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The heavy silver coins have accumu- gratefully. He knows not what it lated almost to inconvenience. When is is too bewildered to count. There they pay they gush silver. are coins on some of the four num
After all, this is the liveliest and most exciting of the games. Most wait until the sharp burr tells that the marble ball has started, and is running; then all stoop, and stretch, and lunge, and fire pieces at numbers with marvellous rapidity. Not a second is lost. Most wonderful is the gamester, with his hands and pockets full of pieces, as it were of stones, with which, bending over, he covers this, that, every number, scattering his pieces as though from a watering-pot. Now the ball has begun to dance and clatter among the brass cells. has a second more, and has contrived to drop a dozen more coins here, there, and everywhere. Then comes Il ne va plus," and the gigantic raking sets in. Strange to say those large speculators who try to make the game "safe" are rarely so successful as small fry. By some perverseness the lucky number seems to select the quarter of the board not incumbered by this profuse array of coins. He will cover the board as closely as it is possible. Usually some adroit gamester will insinuate two or three pieces among the great speculators, for he has no right to monopolise the ground, and the result will be a pleasant embarrass, it being impossible to identify the successful pieces. The result is decided by the greatest amount of effrontery, and perhaps a scramble.
Again, we have to admire the admirable calculating powers of these Croupiers. By a rare chance a single shining new five-franc piece lies upon the number ten, and into the little brass, labelled ten, has the ball leaped and is at rest.
Envied coin! It is regarded hungrily. Croupier taps it with his rake, and inquires, "A qui ce piece?" A sheepish, rustic looking shopmanrusty in his garments, claims it with timidity, and is almost scared at his own success. He, too, is regarded with interest with envy. Croupier, in a business-like way, washes his hands, as it were, in a heap of silver, and begins spilling, as it were, coins, into symmetrical rows, of five pieces each; then shoves it over to the rustic shopman. He, quite dazed with his bliss, takes what is offered to him
bers of which the winning number is one, and then an operation in proportion has to be gone through in a second, and the amount paid. There are other coins, coasting, as it were near the happy number, in a less degree, and their claims have to be properly calculated the result made into the shape of dainty little columns of gold and silver mixed, gently propelled over to the blessed winner to be greedily empochéd, according to the phrase. But when the thin, gaunt Englishman, who looks more or less dissipated and usé, who is decorated with a moustache that grows raggedly, has, by some strange chance, placed his Napoleon on the lucky number, when Croupier has chanted "Vingt cinq! noir pair et passe!" and the bright glittering darling yellow coin is seen reposing softly on the happy square, a flutter and rustle runs round. Happy Englishman! So calm and so careless. They envy him, not the amount so much, for that is nothing startling—thirtytwo Napoleons-but the rare luck— the winning against such odds. He leads his coin away, just as the Derby winner is led past, pursued with admiring glances; and yet the gaunt Englishman has received back but a tithe of the capital he has put out. He has been busy all the eveningall the week. He cannot play with silver; it tastes like weak tea after brandy. He has had losses and gains too, but many more losses. This is behind all those grand coups we see and envy. They are, as it were, a miserable dividend of two and sixpence in the pound. Can we not sympathize with that surly Englishman who, coming out furious after being stripped to the last feather by the calm eunuchs and viziers of Benazet, saw a Frenchman at the door in the act of kneeling down and tying his shoe, very much as though he were in skirmishing order. A strange fit seized on the Englishman; he could not restrain himself, but rushing at the Frenchman, gave him a sound, bitter, satisfactory kick in the quarter of the human continent where, as a pleasant Frenchman put it once, "Le dos change du nom.' He added at the same time, "You
are always tying your shoe!" The feeling of mind that prompted this outrage is quite comprehensible.
What dramatic shapes! I say again; what eccentricities! The man who comes rushing in like a fury, throws down a note without looking to the right or left, loses, and is gone! The man, who gives money to his friend in the street, and bids him, as the clock strikes two, walk in and put it down on the number two! The man who asked the lady to put down for him, seeing something encouraging in her face. Those men who are always getting cards-the punting cards-and those pleasant "punting" pins with the large round heads, and who punt with surprising diligence, but never play; I believe they have mint collections, and whole museums of little punctured cards and pins at home. That man, too, with the MS. book, so neatly ruled and tabulated, and who is present from morning till night, reporting every turn and number of the ball, what entertainment can he find in that office? The legend goes that he has been engaged by a company of actionnaires, possibly a société anonyme, to furnish them with valuable data, which when of respectable extent, will be submitted to a skilful mathematician to calculate whatever doctrine of chance may be got out of them. The Company's funds will then be applied in a series of duly regulated mises.
There is a Buhl cabinet in the room, which is surveyed at times with a greedy interest, for it is known to be a sort of temporary bank or strong box of the administration. Now and again, when M. le Marquis sends one of the undertaker's menials for a rouleau or so on loan (which he does very much as though he were sending for a toothpick, and which is brought to him much in the same way), the gray-headed Dissenting-looking old gentleman in a tail coat unlocks this Buhl safe, and snatches out a blue rouleau or two. A hundred pair of eyes assist at the operation, but they have barely a glimmer of the treasure within; the menial carries it away stealthily, like a candle-end done up in blue paper.
V. ROUGE GAGNE.
SKILFUL persons who have studied and compared the physiognomies of
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Administrations generally make this remark, that the one which Grand Duke Benazet directs is the least complaisant of the whole. At Homburg there is a charming delicacy-a superfluity of attention to players and non-players-a strewing of flowersa crowning of garlands, as it were ; Administration suggests the idea of a poor soft put-upon Administration. Sturdy British fathers in tweeds, and coats of true British build, who grasp their sticks tightly when they tell you, "Sir, it is an immoral systemgrossly immoral-a gang of sharpers, sir, that if we had before us at Bullington, we would set in the stocks." Yet this true moral patron will sit on the simple-hearted Administration's velvet couches, in the Administration's reading-room, and will glare impatiently while waiting for the Administration Times. He will go to the Administration concerts, and take his daughters to the Administration balls. He will listen to the delightful music of the Administration playing in the kiosk. Going away he will chuckle over all he has "got out" of them, "and, egad, sir, never left them a penny, not a penny, sir." Poor soft Administration, to be so put upon. They even suggest the idea that they like that sort of thing. They go out of their way to be tricked and humbugged in this fashion. Here are gamekeepers, dogs, and prize shooting grounds of the Administration, and, I believe, even dogs, if it be insisted upon. Surely, patrons of the sport cannot contribute to the necessities of the Administration! Was there ever such a suicidal policy? Mysterious body!
No; in Duke Benazet's dominions they are not nearly so easy and foolishly good-natured, and for this simple reason-the De Jure government has an unhandsome, unmanly way of dealing with them, threatening periodically, every now and again, to withdraw their licence. It is believed there is no serious intention of this sort on foot; but still it imparts an unhappy tone of insecurity to the commonwealth. There is an antagonism too, between the two governments. The Roi faineant believes he is strong and independent, and might flourish without their aid. He envies them their popularity. But in Homburg all is charming harmony. There is a lease of tremendous length,
stretching, I believe, to the end of the century, such as only good and improving tenants deserve; they are secure, and cannot be evicted. Everything is smooth. Croupiers have private instructions to smile, and satisfy all claims with empressement. There are ladies and gentlemen there who make a genteel profession of acting the victim of a mistake of the banks, and who each day suffer from their little silver piece being raked in by a very pardonable accident. These persons trade on the compliant temper of the Administration, and actually earn the price of their day's table d'hôte in this pleasant way.
Inside hang on the walls large printed placards, framed and labelled, "Spiel Ordnung" or, "Reglement pour les Jeux," and which leave a police savour. Looking at the bottom I find them, signed
And a little over Kuntz, I find Kuntz' style and titles :"Le Directeur de la Ville; President de la Commune des Bains."
Kuntz! Admirable name! sharp, short, and jerky; such as Kuntz is himself, in all probability, or should be. It is Kuntz, then, who has set his hand and seal to the arbitrary regulations which follow, and which show, as was before remarked, suspicious and unhealthy relations between the authorities of the place, typified by "Kuntz," and the good-natured purveyors to our amusement. These are the stringent regulations
1. The play shall commence every year on the 1st of May and end on the 31st of October. During this period the bank shall open every morning at eleven o'clock, but on Sundays and holidays only after the Church services shall have terminated. (Who shall say our Administration is not moral, or even pious?) At midnight it must close; but on ball nights it may go on until the fête is over-i. e., until two, three, or four, A.M.
"2. The authorities reserve to themselves the right of deciding who shall be admitted. The police shall have the right of removing such persons as they please. (Moral Administration again!)
"3. Cards with white backs only allowed. Every case of cards shall contain six packs of fifty-two cards
VOL. LXIII.-NO. CCCLXXVIII.
each; shall be sealed with the Grand Ducal seal, and verified before being opened by one of the Grand Ducal Commissioners of the Games. In his presence they must then be counted.
"4. The bank must use fresh cards every day, and even during the course of the day, if the gallery require it; also, if the bank has been broken."
Every scene, in short, in the piece is provided for by strict regulation. Even the Croupiers must relieve each other at certain fixed hours; and the police are charged to see that there is no change in the seasons of release. At the end of the day the Grand Ducal Commissioner of the Games again slips on the scene, and in his presence the cards are again counted, trôlés," and carefully sealed up.
The roulette board is also visited by that functionary, and also sealed up with his seal. On the cards he writes the date of the day, and they are carefully put by for a whole year.
There are two important regulations which I can testify from experience to having often seen violated, No stake is to be received on mere parole, but must be laid down on the board in very hard cash; neither may the banker or his employés lend money to any of their guests. The contrary is done over and over again. But Benazet is Sultan, and can do as he please.
Again, notice must be given-at cards before the card-deal; at roulette, before the three last twirls-that the game is about to conclude. If the roulette cylinder for any reason has to be changed, the functionary assures himself by various tests that the new cylinder is in perfect "equilibre." Neither cards nor ball may be touched before all stakes have been paid.
Every unclaimed stake won by an anonymous or made by an anonyma, must be kept for the orphans for whom Stultz (who was Stultz ?) founded an asylum. When I see Croupiers surreptitiously, and with an air of abstraction, raking in this unclaimed specie about a dozen times in the day, I am tempted to call out "Stultz! Stultz!" What the orphans receive from this source of income must be slender, indeed. It would be better for Stultz and his orphans to compound for a small steady allowance.
The lowest coin taken at roulette 48
is a florin (1s. 8d.), and at thirty and forty, two florins-a rule also violated; for that coin is always rejected as degradingly small. At roulette the highest stake allowed is six Louis for the numbers and 4,000 francs for the other departments; for rouge et noir, 6,000 francs.
On the whole, taking these regulations into consideration, I would say that they were framed in a spirit ungenerously hostile to King Benazet, and almost suspicious of that potentate.
Strange to say, it was difficult to get a glimpse of this secret and mysterious power. King Benazet kept himself shrouded, like a veiled prophet. Surely it would be supposed that such a monarch would be digito monstrari ad nauseam-he would be the lion; and yet I can see the feeling towards him is hostile. I was almost shocked when on asking a lady who sold cartes de visite down in the pretty little alley, which may be called "Baden Vanity Fair"-she replied pertly, and with a curl of her lip, in disparagement, "C'est n'est pas un grand homme I respectfully ça. dissent from that view.
What a deal there is in a name. At home there are people who, in their coarse way, would call this illustrious man the keeper of a hell. Here this keeper of a hell, if it must be so, has a lovely palace of a villathe Villa Benazet. Here this keeper of a hell gives parties, the most delightful soirees and balls, to choice artistic guests. To him comes on a visit Viardot Garcia, the incomparable, and gives bits of "Orfeo" to delighted audiences. To him comes the Italian artists on furlough-to play at his opera house, it is said, Franco, and in return are entertained sumptuously. He is not so bad, this hell-keeper, after all. In alliance with him is King Girardin, late of The Presse, whose Villa Girardin is pointed out to all strangers. He has reunions too witty, artistic, brilliant.
In short, it is a gay kingdom, and we must not look this gift horse-the Arabian they call Benazet-too closely in the mouth.
The offices of piety are not neglected at this little depôt of dice and cards. High up, on the side of the hill, with its porch actually appearing to be on the roofs of the houses below, is the
cathedral; and here of a Sunday, as we pass by, we can hear a rich, old organ, trumpeting, swelling, rising, and falling, within. Hither do the honest Baden agricultural men and women repair-rough, rude, figures, racing if farming-earrings in the men's earsutterly uninfected by the polite plague raging below; most honest, faithful, sturdy, and devout children of labour, whom I see reading their prayers earnestly from books.
A quaint, old electoral sort of interior, with the tombs, grand-ducal, scattered all about, in corners and nooks; each conceived in the oldfashioned, windy flamboyancy-the luxuriance of gilt scroll-work and flowing drapery, which is not unwelcome to the eye. This little Cathedral, too, being built in a misty, rambling way, gives an artful idea of greater height and space in the recesses and galleries, from one of which our profane fiddlers and drummers, who have been busy the night before furnishing wicked music from their green alcove on the Prado, are now joining melodiously in one of Hummel's best masses. These men are the very Swiss of musicians-as the latter had their swords ready always for " gent," so do the former proffer their bows and fiddles with the strictest impartiality. Church, gambling rooms, theatre, and ball-it is all one to them. Money is king here.
Baden Sundays are very gay festivals, especially when it is a festival Sunday. For then flock in from all points, the strangest, wildest, and most motley miscellany that can be conceived. The opera chooses its best piece, and its best men and women. The orchestra scrape less mechanically, and much as though the director had inserted a key somewhere under the shoulderblade of each performer, and wound him up with half a dozen turns. Whitecoated Austrian officers, with storkshaped legs, and spectacles on, move about in pairs, saluting everybody with laborious and overdone salaams. There are Prussian officers meandering in pairs also, whose flat epaulettes look so old-fashioned, and who salute the Austrians when they meet. It is the reign of universal salaams. Little cadets are only too happy to have the opportunity, and assert their quality by saluting officers, policemen-every
body that is salutable. The music is exquisite if it be a Prussian band, and if they are playing that wonderful musical entanglement, called the "Tannhäuser Overture," that mass of sweets and sours-of melody and dis⚫cord-of method and extravagance, which divides all Germany as though it were a political faith. Something of this party spirit is to be seen on this very night; for a knot of men gathers round the kiosk in a knot, and when the overture is done, burst into a laboured applause very much akin to that of the Claque.
Some of these gala nights at times end disastrously. Huge vaporous clouds, charged with waterspouts, are always lying in wait over the Baden lieges, and burst upon them without a second's warning. One soft Sunday night, about ten, the walks are crowded. The dresses are gay, and the music is just finishing. Café is in full work. Suddenly a few warning drops, heavy as molten lead, give a short notice. The crowd is scattered in an instant. Some have swooped down upon a few cabs waiting at the gate; some, blessed in umbrellas, rush home frantically under that shelter. Such panic, such rout, such scudding with a reckless regard to the decencies of fashion, cannot be conceived. But some, too late for the cabs, too improvident to have thought of umbrellas, retire to dry land and huddle together under the yellow porch of King Roulette.
They seem like mariners upon an island, and they look out ruefully upon the smooth promenade, fast filling into an ocean. The rain is descending in broad flat sheets. It falls on the ground with a loud dull palpable swish, that makes all feel rueful at heart. Far as the eye can
see the horizon is cleared of human beings, save, perhaps, of one luckless wretch seen flying for his life. The shipwrecked ones, huddled together on the island, look out more and more dismally, and see no hope.
These happy hunting grounds are enclosed within gates and railings, with avenues and walks, which the wheel of cab or carriage is not permitted to mark. Such assistance therefore as takes the shape of cabs may be seen afar off out in the heavy rain, like boats that may not come in close to shore. The water between is by this time like a shining pond, and the shipwrecked ones huddle together yet more closely upon their island. It is the most dismal prospect in the world. An hour passes away; King Roulette's palace is shut up. Lamps all about the garden are put out one by one. We should be all in sheer darkness on our island, but for the charity of the Administration, who kindly allow a lamp or two to remain under the porch. Another hour and no relief. There was something almost ludicrous in our distress. At times, some one or two, chafed to desperation by the delay, and seeing no hope, would make a desperate plunge, in the hope of reaching the boats; and bending down his head, would plunge recklessly into the wet. He was seen buffeting, as it were, with the terrific rain; but before being pulled on board, discovered too late, that he might, for all practical purposes, have swam all the way home. Another hour! Things began to look desperate.
It was not absolutely until past one in the morning that the rains began to abate a little, when there set in a desperate sauve qui peut.