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

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The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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Gambling at the german bathing-places

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Their name is legion; and they constitute the very worst feature of
a place which, naturally a Paradise, is turned into a seventh hell
by the uncontrolled rioting of human passions. They have no friends--
no "protectors;" they are dependent upon accident for a meal or a
piece of gold to throw away at the tables; they are plague-spots
upon the face of society; they are, as a rule, crassly ignorant
and horribly cynical; and yet there are many men here who are
proud of their acquaintance, always ready to entertain them in
the most expensive manner, and who speak of them as if they were
the only desirable companions in the world!

`Amongst our notabilities of the eccentric sort, not the least
singular in her behaviour is the Countess C----o, an aged
patrician of immense fortune, who is as constant to Wiesbaden as
old Madame de K----f is to Hombourg on the Heights. Like the
last-named lady, she is daily wheeled to her place in the Black
and Red temple, and plays away for eight or nine hours with
wonderful spirit and perseverance. She has with her a _suite_ of
eight domestics; and when she wins (which is not often), on
returning to her hotel at night, she presents each member of her
retinue with--twopence! "not," as she naively avows, "from
a feeling of generosity, but to propitiate Fortune." When
she loses, none of them, save the man who wheels her home, get
anything but hard words from her; and he, happy fellow, receives
a donation of six kreutzers. She does not curse the croupiers
loudly for her bad luck, like her contemporary, the once lovely
Russian Ambassadress; but, being very far advanced in years, and
of a tender disposition, sheds tears over her misfortunes,
resting her chin on the edge of the table.

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