A Sad Tale of Regency Gambling Woe

This is a little bombastic story I ran across.  Aside from his gambling habit, I think you will agree that the author has serious issues with women.

The following article is excerpted from Sporting Magazine: or, monthly calendar of the transactions of the turf, the chase and every other diversion interesting to the man of pleasure, enterprize, and spirit, 23, 1804. All but one of the images are from The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, Manufactures, &c in the years 1818 and 1820


I WRITE from an obscure retirement where your instructive Miscellany has accidentally reached me. As my history may not be uninstructive, I proceed. Deprived, in infancy, of a father whose professional merit as a physician yielded only to the sterling virtues of the man, I was left entirely to the management of my mother, the daughter of a tradesman rather respectable than opulent, not unjustly vain of her personal charms, and most passionately fond of the cardtable. She was left in the full possession of whatever property my father and her own left behind them. With me and the world she passed for a woman of no inconsiderable opulence: and to support that appearance as well as to gratify her sovereign passion for play and parade, she lived considerably beyond her income. Under such a guide, it may be naturally supposed that I could not find my way to the shrine of prudence or rigid virtue. No, Sir. I could support my part in the circle of slander or at the cardtable, before I could regularly subtract my stake from my winnings, or my losses from the former. Yet I was admired, at least in my mother’s presence, for my cleverness.

Having but few ideas, they were the more strongly impressed on my mind, and the more quickly and precisely managed in conversation. Nothing tended to undeceive me in the delusive vanity which the flattery or my mother’s whist and supper friends, and her own loquacious partiality inspired, but the manifest superiority that the dullest of my class-fellows had over me at school. That chagrin however was but transitory, for my master was too lazy to chide me; and as I was a day-boy, I soon forgot it every evening in my conscious cleverness at the card table, where my mother would often say she indulged me merely that, like the young Duke of  B. I should know how to guard my fortune from black-legs, though, poor woman ! As it afterwards came out, she had not then above seven hundred pounds in the world. But she had every year four or five shares in the lottery, and was confident it would make her fortune at last.

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