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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens




920

company. Drinking-tents were full, glasses began to clink in
carriages, hampers to be unpacked, tempting provisions to be set
forth, knives and forks to rattle, champagne corks to fly, eyes to
brighten that were not dull before, and pickpockets to count their
gains during the last heat. The attention so recently strained on
one object of interest, was now divided among a hundred; and look
where you would, there was a motley assemblage of feasting,
laughing, talking, begging, gambling, and mummery.

Of the gambling-booths there was a plentiful show, flourishing
in all the splendour of carpeted ground, striped hangings, crimson
cloth, pinnacled roofs, geranium pots, and livery servants. There
were the Strangerís club-house, the Athenaeum club-house, the
Hampton club-house, the St Jamesís club-house, and half a mile of
club-houses to play in; and there were rouge-et-noir, French
hazard, and other games to play at. It is into one of these booths
that our story takes its way.

Fitted up with three tables for the purposes of play, and
crowded with players and lookers on, it was, although the largest
place of the kind upon the course, intensely hot, notwithstanding
that a portion of the canvas roof was rolled back to admit more air,
and there were two doors for a free passage in and out. Excepting
one or two men who, each with a long roll of half-crowns,
chequered with a few stray sovereigns, in his left hand, staked
their money at every roll of the ball with a business-like
sedateness which showed that they were used to it, and had been
playing all day, and most probably all the day before, there was no
very distinctive character about the players, who were chiefly
young men, apparently attracted by curiosity, or staking small
sums as part of the amusement of the day, with no very great


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PinkMonkey.com-Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens



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