페이지 이미지


March 2, 1872.)


ceived a sudden shock within the last few though some unsophisticated minds fail to
days, which, if it means anything, bodes ill see any appreciable difference between the
for the future of the morality of Europe at two methods. But formerly, gambling for
large, and France in particular.

huge stakes was the order of the day in all
An ugly report is abroad that some finan- good society.
cial genius has discovered a golden secret Henry IV., the victim of Ravaillac, and
for paying out the “odious foreigner," in one of the greatest of the French monarchs,
possession of French territory. The same was also one of its greatest gamblers. It
benefactor to his species has unravelled his was a passion with himself, and he set the
scheme to M. Thiers-namely, of re-esta- pernicious example to the whole nation.
blishing by authority the pubsíc gaming- Under him gambling became the rage, and
houses, and thus raising a revenue to the many noble families were utterly ruined by
Government sufficient not only to pay off it. The Duc de Biron lost in one year
the Prussian indemnity in full, but also to about a quarter of a million in English
raise the vast paper money of the country money.
to par value.

M. Thiers is said to have Bassompierre, in his memoirs, relates that
coincided with the idea, and to have deter- he won more than 500,000 livres-£25,000
mined to ask Parliamentary sanction to the -in the course of a year, and that a cer-
scheme. It is to be hoped that this lament- tain friend of his won more than 200,000
able scheme for making Paris one mighty crowns- £100,000. The winnings of this
Monaco may be nipped in the bud; but the courtier, Bassompierre, were enormous. He
most unpleasant sign is the spirit in which won at the Duc d'Epergnon's sufficient to
the French public has received the idea. pay his debts, to dress superbly, to purchase

One simultaneous thought runs through the most costly jewellery—such as a sword,
every French mind-and that is, that the studded with diamonds; and after all these
Germans must be got out of the country as expenses, had two or three thousand pounds
soon as possible; and what more attractive to “kill time with.”
or quick-witted scheme than this to the ex- “It was at the Court of Henry IV.," says
citable Gallic imagination?

a writer on the subject, "that was invented
Some of the most famous watering-places the method of speedy ruin by means of
in France-such as Aix, Vichy, Plombières, written vouchers for loss and gain--which
and Barèges-offer to pay the whole debt simplified the thing in all subsequent times.
of their respective towns, with a douceur of a It was there also that certain Italian masters
million to the State, if the Government will of the gaming art displayed their talents,
only repeal the law of 1836, when, on the their suppleness and dexterity. One of
proposition of M. Delessert, all the gaming- them, named Pimentello, having, in the pre-
houses were ordered to be closed from the sence of the Duke de Sully, appealed to the
1st of January, 1838—thus reducing gam- honour which he enjoyed in having often
bling in France to what it is in this country played with Henry IV., the Duke exclaimed,
-stringently forbidden, but carried on in By heavens! so you are the Italian blood-

sucker who is every day winning the King's In view of the sad contingency presented money! You have fallen into the wrong to us, we cannot but think of the state of box, for I neither like nor wish to have anysociety in the old palmy days of gambling, thing to do with such fellows.' Pimentello not only in France, but in this country; and got warm. ‘Go about your business,' said if this new scheme becomes law, the torrent Sully, giving him a shove. 'Your infernal of lawless speculation thus let loose in every gibberish will not alter my resolve. Go!'” class of French society will have no slight It is a pity that humanity at large is not influence for evil on vast numbers in this more plentifully endued with some of the country.

great Sully's common sense. Let us glance for a moment at some of This same Pimentello is said to have the leading facts in the history of the gam- bought over all the dice-sellers in Paris to bling-table in France. In Paris, as else- load their dice, in order that he might with where, the acquisition of enormous riches the greater certainty carry out his nefarious by gaming has ceased to be a fashionable frauds at the gaming-table. vice; the more reputable way is considered After the death of Henry IV., and during to be by speculating on the Bourse-al- the next reign, the passion for gaming forming no part of the natural tastes of Louis ceeded, was glad to get away, in the best XIII., whose chief amusement was the fashion he could, to Brussels. royal game of chess, gambling sank a short Some idea of the misery inflicted by this while into abeyance; but the change was of huge and hollow gambling scheme of John short duration.

Law's may be formed from the fact that six Louis XIV._"Le Grand Monarque," as hundred thousand of the best families of the the French love to call him—succeeded land were almost irretrievably ruined in the to the throne. He was passionately fond final crash. of gambling. This is partly attributable to From this the public morality grew worse his early training. Cardinal Mazarin, a con- and worse. More gaming-houses than ever firmed gamester, and deeply imbued with were opened. Gambling was the rule at all the Italian spirit, lost no opportunity of times and on all occasions. A gamester resowing in the mind of the young King the turning from the funeral of his brother, desire for gambling—which, once implanted, where he had exhibited signs of profound can never be eradicated.

grief, played and won a considerable sum He did not scruple, moreover, to profit of money. by his own superior skill, and win large “How do you feel now?” he was asked. sums from the King; and it was a notorious “A little better," was the pathetic answer. fact that, ecclesiastic though he was, he “This consoles me.” would not disdain to use foul means if he Horace Walpole, who visited Paris in found he was losing by fair. On one oc- 1739, gives his impressions of what he saw casion, the principal personages of the time there in a letter to Richard West. were the spectators of a performance which “You would not easily guess their notions might well be termed "diamond cut dia- of honour. I will tell you one.

It is very mond.” The spectacle was Mazarin and dishonourable for any gentleman not to be the Count de Grammont playing together in the army, or in the King's service, as they at cards, and trying to beat each other by call it; and it is no dishonour to keep public cheating.

gaming-houses. There are at least one hunThe social state of France at this time dred and fifty of the first quality in Paris was, as might be imagined, utterly corrupt; who live by it. You may go into their and, at the death of Louis XIV., three- houses at all hours of the night, and find fourths of the nation were under the in-hazard, pharaoh, &c. fluence of one pervading idea-viz., gam

m- "The men who keep the hazard table at bling. In this reign, it may be noticed that the Duke de Gesvres' pay him twelve guineas lotteries were established and developed in each night for the privilege. Even the prinFrance, the first being designed to celebrate cesses of the blood are dirty enough to the restoration of peace and the marriage of have shares in the banks kept at their the King.

houses." During the minority of Louis XV., an im- The reign of Louis XVI. saw no improveportant character in the history of gambling ment. All kinds of licentiousness, and gamand gamblers made his great débút. This bling triumphant over all, grew to their was the famous Scotsman, John Law. He height in that mad time, so soon to be folfirst gained notoriety by his extravagant play lowed by the fiercest Revolution on record. and his wonderful good luck. He was a The King himself was the 'reverse of a pro"plunger," in the fullest sense of the word; fligate, and he hated gambling. Marie Anand, what was better still, a successful toinette, on the other hand, in this as in plunger. Law had the skill to gain millions many other matters, completely counteracted at play, and to escape being found out and her husband's good example. denounced as a cheat. This man became The Revolution came, and things were, if Controller-General of France; started his gi possible, worse. A gaming-house was opened gantic project, so well known to all Europe in every street; and, up to the time of the as the Mississippi scheme; turned the whole Directory, there were four thousand of these French nation—clergy and laity, peers and houses in full operation in Paris alone. The plebeians, statesmen and princes, not to notorious Fouché, minister of justice and mention women-into an army of stock- prince of detectives, derived an income of jobbers and gamblers; and finally, when the £128,000 a-year for licensing or privileging bubble burst and the universal ruin suc- gaming-houses. But Fouché had a double


March 2, 1872.)


[ocr errors]

object in his system. The “farmers” of the night to Brookes's, before Charles Fox and gaming houses, besides paying thus heavily Fitzpatrick, who keep a bank there, were

for their “ privileges,” were compelled to hire come; but they soon arrived, attacked their and pay 120,000 people as croupiers or at-rivals, broke their bank, and won above tendants at the gaming-table. Every one of £4,000. these was a spy of Fouché. When Bona- Thus,' said Fox, 'should all usurpers be parte took the reins of government in hand, served.' his first intention was to crush the evil at “He did still better; for he sent for his once. Policy, however, modified his views; tradesmen, and paid them as far as the and, abandoning his original project, he de money would go.' termined on licensing them. And this ar- A more extraordinary story by Walpole rangement continued till 1838, when, as we is the following: have mentioned, public gaming was pro- He infornis Lady Ossory, in 1781—"I hibited by law.

was diverted last night at Lady Lucan's.
The last company which farmed the Pa- | The moment I entered, she sat me down to
risian gaming-houses paid the Government whist with Lady Bute; and who do you think
£270,000 for the privilege. There were six were the other partners? The Archbishopess
houses: Frascati's, the Salons, and four in of Canterbury and Mr. Gibbon."
the Palais Royal. The daily average of

The Mr. Gibbon alluded to is, of course,
players was 3,000, while 1,000 were gene the famous author of the “Decline and
rally refused admittance. The clear profit Fall."
made in 1837, the year before the act of The rage for gambling in this country
abolition, was £76,000 sterling. Of this was at its height towards the close of the
sum, three-fourths were handed over to the eighteenth century. Before the first French
city of Paris, leaving £19,000 for distribu- Revolution, not more than four or five
tion among the members of the company. gaming-tables were in operation; but at a

With such figures as these before us, we can- later period upwards of thirty houses were
not be astonished that a not over-scrupulous open every night. This was done in de-
minister like M. Thiers—who has, moreover, fiance of law.
the difficult task of making a good budget

Several members of the aristocracy kept
out of nothing-should be inclined to listen faro tables at their own houses. Lady
somewhat favourably to the new proposal Buckinghamshire, Lady Spencer, and Lady
for the restoration of the horrible system. Mount Edgecumbe were the delectable

But while we have been speaking thus three Graces of the system. In fact, they severely of the French, we must not forget went by the name of "Faro's Daughters. that the same system of reckless gambling Lady Buckinghamshire actually slept with a obtained even amongst the most aristo- blunderbuss and a pair of pistols at her side cratic circles in our own country. Horace to protect her faro bank. Walpole relates numerous incidents of the Lord Kenyon, referring to these ladies, reckless and ruinous kind of gaming in- said, on the oth of May, 1796:—“They think dulged in in his own day. In 1770, he they are too great for the law. I wish they writes to Sir Horace Mann: “The gaming at could be punished. If any prosecutions of Almack's, which has taken the pas of White's, this sort are fairly brought before me, and is worthy the decline of our empire or com- the parties are justly convicted, whatever monwealth, which you please. The young be their rank or station in the country, men of the age lose five, ten, fifteen thou- though they should be the first ladies in the sand pounds in an evening there. Lord land, they shall certainly exhibit themselves Stavordale, not twenty-one, lost £11,000 in the pillory." there last Tuesday, but recovered it by one In the next year an opportunity occurred great hand at hazard. He swore a great oath for making true his threats.

-Now, if I had been playing deep, I might At the beginning of March, 1797, the have won millions !!"

Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Luttrell, Mrs. In a letter to the Hon. S. A. Conway, Sturt, and other personages of rank, were dated 1781, he tells how his “nephew, Lord indicted on an information for keeping faro Cholmondeley, the banker d la mode, has tables in their houses. They were convicted, been demolished. He and his associate, but were only subjected to heavy fines. The Sir Willoughby Ashton, went early the other witnesses were recent servants of her lady

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

*ship, who had been discharged on account “But, Matilda, we are not a professional of a loss from their mistress's house of £200, family. I am not admitted." which belonged to the faro bank.

“Oh, Gummer, you are enough to make These facts in themselves are a sufficient a dead and dumb saint swear. I do believe comment on the lax principles of our aristo- you will find fault with your coffin, though cratic classes in those halcyon days of rouge you are put into the best that money can et noir--concerning which we sincerely hope buy. Moreover, it is so nice of a father to that we may never see their like again, either be for ever pouring buckets of black frost in this country or among our French neigh-ice-water over all the poor dear girls do. bours.

No, my dears. Put in that your father is

a costermonger and your mother a char-. GUMMER'S FORTUNE.

woman, and your pa will be happy." BY JOHN BAKER HOPKINS.

Yes, ma,” said Janet; "and let us put

in that we are poor, and take in boarders CHAPTER III.

for the sake of their paltry money."

Pa, you will drive us into service,” said AT T the close of the first year of gentility, Nancy. affairs were cloudy. Our Bow tenant,

"Let the advertisement go as it is. I after owing two quarters

' rent, on the pre- only spoke by way of argument.” tence that he could only pay when his half- May be I am henpecked. Perhaps men yearly dividend came round, bolted, and who are lords at home would stop their sent us the key by Parcels Delivery. crowing if they knew what was thought of “Gummer, this won't do, and sha’n't go them before their faces, and done behind

Beyond our income I won't live. Why their backs. It is better to be henpecked not have one or two gentlemen to partial than hated and humbugged; and every board and lodge? That would pretty nigh married man is one or the other. make the two ends meet. Besides, Tom, I was stirring my last cup of tea. Mrs. partial board in a genteel family often gets Gummer, after dropping a piece of soda in girls off.”

the pot, was filling it up for the servants. “We might also have a lady or two.” Ring, ding, dong, dong, dong. Corcyra

“No, Gummer none of your fussy, Villa has the loudest bell in the county; grumbling marms or minxes come under and postmen are friendly to bellhangers. my roof. Depend upon it, Matilda Gummer In a minute, James brought in the letterwill never be the slave of her own prying, bag. tread-you-down sex!"

We did what we could to act up to a Next morning at breakfast, Nancy read an

detached villa. When we were at Bow, we advertisement which she and Janet had com

behaved according to the neighbourhood, posed, with the help of their mamma. and the girls rushed to the door to seize the “TO GENTLEMEN.-A professional, musical, and

letters. But that conduct would have been cheerful family, residing in a villa standing in its own

a kind of social felony in the Green Lanes. grounds, in the most beautiful, salubrious, and gen- So we waited whilst James read the adteel suburb of the metropolis, and conveniently dresses and put the letters into the bag. accessible to the City, having a larger house than

The girls had read many fashionable novels, they require, and seeking society of refined taste and position, are willing to receive one or two gentlemen and thus learnt the habits and manners of to partial board, on nominal terms. The highest re- the aristocracy. In high-life novels, the ferences given and required. --Address ‘Professional,' authors always talk of the letter-bag being at Mutton's Library.”

brought in at breakfast; and we determined “There, pa, is not that capital?" asked to have a letter-bag. We did not know where Janet.

to buy one; and unfortunately these import“Who are our high references?"

ant things are not illustrated in high-life no"Lor, pa-that is only a form."

vels as they ought to be. But Mrs. Gummer “The nominal terms will be thought to is equal to any difficulty. She bought two mean next to nothing."

yards of stout holland, and made a small"And, Gummer, what is two pounds a sized clothes bag. The girls worked on it,

. week, with washing extra, to a gentleman in red wool, the words "Letter-bag,” and it who is one, and not a pauper in broadcloth was fastened at the top by a yard of blue and kid gloves?"

blind cord. I merely mention this to show



March 2, 1872)

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

that, though Green Lanes' gentility snubbed door relief and a back attic, don't take on
us, we deserved better treatment. The gal in that awful way.”
lery always stamp their feet and warm “Pa,"exclaimed Nancy, “tell us the worst.
their hands when Shakspeare says it is Oh, do, do, do!”
better to deserve success than to command «Send for Dr. Bungay,” cried Janet.
it. It is not my experience or philosophy. “My cousin in India is dead," I gasped

May be that I am wrong, but this is how I out, as well as the nest-egg would let me.
put it

. It is not chance, but Providence, "Gummer, a sign-board might blush for that governs affairs; and Providence, I take you. Frightening your poor persecuted it, is too fair to favour anybody. What family into killing fits, and a doctor's bill then? Everybody gets his deserts; and he to beggar us! And what for? Feelings are who fails does not deserve success, and he feelings; but who is Joseph Gummer to you who commands success deserves it. There and to yours? It's fifteen years good and is a world of misfortune seen in a lawyer's more since he has seen us, when he gave office, and I never met with a client going Nancy a silver mug, and a fal-de-ral knife or gone to the bad who did not think him and fork to Janet. And are you to rave self unlucky; but when we look into affairs, worse than a delirium tremensed Marched we find he has been sowing troubles broad- hare because he is dead?cast.

“My dear,” said I, “poor Joseph has—"

, the letter-bag was brought in. But But I could not go on, for the nest-egg
the event is too stupendous to be tacked was bigger than ever.
on to the end of a chapter. I do not pro- “Well, Gummer, it's awful to be toma-
fess to be a genuine trained author, but I hawked by Indians in paint and feathers;
believe it is the correct business to keep but it does not follow that a respectable
the excited public in suspense. For, as father is to kill himself and his family with
Mrs. Gummer says whenever the dinner the horrors because his father's brother hap-
is behind, a little waiting, whets the appe- pened to be the husband of the murdered

victim's mother. As far as affection goes,

a cousin is no nearer related to you than

Jack the Giant Killer or Aladdin's Lamp.
"HE letter-bag was brought in, and I Moreover, people should stop in the land

took out a large-sized blue wove en- they are born to, and not go poking their
velope, addressed "Thomas Gummer, Esq., noses amongst the Indians.

&c., &c., &c."

I swallowed the cup of tea, and then read
“Matilda, this is a lawyer's letter. What the letter:-
can be the matter?

"Bedford-row, March 2, 18–.
“May be our wicked runaway tenant
wants to compromise; but I won't,” said

“Thomas Gummer, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mrs. Gummer.

“SIR-It is our pleasure to inform you that
"Not impossible," I observed, as I was by the last Indian mail we were favoured
opening the letter.

with a letter from Messrs. Leopard & Sons,
“Or,” remarked Mrs. Gummer, “it is not solicitors, of Calcutta--we being their London
a mile from a likely guess that some firm agents-in which we are instructed to com-
is offering you terms equal to your merits, municate to you important intelligence. A
and which you are never likely to get from delay has occurred in consequence of your
those slave-grinding grabbers, Purrem & change of residence. We have to inform

you that Mr. Joseph Gummer, merchant, of
I opened the letter, and read it. Then I Calcutta, died on the first day of the year,
stared at it. Then the letter seemed to stare and that by his will he has left you the whole
at me. Then I tried to read it again. Then of his property. It is our further pleasure
the letters turned different colours, and the to inform you that Messrs. Leopard &
lines danced a drunken jig. If I had swal- Sons, who were the professional advisers
lowed a nest-egg I could not have had a of your late lamented cousin, estimate the
more choking lump in my throat.

value of the property at £40,000. Perhaps Mrs. Gummer and the girls were scared. you will favour us with an early call. Whilst

"Oh, Gummer my dear Tom, if the condoling with you on the decease of your bank has broke, and we are driven to out

esteemed relative, we congratulate you on





« 이전계속 »