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In this book a chapter is devoted to English | conversation between the players, and hence Ruff-and-Honours, and Whist,' and it con- the word 'whist ! may have been used in its tains the following passage :
interjectional form to insist on the necessary
silence; and from the similarity of this to * Ruff-and-honours (alias blamm) and Whist, are games so commonly known in England, in the term already in use the modification in all parts thereof, that every child almost of the last letter may have taken its rise. It is eight years old hath a competent knowledge
worthy of remark, that in a fashionable book that recreation.'
on Ombre, published in Berlin in 1714, the
writer, who had probably never heard of the After describing Ruff-and-honours the au- English game, says • Pour bien jouer l'ombre, thor says, “Whist is a game not much differ- il faut du silence et de la tranquillité.' ing from this.' The ruffing privilege was
But, whatever may be the views held in abolished; each player still had twelve cards, this country as to the origin of the name of but, instead of leaving an unknown stock on our national card-game, it is only fair to our the table, the four deuces were discarded ingenious neighbours across the Channel to from the pack before dealing; a great step give their explanation, which we find in a in advance, as it enabled the players to cal- French work on whist :culate with more certainty the contents of each other's hands. The score was still nine,
"At a time when French was the current tricks and honours counting as before.
language in England, the people had become so Cotton never uses or alludes to the earlier infatuated with one of their games at cards, name • Whisk,' but he gives an independent that it was prohibited after a certain hour. derivation of the newer word. He says the But parties met clandestinely to practise it; game
and when the question “ Voulez-vous jouer ?"
was answered by “Oui !" the master of the is called whist from the silence that is to be room added the interjection “St !" to impose observed in the play.'
silence. This occurred so often that “ Ou-ist"
became at length the current appellation of the This meaning is warranted by the custom
game !! of the time. The word, although treated as a verb, adjective, or participle, by Shakes- With these names there came to be assopeare, Milton, Spenser, and others, is defined ciated another of a very strange character, by Skinner (1671), one of the best authori- namely swabbers' or swobbers.' Fielding, ties, as interjectio silentium imperans, and for example, in the account of Jonathan so it was commonly used. In an old play, Wild's visit to the spunging-house in Lonwritten by Dekkar, in 1604, we find the don, in 1682, says, “whisk and swabbers was example
then in the chief vogue.' Swift, in " Whist! whist! my master.'
his Essay on the Fates of Clergymen, rid
icules Archbishop Tenison, who was said to Cotton's derivation of the present name be a dull man, for misunderstanding the has been adopted by Johnson and Nares, and term. He relates a known story of a clergyhas always been most commonly received; man, who was recommended to the Archbut it must not be forgotten that the word bishop for preferment, when his Grace said, • whisk' is the older of the two, and that it · He had heard that the clergyman used to continued in use, along with the other name, play at whist and swobbers ; that as to playfor a century after Cotton wrote. Pope, ing now and then a sober game at whist for in his epistle to Mrs. Teresa Blount, 1715, pastime, it might be pardoned; but he could says
not digest those wicked swobbers.' “It was "Some squire, perhaps, you take delight to rack, Lord Somers could undeceive him.' John
with some pains, adds the Dean, 'that my Whose game is Whisk, whose treat a toast in sack.'
son quotes the pretended speech of the
Archbishop, and defines swabbers as four Johnson describes whist as “vulgarly pro- privileged cards, which are only incidentally nounced whisk;' and the Hon. Daines Bar- used for betting at whist.' These were rington, writing in 1786, on games at cards, probably identical with the four honours; adopts the latter orthography without any and it has been conjectured that as whisk qualification.
was intended to ridicule ruff,' the analogous It is possible to reconcile the two deriva- term “swabbers' (from swab, a kind of mop) tions by supposing that, when the game took may have been added to supply the place of its complete form, the more intellectual the other part of the original name; so that character it assumed demanded greater care whisk and swabbers' was made the vulgar and closer attention in the play ; this was synonym for the “ruff and honours' of the incompatible with noise in the room or with | fashionable world. But, however this may be, the additional term was of limited ap- acter of whist. In Farquhar's comedy of plication, and soon went out of use. the · Beaux's Stratagem,' 1707, Mrs. Sullen
It is curious that although the precursors speaks of the rural accomplishments of of whist had enjoyed favour in high places, drinking fat ale, playing at .whisk, and Fet whist itself, in its infancy, was chiefly smoking tobacco with my husband.' Fieldplayed in low society, where cheats and ing and Pope, as we have seen, both speak of sharpers assembled. The greatest part of it disparagingly; and Thomson, in his · AuCotton's chapter is devoted to a warning tumn (1730), describes how, after a heavy against the tricks and frauds of these gentry. hunt dinner He alludes to the arts used in dealing,' and
• Whist awhile shows how, by ingenious devices, cunning Walks his dull round beneath a cloud of fellows about this city may not only know smoke all the cards by their backs, but may turn up Wreath'd fragrant from the pipe.' honours for themselves, and avoid doing so for their adversaries. The following pas- This being, he adds, one of the 'puling sage gives some significant hints :
idlenesses' introduced to cheat the thirsty
moments until the party He that can by craft overlook his adversaries' game hath a great advantage, for by Close in firm circle, and set, ardent, in, that means he may partly know what to play
For serious drinking.' securely. There is a way to discover to their partners what honours they have; as by the
In the early part of the eighteenth cenwink of one eye, or putting one finger on the tury there was a mania for card-playing in nose or table, it signifies one honour; shutting all parts of Europe and in all classes of soboth the eyes, two; plačing three fingers or ciety, but in the best circles whist was still four on the table, three or four honours.' unknown. Gentlemen in their gaming co
In a republication of Cotton's work in teries chiefly practised piquet (a very old 1734, these cautions are amplified, showing game, invented in France in the fifteenth that whist still retained the same 'low char century), and in ladies' society the most
fashionable amusement was Ombre, imacter. The editor says, “as whisk (he uses mortalized by Pope's “ Rape of the Lock' the old appellation) is a tavern game, the sharpers generally take care to put about the his disparaging mention of whist a year or
(1712), in a manner strongly contrasted with bottle before the game begins.' A special two later. chapter is given to 'piping at whisk; and
It was about 1730 when the new game as this is an accomplishment not generally rose out of its obscurity and took rapidly known at the modern clubs, the following ex- the rank due to its great merits. At that tract may be interesting :
time the ordinaries, where gambling had By piping I mean when one of the company been long carried on to an enormous extent, that does not play (which frequently happens), and with the most scandalous abuses, began sits down in a convenient place to smoke a pipe to be superseded by the more intellectual and so look on, pretending to amuse himself meetings at taverns and coffee-houses, which that way. Now the disposing of his fingers figure so prominently in the literary annals on the pipe whilst smoking, discovers the prin- of the last century. It happened that a cipal cards that are in the person's hand he overlooks, which was always esteemed a suf- party of gentlemen who frequented the ficient advantage to win a game. This may Crown coffee-bouse in Bedford Row, and of also be done by another way si. e. without the whom the first Lord Folkstone was one, had pipe, and by common conversation). “ In- become acquainted with the game, and pracdeed," signifies diamonds; “truly," hearts; tised it at their meetings. They soon found
upon my word,” clubs; “I assure you, spades. *
out it had merits, studied it carefully, and
arrived, for the first time, at some fundaIt is only fair to add, that with the bane mental rules of play. the editor supplies also the antidote. He The way having been thus prepared, there says, ' For which reasons, all nice gamesters was wanting a man of genius who should play behind curtains.'
further work out the elements of the game There is other evidence of the low char- and mould it into a permanent, logical
, scientific form. This man appeared in the * There are several other bare-faced practices person of Edmond Hoyle. There is very made use of, such as looking over hands, chang- little trustworthy information as to his anteing cards under the table, and often from off the cedents. He was born in 1672: it is said he table ; but these are generally made use of by studied as a barrister, and he styles himself ont any sense of shame or dishonour.' - Annals in his first book“ a gentleman.” It is clear
he was a man of good education, and moved
in good society; probably he was one of the taken from the thirteenth edition, is a facparty that met at the Crown.
simile. It appears
that he had studied whist for many years : and he saw, not only that it had great capabilities, but that it was much debased by the use made of it by sharpers for cheating inexperienced players out of their money. He believed that it was in his In the fifteenth edition the signature was, power to guard the public against these un for the first time, impressed from a woodprincipled practices, as well as to excite a block, and in the seventeenth it was anmore legitimate interest in the game, by nounced that Mr. Hoyle was dead.' The spreading a better knowledge of the prin- great man departed this life, full of years ciples on which it should be played; and to and of honours, on the 29th of August, attain these objects he resolved to teach it | 1769. professionally. His spirited attempt excited Byron's oft-quoted parallel much attention, as we find several notices of it on record. In the · Rambler' of May 8,
. Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to
Hoyle,' 1750, a lady writes :
hardly does justice to our author, for he was • As for play, I do think I may, indeed, in- far more than the historian of whist; he dulge in that, now I am my own mistress. Papa made me drudge at whist till I was tired may, essentially, be considered its founder. of it; and, far from wanting a head, Mr.
The effect of Hoyle's promulgation of the Hoyle
, when he had not given me above forty game in its iniproved form was very prompt, lessons, said I was one of his best scholars.' as we learn from a witty and amusing bro
chure that appeared in the same year, 1743, In the Gentleman's Magazine' of Feb-called The Humours of Whist, a dramatic ruary, 1755, a writer professing to give the Satire, as acted every day at White's and autobiography of a fashionable physician, other coffee-houses and assemblies.' It is a says :
short comedy, the principal characters being
Professor Whiston (Hoyle), who gives les' Hoyle tutored me in several games at cards, and under the name of guarding me from be
sons in the game; Sir Calculation Puzing cheated insensibly gave me a taste for zle, an enthusiastic player, who muddles his sharping.'
head with Hoyle's calculations and always
loses ; pupils, sharpers, and their dupes. The In the course of this instruction he sold to object is chiefly to ridicule the pretensions his pupils a set of notes which he had drawn of Hoyle and the enthusiasm of his folup, containing rules and directions for their lowers, and to show that skill and calculaguidance. These were in manuscript, and tion are of no avail against bad luck or prehe charged a guinea for each copy. The meditated fraud. The work was reprinted novelty and great value of the rules were ten years later, but it is scarce, and we may soon discovered, and surreptitious copies be- give a few extracts that throw light on the gan to get into circulation, when Mr. Hoyle, circumstances attending the first introducto secure his copyright, had them published, tion of the new rules of the game. and thus originated the work which stands Hoyle had given out that he had spent first on the list at the head of this article.
forty years in its study, and the prologue At this time the final changes had been says: made by increasing the score to ter, and by using the whole pack, thus giving thirteen
Who will believe that man could e'er exist, cards to each player. This latter improve
Who spent near half an age in studying whist ? ment introduced the odd trick, an element
Grew grey with calculation, labour hard,
As if life's business center'd in a card ? of such great interest in the present game. That such there is, let me to those appeal Whether it was Hoyle, or some one pre- Who with such liberal hands reward his zeal. viously, who made these changes, is not Lo! whist he makes a science, and our peers clear; but at any rate the game, as he Deign to turn schoolboys in their riper years.' presents it, is precisely the form of long Sir Calculation Puzzle gives some amuswhist ever since played.,
ing explanations of his losses. In one case His book had a great and rapid success ; | he says :it went through several editions in one year, and it seems to have been again pirated, as
“That certainly was the most out-of-the-way the author found it necessary to certify game, when he must infallibly have lost it, the
bite ever was heard of. Upon the pinch of the every genuine copy by attaching his auto- dog ate the losing card, by which means we graph signature, of which the following, dealt again, and faith he won the game.'
Again, in reference to Hoyle's calculations polite games used cast of Temple Bar. of chances :
Whist was included in the latter category up
to the seventh edition ; but in the next, • We were ninc all. The adversary had three and we four tricks. All the trumps were out dated 1754, it was transferred to the court I had queen and two small clubs, with the lead. division. In 1758 it had become a fit reLet me sce: it was about 222 and 3 halves to creation for University dons, as in No. 33 of gad, I forgot how many—that my partner had the Idler,' the senior fellow of a college at the ace and king; ay, that he had not both of Cambridge represents himself and his party them, 17 to 2; and that he had not one, or both, as • sitting late at whist in the evening.' or neither, some 25 to 32. So I, according to When whist became fashionable, it was the judgment of the game, led a club; my part- naturally taken up by polite literature, dry ner takes it with the king. Then it was exactly 481 for us to 222 for them. He returns the rules and laws being made subservient to same suit, I win it with my queen, and return poetry and imagination. We have already it again ; but the devil take that Lurchum, by seen how it had been dramatised; it was now passing his ace twice, he took the trick, and, to be raised to a higher grade in Parnassus, having two more clubs and a thirteenth card, by becoming the subject of an Epic. In egad, all was over.'
1791 appeared • Whist, a Poem, in 12 Can
tos,' by Alexander Thomson, Esq. The The praise of Hoyle's book by its sup- book went through two editions, and made porters is unbounded. They say
great pretensions to learning, by quotations “There never was so excellent a book printed. from or references to authors in almost every I'm quite in raptures with it; I will eat with it, language, from French to Persian, and of alsleep with it, go to Parliament with it, go to most every age, from the Patriarchs to the Church with it. I pronounce it the gospel of eighteenth century; but the poetry was whist-players. I want words to express the feeble, the history incorrect, and the whist author, and can look on him in no other light not over sound. One quotation, of the conthan as a second Newton. I have joined twelve companies in the Mall, and eleven of them were
cluding lines, will suffice :talking of it. It's the subject of all conversation, and has had the honour to be introduced When hostile armies ranged in neat array,
Nor do I yet despair to see the day into the Cabinet.'
Instead of fighting, shall engage in play; The wits, however, did not neglect to poke And Christian blood be spilt on neither side.
When peaceful whist the quarrel shall decide, fun at the Professor:
Then pleas no more should wait the tardy laws, Beau. Ha! ha! ha! I shall dye! Yonder But one odd trick at once conclude the cause. is Lord Finess and Sir George Tenace, two first- (Tho' some will say that this is nothing new, rate players ; they have been most lavishly beat For here there have been long odd tricks enow.) by a couple of 'prentices. Ha! ha! ha! They Then Britain still
, to all the world's surprise, came slap four by honours upon them almost In this great science shall progressive rise,
Till every deal.
ages hence, when all of each degree Lord Rally. I find, Professor, your book Shall play the game as well as Hoyle or me.' do's not teach how to beat four by honours. Ha! ha! ha!
One of the chief seats of whist playing * Professor (aside). Curse them! I'd rather during the eighteenth century was the city of have given a thousand pounds than this should Bath, where Nash and other celebrities had have happen'd. It strikes at the reputation of much encouraged card - games generally. may Treatise.
About 1800, a little book appeared there, * Lord Rally. In my opinion there is still entitled Advice to the Young Whist Player, something wanting to compleat the system of by Thomas Matthews, Esq. This was a whist: and that is A Dissertation on the Lucky sound and useful work, containing many Chair . [Company laugh.)
im- Professor. Ha! ha! ha! your Lordship's provements, resulting from the experience of hint is excellent. I'm obliged to you for it.'
half a century, and it is, even now, worthy of
attentive study. Whist advanced rapidly in public favour,
About the same date an important change and evidence is on record of the time when took place, namely, the introduction of it was received at court and formally acknow- Short Whist,' by altering the winning score ledged as one of the royal amusements
. In from ten to five, and abolishing the call' 1720 a little book, called the · Court Game- for honours when wanting two of game.. ster,' was, as its title-page informs us, writ. The change is said to have originated in an ten for the use of the young princesses,' the accident: Lord Peterborough having one danghters of the Prince of Wales, afterwards night lost a large sum of money, the friends George II. It was frequently reprinted, and with whom he was playing proposed to give in later editions a second part was added, him the revanche at five points instead of called the City Gamester, containing less ten, in order to afford him a quicker chance
of recovering his loss. The new plan was vokes the sun of Joshua and the star of the found so lively that it soon became popular, Magi; he investigates the electric affinities of and has long since superseded long whist in the players, and illustrates a hand by analythe best circles. The reason of the prefer, tical geometry. He died some fifteen or ence is not difficult to discover. All good twenty years ago. players must have found out how the interest The latest stage in the history of whist increased towards the close of the long game, comprises the more modern determination when the parties were pretty even, and when and consolidation of its scientific constituit became necessary to pay stricter attention tion, both theoretical and practical, as exhito the score, in order to regulate the play. bited in the three works conjoined with that Now to cause this state of things to recur of Hoyle in the heading to the present armore frequently, it would be sufficient to ticle. play, as it were, the latter half of the game This important step was brought about by without the former, i.e., to commence with a circumstance somewhat similar to that both parties at the score of five ; for this is which gave rise to the first development of the true sense of the alteration.
the game by Hoyle, a century and a quarter This mode of viewing it accounts for no before. Between 1850 and 1860, a knot of change being made in the value of the young men at Cambridge, of considerable honours. Some authorities think the scoring ability, who had at first taken up whist for for these should have been halved, and, no amusement, found it offer such a field for indoubt, this would have given more effect to tellectual study, that they continued its pracskill in play; but such a change would have tice more systematically, with a view to its rendered the game less generally interesting. complete scientific investigation. Since the It must never be forgotten that the element general adoption of short whist, the constant of chance is one of the attractive features of practice of adepts had led to the introducwhist, to good players as well as to mediocre tion of many improvements in detail
, but noones, and to tamper with the present arrange thing had been done to reduce the modern ment would probably endanger the popula- play into a systematic form, or to lay it rity of the game.
clearly before the public; its secrets, so far Whist was known in France at an early as they differed from the precepts of Hoyle period by translations of Hoyle. It was and Matthews, were confined to small coteplayed by Louis XV., and under the Empire ries of club players. The little whist school was a favourite game of Josephine and Marie held together afterwards in London, and Louise. After the Restoration it was taken added to its numbers; and in 1862 one of its up more enthusiastically. The nobles,' says members brought out the work published a French writer, 'had gone to England to under the name of .Cavendish,' the principal learn to think, and they brought back the object of which was to illustrate the modern thinking game with them.' Talleyrand was play by a set of model games, after the the great player of the day, and his mot- manner of those so much used at chess. , Two 'You do not know whist, young man? years afterwards appeared the Essay of Mr. What a sad old age you are preparing for Clay, and a little later that of Dr. Pole. yourself !—is a standing quotation in all Each of these publications is distinct in whist books. Charles X. was playing whist its object. The work of Dr. Pole expounds at St. Cloud on the 29th July, 1830, when the fundamental theory on which the mothe tricolour was waving on the Tuileries, dern game is based; that of Cavendish and he had lost bis throne. His successor, gives detailed rules for, and examples of, its Louis Philippe, when similarly engaged, had application in practice; and that of Mr. to submit to an elegant insolence. He had Clay is an able dissertation on the more redropped a louis, and stopped the game to fined points of the best modern play, by the look for it, when a foreign ambassador, one best modern player. Taken together, these of the party, set fire to a billet of 1000 francs' books (which ought to be combined in one to give light to the King under the table. volume) furnish a complete epitome of the
In 1839 appeared a . Traité du Whiste,' game, presenting it both theoretically and by M. Deschapelles, whom Mr. Clay calls practically in the perfect state at which it the finest whist player, beyond any compa- has now arrived, by continued study and rison, the world has ever seen.' Much was practice during the two centuries that have to be expected from such a quarter, but the elapsed since it first assumed a definite publication was but a fragment of a larger shape and took its present name. work that never appeared. The author treats of whist in a manner highly spirituel. He We may now endeavour to give a genereasons on immensity and eternity, on meta- ral idea of what the game is in its most imphysical necessity and trial by jury; he in-proved form.