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The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims Volume II (of II)   By: (1816-1877)

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THE GAMING TABLE: ITS VOTARIES AND VICTIMS,

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

IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. II.

By Andrew Steinmetz

Of The Middle Temple, Barrister At Law; First Class Extra Certificate School Of Musketry, Hythe; Late Officer Instructor Musketry, The Queens Own Light Infantry Militia. Author Of 'The History Of The Jesuits,' 'Japan And Her People,' 'The Romance Of Duelling,' &C., &C.

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

CONTENTS OF VOL. II.

I. CHEVALIERS D'INDUSTRIE, OR POLITE SHARPERS II. PROFESSIONAL GAMESTERS AND THEIR FRAUDS III. ANECDOTES OF THE PASSIONS AND VICISSITUDES OF GAMESTERS IV. ACTROCITIES, DUELS. SUICIDES, AND EXECUTION OF GAMBLERS V. ODDITIES AND WITTICISMS OF GAMBLERS VI. THE GAMING CLUBS VII. DOINGS IN GAMING HOUSES VIII. THE DOCTRINE OF PROBABILITIES APPLIED TO GAMBLING IX. THE HISTORY OF DICE AND CARDS X. PIQUET, BASSET, FARO, HAZARD, PASSE DIX, PUT, CROSS AND PILE, THIMBLE RIG XI. COCK FIGHTING XII. THE TURF, HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, MORAL XIII. FORTUNE TELLING BY CARDS (FOR LADIES) XIV. AMUSING CARD TRICKS

THE GAMING TABLE.

CHAPTER I. CHEVALIERS D'INDUSTRIE, OR POLITE SHARPERS.

Chevaliers d'industrie, or polite and accomplished sharpers, have always existed in every city, from the earliest times to the present. The ordinary progress of these interesting gentlemen is as follows. Their debut is often difficult, and many of them are stopped short in their career. They only succeed by means of great exertion and severe trials; but they endure everything in order to be tolerated or permitted to exercise their calling. To secure credit they ally themselves with men of respectability, or those who pass for such. When they have no titles they fabricate them; and few persons dispute their claims. They are found useful for the pleasures of society, the expenses of which they often pay at the cost of the dupes they make in the world. The income of chevaliers d'industrie is at first derived from those inexperienced persons whom they get in their clutches by means of every kind of enticement, in order to ruin them some day if they have any 'expectations' or are likely to be rich; or in order to make accomplices of them if they have only aptitudes for the purpose. After having led them from error to error, after suggesting to them all sorts of wants and vices, they make them gamble, if they are of age; they hold up play to them as an inexhaustible source of wealth.

The 'protector' next hands over his 'young friends' to 'executioners,' who fleece them for the common benefit of the confederates. They do not always wait for the coming of age of their young dupes in order to strike the grand 'stroke.' When they find that the father of a family shudders at the idea of a public scandal, they immolate their victim at once for fear lest he should escape from their hands. Of course they are always open to 'capitulate' to come to terms; and if the aid of the law is invoked they give in discreetly.

About a century ago there flourished at Paris one of these adventurers, who made a great noise and did a vast amount of evil. This man of a thousand faces, this Proteus, as great a corrupter as he was corrupted, changed his name, his quarters, and field of operations, according to the exigences of business. Although a man of ardent temperament and inconceivable activity, his cold blooded rascality was never in a hurry. He could wait; he could bide his time. Taking in, at a glance, all the requirements of a case, and seeing through all its difficulties, he worked out his scheme with the utmost patience and consummated his crime with absolute security.

Sometimes he gave a concert for amateurs, elegant suppers for gay ladies, and special soirees for the learned and the witty. He was not particular as to the means of doing business; thus he trafficked in everything, for the sale of a living, or the procuration of a mistress for he had associates in all ranks, among all professions of men... Continue reading book >>




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