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their successful barbs. For them now comes
showering down, with heavy thud-thud, metallic
hailstones, aimed with a strange precision at
these happy survivors. Huge silver pieces are
spouting in a shower from the dervish's hand,
held high. One little yellow disc sleeps peacefully
on the magic winning number, vingt-six.
Another yellow disc, one half as fortunate, but
still blessed, is taking horse exercise on twenty-
six, and another number is à cheval, as the
phrase runs. A third is miraculously astride on
six bare-backed steeds, of which happy twenty-
six is one. But they are all happy, more or less;
only the little original disc which has twenty-
six all to himself is terque quaterque felix! For
him is being heaped up privately two dainty
columns of other yellow discs, to be gently
propelled over by the long fin of the dervish. A
lean, heated face, with ragged hair plumage,
breaks out of the human hedge; a lean, wasted,
and much discoloured claw clutches at the little
columns with a horrid greed. Attention!

The game is being made again; metallic
sowing-time comes round again; the ball is once
more coursing round its mahogany circus; and
so are the sickening "scenes in the circle"
repeated over and over again, and with a never
failing popularity.

In that other chamber hard by, under swimming
Cupids too, goes forward another shape of
ritual; but to the same divinity. His furnace
is alight there too. Here it is chanted out of a
Talmud, or Koran, or Mormon book written in
black and red characters, bound and lettered on
the back "Rouge et Noir." A sober and decent
congregation sitting tranquilly in their chairs;
no lunging, no violent stretching of arms, but
each busy with his book of Hours, readcurious
to saywith a long pin. This is a chapel for
persons of quality: only substantial holocausts
are laid down upon the altar. And there in the
centre, high heaped and glittering, is that banquet
of specie; layers of bank curl-papers, tureens
running over with gold drops, long fat sausage-
rolls of silver, all prepared for such as truly love
and serve the great divinity, Moloch. Prayer-
books are to be seen, lying on the ground well
thumbed, and punctured all over with pin-holes;
which apparent profanity is but these poor folks'
manner of prayer. So many pin-holes, so much
devout ejaculation. That young man with the
florid face and straw-coloured red whiskers, and who
is, as it were, washing his fingers in a golden
heap, has used a bushel of such cards. About
him there is a legend afloat; as, indeed, there
is about most persons in that chapel. He is a
sea-captain newly paid off, and he came here, flush
of prize-money, and of that good-natured milk
which mixes in the blood of many sea-captains.
Boldly he faced Moloch; and five hundred of
that god's golden pieces flowed into his pocket.
Business then took him home; but within a
week he was back again, swearing with sea-
captains' oaths to beard Moloch still further.
Since which fatal day, the golden current has
flowed steadily from him, until it has left him
washing his fingers in that last heap, and doubtful
whether to go on, or in his own phrase
"belay!" Belay, indeed, he had best, while
there is yet time. That small heap is all that
remains to him; Moloch has long since gotten
back his own, as, indeed, he usually does.
Dervishes with canonicals off, and when they have
relapsed into private life, whisper to us, rubbing
their fingers, that they deem all won money
only so much lent money, to be carried awhile
in the pocket; but to be rendered back eventually
with a terrible interest. There are legends
concerning even the dervishes, certain of whom,
sallow, careworn men, are pointed at as having
once possessed fortunes of their own, long since
prayed (or played) away to the last franc, on
Moloch's altar; and the legends say that the king;
has generously turned them into his priests, and
now generously allows them eighteen francs a
day for their service. Legend, too, concerning
the pale-cheeked Parisian lady, with her little
girl, who is moving so restlessly from room to
room, from window to window, and taking
secret and wistful glances over at the altar. Her
husband is playing, praying therea mere boy
and petit-maître—married for his looks. The
legend runs, that the Parisian lady, married for
her ingots, had come down by herself, leaving
the boy-husband at home; had met with a frightful
tempest of ill-luck; had lost of her ingots
one thousand pounds sterling; and had now set
the boy-husband to strive if he could not fight
it back for her. The little girl clinging to her
skirt knows not that it is her portion now
balancing on a pointthe point of Pin! Madame
cannot contain herself longer, and is bending
over, nervously asking for newsgood news. A
toss and a shrug, and display of open palms, is
sufficient answer. A key from madame's neck
is put into the child's little hand, and she
is presently skipping homeward, bound for
mamma's private desk, quite proud and joyful.
This legend will see its end to-night.

There is a square, shock-haired head, long
estranged from comb or brush exercise, with a
face dull and wooden, and laid down on
Kalmuck lines. That Tartar face never lifts its eye
from the green, knows no distraction all day or
all night long, he plays and prays on "a system,"
steadily, unswervingly, and with fatal sacrifices.
Moloch chuckles with delight when he sees his
followers taking to "systems." The road to
his kingdom is pavednot with good intentions,
but with systems. Unflinchingly he doubles his
moneys when beaten, and tries that long game
with Moloch.

There is a terrible old lady, past all other
enjoyment, playing fiercely, and with an earnestness
truly diabolic. She sits beside a dervish,
for convenience, and has a private rake all to
herself, which she flourishes as a witch does her
professional crooked-top stick, and yet her gold
is leaving her surely. Her notes are being
steadily transmuted in the alchemist's pot, and,
by a process truly beautiful, see the specie
trickling like a golden rill from the cunning
fingers of the dervish, to be clutched by her