According to Walpole--'A person coming into the club on the
morning of the earthquake, in 1750, and hearing bets laid whether
the shock was caused by an earthquake or the blowing up of
powder-mills, went away in horror, protesting they were such an
impious set that he believed if the last trump were to sound they
would bet puppet-show against Judgment.'
And again: 'One of the youths at White's, in 1744, has committed
a murder, and intends to repeat it. He betted L1500 that a man
could live twelve hours under water; hired a desperate fellow,
sunk him in a ship, by way of experiment, and both ship and man
have not appeared since. Another man and ship are to be tried
for their lives instead of Mr Blake, the assassin.'
He also tells us of a very curious entry in the betting-book.
Lord Mountford bets Sir John Bland twenty guineas that Nash
outlives Cibber.' 'How odd,' says Walpole, 'that these two old
creatures, selected for their antiquities, should live to see
both their wagerers put an end to their own lives! Cibber is
within a few days of eighty-four, still hearty, and clear, and
well. I told him I was glad to see him look so well. "Faith,"
said he, "it is very well that I look at all." Lord Mountford
would have been the winner: Cibber died in 1757, Nash in 1761.'
Hogarth's scene at the gambling house is taken at White's. 'We
see the highwayman, with his pistols peeping out of his pocket,
waiting by the fireside till the heaviest winner takes his
departure, in order to "recoup" himself for his losings; and in
the Beaux' Stratagem, Aimwell asks of Gibbet--"Ha'n't I seen your
face at White's?" "Ay, and at Will's too," is the highwayman's