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In 1836 Benjamin Drake, a midwestern author of well known sketches for newspapers of the day, brought his readers to a brand new and particularly American rascal who rode the steamboats up and down the Mississippi and different western waterways—the riverboat gambler
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Additional info for Blacklegs, Card Sharps, and Confidence Men: Nineteenth-Century Mississippi River Gambling Stories (Southern Literary Studies)
A Note on Texts In the selections that follow, original spelling and punctuation have been maintained in almost all instances. On a very few occasions, textual errors have been corrected for sense (indicated by square brackets). Readers who would like to know more about the games featured in these stories are advised to do what confused nineteenth-century gamers would have done—reach for Hoyle. Edmund Hoyle published the first of his gaming reference works in England in 1742. His descriptions of the rules of card games were soon definitive, to the extent that the phrase “according to Hoyle” became proverbial.
Frequently in armed bodies, they have disturbed the good order of public assemblages, insulted our citizens, and defied our civil authorities. Thus had they continued to grow bolder in their wickedness, and more formidable in their numbers, until Saturday, the fourth of July, instant, when our citizens had assembled, together with the corps of Vicksburg volunteers, at the barbecue, to celebrate the day by the usual festivities. After dinner, and during the delivery of the toasts, one of the officers attempted to enforce order and silence at the table, when one of those gamblers, whose name is Cabler, who had impudently thrust himself into the company, insulted the officer, and struck one of our citizens.
Sure enough you’ve won the bet,” says he. “You’ve a sharp eye, but I don’t care if I give you another chance. ” “I don’t mind running the risk,” said he. ” This called forth a loud laugh at the thimble conjurer’s expense; and he tried hard to induce me to take just one chance more, but he mought just as well have sung psalms to a dead horse, for my mind was made up; and I told him, that I looked upon gambling as about the dirtiest way that a man could adopt to get through this dirty world; and that I would never bet any thing beyond a quart of whisky upon a rifle shot, which I considered a legal bet, and gentlemanly and rational amusement.