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The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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 CHAPTER XI. page 19

GEORGE SELWYN.


The character of Selwyn,' says Mr Jesse, `was in many respects a
remarkable one. With brilliant wit, a quick perception of the
ridiculous, and a thorough knowledge of the world and human
nature, he united classical knowledge and a taste for the fine
arts. To these qualities may be added others of a very
contradictory nature. With a thorough enjoyment of the pleasures
of society, an imperturbable good-humour, a kind heart, and a
passionate fondness for children, he united a morbid interest in
the details of human suffering, and, more especially, a
taste for witnessing criminal executions. Not only was he a
constant frequenter of such scenes of horror, but all the details
of crime, the private history of the criminal, his demeanour at
his trial, in the dungeon, and on the scaffold, and the state of
his feelings in the hour of death and degradation, were to Selwyn
matters of the deepest and most extraordinary interest. Even the
most frightful particulars relating to suicide and murder, the
investigation of the disfigured corpse, the sight of an
acquaintance lying in his shroud, seem to have afforded him a
painful and unaccountable pleasure.

 

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