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Fortune-Telling By Cards (For Ladies)

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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Fortune-Telling By Cards (For Ladies)

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Of course, and again, as usual, the magistrate 'hoped it would be
a lesson to Martha, and to all other foolish girls, never to
hearken to those infernal, wicked old wretches, the
fortune-tellers--many a girl having lost her character and virtue
by listening to their nonsense;' but there have been hundreds and
thousands of such Marthas since then, and no doubt there will be
very many more in future--in spite of the ridiculous exposure of
such dupes ever and anon, in courts of justice and in the columns
of the daily papers.

'The art of cartomancy, or divination by playing-cards, dates
from an early period of their obscure history. In the museum of
Nantes there is a painting, said to be by Van Eyck, representing
Philippe le Bon, Archduke of Austria, and subsequently King of
Spain, consulting a fortune-teller by cards. This picture cannot
be of a later date than the fifteenth century. Then the art was
introduced into England is unknown; probably, however, the
earliest printed notice of it in this country is the following
curious story, extracted from Rowland's Judicial Astrology
Condemned:--"Cuffe, an excellent Grecian, and secretary to the
Earl of Essex, was told, twenty years before his death, that he
should come to an untimely end, at which Cuffe laughed, and in a
scornful manner entreated the soothsayer to show him in what
manner he should come to his end, who condescended to him, and
calling for cards, entreated Cuffe to draw out of the pack any
three which pleased him. He did so, and drew three knaves, and
laid them on the table by the wizard's direction, who then told
him, if he desired to see the sum of his bad fortune, to take up
those cards. Cuffe, as he was prescribed, took up the first
card, and looking on it, he saw the portraiture of himself
cap-a-pie, having men encompassing him with bills and halberds.
Then he took up the second, and there he saw the judge that sat
upon him; and taking up the last card, he saw Tyburn, the place
of his execution, and the hangman, at which he laughed heartily.
But many years after, being condemned, he remembered and declared
this prediction."

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