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[225] heavy as they were, on their backs to the Hotel Montmorency, Boulevard Montmartre No. 12.

Dinner despatched, I went about ten o'clock to Frascati's,—the great ‘hell’ of Paris. By law all public gaming-houses are forbidden after the first of January, which commences this midnight. Passing through an outside court, and then a short entry, we entered an antechamber, where there were a large number of servants in livery who received our hats and outside garments, no one being allowed to enter the gambling salons with either. The hats already hanging up and in the custody of the servants seemed innumerable, and yet the servants had no numbers or marks by which to indicate to whom each hat belonged; trusting entirely to recollecting the countenance. The door of the salon was then opened; and the first table of gamblers was before us,—men young, middle-aged, and old; with the bloom of youth yet mantling on the face, and with the wrinkles and gray hairs of age. This table was a roulette, I believe. It was about the size of a common billiard table, and it was completely surrounded by a double and triple row of persons; the first row sitting, and the others standing. Among those sitting were two or three women of advanced age; and moving about the room were several younger, undoubtedly Cyprians, possessing considerable personal attractions. Passing into the next salon through an open door, we found a larger table, with players more intent and more numerous, where the game turned upon cards. The silver and gold spread on the table was to a vast amount; and I saw one man, with a lip that quivered and a hand that trembled, stake his double handful of gold on a single throw,—amounting to many hundred dollars. Little wooden rakes or hoes were used to draw the money in. The third salon had a table where the chance turned upon dice. It was a scene which I am glad to have witnessed. The excitements of gambling have been said to be strong; and I can understand how persons have been drawn by its fascinations within its terrible maelstrom. They try once for experiment, and are seduced by a momentary success, or excited by a loss, and observing others, perhaps, winning large sums, they are finally absorbed in the whirling vortex. Several of the friends that I went with ventured several francs, and alternately lost and won. I am free to confess that I felt the temptation, but I restrained my hand. To-night being the last night, the rooms were very full, the gamblers wishing to have their last game. We left sometime before midnight, thinking that there might be some disturbance at that time, when the transforming wand of the law would exercise its power. I however walked the boulevards, which were splendidly illuminated by the shop windows till long after midnight, as well as thronged by people; and at twelve o'clock I stood before Frascati's. The people were retiring front within, and as the women came out they were subjected to the sneers and jeers of a considerable crowd who had collected in the street about the gateway. A few of the police were present, who at once interfered to prevent the uproar; and in a few minutes three horsemen rode into the crowd, and speedily dispersed them. Such was the last night of Frascati, and my first night in Paris.

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