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provincial and bring him to high stakes, they
would allow him to win at the outset three
thousand francs (one hundred and twenty pounds);
after which, they would strip him without mercy.

The game began under conditions highly
favourable to the Greeks. The well-born juvenile
laid on the table a pocket-book, which appeared
richly furnished. He took from it a five-hundred-
franc note, which he deposited as his stakes.

Fortune, influenced by the concerted trio,
favoured the young gentleman so constantly
that he soon became possessed of the sum that
was to serve as the bait.

"Really, gentlemen," he said, stuffing into
his pocket-book the bank-notes he had won, "I
am almost ashamed of such a run of luck. I
even wish that it would change, that you might
get your money back again. Voyons! This
time I will not stake less than fifty louis."

But scarcely had these words been uttered,
when the youth of good family, drawing out his
pocket-handkerchief, hastily applied it to his
face; his nose had suddenly begun to bleed.

"Excuse me, messieurs," he said, rising; "I
am at your service in an instant. I only ask
for five minutes; for this infirmity, to which I
am subject, rarely lasts longer."

He went out of the room, leaving his pocket-
book on the table.

La Candeur, urged by sympathetic interest,
followed his friend, to render assistance; or
rather, to cut away with him as fast as their legs
could carry them. For the wealthy provincial
was, in truth, no other than a Parisian swindler,
with whom La Candeur had conspired to rob his
comrades of three thousand francs. The bleeding
at the nose and the handkerchief stained with
blood, were the denouement of the farce whose
first act was played in the saloon of the Opera.

Let us now peep into the restaurant, and
listen to what subsequently occurred there.

"I say, old fellow," said one of the partners,
who sat looking at the well-filled pocket-book,
"chance favours us beyond our expectations.
Suppose that we have won the countryman's
bank-notes: we may as well share them and
take ourselves off."

"Yes," said the other; "but there is a bill
to pay before we can leave."

"Mon Dieu! what a simpleton you are! We
can settle the bill; the pocket-book will repay
us with interest."

"And suppose we were to meet the provincial!"

"Very well; he could not complain of our
hastening to give him his pocket-book, which he
has forgotten on the table."

"True; I understand: he will be much
obliged to us. Not a bad idea."

The two rogues called for the bill, remembering
the waiters handsomely, and hurried down
stairs. At the door, the one who held the
pocket-book stopped and said, "Old fellow, I
have another idea: just run up-stairs and tell
the waiters that we expect our two friends at
the Café Riche, to continue the game. That will
give us the time to get out of harm's way with
our treasure-trove."

As soon as the "old fellow" was at the top of
the stairs, his companion made off with the
lucky pocket-book.

Now, which of these two diamonds was cut
the closer? The pocket-book was full of scraps
of paper only; the bank-notes had been cleverly
hocus-pocused away by the ingenuous youth of
good family.

Among the ways of winning with certainty,
not the least ingenious is by telegraphy.
Although there are thirty-two cards in a piquet
pack, they can all be designated by twelve
different signals; namely, eight for the values of
the cards, and four for the suits. At écarté,
the number of signals is still further reduced,
seeing that all they care about, is to indicate the
court cards. For these indications, it is by no
means necessary, as certain authors have
asserted, to practise exaggerated pantomime,
such as blowing the nose, coughing, drumming
on the table, sneezing, and so forth. One must
have a very low opinion of the Greek, to suppose
him capable of such dull actions. The noises
would very soon excite attention, and be
denounced as clumsy trickery.

The compatriot of Homer knows better, and
confines himself to signals which are intelligible
to his confederate alone. Standing behind the
adversary's chair, if the Comtois looks at his
confederate, it denotes a king! at the adversary's
hand, a queen; at the stake, a knave; in
the opposite direction, a knave. At the same
time that he betrays the value of the cards, he
also denotes the suit by the following signs: the
mouth slightly open, hearts; the mouth closed,
diamonds; the upper lip slightly brought over
the lower lip, clubs; the lower lip slightly brought
over the upper lip, spades. Thus, if the Greek
has to announce, for instance, the queen, knave,
and ace of hearts, he glances successively at the
adversary's hand, the stake, and the opposite side,
keeping his mouth slightly open all the while.

These are but a few of the revelations
contained in Robert-Houdin's amusing and instructive
work. From it, it is clear that so much
pains, and patience, and skill, are requisite to
make a perfect knave, that by far the easiest
and simplest profession is to start and to
continue an honest man.

                     NEW WORK

Will be concluded in the Number for Saturday, 3rd August,
       And on SATURDAY, 10th AUGUST,
Will be commenced (to be completed in six months)
                A STRANGE STORY,
                        BY THE
   AUTHOR OF "MY NOVEL," "RIENZI," &c. &c.