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out, consoled hersell, like a genuine French woman, with cold chicken and champagne. I made my bow to Mrs. Mantrap, perfectly satisfied with what I had seen of her “ Thursday nights," and strolled off with Carambole, talking as we perfumed the midnight air with our cigars, of the scene we had just the equivocal position of, our hostess, and the disreputable set of people who seemed to have congregated about her.
“ Shall we look in at Meadows ?” said my companion, as we passed the launp-lit portals of the establishment. “I have lost at weest,” as he called the noble game, sacred to Hoyle, and Major A, “ I always lose at Mrs. Mantrap's ' Thursday nights.””
“Agreed, said I, my fortune must be in the ascendant, to have escaped unhurt from the little Countess and her lynx-eyed friend. Carainbole my jolly punter! I feel as if I should throw in.” With these words we passed the foiding doors that swung smooth and invitingly on their noiseless hinges, and fearlessly approached the iron barrier, from which, though a parrow and pigmy hole, one vigilant eye was watching our approach. Alas! well known were we as any policeman on the beat, and far more welcome. The iron barriers open, as of their own accord, and the sleepless warder greets us with a deferential welcome, as old and valued customers. A flight of broad well-carpeted steps brings us into a large supper room, whose long table is crowded with delicacies, and glittering with plate. Mr. Meadows himself, bland, middle aged, and gentlemanlike presses upon us the various good things so handsomely provided, and touching cautiously upon the general topics of the day, refrains from any ill-tiined allusions to the business of the evening. In the next room the box is rattling, and unlike Crockford's, the odour of the cigar smoke met us even at the supper table. Meadows ushers us politely into his temple, and furnishes the sinews of war, with the same stately courtesy with which he proffers inaterials for writing the necessary cheques. I take my seat between a Cornet in the Blues, and a brother Guardsman; Carambole being accommodated with a chair opposite to me. The proprietor still careful of our comforts, supplies us with cigars and huge tumblers of brandy and soda water. An Indian officer, tanned by a tropical sun, and rejoicing in huge black mustachoes, with a Mauratta sabre cut upon his brow, has just thrown out with a continuance of that bad luck which has dogged him since he arrived at Southampton. Poor fellow! he will have to return to those scorching climes long before his well-earned leave has expired. A rich young Jew, apeing the fast man about town, but betraying his Hebrew origin in his tawdry attire and profuse jewellery, as unmistakably as in his prominent features and peculiar carriage, rolls the box to me, disgusted at the fubile“ deuce ace” which stands revealed to mulct himn of his ten pound set; and drawing my gloves on tight, with a presentiment of triumph, I call a fortunate number and begin. All games at hazard are alike in
detail, however different they may be in their effects; and after a night of morbid excitement, repressed agitation, and false nerriment spent in a trilling atmosphere, Carambole and I walked into the fresh morning dawn, now gilding the chimney pots of Albermarle Street, under the congratulations and good wishes of the urbane Mr. Meadows, from whom we had won between us, near eleven hundred pounds.
A few nights as this, a few more turns of that extraordinary luck, which despite of daily proof and experience, the worshipper of fortune persists in considering as his own peculiar property, and I should have been again placed above all pecuniary care and anxiety. But whoever heard of a gambler's prosperity outliving the eight and forty hours in which it blossoms, blooms, and withers! Like the “mirage” of the desert, which tempts the thirsty traveller to struggle on and die, so are those fitful gleams of success vouchsafed by the demon of play to lure his victim farther and farther into the toils, till there is no retreat, and come what may, the wretch is irretrievably his own. The next night, I returned to Meadows', and lost; the following night, sometimes more and sometimes less, till the hope of success, as it grew more faint in reality, haunted me more and more in fancy, till I found myself thinking when awake, and dreaming when asleep, of the chances and changes of the hazard table only. In vain, Hellingdon, himself, alas ! too deeply enthralled by its fascinations, warned me against the absorbing love of play. In vain my brother officers argued and Colonel Grandison admonished. I was deaf to entreaty and sound advice. My difficulties soon arrived at such a pitch, that my only hope of extricating myself was by making an enormous coup some night at Crockford's, and breaking the bank. With this fallacious trust, I struggled on, getting deeper and deeper into the mire, every illomened defeat only adding to the embarrassinent created by its predecessors, and still the hour of victory never arrived. I began to shun the society of my regiinent-always a sign that there is something wrong-and to live entirely with Levanter, and his set, men of desperate fortune, no character and habits like my own. I discontinued all my former amusements and pursuits, systematically avoided the company of ladies, and spent my mornings at the Red House, shooting pigeons; my afternoons over the billiard table; and my nights at Crockford's, or worse still, the minor gambling houses. Even whist lost its charms; the return was far too slow for a man living at a railroad pace, which threatened so soon to finish my career, and the tedious process of dealing, sorting, and playing the cards, appeared a sad waste of time to one who spent every day as if there was not to-morrow. By dint of constant excitement, I continued to shut my eyes to the perils which hourly environed me, and taking no note of the flight of time, stupified myself into forgetfulness of engagements, daily becoming due, and liabilities which would admit of no compromise.
The following is an anecdote on the virus of the new gambling mania, engendered by those atrocious “betting offices,” 1852 :THE COUNTRYMAN LOOKING INTO THE “MONEY
SCRIVENER'S.” “Seeing nothing,” says he, “in the window or the shop, but a man seated on a high stool at a desk,” he popped his head in at the door, and asked “ Pray, what do'e please to sell here?” Upon which the man answered “ blockheads." “ Deed," cried the countryman, “why then, you must have a moighty foine trade, as you a' only got one left.”
MORE “DEFINITIONS.” SERVANT.—One who sells his will to swell the will of another.
RARE INSTANCE OF NERVES. An Indian sword player declared, at a great public festival, that he could cleave a small lime, laid on a man's palm, without injury to the member; and the General (Sir Charles Napier) extended his right hand for the trial. The sword player, awed by his rank, was reluctant, and cut the fruit horizontally. Being urged to fulfil his boast, he examined the palm, said it was not one to be experimented upon with safety, and refused to proceed. The General then extended his left hand, which was admitted to be suitable in form ; yet the Indian still declined the trial, and when pressed twice waved his thin keen-edged blade as if to strike, and twice withheld the blow, declaring he was uncertain of success. Finally, he was forced to make trial; and the lime fell open, cleanly divided; the edge of the sword had just marked its passage over the skin, without drawing a drop of blood !
TRUE GREATNESS. PHILIP OF VALOIS used to say, that the greatest treasure of a king should be in the hearts of his subjects, and that he would rather be King of the French than of France.
RESULT. ARISTIPPUS was asked what difference there was between a wellinformed and an ignorant man; he replied, “Send them both among men, who are not acquainted with them, and thou wilt discover.”
FATALISM. Zeno was chastising a slave for theft. « Fate," said the man, “ has determined that I should rob.” “And that thou shouldst be punished also,” replied Zeno.
BOLD ANSWER. XERXES, wishing to force the pass of Thermopylæ, wrote to Leonidus, “Surrender thy arms." This hero replied to hiin, “ Come and take them.”
LACONIC REPLY. A PERSIAN GENERAL wrote to Lysander, Chief of the Lacedæmonians, “ If I enter Greece, I shall put all to fire and sword.” Lysander replied to him only—“ If.”
PROVERB. The following proverb, taken from the Persian, appears an extremely happy one :-"With time and patience, the leaf of the mulberry tree is changed into silk.”
PRECAUTION. DIOGENES asked a considerable sum from a spendthrift. “How," said the man to him, “thou only asked a farthing from others !" “ That is true," replied Diogenes, “but I cannot expect that you will be able to give many times.”
FORTUNE TELLING. SOME one had his fortune told by an astrologer. After having by means of ambiguous words told the man the events of his past, present, and future life, the fortune teller asked him for his customary fee. “How,” said the inquisitive fellow, “ you who pretend to know what is hidden, were you not aware that I had not a farthing in my pocket.”
FRATERNITY. A SCYTHIAN King summoned his children, and ordered them to break a bundle a sheaf-of arrows. The young men, although muscular, not being able to do it, he took it in his turn, and having united it, he broke with his fingers each arrow separately. “Behold,” said he to them, “ the effects of union.” “United," said he, “ you will be invincible; taken separately, you will be broken like reeds."
RICHES. With science and knowledge we have always resources and means of subsistence. Hence a philosopher, who had been shipwrecked, exclaimed in the midst of his companions, who were lamenting the loss of their fortunes, “ As for me, I carry my fortune about me." AN OMEN. Julias Cæsar having diseinbarked in Africa, fell down as he was leaving his vessel ; this appeared to his soldiers a very inauspicious omen; he, however, turned the feelings of the army to his advantage, by exclaiming—“ It is now, O! Africa, that I hold thee !"
POETS. When Louis XIV. set out to lay siege to Mons, he ordered his two historians, Racine and Despréaux to follow him. Preferring a more tranquil life, they managed not to go. The King on his return reproached them with their conduct. “ Sire,” ingeniously replied the two poets, “as we only possessed dresses suitable to the City, we had ordered some for the Field, but the towns to which your Majesty laid siege were much sooner taken than our coats were made."
AN ACTOR. The celebrated actor, Talma, was one day suddenly accosted, while hunting, by a Gamekeeper, who asked him by what right he dared to hunt in that place? The former, with a tone of full dignity, replied—“By what right do you say ?".
“By that great right the vast and towering mind
Has o'er the instinct of the vulgar kind.” The guard quite astounded by the imposing tone of this reply, withdrew, saying—“ Pardon, Sir, I did not know that.”
A LETTER. The following is a letter addressed by a Schoolboy to his Father:
“My dear Papa,- I write to you to-day Monday ; I shall give my letter to the Carrier, who will set out to-morrow, Tuesday ; he will arrive the day after to-inorrow, Wednesday; you will send me, if you please, some money on Thursday; if I do not receive any on Friday, I shall set out on Saturday—to get home Sunday.”
THE LEARNED MAN. An extraordinary and difficult question had been propounded to the celebrated Doctor Abon Joseph, one of the most learned Mussulinen of his age. He ingeniously confessed his ignorance, and on this avowal, he was reproached with receiving enormous sums from the Royal Treasury, without being able to decide the points of Law on which he was consulted. “There is nothing wonderful in this,” replied he, “I receive from the Treasury in proportion to what I know, but if I received in proportion to what I do not know, all the wealth of the Caliph's dominions would not be sufficient to pay me."