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ROMANCES OF THE CARD TABLE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 74, 27 March 1909
ROMANCES OF THE CARD TABLE.
A BRIDEGROOM LOSES £30,000.
PLAYING UNDER WATER AND? IN 4 | FURNACE. I If the full story of the card table could | be written It would surely he the most Btartllng revelation of human cupidity ever published; aud almost every page of it would be marked by some incident which' would outstrip flccfon. When Louis XV. wa» at the card table the fascination' of the game made him absolutely dead to all externals, and even to decency and humanity. On one occasion, when he was playing for heavy stakes, one of his oppo. | nents, overcome by excitement, collapsed in bis chair in a fit of apoplexy. His Majesty ■affected to ignore the incident until someone exclaimed, "M. de Chauvelln is 1111'
"III?" retorted the King, casting a careless glance at the stricken man; "he is dead. Take Ulta away; spades are trumps, gentlemen ,'" PLAYING FOR A FUNERAL FEE. Equally weird is a story Goldsmith tells. When the clergyman arrived to prepare a lady parishioner, who had a passion for gambling, tor her approaching death, the lady, after listening for a short time to bis exhortation, exclaimed, "That's enough! Now let us have a game ot cards." To humour her tbe parson consented to play. The dying woman woa all his money, and had just suggested playing for her funeral fee when she fell back and expired,
In the early years of last century a whist club, composed largely of clergymen, used to meet in the back room of a barber's shop in a Somersetshire town. On one occasion, so the story runs, when tour of the club members were acting as pall-bearere at tbe funeral ot a reverend brother, £ome delay occurred, and the coffin was set -own in the chancel. One of them, produced a pack ot cards and suggested a rubber. The coffin served the purpose ef n table, and the players were deeply Immersed In tbe game when the sexton arrived to announce that everything was at last ready.
Mazarln's passion for gambling was so strong even ln death that be played cards to tbe very end, when he was bo weak that they had to be held for him; and
"the Merry Monarch" spent his last Sunday on earth playing at basset round a largo table with his great courtiers and other dissolute persons, and with a bank of at least £3000 betore him. £10,000 GAME OF WHIST. The curious fascination cards possess for tbeir devotees is illustrated by the following story of Lord Granville at the time Britain's Ambassador to ITrancc. One afternoon when be was about to return to Paris, he repaired to Grubam's to have a farewell game of whist, ordering his carriage to be at the door at 4. When it arrived, he was much too deep in the game to be disturbed. At 10 o'clock he out to say that he was not ready, and that the horses had better be changed. Six hours later the same message was sent out, and twice more the waiting horses were changed before he consented to leave the table after losing £10,000.
An equally remarkable story Is told of Mr. George Payne, the great turf plunger of TO years ago. On one occasion he sat down at Limmer's Hotel, in London, to play cards with Lord Albert Denlsou, later the first Lord Londesborough. Hour after hour passed; the game proceeded all through the night, and long after day dawned, and it was not until an urgent message came to tell Lord Albert that his bride was waiting for him at the altar of St. George's, Hanover Square, that the cards were at last fiung down. It was Lord Albert's wedding day, and he met his bride £30,000 poorer than when he left her on the previous day. A KING IN DISGCIBE. One of the most romantic gambling stories is told by Mr ThUtleton-Dyer, of a plainly dressed stranger, who once took his seat at the faro table, and after an extraordinary run of luck succeeded ln breaking the bank. "Heavens!" exclaimed an old, infirm Austrian officer who sat next to the stranger, "the twentieth part of your galas would make mc the happiest man in tbe world!" "You shall have It, then," answered tbe stranger, as he left j the room. A servant speedily returned, and presented the officer with the twentieth part i of the bank, adding, "My master, sir, requires no answer." The successful stranger was soon discovered to be no other than i the King of Prussia In dlagulse. I A THROW FOR NINETY THOUSAND! That all gamblers are not ungenerous Is I proved by the following story told by' Horace Walpole ln one of his letters. Mr O'Blrne, an Irish gamester, had won £100,-1 000 of a young Mr Harney, of Chlgwell. ' Just started from a midshipman into an estate by his eldest brother's death, J O'Blrne said, "You can never pay mcV I "I can," said the youth; "my estate will sell for the debt." "No," said O'Blrne, "I will win ten thousand, and you shell throw for tbe odd ninety thousand." They did, and Harney won. IN A RESERVOIR. In Paris, a few years ago, two men took a hand at whist for many nights In sue-1 cession under water. The games were played in c reservoir which had a capacity ' of 800 tons of water, the hydraulic and I electric machinery connected with it being I so arranged that the centre of space could be illuminated by means of incandescent | lishts. • | The men used to descend in ordinary j swimming costumes, take their seats at o little table, which was fastened by screws | to the bottom of the reservoir, and then play a one-hand game ot whist, which usually took them from two and a half to three minutes. They were both possessed of remarkable -staying powers, and each is said to have been able to remain under water for a period of 4mln 27sec. The cards were made ot celluloid. A UNIQUE GAME OF POKER. Not so long ago the City of Jefferson, in Montana, was thrown Into a ferment by the fact leaking out that the Judge of Douglas County, John Burkhead, held his position I through a game of poker. It appears that Burkhead and Bronson, who were Republicans, and George W. Thornberry, a Democrat, were candidates for the vacant Judgeship, and, as all three had about equal chances, it was arranged that the deciding | medium should be a game of poker, the) Judgeship being one prize, and £800 the other, the winner to have his choice.
Bronson won the game, and on consideration of receiving the £300, he gave his vote to Burkhead, who was elected. Burkhead, however, did not gain very great popularity, and it soon became known how he had won the Judgeship. An attempt was made to turn him out, but without success, and Burkhead'. still continues to administer Justice ln the county of Douglas.
GAME WORTH A MILLION AND A QUARTER STERLING.
The most coßtly game of card- on record, so it is said, was probably that in which the late Mr George 'MeCulloeh, chairman of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, once took part. A syndicate of seven had been formed to finance the famous Broken Hill silver mine, and Mr MeCulloeh was one of the seven. One day, so we *£«.
told, while sitting in a shanty at the foot ot the hill, McCulloch offered a fourteenth share in the mine to a young jnah named Cox for £200. Cox would only offer £130, and, after much haggling, It was decided to settle the dispute by a game of euchre. If Cox proved the winner' be was to have the share tor £120; If he lost, he was to pay £180 for It. He won, and for the absurd sum of £129 became owner of the share, which, a (few years later, was valued at a million and a quarter pounds.
ROMANCES OF THE CARD TABLE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 74, 27 March 1909
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