Play Again?

Now it’s a wonder how much we separate crazy weather occurrences from the possible effects of global warming; instead of superstitious, we might be becoming super-suspicious that these things are or are not related, depending on your exposure to that venerable Upton Sinclair aphorism.

In that spirit, though perhaps not, a bit of Dostoevsky’s The Gambler. By coincidence, though perhaps not, chapter 11:

THE chair, with the old lady beaming in it, was wheeled away
towards the doors at the further end of the salon, while our
party hastened to crowd around her, and to offer her their
congratulations. In fact, eccentric as was her conduct, it was
also overshadowed by her triumph; with the result that the
General no longer feared to be publicly compromised by being
seen with such a strange woman, but, smiling in a condescending,
cheerfully familiar way, as though he were soothing a child, he
offered his greetings to the old lady. At the same time, both he
and the rest of the spectators were visibly impressed.
Everywhere people kept pointing to the Grandmother, and talking
about her. Many people even walked beside her chair, in order to
view her the better while, at a little distance, Astley was
carrying on a conversation on the subject with two English
acquaintances of his. De Griers was simply overflowing with
smiles and compliments, and a number of fine ladies were staring
at the Grandmother as though she had been something curious.

“Quelle victoire!” exclaimed De Griers.

“Mais, Madame, c’etait du feu!” added Mlle. Blanche with an
elusive smile.

“Yes, I have won twelve thousand florins,” replied the old
lady. “And then there is all this gold. With it the total ought
to come to nearly thirteen thousand. How much is that in Russian
money? Six thousand roubles, I think?”

However, I calculated that the sum would exceed seven thousand
roubles–or, at the present rate of exchange, even eight
thousand.

“Eight thousand roubles! What a splendid thing! And to think of
you simpletons sitting there and doing nothing! Potapitch!
Martha! See what I have won!”

“How DID you do it, Madame?” Martha exclaimed ecstatically.
“Eight thousand roubles!”

“And I am going to give you fifty gulden apiece. There they
are.”

Potapitch and Martha rushed towards her to kiss her hand.

“And to each bearer also I will give a ten-gulden piece. Let
them have it out of the gold, Alexis Ivanovitch. But why is this
footman bowing to me, and that other man as well? Are they
congratulating me? Well, let them have ten gulden apiece.”

“Madame la princesse–Un pauvre expatrie–Malheur continuel–Les
princes russes sont si genereux!” said a man who for some time
past had been hanging around the old lady’s chair–a personage
who, dressed in a shabby frockcoat and coloured waistcoat, kept
taking off his cap, and smiling pathetically.

The rest at the link.

Special holiday bonus, because I’m learning to love all over again: Roy on Why This Decade Sucked.

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