Games and Recreations

Chess and whist permanently popular.

One should be able to play the minor games.

These things are innocent in themselves.

And often quite necessary.

A man who can play a good game of chess, or even an excellent rubber of whist, must be aware that the acquirement involves an education in itself. Neither is ever likely to become unpopular among the best classes of society. Chess and whist clubs increase in number as time goes on; but for the purposes of everyday life less exigent games are found more useful. Billiards, backgammon, poker, bézique, baccarat, écarté, draughts, vingt-et-un, and loo may be mentioned among the minor accomplishments with which the modern young man finds it convenient to be equipped. That a bad use has been made of some of these by converting them into media for gambling is not to be denied. At the same time there is no reason why those who play them in moderation should refrain from doing so because others abuse rather than use these means of recreation. A round game affords a very innocent mode of spending an enjoyable evening, and country-house life especially is often enlivened in this way. Home life, whether in town or country, is apt to become monotonous, particularly for the young members of the family, if there is not occasionally an amusing game got up to pass away the evening hours, and anything that adds to the attractions of home must at least have one excellent recommendation.

A man’s breeding is shown in his play.

Irritability over games.

Apart from other considerations, the demeanour of a young man when playing cards affords a very good test of his manners. Some of them appear to think that the only fun to be had out of the game lies in cheating—very open and transparent cheating, to be sure—but still sufficient to spoil the amusement of others. A curious development of money greed is sometimes observable in players, who will show extreme exasperation at the loss of so simple a coin as a penny. There are many fairly good-tempered men (and women) who evince extreme irritability over games of any kind. To play with such as these is very disagreeable, and the tendency to irascibility should be firmly checked by those who wish to be popular in society.

An outsider may not take the lead unsolicited.

The host or hostess always takes the lead in these games, or else deputes some one else to do so. It is a sign of ill-breeding when any outsider assumes the command of a game without having been asked to do so.

Men and houses to be avoided.

Things to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, gambling games are very popular at some houses, and it is possible for a young man, being unaware of the fact, to be drawn in and lose more than he can afford before he can politely extricate himself. In such circumstances the only thing he can do is religiously to avoid any such house in future. It is a matter of notoriety that there are men who make good incomes by fleecing the young and inexperienced whom they invite to their houses under the guise of friendship; but even when there is no deliberate dishonesty in question, as in these cases, the host or hostess, out of pure love of gambling, draws in the guests to play for high sums. Unpardonable, it is true, but such things have to be reckoned with, and avoided, if possible. The matter is not confined to London; country-house life has much to answer for under the same heading.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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