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to move; and the latest and most penniless
of night revellers entreated the money-takers
at Waterloo Bridge to trust them the toll,
and failing therein were fain to go round by
Westminster or Blackfriars; then, in the very
witching time of night, when churchyards
were doubtless yawning and graves giving up
their dead in haunted neighbourhoods;—then
would the elegantly appointed private cabriolet
of the Honourable Captain Hawk (he drives
a Hansom for his livelihood, at present) arrive
at the Cocked Hat Club, the highest-stepping
of cabhorses before, the trimmest of top-booted
tigers behind, the Honourable Captain Hawk
inside, and by his side Tom Pigeon, in Stultz-cut
habiliment, in ecstacies at his aristocatic
acquaintance, and, if the truth must be told,
slightly in liquor into the bargain.

The janitor knew the Captain well. Many
and many a pigeon had the Captain brought
to the Cocked Hat Club, to be plucked; with
all the dodges in that case made and provided.
The heavily barred iron door turned on its
hinges; the portal was entered; and Hope,
together with the cab and the tiger, were left
behind.

Light, from brilliant chandeliers, and wax
candles. scarcely less brilliant, carving, gilding,
mirrors, mahogany, shining plate, and snowy
linenall these offered themselves to the
enraptured gaze of the doomed pigeon. He
had dined with the Captain at a Bond Street
hoteldined copiously, and drunk far more
copiously still of the choicest wines. Of course
he had been to the theatre afterwards, and to
the saloon of the theatre (the saloon was an
institution then), to the Blue Posts, the
Anglesey, and the Finish. Of course he had
looked in at Flimmers's hotel in Deuce-ace
Street, the Captain's own favourite and particular
crib, where he had played a little at a
delightfully simple game known as "wilful
murder," and, marvellous to state, had won
seven guineas and a half; thereafter looking in
at a few sporting houses, fighting houses, and
public houses of no particular character save
an execrably bad one, whence the Captain had
borne him off in triumph to the Cocked Hat
Club. Of course the Captain had paid for all
these amusementsfor all the viands and all
the liquors, from the creamy champagne to the
seven quarterns of gin with which Bludkins
the nobby sweep, and Dick Buffles the larky
cabman, were regaled at the sign of the Black
Eye, Job Smouchey's old house in Clare
Market. The Captain always paid for such
amusements. Seven times had he slapped
Tom Pigeon on the back; nine times had he
declared him to be a trump, and a fellow
after his own heart; thrice had he promised
to introduce him to Lord Amesace, Sir
Thomas Treydeuce, and young Cully of the
Guards. No wonder Pigeon was in ecstacies;
and, considering the quantity of port, sherry,
champagne still and sparkling, claret,
bottled ale and stout, brandy and water, rum
punch, sophisticated porter, and raw gin,
he had imbibed since four o'clock that
afternoon, it is, I think, no wonder either
that Pigeon was in liquor.

Light, more light, splendid supper laid
out on side tables, laughter, loud conversation,
much slapping on backs and friendly name
calling. It is astonishing, that after Tom
Pigeon had eaten more viands, and drunk
more choice wines; after he had been introduced
to Lord Amesace, Sir Thomas Treydeuce,
and young Cully of the Guards, who
all happened (fortuitously) to be at the Cocked
Hat Club that night, he should be persuaded
to try his luck; to approach that fatal green
table; to call a frightful quantity of mains, to
bet wildly, madly, desperately, unconsciously,
yet still continuing to bet with that instinct
which the devil lends us when our better
senses are quite gone and drowned in drink.

Tom Pigeon won fifty golden pounds that
night. He went the next night to the Cocked
Hat Club, and won again, and more. Soon,
very soon, he needed no Captain Hawk to
show him the way and be his mentor. Then
he began to lose. More, more, more, every
night. Sir Thomas Treydeuce called on him
o' mornings, and, finding the wretched lad,
writhing in bed, with his brain on fire,
gulping down his soda and brandy, showed
him I.O.U.'s for large amounts which he had
given him the night before. Lord Amesace
wrote to him, to ask when it would be convenient
to pay that last five hundred. Young
Cully of the Guards was sorry to trouble him,
but was deucedly hard up, and would be much
obliged for the two ponies lost last week.
Then the Cocked Hat Club would not suffice
for Tom's appetite for play. There was gambling
to be had in race-course booths, in ambiguous
cigar-shops, in fellows' rooms; in low
public-houses. He had them all, and lost.
Then there began to spring up within him
that most miserable of all hopesthat rotten-
cabled anchor that never finds any bottom
save a quicksandthe gambler's hope: the
hope that leads its wretched victim to lie,
to cheat, to steal, to forge, in the fallacious
certainty of winning to-morrow.

Then, of course, Tom Pigeon went to the
bad altogether. Thousands of similar Pigeons
went to the bad in those times every year.
They still go, in the same dismal direction as of
yore. Though the Cocked Hat Club has long
since been numbered with the gaming-houses
that were; though gaming-houses themselves
have been rooted out of St. James's Street
and its environs; though fine and imprisonment
menace the detected gambler; Play still
flourishes, and Pigeons still disport themselves
in their golden plumage, as ready, as anxious,
and as certain to be plucked as ever.

Next Week will be Published the FOURTEENTH PART of
NORTH AND SOUTH.
By the AUTHOR OF MARY BARTON.

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