A MOST WONDERFUL END OF A GAMBLER.
In the Annual Register for the year 1766 occurs the following
'circumstantial and authentic account of the memorable case of
Richard Parsons,' transmitted by the high sheriff of
Gloucestershire to his friend in London.
On the 20th of February, 1766, Richard Parsons and three more met
at a private house in Chalfold, in order to play at cards, about
six o'clock in the evening. They played at Loo till about eleven
or twelve that night, when they changed their game for Whist.
After a few deals a dispute arose about the state of the game.
Parsons asserted with oaths that they were six, which the others
denied; upon which he wished 'that he might never enter the
kingdom of heaven, and that his flesh might rot upon his bones,
if there were not six in the game.' These wishes were several
times repeated both then and afterwards. Upon this the candle
was put out by a party present, who said he was shocked with the
oaths and expressions he heard, and that he put out the candle
with a design to put an end to the game. Presently upon this
they adjourned to another house, and there began a fresh game,
when Parsons and his partner had great success. They then played
at Loo again till four in the morning. During the second playing
Parsons complained to one Rolles, his partner, of a bad pain in
his leg, which from that time increased. There was an appearance
of a swelling, and afterwards the colour changing to that of a
mortified state. On the following Sunday he took advice of a
surgeon, who attended him until his death. Notwithstanding all
the applications that were made the mortification increased, and
showed itself in different parts of the body. He was visited by
a clergyman, who administered the sacrament to him, without any
knowledge of what had happened before--the man appearing to be
extremely ignorant of religion, having been accustomed to swear,
to drink, to game, and to profane the Sabbath. After receiving
the sacrament he said--'Now, I must never sin again.' He hoped
God would forgive him, having been wicked not above six years,
and that whatever should happen he would not play at cards again.