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Inglis luter, to louse his cheyne of grotis, qulilk he tint at the cartis ; i. e., to redeem his chain of groats which he lost at cards." Rogers, whether availing himself of a poet's license or not, we cannot aver, has represented Coluinbus playing cards in his first voyage of discovery; this, however, is not unlikely, and may be a fact rather than a fiction as it is supposed to be. It has been recorded of Catherine, wite of IIenry VIII., that amongst her other accomplishmenis she could play with cardes or dyce;” this, however, mayin part
" be attributed to her Spanisli origin. Henry's daughter, the Princess Mary, afterwards queen, was fond of cards, as there are various entries of money given to the princess for that purpose. During IIenry's reign card-playing was a very general amusement amongst all classes, both in England and Scotland.
There is no mention of the introduction of cards into Ireland anterior to the sixteenth century. Spenser, at the latter end of that century, represents cards as a common amusement in the south of Ireland, and one, the indulgence of which led to erery species of dissipation and meanness. The favorite game in Kerry was called - One-and-Thirty," which was supposed to have been derived from the Spanish, as a game so designated was customary in that country.
The period at which cards were used for the purposes of divination or fortune-telling in Europe is not precisely known. It is, however, supposed that such practices were customary in or about the close of the fifteenth century. The gypsies, by whom this occult science was most venerally practised, were undoubtedly of Asiatic origin, another proof
, if proof was wanted, that cards are an oriental invention. This species of juggling or conjuring had many votaries during the latter portion of the sixteenth century; and 10 the nervous or weak-minded, who sought through their baneful influence to divine either the present, past or future, what direful consequences have too often ensued. Reason, and sometimes life, have been the penalty paid by those wiruse credulity led them to seek through such unholy intervention a knowledge which the All-wise Deity, in his mercy, couccaled from them. Nor is it to the sixteenth century alone that such practices have been confined ; has it not been transmitted to our own enlightened era ? hare we not at the present day our itinerant mountebanks playing on the credulity of simple people, aye, and of educated ones too when imagination is allowed to assume the place of reason, and the lady or gentleman, as the case may be, though outwardly scoffing, is yet inwardly believing in the magic mysteries of the card-drawer. We do not, here, of course, allude to the simple feats and tricks performed by the domestic conjurer. Who is it that will not at intervals retrace the happy period when first initiated into the mystic game of card-playing, or the still more attractive hour when some young companion, learned in the occult science, with assumed witchcraft adroitly divined our inmost thoughts, and knowingly pointed out the card we were thinking of, and we felt an almost instinctive fear of one who to our crude minds seemed gifted with the powers of divination. The reminiscences of boyhood would be irrele: vant here were we not drawing a line of distinction between the use and abuse of a simple mode of amusement.
During the reign of Elizabeth, who was herself a cardplayer, dramatic and satirical representations of cards appear to have been a Christmas pastime. In this art we have preceded the French, who, artistic as they undeniably are, were still nearly a century behind hand. Rimero was the game in vogue during Elizabeth's reign; Man was that most generally played in James I. ; this game appears to bave been played with fine cards, and like our own old games of five-and-twenty and five-and-forty, the five of trumps, called the five fingers, was the best card, next to which was the ace of hearts. Though card-making was in practice in England in the fifteenth century, yet some authors would have it that it was not in general use during the reigns of Elizabeth or James. Spain, at this time, claimed the privilege of manufacturing cards not alone for its own country but in a great measure for ours also. JEHAN VOLAY, or according to Leber
, Jean Volay, was one of the most celebrated French card makers of the sixteenth century; there are some of his manufacture preserved in the Bibliothèque Imperiale,
From a satirical poem, entitled the “ Knaye of Hearts, by Samuel Rowlands, in 1612, it would appear that cards were at that time very generally manufactured in England, and a few years later a prohibition was issued forbidding
the importation of foreign cards; this was in the reign of Charles I. But a sadder game was now looming in the distance, which for a time superseded all thoughts of play, and when cards were used at all they were only employed as a medium by which political or satirical squibs could be promulgated. "We had also at this time scientific cards, supposed to be invented for the purpose of imparting grammatical knowledge, but which united amusement to instruction, and by this means were unobjectionable to the puritans of that day. There were also the practical cards, by which means the knowledge of spelling, writing, and cyphering was imparted. Charles II., however, on his accession to the throne, completely changed the course of things, and if his predecessor was extreme in one way, so was Charles in the other; and thus, at a court where rice reigned triumphant, cards were, as a necessary consequence, in great request. During this reign the business of card making increased vastly in England; ingenious persons rendering cards a medium by which they were enabled not alone to diffuse useful and entertaining information, but also for the purposes of advertisement. In France scientific or geographical cards assumed a higher range of thought and purpose, and were devised altogether for the exclusive use of the nobility, embracing the study of heraldry, and the elements of history and geography; in England, however, a wider scope was taken, and we have records of cards being made subservient to the purposes of conveying instruction on various subjects, amongst which were politics, history, mathematics, and even carving. About the seventeenth century there was a pack of cards invented at Lyons, in which the aces and knaves were represented by the arins of certain nobles and princes ; this naturally gave offence, but as the insult was not through design, but purely through inadvertence, the inventor was pardoned, and his plates restored to him on condition that he would change them into princes and chevaliers. Nearly about the same period a pack of cards was engraven in England. with almost a similar design, the court cards of each suit representing the arms of the Pope, or of one of the crowned heads of Europe. For instance, the King of Clubs bore the heraldic arms of the Pope. The King of Hearts, that of England. The King of Diamonds represented the sove
reign of Spain, and the King of Spades that of France : the queens, knaves (or princes as they were called), and aces, represented the other European powers. Another pack of heraldic cards, which had merely reference to England, was invented about this period ; in this the nobles were represented, each according to their grade, by the high or low cards. As a description of the armorial bearing's was necessary in order to play with heraldic cards, the game did not become popular, and outlived neither the court of Louis XIV., nor the Revolution in England.
Cards were used at this period for all purposes of instruction as well as amusement; thus, learning made easy was the order of the day, and Cardinal Mazarin gets the credit of suggesting cards, as a mode of imparting information to Louis XIV., when a child. Thus, geography, hislory, grammar, and all the other adjuncts to learning, were imbibed by the royal youth as a recreation, rather than a laborious study.
In Anne's reign, and that of George the First, satirical and emblematic cards were much in vogue. Various were the subjects selected for the latter; love, however, generally bore the sway, and each card had a symbolic motto. The satirical cards were similar in design, only different in tendency, as the mottoes were as keenly pungent on one, as they were sweetly amorous on the other.
Books containing instructions for playing at cards were first published in the seventeenth century, but from their very earliest publication down to the present day, all that has been written on them, even by our own Hoyle, could not supply the same instruction to the uninitiated, as the practice of card playing itself imparts. No book learning on that subject at least, can compete with that of the experienced and practical card player.
Whist or Whisk, as it was originally called, though a very popular, was by no means as fashionable or scientific a game in its earlier days as it has since become. It was then played with what are called Swabbers ; this term originated most probably in the custom which then prevailed, by which a player holding in his hand certain cards was entitled to take up a share of the stake, independent of the issue of the game, and thus in seamen's parlance, clearing the deck, or swabbing, as it was called. Swift represents clergymen at that period, as fond of Whisk and Srabbers. Whisk, however, did not attain its high position until about half a century ago, when a set of gentlemen who frequented the crown coffee house, in Bedford Row, and who, under the scientific instructions of Edmund Hoyle Gent, whose treatise on Whist was at that time published by Thomas Osborne, at Gray's Inn, attained for it the prond pre-eininence it still maintains over all games, chess alone excepted.
Alexander Thompson, in his " Humours of Whist," has in the prologue thus commemorated both the gentlemen and their scientific instructor
“ Who will believe that man could e'er exist,
And scarce leave one poor cull for common bites." The substitution of the term Whist for its orginal name, Whisk, has evidently reference to the silence necessary to be observed whilst playing the game. Dr. Johnson coincides in this opinion; and the writer of an article in the Foreign Quarterly Review assumes that the name had its origin in the “ Irish phrase, Whisht, or, be quiet.” The term however, bears its own interpretation, and is evidently intended to enjoin silence.
Whisk and Swabbers was the same as the still older game of Buff and Honours. The reason assigned for the unrop!larity of these games amongst the higher or court circles from the reign of Charles II, to that of George II. is assumed to have been the covert ridicule they were supposed to cast on the dress and habits of the time.
In the reign of Queen Anne card playing was at its zenith in all civilized Europe. In England it was both fashionable and popular. Ombre was the favorite game of the ladies, piquet of the gentlemen ; whist at that period