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Congressional Gamblers

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The Washington gainbling-househ havo nevsr been supported to any considerable extent by the resident population. Mouiburs of Congres, partiouJ.irly from the öouth, bouthwst find West, were the largest contributors to the incomes of the sporting uien. Contractors and Indim triiders were gtonerally bold and sorcotitnes desperóte players. Membars of ihe Houso frequently staked thair inüeige find per diein at the faro table, and they played all sorts of round gamos, "short (;;irds," as thry wero calipd. in the club rooms. Probably the amount risked would not constituís what is tormed " high play" in these days.but the losses of these men of limited means were often sufficient to keüp thera impoverished and emba'rrassed dnring thcir entire Congresaional service. Boma men played for excitement. ohiefly, r.ot mueb caring wheth0 they won or lost. Thadeus Stevens was one of this description. IXe was like Fox, who desoribed winning at hazard as the greatest pleasure in life, and loping at the same game as the aiext groatest. Stevens lost and won with the same apparent ïndiirerenee. Ho played with consummate eoolness, never lost his temper, and never increaséd the amount of his bet either to rotrieve his losses or more rapidly to iucrease his winnings. His sarcastic remarks upon the discomposure of his fellow-layers who sometimos exclajtned wifVi rnge and proianity at their ill luck, were always witty as well as cutting. While they were eating and. drinking with voraeity of cor uiorants, he never iftdulged in any thing more stimulating than a cracker and a sip of water The contrast between his coolness and apparent apaihy and the eager, fierce oxcitemont of othcrs sitting at the samo table and engnged in the samo pursuit was aruazing. . I have rarely seen a more pitiable and painful rxhibition thau was often presented by the ungoverned passions of a ganiester after a run of ill luck. To 1J. Stevens such displays of weakness seemed to afïord amusement rather than to excite sympatijy or co;npassion. He was a hard, cynical man, oapable of acts of beneVólence under strong etnotion, but gentleness or tendernoss was not his ordinary mood. He threw ofF inore good things in conversation without effort than any man I ever saw, and his sayings were pointed with a degree of epigrammatio forco thiit I never witnessed iu an3T other man. - An Oíd Stager, in Jlniyer's Magazine for June.


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Michigan Argus