionable world flocked to
Homburg--ostensibly to drink the waters, but, in reality, to lose their
money at trente-et-quarante and roulette.

The general policy pursued by M. Blanc at Homburg was very similar to
that afterwards adopted at Monte Carlo, which is still in its essential
features followed by the present administration.

The hours allotted to play were from eleven in the morning to eleven at
night, which was also the case at Monaco up till quite recent years.

The proceedings at Homburg before play began, that is to say, the
counting of money and other preparations for the day's campaign, were
also much the same as at Monte Carlo, though the actual opening of
the rooms for play was more dramatic. As the clock struck eleven the
strains of martial music were heard and the doors of the "salons" were
thrown wide open, admitting a stream of people, amongst whom were many
officers, a note of colour being struck by their uniforms, which were
principally white or green.

In the early days of Homburg, owing to an extraordinary rainfall, a
flood of water once made its way into the gaming-rooms and caused the
players to beat a precipitate retreat. A fat old German Princess,
however, who was devoted to play, was too heavy to get out in time,
and had to be hoisted up on to one of the roulette tables, where she
placidly remained till matters were put right and the play had resumed
its normal course.

In the Kursaal were the Café Olympique, private rooms for parties, and,
most important of all, a big saloon and two smaller ones. Here from
eleven in the forenoon to eleven at night, Sundays not excepted, all
the year round, people from every part of the world came to throw their
gold and silver upon the tables.

As a town Homburg was practically created by the Kursaal. The
hotel-keepers and tradesmen lived by it as well as the Landgraf, whose
main source of revenue was derived from it. This sovereign, of course,
was practically sold to the Kursaal, the Board of Directors being the
real rulers of Hesse-Homburg. The prosperity which the advent of M.
Blanc had brought to his dominions cheered the declining years of this
Prince, who was the oldest reigning sovereign in Europe at the time of
his death, which occurred on the 24th of March 1866. He had attained
the great age of eighty-three when he expired in the arms of two
weeping widowed women--one his niece, the Princess Reuss, the other his
aged sister, the Dowager Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. This
event caused a temporary cessation of play, which had been continuous
since the 17th of August 1843.

The insidious fascination connected with gambling was once strikingly
exemplified at Homburg. The story, though a well-known one, will bear

M. Blanc had been pondering what to give his wife on her birthday, when
a peculiarly attractive parasol caught his eye as he was strolling
amongst the shops; so he went in and inquired the price, which was
twenty marks. The founder of the great gaming establishment was a
careful man, and it seemed to him that to pay so much for a parasol
was extravagant. Nevertheless, he ordered it to be put aside for him,
saying that he would call and pay for it later.

On his way to the Casino the thought suddenly struck him: "To win
twenty marks in the rooms is quite easy--numbers of people do it,
but they don't stop; which is the reason I make so much money. Why
shouldn't I win the price of this parasol--make my twenty marks and
walk out?"

Walking up to a trente-et-quarante table and unobtrusively stationing
himself behind a group of players, M. Blanc furtively slipped twenty
marks on the red--black won. Forty marks on the red--black again won.
Eighty marks on the black--red won. He now became excited and, the
money he had in his pocket being exhausted, edged towards an astonished
_chef de partie_, to whom he was, of course, well-known, and instructed
him to place one hundred and sixty marks on red. The croupier dealt
the cards, and announced that red had lost. By this time every one
had realised that M. Blanc was staking against his own tables, and the
whole room flocked to see such an extraordinary sight. The croupiers
concluded that their chief had gone mad, for he stood looking fixedly
at the cards, entirely absorbed in the effort to recover his losses and
win the price of the parasol. To make a long story short, he continued
to stake till he had lost about £1000, when of a sudden he realised the
situation and rushed out of the rooms. He was, of course, considerably
chaffed about this exploit, which was said to have been the only
occasion on which he had been known to play. For many a long day
afterwards, he used regretfully to say: "That was the dearest parasol I
ever bought in my life."

M. Blanc, who was more assailed than any other banker, was once nearly
made the victim of a stratagem, which might have entailed serious
results. A scoundrel contrived to get into the "Konversationhaus" by
night, and blocked up all the low numbers in the roulette machine
in such a manner that the ball, on falling in, must inevitably leap
out again. On the next day he and his accomplices played and netted
a large sum by backing the high numbers. They carried on the game
for two or three days, but were fortunately overheard by a detective
while quarrelling about the division of their plunder in the gardens
behind the establishment. They were arrested and the money recovered.
A very dangerous design was also formed against M. Blanc by one of
his croupiers, who, being discontented with his lot, determined to
make his fortune at one _coup_. The plan he contrived was this. He
procured a pack of prearranged cards, which he concealed in his hat,
and when it came to his turn to deal he intended to drop the bank
cards into his _chapeau_ and cleverly substitute the others; but this
artfully-concocted scheme was upset by one of his confederates who
considered that he might make a better and safer thing of it by telling
M. Blanc beforehand.

A great attack was once made by a Belgian syndicate upon the tables at
Homburg, and for a time had some appearance of ultimate success. In the
end, however, M. Blanc emerged triumphant from the contest, which is
mentioned by Thackeray in the _Kickleburys on the Rhine_.

It was at Homburg that the celebrated Garcia once created an enormous
sensation by asking the bank to double the limit of 12,000 francs.
According to one account a meeting of the Directors was hastily
summoned by M. Blanc, who was in favour of letting Garcia have his way;
but it was finally decided that no alteration should be made. Another
version is that M. Blanc consented to double the limit if Garcia would
play sitting down and not standing up, the veteran banker's opinion
being that any one standing up was much more likely to depart with
winnings than a player seated at the table. Garcia accordingly sat
down, and though at first very unlucky, eventually rose a winner.

Garcia is said to have come to Germany with two thousand francs--his
whole fortune--in search of employment. Whilst at Frankfort he
determined to go and try his luck at the Homburg tables, and
being fortunate enough to get on several runs of his favourite
colour--red--he won about £20,000 in three weeks. An Englishman, it is
said, was so convinced that the runs on red must end, that he watched
for what he deemed a propitious moment and began staking maximums
on black against Garcia, with the result that in a few days he left
Homburg without a penny.

Garcia continued to play on after his rival's defeat, and though at
one moment he was reduced to a capital of six thousand francs, he
retrieved his fortunes by a run of fourteen reds, and eventually left
Homburg with some £50,000--some say more. He now declared that he was
determined never to play again; but this resolution was soon broken,
for within a couple of years he was trying to break the bank at Baden.
Black turned up too often for him, however, and he lost heavily.

He then thought he would try Homburg again, and was there eventually
reduced to beggary after a few months' play. This gambler subsequently
figured in a most unsavoury card scandal which took place in Paris in
February 1863 at the house of Madame Julia Barucci. This lady, who
was young and attractive, was always surrounded by a large circle of
admirers, and the party which she gave to celebrate her first evening
in a new abode was therefore particularly animated, about thirty
guests being present, amongst whom was Signor Calzado, the well-known
manager of a Paris theatre. Calzado, it should be said, was disliked
by the party generally--Garcia alone being on terms of intimacy with
him--not only because he was a gamester, but probably because he had
the reputation of being a card-sharper, which he was, and a very bold
and original one too. (Calzado once went to Havana and bought up every
pack of cards in the place, having previously freighted a vessel
with marked playing-cards, which arrived just in time to supply the
dealers, whose stocks were completely exhausted. With the cards he had
prepared and imported, Calzado played incessantly, and for high stakes,
being, as an inevitable result, a constant and heavy winner.) The most
popular guest was Signor Miranda, Gentleman of the Queen of Spain's
household, a constant and honourable gamester, well-known as being
capable of losing large sums. He came with about 100,000 francs in his
pocket. As soon as possible Garcia arranged a rouge-et-noir table,
at which his countrymen, Calzado and Miranda, took their places, the
latter soon winning 30,000 francs. After supper baccarat was proposed;
whereupon Garcia absented himself from the room for half an hour under
the pretext of wishing to smoke a cigar in the air. Retiring into a
private chamber, he disposed about his person several packs of cards
which he had brought with him, and then returning to the gaming-table
began to play for high stakes. His success was extraordinary, and in a
short time he won 140,000 francs, chiefly from Signor Miranda. Calzado,
who followed Garcia's lead, also won a large sum. The extraordinary
good luck of Garcia, and the marvellous character of the cards which
he held, aroused the astonishment of the players as well as the
suspicions of those looking on, and it was at length perceived that
some of the cards in Garcia's hand were of a different design from that
of the packs provided by the hostess. He was charged with foul play;
whereupon, somewhat confused, he admitted having introduced cards of
his own, though stoutly maintaining that he had played fairly, and
had brought certain packs from his club merely because they always
proved lucky cards to him, which in this instance was certainly true.
He offered as a matter of courtesy and as a favour, being, as he said,
desirous of avoiding a scandal, to refund his winnings, if the whole
affair were hushed up. At the same time he produced the sum of 50,000
francs; but those whom he had cheated were not to be tricked into
accepting a third part of their losses in place of the whole, and an
extraordinary scene followed. Seeing that his position was desperate,
and fearful lest he should be forcibly despoiled of his ill-gotten
winnings, Garcia tried to escape. Finding the door bolted, he rushed
all over the house, finally hiding himself in a corner of an obscure
room, from which he was chased by his amazed pursuers, who seized him
and roughly stripped him of all the money in his possession. It was now
the turn of Calzado, who was then asked to display the contents of his
pockets, or suffer himself to be searched. He refused to do either, but
stealthily allowed a roll of bank-notes, to the value of 16,000 francs,
to slip down his trousers and fall on the floor. The roll was picked
up and handed to him, but he denied all knowledge of it. Eventually
the brother cheats were permitted to leave the house, but after their
departure it was reckoned that, in spite of everything, they had
carried with them at least 40,000 francs.

Garcia and Calzado were both tried for swindling. The former appeared
in person; Calzado, however, had fled. Both were convicted of
malpractices, Garcia being sentenced to five years' and Calzado to
thirteen months' imprisonment, in addition to fines of 3000 francs
each. They were also ordered to pay jointly 31,000 francs to Miranda.
The hostess, Madame Barucci, escaped punishment, but was placed under
strict police supervision, lest she should again allow prohibited games
to be played in her house. Garcia died in great misery about 1881.

In 1872 the gambling-establishment at Homburg became a thing of
the past. A great number of the townspeople of that resort were
shareholders, and all, more or less, derived some profit direct or
indirect from the play. During the war between Austria and Prussia
they began to be somewhat perturbed, and on their annexation to the
latter country, they hoped against hope that Bismarck, whatever he
might do with kings, would leave what to them was far more important
than dynasties and kingdoms--the bank--alone.

In 1867, however, the blow fell, and the directors of the
gambling-rooms, summoned to appear before the Governor, were informed
that all play was to cease in 1872.

It should be added that an arrangement of a not unfair kind protected
the interests of the shareholders.


Drawn by the late G.A. Sala. (_Impasse_ should of course be _Impair_.)]

During these last days of play at Homburg a great crowd had been coming
in, but still the tables were not inconveniently crowded, and people
were able to stake their money with ease though without comfort. There
was, however, a good deal of pilfering and snatching of money, which
had always been rather a feature at this resort, shrill-tongued harpies
being apt to pounce on the couple of five-franc pieces just won by any
simple Englishman ignorant of the German tongue. As the end approached
the usual high play still prevailed, but the administration was a
good deal disturbed by the advent of workmen, shopmen, and others,
a very different class of people from their aristocratic clients of
the summer season. These new visitors were sturdy, brutal customers,
who became frenzied if they lost a florin, and seemed not unlikely
to revenge themselves by some lawless raid. This very unlucrative
crowd continued to increase, and it became known that on the last
two days the forces would be recruited by yet larger bands. The
administration, wisely reckoning that the result might be a general
riot organised for purposes of plunder, took measures to avert such a
crowning catastrophe. On the Sunday, then, while numbers of speculative
individuals at Frankfort and other towns were arranging for one grand
final expedition, and were looking forward to being in at the death,
it was determined to end play for ever suddenly and without notice.
Before five o'clock this had been done, much to the indignant surprise
of the new arrivals, and the rage and fury of the less scrupulous.
This, perhaps, was no undignified end; and Homburg, from a gambling
point of view, may be said to have "died game." The administration
maintained its honeyed, courteous phrases to the last, and on the
Monday stuck little proclamations all over the walls, to the effect
that the "Administration begged to inform _la société_ that there would
be no play on the 30th and 31st inst. Signed: The Kurhaus Direction."
Nevertheless on the back sheet of the Belgian papers was a huge
advertisement proclaiming to all whom it concerned that there would be
play to the last day of the month. Such an oversight was scarcely fair
to the friends and admirers of the tables, some of whom travelled from
a great distance to bid a final adieu to the Halls of Chance.

The appearance of the gambling-house on the day after the cessation
of play was indescribable, resembling a badly-set scene by daylight.
Numbers of charwomen and men-servants hung about in groups; officials,
like those of a bankrupt hotel, went about with keys; chairs were piled
on the long gaming-tables by irreverent hands; everything looked as
though there was going to be a sale by auction. The ball-room, however,
still had its chairs all set out in order, as if company were expected,
whilst the orchestra played in the gardens, which already presented a
neglected air. Even the theatre looked shabby, though behind the frame
of wire network was to be read the announcement of the last--the very
last in all truth--appearance of the "Diva Patti" in _La Sonnambula_.

Ems was another gambling resort. This was essentially a rendezvous
of all the pleasure-loving aristocracy and fashionable financiers of
the day--unlike Wiesbaden and Homburg, which were rather the chosen
battle-fields of well-known and seasoned gamblers.

A Spaniard at Ems made a very comfortable living by a method of playing
he had invented. He placed three louis d'or on the manque, which
contains all the numbers to eighteen, and two louis on the last series
of twelve; that is, from twenty-four to thirty-six. Thus he had only
six numbers and two zeroes against him. If manque gained, he won three
louis and lost two; if a number in the last twelve came up, he won four
and lost three; but a continuation of zeroes would have ruined his
calculation. Russians in particular were very fond of Ems. Many played
very high, and a good deal of private gambling was done there on the

At Geneva in the 'sixties trente-et-quarante was somewhat furtively
played in a _Cercle des Étrangers_. Roulette, however, was not allowed.
The authorities perhaps feared that the noise of the little ball flying
round on its course to a numbered compartment might awaken Calvin from
the quiet of his tomb.

There was once what was practically a regular gaming-house on English
soil. This was in the 'fifties, when mild roulette was played on
the island of Heligoland. A miniature roulette-table there was much
frequented by joyous Israelites and English officers from the mainland.
In 1856, however, an outraged English tourist wrote a furious letter
to _The Times_, complaining of such horrors existing under the British
flag. He denounced the scandalous desecration of the English name, and
so forth; and in consequence the Governor issued an edict against the
roulette. Play, however, on a diminutive scale continued there some
time longer.

The closing of the gaming-tables in Germany was the cause of many
rumours as to the future of gambling enterprise. The Valley of
Andorra in the Pyrenees was said to have been selected by some French
speculators as the scene of their operations for the ensuing year, a
well-known financier being declared to have obtained a monopoly of
theatres, hotels, casinos, railways, and almost everything else that
this valley lacked and might be supposed to want. There was also a
rumour that efforts were being made to start tables at St. Moritz, in
Switzerland, very tempting offers having been made to the authorities.

These anticipations were not, however, realised, and Monte Carlo
remains the only regular public gaming-place in Europe, though
intermittent public gambling has been tolerated at certain Belgian
pleasure-resorts, notably at Ostend. Two or three years ago public
gaming was altogether prohibited there, but it now appears to flourish
much as before. It is almost superfluous to add that when it was
announced that the Belgian authorities had determined to suppress
all public play there was much enthusiastic congratulation from this
country. The usual time-worn phrases as to the demoralising effects
of gambling were unctuously presented to a public whose conscience,
it was declared, had too long been outraged by the proximity of
such a dangerous temptation; and the Belgians were told that they
might anticipate reaping a golden harvest as the result of the
high-principled attitude which had been adopted, for the English
would now be able to visit their pleasure-resorts without fear of

A large number of the Ostend shopkeepers really believed that the
suppression of play would bring more foreign money into their pockets;
but they soon realised their mistake, for when the visitors from
across the channel found that there was no chance of enlivening their
stay at Ostend (a resort of few natural attractions) with a little
flutter, they beat a precipitate retreat, and the prosperity of the
town began to suffer severely.

Eventually, as the result of serious protest from the local shopkeepers
and others who saw ruin staring them in the face, a species of
compromise has been adopted; and baccarat with one tableau (of which
more anon) is now allowed in the _Cercle_, election to which is not
very difficult.

A short time ago roulette without a zero was here held out as a great
attraction to visitors. As a matter of fact this game was only played
for a limited number of hours every day, and these were precisely those
when visitors would in the ordinary course of events be taking their
meals. The game was merely kept going as a lure to the more profitable
baccarat, the authorities being well aware that roulette without a zero
is unlikely to prove a great source of profit to the bank.

Experience teaches that for some reason not very clearly understood
single tableau baccarat would seem to be particularly favourable to
the banker. So great, indeed, has been the havoc wrought by this
game that the French have given it the name of "La Faucheuse,"--"the

Those who cried out so loudly for the suppression of the
trente-et-quarante at Ostend have, like so many well-meaning people,
done little but harm, for the suppressed trente-et-quarante was a far
less dangerous game. Trente-et-quarante, it should be added, is played
at St. Sebastian, where up to the present year there was also roulette.

At French watering-places gaming flourishes as merrily as ever during
the season. At Trouville, Biarritz, and Aix-les-Bains the game of
baccarat forms one of the chief attractions. There is a good deal of
high play at Trouville at the time of the races. During the present
year one player alone--a very rich gambler fond of high stakes--lost no
less than a million francs. No inconsiderable portion of this sum must
have gone in the percentage which the French Government now levies upon
banks at baccarat. During the last year there was also a great deal of
play at Nice, where the game in question was as popular as the classic
roulette and trente-et-quarante of Monaco.

It is almost impossible to conceive how the vast majority of French
summer pleasure-resorts would contrive to exist were baccarat and
petits chevaux to be suppressed, for a certain portion of the large
profit derived from play is devoted to the upkeep of the Casinos, which
furnish visitors with excellent entertainment. It is, indeed, owing
directly and indirectly to the toleration of play that the French
_plages_ are proving such formidable rivals to the miserably dull
English seaside resorts, which offer so little to visitors who are
fond of a little exciting amusement.

In 1907 the French Government promulgated a new code of regulations
to be enforced at Casinos, all of which were closed for two or three
days throughout France--an operation which, of course, evoked a mass of
hypocritical and totally inaccurate comment in England.

France was congratulated upon her determination to stop every form of
that gambling which had for so many years shocked English visitors,
who would, of course, warmly welcome the stern measures about to be
enforced, and flock across the Channel in largely increased numbers as
a result.

As a matter of fact, the Casinos were closed merely to emphasise the
fact that the Government intended to see that the new regulations which
they imposed, amongst which was one regulating a tax upon baccarat
banks, should be respected.

The very rumour that it was proposed permanently to prohibit gambling
terrified the local authorities, a large number of whom at once went up
to Paris to ascertain whether there was any foundation of truth in such
an idea, which to many a watering-place would mean nothing less than

They were, however, soon reassured, for in the end only one small and
insignificant Casino was permanently closed.

By the decree of June 21, 1907, certain games of chance are permitted
at watering-places and health-resorts which have been officially
recognised as such by the Minister of the Interior, on the
representation of the Municipal Council and the Prefect. These are
baccarat, écarté, and the game of petits chevaux and its varieties. A
tax of fifteen per cent is levied on the sum produced by the cagnotte
at écarté and baccarat.

Counters, which were formerly used at Casinos to represent money, were
entirely prohibited, a prohibition which, however, does not apply
to Clubs. The reason for this was that players were apt to obtain
considerable advances from the _caisse_ in baccarat-rooms, a state of
affairs not so likely to happen when ready money alone may be staked.
Playing in cash is also generally of a more careful kind than play in
counters, which for the time being seem nothing at all. A player, of
course, has a far greater chance at baccarat than at petits chevaux,
where the percentage is very unfavourable to him, one horse out of the
nine being the bank's.

According to the new law, fifteen per cent is now levied on the gross
winnings of the bank at this game every day; should the bank lose it is
allowed to deduct the sum lost from its winnings the next day.

The sum produced by this tax of fifteen per cent is to be devoted to
charity, and to various other objects of public utility and affecting
the public health.

When this decree was first issued, chemin-de-fer baccarat was not
included amongst the list of tolerated games, the French authorities
being still horror-struck with the recollection of the single tableau
baccarat, called "La Faucheuse" (the game which, thanks to Puritan
effort, is played at Ostend), which had provoked such gross scandals
in Paris. It was, however, subsequently legalised by a special decree
which was promulgated in the _Journal Officiel_ of the 18th August
1907, and is taxed at the same rate as other tolerated games.

The main cause of the French Government moving in the matter of
gambling at all had been the large increase of so-called gambling clubs
in Paris entirely devoted to single tableau baccarat, from which an
enormous harvest of gold had been gathered by those holding the banks.
It was said that no less than 126 new establishments of this kind had
sprung up in Paris, a state of affairs calculated to make the dead
proprietors of the long-suppressed and very strictly regulated tables
in the old Palais Royal turn in their graves. Many of these Clubs were
frequented by women, and it was rumoured that many of the brightest
stars of the French _demi-monde_ had lost almost everything they had.
Paris began to be seriously alarmed. Drastic measures were adopted;
the foreign proprietors of the gaming-places expelled from France; "La
Faucheuse" forbidden throughout the country; and gambling generally
placed upon the strictly regulated footing which has been described.
The results of the very sensible action of the French Government appear
to be highly satisfactory, for since the promulgation of the decree
regulating play no scandals have occurred, whilst it is anticipated
that in the course of time a sum well over two million pounds a year
will be available for objects of public utility.

Surely the wise regulation of what appears to be an irradicable evil is
far more salutary, alike from a financial and a moral point of view,
than the unthinking policy of drastic suppression, which, as experience
teaches, has ever been powerless to extirpate gambling.


 The Principality of Monaco--Its vicissitudes--Early days of the
 Casino--The old Prince and his scruples--Monte Carlo in 1858 and
 1864--Its development--Fashionable in the 'eighties--Mr. Sam
 Lewis and Captain Carlton Blythe--Anecdotes--Increase of visitors
 and present democratic policy of administration--The _Cercle
 Privé_ and its short life--The gaming-rooms and ways of their
 frequenters--Anecdotes--Trente-et-quarante and roulette--Why the
 cards have plain white backs--Jaggers' successful spoliation of the
 bank--The croupiers and their training--The staff of the Casino--The
 _viatique_--Systems--The best of all.

Many years before the tables at the German resorts were closed by the
Prussian Government, M. Blanc was quietly seeking for a suitable spot
where his roulette wheels might whirl free from interference and his
croupiers deal in unmolested peace.

Gaming-house proprietors seem in one respect to resemble the monks
of old, for almost invariably their establishments have been pitched
amidst attractive surroundings commanding lovely views. Thoroughly
imbued with this tradition, M. Blanc eventually selected the little
Principality of Monaco as being a suitable spot to afford his industry
a peaceful and alluring haven. After certain negotiations with the
reigning Prince Charles Albert, he obtained the required concession,
and a Casino (in its earliest days called the "Elysium Alberti") was
erected upon the rocky ground known as the Plateau des Spelugues,
which, adversaries of gaming will rejoice to learn, means in Monagasque
patois "the plain of the robbers."

The ruling family of Monaco, the Grimaldis, had been exposed to
many vicissitudes. During the French Revolution their people rose
in rebellion and plundered the Palace, which afterwards served as
a military hospital during Napoleon's Italian campaign, and later
on became the Dépôt de Mendicité for the Department of the Alpes
Maritimes. In 1841, however, Florestan I., the reigning Prince,
repaired the home of his ancestors, which was thoroughly restored by
Charles Albert after the advent of M. Blanc.

In the turbulent past the Princes of Monaco at times experienced
considerable difficulty in holding their own, and often had to defend
their rugged old rock against piratical raids, besides occasionally
having to cope with internal troubles, the last of which occurred in
1847, when the Monagasque bitterly resented taxation. The cannon given
by Louis XIV. to the Grimaldi of his day may still be seen near the
palace. These are fine specimens of the founder's craft, and bear the
grim motto "Ultima ratio regum," amidst much ornate decoration.

The armed force which the Princes maintained was much improved in
uniform and equipment when M. Blanc brought prosperity to Monaco. Even
up to quite recent years there existed a smart little army of something
under a hundred men, in all probability the best dressed and least
offensive troops in all Europe. Their rifle practice, it was always
said, was indifferent, owing to the fact that they could not fire
inland, because the boundaries of the Principality were so limited; but
whatever may have been their efficiency or non-efficiency as a fighting
force, their light-blue uniforms--with old-world aiguillette, neat
shako, and picturesque cape--were highly ornamental features, which
struck a pleasant note of colour in the streets of the Condamine or
about the grounds and terraces of the Casino.

This little army is now but a memory, for within the last decade the
reigning Prince, who is a warm advocate of International Arbitration,
realising, it is said, that the maintenance of a standing army was
inconsistent with his well-known love of peace, abolished the last
relic of military strength left to the Grimaldis. Such sentries as
are still required are at present furnished by the gendarmerie, whose
dainty cocked hat--most military and attractive of head-dresses--was at
the same time superseded by an abominable cloth-covered helmet, which
for unalloyed ugliness would easily carry off the prize against all
competitors. Thus does it constantly happen in the modern world that,
whilst there is much prating about art, cultivation, and taste, the
very people who should do their best to preserve every distinctive and
decorative reminder of a more artistic past are foremost in the work of

Old Monaco consisted of a few unattractive streets and a somewhat
dilapidated Palace, in which lived the blind old Prince who granted the
concession for the tables to M. Blanc, and by so doing converted his
poverty-stricken realm into the most prosperous State in the world.

At first, the Prince was somewhat troubled by conscientious scruples
as to tolerating gaming, but these were appeased by the large sums
which were rendered available for religious purposes and the building
of churches--the Church of St. Dévote, which stands in the ravine, for
instance, is said to have been erected from funds received in exchange
for permission to increase the number of roulette tables, whilst the
beautiful little cathedral on the Palace rock would never have been
built had not M. Blanc made his descent upon the Principality.

Much abuse has been lavished on the Prince for granting the concession,
but it seems a doubtful question whether he did not do more good than
harm when he signed it. Certainly his own people of Monaco (who, except
on one day in the year--the Prince's birthday,--are not allowed to
enter the Casino) gained very largely thereby.

To them the establishment of the Casino has brought lasting prosperity,
whilst it has indirectly benefited the whole Riviera, now so popular
as a pleasure-resort. On the other hand, a number of people, no
doubt, have been ruined at Monte Carlo, but such as these--gamblers
at heart--would most probably in any case have lost their fortune in
other forms of speculation. It should also be realised that the number
of those who have actually been ruined by the Casino is extremely
small--as a rule those who lose their last penny at the tables are
individuals who, already at their last gasp owing to a long series of
gambling reverses, come to Monte Carlo with such funds as they can
scrape together in order to indulge in one last desperate plunge.

The old Prince was a kindly man at heart, and did not like to think
of visitors losing more money than they had actually brought with
them. For this reason he forbade the establishment of any Bank in the
Principality, and as a natural consequence, numbers of waiters, who
carried on a brisk business in money-lending, made nice little fortunes.

In later years Smith's Bank was established on French territory;
this was afterwards absorbed into the Crédit Lyonnais, which (the
prohibition having been revoked) is now quite a prominent feature of
Monte Carlo.

At the time when M. Blanc made his peaceful conquest of Monaco the
place was sparsely populated and miserably poor. The contrast indeed
between the Monaco of fifty years ago and the Monte Carlo of to-day is
striking in the extreme.

The following description of the Principality at that time was given to
the writer by one who has seen every phase of its development.

In 1858 this gentleman and his wife, being on their honeymoon in
France, drove from Marseilles to Cannes, then also quite a small place.
A report had recently reached the latter place that the celebrated M.
Blanc had started gaming-tables at Monaco, and accordingly the Duc de
Vallombrosa, who owned the finest château at Cannes, invited several
of the English visitors to go over to the Principality on his yacht,
and in due course the party climbed up to the rock, on which stands the

After making inquiries they found the gaming-tables--two roulette and
one trente-et-quarante--which were installed in a very unpretentious
barnlike edifice somewhere near the spot where the Cathedral is now.

The arrival of manifestly well-to-do visitors created quite a sensation
amongst a somewhat limited crowd, mostly composed of Italian tourists
who were indulging in a little mild play. M. Blanc, it should be
added, had merely started these tables as a preliminary step, being
at that time engaged in negotiations with the reigning Prince as to
the erection of a more serious gambling establishment in the latter's

After playing a stake or two the party made their way down to the
little town in the Condamine, where, finding that donkeys could be
hired, they determined to picnic out of doors. Accordingly, taking the
requisite materials with them, they made their way by a bridle path
(which more or less followed the present road) to the plateau, on which
the present palatial Casino stands to-day.

Monte Carlo (the place was then unnamed) was almost a bare rock covered
with rough grass, and here and there a few stunted pine and olive
trees, most of the latter of immense age. A few tumble-down hovels were
sparsely scattered here and there on the mountain side, in which lived
a miserably poor peasantry; the whole spot was as different from the
Monte Carlo of to-day as it is possible to conceive.

Just about where is now the ornamental plot in front of the doors of
the Casino, the party collected some dry bits of sticks, boiled their
kettle, cooked an omelette and drank their tea, whilst they revelled in
the lovely view, which remains to-day almost the sole feature which the
hand of man has been powerless to change.

Almost the last of the few survivors of this expedition also described
to the present writer the marvellous alteration which he found on his
next visit to the Principality some six years later. The first Casino
had then been built by M. Blanc, and a small Hôtel de Paris stood
where the gigantic modern one stands to-day. M. Blanc, in addition to
presiding over the rooms, was in supreme command of the hotel, which
was managed on the most liberal principles, bills being never sent in
unless they were asked for. Since those days the hotel has been much
enlarged and altered. It is now being entirely rebuilt on a palatial

When visitors of any standing whatever were about to depart, M. Blanc
himself would be present to wish them good-bye, and also to inquire
whether they might not like a thousand francs for the expenses of their
journey, adding that this could be refunded on their next visit, or
sent him at their convenience.

In 1864, except the hotel, there were scarcely any houses in Monte
Carlo itself, and most of the visitors had to live on the other side
of the Bay in the old town. As the journey from Nice by road took
four hours, an abominable and, it was said, unseaworthy, small white
steamer, the _Palmaria_ (probably the best that could be got), had
been chartered by M. Blanc to convey visitors from Nice. This vessel
anchored beneath the Castle rock, where its passengers were landed in
boats, being met by four-horse omnibuses which plied gratis between the
rock and the Casino.

The _Palmaria_ made two journeys from Nice a day. If the weather was
calm and nothing went wrong, the passage took something like an hour
and a quarter. It was a curious sight to see visitors landing in the
highest spirits for a flutter, most of them to return in the evening to
Nice, weary and sea-sick, without a penny to take a cab to their hotel.

In the early days of Monte Carlo there were two zeroes, and the
inevitable result was that the _Palmaria's_ evening cargo was usually
largely composed of what were facetiously called "empty bottles."

The crowd which thronged to the tables was of a heterogeneous
description and not at all smart. There were a number of enterprising
damsels in pork-pie hats and a considerable sprinkling of raffish
Englishmen, looking as if they had seen better days and were likely to
see worse.

Monte Carlo, though a tiny place, already bore evidences of its future
expansion. An air of prosperity pervaded it, and the inhabitants
had lost the air of hopeless poverty which was formerly such a
characteristic of the Principality of Monaco.

In the early days of the Casino not much was heard of its existence,
the truth being that M. Blanc, after his experiences at Homburg,
feared lest European public opinion might demand the abolition of
the tables were their existence to be too prominently thrust before
it. In consequence of this as little attention as possible was drawn
to the gambling which, if alluded to in the Press at all, was merely
mentioned as one of the minor attractions. Knowing the sensitiveness
of M. Blanc with regard to publicity, unscrupulous journalists traded
upon it, demanding bribes to keep silence, whilst ephemeral newspapers,
containing sensational accounts of suicides of ruined gamblers, were
published solely in order to extort blackmail.

As time went on, however, Monte Carlo began to be regarded as an
established institution, and many visitors took to coming there year
after year.

The development of the Riviera as a pleasure-resort steadily proceeded,
and at the present time the coast from Genoa to Marseilles is an
almost unbroken line of pleasure-resorts filled with villas, not a few
veritable palaces, all of which owe their existence to the advent of
M. Blanc with his roulette and trente-et-quarante. Abuse gambling as
you may, it has in this instance beyond all question brought wealth
and prosperity to the inhabitants--not to the rich, for there were no
rich--but to the people of the soil, born and bred along this beautiful
coast-line lapped by the azure waters of the Mediterranean.

It was after M. Blanc's death in the early 'seventies that the Casino
was first enlarged, and the theatre built by M. Garnier. From time to
time further additions have been made--an entirely new gambling-room
was added only a few years ago, and at the present moment another is
being built.

Monte Carlo itself, which even in the 'eighties was quite a little
place, has now become a regular town with streets stretching up along
the mountain side almost up to the gigantic hotel, which is now such a
conspicuous feature of the Principality.

The earthquake of 1887, though it ruined the season of that year, was
probably beneficial to the prosperity of Monte Carlo, for it brought
the name of the place prominently before the public eye. Shortly after
that date the vast crowds which now throng to the place began to make
their appearance, and Monaco quite changed its character. New hotels
were opened and numbers of houses built, whilst Monte Carlo quite
lost its air of reposeful peace and became a sort of cosmopolitan
pleasure-town swarming with excursionists. Before this the Casino used
to shut at eleven, after which hour every one went to bed, there being
no night cafés to go to such as exist to-day.

From about 1882 to 1890 was perhaps the best day of the Principality
from a social point of view, for at that time it was the resort of a
number of the most distinguished and fashionable people in Europe. All
the sporting characters of the day made a point of paying a yearly
visit to Monte Carlo--most of them are gone now, including Mr Sam
Lewis, who always played in maximums with varying success.

Another well-known figure was Captain Carlton Blythe, who is still
alive. He was very successful at trente-et-quarante, where his
operations were conducted in a most methodical manner. It was his
practice to stake only when sequences were the order of the day. By
means of men told off to watch the tables, he was kept informed of
this, being sometimes sent for even when not in the Casino. His stakes
were high, generally about two thousand francs, which, if won, were
increased to six thousand, the next being a maximum (12,000 francs),
which was left on till the termination of the run. At times this cheery
devotee of coaching was extraordinarily lucky; it is said that he once
won as much as £10,000 during a deal.

I believe, however, that in the end this system, like so many others,
broke down.

The authorities of the Casino were then rather more particular than
at present as to the costume of visitors, and in many cases refused
to grant cards of admission to people of the most indisputable
respectability on account of their dress not being in conformity with
the regulations which they laid down.

On one occasion, indeed, the late Lord and Lady Salisbury, who lived
close by at Beaulieu, having been seized with a fancy to look into the
rooms, presented themselves at the entrance, where cards of entrée are
issued either for the day or longer periods.

They were both dressed in thoroughly country clothes which the official
in command viewed with no kindly eye, as his offhand manner showed.
When, however, the visitors, in accordance with the regulations, gave
their names, he was convulsed with laughter, and at once told the
distinguished couple to go about their business and not try their jokes
upon him.

The Prime Minister and his wife, who were rather amused at the
incident, accordingly retired. Some time afterwards the matter reached
the ears of the Administration, who, as a sort of compensation, sent
a box at the theatre, but no very profound apology was made. The great
gambling monopoly is no respecter of persons, and in the Casino, as on
the Turf, complete equality prevails.

In the same year, 1892, a curious incident occurred at a
trente-et-quarante table. An individual having staked a maximum on
the black, red won. He immediately snatched up his (or rather the
bank's) notes from the table and ejaculating, "_C'est la dot de ma
fille_," strode out of the rooms before any one quite realised what had
happened. For some reason or other he was not followed and got clear

Many rich Englishmen annually found at Monte Carlo relaxation and rest
from lives of arduous work in the city; some of these regarded play
much as sportsmen do shooting, hunting, or yachting.

One of these, now dead, said to the writer: "I have regularly taken
a villa here for years, and with hardly an exception have lost the
sum which I set apart for gaming every year; but I do not regret it.
The amount of amusement which I have obtained has been well worth the
money. I might, it is true, have kept a yacht which I should have
hated, or taken a shooting which would have been little to my taste. I
might, in fact, have spent the money in various ways which would have
thoroughly bored me--on the whole I am well content."

Another well-known high player, who from time to time has lost large
sums at Monte Carlo, once declared that he considered the money well
invested. "Many a large landowner," said he, "is not as lucky as I have
been, for he is obliged to spend a large sum every year on the upkeep
of his estate for which he obtains nothing in return. I, at least, have
had a great deal of amusement."

To this it may be objected that the money which goes into the coffers
of the Casino benefits no one--but this is not strictly true, for the
shares are held by all sorts of people, who draw their profits in the
same way as from any industrial enterprise.

In the 'eighties there were many less hotels than at present and not
a great number of villas, whilst the Café de Paris, which has since
been rebuilt in an enlarged form, was about the only restaurant apart
from the dining-rooms in the hotels. The Gallery, now filled with
shops, which is such a favourite morning resort, had not yet come into
existence, and except the admirable band in the Casino (which gave two
performances a day, free) there was little music in Monte Carlo--a spot
which now rings from morning till late at night with the strains of
Tzigane bands.

After the tables were closed--at eleven--there were no amusements at
all, and, instead of sitting up half the night, every one went to
bed--contentedly or discontentedly, as they had won or lost.

The gambling-rooms were much quieter in those days, the flocks of
German excursionists having not yet arrived. Many of these visitors,
as a rule somewhat undesirable from a decorative point of view, are
divided up into little coteries or bands, each of which elects a leader
who is entrusted with such funds as the party is desirous of risking at
the tables, where the leader alone stakes for all, winnings or losings
being divided in proportionate shares.

Of late years the crowds round the gambling-tables have increased to
such an extent that except in the early morning or during dinner-time
it is impossible to make certain of obtaining a seat. Formerly two or
three old men of solemn aspect were always to be found sitting at the
trente-et-quarante marking down the run of the game, and on a louis
being unostentatiously slipped into their hand they would at once yield
up their seat. Of late years, however, they are no longer to be seen,
the Administration having banished them from the Casino, much to the
discomfort of habitual players desirous of risking substantial sums
under comfortable conditions. In old days far more attention was paid
in a great many other small ways to visitors who had the appearance of
belonging to the upper strata of society. To these the croupiers and
other officials made a point of being especially obliging and polite.

The authorities of the Casino, however, seem now to have decided on
a more democratic policy, no favour being shown to any one. From a
financial point of view this is probably not unsound, a vast number of
small players, who drop a certain amount of five-franc pieces and then
depart to make way for others, being probably more profitable to the
bank than a few heavy gamblers, some of whom may hit it very severely.

It is more than likely that scarcely one in fifty of the individuals
who sit with a pile of silver beside the roulette wheel goes away a
winner, whereas amongst the high gamblers at trente-et-quarante success
is not so rare as is usually supposed. The proof of what has been
stated was furnished by the brief existence of the "Cercle Privé"--a
new gaming-room which for a short time was highly appreciated by
frequenters of Monte Carlo some seven or eight years ago.

The "Cercle Privé" was open only at night in a room upstairs, and men
alone enjoyed the privilege of being allowed to play there. There were
four tables, three trente-et-quarante and one roulette, a small bar
where refreshments could be obtained, smoking was permitted, and the
tables, which did not commence operations till the ones downstairs had
closed, were kept going very late.

From the point of view of players this innovation was highly
successful; for, owing to the comparatively small number of persons
who frequented the "Cercle Privé," greater comfort prevailed than
downstairs, whilst the conditions in general were far more conducive to
calculated and calm speculation.

A large proportion of the frequenters were well known to one another,
and the whole thing somewhat resembled a club, the members of which
were leagued together against the bank.

Runs, intermittencies, and other tendencies of chance at certain tables
could be carefully noted; occasionally there would be no play at all at
one table, the whole crowd staking on a run at another; as the room was
small, anything of the sort soon reached the ears of every one. Play as
a rule was high, and the players, for the most part, were well used to
gambling. The results to the bank were most disastrous. On a certain
evening it lost more than had ever before been lost in one day by the
Casino, and at the end of the year the accounts of the "Cercle Privé"
proved anything but an agreeable study for the officials supervising
the finances of the great gambling monopoly.

The next year it was closed, and there has since been no inclination
on the part of the authorities to repeat what was to them a very
unprofitable speculation.

Amongst various causes which in this instance operated to the detriment
of the bank was the difficulty, generally amounting to impossibility,
of players obtaining a further supply of money when what they had in
their pockets had run out. At such a late hour, when the Bank was
closed and the _caisse_ of most hotels shut up, no matter how rich a
man might be, he could not obtain any considerable amount of cash.
Consequently, should he lose what he had brought with him, he was
reduced to playing with such modest sums as could be borrowed from
friends, who naturally could not be expected to make any substantial
advance, as any moment they themselves might be in a similar

The bank, on the other hand, was equipped with ample funds, and its
loss--unlike those of the players, which, after a certain point,
were limited by necessity--often extended into a very large figure;
consequently, when it was in good luck, it only won a comparatively
moderate amount, and when in bad lost very heavily.

Another reason for the ill-success of the bank was that the
policy pursued in the large rooms downstairs had in the case of
the "Cercle Privé" been exactly reversed. In the former there
have always been many more roulette tables than tables devoted to
trente-et-quarante--upstairs there was only one roulette table as a
counter-attraction to the three devoted to the rival game.

Trente-et-quarante is mathematically one of the most favourable of
games at which a gambler can play, the percentage against him produced
by the _refait_ being only 1·28 per cent.

Roulette, on the other hand, is, owing to the zero, highly advantageous
to the banker.

The bank's percentage on all-round play at the tables is more than
one-seventy-fourth of all the figures staked; the actual winnings of
the bank being about one-sixtieth part of all the money actually placed
on the board. At the present time the bank's winnings (gross) are,
roughly, £1,200,000 per annum.

A large proportion of the gains of the Monte Carlo bank is derived from
small players who enter the rooms with the deliberate intention of
either making a certain sum or losing what they have in their pockets;
these form, as it were, the rank and file of the gambling army which
is constantly being decimated by the Casino, and the almost total
absence of such an element in the room upstairs reduced the play to a
duel between the bank and a number of persons, the majority of whom
were, more or less, capitalists and who, as often as not, went home
immediately after bringing off one big and successful coup.

The gaming-rooms in the Casino at Monte Carlo have often been described
as a hot-bed of vice and debauchery, the tables surrounded by a
seething crowd of excited figures whose countenances betray the intense
emotions which the vitiating effects of play arouse. "Cries of triumph,
imprecations, moans and sobs are heard on every side." In certain
highly coloured accounts, suicide is spoken of as being an ordinary
occurrence, the crowd making way without comment for the passage of the
corpse of some unfortunate gambler who, at the end of his tether, has
blown out his brains.

All this is purely fanciful, and conveys no idea whatever of the real
state of affairs prevailing in the rooms, where calm and good order
invariably reign. There exists, indeed, an almost religious hush in the
halls of this great Temple of Chance. After dinner, and towards the
time of close of play, the scene, it is true, becomes more animated,
but, as a rule, the only sounds heard are those connected with the
games played. What conversation there is is almost exclusively devoted
to short comments on such matters as the lack or abundance of runs on
one particular colour, the persistent recurrence of certain numbers,
the amount of winnings or losings of some well-known player, or the
like; people rarely speak, when at the table, of their own vicissitudes
in the battle with chance.

The real gamblers, that is to say, those to whom speculation is the
very breath of life, speak least of all, their whole mind being
concentrated upon the system or method of staking which it is generally
their practice to adopt. They sit with unmoved faces, which appear
neither elated by victory nor depressed by defeat.

A well-known Monte Carlo type--more abundant perhaps in the past
than to-day--is the _beau joueur_, the man who plays to the gallery
and, let it be added, pays handsomely for his performance. Certain
and inevitable ruin is the fate of these individuals, who sacrifice
themselves to the spirit of vanity. As a rule, the winnings or losings
of such people are a great subject of conversation and discussion
amongst the frequenters of the tables--they are said to have either won
or lost enormous sums--to be at the end of their tether, or to have an
enormous fortune behind them. Their fame, however, is of no enduring
kind, being at best a nine days' wonder. They are soon forgotten, and
their departure, leaving only too often their money in the vaults of
the Casino, and an unpaid bill at their hotel, excites not even passing
comment from the crowd of spectators whose approving gaze and fleeting
admiration has been so dearly bought.

Some old players remain watching the game for a considerable space
of time without risking a stake at all, till the moment arrives when
either superstition or calculation prompts them to take the first steps
in the campaign. Many of these come provided with memorandum books
filled with column after column of figures, records of past runs on
colours, and recurring sequences of numbers carefully inscribed as a
guide to fathoming the capricious movements of fortune.

Others bring queer little mechanical contrivances, which are
manipulated in a manner to show the correspondence between certain
chances; whilst yet another section quite frankly display all sorts of
fetishes, to some of which they attach a quite serious importance. A
piece of the rope which has been used by a hangman is a fetish reputed
to be an almost certain passport to good luck. The experience of the
present writer with a grim relic of this kind did not, however, give
any support to such a belief. As a great favour he was once given a
small hempen souvenir by a friend, and armed with the precious talisman
he betook himself to a trente-et-quarante table, where a good seat
was secured. From the very first, however, it was evident that the
gruesome charm was not exercising its occult influence in a direction
favourable to its new, and perhaps somewhat sceptical, possessor. When
runs were sought for, alternates appeared, and vice versa. _Refaits_
were dealt with unnatural frequency; in fact, disaster followed
disaster in an unbroken sequence, with the result that the little
bit of rope was all that the player had in his pocket as he somewhat
disconsolately strode out of the rooms, rather inclined to wish that
the hempen relic had been utilised for its original purpose around the
neck of its donor.

Gamblers are generally most superstitious folk and swayed by all sorts
of whimsical ideas.

Years ago an old lady used to give the authorities a good deal of
trouble by repeatedly bringing a small portion of ham into the rooms,
and, whilst at play, cutting off slices and eating them. For some
reason or other she had the fixed idea that, in her case, ham-eating
propitiated fortune.

The rules of the Casino naturally forbid any proceeding of such a
kind in the rooms, and whenever the ham was produced the _chef de
partie_ was obliged to point this out. The old lady in question, who
was a well-known character, was, however, very rich, and, being a
constant and high player, any drastic action would naturally have been
disadvantageous to the best interests of the bank. Some compromise was,
therefore, eventually arranged, by which the amount of ham consumed was
so infinitesimal as to pass almost unnoticed by the general public.

Certain players attach considerable importance to the numbers inscribed
upon the check handed to them by the attendants who look after cloaks
and sticks. Now and then, as must of necessity happen in the ordinary
course of events, an individual succeeds in winning a good stake by
backing a number at roulette corresponding with that on his wooden
ticket; more often, however, he fails, and then proceeds to work out
all sorts of combinations of numbers, adding, subtracting and dividing,
as the fancy seizes him.

The number of the sleeping-berth which has carried the visitor from
Paris is also often chosen, as is that of his bedroom in the hotel. The
date of a birthday, the sum total of the numbers on a watch, or of the
figures on a coin, the number of cigarettes left in a case, or of coins
in the pocket, and other similar trifles are all noted with intense
interest by a certain class of player, eager for any clue which they
believe may assist them in their struggle to achieve success.

It used, at one time, to be said at Monte Carlo that the clergyman
of the English Church there never gave out any hymns under number
thirty-six, as he had discovered that some of his congregation had
made a practice of carefully noting down the numbers with a view to
backing them at roulette. Most players, even the least superstitious,
have some special lucky number of their own, which they make a point of
following. Occasionally it turns up two or three times in succession,
which, of course, further confirms them in constantly backing it, and,
more often than not, losing far more than they have won.

The present writer's experiences in this direction have not been of an
encouraging nature.

Some years ago, being on his way to the Principality, he was much
struck by the curiously persistent way in which the number 13
confronted him throughout the journey. His room at Paris was 13; the
number of his sleeping-berth in the train to Monaco was 13; and finally
he was put into room No. 13 at the Hôtel de Paris on the day of his
arrival, the 13th day of the month. All this, to any one with a vestige
of superstition, looked as if 13 was a number well worth backing, and
accordingly the writer hastened to the rooms, eager to see whether
the tip would come off. As a matter of fact the only thing which did
come off was the end of his finger, which in his haste to get to the
Casino he slammed in his bedroom door. After having been attended to
by a surgeon he finally obtained a place at roulette and steadily
backed number 13, which, to his intense disgust, appeared rather less
frequently than the other numbers. The same unsatisfactory state of
affairs prevailed throughout his stay, which on that occasion was a
prolonged and unpleasant one.

The curious influence which the advent of certain persons, or the
occurrence of trivial incidents, appears to exert in matters of luck is
well known to all gamblers. Many of them generally regard a number of
trifles with feelings of considerable apprehension at the gaming-table,
entertaining the most extraordinary likes and dislikes for various
people and things, and cherishing queer fancies at which, in ordinary
life, they would be the first to scoff. All this, of course, is akin to
the superstition of the savage, a queer atavistic reminder of civilised
man's humble descent.

Though the principles of roulette and trente-et-quarante are known to
many, it may not be out of place to give brief descriptions of these
games as played at Monte Carlo.

Before play begins the money is set out at one end of the table. The
gold, after being weighed in scales, is placed in rouleaux, and the
bank notes ranged according to their value. Everything is verified by
an inspector, who taps each row with a rake and signs his name to a
statement on paper.

At trente-et-quarante the minimum stake is a louis, the maximum 12,000
francs (£400), and the capital with which each table begins play £6000.
"Breaking the bank" merely means that the money at a particular table
is exhausted, and that play has to be suspended while more money is
being procured.

Trente-et-quarante is a game of four even chances--_rouge_ and _noir_,
_couleur gagne_ and _couleur perd_. It is played with six packs of
cards, which, having been shuffled, are cut by one of the players.
There is often a good deal of competition for this ceremony, the cut
being by request reserved for some keen player. As a rule, however,
others give way when any one who seems in luck--especially a lady of
attractive appearance--steps forward to cut the cards.

After every one has staked and "_rien ne va plus_" has been called, the
croupier deals the first card face upwards, and continues dealing until
the cards turned up exceed thirty pips in number, when he must announce
the numbers from "trente-et-un" to "quarante." This top line of cards
is black, and when it is less in number than the one which is dealt
beneath black wins.

Another line underneath is then dealt for _rouge_. When the two lines
are equal in the number of pips--say thirty-six each--the dealer
announces an _après_; thirty-one is the _refait_ when all stakes are
_en prison_. When, however, a _refait_ has been dealt, a player may
withdraw half his stake if he chooses, or move his money over from the
red "prison" to the black "prison." In the case of another _refait_,
the money is removed into another space, which is called the second
prison. The odds against a _refait_ turning up are usually reckoned as
63 to 1. The bank is said, however, to expect it twice in three deals,
and there are generally from twenty-nine to thirty-two coups in each
deal. By paying one per cent players may insure their stake. A large
white counter is placed by the croupier on or near the money insured,
which is unaffected by the _refait_. There are high players, however,
who consider it bad policy to insure, and prefer to run the risk of 31
being dealt in both lines.

As a matter of fact, from a mathematical point of view, thirty-one is
the number which the cards are most likely to make, as any one can
easily prove for himself; the combinations formed by the numbers of
the pips on the cards being more adapted to produce thirty-one than
anything else. It is for this reason, no doubt, that the number in
question was chosen for the _refait_, when the game first came into

At trente-et-quarante, besides the even chances of _rouge_ and _noir_,
there are also the even chances of _couleur gagne_ and _couleur perd_.

The first card dealt determines _couleur_. If, for instance, it is
red and _rouge_ (the bottom line) wins--_couleur gagne_--the croupier
says, "_rouge gagne et la couleur_"; if it is black and _rouge_
wins--_couleur perd_--the croupier says, "_rouge gagne, couleur perd_."

The prison, of course, applies to _couleur_ just as it does to _rouge_
and _noir_.

At certain stated intervals, in the presence of a _sous-directeur_ or
_chef de partie_, the used packs of cards from trente-et-quarante are
carried to a furnace in sealed sacks and scrupulously burnt.

A good many years ago the backs of the cards used at trente-et-quarante
were plain white; at the present time, however, a slight design, the
pattern of which varies daily, is upon them.

The reason for the change was said to be that the plain backs once
facilitated a fraud, which cost the authorities of the Casino many
thousands of francs. The story is a curious one.

One morning, as trente-et-quarante was pursuing its usual somewhat
monotonous progress, a player with a large pile of money before
him, seated next the croupier dealing, entered into an altercation
with a neighbour about some stake, in the course of which, owing
to violent gesticulations, a whole heap of coins was swept to the
ground. Considerable confusion arose, which naturally necessitated
the interference of the _chef de partie_ (who supervises the game).
The attention of everybody, both officials and players, was drawn to
the spot where the dispute was taking place; the owner of the fallen
treasure loudly declaiming against rough, bullying swindlers being
allowed to enter the rooms at all. However, after much chatter, the
money having been all found, peace was restored and the game proceeded
on its ordinary course.

It was very soon evident that a number of very high players were that
morning seated round the table, for quantities of notes and gold
began to make their appearance. What was more remarkable was that
all the high players seemed to be inspired with the same excellent
idea, for every one of them invariably backed the winning chances. So
extraordinary was their luck that, after the bank had lost a good deal
of money, one of the high officials, who had been watching the game,
announced that for the time being further play would be suspended at
that particular table, as there was reason to believe that the cards
had been tampered with. This naturally provoked a storm of protest, and
in the confusion which ensued, the high players slipped unobtrusively
away, their pockets well stuffed with the money they had extracted from
the bank.

An hour or two later an attempt was made by the authorities to
trace them, but, curiously enough, not one was to be found in the
Principality. They had all crossed the French frontier and had
dispersed in various directions. The cards were afterwards carefully
counted and examined, and a thorough investigation of that morning's
play is said to have proved beyond all doubt that the whole affair had
been a cleverly hatched plot against the bank.

The two men who had quarrelled at the table were professional
swindlers, and had carefully rehearsed the disturbance, in order to
divert attention from the dealer, who remained apparently quite unmoved
whilst the _chef de partie_ and other officials were inquiring into
the dispute. During this time an accomplice on the other side of this
croupier had taken advantage of the general turmoil to slip a portion
of a prepared pack into the man's hand. This was furtively exchanged by
him for a certain number which he was holding ready to deal. Of these
the accomplice relieved him. The high players were all swindlers, well
aware how the cards had been arranged. The croupier, heavily bribed,
was a rare exception, for, as a rule, Monte Carlo croupiers are above
all suspicion. His share in the swindle was detected and he appeared in
the Halls of Chance no more.

As was perfectly obvious, a robbery of this kind was greatly
facilitated by the plain white backs of the cards in daily use. It was
therefore decided that in future every morning a new design should be
produced for the backs of these cards, which, known only to a special
department, would effectually prevent any chance of prepared packets
being interpolated with the packs issued by the authorities.

At roulette as at trente-et-quarante the money is publicly counted out
and verified by an inspector before play begins.

The roulette wheels are balanced in the presence of the public, and one
of the blue-coated _garçons de salle_ goes from table to table with a
spirit-level, which is placed upon the rosewood rim of the cylinder,
a _chef de table_ verifying the accurate adjustment of the wheel by
seeing that the air bubble is exactly in the centre.

The maximum stakes allowed on the different chances at roulette are:--

  On one number                     180
  On two numbers (_à cheval_)       360
  On three numbers transversal      560
  Four numbers (_en carré_)         750
  On 0, 1, 2, 3                     750
  On six numbers transversal       1200
  On one dozen                     3000
  On one column                    3000
  On all the even chances          6000



  1. On one number (3).

  2. On two numbers (8 and 9); this is called "à cheval."

  3. On three numbers (10, 11, 12); this is called "transversale."

  4. On a "carré," or square, of 4 numbers (20, 21, 23, 24).

  5. On a transversale of 6 numbers (25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30).

  6. On an even chance (Black).

  7. On two even chances (Black and Pair).

  8. On a dozen (1st dozen).

  9. On a column (last column).

 Maximum stake, 10,000 francs; minimum, 5 francs. Zero sweeps all
 stakes except even chances, which go into "prison" till next coup,
 when they are either released or taken.]

The amount with which play is begun each day is 80,000 francs, or £3200.

Each roulette table has two boards, on which players may stake, the
roulette wheel (a cylinder let into the table) lying between the two.
The numbers of the roulette are arranged irregularly, though reds and
blacks alternate. Zero, which is not counted as a colour, lies between
32 red and 15 black. There are in all thirty-seven little compartments
which receive the ball--eighteen red, eighteen black, and zero. The
accurate odds, therefore, are 36 to 1 against any particular division;
nevertheless the bank only pays 35 to 1, which causes its profit to
amount to 1 in 37, nearly 2·865 per cent.

The lowest stake allowed at roulette is five francs, the highest 10,000
francs, known as a maximum.

The two sides of the roulette table are duplicates of one another,
each of them being divided something like a chess-board into three
columns of squares, which amount to thirty-six; the numbers advance
arithmetically from right to left, and consequently there are twelve
lines down, so as to complete a rectangle; as 1, therefore, stands at
the head, 4 stands immediately under it, and so on. At the bottom lie
three squares marked 12 p, 12 m, 12 d, that is, first, middle, and last
dozen. Three large spaces on each side of the numbers are for red and
black; even and odd; _manque_ and _passe_, that is, the numbers in the
first and second half respectively from 1 to 18, and from 19 to 36
inclusive. At the top of each board is zero, which sweeps all stakes,
except those on the even chances, into the coffers of the bank.

The stakes having been made a croupier says: "_Le jeu est fait, rien
ne va plus_." The wheel is set in motion. At the same time a croupier
sends the ball flying round the cylinder, the roulette wheel bearing
the numbers being made to revolve in an opposite direction. The ball
eventually falls on to the wheel, and as the latter slackens its
speed, enters a compartment, the number of which is announced thus:
"_Dix-sept, rouge, impair et manque_."

When zero is announced all the money on the table is annexed by the
bank with the exception of that staked upon the even chances red or
black, odd or even, _passe_ or _manque_--the sums on these are moved to
the edge of the board, being _en prison_ till the next coup, when they
are taken or released according to the colour and chance which wins.

The odds laid by the bank work out as follows:--

Stakes placed on any number or on zero are paid at the rate of 35 to
1--a player on the numbers is therefore taking 35 to 1 about a 36 to
1 chance, which must be to his prejudice in the long-run--on any four
numbers 8 to 1, on any six numbers 5 to 1. Red or black, odd or even,
_passe_ (the numbers after 18) or _manque_ (the numbers before 18) are
even-money chances. The dozens and columns are 2 to 1 chances.

Stakes are often placed _à cheval_, that is to say, on two adjoining
numbers, which together are paid at the rate of 17 to 1. The red
numbers and the blacks are unequally divided in the columns. The centre
column contains eight black and only four reds; the first column has
six reds and six blacks; while in the last column there are eight reds
and four blacks.

Professor Karl Pearson, when making an exhaustive study of the laws of
chance, drew up a series of elaborate tables, with the intention of
comparing the results of a number of spins of the roulette wheel with
those produced by drawing numbers from a hat and tossing with coins.

The conclusion at which he arrived was that, whilst the colours
followed the laws of chance as they are generally understood, the other
even chances, _passe_ and _manque_, _pair_ and _impair_, exhibited such
capriciousness in their recurrence as could not have been expected
had roulette been played continuously through the whole period of
geological time.

The roulette wheels of Monte Carlo are perfectly honest machines. The
cylinder of each is sheet copper, carefully balanced and strengthened
by bands of metal. It revolves in its bed on a vertical pivot of steel,
the top of which has a cup-like hollow, into which oil is poured. A
mechanic, whose business it is to clean and prepare the wheels every
morning, pours oil also into the gun-metal socket which forms the
centre of the wheel, and it is then dropped into its place upon the

The great care which is taken by the authorities to ensure the absolute
accuracy of their roulette wheels is based upon very sufficient
grounds, for a slight defect in one of those machines once cost them a
large sum.

Amongst the frequenters of the rooms at Monte Carlo there is always a
large number of astute and none too scrupulous individuals quick to
note any little circumstance likely to be of advantage to themselves.
For this reason some slight tendency of the roulette wheel to stop in
such a way as to cause a certain group of numbers to have an advantage
over the rest is very quickly noticed and advantage taken of it.

A mechanic from Yorkshire, Jaggers by name, once cost the Casino
some two million francs. Well aware of the difficulty of maintaining
a nicely adjusted machine in a perfectly stable condition, Jaggers
engaged six assistants, whom he posted at different tables to note
the numbers at roulette all day long, whilst he himself undertook
to make an elaborate analysis of the results. After a month's play
peculiarities were clearly to be discovered in the appearance of the
numbers at each of the tables quite out of consonance with the law of
average, some numbers turning up more, some less. Having ascertained
this fact Jaggers and his men began to play on the numbers which kept
ahead of the rest, and won some hundred and forty thousand pounds.
The authorities then realised that all was not right, and changed the
roulette wheels from one table to another for every day's play, with
the result that the bank recovered £40,000. Jaggers, however, was not
yet defeated, for by searching observations he discovered minute marks
on most of the six wheels, which enabled him to follow them from table
to table--a mere scratch was enough.

In a short time he and his assistants knew what numbers would be most
likely to recur at certain tables, and the £40,000 which the bank had
regained was soon won back.

The authorities controlling the play now began to take a serious view
of the situation, and in consequence consulted the manufacturer of the
roulette wheels in Paris with a view to constructing cylinders capable
of baffling Jaggers and his gang. A new set of wheels were constructed
with interchangeable partitions, so that the position of the various
receptacles to receive the ball might be changed every evening, when
practically a new wheel would be produced, the receptacle which had
served for one number on any certain day being utilised for another on
the other side the next.

By these means Jaggers was eventually defeated. He was astute enough to
perceive that the advantages which he had so cleverly utilised for his
own profit no longer existed and, after having lost back some portion
of his gains, retired from Monte Carlo some £80,000 to the good.

In order to obviate all chance of anything of this kind happening
again, the roulette wheels are carefully examined and tested every day,
the most thorough precautions being taken to ensure conditions of the
fairest kind.

Whatever objections may be urged against the gambling-rooms as an
institution, no accusation of unfairness can be raised against the way
in which play is conducted at Monte Carlo. In this respect scrupulous
and undeviating honesty is the absolute rule.

A croupier, like a poet, is said to be born, not made. Many of those
employed at Monte Carlo, according to current report, are descendants
of those who raked in the money of the Allies (and especially of the
English officers) in the old gambling-rooms of the Palais Royal in 1814.

A large section belong to great croupier families, members of which
dealt the cards and plied the rake in the "conversation houses" and
Kursaals of Baden, Homburg, Ems, and other German Spas which have been
described. There is something rather stately about these men, most of
whom have a peculiar look of detachment not lacking in dignity.

Solemn, courteous, suave, and unmoved, they appear little affected by
the monotony which must of necessity attach to their calling. They are,
it is said, excellent husbands and fathers, of simple tastes, their
chief amusement being playing cards for very modest stakes amongst
themselves--for they are a class apart.

A School of Croupiers exists, at which applicants are trained.

The course of instruction in question is located in the Club-room of
the Tir aux Pigeons and the Salle d'Escrime. Here during the six summer
months are tables exactly like those in the public rooms above, each
pupil in turn taking the _rôle_ of croupier, whilst others, personating
players, stake money all over the table. The novice croupier learns to
calculate and pay out winning stakes with sham money, consisting of
metal discs and dummy bank-notes.

It takes at least six months to produce a finished croupier.

A roulette croupier receives two hundred and fifty francs a month;
whilst dealers at trente-et-quarante are paid three hundred francs.
The working-day is six hours, in two spells of three hours each; each
man being for three days in succession at one table. Every table is
controlled by six croupiers, a seventh being held in reserve as a

At the tables the suavity of manner and impartiality of croupiers in
settling disputes is generally above all praise. The difficulties
with which a croupier has to contend are sometimes disturbing in the
extreme, but his decision is final and, as the players know, admits of
no appeal.

Though the tables are surrounded by a mob of persons avid of gain,
yet there are times when winning stakes remain unclaimed for several
_coups_. When this is observed by the croupiers, the money is set
aside for a certain time, after which it goes to swell the funds of
the bank. Odd though it may appear, people very often depart leaving
winnings behind them on the table--a curious case of this once came
under the writer's observation.

A lady, who was leaving Monte Carlo, had been sitting all the morning
at the roulette, trying with little success to get on a run, and at
last left the rooms to go to lunch with the writer, who afterwards,
having escorted her to the hotel to prepare for her journey, strolled
again into the Casino.

Just within the door he was accosted by an excited and voluble
Englishwoman, who explained that the lady (whom she had observed with
the writer) had left two louis on the red when she rose from her chair.
Red had won twice, and the attention of the croupiers had been drawn to
the unclaimed eight louis, for which the speaker had then assumed the
responsibility, saying she was to play them for a lady who had gone out
of the rooms. She had then proceeded to play up the eight louis till
they had become sixty-four, when, at her request, the whole sum was
taken off the table. The _chef de partie_ meanwhile declared that the
bank would not part with the money till the owner of the original two
louis returned.

After waiting for some time, the woman (who frankly said that she hoped
to receive a share of the money for having played it up) became much
perturbed at not knowing where to find the only owner whom the bank
would recognise, and the advent of the writer, to whom she explained
the whole thing, was therefore most opportune. The lady when told that
sixty-four louis was waiting for her was naturally much pleased, and
on drawing the sum on her way to the station, very cheerfully gave the
woman a third of what had been won.

Of late years the annual profits of the Casino at Monte Carlo have
worked out at about a million, £4000 a day, it is said, flowing into
the coffers of the bank during the season. The disbursements, however,
are very heavy, amounting literally to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Amongst these must be reckoned £9000 for clergy and schools, £6000
for charity, and £20,000 for police. The arrangement, which was some
years ago renewed with the reigning Prince, naturally absorbs a very
large sum of money; but, when everything has been paid out, the annual
profits do not fall far short of £500,000, the shareholders, even in
bad years, receiving something like thirty per cent.

The Casino employs about two thousand officials and _employés_;
the general management being carried on by a _directeur-général_,
who receives 100,000 francs a year, and three _directeurs_. Three
_sous-directeurs_, under whom are the _chefs de table_ and the
croupiers, have to superintend the gaming-rooms, in which eighteen
inspectors walk about the rooms quietly and continually, keeping
watchful eyes on _employés_ and players. These inspectors are known
only to the initiated, and have the appearance of being ordinary
onlookers, fond of watching the play. Amongst other duties these men
keep an eye upon the people staking, in order to detect any habitual
snatchers of other people's money, and also to report on any one who
may apply for the _viatique_.

The _viatique_, or sum of money doled out to unsuccessful gamblers
by the Casino, consists of the price of a second-class ticket to the
applicant's home, together with some small additional funds to enable
him to proceed on his journey.

The dole in question was in the earlier days of Monte Carlo generally
granted without much demur, but at the present time a successful
applicant has to comply with some very unpleasant formalities.

To obtain the _viatique_, the presumably penniless gamester must
present himself at a special office, just off a corner of the central
gaming-room, and there he must take an oath that he has lost over
£300. Inquiries are then made as to whether the applicant has really
lost a large sum at play, which is easily discovered by the evidence
of the inspectors and officials presiding at the tables. If these
inquiries corroborate the story told, he is handed the money, for which
he signs a receipt; and until the advance is repaid, the recipient
is not allowed to pass the doors which separate the atrium from the
gaming-rooms. As a matter of fact, I believe those who have received
the _viatique_ are now photographed so as to be identified by the

There have been instances of unsuccessful system players, who, after
obtaining the _viatique_, have remained at Monte Carlo, constantly
vaunting the virtues of their peculiar method of play, indulgence in
which has shut them off from the tables.

Whilst the enormous majority of those who frequent Monte Carlo lose, as
the princely dividends of the Casino show, certain is it that a number
of persons continue to eke out a living by very moderate and careful
play. Living in humble lodgings or cheap hotels in the Condamine are
many who make it the business of their lives to win one louis, or even
ten francs, every day, sitting for hours perhaps in the accomplishment
of the task.

Some of these are ruined gamblers, who, being reduced to a modest
competency owing to their ruling passion, have more or less learnt
wisdom and are content to wait for long periods of time without staking
at all, whilst quick to grasp the advantage which can be taken from a
well-marked run. Old women, with queer handbags and bundles of what
resemble washing-books, abound at the roulette tables, some of them
being exceedingly shrewd and in a small way not unsuccessful players.

When a woman really grasps the spirit of play she is undoubtedly far
cleverer than a man, who more often than not regards the gambling as a
personal combat between himself and the bank, which he thinks of rather
as a living thing than the ruthless inanimate machine which, in sober
fact, it is.

The majority of women, however, are quite hopeless as gamblers, merely
frittering their money away, often quite ignorant of the odds, chances,
and general procedure of either trente-et-quarante or roulette, at
which their favourite method of staking is to try and back winning

The methods and systems employed by habitual frequenters of the rooms
are of every possible description, some being devised to win but a
louis, and others to secure a princely fortune.

The numbers at roulette are very profitable to the bank, for no system
or method, no matter how carefully devised (except the one employed by
Jaggers), has ever assisted any one to back a winning number or set of
numbers. All this is mere chance, and no calculations as to previous
numbers and the like are of the least assistance. Every _coup_ that is
played is an absolutely new _coup_, and quite unaffected by anything
that has gone before. There is really no reason why one number should
not keep turning up during the whole of one day's play except the fact
that such a thing has never been known to happen. It appears certain
that the general tendency of chances is to equalise themselves at
the end of a certain period, but as the player of necessity cannot
possibly tell whether any given chance is on the up or down grade, such
knowledge is of no assistance whatever to him.

A certain number is observed not to have turned up for a considerable
length of time, and the conclusion is formed that an increasing stake
upon it must in the end prove a good investment. More often than not
the very contrary is the case, for there have been whole days at Monte
Carlo during which a number at one table has scarcely appeared at all.
On the other hand, if a record of every _coup_ at this table had been
kept, the recurrence of every number would, in the course of time, be
found to be practically the same. Complicated systems have often been
devised, the main principle of which was covering a large proportion
of the numbers, only a few, supposed by deduction to be unlikely to
turn up, being left untouched. Disaster has invariably followed even
a moderate run on such numbers, which, of course, occurs in the end,
completely draining the players' pockets.

The even chances, without doubt, afford a player the greatest
likelihood of success.

Staking a louis every time on both black and red, or any other even
chance, leaving on any winnings in the hope of catching a run, is
occasionally not a bad plan. The trouble of staking on both chances
can be modified by calculation, though it is somewhat apt to lead to

A great number of players spend their whole time trying to strike a
run at trente-et-quarante--this generally occurs when they are absent
from their favourite table. The third _coup_ would seem to be the most
dangerous: for this reason, when a colour has run twice it is better
to withdraw some portion of the sum staked, and then the remainder may
be left to double up.

The practice of staking on the dozens at roulette is generally very
attractive to those fresh to the tables, who like the idea of landing a
two to one chance. The same type of player is, as a rule, at one time
or another, fascinated by that system (or rather method of staking)
which consists in backing two dozens, that is, laying two to one
against the bank. Most of such players, however, soon discover how
disastrous this may prove, and it should be realised that it is by no
means an unusual occurrence for a dozen not to appear for ten or twelve
_coups_--seventeen, I believe, is the record number of non-appearances.
The great objection, however, to backing two dozens is zero, which
sweeps everything but the even chances.

Another method of play is to stake against the recurrence of any number
of even chances in an identical order.

Ten _coups_ at trente-et-quarante, for instance, having resulted thus:


the player plays black, black, black, red, and so on in an exactly
opposite sense, increasing his stake till successful. As a matter of
fact it is not very usual for any given number of _coups_ to recur in
exactly the same succession, and played with discretion this system
occasionally yields fair results.

Another simple method is to stake red, black, alternately, doubling up
till the winning colour is caught. This has the advantage of ensuring
profit from a run, but a directly opposite series of alternate reds and
blacks must, of course, prove ruinous in the extreme.

The martingale, which is merely going "double or quits," is the
simplest of all systems. There are two martingales, the small and the
great. In the small martingale the aim is to get back all previous
losses in one _coup_, and to leave you a winner of one unit at the

The progression is as follows: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512,
1024. If you played this system at a roulette table with a unit of five
francs, it takes eleven consecutive losses to defeat you, and one loss
less at the trente-et-quarante table, where the minimum stake is 20

You may go on playing this martingale for weeks at a time without
encountering an adverse run of sufficient magnitude to enable the bank
to capture your stake. The only thing you have to fear is a run of 12
against you; you can only double up eleven times, and your last stake
will be 5120 francs. Runs of 12, however, are rare.

The great martingale aims at getting back all the previous losses and
winning one unit for every _coup_ played. The progression is 1, 3, 7,
15, 31, 63, 127, 255, 511, 1023, and the player is defeated by ten
consecutive losses at roulette, and nine at trente-et-quarante.

When playing the little martingale the player has to double his stake
every time he loses, in order to recover his losses and be one unit
to the good. Whereas, in the great martingale he not only doubles his
stake but adds one unit to each _coup_, and only stands one chance in
1024 of losing at each _coup_, that is, of encountering an adverse run
of ten.

A popular system is that known as the Labouchere system. Its main
principle is to keep scratching out the top and bottom figures whenever
you win, till no figures are left, and always to put down your loss
when you lose, which, added to the topmost number, forms the next stake.

Before beginning to play write down on a card 1, 2, 3, in this order:--


Your object is to win six units, and you always stake the sum total of
the top and bottom figures--1 + 3 = 4. If you win, you strike out the 3
and the 1:--


Your next stake will now be 2. If you win again, your task is over, for
you have won your six units. Suppose, however, as alas! most frequently
happens, that you lose your first stake 1 + 3, you must add the figure
4 at the bottom of your score thus:--


Your next stake will now be 1 + 4 = 5. We will then say that you win,
in which case cross out the 1 and the 4, making your score:--


The next stake would be 2 + 3. You lose, and your score stands:--


The next stake would be 2 + 5. You win, and you cross out 2 and 5:--


The next stake would be 3, and if you win you cross out 3, and have
won the six units that you started out to win.

Not infrequently this system, after very nearly proving successful (one
number only being left), goes entirely wrong and runs into very big
figures, and in such a case the player is very lucky if he succeeds in
regaining his losses and winning the six units originally sought for.
More often than not he finds himself obliged to desist through lack of

The writer's own experience of this system, which he has thoroughly
tested on several occasions at Monte Carlo, was that very frequently
the six units would be won several times in succession with
comparatively slight difficulty--at times, indeed, it appeared almost
ridiculously easy to win. In the end, however, there invariably came a
day when a very contrary state of affairs prevailed, and the money won
returned, with interest, to the bank.

It should be added that before the writer embarked upon his efforts to
defeat the bank at Monte Carlo by means of this system, he gave it a
thorough trial by dealing out the required number of packs of cards at
trente-et-quarante, and noting the results of the various _coups_. In
almost every case the system proved completely successful, as systems
generally do when they are not being played for money.

An exception to this was Lord Rosslyn's defeat by Sir Hiram Maxim, when
the former's system, played for sham money, was beaten at the 3080th
_coup_. Nevertheless the system in question is not a particularly bad
one, were it not that it requires a considerable capital. Ten thousand
units or more are essential, with £16,000 on the basis of a one-louis

If fortune should favour the player, the profit would be from five to
six hundred louis a day.

The principle of this system is to increase the stakes by one unit
every time, without ever decreasing, until all previous losses are
wiped out and one louis as well is gained for every _coup_ played.

Two exceptions to this rule, however, exist. The first stake is always
"one," but if you lose this, instead of your next stake being two, it
is three; after that it should be four, five, six, seven, eight, etc.,
until your task is accomplished. The game is finished when you can wipe
out all minus quantities from your score sheet and bring the result to
+1. Suppose, therefore, your score sheet shows you to be -3, and your
stake in the ordinary way ought to be 7; instead of staking 7 you would
only stake 4, in order to arrive at the result of +1 if you win. In the
event of your losing the stake of 4, your next stake will be 8, just
as if you had staked 7 in the ordinary course of the game the previous
_coup_. If you lose the 8, you would continue with 9, 10, 11, and so on.

If you win two or three stakes of 1 at the commencement, they are
considered as definite gains, and put away quite apart from your

In the event of your losing the first two stakes of 1 and 3, your
position is:--

  First loss     -1
  Second loss    -3
    Total loss   -4

The object of the system being to win a unit per _coup_ as well as to
recover any loss, in order to keep a clear record of the amount you
require to win, it is best to add one unit to your losses after every

Supposing that the game is begun with four losing and three winning
_coups_, it will be scored as follows:--

    First loss      1 to which add 1 more.
          Total    -2

    Second stake   -3 and lose.
        Lost       -5 to which add 1 more.
          Total    -6

    Third stake    -4 and lose.
        Lost      -10 to which add 1 more.
          Total   -11

    Fourth stake   -5 and lose.
        Lost      -16 to which add 1 more.
         Total    -17

    Fifth stake    +6 and win.
        Lost      -11 to which add 1 more.
          Total   -12

    Sixth stake    +7 and win.
        Lost       -5 to which add 1 more.
          Total    -6

    Seventh stake   7 and win.
          Result   +1

 Result.--_Coups_ played, 7; _coups_ lost, 4; units won, 20. _Coups_
 won, 3; units lost, 13. Total won, 7.

The last stake, it will be observed, is only 7 instead of 8. This is
because you only require to arrive at a result of +1. Had 8 been staked
in the ordinary course and won, you would have won a unit more than you
needed, but would have taken some unnecessary risk.

Those desirous of giving various systems a trial should not omit to
study the method of staking set forth in Mr. Victor Bethell's lively
little book, _Ten Days at Monte Carlo_. A merit of this system is that
it only seeks to win a certain moderate amount every day, and does not
allure the player with hopes of immense and impossible gain.

Most systems as a rule prove successful for a short time, and while
this happy state of affairs prevails, the player, not unnaturally,
congratulates himself upon having discovered an infallible method of
overcoming the wiles of chance. Sooner or later, alas, comes the day
when his laborious calculations prove quite powerless to defeat the
bank, and clearly demonstrate that the success, which at one time
seemed so certain and easy, was merely the result of having hit upon a
vein of good luck.

In all probability the best method of staking is the following, which
was once carried out for some two months with complete success. The
method in question was successfully worked by a gentleman (known to the
present writer), who owing to the illness of a relative, was obliged to
remain at Monte Carlo for a rather lengthy period of time. He was, it
must be understood, very well off, and by no means a gambler. His plan
was this: every day he put a hundred-franc note in his pocket, which he
changed into five-franc bits in the Casino. With these twenty coins he
commenced to play. His stake was usually but one or two of these coins
at first, though sometimes he would lose his whole capital in a few
moments trying to back winning numbers.

If successful, any notes he might receive were put in his pocket-book
not to be used for play. It was no uncommon thing for him to leave the
Casino with a profit of a thousand francs.

On the other hand, it would often occur that for a number of days in
succession he would lose his hundred francs without hardly having won
a stake at all. In the long run, however, he was a very considerable
sum to the good, a comparatively small number of winning days having
far more than compensated him for the large number of those on which
the hundred francs had been speedily lost. Under no circumstances did
he ever risk more than a hundred francs in one day. It was, of course,
the system of putting all paper money in the pocket which caused this
method to succeed. It should be added that when the hundred francs had
rolled up into twenty or thirty louis at roulette the player often
tried his luck with them at trente-et-quarante. The essential advantage
of this method of staking is the limit imposed upon loss; under no
circumstances can more than one hundred francs a day be lost, whilst
when in luck a very large sum may be won.

The method described above is not a bad one for any one who is making
a prolonged stay at Monte Carlo, and is not desperately anxious to
indulge in serious gambling; a better course to be adopted by those who
are, is to decide exactly how much they are prepared to lose, take the
whole of sum in question into the rooms one morning, divide it into
a certain number of stakes, and with these play a limited number of
_coups_ on the even chances. If successful, repeat this operation the
next day with the winnings alone, and so on until a fairly substantial
sum has been amassed, when the wisest course is to cease all further
gambling for that visit.

It must never be forgotten that the fewer _coups_ which are played the
more chance there is of winning.

Long sittings at the trente-et-quarante or roulette table are
absolutely certain to end in loss, besides being inexpressibly tedious,
trying to the eyes, and destructive to health.

A man who plays a great part of the day and all the evening after
dinner must certainly end by being a loser; whereas he who merely plays
for a few minutes at a time has a very fair chance of ending up a
winner, always provided, of course, that the fates are propitious.

In the long run nothing is to be gained by making a toil of gaming, the
only justifiable defence of which is that in moderation it affords a
good deal of pleasurable though generally costly excitement.

There are good methods of staking and bad methods; but there is not,
and, so far as can be foreseen, never will be, a thoroughly reliable
system. The best is that which minimises loss, acting as a check in the
case of an unfavourable run. All complicated mathematical calculations
undertaken with a view to defeating the bank are vain, for none of
them take into consideration that most important and mysterious
factor--_luck_--which so often seems to shun serious gamblers.

"If I were resolved to win," said a lover of systems, "I should go very
soberly with a hundred napoleons, and be content with winning one."
"That would never do," was the reply of a player well versed in the
fallacies of gamesters' calculations. "Better go, after a good dinner,
with one napoleon, resolved to win a hundred."


 Difficulty of making money on the Turf--Big wins--Sporting
 tipsters and their methods--Jack Dickinson--"Black
 Ascots"--Billy Pierse--Anecdotes--Lord Glasgow--Lord
 George Bentinck--Lord Hastings--Heavy betting of the
 past--Charles II. founder of the English Turf--History of
 the latter--Anecdotes--Eclipse--Highflyer--The founder
 of Tattersall's--Old time racing--Fox--Lord Foley--Major
 Leeson--Councillor Lade--"Louse Pigott"--Hambletonian and
 Diamond--Mrs. Thornton match--Beginnings of the French
 Turf--Lord Henry Seymour--Longchamps--Mr. Mackenzie
 Grieves--Plaisanterie--Establishment of the Pari Mutuel in 1891--How
 the large profits are allocated--Conclusion.

In the course of some remarks on racing made by Lord Rosebery at the
131st dinner of the Gimcrack Club he said:--

"I don't think any one need pursue the Turf with the idea of gain."

This statement, though a discouraging one for sportsmen, is nothing
more than the plain, unvarnished truth, as any one who cares to look
into the matter can find out for himself. A quicker and more convincing
method, open to those with plenty of funds, is to own race-horses.

The Turf, as a means of making money, is indeed not to be considered
seriously. Certain bookmakers, of course, have made, and do still make
fortunes, but bookmaking cannot properly be called going on the Turf.

Owners have also existed who, for a time, have reaped a rich harvest by
the success of their horses. Over Hermit's Derby Mr. Chaplin is said
to have landed an enormous stake, something between a hundred and a
hundred and twenty thousand--he never received the whole of the amount
which he won. Mr. John Hammond was also at times very successful in
winning large sums. He is said to have cleared over £70,000 by the
victory of Herminius in the Ascot stakes of 1888. This horse he had
bought for two hundred and forty guineas! A singularly lucky owner was
Mr. James Merry, who is supposed to have cleared over £80,000 when
Thormanby won the Derby. Another big win was that of Mr. Naylor, who is
supposed to have won £100,000 over Macaroni for the Derby of 1863.

Nevertheless, from a financial point of view betting on horse-races is
almost without exception disastrous, and, whether they know too much
or know too little, men who systematically indulge in it to any great
extent stand an excellent chance of being left with empty pockets.

As for the general public, a number of whom are more or less given
to risking an occasional bet, their chance of winning is absolutely
infinitesimal. An individual who bets throughout the year is indeed
very lucky if he loses only two-thirds of the money he has risked--as
a rule he does far worse than this. The sporting papers, on which
many rely, are of course genuinely anxious to assist their readers
to find winners, but do not pretend to be infallible guides. Sporting
journalists themselves, who should be in an excellent position
to obtain reliable information, are not infrequently peculiarly
unsuccessful in their own bets; probably few end the year on the
winning side. The most expensive guides of all are, of course, the
advertising tipsters, some of whom make quite large sums by issuing
thoroughly unreliable vaticinations to a touchingly confiding
clientele. Some time ago one of these men very cleverly took advantage
of a newspaper competition, when a prize had been offered by a sporting
paper for naming the most popular tipster of the day. Purchasing some
thousands of coupons he put his own name on them, of course varying
the writing to prevent suspicion. As a result of these tactics he was
eventually adjudged to be the prize tipster, and, though the scheme
cost him a good deal of money, it eventually brought considerable grist
to his mill.

The circulars and letters issued by these prophets are generally
admirably calculated to increase the number of their followers.

Not infrequently they adopt a high-flown style. One for instance, moved
by purely philanthropic motives, declares that "when he casts his
practised eye on the broad surface of struggling humanity and witnesses
the slow and enduring perseverance or impetuous rush of the many to
grapple with a cloud, he is seized with an intense desire to hold up
the lamp of light to all." Another adopts a bluffer style and writes:--

 DEAR SIR--DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. Let me entreat you not to miss
 to-morrow's GOLDEN PADDOCK WIRE; it will be honestly worth a £10 note.

 My RELATION connected with a certain WELL-KNOWN STABLE says, "Frank,
 my boy, get your money on at once; this is another 20 to 1 chance." A
 GOLD MINE is before us--miss this and you will miss a pile of GOLD and

 OWNER and TRAINER HAVE planked their money down; both will travel with
 the GRAND ANIMAL (the name of which I will forward for 5s.) to-morrow
 by special train.

 Send a postal order and secure the name of the smartest three-year-old
 that ever came under the starters' orders or romped past the judge's
 box lengths ahead of all the favourites, winning clients and myself

Yet another offers infallible information if clients will merely put a
small portion of their stake on for him. As some of the horses he gives
must win he probably does fairly well. Whilst most of such tipsters are
but sorry guides, some are undoubtedly honest men and try to do their
best for their clients.

Such a one was Old Jack Dickinson, a thoroughly honest sporting
tipster, who will be remembered by all race-goers of some years ago.
This well-known character, who was a fine sprint runner in his day,
bore a quite unblemished reputation, though a backer of horses and a
professional vendor of tips. Old Jack was a regular church-goer in
his own parish, where his death caused genuine sorrow. Though in his
capacity as a Turf tipster he was at times compelled to issue his
circulars on Sunday, this he did not like, and by way of salving his
conscience in the matter he is said to have made a practice of devoting
all the money he received from the Sunday information to church
purposes, it being put into the collection box.

On the Turf, exclusive of betting men, jockeys, and trainers, there
are three classes--men of large fortune, with well and old-established
studs, fixtures as it were; sporting men of moderate fortune, who
confine themselves to four or five horses at a time, and run merely in
their own part of the world; and lastly, men of small or no fortune,
who run for profit more than amusement. It is the conduct of many of
this last class which has at times been injurious to the Turf.

The sporting owner, who has to pay large trainers' bills and meet the
other inevitable charges incident to the sport of which he aspires to
be a pillar, cannot reasonably hope to make a profit on his racing;
even the sharp betting man is in many cases out of pocket at the end of
a year. Expenses, such as travelling, hotel bills, and the like, amount
to a considerable sum, and for this reason every supporter of the Turf
is greatly handicapped before he even makes a bet.

Layers as well as backers have large disbursements which they cannot
avoid--as a matter of fact the vast majority of bookmakers who have
died rich men have made their fortunes through commercial enterprises,
though, of course, the moderate capital originally invested was made in
the Ring. To acquire any considerable sum in this manner is by no means
an easy thing. Much is heard about successful bookmakers; little of
those who fail and disappear.

If betting can ever be made profitable, it must be carried on in a most
systematic and restrained manner. A few points in the odds make the
difference often of some thousands; and it will require a man's whole
time and attention to take advantage of any turn in the market.

A young man who goes racing with the idea of making money is of
necessity quickly disillusioned in the most unpleasant of ways. If he
knows no racing men he is, of course, hopelessly at sea; but should he
have means of obtaining really good information, his fate is generally
even more deplorable, for some untoward incident almost invariably
happens when a big _coup_ is on and the good thing goes down.

Not a few, in despair at continual losses, make up their minds to wait
for "absolute certainties," and lay heavy odds on some horse which it
would seem cannot possibly be beaten, a method which usually proves
very expensive in the end.

Of all meetings Ascot seems most fatal to gamblers of this description.
A particularly disastrous meeting was that of 1879. In the Vase,
Silvio, 9 to 4 on, fell before Isonomy; Peter, 5 to 2 on for the Fern
Hill Stakes, was beaten by Douranee; Victor Chief, 7 to 4 on, was
fourth to Philippine for the Seventeenth New Biennial; Valentino second
for the Maiden Plate at 5 to 4 on; Silvio, 6 to 4 on, was beaten in the
Hardwicke; and Aventurier, 2 to 1, was defeated by Royal for the Plate
of one hundred sovereigns, which concluded this woeful meeting.

Another "Black Ascot" was that of 1882. 8 to 1 was laid on Geheimniss,
which could only obtain second place in the Fernhill Stakes; 9 to 2 on
St. Marguerite, third in the Coronation Stakes; 11 to 8 on Rookery,
second in the New Stakes; and 9 to 4 on Foxhall, second in the
Alexandra Plate. An appalling series of disasters for the unfortunate

Layers of odds on again suffered at Ascot in 1894, when 5 to 1 was laid
on Delphos for the All Aged Stakes, and 5 to 1 on La Flèche for the
Hardwicke on the Friday. The odds in each case were upset, both being

At Ascot this year backers as usual did not fare particularly well, for
notable upsets occurred in the Coventry Stakes, won by the Admiration
colt at 20 to 1, and in the All Aged Stakes, in which 100 to 15 was
laid on Hallaton which succumbed to his only rival Hillside.

When everything is said and done, there can be no doubt that the
individual who starts out, either as bookmaker or backer, with the idea
that he is going to make a fortune must, as an old racing character
(Billy Pierse, whose father fought at Culloden) used to say, "want it

This expression was very popular with "T' au'd un" or the "Governor,"
as Billy was commonly designated on the Yorkshire courses. Once at
Doncaster, when Sir John Byng had to decide a dispute as to jostling to
the prejudice of a horse trained by "T' au'd un," the latter insisted
that Sir John could not distinguish between a race and a charge of
cavalry, and that he could by no earthly explanation be made to
comprehend in what a "jostle" in racing consisted. So cantankerous was
Billy on the subject that he accosted an old gentleman, whose erudition
he held in high esteem, in the following manner: "Tell me, sir, wasn't
this Sir J. Byng's father or grandfather hanged?" "No, Mr. Pierse,"
was the reply, "not hanged; probably you allude to the Admiral, who
was shot." "I thowt," rejoined Billy, "it was sommat o' t' sowort, an'
it's much of a muchness between hanging and shooting; but I'll uphoud
ye that this Sir John Byng will never do for the Turf--he may be well
enough for a General, but he'll never do for the Turf! He wants it
here, sir," added Billy, putting his finger in a most expressive manner
on his forehead, "he wants it here!"

The maxims of "T' au'd un" were held in great respect, and the Duke of
Cleveland, for whom he won several races on Haphazard, used frequently
to ask the old man (who had had his last mount in the St. Leger of
1819) to Raby. Concerning these visits Billy used to say, "I never
forgot that I was Billy Pierse--I was useful or I wouldn't have been
theer." This was to some extent true, for the Duke had a high opinion
of his judgment in Turf matters. A favourite saying of Old Billy, and
one which afforded him much comfort, was, "I've done as many as have
done me." Nevertheless he was straight enough, according to the Turf
ethics of his day.

Within the last twenty-five years there have been many changes in
connection with Turf speculation. Ante-post betting, for instance, is
now practically obsolete, whilst starting price betting, unknown in old
days, has come into vogue; and, finally, the huge wagers formerly quite
common have become things of the past, a state of affairs which would
be little to the taste of men of the type of the fifth Lord Glasgow
did they still exist. This nobleman's love of wagering enormous sums
excited attention even in an age when high gambling was not generally
viewed with anything like the severity which prevails to-day, when
Stock Exchange speculation is the favourite mode of attaining complete
and speedy impecuniosity.

The evening before the Derby of 1843 Lord Glasgow, then Lord Kelburne,
was at Crockford's, when Lord George Bentinck inquired if any one would
lay him three to one against his horse, Gaper. Lord Kelburne said he
should be delighted.




  By Rowlandson.]

"Remember," said Lord George, "I'm not after a small bet."

"Well," rejoined Lord Kelburne, "I suppose £90,000 to £30,000 will suit

This staggered the owner of Gaper, who was obliged to admit that he had
never dreamt of taking such a large bet.

Lord Kelburne was rather annoyed. "I thought you wanted to do it 'to
money,'" said he sharply; "however, I see I was wrong."

As early as 1823 this sporting peer had created a sensation at the
Star Inn at Doncaster, by offering to lay 25 to 1 in hundreds against
Brutandorf for the St. Leger, afterwards repeating the offer in

On the St. Leger of 1824 Jerry won him some £17,000, but three years
later he lost £27,000, Mr. Gully's much-fancied Derby winner, Mameluke,
being beaten by Matilda. The victory of this filly, which was very
popular with the Yorkshire crowd, is commemorated at Stapleton Park,
near Pontefract--where her owner, the Hon. E. Petre, lived--by a
chiming clock placed over the stables, known as the "Matilda clock,"
which is appropriately surmounted by a "race-horse weathercock."

Lord George Bentinck is said to have won no less than £100,000 by
betting in one year (1845), but his racing expenses amounted to an
enormous sum. He won £12,000 by the victory of Cotherstone in the
Derby, and it is said would have profited to the extent of some
£135,000 had Gaper proved the winner of that classic race. His
successes as an owner, though considerable, hardly compensated him
for the immense amount of time, thought, and money which he expended
upon racing matters. Crucifix, it is true, won the Two Thousand, the
One Thousand, and the Oaks in 1840, but Lord George never won the
Derby, though if he had not parted with his stud in 1846 he would in
all probability have done so, for Mr. Mostyn in his purchase acquired
Surplice, who became the winner in 1848. The victory much agitated his
former owner when he heard of it.

Sir Joseph Hawley was a very heavy better in his time, though at
the end of his Turf career he began a crusade against the evils of
plunging--nevertheless, not very long before, he had taken £40,000 to
£600 about each of the fillies he had entered for the Derby.

The enormous bets made by the ill-timed Marquis of Hastings are
notorious. Now and then he hit the Ring very hard--when Lecturer
won the Cesarewitch, for instance, he was a gainer of no less than
£75,000--and his Turf winnings in stakes were also considerable for two
or three years. In 1864 they amounted to £10,000, in 1866 to £12,000,
and in 1867 to over £30,000. Hermit's Derby, however, in the same year
is said to have cost him £140,000; and even had Marksman, who was
second, won, he would have lost £120,000.

This spendthrift nobleman was anything but shrewd as a plunger. He had
made his book so badly that, though he stood to lose heavily, he would
only have profited to the extent of a few thousands had Vauban, which
was his best horse, been first past the post. In 1868 the Marquis,
a broken-down, ruined man, passed to his grave at the early age of

There was very heavy betting in the old days. Davies, the celebrated
bookmaker, for instance, more than once made a Derby book amounting to
£100,000. As a matter of fact he is said to have generally lost money
over the Derby and Oaks, and won it over the St. Leger. When Daniel
O'Rourke won the Derby he lost about £50,000 (some say almost double
this sum), having laid a great deal of money at 100 to 1. Catherine
Hayes also hit him hard, and over West Australian he lost £48,000, of
which £30,000 went to the owner, Mr. Bowes. In his latter years Davies
rather avoided ante-post betting, especially on the Derby. The victory
of Teddington in 1851 took something not far short of £90,000 out of
his pockets, one cheque alone sent out by him to Mr. Greville being for
£15,000. The Derby in question was very costly to the Ring in general,
which lost something like £150,000. The most considerable sum, however,
ever won by the great racing public of small means was when Voltigeur
won the St. Leger in 1850. The excitement during the deciding heat with
Russborough was probably the greatest ever seen on any race-course;
and on the evening of the following day, when he won the Doncaster Cup,
beating the Flying Dutchman, many of the Yorkshiremen caroused all
night. As one of them said, "Who'd go to bed when Voltigeur's won the
St. Leger and the Cup?"

Whilst racing possesses some claim to be considered a serious sport
owing to the undoubted improvement which it has effected in the breed
of horses, its most ardent supporters have been men of pleasure. The
founder of the English Turf, indeed, was the "Merry Monarch," though
there had been horse-racing for bells long before his time.

Charles the Second did everything he could to improve horsemanship
in England. He it was who induced a celebrated French riding master,
Foubert by name, to come over and settle in England. This Frenchman set
up a riding academy near what is now Regent Street. His name is still
perpetuated by "Foubert's Passage."

Charles, who knew a good deal about most things, possessed, it is
said, much knowledge of horses, and was himself an experienced and
able rider. He became a great supporter of the Turf, gave many prizes
to be run for, and delighted in witnessing races. When he resided at
Windsor the horses ran on Datchet-mead; but the most distinguished spot
for these spectacles was Newmarket, a place which was first chosen on
account of the firmness of the ground.

Remains of the house in which Charles lived at what became the
head-quarters of the Turf still exist. It was originally purchased by
the "Merry Monarch" from an Irish Peer, Lord Thomond.

Here it was that Nell Gwynne is supposed to have held her infant out of
the window as Charles passed down the Palace Gardens to his stables,
and apostrophised him to the effect that if the child was not made a
Duke upon the spot she would drop it.

When the King went to see this palace, as it was called, which he had
caused to be built at Newmarket, he thought the rooms too low; but the
architect, Sir Christopher Wren, who was of small stature, did not
agree. Walking through the rooms he looked up at the King and said,
"Please your Majesty, I think they are high enough." The King squatted
down to Sir Christopher's height, and creeping about in that posture,
cried, "Aye, Sir Christopher, I think they are high enough."

During his visits to the little town Charles usually spent the morning
in coursing or playing tennis, repairing to the Heath about three to
witness racing, it being the custom for the King and his retinue of
courtiers and ladies to ride alongside or after the contending steeds,
which on their arrival at the winning post were saluted with the blare
of trumpets and the beating of drums. Most of the races in Charles' day
would appear to have consisted of matches to decide wagers previously

The Whip which is annually run for at Newmarket has sometimes been said
to be the identical one which Charles II. (not George II.) was in the
habit of riding with, and which he presented to some nobleman, whose
arms it bears, as being the owner of the best horse in England.

The whip itself is of very antique appearance, and by no means "a
splendid trophy." The handle, which is very heavy, is of silver, with
a ring at the end of it for a wristband, which is made of the mane of

During this reign the Turf became a popular and aristocratic
institution. The Merry Monarch even condescended to ride himself, and
rode a match at Newmarket in 1671, on which occasion his horse Woodcock
was beaten.

Charles kept and entered horses in his own name, and by his attention
and generosity added importance and lustre to the institution over
which he presided. Bells, the ancient reward of swiftness, were now no
longer given; a silver bowl or cup of the value of one hundred guineas
succeeded the tinkling prize. On this royal gift the exploits of the
successful horse, together with his pedigree, were usually engraven to
publish and perpetuate his fame.

James the Second is reputed to have been a good horseman, but his reign
was too short and troublesome to permit him to indulge his inclinations
as regards horses. He was a lover of hunting, and ever preferred
English mounts, several of which he had always in his stables after he
became an exile in France.

When William the Third ascended the throne, he not only added to the
plates given at different places in the kingdom, but made every attempt
at improving horsemanship. Though he was a monarch of considerable
austerity, this king once matched a horse of his own for a stake of two
thousand guineas.

Queen Anne continued the bounty of her predecessors, with the addition
of several plates. Her Consort, George, Prince of Denmark, is said to
have taken infinite delight in horse-racing, and to have obtained from
the Queen the grant of several plates allotted to different places.

Towards the beginning of the eighteenth century a statute of Queen Anne
was enacted with a view to the restriction of betting. Very great sums
of money changed hands owing to a match run at Newmarket between the
gentlemen of the South and those of the North. It is almost superfluous
to add that the proverbial shrewdness of the Northerner was fully
demonstrated on this occasion.

Queen Anne herself was, however, a supporter of the Turf, running
horses in her own name in matches at Newmarket and York.

Towards the close of the reign of George the First he discontinued the
plates, and in lieu of each gave the sum of one hundred guineas.

In the middle of the eighteenth century the Turf had fallen into some
disrepute, but the Duke of Cumberland did much to revive the glories
which had somewhat languished since the days of Charles II. He it was
who first instituted the race meeting at Ascot.

The Duke was a born gambler, and used when out hunting to play at
hazard with Lord Sandwich, throwing a main on every green hill and
under every green tree whenever the hounds checked.

Though cheery enough in the hunting field, he was anything but
tender-hearted when pursuing his avocation as a soldier; indeed his
severity at times became cruelty, which gained for him the nickname of
"the Butcher."

The day after the decisive battle of Culloden, in the year 1745, the
General, or as he was popularly styled, Duke William, was riding over
the scene of battle in company with his officers, among whom was
Colonel Wolfe, afterwards the hero of Quebec, then a young man. Among
the dead and dying stretched on the stricken field, one was so far
recovered as to be able to sit upright. Looking at the poor wretch,
the Duke said to the young Colonel by his side; "Wolfe, shoot me that
rebel." Wolfe glared back at his prince and commander, and, with a
flushed countenance which showed his indignation, replied: "Your Royal
Highness, I am a soldier, not an executioner." The Duke turned his back
upon Wolfe and did not utter another word.

If, however, the Duke, as the saying went, was a "very devil in his
boots," he was all right out of them and good-natured enough when
racing. Being at a Newmarket meeting just before the horses started, he
missed his pocket-book, containing some bank-notes. When the knowing
ones came about him and offered several bets, he said he had lost his
money already and could not afford to venture any more that day. The
horse which the Duke had intended to back was beaten, so he consoled
himself, as he said, with the thought that the loss of his pocket-book
only anticipated the evil, as if he had betted, he would have paid away
as much to the worthies of the Turf. The race, however, was no sooner
finished than a veteran half-pay officer presented His Royal Highness
with his pocket-book, saying he had found it near the stand, but had
not an opportunity of approaching him before. To this the Duke most
generously replied; "I am glad it has fallen into such good hands--keep
it. Had it not been for this accident, it would have been by this time
among the blacklegs and thieves of Newmarket."

In 1764 the Duke of Cumberland matched his famous horse, King Herod,
against the Duke of Grafton's Antinous for £1000 over the Beacon Course
at Newmarket. This contest excited intense interest, and more than
£100,000 is said to have changed hands over the victory of Herod, who
won by what was then called half a neck. In the annals of the Turf,
however, Duke William is best remembered on account of the fact that he
bred the greatest horse of all time, "Eclipse."

This animal, whose wonderful powers as a racer have won him
unparalleled fame, was got by Marske (a son of Squirt) out of Spiletta,
a bay mare foaled in 1749 by Regulus, a son of the Godolphin Arabian.
Eclipse was foaled in 1764, during the great eclipse of that year.
When, at the death of the Duke, His Royal Highness's stud was brought
to the hammer, Eclipse was purchased as a colt by Mr. Wildman (who
appears to have had some insight into his value), under very curious
circumstances. Mr. Wildman, who had, it was reported, been put into
possession of the extraordinary promise evinced by a particular
chestnut colt when a yearling, adopted the following questionable
measures in order to make sure of him. When he arrived at the place of
sale, he produced his watch and insisted that the auction had commenced
before the hour which had been announced in the advertisements, and
that the lots should be put up again. In order, however, to prevent a
dispute, it was agreed by the auctioneer and company that Mr. Wildman
should have his choice of any particular lot. By these means, it is
generally believed, he became possessed of Eclipse at the moderate
price of seventy or seventy-five guineas. Eclipse did not appear upon
the Turf till he was five years old, and so invincibly bad was his
temper that it was for some time uncertain whether he would not be
raced as a gelding. It is by mere accident, indeed, that the most
celebrated of English stallions was preserved to adorn the Calendar
with the glories of his descendants. In the neighbourhood of Epsom
Downs there lived a man of the name of Ellerton, who, however, was
better known by the sobriquet of Hilton, and who united the occupations
of poacher and rough-rider. To him, after all else had signally failed,
Eclipse was handed over as an incorrigible, and he had recourse to the
kill-or-cure system. He was at him day and night, frequently bringing
him home at daybreak, after a poaching excursion, with a load of
hares strung across his back. Twelve months of this regimen brought
him sufficiently to his senses to fit him to be brought to the post,
and once there, he ran because it was his pleasure to do so. Still
he never could be raced like any other horse. Fitzpatrick, who rode
him in almost all his races, never dared to hold him, or do more than
sit quiet in his saddle. All through his Turf career his temper was
wretched, and very seriously interfered with his value as a racer.
His extraordinary superiority was also so palpable that latterly no
odds could be got about him save by stratagems. One of these was very
clever. For a race in which there were several horses engaged, when
O'Kelly failed in getting any money on no-matter-what odds, he took
them to a large amount that he placed every horse in it! This he did by
naming Eclipse first and all the others nowhere, winning by his horse
distancing the field. In 1769, Wildman and O'Kelly were joint-owners
of Eclipse, the latter, however, soon after becoming the sole owner
at the price of 1750 guineas. At a late period of his life, when
an offer to purchase him was made to O'Kelly, these were the terms
demanded--£20,000 down, an annuity of £500 for his (O'Kelly's) life,
and the right of having three mares every year stinted to him as long
as he lived.

This "horse of horses" was short in the forehand, and high in the hips,
which gave elasticity to his speed. Upon dissection the muscles were
found to be of unparalleled size--a proof of the intimate relation
between muscular power and extraordinary swiftness. No horse of his day
would appear to have had the shadow of a chance against him.

Eclipse died February 26th, 1789, aged twenty-five, at Cannons, in
Middlesex, to which place he had been removed from Epsom about six
months previously, in a machine, constructed for the purpose, drawn by
two horses, and attended by a confidential groom. When his owner, old
O'Kelly, died at his house in Piccadilly on December 28th, 1787, he
bequeathed Eclipse and Dungannon to his brother Philip.

Another famous horse was Highflyer, which received his name from
having been foaled in a paddock, in which were a number of highflyer
walnut trees. He was named by Lord Bolingbroke at a large dinner-party
at Sir Charles Bunbury's. The horse in question was the cause of
considerable jealousy between Colonel O'Kelly, the owner of Eclipse,
and Mr. Tattersall, the founder of the celebrated institution at Hyde
Park Corner, whose prosperity was greatly increased by the purchase
of Highflyer. "The Hammer and Highflyer" indeed became a favourite
toast of the day. Both owners felt the necessity of crossing by the
blood of their respective stallions, but each was afraid of increasing
the celebrity of the other's horse thereby. The two men were widely
different in character. Colonel O'Kelly (of whom an account has already
been given) piqued himself upon being descended from the first race
of Milesian kings, although he had served for the greatest part of
his life some of the humblest offices. It was his boast that he bred
and ran his horses for fame. He certainly sacrificed many thousands
of pounds in aspiring to the glory of being the Jehu of the day. Mr.
Tattersall bred for profit. The former never sold anything before he
had trained and ran it at Newmarket; the latter never trained anything,
with the exception of one mare early in life, which was of no note.
The Irishman matched everything--the Lancashire man sold everything.
The one was hasty and impetuous in betting upon the descendants of
Eclipse. The other was cautious, and left it to those who had bought
them to risk their money upon the progeny of Highflyer. In a word, they
resembled each other in nothing, except, it was wickedly said, their
total ignorance of horses and extreme good fortune. Mr. Tattersall in
the decline of life was more than usually anxious that his son should
persevere in keeping stallions and breeding race-horses. O'Kelly
directed by his will that all his stud should be sold as soon as
possible after his death. Mr. Tattersall's son and heir sold the whole
stud after his death. O'Kelly's nephew and executor was obliged to sell
under the direction of the will, but he bought most of the horses for
his own use. He was a cultivated man, and had been well brought up by
his uncle.

Mr. Tattersall used to say that there was no part of Colonel O'Kelly's
conduct which he wished he had imitated except that in giving an
excellent education to his heir.

Mr. Tattersall was a very economical man. When Highflyer died, many
suggestions were made that the horse should be skinned and stuffed,
as had been done by Colonel O'Kelly in the case of Eclipse. Mr.
Tattersall, however, replied that he did not see the use of stuffing
him with hay after he was dead, as he could no longer cover; he had
stuffed him full enough with hay and corn when he was alive and
producing money. Mr. Tattersall had very practical ideas about such
things, and when inspecting his cattle whilst they were fattening, was
often overheard to say, "Eat away, my good creature! eat away, and get
fat soon. The butcher is waiting for you, and I want money."

Mr. Tattersall's prosperous career arose in a great measure from
a successful speculation in Scotland. Having heard that a Scotch
nobleman's stud was to be sold there, he applied to a friend to go his
halves in the purchase. "If you will find money, for I have none," said
he, "I will find skill, and you shall have a good thing." The sum was
deposited, and he went to the sale, partly by coach and partly on foot,
buying nearly all the horses for a trifle. Upon his return, he sold
a few at York for more money than the whole of them had cost, making
several hundred pounds out of the rest from purchasers at Newmarket and
in London. Mr. Tattersall used often to say this was the first money
he ever possessed above a few pounds. Having thus acquired a little
capital, he soon increased it by similar means, and also, of course, by
his business at Hyde Park Corner.

At that time, though sales of horses by auction were occasionally held,
there was no regular repository or fixed sales at stated periods,
the lack of which was much felt in the sporting world. Perceiving
that a golden opportunity lay ready to hand, Mr. Tattersall, who was
well-known to the gentlemen of the Turf and to the horse-dealers,
offered his services as an auctioneer, and solicited their patronage.
Lord Grosvenor warmly espoused his cause, and built for him the
extensive premises at Hyde Park Corner, where Mr. Tattersall died. His
success was astonishingly rapid. He soon enlarged the premises and
built stands for carriages, which were sold by private contract; as
well as kennels for hounds and other dogs, which were sold by auction.
He converted a part of his house into a tavern and coffee-house, and
fitted up two of the most elegant rooms in London for the use of the
Jockey Club, who held their meetings there for some years. He allotted
another apartment to the use of betting men. This was supported by
an annual subscription of a guinea from each member, and was called
the betting-room. Here prominent Turfites assembled every sale-day to
lay wagers on the events of future races, and here they met to pay
and receive the money won and lost at what were called country races,
in contradistinction to the races at Newmarket. His sales were not
confined to Hyde Park Corner; he constantly attended the Newmarket
meetings and the races at York, where he had considerable employment,
and thereby kept up his connection with the jockeys in different parts
of the kingdom, who sent their horses to him from all the various

Racing as carried on in the eighteenth century was on a very different
scale from that of the present day. Our ancestors were contented with
very small stakes and but few races in a day.

In 1755 there were but three meetings at Newmarket, which gave fifteen
racing days. Thirteen stakes were run for, the gross amount of which
was £1255. There were twenty heats.

Besides the stakes there were twenty-nine matches, which made the daily
average of races something over three.


By Rowlandson.]

In those days noblemen and gentlemen met to enjoy each other's society
and test the merits of their horses rather than for purposes of
gain, the stakes being, from a pecuniary view, a matter of comparative

At the small country meetings the racing was spread over a greater
space of time than at present; all of them lasted three days and many
a week. Dinners and balls were the order of the day, the race meeting
being an event which was looked forward to throughout the year.

A number of the more aristocratic spectators were mounted, and followed
the horses as they ran. So great, indeed, became the disorder caused at
race meetings by this riding with and after the horses during racing,
that the Chief Magistrate of one provincial town (who, it should be
added, had Irish blood in his veins) caused a placard to be posted up
just before the races, intimating "that no _gentleman_ would be allowed
to ride on the course, _except the horses_ that were to run."

Racing was formerly a very rough-and-ready affair, and much was
tolerated on a race-course which would be sternly dealt with to-day.
Gambling-booths and E.O. tables were easily to be found, whilst little
order was maintained on the course. At Tavistock Races in 1815, a
sailor with one arm, who had just been paid off, exhibited his skill in
horsemanship, to the no small annoyance of everybody, till at length,
checking his Bucephalus at full gallop, he was thrown with great
violence, by which his right leg was dreadfully fractured.

Cocked-hat races and other eccentric contests were not infrequent
features at race meetings. At Hereford races in 1822 a race between
three velocipedes, commonly called hobby-horses, created much mirth.
They were ridden by three men, dressed in scarlet, yellow, and white
jackets. Much skill was displayed, and every exertion used, with the
result that white won, scarlet and yellow being both upset, and the
riders each receiving a hearty bump, to the great diversion of all the

The Turf of former days eased the aristocracy of a good deal of
money, and many a fine estate changed hands owing to the vicissitudes
of racing. Fox of course lost very large sums. He used to declare
after the defeat of his horses that they had as much bottom as other
people's, but that they were such slow, good animals that they never
went fast enough to tire themselves! Occasionally, however, he was
lucky. In April 1772 he won nearly £16,000--the greater part of which
was the result of bets against the celebrated Pincher, who lost the
match by only half-a-neck, two to one having been laid on him. At the
Spring meeting in 1789 Fox is also said to have won about £50,000; and
at the October meeting next year he realised £4000 by the sale of two
of his horses--Seagull and Chanticleer. In 1788 Fox and the Duke of
Bedford won eight thousand guineas between them at the Newmarket Spring
meeting. Fox and Lord Barrymore had a match for a large sum; this was
given as a dead heat, and the bets were off.

On taking office in 1783, Fox sold his horses, and erased his name
from several of the Clubs of which he was a member. In a short
time, however, he again purchased a stud, and in October attended
the Newmarket meeting, when a King's messenger appeared amongst the
sportsmen on the Heath in quest of the Minister, for whom he bore
despatches. The messenger, as was usual on these occasions, wore his
badge of office, the greyhound, and his arrival created quite a stir on
the course.

In 1790, Fox's horse, Seagull, won the Oatlands Stakes at Ascot of one
hundred guineas (nineteen subscribers), beating the Prince of Wales's
Escape, Serpent, and several of the very best horses of that year.
The Prince was much mortified at this, and immediately matched Magpie
against the winner, two miles, for five hundred guineas. This match, on
which immense sums were depending, was, four days later, won with ease
by Seagull. At this time Lord Foley and Mr. Fox raced together.

Lord Foley died in 1793; he entered upon the Turf with a clear £18,000
a year, and some £100,000 in ready money--he left it without ready
money, with an encumbered estate, and with a constitution injured by
cares and anxieties which embittered the end of his life.

Many other patricians were practically ruined on the Turf at about
the same time, some by continuous ill-luck, but more owing to the
machinations of the many doubtful characters who were experts at what
was then known as "throwing the bull over the bridge"--a cant phrase
formerly used by frequenters of the race-course to indicate a sporting

The phrase in question, it may be added, had its origin in the cruel
pastime of bull-baiting. When such an orgy of cruelty was over, and
the militia of hell which had witnessed it surfeited with blood, the
carcass of the bull was dragged to a bridge, over which his quivering
remains were thrown into the water beneath!

Many were the queer freaks and fancies of the great pillars of the Turf
of the past. Sir Charles Bunbury, for instance, who trained his horses
privately under his own eye, made the lads who groomed them wear his
colours whilst at their task, in order to accustom the animals to the
racing jackets and prevent all chance of nervousness in public. His
horses were never allowed to be sweated or tried on a Good Friday, on
account of an accident which had on one of these anniversaries happened
to a couple of his racers, who had both fallen and broken their backs,
each jockey having got a fractured thigh.

All this, however, has been written of time after time; indeed, the
fascinating story of the Turf has found many admirable chroniclers.
Nevertheless, these have hardly touched upon some of the more obscure
figures, who seem to have escaped notice.

Such a one was Major Leeson, a well-known sporting character at the
close of the eighteenth century, who may be taken as typical of the
sharp racing man of humble origin, and who, having by astuteness
attained a certain prosperity, was eventually reduced to beggary by
the allurements of gambling. An Irishman of obscure birth, Mr. Leeson
originally obtained his commission through the patronage of a Scottish
nobleman, by whose munificence he was sent to school at Hampstead,
and afterwards to the French military academy of Angers. Whilst at
this seminary he fought a duel with a well-known baronet, and both
combatants displayed great courage. Leeson was soon after appointed a
lieutenant in a regiment of foot, in which he conducted himself as a
soldier and a gentleman.

During his military career, Leeson was especially popular with his men,
whose liking for their young officer almost amounted to adoration,
owing to his ardent championship of their interests. While they were
quartered in a country town, one of the sergeants, a sober, steady man,
was wantonly attacked by a blacksmith, who was the terror of the place.
The sergeant defended himself with great spirit as long as he was
able, but was obliged, after a hard contest, to yield to his athletic
antagonist. This intelligence reached Mr. Leeson's ears the next
morning, and without delay he set out in pursuit of the victor, whom he
found boasting of the triumph he had gained over the "lobster," as he
called the sergeant. The very expression kindled Leeson's indignation
into such a flame, that he aimed a blow at the fellow's temple, which
was warded off and returned with such force that Leeson lay for some
minutes extended on the ground. Leeson, however, renewed the attack;
and his onslaughts were made with such rapidity and success, that the
son of Vulcan was eventually stretched senseless on the ground. In
order to complete the triumph, Leeson placed him in a wheel-barrow;
and in this situation he was wheeled through all the town amidst the
acclamations of the populace. Soon after this, Mr. Leeson exchanged his
lieutenancy for a cornetcy of dragoons.

He now began to be attracted by the seductions of gaming and the Turf,
both of which exercised a fascination over his mind which he was unable
to resist. Fortune was kind, and an almost uninterrupted series of
success led him to Newmarket, where his evil genius, in the name of
good luck, converted him in a short time into a professional gambler.
At one time he had a complete stud at Newmarket; and his famous horse
Buffer carried off all the capital plates for three years and upwards,
though once beaten at Egham, when 15 to 1 was laid on it. Major
Leeson's discernment in racing matters soon became generally remarked,
and he was consulted by all the sharpest frequenters of the Turf on
critical occasions.

In later years, however, Major Leeson experienced the ill-fortune which
is too often the lot of gamblers. A long run of ill-luck preyed upon
his spirits, soured his temper, and drove him to that last resource
of an enfeebled mind--the brandy bottle. As he could not shine in
his wonted splendour, he sought the most obscure public-houses in
the purlieus of St. Giles, where he used to pass whole nights in the
company of his countrymen of the lowest class. Overwhelmed by debt and
worn-out body and soul, he was constantly pursued by the terrors of the
law, and alternately imprisoned by his own fears or confined in the
King's Bench, till, a broken and miserable man, he welcomed death as a
friend come to relieve him of an almost insupportable load.

An eccentric supporter of the Turf, who died in 1799, was Councillor
Lade. It was his highest ambition to be thought a distinguished member
of the sporting world; but in this, as in the more contracted circle of
private life, he was not destined to cut a conspicuous figure, being by
nature much better calculated for an obscure place in the background.
During the last twenty years of his life he kept a miserable lot of
spindle-shanked brood mares, colts, and fillies at Cannon Park, between
Kingsclere and Overton in Hampshire--a place which, owing to its
barrenness, was quite unsuited for breeding horses.

His successes on the Turf were insignificant. During the last twelve
years of his life he hardly ever brought less than six, seven, or
eight horses annually to the post for country plates (never till the
last two or three years presuming to sport his name at Newmarket);
nevertheless, few of them, if any, ever realised his expectations,
or paid one-third of the expenses in the way of breeding, breaking,
training, running, or sale. Councillor Lade's almost constant sequence
of disappointments originated in one single cause strikingly palpable
to every eye but his own, which was their breeder's parsimony. His
mares were in a wretched and deplorable state of emaciation during the
whole time of bearing their foals, whilst a systematic starvation of
both dams and offspring when foals, and a miserable sustenance barely
enough to support life when weaned, totally nullified his chances of
success upon the Turf.

It was no uncommon thing to see the Councillor's favourite brood mare,
Laetitia, and many others with their foals, in the fertile months of
May and June, upon the side of a barren, burnt-up hill, with barely
pasture sufficient to keep even the dam in existence, without even
a possibility of affording half the nutriment necessary for the
unfortunate foal. Owing to these highly injudicious and cruel methods,
his stud, even when of superior blood, was always inferior in bone and
strength to its rivals, there being in it never more than one horse in
every eight or ten with constitutional stamina sufficient to bear the
training necessary before going to the post.

When after his death the Councillor's wretched stud were on their way
to be sold by auction they excited universal pity from the humane in
the towns and villages through which they passed. Many of the horses
sold for the trifling sum of two or three guineas each, owing to the
wretched condition of the poor animals. Councillor Lade, in his Turf
transactions as elsewhere, was so consistently parsimonious even to
those whom it would have been good policy to conciliate that every
man's hand was against him, even that of his own servants.

One of his manias was to run his horses as much as possible at race
meetings near his home, in order to avoid the expenses of travelling.

The years 1797 and 1798 were the most prosperous of his Turf career.
Seven of his horses went to the post for twenty-four plates and purses,
of which Truss, Will, and Grey Pilot won seven fifties--two at Ascot,
two at Abingdon, and one each at Reading, Winchester, and Stockbridge.

Councillor Lade was in himself a singular and unsociable man, seldom
seen in company, upon the race-course or elsewhere. Cynically cold
and innately parsimonious, few cared to sojourn beneath what might be
justly termed, in more senses than one, a habitation without a roof.
Hospitality was alien to the spirit of Cannon Park, and the building
itself was one entire mass of chilling frigidity which betokened
a total lack of good cheer. The owner was constantly involved in
pecuniary disputes and lawsuits with his dependents, in which he was
usually worsted.

It was not infrequently his practice to drive his curricle and greys
without a servant the fifty-seven miles to Cannon Park, not even taking
them once out of the harness; a handful of hay, and two or three
quarts of water at Salt Hill, and Spratley's, the Bear, at Reading,
in addition to the turnpikes, constituted the entire expense of the
journey, it being an irrevocable opinion of his that servants on the
road were more troublesome and expensive than their masters.

The Councillor was married to a lady of excellent family, who, owing
to mental trouble, lived in seclusion. This, however, did not trouble
him much, for he took care to make up for the lack of a wife's society
by a profusion of female friends, who enlivened his elegant house in
Pall Mall, his rural cottage near Turnham Green, and even his unadorned
inhospitable mansion at Cannon Park.

Another unpleasant Turf character about this date was "Louse Pigott,"
a man of good Shropshire family. The slovenly manner of dressing and
general unkempt appearance of this gentleman had obtained for him his
unsavoury nickname. He had originally been possessed of some wealth,
but going racing soon lost practically his whole fortune. Devoid
of means, and prompted apparently by the same spirit which induces
unsuccessful modern gamblers at Monte Carlo to apply to the authorities
for a sum sufficient to enable them to leave the Principality
of Monaco, Mr. Pigott conceived the original idea of making
representations to the Jockey Club, with a view to receiving pecuniary
aid. Needless to say his petition was treated with a complete lack of
consideration which, it was said, so enraged him that in revenge he
wrote the libellous work called _The Jockey Club_, a volume of short
but scandalous biographies of persons well known in the sporting
world. Though Pigott appears to have escaped punishment for this, the
publishers, Messrs. Ridgway & Symonds, were incarcerated in Newgate.

"Louse Pigott" appears to have been an eccentric character in many
ways, for one September evening in 1793 he got into great trouble at
the London Coffee-House, Ludgate Hill, where, sitting with a friend,
Dr. William Hodgson, he became very vociferous in giving toasts of
a disloyal kind, finally loudly proposing success to the "French
Republic." This was immediately resented by a gentleman present, who,
rising to his feet, proposed "The King," a toast which was drunk with
cheers by all present except Pigott and his companion, who made use
of such improper expressions that peace officers were sent for, who
removed the apostles of revolution to the lock-up.

The next morning they were charged with drinking "the French
Republic and the overthrow of the present system of Government and
all Governments of Europe except the French; likewise of speaking
disrespectfully of the King, the Duke of York, Lord Mayor, and other
persons in high authority. They had," it was deposed, "called the
Prince of Hesse a swine-dealer, and Ministers in general robbers and
highwaymen." Finally, when being conveyed to the cells, they had
shouted from the coach windows, "The French Republic, and Liberty while
you live."

Being unable to find bail, the two prisoners were sent back to prison,
to remain there till tried at the ensuing Old Bailey Sessions. The
bill preferred against Pigott, however, was eventually thrown out
and he was discharged. The general comment upon his release was that
"he who is born to be hanged will never be drowned," and vice versa.
His companion, Dr. Hodgson, was less fortunate, and received some
punishment for the advanced sentiments which he had uttered.

Probably the shrewdest nobleman who ever went racing was the eccentric
but highly astute "Old Q." At the time when he owned race-horses he
was generally hand-in-hand with his jockey, Dick Goodison, with whom
he had a perfect understanding. During a lengthy connection with the
Turf, "Old Q." never displayed the least want of philosophy upon the
unexpected result of a race. As a matter of fact he never entered into
an engagement but where there was a great probability of his becoming
the winner. In all emergencies his Grace preserved an invariable
equanimity, and his cool serenity never forsook him, even in moments
of the greatest surprise or disappointment. A singular proof of this
occurred at Newmarket just as the horses were about to start for a
sweepstakes. His Grace was engaged in a betting conversation with
various members of the Jockey Club, when one of his lads, who was
going to ride (in consequence of his light weight), tactlessly called
him aside, asked him, too soon and too loud, How he was to ride that
day? Perfectly convinced this had been overheard, his Grace, with
well-affected surprise, exclaimed, "Why, take the lead and keep it to
be sure! How the devil would you ride?"

Matches were a great feature of the period, and very large sums
were staked. An historic match was that between Sir Harry Vane's
Hambletonian and Mr. Cookson's Diamond for three thousand guineas, run
over the Beacon Course during the Newmarket Craven meeting of 1799.
Hambletonian, who was ridden by Buckle, carried eight stone three
pounds, and Diamond, ridden by Dennis Fitzpatrick (Deny), eight stone;
the betting was five to four on Hambletonian.

Though both gallant steeds have now long since mouldered into dust,
together with the gay company of sportsmen who assembled to see them
run, the memory of their desperate neck-and-neck struggle over that
terrible last half-mile is not forgotten, and will ever shine amongst
the chronicles of equine fame as the most sporting and gamely contested
match of all time.

Hambletonian, a bright bay and a grandson of Eclipse, was a wonderful
horse. He was only once beaten, at the York August meeting 1797, when
he ran against Deserter and Spread Eagle, and took it into his head to
bolt out of the course and leap a ditch.

Diamond, a beautiful brown bay, smaller than Hambletonian, was got by
Highflyer. He was the more compact horse of the two.

Hambletonian being a Yorkshire bred horse, the Yorkshiremen backed
him for prodigious sums, whilst Diamond was strongly supported by the
Newmarket people, the horse being well-known in the neighbourhood.

Every bed in Newmarket (which could not hold a tenth of the visitors)
was occupied, whilst Cambridge and all the towns and villages within
twelve or fifteen miles were also thronged with people. Stabling was
not to be had, and no chaise or horse could be procured on any of the
roads, all having been engaged three weeks before.

The weather was most auspicious, and the general scene on the Heath
highly interesting and attractive. All the gentlemen of the Turf, as
the phrase ran, from the neighbouring counties were collected on the
course, and many of the nobility of England, which was then a real and
powerful nobility, including the Duchess of Gordon, were assembled to
see the race.

At the start the horses kept tolerably close, Hambletonian retaining
the lead till the last half-mile, when Diamond got abreast of him.
The two horses then raced home in a most desperate manner, the nose
of one or the other being alternately in front till Hambletonian won
in the last stride. Both horses were terribly whipped and spurred,
particularly Hambletonian. The four miles one furlong and one hundred
and thirty-eight yards were covered in about eight minutes and a half.

Every one declared that this match was the most exciting ever known,
and it was acknowledged even by the losers (who were described as being
as much pleased as losers could be) to have been thoroughly fairly
contested, each jockey having made the best of his horse.

As soon as the race was over, Sir Harry Vane Tempest, who, besides the
stakes, had won about three thousand guineas, declared on the course
that Hambletonian should be taken out of training the next morning,
and in future he would ride him only as a hack. Sir Harry afterwards
travelled to town in a post-chaise and four, and arrived at the Cocoa
Tree at half-past eleven at night. The news of his victory, however,
was already known, Mr. Hall, of Moorfields, who had three horses on the
road, having got to town between nine and ten.

A bronze penny token of fine medallic design--now very
scarce--commemorates this famous match. An inscription is on one side
and a picture of the race on the other.

Mr. Cookson, the owner of Diamond, did not lose any enormous sum over
the race. He was well-known for his shrewdness, and in one year, 1798,
is said to have realised nearly £60,000 by the victories of Ambrosia
and Diamond.

Hambletonian became the sire of over a hundred and forty winners.

Another match between Diamond and Mr. R. Heathcote's Warter strongly
excited the sporting world, which was much puzzled how to bet. Warter
having beat Diamond in the Oatland stakes of 1800, the latter was to
receive seven pounds in the projected race. This, according to the
knowing ones, was an advantage of the utmost importance, and Diamond
became a strong favourite, his backers flattering themselves with the
opinion that one of Warter's legs would fail him in running, and that
consequently they were on the right side. Till about a fortnight before
the meeting betting was equal; six to four was then betted in favour of
Diamond, and was at first very cautiously accepted.

So highly was the gambling mania roused that, till a late hour on
the Saturday night previous to the meeting, all the sporting houses
near St. James's, and even more to the eastward, were crowded with
betting-men of every description. The bolder sort dashed at the odds,
whilst others more cautiously hedged, and all waited the event with the
most anxious expectation.

The whole of Sunday the Newmarket road was crowded with carriages and
cattle of every description, from the dashing curricle to the humble
buggy, and from the pampered hunter to the spavined hack.

When every mouth was opening to bet, and expectation was on tiptoe, it
was declared in the Coffee-room, that Warter, by reason of a kick, had
declared forfeit, and the famous match was off.

Another match, which excited enormous interest at the beginning of
the nineteenth century, was that between Mrs. Thornton, wife of the
celebrated Colonel Thornton of Thornville Royal (now Studley Royal, the
seat of Lord Ripon), and a gentleman well known in sporting circles,
Mr. Flint by name. This was run at York in 1804, and is memorable
as being the only race chronicled in the _Racing Calendar_ in which
a woman's name is mentioned. The entry, dated August 25, 1804, runs

 Mr. Flint's Brown Thornville by Volunteer out of Abigail, aged, rode
 by the owner, beat Colonel Thornton's ch. h. Vinagrillio, aged, rode
 by Mrs. Thornton, four miles, five hundred guineas.

The weights were catch weights, and before the race five and six to
four were laid upon the lady, which increased during the early portion
of the race to seven to four and two to one, it seeming likely during
the first three miles that Mrs. Thornton would secure an easy triumph.
During the final mile, however, things entirely changed, and the
victory of Mr. Flint appearing certain, odds were laid upon him. Over
two hundred thousand pounds, it is said, were lost and won over this
race, which excited a vast amount of interest. The lady's horse, it may
be added, was a very old one.

Mrs. Thornton's dress was a leopard-coloured body with blue sleeves,
the rest buff, and blue cap. Mr. Flint rode in white. The race was run
in nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. In the published account of the
race it is stated that "No words can express the disappointment felt
at the defeat of Mrs. Thornton, the spirit she displayed and the good
humour with which she has borne her loss having greatly diminished the
joy of many of the winners."

The fortunate individuals in question seem, however, to have been under
some misapprehension as to the lady's equanimity under defeat, as she
subsequently sent an angry letter to the _York Herald_ complaining that
she had been treated with scant courtesy.

Though the lady signed herself Alicia Thornton she seems to have had no
legitimate claim to the name--she was a Miss Meynell, and her sister
was by way of being the wife of Mr. Flint. The race engendered much
ill-feeling between the two couples.

The year after the race on the Knavesmire a fracas occurred between
Colonel Thornton and Mr. Flint, the latter being very indignant at not
having received £1000 of the £1500 wagered by the gallant Colonel on
his wife's success. Mr. Flint vigorously applied a new horsewhip to
the soldier's shoulders. The aggressor was taken into custody, Colonel
Thornton afterwards making an application in the Court of King's
Bench for leave to file a criminal information against Flint, who (he
deposed) had challenged him to fight a duel, and horse-whipped
him on the race-ground at York. The Colonel maintained that the bet
of £1000 was a mere nominal thing, intended to attract people to
the race-course, and that it was understood that only £500 of the
£1500 should be paid. The case was eventually dismissed, the Colonel
apparently sticking to his £1000.

[Illustration: _Mrs Thornton._

_Pub. Feb 1, 1805, by J. Wheble, Warwicksquare._]

In after-life Flint became miserably poor, and eked out a living as a
manager of a horse bazaar at York. He eventually committed suicide by
taking a dose of prussic acid.

At the York August meeting in the following year Mrs. Thornton rode
another match against Buckle, the celebrated jockey. Mrs. Thornton,
in the highest spirits, appeared dressed for the contest in a purple
cap and waistcoat, long nankeen-coloured skirts, purple shoes, and
embroidered stockings. Buckle was dressed in a blue cap, with blue
bodied jacket, and white sleeves. Mrs. Thornton carried 9 st. 6 lb.,
Mr Buckle 13 st. 6 lb. At half-past three they started. Mrs. Thornton
took the lead, which she kept for some time; Buckle then exercised
his jockeyship, and took the lead, which he retained for only a few
lengths, when Mrs. Thornton won her race by half a neck. On this
occasion Mrs. Thornton rode Louisa, by Pegasus, out of Nelly; and
Buckle rode Allegro, by Pegasus, out of Allegranti's dam.

As the English Turf began to rise in importance some attempt was made
to introduce racing into France. As early as the reign of Louis XV. a
number of the French nobility had frequented Newmarket. The well-known
sportsman, Hugo Meynell, much resented this, and grimly declared that
he wished the peace was all over and England comfortably at war again.
A particularly unpopular visitor was the Comte de Lauraguais, who
purchased the celebrated race-horse, Gimcrack, took him over to France,
and for a big bet ran him twenty-two and a half miles, it is said,
within an hour.

At the end of the eighteenth century Philippe Égalité raced at
Newmarket, where he seems to have created an unfavourable impression.
Though he entered a good many horses, he was not particularly
successful as an owner. In France the sporting exploits of this Prince
and of the Comte d'Artois excited a good deal of indignation. They were
declared to be the associates of grooms, and to enter into scandalous
combinations in the races which they organised, whilst treating the
onlookers with the most ineffable contempt and savage ferocity. It
would certainly appear that at times they used their whips on the
spectators as well as on their horses; and not only encouraged the
officers to maltreat the crowd, but employed such grossness of speech,
and offensive oaths, as showed that these Princes were not unskilled
in the language of the vilest part of the nation. High betting was
general, and noblemen turned jockeys and rode their own racers. When
the Comte de Lauraguais appeared at Court, after a long absence, the
King coldly inquired where he had been for so long. "In England," the
Count replied. "What did you do there?" "I learnt there, please your
Majesty, to think." "Of horses," retorted the King.

The early days of the French Turf were unedifying. In a match between
the Duc de Lauzun and M. de Fénelon the latter fell from his horse,
broke his arm, and lost his wager. The same gentleman betted with
another nobleman as to which of them could reach Versailles and return
to Paris the quicker in a single-horse chaise. The horse of the first
died at Sèvres, and the other expired in the stable at Paris, a few
hours after his return.

Frivolous courtiers, not satisfied with exercising their inhumanity
on their horses, exposed themselves to the derision of Paris by
other kinds of races. The Duc de Chartres, the Duc de Lauzun, and
the Marquis FitzJames once betted five hundred louis who could first
reach Versailles on foot. Lauzun gave up the foot-race about half
way; Chartres about two-thirds; FitzJames arrived in an exhausted
state, and was saluted as conqueror by the Comte d'Artois. The hero in
question was near expiring in the arms of victory and had to be put
to bed. Blood-letting was resorted to, and though he won his wager he
contracted asthma.

Marie Antoinette, not satisfied with foot and horse racing, instituted
contests of speed in which donkeys were bestridden, the successful
jockey being rewarded with three hundred livres and a golden thistle.

During the first Empire, Napoleon, probably with an eye to the horsing
of his cavalry, decreed that there should be races, and races of a sort
there were, chiefly in the Department of the Orne and at a hippodrome
at Le Pin, the seat of a Government stud established by Colbert in the
days of the Roi Soleil.

After the restoration of the Bourbons, racing was intermittently
carried on at Vincennes, at Fontainebleau, in the Champs de Mars,
and at Satory-Versailles, which were the chief places of racing near
Paris. The ground at both was detestable. At Satory-Versailles, in
wet weather, the course was so deep in mud that the horses could
hardly move. At the Champs de Mars the ground was often "so hard as to
endanger the strongest legs," and "when the horses galloped the jockeys
were liable to be blinded by a cloud of dust and small pebbles." As a
matter of fact the races were more often than not won by the mounted
gendarmes, who rode with the horses from start to finish.

In the early days of the French Turf the fields were, of course,
small, and so was the value of the prizes. For this reason, in order
to eke out a fair number of races with very few horses, the practice
of running races in "heats" was grossly abused. In 1840, Madame
de Giraudin wrote: "The races on Sunday were favoured with superb
weather, and the extraordinary sight was seen of nine horses running
together--nine live horses, nine rivals--a rare spectacle in the
Champs de Mars. Generally one horse runs all alone, contending against
no opponent, and always coming in first. But this does not signify; it
excites the admiration of those who love sport, and especially of the
philosophers among them; it is so noble to strive against and overcome

The foundation of the French Turf as we see it to-day dates back to
1833, when the French Jockey Club was founded.

Before this there had existed in the Rue Blanche an English Jockey
and Pigeon Shooting Club founded by a Mr. Thomas Bryon, who acted
as secretary. In 1830, of the eighteen members, four were English,
including that very original character. Lord Henry Seymour, and in
course of time he took a leading part in originating a Members' Club,
which should resemble the English Jockey Club, and should be lodged in
a luxurious Club-house.

The twelve founders of the French Jockey Club were soon joined by a
large number of sportsmen, among whom were the novelist, Eugène Sue,
Lord Yarmouth, and Mr. John Bowes, who passed most of his life in
Paris. The latter gentleman won the Derby four times. On the first
occasion, in 1835, when Mundig beat Ascot (which belonged to the
writer's grandfather, Lord Orford) by a head, Mr. Bowes was still an
undergraduate at Cambridge--in subsequent years he won it again with
Cotherstone, Daniell O'Rourke, and West Australian.

The French Jockey Club, at its institution, consisted of Royal
Princes, noblemen, ordinary men of property, all persons of
considerable influence interested in horse-breeding and in the
improvement of the breed of horses by means of horse-racing and the
"selection of the fittest." Most of them were good horsemen, who rode
their own horses on occasion. M. de Normandie, for instance, was
the winner of an improvised race which took place at Chantilly in
1833 between himself, Prince Lobanoff, Viscount de Hédouville, and
others. This is said to have suggested the idea of forming the present
beautiful race-course there. This gentleman, who must be ranked as one
of the fathers of the French Turf, frequently acted in the earliest
days of the French Jockey Club as steward, judge, and starter; and
though he does not appear to have introduced any famous strain of blood
into the studs of his country, greatly contributed to establish French
racing on its present prosperous footing.

M. de Normandie is said to have won the first regular steeplechase ever
run in France on English principles. This took place in 1830, near St.
Germain, and in December 1908 a gentleman was still living who was
supposed to have taken part in it.

This was Mr. Albert Ricardo, J.P., who spent his early days in Paris. A
great supporter of sport, Mr. Ricardo, who died on the last day but one
of the year, had won the Cambridgeshire with The Widow as far back as
1847. He had also been a keen cricketer in his youth, and was one of
the two first members of the I Zingari.

There was steeplechasing at the Croix de Bernay as early as 1832, and
at La Marche some little time later.

The Auteuil steeplechase course, which is now the head-quarters of the
sport in France, was not inaugurated till after the war of 1870.

Through the influence of the Duc d'Orléans, the son of Louis Philippe,
who was killed in a carriage accident in 1842, the French Jockey Club
obtained leave to hold regular meetings in the Champs de Mars; and he
it also was who, in 1834, arranged the creation of the race-course at
Chantilly, which, till Longchamps was started in 1856-57, was without
doubt the best course in France. At Chantilly was run the first French
Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) in 1836, and the first French Oaks (Prix de
Diane) in 1843.

The stables of the Duc at Chantilly were presided over by an English
trainer, George Edwards, and his principal jockey was Edgar Pavis. In
1840 his English-bred horse, Beggarman, won the Goodwood Cup. Besides
this the Duc d'Orléans won a number of French races. As a matter of
fact, racing in France, from 1834 to 1842, was more or less of a duel
between the Prince in question and Lord Henry Seymour.

The latter extraordinary personage was born in Paris in 1805, and is
believed never to have set foot in England. Lord Henry Seymour was
said to be related on his mother's side to "Old Q." or George Selwyn,
or both, and from either or both of them he probably inherited some
of his numberless eccentricities as well as his taste for the Turf.
He was a well-known figure in Paris and its neighbourhood, for it was
his constant practice to drive about in a carriage with four horses,
postilions, and out-riders. After _Mardi Gras_, he would sit with other
congenial spirits at the window of the noted "Vendanges de Bourgogne,"
watching the _descente de la Courtille_ (the return from the ball) in
the early morning, when he would scatter heated pieces of gold among
the crowd of returning "maskers." Lord Henry is said to have been the
original of the eccentric character described by Balzac, who delighted
in furtively administering drastic medicines to his dearest friends,
the very unpleasant effects of which afforded him intense amusement. He
delighted also in giving away cigars with something explosive inserted
at the end, afterwards watching the effect of a light applied by the
unsuspecting smoker. He died in Paris in 1859.

In 1856 the French Turf entered upon a new and important era, a promise
being obtained from the Government and the municipality of Paris
that a race-course should be included in the projected plan for the
transformation of the Bois de Boulogne. In the Longchamps meadows, on
the borders of the Seine, an expanse of level and unencumbered ground
was allotted to the Société d'Encouragement, and by an arrangement
with the municipality of Paris, the Société became lessees of the
race-course for fifty years, undertaking to pay an annual rent, as
well as to build stands, which, at the expiration of the lease in
1906, should become the property of the city. The old stands, which
during the last three years have been replaced by magnificent new ones,
were erected by the architects of the city of Paris, at an expense of
420,000 francs (£16,800), and subsequent expenses brought the amount up
to 1,284,981 francs (about £51,395). The race-course was opened on the
last Sunday in April 1857, and the first Grand Prix was run in 1862,
when the Ranger won.

The moving spirit in the institution of this race, now the richest
in the world, is said to have been the Emperor Napoleon the Third,
represented by the Duc de Morny, the creator of Deauville. The first
Grand Prix was worth £4000 and an _objet d'art_; the amount of the
stakes for the same race in 1909 was some £16,000.

When the Grand Prix was first inaugurated, many vigorous protests were
made in England against the race being run on a Sunday, but by these
the French declined to be swayed. As a matter of fact, notwithstanding
Anglo-Saxon plaints at the iniquity of Sunday racing, the beautiful
courses at Longchamps and Auteuil are very popular with visitors from
across the Channel on many a fine Sabbath day, when Englishmen, known
for their stern and unflinching moral rectitude, are not infrequent
spectators on such occasions. One of these, a public man, notorious
for his advocacy of every form of puritanical restriction, whilst
exhibiting some confusion at being recognised by a friend, could only
make the defence: "Well, after all, it doesn't matter, as I am not
betting." In all probability, however, he, like other visitors, had
backed his fancy!

An important share in the laying-out of Longchamps race-course was
taken by the late Mr. Mackenzie Grieves, who, originally an officer
in the Blues, took up his residence in Paris, became a member of the
French Jockey Club and played a prominent part in the organisation of
French racing. Mr. Mackenzie Grieves, whose memory is preserved by an
important race to which his name has been given, was personally known
to the writer, who retains pleasant recollections of his great charm
and dignified appearance, both of which were highly characteristic of
one of the last of the fine old school. He was a most graceful rider
and a master of the _haute école_.

Though racing in France was naturally suspended during the war, it
was once more in full swing in 1872, when the Grand Prix was won by
Cremorne. In consequence of the downfall of the second Empire a number
of the important races were renamed. The Prix de l'Impératrice, for
instance, became the Prix Rainbow; the Prix du Prince Impérial the
Prix Royal Oak. The Prix Gladiateur, one of the oldest French prizes,
has under its various names strikingly reflected the vicissitudes of
French politics. Originally it was the Prix Royal, then Prix National,
then Grand Prix de l'Empereur, till, with the rise of the third
Republic, it was called after the famous race-horse.

In 1885 there was great jubilation amongst French sportsmen at
the victories of Plaisanterie, which won both the Cesarewitch and
Cambridgeshire, as well as twelve out of thirteen events in France.

The appearance of the daughter of Wellingtonia and Poetess in the
Cesarewitch was said at the time to be owing to two bookmakers, T.
Wilde and Jack Moore, who made it worth the while of the filly's owners
(M.H. Bony and Mr. T. Carter) to start her, guaranteeing them 33 to
1, though they themselves had only got 20 to 1 in England. Wilde,
it was declared, brought back to France after the race nearly five
million francs (£200,000), won by backing Plaisanterie, of which Jack
Moore paid out some 600,000 (£24,000) in five-franc, ten-franc, and
twenty-franc pieces to French backers who had been on the good thing.

In common with the rest of the fraternity, these two very sporting
layers have now long disappeared from the French race-course.
Bookmaking in France practically ceased to exist with the introduction
of the Pari Mutuel in 1891.

Previous to that time bookmakers had pitches provided for them some
way behind the stands, where they were allowed to exhibit lists of
the horses running in the various races, against which were chalked
the odds, the variations in which were thus easily shown. The whole
thing was most decorously conducted, and the system worked fairly well.
Nevertheless, from time to time, rumours were rife as to an intended
suppression of the bookmakers by the French authorities, and at last
in 1891 they were definitely bidden to cease plying their business.
The new decree was rigorously enforced, crowds of police in uniform
and plain clothes being present on the Parisian race-courses, and
any one found openly making a bet was ruthlessly arrested--a perfect
reign of terror, indeed, prevailed amongst betting-men, and very great
dissatisfaction ensued amongst habitual frequenters of the French
Turf. On several occasions, notably one Sunday at Auteuil (when the
writer was present), a large force of military were on the ground,
regiments of cavalry being in reserve outside the race-course. Feeling
ran very high, and the races were run amidst hoots, yells, and other
demonstrations of indignation, some of which most unjustly took the
form of missiles hurled at the jockeys. The cabmen and proprietors
of the char-à-bancs who drive the public to the various race-courses
around Paris, the keepers of the small restaurants along the various
lines of route, loudly complained that the new era of restriction which
had dawned would completely ruin them. The saddest people of all,
however, were very naturally the bookmakers, most of them English,
who for many years had made a living on the French race-courses,
for, whilst the public generally were more or less certain that some
new method of betting would be devised, they fully realised that the
suppression of their business was no mere outburst of outraged morality
on the part of the Government, but a well thought-out scheme for
appropriating their spoils and diverting them to public purposes. The
golden days were gone, and ruin stared them in the face.

In a very short time public indignation was allayed by the announcement
that French racing was not, as it had been averred, about to be stamped
out by the high-handed brutality of those at the head of the State.
Betting would be allowed, but only through the medium of the Pari
Mutuel or Totalisator, which would be established on a legal basis on
every race-course in France; and after the passing of the law, which
definitely laid down the manner in which speculation on the French Turf
was in future to be conducted, the beautiful courses round Paris were
once more thronged by crowds of relieved race-goers.

The law in question, passed on 2nd June 1891, expressly prohibited any
form of betting on race-courses except through the medium of the Pari
Mutuel, and strictly defined the conditions on which the latter was to
be worked. For a few years after this law came into operation a certain
toleration was extended to a few of the principal bookmakers, who still
continued to make bets in an unobtrusive way, but of late years the
authorities, considering that such a state of affairs tends to decrease
the receipts drawn from the Totalisator, have become exceedingly stern
in repressing any attempts at such a form of speculation.

The percentage levied on the sums staked at the Pari Mutuel is now
eight per cent for the race-courses round Paris and that at Deauville,
and ten per cent for race-courses in the provinces. Of this sum the
five great Parisian racing associations and that of Deauville are
allotted four per cent, the rest being applied to charitable and
other public purposes. A different scale applies to the provincial
race-courses, where the receipts are naturally not so remunerative.

The official figures issued on 7th June 1909, show that £160,000,000
has been staked by the public by means of the Pari Mutuel since its
institution in 1891. During the last eighteen years no less than
£4,000,000, produced by the percentage levied on this sum, has been
applied to public purposes; besides this, various charities and the
Racing Societies have profited to an enormous extent.

To-day, owing to the large sums which are available from this source,
there is to all intents and purposes no poor-rate in France--the Pari
Mutuel takes its place.

As regards the racing itself, it is shown by the official statistics to
be in a more flourishing condition than ever before.

In 1891 there existed in France 253 Racing Societies, which held 526
meetings; on the 31st of December 1904 an official statement showed
that 396 societies held 906 meetings. During this period more than
twenty-nine millions of francs, considerably more than a million
pounds sterling, produced by the percentage levied on the Pari Mutuel,
had been devoted to racing prizes and the general encouragement of
horse-breeding in France. Since the institution of the Totalisator the
race-courses and stands have been much improved, funds being abundant.

As a means of speculation for the casual visitor to a race-course
the Pari Mutuel is a most convenient form of betting. An excellent
organisation exists on every French race-course for enabling those
desirous of backing any horse to do so by taking their ticket at one of
the many bureaux, above which are inscribed the amount which any ticket

Separate betting bureaux exist for ladies in the special stands which
are on some courses set aside for them, and everything is done to
render the public thoroughly comfortable.

A list of the horses running is clearly displayed, and there is when
possible place betting. On some race-courses the field can be backed,
which, in the event of an outsider winning, is not unprofitable. The
lowest sum for which a ticket is issued is five francs, the highest
five hundred francs. There is, of course, no limit to the number
of tickets which any one who wishes to do so may take. Should a
backer not be desirous of changing a winning ticket into cash upon
the race-course he can keep it till his return to Paris, where, on
presenting it at a Central Office at certain fixed hours (defined
on the ticket), he receives his money without any inconvenience. In
justice, however, to the French race-course authorities it should be
added that, considering the huge amount of money carried by those going
racing in France, robberies are extremely rare.

Admission to the "pesage," the best and most expensive enclosure,
is only 20 francs for a man, 10 francs for a woman. There is also a
cheaper stand, and admission to the course costs a franc.

Though a certain number of heavy betters complain of the lack of
bookmakers, the general public appears satisfied.

On the Grand Prix day of the present year, when the race was for
the first time won by a French jockey, £185,326 passed through the
Pari Mutuel at Longchamps, out of the percentage levied on which the
poor received no less than £3700. Whatever may be urged against the
Totalisator in France, it is bound to benefit a certain number of
people, which is a good deal more than can be said for any other form
of betting, gambling, or speculation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those who in the pages of this book have wandered through the
gaming-houses of Europe, and have briefly surveyed the careers of most
of the chief gamblers of the past, will, it is hoped, do the writer the
justice to admit that he has in no wise sought to minimise the grave
evils which are the almost inevitable result of worshipping the goddess
of Chance.

Nothing, indeed, is more striking than the almost universal ruin which
has ever overtaken the vast majority of gamblers, except the complete
failure which has invariably attended all attempts to stamp out this
vice by means of coercive measures.

The futile and ineffectual results which, during the last two hundred
years, have invariably followed all drastic repression, are clearly
demonstrated by hard facts; at the present time speculation, gambling,
and betting all flourish as they never flourished before.

In open combat, the strong arm of the law is resistless; but there is
no possibility of its ultimate triumph or power of eradicating the
desire of gaming from the human mind; and more especially in a country
where speculation on the Stock Exchange is regarded with the greatest
tolerance by those who denounce the race-course and the card-table.

The anathemas of well-meaning and unworldly ecclesiastics, the plaints
of zealous philanthropists, the strident declamations of social
reformers, who call for legislative measures of drastic restriction,
can only cause the philosophic student of human nature to deplore that
so much well-meaning effort should be devoted to such a futile end.

In sober fact the gambling mania is one for which no specific remedy
exists--it is possessed by those who are well aware of its dangers, and
realise that in the ordinary course of events it must prove ultimately
destructive. Repress it in one direction and it reappears--more often
than not worse than ever--in another.

It is impossible to dragoon human nature into virtue. The leopard
cannot change its spots, or the Ethiopian his skin. Man with his
craving for strong emotions will assuredly find means of gratifying
them, and it is mere hypocritical rubbish to assume that in the future
milk and water is to be the elixir of life.

The well-meaning altruist, who looks with contempt on the frivolous
occupations which appear to amuse a great part of mankind, should
remember that they, on the other hand, are equally at a loss to account
for the pleasure which he derives from the more elevated pursuits in
which their lower mental capacities forbid them to indulge.

As a matter of fact the strongest motive with all mankind, after the
more sordid necessities are provided for, is excitement. For this
reason gambling will continue--even should all card-playing be declared
illegal and all race-courses ploughed up.

Repugnant as the idea may be to the Anglo-Saxon mind, regulation, not
repression, is without doubt the best possible method of mitigating
the evils of speculation; and, moreover, such a system possesses the
undeniable advantage of diverting no inconsiderable portion of the
money so often recklessly risked into channels of undoubted public

The time is not yet when English public opinion is prepared to face
facts as they are; but though it may be at some far distant day,
that time must come, when a wiser and more enlightened legislature,
profiting by the experience of the past, will at last realise that the
vice of gambling cannot be extirpated by violent means. Reluctantly,
but certainly, it will endeavour to palliate the worst features of
gambling by taking care that those who indulge in it shall do so under
the fairest conditions, whilst at the same time paying a toll to be
applied for the good of the community at large.

Such is the inevitable and only solution of a social problem which from
any other direction it is absolutely hopeless to approach.


    Abingdon, Lord, befriended by Mr. Elwes, 16;
      and O'Kelly, 145

    Adolphus, Mr., and Duke of Wellington, 11

    Aix-la-Chapelle, gaming at, 282;
      an Italian's adventures at, 282-4;
      a royal gambler at, 284-6

    Alvanley, Lord, 110

    Ambassadors use their mansions as gaming-houses, 248-9

    Ancre, Maréchal d', the wife of, 10

    Anne, Queen, supporter of the Turf, 389

    Annuities, paid by Brooks's, 116;
      paid by gamblers as compromise, 171

    Antoinette, Marie, 209, 419

    Archer, Lady, 56

    Ardesoif, Mr., roasts a game-cock to death, 196;
      his just reward, 196

    Arlington, Earl of, 39

    Arnold, Mr., his cruel wager, 225

    Arthur's, Mr. Elwes a member of, 15

    Artois, Comte d', his bet with Marie Antoinette, 209, 210;
      his conduct on the Turf, 418

    Ashburnham, Lord, 39

    Ass and chimney-sweep race, 205

    "Athenæum," a notorious gaming-house, 89;
      confused with real Athenæum Club, 93

    Atkins, a bookmaker, last authority on hazard, 81

    Atkinson, Bartle, a famous trainer, 175

    Atkinson, Joseph, 42

    Aubrey, Lieut.-Col., his maxim, 157;
      his distinguished antagonists and associates, 157

    Australian story, an, 159-63

    Author, a lucky, and his method of speculation, 164-6

    Avarice combined with passion for play, 13

    Baccarat, decision _re_, 129, 130;
      single tableau, 313, 317, 318

    "Bad houses, beware of," 43

    Baden, ex-Elector of Hesse gambles at, 287;
      M. de la Charme at, 287, 288;
      society at, 288, 289;
      croupiers at, 289, 290

    Bagatelle, the building of, 209, 210

    Baggs, Major, his luck at hazard, 82;
      his adventures abroad, 83;
      and Lord Onslow, 83;
      a skilful swordsman, and man of culture, 83;
      his generosity, 84;
      wins from the King, 84;
      falls a victim to gaming, 84

    Baily, Mr., of Rambridge, 145

    Barber, the Canterbury, 34-37;
      an Indian, as balloonist, 190

    Barclay, Captain, pedestrian, 232

    Barucci, Madame Julia, a card scandal at the house of, 304-7

    Basketing, 199

    Basset, 53

    Bassette, 52

    Bathing adventure, a, 194

    Beauclerk, Topham, 27

    Bedford, Duke of, and Nash, 31, 32;
      horsewhipped, 150

    Bellasis, Theophilus, 42

    Benazet, M., farmer-general of gaming-houses, 264;
      proprietor of rooms at Baden-Baden, 286, 287

    Bennet, Captain, trundles a hoop, 224, 225

    Bentinck, Lord Frederick, beat by Col. Mellish in a foot-race, 170

    Bentinck, Lord George, and Lord Kelburne, 382, 383;
      his large winnings, 383, 384

    Bentinck, Rev. Mr., and the Duc de Nivernois, 51, 52

    Berkeley, Captain, and his game-cock, 202, 203

    Bertie, Lord Robert, 15

    Betting-houses started, 99, 100;
      fraudulent proceedings illustrated, 100;
      suppressed, 102

    Billiards, a one-eyed player, 64

    Bingham, Mr., his horse leaps Hyde Park wall, 219

    Biribi, method of play, 247

    Blackmail, keepers of gaming-houses subject to, 42;
      at the Palais Royal, 251, 252

    Blanc, M., starts gambling-tables at Homburg, 298;
      plays for a parasol, 301, 302;
      victim of a stratagem, 302;
      a croupier's scheme, 303;
      and Garcia, 303, 304;
      opens a Casino at Monaco, 319

    Bland, Sir John, 108;
      squanders his fortune and shoots himself, 109

    Blind cock-fight enthusiast (Lord Bertie), 199, 200

    Blind horse wins a leaping contest, 219

    Blo' Norton Hall, 33

    Blücher, Marshal, fond of gambling, 11;
      passion inherited by his son, 11;
      wins his son's money, 12;
      at the Palais Royal, 265

    Blythe, Captain Carlton, a frequenter of Monte Carlo, 329;
      his method of play, 329

    Boarding-schools, gaming taught at, 56

    Bond, Ephraim, 89;
      takes over "Athenæum," 92, 93

    Boothby, Mr., his opinion of Fox, 27

    Borsant, M., a generous gaming-house proprietor, 272;
      revelations, 274

    Bouillotte, 270

    Bow Street troops, 44

    Bowes, Mr. John, four times Derby winner, 421

    Brampton, Gawdy, 33

    Brelans, 235

    Bridge, 135, 136

    Bristol, Lord, turns the tables on Lord Cobham and Mr. Nugent, 104

    Brooks, Mr., ready to make advances, 114;
      dies poor, 114

    Brooks's, unlimited gambling at, 114;
      Fox's large losses at, 115;
      annuities granted to ruined members, 116;
      the betting-book at, 116;
      favourite games at, 116;
      relics preserved at, 117

    Brummell, Beau, plays heavily, 112;
      his promise to the brewer, 112;
      his superstition, 113

    Buckeburg, Count de, rides his horse backwards from London to
    Edinburgh, 205

    Buckingham, Duke of, 39;
      Quin's story of the, 39

    Buckingham Palace, 39

    Buckinghamshire, Earl and Countess of, 57, 58

    Bullock, Mr., 195

    Bulpett, Mr. Charles, his remarkable feats, 233, 234

    Bunbury, Sir Charles, 402

    Burge, known as "the Subject," 89;
      his passion for the gaming-table, 90, 91

    Byng, Hon. Frederick, on gambling, 94, 95

    Byng, Sir John, his dispute with "T' au'd un," 381

    Byron, Lord, a frequenter of Wattier's, 122

    Calzado, Signor, cheats at cards, 305-7;
      sentenced to imprisonment, 307

    Canterbury barber, the, 34-37

    Card-money, 54

    Carlisle, Lord, 105;
      a high gambler, but warns Selwyn, 106

    Carriage race, a, 213

    Casanova, his card duel with d'Entragues, 21-24;
      his meeting with Fox, 26

    Cavillac, Marquis de, accuses Law of plagiarism, 242

    Chabert, M., opens houses at Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, and Ems, 286

    Champeiron, la Comtesse, 246

    Chance, the laws of, 6;
      in roulette, 9;
      public tables offer best, 10;
      tradesmen devotees of, 33

    Chaplin, Mr., his fortunate Derby, 375

    Charles II., founder of the English Turf, 386;
      an experienced rider, 386;
      his house at Newmarket, 386;
      Nell Gwynne's threat, 387;
      his witty answer to Sir Christopher Wren, 387;
      his amusements at Newmarket, 387, 388;
      his generosity, 388

    Charme, M. de la, at Baden, 288

    Chartres, Duc de, 209, 419

    Cheating, methods of, 78

    Chesterfield, Lord, 39

    Chesterfield Row, 65

    Chetwynd, Sir George, his _Recollections_, 82

    Cibber, Colley, 108

    Clarke, Vauxhall, his cock-fighting match with Col. Lowther, 196

    Clavering, Sir John, appoints Mordaunt his aide-de-camp, 182

    Clergyman, a betting, 209

    Cleveland, Duke of, and Billy Pierse, 381, 382

    Cobham, Lord, makes a vulgar bet, 103;
      forced to make public apology, 104

    Cock-fighting in England, 195;
      some great patrons, 195;
      a famous battle at the Cock Pit Royal, 196;
      a cruel monster, 196;
      betting, 197;
      unexpected winners, 197;
      celebrated London cockpits, 198;
      Royal Cockpit taken down, 198;
      punishment for foul play, 199;
      a specimen challenge, 200;
      present-day fights, 200;
      famous trainers, 201;
      the last of the cock-fighters, 201;
      courageous birds, 201-3

    Cocoa Tree, big stakes at the, 111

    Codrington, Mr., 212

    Colonel, the English, and his wife's ear-rings, 158

    Colton, Rev. Caleb, a successful gambler, 138;
      his publications, 138;
      his affairs become involved and he decamps, 139;
      settles down at Palais Royal, 139;
      studies gambling, 139;
      commits suicide, 140

    Combe, Alderman, 112

    Combe, Hervey, 20, 21

    Concannon, Mrs., 56, 62;
      Mr., 57, 58

    Conolly, Rt. Hon. Thomas, 218

    Cook, a fortunate, 262

    Cookson, Mr., owner of Diamond, 413

    Copley, Sir Joseph, 110

    Cornwallis, Lord, and Mordaunt, 191

    "Corpse" card-player and the Parisian banker, 156, 157

    Countess, an eccentric, 291, 292

    Court, gambling at, 38

    Craps or Creps, an old French game, 263;
      survives in America, 264

    Cribb, Tom, pugilist, his fight with Nicholl, 177

    Cribbage, a fashionable game, 62

    Cricket ball, a letter sent by, 211

    Crockford, William, 96;
      wins large sum, 97;
      founds his famous Club, 97;
      profits made by, 98;
      his views on gaming, 98

    Crockford's, Duke of Wellington becomes member of, 11;
      large tips to waiters, 94;
      blamed for increase of gambling-houses, 94;
      magnificence of, 97;
      expense of running, 98;
      heavy losses at, 113

    Crofton, Sir Edward, high leap at Phoenix Park, 227

    Croupiers, stoicism of, 290;
      at Monte Carlo, 354, 355;
      a school of, 354, 355

    Cumberland, Duke of, 39, 137;
      institutes Ascot Meeting, 390;
      a born gambler, 390;
      his cruelty, 390;
      good-natured when racing, 391;
      a fortunate loss, 391;
      match with Duke
      of Grafton, 391;
      his horse Eclipse, 391

    "Curse of Scotland," origin of the name, 137, 138

    Dale, Thomas, rides a donkey-race, 211

    Damer, Mr., makes the acquaintance of Dick England, 69;
      ruined at tennis, 70;
      his tragic end, 70

    Darlington, Lord, 107, 169;
      a match with Col. Mellish, 174, 175

    Dartmoor, gambling at, 50

    Davies, a bookmaker, his betting, 385

    Davis, Scrope, 228, 229

    Dayrolle, Mr., 108

    Death, as a subject for wagers, 105, 209;
      a duel with, 157

    Decency, sense of, lost by gamblers, 158

    Deer, used in place of carriage-horses, 206

    Delessert, M., the means of closing Parisian gaming-houses, 272

    Demidoff, Madame, robbed by a countess, 269

    Dennisthorpe, Mr., 195

    Derby, Lord, a patron of cock-fighting, 195, 200

    Desmarest, French minister, 240

    Desmoulins, Camille, 256

    "Devil's Drawing-room," the, 257

    Devonshire, Duchess of, 59;
      and "Old Nick," 60;
      scandal about, 60-62

    Devonshire, Duke of, and Fox, 28

    Devonshire Club, formerly Crockford's, 97

    Dickinson, old Jack, an honest tipster, 377, 378

    "Dispatches," 78

    Dorchester, Lord, 70

    Doulah, Asoph ud, Nawab of Oude, his sword practice, 187;
      his barber's aerial punishment, 190;
      his love of cock-fighting, 193

    Drummond and Greville, Messrs., open a betting-house, 99

    Dwyer, cigar-shop and betting-house keeper, 101;
      bolts with large sum, 102

    Earl, William, 91;
      his "Athenæum" swindle, 92;
      transported, 93

    Eclipse, the greatest horse of all time, 391-4

    Edgecumbe, Dick, 106

    Égalité, Philippe, a royal shop-man, 255;
      a follower of the Turf, 418

    Elwes, Mr., 13;
      succeeds to a fortune, 14;
      a gambler at heart, 14;
      quixotic, 14;
      a member of Arthur's, 15;
      plays for two days and nights, 15;
      his avarice, 15, 16;
      and Lord Abingdon, 16;
      and the clergyman, 16, 17;
      elected to Parliament, 17;
      his admiration for Pitt, 17;
      his last bout, 18

    Elwes, Sir Harvey, a miser, 13

    _Émigrés_, 45;
      passion for gaming among, 49 _et seq._;
      a cause of irritation, 54

    Ems, a gambling resort, 310;
      a Spaniard's method at, 310;
      Russians at, 311

    England, Dick, and the young tradesman, 68, 69;
      and Mr. Damer, 69-72;
      shoots Rolles, a young brewer, 73;
      flies to the Continent, 73;
      ends his days in London, 73

    English, Buck, tried for murder, 217;
      member of Parliament, 217;
      his death, 217

    English view of gambling, 163;
      and Sunday racing, 425, 426

    Entragues, d', and Casanova, 21-24

    E.O., fraudulent, 47;
      method of play, 55

    Estates lost at play, 33

    Este, Cardinal d', and the Cardinal de Medici, 238

    "Excessive" gambling, definition of, 126

    Execution, betting at an, 209

    Exeter Mail beaten by a pony, 226

    Existence, a strange, 267

    Faro, invented by a Venetian, 52;
      introduced into France, 52;
      prohibited in France, 53;
      finds its way to England, 53;
      Fox's favourite game, 53;
      method of play, 53;
      crusade against, 57

    Fawkener, Sir Everard, 106

    Female assistants to sharpers, 95

    Fénelon, M. de, his match with Duc de Lauzun, 419

    Fenwick, Mr., 195

    Ferguson, Sir Rowland, his opinion of Col. Mellish, 178

    Field Club, The, 135

    Fishmonger's Hall, 97

    FitzJames, Marquis de, 209, 419

    Fitzpatrick, General, 115

    Flint, Mr., his race with Mr. Thornton, 415, 416;
      assaults Col. Thornton, 416, 417;
      commits suicide, 417

    Foley, Lord, 401

    Fonteneille, Madame de, 246

    Foote, Sam, 66

    Fortune, image of, kept by Roman emperors, 5;
      aid of, invoked by fetishes, 5;
      sometimes favours non-gamblers, 159

    Foubert, a celebrated French riding-master, 386

    Fouché, gaming-houses licensed by, 250;
      punishes interference, 250

    Fox, Charles James, and Casanova, 26;
      a member of Brooks's, 26;
      White's, 105;
      unsuccessful gambler, 26;
      and Duke of Devonshire, 28;
      and Sir John Lade, 28, 29;
      borrows from waiters at Brooks's, 28;
      fond of horse-racing, 29, 400, 401;
      ruined at twenty-five, 115

    Frascati's, a noted gaming-house, 266;
      an inveterate player at, 268;
      fêtes at, 269;
      dramatic incident at closing of, 274

    French Jockey Club, 421 _et seq._

    Galeries de Bois, 257

    Game-cock, gentleman attacked by, 201;
      fox killed by, 202;
      in a naval action, 202, 203;
      awarded a medal, 203

    Games, unlawful, 132, 133

    Gaming-houses, suppressed, 99;
      officials, 40, 41

    Gaming-tables kept by ladies, 48, 52, 245

    Gancière, la Baronne de, 245

    Garcia, his winnings at Homburg, 304;
      a card scandal, 304-7;
      sentenced to imprisonment, 307;
      his death, 307

    Geese and turkey race, 206

    Geneva, gambling at, 311

    Genlis, Comte de, 209

    George I. and the Turf, 389;
      George II. gambles, 39;
      George IV. rides to Brighton and back, 210, 211

    George, Prince of Denmark, and horse-racing, 389

    Germany, gaming in, 282 _et seq._

    Gevres, Duc de, 239

    Gilliver, Joe, fights cocks for Georges III. and IV., 201;
      his great-nephew's success, 201

    Gillray, his caricatures of female gamblers, 56

    Giraudin, Madame de, 420

    Glasgow, Lord, his love of enormous wagers, 382, 383

    Grafton, Duke of, 39

    Grafton Mews, No. 13, 45

    Graham's Club, 122

    Gramont, Count de, his shrewd decision, 237

    Granville, Lord, 97

    Greville, Mr., 108, 385

    Grieves, Mr. Mackenzie, 426

    Groom-porter, the, 39, 86

    Grosvenor, Lord, and Tattersall, 397

    Gully and the Game Chicken, match between, 177

    Gwynne, Nell, 387

    Halton, Mr., 195

    Hambletonian v. Diamond, a great race, 411-13

    Hamilton, Captain, 65

    Hamilton, Duke of, 195

    Hammond, Mr. John, his successes on the Turf, 373

    Harvey, Mr., a midshipman gambler, 111

    Hastings, Marquis of, his large bets, 384;
      ruined, and early death, 385

    Hawke, Hon. Martin, fights Col.
      Mellish, 176;
      a marvellous pistol shot, 176;
      duel with Baron Smieten, 177;
      patron of pugilists, 177

    Hawkins, Sir Henry, his decision in Park Club appeal, 131 _et seq._

    Hawley, Sir Joseph, a heavy better, 384

    Hazard, a popular game, 74;
      made illegal, 75;
      method of play, 76-78;
      privilege of players, 78, 79;
      a lucky throw, 79;
      drunk men best players, 79;
      rules now forgotten, 81;
      French hazard, 82;
      runs of luck, 82

    Heligoland, gaming-house on island of, 311

    Hells, 40, 86 _et seq._;
      defenders of, 42;
      West-End, 84;
      principal proprietors of, 85;
      source of profits, 86, 87;
      a prospectus, 88;
      precautions with visitors, 96

    Henri IX. addicted to gaming, 235

    Hertford, Lord, 39

    Hesse, ex-Elector of, 287

    Highflyer, a famous horse, 394-6

    Hoca, brought to France by Italians, 238;
      play punishable by death, 239

    Hodgson, Dr. William, 409-10

    Hodsock Priory, 179

    Holdernesse, Lord, 39

    Holford, Mr., 195

    Homburg, gaming at, started by brothers Blanc, 298;
      hours of play, etc., 299;
      a flood at, 299;
      the Kursaal, 300;
      the Landgraf, 300;
      Garcia at, 303 _et seq._;
      scenes at close of Kursaal, 307-10

    Hook, Theodore, his epitaph on Lord de Ros, 123

    Hughes, Mr. Ball, 97

    Humbug, method of play, 66, 67

    Humphries, Mr., horsewhips Duke of Bedford, 150

    Hunter, Henry, 224

    Huntingdon, Lord, 39

    Ingham, Sir J., his decision _re_ baccarat, 129, 130

    Insurance, fraudulent, 48;
      speculative, made illegal, 49

    Invalids, gambling, 155

    "Ivories," 79

    James II., a lover of field sports, 388

    Jeffries, Mr. John, 108

    Jehu, Sir John, 28

    Justiniani introduces faro into France, 52

    Kelly, J.D., 90

    Kenyon, Lord, scathing remarks by, 56

    Kerridge, Thomas, 33

    Kildare, Lady, 108

    King's Place, a raid in, 44

    La Belle, a popular French game, 245

    Lade, Councillor, an eccentric supporter of the Turf, 405;
      his meanness, 406-8

    Lade, Sir John, taught a lesson by Fox, 28, 29;
      bets with "Old Q.," 211

    Ladies of fashion, keep faro-banks, 48;
      gaming-tables, 52;
      on trial, 57 _et seq._;
      extravagances of, 59

    "La Faucheuse," 313;
      played at Ostend, 317;
      forbidden in France, 317, 318

    La fille Chevalier, 258

    Lansdowne, Marchioness of, 180

    Lauzun, Duc de, 209, 419

    Law, John, kills a peer in a duel and escapes to Holland, 240;
      outlawed, 240;
      studies finance, 240;
      interview with Louis XIV., 240;
      threatened by Desmarest, 240;
      trusted by Duke of Orleans, 241;
      puts schemes in operation, 241;
      created Comte de Tankerville, 242;
      presented with freedom of Edinburgh, 242;
      anecdotes, 242, 243;
      his downfall, 244

    Leaping wagers, 218, 219, 220, 227

    Leeson, Major, 403;
      vanquishes the blacksmith, 404;
      his Turf career, 404, 405

    Lennox, Lieut.-General, 224

    "Le Wellington des Joueurs," 113

    Lewis, Mr. George, 125

    Lewis, Mr. Sam, a frequenter of Monte Carlo, 329

    Liddell, Sir H.G., 195

    Lloyd, pedestrian, runs a race backwards, 231

    Loftus, Mr., cockpit owner, 197

    Long sittings, 19, 20, 21-24, 62, 115

    Lonsdale, Lord, 196

    Lookup, Mr., 63;
      and Lord Chesterfield, 64;
      becomes saltpetre manufacturer, 65;
      privateering ventures, 66;
      dies at his favourite game, 66

    Losers ready to fight, 25

    "Lottery," a game favoured by ladies, 55

    Louis XIV., 237;
      issues edict against play, 239

    "Louse Pigott," an unpleasant Turf character, 408;
      charged with disloyalty, 409, 410

    Lowther, Colonel, 195;
      at Cock Pit Royal, 196

    Luttrell, Lady Elizabeth, 57, 58

    Luynes, Duchesse de, and Talleyrand, 137

    Macao, introduced by French _émigrés_, 121

    MacGregor and his militia regiment, 141

    Maisons de bouillotte, 270;
      de jeu, 245

    Malcolm, Sir John, 20, 21

    Manning, Mr., his novel leap, 220

    March, Lord, 105

    Martindale, Henry, 57-59

    Martine, Colonel, engineer to Asoph ud Doulah, 188

    Massena entertains Col. Mellish, 179

    Mazarin, Cardinal, introduces games of chance, 237;
      always ready to bet, 237

    Medici, Cardinal de, 238

    Medley, Sporting, 42

    Meggot, Mr., 13, 14

    Mellish, Mr. Charles, 167

    Mellish, Colonel Henry, his boyhood, 167;
      enters army, 168;
      his accomplishments, 168-70;
      appearance and mode of dress, 170;
      his horses, 170, 171;
      his big stakes, 171;
      and the Turf, 173-5;
      sells his estate, 176;
      Duke of Wellington's compliment, 178;
      befriended by Prince Regent, 179;
      settles at Hodsock Priory and marries, 180;
      his early death, 180

    Methodists, 85

    Methods, 4

    Merry, Mr. James, 375

    Mexborough, Lord, 195

    Mills, Pemberton, ties up Brummell, 112

    Milton, Lord, 70

    Miranda, Signor, cheated by Garcia and Calzado, 305, 306

    Monaco, 9;
      gambling at, 319 _et seq._;
      the Grimaldis, 320;
      the army, 321;
      improvements due to M. Blanc, 322;
      Casino brings prosperity, 322;
      old Prince's consideration, 323;
      a visit to, fifty years ago, 324, 325

    Monte Carlo, in 1864, 326;
      early frequenters, 327;
      development of, 328, 329;
      patrons, 329 _et seq._;
      regulations as to dress, 330;
      hotels, restaurants, etc. in the 'eighties, 332;
      the "Cercle Privé," 334, 335;
      the bank, its gains and losses, 335-7;
      mistaken ideas about the gaming-rooms, 337, 338;
      systems of old players, 339;
      superstitions, 339-43;
      trente-et-quarante, 343-5;
      a successful swindle at, 346-8;
      roulette, 348-52;
      the croupiers, 354, 355;
      annual profits, 357;
      the Casino employés, 357, 358;
      the _viatique_, 358, 359;
      playing for a living, 359;
      systems of play, 360-73

    Montfort, Lord, 108, 109

    Monville, M. de, 252

    Moral Betting Club, circulars issued by a, 101

    Mordaunt, Colonel John, devoted to cards from youth, 180, 181;
      leaves for India, 182;
      ignorance of writing, 182, 183;
      Hindoo and Persian scholar, 183;
      his method of calculation, 184;
      meets with Asoph ud Doulah, 186;
      aide-de-camp to the Nawab, 187;
      saves Zoffany's head, 188;
      his hospitality, 191;
      excellent pistol shot, 192;
      wounded in a duel, 192;
      his love of cock-fighting, 195;
      his early death, 193

    Morny, Duc de, 425

    Morocco-men, 48

    Mount Coffee-House, Mr. Elwes a member of, 17

    "Multipliers," 1, 2;
      statute against, 2

    Mundy's Coffee-House, 41

    Mytton, Jack, played best when drunk, 80;
      punishes foul play, 80;
      presence of mind, 80;
      often plucked when young, 81

    Napoleon, a poor card-player, 11;
      encourages horse-racing, 420

    Napoleon III. and the institution of the Grand Prix, 425

    Nash, Beau, does penance, 30, 31;
      rides upon a cow, 31;
      his advice to a giddy youth, 31;
      and Duke of Bedford, 31, 32;
      and the young peer, 32;
      a bet on the life of, 108

    Naylor, Mr., his big win at the Derby, 375

    "Neptune," 117

    Newcastle, Duke of, 52

    Nivernois, Duc de, 50;
      and the Rev. Mr. Bentinck, 51, 52

    Normandie, M. de, 422

    North-country gambler, a, 12, 13

    Northumberland, Duke of, 15;
      patron of cock-fighting, 195

    Nugent, Mr., 103, 104

    O'Birne, Mr., his generous offer, 111

    O'Burne, Mr., 57, 58

    Ogden, Mr., 9

    O'Kelly, Colonel Andrew, and his uncle's parrot, 148, 149

    O'Kelly, Colonel Dennis, 42;
      his military rank, 141;
      sometimes known as Count, 141;
      and Catherine Hayes, 142;
      his racing successes, 142;
      hospitable, yet mean, 142;
      a true-bred Milesian, 143;
      not a fighting-man, 143;
      and the Jockey Club, 143;
      the black-legged fraternity, 144;
      and the sporting aristocracy, 145;
      his attachment for Ascot, 145;
      his small note, 146;
      and the pickpocket, 146, 147;
      the map of his estates, 147;
      his wonderful parrot, 147;
      becomes owner of Eclipse, 393

    "Old Nick," 59;
      and the Duchess of Devonshire, 60;
      vouches for a friend's respectability, 60

    One leg, twelve hours' stand on, 230

    Onslow, Lord, and Major Baggs, 83

    Onslow, Mr. George (Cocking George), out-ranger of Windsor Forest, 195

    Orford, Lord, his geese and turkey race, 206;
      drives deer in place of horses in his phaeton, 206;
      chased by hounds, 207

    Orléans, Duc d', anecdote of, 252

    Orleans, Duke of, Regent, 241;
      duped by Law, 241

    Osbaldiston, Squire, 232

    Ostend, gambling at, 312;
      single tableau baccarat at, 313

    Oyster-houses, gambling in, 95

    Packer, Colonel, 138

    Palais Royal, tripots in, 251, 253;
      Venternière and his black-mailers, 251, 252;
      its history, 254-6;
      queer characters, 256;
      "the Devil's Drawing-room," 257;
      facilities for dissipation, 258;
      the gaming-rooms, 258 _et seq._;
      the stakes, 261;
      a fortunate cook, 262;
      the mad colonel, 263;
      passe-dix and craps, 263;
      famous gaming-houses, 265;
      Marshal Blücher games at, 265;
      falls on evil days, 271;
      the end of gaming at, 272-4;
      present condition of, 275;
      schemes to revivify, 277

    Panton, Colonel, 140

    Panton, Mr., 117

    Paper, a lucky bit of, 160-2

    Parasol, an expensive, 301, 302

    Pari Mutuel, the, 427-32

    Paris, gambling in, 235 _et seq._;
      present-day, 278-81;
      anecdotes, 279-81

    Park Club, high play at baccarat at, 124;
      proceedings against, 124 _et seq._;
      rules of, 126, 127;
      proprietor and committee fined, 130

    Parrot, a wonderful, 147-9

    Passe-dix, method of play, 263

    Pearson, Prof. Karl, his roulette experiments, 351

    Peterborough, Earl of, 180

    Petersham, Lady Catherine, 108

    Pharo, or pharaoh, 53

    _Pharaon, le_, 53

    Philosopher's stone, 2

    Piazza, Covent Garden, 42

    Pierse, Billy ("T' au'd un"), his idea of making a fortune on the
    Turf, 381;
      his opinion of Sir John Byng, 381;
      on friendly terms with Duke of Cleveland, 381, 382

    Pigot, Mr. William, and "Old Q.," 212

    Poland, Mr., 125

    Polhill, Captain, 232

    Pond, Miss, rides a thousand miles, 207

    Pond, Mr., publisher of _Racing Calendar_, 207

    "Posting," 172

    Potter, Paul, game-cock feeder to Lord Derby, 200

    _Pour et contre_, 53

    Pratt, Mr. Edward, 119;
      his wonderful memory, 119;
      silence a hobby, 120;
      whist his sole earthly aim, 121

    Prisoners of war, gambling among, 50;
      strange sleeping conditions, 50;
      an amusing rebuke, 254

    Private gambling, evils of, 136

    Prussia, King of, gambles at Aix-la-Chapelle, 284;
      his generosity, 285

    Public tables offer best chance, 10

    Pur Plomb Club, 75

    Queensberry, Duke of ("Old Q."), rides a mule race, 211;
      sends letter by cricket ball, 211;
      an eating contest, bet with Mr. William Pigot, 212;
      and Count O'Taafe, 213;
      his shrewdness, 410;
      his presence of mind, 411

    Racing games, 75

    Racing Plomb Club, 75

    Radcliffe, Mr. J.B., 234

    Raggett, 20

    Raids, 44, 46

    Raindrop race, the, 204

    Rebuke, an amusing, 254

    Regent, Prince, wins large sum from Mellish, 171;
      befriends him, 179

    Restaurants in Palais Royal:
      Méot's, 275;
      Beauvilliers', Rivarol Champcenetz at, 275;
      Véry's, Danton at, 276;
      Venua, frequented by Girondins and Robespierre, 276;
      Fevrier's, a tragedy at, 276;
      Véfour's, 277;
      "Les Trois Frères Provençaux," 277;
      Café Corazza, 277

    Revolution, gambling during the, 249 _et seq._

    Revolutionary playing-cards, 253, 254

    Ricardo, Mr. Albert, 422, 423

    Richmond, Duke of, 227

    Rigby, Mr. Richard, squanders his fortune, 149;
      rescues Duke of Bedford, 150;
      appointed Paymaster-General, 151;
      loses his post, and in difficulties, 151;
      assisted by Thomas Rumbold, 151;
      his kindness to a stranger, 152

    Rivers, Lord, a dashing player, 113

    "Rivett, General," 44

    Riviera, prosperity of, due to M. Blanc, 328

    Robespierre, 276

    Roche, Captain, 67

    Rolles, a brewer, shot by England, 73

    Ros, Lord de, and the _Satirist_ newspaper, 122;
      amusing evidence at trial, 122;
      dies in disgrace, 123

    Rosebery, Lord, on chances of the Turf, 374

    Rosslyn, Lord, his system, 366-9

    Roulette, chances of, 9;
      method of play, 348-51;
      Prof. Karl Pearson's experiments, 351;
      a new form of, 281

    Rowlandson, 20

    Roxburgh Club, 20

    Royal edict against play, 239

    Rumbold, Thomas, waiter at White's and Governor of Madras, 151

    Runs, extraordinary, 9, 82

    Russell, Mr. Charles, 125

    Sack race, a, 210

    St. Amaranthe, Madame de, keeps a luxurious tripot, 253

    St. Ann's parish officers' warning, 43

    St. Fargeau, Lepelletier de, murder of, 276

    St. Germain, a new form of roulette at, 281

    St. James's Palace, 38

    St. Louis, Chevaliers of, as croupiers, 249

    Sainte Doubeuville, la Marquise de, 245

    Salisbury, Lord and Lady, their amusing experience at Monte
    Carlo, 330, 331

    Salon des Étrangers, a favourite resort of Marshal Blücher, 266;
      a pensioner, 267;
      a run of luck, 267;
      heavy losers, 268

    Sandwich, Lord, plays hazard with Duke of Cumberland, 390

    Sartines, Lieutenant of Police, authorises gaming in Paris, 245;
      his narrow escape of assassination, 246

    Saxe, Madame, 22-24

    Scott, General, a famous whist player, 117;
      his cute bet, 117;
      his generosity, 118;
      a careful liver, 118

    Seaside resorts, French, gambling at, 314 _et seq._;
      Casino regulations, 315-17

    Sefton, Lord, a heavy loser, 113

    Selby, Jim, a coaching feat, 232, 233

    Selle, Madame de, 246

    Selwyn, George, 105, 106, 138

    Sermons against gambling, 85

    Serre, Madame de la, 246

    Servants demoralised by gambling-houses, 96

    Seymour, Lord Henry, 421-4

    Shafto, Captain, 210

    Shelley Hall, 33

    Shepherd, John, 43

    Shooting wagers, 221

    Slaughter-houses, 40, 43

    Smith, Mr. Justice, 134

    Smith, Tippoo, 20, 117

    Speculation, passion for, 1, 2;
      in France, 240 _et seq._

    Spencer, Lord Robert, 115, 145

    Spirit of play in eighteenth century, 38

    Sporting Medley, 42

    Stair, Lord, offends the French, 103

    Stavordale, Lord, 115

    Stilts, a journey on, 226

    Stock Exchange, gambling on, 163-6

    Stroud, 42

    Sturt, Mrs. Mary, 57, 58

    Subscription-houses, 40

    Sue, Eugène, 421

    Sully, rebukes Henri IV., 235, 236

    Sulzbach, 21

    Sussex, Duke of, a heavy loser to Col. Mellish, 171

    Systems at Monte Carlo, 360-73;
      the martingale, 363, 364;
      the Labouchere, 364;
      Lord Rosslyn's, 366-9;
      a sensible method of play, 370, 371;
      none thoroughly reliable, 372, 373

    Talbot, Mr., 109

    Talleyrand announces the death of the Duc d'Enghien, 137

    Tattersall, Mr., purchases Highflyer, 395;
      compared with O'Kelly, 395, 396;
      his shrewdness, 396, 397;
      befriended by Lord Grosvenor, 397;
      his business, 397, 398

    Tempest, Sir Harry Vane, 413

    Tetherington, 42

    Thacker, Mr., wins penmaking contest, 229

    Thanet, Lord, 97;
      at the Salon, 268

    Thatched House Club, 28

    "There he goes," 35

    Thornhill, Mr. Cooper, 210

    Thornton, Colonel, 415, 416, 417;
      a shooting wager, 221;
      a bitter-sweet compliment, 221;
      unpopular, 222;
      known as Lying Thornton, 222;
      his conceit, 222;
      his will disputed in England and France, 223

    Thornton, Mrs., her race with Mr. Flint, 415;
      contest with Buckle, the jockey, 417

    Thouvenère, Madame de, 245

    Throw, a marvellous, 114

    Thynne, Mr., a disgusted gambler, 115

    Tips, 4

    Townshend, 46, 50

    Tradesmen, devotees of chance, 33

    "Travelling Piquet," 208

    Trente-et-quarante, 10;
      method of play, 343-5

    Tripots, 236, 239, 251;
      ladies preside at, 245;
      clandestine keepers of, 246;
      temporarily prohibited, 246;
      edict against unlicensed, 248;
      a luxurious tripot, 253

    Turf, the, difficulty of making money on, 374 _et seq._;
      some great wins, 375;
      sporting journalists and tipsters, 376;
      philanthropic tipsters' circulars, 376, 377;
      an honest tipster, 377, 378;
      three classes of racing-men, 378;
      bookmakers and their chances of profit, 378, 379;
      betting must be systematic, 379;
      Ascot unfortunate for backers, 379, 380;
      recent changes in method of speculation, 382;
      Charles II. founder of the English Turf, 386;
      the Whip run for at Newmarket, 388;
      royal supporters of, 386-9;
      Duke of Cumberland patron of, 390;
      early race meetings, 398 _et seq._;
      eccentric races, 400;
      matches, 411-7

    Turf, the French, 417 _et seq._;
      Hugh Meynell, 418;
      Comte de Lauraguais, 418, 419;
      Philippe Égalité, 418;
      Comte d'Artois, 418;
      unedifying races, 419;
      Jockey Club founded, 421;
      steeplechasing, 423;
      the Duc d'Orléans, 423;
      enters on a new era, 424;
      the Grand Prix, 425;
      Plaisanterie, 427;
      T. Wilde and Jack Moore, 427;
      Pari Mutuel, 427-32

    Tying-up, 31, 32

    Ude, M. Eustache, cook at Crockford's, 97

    Uxbridge, Lord, 81

    "Valois Collier," 256

    Vandéreux, M. Fernand, 75

    Venternière, blackmailer, 251, 252

    Véron, Doctor Louis, 278

    Vincent, Sir Francis, 268

    Voltaire and John Law, 242

    Wade, General, and the poor officer, 153, 154

    Wager, a vague, 109;
      a curious, 110

    Wagers, eccentric, 103 _et seq._, 108, 116, 197, 204-14, 220,
    224-31, 233

    Walpole, Horace, on Mr. Damer's death, 70;
      and White's coat of arms, 106;
      on Parisian gaming-houses, 239

    Warburton, Sir P., 195

    Ward, Mr., 20

    Warthall Hall, 33

    Waterloo, revival of gaming after, 111, 112

    Wattier's Club, a gambling resort, 121;
      its proprietor, 122;
      frequented by Byron and Beau Brummell, 122

    Waugh, Captain, and the goose, 192

    Weare, 88

    Wellington, not a player, 11;
      a member of Crockford's, 11;
      and Mr. Adolphus, 11

    Whalley, Thomas (Jerusalem Whalley), jumps a carrier's cart, 214;
      his extravagance, 215;
      Jerusalem and back, 216;
      publishes _Memoirs_, 217

    Wharton, Mr., 195

    Whist, a serious affair, 118, 119, 121

    White's Club, becomes a gambling centre, 104;
      main supporters of, 105;
      coat of arms, 106, 107;
      old betting-book, 107 _et seq._;
      hazard allowed, but faro barred, 110;
      gambling given up, 110;
      fossilised members, 110;
      present condition, 111

    Wiesbaden, croupiers at, 290;
      the Kursaal, 290;
      players at, 291;
      an eccentric countess at, 291, 292;
      two strange players, 292;
      close of tables at, 293;
      effects of the closing on the town, 295;
      the last of the gamblers, 295, 296

    Wilberforce, caught playing faro, 138

    Wilde, Mr., his remarkable ride, 217, 218

    Will, a gamester's, 78

    William III., a patron of racing, 389

    Williams, George, 106

    Williamson, Major, 67

    Wind, a bet about the, 224

    Windsor, Mother, 45

    Windsor Forest, outrangership of, 195 _n._

    Wine _v._ water, 229, 230

    Wolfe, Colonel, his answer to Duke of Cumberland, 390

    Women and freak races, 205;
      as gamesters, 269, 359, 360

    Wontner, Mr. St. John, and Park Club, 124

    Wortley, Lady Mary, 39

    Wren, Sir Christopher, and Charles II., 387

    Wright of Long Acre, 213

    Yarmouth, Lord, 421

    Zeno, M. le Chevalier, Venetian ambassador, 248

    Zoffany, court painter to Nawab of Oude, 187;
      paints caricature of the Nawab, 187;
      his narrow escape, 188, 189;
      a favourite of royalty, 194;
      his pictures, 194


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.

[Transcribers note: Numerals enclosed by = (=x=) were struck through
in the original text.]



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