Wednesday, April 07, 2010

gambling on trains

i recently was asked if people "really" played cards on trains (because my novel features a fair bit of that) response, here's a great weird tidbit from The New York Times, Nov. 15, 1871:

We hear a good deal of complain that gambling should be allowed on the passenger-trains in this State. A few weeks since a man was swindled out of $50 in a Maine Central smoking-car by a blackleg, who introduced him into the beauties of "three-card monte." To be sure, it is strange that any man is so green or devoid of common sense as to be inveigled into card-playing and betting with strangers on railroad-cars--but such people there are in the world, and we do not think our railroads should be in the field for such knaves to ply their pursuits in. We have recently noticed warnings posted up in the Eastern Railroad cars, like this: "Beware of strangers who ask you to play cards." That is a very useful placard, to say the least."
in Paris, i used to walk past a three-card monte game every weekend, near the Clignancourt flea market, where there seemed to be an endless supply of people 'green or devoid of common sense' enough to be inveigled by the older dude running the game. Because hope springs eternal. Or something. photo by Nelson Minar, 2006

No comments: