Page images
PDF
EPUB

-4. This is but a faint sketch of the mischiefs which

attend gaming, even upon the square, that is, with fair play and equality in skill; but where it is otherwise, which too often happens, as thousands have found to their costs, what can save the wretched dupe, or Pigeon as it is now termed, from imminent and inevitable ruin? Or wlio can enumerate the snares, the blinds, the lures, employed by sharpers to entrap their prey, and accomplish the premeditated mischief ?---To be safe, then, keep out of the reach and possibility of danger. : Strangers, however dazzling their appearance, are always to be mis trusted. Even persons who have prided themselves on their high birth, rank, and fortune, have, of late, been often found confederates with these splendid pickpockets and black legs. ' To play with your friends, is an infallible receipt to lose them; for if you plunder them, they will abandon you with resentment; and if they plunder you, they will decline interviews that must be attended with secret ill-will, if not open reproaches. To avoid all these hazards, therefore, play not at all ; but when you find yourself giving way to the dangerous temptation, from casting your eyes on those who live in pomp and luxury by these execrable means, let their rotten reputations, and the con. tempt always connected with them, deter you

from the detestable ambition of making your · way to fortune by the same infernal road; or if

that

that reflection should prove ineffectual for your preservation, view with horror the number of meagre faces that haunt gaming-houses : (as ghosts are said to do the places where their treasure is buried), and who earn an infamous livelihood by being the tools and jackals of those very people to whom they owe their ruin, in order to reduce others to the same wretchedness; for as the jackal hunts out the prey for the lion, so these agents hunt out the : victims for the gamester and the sharper. i ... Let the cutting reflections on a lost.estate and

reputation ; the ruined wife and children reduced : in one fatal night from affluence to want, from splendor to poverty and obscurity ; let the wretched, agonizing husband, the author of all their misery and his own, be a subject of your frequent serious meditation ; and often picture to yourself in thought, with all its heightened colour and deepest gloom, the terrible, the tremendous, and certain fatal effects of a propensity to gaming.

Whatever errors I have committed in other respects, I have never been guilty of this vice, nor do I ever recollect to have been within the walls of a gaming-house. I attribute my abhorrence of it to the following circumstance, which occurred to me when a boy at school. In the course of a game of whist; which I played with a school. fellow (now a valuable character in this metropo

Mon

lis, and who, if he should chance to read this, will, I dare say, remember the circumstance), and which we began with for pence, our ardour led us on by degrees to shillings, and then to half-crowns : for some time I lost every game, and, at length, to the amount of all I had, which was half-a-guinea. You' may easily conceive a school-boy's anguish and distress at such a loss; I felt all the horrors of an unsuccessful gamester in their highest possible degree; and so great and lasting was the effect upon me, that, though at the same sitting I won all my money back, I never touched a card again till I was a man grown; and even then, and ever since, merely as a subject of trifling amusement with children, or out of politeness to acquaintances with whom I have been sure not to lose any thing to hurt me.

Gaming is not only destructive of fortune, but of that peace and serenity of mind, and sound health of body, which forms our greatest happiness below, and can alone give us the faculty of really enjoying life, or tasting its blessings with that zest which is necessary to the

full and perfect enjoyment of any good placed · within our reach. From the variety of its for

tunes and vicissitudes, and the anxiety attend. ing them, it also disfigures the human countenance by the effects of the alternate passions

.. raised

an

2576390

. raised in the mind, and sometimes rouzed almost to madness itself.

The late hours which gamesters are necessarily led to keep, also, tend very much to injure the health, and destroy the natural, fresh, and blooming complexion of the youthful face ;---and, with females, this ought surely to operate as a strong argument to shun the practice of a vice so destructive of beauty, and fatal to harmony of features.

Another bad effect attending this vice, is, the ruffling, and, by degrees, spoiling the temper, however naturally good it may originally have been; for where the anxious passions are continually on the stretch, the mind gradually loses that calmness and serenity which it before possessed, and, once lost, it is very difficult to regain, if ever at all. : Nor are the considerations of the loss of time, the bad example we set to others, particularly servants, and the risquing that which does not belong to us, or of which we are only stewards for the poor, besides the displeasure which it must bring down upon us from our God, of trifling weight, or unimportant in their nature; on the contrary, very much the reverse,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

SECT. 3.

Of Public Places, and other Recreations. ,

[ocr errors]

Can one go opon hot coals, and his feet not be buint ?

PROVERBS. AMONG- the many temptations and incitements to vice, extravagance, and intemperancé, to which youth are subject in the outset of life. that of frequenting public places of amusement, however innocent in their own nature, is the most likely to be attended with the most serious and fatal consequences to them, from the indifferent company, and the various accidental allurements to the gratification of their passions, which they must unavoidably meet with in such places, --Were the company who haunt these places all modest, virtuous, and temperate, there could no injury result to youth from visiting them ; but as it is too generally known that this is not the case, there is the less occasion for me to say any thing. further on that head. · It is considered as an innocent and a useful propensity in young men to wish to see every “ thing worth attention, and to witness every " scene of various life which is to be met with in " the metropolis ;”---nay, this idea is carried so far, that a young gentleman is considered as not

W1

« PreviousContinue »