תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

than probable that England may claim the honor of its invention. Cotton, writing about 1679, states : “Ruff and Honours are gaines so commonly known in England, in all parts thereof, that every child of eight years old hath a competent knowledge of that recreation."

We have a reference to whist in The Beaux Stratagem; this was so early as 1707, where Mrs. Sullen exclaims :"Country pleasures ! racks and torments ! Dost think, child, that my limbs were made for leaping of ditches, and clambering over styles? Or that my parents, wisely foreseeing my future happiness in country pleasures, had early instructed me in the rural accomplishment of drinking fat ale, playing at whist, and smoking tobacco with my husband ?"

Swift states that whist was a game in vogue with the clergy; he tells us :-" The clergymen used to play at whist and swabbers." We all know that it was the custom of Sir Roger de Coverley, to send, at Christmas, a string of black puddings and a pack of cards to every poor family in his parish.

Thompson and Pope have referred to whist. Thompson names it in the Seasons, as the Squire's refuge against the tedium of autumn, thus :

To cheat the thirsty moments, whist awhile
Walk'd his dull round, amid a cloud of smoke,

Wreathed, fragrant, from the pipe."
Pope writes thus, in 1715, to Martha Blount:-

“Some squire, perhaps, you take delight to rack,
Whose game is whist; whose drink, a toast in sack :
Whose laughs are hearty, though his jests are coarse :

Who loves you best of all things—but his horse."e From a recent work upon cards we learn that the first edition of Hoyle was published in 1743. At that period he gave instructions in whist at a guinea a lesson, and most probably it then began to be a scientific game, and has gone on advancing to its present perfection. There are many authorities existing for the opinion that it was not till the latter part of the eighteenth century, that whist, as

Nothing new under the sun : compare Locksley Hall :“ He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,

Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse."

[graphic]

it is now played, was known among us. According to Daines Barrington, who had bis information from a player much advanced in years, it was not played upon recognised principles till about 1730, "when it was much studied by a party that frequented the Crown Coffee-House,in Bedfordrow," of whom the first Lord Folkstone was one. Even then, it should seem that merely the skeleton of the game was in existence; there were but few rules, and its theory was undefined.

Early in the present century Mathews published at Bath bis Advice to the Young Whist Players. It ran through many editions, and in a great measure superseded Hoyle. The fifth edition appeared in 1811, but this, and all other treatises upon whist, have been rendered useless by Mr. Bohn's admirable Hand Book of Games.

Reader, we have written for you a sketch of the history of cards ; but, if you will know the poetry of cards, read Charles Lamb's Captain Jackson, or his essence of wit and humour, Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist. In the latter he writes, as only he could write :

** To those puny objectors against cards, as nurturing the bad passions, she would retort --that man is a gaming animal. He must be always trying to get the better in something or other: that this passion can scarcely be more safely expended than upon a game at cards : that cards are a temporory illusion-in truth, a mere drama ; for we do but play at being mightily concerned as those whose stake is crowns and kingdoms. They are a sort of dreamfighting, much ado, great battling and little bloodshed, mighty means for disproportioned ends, quite as diverting and a great deal more innoxious than many of those more serious games of life which men play, without esteeming them to be such.

"With great deference to the old lady's judgment on these matters, I think I have experienced some moments in my life when playing a cards for nothing has even been agreeable. When I am in sickness, or not in the best spirits, I sometimes call for the cards and play a game at piquet, for love, with my cousin Bridget-Bridget Elia.

"I grant there is something sneaking in it; but with a tooth-ache, or a sprained ankle—when you are subdued and humble—you are glad to put up with an inferior spring of

action.

[graphic]

There is such a thing in nature, I am convinced, as sick Whist.

“At such times, these terms which my old friend objected to, come in as something admissible- I love to get a tierce or a quatorze though they mean nothing. I am subdued to an inferior interest. Those shadows of winning amuse

me.

“That last game I had with my sweet cousin (I capotted her—dare I tell thee how foolish I am ?) I wished it might have lasted for ever, though we gained nothing and lost nothing, though it was a mere shade of play: I would be content to go on in that idle folly for ever. The pipkin should be ever boiling that was to prepare the gentle lenitive to my foot, which Bridget was doomed to apply after the game was over; and, as I do not much relish appliances, there it should ever bubble. Bridget and I should be ever playing.”

Here we close our paper : is the reader vexed ? If so then let him remember the moral advice engraved on the old Whist Markers-KEEP YOUR TEMPER,

[graphic]

Physiologie du Gout, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcen

dante ; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l'ordre du jour,
dédié aux Gastronomes Parisiens Par Un Professeur,
membre de plusieurs Sociétés savantes. Edition précédée
d'une notice par M. Le Baron Richerand, suivie de “La
Gastronomie," Poème en quatre chants, Par Berchoux.
Paris : Charpentier. 1842.
“Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain;
Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise !

Each stamps its image as the other flies.” True for you, Sam, and we feel it now; even as we look upon the title page of the book before us, one memory is awakened, and a thousand others come welling up from the mind's " countless chambers.” Brillat-Savarin! Physiologie du Gout. How the bright Paris of twenty years ago rises before us, when we could test the teachings of our author with a breakfast at Véfour's or the Trois Frères; with a dinner at Véry's or the Café de Foy; with a supper at the Café de l'Opéra. Bright times when Grisi and Mario could sing, when Dejazet acted as none acted since Peg Woffington, when Rachel was the glory of the stage. Sunny times before we had heard of lace stockings or thought of colchicum. Sunny days when our appetite was deep as Sir Walter's, and when nothing came amiss from suprême de volaille to boullebasse and vin ordinaire. And if we did feel seedy, if carafes became to our "somnia vera” as desert fountains to the panting Arab, we had our remedy for that horrid flavor of the lime burner's wig,” and here it is :

One ounce of camphor julep,
One tea spoonful of sal volatile,
One ounce of Murray's fluid magnesia,

One tea spoonful of tincture of capsicums.
Mizing these and drinking, we were fresh for the day. But
Dow,-well no matter, its all past and over,

“So we'll go no more a roving

So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.

[graphic]

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,

Aud love itself have rest,"
Therefore we return to Brillat-Savarin-

In the work before us he has drawn a most interesting and faithful picture of himself; the principal events of his own life and times are here so pleasingly and minutely recorded, that little is wanted to complete bis history.

Brillat-Savarin, (Antheleme) Counsellor of the Court of Cassation, member of the Legion of Honour, of the society for encouraging national industry, of the society of antiqueries of France, the emulation society of Bourg, &c., &c., was born the 1st of April, 1755, in Belley, a small tower situated at the foot of the Alps, near the banks of the Rhone, which, in this place, separate France from Savoy. Following the examples of his ancestor, who, for centuries, were devoted to the profession of the bar and the bench, he distinguished himself as a lawyer, when in 1789, he was unanimously elected by his fellow townsmen, member of the constituent assembly, which was composed of the most distinguished and enlightened men that France at that time possessed. Being a practical philosopher, a disciple rather of Epicurus than Zeno, he was never known to connect limself with the memorable events of that time: he was not however, inactive, always associating himself with the most sensible and moderate party.

At the close of his legislative career, he was appointed president of the civil tribunal for the department of Ain, and afterwards raised to the Court of Cassation then lately instituted.

An upright magistrate, an impartial and firm administrator of the laws, and, above all, being of a mild, conciliating and amiable disposition, he was well calculated to calm the asperities of civil strife, if the rage of political parties had been guided by his example and adhered to his counsel always for prudence and moderation.

When Mayor of Belley, towards the end of 1793, be courageously opposed anarchy, and saved, for a time, his native place from the frightful reign of terror; but borne down by the revolutionary torrent, he was compelled to fly, and take refuge in Switzerland from the fury of his persecutors,

We may well picture to ourselves the state of society during

« הקודםהמשך »