Some half-dozen of his brothers and kinsmen had gone to the wars, of whom only one had survived to come home, with a small pension, and three bullets in different parts of his body; he had shared Benjy's cottage till his death, and had left him his old dragoon's sword and pistol, which hung over the mantelpiece, flanked by a pair of heavy single-sticks with which Benjy himself had won renown long ago as an old gamester, against the picked men of Wiltshire and Somersetshire, in many a good bout at the revels and pastimes of the country-side.
And now, while they are climbing the pole in another part of the field, and muzzling in a flour-tub in another, the old farmer whose house, as has been said, overlooks the field, and who is master of the revels, gets up the steps on to the stage, and announces to all whom it may concern that a half-sovereign in money will be forthcoming to the old gamester who breaks most heads; to which the Squire and he have added a new hat.
The reader will pardon a digression in which so invaluable a secret is communicated, since every gamester
will agree how necessary it is to know exactly the play of another, in order to countermine him.
The end and the means, the gamester
and the game, --life is made up of the intermixture and reaction of these two amicable powers, whose marriage appears beforehand monstrous, as each denies and tends to abolish the other.
Neither Hamlet, nor Macbeth, nor Othello, nor Douglas, nor The Gamester
, presented anything that could satisfy even the tragedians; and The Rivals, The School for Scandal, Wheel of Fortune, Heir at Law, and a long et cetera, were successively dismissed with yet warmer objections.
As for business, a man may think, if he win, that two eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester
seeth always more than a looker-on; or that a man in anger, is as wise as he that hath said over the four and twenty letters; or that a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm, as upon a rest; and such other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all.
Never did gamester
, whose whole fortune is staked on one cast of the die, experience the anguish which Edmond felt in his paroxysms of hope.
She knew that she was a past mistress in the arts which fascinate his sex, she understood the quiet speeches, the moods, every trick of the gamester
in emotions, from the fluttering of eyelids to the unchaining of the passions.
The railroads, controlling rates, and the bankers and stock exchange gamesters
, controlling prices, had long since bled the farmers into indebtedness.
Neither could I wonder at all this, when I saw such an interruption of lineages, by pages, lackeys, valets, coachmen, gamesters
, fiddlers, players, captains, and pickpockets.
And with that he said he would introduce me if I had a mind; so I followed him to the door, and he looking in, 'There, madam,' says he, 'are the gamesters
, if you have a mind to venture.' I looked in and said to my comrade aloud, 'Here's nothing but men; I won't venture among them.' At which one of the gentlemen cried out, 'You need not be afraid, madam, here's none but fair gamesters
; you are very welcome to come and set what you please.' so I went a little nearer and looked on, and some of them brought me a chair, and I sat down and saw the box and dice go round apace; then I said to my comrade, 'The gentlemen play too high for us; come, let us go.'
took little note of what was going on around them, and were interested in none of the appurtenances of the season, but played from morning till night, and would have been ready to play through the night until dawn had that been possible.