Imatges de pÓgina

Mr. Child, in a passion, knock'd down Mr. Rock,

Mr. Stone like an aspen-leaf shivers,
Miss Poole used to dance, but she stands like a stock,

Ever since she became Mrs. Rivers.
Mr. Swift hobbles onward, no mortal knows how,

He moves as though cords had entwined him,
Mr. Metcalfe rau off, upon meeting a cow,

With pale Mr. Turnbull behind him.
Mr. Barker's as mute as a fish in the sea,

Mr. Miles never moves on a journey,
Mr. Gotobed sits up till half-after-three,

Mr. Makepiece was bred an attorney.
Mr. Gardener can't tell a flower from a root,

Mr. Wilde with timidity draws back.
Mr. Ryder performs all his journeys on foot,

Mr. Foote all his journeys on horseback.
Mr. Penny, whose father was rolling in wealth,

Kick'd down all the fortune his dad won,
Large Mr. Le Fever's the picture of health,

Mr. Goodenough is but a bad one.
Mr. Cruickshank stept into three thousand a year,

By shewing his leg to an heiress :-
Now I hope you'll acknowledge I've made it quite clear

Surnames ever go by Contraries.


.“ Could I forget
What I have been, I might the better bear
What I am destined to. I'm not the first
That have been wretched-but to think how inuch
I have been happier !".

Southern. Never shall I forget that accursed 27th of September: it is burnt in upon the tablet of my memory; graven in letters of blood upon my heart. I look back to it with a strangely compounded feeling of horror and delight; of horror at the black series of wretched days and sleepless nights of which it was the fatal precursor ; of delight at that previous career of tranquillity and self-respect which it was destined to terminate—alas, for ever!

On that day I had been about a fortnight in Paris, and in passing through the garden of the Palais Royal had stopped to admire the beautiful jet-d'eau in its centre, on which the sun-beams were falling so as to produce a small rainbow, when I was accosted by my old friend Major E-, of the Fusileers. After the first surprises and salutations, as he found that the business of procuring apartments and settling my family had prevented my seeing many of the Parisian lions, he offered himself as my Cicerone, proposing that we should begin by making the circuit of the building that surrounded us. With its history and the remarkable events of which it had been the scene I was already conversant; but of its detail and appropriation which, as he assured me, constituted its sole interest in the eyes of the Parisians, I was completely ignorant.

After taking a cursory view of most of the sights above ground in this multifarious pile, I was conducted to some of its subterraneous wonders,—to the Café du Sauvage, where a man is hired for six francs

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a night to personate that character, by beating a great drum with all the grinning, ranting, and raving of a madman ;-to the Café des Aveugles, whose numerous orchestra is entirely composed of blind men and women ;-and to the Café des Variétés, whose small theatre, as well as its saloons and labyrinths, are haunted by a set of Sirens not less dangerous than the nymphs who assailed Ulysses. Emerging from these haunts, we found that a heavy shower was falling; and while we paraded once more the stone gallery, my friend suddenly exclaimed, as his


the numbers of the houses —" one hundred and fifty-four !-positively we were going away without visiting one of the

gaming-houses was the meaning of the term he employed, though he expressed it by a word that the fashionable preacher never mentioned to "ears polite.”—" I have never yet entered," said I, “ a Pandæmonium of this sort, and I never will :-l refrain from it upon principle;– Principiis obsta;' I am of Dr. Johnson's temperament, I can practise abstinence, but not temperance; and every body knows that prevention is better than cure.”—“ Do you remember," replied E- “ what the same Dr. Johnson said to Boswell My dear Sir, clear your mind of cant;' I do not ask you to play; but you must have often read, when you were a good little boy, that · Vice to be hated needs but to be seen, and cannot have forgotten that the Spartans sometimes made their slaves drunk, and shewed them to their children to inculcate sobriety. Love of virtue is best secured by a hatred of its opposite: to hate it you must see it; besides, a man of the world should see every thing."-"But it is so disreputable,” I rejoined.-" How completely John-Bullish !" exclaimed E-"Dis

reputable! why I am going to take you to an establishment recognised, regulated, and taxed by the Government, the upholders of religion and social order, who annually derive six millions of francs from this source of revenue ; and as to the company, I promise you that you shall encounter men of the first respectability, of all sects and parties, for in France every one gambles at these salons,-except the devotees, and they play at home.”He took my arm, and I walked upstairs with him, merely ejaculating as we reached the door—"Mind, I don't play."

Entering an ante-room, we were received by two or three servants, who took our sticks and hats, for which we received tickets, and by the number suspended around I perceived that there was a tolerably numerous attendance within. Roulette was the game to which the first chamber was dedicated. In the middle of a long green table was a circular excavation, resembling a large gilt basin, in whose centre was a rotatory apparatus turning an ivory ball in a groove, which, after sundry gyrations, descended to the bottom of the basin where there was a round of little numbered compartments or pigeon-holes, into one of which it finally settled, when the number was proclaimed aloud. Beside this apparatus there was painted on the green baize a table of various successive numbers, with divisions for odd and even, &c. on which the players deposited their various stakes. He who was in the compartment of the proclaimed number was a winner, and if he had singled out that individual one, which of course was of very rare occurrence, his deposit was doubled I know not how many times. The odd or even declared their own fate : they were lost or doubled. This altar of chance had but few votaries, and merely stopping a moment



to admire the handsome decorations of the room we passed on into the next.

This, whispered my companion, for there was a dead silence in the apartment, although the long table was entirely surrounded by people playing this is only the silver room ; you may deposit here as low as a five franc piece : let us pass on to the next, where none play but those who will risk bank-notes or gold. Casting a passing glance at these comparatively humble gamesters, who were, however, all too deeply absorbed to move their eyes from the cards, I followed my conductor into the sanctuary of the gilded Mammon.

Here was a Rouge et Noir table, exactly like the one I had just quitted. In its centre was a profuse display of gold in bowls and rouleaus, with thick piles of bank notes, on either side of which sat a partner of the bank and an assistant, the dragon guards of this Hesperian fruit. An oblong square, painted on each end of the green table, exhibited three divisions, one for Rouge, another for Noir, and the centre was for the stakes of those who speculated upon the colour of the first and last card, with other ramifications of the art which it would be tedious to describe. Not one of the chairs around the table was unoccupied, and I observed that each banker and assistant was provided with a rateau, or rake, somewhat resembling a garden hoe, several of which were also dispersed about, that the respective winners might withdraw the gold without the objectionable intervention of fingers. When the stakes are all deposited, the dealer, one of the bankers in the centre, cries out—" Le jeu est fait,” after which nothing can be added or withdrawn; and then taking a packet of cards from a basket full before him, he proceeds to deal. Thirty-one is the number of the game: the colour of the first card determines whether the first row be black or red : the dealer turns up till the numbers on the cards exceed thirty-one, when he lays down a second row in the same manner, and whichever is nearest to that amount is the winning row. If both come to the same, he cries " Après,” and recommences with fresh cards, but if each division should turn up thirty-one, the bank takes half of the whole money deposited, as a forfeit from the players. In this consists their certain profit

, which has been estimated at ten per cent. upon the total stakes. If the red loses, the banker on that side rakes all the deposits into his treasury; if it wins, he throws down the number of Napoleons or notes necessary to cover the lodgments made by the players, each one of whom rakes off his prize, or leaves it for a fresh venture. E-explained to me the functions of the different members of the establishment the Inspector, the Croupier, the Tailleur, the Messieurs de la chambre, &c. and also the meaning of the ruled card and pins which every one held before him, consulting it with the greatest intenseness, and occasionally calling to the people in attendance for a fresh supply. This horoscope was divided by perpendicular lines into columns, headed with an alternate R. and N. for Rouge and Noir, and the pin is employed to perforate the card as each colour wins, as a groundwork for establishing some calculation in that elaborate delusion termed the doctrine of Chances. Some, having several of these records before them, closely pierced all over, were summing up the results upon paper, as if determined to play a game of chance without leaving any thing to hazard ; and none seemed willing


to adventure without having some species of sanction 'from these Sibylline leaves.

An involuntary sickness and loathing of heart came over me as I contemplated this scene, and observed the sofas in an adjoining room, which the Parisians, who turn every thing into a joke, have christened “ the hospital for the wounded." There, thought I to myself, many a wretch has thrown himself down in anguish and despair of soul, cursing himself and the world with fearful imprecations, or blaspheming in that silent bitterness of spirit which is more terrific' than words. I contrasted the gaudy decorations and panelled mirrors that surrounded me with the smoky and blackened ceiling, sad evidence of the nocturnal lamps lighted up at the shrine of this Baal, and of the unhallowed worship prosecuted through the livelong night. Turning to the window, I beheld the sun shining from the bright blue sky, the rain was over, the birds were singing in the trees, and the leaves fluttering in the wind; the external gaiety giving the character of an appalling antithesis to the painful silence, immovable attitudes, and spell-bound looks of the care-worn figures within. One man, a German, was contending against a run of ill-luck with a dogged obstinacy that was obviously making deep inroads upon his purse and his peace; for though his face was invisible from being bent over his perforated card, the drops of perspiration standing upon his forehead betrayed the inward agitation. All the losers were struggling to suppress emotions which still revealed themselves by the working of some disobedient muscle, the compression of the lips, the sardonic grin, or the glaring wrath of the eye ; while the winners belied their assumed indifference by flushed cheeks and an expression of anxious triumph. Two or three forlovn operators, who had been cleaned out, as the phrase is, and condemned to idleness, were eyeing their more fortunate neighbours with a leer of malignant envy; while the bankers and their assistants, in the certainty of their profitable trade, exhibited a calm and watchful cunning, though their features, pale and sodden, betrayed the effect of confinement, heated rooms, and midnight vigils. Einformed me that the frequenters of these houses were authorized to call for refreshments of any description, but no one availed himself of the privilege; the “ auri sacra fames," the pervading appetite of the place, had swallowed up every other. The very thought revolted me. What! eat and drink in this arena of the hateful passions ; in this fatal room, from which many a suicide has rushed out to grasp the self-destroying pistol, or plange into the darkness of the wave! in this room, which is denounced to heaven by the widow's tears and the orphan's maledictions ! Revolving these thoughts in my mind, I surveyed once more the faces before me, and could not help exclaimingWhat a hideous study of human nature !

“As we have employed so much time," said E. “ in taking the latitude, or rather the longitude of these various phizzes, we shall be expected to venture something: I will throw down a Napoleon, as a sop to Cerberus, and will then convoy you home.”—“ Nay," replied I, "it was for my instruction we came hither ; the lesson I have received is well worth the money, so put down this piece of gold, and let us begone." -“ Let us at least wait till we have lost it,” he resumed ; " and in the mean time we will take our places at the table.” I felt that I blushed


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as I sat down, and was about to deposit my offering hap hazard, when my companion stopped my hand, and, borrowing a perforated card, bade me remark, that the red and black had zig-zagged, or won alternately for fourteen times ; and that there had subsequently been a long run upon the black, which would now probably cross over to the other colour; from all which premises he deduced that I should venture upon the red : which I accordingly did. Sir Balaam's devil who “ tempts by making rich, not making poor," was, I verily believe, hovering over my devoted head at that instant; my deposit was doubled, and I was preparing to decamp with my two Naps, when my adviser insisted upon my not balking my luck, as there would probably be a run upon

the red, and I suffered my stake to remain, and go on doubling until I had won ten or twelve times in succession. “Now,” cried E--," I should advise you to pocket the affront, and be satisfied." Adopting his counsel, I could hardly believe his assertion, or my own eyes, when he handed me over bank-notes to the amount of twenty thousand francs, observing that I had made a tolerably saccessful debut for a beginner,

Returning home in some perturbation and astonishment of mind, I resolved to prepare a little surprise for my wife; and spreading the bank notes upon the table with as much display as possible, I told her, upon her entering the room, how I had won them ; and enquiring whether Aladdin with his wonderful lamp could have spent two or three hours more profitably, I stated my intention of appropriating a portion of it to her use in the purchase of a handsome birthday present. In a moment the blood rushed to her face, and as quickly receded, leaving it of an ashy paleness, when she spurned the notes from her, exclaiming with a solemn terror“I would as soon touch the forty pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed his master.” Her penetrating head instantly saw the danger to which I had exposed myself, and her fond heart as quickly gave the alarm to her feelings; but in a few seconds she threw her arms around me, and ejaculated as the tears ran down her cheek_" Forgive me, my dear Charles, pardon my vehemence, my ingratitude ; I have a present to ask, a boon to implore promise that you will grant it me."_" Most willingly,” I rejoined, “ if it be in my power.”_"Give me then your pledge, never to play again."

_“Cheerfully," continued I, for I had already formed that resolution. She kissed me with many affectionate thanks, adding that I had made her completely happy. I believe it, for at that moment I felt so myself.

Many men who are candid and upright in arguing with others, are the most faithless and jesuitical of casuists in chopping logic with themselves. Let no one trust his head in a contest with the heart; the former, suppressing or perverting whatever is disagreeable to the latter, will assume a demure and sincere conviction, while it has all along been playing booty, and furnishing weapons to its adversary. The will must be honest if we wish the judgment to be so. A tormenting itch for following up my good luck, as I termed it, set me upon devising excuses for violating my pledge to my wife, and no shuffling or quibbling was too contemptible for my purpose. I had promised never to play again" at thuê house," or if I had not actually said so, 1 meant to say so : there could be no forfeiture of my word,

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