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in a short time in your history an experience in which you will find that the discussion involved three worlds earth, heaven, hell. There are in this cluster of cities about eight hundred confessed gambling establishments. There are about three thousand five hundred professional gamblers. Out of the eight hundred gambling establishments, how many of them do you suppose profess to be honest? Ten. These ten professing to be honest because they are merely the ante-chamber to the seven hundred and ninety that are acknowledged fraudulent. There are first-class gambling establishments. You step a little way out of Broadway. You go up the marble stairs. You ring the bell. The liveried servant introduces you. The walls are lavendar tinted. The mantles are of Vermont marble. The pictures are “Jephtha's Daughter, and Dore's “ Dante's and Virgil's Frozen Region of Hell,” a most appropriate selection, this last, for the place. There is the roulette table, the finest, costliest, most exquisite piece of furniture in the United States. There is the banqueting-room where, free of charge to the guests, you may find the plate, and viands, and winet, and cigars, sumptuous beyond parallel. Then you como to the second-class gambling-establishment. To it you are introduced by a card through some “roper in.” Having entered, you must either gamble or fight. Sanded cards, dice loaded with quicksilver, poor drinks mixed with more poor drinks, will soon help you to get rid of all your money to a tune in short metre without staccato paisages. You wanted to see.
The low vil. lains of that place watch you as you come in. Does not the panther, squat in the grass, know a calf when he sees it i Wrangle not for your rights in that place, or your body will be thrown bloody into the street, or dead into the East River.
You go along a little further and find the policy estab. lishment. In that place you bet on numbers. Betting on two numbers is called a "saddle;" betting on three numbers is called a "gig;" betting on four numbers is called a "horse;" and there are thousands of our young men leaping into that “saddle," and mounting that "gig,” and behind that " horse," riding to perdition. There is always one kind of sign on the door-“Exchange;" a most appropriate title for the door, for there, in that room, a man exchanges health, peace, and heaven, for loss of health, loss of home, loss of family, loss of im. mortal soul. Exchange sure enough and infinite enough.
Now you acknowledge that is a cart-rope of evil, but you want to know what are the small threads out of which it is made. There is, in many, a disposition to hazard. They feel a delight in walking near a precipice because of the sense of danger. There are people who go upon Jungfrau, not for the largeness of the prospect, but for the feeling that they have of thinking: “What would happen if I should fall off?" There are persons who have their blood filliped and accelerated by skating very near an air hole. There are men who find a positive delight in driving within two inches of the edge of a bridge. It is this disposition to hazard that finds development in gaming practices. Here are five hundred dollars. I may stake them. If I stake them I may lose them; but I may win five thousand dollars. Whichever way it turns, I have the excitement. Shufile the cards. Lost! Heart thuinps. Head dizzy. At it again-just to gratify this desire for hazard
Then there are others who go into this sin through sheer desire for gain. It is especially so with professional gamblers. They always keep cool. They never drink enough to unbalance their judgment. They do not see the dice so much as they see the dollar beyond the dice, and for that they watch as the spider in the web, looking as if dead until the fly passes. Thousands of young men in the hope of gain go into these practices. They say: “Well, my salary is not enough to allow this luxuriance. I don't get enough froin any store, office, or shop. I ought to have finer apartments. I ought to have better wines. I ought to have more richly flavored cigars. I ought to be able to entertain my friends more expensively. I wont stand this any longer. I can with one brilliant stroke make a fortune.
Now, here goes, principle or no principle, heaven or hell. Who cares?" When a young man makes up his mind to live beyond his income, Satan has bought him out and out, and it is only a question of time when the goods are to be delivered. The thing is done. You may plant in the way all the batteries of truth and righteousness, that man is bound to go on. When a man makes one thousand dollars a year and spends one thousand two hundred dollars; when a young man makes one thousand five hundred dollars and spends one thousand seven hundred dollars, all the harpies of darkness cry out: “Ha! ha! we have him," and they have. How to get the extra five hundred dollars or the extra two thousand dollars is the question. He says: “Here is my friend who started out the other day with but little money, and in one night, so great was his luck, he rolled up hundreds and thousands of dollars. If he got it, why not I? It is such dull work, this adding up of long lines of figures in the counting-house; this pulling down of a hundred yards of goods and selling a remnant; this always waiting upon somebody else, when I could put one hundred dollars on the ace, and pick up a thousand." This sin works very insidiously.
Other sing sound the drum, and flaunt the flag, and gather their recruits with wild huzza, but this marches its procession of pale victims in dead of night, in silence, and when they drop into the grave there is not so much sound as the click of a dice. O, how many have gone down under it. Look at those men who were once highly prospered. Now, their forehead is licked by a tongue of flame that will never go out. In their souls are plunged the beaks that will never be lifted. Swing open the door of that man's heart and you see a coil of adders wriggling their indescribable horror until you turn away and hide your face and ask God to help you to forget it. The most of this evil is unadvertised. The community does not hear of it. Men defrauded in gaming establishments are not fools enough to tell of it. Once in a while, however, there is an exposure, as when in Boston the police swooped upon a gaming establishment and found in it the representatives of all classes of citizens, from the first merchants on State street to the low Ann street gambler ; as when Bullock, the cashier of the Central Railroad of Georgia, was fonnd to have stolen one hun. dred and three thousand dollars for the purpose of carrying on gaming practices; as when a young man in one of the savings' banks of Brooklyn, many years ago, was found to have stolen forty thousand dollars to carry on gaming practices; as when a man connected with a Wall street insurance company was found to have stolen one hundred and eighty thonsand dollars to carry on his gaming practices. But that is exceptional. Generally the money leaks silently from the merchant's till into the gamester's wallet. I believe that one of the main pipes leading to this sewer of iniquity is the excitement of business life. It is not a significant fact that the majority of the day gambling-houses in New York are in proximity to Wall street! Men go into the excitement of stock
gambling, and from that they plunge into the gam. bling-houses, as, when men are intoxicated, they go into a liquor saloon to get more drink. The howling, screaming, stamping, Bedlamitish crew in the “Gold Room" drop into the gaming-houses to keep up their frenzy. The agitation that is witnessed in the stock market when the chair announces the word “North-western," or
“ Fort Wayne," or "Rock Island,” or “New York Central," and the rat! tat! tatl of the auctioneer's hammer, and the excitement of making "corners," and getting up "pools,” and “carrying stock," and a “break” from eighty to seventy, and the excitement of rushing about in curbstone brokerage, and the sudden cries of “Buyer three!” “Buyer ten!” “Take 'em!” “How many?” and the making or losing of ten thousand dollars by one operation, unfits a man to go home, and so he goes up the flight of stairs, ainid business offices, to the darkly-cur. tained, wooden-shuttered room, gaily furnished inside, and takes his place at the roulette or the faro table. But I cannot tell all the process by which men get into this evil. One man came to our city of New York. He was a Western merchant. He went into a gaming-house on Park-place. Before morning he had lost all his money save one dollar, and he moved around about with that dollar in his hand, and after awhile, caught still more powerfully under the infernal infatuation, he came up and put down the dollar and cried out until they heard him through the saloon: “One thousand miles from home, and my last dollar on the gaming table."
Says some young man here this morning: “That cartrope has never been wound around my soul.” My brother, have not some threads of that cart-rope been twisted until after awhile they may become strong enougb to bind you for ever!