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has he any interest in doing so. And, covered with adhesive wax. The box finally, if he saw the bets, if he had travelled from his pocket to his hand, ample opportunity to “stock the cards ” from his hand to the table, from the before every hand, and if he were to table to his pocket, and so on, as snuffreceive all the winnings, it would take boxes are apt to travel, and as the more than the adroitness of Mephis- exigencies of the game, the hunger of topheles himself to arrange the play so his nostrils, and the occupation of his as to be against the public and in favor hands in pushing out and pulling in of the bank to any greater extent than gold and silver coins might dictate or is expressed in the well-known and un- permit. As may readily be imagined, , disguised " percentage."
the box, on going into his pocket, had The croupier is not Mephistopheles, often a gold piece sticking to it, whereas no matter how fiendish he may some- it was invariably without any when it times seem to the luckless loser. He reappeared to view. From that day to may be a very good sort of fellow, fond this the company furnishes the snuff of music, father of a family, and all for all the croupiers, and in front of that. In fact, we have heard of one each place may be seen a large stationwho lets lodgings. This is very un- ary box filled with it. Satanic—if the lodgings are comfort- Another croupier was a very fat man. ably cool. True, the croupier is imper- He seemed to suffer a good deal with turbable in raking in your perhaps hard- heat, and had a habit of mopping his earned money, but then the coins doubt glowing face, and slipping his fingers less seem much more like counters to an inside his collar to loosen it from his experienced croupier than to the green- throat. All these phenomena were est American. As to the robbery of quite natural, and would have excited your family, it is not the croupier, nor no remark except for a peculiar circumeven the banker, who is guilty of that; stance. Why should the contact or imit is another gentleman, one who also pact of his linen' with his skin produce wears your hat and boots.
a chinking sound? We have all heard Some of the croupiers are so human of "sweating gold,” but it is supposed as to introduce a little humor into their to be quite a different process from any otherwise unvarying phrases. There is which could be going on under the one who says, Faites vos jeux, mes- cravat of that croupier, although the sieurs ! ” (“ make your games, gentle- sound was similar. To settle this intermen,') in a pleasant, jocular, inviting esting question in physics or acoustics, tenor. Then, suddenly changing, he M. Croupier was invited to step into a utters the incisive sentence, “ Le jeu est private room and disrobe, when he fait-rien ne va plus ! ” (“the game is turned out a shower of gold. He had made—nothing more goes,') in a pro- slipped a gold piece inside his neckfound bass, suited to the decrees of cloth each time he had raised his hand fate. You are precluded from staking, thereto, and, had his zeal not outrun withdrawing, or changing a piece. his discretion, he might have carried on “ Rouge gagne, couleur perd,” (“red his very profitable “cornering" operawins, color loses.") You have lost ? he tion to this day. The croupiers now smiles. Your neighbor has won? The are required to keep their hands before croupier smiles as well.
them on the table. If one so much as There have been croupiers who failed drops his into his lap, he is at once to come up to the standards of perfect admonished of the irregularity by a morality instituted by Locke, Dymond, tap on the shoulder from one of the and others. But judge if they defraud- ever-watchful officials in plain clothes ed the public. One of them had the always standing about. habit of taking snuff. (They all take What did the administration, in each snuff.) But he had also a habit of of these cases, do to their unprofitable having the bottom of his snuff-box servant ? They took from him all he had sequestrated that day, and then- who was before me, the coin, as it lay, discharged him! No prosecution, no happened to touch the line between noise, no disturbance; that is one of eleven and twelve. Had I wished to the company's wise principles of action. take half a chance on eleven and half a More especially in the management of chance on twelve, I should have laid the salons de jeu is it their motto to the coin on the boundary, to win eightallow any thing, rather than an esclan- een-fold if the pball lodged in either dre. In fact, the loss resulting from a eleven or twelve. This would have few minutes' interruption of play, at been a cheval, being a straddle of the any table in full operation, would be line. Well, eleven happened to come greater than that to be sustained from up winning. The croupier assumed the payment of any demand, however that the bet was a cheval, and counted unreasonable. Unlike the poor croupier out money accordingly. I told him I last mentioned, the corporation, as the had bet on eleven, and had either won money rolls into its secret receptacles, in full, or nothing. So I declined the takes care that there is no noise about money, and walked away. I strolled it.
round another table, looked at the play, To illustrate. “I was playing,” (said then came back to the same table again, my cicerone), “and had staked a two- speaking to no one. There I was acflorin piece on number thirty-six. The costed by a gentleman whom I did not ball rolled, and thirty-six was called. know as connected with the establishThe croupier counted out the seventy- ment. Said he, “Why did you not two florins, and instantly a person sit- take your winnings ?' I replied that I ting near reached out his hand and had bet on eleven ; that the croupier drew in the money to himself! It was wished to pay the cheval only; that not doubtless one of the thieves always at being my bet, I refused to take it. He the table, playing a little and watching replied, "Oh, that is all right; here is the opportunities for improving their the money,' and paid it over--all I had chances by appropriating winnings that claimed.” do not belong to them, knowing the A lady not long since set a coin carelessness of players who stake money whirling on the table while the ball on various numbers, not very accurately was rolling. It went on whirling till noticing which, and knowing also the after the number was called, and then almost invincible unwillingness of the happened to settle in the corresponding administration to allow any dispute. square! The croupiers objected to payIn my case, a gentleman standing by ing, on the ground that the money was had witnessed the transaction; therefore not staked when the game was called. I called out to the inspector, who sits She replied that it was their fault for there on the high chair just behind the not stopping the piece, which was beleft-hand croupier, “Monsieur, I staked yond her reach. Of course, they paid. two florins on thirty-six. It won, and The administration go still further in that person' (pointing him out) seized their deference to good order and pubthe money! Here is my witness.' lic opinion. A Frankfort gentleman "Sh-h-h-h! certainly, my dear sir, had a dispute with another player on answered the inspector, in a low, hur- some matter, and the croupier decided ried voice, here is the money ;' and it against the Frankforter. Whereupon he forthwith counted it out from the he arose in his might, stormed at the bank, and handed it to me; not paying idea that such a creature as the poor any attention to the culprit, so far as I croupier should presume to dispute his saw."
assertions, and demanded that he, the Again. “I once threw a piece of croupier, should be put out of the room. money down at the roulette, on number And he was accordingly expelled by the eleven. As I was not seated, but
administration ! played over the shoulder of some one While standing by the trente-et-un
table, talking over these items of char- ous, and even disquieting, to the adacteristic interest, we had our attention ministration. Once or twice he was fixed by a young, fair, and delicate expostulated with, and at length one player, a gentleman of middle-parted of the managers said to him, with their hair and other marks of dandyism, but own insinuating politeness, Dear sir, without the air of great wealth, who you are unfortunate. You had better was playing napoleons rather cautiously, go away from here. You will be more concealing his nervousness by caressing happy elsewhere. Any funds you need his girlish little moustache with thin you may draw on us for,, only do not white fingers. He lost-lost so many remain here. The poor fellow cried, napoleons that he had to hand the 'Give me a thousand pounds sterling, croupier a bank-note to get more to and I will go away and never return.' play with. Again he lost. Then he Quick, before he could repent or reput his two other bank-notes on the tract, the notes were his. He departed, black, entire.“ Rouge gagne" and the and so far has kept his word, and stayed bank took them. Then he placed on away. the black six napoleons, evidently the “For the ludicrous side of all this remainder of his capital. It looked so I have heard of a fellow who rushed to little and helpless that we almost prayed the roulette table, threw down a coin that it might win. He did not look at or two, and then nervously plucked a the coup while it was playing, but kept pistol half out of his pocket. Of course his eyes down. “ Rouge gagne" The one of the watchful guardians protested little pieces went into the bank, like against the irregularity of such consix little lambs into a slaughter-house; duct. 'I must have back my fifty floand then the pale boy got up wearily, rins!' he cried, still nervously clutching and went slowly away. The incident the pistol with trembling fingers. “I was a
one enough at that beg you to accept twenty-five florins, place, I suppose, but it happened to and leave us.' Instantly all was serene. touch us as very piteous.
The pistol disappeared—also the man; The poor administration is grievously one of the few who finally leave the annoyed sometimes by the outrageous Kursaal richer than they came.” conduct of persons who choose to kill A Spaniard, Señor GM, came and themselves in the Kursaal, of all places played boldly and immensely. The limit in the world! The latest mishap of of bets at the trente-et-quarante table that kind occurred at Baden. A despe- is four thousand florins-say sixteen rate loser blew out his brains, which hundred dollars, gold, on each single spattered themselves over the fatal bet. G- played a while, but progreen cloth. For a time even the im- tested that he could not spend his time perturbability of the gaming-house offi- over such beggarly risks, and demanded cials was ruffled. Within three quarters the privilege of doubling the amount, of an hour, however, all evidences of otherwise he should go elsewhere. After the " occurrence were removed, and consultation it was accorded to him. the play going on at the same table as Before he departed, he“ broke the usual. But then it is to be considered bank" at each of the four tables in the that in such a case there were probably Homburg establishment. He then went only very few brains to remove.
to Baden, it is said, and broke the bank “ A man whom we all know," quoth there. His aggregate winnings were my cicerone (speaking as a resident), estimated to have been a million or “a man worth millions of florins, play- more of florins. At present he is in ed, and lost every thing. Toward the prison in Paris for stealing some trifling last be grew desperate, and would dash His winnings gone, his capital the notes down upon the tables so that gone, then his character, and finally his they scattered themselves about un- liberty departed, he has now leisure for pleasantly. It was growing conspicu- reflection. Who can say how many
men have been ruined by the tradition table is made every evening at eleven of G-'s doings? men who fondly o'clock by the dexterous croupiers. thought they could follow his road to Finally our hero departed, carrying the top of the grade, and then leave it with him about 25,000 florins in good without making the descent.
gold. How many rouleaux he had lost Please observe here that a man inay is not known, neither is it of much con“ break the bank,” and yet be at the sequence; for the rouleaux he lost were same moment a loser in the aggregate. of lead! He had simply copied, at his The phrase does not mean that the un- leisure, the form, color, seals, and known and incalculable reserye-hoards weight of the bank rouleaux, had pockof the association are exhausted, or eted his gains, and shaken the dust even that they are infringed upon, ex- from off his feet, to be seen in Homcept to the extent of the capital placed burg no more, we may be sure. His by the administration at the disposal was, at any rate, a wiser use of lead of Fortune on any particular table on than driving it into the brain ; and any particular day. In the entrance- probably not more objectionable to the hall is posted a written placard, as fol- administration. Since that day, howlows:
ever, the curious observer may notice Mise en Banque.
that the paper covering each rouleau Au Trente-et-up, 150,000 fr.
has a slit in its side, which shows the A la Roulette, 60,000 fr.
yellow, milled edges of the coin whereof Administration. it is composed. So it will be seen that whenever, on Another, better trick is thus deany day, the losses on the roulette scribed : A player staked a rouleau. table exceed the gains by the sum of If it lost, he hastily redeemed it with 60,000 francs, or $12,000 gold, techni- some loose gold coin or bills—as if he cally speaking, the bank is broken at merely preferred to keep the package that table; the croupiers depart; the for convenience sake. But soon its covering cloth is spread-and so, we color won,
The croupier threw out the may be sure, is the news. “ The bank customary equivalent - say a similar was broken a few minutes since !” rouleau. “I beg pardon, that is not Fancy the thrill that would run through my bet. Please to examine the packthe idle crowds in the hotels and pen- age I staked.” They open the package sions of Homburg ! “ Who was it? -behold bank-notes neatly interlaced Show me the lucky man! I will follow with the gold, carrying the amount up and copy his play to-morrow!" 'No; to the maximum allowed to be staked I will play the opposite of his play! at a single hazard! The maximum loss Such luck cannot last!” And so on, to pay ! “But you had previously in polyglot. One fancies that it must staked that rouleau, and redeemed it pay the bank very well to be broken with ten napoleons." "Again pardon, occasionally. And, at the very same messieurs; it was this other rouleau time, the “lucky man may have lost which I staked before.” What was to at that same table yesterday twice the be done? It is said that the bank sum he gained in breaking the bank to- paid. That is the bank's customary day.
solution for all problems. At any rate, A person once entered the bank, sat we now observe, among the rules, that down, and played gold; lost and won, the company does not hold itself relost and won, as is usual, but finally re- sponsible for hidden or disguised bets. tired with a few of the bank's rouleaux Not even a gold piece may be secreted in his pocket. The next day he played under a silver piece, still less a bankagain, losing and winning alternately, note in a rouleau. with admirable sang-froid, numbers of A famous player and constant loser the pretty black rolls scaled at each is the Countess Kisselef. She has been end, into which the loose gold on the often described. Every one has heard of her being wheeled in her chair to without any disguise ; but as to ownthe Kursaal, and sitting at her place at ing gambling-house shares, that would the table from the opening to the clos- be quite another thing. In other words, ing of the play, almost uninterrupted- they are willing to be known as losing ly, seven days each week during the money in the way of amusement, but whole season. Fabulous tales are told not as making money. That would regarding her age, but, from her looks, place them in the class of professional she cannot be over seventy. Besides,
gamblers. her peculiar relations with the late The first charter of the Privelegirte Emperor Nicholas of Russia fix the date Bank was given in 1842, and expired in of her birth as being almost certainly 1866, at which time the second (also for since the beginning of the present twenty-four years), began. But there century. Very large, very bent, very was a war in Germany in 1866, and, as infirm, very bright-eyed, and very affa- one of the consequences thereof, Hessc ble-such are the characteristics which Homburg has become Prussian, and now mark the appearance of this once Prussian laws forbid public gambling; world-famous beauty. Nicholas left her so there is talk of closing the gamblingone hundred thousand florins a-year. rooms next year. What will become of The present Emperor has cut down this Homburg when that is done ? Kurpension one half, and on the remainder, haus means the house where people are say $20,000 (in addition to her private cured, and it is not to be supposed that fortune), the Countess manages, with the mineral waters of the springs will strict economy, to live. Of course she lose their medicinal virtues in consecannot play very heavily. She is said quence of having become Prussian. to set aside forty thousand francs a-year This will be “Bad-Homburg” still, as to lose at play, saying that, in her long as the baths remain, though not youth and beauty, she spent more than with the double significance the word that sum on dress and gayety; and, now has now while the place is the greatest that youth and beauty are gone, she gaming-hell in the world. The Kurmust spend her time and money on the gardens will be lovely, green, shady pleasures which are left her. Gaming, parks, with innumerable walks, and with her, is not a speculation, it is an drives, and ponds. The Kurhaus will occupation--a slight excitement, almost still exist-a great and gorgeous edifice, unconnected with hope and fear. In as large as the New York City Hall. her favor it may be said that in Russia And in the Kurhaus, the salons de jeu she is much respected. When she is in must endure for many a year, beautiful St. Petersburg, the street where she rooms wherein time and neglect can lives is blocked with the carriages of only damage the glories of color, not callers—the best society, they say. the perfections of form and proportion.
One of the nicest residence streets in Who will come to be cured, when Homburg is named for the Countess - there remain to be administered only Kisselef Strasse. There is something nature's remedies for bodily ills? We very naive in thus calling the place all know that the main attraction has after the person whose losses have given been the fascinating phlebotomy of the it existence. But they say that the gaming-table, so good for plethora of Kisselef is a large shareholder as well the pocket. It is money left here by as a main patron of the gaming-house the fortune-seekers that has built up company. “ Who are the other own- this lovely little city for us simple ers of the establishment ?" No one health and pleasure seekers--graded knows. No one is willing to acknowl- and paved these model streets, smoothedge ownership. “Then gaming is dis- ed, planted, and beautified the pleasurereputable, is it, among the best people, grounds that surround the wells, instieven here?” By no means. Even the tuted the lovely out-door flower-beds best business-men in Frankfort play, and tropical greenhouses, provided the