Their passions suffer no less by this practice than their understandings and imaginations. What hope and fear, joy and anger, sorrow and discontent, break out all at once in a fair assembly, upon so noble an occasion as that of turning up a card?
7. Who can consider, without a secret indignation, that all those affections of the mind which should be consecrated to their children, husbands and parents, are thus vilely prostituted and thrown away upon a hand at loo? For my own part, I cannot but be grieved, when I see a fine woman fretting and bleeding inwardly from such trivial motives: when I behold the face of an angel, agitated and discomposed by the heart of a fury.
8. Our minds are of such a make, that they naturally give themselves up to every diversion which they are much accustomed to, and we always find, that play, when followed with assiduity, engrosses the whole woman. She quickly grows uneasy in her own family, takes but little pleasure in all the domestic innocent endearments of life, and grows more fond of Pam than of her husband.
9. My friend Theophrastus, the best of husbands and of fathers, has often complained to me, with tears in his eyes, of the late hours he is forced to keep if he would enjoy his wife’s conversation. When she returns to me with joy in her face, it does not arise, says he, from the sight of her husband but from the good luck she has had at cards.
10. On the contrary, says he, if she has been a loser, I am doubly a sufferer by it. She comes home out of humor, is angry with every body, displeased with all I can do or say, and in reality for no other reason but because she has been throwing away my estate. What charming bed fellows and companions for life are men likely to meet with, that chuse their wives out of such women of vogue and fashion? What a race of worthies, what patriots, what heroes must we expect from mothers of this make?
11. I come in the next place to consider the ill consequences which gaming has on the bodies of our female adventurers. It is so ordered, that almost every thing which corrupts the soul decays the body. The beauties of the face and mind are generally destroyed by the same means. This consideration should have a particular weight with the female world, who are designed to please the eye and attract the regards of the other half of the species.
12. Now there is nothing that wears out a fine face like the vigils of the card table, and those cutting passions which naturally attend them. Hollow eyes, haggard looks, and pale complexions, are the natural indications of a female gamester. Her morning sleeps are not able to repair her midnight watchings.
13. I have known a woman carried off half dead from bassette, and have many a time grieved, to see a person of quality gliding by me in her chair at two o’clock in the morning, and looking like a spectre amidst a glare of flambeaux: in short, I never knew a thorough-paced female gamester hold her beauty two winters together.