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The History Of Dice And Cards

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The History Of Dice And Cards

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'All great inventions and discoveries are works of time, and
Whist is no exception to the rule; it did not come into the world
perfect at all points, as Minerva emerged from the head of
Jupiter. Nor were its wonderful merits early recognized. Under
the vulgar appellations of Whisk and Swobbers, it long lingered
in the servants'-hall ere it could ascend to the drawing-room.
At length, some gentlemen, who met at the Crown coffee-house, in
Bedford Row, studied the game, gave it rules, established its
principles, and then Edward Hoyle, in 1743, blazoned forth its
fame to all the world.

'Many attempts have been made, at various times, to turn playing-
cards to a very different use from that for which they were
originally intended. Thus, in 1518, a learned Franciscan friar,
named Murner, published a Logica Memorativa, a mode of teaching
logic, by a pack of cards; and, subsequently, he attempted to
teach a summary of civil law in the same manner. In 1656, an
Englishman, named Jackson, published a work, entitled the
Scholar's Sciential Cards, in which he proposed to teach reading,
spelling, grammar, writing, and arithmetic, with various arts and
sciences, by playing-cards; premising that the learner was well
grounded in all the games played at the period. And later still,
about the close of the seventeenth century, there was published
the Genteel Housekeeper's Pastime; or the Mode of Carving at
Table represented in a Pack of Playing-Cards, by which any one of
ordinary Capacity may learn how to Carve, in Mode, all the most
usual Dishes of Flesh, Fish, Fowl, and Baked Meats, with the
several Sauces and Garnishes proper to Every Dish of Meat. In
this system, flesh was represented by hearts, fish by clubs, fowl
by diamonds, and baked-meat by spades. The king of hearts ruled
a noble sirloin of roast-beef; the monarch of clubs presided over
a pickled herring; and the king of diamonds reared his battle-axe
over a turkey; while his brother of spades smiled benignantly on
a well-baked venison-pasty.

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