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Gambling at the german bathing-places , chapter 8, page 1

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Gambling at the german bathing-places

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CHAPTER VIII. page 56

`The great mass of visitors at Wiesbaden this season, as at
Hombourg, belong to the middle and lower middle classes, leavened
by a very few celebrities and persons of genuine distinction.
There are a dozen or two eminent men here, not to be seen in the
play-rooms, who are taking the waters--Lord Clarendon, Baron
Rothschild, Prince Souvarof, and a few more--but the general run
of guests is by no means remarkable for birth, wealth, or
respectability; and we are shockingly off for ladies. As a
set-off against this deficiency, it would seem that all the aged,
broken-down courtesans of Paris, Vienna, and Berlin have agreed
to make Wiesbaden their autumn rendezvous. Arrayed in all the
colours of the rainbow, painted up to the roots of their dyed
hair, shamelessly _decolletees_, prodigal of "free" talk
and unseemly gesture, these ghastly creatures, hideous
caricatures of youth and beauty, flaunt about the play-rooms and
gardens, levying black-mail upon those who are imprudent enough
to engage them in "chaff" or badinage, and desperately
endeavouring to hook themselves on to the wealthier and younger
members of the male community. They poison the air round them
with sickly perfumes; they assume titles, and speak of one
another as "cette chere comtesse;" their walk is something
between a prance and a wriggle; they prowl about the terrace
whilst the music is playing, seeking whom they may devour, or
rather whom they may inveigle into paying for their devouring:
and, _bon Dieu!_ how they do gorge themselves with food and drink
when some silly lad or aged roue allows himself to be bullied
or wheedled into paying their scot!

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