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How to tell one what card he seeth in the bottom, when the same card is shuffled into the stock

How to tell one what card he seeth in the bottom, when the same card is shuffled into the stock

Juggling and fortune-telling by means of cards, whenever introduced, appear to have had many professors in the latter [Pg 118] half of the sixteenth century. A trick performed with cards by a juggler, appears to have excited the inquisitive genius of Lord Bacon when a boy; and his biographer, Basil Montagu, thinks that from this circumstance his attention was first directed to an inquiry into the nature of the imagination. Reginald Scott, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, first published in 1584, has a chapter „Of Cards, with good cautions how to avoid cousenage therein; special rules to convey and handle the cards; and the manner and order how to accomplish all difficult and strange things wrought with cards.“

He did so, and drew three Knaves and laid them on the table with their faces downwards, by the wizard’s direction, who then told him, if he desired to see the sum of his bad fortunes, to take up those cards

„Having now,“ says he, „bestowed some waste money among you, I will set you to cards; by which kind of witchcraft a great number of people have juggled away not only their money, but also their lands, their health, their time, and their honesty. I dare not (as I could) show the lewd juggling that cheaters practice, lest it minister some offence to the well-disposed, to the simple hurt and losses, and to the wicked occasion of evil doing. And to let dice pass, (as whereby a man may be inevitably cousened,) one that is skilful to make and use Bumcards may undo a hundred wealthy men, that are not given to gaming; but if he have a confederate present, either of the players or standers-by, the mischief cannot be avoided. If you play among strangers, beware of him that seems simple or drunken; for under their habit the most special couseners are presented; and while you think by their simplicity and imperfections to beguile them, (and thereof, perchance, are persuaded by their confederates, your very [Pg 119] friends as you think,) you yourself will be most of all over-taken. Beware also of the betters by and lookers on, and namely of them that bet on your side; for whilst they look on your game without suspicion, they discover it by signs to your adversaries, with whom they bet and yet are their confederates.“

Among the tricks with cards which he notices, are the following: „How to deliver out four Aces and to convert them into four Knaves. To tell one, without confederacy, what card he thinketh. How to tell what card any man thinketh, how to convey the same into a nut-shell, cherry-stone, c., and the same again into one’s pocket. How to make one draw the same, or any card you list, and all under one devise.“ The two verses which he quotes in the margin should be inscribed as a motto on the dial-plate of every gamester’s watch. „Of dice play, and the like unthrifty games, mark these two old verses, and remember them:

But I would wish all gamesters to beware, not only with what cards and dice they play, but especially with whom, and where they exercise gaming

Rowland, in his ‘Judicial Astrology Condemned,’ relates the following anecdote of Cuffe, the Secretary of the Earl of Essex, „a man of exquisite wit and learning, but of a turbulent disposition,“ who was hung at Tyburn, on the 13th of March, 1602, for having counselled and abetted the Earl in his treason. „Cuffe, an excellent Grecian, and Secretary to the Earl of Essex, was told twenty years before his death that he should come to an untimely end, at which Cuffe laughed, and in a scornful manner, intreated the astrologer to show him in what manner he should come to his end; who [Pg 120] condescended to him, and calling for cards, intreated Cuffe to draw out of the pack three which pleased him. Cuffe, as he was prescribed, took up the first card, and looking on it, he saw the portraiture of himself, cap-a-pie, having men compassing him about with bills and halberds; then he took up the second, and there he saw the judge that sat upon him; and taking up the last card, he saw Tyburn, the place of his execution, and the hangman, at which he laughed heartily; but many years after, being condemned for treason, he remembered and declared this prediction.“

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