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Gambling in france in all times , chapter 5, page 1

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Volume I Volume II

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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Casino Gambling in history

CHAPTER V. page 23

Madame de Sevigne had beheld the gamesters only in the
presence of their master the king, or in the circles which were
regulated with inviolable propriety; but what would she have said
if she could have seen the gamblers at the secret suppers and in
the country-houses of the Superintendent Fouquet, where twenty
`qualified' players, such as the Marshals de Richelieu, de
Clairembaut, &c., assembled together, with a dash of bad company,
to play for lands, houses, jewels, even for point-lace and
neckties? There she would have seen something more than gold
staked, since the players debased themselves so low as to
circumvent certain opulent dupes, who were the first invited. To
leave one hundred pistoles, ostensibly for `the cards,' but
really as the perquisite of the master of the lordly house;
to recoup him when he lost; and, when they had to deal with some
unimportant but wealthy individual, to undo him completely,
compelling him to sign his ruin on the gaming table-- such was
the conduct which rendered a man _recherche_, and secured the
title of a fine player!

It was precisely thus that the famous (or infamous) Gourville,
successively valet-de-chambre to the Duc de la Rochefoucault,
hanged in effigy at Paris, king's envoy in Germany, and
afterwards proposed to replace Colbert--it was thus precisely, I
say, that Gourville secured favour, `consideration,' fortune; for
he declares, in his Memoirs, that his gains in a few years
amounted to more than a million. And fortune seems to have
cherished and blessed him throughout his detestable career.
After having made his fortune, he retired to write the scandalous
Memoirs from which I have been quoting, and died out of debt![56]

[56] Mem. de Gourville, i.

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