AN INSINUATING, ELEGANT GAMESTER.
Osterman, Grand Chancellor of Russia, during the reign of the
Empress Anne, obtained information that the court of Versailles
had formed a scheme to send an insinuating, elegant gamester, to
attack the Duke of Biran on his weak side--a rage for play--and
thereby probably gain some political advantage over him.
The chancellor called on the duke to make the necessary
communication, but the minister did not choose to be at home.
The chancellor, then pretending to be suffering from a severe fit
of gout, wrote to his sovereign, stating that he had important
matter to reveal, but was unable to move, and the Duke of Biran
was consequently ordered to wait on him by the empress.
Osterman, affecting great pain, articulated with apparent
difficulty these words--'The French are sending a gamester!'
Thereupon the duke withdrew in a pet, and represented to the
empress that the chancellor was delirious from the gout, and had
really nothing to communicate.
The subject had long been forgotten by the duke, when an elegant,
easy, dissipated marquis actually arrived. He had extensive
credit on a house of the English Factory, and presently
insinuated himself into the good graces of the duke, whom he soon
eased of all his superfluous cash.